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Navy Official Discusses Recent Pirate Shot at Military Ship; Afghanistan Situation Worsening; Even Bernanke Not Immune to Identify Theft

Aired August 28, 2009 - 08:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. We've hit the top of the hour. It's Friday. Happy Friday. It's August 28th. I'm Carol Costello in for Kiran Chetry this morning.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm John Roberts. Here's what's on this morning's agenda, the big stories that we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes here.

Right now, people are lining up to pay their final respects to Senator Ted Kennedy. The public viewing expected to begin any minute now. We'll take you live to Boston, where they're celebrating a bigger- than-life political figure.

COSTELLO: She was kidnapped 18 years ago as a child, and this morning, she is free. Police say 29-year-old Jaycee Dugard was living in a compound of tents and sheds in a secluded back yard, and the man accused of taking her is also the father of her two children. Her astonishing story ahead.

ROBERTS: And pirates firing at a U.S. Navy helicopter off the coast of Somalia. Could it signal a new escalation in the battle with the pirates? We'll talk with the commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command -- just ahead.

COSTELLO: Dangerous rip currents, surging waves and rain. That's what's in store for parts of the east coast as tropical storm Danny heads that way. Storm warnings are already in place. Our Rob Marciano was tracking the storm. He'll tell us exactly where it's heading.

ROBERTS: But first, Americans are again filing past Senator Ted Kennedy's casket this morning. We got a live picture for you from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, where the young and the old, Democrats and Republicans, those who knew him and those who wish they did, say they're silent, so long to the senator. It's estimated more than 21,000 people have already paid their respects.

And CNN's Deb Feyerick is live in Boston for us this morning, outside of the Kennedy Library.

And, Deb, the line already stretching a long way outside the library. We see people finally being allowed in this morning, as well.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and, you know, John, as you take a look behind me, it's moving at a pretty good pace given the number -- the sheer number of people who are here.

I was able to get inside early this morning to see the casket. It's very -- what struck me was just the profound silence that is in that room. It's not a particularly large room, but it's a room that actually overlooks Dorchester Bay. You can't really tell because they've got screens pulled out over the windows, but again, it's a casket looks out over the water, Dorchester Bay. Very quiet in there, people coming by, you see a couple of people, you know, clutching themselves.

As you walk your way into that particular room, it's fascinating -- there's a big display of Ted Kennedy and of his life. There, for example, you see him at Hyannis Port playing baseball, sailing, with his brothers. There are pictures of him with dignitaries, Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Nelson Mandela, Benazir Bhutto. And then you see one very charming picture of him actually as a child. He's wearing one of these overcoats tied with a belt and there's an elephant that's sort of poking him in the chest.

And so, you kind of get a sense of Ted Kennedy as he evolved as a man. One quote in particular that he used during the 1980 Democratic National Convention, he said, quote, "I am a part of all that I have met."

Now when you look at the people who are walking in, there's that same sense, that they feel that they are very much a part of him, very much a part of his life. One woman said, you know, it's very moving, it's very final. People are talking to one another as neighbors. This woman said, "I hope that talk continues."

So, it's really poignant just to be inside that room to be standing with neighbors, people who are here for the very same reason, and that is because they're drawn to Ted Kennedy. They're drawn to the man. They're drawn to the senator. They're drawn to the family - John.

ROBERTS: Deb Feyerick for us at the JFK Library this morning -- Deb, thanks so much.

CNN is going to bring you special live coverage of Senator Ted Kennedy's memorial. That will be tonight at 7:00 Eastern, live at the Celebration of Life memorial service for the senator. You can see it right here on CNN and And his body will be lying in repose until 3:00 this afternoon for people to come by and pay their respects.

COSTELLO: Now on to a developing story out of California, where a family is waking up this morning -- their lives changed forever for the better.

This is Jaycee Lee Dugard. She was kidnapped 18 years ago when she was just 11 years old. Her father watched the abduction but could not stop it.

This morning, as I said, Dugard is free. Police say, for nearly two decades, she's been living here, in a compound of tents and sheds in the backyard of her alleged kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

The horrified twist to all of this, police say Phillip Garrido had two daughters with his victim. And those kids are now 11 and 15. They've never been to school. They've never seen a doctor. And they were born too in this backyard.

The Garridos are behind bars this morning. Phillip Garrido already talking -- you'll hear from him in just a few minutes.

But, first, how the whole plot unraveled because of one observant security guard.

Our Randi Kaye has the incredible story from Los Angeles.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Carol.

Until now, Jaycee Dugard hasn't been seen since June 1991.

(voice-over): She was grabbed as she walked to her bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, California. Her stepfather, on the driveway, saw his little girl, blond, blue eyed, all dressed in pink, disappear in a strange car.

(on camera): What do you remember about the day that Jaycee disappeared?

CARL PROBYN, JAYCEE LEE DUGARD'S STEPFATHER: The minute I saw that door fly open, I was trying to jump my bike and trying to get to her. My neighbor is upfront watering. So, I told her, call 911. They had a two-minute head start.

KAYE (voice-over): Those two minutes turned into nearly two decades. There were searches, missing fliers, and reward money, nothing brought Jaycee back. Not even her mother's plea.

