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United States and European Nations Confront Iran's Secret Nuclear Facility; Technology in Video Game Systems May Be Useful for Studying Physiological Processes; Several State First Ladies Raise Awareness of Ovarian Cancer
Aired September 26, 2009 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: A live look at the weather radar. More rain is headed to Georgia just days of massive flooding devastate parts of the state.
And Marines with more in common than the service to country, the men all have a rare disease and they think a link from their past may have caused their illness. A special investigation report has this incredible story.
And building and sustaining healthy marriages and effective parenting, why it's being added as a new lesson for students at one Virginia university.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We're on the severe weather watch, the radar shows you why -- real fears of another round of flooding. Watches and warnings span from Georgia to Ohio River valley with major worries for north Georgia.
WHITFIELD: Rain swollen creeks, saturated ground, really can't hand yet another deluge. And the prospects are daunting. We are already seeing two inch of rain recorded within an hour in northwest Georgia in the mountains there. And rain is heading toward flood- weary metro Atlanta.
Our Catherine Callaway is in the suburb of Hiram, Georgia.
CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hiram, yes.
WHITFIELD: All right, well, how is the family enduring this real mess that you introduced us to in the last hour?
CALLAWAY: Yes, and can you believe it's raining again? It's pouring down rain, just what we don't need.
This is Sosebee family home, and it's right next to a creek. And believe it or not, the water was all the way to the roof of this home.
And the story I want to tell you about is the good Samaritans that have come here to help the Sosebee family out. They are from Samaritans Purse. These are volunteers that have come from all over the country to help clean out the home so it can dry out and they can hopefully rebuild it.
I am quickly going to go through everyone. This is Teresa Thornton. You are actually here in Atlanta, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
CALLAWAY: And this is the first time you have worked for them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
CALLAWAY: When they said you were ripping out walls, what did you say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm on dumpster duty.
CALLAWAY: And we have Ron Hall, he's from Yoder, Wyoming. That's a long way, sir. Why did you decide to come?
RON HALL, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: It's our fourth year we've done this for Samaritan's purse.
CALLAWAY: You came on your own dollar, missing work to do this, right?
HALL: Well, I'm retired. And they flew us out here. We'll be here long term.
CALLAWAY: And Claudia and Joe Desrosiers from Dallas, Georgia. You two have left your jobs and family and are doing nothing but cleaning out the house, right?
CLAUDIA DESROSIERS, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: That is correct.
CALLAWAY: Why did you decide to do that?
DESROSIERS: Because we can see the devastation the floods have happened throughout the whole county, and even in Paulson County where we live in as well. So it's really hard.
In our house, we've had very minimal, but just what everybody else has. This is great where the country comes together and people together to help each one. It's been awesome.
CALLAWAY: So these people -- Tina, come on in here. This is Tina Jones. She is the daughter of the Dosher (ph) family who lost their home here. And I know you are overwhelmed by the fact these are strangers, they didn't know each other, coming together to help people they didn't know as well.
So quite an effort here, I know it's overwhelming for you.
DESROSIERS: It is. All these guys and the people inside, we couldn't have asked for anything more than what they have done. Samaritans Purse, we don't know these people. They are total strangers.
And my father, I thought he was going to break down and cry. We are just so thankful. And the church, West Ridge Church is actually how we got affiliated with them, and the Salvation Army. There's been so many people that have come out to help. We are so thankful.
CALLAWAY: I'm sure you are.
And Fredricka, it is overwhelming to see these people. Most of them they have never even met before, and yet they are all working together. This is hard, nasty, dirty work, ripping out homes that have been flooded like this, but they have been nonstop since early this morning, and they will stay until the job is done here.
WHITFIELD: Wow, I know folks appreciate all that help that they are getting here. Catherine Callaway, thanks so much from Hiram, Georgia.
Much of the flood-affected area is already approved for federal relief. Vice President Joe Biden took an aerial tour of the area yesterday and reaffirmed the federal government's commitment.
He saw Six Flags over Georgia looking more like Six Flags underwater. The number of counties eligible for aid jumped to 14 after the vice president's visit during which he made this chilling comparison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The truth of the matter is, for someone who lost their home, it is Katrina. For someone who is in the situation, the people here in this shelter, it is Katrina. It's not Katrina in it's scope by any stretch of the imagination, the impact on their lives, we understand it is Katrina.
