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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Interview With Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson; Identity of Tuberculosis Patient Revealed; Marines Targeting Anti-War Veterans?

Aired May 31, 2007 - 20:00   ET

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


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us tonight.
Here are some of the stories we are bringing out in the open: astonishing new details about man who risked infecting hundreds of people with drug-resistant tuberculosis. Would you believe his father-in-law is a scientist who just happens to study T.B.?

I will also be talking with a Marine who is in a whole lot of trouble, and he's absolutely furious about it. Is the military punishing Iraq war veterans if they protest against the war when they come home?

Also, who is guarding your office and our most vulnerable terrorist targets? Are poorly trained, minimum-wage guards the weak link in our homeland security?

Well, we start with the T.B. scare, because it's been a major day of developments today. First, the man who is quarantined because he has a deadly drug-resistant form of T.B. was moved from Atlanta to Denver for treatment. Then his identity became public.

He's Andrew Speaker, a 31-year-old personal injury attorney. And the biggest surprise of all? Well, his brand new father-in-law, Robert Cooksey, is a highly respected researcher who studies drug- resistant T.B. at the Centers for Disease Control.

Yes, that is the very same agency that lost track of Speaker when he flew to Europe to get married this month, and possibly exposed hundreds of people to his deadly germs.

To bring all these bizarre twists and turns in the story out in the open tonight, we sent Ed Lavandera to Speaker's hospital in Denver, also, medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, who is in Atlanta, the home of both the CDC and CNN.

Good to have both of you with us tonight.

So, Ed, there are a lot of people out there tonight who are downright outraged that Speaker ever got in the plane, any plane, in the first place, after being warned not to fly. What is his family saying about that tonight?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're completely stunned. In many places, in many circles, and on Web sites all over the Internet, people have been referring to Andrew Speaker as a terrorist for putting so many people in danger.

His family is having a hard time dealing with all that. His father spoke with an Atlanta television station earlier today, and said he was never told that he couldn't go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TED SPEAKER, FATHER OF TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT: he specifically asked if he was not permitted to go. They said, no, we would prefer you not to go, but we're not saying you're not to go. They knew that he was getting married, and they knew the arrangements.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: The family also goes on to say that this is something that they have been dealing with for quite some time. Andrew Speaker was diagnosed back in January with tuberculosis.

ZAHN: And, Elizabeth, one of the more bizarre things we heard today is something I just mentioned at the top of this show, that his father-in-law is an expert on T.B. What else did we learn about that today?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we learned from Robert Cooksey is, he said: I know I work with T.B. all the time, but I don't have T.B. I get tested regularly. I have never had T.B. My son-in-law didn't get it from me.

Dr. Cooksey made this statement to reporters today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROBERT COOKSEY, FATHER-IN-LAW OF TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT: I wasn't involved in any decisions my son-in-law made regarding his travel.

I well appreciate the potential harm that can be caused by diseases like T.B. I would never knowingly put my daughter, friends, or anyone else at risk from such a disease.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: Now, Andrew Speaker traveled to Greece to get married. We do not know if his father-in-law attended the wedding -- Paula.

ZAHN: Actually, I was just given a little piece of paper before we went on, that another reporter is actually confirming the father- in-law did go to the wedding, and he also suggested that perhaps this strain of T.B. might have been picked up overseas.

Have you heard anything more about that?

COHEN: Yes. What I have heard is that the doctors in Denver said that he was a world traveler, extensive travel all around the world. They have got a six-year travel history. And he's gone a lot of different places. So, it may actually be difficult to really pinpoint where he got T.B.

ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit more now, Ed, about what specific information you're getting from doctors in Denver tonight about his prognosis and how they plan to treat him.

LAVANDERA: Well, they do sound optimistic, but it is a long road.

He's in an isolated room here at this hospital in Denver, where they have begun the process of doing tests on him all day long, a series of five antibiotics that he will soon be put on.

And, this afternoon, we understand they performed a C.T. scan and a lung X-ray. That will give them the information they need to really figure out where to proceed to next. The doctor talked about that earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. GWEN HUITT, ADULT INFECTIOUS DISEASE UNIT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL JEWISH MEDICAL AND RESEARCH CENTER: We will be evaluating how he's responding to the antibiotics. And, then, as the next probably days to a week or so go on, we will be likely evaluating whether he should be a candidate for surgery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: Regardless, he's looking at spending weeks, if not up to six months, here at this hospital.

