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B-52 Mistakenly Flies Across Country With Nuclear Warheads; Terror Plot Arrest in Germany; Senator Larry Craig May Not Resign; Search Continues for Steve Fossett
Aired September 5, 2007 - 10:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning again, everyone.
I'm Tony Harris.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on Wednesday. It's the 5th of September and here's what's on the rundown.
Three suspected Islamic militants in custody today. Authorities say they planned massive attacks on U.S. targets in Germany.
HARRIS: He said he intended to resign. Wiggle room for Senator Larry Craig today. He's wiggling.
COLLINS: Wrestler Chris Benoit, was his brain severely damaged by years in the ring? Did it lead to murder/suicide?
A developing story, in the NEWSROOM.
Startling news from the military this morning. A B-52 bomber, like this one, mistakenly loaded with six nuclear warheads and flown across country. It happened last Thursday. The mistake not discovered until after the flight.
Here's a look at the B-52's flight path now.
The bomber flying from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base down in Louisiana, a three and a half hour flight, during which the nuclear warheads on advanced cruise missiles were unaccounted for. Air Force officials are investigating how it happened. They say the nuclear bombs could not have detonated because of redundant safeguards.
Want to talk about this a little bit further. So joining me live now from New York, CNN military analyst, retired Major General Don Shepperd.
General Shepperd, thanks for being here with us on this one.
It seems to me, as we look at what happened here, obviously a lot of the details will continue to come out. We've been hearing from the Pentagon, our Barbara Starr reporting, that this is unprecedented.
What are we talking about here? We've already reported that they could not have gone off, but they were unaccounted for during this flight.
MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, that's Pentagonese for major screw-up, if you will, Heidi. This is a major gaffe and it's going to cause some heads to roll down the line.
Here's the laydown of this.
We agreed back in the late 1960s between President Kennedy and I believe it was Khrushchev at that time that we would no longer fly nuclear weapons airborne. At that time we were flying 24-hour nuclear alert with weapons on board B-52s and we dropped some in the water off Spain. And as a result of that, we agreed not do it anymore, and we don't do it at all.
And so, it appears that what happened was that this treaty agreement, if you will, was violated and nuclear weapons were on board the cruise missiles being flown from Minot to Barksdale in Louisiana. Now, the good news is, there isn't any way they could detonate because they do have redundant devices, one of them being a permissive action link, a PAL, a code that has to be typed in, and that code it has to be released by the president. So, there's no danger of them going off or a crew being able to release them and bomb something, but this is a major, major mistake that involves U.S. treaties and agreements, and it's going to be a serious look at this.
COLLINS: Yes. And when we're talking about munitions, the armed services take that obviously very seriously and know quite well what the stockpile is and where they are at all times. It seems like this is the major issue that we're talking about here simply because no one knew that they were on board and no one knew that they were gone from Minot.
SHEPPERD: Yes. I'll give you a guess what happened.
These -- of course you exercise all the time, and they probably were loading crews, exercising, practicing alert, practicing procedures up to scrambles and that type of thing. And probably at the end of the exercise, procedures were not followed and the weapons, warheads, were not removed from the cruise missiles. And I'm guessing, without knowing anything, that that's probably what happened, but it should not have happened. Nuclear security is really taken seriously within the military, for obvious reasons, and somehow it was violated.
COLLINS: Yes. They said they were taking some of the missiles down to Barksdale to decommission them. That's what the plan was, anyway.
It also seems like something that has people really worried or had at least the Air Force worried about this, is because if something had happened in flight, some type of emergency with that B-52, it would have been handled very, very differently knowing that there was a nuclear payload.
SHEPPERD: Well, any time you have nuclear material on board, if the airplane crashes, nuclear material can be spread in the immediate area of the crash. And so you get radioactivity in the immediate area of the crash. This has happened before.
But again, it shouldn't be airborne in the first place. But there is not a danger of a nuclear detonation in case of a crash. So that's another thing we can kind of put ourselves at rest. This is serious business, but it was not dangerous business.
COLLINS: Good point.
All right. General Don Shepperd joining us this morning.
Thank you, sir.
SHEPPERD: You bet.
