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Three American Hostages Rescued from Colombia; New Move to Resolve Iran Nuclear Dispute; Justice Department Possibly Giving the Go Ahead on Racial Profiling; Colorado Police Office Injured in Obama's Motorcade; Salad Dressing Oozes From Sewage Pipes in Ohio
Aired July 3, 2008 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You can better believe they're happy to be on U.S. soil and waiting for joyful reunions with their families. Three Americans are home safe and sound after a five-year nightmare in Colombia.
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN ANCHOR: The Iran nuclear threat as the United States and Europe plan what to do next, our Christiane Amanpour has the exclusive inside story.
LEMON: And get this: 100 grand just lying on the freeway. The mad scramble. Where did it come from? And where did it go?
DE LA CRUZ: Hmm.
DE LA CRUZ: Hey, there. I'm Veronica De La Cruz, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Three American men, hostages no more and back on American soil. Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell, they and their families have a lot of catching up to do now that their five-year ordeal in Colombia is over.
They were rescued yesterday, dramatically, along with 12 other people held by a leftist militant group. Among them, former Colombian senator and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. More about her and her emotional reunion in just a minute.
But first let's go live to San Antonio, Texas, where those three American defense contractors are enjoying their first hours back in the U.S. And CNN's Ed Lavandera is there.
Ed, we want to know: how are they doing this afternoon?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are waiting to hear an update on their condition. There's a briefing scheduled for later this afternoon with the commander here in San Antonio that is working closely with these three former hostages.
And to kind of give you some background and explain why we're at a golf course right now, is that this is where the briefing will take place. We're just a few -- a short distance away from the Brook Army Medical Center where these three former hostages arrived last night. They were flown in from Colombia to Lackland Air Force Base and then ferried over by helicopter here.
We presume that the initial battery of tests, a medical test and psychological examinations have begun. So we anticipate hearing an update on their conditions.
No word yet on whether or not the former hostages will appear at this briefing. Of course, everyone hopeful that indeed will be the case to hear their stories.
As they walked off the plane and to the helicopter last night they seemed to be in good spirits. We heard from an Air Force airman who was on that flight from Colombia; described them to be in very good spirits.
But interestingly enough, several family members we've spoken with say they've had very limited, if any, conversations with any of them so far. Whether or not that has happened yet today, of course, is another question we're waiting to get an answer to, as well.
But we know many of those family members are flocking here to San Antonio to reunite with them. So that should be taking place in the coming hours, if not -- if it hasn't happened already -- Don.
LEMON: All right, CNN's Ed Lavandera. Ed, we appreciate it -- Veronica.
DE LA CRUZ: And like you just heard Ed say, we haven't heard from any of the freed American hostages yet. They're still talking to doctors and U.S. officials about their captivity and their rescues. But we have heard from some of their family members, jubilant today after the news that they've awaited five long years to hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANDA HOWES, THOMAS HOWES' NIECE: I work at WHD. It's in Boston. We're the local NBC affiliate. And we're in the middle of breaking news, and we had been -- you know, I'd been there all day. And a news alert crossed on the bottom of the screen, and I click on it and it's this wonderful news.
It -- you know, it mentioned Bogota, Colombia, the U.S. military has performed a rescue of Ingrid Betancourt, as well as the three U.S. military contractors. And I just -- I literally screamed with enjoyment.
GEORGE GONSALVES, MARC GONSALVES' FATHER: It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride. But you know, I don't think I ever gave up hope. There was things along this -- the road that gave me encouragement. And I was certainly always hopeful that this day would happen. And now it's happening. And it seems like a miracle, but it's happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA CRUZ: The three men were captured by the rebel group FARC in 2003 after their plane crashed in the Colombian jungle.
Also rescued yesterday, one of the highest-profile hostages being held anywhere in the past six years. Ingrid Betancourt was taken by a rebel group while campaigning for president of Colombia back in 2002. She told reporters she went from captive to free woman before she knew it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INGRID BETANCOURT, FORMER HOSTAGE (through translator): This morning when I woke up, the last thing that I imagined was that I was going to be here with you tonight. This is a miracle. I don't know how you can call it any other name. To me this is a miracle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA CRUZ: And you've heard the name of that rebel group that captured Betancourt and the three Americans. But here's a crash course on FARC.
The word is an acronym. In Spanish, the group calls itself the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. It is the oldest and largest of Colombia's many rebel groups. They are Marxists, about 8,000- strong, fighting against the government for about 40 years.
The group began as sort of a peasant army fighting for land reform. But their assassinations and long history of hostage-taking have earned FARC the label terror organization by the U.S. and the European Union.