ZAHN: And, Ed -- or, I should say, Elizabeth, Ed just mentioned that Mr. Speaker is in isolation tonight. And I know you had the opportunity to actually tour an isolation room in Atlanta where he was also treated.

What did you see?

COHEN: Well, actually, I was in the actual room that he was in while he was here in Atlanta. It was an exclusive that CNN got.

And it looks, really, in many ways, like many hospital rooms, with a few key differences. I got a tour from Grady Hospital's chief infection control officer.

Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NANCY WHITE, CHIEF INFECTION CONTROL OFFICER, GRADY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: This is one of the airborne infection isolation rooms. This is the N-95 mask that our health care workers wear.

COHEN: Now, when someone comes to work here, you fit that mask to them? They don't just...

WHITE: Correct.

COHEN: ... throw on a mask?

WHITE: No. They have to be fit-tested. And we make sure that the size is correct.

COHEN: Now, we go on into this room. And I notice the sign here. The room is empty. If there's no patient, we don't need to wear a mask?

(CROSSTALK)

WHITE: That's right. There's no reason for concern when there's not a patient in here.

COHEN: And we're going into the patient's room.

WHITE: Correct.

COHEN: And, so, that room is where you get all prepared with your mask...

WHITE: Yes.

COHEN: ... and then you come in here.

WHITE: Yes.

COHEN: And it looks just like any other hospital room.

WHITE: Yes, it does. The differences are the engineering controls in this room.

COHEN: So, any tuberculosis bacteria that are floating around in this room are sucked out through that vent.

WHITE: Correct.

COHEN: And they're filter-ized, because you don't want to be sending tuberculosis out into the air of Atlanta.

WHITE: Well, you can, because it's killed very quickly by the natural sunlight. But you -- we -- we just filter it. We felt safer in doing that.

COHEN: Now, what's the alarm?

WHITE: That is because you're holding the door open.

COHEN: Ah.

WHITE: And it's interrupted the airflow. So, it says to the nurses here on the floor, something is going wrong with the airflow in that room. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COHEN: Now, in an isolation room like this, the patient pretty much just stays there. The medical care comes to them. If, for some reason, they do have to be brought to another part of the hospital for a test, they put a mask on the patient -- Paula.

ZAHN: I guess what the family was hoping today, Ed, is maybe that you could cover some people's mouths.

We explained just how angry some folks in America are tonight that Andrew Speaker ever got on a plane. Describe to us what they have said on his engagement Web site that they have tracked down.

LAVANDERA: Well, yes. People managed to figure out this engagement Web site that they had.

And, on that Web site, there was a section for comments. It has since been taken down, after many of these comments were already posted. But, to give you a sample of what was on there -- get a load of this -- one of them said: "You are a traitor with a bad haircut. I would like to ship you to Guantanamo."

I mean, this goes back to what Andrew's father has been talking about, that they really feel that many people perceive him as some sort of terrorist for having gotten on these flights. And that is something that they're -- they're struggling with dealing with tonight.

ZAHN: Well, they have made it very clear that they think this is an overreaction on the American public's part.

Ed Lavandera, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.

I want to share with you now some of the very first pictures we have of Andrew Speaker in the Denver hospital tonight. ABC News showed them a little bit earlier on this evening, after he spoke with "Good Morning America" about what he has gone through over the last several weeks.

Diane Sawyer, who did the interview, says, Speaker asked for forgiveness from the airline passengers he exposed, and says he has a tape recording that will confirm his story that authorities told him it was OK for him to travel.

Of course, we don't know what the circumstances are of why he would have taped those conversations. But he is an attorney, after all.

As if deadly drug-resistant germs aren't scary enough, this whole story points to a massive breakdown in our country's homeland security precautions. Listen to this. Not only did Andrew Speaker get on planes, even though his name was on a no-fly list. When he drove from Canada into the U.S. at Lake Champlain, New York, a border guard checked his passport and saw the quarantine order for him to be stopped and isolated. But can you believe this? The guard let Speaker come in because he didn't look sick.

What kind of message does this send to terrorists?

Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which has just scheduled hearings for next week.

How did this happen, Congressman?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, I think, clearly, you are correct. The system failed.

And what we want to look at is the difference between operational systems and coordination. We had two federal agencies that should have been in constant communication with each other. And, obviously, the system failed.

