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Finding Osama bin Laden; ACORN Workers Behaving Badly?

Aired September 11, 2009 - 20:00   ET



CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, here are the questions we want answered. Eight long years after 9/11, why is President Obama still a free man? President Obama vowed to find him:


BROWN: But two wars later, the terrorist mastermind is still on the loose. What will it take to hunt him down?

Plus, a deadly firefight in Afghanistan and a dramatic story of survival.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a trap. We walked into basically a three-sided kill zone, within a few seconds had built into this intense storm of gunfire. The volume of fire was just unbelievably intense.

BROWN: How did this reporter caught in a hail of bullets live to tell the tale?

Plus, as Washington wrestles over health care reform...




BROWN: ... our newsmaker tonight, Oprah's favorite M.D., Dr. Oz, reveals what you can do to build a healthy America.

DR. MEHMET OZ, "THE DR. OZ SHOW": If we can change the culture of wellness in America and we can build systems, if we can make that happen in America, we will cut our costs. I think everything else falls into place.

BROWN: And new tonight, another tape, two more ACORN workers fired for giving tax advice to a pair pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute. Our breakout tonight, are there more tapes. Will Congress investigate?


ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. Here's Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Hi, everybody. Those are our big questions tonight.

But we start, as always, with the "Mash-Up." It is our look at the stories making an impact right now, the moments you have missed today. We're watching it all, so you don't have to.

And we have breaking news for you tonight. With the war in Afghanistan getting deadlier by the month, the Pentagon is now calling for an even greater American commitment.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're learning right now about a new high-level request about to go forward to actually get more troops involved in Afghanistan.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Defense Secretary Gates in the last two weeks has come to the conclusion that the threat from roadside bombs, those IEDs in Afghanistan that are killing so many U.S. troops, that the threat is so dire, he wants to send more forces to Afghanistan as quickly as possible to deal with this threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even as American commanders in Afghanistan prepare to ask for more U.S. forces to fight the war, their biggest battle may be back in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As Mr. Obama considers sending more troops to Afghanistan, his own party is balking. Today, Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin implored him not to order more deployments. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a similar message.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't think there's a great deal of support for sending more troops.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With the death toll rising and the Afghan elections tainted by corruption, the most recent ABC News poll shows only 24 percent of Americans favor an increase in troops.


BROWN: A Pentagon telling CNN the new plan could send another 3,000 troops into the war zone.

The war in Afghanistan, of course, a response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, one of the darkest moments in American history. It was eight years ago today.


JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": We begin with Lower Manhattan this morning, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All Americans' thoughts are on those three sites, as survivors and families come together to once again grieve, comfort, and reflect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bells marks the moments the planes hit the Twin Towers and the moments they fell, so different eight years later, yet the names are the same.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, bells tolled for the passengers who helped thwart the terrorists' plans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight years later, President Obama marked his first September 11 anniversary as commander in chief with a moment of silence at the time the first plane struck.

CHARLES GIBSON, HOST, "WORLD NEWS": Later, in a soaking rain, he laid a wreath at the memorial built at the site of the attack on the Pentagon.

OBAMA: Eight Septembers have come and gone. Nearly 3,000 days have passed, almost one for each of those taken from us. But no turning of the season can diminish the pain and the loss of that day.


BROWN: President Obama designating September 11 as a national day service and remembrance.

Meanwhile, just a short distance from where the president was speaking this morning, some dramatic images triggered some serious fear.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Security scare on the 9/11 anniversary, but don't worry, it was just a test.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It played out on the Potomac River earlier this morning, not very far away from the Pentagon, where President Obama was then marking the attacks on America eight years ago.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This traffic was picked on a Coast Guard radio channel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't stop your vessel you will be fired upon. Stop your vessel immediately.

MESERVE: At nearby Reagan National Airport, air traffic controllers shut down flights for about 20 minutes as a precaution, until the word came this was a drill.

VICE ADM. JOHN CURRIER, COAST GUARD CHIEF OF STAFF: No shots were fired. There was no suspect vessel. There was no criminal activity. This was a preplanned normal training exercise.