We're going to have much more on the freed hostages in the NEWSROOM, including a fascinating look into the mind of a person held in captivity.
LEMON: We go now to Iran. We're getting word of some new developments in the efforts to get Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, is on the phone with us right now from London with an exclusive report.
And Christiane, what's the proposal that's under discussion right now?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, last month the European Union, led by the foreign -- foreign affairs minister, Javier Solana, took a package of proposals to Iran that was essentially the most far-reaching that have been offered so far. And the U.S. was involved, as well, although this is officially a E.U. proposal. And today a western diplomat tells me the details of this proposal, that have not yet been published.
It apparently centers on basically proposing that Iran be allowed to keep enriching uranium at the current level that it is doing so now. In other words, be allowed to continue using its 3,000-plus centrifuges, but to no further installation or manufacturing of centrifuges. These are what spin around to enrich the uranium. And in return for that, over a six-week period that may or may not be extendible, the E.U. would not seek any new sanctions on Iran for its similar period of time of six weeks or so. Now this would be in order to be able to get talks about final talks started.
This would be some kind of gesture, reciprocal gesture that would allow the E.U. and Iran and the United States, or tacitly the United States, anyway, to start the formal negotiations.
Now, for the formal negotiations, the U.S. and the E.U. demand a full suspension of enrichment of Iran's uranium.
However, for the moment what we understand is that, in order to get the ball rolling, at least, to start talking about the final talks, this deal is being proposed, according to western diplomats. And so what it actually means is, that Europe has come up with some kind of attempt to finesse the current impasse and in doing so allowing Iran to continue the enrichment at the current levels but no higher -- Don.
LEMON: Senior international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. Thank you, Christiane.
DE LA CRUZ: An autopsy is being performed today on a 12-year-old Vermont girl. Vermont state police say Brooke Bennett's death appears to be foul play but they are awaiting for the official coroner's results.
The girl's body was found yesterday in a freshly-dug grave near the home of her uncle, Michael Jacques. He now faces federal kidnapping charges, but he's been in custody since Sunday on charges of sexually assaulting another girl. That girl told the FBI she was forced into a sex ring, and Jacques planned to initiate his niece, as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM SORRELL, VERMONT ATTORNEY GENERAL: There's nothing from this investigation that's been turned up, nor otherwise are federal and state authorities aware of any ongoing efforts to recruit young girls or boys here in Vermont to have sex with adults. And you can rest assured that if evidence is uncovered that we feel poses a risk to the public, we will be the first to raise alarm bells publicly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA CRUZ: The dead girl's former stepfather also has been charged in the case with obstructing justice.
Well, last month he faked his own death to avoid prison. Now Sam Israel says he actually tried to commit suicide two days ago by swallowing pills. He told a New York judge when that didn't work, he surrendered.
The former hedge fund manager was convicted in April of bilking investors out of $450 million. Israel disappeared June 9, the day he was meant to report in prison. His SUV was found abandoned on a bridge. He could get ten years added to the 20 he was originally given.
LEMON: London police have a brutal, horrific crime on their hands. Two research students, both from France, both 23 years old, their bodies were found a few days ago in a burned-out apartment.
Some new details, released just today: both victims were tied up, tortured, and stabbed multiple times. Police are stumped and are appealing to the public for any information in this case.
Arrested in Indonesia, 12 men suspected of planning a terror attack on a popular tourist spot. Police say they found bomb parts and weapons. They believe the men are all linked to a militant group called Jemaah Islamiyah. Now, their alleged target: the western island of Sumatra. Police say the men wanted to blow up a cafe.
DE LA CRUZ: Well, the Justice Department reportedly is considering changing some rules to allow terrorism probes of Americans, based strictly on a set of profiles.
According to the Associated Press, such probes could commence even in the absence of the faintest suspicion of wrongdoing. Triggers could include religion, ethnicity, and travel to certain areas. A.P. reports the policy can be in place this summer, even though President Bush has been opposed to targeting people based on their race or ethnicity.
Asked for comment, a Justice Department spokesman says any review and change of existing guidelines will reflect the department's traditional concern for civil liberties and First Amendment liberties.
We're going to tackle this later on, much more in-depth. We would like to know you thoughts on this issue. Should the FBI engage in ethnic or religious profiling in the hunt for terrorists? Go ahead and send your responses to CNNnewsroom@CNN.com. We'll also be speaking with Caroline Frederickson of the American Civil Liberties Union -- Don.
