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AMERICAN MORNING

Iran's Supreme Leader Denies Any Vote-Rigging; Western Media Restricted in Iran; Obama Spread Too Thin?; Woman Fined for Illegally Downloading Songs; Continental Airlines Pilot Dies in Midair, Passengers Unaware

Aired June 19, 2009 - 07:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm trying to slow down the summer. So I was going to say it's a day later than it is.

(INAUDIBLE) on our agenda this morning. Big stories that we're breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.

Iran's supreme leader says he did not rig his country's disputed election. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrapped up a speech in front of thousands of chanting supporters just about an hour ago saying, "It's up to the people to decide."

The U.S. is boosting anti-missile defenses around Hawaii this morning after reports that North Korean could launch its most powerful missile at the state. The Pentagon says it's also watching a North Korean ship that's sailing through the pacific saying it's probably carrying illegal weapons or weapons technology.

And 247 passengers flying from Brussels to Newark say they had no idea that their pilot died halfway through the flight. A doctor on board says the 60-year-old pilot could not be revived and died of natural causes. Emergency crews were on the hand, but the plane landed without any problems.

We begin this morning with breaking news out of Iran. The Islamic Republic supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denies any vote-rigging in Friday's election saying that people "decided for themselves." He finished just minutes ago in front of thousands of men in Tehran.

Our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour was in the Iranian capital on Election Day. She joins us now live from London. It was a long speech, by any measure, just a little more than a couple of hours and he hit a lot of different topics, including that the west is to blame for any claims that this election was rigged, Christiane?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. At University of Tehran Friday prayers, Ayatollah Khamenei addresses the nation and many people were waiting to see what his message would be.

He hit several points that there could have been no fraud because of the massive 11 million vote difference that the officials have given for this election to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He called on all the supporters of both candidates who are in the street in protests or rallying for another candidate to stop that and to start taking the challenges to the election through the legal process, the Guardian Council.

He described the debates on television as having energized the people of Iran and said that this was a positive and free thing but criticized some of the insults that were hurled by all candidates during those debates.

He very importantly talked about outside powers, including the U.S. and Europeans, especially Britain, trying to manipulate people's idea of how the elections went. He said they were looking for this to be a different result, and they were questioning our system.

He said that this was not a fight amongst candidates from outside or inside the system. He said all the candidates were within the establishment, in other words, trying to say that this was not some kind of revolutionary anti-Islamic republic move that Mousavi or others have led. He kept talking about how the historic voter turnout legitimized the Islamic Republic and the establishment. And that is very, very key because all of this is about maintaining the structure of the Islamic Republic according to Ayatollah Khamenei and the power structure there.

But importantly, he did call on people to stop the street protests and warned that those who continue to do that would be held responsible for the consequences.

ROBERTS: You know, reform-minded Iranians across the country, Christiane, were looking at that address today by the ayatollah, looking for some sort of signal as to what was going to go with the election or in the future, you know, in terms of a recount or as they want another election. Hearing him say that there was nothing wrong with the election, how do you expect that the reformers will react to that today?

AMANPOUR: Well, it's going to be really interesting to see how this now proceeds because he's quite clearly come out now as the top leader of Iran for whom all authority flows saying, enough, out of the streets, let's do it through the Guardian Council. So while he did not endorse any annulment or re-election, he did say that any complaint should be dealt with and there would be recounts when necessary.

He did make great effort to reach out to all the candidates. He talked about respecting them all, that they were all part of the revolutionary system, that they all had sterling revolutionary credentials over the last 30 years. And he did repeatedly reach out to the young people, the young generation as he called them. Of course, those are, by and large, the people who on the street talking about respecting their vote and how their views were important as well.

But as to a recount or rather a revote, it does not look like it's on the cards and it never has been. Nobody has endorsed that in the week since the election.

ROBERTS: Christiane Amanpour for us from London this morning. Christiane, thanks so much. By the way, you can join Christiane this weekend for a firsthand look at Iran's explosive election from the voting booth to the bloody aftermath. "Amanpour Reports: "Anatomy of an Election." It airs on Saturday and Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

Meanwhile, the man who won the disputed election according to the official results, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says some things he said earlier this week were taken out of context. On Sunday, he compared some supporters of the opposition to dirt or dust. Many in Iran took huge offense to that, but now President Ahmadinejad told Iran state media that he was only talking about those people who started riots.

And we have been getting tons of calls from you about the situation unfolding in Iran on our show hotline. 1-877-MY-AMFIX. Here's some of what you've been telling us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARGARET, AMFIX CALLER (via telephone): I was actually in Iran during the regime change in 1979 through 1983. And I'm so happy to see this of young people are trying to do something to change Iran.