TERRY PROBYN, JAYCEE LEE DUGARD'S MOTHER: Jaycee, if you hear mommy, I love you and I want you to come home tonight.

KAYE: Jaycee did finally come home -- yesterday, when she suddenly walked into a police station outside San Francisco with her alleged kidnappers and told officers who she was.

C. PROBYN: My wildest dreams after 18 years. I mean, this is like the total package, like winning the lotto.

KAYE: Early this morning, Jaycee's stepfather got the call he's been waiting for from Jaycee's mom. They are now separated.

C. PROBYN: She goes, "Are you sitting down?" And I said, "Yes." And she goes, they found Jaycee. And she paused for a few seconds and she goes, "She's alive." So, we both cried for about 10 minutes before we could talk.

KAYE: Jaycee's accused kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido are in custody. Charges are expected tomorrow.

(on camera): Here's how it all unfolded. On Tuesday, a security guard at the U.C. Berkeley campus noticed Mr. Garrido handing out fliers with two young children. A background check showed he was a convicted sex offender on parole. When questioned by his parole officer yesterday, with his wife, two children, and the woman he called "Allissa" at his side, it turned out Allissa was Jaycee Dugard.

Authorities said he admitted kidnapping her all those years ago and fathering two children with her.

(voice-over): Even though parole officers had visited Garrido's house over the years, nobody ever spotted Jaycee Dugard. Why not?

FRED KOLLAR, EL DORADO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: There's a secondary backyard that's screened from view literally all around, only access through a small narrow tarp. Her and her two children were living in a series of sheds. There was one shed entirely soundproof and could only be opened from the outside.

KAYE: Phillip Garrido served time for kidnapping and rape in Nevada. Out on parole, he wears a GPS tracking device. The children he fathered are now with their mother, Jaycee, 11 and 15 years old. Police say they've never been to school or to the doctor. Still, they and their mom are free.

C. PROBYN: I'm just so happy. I haven't gone there.

KAYE: Where is this emotion coming from?

C. PROBYN: Years locked up. I'm an old Vietnam vet that's shell-shocked. I mean, how much nerves do I have, you know, to have to go through this?

KAYE: Tears of joy after so many years of sadness.

John, Carol, back to you.


COSTELLO: You know you saw him during Randi's report earlier here on AMERICAN MORNING. John, you talked to Jaycee Dugard's stepfather. And it was emotional.

ROBERTS: Oh, it was. I asked him, you know, I'm a parent myself, you know, do you ever lose hope that the little girl will ever come back? How he's coping now, and what it was like to watch Jaycee's kidnapping 18 years ago.


PROBYN: I did lose hope. But I'm coping as it's over, and the last 18 years have been pretty rough, but these last two days have been pretty good.

ROBERTS: Right. PROBYN: You know, got an ending to this.

ROBERTS: What have these last two days been like for you?

PROBYN: Basically, I've probably done 100 interviews. So, they've been busy. So, I really haven't had time to even think about anything. I've had like four hours sleep and just keep busy, keep doing things, you know, and learning more information and things are going good.

Once I got next to her, cut her off. And basically, when I saw the door fly open, I jumped on the mountain bike. I realized I couldn't get to her in time. The hill was too steep. So, I rode back down, yelled at the neighbor to call 911. And they had, like, a two- minute head start. I really have a lot of questions, like, you know, how did they get out of there? And you'd think they would block the roads off and they would have had them, but they got away.


ROBERTS: Police say they're in the process of bringing the family back together, but it's going to be a long and ongoing process. Officers also say that Jaycee Dugard is, quote, "in good health," but living in the backyard for the past 18 years certainly does take its toll.

COSTELLO: That would be the understatement of the year. Phillip Garrido, the man accused in all of this has already served time in Nevada for rape and kidnapping, and now, he's back in jail and he's already talking to the media. CNN affiliate KCRA spoke to Garrido, says he left documents with the FBI a few days ago and that they will help shed light on this case.

ROBERTS: Garrido also added, quote, "They're going to be part of the trial." We've asked the FBI about that. There's been no answers so far. But here's what else Garrido had to say about those documents.


PHILLIP GARRIDO, ALLEGED KIDNAPPER OF JAYCEE LEE DUGARD: Wait until you read that document. My life has been straightened out. Wait until you hear this story of what took place at this house. And you're going to be absolutely impressed.

It's a disgusting thing that took place with me in the beginning, but I turned my life completely around and to be able to understand that you have to start there. And you're going to find the most powerful story from the witness, from the victim, you wait. If you take this a step at a time, you're going to fall over backwards and in the end, you're going to find the most powerful heart-warming story.


ROBERTS: Earlier, when I talked to Jaycee Dugard's stepfather, Carl Probyn, about that, I asked him what he thought about Garrido's statement. He said, quote, "He turned our lives around too, it's just sick."

COSTELLO: Michael Vick's first professional football game since getting out of jail for dog-fighting drew drastically different reactions last night. Before the game, protestors outside of Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, carrying signs, saying things like "Murderers are not role models," but inside, most fans gave Vick a standing ovation, sounds like the Philadelphia fans were happy to have him back. And I understand he completed two catches.