LEMON: OK. Imagine this. You're kidnapped and held hostage for years, Veronica. How would you respond? How could you learn to cope with being away with from your loved ones? We'll hear from an expert about the psychological responses to captivity. It's fascinating.
DE LA CRUZ: It truly is. That's coming up.
Also, we're going to meet some empowered patients, Don, who have taken charge of their own health care emergencies and made a difference in the lives of others.
LEMON: Let's check the markets today. Closing bell rang moments ago. Well, no, that's not exactly true, but anyway -- oh, yes it did. It closed early, as a matter of fact. Closing bell rang early today, because it's a holiday weekend. Everyone's like, "Oh, yes, it did." I remember that.
Still, there was enough time for oil to hit another new record. It rose to just over $145 a barrel, eventually closing at $144.28. Better news from the big board, where things finished on a positive note, the Dow up more than 73 points; the S&P slightly higher, as well, there.
There's a new record price at the pump, too, today. AAA says the national average for a gallon of regular is at $4.10. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia are shelling out $4 or more.
The most expensive gas is in Alaska. It is $4.68 a gallon. That's pretty close to $5, right? Oklahoma comparatively, it is -- what is it -- $3.88 there.
The Labor Department has put out its weekly unemployment report. Sixty-two-thousand jobs were lost in June, just about what analysts had expected there.
In all, 438,000 workers have gotten pink slips this year as employers are stung by soaring energy costs. Our Susan Lisovicz will join us on more on those job numbers in about ten minutes right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Bad news for "The Los Angeles Times," more bad news here. The newspaper plans to cut 250 jobs, due to rising costs and falling revenues, including 150 in the editorial department. The "Times" will undergo a makeover that will cut pages by 15 percent, eliminating some sections and trimming, today, the story lengths there.
A half dozen major newspapers announced layoffs just about a week ago, totaling about 900 jobs.
DE LA CRUZ: Joy and overwhelming relief show on the smiling faces of three American men back in the states after five years of captivity in Colombia. How are those men different after their ordeal? And what about Ingrid Betancourt? Dr. Gail Saltz is an associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and she joins us now live.
Hello to you, Dr. Saltz. Thanks so much for joining us.
DR. GAIL SALTZ, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY, NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: It's my pleasure.
DE LA CRUZ: So something really interesting happened when Ingrid Betancourt stepped off the plane. She spoke to the media, and she actually expressed sympathy for her captors. She was hoping that they weren't going to get in trouble.
Could this be an early indication that she might be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?
SALTZ: It certainly could. Stockholm Syndrome, otherwise really known as trauma bonding, is a psychological defense mechanism which can be very healthy in people. In kids it's basically "I bond to the authority figure or the powerful figure, because that gives me a better chance of surviving."
But in these circumstances where people have been kidnapped and held, it's sort of a healthy defense run amuck, where they identify with the aggressor, with the perpetrator in this case, stand in their shoes, and bond with them. And at the end, therefore, sort of feel attachment to them and really want to protect them.
DE LA CRUZ: Well, how -- how often does this happen? I mean, are there any statistics out there? What is the probability that this would happen if a person is in a situation like this?
SALTZ: Well, we don't really have statistics because, you know, this is a difficult thing to measure, really. It does occur, actually, very frequently in children who have been abused, in cases of domestic violence, to women who are in a violent marriage.
But in the case of kidnapping, I couldn't tell you how often it occurs. It's probably -- whether it occurs or not depends somewhat on the treatment of that individual and that individual's psychic make- up.
What it is not a sign, that they are unhealthy or mentally unhealthy. It is really a phenomenon that occurs because of the traumatic event and something that can resolve afterwards.
DE LA CRUZ: OK. So it can resolve afterwards. I mean, how do you recover from something like this? I would imagine it's quite difficult. What kind of advice would you have for their family members?
SALTZ: Well, overall, for the people that have been involved, you would expect them to be struggling with the potential for post traumatic stress disorder, that while they were in captivity and going forward, they would struggle with depression and feelings of passivity and hopelessness, because their freedom was taken away. And they may, as they move into the real world now, feel a lot of anxiety. They might have nightmares and flashbacks and anxious and sad times.
And what's important for the families to remember is not to press them for information. We have found in psychiatry that forcing a debriefing, if you will, of information, is not good for the person involved. But letting they will talk at will when they're ready to about their experience, if they want to, and being supportive is very, very helpful.
And of course, if someone is really struggling with high anxiety and depression, seeing a professional that cannot just speak with them about it, but consider the possibility of medication for those individual symptoms, to help them sleep and to help them reintegrate.
DE LA CRUZ: Dr. Gail Saltz is the associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Saltz, thanks so much for joining us today.