STACEY, AMFIX CALLER FROM FLORIDA (via telephone): Whether or not the outcome changes, the point has been made. They are ready to be an active participant in their democracy. I'm very proud of them.

DWIGHT, AMFIX CALLER FROM FLORIDA (via telephone): One side says the president is doing too much. The other side says the president is doing too little. So no one is happy. That would suggest maybe he struck the right balance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Well, Iran has become a delicate balancing act for President Obama. The number two Republican in the House is now calling the president's position on the political unrest there absurd. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor will expand on his criticism of the president later this morning on Capitol Hill. The Virginia congressman says the U.S. has a "moral responsibility" to condemn Iranian government attacks on protesters.

President Obama, he is defending his approach. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the president believes that he has struck the right tone in responding to Iran.

Carol?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CO-ANCHOR: You know, right now because of the restrictions proposed by the Iranian government, we can't bring you a live report from Tehran. We can't directly talk to the protesters there. We're only permitted to transmit one story from there per day. But, of course, as you know, protesters are using Twitter and Facebook and other social networking sites to let the world know what's going on. And Ivan Watson is in Atlanta at our Iran desk. He's monitoring this. And have you gotten any more response from the ayatollah's speech? What are the protests? I mean, they got to be really bummed out about that?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A bunch of different things we're hearing. And, of course, we're reporting from here because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he made it clear he's very angry at the western media's coverage of these historic events. He spent a lot of time railing against what he calls the western Zionist media. And I believe we're included in that condemnation.

This is what we're seeing, Carol. Here's one poster who has said, "I wonder if the election protests will go ahead tomorrow." The main opposition candidate, he's planning, he's requested formally from the authorities to have another demonstration tomorrow.

Another supporter of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying, "I love the way he says his prayers and I love his accent." And here is one we've seen in Farsi. And this is very interesting. This poster says, "Has Khamenei displayed his sword? Let's go to war." He made it very clear that the demonstrators are breaking the law and that they will be held accountable for what they're doing and this poster thinks a fight is imminent -- Carol.

COSTELLO: We hope not. Ivan Watson reporting for us live from Atlanta. Thanks.

Also new this morning, the FBI says it found child porn on James von Brunn's home computer. He's the 88-year-old white supremacist charged with fatally shooting a security officer at the Holocaust Museum in Washington last week. Von Brunn is still in the hospital. He's recovering from a gunshot wound to the face.

More explaining to do for Nevada Senator John Ensign. His spokesperson admits the senator helped his mistress's husband land two jobs during the time Ensign was having an affair with the man's wife. And, of course, that's raising questions about whether the conservative Republican senator got him those jobs to keep the couple quiet.

With an economy in crisis and Iran erupting, is President Obama spreading himself too thin? In a moment, our experts on new polls that show the president's performance and his popularity may be taking a hit.

We're also getting a lot of response on our blog, CNN.com/amFIX on our question of the day. Our "Just Sayin'" question, is feminism obsolete? I'm just going to read one of them.

From Sylvia -- she says the concept of feminism has been so diluted that it's merely a catch phrase. As a woman who was able to break through an all-male work environment in the '70s and saw it as a springboard to a new approach to life, feminism will never be obsolete.

So she kind of contradicts herself but does say it's been diluted.

We want to know what you think. Is feminism obsolete? CNN.com/amFIX.

It's nine minutes past.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Good morning, Minneapolis. It is partly cloudy there, 75 degrees. But later on, it's going to be one beautiful day. Partly sunny and 81. Here's a look at the top stories this morning that are new.

The alleged Bernie Madoff of Texas, billionaire R. Allen Stanford is scheduled to appear in court later today facing fraud charges, accused of what authorities call a massive Ponzi scheme.

Remember the guy who stole a plane in Canada and flew over three states before finally landing on a remote Missouri highway? Well, he's now been indicted on federal charges including illegally entering the country. If convicted, he could spend more than 20 years in prison.

And it's the 52nd day in a row that gas prices have gone up. AAA reporting the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is up another half cent to exactly $2.69 a gallon.

ROBERTS: Well, you know, it's Father's Day coming up this weekend, which maybe means that the honey-do list has been suspended for the weekend. And we don't know -- we don't know if President Obama's honey-do list has been suspended enough, but he certainly has a robust to-do list. Reform health care, rescue the economy, regulate Wall Street, deal with the crisis in Iran.

President Obama certainly a busy man these days. Some argue just a little bit too busy. Is he taking on too much, saying too much, doing too much. Here to debate that and other issues, Ed Rollins, Republican strategist and CNN senior political analyst. And from Washington this morning, Karen Finney, former communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

Let's start first of all with the approach to Iran. The president playing it cautiously, Karen, for the most part trying to stay out of it, trying to resist the idea of getting sucked in to the debate there in Iran despite Iran's leader's best efforts to bring the United States in. Is that the right strategy?

