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US Closes Embassies; Hernandez Letter to Fan Revealed; Russian Anti-Gay Rules; Interview with Rep. Peter King; Ninth Victim of Bob Filner Speaks about the Harassment; Fabien Cousteau to Live Underwater for 31 Days

Aired August 3, 2013 - 15:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM.

Travelers are under a global alert on fears about terrorist attacks. Embassies will be closing their doors tomorrow. We will have responses from Washington next.

And ex-NFL star, Aaron Hernandez, has written a letter from jail. He is accused of murder. The letter wasn't supposed to be made public, but it is. More on what is inside.

And living under the sea is not just for fish anymore. The grandson of Jacque Cousteau has a unique new experiment. He is going to tell us all about it.

A global travel alert is in effect right now for all Americans around the world. That's after sources say there is growing intelligence that al-Qaeda is planning an attack possibly in the Middle East or North Africa. As a precaution, the U.S. is closing 22 embassies and consulates tomorrow across the region. We are covering every angle of this story.

Emily Schmidt is tracking the latest out of Washington. Nick Valencia is at the world's busiest airport to see how this is impacting travelers.

Emily, let's get started with you. This is a serious step to close so many embassies. What's the response out of Washington?

EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, we are really waiting to see what happens. Because you think about the timeline here, 3:00 in Washington, it is getting to be Sunday or very close to Sunday in some of these areas that are being affected by the embassy and consulate closures.

A White House official says today the president was update about the threat. He's going to continue to be updated throughout the weekend. We are told the White House also says that it will not comment on specific intelligence when it comes to this story, particularly as it relates to a "New York Times" report since some of this chatter about threats came from interceptive electronic communications between senior al-Qaeda operatives. A terrorism expert for CNN points to another wrinkle in the story. Recently al-Qaeda seemed to appoint a number two to the organization, and he's based in Yemen which is where officials say much of this chatter has originated.


PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM EXPERT: Here in the United States it's not been a top, top priority for this terrorist group in Yemen which still has significant resources. Now that he's got this potentially new position in the Al Qaeda global network, is he now going to reprioritize hitting the United States? That would be a very warning scenario for officials.


SCHMIDT: Of course, the U.S. in Yemen is one of the 22 embassies and consulates that will be shut down tomorrow. Securities already even tighter than usual especially in Yemen, at least 12 tanks reported to be within a few hundred yards of the building. We also know that Britain, France and Germany have said they are closing their embassies in Yemen tomorrow and Monday, all as a direct result of these threats.

WHITFIELD: And Emily now, all of this taking place just a month shy of the one-year marker, the one-year anniversary of that deadly attack on Benghazi. Is there any way of knowing how security of raw has changed in the region or even as it pertains to U.S. embassies and consulates?

SCHMIDT: Yes. We don't know the cause and effect of this threat. As you said, it comes just a few first weeks before that first anniversary of that attack. After that though, the Obama administration was severely criticized for not responding strongly enough to the threat. This time officials are using this phrase. They say they are acting out of an abundance of caution.

Here's something we do know at the direct -- that affects Benghazi though. After that attack, the pentagon approved a marine contingency combat force team for the entire area. Basically there are roughly 1500 marines on ships in the red sea, we are on 500 marines that are split between the Italy and Spain. They are posted their full-time for the sole purpose of responding if there is an attack in the area. These are marines who could go in the event that these threats turned into actual attacks and be there quicker than they were able to be there at this time last year.

WHITFIELD: All right, Emily Schmidt, thanks so much in Washington.

All right, there is a travel alert coming out of this really could impact Americans for the next month or so. Now, we go to Nick Valencia a at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson airport.

And what are passengers telling you?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And no cause for panic here, at least domestically. Business as usual, lines shouldn't be longer, there should not b any delays as related to this travel alert, but internationally, that perhaps could be different, though the state department does say that we should not see any visible changes in security due to this travel warning.

I spend some time in the international terminal. I spoke to passengers. We got some mixed reaction. While some were completely oblivious to the travel alert, others were well aware of it and are taking precautions because of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard stay away from the embassies right now and you will be OK. But we are aware of it, but I still have to make a living.

VALENCIA: With the travel alert, does it make it pause to get on a plane today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gives me a little pause, I guess you could say. It makes me think about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they can handle it.