Mr. Speaker should not have been able to get into Canada and back into the United States undetected. So, our system did not work.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: But it also appears that this border agent did some freelance work here, and somehow decided, because we're told he didn't think Speaker looked too sick. He saw his name on the alert, but he still let him through.

THOMPSON: Well, that -- that is clearly not the protocol.

If the person was flagged on the computer, he should not have been allowed. We will look at that as one aspect of it. But the question is, how could Mr. Speaker land in Canada if he was on a no- fly list? The Canadian authorities should have been notified in a timely manner, so that, if he landed in Canada, he should have been detected there also.

So, there are a number of vulnerabilities that this situation has brought to our attention that we will look out and look for in the committee hearing.

ZAHN: So, if you're a member of a sleeper cell that is already here in the United States, or someone overseas watching this, how vulnerable do we appear to be? It seems that the system failed at -- at not only the -- one of the busiest port of entries between Canada and the United States; we couldn't even stop the guy from getting on an airplane in Italy.

THOMPSON: Well, that correct.

And we knew he was in Italy. So, clearly, it means that we will have to, from a top to bottom, look at our system. This hearing will be designed to look at exactly what happened, look at exactly what was supposed to have happened, and try to fix it. There are no excuses. But, in this situation, CDC and Department of Homeland Security should have been able, working together, in a coordinated fashion, to prevent this from occurring. And that's the purpose of the hearing this coming Wednesday.

ZAHN: We know Mr. Speaker's passport was swiped. And, at that point, immediately popping up a screen would be a warning that -- that this guy has a problem. So, we know, also, the border agent made a decision that, OK, he didn't look so sick. He let him go through.

But we also understand there's a more common problem of what's called lane flushing. And, to alleviate congestion at one of the fourth busiest ports of entries along the border, we understand that -- that some cars are allowed through much more quickly than others.

How familiar are you with that practice?

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON: Well, we heard that complaint recently. We have scheduled another hearing.

We're meeting with the secretary, Chertoff, this week to find out what the problem is -- too many incidents where something bad had happened occurring on his watch. And we're going to demand more accountability from the secretary in these situations and others.

ZAHN: We just heard Mr. Speaker apologize in an interview on ABC News, particularly to the passengers who were exposed to him on the flight. Do you buy that apology tonight?

THOMPSON: Well, you know, that's his personal opinion. He should not have put all those travelers at risk.

Our system should have not allowed him to travel. We now find out that there are two no-fly lists. We're not certain which no-fly list Mr. Speaker was put on. Was he on the terrorist no-fly list, or was he on the other no-fly list? We can't get verification from DHS on that.

So, there are a number of things that we are trying to get information on, also. And we have been told that some of it is classified. So, we hope, between now and our hearing on Wednesday, whatever the information shortcomings are, we will have it available to the committee members at that hearing.

ZAHN: And we will look forward to it being disclosed to the public down the road as well.

Representative Bennie Thompson, thanks so much for your time tonight. Appreciate it.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

ZAHN: It seems like the whole country is focused on Andrew Speaker's T.B. infection, so why is another guy with the same germ locked away and all but forgotten?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT DANIELS, TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT: I know I have got T.B. I'm sorry that I was not masking a mask. I -- yes, I -- you know, I really am sorry. But, I mean, you can't just -- I'm -- I'm really mentally being killed here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Coming up next, a quarantined man with T.B. vents his anger. Why is he being treated like a prisoner? It's a report you are only going to see right here.

Then, a little bit later on: A Marine who fought bravely for freedom in Iraq, then attended a war protest when he got back home, why is the military threatening to punish him?

And who is guarding your office, or the mall where you shop, or some of our most vulnerable terror targets? Do you know just how little training some security guards have?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: The international T.B. scare is out in the open tonight.

The Atlanta lawyer who took two transatlantic airline flights knowing he had a severe form of T.B. is in isolation tonight at a Denver hospital for radical treatment.

And, if you want to know just how bad being quarantined could get for Andrew Speaker, you only have to look at the case of a T.B. patient in Arizona. He has been confined to a jail hospital for 10 months now.

And now the American Civil Liberties Union is filing suit, accusing authorities of treating him like a criminal, though he's been charged with nothing.

Thelma Gutierrez has been following his story, and has the latest for us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Down this long hospital corridor, behind this steel door, is jail ward 41 of the Maricopa County Medical Center.