MESERVE: But there had been no notification to federal, state or local agencies. Even the Secret Service, although the president's motorcade crossed over the adjacent Memorial Bridge as the exercise was under way. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs faulted reporters for jumping too soon, saying, "If anybody was unnecessarily alarmed based on erroneous reporting that denoted that shots had been fired, I think everybody is apologetic about that."


BROWN: The Coast Guard promising a thorough review of the incident.

Over to Yale University tonight, where they are offering a $10,000 reward for any information about the disappearance of a missing grad student -- 24-year-old Annie Le vanished from the Ivy League campus on Thursday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Le's purse, her cell phone, her credit cards, her money, they were all found in her office. And she had a wedding to get to. She's getting married or plans to get married Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police have questioned her fiance. They say there is not a worry about his involvement in this case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Le is seen here on surveillance video leaving the building on 10 Amistad wearing a brown skirt and a green shirt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some say the area around Yale can be a very dangerous area. In fact, Annie had written about it herself in a university magazine earlier this year. She wrote, New Haven is an area plagued with theft and frightening confrontations, but added, with a little street smarts, you can avoid becoming a statistic.


BROWN: Le has no known medical issues, no car to drive away in. The FBI is on the case.

In South Africa tonight, new information in a medical information, the case of embattled track star Caster Semenya, forced to undergo gender testing to prove she is a woman.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And newspapers around the world are reporting a South African champion sprinter has both male and female organs. Track officials won't confirm or deny the reports.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unconfirmed reports now say the results show she has both male and female characteristics, but no ovaries or uterus, and three times the normal level of testosterone for women.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This woman, Semenya's father was outraged over the news report, saying anyone who insinuates his daughter is not a woman and sick and crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of the headlines reflect the anger that South Africans feel, this one saying shock, this one saying outrage. Basically, South Africans are very angry. They feel that the international athletics body and the media has treated Semenya badly, and that she had been publicly humiliated.


BROWN: Still up in the air is whether Caster will be allowed to compete as a woman in future international competitions.

And if that story is not strange enough, over to the parallel universe of the Jackson family, LaToya Jackson today giving ABC's Barbara Walters new details about her brother Michael's final moments.


BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: It has been reported that Michael's eldest son, Prince, was summoned by Dr. Murray to help resuscitate Michael, Prince's own father. That must have been a terrible experience for him. Is it true?

LATOYA JACKSON, SISTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Yes, he did call Prince. He watched him do this, Barbara. And you don't do that to a child. You don't do that to a child, especially when you knew prior to asking that child to come up that Michael was no longer alive.


BROWN: LaToya Jackson goes on to tell that Walters that her brother looked -- quote -- "absolutely fabulous" in his casket all decked out in diamonds and pearls.

And that brings us to tonight's "Punchline," which is courtesy of -- drumroll, please -- South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson. Across the late-night universe, the lawmaker who heckled the president stole the show.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": He was heckled during his speech. Did you hear this? Republican Congressman Joe Wilson has apologized for calling him a liar during his speech on health care.

Yes. Obama accept Wilson's apology, then invited him to appear before a death panel.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": OK. So, now Governor Mark Sanford is the second most embarrassing politician from South Carolina.

(LAUGHTER) JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": He apologized immediately after the speech. He said he was watching "Gossip Girls" on his iPod, and that Blair is such a bitch, he just couldn't hold it in.


CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST, "THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON": Even John McCain chastised Wilson for shouting. But when you're John's age, you're opposed to anything loud.

It's not "The Jerry Springer Show."


FERGUSON: Stand up in the middle of Congress and go, oh, no you did not.



BROWN: Congressman Wilson may be getting the last laugh here. He has raised more than $200,000 since his little outburst on Wednesday night. And that is the "Mash-Up."

Eight years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden still out there, but does he still matter? Is he still relevant? And how has he managed to remain free, despite the offer of a $25 million reward to anyone who turns him in?


MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are men who are prepared to die for bin Laden. In fact, they're eager for the opportunity to do so, to martyr themselves in bin Laden' name. Compared to eternal life, compared to sacrificing your own life, your own existence, what is $25 million?



BROWN: On 9/11, the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon made Osama bin Laden a household name, sort of shorthand for the worst possible kind of evil.

For eight years, he has been the world's most wanted man, but we still don't know exactly where he is.