VALENCIA: Does it change at all how you travel or what you might do when you're if a foreign country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. We trust that they've got everything under control.


VALENCIA: Those airlines that do travel internationally, they have not canceled flights, they have not changed flights. For those wondering, what if I don't want to travel this weekend because of this alert? Do I get a refund? Right now those airlines are saying no, though that policy could change, Fred, based on the information that they receive from the state department and TSA -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

So, as the U.S. worries about the possibility of an al-Qaeda attack in the Middle East and North Africa, Britain, France and Germany are closing their offices in Yemen as a precaution as well.

A homeland security committee chairman, Congressman Peter King, joining me now on the phone from Seaford, New York.

Mr. King, glad you could make the time to be with us.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK (via phone): Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: You have said that the evidence is very specific. Without, of course, jeopardizing intelligence, how specific is this threatening material?

KING: Well, the numbers are so big that I can't go into it other than the fact it definitely is planned a very enormous attack, a catastrophic type attack. That's probably the best way to describe it. And I can't really go any further than that.

WHITFIELD: As chairman of the homeland security committee, have you been anticipating this kind of threat particularly so close to the Benghazi attack on your marker?

KING: I'm well aware in this last several days of this, you know, specific threat probably since Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, but we have to keep in mind that especially when you're talking about al- Qaeda and the Arabian peninsula they, for a number of years, have been very aggressive as far as wanting to attack America, wanting to attack the west, and it was really, I think, only a matter of time before something like this would happen.

Now, because it's out in the open, people are talking about it. But I can assure you the intelligence committee is confident the CIA, and the DIA, homeland security, all of them, are constantly on the lookout for planned attacks such as this because this is what ultimately motivates Al Qaeda and its affiliates. So, while I was not expecting this plan in particular, anyone who is involved in this can't be surprised that an attack like this could be planned.

WHITFIELD: And so given that, you mentioned that there is so much material that comes across, you know, your purview all the time and the intelligence committee all the time, but certain decisions are made about what to make public and what to keep quiet.

Do you worry that informing possible terrorists of the closures on this Sunday of the embassies and consulates really could provide too much information to assist these potential extremists or terrorists?

KING: Yes. That is a -- it's a balance. And a decision had to be made, I assume by the state department, by the White House and by the CIA, and by the director of national intelligence as to when to go public with this. That's always the balance you have to try to strike, because when you do go public like this, you do give the enemy an indication of what we know and perhaps how we know it.

On the other hand, also, though, once it's out there, that often can cause al-Qaeda to back away. And so, at least, it gives us more time to anticipate the next attack. So, this is a constant. You can wait too long and the attack can go ahead and innocent people get killed or you could disclose it and perhaps stop the attack, but at the same time you're tipping off al-Qaeda as to some of the abilities we have. But these decisions are not easy and I'm not in any way second- guessing the administration on this.

WHITFIELD: All right, Congressman Peter King, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.

Again, 22 U.S. embassies and consulates will be closed tomorrow as a result of the threats.

All right, back in this country now. A giant sinkhole opening up. Take a look at this, it's pretty remarkable. Hard to believe. 90 feet deep, 200 feet across and local residents are wondering what in the world made this happen.

And the eyes of the world are on Russia and its anti-gay law. Will that impact the games taking place there? In just six months, some people are talking about a boycott. Olympic champion, medalist Greg Louganis joins me to talk about it.

Also ahead, a nice accuser comes forward and says the mayor of San Diego sexually harassed her. She will be here live to tell us exactly what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hugged me a little too closely and then put his arm around me like this, and then he proceeded to slide his arm down and then give a little grab to my derriere.



WHITFIELD: Aaron Hernandez allegedly says in a letter to a fan he is innocent. The former NFL player is in jail accused of killing a 27- year-old friend of his who is also the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister. The fan sold this letter to a sports memorabilia store owner, who in turn sold it to TMZ.

Alina Cho has details.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron Hernandez essentially declares his innocence in this letter. Here's how it happened.

Basically, a fan who we're calling Carl wrote the letter to Hernandez about two weeks ago. Apparently this fan was also incarcerated in the same prison as Hernandez about 15 years ago. He wanted to show Hernandez support. He never dreamed the ex-football star would write him back, but according to TMZ, that's exactly what happened.