This is where 27-year-old Robert Daniels has been held in isolation by the state of Arizona for the past 10 months. He's been diagnosed with a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis that threatens to kill him.

(on camera): Hi, Robert. How are you doing?

(voice-over): The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department granted us a rare glimpse into Daniels' world of forced isolation.

(on camera): Robert, you have been here for 10 months now. Can you describe what the conditions are like?

ROBERT DANIELS, TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT: The conditions are worse than a regular inmate.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Daniels has no human contact, besides the medical staff who take care of him.

We had to interview Daniels from behind a locked door, because doctors say he's so contagious.

DANIELS: This is my -- my living -- living headquarters.

GUTIERREZ: Daniels lives in a sealed specially ventilated room. And, like all the inmate rooms, frosted windows prevent any view to the outside world. And he's under constant video surveillance.

DANIELS: I'm stuck here, you know? I mean, I know I have got T.B. I'm sorry that I was not masking a mask. I -- yes, I -- you know, I really am sorry. But, I mean, you can't just -- I'm -- I'm really mentally being killed here.

GUTIERREZ: Daniels is here because county health officials warned him several times to wear a mask in public. He didn't, so an Arizona court ordered him into mandatory isolation to protect the public from exposure. That was last August.

JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: I would hope that he would say: Thank you. Thank you trying to save my life. Thank you for this free medical care. Thank you, Sheriff.

GUTIERREZ: Instead, Robert Daniels and the ACLU have just filed a federal lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and county health officials, saying Daniels' constitutional rights are being violated.

DANIEL POCHODA, ARIZONA ACLU: He's denied visitors. He's treated as if he were a prisoner of war, as opposed to a patient in a T.B. hospital.

GUTIERREZ: In 10 months, Daniels says he's been unable to take frequent showers, see himself in a mirror, or even clip his nails.

He says he regrets his actions.

DANIELS: I just want these people to be punished because -- because, even if I did a mistake, it doesn't -- it doesn't give them the -- the right to -- to, you know, torture me like this.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): If you to remain in this cell or in this room for several years while you recover, how will you cope?

DANIELS: I have no idea. I'm 10 months, and I'm -- I'm already going mad. GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Doctors say his treatment could take very long -- his biggest regret, not being able to see his wife and son, who live in Moscow.

DANIELS: If I'm going to die, I don't want to die in this, you know, black hole.

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And I want to turn now to one of the people in Thelma's report, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight,sir.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

ZAHN: And Thelma mentioned that you are named in this suit in the ACLU for your treatment of this man.

I want to put up on the screen some of what the inhumane conditions are that the ACLU alleges, among other things, that you have armed guards on him -- Thelma mentioned a couple of these -- no showers, no TV or phone for months -- he now has a cell phone, as you could see, and a TV -- no exposure to fresh air, that his mail is intercepted and read.

This is a sick guy who hasn't been convicted of anything, other than not listening to authorities to wear a mask. How do you defend his treatment?

ARPAIO: Well, first of all, it was the courts that asked me to place him in our ward that's within the county hospital. I am just doing what the courts want.

I did give him back his cell phone, his TV. He seems to be a big complainer. I do feel sorry for him, because of his condition. But he's in the hospital. He's under my control. He's treated in a humane manner. He's getting free medical attention, half-a-million dollars already, and he has his own room.

ZAHN: He charges -- and you heard him just say this -- that he is so isolated, that he is being mentally killed. And even the ACLU says, anybody under these conditions would go nutty, in their words.

Is -- is there a better place for this man?

ARPAIO: See, I don't know. That's a big question.

What if we had 10 more? What do we do with these type of people? We have to protect the public. The health, welfare of the public is paramount.

So, this is something that the politicians and the bureaucrats are going to have to look at to resolve this situation. But I will say one thing. He won't like to hear this. I do have a criminal investigation in progress against him and his conduct that led him to be confined to this jail.

ZAHN: Can you tell us specifically what you're talking about here, what kind of charges you might file?

ARPAIO: Well, this, you know, could be reckless abandonment. It could be many different charges.

I don't want to get into that now, right now. But we're looking into it, and see what happens during the course of our investigation. It has nothing to do with the lawsuit. We started this before the lawsuit was filed.