HARRIS: And unfolding this morning, an alleged terrorist plot disrupted. Suspects arrested, they're accused of planning imminent attacks against U.S. targets in Germany, fueled by hatred for Americans.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports from Frankfurt.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: German authorities are on high alert after they say they have thwarted what they call a massive and imminent terrorist attack here in Germany. German authorities say they have arrested three individuals. Two of them are German nationals who apparently converted to Islam and visited terrorist training camps in Pakistan that were run by al Qaeda. The third individual was a Turkish national.
Now, the German interior minister says he believes that the orders for these attacks came directly from al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan. Now, the method that these terrorists were going to use, authorities say, was that they acquired 1,500 pounds of highly-potent hydrogen peroxide that they were going to turn into bomb-making material.
The reason, German authorities say, they did this now, they arrested these people now, is that they believe they were on the verge of turning this hydrogen peroxide into explosives. And also, with the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks coming up in only a few days, German authorities say they felt they had to make these arrests now.
Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Frankfurt, Germany.
COLLINS: Also making headlines this hour now, Senator Larry Craig and that men's room sex scandal. He may not resign after all. A spokesman says Craig will fight his own guilty plea. Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Capitol Hill for us now this morning.
Dana, tell us, how are Republicans handling all of this now? They moved pretty quickly to try and get him removed.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They did. And they're not happy at all with what they think is a trial balloon putting out by -- put out by Senator Craig's staff suggesting that maybe he won't resign. And CNN has learned, Heidi, that the Senate Republican leadership this afternoon will come before the cameras and make clear, once again, that they believe that Senator Craig made the right decision in announcing his intention to resign on Saturday. And we should that, again, just in a couple of hours.
Now, this all is happening because the senator's spokesman did say, is now saying to reporters, CNN and other reporters, that he believes that if in fact he can clear his name legally in Minnesota and here in front of the Ethics Committee by September 30th, then perhaps he won't resign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN WHITING, CRAIG'S PRESS SECRETARY: He's fighting this. He is innocent. And he believes that there's a good chance that he eventually will have this charge overturned and that the Ethics Committee won't act against him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, this whole idea appears to have been prompted by one of the senator's allies here, pretty much his only ally in public, and that is Senator Arlen Specter. Senator Specter apparently called Senator Craig on Saturday morning, before he gave his widely covered speech announcing his intention to resign. And Senator Specter said that he actually thinks that Senator Craig can fight this.
That prompted a phone call that the Capitol Hill newspaper "Roll Call" obtained, a voicemail that Senator Craig left. Apparently, he thought it was for his own attorney and he was talking about the call that he got from Senator Specter.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: Yes, Billy, this is Larry Craig calling. You can reach me on my cell.
Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense arguing that it appears by all that he knows that I've been railroaded and all of that. Having all of that, we've reshaped my statement a little bit to say it is my intent to resign on September 30.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BASH: Now, the problem that Senator Craig has is on a couple of fronts here. First of all, the politic il front. So far, Senator Specter is the only one to come out and say that Senator Craig should continue to fight this.
The other is on the legal front. If you listen carefully to what Senator Craig's aides are saying, it is that he won't resign or may not resign if he can clear his name of the charges, if he can overturn the guilty plea that he signed admitting to misconduct in the men's room.
That is going to be very hard for him to do in any case, legal experts say, because it is very rare that that is actually -- that actually happens. But also, if he could do that in such an accelerated timetable, Heidi. September 30th, the day that he's given himself to resign, that's 25 days away.
BASH: People say it would be nearly impossible for him to clear himself of these charges in 25 days.
COLLINS: Yes. And we've been hearing from our legal analyst analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, too, it's going to be really, really tough. If he doesn't get that plea cleared or changed, does he still have to resign?
BASH: Well, you know, technically, it is only up to Senator Craig. And this is something we should make clear -- only up to Senator Craig whether or not he decides to resign.
He technically is able to stay for his entire term. And that term doesn't end until January of 2008.
If the Senate wanted to, they could try to expel him, but that would be an extraordinary move, unlikely. So it is technically up to the senator. But if you take him for what he said, even with that caveat, that wiggle room of the fact that he says he intends to resign by September 30th, he says he will if he doesn't get those charges cleared.
