Return to Transcripts main page

AMERICAN MORNING

FBI Says Terror Suspects Arrested Led Double Life; Health Care Hits a Wall; Drug Agents Raid Home, Office of Michael Jackson's Doctor; Regulators Call to Curb Energy Speculation; Colin Powell Weighs in on Gates Controversy; Prescription Drug Abuse; Iraqi Insurgents Robbing Banks

Aired July 29, 2009 - 06:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks very much for joining us on this Wednesday, it's the 29th of July. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." I'm John Roberts.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Carol Costello sitting in for Kiran this morning. We're following several developing stories this Wednesday. Again, we'll break them down for you in the next 15 minutes.

Terror on the home front, a group of Americans in North Carolina are accused of plotting to wage violent jihad overseas. Seven suspects are in custody. The FBI hunting for another one. The wife of the group's alleged ring leader talking exclusively with CNN. We're live in Raleigh, North Carolina with some more developments for you.

ROBERTS: And no deal. Talks on health care reform broke up last night over more than six hours of negotiations. With just a week before Congress takes a break for the month of August, can lawmakers make some progress? Plus, why the president is taking his message to a supermarket today?

COSTELLO: Michael Jackson's personal physician may not be a suspect right now, but he's certainly being treated like one. Police and drug agents raided Dr. Conrad Murray's Las Vegas home and his office taking cell phones and a computer hard drive. And a report could be released this week on the cause of Jackson's death.

ROBERTS: Well, folks in North Carolina are waking up to a story they never thought they'd hear. Seven men in the Raleigh area are in custody accused of plotting a violent jihad overseas. And this morning, the FBI is searching for an eighth member of the group.

Here's something else that has people reeling today. Investigators say the alleged ringleader, Daniel Boyd, led a double life. He hung drywall for a living and at the same time was recruiting other people willing to die as martyrs. But his wife who spoke exclusively to CNN is telling a completely different story.

CNN's homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve is watching this one closely. She's in Raleigh this morning.

Jeanne, what a bizarre story. JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Daniel Boyd, a U.S. citizen, he's the son of a Marine. But prosecutors say he was plotting to commit violent jihad overseas. And amongst those he allegedly recruited, two of his sons. Now the mother of those boys, Daniel Boyd's wife, Sabrina, is offering explanations for the accusations being made by the government.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE (voice-over): Daniel Boyd fought in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, but had settled in bucolic Willow Spring, North Carolina. He and his two sons were among seven people arrested Monday on terrorism charges. His wife, Sabrina, tells CNN they are innocent.

SABRINA BOYD, WIFE OF DANIEL BOYD: I know that my husband and my sons are free of guilt and I'm hopeful that the truth will come to light.

MESERVE: In court documents, the government says the group stockpiled a cache of high-powered weapons. Boyd's wife says they were only responding to news reports that guns and ammunition were becoming scarce.

BOYD: We will say that we do have -- we do own guns in our home as our constitutional right allows us. And I don't think there's a crime in that.

MESERVE: The government says the group trained for jihad in rural North Carolina. But Sabrina Boyd says her husband was just helping his boy scouts sons with marksmanship.

BOYD: One of the merit badges they use, you know, to become an eagle scout. And so, it wouldn't be beyond pale for him to take them out and do target practices. It's not unusual.

MESERVE: The government alleges Boyd and one of his sons traveled to Israel to wage holy war. But Boyd's wife says they just wanted to pray in Jerusalem for another son who had died in a car crash. Since their arrest, she has not been able to talk to her husband or older son and the strain is showing.

BOYD: And I just want to say that I'm very proud to be Muslim and I'm very proud to be married to Daniel Boyd. And I'm very proud of my children.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: Sabrina Boyd alleges that the FBI played what she calls a dirty trick on Monday. She says an acquaintance showed up at her doorstep in a bloody shirt with a state policeman telling her there had been another bad accident, this one involving her husband and sons. She says when she and her pregnant daughter-in-law went to the hospital they were then put in handcuffs and treated rudely. She claims that this was all a ruse so authorities could search their house unimpeded.

We reached out to the FBI. The FBI said it would make no comment on anything pertaining to this investigation. John, back to you.

ROBERTS: The story is beginning to unfold. Jeanne Meserve for us in Raleigh, North Carolina this morning. Jeanne, thanks so much for that.

COSTELLO: Health care reform on the agenda again today for President Obama. And the president is taking his message to a supermarket in Virginia today. But the people who really need convincing are actually members of his own party.