And on a beautiful, sunny day like today, the worst part is, I know from experience, the tragedy of what happened to you is sinking in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Also sinking in, the cost. Nearly a dozen have died across the south. In Georgia, alone, damage estimates are at already at $500,000,000. That figure could rise with today's expected downpour.
And Pittsburgh is returning to normal as thousands of police, protesters, and 20 of the world's most powerful leaders leave. About 4,500 people took to the streets yesterday as the Group of 20 was wrapping up its two day summit.
The march was largely peaceful, but Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry tells us the first summit hosted by President Barack Obama took a turn.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With a little help from friends, President Obama took center stage and turned a sleepy G-20 summit about the financial crisis into a showdown over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Iranian government must demonstrate through deeds its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law.
HENRY: The president revealed that Thursday in Vienna the U.S., United Kingdom, and France provided detailed intelligence to the International Atomic Energy Agency showing Iran has been building a covert uranium enrichment facility for several years.
At a news conference at the close of the summit, Mr. Obama emphasized the intelligence is solid.
OBAMA: I think Iran is on notice that when we meet with them October 1, they are going to have to come clean and they are going to have to make a choice.
HENRY: French president Nicholas Sarkozy was even blunter.
NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT: If by December there is not an in-depth change by the Iranian leaders, sanctions will have to be taken.
HENRY: The key to passing tough new sanctions at the United Nations will hinge on whether there is buy in from China and Russia.
That's why Mr. Obama quietly started building his case, sharing the sensitive new intelligence with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a one on one meeting earlier this week according to senior U.S. officials, who say their diplomatic effort is starting to bear fruit because Russia's long skepticism over sanctions is beginning to evaporate.
DMITRI MEDVEDEV, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (via translator): But in some cases sanctions are inevitable.
HENRY: Mr. Obama was also spotted engaging in a long chat with Chinese president Hu Jintao on Friday. And when asked about China's long resistance to sanctions, a top U.S. official said stay tuned, because are just starting to absorb the new intelligence.
HENRY (on camera): The president was also talking tough about not taking the military option off the table, the possibility of a U.S. military strike against Iran if it doesn't come clean about its nuclear intentions, though the president did stress he prefers diplomacy, a case he began building here and a case that will only accelerate in the weeks ahead.
Ed Henry, CNN, Pittsburgh.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: Earlier, I spoke with Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA. He told me his country is working with the nuclear agency on getting inspectors into Iran as quickly as possible. He also said there's no nuclear material at the site in question.
Before Iran took center stage, the G-20 leaders ushered in a new era in global economics. They agreed to make the group the new permanent council for international economic cooperation. Before it was the G-8 which did not include China, India, and Brazil.
The G-20 is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. Together they account for 85 percent of the world's economic output.
The leaders also adopted a broad outline urging financial institutions to improve their reserves to offset bad loans and investments.
The Afghan national charged in a cross country terror investigation is now in New York. Najibullah Zazi is being held in Brooklyn. He was moved there after appearing before a federal judge in Denver yesterday.
Zazi is charged with conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction under unknown targets. Prosecutors say Zazi was planning an attack in New York to coincide with the September 11 anniversary.
Zazi is set to appear in federal court on Tuesday, but his attorney says prosecutors don't have a case. He says they haven't found any explosives or chemicals, yet they can't connect to his client.
But as Susan Candiotti reports, Zazi is caught on tape buying key ingredients that can be used to make a bomb.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The surveillance video obtained exclusive by CNN Thursday matches court documents that puts a terror suspect in a beauty supply store twice in July and August.
The store's owner says the FBI approached him during a canvass of businesses last week looking for unusual sales of hydrogen peroxide, a chemical used to make a powerful explosive called TATP.
In the first video, a man to be alleged plotter Najibullah Zazi, wearing a baseball cap backward, walks up with six bottles of a cheap peroxide hear product bottle. He throws in a few more items, including a shower cap.