ROBERTS: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) are pretty. It didn't look like he'd been away for as long as he has been.

COSTELLO: He wasn't in there for very long, and they wanted to get him in there quickly so that the fans could react and they could move on.

ROBERTS: It was interesting, too, when they were walking out from the tunnel, McNabb was in front of him. I mean, you know, clear indication that he is the backup quarterback and no way he's challenging McNabb. But, you know, you've got to wonder -- you don't hire somebody like Michael Vick as a backup quarterback and what does the future hold? There may be a lot of intrigue there.

COSTELLO: Well, there is some sort of rumor that they may use Michael Vick as a receiver, too.

ROBERTS: Yes, but he's got the arm, you know?

COSTELLO: That's true. But he also has incredible running ability.

ROBERTS: Well, he is a great player. And it's a real shame that his personal life didn't match his on-field performance.

COSTELLO: But he says he's changed and it looks pretty good for him in Philadelphia at least so far.

ROBERTS: A lot of people are going to have -- are going to be watching.

COSTELLO: Absolutely.

Coming up next: We're going to talk to Doug Brinkley. He knows a lot about the Kennedy -- the Kennedy dynasty.

ROBERTS: He certainly does.

COSTELLO: You know, with the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, does that mean the days of a Kennedy, you know, in the U.S. Senate or the House -- is it over? I mean...

ROBERTS: Or is there another one in the wings that's just waiting to take his place?

COSTELLO: Yes. Who would that be? I mean, you know, Caroline Kennedy kind of flirted with it for a while here in New York. ROBERTS: Was she joking that she could come back?

COSTELLO: Maybe. We're going to ask Mr. Brinkley all of those questions.

It's 12 minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: You're looking at a picture from inside the Kennedy Library as people file past paying their last respects to Senator Ted Kennedy. So far, 21,000 have said a final good-bye to Senator Kennedy.

Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."

As the country says good-bye to the senator, there are questions about what happens to the magic that was Camelot? And who, if anyone, will pick up the torch in the next generation?

Douglas Brinkley is a presidential historian and author of "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America." Douglas joins us now live from Austin, Texas.

Good morning.


COSTELLO: You know, 21,000 people have filed by Senator Kennedy's casket, paying their last respects. It's just an enormous amount of people for a senator, because as you know, lawmakers' approval ratings aren't so high these days.

Will we ever see this outpouring of love again for a politician? Who is not a president, by the way?

BRINKLEY: Well, it doesn't happen often for a politician who is not a president as you said, but Ted Kennedy has been part of the Massachusetts scene since really the late 1950s and was beloved as the senator. You know, he could have won five more elections if he wanted to there. He could have been incapacitated and been reelected because they loved him so much in Massachusetts. You're seeing that outpouring at the library going by the casket.

And then there are people who just admire the Kennedys all over the world. It used to be said you could go in some Latin American countries and see in little homes and barrios a picture of the Pope and a picture of John F. Kennedy. Meaning the family has had a long reach all over the world.

COSTELLO: You know, about the Kennedy legacy, I think if you're of a certain age, you really get what the Kennedys were all about. But, you know, if you're -- I don't know, you're younger than 40 years old, maybe you're kind of cloudy about the Kennedy legacy and what it's meant to the country. BRINKLEY: Well, there's no doubt when we're -- you see people going by the casket that you feel an era's ended here. It's like the end of something -- the end of something that began with great magic with the inauguration of John F. Kennedy and has been filled with tragedy ever since, but ending here with Ted Kennedy's death. And in between, we have all of that American history where the Kennedy brothers were at the forefront of so much that was important to our lives.

So, I think there's a collective generational sense of loss that people in their 20s may not fully comprehend. But, you know, I teach classes on presidents. And John F. Kennedy always rivets the students on the way he had managed through the Cuban missile crisis, the Berlin crisis and the fact that all of us get older, and because he was eclipsed in his prime, John F. Kennedy stays kind of always the good- looking, young, vigorous president.

So, the mythology and the lore and the history of the Kennedys will catch up with this young generation at some point, too.

COSTELLO: Well, let's talk about what the people want in Massachusetts. Would they want a Kennedy to take Senator Kennedy's place? And if they do, who would that Kennedy be?

BRINKLEY: Well, I spoke yesterday to John Kerry and the main thing isn't that a Kennedy takes it, but somebody fills in the next four months. Ted Kennedy was very worried that if he died, there'd be a void in Massachusetts. And so, there's going to be a mad rush to try to fill that, to go through the legislative process, to get the governor of Massachusetts to approve it.

On the political front in Massachusetts, Joe Kennedy is the one who looks like he has a really exciting future. Whether it extends beyond the state of Massachusetts, it's unclear. Patrick Kennedy in Rhode Island will have a political future, Kathleen Townsend Kennedy in Maryland. But those are very kind of statewide. I think nationally, Caroline Kennedy has become -- Caroline's become the -- kind of carries the aura of the family with her. There's a gravitas about her.

COSTELLO: Well, let's talk about Caroline Kennedy. I know there's a residency requirement in Massachusetts. But if you change the law for some, you know, for one thing, you can certainly change it for another. Is there a possibility that Caroline Kennedy could run for her uncle's seat?