ZAHN: Well, we will stay on top of it with you. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, thank you so much for joining us tonight. We appreciate it.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

ZAHN: And I want to move on now to a different subject. I have a picture to show you. It's of an ex-U.S. Marine at an anti-war protest. So, why is the military now threatening to punish him? This story is causing a lot of controversy among veterans and in the anti- war movement.

He joins me exclusively -- next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Out in the open now: an Iraq war veteran who says the Marine Corps is trying to shut him up because he's protesting against the war.

Former Marine Corporal Adam Kokesh was honorably discharged after serving seven months in Iraq. But, in March, as a member of an anti- war group, he took part in a protest in Washington wearing his Marine Corps camouflage clothing.

This picture you're looking at right now showed up in "The Washington Post," and the Marine Corps noticed. The Corps says, because he's still a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, wearing the uniform broke their rules.

Now he faces a hearing on Monday, and he could lose his honorable discharge, costing him health benefits and thousands of dollars.

This story is making headlines all over the place today. So far, we haven't heard from Adam Kokesh. But, tonight, he joins me now for an exclusive interview.

Thanks so much for being with us tonight.

ADAM KOKESH, ANTI-WAR IRAQ VETERAN: Thank you. It's an honor to be on.

ZAHN: Our pleasure.

So, why were you protesting the war? And why did you decide to wear your Marine fatigues?

KOKESH: Well, as someone who believes that the war is wrong, and as a veteran of the occupation of Iraq, I feel that I have a personal moral obligation to speak out against it.

And, to be honest, I don't think I could live with myself if I wasn't doing everything I could to bring my brothers and sisters currently serving home as soon as possible.

ZAHN: You had a choice to make, though. You could have showed up in jeans with a white T-shirt.

KOKESH: Right. Well...

ZAHN: You went through the effort of removing the insignia. You took your name tag off. You went through that effort, and -- and still wore the -- the camouflage uniform...

KOKESH: Well, this was a very...

ZAHN: ... even though you were breaking a rule, according to the Marine Corps.

KOKESH: Well, this was a very unique demonstration. It was called Operation First Casualty. And it's called that because the first casualty of war is the truth. And the purpose of this was to bring a small part of the truth of the occupation of Iraq home to the American people.

And we did that by simulating a combat patrol through the streets of Washington, D.C. We did it again just this past weekend in New York City. And we had civilians who were playing occupied people. They're not playing Iraqis. They're not speaking Arabic or anything like that.

But they -- we -- we treat them as a combat patrol in Iraq might treat Iraqi civilians.

ZAHN: Were you aware that you were breaking a rule?

I'm going to put up on the screen right now a copy of the Marine Corps's uniform regulations. They clearly say that they apply to active, retired, and reserve members. And they prohibit you from wearing the uniform at public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or any public demonstration.

It seems pretty clear. Why risk that kind of punishment?

KOKESH: Well, actually, it's specifically stated in the -- in the UCMJ that -- the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- that it does not apply to members of the Individual Ready Reserve.

And, so -- and that was my understanding. ZAHN: So, you challenge this interpretation...

KOKESH: Yes. Absolutely.

ZAHN: ... of the regulation?

KOKESH: But, also, it's -- if I'm not wearing the uniform properly, as I wasn't -- I deliberately removed the tape that said "U.S. Marines" here, and I was not wearing rank insignia.

And if that's the case, it can't be said that I'm representing the Marine Corps. I'm wearing the uniform as a representative of the Marine Corps. And it was just in the spirit of that protest that it was clear we weren't representing the government or the Department of the Defense or the army or the Marine Corps. We were there as individual veterans representing Iraq veterans against the war.

And part of this demonstration in the effort to get that message out was that we were surrounded by people that were passing out fliers that described the purpose of our protest and who we were.

ZAHN: I understand you've gotten support from other veterans, obviously who were protesting alongside you, but you've certainly got to be aware that you have outraged a lot of people, particularly family members who have brothers and sisters and sons fighting in Iraq right now and they think that you are degrading the value of what they are doing over there by this protest, that you're undercutting the troops.

KOKESH: I think that the best thing we can do to support the troops is to bring them home now and that's what I'm trying to do.

ZAHN: So it is not your intent to embarrass the military with this?

KOKESH: Not at all. Actually, there may be certain corrupt elements within the Marine Corps right now that are bringing this action against me.

