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Painful Anniversary for Iraqis; Immigration Sweep; Drink Warning for Teens

Aired February 22, 2007 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

Tears and near fainting, just another day at the hearing over the burial of Anna Nicole Smith. We've got the latest on the drama.

LEMON: And for Americans it's 9/11, but for Iraqis, it's today's date, 2/22, that's etched in terrible memory. We'll have more on a grim anniversary.

PHILLIPS: And maximum security? Wait until you see what is getting out of the nation's toughest prisons.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Top of the hour, new developments.

Time's running out for a decision on Anna Nicole Smith's final resting place. Smith's ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, who claims he's the father of Smith's baby daughter, completed his testimony at the hearing in Florida today. And the judge has promised to rule by tomorrow, but Birkhead declined to offer an opinion on the key issues.

The proceedings were interrupted about an hour ago, when one of the lawyers fainted. He is expected to -- there's that video right there. He is expected to be all right. The hearing is scheduled to resume in about half an hour.

Now, during the break, Birkhead's lawyer, Debra Opri, spoke with reporters.


DEBRA OPRI, LARRY BIRKHEAD'S ATTORNEY: All of you have determined by the public response that this is the good guy. Help us go out there. Put the pressure on the Bahamian government to do the right thing and to get Howard K. Stern to submit Dannielynn for a DNA test.

Howard K. Stern in the Bahamas does not need to be a biological father. American law governs that child. She is a U.S. citizen. All of you in the media have the power to put the pressure on the Bahamian government to do what is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Of course, we're going to have the latest developments for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. But you can watch the hearing live on CNN Pipeline at

PHILLIPS: February 22nd, a date etched in the memory of all Iraqis. On this date, one year ago, a single event changed the course of the conflict in their country. The bombing of a Shiite mosque triggered immeasurable bloodshed.

The report you're about to see is disturbing and difficult to watch. It's about families remembering their loss and expressing their rage.

Here's CNN's Arwa Damon.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These are the sounds of Iraq today, the suffering of civilians. The sorrow and the number of dead catapulted to shocking new levels in a single day, one year ago today.

The bombing of the Golden Dome, the Al-Askari shrine in Samarra, widely believed to be done by al Qaeda, and a turning point. The targeting of such an important Shia symbol at the hands of Sunni insurgents pushed Iraq towards a full-scale civil war. No one is spared the impact.

Um Luma (ph), a grandmother and a Shia, gunned down in cold blood by a Sunni militia.

OSSAMA RUMANI, VICTIM'S SON (through translator): I saw my mother on the street. I picked up her brains with my own hands and wrapped it. Picked up her brains.

DAMON: Isra Assuni (ph), who lost her husband to Baghdad's bloody mortar war, will never laugh the way she did on her wedding day. The last memory of the man she loved, his stomach ripped open.

There are those who fled their homes in a desperate attempt to escape the bloody sectarian clashes, now trying to survive a life like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Look here, he's old and sick. We have no medicines and nowhere else to go.

DAMON: In Baghdad's morgue, women cram into a room to watch a screen with images too gruesome to show, hoping for a bloody glimpse of a loved one gone missing.

One year after Samarra, no end to the violence in Iraq. No end to the suffering.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.


LEMON: Well, the U.N. told Iran to freeze its nuke program. Iran did the opposite. That's the thrust of a new U.N. report.

Yesterday was the deadline for Iran to stop enrich uranium. From Tehran, no stoppage, in fact, but two more enrichment facilities almost ready to go on line.

What happens now? The U.N. Security Council is authorized to slap together sanctions on Iran. A U.S. official calls the development disappointing. And the White House is formulating a response.

PHILLIPS: A cleaning company caught in an immigration sweep. Top executives and 200 employees of RCI, a firm that that services restaurant chains, are under arrest.

Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena joins us with more on the just- announced charges.

Hey, Kelli.


Well, the company is called Rosenbaum-Cunningham International, and as you said, RCI. And it supplied janitors to work at places like the Hard Rock Cafe, ESPN Zone. Most of the workers from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and according to the government, they were mostly illegal.

Now, they were picked up in an early-morning raid. The assistant secretary over at Immigration and Customs just spoke about that, as you said, at a press conference just a little bit ago.