Here's what we do know. Bin Laden narrowing escaped being killed or capture in the battle of Tora Bora in 2001. There have been so many bogus sightings, some CIA agents have nicknamed him Elvis.

There's still a $25 million reward for his capture. The one big question remains. Why is he still out there? And earlier I talked to retired CIA agent Art Keller, one of the agents who was assigned to the hunt for bin Laden and his deputies. And we were joined by CNN correspondent Michael Ware from Afghanistan and CNN national security contributor one-time Bush homeland security adviser Fran Townsend.


BROWN: Art, let me start with you here. You were in the middle of the search. You were on the ground in Pakistan. Give us a sense of what it was like looking for bin Laden, hunting for him. Did you ever feel like you were making progress or getting close?

ART KELLER, RETIRED CIA AGENT: Simply, we felt that we were making progress on other fronts, which is to say other senior al Qaeda leaders. For bin Laden himself, he has been extremely elusive. I didn't know of any concrete lead to him since about 2004 was the last I heard.

BROWN: Michael, you're there. You're on the ground in Afghanistan today. Does bin Laden even feel relevant?

WARE: Well, certainly, to the war in Afghanistan, less and less so.

The fighting that is going on here day in, day out is not being perpetrated by bin Laden. The attacks primarily, the grinding day to day of ambushes and roadside bombs and even most of the suicide bombings are being conducted by the Afghan Taliban. So, the American troops here are fighting and dying not so much about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, because they're no longer in this country. They don't have the sanctuary they once did.

They have been pushed across the border to Pakistan. This war is about something else. It's about trying to stabilize this country, in the hope that al Qaeda training camps don't return. But in terms of destroying al Qaeda and hunting for Osama bin Laden, this means very little, if not anything at all.

BROWN: Michael, the U.S. is still offering this huge reward, $25 million, for bin Laden. Why do you think having that kind of money out there never really worked?

WARE: Well, for those who would know where bin Laden actually is -- and I would dare say those people could be counted on the fingers or less of one hand -- $25 million means nothing.

These are men who are prepared to die for bin Laden. In fact, they're eager for the opportunity to do so, to martyr themselves in bin Laden' name. Compared to eternal life, compared to sacrificing your own life, your own existence, what is $25 million, Campbell?

BROWN: Fran, let me ask you to go with me, turn back a clock a little here, because we all remember President Bush made catching bin Laden a top priority. I want people to listen.


BUSH: I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, wanted dead or alive.


BROWN: Looking back -- that was so many years ago -- do you think the emphasis on bin Laden was a mistake?

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I will tell you he's an inspirational leader. He's an operational leader. We know that large operational international attacks are run through the leadership of al Qaeda, including to his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

And so he continues to be a focus of fund-raising and recruiting and inspiration. He's not meaningless in the struggle and the war against terrorism. I would disagree -- I would depart a little bit from Michael Ware, in the sense of it's true that in the south of Afghanistan, you're fighting the Afghan Taliban. But along that eastern border that borders the tribal areas, there are cross-border attacks with the Pakistani Taliban, with the tribals like Haqqani and others who provide safe haven to al Qaeda and al Qaeda's leadership.

BROWN: Fran, do you think we're ever going to find him? And if we don't, does it matter?

TOWNSEND: Well, I don't there's any doubt, one, it's going to continue to be a priority. It's for the sake of justice, but also because he continues to be an inspirational leader and a threat to the United States.

Will we find him? I do -- I have always believed that eventually the combination of intelligence and special operations forces working with our foreign allies will be successful.


BROWN: That was Fran Townsend, Michael Ware, Art Keller there.

CNN is going to have much more on Afghanistan, Anderson Cooper reporting from the front lines of the war against the Taliban. That's tonight 10:00 Eastern.

And, tonight, we have an extraordinary report from a war reporter who survived the fight of his life in Afghanistan. He tells the story of the worst battle he's ever seen and how he made it out alive. Also coming up, Oprah's favorite doctor, Dr. Oz, and his prescription for health care reform.


OZ: We can't afford any of the programs that are out there right now if we don't become healthier as a nation.



BROWN: There is a secret to long life. And, in a moment, Dr. Mehmet Oz is going to share with us.


