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Jordanian Teen, American Man Arrested for Bomb Plots; Zazi to Stay in Custody for Transfer to New York

Aired September 25, 2009 - 13:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Undercover agents say this teenager that you're about to see took the bait, and bait he allegedly thought that he could use to terrorize, kill and destroy inside the United States.

Also Iran's secret is out. Another plant where it has big nuclear plans. The outrage now in full swing.

And Anderson Cooper took us into the battle zone in Afghanistan, so how do you even get there and cover a story like that? We're going to turn the cameras around and show you the back-story.

Hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen, live at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

All right. Let's begin with a developing story. A message purportedly from Osama bin Laden that's popped up on the Internet, and he's addressing Europeans, basically telling them their governments must pull troops out of Afghanistan or else.

Al Qaeda has recently threatened attacks in Germany, where voters go to the polls on Sunday. We're going to have more on this story as the day goes on.

In the meantime, though, we are following the latest terrorism developments for you in our CNN "Security Watch."

Five men now arrested in four cities over the last seven days, all in connection with alleged bomb plots. The two latest, both zapped in FBI stings. The bureau says American Michael Finton tried to blow up a federal court in Illinois, and Jordanian Hosam Smadi targeted a Texas skyscraper.

Smadi is 19 years old and in the country illegally. He just appeared before a judge in Dallas, and our Sean Callebs is there with details.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The official charge against 19- year-old Hosam Maher Husein Smadi is attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Authorities portray him as a would-be terrorist and say they were first drawn to Smadi about a year ago when they noticed his rants and raves on the Internet, saying that he wanted to unleash a terrorist attack here in the United States.

FBI agents posed as undercover al Qaeda operatives and began discussions with him online. These discussions are detailed in this 10-page arrest warrant. In it, it goes on to say that Smadi said, "I want to destroy targets. Everything that helps America on its war on Arabs will be targeted." Authorities wanted to find out if he was serious about this and quickly determined that he was.

Now, in the end, this came to a head just a couple of days ago. Authorities provided Smadi with a car that they told him was loaded with ammonium nitrate, C-4 and blasting caps, the same kind of material that Timothy McVeigh used to bring down the Oklahoma City federal building.

Smadi drove that vehicle near where we are now to a glass building, one of the icons in downtown Dallas, called Fountain Place. Now, once he got there, he parked the car at the base of the building, walked away. He used a cell phone that authorities had given him to remotely detonate the bomb, but what he didn't know was that cell phone was actually ringing to an undercover agent. Smadi was taken into custody and is going to be here in court today.

If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Sean Callebs, CNN, Dallas.


NGUYEN: All right, so like Smadi, sad to say, 29-year-old Michael Finton was arrested with a detonator in his hand. His inspiration for all this, according to the FBI, the so-called American Taliban.

CNN's Ted Rowlands is in Springfield, Illinois, with more on this.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This really is an incredible scenario, laid out by federal authorities. Wednesday morning here in downtown Springfield, just before noon, investigators say the 29-year- old Michael Finton drove a van, right here, on the streets of Springfield, and stopped it here. In that van, Finton believed that he had enough explosives to basically take out a city block.

They say he got out of the van, locked it, and then got into his partner's car with the intent of detonating this van of explosives from a spot a couple streets away.

Take a look how close this parking spot is to the federal courthouse here in Springfield. Authorities say Finton wanted to blow this building up, even though he knew that by doing so he would be killing innocent people inside.

(voice-over) What Michael Finton didn't know, while trying to detonate the truck bomb with the cell phone a few blocks away, was that the explosives were fake, and his partner was really an undercover FBI agent.

JEFF LANG, U.S. ATTORNEY: The Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI have been monitoring Finton for almost two years. And as a result, the public was never at risk.

ROWLANDS: According to a federal affidavit, Finton, an ex-con who converted to Islam in prison, desperately wanted to fight as a jihadist, idolizing John Walker Lindh, an American caught fighting for the Taliban after 9/11. After an informant tipped off authorities, Finton was introduced to an FBI undercover agent posing as a low-level member of al Qaeda.

LANG: It appeared that Finton was on the verge of taking some kind of action. So, it was decided that the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the other law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation, provided him with an opportunity for action that we controlled.

ROWLANDS: Finton, who called himself Talib Islam, meaning "student of Islam," worked as a part-time cook. Co-workers described him as a regular guy with a good sense of humor.

MARIAM RUBY FAEDL, FINTON'S CO-WORKER: I'm very shocked to hear this about him, because from what I know about him, this isn't in his character at all. This element of what's on the news about him, this is -- I don't really -- didn't know him to be that kind of guy, and this could be a mistake.