Democratic leaders spent six hours last night negotiating with House blue dogs, fiscally conservative Democrats who have the most to defeat any bill that comes through the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Jim Acosta is digging deeper to figure out why this coalition is putting the brakes on the president's health care plan.

Good morning, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. You're right. When it comes to health care reform, President Obama is having just as much trouble with members of his own party as he is with Republicans. Take those conservative House Democrats known as Blue Dogs. They'll tell you without them, the Democrats would not have a majority in the House, something they now know all too well.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we'll see.

ACOSTA: Running from meeting to meeting surrounded by news cameras, the Blue dogs just might be the most popular breed of politician on Capitol Hill these days.

Now do all the Blue Dogs have a picture of a Blue Dog in their office?

REP. MIKE ROSS (D), ARKANSAS: Well, they better.

ACOSTA: That's because Arkansas Congressman Mike Ross and the rest of the 52 House Democrats who make up the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition may block their party's push for health care reform. That is unless changes are made to rein in the plan's costs.

ROSS: As it stands now, it would not have the support to get it out of the committee and it would not have the support to pass on the House floor.

ACOSTA: So, it would die?

ROSS: Well, I would hope that health care reform wouldn't die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that today we're not just offering --

ACOSTA: The blue dogs were born in 1995 after Republicans took control of Congress. At the time, southern Democrats like Tennessee's John Tanner felt they were choked blue, driven out of power by liberals and their party.

REP. JOHN TANNER (D), TENNESSEE: We're in the middle and when you're in the middle, you're going to catch it from the left and the right.

ACOSTA (on camera): And you're catching it pretty good right now.

TANNER: From the left and the right. So, we must be doing something right.

ACOSTA (voice-over): As for Congressman Ross, he's not only the blue dogs' point man on health care, he also represents Hope, Arkansas, hometown of President Clinton.

You talk to President Clinton from time to time? Is that right?

ROSS: We talked yesterday.

ACOSTA: Has he talked to you at all about health care?

ROSS: We talked a lot about health care. He shares many of my concerns. He understands the challenges we have in rural America.

ACOSTA: Once an owner of a drugstore, Ross insists he will get something done for the more than 450,000 people in Arkansas with no health care.

ROSS: I live in a small town of 3,600 people. The lady that owns the Broadway cafe, she cannot afford health insurance for herself or her employees. And so...

ACOSTA: So, does that weigh in your mind that you could let those folks down?

ROSS: No, we're not going to let them down. In fact, I'll make a prediction here. We'll get health care reform done this year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: But one kind of reform is the question. Right now, the Blue Dogs and Democratic leaders are at an impasse over whether their plan would give Americans the option of joining a government-run program -- the public option. That could dash hopes for a full vote by the end of the week before the August recess. Carol, the clock is ticking.

COSTELLO: You know I was just going to ask -- I was just going to ask you that because he said we're going to get something done by the end of the year but that doesn't mean the thing is going to come up for a vote in August, does it?

ACOSTA: No. By the end of the year, I think would be the key words there, Carol. It looks like this is going to happen now in the fall, certainly in the Senate, if not in the House. And a lot of this has to do with that public option. Even though there are polls showing 71 percent of Americans like this idea of a public option, there are House Democrats, those conservative Blue Dogs who are very nervous about it, Carol.

COSTELLO: Jim Acosta in Washington this morning, thanks.

ACOSTA: You got it.

ROBERTS: The Obama administration just passed the six-month mark now. And it's time for a checkup. Cabinet members and White House staff will huddle up for two days of meetings this weekend. The White House says this has been in the works for a while now. The game plan, to talk about what's on the agenda going forward.

COSTELLO: A key congressional victory for the White House. The House Financial Services Committee approving new rules to limit executive pay, all part of the president's plan to tighten financial regulation. The bill would give shareholders the right to vote on executive compensation. It would also allow regulators to reject pay packages that encourage inappropriate risk. The measure is expected to be considered by the full House later this week.

ROBERTS: And swine flu might be the cause of some sick outside on Capitol Hill recently. Six Senate pages, high school age interns may have contracted H1N1, the swine flu. Doctors say they're not too concerned about an outbreak on Capitol Hill, though.

Five of the young people were treated at their dorm. No one even had to go to the hospital. Two of them apparently will be back at work tomorrow. So everyone there on Capitol Hill, remember to wash your hands.

COSTELLO: That's right. You know, there's something more dangerous than the swine flu.

ROBERTS: Yes, I know. Oh, my goodness. They want to class it in the same category as arsenic and mustard gas.