KAREN FINNEY, FORMER DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I think we saw this morning why that is the right strategy. As you saw from the supreme leader's speech trying to accuse the United States and Great Britain of, you know, trying to influence what's happening in Iran. So I think he's taken the right position and certainly I think the most important thing that we've seen is young people taking to the streets.

I was noticing in the images that we saw from the streets this morning, those were not the same people that we saw out on the streets these last few days. So, certainly I think it will be interesting to see what happens going forward and there may be ways that we can -- you know, not publicly support the people of Iran, but publicly taking this position of kind of walking that balance I think is the right thing.

ROBERTS: So what about that as a foreign policy strategy, Ed? You know what the leaders of Iran want to do, so your best play is to stand back and say this is an internal affair. It's a matter for the Iranian people. Let it bubble up organically there.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think because of our past history, and any kind of American involvement, anything in Iran is suspicious. I think it's a correct approach. A lot of Republicans aren't happy with it. But at the end of the day, only one person gets to speak for our foreign policy and everybody should be buying that.

ROBERTS: Yes. There are a lot of Republicans who are not happy with it.

ROLLINS: Right.

ROBERTS: Eric Cantor, we mentioned just a minute ago, called it absurd.

ROLLINS: John McCain.

ROBERTS: John McCain, we had him on the other day. Let's listen to what he said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We're not meddling in any country's affairs when we call for free and fair elections. That's a fundamental principle and the president obviously doesn't agree with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: All right. So John McCain wants the president to be much more forceful. Do you think McCain is making the wrong play here?

ROLLINS: I think the bottom line, John, is John's prerogative to speak however he wants to. But I think our foreign policy is conducted by the president and the State Department. And I think, historically, we have always had -- we let foreign policy stop at the water's edge. We should do that.

ROBERTS: Another big issue that the president is taking on this summer is health care. Of course, he's making a big push to get a reform, get something through Congress. He seems, though, Karen, in recent days do a run up against the reality of the budget and how to pay for all of this and the big splits in the Democratic Party. Is the president going to get this through? What does he do about the enormous cost of reforming health care?

FINNEY: Yes. Well, I think we're seeing a number of different proposals, you know, emerge on the "Hill" and that's the process that, you know, the president wanted. It's like let's put it all together on the table and debate and figure out how we do this.

I thought one of the most important things, though, that we saw in the polls that came out this week is that 76 percent of the American people want a public option in health care reform. I think that sends a very strong message to Congress that's something the president has been pushing for. So I hope that sends a message to Congress. They better figure it out because that's what the American people want.

ROBERTS: And so, if 76 percent of people, Americans polled, want a public health care option, why is it such a red line for Republicans, Ed?

ROLLINS: Well, my sense is many of those people think it's free health care. They think it's like Medicare or Medicaid. And the bottom line is someone is going to have to pay for this. And, you know, you're talking about $1.6 trillion today that we don't have to pay for this thing, and I think to a certain extent, no one has a right to have free health care. They should have an access to it and obviously I think we'll provide it. But at the end of the day, someone has to pay for it. The taxpayers are going to pay for it or individuals are going to pay for it.

ROBERTS: You know, we began -- we began the segment -- I just have one more thing I want to get in here, Karen, if I could, because time is running out.

We began the segment by saying that the president has got an enormous to-do list. A lot of people wondering if he's spread too thin.

We've got some new Gallup poll numbers. Fifty-five percent of people say that they have a favorable view of his stewardship of the economy. Forty-eight percent disapprove of his handling of federal budget deficit. Fifty-one percent unhappy with his control of federal spending.

Karen, has he just got too many plates spinning on too many sticks?

FINNEY: Well, unfortunately, I think the reality is we just have a lot going on right now, both on the domestic front and the international front. And there are all things that have been left for too long left undone. And just because these things are hard to do doesn't mean we shouldn't do them and I think that's the approach the president has taken.

But I think the most important thing is that people still trust him and his favorability is very high. And I think that means, you know, they're willing to give him a chance to see if his policies will work. Remember, this is still a fairly new administration and we need to see what's going to happen with his policy.

ROBERTS: Is he spread too thin, Ed? Or does he have the staff and the ability to be able to take on all of this?

ROLLINS: Well, he has big staff. I think the bottom line is can the Congress handle this? You know, he gets to propose that they have to make and implement it. And I think they're the ones that are up for 2010. And the numbers that they're going to worry about are those financial numbers and those deficit numbers that, you know, and obviously, it's the numbers start to drop, his personal approval rating has dropped five points in the last month, drops another five points in the next six or seven months then they're basically in a place where it gets precarious in 2010.

ROBERTS: Republicans are certainly trying to do everything they can. They will continue to sit around and act --

ROLLINS: We will continue to do that.