ROWLANDS: But authorities say there's no mistake, and that Finton, if given the chance, could have been extremely dangerous.

(on camera) Finton did make a brief court appearance in the building that he tried to blow up yesterday. In that appearance, he waived his right to a detention hearing, meaning federal authorities have 30 days to bring an indictment through a grand jury.

Across the street from the courthouse is the offices of Congressman Aaron Schock, and according to the FBI agent that was posing as Finton's partner, Finton told him that he was hoping the congressman would be in his office at the time of the explosion, basically intent on blowing up the federal building and also hoping that he could also hurt the congressman, as well.

One thing we should note is that, at this point, there's no evidence that Finton had any real ties to any organized terrorist group around the world.

Ted Rowlands, Springfield, Illinois.


NGUYEN: All right, so the man charged in what authorities call one of the most serious terror plot in years heading back to New York city. Najibullah Zazi has been indicted there on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.

We want to get more now from CNN homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, who is in Denver.

Jeanne, what do you know? JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was a detention hearing here in Denver this morning, and when it was over the judge ruled that Najibullah Zazi will stay in custody until that transfer to New York.

Government lawyers had sought exactly that. They said that the evidence here pointed to a chilling and disturbing sequence of events. They went through what we've heard before, that he allegedly had a recipe for TATP on his computer, that they had bought components here in the Denver area, that he had tried to cook down some of those components at a local hotel room.

They said, government lawyers did, that Zazi had no significant ties to the community, no job to keep him here, that he had traveled in the past, three or four times to Pakistan, twice to Canada in the last ten years. They said he was a flight risk.

Now, Zazi's attorneys did counter. They said that he could have fled from New York to another country after this alleged plot was detected. He did not do so. They claimed he did have ties here.

They also raised some questions about the government's case. Attorneys saying that there was no explosive residue found in Zazi's residence or in his car. They also said the scale that was found in the New York apartment where Zazi stayed, although it had Zazi's fingerprints on it, was not the sort of scale that would have been weighed to -- would have been used to weigh the liquids that would have been used to make TATP.

They also noted that nothing happened on 9/11 in New York.

The judge wasn't buying it. The judge said he will remain in detention. And right now we're expecting a transfer to New York. It is going to happen, but we don't know exactly when -- when the logistics of that are still being worked out.

Back to you.

NGUYEN: All right, we'll be following it very closely. Jeanne Meserve, thank you for that.

And violent attacks allegedly being plotted out in our own backyard. So, is homegrown terror spiking? I'll put that question to Clark Ervin, the former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security. That will be about ten minutes from now.

Meantime, though, big bonuses for bankers, tighter financial regulations, more balanced growth and preventing more economic meltdowns. Those are some of the issues the G-20 faces today in Pittsburgh. This is day two of the summit of 19 of the world's richest nations, plus the European Union. The group has decided to be the board of directors for the world economy.

Now, the eight richest countries used to handle that, but President Obama wanted growing economies like China and India to share some of that responsibility. Of course, protests come with the G-20 territory, and yesterday, as well as early this morning, got a little ugly out there. Police made more than 60 arrests address as they clashed with anarchists. Pittsburgh expects smaller demonstrations today.

Of course, the G-20 was kind of upstaged today by news coming from Iran. Apparently, Iran is more ambitious than it wanted to admit when it comes to nukes.


NGUYEN: Well, world leaders set to make big plans for economic cooperation at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, but the news from Iran, it upstaged just about everything today.

Iran has been, in fact, concealing a covert nuclear plant. In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran says the new uranium-enrichment facility is under development near the city of Qom. And President Obama, as well as other western leaders, are demanding an immediate investigation.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The existence of this facility underscores Iran's continuing unwillingness to meet its obligations under the U.N. Security Council resolutions and IAEA requirements. We expect the IAEA to immediately investigate this disturbing information and to report to the IAEA board of governors.


NGUYEN: Senior U.S. officials have told CNN that the U.S. and France have known about the secret site for months now. Iran says its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes.

Well, two suspected homegrown terrorists now accused of plotting to kill U.S. Marines. Daniel Patrick Boyd, you see him there with the longer beard, is believed to be the ringleader. Now, prosecutors say he and another man had scouted out the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. They allegedly had maps of the base and were training in rural North Carolina.

The two men and five others are already charged with plotting to export a holy war overseas.

You know, cases like this show that one front line in the war on terror is our own backyard. Clark Ervin is the former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, and he joins us now.

Clark, we're seeing a number of different cases: Springfield, Illinois, Dallas, Texas. We're talking Denver, as well. Are we seeing homegrown terror grow?