JULIE MYERS, ICE ASST. SECRETARY: In addition to the criminal defendants, this operation targeted the illegal aliens who were employed as a part of this scheme. Over 220 individuals were arrested at 63 locations in 17 states, and the District of Columbia, including 195 individuals who were arrested last night on administrative charges.


ARENA: The criminal defendants were the three top executives of RCI. They are facing various criminal, immigration and tax charges.

According to the indictment, RCI paid its employees under the table, in cash. Allegedly defrauding the government out of more than $18 million. And in one instance, it also supplied them with fake green cards -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Real quickly, what happens to the immigrants?

ARENA: Well, they are all detained and most of them will go through the deportation process.

PHILLIPS: All right. Kelli Arena, appreciate it.

ARENA: You're welcome.

LEMON: It holds the worst of the worst, but the prison known as Supermax may be super lax when it comes to policing its inmates. Ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, how are dangerous criminals still pulling strings from behind bars?

PHILLIPS: And it's not like somebody is slipping you a Mickey, but it's not Mickey Mouse either. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, parents warned that the contents of this can may be too much for your kids.


PHILLIPS: Real quickly, we're monitoring this building fire. It's actually an abandoned building fire in Miami, Florida. Live pictures coming to us from WSVN.

Had a chance to talk with Chief Javier Ortero (ph). They don't believe that anybody is inside that building, but they are doing a secondary sweep. There's a number of abandoned buildings around it. They think that all they will have to worry about is putting this blaze out.

Not sure how it started, but we'll keep you posted on this Miami fire.

Now, it's meant for adults 18 and older, but there's nothing to stop teens from trying a potent energy drink called Spike Shooter. Nothing until now, that is.

Reporter McKenzie Martin of CNN affiliate KKTV explains why a Colorado high school is trying to shoot it down.


MCKENZIE MARTIN, REPORTER, KKTV (voice over): It's called Spike Shooter, and this 8.4 ounce can packs a punch. So much so it comes with a warning.

Now Doherty principal Jill Martin has a warning of her own.

JILL MARTIN, DOHERTY HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: We're banning this substance, this drink, at Doherty High School for the health and safety of our students.

M. MARTIN: That's after two students were rushed to the emergency room after just one can. Martin says at least five others complained of heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue after drinking Spike Shooter.

J. MARTIN: They, of course, had this burst of energy. Then when they came down, they were just almost unable to function. One girl had to be brought down in a wheelchair from a classroom because she really couldn't walk steadily.

M. MARTIN: The manufacturer says the drink is not for those under 18 or the elderly, and says everyone else should be fine if they follow the directions, including drinking just half a can at first, to test tolerance.

TIM PATTERSON, CEO, SPIKE LLC: Like any dietary supplement, you need to follow the guidelines on the label. We've done everything we can. As far as I know, we're the only company to ever put a warning on the front to read the label before drinking this product.

M. MARTIN: But Martin says after what happened to her students, she believes a warning on a can may not mean much to them.

J. MARTIN: Most kids aren't going to read that.


PHILLIPS: Well, the company says that Colorado is the only place it's getting complaints. CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen here to try and sort it all out.

Let's just talk about why this one is particularly bad for kids.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this one seems to have a lot of stuff in it that you wouldn't want your teenager to eat. And they may say that they don't market it to teenagers, but it's on MySpace, it's all over place in places where teens like to spend time on the Internet.

Let's take a look at what is in this drink.

First of all, we're talking 300 milligrams of caffeine. That's the equivalent of three cups of coffee.

Also, there is an herb called Yohimbe, and the possible side-effects of that are increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and increased anxiety. As a matter of fact, when you couple that with the caffeine, it just makes everything even worse.

The FDA has very specific concerns about this herb. There are concerns about renal failure, concerns about seizures, and concerns about death.

So, you really want to be careful about drinking this, whether you're a teenager or an adult. This is some pretty powerful stuff in here.

PHILLIPS: Why doesn't the government pull it off the shelves?

COHEN: Well, it's really hard to do that. You know, you would think, why doesn't the FDA just move right on in, and the answer to that is that the FDA does not regulate, they are not allowed to regulate foods and herbs and supplements and vitamins the way they regulate drugs.