SALTZ: It's my pleasure to be here. LEMON: From tourist hot spot to virtual ghost town. Folks have fled Big Sur, California, after a wildfire jumped containment lines there. And firefighters say it could be the end of the month before they get it under control.
Nearly 65,000 acres and at least 16 homes have burned already.
Firefighters in Arizona are worried about erratic winds around Crown King. Wildfires burning three miles from the historic mining town, and it's only 10 percent contained. Arizona's governor plans to tour the area this afternoon.
And of course, a lot of you looking forward to the long holiday weekend. Our Chad Myers watching the fireworks forecast for us.
Chad, it feels like Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Not exactly sure what day it is. So quiet around here.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, yes, I have to work Sunday to cover somebody else's vacation, and I get off tomorrow. So I think today is already Friday.
LEMON: I was like, the market's wait a minute. It's Thursday.
LEMON: And remember we were talking about all that flooding and you had such busy times over in the weather department?
LEMON: Well, Chad, first it was the floods. Now the Midwest, mosquitoes are pestering just about anybody who dares to go outside. And you can only imagine.
In Iowa, Chad, they're swatting at 20 times the normal number of mosquitoes, and the pesky insects have started attacking in storms.
One bright note, though. One bright note. Most of these mosquitoes aren't the type that carry diseases like West Nile Virus.
DE LA CRUZ: So that's a bright note?
LEMON: Well, yes. I mean, people...
DE LA CRUZ: That's a bright note. I hate mosquitoes.
LEMON: ... won't at least get sick; just a little itchy and maybe red.
DE LA CRUZ: All right. I guess so. Well, check this out, Don. Some people actually think there is a bright side to $4-a-gallon gas. No, really. We're going to tell you why next in the NEWSROOM.
DE LA CRUZ: Well, it's hard to believe when you're watching your paycheck flow down the gas tank. But our corporate cousin, "TIME" magazine, says there are some good things about high gas prices. It's published a list entitled "Ten Things You Can Like About $4 a Gallon Gas."
So working in reverse order, No. 10 is "less obesity, because people walk more, bike more, and eat out less." No. 9, "more cops on the beat." Officers are getting out of their gas-guzzling cars and going on bike and foot patrols. No. 8, less traffic. With fewer people driving fewer miles, travel dropped 2.1 percent in the first four months of the year. So...
LEMON: I like that one.
DE LA CRUZ: Yes, right? That was a good one, right?
DE LA CRUZ: But if you are still not convinced, we're actually going to have more on that list later here on the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Boy, why don't I just tell everybody now?
DE LA CRUZ: No, don't give it away.
LEMON: I'm getting "no" from everywhere. No, no, no.
DE LA CRUZ: I think ten is good, because I think a lot of people are definitely walking more.
DE LA CRUZ: I know I am, but maybe it's because I've been living in New York. I don't know.
LEMON: Absolutely. And stay with us as we count them down a little bit later on.
DE LA CRUZ: We have the entire list.
LEMON: Right? Right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
That's because of the economy, bad economy, slumping economy as we've been saying. So another hit. We've been talking about the economy. A new report from the government shows thousands of jobs were lost last month. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange, tallying up the damage.
Susan, and it's such a crazy week. You know? It's like what day is it? Wednesday? Is it Thursday? Is it Friday?
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've been crazy days here on Wall Street too. I can tell you that firsthand, Don. Total 2008 job losses: 438,000 for the world's biggest economy. In June, employers shed 62,000 positions. It was roughly in line with analysts' estimates. It marks the sixth straight monthly loss or every month this year. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, held steady at 5.5 percent.
The Dow rallied on relief that it wasn't worse. Just like GM rallied the other day when it really had bad sales but not as bad as expected. It's that kind of environment.
Today, obviously, is a holiday-shortened trading day. The markets are closed tomorrow. We had a spectacular closing bell: Macy's with their pyrotechnics.
The Dow added some pyrotechnics of its own. It added 73 points or 2/3 of a percent. The NASDAQ lost a quarter of a percent.
But more weakness in labor markets expected in coming months. Some economists and Democrats are calling for another stimulus package. The last round of rebate checks goes out next week, Don.
LEMON: Do you hear that? It's so quiet there today. Isn't that weird?
LISOVICZ: Let me tell you, at 1 p.m. this place was like a morgue. And you know, it's kind of a noisy place. You know?
LEMON: They're out of there. I've got to ask you. We were talking about all those job cuts. And at one point they were blaming the housing recession on that. Is that still the case?