COLLINS: All right. Very good.
Dana Bash on Capitol Hill this morning.
Thank you, Dana.
BASH: Thank you.
HARRIS: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, the senator and the sex scandal. Should he stay or should he go? Opposing views from conservatives straight ahead.
COLLINS: What caused pro wrestler Chris Benoit to kill his family and himself? A possible new clue. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has that.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ted Rowlands in Minden, Nevada.
Coming up, the latest on the search for Steve Fossett. He has been missing since Monday morning. There is a lot of concern.
We'll have the very latest coming up in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Parents -- and no, we're not toying with you here. Yes, there is another big recall of toys to tell you about. And yes, it is linked to China.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: We want to take you to northern California now, Morgan Hill, very close to Morgan Hill. A look at the pictures here of this dramatic wildfire right now.
Another day of really hot temperatures out there in the forecast. This is the so-called Lick Fire.
Ten thousand acres consumed already through Henrico (ph) State Park. About 20 percent contained is what we're hearing from fire officials, and they're not even predicting when they will get full containment on this thing.
About 1,200 firefighters tackling this right now. Just a few out buildings have been destroyed by this. Not a -- a pretty remote area there in northern California, but take a look at the pictures. Pretty dramatic stuff coming into us here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We'll continue to follow developments in this area. Again, this is a wildfire there in northern California near Morgan Hill.
COLLINS: Crews in Nevada searching for adventurer Steve Fossett this morning. His plane vanished Monday.
CNN's Ted Rowlands in Minden, Nevada, now this morning.
Tell, us a little bit more about the conditions that the people who -- the Civil Air Patrol, I believe is what you said, out looking for Steve Fossett.
ROWLANDS: Yes. Well, the conditions are fantastic. In fact, they just finished up a briefing and they're finishing up a briefing.
We can get the very latest from Trooper Chuck Allen, who was in there.
Obviously, Mother Nature cooperating today. Tell us about what that will allow you to do searching this massive area.
CHUCK ALLEN, NEVADA DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Absolutely. The winds have cooperated much more today. So that will allow the helicopters, the three that are being dispatched out here today, to fly much closer to the ground to get a better look at what's going on. The five fixed-wing that will be flying out there will be flying at about 1,000 feet, enabling them and their observers to get a better look at what's going on.
ROWLANDS: This is a pretty massive area. We're talking about 600 square miles.
Can you effectively cover it all? How much time do you need to say before we have checked every nook and cranny here?
ALLEN: Well, I don't think there's a solid answer for that because a lot of the areas that they are looking at may have to be looked at again, due to sun glare and obscurement from the ground. So that's why we've got additional aircraft with certain imagery that can help with that search as well.
ROWLANDS: Steve Fossett, his resume speaks for himself. As far as a potential victim, if something did go wrong, he's probably the best-case scenario. He's not going to overreact, et cetera.
Still, given the treacherous terrain out there, the conditions, the heat in the day, the temperature drop at night, how -- is time a factor here? It obviously is.
ALLEN: It is. And we're going to still treat this today as a search and rescue effort, and we'll probably treat that for several days to come. Or until something breaks with the story.
But we're confident that his -- if his plane only sustained minor damage, that, you know, he's strong enough to survive the elements, because we're not looking at too extreme temperatures on both sides of the scale.
ROWLANDS: All right. Chuck Allen, thank you very much.
Heidi, again, they're planning -- they were planning to fly about an hour ago. They're just finishing up a briefing. They should be in the air at any moment.
They continue to search for Steve Fossett, who has been now gone since Monday morning. Concern is growing, but the search effort continues here in earnest. And Mother Nature, as Trooper Allen just told us, cooperating completely today. So hopefully -- hopefully we'll get some answers.
COLLINS: Yes, hopefully. And they're going to need it, too, with such a vast area.
All right. Ted Rowlands, thanks so much.
HARRIS: Senator Larry Craig and the sex scandal. Should he be forced out of office or should he stay and fight?
Kevin McCullough is a radio talk show host in New York. Kevin, good morning.