COSTELLO: It's -- I mean, we always knew -- we're talking about tanning beds. We always knew they were dangerous. But now they're saying they're as deadly. You're right, arsenic and mustard gas.

A new study says ultraviolet radiation in sun lamps have been elevated to the highest cancer risk category. And researchers say people who start using tanning beds before the age of 30 increase their risk of cancer by 75 percent.

ROBERTS: That's a pretty stunning figure.

COSTELLO: That would be me because I went all the time when I was a teenager.

ROBERTS: You fake bake?

COSTELLO: Well, yes. I was 20. I didn't know what I was doing.

ROBERTS: All right. Well, we'll keep a close eye on those little dots on your arm.

COSTELLO: This is from the real sun, which is just as bad. I apologize.

ROBERTS: Hey, so the Michael Jackson case going in new directions all the time. Now they're looking for aliases that Michael Jackson might have used when he went doctor shopping to get drugs. Ted Rowlands has got the story for you coming up.

Nine minutes now after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: And welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Microsoft and Yahoo teaming up to take on Google. It appears the two tech giants have struck a deal on a search engine partnership. Details of the agreement are expected to be announced today. Microsoft has been courting Yahoo for several years, including that failed $47 billion takeover bid last year.

ROBERTS: The shuttlenauts are done, and they're heading home. The space shuttle Endeavour is on its way back to earth after 11 days at the International Space Station and five spacewalks. You know that the crew has got to be exhausted after that schedule. NASA says the Endeavour is expected to land Friday morning at the Kennedy Space Center, weather permitting, of course.

COSTELLO: Of course. As leaders debate, health care reform, one proposal before the Senate Finance Committee got an endorsement from the head of the Centers for Disease Control. A tax on soda and other sugary drinks. The CDC chief says by raising the price of unhealthy food, we'll be dealing with the nation's obesity problem. The American Beverage Association is against the tax saying it will hit poor Americans the hardest.

ROBERTS: Well, police and DEA agents were all over the Las Vegas home and office of the doctor who was with Michael Jackson when he died. Agents say they are looking for, well, lots of things. That's how they put it.

Last week, police searched Dr. Conrad Murray's Houston clinic and a storage unit. They appear to be building a manslaughter case against him.

Ted Rowlands has got the very latest on the expanding Michael Jackson investigation this morning.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Carol, two different stories with these two warrants that were served in Las Vegas. The one here at Dr. Conrad Murray's clinic took investigators eight hours to serve. They were in there looking at medical records for almost all of the data. The other warrant was served at Dr. Conrad Murray's house and didn't take long at all.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ROWLANDS (voice-over): One agent showed up at Dr. Conrad Murray's Las Vegas home. He was there to greet them. After three hours inside, investigators left, according to Murray's attorney with cell phones and a computer hard drive. Another warrant was served at Murray's Las Vegas clinic where agents spent the entire day.

MICHAEL FLANAGAN, DEA: They're looking through records and documents and looking for any that pertain to the search warrant itself. And those documents will be seized as evidence.

ROWLANDS: The search warrant, according to Murray's attorneys, authorize investigators to look for medical records relating to Michael Jackson and all of his reported aliases, meaning investigators believe Jackson and/or Murray may have used fake names on some records.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's very significant to me that the search warrant refers to aliases. Remember in the Anna Nicole case, the doctors were charged with felonies for prescribing medications to Anna Nicole under assumed names. It's absolutely a violation of California law.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROWLANDS: Meanwhile, John and Carol, the big question is when does that L.A. County coroner's report going to come out. Well, the coroner's office is telling CNN it will not come out this week. After all as first expected, they say the earliest they'll have it will be sometime next week -- John, Carol.

ROBERTS: All right, Ted Rowlands for us this morning. Later on in the hour, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to take us inside the operating room. We hear a lot about this drug Propofol, and just powerful it is, and what kind of an effect it has on the body and whether or not it could have been at least partly responsible for Michael Jackson's death. This is a fascinating examination of the effects of that drug as only Dr. Sanjay Gupta could bring it to us.

COSTELLO: You actually see a person going under.

ROBERTS: Yes.

COSTELLO: It's just...

ROBERTS: It's pretty extraordinary, so watch for that. I mean, you know, any doctor who's been in an operating room knows all about this stuff. But lay people at home probably haven't seen it before.

Fifteen minutes after the hour. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: A lot of people have done that, right? They've taken the money and they ran really fast and we can't catch them.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That song is great. Well, that's a really nice way to start the morning.