CLARK KENT ERVIN, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, DHS: Well, it's really striking, Betty. We have amazing similarities between these two cases in Springfield and Dallas, aside from the timing, of course. Neither Springfield nor Dallas is typically considered a top terror target, even though Dallas is a very big city.

NGUYEN: Right. So, why these cities? You would think, you know, these large-scale cities with mass transit, mass casualties and whatnot. Why these particular cities?

ERVIN: Right. Well, it appears to be opportunistic. It appears that both these fellow lived in Springfield and Dallas respectively, and so they took advantage of where they were. It just underscores that every city in the United States, no matter how big or prominent, can be a potential terror target. That's an important lesson for us to take away.

NGUYEN: But is that part of plotting fear throughout the U.S., trying to hit places that some people wouldn't even suspect?

ERVIN: Yes. You know, I've often thought that, if there were to be a successful terror attack, God forbid, somewhere in the middle of the country, not New York, not Washington, not Los Angeles, that everybody thinks is a terror target, but in a place like Springfield, even in a place like Dallas, it would arguably have an even bigger psychological effect for precisely that reason.

NGUYEN: But why are we seeing this now? I mean, is it just coincidence, or are we seeing an increase in homegrown terrorism?

ERVIN: Well, you know, we -- I think it's really too soon to tell. It is striking that all of this is happening apparently all at once, right around the anniversary of 9/11. It appears that, at least in the Zazi case in New York and Denver, and in the case of Dallas, that these attacks may have been planned for 9/11 itself. That certainly appears to be the case in the Dallas one.

And so, here we are eight years after 9/11. And it just underscores that we remain under potential attack here, and there are vulnerabilities that remain in the country that need to be shored up.

NGUYEN: And it doesn't seem like it's the same group. Let's go through these three different ones. The Zazi case, the one out of Denver, and also connected to New York. How does that differ from the other two?

ERVIN: Well, I think the biggest difference is that Zazi apparently had a direct tie to Afghanistan and to Pakistan. He was trained, apparently, by al Qaeda central, we call it, in the heartland there, to carry out an attack on the United States.

And also I believe this is the first time someone from Afghanistan, people from Afghanistan, all three, have attempted to attack the homeland. And this really just shows the nexus between the war in Afghanistan and here at home. You know, a number of people are asking whether that war in Afghanistan is worth fighting. And I think the answer is yes, because it has direct implications here at home.

NGUYEN: OK. What about the Smadi case?

ERVIN: The Smadi case is interesting. In that case we've got -- it's arguably homegrown or it's arguably not. It's homegrown in the sense that this person was already here, but he actually came to the United States from Jordan illegally. We don't know quite how he came illegally: whether he came with fraudulent documentation and was admitted, or whether his documentation was proper. It's just he overstayed his visa. It's my bet it's the latter.

And if so, that's important, because even though we do have a process now to check who comes into the country after 9/11, we still don't have a process to check out people, people who are supposed to have left, and determine whether they've done so.

NGUYEN: And that's the case where Smadi in Dallas tried to set off a fake bomb, in fact.

ERVIN: That's right.

NGUYEN: And then Finton out of Springfield, Illinois, how does that one differ?

ERVIN: Right. Well, arguably, that's the most worrisome one, Betty, because this fellow I would call a classic homegrown terrorist, because he was born in this country. He is a classic Anglo-Saxon American, an archetypical American. He was a convert to Islam. And therefore, he is the kind of guy who can be walking down the street in America, and probably most Americans would not even suspect that he'd be tied to terrorism.

He was inspired by al Qaeda. He wanted to carry out a terror attack. He was particularly inspired by John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban caught after 9/11 on the battlefields of Afghanistan. So we have to be particularly vigilant against people who don't fit the terror profile.

NGUYEN: All right. So we've got three different scenarios here, all you know, alleged to be homegrown terrorists. As the general public, as officials trying to prevent this, what can be done?

ERVIN: Well, I guess I'd say two things. As far as the government is concerned, we really have to give huge kudos to the FBI. They have done exactly the right thing post-9/11. To not wait until something happens, so you're absolutely certain that you catch everybody and that you have an airtight criminal conviction, but instead to act quickly. Sometimes so quickly that you don't completely disrupt and know everything you need to know, because the number one priority is preventing another attack. And we need to continue that.

Secondly, as far as we average citizens are concerned, the "see something, say something" campaign that you see in Washington, where I am, cities around the country, we need to take that seriously. When average citizens see something out of the ordinary, it's incumbent upon them to help the law enforcement officials by being additional eyes and ears. This is a big country, and every one of us has a role to play in securing the homeland.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. Clark Kent Ervin, as always, we appreciate your insight and your time. Thanks for being with us today.

ERVIN: You bet.

