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Iran Test Fires Missile; GPS Could be MIA?; Congress Pursuing New Credit Card Rules; RNC Chair Pledges Comeback for GOP; "Missing Link" Found?; President's New Quandary on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; Former Powell Chief of Staff Says CIA is Secretive; Elizabeth Edwards Discusses New Book; "Rocket Man" Discusses AIDS Campaign
Aired May 20, 2009 - 07:58 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks very much for being with us on the Most News in the Morning on this Wednesday, the 20th of May. I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. Here's what's on the agenda this morning. The big stories we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes. It's the top of the hour right now.
And breaking news this morning, Iran claims it successfully test- fired a medium-range rocket today and that that rocket hit its target. This is new video right now, you're looking at the actual launch. The Pentagon this morning confirming that a medium-range missile was indeed fired.
Well, it's a lifeline for countless Americans. What if your GPS was suddenly MIA? A government report says that the global positioning system could fail within a year. We are digging deeper on the problem, hundreds of miles above the earth and the potential threat to national security as well, not just our convenience.
And the House could vote today to rein in credit card rate increases and excessive fees. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure yesterday. Bankers warn that it would mean less credit for risky customers. Our Christine Romans is digging deeper. She'll be here to explain.
ROBERTS: First to the breaking news this morning, Washington waking up to news that Iran successfully test-fired a medium-range missile. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims the new advanced rocket has a range far enough to strike Israel. This is new video of the actual launch this morning. It comes just two days after President Obama said he expected a positive response to his diplomatic outreach to Iran by the end of the year.
Joining us now on the telephone is CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. Christiane, what do you make of the missile test today and in particularly the timing of it?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, John, this is another one, according to both the Pentagon and the Iranian president, who announced it during a campaign stop. It is the Iranian election season right now.
According to "Jane's Defense Weekly," which monitors all these military goings on around the world, this is a very similar missile that was used when Iran launched a test back in November. "Jane's" said that if it's true, that it has a 2,000-kilometer range. That's about 1,243 miles. That would bring cities such as Moscow, Athens, southern Italy, et cetera within striking distance.
Now on the other hand, President Ahmadinejad has said at a campaign stop that he, quote, said that the missile had the power to, quote, "send to hell" any military base from where a, quote, "a bullet was fired" against his country. So, what they're doing here is posturing, again, as they continue these tests. Of course, these tests, according to the United Nations, violate certain sanctions and other restrictions that are put on Iran. But he says that this is because what they called the Zionist regime threatens Iran militarily with its false threats.
And so, to the timing that you point out, this does happen two days after President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And at that meeting, of course, Iran was top of the agenda, as the Israeli prime minister had wished it to be.
At that point, President Obama had said that they hoped that they would be able to come to some kind of progress with the reach-out policy to Iran towards or by the end of the year, after which they would reassess potentially tougher sanctions and the like.
So, this could also be a response to that. In addition, President Ahmadinejad was roundly criticized by some quarters in Iran because of the release of the Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi. So, a lot of it could be electioneering as well.
ROBERTS: As you know, Christiane, the president has his fair share of critics when it comes to Iran policy. We talked to one of them just this morning, John Hannah, who was Vice President Dick Cheney's national security adviser. He says you just can't trust the Iranian regime, and that just doing it diplomatically is not the way to do it.
You've got a -- you've got to have a program of backing it up with the sanctions, with the threat of military force as well. Does this give more credence to the president's -- to critics of the president's approach toward Iran?
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, many have said that for a long time. The president was going to try to do something that actually, precisely this had been tried under the Bush administration, when you remember there were tough sanctions and the threat of military force was never taken off the table. For his part, President Obama continues to say that not as loudly as President Bush, but all options are available.
On the other hand, he's distinguished his policies by saying that without preconditions, he would choose to engage and see whether these very important issues can be resolved through direct engagement and direct negotiations. So far, it hasn't been tried. So, the fact of the matter is, one doesn't know whether it's going to be successful or not. Obviously, President Obama is trying to reach out, but so far, there have been no formal, direct negotiations on this issue. You know, the nuclear issue is sort of farmed out to the so-called P-5 Plus One -- Europeans, Russians, et cetera.
ROBERTS: All right. Christiane Amanpour for us this morning with the latest on the Iranian missile test.
Christiane, thanks so much.
CHETRY: Well, also developing, what could be an incredible security breach at the National Archives. It was a hard drive. It had personal information and sensitive data from the Clinton administration, and now it's missing.
Congressional officials say that it has a terabyte of information on it. That's enough to fill millions of books, contains contact information and a hundred thousands social security numbers, including one of al Gore's daughters. The spokesman for President Clinton told Politico that it's being investigated as a criminal matter.
Well, say it ain't so. The Global Positioning System or the GPS that we all use every day in our cars, on our phones, could fail. Of course, the military also depends on the GPS. It's become critical to our national defense. So, what happens if the GPS goes MIA?