I'm talking about the government trying to set some limits this morning as "Minding Your Business," limits on energy trading, speculation and energy trading. We all saw last summer that incredible rise in energy prices. And, still, it's been very volatile.

You've got energy prices, oil prices that doubled. And then they were cut in half and then they doubled again. I mean, it has been incredible from $145 last summer, down to $34, and then now back up to $67.

What is the role of speculation? Speculation, look -- speculation is a good thing. It's the other side of a market for people who are using the commodity. But wild gambling, speculation based on computer trading, speculation that throws the market out of whack, excessive speculation, excessive limits, that's what the government is looking at again.

So, you might recall that last summer the CFTC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which regulates exchange-traded commodities, they found that excessive speculation was not the reason for that big rally. It was supply and demand for that big, big move in oil prices.

Well, now we know the CFTC is re-examining that report from last year. May have new findings. They won't tell us what they are, but there's been a lot of speculation they will find that there has been excessive speculation which I call gambling in the energy markets, and they're thinking about new kinds of limits.

They'll be three hearings. The hearings yesterday, they're discussing what to do to try to set some limits so that the hot money, the purely financial firms running in there, running in fast with a whole lot of money trying to negotiate little price changes and make a big load of cash that that might have to be shut down.

And let me be clear, that's different than just plain old speculation. I love speculation. Speculation is good. But they're trying to find out if there's excessive speculation that have been running through those markets. Remember last year we got --

ROBERTS: So plain speculation is good, excessive speculation bad.

ROMANS: It's like pornography, though. You don't know. You don't know what it is until what is excessive speculation. That's the trouble for the government. And that's why a lot of people don't want the government involved in deciding what is good speculation and bad speculation.

COSTELLO: I like that -- plain pornography.

ROBERTS: It just further reinforces. I know nothing about it.

COSTELLO: Whatever. ROMANS: You don't. Yes, you do.

ROBERTS: No, I don't.

ROMANS: Oh, you don't? Do you think that that run-up to $145 last summer was just pure supply and demand in oil?

ROBERTS: No, of course not. I still don't know how it works.

COSTELLO: It was excessive speculation allegedly.

ROMANS: Or supply and demand. I don't know. A little bit of all that. But anyway...

COSTELLO: "Romans' Numeral"?

ROMANS: "Romans' Numeral" is 40, and it's 40 percent. And this is from this hearing yesterday with the CFTC. This is actually from Delta Airlines.

Delta Airlines saying that its general counsel actually saying that this is the amount of Delta's revenue that was gobbled up, burned up by fuel expenses last year, 40 percent. That's not speculation. That's somebody who's trying to hedge themselves in the energy market against fuel costs. On the other side of that, are the speculators who if, indeed, they ran up the prices, it really hurts the legitimate consumers of energy.

ROBERTS: Yes, because all these airlines bought fuel at future prices, right? And then the price went down. So...

ROMANS: You understand.

ROBERTS: Wow.

ROMANS: John.

ROBERTS: I know a bad deal when I see one.

ROMANS: Yes.

ROBERTS: All right.

ROMANS: So when -- I mean, that would really suck to hedge your energy costs at $100 a barrel all the way down to $40.

ROBERTS: Yes. Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning.

ROMANS: Ouch.

ROBERTS: Christine, thanks so much.

So, we talked about prescription drug abuse, and see those ads on the air all the time. The kids sitting at the lounge counter saying this is for my hip replacement. This one is, you know, and all that. Well, just how widespread is prescription drug abuse and what can we do about it? We're going to talk with the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, coming up. And we'll take to the Michael Jackson case, too, to see if there's anything could be done about what's going on.

Twenty-two minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chuck Hilldrift (ph) lost his arms 28 years ago in an electrical accident. He hadn't used a drill since. Now he can. And unlatch a door chain. And even play Jenga.

He could do all these amazing things. Thanks to the DEKA, a sophisticated prosthesis created by famed Segway inventor Dean Kamen. It all started when the Pentagon's Defense Advance Research Projects Agency called DARPA wanted something new for troops who lost an arm on the battlefield.

DEAN KAMEN, INVENTOR: The first time we met with DARPA, and they described we want an arm that can do this and this and this and this and this. We told them, you're nuts.

TUCHMAN: But he delivered.

KAMEN: Until we started this project, most people would have said this was the state of the art -- basically a plastic tube with a hook on the end of it. And our goal was to replace that technology with something as a full hand with an opposed thumb and all the fingers.