A few weeks later, the FBI says Zazi goes back to the same store and buys a dozen more bottles and a makeup bag. He puts the bottles into a shopping cart and moves down the aisle. The store chain's CEO says that is an odd amount, but employees were not alarmed. The customer jokes that he was buying it for a lot of his girlfriends. KARAN HOSS, CEO, BEAUTY SUPPLY WAREHOUSE: There was some small talk. And specific to the product, I believe one of the employees actually asked what do you -- what are you using all of this stuff for? And he jokingly said, oh, I have a lot of girlfriends.
CANDIOTTI: The store voluntarily turned over to the FBI the videos and two receipts that coincided with purchases on those dates. He paid cash. The bottles are cheap, all 18 bottles for about $3 each.
In court documents, prosecutors say Zazi and others bought other large quantities of chemicals intending to make a bomb. So far no chemicals have been found and no other helpers arrested
Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.
WHITFIELD: Federal authorities had a busy week on the terror front. They uncovered two more domestic threats.
An ex-convict described as an admirer of American born Taliban fighter John Lindh is in custody in Illinois. Michael Finton is accused of trying to blow up a federal courthouse. And in Dallas, a 19-year-old man tried to detonate a car bomb in an office parking garage. Both cases are unrelated.
The new X-factor in medicine. How can a video game counsel help keep your heart healthy?
WHITFIELD: So, as many of you know, video game systems can provide hours of distractions. But, did you know one of them has a medical purpose as well? Our gadget guru, oh, so you're a gadget guru now. You do it all, Josh Levs. Tell us all about it.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know what's interesting, in the 4:00 hour, you and I are going to be talking about multitasking.
WHITFIELD: I know. I know you're good at that.
LEVS: My goodness.
WHITFIELD: You do it all.
LEVS: I love this. At CNN.com/tech, we have interesting stories about technology. The other day, this was a headline I saw, how X-box can help fight heart disease.
I'm going to explain it to you. In order to do that I needed a 3D image of a heart. I found one here at 3Dscience.com. Let's zoom in. This is the idea. Cardiac disease is the number one killer in the United States.
What researchers do now is they create images, heart models on a computer. And they will go in and say if there are a few disease cells here or here or here, what would happen? Then they create videos and play out what would happen.
And by getting those little bits of information and running it through these computers, they are able to predict important things like heart arrhythmia or a heart attack, things that can kill major problems.
It's great that this research exists, but here's the problem with that. It requires supercomputers, really complex, very expensive computers, a lot of places can't afford and don't have.
In steps this, the X-Box, a game system. This researcher in Britain discovered the chip in the X-Box can do what you previously needed the giant supercomputers to do.
It allows the heart modeling to go on so much more cheaply and more quickly. This, in turn, can help researchers do a lot more of it. It can really save lives.
I want you to see what the researcher told me. We have a quote from him, he said "These are the literally the most powerful computing hardware you can get for the money."
And Time magazine says "This new tool has the potential to revolutionize the medical industry."
So, Fred, what began as a little chip in a game system can really have an impact worldwide on studying what is the top killer in the U.S. and elsewhere.
WHITFIELD: Are there other games proving what's healthy?
LEVS: Yes, health. I'll show you what I got on twitter today. Research is being done at Stanford, where they are studying things at the molecular level, kind of similar to what I was showing with the heart except with molecules, and they have been using the Sony Playstation.
So Fred, it's a fascinating story, a lot more info at CNN.com/tech.
WHITFIELD: Perfect, thank you gadget guru.
LEVS: I love it.
WHITFIELD: All things guru, Josh Levs.
LEVS: I'll do my best.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks.
Couples divorcing, young folks having relationship troubles. One university is bringing together experts and students for answers.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: German authorities banned flight over the annual Oktoberfest in Munich due to terror threat. About 6 million people pack the world's most famous folk gathering every year. Terror groups have threatened Germany in recent weeks.
On Sunday Germans vote in national elections. The flight ban continues through October 4.
The funeral for slain Yale university student Annie Le is being held today in California. Le was killed September 8th, five days before she was to be married. Her body was found hidden in a Yale lab basement. Lab tech Raymond Clark is charged with killing her.
And September is ovarian cancer awareness month. And the first ladies of several states are joining forces to give women a shot at actually beating the disease.
Elizabeth Cohen shares the story in today's health for her segment.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Carla Markell knows she can make a difference. As first lady of Delaware, Markell, a breast cancer survivor, is using her office to highlight another deadly disease, ovarian cancer.