ROBERTS: All right.

FINNEY: But it doesn't seem to be working for the Republican.

ROLLINS: Well, we'll see.

ROBERTS: Ed Rollins, Karen Finney, always great to see you. Thanks so much for that.

Seventeen and a half minutes now after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Good morning. Myrtle Beach. Thanks to our friends at WCSC. Oh, why does it say Myrtle Beach? The script says -- the fucking script says Myrtle Beach.

Guys, I go Myrtle Beach when in fact --

COSTELLO: Don't you recognize that bridge?

ROBERTS: I know, and I was thinking --

I know that bridge. And I've driven over that bridge. But I thought maybe they built one in Myrtle Beach. The fucking script said Myrtle Beach.

CHETRY: Are you allowed to say that word on the air?

ROBERTS: Well, if I'm not.

CHETRY: It's short of a hybrid word.

ROBERTS: I won't see you on Monday, will I?

Clear and 75 degrees right now. Sunny and 93 will be the high today.

(LAUGHTER)

I personally apologize for that.

COSTELLO: Oh, that was really funny.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's like somewhere down south (ph) -- one of those southern cities.

COSTELLO: Whatever.

ROBERTS: Saw that night I can't remember the name of the bridge.

COSTELLO: It's OK.

ROBERTS: So somebody helped me out but --

COSTELLO: Our viewers will forgive you.

ELAM: Yes.

ROBERTS: But I have driven into it.

COSTELLO: I know.

ROBERTS: My daughter is going to go to the college of Charleston in the fall. Charleston is going to be a big part of my life for the next four years. Forgive me. Please forgive me.

COSTELLO: I'll get you a big glass of Bourbon after the show.

ROBERTS: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Stephanie, hi.

ELAM: Hi.

COSTELLO: You're going to talk about one big, big fine for some poor woman who downloaded some music.

ELAM: She just wanted a little tune. You know, that's what it was. I really think it was the music that threw John off and it was the dance moves that everyone out there didn't get to see that they're off. That's what it was.

COSTELLO: Yes. But you hadn't been dancing than paying more attention to looking at that bridge.

ELAM: Yes. The script said Myrtle Beach, but WCSC is in Charleston. So it was like, you know, brain short circuited.

ELAM: Anyway, there's some infringement that's been ruled upon by a jury and that is causing one woman to really take a look at how much income she has because here's what happened. Here's the latest.

This 32-year-old woman in Minnesota, she downloaded some songs. Actually, there's 24 of these songs that she downloaded for 99 cents.

Well, now, a jury has jury ruled that this was a copyright infringement case that she was guilty of doing and so now they've ruled that she is going to have to pay $1.90 million, basically $80,000 a song for those songs that she got from the download (ph).

COSTELLO: But she already paid 99 cents. ELAM: Right. She already paid and now she's going to have to pay again. These are songs she downloaded through Kazaa. Obviously the recording industry of America, they are very happy that they've ruled this way but obviously, this is the only one that has gone to trial here. Since then, the recording industry has changed the rules.

ROBERTS: No. They're never going to get that money from her.

ELAM: She doesn't have it. I mean, she's really been very clear about that. But just to think about that, $80,000 a song. I mean, I love music, I love my iPod, can't imagine paying that.

ROBERTS: It will certainly scare them.

ELAM: Yes.

COSTELLO: Yes.

ELAM: A lot of people -- and some things become folklore for kids like don't ever do this. There was once a woman, you know --

ROBERTS: Got fined.

ELAM: Yes.

ROBERTS: So I wonder what the -- thousand dollars total or something.

ELAM: Maybe try to renegotiate something or also they may go and appeal and try something again. But previously, she had a smaller fine for a song like $9,252.

ROBERTS: Right.

COSTELLO: Oh.

ELAM: Yes.

ROBERTS: Certainly made their point, didn't they?

ELAM: Yes. Oh, they did.

ROBERTS: Stephanie Elam "Minding Your Business" this morning. Stephanie, thanks so much.

ELAM: Sure.

ROBERTS: Coming up now at 24 minutes after the hour. Of course, tragedy in the skies yesterday when a pilot for Continental Airlines died halfway through the flight. The rest of the crew had to take over. It all ended up safely. But what's really interesting is that while we on the ground knew what was going on, people in the sky had no idea.

Mary Snow has got the full report coming up right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Hey, surprise, surprise. It's another wet day in New York City. Fog and 63 degrees right now. Later on today, mostly cloudy with a high of 78. But hopefully there will not be another repeat of yesterday's monsoon. We'd all appreciate that.

Well, in the middle of all of that yesterday was a story that had people glued to their televisions. A plane coming into Newark airport after the pilot, the captain died mid flight. It turns out that the people watching knew a whole lot more than the passengers onboard the aircraft did. CNN's Mary Snow picks up the story from there.