TUCHMAN: The DEKA arm is still in development. The most recent design weighs about the same as a human arm and can lift up to 20 pounds. The wrist and fingers are controlled by electronic monitors worn on the user's shoulder and sensors inside the shoes.

Kamen thinks he's only a few years away from delivering the device to veterans and other amputees and, of course, came his most valuable volunteer, Chuck Hilldrift (ph).

KAMEN: OK, you can let go now.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": President Obama, of course, everyone knows has invited Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and the police officer who arrested him to the White House for a beer. That's what he said. They're going to get together for a beer. Of course, this could be trouble because the last time Obama got a few beers in him, he bought General Motors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Conan O'Brien there having a little bit of fun with President Obama's meeting tomorrow with the White House with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and police sergeant James Crowley.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell also had something to say about the controversy surrounding Gates' arrest. Powell sat down exclusively with Larry King last night. He said even he has been racially profiled. Yes, Colin Powell. And he talked about how he thought Professor Gates should have been perhaps a little more patient in the situation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": You're saying Gates was wrong?

COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm saying that Skip perhaps in this instance might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer. And that might have been the end of it.

I think he should have reflected on whether or not this was the time to make that big a deal. But he's just home from China, just home from New York. All he wanted to do is get to bed. His door was jammed. And so he was in a mood where he said something.

KING: What about those who say he brings the whole history into that body of a black movement.

POWELL: That may well be -- that may well be the case. But I still think that it might have well been resolved in a different manner if we didn't have this verbal altercation between the two of them.

When you're faced with an officer trying to do his job and get to the bottom of something, this is not the time to get in an argument with them. I was taught that as a child. You don't argue with the police officer.

In fact in our schools today, in order to make sure that we don't have things escalate out of control and lead to very unfortunate situations, we tell our kids, when you're being asked something by a police officer, being detained by a police officer, cooperate. If you don't like what happened or if you think that you have been exposed to something that's racist or prejudicial or something that's wrong, then you make the complaint afterwards and you sue.

KING: Were you ever racially profiled?

POWELL: Yes, many times.

KING: And did you ever bring anger to it? POWELL: Of course. But, you know, anger is best controlled. And sure I got mad. I got mad when I, as a national security adviser of the president of the United States, I went down to meet somebody at Reagan National Airport and nobody recognized -- nobody thought I could possibly be the national security adviser to the president. I was just a black guy at Reagan National Airport. And it was only when I went up to the counter and said is my guest here who's waiting for me, did somebody say, oh, you're General Powell. It was inconceivable to him that a black guy could be the national security adviser.

KING: How do you deal with this?

POWELL: You just suck it. What are you going to do? It was a teaching point for him. Yes, I 'm the national security adviser, I 'm black. And watch, I can do the job.

So you have this kind of -- there is no African-American in this country who has not been exposed to this kind of situation. Do you get angry? Yes. Do you manifest that anger? You protest. You try to get things fixed. But it's kind of a better course of action to take it easy and don't let your anger make the current situation worse.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: General Colin Powell last night with Larry King. Again, the beer bonding tomorrow night at the White House. The president wants to make this a teaching moment. But the question that we're going to ask this morning is it's going to be a private moment. Nobody else in the nation will see it. We'll get some, you know, post-game analysis, I guess, but unless it's open to the public...

COSTELLO: Unless you see them at the picnic table drinking the beer.

ROBERTS: ... what do we learn from it, really, if we're not in on the discussion?

COSTELLO: We'll have to e-mail the big controversy -- well, I shouldn't say controversy, but the tabloids are wondering what kind of beer they're going to drink. Is it going to be Budweiser? Is it going to be Sam Adams because it's a Boston-based beer?

ROBERTS: Well, apparently it's going to be Blue Moon for the officer. It's going to be either Red Stripe or Beck's for the professor. And the president will have a Bud, which, of course, is not American-owned anymore. It's owned by the Stella people. Right? So...

COSTELLO: Right. So there you have it. At least they've worked that out.

It's just about -- well, actually it is. It's 6:30 Eastern Time. Checking our top stories right now. A new federal study just out this morning says pregnant women infected with the H1N1 virus are more likely to be hospitalized and perhaps even die from it. The hospitalization rate for pregnant women was more than four times that of the general population. About one in eight people who died after contracting the swine flu virus was pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control advises pregnant women to take antiviral drugs as soon as possible.

ROBERTS: The top U.S. military man in Afghanistan may soon ask for more troops and equipment. A military official tells us that General Stanley McChrystal is doing a "troop to task review" to figure out whether there are enough troops and the right kind of troops to do the job depending on what he finds out, a really "frank discussion," in quotation marks, could soon happen at the Pentagon.