Now, the letter is exactly a page long. Among the highlights, Hernandez writes, I know there is a reason I'm going through this, and I will figure it out through my relationship with the Lord. I fell off especially after making all that money, but when it's all said and done, God put me in the situation for a reason!

So, how did this letter get into the public's hands? It was never meant to, obviously. The fan sold the letter to a sports memorabilia store in Massachusetts for an undisclosed sum. That store, Sports World, in turn sold the letter to TMZ for $18,000. What's incredible, though, is if you look at the letter, and I have, I have seen a copy of it, Hernandez explicitly says, keep this off social media, please! So much for that.

Hernandez also signed the letter with his New England Patriots number, number 81, and said I can't wait to sign this again when I'm playing again. Hernandez remains in prison, you'll recall, charged with murder in the June 17 killing of a 27-year-old man named Odon Lloyd. So the chances of Hernandez playing professional football again, at least for now, are pretty slim.

Alina Cho, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: And in six months, the winter Olympic games begin in Russia, but now with NSA leaker Edward Snowden finding asylum there and Russia in acting strict anti-gay laws, the word boycott is emerging. We will ask Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis what he thinks the U.S. should do.

But first in the central African nation of Cameroon, there are only two doctors for every 10,000 people, and for the lucky few able to get to health care, many can't afford to pay for it. This week's CNN hero is a surgeon, who devotes his personal time to bringing surgery medical care and surgery to the remote jungles of his country.


DOCTOR GEORGE BWELLE, CNN HERO: For a country like mine, people like to dream, to dance, to enjoy their life. But with poverty, they cannot enjoy their life.

To go the village is a pleasure. If I can help two or three people, that could be great. I saw my father ill for 23 year. Before he passed away he asked me. DO you see how people suffer to see a doctor? Please if you graduate to be a doctor, help people.

My name is George Bwelle. I bring people surgery and health services to people of (INAUDIBLE).

They are beating their drums to say thanks to come. They can leave 60 kilometers around and they are going forth.

We are starting by doing consultation.


In the afternoon we have a list of patients that we are going to operate.

We need our generator because in the village, there is no light. We start doing the operations until Sunday morning. We are doing around 40 surgical operations for free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I have no money that's they brought me here. This will change my future and my family.

BWELLE: We leave our address to all the patients that there is any problem, they can come back to us. I help people and they are happy. I'm doing that to give them opportunity to restart.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more Russian --


WHITFIELD: In bars around the world, people are dumping perfectly good Russian vodka, meaning perfectly good to consume. They are protesting Russia's strict new anti-gay rules that prohibit anything that promotes so-called non-traditional sexual relationships. The protest against the anti-gay laws and Russia's granting a political asylum to NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, have created quite a controversy ahead of the Russian games. The winter Olympic Games is just six months away. Greg Louganis is an Olympic gold medalist diver and the author of an autobiography entitled "breaking the surface."

Good to see you, Greg.


WHITFIELD: So, there have been so many discussions as of late about boycotting the Sochi games, whether it was because of Snowden and now because of these anti-gay laws. They are calling it the gay propaganda law in Russia. What would a boycott do? How would it benefit, I guess, the cause, if it were to go in that direction?

LOUGANIS: Well, you know, I lived -- I can only speak as an athlete, my own personal experience. I was able to compete in the '76 Olympic Games in Montreal before any boycott, and then in 1980, we boycotted the Russian Olympics, that Olympics in Moscow, and because of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, and then I was a part of that. And then in 1984, the Asian black countries boycotted those Olympic Games because they were in Los Angeles. But then I was able to continue on and compete in the '88 Olympic Games, so I was on both sides of two boycotts.

WHITFIELD: So, you are one of the lucky ones, though, because -- lucky in that you were able to -- it was very unfortunate, but at the same time you were lucky in that you were able to go on a continuum with your Olympic pursuits. That doesn't happen for everybody. For many Olympians, it's one shot, one Olympic Games if they're even lucky to get that. And, you know, you hear from skater Johnny Weir and many others who say you spend all this time preparing yourself for Olympic Games, and if you do qualify, you want to be able to carry on with that pursuit. But if you boycott the games, that may have been your only shot. So who benefits from it, ultimately?