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Good morning.
HARRIS: And "The Kevin Miller" show is on KDKA in Pittsburgh.
Kevin, good morning to you.
MCCULLOUGH: Oh, come on. I want call letters.
HARRIS: What are your call letters in New York?
MCCULLOUGH: WMCA, home of the good guys.
HARRIS: All right. All right. All right.
Kevin McCullough, let's start with you.
HARRIS: What is going on here with the senator? What is going on with Senator Craig, with Senator Specter? Senator Specter's causing a little mischief here, isn't he?
MCCULLOUGH: Senator Specter is causing mischief, and it is par for the course for Senator Specter to be giving into his liberal leanings.
Let me just say this real quickly.
MCCULLOUGH: Senator Craig has to be one of most incompetent public officials I have ever seen, and the fact that he comes from my side of the aisle is really irrelevant.
HARRIS: Well, wait a minute. That is -- incompetent, that is a standard under which he might be able to get these charges thrown out.
MCCULLOUGH: He's not going to get these charges thrown out because he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor. The court has said it's closed.
Unless his lawyers have very compelling state's evidence to come back and say, look, we've got to reopen this case, I don't think they're going to get a judge to do it.
HARRIS: Kevin McCullough, what are you talking about? Larry Craig has faithfully carried the water for this party for years and years and years and now you're calling him incompetent?
MCCULLOUGH: The way he handled this situation start to finish, everything about it, he didn't even know, for instance, that in the Constitution, Article I, Section 6, that he's not supposed to be arrested under the law.
Congressional representatives, including both bodies, have the right to be exempt from arrest for any misdemeanor coming to or from session. And he cast a vote that afternoon. He didn't even know his basic rights in this matter.
His incompetency on this, even regardless of his guilt as to whether the bathroom sex, as ugly as that may be, were or were not true, you don't plead guilty to things you don't do. The fact that he doesn't even know his own rights in the situation is appalling.
HARRIS: Hey, Kevin Miller, get in on this. What do you think?
KEVIN MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I love the outrage industry that continues, Tony.
The bottom line here is the senator pled to a misdemeanor. There was no sex. And if the senator wants to continue to be a good Republican, he should be.
Where are the Democrats on this issue? They're the ones that tell us same-sex marriage is great. You don't hear anything from them.
HARRIS: But wait a minute. Why are you trying to bring...
HARRIS: Go ahead. Go ahead, Kevin Miller.
MILLER: Thank you. I appreciate it, Tony.
MILLER: You know, the Democrats aren't saying anything. Why? You know, they're not the party of family values.
You go back to Senator Craig here. What did he do? He pled guilty to a misdemeanor, big deal.
Let's take a look at this police officer. Let's take a look at "The Idaho Statesman". Three hundred...
HARRIS: Got you. Got you. I know where you're going.
But Kevin, hold on a second. Why are you bringing Democrats in on this? The Democrats aren't the ones who were organizing to have him leave and organizing to get this resignation.
Why are you trying to bring the Democrats in on this?
MILLER: It's a two-party system. What do they have to say? I think the silence is deafening. And I think Senator Craig should stay and fight for his seat. MCCULLOUGH: I will say this, Kevin, and for everyone else that's watching, it is apparent that there's a distinct difference in the two parties. The Democrats, you notice they don't criticize the behavior, they criticize the supposed hypocrisy of the matter. They don't care if someone engages in bathroom sex. All they care about is the "gotcha" scenario, which they believe they got Senator Larry Craig on this.
I think he's damaged himself too much to be able to stay in power. And I think that the GOP did the right thing in saying, we are the family values party, we're not going to put up with foolishness in and amongst our ranks.
HARRIS: You're trying...
MCCULLOUGH: It's a stark contrast to 2006.
HARRIS: You're trying to pick a fight with the Democrats where there is no fight with the Democrats.
MCCULLOUGH: Yes there is. Yes there is.
HARRIS: Cut it out.
MCCULLOUGH: They don't criticize behavior. They criticize hypocrisy.
MILLER: Well, the bottom line here is, he without sin, cast the first stone.
MCCULLOUGH: Well, right. And if liberals don't believe in sin, then they can never be hypocrites.