COSTELLO: A New York City subway rider claims he saw little kid, a child at the controls of the number 4 train on Sunday, and that the train operator was just letting it happen. Now the NTA says an operator and conductor have been suspended without pay pending the outcome of an investigation. Disciplinary charges will soon be filed.

ROBERTS: We've been hearing a lot about Michael Jackson's alleged addiction to prescription drugs. His personal doctor Conrad Murray is said to have given Jackson the powerful drug Propofol to help him sleep. Police believe that drug may be what contributed to his death.

Joining us this morning from Mexico City to talk about the abusive prescription drugs is Gil Kerlikowske. He is the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House.

Director Kerlikowske, good to talk to you this morning. Thanks so much for talking the time.

I wanted to ask this...

R. GIL KERLIKOWSKE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY: Good morning.

ROBERTS: I wanted to ask this not as a law enforcement question, but as a substance -- from a substance abuse perspective which I think falls into your arena here. To use the drug Propofol, which is use either as a sedative for surgery, minor surgery, or a general anesthethic, to use that as a sleeping medication, to you, would that constitute an abuse of that drug?

KERLIKOWSKE: You know, I'm not an M.D. I can tell you that the prescription drug issue is really significant throughout the United States. And, of course, we've seen that in paper after paper after paper. I don't have the facts about the Michael Jackson case. The very sad and tragic loss that occurred there. But I can tell you that prescription drug problems are a problem in this country.

ROBERTS: So, you know, we hear a lot in this -- the Michael Jackson is again illuminative particularly since police in the drug enforcement administration are now looking into whether or not he used aliases to try to get drugs, whether he was doctor shopping. We hear about a lot of people doctor shopping and prescription drug abuse, and its association.

How did it get so bad in this country?

KERLIKOWSKE: I think it got so bad because we didn't raise the alarm. It's been bad for a while. If you look, the most recent data which unfortunately is 2006 tells us that more people have died from overdoses than have died from gunshot wounds in this country. And, frankly, this is something that in many ways can be prevented.

ROBERTS: So, when you talk about prevention, you talk -- I guess there are two things. There's trying to curb demand and education from that standpoint. And there's also enforcement.

You know, how do you effectively enforce something like this? You know, when you take a look at the fact that more than 56 million prescriptions were written for sleeping medication in 2008 alone, that's up 54 percent since 2004?

KERLIKOWSKE: Well, there are two things. One is that 38 states have prescription drug monitoring programs. These are electronic data bases and they help health officials and in some cases depending on how the law is written. Law enforcement, and they can look at over prescribing by a physician, but they can also look at patients who are, as you mentioned, doctor shopping.

The other thing, of course, is that a lot of this comes out of parents' medicine cabinets.

ROBERTS: Right.

KERLIKOWSKE: Parents can do an awful lot. We have a Web site, www.theantidrug.com. Parents can get a huge amount of information. We've seen significant problems with -- with kids that have experimented, thinking that, hey, these are prescription drugs, these are safe. And, in fact, they are just as deadly and just as addictive as anything that comes from any place else.

ROBERTS: You came to this job from your former job. You're with the police chief of Seattle.

Was it possible during your experience there in Seattle to effectively police this?

KERLIKOWSKE: It's a very difficult thing to police. But I think the prevention piece is by far one of the most important parts. And that is parents can do an awful lot.

As these prescription drug monitoring programs and in Washington State where I just left, that is a program that is under way. Those are great programs to help people, law enforcement and health officials deal with the problem.

ROBERTS: And the two things that go hand in hand, too, prevention and treatment. You're there in Mexico City, and the Mexican government has just undertaken a pilot project to establish drug courts in which people who have been -- who have been found guilty of committing crimes while under the influence of drugs may not be sentenced to jail, and rather they may be sentenced to treatment programs, or at least put in to treatment programs. I don't know if you'd actually call it a sentence.

KERLIKOWSKE: Right.

ROBERTS: And there has been a rising call in this country for something similar. That rather than putting these drug offenders in jail, put them in treatment programs.

Do you think that the Mexican model is something that could be repeated effectively here?

KERLIKOWSKE: Well, I think that the drug courts are incredibly positive turn for the Mexican government. And, you know, they're undergoing tremendous stress. President Calderon without question, and I met with him the other day is by far one of the most courageous leaders in the free world to take this on. But the balanced approach that they're using which is tough law enforcement on the traffickers and the seizures, but also, treatment.