And as someone who loves the marine corps and will always love the marine corps and always has, what I'm deeply offended about is to see the politicization of the marine corps and the abuse of this power and the actual misuse abuse of these regulations and provisions of the uniform code of military justice being used against Iraq veterans against the war. I'm not the only one. I just happen to be the first who's facing a hearing.

ZAHN: So you strongly believe you're being intimidated because you're simply exercising your right to free speech.

KOKESH: Absolutely.

ZAHN: Well, we will look ahead to your testimony next week. Adam Kokesh, thank you for your time.

Right now, we're going to check out this issue with our "Out in the Open" panel and see what they have to say about this case. With me now, CNN contributor Roland Martin, Air America radio host Rachel Maddow and Republican strategist Robert Traynham. Thank you all for being with us.

So Robert, you just heard what Adam had to say, basically that in his mind that this is a case of selective prosecution and intimidation of veterans who speak out against the war. Doesn't he have a right to protest?

ROBERT TRAYNHAM, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He has every right to protest, Paula, but that's not the point. The point is, Paula, that the government issued him a uniform that's taxpayer funded and he's using that at a political weapon, as a political tool to make his statement and that's not right.

He does have a right to stand up and disagree with the leadership here in Washington, D.C. He does have the right to express his first amendment disagreement with the government, but he doesn't have the right to use the uniform as a political statement.

ZAHN: But Roland Martin, you heard Adam also say he doesn't believe this code is being interpreted accurately. His attorney has a completely different read than what the government is saying.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course. That's the purpose of the hearing. And I certainly understand him wanting to speak out in terms of wanting to express his views on the war, but again there are indeed rules.

I think you have to be careful here. Again, look, you could have worn your standard hunting gear, fatigues or whatever. But I also -- Adam has to admit that he was trying to bring credibility to his argument by the wearing of the uniform.

And so in reading -- in reading those regulations, there are all kinds of things that you can say in terms of what it meant, what it was trying to say. I don't believe he should be dishonorably discharged. At most, a letter of reprimand saying don't do it again, but I don't think this is enough to say, hey, we're going to cut your benefits and we should disarm and discharge you. That, to me, is going too far.

ZAHN: Rachel, do you think he's being intimidated because he's been so outspoken with his opposition to this war after serving honorably in Iraq?

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA: I think that his case is compelling. I mean, when I was a rebellious high school kid, I used to wear my dad's air force jacket to school so I'd look tough. You know? I mean, there's elements of military uniforms that become part of civilian life.

He went to great trouble to make sure he removed his insignia, his name, the United States Marine Corps reference on it. He was essentially just wearing camouflage while doing this protest. He makes a case about why he was doing that in order to dramatize what they were trying to dramatize in Washington and again in New York with these elements. I think they're selecting him and singling him out because of the message that he's trying to get across.

ZAHN: Robert, just about anybody can go into a surplus store and buy camouflage and instead of wearing government-issued uniforms, so do you think the government has a pretty weak case here?

TRAYNHAM: No, not at all. The fact of the matter is that he does have the right to do what he did, however, he needs to put it in the context of being a civilian. He does not have the right to do that as an American soldier and I think that's the difference here. There's a standard here that he broke. The uniform code of ethics is very, very clear. You're not to use to uniform for any political statement and that's what he did.

ZAHN: But Roland, his attorney would argue he's not an active duty now, nor was he when he was protesting.

MARTIN: Again, I think you have all kinds of ways to interpret this. When I read it, it also gives the service member the -- in essence the -- the determination as to how they're using it.

So they even have leeway as to how they use it. No, no, no. It really wasn't clear when you can use it, how you can use it. And, again, there are some gray areas there. I do believe as Rachel said, this is not that big of a deal. At best, they can clarify the rule as opposed to saying we're going to honorably discharge you.

ZAHN: All right, Roland, Rachel, Robert, got to leave it there. And again Adam Kokesh, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

Onto another subject now. Since 9/11, we've gotten used to seeing security guards just about everywhere. "Out in the Open" next, a really eye-opening story that will leave you feeling a lot less secure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most people aren't trained, they could just tell you as you're in there)

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ZAHN: So how many security guards are there like that all over the country, particularly guarding high-value targets for terrorists here in the United States? You don't want to miss our next story, please stay with us.

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ZAHN: "Out in the Open" tonight, what could be a huge and dangerous hole in the nation's anti-terrorist defenses. It has nothing to do with the military, police, or intelligence services.

