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Vigil For Fort Hood; House Passes Health Care Bill; Tomb of Horrors; Hurricane Ida Expected to Hit Gulf Coast
Aired November 8, 2009 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon.
Look, you're looking at a vigil right now. It's under way for the fallen men and women at Fort Hood. We are live in Killeen, Texas, as family and friends pay tribute to the men and women who were killed on that military post.
We have a lot of other news for you, as well. We're live with that.
Our Ted Rowlands and Ed Lavandera live on the investigation tonight. They join us from Fort Hood. And also, we're going to be joined by our Samantha Hayes who is live at that vigil tonight.
We're going to be talking about health care, too, because it was history in the making last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: The yeas are 220, the nays are 215. The bill is passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. So, Democrats get their way with health care on Capitol Hill. What now, as the dust starts to settle? The best political team is live with the president's and the GOP's reaction tonight.
We're also going to take you to Cleveland. Look at that -- the accused killer may have struck decades ago. Tonight, as police ponder that, a memorial service is under way for the 11 victims discovered so far -- a live update from that memorial, as well.
And state of emergency in Louisiana because of a looming storm, the entire gulf coast on alert. CNN's Jacqui Jeras in the CNN hurricane headquarters keeping a close eye on Hurricane Ida.
Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon.
Happening right now, a vigil for the 13 men and women gunned down at Fort Hood, in Texas, on Thursday. You're looking live at the First Baptist Church of Killeen, Texas.
Our team is standing by at Fort Hood. Samantha Hayes is at that vigil for us. She's going to join us in just a bit. There's Ted Rowlands, he's at Fort Hood tonight with the latest on the investigation. And Ed Lavandera, also on the military post with soldiers as their fallen comrades are being remembered right now.
First, we want to get to Samantha.
Samantha, as this vigil goes on, a very sad day here. This is not the first of a number, but this is one of a number that are going to happen, and then there is also the big one on Tuesday. What are you hearing today?
SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don. It's a special prayer service going on here tonight at Killeen Baptist Church. Basically, it's an open invitation to the community. This is a non-dominational prayer service. Local churches were notified. Community leaders were notified.
And on this, you can see from the parking lot, but it's just about full, and the prayer service is under way. Probably hundreds of people are here tonight, including Texas Governor Rick Perry. He is going to be speaking later on in the prayer service.
Really, this is -- church is a place where people in this community, because they are so close to the military, and so close to this incident that happened on Thursday, church is where they have turned, especially, of course, over the weekend.
HAYES (voice-over): On the altars of churches, both inside and outside Fort Hood this weekend, prayers for the victims of the shooting and their families. Thirteen wooden crosses, 13 candles at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Killeen.
And Retired Army Sergeant Victor Sanchez lays a rose next to one.
SGT. VICTOR SANCHEZ (RET), U.S. ARMY: Everyone in this town is sad, very sad. That doesn't suppose to happen here.
HAYES: Like his fellow parishioners, Sanchez is looking for answers, seeking support.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all have people close to you who are afraid because of this. Bind of their wounds. Carry them. And then let me carry you.
FRANK JACKSON, GARRISON CHAPLAIN: We are grateful for your presence...
HAYES: At Fort Hood, garrison chaplain, Frank Jackson, led his congregation in prayer, and not just for the family of the victims.
JACKSON: We are praying for Major Hasan's family, as they find themselves in a position that no person ever would desire to be in.
HAYES: At the Comanche Gospel Church on post, Chaplain Jason Blake intertwines faith and a familiar military tone.
JASON BLAKE, COMANCHE GOSPEL CHURCH: Our focus today is on resiliency, and that the Army -- we're Army strong, and we're going to be able -- our focus is on recovery.
HAYES: But recovery will be difficult for people who continue to question how something so tragic could happen in Killeen, Texas, their home, Fort Hood, their family.
SANCHEZ: It's my hometown, I live here, I got here, I belong to this church. You know, all my friends is here.
HAYES: The community is also looking toward a memorial service at Fort Hood on Tuesday. Of course, the president, the first lady and military officials are all scheduled to attend.
Don, back to you.
LEMON: All right, thank you very much, Samantha. We appreciate that.
And speaking of that memorial service, let's get now to Fort Hood, where they're starting to set up for that memorial service, and Ed Lavandera has been covering this story since it begun.