Good morning, Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. You know, passengers even in the first class section say they were unaware they were unaware of what was going on. The passengers were stunned to learn that the captain had died in the cockpit and that two co-pilots have taken over the plane and landed at Newark.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): Emergency crews stood by at Newark airport for Continental Flight 61 coming from Brussels. The FAA and airline had confirmed the captain had died mid flight but the passengers only learned about it once they got off the plane.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They never said the pilot died.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They called over the P.A. system and says is any doctor on board. Any doctors on board, please come immediately. So we just didn't realize it. We didn't know happened.

SNOW: Dr. Julien Struyzen from Brussels was among the doctors who went to the cockpit. He says he tried using a defibrillator.

DR. JULIEN STRUYZEN, CARDIOLOGIST ON BOARD: I was the first M.D. coming on call for some duty (ph) and the duty was the pilot. And the pilot illness and his illness lead to his death.

SNOW: CNN affiliate KHOU spoke with the wife of pilot Craig Lynell, photographed here with his daughter. Lynda Lynell revealed yet more heartache for their family.

LYNDA LYNELL, WIFE OF DECEASED PILOT (via telephone): I understand it. He was in the cockpit and the co-pilot thought he was sleeping. That he'd nodded off and he couldn't wake him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was that peaceful.

LYNELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you --

LYNELL: He was coming back home for us to bury my mother tomorrow.

SNOW: Continental Airlines says the pilot apparently died of natural causes. It would only say he was 60 years old with 32 years of service. There was a relief pilot on board as part of the crew, something that's done on long flights and he took over for the captain. One former pilot says crews are prepared for medical emergencies.

CAPT. JOHN COX, FORMER USAIR FLIGHT CAPTAIN: The crew is completely qualified to fly the airplane and routine landing will be made. So advising the passengers really doesn't contribute anything positive to the situation.

SNOW: And it's only been since December 2007 that commercial pilots are permitted to fly past their 60th birthday.

Former FAA official Scott Brenner.

SCOTT BRENNER, FORMER SR. FAA OFFICIAL: Under the new rules, pilots are now allowed to fly up until they reach their 65th birthday with some -- with some little adjustments where rather than having annual physicals, now they have to have physicals twice a year.

SNOW: Brenner says the new age requirements matched what's been done in other parts of the world already.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Now the captain's widow, Lynda Lynell, says that her husband was in perfect health. He had no known heart condition. And she says that he was checked every six months, which as we pointed out is now required for pilots who turn 60 and over.

ROBERTS: You know, sometimes the very first sign that you have heart disease is when you have a heart attack and drop dead. So, you just can't find that stuff unless you do, you know, some of those intricate scans. What a shame.

COSTELLO: And thinking about the passengers onboard the plane, I was thinking would I want to know if there was something wrong with the pilot of the plane while we're in the air. And I say, no.

SNOW: And, you know, all the passengers we spoke to yesterday all said the same thing. They said they would have panicked had they been told. They're very sad to learn the news, but they said they would have been panicked.

ROBERTS: Probably why they kept the information close the best. Mary, thanks so much for that.

SNOW: Sure.

COSTELLO: It's 29 minutes past the hour. Checking our top stories now.

An ex-aid says Pakistan's Taliban chief was behind the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. That's according to a Pakistani TV report. He also said he's breaking ties with the Taliban leader for killing scores of other innocent Muslims. Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007 at a campaign rally.

ROBERTS: Hawaii on alert and a North Korean ship on the move. Senior Pentagon officials tell CNN the military is tracking a suspicious North Korean ship that may be carrying nuclear material. And with reports that North Korea might be planning to launch a missile in the direction of Hawaii, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the military is mobilizing tracking devices and missile interceptors there.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And it's that time of year, the National Hurricane Center tracking the first tropical depression of the Pacific hurricane season. Forecasters say it's heading slowly toward Mexico and could turn into a tropical storm tonight when it reaches the Mexican coast. We'll keep an eye on it.

Breaking news this morning though, in front of thousands of chanting supporters, Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khomeini said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a definitive victory in Friday's election and he denies any vote rigging. Instead, he's pointing his finger at western government including the United States, and the media, including the United States video for supposedly manipulating and undermining the process. So what's next in this political stalemate? Let's bring in Shireen Hunter, Iran analyst and visiting scholar with Georgetown University. Good morning.

SHIREEN HUNTER, VISITING SCHOLAR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Good morning.

COSTELLO: So everybody was trying to guess what the supreme leader was going to say. I mean, he says essentially that the elections were not rigged and that the protesters should get off of the streets. So what does this mean for the hundreds of thousands of protesters who have been out there bravely protesting Iran's election results?