OZ: If you look around the world, Campbell, at the people who live the longest, if you go to Costa Rica or Sardinia, places where people live to age 100 four times more frequently than if they are American and with vitality, they share one continuous quality.



BROWN: Tonight's newsmaker is one of America's best-known doctors, Dr. Mehmet Oz. He of course became famous as Oprah's doctor.

And starting on Monday, he is launching his own daytime talk show.

We sat down this afternoon and started our conversation about the contentious debate over health care reform.


BROWN: We are in the middle of this health care debate right now. And you have described it as frustrating. Explain why.

OZ: I think we're spending a lot of effort in Washington right now.

And it's well-spent effort, focusing on how we're going to pay for health care. So, it's basically health care finance. But the real challenge in America is the care of health. We can't afford any of the programs that are out there right now if we don't become healthier as a nation.

And that's not a battle we're going to wage and win in Washington. We're going to actually have to take that on in our living rooms, in our dining rooms, in our grocery stores. That's a responsibility each of us has to take upon ourselves, or we will never be able to catch up with other Western countries who have significantly lower health expenses, because they're healthier than we are.

BROWN: So what would you change? I mean, what would you change about the debate? Where would you put the emphasis? Or -- if you could do one thing. I know this is sort of an all-encompassing question.

OZ: I will say, globally, we have to make it easier to do the right thing in America. As an example, we spend a lot of effort right now figuring out how we are going to pay doctors and hospitals and how we're going to regulate insurance companies. But we also have to spend a little bit of effort trying to figure out why Americans buy some foods over others. Why is it so difficult for us to get to physical activities that we desire?

And this starts, by the way, in our young years in schools and it progress into our senior years. So, as a society, we can look at different states and how they have accomplished this. Take California.

The incidence of cigarette smoking is about 14 percent.

BROWN: Right.

OZ: I actually chaired the president's last White House council on health there. So, I know some of these numbers.

In New York State, it's about 17 percent, only 3 percent, but it's a big difference.

BROWN: Significant.

OZ: In some Southern states, it's 20 percent and more.

Cigarette smoking is one of the five major agers, one of the five things we do that we know drives at least 60 to 70 percent of the health care budget. Now, that's a big difference between states. Why? Because states like California continue to hammer home and make it easy for people who want to stop to stop, supporting them in many ways that experts can speak voluminously on.

And other states just didn't bother putting the effort into that. We need to pick the best practices and adopt them. That has to be part of a national program to change health in this country.

BROWN: This is something that you've stressed for a long time, I know, preventative medicine. It's something we hear the president talk about. How much do we ourselves bear the responsibility? How much control do we have over our own health?

OZ: I will give you a number. By the time you are 50 years of age, you drive 70 percent of how you age. So, five factors pretty much determine how long you are going to live and how well you're going to live, things like high blood pressure, which seems like a simple thing to test, because it is.

BROWN: Right. Yes.

OZ: Treating it happens to be related to things like losing belly fat. And so when you realize that you're better off taking a dietary approach and a physical fitness approach to a problem like hypertension, vs. taking a medication, it completely shifts your mind- set. What we do so frequently in America is identify a problem like high blood pressure or diabetes or high numbers of that lousy LDL cholesterol...

BROWN: Right.

OZ: ... and we treat it with medications, not realizing that's really like painting over the broken foundation of your health plan.

BROWN: And I know sugar is one of your targets, in particular sodas. As an example, what would happen -- if soda was banned in this country, what sort of changes would we see?

OZ: Well, I wouldn't want to ban soda, in fairness. But I would like to make it really difficult for kids to get drinks with lots of sugar in them. And I would hammer home how detrimental it is for your well-being.

Most Americans think that you get fat because you eat fat. That is not what happens. When you eat sugary foods, especially sugary foods which have no nutritional benefit, two things happen. First is, you send your brain a schizophrenic message, because your brain is getting calories, but it's not getting nutrition.

BROWN: Right.

OZ: And what it really wants is nutrition. So you eat more. So, it doesn't satiate you.

Secondly, the liver takes all those nutrients, figures out you have got enough sugar already, and it converts it into fat. So, lots of sugar in your diet leads directly to belly fat. That's sort of a one-two punch. Eat more, and you get more fat in your belly.