LISOVICZ: Well, it's certainly one of the culprits, Don. Construction sector shed 43,000 jobs in June alone. The manufacturing sector also had big cuts.
And don't forget about airlines. Today American Airlines said it plans to cut 8 percent of its workforce by the end of the year. That would be a loss of nearly 7,000 jobs.
American, like its rivals, is reducing capacity. An airline analyst said the airline industry is moving into, quote, "survival mode," end quote. He widened his loss estimate, saying airlines could lose $6.5 billion this year.
Delta, Continental, United, U.S. Airways have previously announced job cuts. And of course, we've reported them.
Don, back to you.
LEMON: Oh, boy. All right, Susan. All right.
LISOVICZ: Have a great holiday, by the way.
LEMON: Have a great holiday.
Is this the last time we're going to see you today? LISOVICZ: Yes.
LEMON: Oh, yes. Enjoy your holiday. Be safe.
LISOVICZ: You, too.
LEMON: Thanks -- Veronica.
DE LA CRUZ: Another potential brouhaha over tactics in the war on terror. Do you think you're presumed innocent? Maybe not. We'll explain.
LEMON: Hello everyone, I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
DE LA CRUZ: And I'm Veronica De La Cruz. And Don for the record, it is Thursday. Thursday, July 3rd.
LEMON: Am I ever going to live this down?
DE LA CRUZ: Not Monday, not Tuesday, it's Thursday. Tomorrow's Friday though, that's good news. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: All right, it's time to tell you some of the stories we're working on for you today. Right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
A Vermont man is formally charged with kidnapping his 12-year-old niece. The girl was found dead and 42-year-old Nicholas Jacques, could face execution in that case.
A fugitive hedge fund manager appears in a New York court. Samuel Israel was supposed to begin serving a 20-year fraud sentence when he went on the land last month. He tells a judge he tried to kill himself but finally decided to turn himself in.
And more evacuations along California's Highway 1 as a huge wildfire threatens Big Sur. At least 17 homes have been destroyed and 1,200 more are threatened.
DE LA CRUZ: The emotion, the joy, a mother and her children reunited. Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian senator and presidential candidate, seeing her son and daughter for the first time since her kidnapping six years ago. Freed with her, three American defense contractors held since their plane went down in the jungles of Colombia.
Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After more than five years in captivity, they are free.
MARC GONSALVES, FORMER FARC HOSTAGE: I love you guys. And I'm just waiting to come home.
KAYE: This proof of life video was taken just months after Mark Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell, were kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, a guerrilla group that survives in the jungles and has been at war with the Colombia government for decades. It's blamed for hundreds of kidnappings, including police, politicians and U.S. civilians.
The FARC was established in the 1960s as the wing of the Colombian Communist Party. It later became involved with the cocaine trade during the 1980s for the purposes of fundraising. The American hostages were private contractors from Northrop Grumman, working for the U.S. government. In February of 2003, their surveillance plane went down in FARC territory, while surveying fields of cocoa, a key ingredient for cocaine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May day we have lost engine. We are north 020394...
KAYE: The plane's pilot, an American and a Colombian intelligence officer were shot to death execution style. The three surviving American contractors became hostages, joining an estimated 750 others including Colombian presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, now free after six years in captivity.
Please join me to thank God. To the Virgin Mary, I prayed a lot. I imagined this moment very often with my mom. Don't cry anymore, you don't have to cry anymore.
Betancourt, a rising political star in Colombia, was kidnapped while campaigning for president in a FARC stronghold in 2002. This video was taken hours before she disappeared. Last year, a video surfaced showing the three Americans and the presidential candidate, sickly, but alive.
JUAN CARLOS LECOMPTE, INGRID BETANCOURT'S HUSBAND: We are right now in an emergency. We cannot wait any longer. More months or more years. We can wait only weeks or days.
KAYE: Prayers of the hostages' families were answered. But it's been an excruciating wait with little movement. Marc Gonsalves' mother recently told me she had visited Colombia three times to urge the government to find her son.
JO ROSANO, MOTHER OF FARC HOSTAGE: I look around and I see all of these mountains. And I say, my son is somewhere up there. And I'm getting no help at all from this government, no help at all.
KAYE (on camera): The U.S. considers FARC a terrorist group and has discouraged everyone from negotiating with them, including the contractor's employer and the Colombian government. But the families of the missing kept pressing and hoping. Keith Stansell's daughter talked to CNN last year about her dream that she would some day be reunited with her father.
LAURA STANSELL, KEITH STANSELL'S DAUGHTER: It's going to be hard. He's missed a lot and there's so much to catch up on. But, initially I just want to see him, I just want to hug him, I just want to hold him. I don't want to worry about catching up anything or telling him anything. I just want to hold my dad. I just want to be with him. I just want to be with him.