CARLA MARKELL, FIRST LADY OF DELAWARE: One of the most important things we can do is alert people what the signs and symptoms are.
COHEN: According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 21,000 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. That's why Markell, along with other first ladies across the country, are trying to raise the nation's awareness.
Josephine Hatchcock was diagnosed with ovarian cancer six years ago and was shocked that a lot of women don't recognize the seriousness of the illness.
JOSOPHINE HATCHCOCK, OVARIAN CANCER PATIENT: The symptoms are so subtle. You have to really know what they are.
COHEN: And that not always easy. Dr. James Larson, a Delaware gynecologist, says the most common symptoms can easily be confused with more benign health concerns.
DR. JAMES LARSON, OBSTETRICIAN/GYNECOLOGIST: People can have abdominal bloating or abdominal discomfort or pelvic pain or they can get full easier.
COHEN: Other symptoms can include loss of appetite, bloating, lower back pain, and an urgency to urinate.
Delaware governor, Jack Markell recently signed legislation that would allow the state's residents to voluntarily donate to a state ovarian cancer fund on their tax funds. His wife says it's a step Delaware is taking to help Delaware conquer this silent killer.
Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.
WHITFIELD: Building a solid marriage and being good parents, these are lessons usually learned at home, but one university sets out to change that.
WHITFIELD: What some are calling a crisis in the state of marriage in America is bringing together 100 experts at the Hampton University in Virginia next week. The university is holding a national summit on marriage, parenting, and families.
So joining me from Virginia Beach, Virginia, the key organizer, Dr. Linda Malone-Calon. She is the chair of the psychology department at Hampton. Good to see you.
DR. LINDA MALONE-COLON, PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT CHAIR, HAMPTON UNIVERSITY: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: And students Jocelyn Watkins and Timothy McCall, good to see you as well.
JOCELYN WATKINS, JUNIOR, HAMPTON UNIVERSITY: Hi.
WHITFIELD: Doctor, I want to begin with you, because there are six panels that this two-day conference is broken down into, focusing on everything from the faith and family to the politics of marriage, if we could see the full screen.
And you are also asking that people can go to a panel and find out how to revitalize their marriage as well. A media culture, those influences, and youth and the next generation, which is exactly what Timothy and Jocelyn are representing.
So doctor, what are you hoping that people really take away from the conference when they attend?
MALONE-COLON: The major thing we want to do with this conference is to raise awareness about the state of marriage, parenting, and families in the country. And what we know is the urgent crisis and the consequences of the marital and family decline.
That's one of the major things we want to do. But more than anything, we want to focus on solutions. That is, what we can do as a nation, strengthen what our vital and foundational social institutions for our country.
WHITFIELD: What you recognized is more than half marriages fail.
WHITFIELD: And in the African-American community, the number is higher than that.
WHITFIELD: That's why you and others are calling marriage and families in a crisis situation. And that's where this kind of intervention steps in, right?
MALONE-COLON: Yes, Fredricka.
And what we are so concerned about, too, is what's happening with the children, because the greatest decline we are seeing is in the number of children being born and raised in married parent households.
We know that now, for example, 40 percent of all children who are born in America are born to parents who are not married. And when we look across races, we see that disproportionate African-Americans are affected.
WHITFIELD: You hope this conference will be problem-solving, that you don't need to restate the facts that exist and underscore the crisis. But you set the panels to come about some really solution driven ideas.
WHITFIELD: Whether it be a single person, student or a family or an intact marriage couple come to the conference, what are you hoping they are going to leave with? What are some of the principles you are hoping that will, I guess, that you're hoping will be provided as tools for people to strengthen their marriages and families?
MALONE-COLON: Actually, Fredricka, this is a group of about 100 leaders of influence, people on the front lines dealing with children, working with children, working with families, singled parents and married couples.
And we are coming together to identify solutions. And what we will do as a result of this summit is publishing a public report and national call to action.
We are also releasing a U.S. marriage index that can be used to measure the health of marriage in our country. Just as we have indicators to measure the health of our economy, shouldn't we have indicators to manage our marriages?
WHITFIELD: What's interesting here is we invited Jocelyn and Timothy to be a part of it, too. On any college campus, the focus is academics. What is it the young people want to learn about?