BRINKLEY: I don't think that's going to happen. Anything's possible, but I don't foresee that.

You have a better chance of Vicki, you know, his wife stepping in to the fold here. She said she wasn't interested in it, but an argument could be made if she would just do four months and help push through President Obama's health care plan. In many ways, she's the martyrdom of Ted Kennedy's death, to help with his life's passion which was health care. Then she would accomplish something, she could step down in four months. But, you know, this is a grieving widow, somebody who has been through a lot of strains and stresses dealing with somebody with brain cancer these past hard months. So, it's unclear whether she wants to enter the game, so to speak, in such a full bore manner.

COSTELLO: Thanks so much for being with us this morning. We appreciate it.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

ROBERTS: It's always great to talk to Doug. He's so knowledgeable about all of this stuff. It's good to have him on this morning.

COSTELLO: Yes. He's knowledgeable about a lot of stuff. So, we appreciate him all the more.

ROBERTS: Tropical storm Danny getting closer to the North Carolina coast. Tropical storm watches are up from Cape Lookout up to dock in the northern part there of the outer banks. Rob Marciano is tracking the storm from Long Island where it's expected to have an effect this weekend. He's got the storm track coming right up for you.

Twenty minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: For the second week in row, the East Coast is keeping a close eye on a tropical storm, and our poor Beth Rodaterios (ph) getting married this weekend in Rhode Island, and looks like it's going to be nothing but rain on Saturday.

COSTELLO: I'm sorry, Beth.

ROBERTS: Sorry, Betty.

COSTELLO: We're sorry, Beth. Let's blame Rob, shall we? Because, you know, it's easy to blame the weatherman.

Rob Marciano was live in Mystic, Connecticut, this morning. He has the latest on Danny and also, I guess, you're going to tell us about some more dogs.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that and Beth's wedding. You know, I told her, she's been hitting me up for a couple of weeks now for a private forecast. I'm not even invited to the thing. We may crash it because it's just down the road. We could be seeing some rain here in the northeast this weekend.

And as I -- as I talked to you about Danny, there's a big old boat here backing up here at Mystic seaport, so you might see that in the background before too long. We'll talk more about why we're here in a second.

First order of business is tropical storm Danny. At last check, a minimal tropical storm. So, this thing has not strengthened overnight, 40 miles an hour winds sustained now, about 350 miles south of Cape Hatteras and heading in that general direction. But the forecast is for it to make that turn like Bill did, although it will be closer to the U.S. coastline and it will affect the extreme parts of eastern New England over the week, notably, mostly tomorrow and tomorrow afternoon, and the folks who live out in the cape and yes, probably parts of Rhode Island will get a bit of a breeze.

But most of this action with this storm is north and east of the center. So, if this forecast holds true, and right now, the confidence of that happening is getting higher at the national hurricane center. So, at this point, we are feeling better and better about tropical storm Danny.

Take a look at that beast behind us. It's backing up here in Mystic River. And the boat next to that, that old schooner type is actually brand new, that, I'm told, is Johnny Depp's boat. He's not here, but for whatever reason, his boat is.

We are here because of Dog Days, big 50 dogs, different types of canines are here, and we are celebrating at Mystic seaport, we've had Rufus, we had our search and rescue dog earlier. And about half an hour, John and Carol, we're going to have these huge Newfoundland dogs exhibit just how they jump in the water and save people from drowning. That will be fun in about half than hour. We'll see you then.


ROBERTS: Does that mean -- does that mean Rob is going to be jumping in the water, too?

COSTELLO: I don't know. I'm just more intrigued by Johnny Depp's boat.

MARCIANO: No directing from the anchor chair again.

ROBERTS: OK, sorry.

COSTELLO: Why is Johnny Depp's boat out there? Doesn't he live in France?

MARCIANO: Why what?

COSTELLO: Did you say it was Johnny Depp's boat?

MARCIANO: Yes. Yes. Yes, he lives in France, but you know, he's a pirate of the Caribbean, which is, you know, just across the way. So, of course, he's got a boat close by.

ROBERTS: Maybe it's not Johnny Depp's boat, maybe it's Captain Jack Sparrow's boat. It could be.

MARCIANO: It could be.

COSTELLO: All the explanation I need.


COSTELLO: Speaking of pirates.

ROBERTS: Speaking of pirates -- perfect segment, Rob. Thanks so much for that.

Pirates fired at a U.S. Navy helicopter in the last couple of days.

COSTELLO: The bad kind of pirates.

ROBERTS: Yes, a bad kind of pirates -- the Somali pirates. No harm to the helicopter or the crew, but there you can see the boat that they were taking a look at and the guy down there on the lower left-hand corner of the screen. Watch this, this is on infrared. And you can see him fire off a couple of rounds, the black stuff that's coming out of the gun, those are hot bullet casings.

We'll be talking to Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, William Gortney, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces in the region -- coming up -- about whether this represents a significant escalation in the war against pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Stay with us. It's 26 minutes after the hour.



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

It's been four years since Hurricane Katrina brought New Orleans to its knees, and every day, there are people trying to bring the city back, including, of course, New Orleans' mayor, Ray Nagin. But in an effort to steer his city into better times, he finds himself facing more criticism than credit. So, what does the shoot-from-the-hip mayor have to say about that?