SHIREEN: Well, I think definitely obviously this shows that the regime is not willing to listen to those people that want some fundamental change. But I personally believe that this is not correct because what is going to happen is that the divisions within the country is going to deepen and ultimately this would make the whole system even unstable.

COSTELLO: You know, already, I've heard some reports that some protesters are getting these mysterious phone calls saying stay off of the streets -

HUNTER: Right.

COSTELLO: Or you could be arrested. There's also some intimidation factors that are starting to heat up. If the protesters take to the streets again, I mean, could it be really ugly?

HUNTER: It can get very ugly. I think that's one of the things that at least for me was very interesting - the difference, let's say, between these protests and what was basically student protests in '99 is that this has been going on already now almost for a week. Definitely five, six days. And so it seems that those who are protesting are willing to - you know, to suffer somewhat. And this, of course, is going to - it's continuous. It's going to force the government with a very difficult dilemma.

If the protesters do not heed either the call of the supreme leader or the threat veil and unveil, then the regime is going to face the basic choice. Either they'll have to resort to violence and that is very dangerous. Or they have to do something that- you know, meet the demands of protesters.

COSTELLO: Well, already, you kind of heard, you know, the supreme leader blaming the west for these protests. So, he's sort of giving the military an out, isn't he? If violence does occur?

HUNTER: Well, you know, they are blaming, obviously, this is the very normal thing and everybody blames. But it seems to me that this is a little bit unfair because, you know, if the protesters had not gone to the streets, nobody would have reported on them. I mean, they could not have - this is not just a few people here and there to orchestrate something like that. You know, takes an awful lot of effort. And definitely media cannot do that. So I think that this is a very normal way of you know finding an escape goat.

But the point is that, you see - given the number of protesters, they cannot have, you know, like a single policeman for every protester. So obviously they have to use a much more severe force. And that, of course, is the - is the prospect that I hope that will make them think twice.

COSTELLO: Hopefully. You know, I want to ask you something completely random in the supreme leader's speech. You mentioned the branch Davidians and David Koresh and of course, that happened in the United States when the FBI raided the Branch Davidians compound and burned it to the ground. It just seemed so odd because it happened so long ago. Why would he bring up that?

HUNTER: I'm really frankly, I'm almost as puzzles, you know, as you are. Perhaps what he was trying to say that we do things here, you know, legally, we don't resort to violence. And also try to put what is going on in the U.S. in a bad light. I mean, that's all I can think of. Because it's not really relevant to what is going on here. You have a totally different issue today. But, you know, sometimes they say very puzzling things.

COSTELLO: That's very strange. Thank you so much for enlightening us.

HUNTER: Thank you.

COSTELLO: We really appreciate you, Shireen Hunter, Iran analyst and visiting scholar with Georgetown.

ROBERTS: You know, Carol, I don't know if you saw it, but a couple of days ago Nick Krzysztof had a really interesting column in "The New York Times" in which he was talking about this cyber aspect of the demonstrations going on across Iran and demonstrators there actually using software that was designed for the Falun Gong in its dispute with China to try to get the message out. Nick Krzysztof is going to be joining in our next hour to talk about the war on technology and how it fits in with the protests going on around. So make sure you're on for the next hour here on the most news on the morning. 36 minutes now after the hour.

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COSTELLO: Some of the top videos right now on cnn.com. Does this guy remind you of anyone? Here's the hint? He really, really loves to twitter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to do something here that's pretty revolutionary. We're going to throw quad screen split. That's four screens, people. OK. I'm going to put up my Twitter, my Facebook, and my Myspace account. We got thousands of tweets already. Here's one from John79, Rick, love the show. Thanks, buddy, appreciate it. JK, it sucks. All right. We got a wisenheimer here, let's just keep rolling here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Well, if you couldn't tell, that was an homage to CNN's very own, the one and only Rick Sanchez.

Also, Kirk gone wild. William Shatner, formerly Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise was, shall we say, a lively guest on the "Conan O'Brien Show" this week. He couldn't make the Vulcan Spock hand gesture but he was able to make a few other gestures that we cannot show you on this show.

And it took this man 34 years to complete his masterpiece. An amazing rendition of San Francisco made entirely out of toothpicks, more than one million toothpicks. From Lombard Street to the Golden Gate Bridge, it's all there.

ROBERTS: Well, bad things happen when federal agencies don't talk to each other. And now a new report says Mexican drug cartels are taking advantage of miscommunication and some all-out confusion on this side of the border. Our Jeanne Meserve joins us now live from Washington.