Jocelyn, you are a psychology major. This is an academic interest to you, the marriage and the families. You come from a two- parent household, but for you, personally, what are you hoping to learn from the conference?
WATKINS: I want to help find solutions. I want to know not only why there is a problem disproportionately in the African-American community, but how we can help solve it.
As a young African-American woman who will hopefully be wed in the future, it's a solution that will affect my life and something I want to help...
WHITFIELD: And Timothy, you are 19 as well. You are majoring in biology. Do you feel you have a pretty healthy idea, a robust attitude of what marriage or what family life will be like for you, or are you going hoping to learn something you think you don't know about family life or marriage?
TIMOTHY MCCALL JR., SOPHOMORE, HAMPTON UNIVERSITY: I really want to learn about how different cultures, or different ethnicities, and also people from different regions of the country, view marriage and the importance they place on marriage.
WHITFIELD: The true scientist in you.
Timothy and Jocelyn, we are going to actually have you come back next weekend, because the conference starts Tuesday.
WHITFIELD: So we wanted to get you before the conference, and then after the conference and find out exactly what you learned, if you feel you are excited about the notion of marriage and family after the conference.
Dr. Linda Malone-Colon as well as Jocelyn Watkins and Timothy McCall, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it. And I know you all look forward to the Tuesday conference.
MALONE-COLON: We sure do. Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: Thanks and talk to you soon.
WHITFIELD: Our top stories right now -- President Obama suggests Iran act immediately regarding its nuclear energy program after Tehran confirms an underground and previously unannounced new facility is being constructed.
President Obama says Iran is at a political crossroads. Iran's president says Mr. Obama is mistaken.
The Afghan national indicted in an alleged bombing plot arrived has arrived in New York for his next court appearance. The fed accuse 24-year-old Najibullah Zazi of attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction. Zazi's attorney denies the government's charge.
Imagine being able to turn your thoughts into actions without ever lifting a finger. That's the logic behind new technology that harnesses the power of the mind connected to a computer. Our Gary Tuchman explains how it works in today's "Edge of Discovery."
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This researcher is posting a message on Twitter. What's amazing is he didn't type the word "Hello," he just thought it.
The cap he is wearing is full of electrodes. As he focuses on the flashing letters, the cap picks up electronic signals from the brain. Then the computer spells what he thinks. It's called brain- computer interface, or BCI.
The research being done on the Wadsworth Center, the Albany Medical Center, and Washington University in St. Louis, among others, could help quadriplegics and people with cerebral palsy or Lou Gehrig's disease.
DR. GERWIN SCHALK, WADSWORTH CENTER: One could apply the brain- computer interfacing skill move a cursor on a computer screen, to move a wheelchair, potentially, or, perhaps, at some point, even control the movement of a robotic arm.
TUCHMAN: The patient you see here as electrodes planted directly the surface of the brain. He's controlling the spaceship in this video games with just his thoughts.
BCI is still in the experimental phase, but Dr. Schalk says you will be seeing a lot more of it in the next few years.
SCHALK: The research we are doing now, we are getting a tiny glimpse into what's possible in the future.
TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN.
WHITFIELD: More than a dozen marines with a rare disease and a common link from their past. Why they think it caused their illness, and that the government actually knew about it, they say.
WHITFIELD: Semper fi is more than a casual mantra for the U.S. marines. Now that several members of the corps have a rare disease, they are wondering if the government has been faithful to them. They have a common link which they fear may be a cause of their illness.
Abbie Boudreau with our special investigations unit has the story.
ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: These men are all victims of a terrible disease, a disease especially rare among males. They have breast cancer.
JIM FONTELLA, FORMER MARINE: At that time, I never knew men could even have breast cancer until I was told by the doctor. That's when I was shocked.
BOUDREAU: But beyond their rare illness, these men share another link -- they are all retired U.S. marines or children of marines. And years ago, they lived on the same marine base.
MIKE PARTAIN, SON OF MARINE: We come from all walks of life. Some of us have college, some of us blue collar jobs. We are all over the country. And what is our commonality? It is that we all at some point in our lives, we drank the water at Camp Lejeune.