LOUGANIS: Yes, it could have been your only shot, you know. Boycotts hurt the wrong people, it hurts the athletes. But there again, we can't ignore what's going on in Sochi. I mean, that's the reason I joined up with athlete allies and all-out sports because, you know, love is love. I mean, love you know -- everybody -- it's a birthright. It is to pursue love and not be incarcerated for loving and being and wanting to find love. SCHMIDT: Do you feel like it will be difficult if there is no organized boycott, will it be difficult for some Olympians to feel comfortable, to feel at home in Sochi, to concentrate on their game knowing that there are these anti-gay laws in place, knowing that there have been discussions about whether American Olympians should go to Sochi at all.

LOUGANIS: Well, you know, when you're an Olympic athlete, you know, it is just -- when the competition starts, then you have to be on, you know, no matter what's going on around you. And so, the focus is on your own performance. You know, but here again, it's -- what happens in Russia, you know, we will see, you know. It's horrific what's happening there, and I think a light has been shown on what's been going on there. And as a gay man, you know, all I can do is just be who I am, you know. God made me this way. I am a child of God and as we all are, you know. And it's not -- you know, we aren't God, and you know, we shouldn't be playing God. And that's what seems to be happening here.

WHITFIELD: And how troublesome is it to you that, you know, rather casually the word boycott is used as it applies to the winter games in this case, whether it be because of Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker finding asylum there, or whether it be because of the anti-gay laws. The Olympic Games are supposed to be nonpolitical, you know. It's one of the greatest peace events for the world to embrace. Does it bother you that that word "boycott" is just so casually used when there is a conflict or when there is an issue that people, you know, say maybe American athletes shouldn't go to these Olympic Games.

LOUGANIS: Well, you know, boycott, you know, I'm totally in support of boycotting, you know, Russian vodka or, you know, commerce and business, you know. But when it comes to the Olympics, you know, the Olympics are supposed to be, you know, a pure athletic event where we all come together and, you know, see where we stand. I mean, once you reach a certain level of competition like the Olympic competition, world championships, we all know who the top athletes are, you know. So then it's whoever puts it together on that day, you know. All of these things are going on around it. We can't turn a blind eye to it, either, you know. So it's really -- it's a very difficult situation.

WHITFIELD: OK. Greg Louganis, always a pleasure talking to you and seeing you. You know, I used the word lucky earlier. No, it's not that you're lucky, you were just purely a talented athlete, and that's why you repeated so many Olympic Games. So, I stand corrected.

LOUGANIS: thank you. Thanks.

WHITFIELD: Good to see you.

LOUGANIS: It was a lot of work.

WHITFIELD: Yes, a lot of work! You are a great inspiration on so many levels.

All right, Greg Louganis, thanks so much. Good to see you. All right, folks, a ninth woman now has come forward accusing the mayor of San Diego of sexual harassment. She will tell us exactly what happened in her view and why she is coming forward now.

And a health alert. Are you getting the best care at the hospital? New rankings of America's hospitals are out. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to let you know what you need to know.


WHITFIELD: Right now let's turn to the sexual allegations against the San Diego mayor. Mayor Bob Filner is headed to a behavior counseling clinic on Monday. He will undergo two weeks of what he calls intensive therapy. He admits he needs help. Take a listen.


MAYOR BOB FILNER, SAN DIEGO: Let me be absolutely clear. The behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong. My failure to respect women and the intimidating conduct I engage in at times is I inexcusable.


WHITFIELD: Well now, a ninth woman has come forward claiming she was harassed by Filner. She and her husband are joining me now.

Good to see both of you.


WHITFIELD: So Emily, you first, you are a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. You were hired to sing at an event but not as Marilyn Monroe in December, and you say the mayor actually grabbed you. Exactly, what happened? What was your interaction like before, you know, you alleged that he touched you inappropriately?

EMILY GILBERT, ACCUSES MAYOR FILNER OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Well, I had a regular interaction with him. We posed for a photo when he arrived at the event. And then we went inside. He made a speech and then pulled me to the side and proceeded to touch my arm inappropriately and hold me close, closer than any mayor should, and then he grabbed my derriere.