NGUYEN: Well, a census worker -- listen to this -- found hanging from a tree. It's a strange situation and a strange message that was scrawled across his chest. Now, the FBI is asking, did his job get him killed?


NGUYEN: Let's get you some information on a high-level meeting that could determine whether more American troops go to Afghanistan. Joint chiefs chairman, Admiral Michael Mullen, and General Stanley McChrystal met in Europe -- Europe that is -- a little bit earlier today. And McChrystal is the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Sources tell CNN he believes he needs thousands more troops. Now Mullen went over to survey the resources for himself. We'll keep you posted on that.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is getting back to work this afternoon after spending the night at a Washington hospital. She checked in as a precaution when she started feeling faint in her chambers. Ginsburg, who is 76, had surgery for pancreatic cancer back in February.

Also getting a firsthand look at the destruction in Georgia, Vice President Joe Biden touring flooded areas around Atlanta today. The FEMA director is also with him, along for the ride.

You know, the nasty weather a few days ago is being blamed for nine deaths. President Obama has declared a major disaster in some counties, so they can get federal money for the cleanup.

More rain, unfortunately, is the last thing flood-ravaged Georgia needs, but, Chad Myers, I hear that might be in the forecast?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That is exactly what we are going to see, although, Betty, I believe the focus, the bull's-eye of the rain, will be into Kentucky, Tennessee and really the piedmont of North Carolina.

And so, those areas also saw an awful lot of rain, not flooding rainfall, but enough to certainly get all of these areas saturated. And saturated is a problem only when you get more rain on top of what you have ground that cannot absorb anymore and you could see some runoff.

So, yes, there's still a flood watch now, a new flood watch for Atlanta, because of some of the showers. But if you take a look at the green and the yellow, that's only one to two inches. I think our area can handle one to two inches.

But when you get here into the reds and you're talking four to six inches worth of rainfall, some of those areas probably cannot handle six inches of rainfall in a short amount of time. And that's why here from Kentucky, through western Virginia, down through almost the Piedmont of -- North Carolina, not issued yet, but I'm pretty sure they will be. Knoxville, Nashville, and down to Atlanta, that's where the flood watches are in effect right now for the rain still to come this weekend.

People canceling plans for the weekend because of all this rainfall up and down the East Coast, I believe. It won't so much be a northeast event, but certainly a Midwest, and Atlantic, mid-Atlantic event, and that's where the rain is going to be. And that's where the rain is coming.

So, we'll deal with it when we can. As long as it doesn't come down too fast, too hard, everybody will be fine. But those watches are posted just in case.

NGUYEN: Well, let's hope it doesn't come down too fast. All right. Thank you so much for that, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

NGUYEN: You know, allegedly kidnapped and locked away in a backyard for 18 years. Jaycee Dugard has quite a story to tell, but will a judge and jury ever hear it?


NGUYEN: All right, so we are following the latest terrorism developments for you in our CNN "Security Watch."

Five men now arrested in four cities over the last seven days, all in connection with an alleged bomb plot, in fact, several of them.

The latest, both zapped in FBI stings. Here's a picture of the guys. The bureau says American Michael Finton tried to blow up a federal court in Illinois, and Jordanian Hosam Smadi targeted a Texas skyscraper.

Smadi is 19 years old and in the country illegally. He's just appeared before a judge in Dallas, and our Sean Callebs joins us now live from outside the courtroom.

So, what went down inside?

CALLEBS: Well, Betty, it was only about a 20-minute hearing, and really much of it was focused on the magistrate, the federal magistrate in this case, talking with Smadi's defense attorney, Richard Anderson, to make sure that Smadi knew exactly what was going on, exactly how serious the charges were, and the charges that were being brought against him.

Clearly, the Jordanian national, English is not his first language. He struggles with that language. We have this arrest warrant here. It details about a year's worth of conversations that undercover FBI agents posing as al Qaeda operatives had with Smadi, and most of those conversations, the e-mail conversations were done in Arabic. But the attorney guarantees that Smadi understands what's going on. He was dressed in a black shirt. He looked very nervous, looked down a lot. Really didn't have a whole lot to say. He did waive his right to a detention hearing. There will be a probable cause hearing coming up October 5th, a week from Monday, when the federal authorities will have to outline their case. But really, they detailed a great deal of it, Betty, in this arrest warrant.

NJGUYEN: All right. Sean Callebs joining us live. Sean, thank you for that.

You know, we know how, we just don't know why. So, many questions in the serious death of a Kentucky census worker. As reporter Connie Leonard from affiliate WAVE tells us, authorities want to know if his job put him on someone's hit list.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the big question: Why would someone hurt Mr. Spartman?