I'm talking about private security guards who since 9/11 have carried a bigger share of the load in protecting the nation. You see them everywhere. Malls, office buildings, even chemical and nuclear power plants.

But how much should we expect from people who are often low-paid, under trained and might even have criminal records? It is a frightening scenario as you'll see in this shocking report from Deborah Feyerick.

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DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They protect some of the country's most important buildings, from high-rise offices to shopping malls, even government facilities.

They are security guards, independent contractors. They wear uniforms, usually carry no weapons, and most of them have never worked in law enforcement.

CLARENCE WILLIAMS, SECURITY: I can't say I feel 100 percent prepared, no.

FEYERICK: Clarence Williams was a train conductor for more than 30 years before switching to security work. He got a few hours of training and a full background check by his company. A spokesman for the National Association of Security Officers says that's not good enough. And says without stricter standards, it opens up the entire system to criminals or terrorists.

JOSEPH RICCI, NATL ASSOC. SECURITY COMPANIES: They've got the authority or the keys to the building. And they can then help others perpetrate crimes or terrorist activity or do it themselves.

FEYERICK: In the post-9/11 world, it remains a very real vulnerability, something security guards themselves acknowledge.

(on camera): Do you see how a person may want to do something bad might decide to work security?

BERNARD CRUSTSHANT, SECURITY OFFICER: Yes.

FEYERICK: So you see this vulnerability?

CRUSTSHANT: Yes. As long as they have a clean record and they're just mad at something, they could get in.

FEYERICK (voice-over): And clean records don't always stay that way. Dale Matthews runs the Miami office for DSI Security, one of the largest firms in the southeast.

DALE MATTHEWS, DSI SECURITY: You might hire somebody, everything is fine. You have no idea six months down the road, you know, that they might be involved in something or have broken a law.

FEYERICK: Starting pay for security guards is often as low as $7 an hour, about the same as fast food workers and less than many other workers with less serious responsibilities.

(on camera): You have a janitor who may be working in a building making $17 an hour with benefits and the man that is charged with protecting that person, the security guard, is making half that with no benefits.

CHRISTOPHER PETERS, YANKEE SECURITY: That's correct.

FEYERICK: That's ironic.

PETERS: Yeah, it's sad. It's more than ironic, it's sad.

FEYERICK (voice-over): There are no federal laws regulating the private security industry, and laws vary from state to state. Critics say that leads to spotty training and little focus on anti-terror tactics.

MICHELLE BROWN, SECURITY OFFICER: Most people aren't trained. They just pretty much throw you in the building and you learn as you're in there.

FEYERICK: Alarming when you consider that it's something really bad happens, most security guards are simply told to call the police. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.

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ZAHN: And when we come back, I'll turn to one of the nation's top security specialists to find out how we can better train these security guards. We'll be back with more. Please stay with us.

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ZAHN: "Out in the Open" tonight, a serious question about the nation's anti-terror defenses, which are more and more in the hands of private security guards these days.

As you heard in our last report, guards are low-paid, under trained, and often don't even go through a criminal background check before they get their jobs. With me now, Jim Walsh, international security expert with MIT. Welcome back, Jim, always good to see you.

JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT: Good to see you, Paula.

ZAHN: I want to remind our audience that on 9/11, there was a private security firm in charge of the security at the World Trade Center, and you have compiled a list of other high-value terrorist targets that also happen to be guarded by low-paid, under-trained security guards. How vulnerable does this make us?

WALSH: Well, the security guards at the end of the day are the last line of defense. You hope you're going to disturb a terrorist attack by -- with good intelligence or by preventing them from getting inside the country with a no-fly list, but if somebody gets in the country or is already in the country, the only thing that prevents a terrorist attack from happening once they open the door to that building, is the security guard. But he's -- he or she is also the person that says -- can help prevent a terrorist attack from being worse than it is, that can save lives. So I think it's the person on the ground that's critical. The person who's watching what's happening is critical. So they need to get better training, they need to be paid a better wage.

ZAHN: How do you explain in this post-9/11 world how many states don't even have any regulations overseeing this kind of private security work. And we'll put on the screen a list of some of those states so that our audience can see just how blatant this is.

WALSH: Yes, well, essentially we're caught with two big trends that have been in place for awhile now. One trend is the trend of privatization. Governments have been contacting out prisons, hospitals, all sorts of things for a long time now. And then we had 9/11.