Here's CNN's Sean Callebs.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mayor Ray Nagin has been a lightning rod for criticism in post-Katrina New Orleans. As the recovery moves forward, his popularity moves in the opposite direction. Just after groundbreaking for a new public housing project, Nagin told me he isn't surprised.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: I don't think any leader after a disaster pretty much survives. If you go and look at Kobe, Japan, you look at other major disasters, most leaders have kind of kicked out. I was fortunate, and I am fortunate to be standing here as we continue to progress. And what I find is that citizens wanted immediate fixes when there was no immediate fix. So, I took the brunt for that.

I am so humble today. CALLEBS: In May 2006, nine months after Katrina hit, he was reelected mayor. But since then, critics charge he's had a bunker mentality, with the perception he's been rarely seen in public at a time when New Orleans needed a strong, visible mayor.

(on camera): Some people come to me and said, why did your mayor run for reelection? Have you had that question and what's your answer?

NAGIN: I just didn't want to leave the city in a state of total disrepair. We were on the verge of bankruptcy. So, I wanted to put some things in motion. I felt I was best qualified to do that and we'll see if it all works out.

CALLEBS (voice-over): While many areas tourists see are flourishing, entire communities in New Orleans East, Gentilly, Lakeview, and the Lower Ninth Ward remain devastated. Many New Orleanians blame Nagin, a cable TV executive before being elected, for the slow pace of recovery.

For his part, he says he was ready to lead, but was the city ready to follow?

NAGIN: There have been days when I've questioned whether the city was really ready to move forward and ready to deal with the issues that I was bringing forward. But, you know, I'm a little too old to change now. So, you know, I came to office as kind of a newbie, I've never been in politics and I've always lived my life telling people the truth. Now, sometimes that works out in politics and sometimes it doesn't.

CALLEBS: And among his most controversial comments...

NAGIN: This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.

CALLEBS: What was behind that?

NAGIN: The only thing I regret about chocolate city is that people misunderstood the quote and the comment so much.

At that time there was this notion some of our business people were saying to national media groups they didn't think certain people should come back. So I wanted to send a strong signal that everyone was welcome. It was misinterpreted.

CALLEBS: Nagin will be out of office in nine months, and he says in all probability he's done with politics, saying he'll begin to look at private sector jobs in a matter of months.

Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.


COSTELLO: And to see any of the stories from our special series "After the Storm," check out our blog ROBERTS: It is now coming up on the half hour, and checking our top stories this morning. This morning, crowds are again filing past Senator Ted Kennedy's coffin. A live picture this morning from the John F. Kennedy presidential library.

Tonight at 7:00 Eastern, there will be a memorial service at the library. We'll carry that live for you here on CNN.

COSTELLO: Late-summer wildfires are burning up and down the California coast threatening thousands of homes. At least 2,000 evacuation orders were issued in the seaside community of Rancho Palace Verdes. A second fire is burning north of Los Angeles -- 500 homes in the area have now been evacuated.

ROBERTS: And NASA is hoping that the third time will be a charm. The space shuttle Discovery scheduled to launch tonight at 11:59 Eastern. A bad fuel valve and weather forced the space agency to postpone the two liftoffs.

The astronauts will be delivering a load of supplies to the space station, including a treadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert.

New signs of aggression from pirates off the coast of Somalia. U.S. military officials say pirates fired a large-caliber weapon at a Navy helicopter.

This Navy video shows that attack. The chopper was flying over a hijacked vessel that had been used as a mother ship to launch other attacks from, including one on the Maersk, Alabama back in April.

It's the first time pirates have attacked an American military aircraft.

Joining us now on the phone from Bahrain to talk more about this is Vice Admiral Bill Fortney. He's the commander of U.S. Naval forces at the Central Command and the commander of the fifth fleet.

Admiral Gortney, it's great to talk to you. What -- can you describe for us what happened in that situation? What was -- what went on there between the helicopter and the guy on the ship?

VICE ADMIRAL BILL GORTNEY, COMMANDER, U.S. NAVAL FORCES CENTRAL COMMAND (via telephone): Well, we have presence down there with our cruisers and destroyers and helicopters with a goal of denying the mother ship's freedom to operate through our presence and our pressure.

A firing was undisciplined using a weapon with a very short max expected range of about 800 yards, and we have a designated standoff distance well outside that operating in vicinity in any of the pirated vessels.

ROBERTS: You can see -- and this is all infrared video, so anything hot looks black, and you can see as the camera tracks down off the superstructure of the ship there, the fellow on the lower left hand side picks up a weapon and you can see black pieces coming out from it. That I assume is the hot spent cartridges that show up black on that infrared.

Does this represent a significant escalation in the pirates' willingness to take on the U.S. military? And what does that mean for how you conduct operations there?

GORTNEY: Well, I don't see it as an escalation at all. Once again, he had a zero chance of hitting any of our helicopters or our ships, once again, because we do maintain a designated standoff distance.

To get the pirates to stop we do employ warning shots. Just since May we've employed 15 time we've employed warning times. This is really kind of the tit for tat we see out here from these criminals.