KAYE (voice-over): A bait and switch before FARC ever knew what hit them. Not even the hostages' families could have dreamed up that.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
DE LA CRUZ: Ingrid Betancourt told reporters she couldn't believe how her children had grown into adults while she was held hostage for so long. We have their tear-filled family moment. That's coming up in a few minutes. We're also going to hear from Betancourt herself -- Don.
LEMON: All right. Here's a story that is drawing responses from both sides.
Another potential brew-ha-ha over tactics on the war on terror. Now you think you're presumed innocent right? Well, maybe not.
The Justice Department reportedly is considering changing some of its rules to allow terrorism probes on Americans based strictly on a set of profiles. Now the Associated Press reports terror probes could commence in the absence of the faintest suspicion of wrong doing. Triggers could include a person's religion, ethnicity and travel habits.
Joining us now from Washington is Caroline Frederickson. She's the director of the Washington Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties Union. Basically, from what I gather, you're outraged by this?
CAROLINE FREDRICKSON, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: Well, let's cut to the chase. This is racial profiling that our Justice Department is announcing. Racial profiling is the basis for the FBI to start spying on Americans. Racial, ethnic, religious profiling. And that...
LEMON: Why would you say this is racial profiling? Because there are some who are going to say, you know what, after 9/11 and even the Justice Department is saying that. After 9/11 you have to take whatever tactics you can to stop terrorism.
FREDRICKSON: Well, I think when you just described the potential policy, you spelled out how exactly it is racial profiling. We're saying, that the Justice Department is going to say that if somebody is an Arab, Arab-American or a Muslim-American or you know, has a grandmother in Germany or any number of characteristics that they can choose, which can be solely from what we understand, based on race or ethnicity or religion. That is clear racial profiling and something that President Bush himself has spoken out against. LEMON: OK. I have to -- we invited the Justice Department to come on to respond to this and to take part and instead they sent us this press release saying, "The FBI can currently be proactive in a number of ways under both the general crimes guidelines and the national security guidelines. To look at potential criminal activity and national security threats. And without opening a formal investigation, the FBI may among other things look at publicly available information, go to places that are open to the public and look at information," and so on and so forth, they go on.
Now they say since the attacks on 9/11, that this is warranted. And that's exactly what they're saying with this press release that we're sending. So how can you fight against this when you have 9/11 and so many other terrorist activities going on throughout the world?
FREDRICKSON: I don't think Americans think that 9/11 did away with our Constitution. And 9/11 didn't do away with the presumption of innocence in America. At least I hope not. And at least in the world that we've lived in the law -- the rule of law that has existed up until now. People in this country are innocent until proven guilty. And this takes that presumption and turns it on its head.
LEMON: OK, so do you think that this will pass the smell test? Do you think that they will actually be able to pass this?
FREDRICKSON: Well, it's an internal FBI guidelines. But I am absolutely certain that Congress is going to take a very deep, very deep interest in this. There is a lot of concern. Members of Congress have been pushing for broad bans on racial profiling. And the idea that the FBI is trying to do this under the radar screen and adopt guidelines that basically not only flout what Congress is trying to do and our Constitution and civil rights, but something that President Bush has said that he himself opposes.
LEMON: OK. All right. So do you think this will change, my last question, change the landscape for all Americans if this is in fact, the way the FBI is going to deal with possible terrorists?
FREDRICKSON: Well, you know, it could. It certainly harkens back to the day when J. Edgar Hoover was compiling files on our civil rights leaders. On Martin Luther King and others.
LEMON: OK, all right. Caroline Fredrickson from the ACLU, we appreciate it. Thank you very much and have a great weekend, OK? And safe one as well.
FREDRICKSON: All right, I will. Thank you.
LEMON: All right, we asked you what you thought about profiling and the answers appear to be split on this. It's always very interesting when we get e-mail.
DE LA CRUZ: Yes.
LEMON: So here's what some of you had to say. "Suffice it to say that it terrifies me that the FBI is actually considering such a proposal. If I have my history correct, this is the same justification Hitler used to build his Nazi Germany."
DE LA CRUZ: Here's another one, Don.
"As far as I'm concerned, I believe that we should profile anybody and everybody. As long as they are not intruding on my well- being, I'm OK with it. I have nothing to hide, if they want to look into my business, they're more than welcome. .
LEMON: All right.