So if this was an actual drug, they would have a much easier time getting it off the market. However, when it's basically a food kind of wrapped up with a supplement and vitamins, it's very hard for them to do that the way that the laws are written.

PHILLIPS: So right now I've just been reading that kids are getting really sick and it really speeds up their heart rate. Have we heard of anything else so far?

COHEN: So far, this is all we've heard of. And what's interesting is that there are special concerns when it comes to teenagers, because if it's a teenager who is not full grown, let's say a 13, 14, 15, 16- year-old, then what you're talking about is someone who doesn't have the same body mass as an adult, so these -- the caffeine and the herbs are going to have a stronger effect.

And actually, what they say on their Web site, they almost kind of allude to that, that you should be careful. What it says on the Web site is, "Spike is so potent, the label warns newbies to take it slow. But the flavor is so good, you'll want to slam the whole can."

So if that's not a challenge to a teenager -- and teenagers think nothing's going to hurt them anyhow. So if that's not a challenge to a teenager to slam down that can...

PHILLIPS: Yes, what is?

COHEN: ... as they put it -- yes, what is?

PHILLIPS: We've come a long way since Jolt Cola. Remember that?

COHEN: That's right. Yes, that's nothing compared to this.

PHILLIPS: Elizabeth, thanks.

COHEN: Thanks.

LEMON: Well, time is of the essence in the Anna Nicole Smith hearing, and it may be taking a toll on some of the litigants. The judge says he needs to make a decision by tomorrow on where Smith's body will be buried. But the hearing was abruptly interrupted a few minutes ago, when an attorney fainted.

Joining us now with an update form the courthouse, our very own Susan Candiotti in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

What's the latest, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, before we even get to that, we're in a lunchtime break right now. Court to resume fairly shortly, and during this day so far, we have heard attorneys sniping at each other.

We've seen people crying on the witness stand. We've seen a lot of emotion taking place. But the person who has spent the most time on the witness stand this day, once again, Larry Birkhead. That's the ex-boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith, who claims to be the biological father of her child.

So far, he has testified that she had a substance abuse problem, and in particular, he said, while she was pregnant. He also said that he was forced to sign a contract by Howard K. Stern saying that he, Birkhead, would not say anything about this pregnancy and that if he did, he would never be able to see his child. That's what Birkhead claims. He said he signs that contract under duress.

And he also claimed that during a hospital stay while she was pregnant, he said that he saw Anna Nicole Smith taking pills given to her by Howard K. Stern while she was already there to be detoxed for some other medical problems.

He is not the only one that took the witness stand this day, however. We also heard testimony from a former bodyguard of Anna Nicole Smith.

This was a witness who was testifying on behalf of Howard K. Stern. This man, Troy Hollier testified -- he's a Houston police officer -- that the day after Smith's son died, Daniel, he was in the Bahamas to attend the funeral. And he picks up the story from there, in essence, saying that Anna Nicole Smith wanted to remain in the Bahamas.

Here's what he said.


TROY HOLLIER, FMR. BODYGUARD: At the swimming pool she was floating on a raft, and we were just literally just talking. I was actually standing up beside the raft holding her hand, and I can't remember what we were talking about, but she just stopped the conversation, looked at me and said, "Troy, if anything should happen to me, I need to be with Daniel."


CANDIOTTI: Now, this witness was put on the stand by Stern's lawyer that tried to prove that Anna Nicole Smith wanted to remain in the Bahamas to be near her son Daniel. That, of course, is one of the decisions this judge -- a key decision the judge has to make about what will happen to her remains.

Should she be in the Bahamas, where her son Daniel is buried? Should she be allowed to be given to her mother, who wants to take her back to Texas? But there's also been testimony that she wanted to go back to California. That's what Larry Birkhead says, so that she could be interred next to her -- the stars and next to her idol, Marilyn Monroe.

Again, at the end of the day, the judge said he wants to hear from all the lawyers in this case, even one representing Dannielynn, the baby, to get their recommendations. He will use those as a basis for his final decision, which, the judge says, he will reveal tomorrow.

Back to you, Don.

LEMON: All right, Susan. Thanks.

And, of course, all of this being carried on CNN Pipeline at

PHILLIPS: Well, here comes the judge.


JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN: There's no circus here, my friend. There's no circus here.