CNN's Elaine Quijano looks into this.
COMPUTER VOICE: Turn left.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From cars...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), may I help you?
QUIJANO: ... to emergency call centers, the Global Positioning System has transformed the way Americans live and work.
But a report by the Government Accountability Office says some military and civilian users of GPS could be adversely affected, unless the Air Force, which maintains the system, gets new replacement satellites soon.
ALAN CAMERON, "GPS WORLD": Some of the satellites on orbit have been up there since 1992. They have lived well beyond their design life. It's anybody's guess as to when some of them might fail.
QUIJANO: Experts say for most people, a failure would have no discernible impact on, say, getting directions to the local coffee shop.
But military operations need accuracy down to centimeters. Congressman John Tierney, who sits on the House Oversight Committee, says that could affect national security.
REP. JOHN TIERNEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We don't want to take the risk of having the wrong blind spot at the wrong time.
QUIJANO (on camera): Congressman Tierney says that's why he recently held a hearing on the matter, to keep government officials on schedule and on budget for maintaining the GPS satellites. Now in a statement Air Force officials said they are committed to maintaining at least their current level of service while striving to improve service and capability through on-going modernization effort.
Elaine Quijano, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: Now to a developing story this morning. A 13-year-old boy stricken with cancer is missing this morning. His name, Daniel Hauser. Doctors say his days are numbered and that he'll likely die without chemotherapy. He is believed to be on the run with his mother. A judge issued an arrest warrant for her yesterday.
The judge says that Daniel is a victim of medical neglect because his parents refuse chemotherapy and radiation saying they are poisons that go against their medical beliefs. Hauser's father is cooperating with authorities and is now pleading with his family to come home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY HAUSER, FATHER: I'd like to tell them that, you know, come back and be safe and be a family again. That's what I'd like to tell them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Well, doctors say the chemotherapy and radiation would give Daniel an 80 percent to 95 percent chance of survival. Without it, they say, he could well die.
New developments now in the sudden death of a baby boy in New York City. Health officials now say initial tests show the baby did not die from swine flu, even though the child lived at the epicenter of the outbreak here in the U.S.
Death threats targeting Asian American business owners. Police say extortionists are demanding money through calls from China using the Internet calling service, Skype. They've targeted businesses in almost every major American city. A local affiliate reports that some terrified owners have sent thousands of dollars to the perpetrators.
CHETRY: All right. Seven minutes past the hour right now. Christine Romans is "Minding Your Business." She joins us this morning.
And again, we could be looking at some big changes to the way that credit cards work. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: One of those few stories that affects absolutely everybody, anybody who has a credit card. There are a few here out there, I'm sure who don't. But you know you need a credit card and you need credit for your credit score. And that's pretty much the key to everything in life, right?
So, this is really important for a lot of people. Credit card reform is coming. You're going to see -- credit card companies have to give you 45 days notice before they can jack up your rates. And they're going to have to tell you why. You could be 60 days late on a payment before that rate hike goes into effect. And they're going to have to explain why very clearly. Prohibit some of these fees that many have called, consumer advocates have called, frankly, cheating of customers. And more restrictions for people under 21.
This is according to the Senate version of this credit card bill of rights. But think of that. You would have to get a parent to cosign with you. You'd have to show that you know what you're doing if you're under 21 before you'd be allowed to have a credit card. And college students would be limited, I think, to just one credit card.
So, trying to instill little bit more responsibility and understanding of what they're doing at a younger age with credit card, because we know that credit cards are something that we have used to live beyond our means for maybe 20 years now, and that is changing. That is going to have to change, and there's going to be some big changes that will be coming here.
In fact, if you are a good customer, you pay your credit cards every month, you don't carry a big balance, you could see some changes as well. You could see a reinstatement of annual fees. You could see interest rates beginning the moment you make a purchase. So, there are changes coming for everyone here.
ROBERTS: Got a Roman's Numeral for us this morning?
ROMANS: I do, 1950, and it's a year...
ROBERTS: Year of Richard Branson's birthday.
ROMANS: And, you know, a couple of people picked this one out on Twitter at AmFix.com. It is the year that the first real, kind of universal credit card was introduced. It was Diner's Club in 1950. Then AmEx came in -- American Express in 1958. Then 1977 is when you had Bank of America and Visa, I think, get together. And this is always a charge card. Remember, you charge something and then you paid it off periodically? What has happened from the '80s and the '90s and now...
ROBERTS: Now it becomes a credit card.
ROMANS: Now it's become free money that we've relied on and we pay a lot of interest...
ROBERTS: Or not-so-free money.
ROMANS: Not free money.
So, I think that these new rules are going to find, for a variety of reasons, we're going to be going back more to that charge card era, where you're not going to be allowed to just spend money you don't have and pay fees on it and an interest on those fees forever.