ROBERTS: You say that you've tried to the best of your ability to deny pirates the use of these vessels as mother ships, but they're out there. This was a Taiwanese vessel, the Windfire (ph), that was seized back in April, they're still using it.

And in that area, there's four other ships that they are holding with 105 crew members, so they do seem to still be able to operate with a degree of impunity, at least.

GORTNEY: Well, since early June, though, we've had the weather on our side. We have an environmental condition called the southwest monsoon that has a very large sea state both in the Gulf of Aden, which is north of Somalia and the Somali basin, which is to the east coast of Somalia, which has kept the pirate activity pretty quiet.

That's the good news. The bad news is that it will pick up as the southwest monsoon dies down here toward the end of this month.

ROBERTS: Right. The last time we talked, Admiral Gortney, we were talking about security precautions that some of the shipping lines could easily take, putting barbed wire around low entry points to the ship, rolling up ladders.

Has that improved the security situation at all? I know you're talking about the monsoon there. But have -- taking these simple security precautions, has that helped in any way the situation with piracy there?

GORTNEY: Absolutely. We find that 80 percent of the unsuccessful attacks are because of the merchant ship itself, merchant ships themselves, the merchant community taking the -- taking for action the best practices that we transmit to them.

And we need to remind them to continue to be ever vigilant as the southwest monsoon dies down here at the end of the month.

ROBERTS: This still needs to be addressed on shore, as well, because for many of these Somalis, the only way that they have of earning money is with piracy. Is there anything being done on that front? GORTNEY: Well, there is a little bit being done to go after the cause of it, which is the conditions the restore rule of law. And we just focused predominantly at the prevention efforts at sea, which is treating the symptom and not the disease itself.

ROBERTS: All right. Vice Admiral William Gortney, the commander of the Naval forces there in the Central Command, thanks for being with us today. We really appreciate it.

GORTNEY: It's my pleasure.

ROBERTS: We'll talk to you again.

COSTELLO: Identity theft -- it can happen to anyone, even the Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.

If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone, no question.

COSTELLO: Yes, he took it right on the chin. We'll talk more about this after a break. It's 36 minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: So you think I.D. theft can't happen to you. Well, not even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is immune. Yes, Mr. Bernanke's wife was a target of an I.D. theft scheme that preyed on hundreds of people.

ROBERTS: Well, what a perfect time to bring in our personal finance editor Gerri Willis, who is here with some important advice on protecting you and your money. So Ben Bernanke, scammed, his wife's checkbook taken out there, and...

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Let's give you details about how this happened, because this could definitely happen to you. Anna Bernanke, last summer is at a Starbucks near her Capitol Hill home, right. She puts her purse on the back of her chair. Who has not done that, right, Carol?

COSTELLO: Yes, I've done that.

ROBERTS: I haven't done it.

WILLIS: That's why I asked Carol.

COSTELLO: He puts his man bag on the floor.

ROBERTS: She asked who hasn't done it.

WILLIS: Very good, OK, we've got that straightened out.

Anyway, so her driver's license is stolen. Her credit cards are stolen. Her checkbook is stolen, a little bit of cash.

Days later, according to the "Newsweek" account of this story, someone started cashing checks at the bank on their account. This was a sophisticated crime ring that the feds had been following for some time and, of course, the Bernanke case helped to solve all of this, and they've been in front of courts and they've been prosecuted.

But the moral of the story, it doesn't matter how smart you are or sophisticated, you could still be a victim.

ROBERTS: All right, so what can people do to protect themselves other than not putting their purse on the back of their chair?

WILLIS: Well, you can buy a shredder, that's an obvious solution. I do this. It's not a complete solution. Nothing's going to protect you completely from identity theft.

You've got to shred any kind of document, a credit card offer, even something as innocuous as a statement of your benefits from your employer. Your health care benefits could be something that a thief would like to use.

Reduce your mail. Go online for those financial statements. You'll save yourself big headaches.

And of course the big thing you're protecting here is your Social Security number. Don't carry it in your wallet, make sure you don't have it on your person at any time, because you can lose it.

COSTELLO: And don't give it out over the phone.

So let's say the worst happens, like it did to Mrs. Bernanke. What can you do?

WILLIS: Call the cops, you have to do that obviously. You report it to a credit bureau. They will tell the other credit bureaus, and then you will get a free credit report, which you will now check each and every year to make sure there's nothing going wrong with your accounts.

One thing to do here is a preventive measure, you should be looking at your bank statements online all the time. Not once a month, maybe once a week, maybe twice a week, also your credit card statements, just to make sure there's nobody out there who is using your information that shouldn't be.

ROBERTS: I was told something the other day that when you use a credit card at a store, if they ask you for the security code that's on the credit card, you shouldn't give it to them because that's how they can get access to your credit card.

WILLIS: Well, I have to tell you, normally when you're at the store, you give them the card, and that number is right on the back. They can see it if they want to. It's accessible to them as it is.

COSTELLO: Well, you know, they don't check if you give them credit card if you are who you are most times.

ROBERTS: Sometimes they do. Sometimes they do. COSTELLO: But my sister's credit card, her physical credit card was stolen. Some woman used it to buy a plane ticket and she got on the plane and she flew to Florida.