And it also causes diabetes. Campbell, do you realize that half of the Latino kids born these decade are going to be a diabetic? Forty percent of little black boys and black girls will be diabetics. And it's not just minorities. We estimate a third of the white population will be a diabetic. We can't afford to pay for that.

The European countries spend half per person on health care than we do, because they are about half as sick.

BROWN: If you could change one thing or get us focused on one thing, what would it be?

OZ: We have a silo mentality now in our federal government on these issues.

We have transportation, who is not really caring much about education, who is not talking much to health. And those three groups have to work meticulously together, because they all affect our health.

When we don't have bike paths to get to work, when we have an agricultural policy that subsidizes foods that are not good for us, and, yet, we don't have a health group that is able to control those or influence them or take into account the larger costs to society, then we actually don't have a federal policy that make sense.

But let's talk about individuals, because we actually ultimately control this. I would never let my kids have soft drinks. And I don't. In fact, it's banned in our home. And we make the difficult decision in the grocery store, not at home

BROWN: Right.

OZ: Which a lot I think most Americans ought to do. But if you go out to eat something, you want to celebrate, go ahead and have a soft drink. But in general, it should not be a mainstay in what we're drinking.

Physical fitness is something we have completely forgotten about. If you look around the world, Campbell, at the people who live the longest, if you go to Costa Rica or Sardinia, places where people live to age 100, four times more frequently than if they're Americans, and with vitality, they share one continuous quality -- daily arduous physical activity. When we don't walk as a population, when we don't stay active, when we don't climb the stairs, we don't carry our suitcase, what ends up happening is we become frail. And frailty is what causes premature death.


BROWN: We're going to have more with Dr. Oz in a moment including his advice on how we can all protect ourselves from swine flu.


OZ: We talked about swine flu. The first thing I do and before I took a vaccine is take Vitamin D.



BROWN: Back with more now with Dr. Oz and the big health question on everybody's mind these days, how do we prepare for the onslaught of the swine flu?


BROWN: So many people thing this is a media creation that we're hyping this. But how worried should we be? What do you think about it?

OZ: Swine flu is a very promiscuous virus. And by that I mean it took a little bit of swine, but then it took a little bit of avian flu virus. And then it took a little bit of human virus and mixed them together.

So two things happened. Because we don't recognize it, we sit down (ph) in the age of 60, you don't really recognize it because you never saw it before, you will probably get the illness if you're exposed to it. So we estimate, and I think this is pretty accurate, that one half of all Americans, half of all people who hear my voice and see my face right now will get the swine flu.

Now, the good news is, it doesn't seem to be a very bad course. Most people can overcome the swine flu without too much difficulty. But let me get back to that earlier comment about being a promiscuous virus. If the virus mutates, if it morphs a little bit, it could become more dangerous pretty rapidly. That's what worries us, that there's a swine flu virus that we know is very contagious could also become more deadly. That could be devastating.

BROWN: So would you get the vaccine, presuming it becomes available and accessible to most people? There have been concerns about the vaccines voiced by a lot of people. But would you tell people to get vaccinated if you can?

OZ: Well, the concerns are very valid. But let me give you a couple of things that may comfort you.

First of all, the seasonal flu vaccine for me is pretty straight up and actually, on our Tuesday show, I'm getting the vaccine, that you'll actually see me get. The swine flu vaccine is a much younger vaccine, obviously, but it's been tested in several thousand people. It's built on the same chassis as the seasonal flu vaccine.

And so, I think it's going to be a safe vaccine. It's looked very safe today. For most population, sectors ought to get it. I'm a health care provider and I still do surgery. So I think someone like me should get it.

If you're a pregnant woman, I think it's probably safe, too, but we're not going to know that.

BROWN: Right.

OZ: So there are some groups around they're quite concerned that we're not going to be able to have enough data to assure people that's really safe. But the high risk population for sure ought to get vaccinated if they can.

BROWN: Let me ask you -- I guess finally about your show. This is an exciting moment for you. You're stumping out on your own, leaving Oprah behind.

OZ: Well, actually, this is Oprah's idea.

BROWN: I know. I know. I shouldn't say that. I shouldn't say that.