CHETRY: And then, what is it, 57 years to actually pay it off?
ROMANS: Yes, to pay the minimum.
CHETRY: So, maybe we'll be better off if we go back to some of the '50s-era thinking in terms of managing our money.
ROMANS: Yes. I feel bad, because I think these credit cards and the ease of the debt has masked some problems that we have...
CHETRY: Right, I think it has.
ROMANS: ... for how people can't make ends meet.
And this -- the credit cards have managed to hide that a little bit. And now, kind of really been exposed.
ROBERTS: And exacerbate the situation, too.
ROMANS: Sure. Sure.
ROBERTS: Thanks, Christine.
Time to saddle up and stop tiptoeing around President Obama. The Republican Party chief urging the GOP to man and woman up and take on the president. We've got reaction from two of the sharpest political minds in the country, one from each side of the aisle.
And is this the missing link. The discovery that has stunned scientists, one 47 million years in the making.
It's 10 minutes after the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": So, what's the inspiration for this new forward outlook?
MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: Ronald Reagan always insisted that our party must move aggressively to seize the moment. The Republican Party owes its moorings to Eden Burke, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan.
And the best spirit of Ronald Reagan, it's time to saddle up and ride.
STEWART: So, the image Republicans have vote for their new forward-thinking outlook, Ronald Reagan on horseback.
STEWART: I'll tell you, you know, who's going to go nuts for this new GOP? Kids from the '50s.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.
Times are tough for the Republican Party and its chairman, Michael Steele. Jon Stewart there having a little bit of fun with Steele's comeback speech from yesterday. Steele says the party needs to refocus and not be afraid of criticizing President Obama, regardless of his personal popularity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEELE: We're going to take the president head on. The honeymoon is over. The two-party system is making a comeback, and that comeback begins today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Well, joining us now to talk more about this and other things political from New Orleans, Democratic strategist James Carville. He's the author of the book, "40 More Years: How Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation." And Republican strategist Ed Rollins here in New York. Both CNN contributors.
Good morning to both of you.
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good morning.
ROBERTS: So, Michael Steele there, urging his fellow Republicans, Ed, to take on the president head on and not waste fire on, quote, "Nancy Pelosi, whom nobody likes, or Harry Reid, whom nobody knows, or Tim Geithner, whom nobody believes, or maybe even Barney Frank, whom nobody understands."
Is that a good strategy?
ROLLINS: No, that's not a good strategy. Michael is a very nice man who's had 100 days of kind of miscues, and this speech yesterday didn't necessarily help him.
I think there's plenty of policies we can go after. But when you're attacking someone as someone who spent time with Ronald Reagan, and Democrats tried to attract him personally and failed miserably, you can attack the policies right today, you can't attack the man. And I think -- I think if he encourages that strategy, it will fall on deaf ears.
ROBERTS: So is this another freebee for you folks, James? JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, you know, anybody's home eating breakfast and you've got some toast, that's exactly what Michael Steele is. I've said on this network early this year that he was done. He's done. He's not going to be chairman of the Republican Party for much longer.
This was -- he's a nice guy, by the way. He's a very likable man, but he's finished as chairman of their party. And they're not going to put up with this much longer.
ROBERTS: You know, some people seem to receive the speech very well. You know, he said, Ed, that the Republican comeback has begun. It's under way. It's not in Washington, saying that he's traveled the country and found the party to be in far better shape than most people in Washington would think it is. He said, you know, those -- the tea parties across the country proved to him that there's a lot of energy out there to be tapped into.
ROLLINS: Well, I think there is some energy out there. And I think there are some people that are concerned about the direction of the country, but it's not -- we haven't turned a corner yet. You look at public opinion polls and we're still not turning this massive Obama movement away. And so, I think, I think the bottom line is you've got to chip at it day by day. You've got to put the spotlight on the policies, you know, and attacking a president with a 65 percent approval rating is just a diminishing effort.
ROBERTS: And do you agree with James, Ed, that Michael Steele is toast?
ROLLINS: I don't think so for this reason. You know, Republicans often don't admit their mistakes. It's a small, little group with 68 -- 168 people. You know, he won on the sixth ballot. I don't think they're going to throw him out. I don't think he'll get re-elected in two years, though.
ROBERTS: All right, James. So here's the tougher question for you. Nancy Pelosi, the CIA misleading Congress, seems to have gotten herself into a bit of hot water there.
What do you make of all of this?
CARVILLE: Right. Well, you know, I think this thing has to be cleared up. People have different recollections of a meeting that happened seven years ago. I think, you know, they should sit down and say, look, this is the way I remember it, and now it turns out the way that Senator Graham remembers it and other people. And I think we can deescalate this entire thing. We don't want to be at -- The Democratic Party doesn't want to be at war with the CIA.