And drug courts came from the United States. We've actually been assisting the government of Mexico with this. They're 20 years old. They're over 2,000 drug courts in the United States. And I think they've been proven effective.

ROBERTS: Right.

But, again, there are people who say we're still putting too many drug offenders in jail that we need to reach out more to the treatment side of things.

Do you think we need to do a better job of that in this country?

KERLIKOWSKE: I do. I do. And the United States -- it's without question, a more balanced approach, a focus on prevention and a focus on treatment. You know, treatment works. And the Obama administration recognizes that addiction is a disease. It's a disease like a lot of other diseases. It isn't a moral failure of somebody. And there are treatments for it. And we have seen -- and I have met personally now in just 2-1/2 months dozens of people that have successfully been through treatment, successfully turned their lives around. You know, they're back in their neighborhoods. They are working, they are productive, they are paying taxes. It's a wonderful thing.

ROBERTS: All right. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

It's good to talk to you this morning, sir. Thanks for taking the time.

KERLIKOWSKE: Thanks very much.

ROBERTS: Carol.

COSTELLO: Iraqi insurgents turned to a new type of crime. Why better security at the border may be leading to more violence on city streets.

It's 37 minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

A quick check of stories coming up on the "AM Rundown."

Brutal temperatures across several spots this morning. Karen Maginnis tracking the extreme weather for us today.

Put this -- put it this way. How about 106 in Portland, Oregon today. Just a little warm.

You heard a lot about the anesthetic propofol in the Michael Jackson case. You don't want to miss this. This is really, really an interesting story.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside his operating room for a look at what it's like second-by-second when someone is being put under by propofol.

And the president in aisle five? What President Obama is hoping to accomplish today as he takes his health care pitch to a Kroger's in Virginia.

Well...

COSTELLO: Can you imagine going to the grocery store and there's the president in the produce department?

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: He shops in produce. He said, hey, you know, where they put the pickles? They can never find the pickles.

COSTELLO: Thanks, President Obama.

ROBERTS: Things are changing in Iraq. Iraqi troops now control cities and towns and U.S. forces have taken on a supporting role there.

COSTELLO: That's right. Security has improved in some areas, but violence, of course, is still a threat. Recently, we've seen insurgents turning to another type of crime -- bank robberies. Arwa Damon has the story from Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a carefully coordinated heist. Robbers struck here at the Rafidain Bank in central Baghdad sometime between midnight and 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday, leaving behind a trail of blood and making off with millions.

An Iraqi officer on the scene, too afraid to be identified or speak on camera, told us the police think it's a desperate attempt by terrorists to fund their operations.

The gunman broke the security cameras and left behind few clues. But police theorize it might have been an inside job. When the robbers entered the bank, there was no resistance. And it was the very day that the bank received the funds for government employees' salaries. The money was mainly in Iraqi dinars and, according to a policeman, the robbers would have needed a mini bus to cart their loot away.

All eight of the bank security guards were shot in the head and found blindfolded with their hands tied.

(on camera): An official with Iraq's Ministry of Interior said the insurgency is believed to be struggling financially. Increased security along Iraq's boarders and greater cooperation with it neighbors is making it more difficult to smuggle and cash.

Tuesday's robbery was the second such attack in just three days.

(voice-over): On Sunday, gunman targeted a money exchange in the same neighborhood, opening fire in broad daylight, killing three guards and wounding five people. They didn't manage to steal any money, but it is well known that the insurgents often resorted to crime to fund their operations, most notably kidnappings for money.

What is especially disturbing is that the area where these attacks took place is one of the capital's safer neighborhoods, teeming with Iraqi security forces.

"I had a feeling something like this would happen when U.S. forces withdrew," this man says.

Unsettling events as Iraqis try to take on responsibility for securing their country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DAMON: Those who carried out this attack are still at large. But what makes it even more unsettling is that this neighborhood and the entire capital have tens of thousands of Iraqi police officers and Iraqi army soldiers patrolling them. People want to know how such a thing could have happened, especially in this area where their sense of security, that fragile sense of security they were clinging on to, has been shattered in such a brutal way - Carol.

COSTELLO: Arwa Damon recording live from Baghdad this morning. It's 44 minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. A live look at New York City today, where it's 74 and going up to a high of 82. But thunderstorms could roll in later on this afternoon. It's kind of the pattern we're in right now. And that means, you know, if you're flying in to or out of New York, you could experience some significant delays.

COSTELLO: Especially LaGuardia. LaGuardia has had to lay the last...

ROBERTS: Well, since Sunday.