Jeanne, this one has got a lot of people shaking their heads. What's going on?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. The reports of the federal agencies are tripping over one another when it comes to stopping the flow of guns into Mexico.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE (voice-over): Almost 2,000 rounds of ammunition concealed in boxes of detergent seized early this week in Texas. They were headed for Mexico. Small pieces of a big problem. A new Government Accountability report says only a quarter of the guns seized in Mexico are traced in part because the computerized system is only in English, not Spanish. But if the fire arms that were trace over the past three years, more than 90 percent came from the U.S. and they are increasingly powerful.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), NEW YORK: We're the ones consuming the drugs and we're the ones providing the cartels with guns. It's just simply unacceptable.

MESERVE: According to the GAO, turf wars between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Immigration and Custom enforcement are hurting efforts to stop gun trafficking.

JESS FORD, GOV'T ACCOUTNABILITY OFFICE: We found a number of instances where they didn't share information related to cases that they were involved in, cases where is they didn't share intelligence.

MESERVE: Another inter-agency conflict which has hampered the fight against drug traffickers was at least partially resolved Thursday when ICE and the Drug Enforcement Administration agreed to increase coordination and manpower.

MICHELLE LEONHART, DEA ACTING ADMINISTRATOR: Today is a great day for DEA. It's a great day for ICE, and for narcotics law enforcement. But it's a bad day for the drug traffickers.

MESERVE: But the drug traffickers are persistent. This week, the Mexican Navy found a ton of cocaine hidden inside frozen sharks. One congressional critic isn't convinced enough is being done. He said in fighting among agencies dealing with border issues has hurt investigations and compromised officers' safety.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Which is common sense. It's obvious that every agency ought to be cooperating with other law enforcement agencies to get the job done.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: President Obama recently announced a new strategy for the southwest border that will address both drugs and guns. But the specifics of how it would address coordination and cooperation among agencies haven't been completely spelled out. John.

ROBERTS: Jeanne Meserve for us this morning. Jeanne, thanks so much for that.

43 minutes now after the hour.

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COSTELLO: It's 45 minutes past the hour. Let's fast forward to stories that will be making news later today. This morning, President Obama speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer breakfast. That happens at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. It comes just ahead of the White House immigration reform summit that's scheduled for next week. Opening bell at 9:30 a.m. Eastern and today could be a particularly volatile day for stocks. Today, it was known as quadruple witching day. It's something that occurs only a few times a year and it has several derivatives. A derivatives contract expire the same time. We'll be keeping a close watch on that for you. Explain what exactly that is.

Happening today a groundbreaking ceremony for what will be a ground breaking facility work today. It begins on Sir Richard Branson's space port America, a project designed to bring commercial space flight to the world.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will participate in the ground breaking that happens at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Now let's head to Atlanta to check in with Rob Marciano. You know, it just doesn't feel like summer. I know, it's not officially summer yet. But there's rain everywhere.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: There is. It's, you know, in New York has seen about three times as much rain as they normally would during the month of June. So you're not imagining that, Carol. I can understand that angst you have. But fear not, summer begins early Sunday morning at 1:45 Eastern time and that would be Saturday night Pacific time, this weekend.

All right. Red on the maps across the lower Great Lakes and the midwest. Here's what it looked like yesterday across Louisville, Kentucky where they really got pounded with some heavy rain, thunder, lightning, you name it. There it is the city getting lit up. And wind gusts measured officially at the airport almost 60. We had reports over 70 in some spots. So power knocked out and certainly the rain gutters over flowing as that storm moved through.

MARCIANO: Here's the storms right now from Chicago to Kalamazoo to Detroit back to Mansfield, Columbus getting hit pretty hard this morning. So this is on the move towards the northeast which is drying out somewhat today. Most of the rain extreme and eastern parts of New England, New York looks to be drier today, but yesterday, record rain both at the Central Park, J.F.K., Bridgeport, and Islip, over two inches in spots and later today look for delay at the Chicago and Detroit airports, maybe in York as well. What about leftover moisture at the ground level, just some fog and low clouds. I think today will be mostly be dry with a high of 76. John, Carol, back up to you.

COSTELLO: I'm a happy camper now.

ROBERTS: It was raining so hard yesterday. Did you come up from D.C. yesterday morning?

COSTELLO: Yes, I was here and you know, in New York, when it rains, like things drip on your head and you don't know what's dripping on your head. It's not pretty.

MARCIANO: More angst.

ROBERTS: The funniest part about that is that things drip your head in New York even when it's not raining. Rob, thanks so much.

MARCIANO: Enjoy.

ROBERTS: Well, this morning, the question is not who will win the U.S. open, it's can they finish it? Only half of the field teed off yesterday, and no one finished the first round before rain suspended play at Bethpage on Long Island. Talk about getting soaked, thousands of fans who spend up to $150 per ticket didn't get to see a single shot and they cannot get a refund.

COSTELLO: They're teed off.

ROBERTS: Yes, they are teed off. I can't use those tickets this morning either. And they have resumed play, by the way, at Bethpage.

COSTELLO: Wrong, really wrong.