CONNIE LEONARD, WAVE-TV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Friends and colleagues of 51-year-old Bill Sparkman say they are shocked by the mysterious death of the well-liked Scoutmaster and substitute teacher.

GILBERT ACHARDO, FRIEND OF BILL SPARKMAN: He was so motivated and loved being around the kids so much that he went back to school and got his degree.

BILL SPARKMAN, MURDERED CENSUS WORKER: I eventually landed in London, Kentucky.

LEONARD: This is video of Sparkman taking part in a commencement address in 2008 for Western Governors University in Salt Lake City. Friend and retired state trooper Gilbert Achardo, says he knew when Sparkman didn't show up for work, something was wrong.

ACHARDO: Mr. Sparkman was always where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be.

LEONARD: He says Sparkman was going door to door for the Census Bureau in a drug-ridden area of rural Clay County. Achardo warned him to be careful.

ACHARDO: We did some looking and checking ourselves, but by the following morning when he hadn't showed back up in Laurel County, we called the state police, and they went right to work on it for us.

LEONARD: Sparkman was found hanging in a tree in a remote area of the Daniel Boone National Forest. The word "fed" was scrawled on his chest. The FBI was called.

DAVID BEYER, FBI SPOKESMAN: We're working with the Kentucky State Police to determine the nature of his death and whether it was related to his employment with the Census Bureau.

LEONARD: The FBI now knows how he died, but isn't sure who is responsible.

BEYER: He was found with a rope around his neck. And that rope was looped over a tree. But his feet were on the ground. So, he did die of asphyxiation. We do know that. How that came about, we're not sure. There are three possibilities, obviously. It could be accidental, it could be suicide or it could a murder.

LEONARD: Sparkman's friends say it's a tragic end to his life, especially because he recently suffered with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but was in remission and had been very hopeful lately.

ACHARDO: Everybody loved him. The kids loved him, and the staff loved him as well.


NGUYEN: So, this is how it's going to play out. If the FBI finds that Sparkman was targeted because of his government job, it will take over the investigation. We'll continue to follow that for you.

Meantime, though, what's it like to be held prisoner in a backyard maze for almost two decades? Police say Jaycee Dugard knows, and she's ready to tell a judge and jury. Her attorney says if the case goes to trial, Dugard will testify against Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

The couple is accused of kidnapping her back in 1991 and keeping her at their California home. But Phillip Garrido is also believed to be the father of Dugard's two children, so she has mixed feelings about opening up.


MCGREGOR SCOTT, JAYCEE DUGARD'S ATTORNEY: She's had children in that environment, so, it's really, it's what she has known, really in essence for her life. So, that's one competing emotion. On the other side, there's no question that she knows that terrible and wrong things were done to her.


NGUYEN: Dugard's attorney said his client and her daughters have been doing remarkably well ever since their rescue last month.

Well, 56 children have died from the H1N1 virus since April. Will you get your child vaccinated? Why plenty of parents are actually saying no.


NGUYEN: All right. So, in less than two weeks the long-awaited H1N1 vaccine will be available to the public. But the question is, will people get it? A new poll from the University of Michigan shows only 40 percent of parents want it for their kids, even though it's recommended for all kids. Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen was at a briefing at the White House yesterday. Elizabeth joins us now. What are you hearing about this? Are federal health workers worried as well?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're worried. Here's what they're worried about. What they're worried about is that people are going to just say no to the vaccine. They're particularly worried that parents are going to just say no to the vaccine. We just heard those statistics that you said.

This, they say, is a problem because while H1N1 isn't necessarily that big of a deal for many kids, it kills some children. For example, we know that since April, 56 children have died from H1N1. So, federal health officials are concerned that parents are going to be scared to get a new vaccine without realizing that they should also be scared of H1N1.

NGUYEN: All right. You know, so every week we do an "Empower Me Friday" where we help one person with a health care problem. And today, we want to help Yolanda. Of course, she's talking about the H1N1, the swine flu. She's got a question about that.

And here it goes: "How many vaccines should one receive for this flu season? We're a family of five. We do not have any insurance. Are these vaccines expensive?" So, she's got a couple questions in there for you, Elizabeth.

COHEN: That's right. She sure does. And you know what, I have to tell you, Betty, that we chose Yolanda's question -- it was totally selfish, because I also have a large family. I have four children. And I sat down with my husband, and we tried to figure out, OK, who needs the H1N1 vaccine versus the regular seasonal flu? And do he and I? What do we need?

And I'll tell you, it's extremely difficult. I called the CDC for help, and even they made a mistake. So, this is not the easiest thing in the world to figure out. So, we're going to focus on Yolanda's family and see what they need.