"Absolutely. I do not think that we have to worry about U.S. citizens being terrorists as much as someone that is here on a visa that was not born in the U.S. I think it should also include children that are born here from people that have dual citizenship. The children could decide to help the cause in their parents' birth country."
Continue to e-mail us at CNNNEWSROOM@CNN.com.
DE LA CRUZ: Definitely a hot button issue. People want to talk about this.
LEMON: Yes, and people are always very open about what they have to say.
DE LA CRUZ: Emotional and passionate about what they have to say.
LEMON: CNNNEWSROOM@CNN.com. We'll read more e-mails at the 3:00 pm hour of the CNN NEWSROOM.
DE LA CRUZ: All right, here's what's leading our political ticker now.
John McCain is talking trade and immigration as he wraps up his three-day trip outside the U.S. The Republican presidential candidate is in Mexico City, where he sat down for talks a short time ago with president Felipe Calderon. McCain arrived in Mexico after a visit to Colombia.
On this day before the nation's 232nd birthday, Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, is in North Dakota. He's meeting next hour with veterans to talk about health care and support issues. We're going to have live coverage for you as he takes questions from veterans. Again, that's coming up in the next hour.
A Colorado police officer recovering from minor injuries he received in an accident while escorting Barack Obama's motorcade. It happened last night in Colorado Springs. A van trying to merge onto a freeway struck the back of the officer's motorcycle, knocking him on the ground. Obama called the officer at the hospital. He was later released. In February, a Dallas police officer was killed while escorting Hillary Clinton's motorcade. You can check out our political ticker for all of the latest campaign news. All you have to do is log on to CNNpolitics.com. That is of course, your source for all things politics.
LEMON: Empowered patients making a difference. Our Elizabeth Cohen will introduce us to some medical heroes.
DE LA CRUZ: And the roads to riches leads through San Antonio. San Antonio.
LEMON: Wow, look at that cash.
DE LA CRUZ: And we're going to tell you where it all came from.
DE LA CRUZ: Well tomorrow, of course, is Independence Day. And we're going to get an early start by looking at a few heroes of the Empowered Patient Movement.
CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now to tell us about some of these patient advocates.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're really incredible people, Veronica. There are people who -- they're just ordinary people who had something happen in their lives, maybe they got sick, maybe someone they loved became ill. And managed to get over that experience to help others to figure out how to be savvy patients. They have really helped other people.
Let's take a look at two of them that we have on CNN.com/health. Armondo and Victoria Nahum. Sadly they lost their son. He went into the hospital and he was actually doing well and then he got an infection from the hospital, in the hospital and he passed away. And so the Nahum's out of their grief, they started the Safe Care Campaign to make sure this does not happen to anyone else's child.
Also Trisha Torrey. Trisha was diagnosed with a rare, horrible form of cancer, told she had six months to live and then found out it was wrong. Someone had made a mistake. And so she started a web site called Diagnosis, where people can go and research their diseases. She says I don't want anyone to be misdiagnosed like I was.
And you can see all of these heroes on CNN.com/empoweredpatients.
DE LA CRUZ: I can't believe Trisha's story. I'm stunned.
COHEN: I know, isn't that amazing? And it's more common than you might think, it really is.
DE LA CRUZ: So let's talk about these advocates and maybe one thing they have in common.
COHEN: They are all tenacious. They all said you know what, something bad happened and we're going to make something good come of this. Also, they questioned things. They didn't -- they weren't passive recipients of their health care. They partnered with their doctor to get the best health care possible.
DE LA CRUZ: And you had mentioned that you write a column online at CNN.com/health. How many heroes do we have in all right now?
COHEN: We have six heroes on our page. And so we have a photo essay talking about all of them. For example, we have a pharmacist. Mike Cohen (ph) was a pharmacist at a hospital in Pennsylvania. And he said there's too many errors happening here. And so back in the 70s when no one was thinking about medical mistakes, he said, I want to make sure -- I'm launching a campaign to make sure this doesn't happen to other people. That we stop having these mistakes happen.
DE LA CRUZ: CNN.com/health. All right. I'm so glad people are doing something like this, making a difference. It's so nice to hear.
COHEN: Oh, absolutely. It is. It's great.
DE LA CRUZ: It's refreshing. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.
LEMON: Good stuff. And the next story, Elizabeth has been reporting on this, as well. An advocacy group is calling for urgent action to safeguarding America's fruit and vegetable supply. More than 850 people have now been sickened by a mysterious salmonella outbreak. Tomatoes were blamed at first, but the probe has been expanded. Today the Center for Science and the Public Interest is calling on the FDA to issue emergency regulations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROLINE DEWAAL, FOOD SAFETY DIRECTOR, CSPI: First, FDA should establish a tracking system for produce. Second, the agency should require all growers and others handling produce to have written food safety plans for their operations. Finally, the agency should place tighter controls on repacking produce to ensure that the information regarding the origin of these items are preserved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, the group says the use of standardized codes will make it easier for the FDA to find the sources of tainted produce.