OZ: I know you say it as a joke, but it was actually her fault. About two years ago, she said, you know, this is working out pretty well. We're having a good time in the show. People keep calling us.

We've started a national conversation -- a national conversation that this country needs now more than ever. Because if we can appreciate how much of our future we control as individuals and how much of it we have to do by ourselves, whether it's being a smart patient to make us able to improve the health care system from the inside or it's a matter of a modern understanding what's going to drive, not only helping nourish (ph) your child but intelligence as well. Simple stuff that we know make a big difference. And I'll give you two simple examples. Just take away the message from this talk.

We talked about swine flu, the first thing I do and before I took a vaccine is take vitamin D because we know that vitamin D is incredibly important to our immune system. Not only does it help our bones and our heart, it prevents cancer and it reduces the chance of getting a virus infection.

This is not theory. This is well described and well defined. Second thing I would do is to give our kids Omega-three fats. Why? Because we know that a child who takes Omega-three fats will have an increased I.Q.

Now the reason for that is because 60 percent of your brain is fat, and it needs to be fluid and plastic to learn and cope. If we don't give under certain populations those fats in appropriate amount, they're not going to be smart. So how could they possibly compete?


BROWN: Dr. Mehmet Oz tonight. When hen we come back, we are investigation more shocking charges about ACORN community organizers. ACORN workers caught on tape yet again allegedly giving tax advice to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you're going to have to do is say that you're getting a gift from somebody.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. But the money has got to go in the bank.



BROWN: Tonight yet, another hidden camera sting operation as a growing scandal envelops one of the nation's largest groups of community organizers. ACORN has 400,000 members in a 110 cities, and they help low-income Americans get housing, defend them against predatory lenders. What they're not supposed to do is help pimps and prostitutes evade the IRS. What is going on?

Abbie Boudreau from CNN special investigations unit has tonight's "Breakout."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT (voice-over): First it was Baltimore, now Washington D.C. For the second time in as many days, a video has surfaced showing workers for the nonprofit housing group, ACORN, offering help and advice for a couple pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute.

The man in the video is independent filmmaker James O'Keefe. He's also a conservative activist. Remember, ACORN is a liberal community advertising group.




BOUDREAU: In the latest undercover sting posted on YouTube, O'Keefe and a woman posing as a prostitute are heard asking for advice from a pair of ACORN workers on how to set up a brothel without getting in trouble with the tax man.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you're going to have to do is say that you're getting a gift from somebody.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. But the money has got to go in the bank.


BOUDREAU: One of the employees even offered O'Keefe who said he was law student career advice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, use your girlfriend but we talk about your career. How far are you trying to get?

O'KEEFE: I'm using the money that she's getting. You know what I mean?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. But you don't know where it's coming from?


O'KEEFE: I personally know where it's coming from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. But when the police asked you, you don't know where it's coming from is what we're trying to tell you.

O'KEEFE: All right. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're looking out for you.


BOUDREAU: ACORN, which is active in 41 states, focuses largely on housing for the poor. Its president and executive director responded to the tapes saying they were appalled and angry, and that the two workers have been fired. We tried to reach both women for comment but were unsuccessful.

(on camera): And if all this sounds familiar, it's because the same couple did the same sting operation in Baltimore where they were advised by two other ACORN workers on how to set up a brothel using underage girls from El Salvador.

(voice-over): At one point on the Baltimore video, a worker suggest that the woman posing as the prostitute refer to herself as a performing artist on tax forms.




BOUDREAU: ACORN spokesperson Scott Levenson called the Baltimore tape false and defamatory, and says the tape was doctored. And Levenson tells CNN that the filmmakers made similar efforts in Philadelphia and in that case ACORN workers actually reported the filmmakers to the police. ACORN provided a copy of the police report.

Despite that, the chairwoman of the Baltimore chapter of ACORN says both workers, like their colleagues in D.C., have been fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were dismissed.

BOUDREAU: We're also trying to contact the Baltimore workers. The firings are unlikely to put the controversy to rest. Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa is calling for a full congressional and Justice Department investigation. Two tapes, four workers out of a job, and a wrath of unanswered questions.

Abbie Boudreau, CNN, Atlanta.


BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" minutes away with Kathy Griffin. And coming up, stories from around the world of women fighting to overcome some incredible obstacles. But could their struggle for basic human rights actually pay off for men, too?


NICHOLAS KRISTOF, AUTHOR, "HALF THE SKY": This isn't a battle between the sexes. This is something that could really empower all sides and really get economies going? (END VIDEO CLIP)


BROWN: One of the most shameful scandals in the world today, the pervasive exploitation and oppression of women and girls in the developing world. And now, a new call to arms, in a new book called "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide." It's by "New York Times" columnist Nick Kristof and his wife, former "New York Times reporter" Sheryl Wudunn. And I spoke with them earlier.


BROWN: Welcome to you both.



BROWN: Nick, you really focus on this concept of empowering women and how this is a moral challenge, I think for all of us. But when you're talking about countries that so brutally oppress, terrorize women, I mean, both intellectually, physically, in every way imaginable, how do you do that? And this is a big goal here.

KRISTOF: Sure, but we have seen change, real change in countries. And, I mean, Cheryl's grandmother had her feet bound in China.

WUDUNN: Yes, yes.


WUDUNN: Three (ph) generations. Look at the change.

KRISTOF: You know, women --

BROWN: Three generations is not, I mean --

WUDUNN: Right. It's within a lifetime, I mean almost really.

KRISTOF: And foot binding that happened for hundreds and hundreds of years. It ended really over about 25 years. It ended incredibly quickly. Child marriage ended, concubines, all these things.

And, you know, and then China was a huge beneficiary of it, including the men in China. And so I think that's the message you get out, that this isn't a battle between the sexes. This is something that could really empower all sides and really get economies going.

BROWN: But the countries that you're putting a spotlight on with many of this cases, we're going to talk about it in a second, are, the men are very resistant to this idea. So how do you deal with that? KRISTOF: Well, you know, we have seen cases, for example, in Pakistan. We focus on one case where a woman got a micro-loan and she started an embroidery business. And initially her husband was very, very suspicious about this until she got electricity to the home and paid for it.

BROWN: Right.

KRISTOF: Paid of his debt and bought a TV --

BROWN: Suddenly he's all for it.



BROWN: It's the new (INAUDIBLE)

KRISTOF: Exactly. You know, it really does change the mindset.

BROWN: Let's talk about some of the really extraordinary women whose stories you tell. Let me have you, Sheryl, tell us a little bit about -- and I actually met this woman once, Mukhtar Mai.

WUDUNN: Oh, Mukhtar Mai, yes.

Mukhtar Mai is an extraordinary woman. Her brother was involved in some sort of a crime or framed for some sort of crime. And in order for the village to punish the family, instead of punishing him, they decided they would gang rape -- have Mukhtar Mai gang raped -- gang rape the sister.

BROWN: To punish her for his crime?

WUDUNN: To punish the family.

BROWN: Right.

WUDUNN: Yes, that's the punishment for the family. So, normally in that situation, after you're raped, you usually commit suicide in India.

BROWN: Because it's so humiliating?

WUDUNN: It's humiliating.

BROWN: In Pakistan.

WUDUNN: I'm sorry, in Pakistan. I mean, that's just the -- that's just the norm.

Mukhtar Mai's parents said, no, you're not going to commit suicide. And she finally calmed down and over the months she decided not to commit suicide. But she -- her case went all the way up to the top and Musharraf heard about it and actually gave her some money, about $8,000, which she didn't take for herself and buy an iPod. She actually invested it in education. She built a school for girls. And she's become a role model because she stood up to the cultural norms and has done something positive for the entire village and the area around her.

BROWN: And then, Nick, let me ask you about one more girl. Maha Booba Muhammad (ph), I believe?

KRISTOF: Maha Booba (ph). Maha Booba (ph) is a young woman I met in Ethiopia. And she, like a lot of girls there, had -- you know, was treated as chattels. She was more or less the slave of a man who made her his second wife.

He beat her. His first wife beat her because she resented a younger, prettier girl there. She got pregnant. She tried to deliver herself in the bush by herself. Because she was still only 13 years old, she had obstructed labor. The baby died. She was left crippled and with a childbirth injury called an obstetric fistula, which left her incontinent and smelling.