BOUDREAU: Camp Lejeune is the main U.S. Marine Corps training base in North Carolina.
BOUDREAU (on camera): How many of you believe that your breast cancer may be tied to the water at Camp Lejeune? All of you.
BOUDREAU (voice-over): They have each had part of their chests removed by surgery. All suffered through brutal chemo-therapy or radiation or both. Some were told their cancer was terminal.
These are just seven of at least 20 former marines or sons of marines with breast cancer who lived at Camp Lejeune.
PETER DEVEREAUX, FORMER MARINE: My traveled to my spine, ribs and hip.
BOUDREAU: Peter Devereaux is 47-years-old. He was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. He was in Camp Lejeune in 1981 and 9182.
DEVEREAUX: And the difference with metastatic breast cancer means now there's no cure. So the average life expectancy is two to three years.
So, you know, I have a daughter at home, 11 years old. And you are in this thing, and you know, you know, it like pisses you off. Being a man, I try to take care of my wife and daughter. Now, I'm considered disabled because I can no longer work or use my arms. You have challenges.
BOUDREAU: Jim Fontella from Detroit fought in Vietnam and lived in Lejeune in 1966 and 1967. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. After surgery it reoccurred, spreading to his spine and back.
FONTELLA: I kind of manned up to it after awhile and just expected to die, because once you have metastasis, basically it's just a matter of time before you die. Luckily, I'm past my due date by five years. I outlived the death sentence that I got.
BOUDREAU: Mike Partain, the son and grandson of marines, was born on Camp Lejeune 40 years ago. PARTAIN: I want to see my daughters graduate. I'm sorry, when they told me I had breast cancer, it was serious, the first thing in my mind was, am I going to see my kids graduate from high school? Am I going to see my daughters marry?
BOUDREAU: Partain has helped find and organize these men. Like most of them, Partain has no family history of breast cancer. He even got himself tested for the breast cancer gene.
PARTAIN: And they were negative.
BOUDREAU: Breast cancer in men is far more rare than in women, with only 1,900 men expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. this year as compared to 200,000 women.
Dr. John Kiluk is a breast cancer surgeon at Moffett Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. He's startled by the common thread.
BOUDREAU (on camera): Do you think this raises any red flags?
DR. JOHN KILUK, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR: Absolutely. When you have -- the average breast cancer patient for males is about 70-years- old. So when you have gentlemen in their 30s without a family history of breast cancer, that is alarming. And the question is, why? Why is this happening to them?
BOUDREAU (voice-over): Frank Bove with the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has been working to answer that question. He says the levels of contamination at Camp Lejeune were alarmingly high.
FRANK BOVE, ASTOR: The levels of trichlorosilane were the highest I have ever seen in a public water system in this country.
BOUDREAU: Government records show from the 1950s through the mid-1980s, Camp Lejeune's drinking water was contaminated with high levels chemicals and solvents. Some came from a nearby dry cleaner, others were chemicals used on the base.
The contaminants included tricloro ethylene, or TSE, percloro ethylene, or PCE, and benzene, all believed to cause cancer.
BOVE: Whether the exposures were long enough and high enough at Camp Lejeune to cause disease, that's the question.
BOUDREAU: The Marine Corps declined to be interviewed for this story, but said in a statement that addressed the contamination as quickly as it was discovered and that it has collaborated with the toxic disease registry from the beginning of its studies to determine the extent of the contamination and whether adverse health effects may have resulted from it. This collaboration continues to the present day.
For these men, collaboration isn't enough. They want answers and they say they want help. FONTELLA: To have 20 men come from the same place, walking on the same dirt, drinking the same water. There has to be a link there somehow.
BOUDREAU: But so far, no link has been proven. And the Veterans' Administration says without the link it cannot pay for treatment. For these men, it's a bitter disappointment that leaves them angry.
BOUDREAU (on camera): Why anger?
RICK KELLY, FORMER MARINE: Anger because the Marine Corps did this to me. How could they do it to me after I served the country faithfully, honorably discharged? How could they do this to my fellow marines?
BOUDREAU (voice-over): Abbie Boudreau, CNN, Tampa, Florida.
WHITFIELD: And when we come back, we'll show you documents that indicate the Marine Corps knew about the contamination years before they shut down the contaminated wells.