So, what we do know is that here's Yolanda and her husband. So, what we know is that they will each need one vaccine. That's it. Just one vaccine per person, and that would be the seasonal flu vaccine. Because we know they're around 40 years old. They're healthy. They don't need the H1N1 vaccine.

But it's a different story. It's a little bit more confusing when you get to her children. Her oldest child is 14. That child is going to need two flu vaccinations, one for H1N1 and one for seasonal flu. Maybe they'll get it at the same place, maybe it will be two different trips. It really depends on which doctor's got what.

The 11-year-old will also need two vaccinations, one for swine flu, and one for regular seasonal flu. Now, here's where things get tricky. Their little one, their 7-year-old child, is going to need two vaccines, plus one extra shot. So, in other words, two plus another one, and the reason for that is that children under the age of 10 need to get an H1N1 vaccine and then a couple weeks later need to get another one, because just one is not enough in children that young.

So, I hope we helped Yolanda. I know this is a little bit confusing. But these are the thoughts that families are going to have, the thinking process families are going to have to go through. How many shots you need completely depends upon the ages of your children, the ages of the parents, what kind of health conditions people have, those sort of things.

NGUYEN: Yes, and they're looking at nine shots for that entire family...

COHEN: That was fast math.

NGUYEN: ... which could become costly, you know, depending on how much -- and they don't have insurance, so...

COHEN: Right.

NGUYEN: ... a good question there. And, you know, every week people have questions, especially when we're getting close to these shots and swine flu season and blah, blah, blah. So, where can people send these questions so they can get some real answers?

COHEN: Right, absolutely. Let me tell you where you can send them, I want to answer all your questions. And also, many of these shots are going to be free for this family. They're probably going to get all free shots. So, that's some good news.

NGUYEN: Oh, that is absolutely good news.

OK, OK, thank you so much, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

NGUYEN: We do appreciate it.

And our top stories are also part of the "CNN Security Watch." Five men now arrested in four cities over the last seven days in connection with alleged bomb plots. You get all of that?

All right, let's break it down. The two latest both from FBI stings. There are pictures of them. The Bureau says American Michael Finton tried to blow up a federal court in Illinois, and that 19-year- old Jordanian Hosam Smadi targeted a skyscraper in Dallas. These two cases are not believed to be directly related.

Well, the man serving a life sentence for helping plan the 9/11 attacks wants a new trial. A lawyer for Zacarias Mousavi told a federal appeals court that his client was limited in his choice of lawyers, trial lawyers, that is, and he says he was denied evidence that would have helped his case. Mousavi pleaded guilty but now says he's innocent. He will be walking the shadow of a liberal lion, but Senator Ted Kennedy's successor will be sworn in today in spite of a last-minute effort on behalf of Massachusetts Republicans to block it.

Senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash joins us now live. Dana, what's on tap for the possible senator, Paul Kirk?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were here in the Senate Office Building, the Russell Office Building, which is where Senator Kennedy had his office. It's actually right down the hall from where I'm standing. And we were there when Paul Kirk walked into this building and walked in, Betty, to Senator Kennedy's old office.

And it's actually quite remarkable because he walked in to applause from Senator Kennedy's staff, who were in there, but also into a room, the suite of Senator Kennedy's reception room, so to speak, which has not changed since he died. It is still filled, floor to ceiling, with photographs of him, of his brothers, of his family, memorabilia from his nearly 50 years in the Senate.

So, Paul Kirk clearly was emotional when he was in there. And, in fact, when he walked back out -- he's sort of making his way around the Capitol right now -- when he walked out, I asked him about how that felt to walk in. Because remember, Paul Kirk was a very, very good friend of Ted Kennedy and himself a former staffer.

Listen to what he said.


BASH: Can you take one minute just to tell us what that was like to go into that office, which is still filled with all the the photos and all the memorabilia and all the years...

PAUL KIRK (D-MA), SENATOR-DESIGNATE: Very hard to describe to you. Sobering. Emotional. And I know how they feel.


BASH: So, there you see a very choked-up Paul Kirk, and he left to go have a meeting with the now-senior senator from Massachusetts, his colleague, John Kerry. And the two of them, we believe, are having lunch,

And it does become official at 3:30 this afternoon. So, in just under an hour and a half that he will be sworn in as the senator, interim senator, from Massachusetts. He will be sworn in by the vice president, Joe Biden -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. Dana Bash, joining us live. Thank you, Dana.

And we are just getting started right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Stay with us.


NGUYEN: We are pushing forward. "CNN Security Watch" next hour, and the terror-related arrests right here in the U.S. over the last few days had us wondering, what are feds and your local police doing to foil potential attacks?