DE LA CRUZ: Now that they're sure the water is safe, they're planning to reopen an 800-room tower at a popular Las Vegas hotel. About 500 guests at the Tropicana Casino and Resort were moved Monday, after traces of E. Coli were found in a well. Several follow-up tests came back negative leading to the decision to reopen the tower. There are no reports of any illnesses.
LEMON: All right. This is an unbelievable story. Being flooded out by water, that's bad enough, right? What seeped into this Ohio home is just -- well it's unbelievable. The stomach-turning story is straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Well, you know what? The road to riches runs right through San Antonio. About $100,000 hit the city's loop 410 during yesterday's afternoon rush, prompting a mad scramble among motorists there. The suspected drug money was tossed from a car being chased by police. Authorities say the cash is marked. It's against the law to spend it, of course. And anyone who has some needs to get in touch with the Drug Enforcement Administration there.
DE LA CRUZ: And it was all turned in, right? Every single dollar?
DE LA CRUZ: All right, Don, check this out. They cleaned him up for the photo. But a guy who allegedly entered a home outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin, he entered with barbecue sauce disguising his face. I said barbecue sauce disguising his face. The man reportedly told police he was hiding from the federal government. Just in time for the fourth of July. It's just a little early for the barbecues.
LEMON: Well, no one was hurt. So that's the good news in all of that.
Well, they haven't decided what smells worse. The sewage, the spoiled salad dressing or the way the two odors combine. Let's just say it stinks in a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio.
The story from Britney Westbrook, of CNN affiliate WBNS.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was creamy and oily.
BRITNEY WESTBROOK, WBNS REPORTER (voice-over): No fresh veggies. Just Christmas trees, clothes and old photos in a soupy sea of old salad dressing.
ALISA JONES, HOMEOWNER: And actually, the water was like, dead level with this. As you can see this is -- I don't even want to touch it, it's so gross.
WESTBROOK: Alisa Jones thinks the dressing dripped in through the drain. Others say they saw it seep through the wall. The source is for sure, a block away. The T. Marzetti dressing plant on Indianola. It looks like last week's wash out caused a backup in the sewer system, drowning everything in dressing and waste.
JONES: Almost like sweet and rotten at the same time. I know, it's horrible.
WESTBROOK (on camera): Quite a bit different than what you see in the grocery store. The people here say they don't really know what to do next. But they do know one thing. The damage -- thousands of dollars in the trash. (voice-over): The city checked the sewer system last night and found the sewer open and flowing. The problem they say, is not related to the city sewer. Residents received this notice.
STEVEN MACON (ph) RESIDENT: It's recommended that you contact a private sewer cleaner if the problem still exists. Basically putting the cost and the problem on us.
WESTBROOK: Steven Macon has a problem with that conclusion, especially hearing this from the Ohio EPA.
MICHAEL DALTON, OHIO EPA: Because it may not happen for 10 years again. But it's a warning that that sewer system is probably at capacity or very close to capacity.
WESTBROOK: Michael Dalton says the series of eight-inch pipes are not large enough to handle today's waste water flow. Will it be fixed? Who knows? But Jones says one thing has changed.
JONES: I'm a little off ranch these days. So now I'm kind of going for lemon juice and olive oil instead.
LEMON: At least they have a sense of humor about it.
DE LA CRUZ: I know, it's a good thing we don't have smell-a- vision. But at least our font down there says, "dressing plus sewage equals yuck."
LEMON: And just to tell you, it was Britney Westbrook, of our affiliate WBNS.
DE LA CRUZ: Well, budgeting your family vacation on a financial shoe string. How cheap can you go? We're going to tell you the tales of two traveling families. That's coming up.
DE LA CRUZ: From presidential candidate to hostage, in the Colombian jungle. Then suddenly free. Ingrid Betancourt relives the moment.
LEMON: And what about the three Americans who were freed? Two are suffering from jungle sickness. How can doctors help?
DE LA CRUZ: And brand new video from Zimbabwe. Terrified opposition supporters seek refuge at the U.S. Embassy. Can they escape the wrath of Robert Mugabe?
LEMON: Hello everyone, I'm Don Lemon, live here at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
DE LA CRUZ: And it's nice to see you. I'm Veronica De la Cruz. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.