WHITFIELD: And Jason, were you there?


WHITFIELD: Did you see that?

JASON GILBERT: No. I was -- I saw a lot of friendly, maybe a little beyond friendly, embracing going on and smiling and words being exchanged, but I heard about the crossing the line afterwards on the way home. That's when she broke it to me.

WHITFIELD: So you both, you know, were clearly very uncomfortable with what took place, and then what happened? Did you report it? Did you confront him later with it? Did anyone learn of this encounter?

EMILY GILBERT: I told my close friends and family members, but he's the mayor, and, you know, that's a scary thing to come out and try to say.

WHITFIELD: So, you felt like simply by virtue of his title, you felt intimidated or you felt like no one would be supportive of your story?

EMILY GILBERT: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: And so now what? I mean, there have been a number of women, at least now before you, who have come out and talked about what they said was inappropriate behavior. He now admitting that his behavior was wrong. First off, you know, what do you say to the mayor taking to the microphone in that press conference and saying, my behavior is wrong?

EMILY GILBERT: Well, I'm glad that he's able to admit it, but it's wrong. I just -- I want to encourage other women to come out and tell their story, because there probably are more women out there. And I think that the mayor should really take a good look at himself and possibly step down. That's how I feel about it. No mayor should behave that way.

WHITFIELD: I'm sorry to cut you off. So because eight women have come out before you and said that he acted inappropriately, is that what made you feel comfortable with coming out now? Or why is it you're sharing publicly your story?

EMILY GILBERT: Yes, that's why I'm coming out now. Because as an entertainer, I felt at the time had I been the first woman to come out and talk about his inappropriate behavior, you know, maybe they wouldn't believe me and that might have a negative effect on my career.

WHITFIELD: And you did say that you want him to no longer be mayor. What else would you want out of this? Are you planning to sue? Have you obtained an attorney? Are you building a case?

EMILY GILBERT: No, I don't plan on building any sort of suit, but my husband can tell you about what we feel is the appropriate thing for the mayor to do.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jason?

JASON GILBERT: Yes, this isn't about us or Emily so much as it's about him and about the state of politics today. And, you know, for him to come out and, on the one hand, stop denying the allegations and admit them, but then on the other hand to refuse to resign. That was the final straw for us. And when that happened, I call it the Filner finger. He gave everyone the Filner finger and said, I'm staying in power, and, you know, a time-out is not enough. You got -- there has got to be a consequence to these sorts of actions. We are seeing it all over the place. There is no consequences. There is no accountability. A good leader sets a good example, and this is just a horrible example. Not stepping down -- WHITFIELD: Are you hoping to sue him?

JASON GILBERT: We don't want any money at all. But there needs to be consequences, and I think what I would recommend and what I would encourage him to do is make a sizeable, generous donation to a sexual trauma women's group such as maybe the one that Emily was singing at when she was -- when that happened. So I don't think that's unreasonable. But right now, he's just refusing to step down, and in a way, he's imposing himself on the city in the way he imposed himself on these women. And he's asking us, Emily and me, to pay for it, to pay for his legal defense. And that -- that's why we had to come out. That's really --

WHITFIELD: His attorney is saying the city is in large part at fault because it didn't provide him any sexual harassment training.

So, Jason and Emily Gilbert, I can tell how you're feeling about that one. OK. But please keep us posted, you know, on your situation and what you plan to do and the results of your pursuit.

Thanks so much for your time. I appreciate it.



WHITFIELD: And, of course, we have reached out to mayor Filner for comment on this accusation. He has not responded. You see that he did release comments during that press conference earlier. And also, apparently, releasing a statement early this month saying he did not fully respect the women who worked for him and with him. The mayor is planning to enter a behavior counseling clinic starting this Monday.

All right, before your next trip to the hospital, do your homework. That's the advice after a new report on the care given at the nation's hospitals. Our Doctor Sanjay Gupta weighs in on the results.


WHITFIELD: Some hospitals regarded as the nation's best are not faring too well in a new report. Consumer reports rated hospitals on how many people died or who recovered after a procedure. Some are quite foul, calling it a major simplification of a complex issue.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a closer look at the report.

DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, I think the thing that will stick out to most people is that 30 percent of patients, and this will be according to this report, 30 percent of patients suffered some sort of postoperative problems, infections, heart attacks, stroke or other sorts of complications. The other big headline is that we look for brand name hospitals, teaching hospitals for example. They were thought they have the best doctors and often they do, but if you look at these numbers, a lot of times they don't perform better than average as compared to other hospitals. According to this consumer reports, there are still lots of complications at major hospitals, not just small ones. And that's even if you account for more patients being more sick at those big hospitals.

I think the message overall for people is pretty strong that if you're going to have an operation, you should do your research like anything else in your life and you find the very best hospital for that specific operation. You want to make sure the doctors are doing a lot of these operations but also the nurses and the ancillary staff. Everybody else does these types of procedures so they can all take care of the patient after the operation.

Now, the consumer profound that some hospitals scored very high in heart procedures but maybe didn't score so high in knee replacements. So look for the specific procedure. Don't just trust the name of the hospital or a city that it's in.

There is another easy method. You can go to a Web site such as U.S. news and world report typing your zip code and look at the specific date regarding survival and patient safety scores in your area.

One thing it is surprising is if there is not a standardized safety checklist for all hospitals and all operating rooms. But in many hospitals, including the hospital I operate, we do use checklists before procedures to try and reduce the risk of complications that we hear about. These checklists are similar to what an airline pilot, for example, might use before taking off.

I'm going to have much more on this in just a bit, plus, some crucial tips to keep in mind that hopefully will help you keep you safe. We have that all coming up at 4:30 eastern -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Sanjay. Look forward to that.

All right, could you spend a whole month living under water? The grandson of famed oceanographer Jacque Cousteau is ready try. We will tell you he I planning to do it.


WHITFIELD: We are thrilled to bring you this new segment that we will bring you every weekend now called "the science behind" where we hope to teach you the why behind the what.

In this week's installment CNN's Chad Myers talks to Fabien Cousteau about living under the sea. The grandson of famed oceanographer Jacque Cousteau is getting ready to spend a month under water off to coast of Florida. Could you do that?

Our Chad Myers spoke to him.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Fabien, 63 feet, 31 days, never done before. What do you hope to find? FABIEN COUSTEAU, AQUATIC FILMMAKER, EXPLORER: Well, the unknown, you know. This is what it's all about. It is pushing through the box and going into the mysteries and hopefully bringing some of those discoveries back.

MYERS: You have motorcycles to go on to some kind of underwater vehicle.

COUSTEAU: We have a lot of modern day technology, including underwater motorcycles which is the modern day scooter. You can sit on top like a motorcycle with the calling and it gets you from point a to point b more efficiently than the traditional scooter.

MYERS: I heard you talked in the past about placed that you used to dive where there would be hundreds of thousands of fish and now you don't find any fish. Does that concern you at all?

COUSTEAU: It used to be a fireworks display of life when I was a child. And I go to those places that used to be full and teaming with life, and it's changed quite drastically. One of the things that worries me probably even more is that today's youth doesn't know what it's supposed to be like and figures that what it is today is what it's supposed to be.

MYERS: Do you think it is ocean acidification, global change, global climate, overfishing, what do you think?

COUSTEAU: I think you hit all of the topic right on the head. It is climate change and acidification issues, it is overfishing issues especially by commercial interests and non-selected fishing and it is pollution issues. And all those things, of course, affect our planets and our oceans, but it affects us fundamentally and that's what we really have to worry about.

MYERS: Let's talk about the six aquanauts that are going to be down with you.


MYERS: What are you going to do all day?

COUSTEAU: Well, they are about as crazy as I am if they are coming with me. But, we are going to be doing a lot of things. We are going to be diving six to nine hours a day going down to depths of up to 150 feet or maybe even more. We are going to be looking at the phosphorescence and bioluminescence of coral reefs, what I call underwater cities. And of course, something my grandfather only dreamed of, we are going to be able to reach millions of people, millions of students around the world for full 31 days live, in realtime, through things like Skype in the classroom.