ROBERTS: But -- yes, I mean, this claim, though, that the CIA misled Congress. You know, the CIA officials came back and said hey, we're not in the habit of misleading Congress here.
ROLLINS: Well, I don't think the...
CARVILLE: Well, again -- I'm sorry, go ahead, Ed.
ROLLINS: I don't think they do mislead Congress. I think they're very careful. This foreperson oversight, the chairman, ranking member of these committees has big responsibility. I think if they ever misled and was proven that they misled, their resources would be cut off. You know, I think she needs to back away and basically...
ROBERTS: So, James, if you were advising the speaker, what would you be telling her to do?
CARVILLE: Well, what I've said on numerous occasions, that it could be that the CIA didn't say this. I mean, who knows what happened in a meeting seven years ago? There's all kinds of things now that some of the people have said in a meeting and whatever, but maybe people make mistakes. People have false recollections. We just ought to sort of acknowledge that, and there's probably no way to find out what happened. I'm not sure the public really cares of some recollection of a meeting seven years ago.
ROBERTS: Right. But do you think this wounds her politically, James?
CARVILLE: No. I mean, I think this thing has been blown up about, you know, a gazillion times more than it's worth. And I think it was something that I said and Congressman Lawson said the same thing -- the press conference wasn't, you know, the finest hour, but it wasn't like she lied to start a war or something. It was just a press conference.
I mean, we ought to take a deep breath and figure out what this is. She's a remarkable woman, by the way. I'm a huge fan of her. She's a great family person, and she's really remarkable person. So, she had a less than stellar press conference, big deal.
ROBERTS: All right. James Carville, Ed Rollins, great to see you, folks.
ROLLINS: Take care.
ROBERTS: All right. You, too - Kiran.
CHETRY: Well, don't ask, don't tell. As candidate Barack Obama, he said he would put an end to the controversial military policy, but see why waiting into this issue could now open up a whole can of worms for the president.
And it's not quite ape, it's not quite human, but have scientists discovered the missing link between the species?
It's 18 1/2 minutes past the hour.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Well, scientists are unveiling a discovery that could, could fill in some blanks -- a 47 million-year-old fossil dug up in Germany. Richard Roth has more on what some are already calling the "missing link."
Remarkable because of how intact this was as well.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We should all be so well preserved, especially early in the morning. She's cat- sized and quite old, but in a Broadway entertainment-style debut in New York, Eda is history's latest clue, though now open for interpretation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two, one...
ROTH (voice-over): Could the so-called "missing link" be behind the curtain? Behold the 47-million-year-old primate fossil.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the most complete primate fossil before human burial.
ROTH: These paleontologists believe the primate is a gateway to discovering everything about human evolution. They found human-like nails, not claws, plus toes and teeth.
INGA BOSTAD, UNIVERSITY OF OHIO: I remember from my school days the discussion about the search for a missing link.
ROTH: The female primate is believed to have drowned in a crater lake and was discovered in a shale mine outside of Frankfurt, Germany in 1983. It all makes for a very good TV show, doesn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The story of a little girl who connects possibly to every person on this planet.
ROTH: Unknown to the primate named Eda, numerous TV and book deals were signed. The History Channel special is called "The Link," but is it really the missing link of evolution?
JOHN HURUN, UNIVERSITY OF OSLO: It's really, really hard to pinpoint exactly who gave rise to humans at that point, but this is as good as it gets, really.
ROTH: The scientists call the primate one of the ancestors of all of us.
JENS FRANZEN, SENCKENBURG INSTITUTE: We are not dealing with our grand, grand, grand, grandmother, but perhaps with our grand, grand, grand aunt.
ROTH: Eda the primate will be on display at the Museum of Natural History. Mayor Michael Bloomberg got the first look. MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: This is what Darwin was looking for, and it just reconfirms the basic concept of Darwin.
ROTH: They may not have the missing link, but the investigators hope the hoopla over the primate in a mine will lead to a gold mine of interest in science.
ROTH: One of the Norwegian scientists named the female-like creature Eda for his daughter, who he estimated was about the same age. A replica of Eda will be on display at New York's Museum of Natural History.
And I thought I felt old.
CHETRY: Exactly. But still, it still really is amazing because you said, before human burial, and this was the most intact they were able to find any fossil before human burial.
ROTH: That's right. And they purchased it two years ago. They wouldn't say for how much. Less than $1 million.
CHETRY: Very interesting. All right, now it's a part of history and maybe it will provide more clues.
ROTH: We're always looking for more clues.
CHETRY: We are. Richard, good to see you this morning - John.
ROBERTS: Elizabeth Edwards, after everything that she has been through -- cancer, her husband's infidelity -- see what she tells us this morning about another issue she's dealing with.
And Nancy Pelosi still under fire after saying the CIA didn't tell her the truth about harsh interrogation tactics. But since it's in the spy agency's job to keep secrets, how do you know that they're ever telling the truth?