And the village at that point didn't want to have anything to do with her. They put her in the edge of a village in a little hut and took the door off so the hyenas would find her at night and kill her. And she fought them off that night with a stick and then crawled to a nearby village, where there was a missionary, and took her to a hospital in Addis-Abeba supported by the official foundation recruiting a lot of people here. They were able to repair her fistula and they noticed that even though she had no education, she was really smart and followed instructions really well. And so she is now a nurse at that same hospital. And just, you know, incredible force among these girls.

WUDUNN: She's only 14 when she fought off those hyenas.

BROWN: It's unbelievable. The book is full of these incredibly inspiring stories. The book is called "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide."

Nick and Sheryl, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate it.

WUDUNN: Thanks so much.

KRISTOF: Thank you, Campbell.


BROWN: And if you would like to help, we have all kinds of resources available for you online. CNN's "Impact Your World" Web site has dozens of ways you can make a difference. Go to

We have some incredibly intense video to share with you tonight. A reporter ambushed along with U.S. troops in Afghanistan. His own words how he survived.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JONATHAN LANDAY, MCCLATCHY PRINT JOURNALIST: We walked into basically a three-sided kill zone. It began as kind of like this snap of a couple of bullets, but within a few seconds had built into this intense storm of gunfire.


BROWN: Breaking news right now, these pictures in just moments ago. The space shuttle Discovery, you're watching it landing safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California. That's a live picture right there on the ground. Discovery with seven astronauts on board wrapping up nearly a 14-day mission to the International Space Station. Bad weather yesterday down in Florida, and even worse weather today forced NASA to bring the shuttle down out in California.

And now, a first-hand account of what it is like to be under fire in Afghanistan. Reporter Jonathan Landay was with the U.S. troops training Afghanistan soldiers on Tuesday when they were ambushed outside a remote village. Four Americans were killed. Hear in his own words Landay's story of how he and the others managed to survive.


JONATHAN LANDAY, MCCLATCHY PRINT JOURNALIST: We began moving up into this valley at the head of which this village sits, the village of Ganjgal. And by the time we started move up there, it's dawn. So everything could be seen.

As the first units of the Afghan army reached the outskirts of the village with their Marine trainers, that apparently seemed to be the point at which this pre-arranged ambush was triggered off.

And it was a pre-arranged ambush. It was a trap. It began as kind of like this snap of a couple of bullets but within a few seconds had built into this intense storm of gunfire. The American officers that I were with began calling for air support and artillery fire. They were being told 15 minutes, 15 minutes, 15 minutes for the arrival of the air. And the decision was we had to get out of there.

I was with some incredibly brave men. Captain Swenson (ph) and Lieutenant Fabio (ph) exposed themselves to this massive volume of incoming fire while the rest of us bolted back. There really is no telling whether or not you're picking the right moment or not. So I basically sort of put my legs -- you know, coiled my legs underneath me and just sprang and ran for the place where I believe the rest of my group was.

When I got there, I saw Captain Swenson (ph) kind of with one hand on his sergeant's -- on the field dressing on his sergeant's neck trying to stop the blood, and with the other his walkie talkie in his hand trying to coordinate. By that time, the arrival of two helicopter gun ships. He, however, wanted to go back and get his guys. He was very worried about these four Marines. He realized that they were missing in action. They have not been heard off, heard from. And the worst was assumed. With the arrival of the helicopter gun ships, that really quieted down the incoming gunfire. The insurgents were unwilling to expose themselves, but there were the guys who are still up there. That was sort of the first thought, the most important thought to get up there and if there were alive, to get them out of there. If they were dead, to treat their bodies.

These men that I was with who do this every day, really need recognition for what they did that day.


BROWN: And our condolences tonight go out to the families of the four Americans who were killed. Gunnery Sergeant Edwin Johnson (ph) of Columbus, Georgia, First Lieutenant Michael Johnson of Virginia Beach, Staff Sergeant Erin Kennefick (ph) of Rossville, Georgia, and Petty Officer Third Class James A. Leyton (ph) of Riverbank, California.

And as we leave you tonight, New York City's tribute in light to the victims of 9/11. The giant search lights at Ground Zero.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next.