MYERS: So, you swim under, kind of like the old movies where we see you pop up, and you will be in the air and Aquarius will be full of air, but there will be water all around this, what, bus-size thing, right? COUSTEAU: That's correct. It's a habitat that is about 43 feet long, nine feet wide inside full of equipment and full of people, six people. It is -- you can get in and out of the habitat for down below in what we call the moon pool. But inside, it's air. It's at pressure depth, so to speak, so we'll be saturation diving as opposed to diving from the surface. And once we're down there, we are committed to being down there for the full 31 days before coming back up.


WHITFIELD: Oh, my God. As much as I love that idea, I'm a diver, love the idea of being down under like that for so long, Chad Meyers with me now, I'm not doing that. I think I get claustrophobic.

MYERS: One tank dive and you're back up.


MYERS: Exactly. They are going to be down there at a deep depth, 31 days, at a very deep depth, 63 feet as much farther down than the grandfather did at 30 feet 30 days. So, this is going to be an extraordinary event. Think about it this way. If you go on a dive you take a picture, right? If you go down there for 31 days, you take a movie. You are going to see more than what you would see in just one dive.

WHITFIELD: Oh, sure. That's exciting. But there might be a little change now for when this would actually happen. Does it have to do with the weather, the conditions? What's going on?

MYERS: Because Atlantic hurricane season is forecast to have 20 named storms, you know, 20 names storms, they don't want to be down there when there's a storm. The boats have to be up on top for life support. And then, they don't want the water all turbid. They are going to be able to see (INAUDIBLE). So they pushed it back to one month.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. This is very exciting but at the same time, I don't know, they should have checked with you on the whole calendar. You don't want to do this during the Atlantic hurricane season.

MYERS: You know, when I talked to Fabien yesterday, I said, hey, can I come down? Can I take a dive? He goes, we would love to have you dive. I went, you would?

WHITFIELD: Wait a minute. Do you need an assistant?

MYERS: Yes, I do. I need a buddy.

WHITFIELD: OK. I will do the equipment for you. Oh, that's fantastic. Well, tell us all about it, especially if you get a chance to do that.

MYERS: Sure. WHITFIELD: I will take the pictures. How's that?

MYERS: Are you union?

WHITFIELD: I can be. I am actually SAG, how is that? Maybe, not a photography union but a writers' union.

All right, thanks so much, Chad. Thanks for bringing that to us, the science behind. I love that.

So to follow Fabien Cousteau's under water ocean adventure and maybe even Chad's. He may be part of that adventure, go to

All right, from the depths of the sea to the bottom of a giant sinkhole. You saw this, right?


WHITFIELD: Isn't it extraordinary? This is not your average sinkhole, given we've had quite a few lately. This one 90 feet deep, 200 yards across and a Kansas farmer has no idea why this happened.


WHITFIELD: All right, some new video just in to CNN.

Something went terribly wrong with a planned implosion of a power plant today. Take a look. Everything on the surface at least, basically, appeared to happen as expected, as engineers set off the explosives in Bakersfield, California. But then three people were injured, one seriously. A man standing a thousand feet away was hit by shrapnel, partially severing his leg. He had to be air lifted to a hospital.

In this week's "Human Factor," a doctor living with cystic fibrosis defies the odds and lives his dream.

Here is Sanjay Gupta.



GUPTA: Every day now chuck FOX is beating the odds.

FOX: When I was born, the average life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis was 18 years old. Currently, it's estimated to be 38- years-old. Last year I passed that threshold.

GUPTA: When he was born, Chuck's parents were determined to see him thrive, even though doctors warned he may not survive.

FOX: I have to wear this mechanical vest every day to help keep my lungs clear and help me breathe. I get hooked up to that, and it's basically like doing physical therapy for your chest and for your lungs. GUPTA: And like his parents, Chuck didn't allow the skepticism he encountered of discouraging his dreams of becoming a doctor himself and having a family.

FOX: If anything, it just sort of made me want to do it more and just prove that I could do it.

GUPTA: That's exactly what he did. Dr. FOX graduate from Harvard medical school, and he's been a practicing gastroenterologist now for eight years. He and his wife, Amy, they just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary, and they are proud parents of 11-year-old twins Sydney and Ben.

FOX: I would say I'm the luckiest person I know.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Human Factor" is brought to you by the one and only cheerios. And by cancer treatments of America, care that never quits. Go to for more stories of people who have overcome life's toughest obstacles.