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, joins us live, coming up.
It's 24 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Good morning, New York City, where it's Fleet Week, and that's a great picture this morning of the amphibious assault ship, the USS Iwo Jima, docked there along the Hudson. Fifty-two degrees and clear right now, going up to a high of 78 under the sunshine today. I want to take a lounge chair and put it out there on the deck of the Iwo Jima and just catch some rays today.
Candidate Obama said gay Americans should be able to serve openly in the military. He promised to end the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy. And while President Obama has tackled everything from the banking crisis to the bailout of big auto, he has yet to take on "don't ask, don't tell."
And Carol Costello joins us now from Washington with more on this.
While I'm asking this morning, why is he not asking about "don't ask, don't tell"?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, there are lots of reasons, John. You know, the gay community gave its support to candidate Obama. It expects something in return, like getting rid of a policy it says is clearly discriminatory. Today, many are asking why it's taking so long.
COSTELLO (voice-over): It's a promise President Barack Obama keeps on making -- "don't ask, don't tell" will go away.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to do it by putting together a military panel made up of people like General Shalikashvili.
COSTELLO: The president said that as a candidate last year, but so far, there is no panel of any kind discussing the best way to allow gays to serve. And critics say Mr. Obama hasn't even issued an executive order prohibiting the military from firing gay soldiers like Lieutenant Daniel Choi until that panel is born.
LT. DANIEL CHOI, FORMER SERVICEMEMBER: I want to serve. I want to go to war. I want to fight and I want to serve my country. But because I'm gay and nobody wants to do anything about it right now, of course, that's extremely frustrating.
COSTELLO: Nobody is doing much about it right now, because despite presidential support, there is still strong opposition to repealing the measure.
COL. ROBERT MAGINNIS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): You have forced intimate situations where you say, look, you know, you're going to room with this person, and that's an order. Then, in fact, you can begin to have the residuals, the morale issue, the whole issue about retention and recruitment come up.
COSTELLO: Hence, the Pentagon isn't even thinking about "don't ask, don't tell."
GEOFF MORELL, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: This building views "don't ask, don't tell" as the law of the land until Congress acts otherwise. It's we can't willy-nilly choose which laws we wish to abide by and those we don't.
COSTELLO: And despite a more liberal Congress, lawmakers aren't exactly chomping at the bit to pass Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher's measure repealing "don't ask, don't tell." Congressional observers say the reason's simple. JOSH ROGAN, "CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY": The bottom line is that Democrats in leadership don't want to put their members to the test by calling for a vote on this unless they're absolutely sure. And the bottom line is right now they're not absolutely sure.
COSTELLO: Basically, because House members know a repeal will likely go down to defeat in the Senate. Now, President Obama has had informal discussions with his top generals about "don't ask, don't tell," and he made it clear, the law will eventually go away, but he did not request a formal study. So the joint chiefs, the Pentagon, they're just following the law.
ROBERTS: We all know what happened to President Clinton on this issue in 1993. Maybe some folks are, you know, remembering back to that day.
COSTELLO: I'm sure they are.
ROBERTS: Carol Costello for us this morning.
Thanks very much, Carol.
CHETRY: Breaking news now at 29 minutes past the hour. A look at the top stories.
Iran claiming it successfully test-fired a medium-range rocket today. President Ahmadinejad saying, quote, "the missile hit its target." The Pentagon this morning confirming that a medium-range missile was indeed fired. We could get more reaction, though, from the Defense department a little bit later today.
A military plane tearing through a village and crashing in a ball of flames. It happened in Indonesia. Military officials say at least 98 people died, including two on the ground. There were 112 people believed to be on board.
And the Coast Guard searching the waters off San Diego this morning. A Navy helicopter carrying five people crashed about 13 miles south of the city. The Navy called in the accident just after midnight local time. The Coast Guard says there is no way of knowing whether or not anyone survived at this point.
And disgraced NFL star Michael Vick has left a Kansas prison. He is now on his way to Virginia for home confinement. He was serving a 23-month sentence on federal charges relating to a dogfighting ring. Eventually, Vick will work with the Humane Society, according to his lawyer, to try to help prevent kids from getting involved in dogfighting.
Well, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still under fire this morning for her words that the CIA misled her about enhanced interrogation tactics. Many responded with surprise and some outrage at the claim, but should we really expect America's chief spy agency, known for its covert operations and layers of secrecy, to tell Congress everything?
Our next guest says not necessarily. Joining me now from Washington is Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson. He was the chief of staff for former secretary of state Colin Powell. Thanks for being with us this morning. Good to see you.
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR COLIN POWELL: Thank you for having me.
CHETRY: So, let's listen again to what Speaker Pelosi said about the information that the CIA provided her and other members of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I am saying that they are misleading, that the CIA was misleading the Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: So, you say it's a common practice for the CIA not to tell Congress everything they're doing. It might not be policy, but you say it happens all the time. Give us some example.