COSTELLO: I get alert. I mean, it's been amazing, so.

ROBERTS: Yes. Sunday was bad, Monday was a nightmare. Last night had these problems as well. And here's the thing, too, as you call ahead. You're like, oh, I don't know. You don't find out until you're on the plane.

COSTELLO: You have to sign up for the alerts. I'll tell you how.

ROBERTS: Thanks.

COSTELLO: It was really hot here yesterday. But it's been cool...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: It's great having you here. I was learning new things. This is terrific.

COSTELLO: See how helpful I am.

I don't know where Rob Marciano is. He's somewhere great and fabulous for vacation. Karen Maginnis is in here for him.

And it's kind of cool though here in Atlanta this past summer even though it was hot as hell yesterday.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COSTELLO: Thanks, Karen.

ROBERTS: All right.

So, Propofol -- Diprivan, the drug that Michael Jackson allegedly had in his system at the time of his death. It's often called milk of amnesia. It's a powerful sedative. It's also used in general anesthesia. But what does it look like when somebody is actually going under with propofol in their system?

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us in to the OR coming up next. You don't want to miss this one.

It's now 11 minutes to the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

We've been talking a lot about the powerful drug propofol or Diprivan that Michael Jackson's doctor allegedly gave him before he died. You've heard about it. Doctors say it's dangerous to use outside of a hospital setting.

Our Dr. Sanjay guitar takes us inside his O.R. today for a close up look at someone actually going under with the powerful anesthetic.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John and Carol, a lot of discussion regarding propofol. What exactly is it? What does it do to the body? And could it ever be considered safe outside a hospital. I'm going to take you inside my operating room to give you an idea of what really happens.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA (on camera): So we are here inside the operating room with Dr. Gershon. He's the chief of anesthesiology here. Propofol is a medication he uses all the time.

So is this right over here?

DR. RAPHAEL GERSHON, CHIEF OF ANESTHESIOLOGY, GRADY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Yes.

GUPTA: Looks like -- milk of amnesia, they call it.

GERSHON: Milk of amnesia.

Vincent, you OK? We have to monitor his EKG. We have to monitor his enphyloceal 2. We have to make sure that he's breathing. We have to see its saturation. We have to make sure he's ventilating.

GUPTA: So these are all -- that's all typical stuff in the time you uses this medication.

GERSHON: Standard of care. Yes.

GUPTA: OK, so the propofol.

GERSHON: We're going to start infusing this. You're going to get a little sleepy, Vincent.

OK, give me some good deep breaths.

GUPTA: So we'll just go and take a look at his eyes how...

GERSHON: Deep breath, Vincent. Doing great. May feel a little burning, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deep breath.

GERSHON: Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.

GUPTA: There's the reason for his heart rate increasing?

GERSHON: Yes.

See, his eyes are closed.

GUPTA: His eyes closed. And what else are you looking for?

GERSHON: Now, we look up here. He stopped breathing. So, this is -- watching his enphyloceal 2, and he is not breathing anymore. And my wonderful (INAUDIBLE) is going to help him breathe.

GUPTA: So, take a look over here. All the breathing right now is taking place with this bag and this mask. From that medication, he wouldn't be able to breathe on his own without those things.

Well, there, you can see part of the problem. Just with that much propofol there, he stopped breathing, and he's going to need a breathing tube.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Easy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Easy.

(CROSSTALK)

GUPTA: What -- what is so attractive about this medication?

GERSHON: Well, (INAUDIBLE) has been in the advent in the last 10 years or so, even more, 15 years. And it's just basically a quick on, quick off.

And that may answer why people may think that this is something they could do at home, because, if it gets out of hand, it goes away quickly. The problem is, it gets out of hand, and there's nobody there to resuscitate you, then nobody could bring you back.

GUPTA: So, that was pretty quick. You just made some of the medication, and you're going to...

(CROSSTALK)

GERSHON: Five, 10 minutes.

GUPTA: Five, 10 minutes, he has gone from being completely awake to being completely asleep.

GERSHON: He's not breathing. I'm breathing for him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: One thing that's worth pointing out, John and Carol, is that this is obviously an operating room. This is a medication that's used thousands of times in a setting like this. But it can also be used in outpatient medical settings. But Dr. Gershon will tell you, other doctors here they have never heard it being used in the home.

Back to you.

ROBERTS: Sanjay Gupta for us this morning from the O.R. This note from Sanjay, by the way. The patient that you saw going under anesthesia during that procedure came out of surgery. He's doing fine now. We're back with this morning's top stories coming right up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)