As this memorial service takes place where Samantha is, talk to me about the mood on this base today. Are things starting to get back to normal, if that's even possible at this point, Ed?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what's interesting, Don, is that I've spoken with several soldiers who have talked about the fact as they have been dealing with all of this, there are thousands of soldiers that are on this post that are still in the process of deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq in the coming weeks. And that work hasn't stopped.
So, it has been an intense several days from that standpoint. Not only are they dealing with the stress of getting ready for their own deployment, which is already a stressful situation, but all -- but all of them are having to deal with what has been going on here on this post since Thursday.
LEMON: We've been talking about the activities on the base. We know there's going to be again the memorial service on Tuesday. Have they already started to set up -- we're getting some guidance that they were beginning to do that, as well. Have you seen that?
LAVANDERA: Yes, we're in the field just outside what's known as the III Corps Building here on the post of Fort Hood. And it's going to be might be hard to make out here, but what we essentially see right now are forklifts that are bringing in all of the -- all the equipment that will be needed for this memorial service on Thursday. They've already begun that process.
So, there's a lot of work here that needs to be done. And essentially, there's a big wide open field in front of this building that will be converted into this memorial on Tuesday.
LEMON: Hey, Ed, we're starting to see some of -- I don't know if your cameraman can pull out or pan around to look at that. We saw some of the -- as you were saying -- some of the forklifts and some of the equipment, we can see it there over your left shoulder. And I would imagine for a service this big -- if we could go back to Ed -- for a service this big, it's going to take quite some time for service to start up.
And it looks like, as you said, Ed, a pretty big field that they're going to have it. This is going to be an outdoor memorial service? Do you know anything about that?
LAVANDERA: It should be an outdoor memorial service here beyond -- it's kind of hard -- if you pan a little bit more to the right, you can see these huge containers. They should be just beyond this on Tuesday. So, there's a great deal of work that is going into this situation now, and a lot of heavy machinery -- my understanding is that these things will be covered in drapes, as well, to make it look a little bit better, obviously.
And so, we're in the early stages here. But this will continue to take shape here over the next couple of days.
LEMON: Our Ed Lavandera, on the post tonight, as they are preparing for Tuesday's memorial service. The first lady, the president of the United States, and also, we're hearing that the defense secretary will be there, as well.
Ed Lavandera, thank you very much -- reporting tonight from Fort Hood as well.
We want to continue now our coverage and talk to our Ted Rowlands. He has been covering the investigative part of this story. He is also live tonight for us in Fort Hood.
Ed, the suspect, Nidal Malik Hasan, off of the ventilator. The question is, now: when will he be able to talk to investigators, and whether or not he'll cooperate?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, whether or not he'll talk. And, obviously, when he is ready. He is breathing on his own, so he's obviously recovering at some level. But he is still listed as critical and in ICU. He's at Brooke Army Medical Center in some nearby San Antonio.
So, at the appropriate time, I'm sure investigators are chomping at the bit to get to this guy and try to get him to talk, and explain exactly what he was thinking, and why he allegedly did this.
Meanwhile, this investigation of several -- has several tracks, one of them still here at the base, at the crime scene, at the medical readiness center where the shooting took place inside and outside. They are basically looking at all of the shell casings that have been left there. Today, there was a plea by the CID, the Criminal Investigative Division of the Army of anybody who was at the scene who left the scene possibly with any damage to their vehicles from shell -- from bullets, or if they had inadvertently taken a shell casing with them, either in a car, in their pants even, because so many shots were fired, in excess of 100. They want to talk to those people. They're trying to recreate exactly what happened inside and outside of that building when Major Hasan went on this shooting rampage.
Then, of course, there is the other investigation as to the days, months leading up to the rampage, looking at computers, talking to witnesses. They have talked to 170-plus people so far, and they say they're still looking to talk to more people.
It's really the infancy of this investigation.
LEMON: And, Ted, I want to -- on a report this morning that showed up in "The New York Times" where it says that preliminary Fort Hood inquiry turns up no link to a terror plot. It does say that they believe that, at this point -- and this is preliminary -- they say, Ted, that they believe that he may have been acting on a welter of emotional, ideological and religious pressures and beliefs and ideas, but they don't believe that it was this coordinated terrorist attack that has been alluded to in some areas.
ROWLANDS: Absolutely. That's where it stands now, where the preliminary investigation leaves us. We got a briefing yesterday, for the first time, from someone from the CID. And they said, at this point, they say he acted alone as far as the shooting, according to all of the evidence that they have. However, they're still looking at his correspondence, and talk about helping out or some sort of terrorist organization. There are different levels of that.
They're also looking into whether he had any foreign influence or in -- or national influence from people that supported him. Maybe warning signs that he told people he was going to do this. Looking at the computers, and also talking to witnesses. People at the mosque he worshipped at, and his neighbors, as well.
LEMON: All right.
ROWLANDS: I've talked to a lot of people, trying to really figure out what's going on.
LEMON: All right. Ted, standing by -- Ted is awaiting a briefing, not exactly sure when that briefing is going to be, but, Ted, get back to us when that happens.
We want to thank our Ted Rowlands, our Ed Lavandera, also, Samantha Hayes tonight.
We want to get you back to that live memorial services. This is the First Baptist Church in Killeen, Texas. And as we look at this live memorial service, we are taking account and remembering tonight the fallen men and women of Fort Hood.
LEMON (voice-over): They were husbands and sons, daughters, a mother- to-be -- the fallen of Fort Hood. Thirteen lives lost. Their loved ones left only to grieve. And wonder why.
SHERYL PEARSON, FALLEN SOLDIER'S MOTHER: This was just amazing to me. It still doesn't seem real to me. I don't -- I don't know. I'm still wondering what happened.
LEMON: Sheryl Pearson was stunned by her son Michael's death, the private first class from Bolingbrook, Illinois, was just 22. He'd left a nowhere job to join the military and see the world.
PEARSON: He wanted to serve his country. He wanted to get an education. He wanted to travel. And he just wanted to do something with his life.
LEMON: Specialist Jason Dean Hunt answered the call of duty, fresh out of high school. He had survived a stint in Iraq. He didn't survive at rampage at Fort Hood. At the time of his death, Hunt had only been married for two months. His sister, Leila Willingham, recalled Hunt as selfless.
LEILA WILLINGHAM, FALLEN SOLDIER'S SISTER: He's always been a hero, even before this. And I think -- I think he is even more so, just because he wasn't overseas killed in combat. I think he was -- I think he did jump in front of a bullet for somebody.
LEMON: Juan Velez was proud when his daughter Francheska enlisted in the Army. He was especially proud of her service in Iraq, although it did cause him many sleepless nights.
JUAN VELEZ, FALLEN SOLDIER'S FATHER: Because she was going over there. So, you know, it's war, you know? And many things can happen, you know? So I was very scared.
LEMON: That's why Velez was relieved when his daughter returned to the U.S. She was pregnant, and was coming home to Chicago early. He thought the worry was finally behind him, until a lieutenant colonel came to break the news, Francheska was dead.
VELEZ: For me, it was like a slap in my face, because I supported my daughter to join the Army. I supported her to go to Iraq. Fight for her country, for our freedom. And I can't understand is that she didn't die in Iraq. She got back home, safe. And she died in the base by a hand of a -- supposedly a soldier. For me, he wasn't a soldier.
LEMON: Francheska Velez, Jason Dean Hunt, and Michael Pearson -- three of 13 men and women thrust into harm's way at home.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: The yeas are 220, the nays are 215. The bill is passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A very happy speaker of the House last night, Nancy Pelosi, as the bill passed. And I think it was, what, 220 to 215?
We want to bring in the best political team on television right now. Elaine Quijano, she joins us now from the White House. Our Paul Steinhauser, deputy political director, he joins us now from our bureau in Washington.
So, some excitement last night. We're up a little bit late. And the president today responded to what he saw last night.
Let's take a listen to him in the Rose Garden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, it falls on the United States Senate to take the baton and bring this effort to the finish line on behalf of the American people -- and I'm absolutely confident that they will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, the president saying it falls on the Senate. I'm going to talk to Paul Steinhauser about the next moves about that in just a little bit. But right now, I want to go to Elaine Quijano.
Elaine, not everybody is happy about this, and we saw it play out this morning on the morning talk shows.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We did. You know, it's interesting, too, Don. I should tell you that the remarks there by the president, it was interesting to note that we didn't hear him repeat a pledge that he's made in the past. We've heard him say time and time again that he wants to get health care legislation on his desk by the end of the year.
Well, the end of the year is just about 7 1/2 weeks away or so. It's not a lot time really to try and get things done. And you're absolutely right. Already, Republicans are making crystal clear that the president and Democrats are going to have a tough political fight on their hands in the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. Just look at how it passed. It passed 220- 215. It passed by two votes. You had 40 Democrats -- 39 Democrats vote against the bill. SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: I believe we're going to pass health care reform. I believe we must do this, because it's essential to not just the quality of life here, but our economic success in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUIJANO: Something else that was notable too, Don, in the president's remarks today, he took a little bit different approach. He talked about a cancer survivor from Montana named Katie Gibson.
QUIJANO: She struggled with insurance companies in the past and the president basically took the time to talk about her situation and said, "Look, it's because of people like her whose stories we've heard about that lawmakers have made the progress they have so far."
So, interesting to note that as the president tries to keep the pressure on members of Congress, he's perhaps maybe previewing there today what we might be hearing as he tries to keep the momentum going.
LEMON: And I think he is probably -- they're probably going to try to make it more personal, so that...
LEMON: ... so that you see the people who are affected by having health care, and not having health care. And one of the viewer feedbacks I got last night, I remember the one that I remember the most, is someone said, "Don, I'm watching you from my hospital room and I'm very happy that you're carrying this." And then afterward, the same person sent me a tweet saying, "I'm very happy that it passed, I'm the same person from the hospital room."
Hey, Elaine, stand by because I want to talk to Paul about that.
Elaine brings up a good point about what we're going to see. And you heard the president say next the Senate, it falls on the Senate. So, what is next? Is he correct? That's it, right? But it's a little bit of campaigning before that.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Oh, yes, the spotlight is now going to be shining on the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. And the big question mark is, can he get a bill to the floor and a vote before Thanksgiving? Because if he doesn't, Don, then we have Thanksgiving break and then we move into December after that.
And if something does come out of the Senate, remember, it's going to have to be matched up and they're going to have to kind of negotiate with the House and conference committee to come to one bill before this ever gets to the president's desk.
And, Don, what comes out of the Senate could be very different than what we just saw was passed late last night in the House. There may not be a public option in the Senate bill. And if there is a public option, it may well allow the states to opt-out. And the way they fund the bill is very different, Don. So, this fight is far from over.
LEMON: It may not be a public option, but that's what the president and that's what really the Democrats and the -- well, the administration, I should say, have said all along, they wanted a public option. So, there may not be one in the Senate bill?
STEINHAUSER: Well, the Senate Finance bill -- remember, we talked about the Senate Finance Committee for so long.
STEINHAUSER: The bill passed through finance did not have a public option. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he wants to put one in there, but there is going to be some pushback. Remember, the Senate -- the Democrats have 60 votes in their coalition in the Senate. But we're already seeing some, like Joe Lieberman, the independent of Connecticut, who's part of the coalition saying, no, definite no to public option. And there are some other moderates as well, Don, that may not want it.
LEMON: So, then, what are the chances then in the Senate of getting a bill passed?
STEINHAUSER: You think things were tough in the House? It's going to be just as tough if not tougher in the Senate. So stay tuned.
LEMON: Yes, stay tuned. OK, so, listen, does last night's win -- and I would imagine the answer to this question, but I want to know -- I want to know from you because you are a political expert, right? So what -- does this help the president, does this win help? Or does it just fire up the opposition and make things tougher for him for the Senate bill?
STEINHAUSER: Oh, you're not going to like this answer, because the answer is both. Yes, if the Democrats didn't pass it last night in the House, the Democratic Party and the White House would have been severely wounded. But they won this battle and that does give them a little mojo now going into the Senate.
The flip side is Republicans say, "Look, 39 House Democrats went to our side and voted against a bill." So, House -- Republicans and now overall, Republicans feel more emboldened, and they're going to take this fight to the Senate, Don.
LEMON: Thank you, Paul.
Hey, Elaine, I would imagine no one talking about that today at the White House, right?
QUIJANO: Well, you know, it's a difficult day, obviously. There is still a long way to go, as Paul mentioned. So no one wants to be perceived as somehow doing a victory lap at this point. At the same time, you know, this is, as the president -- from president's perspective, this is in their eyes, a historic vote. That's what we saw the president say in the written last night. That's what we heard him say in the Rose Garden and that's how he tried to appeal to Democrats.
Now, the question is: does he have the political leadership to try and do the same thing on the Senate side here? As Paul was just laying out, it's going to be tough.
LEMON: Well, he did get one Republican vote last night, guys.
QUIJANO: Yes, you know, but the word "bipartisan" was noticeably absent from the president's remarks in talking about the vote.
QUIJANO: He didn't characterize it as a bipartisan vote. And he was actually asked, as he was walking away, Don -- he was asked, "Mr. President, is this a bipartisan vote? Was this a bipartisan vote?" He didn't answer.
LEMON: All right. Paul Steinhauser, Elaine Quijano -- thank you both so much.
LEMON: You heard Elaine there talking about the one Republican vote, 435 votes, but only one Republican gave a thumb's up last night. Did he do it for his constituents or, I don't know, his political future? We're going to ask Congressman Joseph Cao tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. He'll be live right here on CNN.
We're also live in Cleveland tonight. Right now, there is a memorial services. Friends and families are gathering there to remember the 11 women who were found dead in and around the home of a convicted sexual offender.
Also tonight, the gulf coast on alert. Hurricane Ida rumbling into the gulf coast. There is a state of emergency in one southern city. We're going to tell you about that. Our Jacqui Jeras is on top of it.
And we want your feedback. Look at your screen. That's how you can get it to us.
LEMON: We're going to get you live now to Cleveland, Ohio. There you see the church. And it is a vigil happening right now, and this vigil is being held in memory of 11 dead women whose bodies were uncovered in and around the home of Anthony Sowell. You remember him, he's a convicted sex offender.
Just get you the latest information now. Seven of the victims have been identified by the local coroner. Again, he was a convicted sex offender, jailed under a $5 million bond. And, so far, he's charged with only five of those slayings, because they're trying to identify the rest of those bodies. And investigators are looking at Sowell as a possible connection to other unsolved cases in the area, which brings us now then to our Susan Candiotti who is in Cleveland with the very latest on this case
I mean, this is generating, really, Susan, some serious questions. So, talk to us about -- we're going to get to the unsolved murders, the old ones. What's the latest on the ones -- the 11 bodies that they found now?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Don, you know, people in Cleveland and beyond keep asking, "How could this have gone on for so long without anyone noticing that something was wrong at that house?" At the house of murder suspect, Anthony Sowell. You know, some of these women have been missing for at least two years, some of the victims identified.
And a lot of those questions are being raised at this prayer service that you see at this hour going on, with some relatives of those victims who are also at this vigil. And once the service is over, they're going to be making a candlelight walk from this church to the crime scene, just a few blocks away.
LEMON: OK. So, police in other cities are now looking at this case. You said people are talking about it all over, but looking to see if there are any connections between this case and the cold cases in their own jurisdictions. How far is this going? How many other cities?
CANDIOTTI: Well, let's start right now with the FBI. The FBI was in Cleveland this weekend at the request of the Cleveland Police. And they took the time to go over to the house, didn't go inside, because it's sealed for evidence, but they toured the neighborhood.
FBI is going to be putting together a profile, tracing Anthony Sowell's steps from the time he was born until now. They're looking for any possible links to any unsolved murders nationwide, and to do that, they're putting his DNA into the national crime database to see whether they can link him up to anything.
But you also have this case -- three cases unsolved here in East Cleveland. These happened in late 1988, and two of them in 1989. And what's strange about that is that those murders stopped right in 1990, and that is when Anthony Sowell went to prison, convicted of an attempted rape.
Here's what the police chief had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF RALPH SPOTTS, EAST CLEVELAND, OHIO POLICE: It's just coincidental that these three happened right then, right when he went to prison, we didn't have anymore of that nature. And it's the type of murders and the way that happened that just makes us, you know, think about it and want to go back and check to make sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CANDIOTTI: So those victims were also strangled, they were sexually assaulted, and they were all women with a troubled past. They're also looking at a case in Coronado, California, from 1979 when Mr. Sowell was arrested. A woman looked at his picture on television, and said, "That's the man who raped me," called the police, and so authorities are also looking at that one, Don.
LEMON: All the way in Coronado, California. I mean, Susan, it's just amazing, because we don't know how far this goes. First they found, what, seven bodies, and then it went up to ten, and now eleven, and they're looking at other jurisdictions. Just amazing.
Susan, stay on top of this story. We will hear from you tonight at 10:00.
I want to get our viewers inside the memorial service now. Susan, thank you.
Can we go back to the memorial service?
We have one happening in Texas, this one happening in Cleveland. And you can imagine what this community is dealing with tonight. 11 victims, and they haven't identified all of them. So I would imagine there are people who are at this service tonight, who are wondering if their relatives are among the dead, or are among the women who were found, who Anthony Sowell is accused of killing.
So that happened in Cleveland. Sad, sad news to report today, and we are sorry about that, but that is the news.
In the meantime, we want to turn now to Orlando, Florida, because his attorneys are speaking, and says he was mentally ill. His mother is saying she is sorry today. And we are talking about this man right here that you see in that green vest, 40-year-old Jason Rodriguez. He's accused in Friday's shooting spree at an Orlando engineering firm. One person was killed in that, and there were five people who were wounded. He was denied bond. That was yesterday. This is from yesterday's court appearance. And the suspect's mother apologized to the families of the victims. The public defender says he was an unemployed divorced, caught in a web of financial and personal problems. So that case is not over in Florida.
Meantime, we are following a developing story here. We're talking about the shootings at Ft. Hood, and also health care. But let's stick with the shooting for now, because Major Nidal Hasan, devout, isolated and angry, he is now known as a hero to radical Muslim fringe who consider him a hero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
USEF AL KATA (ph), MUSLIM CONVERT: I love Osama bin Laden. I love him like -- I can't begin to tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: We're going to take you inside these -- this radical organization. They call him radicalizers. Who are they? And really, who is the real Nidal Hasan?
LEMON: We're following three developing stories for you. Very busy evening here and you want to pay close attention. At the top left of your screen, there is a vigil going on for the 13 victims in Thursday's shooting at Ft. Hood. On the right, you see a shot of the capitol. That's live. Reaction coming into last night's historic passage of a House health care bill.
And the radar at the bottom of your screen, that is Hurricane Ida, making her way very quickly towards the gulf coast. One city there, we'll say it, it's New Orleans, in a state of emergency tonight. What is going on? Our Jacqui Jeras will update us in a little bit.
Again, live at the First Baptist Church of Killeen, Texas, is where that memorial service is happening now.
Well, last night, we took a closer look inside the shootings at Ft. Hood, and our Drew Griffin of our "Special Investigations Unit" joined me to explain how some U.S. Muslims openly promote anti-American extremism.
Take a look at our conversation from last night.
LEMON: Another possible motive for the Ft. Hood killings is perhaps the most freighting, that alleged killer, Nidal Hasan, an American citizen, could have turned to violence against his comrades because of religion or ideology. And there are people who will prove or justify such motives.
We turn to "CNN Investigative Unit" correspondent, Drew Griffin.
And Drew, what you're about to report, it may surprise and disgust many Americans about faith here.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE UNIT CORRESPONDENT: But it's an interesting and honest discussion of some of the battles of law enforcement and the rest of our communities, including the Muslim community, have to deal with. There are people out there actually applauding the actions of this shooter, celebrating this attack.
We should stress, we don't know if Nidal became a radicalized Muslim, or whether he was even influenced by the language of hate that thrives on the Internet. But there are groups in this country that do applaud Osama bin Laden, want to convert Americans to wage war on their country. One of them is in New York.
Take a look at this. This is the revolution Muslim web site. Hours after the shooting, it's congratulating an officer and a gentleman, sending a get-well wish, we love you, to the man accused of murdering these soldiers. Their message is in stark contrast to what mainstream Muslims believe, but they are not hard to find.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): For 20 years, the Muslim faithful have been drawn to this gleaming mosque in the heart of New York. It is time for afternoon prayers. American Muslims and Muslims from overseas, as many as 4,000, visit here every day. They come to Allah, and give thanks and to pray for peace.
Imam Chomsi Ali (ph) preaches against terror here, against the violence that right now sweeps many Muslim countries.
But just outside the gates to his mosque, radical Muslims are preaching a very different view.
(on camera): How big a threat are these people who come here -- well, may be here today, and trying to reach your congregation?
IMAM CHOMSI ALI (ph): Islam is about peace, Islam is about moderation, Islam is about friendship. Islam appalls any kind of hatred against anybody.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): These are the brothers against revolution Muslims.
UNIS ABDULLAH MOHAMMAD (ph), MUSLIM CONVERT: We tell you Muslims to rise up.
GRIFFIN: They are recruiting outside New York's 96th Street mosque.
MOHAMMAD (ph): (INAUDIBLE) and disavow and make hatred and enmity between democracy, between nationalism, between secularism. And see Obama as the enemy he really is. See the United States as the enemy it really is.
GRIFFIN: Usef al Kata (ph), a Jew who lived in Israel and abruptly converted to Islam, and Unis Abdullah Mohammad, also a convert, both born and raised in the United States, a country whose way of life they say they hate. And if you are not a Muslim, they count you as a disbeliever. Their mission? To terrorize you.
MOHAMMAD (ph): We're commanded to terrorize the disbelievers. And this is a religion, like I said...
GRIFFIN (on camera): You're commanded to terrorize the disbelievers?
MOHAMMAD (ph): The Quran says clearly in the Arabic language -- (SPEAKS FOREIGN LANGUAGE) -- this means terrorize them. It's a command from Allah.
GRIFFIN: So you are commanded...
MOHAMMAD (ph): To terrorize them.
GRIFFIN: ... to terrorize anybody...
MOHAMMAD (ph): It doesn't mean -- you define terrorism as killing an innocent civilian. That's what you're...
MOHAMMAD (ph): I define terrorism as making them fearful so they think twice before they rape your mother or kill your brother or go to your land and try to steal your resources.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It is that jihadist version of Islam, which allows them to conclude the killing of American soldiers overseas is justified. That the attack of 9/11 was also justified and then an attack on almost any American is justified.
MOHAMMAD (ph): Americans will always be a target, and will be a target until America changes its nature in their international arena.
GRIFFIN: In separate and disturbing interviews, both look to one man as the true living model of Islam, Osama bin Laden.
KATA (ph): I love Osama bin Laden. I -- I love him -- whew. Like I can't begin to tell you, because I haven't seen that he's really done anything wrong from the Sharia. I love him, like, more than -- more than I love myself.
GRIFFIN: What they want is U.S. forces to be defeated, for a Muslim holy land, stretching from China to Rome. And yes, they yearn for the day Israel will vanish.
(on camera): So you would like Israel to be bombed, Jews to be...
KATA (ph): Well, I think that's -- do you think that's a rational come back to what I'm...
GRIFFIN: I'm asking you.
KATA (ph): I would like to see Israel wiped off the map. I would like to see a mushroom cloud over it. But before that, I would like to see the people guided, and I would like them to go back to their original countries, where they're from.
GRIFFIN: They may seem crazy to you, but you are not their target audience. The FBI has assigned agents to watch them, to monitor their web site, and perhaps more importantly, watch those who are viewing and listening.
Like Bryant Neil Venus (ph), a young New Yorker who has pled guilty in a plot to bomb the Long Island railroad. He met with and admired Kata (ph).
KATA (ph): I just know that he was a good Muslim brother and that was it.
GRIFFIN: Kata (ph) claims friendship with Toric Mohana (ph) and Daniel Maldenado (ph). Maldenado (ph) arrested and plead guilty in Texas to receiving military training with Somali terrorists. Mohana (ph) was just indicted in Boston, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. The revolution, Muslim partners say, they do not fight themselves, and do not incite others to fight. But make no mistake, they want you to become a Muslim. They want other Americans to die.
KATA (ph): I would not do it myself. That's what I say. Is Obama a murder, a tyrant, a scum bag? Absolutely, he is. If they killed him, would I shed a tear? Absolutely, I would not. Would I incite his murder? We don't preach that.
GRIFFIN: The mosques have tried to prevent that kind of hatred from being preached by calling police. But there is little police or even the FBI can do to stop these radicalizers. They are protected by legal rights, given in a country they detest.
GRIFFIN: And, Don, law enforcement sources that we have talked to say they know their constitutional rights. They walk right up to that line of protection under free speech amendment and they stop short of crossing it. And all law enforcement can do is watch.
And, as you said, it's a right that is guaranteed here. and that is sort of the problem, the issue that comes with this.
Drew Griffin, thank you so much for that fascinating report.
LEMON: That was last night during our one-hour special, "Investigation Inside the Ft. Hood Shooting," a CNN special investigation. Riveting stuff.
There is a state of emergency issued in Louisiana, a hurricane watch also along the gulf coast.
There is our Jacqui Jeras tracking Hurricane Ida from our CNN severe weather headquarters.
Jacqui, fill us in on what's going on.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A lot of impact we can expect from Ida that's not just for coastal residents. If you live anywhere from New Orleans towards Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Georgia, even New York City, Ida is going to impact you. We'll let you know what you need to know, coming up.
LEMON: Let's talk severe weather. Let's get Jacqui in here quickly.
Would it be fair to say that the entire gulf coast is an alert? I know Louisiana is under the state of emergency. I said the city, I was thinking New Orleans. But the state of Louisiana, now the governor declaring an emergency. But is it fair to say on alert?
JERAS: Not the entire gulf coast. I think Texas for sure should be A-OK we think on this one. And Ida is still quite a ways away, but I would say certainly everybody from the New Orleans area over even towards Tampa Bay for the -- it stretches that wide.
This is a category 2 storm right now, maximum winds 100 miles per hour, so it's pretty ferocious, but it is a small, compact storm. Just to let you know, the worst winds we have seen in the Yucatan have only been about 15 miles per hour. Part of that, because it's on the good side of the storm, and part of it, because the hurricane force winds only extend maybe 25 miles or so from the center of the storm. So that's a little bit of good news for that.
This thing will be moving into the Gulf of Mexico for tonight. We're already starting to see some rain showers into Texas and Louisiana. This is not Ida, by the way. Ida, down here. You're seeing that on the radar. We've got a different area of low pressure into the western gulf, which is going to be a player into the forecast, and what's going to be happening with Ida and helping to steer it down the road. And it's really a complicated matter. In fact, it's sort of like your Facebook status for relationship, where it just says it's complicated and you don't need to know the dirty laundry, other than it's heading for the coast and going to make a right-hand turn eventually as we head to the future.
Here you can see the forecast track from the National Hurricane Center. The water temperatures in the northern gulf are cooler, so it's likely not going to stay a very strong system as it approaches the U.S. coastline. But we could still see a strong tropical storm, weak hurricane, and so we have to watch out for those threats.
You mentioned in New Orleans, take a look at that. Not even in the cone of uncertainty, and not under the hurricane watch. It's east of you. And more likely we'll be watching Alabama and the Florida panhandle for that potential landfall if we get that.
What do you need to know? Here are the basics. Here you can see the flooding rains which have been coming in. Flooding is going to be a big concern. We can expect to see anywhere between about three to inches six inches of rainfall. Coast flooding can be expected, tides three to six feet above normal, and the winds, 30 to 50 miles per hour, easy stronger, gusts, and we'll have some power outages.
And, Don, this is not just a coastal event. We'll see the rain head far up the coast. And there you can see where the rain will be heading. And this system is eventually going to make its way to the mid Atlantic and northeast and be a major wind and rain-maker come Wednesday and into Thursday.
LEMON: Jacqui Jeras on top of it. We're going to check back with you. Thank you very much.
LEMON: We're going to remember the victims of United Airlines flight 93. There is a new memorial that breaks ground, heart-wrenching. And we'll talk about the commissioning of a ship, a war ship, and its connection to 9/11. We'll tell you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: I'm Don Lemon. We wanted to remind you that we're taking your feedback tonight. I'm looking at it as we're doing this newscast. Here's how you can do it, is right there on your screen right now, Twitter or Facebook from iReport.com.
Two things to mention tonight about 9/11. Really it's paying tribute to the people who died on 9/11. First one is in southwestern Pennsylvania. Ground breaking this weekend for a memorial to the victims of United Airlines flight 93. That was one of the four flights hijacked by terrorists on September 11th, 2001. They intended to go fly into the White House, the U.S. capital. But the passengers on that plane managed to overtake the hijackers. They crashed outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That's where the ground breaking happened yesterday, Saturday.
Now we want to take to you this ground breaking ceremony in New York. Look at this. September 11th attacks, also figured in another ceremony, right? This one, the Navy commissioned its newest warship called the USS New York. It's built with tons of steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. The ceremony took place in the ship's namesake, as we said, where the Twin Towers once stood. Our Heidi Cullen had a wonderful report about this earlier in the week if you missed it.
Want to get you back to Texas, Killeen, Texas, just outside of Ft. Hood, and that's where a memorial service was just wrapped up for the 13 men and women who died in that horrible shooting on Thursday.
We're back in a moment.
LEMON: You know in this Internet age many of us might take surfing the web and checking e-mail for granted, but some corners of the world are still living without the web until now. We found a company that is taking places like Rwanda and the Sudan to the "Edge of Discovery."
(EDGE OF DISCOVERY)
LEMON: You see the capitol right there. And reaction is pouring in not only from people on Capitol Hill, because many of the Republican Congressmen were not happy about it, just the GOP in general.
We're getting a lot of your feedback on this story and also the Ft. Hood shootings. I talked about Drew Griffin's report earlier, because I was getting a response.
Ruba0327 says, "I hope to see reports about moderate Muslims who condemn the extremists."
We had that last night, a full-hour special. There were a number of Muslims who condemned -- as a matter of fact, except in Drew Griffin's report, condemned what the shooter is accused of doing.
Loudmouthlex says, "You are talking about me. He is talking about my bio. I love him even more."
OK, "I really feel that the House got it wrong. They are not listening to America. They are listening to the almighty dollar."
Hey, listen. We appreciate your feedback. Keep it coming, and we will read it right here on CNN.