Plus, a true developing story. A family thought snapshots of their toddlers were cute and innocent. Well, the person who developed them saw an entirely different picture and called the law.

So, you're running out on a $10,000 hotel bill. That's a pretty big bill. Well, it's something cousin Eddie might pull in the "Vacation" movies, but the actor who played him is the one facing the charges.

Yes, police arrested Randy Quaid and his wife yesterday after a California hotel accused them of skipping out without paying. Besides the "Vacation" series, the 56-year-old actor has been dozens in movies like "Kingpin" and "Brokeback Mountain."

Well, lights camera, action! It is CNN's Anderson Cooper live from Afghanistan. Yes, he made it look easy, but looks can be deceiving. His crews give us the backstory.


NGUYEN: All right, so every Friday we like to turn the camera around and give you a glimpse of everything that goes into covering a big story. And sometimes, just getting on the air with working equipment can be chaotic.

Michael Holmes hosts "Backstory" on CNNi. And, you know, today we're talking about Afghanistan. It's one thing to cover events here in the U.S., but fly halfway across the world...


NGUYEN: ... and try to cover it there, that's a whole different story.

HOLMES: Yes, you're talking dozens of cases of equipment. I think -- I've reported a lot from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well. And getting a story out of there can sometimes be a challenge.

Well, imagine doing an entire program out of there. And that's what we're talking about. Anderson Cooper went over. I mean, all the boys were there -- Michael Ware, Sanjay was off somewhere else. But Anderson did the whole show out of a military base there. Getting a whole show on air, live, now, that's a challenge.

NGUYEN: And no technical glitches, absolutely.

HOLMES: Yes. Now, Anderson's a great guy, but he doesn't do that on his own. I mean, we've got some great people out there, technicians, engineers and the like, cameramen like Bill Littleton (ph) and Neil Holdworth (ph), who before he went off with Sanjay and everyone else, grabbed him by the collar, and I said, you will shoot a backstory for our show on CNN International...

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: And he did. And I'll tell you what, it's interesting as part of what we do to show you what goes into things like getting a show on air in a place like Afghanistan. Just check this out. What an adventure.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is leaving New York behind for a couple of weeks. We're never going to make it to Afghanistan with your driving. We probably won't even get to the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)airport.

UNIENTIFIED MALE: I'm the best driver there is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's what all the cab drivers say. Typical New York, hand-on-the-horn mentality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was cool earlier. There was a lot of snow. We flew over the snow. I think they're keeping it together with (INAUDIBLE) tape. At least it doesn't have a roof rack on this one. In the old days, we used to put the luggage on the roof rack, remember?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. I'm not quite as old as you, but yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, we have just landed at Kabul International Airport, where the local time is 6:30 a.m. and the outside temperature is 12 degrees Celsius. Would you please remain seated with fastened seat belt until the sign has been switched off, the aircraft has come to a complete stop and the main front cabin door has been opened for you to deplane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So are you pretty surprised the stuff made it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Twenty-six cases, or 26...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first time everything's actually made it. And you had how many, 20 odd? I don't believe it, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Twenty cases, and every one of them made it. Insane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's always a first time. There's always a first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's two hours, two -- an hour and 45 minutes before the show, and we're kind of in the process of setting everything up. The thing here, because we're doing a show, a live show, is we need a prompter, so that's what I'm trying to make happen now. The prompter basically puts the words (INAUDIBLE) in front of the camera lens so Anderson gets to read everything right, unless I screw it up and then it's backwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to get a shot as soon as possible. Right, tell me what you see in the...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the prompter?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this. See, the words are the right way around on the screen here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what do you see up there?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you do differently?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You read the manual.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No idea. (INAUDIBLE). I have no idea why that didn't work. But that's it, we're good.

We only have one signal out because we're on a kind of different kind of satellite dish, so we have two cameras. So we have to go through something called a switcher so that we can -- we'll actually effectively direct the show from here by cutting one camera off and then that camera. That's if it works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you had this figured out about five hours ago. So, five is a number.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to get this done, brother.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being on hold makes me feel worthless and cheap.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's coming through, I think. Let me just double-check in a second.

OK, so we're half an hour before showtime, right, and we're seeing whether this light we have is -- the sun's going to come up, and we might need a light, a powerful light. Now, if we turn this light on it could kill the generator, which will kill the entire show. But if we test it, and we don't know if we can reset the generator. So, we're a half hour to showtime and we can't get another generator, obviously, because we're in the middle of nowhere, so, I'm thinking...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, do you want to test it after the show? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's test it after the show for tomorrow, and we'll live with it today.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not telling us any of your stories. Why is that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll tell this to Michael in private. I think we're good to go.