There was a big focus on security and the idea was we need to throw a lot of bodies in there. And so this security industry really blossomed and mushroomed and they were grabbing essentially any warm body they could get to sort of plug into a place here, into a building there, a monument there.

And a result has been a growth in the number of security guards being used for very important protection purposes, but the training, the regulation, the governments have not kept up.

ZAHN: Jim, how many of them are criminals?

WALSH: Well, we don't know because a lot of states do not conduct background tests. We know that for some of the states that have been doing background checks, that a very large number of them, something like 100,000 or so, have turned up with criminal records.

So there is an issue. I mean, again, these are jobs that are paying $7 or $10 an hour. You're going to be attracting people that can't do anything else but be a security guard. And they're not the people you want to have protecting the nation's top targets here.

ZAHN: Well, thank you for updating this sorry state of security. Jim Walsh, appreciate your time.

WALSH: Absolutely.

ZAHN: And right now we're going to move on to a quick "Biz Break."

(BUSINESS REPORT)

ZAHN: So how do you become a hero for picking up trash? Location, location, location. Stay with us and meet a man who's cleaning up two of the world's most famous mountains. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: Right now we're going to change our focus now to introduce you to a young mountain climber who is making an effort to clean up the world's most breath-taking summits. Ken Noguchi is tonight's CNN hero.

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KEN NOGUCHI, CNN HERO (through translator): Before, I was known for being the youngest one to climb the highest peaks. Recently people say, oh, it is the garbage guy.

I started picking up trash on Everest eight years ago. My name is Ken Noguchi. I clean the mountain. When I first climbed Mt. Everest, it was full of garbage, especially Japanese garbage stood out. Many Europeans would approach me and say, "You Japanese have bad manners."

I really felt terrible. It is obviously Japanese garbage. Anyone can see that. I thought if it is so obvious, we should clean it up.

Cleaning Everest is especially tough. Many times I thought I would quit because it was so hard. But if I stop, all I've endured loses its meaning.

On Mt. Fuji, we clean year round. First we teach the volunteers how to separate for recycling. But then the important thing is to explain to them why we are picking up the garbage.

When I find it dangerous garbage, I feel the sense of crisis first-hand. I do this because it is my social responsibility.

With such a mission, rather than doing it quietly, it is better to advertise. So if I become a hero and lots of people start coming, then being a hero is a good thing. Isn't it?

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ZAHN: Well, I'd be lifting him up, too. You can find out more about Ken Noguchi on our Web site, CNN.com/Heroes. That's where you can also nominate someone for special recognition later this year.

We're going to move on to a warrior who spent more than three decades protecting this country, but now he's taking on a new mission, protecting the legacy of his fellow marines. Randi Kaye has his story in tonight's "Life after Work."

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RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Semper fidelis, the motto of the U.S. Marines. Translated from Latin, it means always faithful. And for retired marine general Ron Christmas, being faithful meant building a place to honor his fellow marines.

LT. GEN. RON CHRISTMAS (RET.,), MARINE CORPS HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The Heritage Foundation took upon itself about 10 years ago to build the National Museum of the Marine Corps, a place for all marines and their families.

Most especially, too, tell the story of the marine corps to the American people and to share with the American people this wonderful legacy of their corps of marines.

KAYE: The museum opened last November and General Christmas was on hand as the president of the Marine Heritage Foundation, the group he has led since retiring in 1996 after 34 years on active duty.

CHRISTMAS: When I was asked to do the Heritage Foundation, which I do pro bono, that really became a labor of love. I feel very strongly and felt strongly then and feel even more strongly now that this national museum and the programs, the historical programs that we support, are so important. Not just to the marine corps, but to the nation.

KAYE: And many of these exhibits have a personal attachment.

CHRISTMAS: I look over there at that picture of the wounded being lowered down that fire escape. Those are all my marines. That's very meaningful. These marines carrying the wounded marine through a blown-out wall that we went through. They're my marines. Yes, this is very meaningful to me. It really is.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Coming up at the top of the hour, a special "LARRY KING LIVE" with former first lady Nancy Reagan. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for being with us.

Tomorrow night, we're going to stay on top of the TV traveler story. The question for all of us travelers, if you are on a plane, are you more susceptible to disease? And why was the infected man allowed to fly despite apparently being on two no fly lists? We'll try to have the answers to some of the questions tomorrow night. We hope you'll join us then. Again, thanks for dropping by.

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