MILLER: Right. So let's take a look.
What did Clinton do? He was on "Letterman" last night and he's a perjurer.
MCCULLOUGH: Well, and that speaks to the point very succinctly.
HARRIS: Why did he plead?
MCCULLOUGH: Why did he plead?
MILLER: Well, Tony, have you ever been embarrassed? He wanted to make this thing go away. He didn't know that it would be everywhere. I mean, the poor guy...
HARRIS: Well, why is he embarrassed? He says he didn't do anything wrong. Why is he embarrassed?
MILLER: Well, I think that he should have his day in court.
MCCULLOUGH: Well, I'm not necessarily -- I'm not necessarily with Kevin Miller's camp on this. I don't know that the senator has vindicated himself. All I'm saying is, is even if the guilt is found to be false, even if the verdict is found to be wrong, even if they're able to cast dispersions against otherwise good police officers running a sting operation in a very needed area, the senator was so incompetent in, first of all, pleading to something he didn't do, secondly, not knowing his constitutional rights, saying that he should not be...
HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
MCCULLOUGH: ... arrested on something that's a misdemeanor.
MCCULLOUGH: He's shown utter incompetency in this matter.
HARRIS: I got you.
Hey, Kevin Miller, let's wrap this up.
Kevin Miller, do you think the senator should in fact resign?
MILLER: Tony, I think the senator shouldn't resign. I think he should bring this issue to the forefront, fight it in court, and fight it in the court of public opinion right here with you on CNN.
HARRIS: I love that.
Kevin McCullough, what do you think, should he resign?
MCCULLOUGH: It's too late. It's too late. It's time to move on, put someone else in his seat, and let the Republicans have a good shot at in 2008.
HARRIS: Gentlemen, that was fun. Enjoyed it.
MILLER: Take care, Tony.
HARRIS: I'll be listening on the radio for you guys.
MCCULLOUGH: Thank you.
COLLINS: Jena, Louisiana, six African-American teens accused in a schoolyard beating. Serious charges and new legal moves to tell you about this morning.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: More toy recalls coming from Mattel. This is not the last recall we're going to hear about.
Details coming straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: And welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM.
Good morning. I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: Hi, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
A toy recall to tell you about. Yes, again. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission tells CNN more may be on the way as toy makers take a closer look at their products.
CNN Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff is following the latest recall from our New York bureau.
Here we go again, Allan.
CHERNOFF: Absolutely. The third time that Mattel has had to do this, this summer, and wouldn't you know, it's toys manufactured in China. And the problem, a subcontractor in China, in fact, was using lead paint on the toys.
Now, this problem is not isolated to Mattel. The Consumer Product Safety Commission tells us that consumes are should expect more toys covered with lead paint to be recalled in the coming months as other companies are testing their products that have been made in China.
Well, today's recall at Mattel involves 11 toys, including GEOTRAX locomotives and accessories. Headlights and a ladder are painted in lead paint. It's A Big, Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band. Drums on this toy are cover in lead paint. And eight Barbie accessories have lead paint as well. No Barbie dolls, actually, are involved here.
Now in total, about 850,000 units are included. About half a million were on toy store shelves here in the United States during the past year. Mattel is offering replacement, as well as a bonus toy, to those who send back the effected items. You can contact Mattel on their website at service.mattel.com or call them at this phone number, 888-496-8830. That is 888-496-8830.
And the CEO of Mattel said, we apologize again to everyone affected and promise that we will continue to focus on ensuring the safety and quality of our toys. But there is no mention about apology in a full page ad published in major newspapers today. Only talk from Mattel about how they take their promises seriously and how they are testing their toys three times over, they say. But again, no public apology in the newspaper ads.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Allan, it looks exactly like the ad that they put in last time around. A full page ad.
CHERNOFF: Yes, get that damage control out. They are certainly trying to protect their reputation here. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says, look, Mattel should have been on the lookout for this much earlier. This shouldn't have happened this way. They should have been testing long ago. But again, as the safety commission told us, they say the problem exists elsewhere. And we are going to be hearing about more of these recalls from other companies.