What about even at the airport the identification was a problem, right? I don't know.

WILLIS: It's hard to protect your information now. None of the solutions I gave you are complete, nothing's going to save you totally. You've got to use layers of protection and do what you can.

ROBERTS: Gerri Willis with some good tips this morning. Gerri, thanks so much.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

ROBERTS: Afghanistan -- the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the situation there is deteriorating. We're going to be talking with Greg Mortenson, the author of the famous book "Three Cups of Tea" coming up.

He just got back from Afghanistan. He spent a lot of time in small rural villages that people from outside of Afghanistan never usually go to. And he'll give us a firsthand perspective on what the situation there is really like.

And he's done so much, too, to try to educate the Afghan, children in Pakistan, as well, by building so many schools. Greg's coming right up.

It's 43 1/2 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: There have been 88 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since the first of July. August now tying July for the deadliest month for U.S. forces there.

General of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen says the Taliban is getting better and more sophisticated. And across the border in Pakistan, Al Qaeda's calling on people to support Islamic militants in the country's tribal regions. Plenty of problems in both nations.

So, can things be turned around? Greg Mortenson is the author of the famous book "Three Cups of Tea," and he's just back from six weeks on the ground of Afghanistan and he joins us now.

Greg, it's so great to see you.

And if I may just personally compliment you on the terrific work that you've doing there to build schools. We were just talking a second ago, 131 schools that you've been running, 60 some others that you've been running, more than 52,000 children getting an education because of the work you've been doing there.

GREG MORTENSON, AUTHOR, "THREE CUPS OF TEA": Thanks, John, and good morning.

ROBERTS: So when you spend time on the ground in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, you tend to go to a lot of rural villages where foreigners don't normally go. We get a sense of what the situation is like on the ground in Afghanistan eight years after this war now. What is it really like?

MORTENSON: Well, one thing is what we do is we respect elders, we meet with the elders, and also listen to the people. And also the military has really, I think, gone through a huge learning curve, listening to people, building relationships.

And pretty much without exception most people what they want is peace, stability, they want education. And there have been some amazing -- there's obviously a lot of tragic news, but there are also great things happening there.

In 2000, there were 800,000 in school, as high as the Taliban, today there are 8.5 million children in school, including 2.5 million females.

And the Taliban have bombed or destroyed about 800 schools in Afghanistan, but the enrollment is going up. And I really think we can drop bombs or build roads or put electricity, but unless we educate the girls, nothing will change there.

ROBERTS: As we said at the beginning of this, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen says the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating. Do you get that sense from being out there in the rural areas?

MORTENSON: In some ways it is. I think the Taliban are getting more desperate. They're also getting, turning more into like a mafia. There's kind of a loose coalition.

But, also, I see public sentiment. I've been 16 years on the ground there. Public sentiment is starting to change. People are really sick and tired of war in both tribal areas in Afghanistan and they want something different.

And I think now is the time. We've had two chances to help that country. And we're, as Mullen said now, we've got kind of one last chance.

ROBERTS: There's been a bump-up in U.S. forces that we've been reporting on, and particularly in the Helmand province, where they're trying to go after the Taliban and get them out of the drug business, which really brings in a lot of their funds.

There's a chance that Stanley McChrystal, the new general in charge of Afghanistan, may ask for even more forces. Is U.S. military might the key to solving the situation there. If you were in charge, what would you do?

MORTENSON: Well, the military, and even Admiral Mullen will say that, and General Petraeus, who I met that it's not -- there's no -- not only the military situation, but the real solution is to empower the people, listen to the people more.

There's also they're going to ask for more troops there, but a lot of the troops are trainer troops. And I can tell you from the top to the bottom, they know what their mission now is to serve the good people of Afghanistan.

General McChrystal is meeting with elders from all over the country. He's trying to understand what they feel is the solution.

And so I'm -- you know, I'm eternal optimist, but what else can you be?

ROBERTS: And your book, "Three Cups of Tea," very famous book written after you climbed K2 and spent so much time in the region, is really required reading now. Admiral Mullen has said that all of his top commanders should read it. It's also required reading at Camp Lejune among the Marines, special operations forces, counterinsurgency trainers.

And it follows an old Tibetan proverb, that the first cup of tea, you're a stranger, the second cup of tea, you're a friend, the third cup of tea, you're family. But what can military leaders learn from reading your book?

MORTENSON: General Petraeus, he summed it in three bullet points that he gave me. Number one, we need to listen more, number two, we need to have respect, meaning we are there to serve the people, and number three, we have to build relationships. It is just a lot of tea drinking.

Our top three commanders have been in Afghanistan and Pakistan more than 30 times in the last year, and I really think that is the hope is, you know, drinking tea doesn't bring peace, but relationships does.

And also, if you talk to any woman in rural Pakistan or Afghanistan, and you ask her what do you want? How can I help you, but what would you like? They'll say just two things -- we don't want our babies to die, and we want our children to go to school. And that's what we focus on.

ROBERTS: Do you think this thing can be won?

MORTENSON: Well, I guess it depends on what winning is, and that ultimately, you know, we can't plug in democracy. You have to build democracy. And the way to build democracy is through education and also land ownership.