PHILLIPS: For now at least. His honor, Larry Seidlin, has a starring role in the Anna Nicole Smith drama, but how much do you actually know of him?

A lot more if you stay in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Well it holds the worst of the worst, but the prison known as Supermax may be super lax when it comes to policing its inmates. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, how are dangerous criminals still pulling strings from behind bars?


PHILLIPS: Well, now a look inside autism with a woman you won't soon forget. Amanda Baggs may change the way you think of the condition and how autistic people deal with the world.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has her amazing story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Amanda Baggs, rocking back and forth. She does not make eye contact. Her movements are erratic. Her behavior, eccentric. She cannot speak, and for most of us this is precisely what we expect when we see a person with autism.

But Amanda will absolutely change your expectations. We first came across Amanda on YouTube. Her appearance there so startling I wanted to meet her. I had so many questions.

AMANDA BAGGS: The way I naturally think and respond to things looks and feels so different from standard concepts, or even visualization, that some people do not consider it thought at all.

It is only when I type something in your language that you refer to me as having communication.

GUPTA: Amanda calls herself bilingual. For other autistic people she has movement and gestures to communicate. But for the rest of us, she made this video to teach us how it works. She jokingly calls us neurotypical, meaning we do not have autism. She communicates with a keyboard and computer, and for visitors a voice synthesizer.

(on camera): So you've seen the video with your own eyes. I want to show it to you through Amanda Baggs eyes. She lives in this building, and she lives alone.

(voice-over): This is where Amanda made the video. She shot it, edited it and posted it on the Internet, all completely on her own. Surprised?

If we must label her, she won't like it, but medically she is a low- functioning autistic.

Amanda interacts with everything around her.

(on camera): What about this? This was interesting. You can read obviously, but you're actually putting your face in the book. Why? What does that mean?

BAGGS: I like the smell and the texture of that particular paper. That book has very rough paper.

GUPTA (voice-over): Amanda says this is her natural way of thinking, in patterns and in colors. Thinking with language and written words as we do is not natural for her, therefore so she struggles with it.

(on camera): If you wanted to talk to me, could you do that?

BAGGS: I could make speech sounds. At this point I could not make them mean anything I was thinking.

GUPTA: Does that frustrate you?

BAGGS: Not really. I type very fast.

GUPTA: Yes, you do.


PHILLIPS: Well, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more on Amanda's story now on "AC 360," at 10:00 Eastern, only here -- right here on CNN.

LEMON: An all-American story about giving.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What was the goal, though? Was the goal to do what she did?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, the goal was to (INAUDIBLE). Then the goal was to...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A pair of blue jeans.


LEMON: From a pair of blue jeans, to a home to live in, and a family to love, how one family helped a kid in need beat the odds. Our Miles O'Brien reports straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Court is about to resume in Florida, where a judge is considering what to do with the body of Anna Nicole Smith. We're following all the developments.

LEMON: It's called Supermax, but this prison may be anything but. For the criminals housed here, the bares often proves little barrier to business as usual.


PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone.

I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

Well, you can't have a circus without a ringmaster. And we couldn't begin to make up the stuff that comes out of Larry -- Judge Larry Seidlin's mouth, from the driver seat in a cab to the bench in the Anna Nicole Smith case.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LARRY BIRKHEAD, SMITH'S FORMER BODYGUARD: I'm not selfish. You know, there's a lot of hurt and heartache. I've missed the delivery of my child...


BIRKHEAD: I missed the delivery of my child. I've had to pay $4.99 for magazines to see what my child looks like. I've had to call and send gifts, Fedex Christmas gifts for my child and I've missed everything that you can't get back, so maybe someday, maybe, I'm not going to say yes today, but the more he fights me and the more it takes, the less likely that he is to get anything.


LEMON: Well, that was Larry Birkhead talking about his tumultuous relationship with the other man in Anna Nicole's life. He's talking about Howard K. Stern.

That court hearing resumes at 2:30 and, of course, we're following all of the developments for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. That is a live look inside the courtroom now. A short recess. They should be back in just a few minutes.

The man in charge in the courtroom, well, he used to drive cabs, and more than a few lawyers still consider Larry Seidlin a hack. If you've been glued to the Anna Nicole Smith hearing in Florida, the bombastic judge needs no introduction.