COLLINS: And more about corporate responsibility, I bet, too.
COLLINS: Allan Chernoff, thanks so much, live from New York this morning.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And still to come in the NEWSROOM this morning, some new wheels for a big wheel. Bunky. A lottery winner goes shopping. And he's got the bucks to pay up big time. What's up, Bunky?
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.
The Air Force losing track of some of its nuclear weapons? We'll have that story coming up next in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Boy, how about this? A disturbing report this morning. A U.S. B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with six nuclear warheads and flying across the United States. Live now to CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
Barbara, good morning to you. How could something like this happen?
STARR: You know, Tony, that is the question that the U.S. Air Force and the Pentagon is asking itself this morning. Let's tell people what we do know.
It was last Thursday a B-52 bomber loaded six air launch cruise missiles under its wings, took off from Minot, North Dakota, flew the length of the United States to Barksdale, Louisiana. Those missiles were supposed to be decommissioned.
There was just one little problem. When they landed in Louisiana, they found that those missiles that were supposed to be basically decommissioned and taken out of service, each of them had a nuclear warhead on them. Six nuclear warheads flying the length of the United States and no one seemed to know it.
To say the least, a major investigation is underway now. The Air Force officer in charge of the squadron loading the munitions relieved of duty. They took an immediate inventory of all Air Force nuclear weapons to make sure they had everything.
They say the public was never in any danger. The weapons were not armed. That there would have been no nuclear detonation if in some fashion the missiles had basically fallen off the wings of the airplane.
But, really, small comfort to most of the military and to many Americans, perhaps. This sort of thing is not supposed to happen. Nuclear weapons are the most guarded, the most secure item supposedly in the U.S. military arsenal.
One military official telling us today, this is unprecedented. Nobody remembers another instance like this.
HARRIS: Boy, let's leave it there. When you know more, we'll know more. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr for us.
Barb, appreciate it. Thank you.
STARR: Sure thing.
COLLINS: We are also tracking developments in the arrests of three terror suspects. German police say the suspected Islamic militants were planning massive and imminent attacks against American targets in Germany. Authorities say the suspects received terrorist training in Pakistan and had close ties to al Qaeda. We just learned the president was briefed on the arrests and a short time ago the Homeland Security secretary talked about the developments today in Germany and yesterday in Denmark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Arrests in Denmark and Germany indicate that al Qaeda continues to carry out acts of war against the west. They continue to seek fellow travelers and allies and adherence in the west who can be used to carry out attacks, whether they be in western Europe or here in the homeland. And American interests overseas remain very much at risk. So it is a sobering reminder of the fact that six years after 9/11 the intent of al Qaeda and its allies to wage war on the west remains very much unabated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Authorities say the group behind the alleged plot had amassed 1,500 pounds of hydrogen peroxide to make bombs. The suspects were believed to have been planning attacks against military installations, discos, airports and other places frequented by Americans. Authorities would not elaborate on whether the U.S. air base in Ramstein and the Frankfurt International Airport were targets.
HARRIS: High profile and a terror target. A U.S. military spouse warns of security concerns at military bases. CNN's Paula Newton reports.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Melanie Buckley, an American wife and mother, living with her husband who is posted with the U.S. military in Germany. She says she's not paranoid about living in Europe, but . . .
MELANIE BUCKLEY, WIFE OF MILITARY OFFICER: It's things like this, this vehicle that is a van that could be carrying anything. NEWTON: Buckley gave CNN a guided tour of what she says are security soft spots at U.S. military facilities in Germany. For security reasons, we won't show you all of it, but her point is chillingly candid. She's afraid American families are sitting ducks here.
BUCKLEY: The extremists or the terrorists that would like to make a statement against Americans would, of course, like to get a hold of Americans' children and American families.
NEWTON: Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Wulff is the garrison commander in Wiesbaden in charge of security. His wife and five children all live here.
What do you say to families who feel the security just quite isn't what it should be?
LT. COL. TIMOTHY WULFF, GARRISON COMMANDER: We go and tell them the truth. From my perspective, it would be something where there was a credible, specific threat directed against the U.S. military and its families.
NEWTON: And we're not at that point yet?
WULFF: No. No.
NEWTON: In fact, most of the U.S. installations here are heavily guard, not just the main bases, but barracks too. But there are still a few highly visible and very accessible U.S. facilities. Earlier this year, the German media reported five suspects were questioned after allegedly casing U.S. living quarters in Germany. They were not charged.
WULFF: We trust the Germans are taking care of us. But it is a concern. So when we do talk to our soldiers and family members, we just ask them to practice some common sense stuff.
NEWTON: But keeping them safe is becoming more complicated. In recent weeks, the German government has admitted that the terror threat is as high as it's ever been. German officials describe it as similar to the lead-up to 9/11. Three of those hijackers planned their attacks from Germany. The so-called Hamburg Cell.
And then last year, security cameras identified two suspects easily planting suitcase bombs on trains. Luckily, they didn't work, but it was a very close call. They are now on trial.
Despite these threats, some of the American living quarters in Germany are still open to the public. Anyone, just as CNN did, can just drive on to the post where soldiers and their families live and go to school.
And some Americans just aren't comfortable with that, fearing security is too inconsistent, especially given the very different type of terror threat here in Europe.
BUCKLEY: I just think it leaves us vulnerable to any type of extremist that may have a grudge against America.
NEWTON: Security is a sensitive topic here. Many soldiers and their families say they don't want to live in an armed camp in the heart of Europe. One officer who's been in Germany for more than three years is more relaxed.
MAJ. ROBERT HOWE, WIESBADEN GARRISON: Even with some of the increased threat levels that will ebb and flow in this area, honestly, I feel very safe here.
NEWTON: Under increasing threat, though, there seems no simple answer to keeping such a highly visible group of Americans safe overseas.
Paula Newton, CNN, Wiesbaden, Germany.
COLLINS: President Bush, again, defending his troop buildup in Iraq. The president in Australia now for the Asia Pacific Summit. This morning getting a show of support from staunch war ally, Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Mr. Howard pledging not to withdraw Australia's 1,600 troops from Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN HOWARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Their commitment, their level and the basis on which they stay there in cooperation with other members of the coalition will not change under a government that a lead. We believe that progress is being made in Iraq. Difficult, though as it is. And we do not believe this is the time to be setting any proposals for a scaling down of Australian forces.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The definition of success are countries that can govern themselves, sustain themselves, defend themselves, listen to the people and serve as allies in this war against extremists and murders. And if I didn't think we could succeed, I wouldn't have our troops there. As the commander in chief of our military, I cannot commit U.S. troops into combat unless I'm convinced it's worth it, important to the security of the United States and we can meet our objectives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: About 300 protesters, many of them high school students, took to the streets of Sydney, demonstrating against President Bush, the Iraq War and Prime Minister Howard's support for both.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange. When the next shoe drops from the housing recession, it may be a work boot. Some sobering numbers on job cuts, next.
You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
HARRIS: Susan, Heidi, Isha, all on monitors there. "Your World Today" coming up in just a couple of minutes at the top of the hour. Isha Sesay standing by with a preview.
Good morning, lady.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony Harris. Always good to see you.
We have a great show lined up just ahead on "Your World Today" at midday. The top stories making headlines around the world. We're going to have the very latest from Germany on those terror arrests. Details still coming through. But what we do know is they have three people in custody. And according to authorities, they foiled an imminent threat. We'll have a live report on that story.
Plus, find out why a former Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, seen here in the center of your picture, is calling for Iraq's current prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to step down. Our very own Aneesh Raman sat down with Allawi. We'll bring you some of that interview and get some analysis from Aneesh.
Plus, Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary, while to Jews it's known as the Temple Mount. Find out why the digging of a trench is causing tempers to flare once again over this revered location. Possibly the most disputed prime real estate in the world.
That story and much more coming up with me, Isha Sesay, and Jim Clancy at the top of the hour on "Your World Today."
Back to you.
HARRIS: We will be there. Isha, thanks.
COLLINS: Careful of that Jim Clancy. All right, Isha, see you later.
Stocks on Wall Street are falling one day after a pretty broad rally. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange now with more details.
Susan, we're down, what, almost 200 points now?