And when those things start coming in place -- but I think if there is a solution, it's going to take 10 to 20 years, maybe even a generation.

ROBERTS: Greg Mortenson, it's not only a pleasure, it's an honor to meet you sir. Thanks for dropping by.

MORTENSON: Thank you. ROBERTS: Carol.

COSTELLO: We're going to lighten the mood now and talk about dogs, because Rob Marciano is in Mystic, Connecticut at the Dog Day Afternoon festival, which features a variety of dogs doing really amazing things. He'll show you some of those things -- I can't believe I'm teasing this. He'll show you some of those things when we come back.


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

He was a typical college kid until one day his life changed forever. Jordan Thomas not only triumphed over his own loss, but he's helping other kids do the same. Meet our CNN hero of the week.


JORDAN THOMAS, CNN HERO: They say I'm a bilateral transtibial amputee. In laymen's terms, I lost both my legs from the mid-calf down. I'm just kind of a normal kid thrown into an abnormal situation.

Just a freak accident -- I was 16 years old. My parents and I were going to go scuba diving. There were tons of waves that day, and I jumped into the water.

I just got pushed behind the boat and I looked down and I just saw blood.

I had such great support. That's what helps me kind of get through it. But when I saw the other kids who were in the hospital that didn't have great support, you recognize that something's got to be done.

My name is Jordan Thomas and I started my foundation there in the hospital, and I provide kids limbs that they deserve.

There are a lot of insurance companies that will put a cap on prosthetics or they'll provide them with one pair of legs for their lifetime.

You would never know you need new legs every year and a half. It's like shoes, you just outgrow them.

Noah is six. His first leg didn't bend. They asked for a new knee, but he was denied. So we provided him with a bendable knee that now he's so proud to show off how his knee bends. It's great.

We've committed to these kids until they're 18, so we have a lot of work ahead of us, a lot. So we're excited about it.

We need to really work on this then.

We provide them with prosthetics, and that creates a whole gamut of opportunity for them to achieve whatever they want. I think they deserve that.


ROBERTS: Well, it is finally Friday. So that means --

COSTELLO: That means Rob has gone to the dogs.

ROBERTS: That's right, our Rob Marciano on the road for "Rob's Road Show."

He's been all over the country in all kinds of things, from tractor pulls to a big road show or a big yard sale to a yo-yo competition. He's now in Mystic, Connecticut this morning.

COSTELLO: Let's get to the dogs, for god's sakes.

ROBERTS: Enough of the promos. Take it away, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, John, hey Carol. We are in Mystic, Connecticut, as you mentioned, Mystic Seaport more specifically. This has been around for about 80 years, an old historic maritime museum. It's got a recreated maritime village and they do all sorts of neat things here.

There are 500 boats, four of which are national landmarks. They've got the oldest whaling wooden ship here in the country and they refurbishing it with wood from hurricanes that have killed trees down south. So it's really a neat thing.

We've been highlighting all sort sorts of dogs here, and they are just having this Dog Days festival to promote the actual Seaport itself.

I met Keith earlier and he and I were hanging out. And Keith, you're a pleasant guy, but we're going to demonstrate how a Newfoundland dog would rescue him.

That dog weighs 130 to 140 pounds. His name is Nemo, and these dogs have been bred over the decades and centuries to rescue men and women that might be drowning off a boat.

So you can hear Sue telling Nemo to come to the boat, and that's how they would typically rescue somebody, bring them back to the boat that they fell off of. And now she's telling him to take him to shore.

So unbelievably smart dog, unbelievably strong dogs, as well, with all of the weight and muscle, and the fur on them, certainly enough to keep them warm in the chilly north Atlantic waters.

So the Newfoundland dogs we're highlighting now, and here is Sue. And how long have you been training these dogs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, about 25 years now.

MARCIANO: And what fascinates you about this particular breed? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The temperament more than anything. There's nothing that frazzles them, they're wonderful with children, they're wonderful with other dogs. They are just so happy go lucky all the time.

And the intelligence, to be able to learn these things as quick as they do.

MARCIANO: It's very impressive what you do in the waters.

It's not exactly bath water, so getting in there -- thank you, Keith, thank you, Nemo, thank you, Sue, thank you, Mystic Seaport. It's been a great road show.

We're still looking for a spot next week, by the way John and Carol. We haven't got many great suggestions for Labor Day. Anything having to do with animals. We love dogs, we love animals, and we certainly love the ocean. So get us somewhere fun next Friday.

ROBERTS: If you love the ocean so much, Rob, I only think it's fitting if you want to see really how a rescue dog works that a person in street clothes should be in there to be rescued.

MARCIANO: Yes, we thought about that.


And we ran up the legal flag pole, and the lawyers at CNN said we're just not covered for that insurance-wise.

I was willing, until I saw these really big jelly fish. They have huge jelly fish, John. It's really scary in that water. And the dogs are big too.


ROBERTS: All right, Rob, have a great weekend. Thanks, we'll see you next week.

Continue the conversation on today's stories. Go to our blog at

And that's going to do it for us. Thanks very much for joining us.

COSTELLO: Yes, thanks for joining us, have a great weekend. Here's CNN "NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins.