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Accused Cop Killer Shot Dead; Afghanistan: War Within Wars; National Security Chief Denis McDonough Answers Viewers Questions About Afghan War

Aired December 1, 2009 - 13:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And we are pushing forward now with the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM with that lady, Kyra Phillips. You rock.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much. Great show, Tony.

We are pushing forward right now, talking about our troops, the future of our troops in Afghanistan.

President Obama makes his big announcement tonight. Why it's bigger than the Taliban and terrorism and why some U.S. allies are actually complicating the conflict.

Plus, never mind that the military's stretched thin. The writing's on the wall and on this recruit's right arm. A new policy has just inked him out of the Air Force.

And . . .


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's happening to people's daughters. It's happening to people's nieces, nephews, grandchildren. And it's plaguing every community in the United States.


PHILLIPS: We're talking about sex trafficking: not far away, not other people's kids. It's here, and it's our children.

Pushing forward this hour with relief and rage from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. He's dead, shot and killed by a Seattle police officer. The drama kept us on edge for 48 hours. Four police officers blown away in a cold-blooded ambush, prompting a two-daylong manhunt.

And if that wasn't outrageous enough, we all wanted to know why. Why was this accused cop killer, 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons, even on the streets in the first place? And who was responsible for that decision?

Clemmons was no angel. Despite claiming that he was Jesus and he could fly, his rap sheet says otherwise. Not to mention just six days before Sunday's rampage, he was in jail, accused of child rape and assaulting police. Serious charges but pale in comparison to the 108- year prison sentence he was hit with earlier in Arkansas.

And that's what has so many of us stunned right now -- why was Clemmons' sentence commuted by then-governor Mike Huckabee?

CNN's Mary Snow investigates.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fellow police officers in Washington want to know why the suspect in the killing of four police officers was free, given his long criminal record.

BRIAN WURTS, LAKEWOOD POLICE INDEPENDENT GUILD: I can't believe he was out on the street. If what is true, I think this country needs to get together and figure out why these people are out.

SNOW: Maurice Clemmons' criminal record began in Arkansas. Between 1989 and '90 he was arrested on eight felony counts, including aggravated robbery and possession of a firearm. He was convicted and sentenced to 108 years in prison.

In 2000 he sought clemency, saying he was a changed man. He wrote to then-governor Mike Huckabee that he was a teen who had just moved to Arkansas from Seattle, adding "he fell in with the wrong crowd and, thus, began a seven-month crime spree" which led him to prison.

Huckabee granted clemency, making Clemmons eligible for parole. Prosecuting attorney Larry Jegley says he objected repeatedly at the time.

LARRY JEGLEY, PROSECUTION ATTORNEY, PULASKI COUNTY, ARKANSAS: I think the clemency power was -- was overused by our former governor. And I think that this is a bitter harvest that we're reaping because of it.

SNOW: Clemmons returned to prison again in Arkansas in 2001 but was paroled in 2004 and then moved to Washington state. Huckabee addressed the topic of Clemmons on his daily radio commentary.

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington state.

SNOW: A spokesman for Huckabee declined our request for an interview. Huckabee is a commentator for FOX and also defended his role on FOX Radio.

HUCKABEE: If I could have known nine years ago, looked into the future, would I have acted favorably upon the parole board's recommendation? Of course not.

SNOW: This isn't the first time Huckabee faced criticism about Arkansas prisoners being released. During the 2008 campaign, he was questioned about the release of Wayne Dumont, a convicted rapist who later raped and murdered a Missouri woman.

While Huckabee wrote to Dumont, saying he hoped he would get out of prison, he denied pushing the parole board for his release.

(on camera) On Sunday, just hours before Clemmons was named a suspect, the 2008 Republican presidential hopeful played down chances that he would run for president again. But political watchers say, should he run, this case could haunt him.

And already there are comparisons being made to the candidacy of Michael Dukakis back in 1988 and the Willie Horton ads that helped sink that candidacy. Horton committed rape and robbery while released from prison on a furlough program in Massachusetts.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


PHILLIPS: Well, man up to what you did, that's what Arkansas prosecutor Larry Jegley is saying to former Governor Huckabee. You heard him briefly in the previous piece, and he joins us now live.

Mr. Jegley, we just got a statement via Huckabee. It just came across the Web site, and I'd like to get your reaction. You made the comment "man up to what you did." This is what he's saying now:

"I wish his file had never crossed my desk, but it did. The decision I made is one that I now wish were very different. But I could only look backwards at this his case, not forward. None of this is of any comfort to the families of these police officers, nor should it be. Their loss is senseless. No words or deeds by anyone will bring them back to their loved ones.

"Our system is not perfect, and neither are those responsible for administering it. The system and those of us who are supposed to make sure it works sometimes fail. In this case, we clearly did."

Is that manning up enough for you?

JEGLEY: Sure isn't. Sure isn't. I didn't hear the word "I" being used, and when you man up to something, in my book, you take full responsibility. I take responsibility for decisions I make as prosecuting attorney. I own them, and Mr. Huckabee needs to also. He is the only person who is responsible for this man being let out.

PHILLIPS: And you had a number of disagreements with Huckabee with regard to commutations. Tell me about that.

JEGLEY: Well, he was exercising the clemency power at what I call a wholesale right. He was letting murderers out; he was letting rapists out; and he was letting the likes of Mr. Clemmons out. He exercised the -- the power of clemency when he was governor at an astounding rate.

One survey showed that he had issued more clemencies from '96 to 2004 than all six surrounding states, and that includes the state of Texas.

PHILLIPS: You know, let me ask you about that, because I did make note of that, Larry, and here's what I want to follow up with. I was reading also that none of the prosecutors were ever told why Huckabee freed them, but they speculated it was because of his religious beliefs, because he felt strongly about repentance, and he felt strongly about forgiveness. Do you agree with that?

JEGLEY: That could be a factor. Only Mike Huckabee can tell us, and that was part of the frustration that we felt with the entire process surrounding the former governor. We never felt as though he gave victims, their families, jurors, law enforcement and the community in general an adequate explanation as to why he felt compelled to let people of proven danger go in our community.

PHILLIPS: OK. So, let me ask you about Maurice Clemmons, because you were extremely upset that you were not told about his commutation. Why do you think that was? Did the governor know you were going to fight him, tooth and nail?

JEGLEY: I don't know. I'm not going to attribute that to something sinister or anything else. I just think that maybe -- maybe the system fouled up and didn't -- didn't get notification out to all the parties who were interested in it, my office included.

Mr. Clemmons, everybody needs to remember, we didn't have to look much beyond his prison record, where he had quite a number of violent disciplinaries that should have tipped somebody off at the parole board and somebody in the governor's office at that time that this man was not a good candidate to be put back in society. Because he couldn't live in the cloistered environment of prison and stay out of trouble, how in the world would he deal with it in the free world?

PHILLIPS: So, did you have a feeling, knowing this guy's rap sheet, going all the way back to a teenager, did you have a feeling that this would happen, that he would be eventually called an alleged murderer?

JEGLEY: Well, you know, with all the hundreds of people that were -- who had the power of clemency exercised in their favor and on their behalf, I hope and pray that none of them would come back. Unfortunately, quite a number have, and Mr. Clemmons in particular has proved up over and over since he was freed back in 2000, and freed yet again after he was rewritten in 2004, that he's a violent prisoner, violent criminal, who has no respect for other people.

And my heart goes out to the people of Washington state and law enforcement across the country.

PHILLIPS: Arkansas prosecutor Larry Jegley, really appreciate your time today, sir. Strong words.

JEGLEY: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: And just a few more hours to go, and it's official. The road ahead in Afghanistan. Coverage of the president's speech starting at 7 p.m. Easter on CNN.

Right now, White House sources tell CNN 30,000 additional troops will get the call. Marines will start moving in within weeks, and all the reinforcements should be in country within six months. The president also talking about a time frame for getting out of Afghanistan. We're hearing the goal is to wrap things up within three years. The speech from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

And a lot more to talk about than just numbers. Coming up at 1:11 Eastern, Michael Ware explains what the troops can expect, a complicated mess of a conflict, a war within several wars with so many players and motives.

At 1:15, "Mail to the Chief": your questions about the Afghan war answered by the head of the national security staff.

And next hour, CNN's Ed Henry tells us why the president chose West Point as the place where he basically makes the eight-year-old Afghan war his own.


PHILLIPS: We're going to keep pushing forward on this ramp-up to the Afghan war: 30,000 more troops heading there within six months. They're getting into a fight that's a lot more complex than just good guys versus bad.

CNN's Michael Ware explains.


MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These American soldiers fight for their lives in Afghanistan, besieged repeatedly by Taliban assaults, roadside bombs and ambushes, with the American death toll ever rising.

But for America to ultimately win in Afghanistan, it must overcome more than just the Taliban insurgents. For Afghanistan is a war being waged within many wars, some overt, some not. It is a battlefield for a host of competing interests: a proxy war between Pakistan and India. Competition for influence from Iran and even China. Rivalries waged not just with bombs and bullets, but with billions in aid and reconstruction projects, with spies and with trade. And the United States is mired in the middle of them all.

Among America's adversaries, foremost is the Afghan Taliban. Ousted from government in 2001 by the U.S. invasion, its fighters and commanders have been launching their attacks for eight years from safe havens just across the Pakistani border from valleys like these.

Though Pakistani is technically an American ally, it suits Pakistan's strategic interests to allow these Afghan fighters to shelter along its borders, for there are two Talibans: one Afghan fighting the Americans, and one Pakistani, an entirely different Taliban. Its aim: to overthrow the Pakistani government. The Pakistani military has taken the fight to the homegrown Taliban but does little to disrupt the Afghan Taliban. Why? The answer, put simply, is because of India.

For decades Pakistan and India have been bitter rivals, fighting wars and arguing over disputed borders. For both, Afghanistan is just yet another battlefield in which to fight. India backs the Afghan government and the forces that had fought against the Taliban.

Meanwhile, elements in the Pakistani government tacitly support the Afghans fighting against that same Afghan government. This carnage, perhaps the most obvious sign of that friction. It's the Indian embassy in Kabul, ravaged by a massive bombing last year, a bombing U.S. intelligence claims was helped by Pakistan's spy agency.

Then, there's Iran, willing to help anyone who would fight against America. Its role: adding yet another layer to an already complicated battleground.

This Afghan army general commands all Afghan forces in the country's south. And he says the Iranians are supplying the Taliban. "Unfortunately," he says, "we find many weapons and explosives with Iranian markings." And, he claims, "We have much evidence that small pockets of Afghan insurgents are being trained in Iran and deployed to fight against U.S. troops."

As President Obama unveils his new strategy for America's war in Afghanistan, he must contend with all of this: an ever-stronger Taliban; his nuclear-armed allies, India and Pakistan, vying with each other; as well as the subtle hand of Iran. None of which bodes for a quick, nor easy, victory in what has become Obama's war.

Michael Ware, CNN, New York.


PHILLIPS: So, what was it like being in the president's Afghanistan strategy sessions? Denis McDonough knows. He was right in the middle it. He's the National Security Council chief of staff, and he's one of President Obama's closest foreign policy aides. He joins me now live from the White House to answer your questions, your "Mail to the Chief."

Denis, good to see you.


PHILLIPS: Let's go ahead and start, if you don't mind, with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report. We've been talking a lot about this in the past couple of days.

Talking about having the ability there in Tora Bora to capture Osama bin Laden, that Special Forces were called for. The decision was not made. Therefore, the report going on to say, "The failure to finish the job represents a lost opportunity that forever altered the course of the conflict in Afghanistan and the future of international terrorism."

In those war council meetings, Denis, did this come up, and does this administration, and its war chief, still care about getting Osama bin Laden?

MCDONOUGH: Well, that -- I did see that report, and I think it's a credit to Chairman Kerry and to his staff for a very good product that they put together. And as you know, I think he's been trying to call attention to this fact now for some time.

But I'll tell you what was clear in those meetings with the president and his National Security Council, is that there's a deep recognition that this region -- Afghanistan and Pakistan -- is really the wellspring from which the global extremism, violent extremism that came ashore here in September 2001 so clearly that day, that's really the wellspring of that movement, that effort. And so we're dedicated to making sure that we stop it.

The investments that you'll see the president outline tonight, the recommitment that he outlines tonight, will underscore that fact and underscore that we are committed to seeing this through, including by not only disrupting but ultimately dismantling and defeating al Qaeda and its leadership.

PHILLIPS: Is Osama bin Laden the priority? Is Osama bin Laden someone that is right there on the top of the agenda, and has it been talked about in those meetings?

MCDONOUGH: There's no -- I'm not going to get into what specifically was talked about in the meetings, other than to say that we are, no question, committed to this region, committed to this effort. And there's no -- there's no doubt that we are very focused on the al Qaeda leadership as it relates to bin Laden, Zawahiri and others. And we're going to continue to take this fight to them.

PHILLIPS: Also in the report, it said that Rumsfeld said at the time he was concerned that too many U.S. troops in Afghanistan would create an anti-American backlash and fuel a widespread insurgency. Does this administration feel the same way?

MCDONOUGH: You know, it's interesting. That's one of the issues that we wrestled with over the course of this review. Frankly, when the president took his time to ask these difficult questions to a wide range of advisors, he started this process with advisors with a set of views. Through his efforts, through his leadership, we've gotten to a position here that everybody strongly supports. You'll hear that over the next couple days.

But the fact is that we remain committed to exactly these steps. And this was one of the issues they wrestled with, and frankly, great credit goes to General McChrystal. The tactics that he and our troops are undertaking on the ground is obviating that or lessening the risk that our presence there will contribute to some kind of sense of occupation.

And frankly, it's a great credit to them and to all the troops that it has not happened thus far.

So, we're going to obviously take the lead of our commanders on the ground, to make this happen, but we think now we have the strategy not only to avoid the kind of pitfalls that Secretary Rumsfeld pointed out but also to ultimately be successful in advancing our goals in that region.

PHILLIPS: Well, you mentioned General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He's made it very clear what he needs to be able to do, what he needs to do in Afghanistan. We've heard numbers, troop numbers as high as 40,000.

He has come forward and said failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near term, next 12 months, risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible. Is General Stanley McChrystal going to get what he wants?

MCDONOUGH: You know, General McChrystal's a great leader, he's a proven -- proven expert in Iraq, now in Afghanistan and was a critical part of all these reviews. I think you'll hear from him over the course of the next days and the next week when he comes back to Washington, if he's able to testify.

But the bottom line here is that what he wanted is an effort to increase U.S. presence, international presence, to staunch the momentum that 2005 seen the Taliban undertake since 2006 and 2007. And I think what you'll hear from the president tonight is that robust effort to increase our force, to call on our allies to increase their force, to ensure that we have exactly that. The most force into the fight as quickly as possible to ensure that we can stop the momentum. Train up the Afghans so then they can take over that responsibility and secure their own country.

PHILLIPS: We're hearing that the president will say, in three years, this is -- this is what he plans as an exit strategy, within three years. Is that possible, to achieve everything you just mentioned in Afghanistan? I mean, we're not just talking about bringing troops home, but we're talking about making sure that Afghanistan has medical facilities, schools, a government, social services. I mean, there's all the responsibility of the U.S. since it went in there and went to war with that country.

MCDONOUGH: I think that the president recognizes, given these difficult times at home, given the enormous -- the enormous investments the American people, our troops and their families, have made in Afghanistan over the course of the last eight years, he recognizes that limitless, or unending occupation, unending nation- building effort in Afghanistan is not in our interests and, frankly, it's not in Afghanistan's interest.

So, what we're going to do is we're going to put some pressure on ourselves to perform in the near term. We're going to ask more from the Afghans, more from our Pakistani friends, and more from our -- NATO and other allies to ensure that we're all doing more in the short term so that we can accomplish this robust set of goals in the near term. Frankly, it's not fair to the American people, to our troops or their families, to continue to ask them for five-, 10-, 15-year commitments at nation-building efforts. That's why the president is not going to be talking tonight about an exit strategy, but he will be talking about an effort to ensure that we succeed, that we succeed on a time frame that will ensure that the Afghans themselves can take control of their country.

PHILLIPS: Denis, you mentioned the American people. A lot of questions from them. This e-mail asking, "Is securing Afghanistan more serving than Pakistan, which serves as a more fertile ground for terror?"

MCDONOUGH: The fact is that this is one of the innovations the president pressed when he came into office earlier this year. We see this as a regional challenge. So, we've got work to do with our Afghan partners and we've got work to do with our Pakistani partners. And we believe that we need to make progress on both fronts. You'll hear the president talk about that tonight.

But I think you've seen in Pakistan, in particular, a deepening commitment, support among all the major parties in Pakistan for this fight against extremists in south Waziristan. Shortly after a successful effort in the region called Swat.

So I think you've seen the Pakistanis taking this fight to the extremists who, frankly, threaten Pakistanis as much as they threaten us. And so I think the questioner gets to the heart of the matter. We're going to be working on both these issues, not one or the other.

PHILLIPS: Denis, this viewer wants to know, "Would the logistics be less daunting if, perhaps, they were scheduled for a short deployment, in and out?"

MCDONOUGH: You know, the thing about having these several weeks of reviews is that we had an opportunity to draw on the experts, all those experienced troops over at the Pentagon who have dedicated their life to these things.

So, we don't get into the business of trying to determine logistics or troop numbers or anything else. We have asked the experts. What we've come up with here is a strategy that will advance our interests. And now we've matched the resources against that strategy to ensure that we can get this done in the quickest time possible to ensure that we can give our troops, their families and the American people some light at the end of this tunnel.

PHILLIPS: Denis McDonough, appreciate your time today.

MCDONOUGH: Thanks a lot.

PHILLIPS: CNN will bring you complete coverage of the president's announcement in Afghanistan. Our coverage begins at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Our first top story shocked the nation when it happened. A California high-schooler gang raped outside her homecoming dance. Today the suspects are expected to enter pleas. Three of the six are juveniles, but they're all charged as adults. Police say as many as two dozen people watched the attack and did nothing to help.

The couple accused of crashing the White House state dinner last week are giving their side of the story now. The Salahis tell NBC's "Today Show" that they were invited. The White House says they crashed. There was report that the couple also crashed a Congressional Black Caucus dinner a month earlier, but they're denying that, as well.

A guilty verdict against Baltimore's mayor for taking gift cards intended for the poor. Sheila Dixon was cleared of three other charges, but the single conviction could force her from office. Prosecutors say Dixon used the cards to buy electronics, clothes and knickknacks.

"Hey, boss, I'm really stressed out. My blood pressure is up." Does that sound like you? Well, you're not alone, and your boss knows it, too.

After 56 years, the bunny's still kicking, but, sadly, way too old for Hef. The first issue of "Playboy" hit the stands on this day in 1953. On the cover? That's right, Marilyn Monroe, the original girl next door. Hugh Hefner actually put the issue together on his kitchen table. He bought a nude photo Marilyn shot for a calendar, wrote up some of those great articles that all you guys still subscribe for, right? And sold 53,000 copies on naked ambition alone.


PHILLIPS: Amendments front and center right now in the fight over health-care reform in the Senate. Lawmakers are debating the first one to attach to the bill. And you can bet dozens more will be tacked on over the next few weeks. Among -- among them an amendment by Senator John McCain that would strip more than $400 billion in Medicare cuts from the nearly $1 trillion bill. And another amendment by Senator Barbara McCloskey would reduce co-pays and deductibles for procedures such as mammograms.

Well, enough about the lawmakers. Let's talk about you. A new study shows that more and more workers are using their company's health plan, and you can blame it on the reception and all the stress that comes with it. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange with all the details.

So, Susan, what is happening? Are more people going to the doctor? We know more people are stressed out, that's for sure.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and one thing leads to another, and certainly this survey points it out, Kyra. The survey by Watson Wyatt. Forty-two percent of employers surveyed showed that more are using company health plans.

And this goes beyond just going to the doctor. It also includes employees' assistance programming, where you have access to confidential counseling. What kind of counseling? Issues on financial concerns, families, emotional, stress management, job performance, substance abuse. A growing number of workers are doing that, and they're also calling in sick more frequently and filing disability claims more frequently as well, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, what do you think? Is this normal for a recession?

LISOVICZ: Absolutely. Why is that? Because employers say that their workforce is more stressed out. Because they're working longer hours, they're having problems managing getting all their work done, managing their life outside of work while they try to pick up the slack from layoffs.

And also, if you're concerned about getting laid off, you might think about doing procedures that you might have put off for some time. So, these are the kind of things that you're doing. And workers feel compelled to use these benefits while they have them. So, it's -- the bottom line, Kyra, it's in the employers' best interests to do these kind of programs, because a healthier employee is a more productive employee. It's simple as that.

PHILLIPS: Oh, we can agree with that. Thanks, Susan.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: A gung-ho 19-year-old busting to wear (ph) the Air Force blue, but his wings were clipped before he even got to basic training. All because of a tattoo.


PHILLIPS: Pushing forward on the war, we're now hearing President Obama has decided to send an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and White House sources tell Mr. Obama isn't wasting time ordering the military to deploy the reinforcements within six months. That will raise the total number of American troops in country to more than 100,000. Plus, the president wants to pretty much wrap the war within three years. He'll spell out his long-awaited decision in a primetime speech tonight. CNN's live coverage starts at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

And one fired-up Air Force recruit who may eventually end up in Afghanistan, grounded before he even made to it boot camp. The reason? The tattoo. Andrea Borbaub (ph), our Sacramento affiliate KTXL has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stupid, asinine...

ANDERA BORBAUB (ph), KTXL-TV CORRESPONDENT: This ink on the back of 19-year-old George Sanchez Jr.'s right arm nearly kept him from realizing his Air Force dreams. Sanchez, who didn't want his face shown, was set to report to basic training to Lackland Air Force base in Texas. That is, until he got a call saying the tattoo broke a new Air Force regulation and he was disqualified. Sanchez's father, George Sr., was stunned.

GEORGE SANCHEZ, SR, SON WAS DISQUALIFIED FROM AIR FORCE: He's worked so hard and to have something pulled away from him to me just seems totally unfair.

BORBAUB: Last Wednesday, the Pentagon changed an Air Force policy, making workout clothes official uniform, and no tattoos can show beyond the sleeves of the uniform, especially when they are on the saluting arm. Sanchez's uncle, Emilio Castellanos, is a retired Air Force master sergeant. He can't believe what is happening.

EMILIO CASTELLANOS, UNCLE OF GEORGE SANTOS, JR.: If they start keeping people from joining the military because of tattoos, who is going to serve? You can't get people to serve as it is, and then they do something like this.

BORBAUB: Sanchez got word he would still be welcome if he got the tattoo, which spells out his family last name in Kanji letters removed. He told me off camera that's what he intends to do. It's a move his very proud uncle supports.

CASTELLANOS: He can have his tattoo removed and it will do it for him. As long as he's willing to do it, then I'll help him, I'll help him out.


PHILLIPS: And we just learned that Sanchez will be getting some outside-the-family help as well. A local dermatologist has stepped forward and will remove the tattoos from his arm.

Now, the Air Force, of course, isn't the only branch of the military that has a tattoo policy. They all do.

Here's some examples. Banned tattoos include those that are deemed obscene or advocate sexual, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination. Marines with long tattoos or tatoos clusters on their arms are no longer allowed to serve as recruiters or Marine security guards.

The Army bans tattoos on the face, head or neck above the shirt collar. Under Navy policy, sailors may not have tattoos that are visible through their white uniforms. Women in the Coast Guard may wear permanent eyeliner as long as it's, quote, "in good taste and complimentary to the wearer's complexion and the uniform."

It's rapid, but it might not be reliable. And it could have dangerous results. A quick H1N1 test almost cost a little girl her life. Parents, you'll want to hear this.


PHILLIPS: Well, it's over. The search for a Washington state gunman accused of killing four police officers is dead. Maurice Clemmons confronted a cop who didn't take any chances. When Clemmons refused to stop or show his hands, the officers shot him. Clemmons is accused of ambushing the four officers Sunday at a Tacoma-area coffee shop.

You may have noticed folks wearing red ribbons today to mark World AIDS Day. The U.S. is recognizing the games, honoring the victims and beefing up its support of global AIDS programs. $120 million is earmarked for South African to get more medicine to the people who need it.

NASA is eyeing a large chunk of space junk today. Engineers were worried it might pass too close to the international space station, but they don't expect it to hit. As a precaution, though, they warn the crew to be ready to scramble to an escape pod.

It's supposed to be one of the quickest ways to tell if you have swine flu. But sometimes the rapid H1N1 test can give you a false negative and a false sense of security. Our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, explains.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Medical tests are supposed to help people. But this rapid flu test may have hurt nine-year-old Haley Murphy.

(on camera): Haley wasn't just sick with H1N1. She was...

JULIE MURPHY, MOTHER: She was right there. She was on death's door.

COHEN (voice-over): Back in September, Haley first started showing signs of the flu, so her mother, Julie Murphy, took her to the emergency room.

(on camera): When you brought Haley into the emergency room the first time, they did a test and they told you -

MURPHY: She's fine. She doesn't have the flu. She's got a virus with high fever. Take her home.

COHEN (voice-over): At home, Haley's temperature climbed to 104 degrees. The next day, her mother took her back to the E.R. where again this rapid test said she did not have the flu.

(on camera): You expect when a test says negative that it's negative.


COHEN: What did you find out?

MURPHY: I found out different.

COHEN (voice-over): The next day, Haley was so sick, her mother had to carry her into the emergency room. Haley spent the next six weeks here in intensive care. Doctors used a different, more reliable test, and it turns out Haley did have H1N1. (on camera): This is the test that was used on Haley Murphy and twice missed her H1N1 flu. It's relatively inexpensive. It's very quick. And it's wrong a lot.

When these tests say you don't have the flu, how often are they wrong?

DR. RHONDA MEDOWS, GEORGIA DEPT. OF COMMUNITY HEALTH: Anywhere from 90 percent to 30 percent of the time.

COHEN (voice-over): Dr. Rhonda Medows, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health warns doctors in her state not to use Rapid Flu test because they're wrong so often.

MEDOWS: I'm telling them that they don't really to use them. They need to focus more on their clinical exam. I don't see the value.

COHEN: We contacted three big makers of rapid flu tests used in the United States. One gave us a statement. The company, B.D. said "As with other rapid tests, doctors should be aware that a negative result does not fully exclude the possibility that the patient has influenza. Following a negative rapid test, physicians have the option to proceed to more advanced tests."

Dr. Roberto Monge was one of the first doctors who treated Haley in Ft. Myers, Florida.

COHEN (on camera): So twice, Haley received this rapid flu test and twice it was wrong.

DR. ROBERTO MONGE, HEALTHPARK MEDICAL CENTER: This test is not as good as we would like for it to be.

COHEN: Do you think in Haley's case this test might have misled the doctors?

MONGE: No, I don't think so. This was handled very well.

COHEN (voice-over): Monge says doctors did not just solely rely on the rapid test but also on physical exams and their best judgment. All of which led them to believe Haley did not have H1N1.

COHEN (on camera): If you had listened to those tests...

MURPHY: She would have been dead within the next 24 hours.


PHILLIPS: I was just saying to Elizabeth, it's exactly what we were talking about yesterday when you highlighted another family and if that mom want to have fought for her daughter, her daughter would be dead.

COHEN: Right. You have to fight for your child, even when a test says your child doesn't have the flu. If you think your child does have the flu, still fight, because there's an excellent chance the test is wrong.

PHILLIPS: So, when you say still fight, is there certain things you should demand from the doctor? Explain to me what you mean by that? Because a lot of times we go in there, look, I know something's wrong with my kid. You got to do something.

COHEN: Right. What you want to try to do is point out that the test is faulty. So, if a doctor says to you, "oh, the flu test is negative, go home, she'll be fine," say "you know what, Doctor? I know these tests are wrong." One infectious disease expert said to me it's wrong probably half the time; that's a lot of times to be wrong.

So say, "I know these tests are often wrong, and I want to tell you, I'm seeing A, B, and C in my child. They are lethargic or they are having trouble breathing and they are much worse than they are yesterday." To learn more about the conversations you need to have with doctors about the flu, go to We have tips for parents there.

PHILLIPS: They mentioned a more accurate test for the flu. Why don't doctors just use that more accurate test every single time? It seems like a no-brainer.

COHEN: It is, except that test takes days sometimes to get the results. You can't get it right there. And plus it's very, very expensive, and only a few labs do it in the United States. So, it's not as easy as it sounds.

PHILLIPS: I don't know, I think most parents would find out a way to pay for it.

COHEN: I think so. That's probably true.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: If divorce were banned, would that mean fewer weepy country songs or tons more? Yes, there's actually a movement afoot to keep spouses from splitting.


PHILLIPS: One of the last places you want to be if you have AIDS is Afghanistan. AIDS is about shame, alienation and fear. Education and prevention? Forget about it. But now a breakthrough of sorts, thanks to a radio soap opera, of all things.

And 30,000 additional U.S. troops headed to war. How many of them do you think are going to be women?

Slow on the rocks? Ain't no surprise. I mean, who hasn't heard about U.S. divorce rates? Well, in California, there's a push to just go ahead and make them illegal. Make that diamond really mean forever. Before all my Golden State friends start calling movers, you should probably know this. The 2010 California Marriage Protection Act is a long shot. In fact it's meant to lampoon the whole Prop. 8 gay marriage ban. The guy behind it says since the state wants to protect, quote, "traditional marriage," it should go all the way. It needs about 695,000 signatures, by the way, to get it this thing on the ballot. More info and some pretty fabulous T-shirts at

All right, it's not Denver that we're looking at. Can you believe this? This is snow in El Paso, Texas. On the last day of November? It wasn't a whole lot, but still, we're talking about El Paso. The snow and ice shut down a heavily traveled mountain pass. Chad Myers, what's up with that?


PHILLIPS: OK, seriously, I guess he swam or lives there.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I don't know. I guess he swam or he lives there.


PHILLIPS: I guess that makes perfect sense.

MYERS: Sure.

PHILLIPS: Poor Rudolph. He's still trying to make his way back to the North Pole.


PHILLIPS: Going a lot faster than the truck, too.


PHILLIPS: Thanks, Chad.

MYERS: All right. You bet.

PHILLIPS: All right. We're getting word that the Florida Highway Patrol is going to hold a news conference at 3 p.m. Eastern to update us on the Tiger Woods' car accident. Stay with CNN and we'll bring that to you live.

And an abuse victim at home becomes a child of the streets. And then things really went bad. In the clutches of sex traffickers. It's happening where you live.


PHILLIPS: They're your daughters, sisters, friends. Young girls, often runaways, forced into the sex trade. And if you think it happens somewhere else, think again. Sex trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes, both internationally and right here at home. Our Sean Callebs talks to a survivors.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She asked not to be identified. Her first name is Melissa.

MELISSA, FORMER SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM: I thought I would be dead. I never thought I'd live to be 22 or 24 years old.

CALLEBS: Her story begins when she was 17. Living with another runaway, she says a pimp promised them a better life.

MELISSA: And he started to pay our rent, pay our bills, make sure that, you know, we had food in our house.

CALLEBS: In exchange, she says, he held her against her will and forced her into the sex trade. MELISSA: Within a day, my whole life changed. I had to sleep with people. He would tell me where I had to be, when I had to be there.

CALLEBS (on camera): Human rights advocates tell us that right now there are about 25,000 young women in the United States who have been forced into sex trafficking. Along with the horror stories we hear about women brought here from Latin America, Asia and Europe, advocates tell us that a large percentage of those forced into sex trafficking are actually runaways from right here in the United States.

(voice-over): Melissa's story fits the profile. Trying to escape a broken home, she says she was sexually abused at a young age. Pimps prey on women like her.


CALLEBS: Luis CdeBaca is the the U.S. ambassador at large fighting human trafficking. He says it's time for the U.S. to step up its crackdown on sex trafficking with more aggressive investigations and prosecutions.

CDEBACA: It's a problem that's happening right here and it's happening to people's daughters. It's happening to people's nieces, nephews, grandchildren and it's plaguing every community in the United States.

CALLEBS: For Melissa, she says she was held captive by intimidation, fear and physical abuse.

MELISSA: I was too scared to do anything, to leave or to go anywhere. I had no money. I had nothing. So, I mean, they were all that I had.

SUSAN COPPEDGE, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: It's the same story over and over. The pimps almost have a handbook, the traffickers, as to how to catch a girl, is the term. And they'll try this on 10 or 20 girls and only maybe get one that will fall for it, but it's that one that becomes the victim of sex trafficking.

CALLEBS: Melissa says it was an arrest for a traffic violation that eventually saved her life. The FBI convinced her to testify against her pimp and enter rehab for therapy and drug addiction. She's now married and hopes to start a family, something she once could not have imagined.

MELISSA: All it does is take one person to actually really care and have pure motives and give you everything that they were taught.


CALLEBS: Melissa says she is still consumed with fear, panic and quite often has flash backs. Authorities tell us their number one priority is the victim and say if they have a chance to go in and save Melissa and gett her off the streets, they'll do so, even if that means giving up the chance of prosecuting the trafficker.


PHILLIPS: Sean Callebs, thanks so much.

Well, six hours and counting before the president reveals his Afghan war strategy to the nation. The push forward begins tonight at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. CNN coverage starting at 7:00 Eastern.

The president should fill -- fill us in on most of the details tonight. But CNN can report the major points right now. An additional 30,000 troops to the war, all deployed within six months. We have also learned about a time frame to end the war. The plan is to wrap things up and get most troops out within three years.