WILKERSON: Well, it does happen, and let me say right off the bat -- let me just say something about my bona fides, as opposed to Michael Gerson's, for example, writing on the op ed page of "The Washington Post" this morning. "The Post" continues to stun me with what they allow to appear on their op ed pages, lambasting the Democrats and others who might as he calls it "attack the CIA." Well, Michael Gerson has no bona fidas. I got 35 years of bona fidas. I have used tactical operational, strategic and intelligence from the agency for 35 years in Vietnam all the way forward to Iraq.
I've studied this as an academic. I know about its origins in the OSS during World War II. I know about its installation in the 1947 National Security Act, and I know the crimes and ravages that have been perpetrated in the name of the American people, the blood and treasure that's being expended by the CIA over that half century. Plus, I also know the successes that it's achieved. So, it's a mixed bag.
But to answer your question directly, the CIA does not have the leadership, not the good people in the ranks of the CIA, but the leadership of the CIA does not have a stellar record about telling the full and unequivocal truth about its covert operations.
CHETRY: All right. So, you're speaking about the leadership. That is now Leon Panetta, who is now the new director of the CIA. And in a memo, he wrote, "Let me be clear, it is not our policy or our practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values." Are you saying that Panetta is not necessarily being truthful?
WILKERSON: Absolutely not. I hope that Leon Panetta believes that and I hope that that will be his practice as the leader of the agency, but what I'm telling you is that was not the practice of people in the past. I can give you an example after example of George Tenet, the DCI at the time, before we created the DNI, and of Don McLaughlin, his deputy, essentially fabricating truths for Colin Powell getting ready for his preparation for the U.N. presentation on 5 February 2003. I was in the room. I was in the room for five days and five nights with the DCI and the DDCI. I know what it was like...
CHETRY: I mean, we could go back and forth about that. I mean, there were many who said that those 16 words should not have appeared, right, and those were kept in there, it was barely the fault of the CIA.
WILKERSON: Much more than 16 words.
CHETRY: You're referring to the uranium...
WILKERSON: I'm referring to aluminum tubes, I'm referring to al Qaeda operatives who were tortured in order to get information about links between Baghdad and al Qaeda. I'm talking about curve ball. I'm talking about the pillars of Colin Powell's presentation, which were politicized, and in my view, were lied about by the DCI and the DDCI to the secretary of state of this country.
CHETRY: All right. Well, getting back to the current situation there. We have House Minority leader John Boehner now essentially calling Speaker Pelosi's bluff on her allegations she was misled. He's saying that if the speaker's accusing the CIA and these intelligence agencies of lying or misleading Congress, that "she should come up with evidence, come forward with this evidence and then turn it over to the Justice Department so they can be prosecuted. If it's not the case, I think she ought to apologize to our intelligence professionals around the world."
Now what do you make of the possibility that she could produce this evidence? Is this rhetoric or could they really be prosecuted?
WILKERSON: I doubt very seriously if she has the kind of power -- and I mean this seriously -- to cause evidence to come forward from the CIA that would be self-incriminating. I just don't think that's going to happen. Bobby Kennedy couldn't even do that as attorney general for his brother Jack when Bobby Kennedy essentially ran clandestine operations out of the attorney general's office for his brother.
This is not something that can happen. And it is also, I think, a tempest in a teapot, because what we've got here is the republicans trying to attack the democrats over an issue that's incidental for what's happening. I know the press loves it because blood on the street and so forth, but we need to get on the central issue here, and the central issue is torture and harsh interrogation, which is against international law and against domestic law.
CHETRY: And finally, the CIA is saying that it stands by its briefings. It also did say that the records are essentially subjective. They're called from notes, they're in some cases memos and recollection. And as you've talked about this morning, you've been briefed by the CIA. These are classified meetings, but can anything be done to make a more clear record so that all sides can be held accountable as we try to move forward on issues, very sensitive issues like enhanced interrogation?
WILKERSON: I do agree that we could have less feckless leadership in the Congress in terms of oversight, and I am not just talking about the select committees in the House and the senate for intelligence. I'm talking about the leadership in the Congress. This has been the most feckless Congress ever since 2000 that I've seen in my 65 years.
I just don't think there's leadership over there. It's spineless, it lacks courage, it lacks political will. I shudder for the fact that we've got to face these economic and financial challenges we face - Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea and other things -- and we don't have a Congress that has any leadership.
CHETRY: All right. Well, it's great to talk to you this morning, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff under secretary of state Colin Powell. A U.S. Army retiree. Thank you.
WILKERSON: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Elizabeth Edwards, she has been through hell, but after all her struggles, her cancer, her husband's infidelity, how is she dealing with the backlash over her book? She joins us live, coming up. Thirty-seven minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Good morning, Washington, where it's going to be an absolutely beautiful day. It's clear and 52 degrees right now, going up to a high of 76 under the sunshine. It's a great place to be when it's nice weather.