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
HARRIS: Small town Louisiana, split apart by anger, mistrust and racial turmoil. This morning, legal moves to tell you about in the case of the so-called Jena Six. Right now, one of six African- American teens charged after a schoolyard beating is still in jail.
HARRIS, (voice over): Seventeen-year-old Mychal Bell sits in a jail cell facing the possibility of 20 years in prison. Tuesday the judge threw out Bell's conviction on a conspiracy charge, but Bell still faces sentencing on a second-degree aggravated battery charge. His lawyers say they'll file an emergency appeal. Charges against two of the other accused teens were also reduced. The original charges against Bell and the five other defendants, attempted murder.
It all started last September. Black students at Jena High School were outraged after finding nooses hung from this tree in the school courtyard, a perceived racial threat. Then in December, six black students were accused of beating and kicking a white student to the point of unconsciousness. Justin Barker was taken to the hospital for injuries but was well enough to be released and back at school that very same night. The Jena Six, as they came to be called, were arrested and sent to jail. Mychal Bell was the first to go on trial, convict of aggravated battery by an all white jury. That touched off racial protests in this town of 3,000 where just 12 percent of the population is black.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice.
CROWD: No peace.
HARRIS: When the teens were arrested last year, District Attorney Reed Walters released a statement saying he has never charged anyone based on who they are. He has had no comment since then.
But advocates for the teens say the charges don't fit the crime. They say the case should be handled in juvenile court. The young men all say they're innocent. Only Mychal Bell is in jail. The judge refused to lower his bail citing his criminal record, including two simple battery charges. The tree outside the school, where the nooses were hung and all of this got started, has been cut down.
HARRIS: Seventeen-year-old Mychal Bell will be sentenced on September 20th.
COLLINS: This startling story now. B-52 flies from North Dakota to Louisiana with nuclear warheads on board. How did it happen? The military wants to know.
COLLINS: A small time accountant turned multimillionaire. We told you about Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett, a Mega Millions jackpot winner the other day. So what's he up to now, here's Robin Robinson (ph) of our affiliate WBAL.
ROBIN ROBINSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Forty-year-old Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett made it all official at lottery headquarters. He handed in the ticket and it was confirmed he was one of four people to win the Mega Millions jackpot of $330 million. Bunky's taking his cut in a lump sum of cash, more than $32.6 million after taxes. Everywhere he goes, people are propositioning him. ELWOOD "BUNKY" BARTLETT, LOTTERY WINNER: And I went in and just bought a change of clothing and got bombarded by some people outside of Wal-Mart who made some offers to me for some things. Yes. Some wanted to have sex with me. Some wanted to marry me. Some wanted to be adopted by me.
ROBINSON: Bunky says he owes his win to the messages he was getting from mediums and tarot card readers about changing his life.
BARTLETT: The universe was telling me I needed to make my days not busy. And I kind of got really frustrated because I kept hearing that message over and over again. And I'm like, OK, so how am I supposed to feed and clothe my family if my days aren't busy. I said, fine, if that's what you want me to do, you let me win the lottery, then I'll teach.
ROBINSON: Now Bunky says he will give up the accounting work and teach the religion Wicca and Reiki, a form of energy healing, at the Mystickal Voyage New Age Store. And he'll help the owner expand with a holistic health center.
This is Bunky's first big purchase.
BARTLETT: Find whichever one has the most stuff and bring it to me.
ROBINSON: He made it this weekend by showing the dealer his lottery ticket. It's fully loaded. But what he really wants next, a house with lots of land.
BARTLETT: But basically, if I want to walk out of my house naked and jump in my pool, I don't want to have to worry about the neighbors.
COLLINS: Bartlett says all that money isn't going to change him much. He says he plans to help charities. But he won't be giving any handouts.
HARRIS: And still to come this morning, authorities say attacks were imminent. Three terror suspect arrested. They're accused of plotting to bomb American targets. "Your World Today" starts at the top of the hour.
COLLINS: CNN NEWSROOM continues one hour from now.
HARRIS: "Your World Today" is next, with news happening across the globe and here at home.
I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: And I'm Heidi Collins.
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