It ain't broke, don't fix it.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": That's it for us from -- that's it for us from Camp Jaker. We'll see you tomorrow night. "LARRY KING" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. You're on loud speaker, so no swearing.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I'll be on my best behavior.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so hopefully it all runs the same as last night. We should be good.


COOPER: Later, a day in the life of (INAUDIBLE) at Camp Jaker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they said they see it, they're just trying to punch it out because the router is (INAUDIBLE). We'll (INAUDIBLE) it back to New York, so (INAUDIBLE).

OK, right, tell me -- right, let me know about the sound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I said, what could go wrong? Yes, it looks good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How's the audio?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does it sound?

OK, we're going to going to carry on with (INAUDIBLE). We just don't see (INAUDIBLE) to establish the (INAUDIBLE) as a priority on the dish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's feed it. Let's have it in hand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we ready, guys? Let's do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't even plugged in. (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is that power cable I gave you this morning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that went for that.



Hey, that does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching. "AMERICAN MORNING" starts now. I'll see you tomorrow night.


NGUYEN: And that's how it works. You know, so many times, it's a mad dash, a scramble the last few seconds right before you go on the air, but somehow it magically happens.

HOLMES: And in those conditions. I mean, it is so dusty out there. It was cold at night and hot during the day, trying to keep the equipment clean and everything. Neil (ph) and all the guys out there, Phil (ph), they did a great job with that.

And you saw a little bit of nerves just coming into the show. You know, doing a live show, and of course, when I was talking about the dust, they all ended up getting sick, by the way, you know.

NGUYEN: Well, what was that from?

HOLMES: There was like a bug in the dust that was out there. Sanjay got it as well. His cameraman, Scotty (ph), Danielle (ph), his producer, they all got sick.

NGUYEN: Sanjay also got swine flu.

HOLMES: Well, yes, there was a flu bug that was apparently in the dust out there. So, it's a very inhospitable place to be, and to get a live show out like that, I mean, it's just fingers crossed, even with a bunch of talented people.

NGUYEN: It really -- and you know, and you're using several signals, you're trying to make sure that they all work. Sometimes, you're down to just one, and it's not the one that you actually want. It's not the clearest signal, but you make it happen. But I think what's so fascinating in all of it, despite the conditions, despite all the hardships, hey, they still had teleprompter.


HOLMES: They did. I know, they took field prompters. They run off a laptop, not like the ones here.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: And they are. They're pretty handy to have. I mean, I never had one out there, but you know...

NGUYEN: I mean, if you're going to do an entire show, that's one thing, as opposed to a report in the field where it's just, you know, running (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: The other thing, too, that I often found or we often found in Iraq in particular, if you're on a base, too, you're dealing with all the military electronics. And it's so easy to just get little hits and little breakups all the time because all their radios and surveillance stuff is out there. And that's another thing they had to compete with. So, I'm sure they had the jammers on the humvees that jammed radio signals to stop IEDs. And those things get in the way of your broadcast signal as well.

NGUYEN: Well, another thing that folks at home may not know, too, is when we broadcast live like that, and doing an entire show, there's usually someone back at home base, whether it's New York, Atlanta or D.C., that is there just in case the signal goes down, because there's always that possibility. And the last thing you want is dead air.

HOLMES: Exactly. Exactly.

No, it was amazing. And that's the sort of thing we try to do on the show, is give people a sense of what goes into the finished product, because sometimes that can be just as interesting as the product, not that "AC 360's" not interesting.

NGUYEN: Sometimes it's even more nerve-racking than actually getting the story.

HOLMES: Terrifying, that live stuff. When you're 30 seconds out -- and you saw Neil (ph) there scrambling around because something was unplugged.

NGUYEN: Right. And sometimes the last minute, something gets unplugged and it's like, wait, where did the lights go? Where did the signal go?

HOLMES: I was saying to you during the story -- I hope we've got time, but just quickly, a little anecdote.

When I first went into Kabul after 9/11, actually, and we flew into Bagram Air Base because the air base wasn't open then, and listening to the announcement they had when they were landing there reminded me of the announcement we got when we landed. And they said, "When you deplane the aircraft, please get your hand baggage and please do not leave the tarmac when you get off because the airfield has yet to be demined."

It was sort of like, oh, yes, I'm in Afghanistan.

NGUYEN: Welcome to Afghanistan.

Michael, it was such a great story there, and I think it's fascinating for your viewers to actually see this story behind the story. So thank you. We appreciate it.

HOLMES: You're welcome. We're on International, of course, but you can go to and you can check out a whole bunch of other backstories.

NGUYEN: And they're all so fascinating and so very different as well. Thank you.

HOLMES: Yes. Good to see you.