As everyone knows, Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, is out with a new book amply titled "Resilience." Elizabeth writes about her battle with incurable cancer and of course, her husband's infidelity, and there's been some strong reaction to the book as well since its release. Elizabeth Edwards joins us this morning. Elizabeth, great to see you today.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, AUTHOR, "RESILIENCE": Good morning, John.
ROBERTS: I'm going to talk about the book in a second but first of all, I wan to ask how you are, how are you doing?
EDWARDS: I'm doing pretty well. You know, I've got the regular aches and pains, maybe of being nearly 60 or maybe of having cancer, I don't know which, but my prognosis appears to be pretty steady, which is, you know, not much change.
ROBERTS: Right. So, is it a fairly stable disease...
EDWARDS: Fairly stable right now.
ROBERTS: That's great.
EDWARDS: That's what I want.
ROBERTS: All right. To the book now, "Resilience." The question that I have - because you did your first interviews on this back at the beginning of April -- or back at the beginning of May, I'm sorry. And I wondered myself, because I've known you for some years, why did you decide to write this book?
EDWARDS: Well, I actually agreed to write it some time ago and talking about the death of our son, Wade, when he was 16, talking about the diagnosis of breast cancer and then the diagnosis of its reoccurrence, and as I plan to write it, I started writing a little bit of it, and then sort of, you know, a bunch of marital problems became the fodder of some newspapers and of the press, and I thought, oh, I'm not going to write it now.
But then I thought, well, the purpose of the book was to say these bad things in all shapes and forms are going to happen to all of us, and so, how is it that you get by and not let it take over your life or take away your life? And here I was letting it do just exactly that.
EDWARDS: So, I thought I'd treat it. I'd treat it only from the marital problems from my perspective, not as a story of John's indiscretion, but of my reaction and try to, you know, contain it in a short -- it's about 20 pages of the book.
ROBERTS: And yet, that is the part that most people have focused on. And some of the most vocal responses have been from women. Rebecca Traister, Salon.com, wrote -- I guess this was after your appearance on "Oprah." She says it was "one of the most sadomasochistic publicity jaunts in political history." And I remember when we first got this clip from the interview that Oprah did with you down there in your home, and many of us were left almost cringing at the exchange. Let's play it and I'll ask you about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARDS: And when he walked back, she was standing in front of the hotel and said to him, "You are so hot." I can't deliver it, because I don't know how you deliver such lines, but you know, "you are so hot" are the words she said to him, and it started with that.
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": I think she probably said it a little differently.
EDWARDS: You think so?
WINFREY: Than "you are so hot." EDWARDS: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: I mean, in a world of uncomfortable moments, that had to rank up there pretty high. I mean, it did for us watching it. What was it like for you?
EDWARDS: I don't particularly like talking about anyone else's sort of activities or impressions besides my own, but I needed some way to identify the experience, and so I found that. I thought that conveyed all I needed to convey about it, and so, I used it. You know, this is an interview that lasted I think over two hours.
EDWARDS: And so, the small parts of it that got chosen were parts that might not have been the same sections I would have chosen had I been editing the piece myself.
ROBERTS: Right. But you know, obviously, people are going to go for the stuff that raises eyebrows. I wonder what it's like in the Edwards household these days, where you're out on this book tour. This is mostly what you're talking about, the "Oprah" appearance, "Larry King Live," "Today" show, this show as well. Do you come back and John says, "Hi, honey, how was your day?"
EDWARDS: Well, he does ask how it went. How did it go? You know, how do you feel about it? But he's not watching it. People in my house aren't watching any of this.
ROBERTS: How could they miss it?
EDWARDS: Well, if you have a nine-year-old and an 11-year-old, our nine-year-old is likely to be on the Disney Channel, no offense to CNN, and with our son, we're likely to be on the History Channel.
EDWARDS: So, they don't cover this on Disney or History. So, you know, it's easy to stay clear of it in my house.
ROBERTS: The question I had after watching all of this unfold for the last three weeks, do you plan to stay married?
EDWARDS: Yes, I do. I do. I mean, I plan to give it every chance to work. I mean, I've got a pretty big investment, you know, 30-plus years in this marriage, that have been mostly great years, and I think it has great value. It's not that I didn't sometimes feel like I wanted to walk away. I felt like I wanted to walk away when Wade died. I just wanted to walk away from anything that reminded me of that pain.
ROBERTS: Sure, many marriages wouldn't survive that.
EDWARDS: And it reminded me of the pain and of course, sometimes you just want to escape from everything, but the truth is that the pain is in you. It's not in the situation, and you have to figure out how to deal with that independently and try to be resilient, and then if you think that the relationship is valuable, to work on that.