WHITFIELD: So when did the government know about contaminated wells at Camp Lejeune, and what did it do to protect the troops form potentially cancer causing chemicals?
Abbie Boudreau with our special investigations examines those questions in part two of her story about the marines with breast cancer.
BOUDREAU: Seven former marines or sons of marines, all with a rare disease, male breast cancer. All of them fear it may have been caused by contaminated water in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
KELLY: I felt discomfort in my chest. My wife would hug me and it was almost unbearable.
BOUDREAU: Rick Kelly was a young marine at Camp Lejeune from 1980 through 1982. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998.
KELLY: I went to a doctor and they sent me to the oncologist. And they did biopsies on both sides. I ended up with a double mastectomy.
BOUDREAU: Now a single father, with no insurance, Kelly tried to file a claim for continuing medical bills. He was told by his local VA office that he has no claim as his illness has not been proven to be a service related injury.
KELLY: I went to the V.A. to see my local representative, and he said it's not the V.A's problem. It's the Marine Corps problem.
DEVEREAUX: A lot of us went right out of high school. We were so proud to serve our country and it was my honor to serve my country. I felt tremendous pride.
BOUDREAU: Peter Devereaux was a marine at Lejeune at around the same time. He tried to get help from the V.A. His claim was denied because his breast cancer, according to the V.A. neither occurred in nor was caused by service.
These men say the Marine Corps should acknowledge the contaminated water made them sick, making them all eligible for V.A. benefits.
DEVEREAUX: They are trying to ignore this problem. They want it to go away. And it makes you sick, you know, with disgust.
BOUDREAU: These seven men are among hundreds who allege illnesses caused by water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
Some 1,600 claims have been filed against the federal government by former marines and base residents, seeking nearly $35 billion in compensation. But with no definitive link found between the illnesses and the contaminated water, no claims have been paid.
JERRY ENSMINGER, FORMER MARINE: We were being exposed when we went bowling. We were exposed when we went to the commissary. And then, when we went home, we were being exposed over there.
BOUDREAU: Jerry Ensminger, a former marine drill instructor, lived at Camp Lejeune with his family in 1976 when his daughter Janie was born. Ensminger's daughter died of childhood leukemia nine years later.
Ensminger and others say the Marine Corps waited too long to test and shut down the wells after learning the drinking water was contaminated.
ENSMINGER: Five years they knew they had this stuff in the tap water. They never went and tested the wells. It's criminal.
BOUDREAU: As early as 1980, according to these documents, experts hired by the Navy to test the water found it was highly contaminated. In 1981, the lab again wrote, "water highly contaminated," adding the word "solvents!" with an exclamation point.
BOVE: These are very toxic chemicals we're talking about.
BOUDREAU: In August, 1982, the experts found levels of trichloroethylene believed to cause cancer, levels of 1,400 parts per billion. That's 240 times higher than today's EPA safe level.
But it would take more than two years until late 1984 and early 1985 for the Corps to test all the wells and shut down the contaminated ones.
In a statement to CNN, the Corps wrote "Once impacted wells were identified, they were promptly removed from service."
A fact finding panel created by the Corps five years ago ruled officials acted properly and that the water was "consistent with general industry practices at the time."
Two years ago, Congress ordered the Marine Corps to notify all marines and their families who might have been exposed, an estimated 500,000 people.
RICHARD CLAPP, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: This is a population of people who lived at Camp Lejeune and were exposed to very high levels of toxic chemicals in their drinking water.
BOUDREAU: Richard Clap is a national recognized epidemiologist who has studied cancer clusters at toxic sites.
CLAPP: And so I think cancer of the breast in men or other kinds of cancer have been linked to this exposure, that we ought to know about that. The families deserve that. The veterans themselves should know about that, and they should be compensated if the link can be made.
BOUDREAU: But for now, there is no proven link, just marines and their families who say they are suffering.
ENSMINGER: Having been a former drill instructor, where I trained over 2,000 brand-new civilians and made them into marines, I instilled in those new marines our motto, which is simper fidelis, our slogan, that we take care of our own.
Nobody in this world has been more disillusioned than I have been. I feel like I have been betrayed.
BOUDREAU: Abbie Boudreau, CNN, Tampa, Florida.