ROBERTS: You would think that there would be some sort of a rain check?

COSTELLO: Yes.

ROBERTS: That's not --

COSTELLO: Probably on the back of the tickets in very small prints it says no rain checks.

ROBERTS: Yes.

COSTELLO: So it's your fault.

ROBERTS: Printed is too small for people at my age to read.

It's coming up now at 49 minutes after the hour.

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ROBERTS: Nine minutes now to the top of the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning. Take a look at this. Amazing photograph. It's an entire kitchen galley from Air France Flight 447. Investigators found it in one piece floating in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. They believe now that the plane broke apart in mid- flight, probably at extremely high altitude. But they still don't know why. And the real answers may still lie at the bottom of the ocean with the flight data recorders. International security correspondent Paula Newton is tracking the story for us. She is live in London this morning. Good morning, Paula.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And good morning, John. Chilling pictures, aren't they? What they're really looking for beneath the earth's ocean surface three or four miles down, John, are still those black boxes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON (voice-over): As Atlantic currents give up more and more pieces of Air France flight 447, the voice and data recorders are still submerged and undetected. More than 400 pieces of wreckage have been collected all crucial to the investigation. But it's still the data recorders that matter most. The company that made them says it's confident they will be found.

PAOLO CARMASSI, HONEYWELL AEROSCPACE: We have 100 percent recovery rate of all the black boxes that we have installed that unfortunately may have been involved in an accident. We hope that we will be able to maintain our records and be able to shed some light on what happened.

NEWTON: As search teams continue to sift through clues, Brazilian medical examiners have told French investigators that the autopsies performed on some of the 50 bodies recovered so far show sign of fractures to arms, legs, and hips, and few had any clothing. All of this aviation experts say points to a mid-air rupture at about 35,000 feet, but still no explanation as to why.

YANN COCHENNEC, AVIATION ANALYST: I think they will be able to collect more debris, more parts of the aircraft, and maybe from that, from those debris. They may be able to draw a scenario, a potential scenario, or possible scenarios.

NEWTON: French investigators have pleaded for people to stop speculating, but with fear building among passengers around the world and the Brazilian government releasing more and more information, all eyes are now on the French agency leading the investigation. The Brazilian military will continue to look for debris and bodies and the search for the voice and data recorders will go on for at least another two weeks. But as time passes, the pressure increases on French investigators to come up with some answers to what brought down flight 447.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Now, I know a lot of nervous travelers have been watching this story very carefully. Just to recap, John, as we've been discussing, weather still a concern, those speed sensors that were giving them the wrong data on perhaps whether it was going too fast or too slow, still an issue. Everything, still, pretty much on the table, John. We expect a preliminary report in about two weeks.

ROBERTS: All right. Paula Newton for us this morning from London. Paula, thanks so much. It's now 54 minutes after the hour.

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COSTELLO: Listen to this, so far this year 2,500 people have been killed by drug violence in Mexico. In 2008, nearly triple that number died. President Obama says he's determined to stop the violence, but the drug lords are not only ruthless - I mean they're ruthless, I should say that. Thelma Gutierrez tells us they're creative too.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, I'm on the U.S.- Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona, where the president's new border czar has said priority is starting to shift away from illegal immigration to violence, drugs, and guns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): It's a war that knows no boundaries. Violence that is now a threat to national security. Stopping it is a top priority for the Obama administration. Alan Bersin the new border czar was recently appointed to do the job.

(on camera): Last year, 7,000 people were killed in the Mexico drug war. The cartels have been executing police and judges and other high-ranking government officials. What would you be able to do to stop that violence from crossing over into the United States

ALAN BERSIN, U.S. BORDER CZAR: For the first time, we acknowledge that these organizations are a national security threat. Not only in Mexico, but to the United States. And we adopted a partnership that is unprecedented in terms of fighting against it. This is now looked at by both countries one set of problems that we share in common as opposed to this is their problem and this is our problem.

Drugs coming north, our problem - guns going south, their problem. Instead we adopt a mutual approach to it that says we have a co- responsibility for the problem and therefore an opportunity to cooperate on the solution.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): The day Bersin toured this port of entry, two girls were caught trying to cross a kilo of heroin into the United States. Evidence border official haves a tough fight ahead.

BERSIN: This is on a U.S. citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two U.S. citizens, a 14-year-old and an 18-year- old.

GUTIERREZ: Just last week, more evidence of brazen cartel activity. Another tunnel, 85 feet long was discovered leading from Mexico into a warehouse on this side of the border. It was sealed immediately.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUTIERREZ: That tunnel is just one of 16 tunnels that was discovered here in Nogales, Arizona in the past six months. Officials are wondering how many are out there that they haven't found? John, Carol?

COSTELLO: Thanks, Thelma.

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