ROBERTS: Elizabeth, it's great to see you again.
EDWARDS: It's always great to see you, John.
ROBERTS: Thanks for dropping by.
ROBERTS: Appreciate it -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Well, Elton John now sits down with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. We're going to see what the music legend told about the giant global health initiative that he's trying to spearhead. It's 46 minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: Well, coming up on 49 minutes past the hour. A look now at some of the top videos on cnn.com. How about this one? Our most popular right now. A Shreveport, Louisiana, woman finds her long-lost brother. He was living just across the street. Candace Eloff (ph) was talking with a neighbor when she noticed striking similarities between her and this neighbor. It turns out, her brother had been given up for adoption three decades ago.
Well, his parents are calling it a miracle, a disabled teen brought back to life after nearly drowning in a swimming pool. The boy wasn't breathing and had no heartbeat, they say for nearly 15 minutes, but Dallas paramedics were able to revive him en route to the hospital.
Also, you're looking at Pixie, weighing in at just 1.5 pounds. She's a prime contender for the Guinness Book of World Records. The current record holder for tiniest feline is three pounds, had to be full grown, of course. That reminds us of another cat that we love here on AMERICAN MORNING.
And someone who loves cats even more than the New York Yankees, it's Rob Marciano keeping an eye on extreme weather. What do you have now, eight now at the house?
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I am the crazy kitty lady. Yes, several. So, that was a full-grown kitty at one pound?
CHETRY: Yes. 1.5. How about that? You can put her in your pocket right there and do the weather.
ROBERTS: Elton John has sold more than 200 million records and is one of the most successful artists of all time. Now he's using his celebrity to help draw attention to a pressing global health initiative.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELTON JOHN, SINGER: Where they have running water, showers, proper bedroom. Like beautiful little houses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: He's standing, he's thriving, he's touring. The rocket man, the music legend, and now he is speaking out about his global quest to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. And he spoke with out chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. We're "Paging Dr. Gupta" this morning for more.
How was it to sit down with Sir Elton?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The rocket man. It was really good. You know, he does have the Elton John AIDS Charity, the foundation, as you mentioned. It's amazing in this economy how much money they're still able to raise. This is what surprised me. I think the most 16 million pounds, about $30 million is what they've raised on this. They have a lot of different events. He has Oscar parties. He has lots of different benefits. I think the most interesting thing is how they choose to use the money. They give it directly to people who need it the most. They don't keep any of it. They don't create endowment. This is how he described it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN: In America for the last four years, I've measured the success by the fact that we have a four-star from the charity navigator for the last four years, which means that we are doing a fantastic job. We don't waste any money, we don't gamble with our money. You know, I'm a little critical of people who put their charity's money into hedge fund things.
I don't think you can gamble with people's money. Once you have people's money and they've given you it, it's your responsibility to look after it in a wise way. I don't think putting it into hedge funds and then losing it is a wise way of doing it. We have micro managed our money. We don't waste any money and you know, that four- star rating from the Charity Navigator is a must as far as we're concerned and we've had it four years in a row.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: That's probably what he was most passionate about, John, was this idea of how well they've been able to manage the money for the foundation, again millions and millions of dollars, both domestically and abroad. For example, he goes to South Africa every year for the foundation specifically to build homes for AIDS orphans. He saw a child that was living in with 30 other children in one home with one caregiver and he said, let's fix that problem.
So, that's sort of, you know, what a guy like him, who's a celebrity and has money, that's the sort of impact he can have.
ROBERTS: When it comes to Africa, you know, HIV and AIDS has certainly received a lot of attention over the last few years, but in other areas of the world, it's kind of dropped off the radar screen. What does that mean about our efforts to try to control the spread of the disease.
GUPTA: Well it is interesting. If you look at sort of the previous administration's plans, a lot of it were centered around something known as PEPFAR, the president's emergency plan for AIDS relief, and a lot of that was focused out of the country. The statistics really haven't changed that much in the United States. You can take a look at some of the statistics - 1.1 million infections, three percent of D.C. residents infected.
In fact, in the capital city of the United States, in some ways, it's worse than Port-au-Prince, Haiti, one of the most impoverished countries in the world. You can take a look at the numbers. I think what's changed, John and this is sort more of a cultural thing, is that the medications have become better, people are living longer, healthier lives, and as a result of that - that's a good thing, but the bad part of that is you're seeing this resurgence of high-risk behavior, which leads to the numbers that you're seeing right there.
ROBERTS: Things change when you can treat it as a chronic disease, I guess.
GUPTA: That's right.
ROBERTS: Dr. Sanjay Gupta for us this morning. Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thanks, John.
CHETRY: Well that's going to do it for us on this Wednesday. Thanks so much for being with us on this AMERICAN MORNING. We'll see you back here tomorrow.
Coming right up after the break, CNN NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins. We'll see you tomorrow.