If not, CNN's Gary Tuchman reports you may soon see more of him anyway.


SEIDLIN: There's no circus here, my friend. There's no circus here.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Spoken by the ring master himself. In short time, Judge Larry Seidlin is raising eyebrows with oddball comments like this:

SEIDLIN: I want to get to a rebuilding. I want to build the child.


SEIDLIN: Remember in school, you had this big French labyrinth (ph) and you tried to get to the center of it, that's all we're trying to do.

TUCHMAN: And this:

SEIDLIN: Let's face it, money is the root of all evil, am I right?

LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, COURT TV: He's long-winded, repetitive, and preachy. And that's on a good day. When judges like Judge Seidlin interrupt, it's very hard to get to the end. It's very hard to make your point. These attorneys are all taking a deep breath. They're all showing respect, but I'm sure that they're very frustrated.

TUCHMAN: Just who is this guy? Judge Seidlin is 56 years old. He grew up in the Bronx. And once worked as a cab driver.

SEIDLIN: Instead of fighting, you should join hands, join hands. Because it's only in this country that you can join hands. We don't have these kinds of religious wars and all these other issues that take place around the world.

TUCHMAN: His 29-year history on the bench is interesting. In 1981, Judge Seidlin cited someone for contempt of court. The penalty? Write 10 times on a black board, I will not talk in court. His over the top antics may be part of his personality, or perhaps part of an audition.

According to the entertainment website TMZ, Seidlin wants to join the ranks of Judge Judy and wants his own Court TV show. TMZ says he even went so far as to have demo tapes made of his musings.

SEIDLIN: When I used to teach tennis, I used to wear white shorts and a white top. It always looked good. You look good.

TUCHMAN: To some, he may be eccentric, but fair.

SEIDLIN: Request denied. It muddies my water.

TUCHMAN: Others think he is making a mountain out of a molehill.

BLOOM: This is a hearing that could have been resolved in a hour. The legal issues are clear. We don't need 19 attorneys arguing about what the law is. There's a statute, there's some case law. The judge can look at it and make a decision.

TUCHMAN: What does his boss think of all of this? The Chief Judge Dale Ross tells CNN, that it's not appropriate for him to make a comment. Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And CNN's Pipeline service is streaming those proceedings in Florida live. Just go to to watch.

PHILLIPS: It houses the nation's most notorious convicts -- Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, 9/11 conspirators, Zacarias Moussaoui and the Unabomber, to name three.

But is the nation's highest security prison as secure as it should be? Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez toured Supermax, making good on a promise from last November when CNN exposed the prison's shortcomings, particularly when it comes to inmates communicating with the outside world. Still, Gonzalez gave it good marks.


ALBERTO GONZALEZ, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am confident that we are doing what we should be doing in monitoring communications both in and out of these facilities.


PHILLIPS: Well, not everyone is so confident. Our Drew Griffin is the one the broke the story, and that's why Gonzalez went and paid a visit. What do you think?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Bureau of Prisons says the security gap, at least for the terrorists, has been closed since we first aired this report. We're told 100 percent of terrorist mail and 100 percent of terrorist phone calls are now being monitored.

That was not the case just months ago. All of this prompted by an inspector general's report that found security at Supermax needed improvements.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Here, in the shadows of the Colorado Rockies are many of our worst-known terrorists: Ramzi Youssef, the first World Trade Center bomber; 9/11 wannabe Zacarias Moussaoui; the Shoebomber Richard Reid; the Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph; the Unabomber; one of the Oklahoma City bombers, and all locked up for life in the nation's toughest prison, Supermax.

Almost every hour is spent in these cells. Eat here, shower here. Solid doors and narrow windows make it hard to even see another inmate.

Yet official documents show the prison has been understaffed. Phone calls were not always monitored. Neither was the mail. This past fall, the inspector general said the Bureau of Prisons, quote, "is unable to effectively monitor the mail of terrorists and other high-risk inmates in order to detect and prevent terrorism and criminal activities."

One criminal case in point: the 18th Street Gang marks its turf and runs drug sales near downtown Los Angeles.

CHARLES SOSA, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPT. (RET.): What has happened is is that every street corner now has a gang.

GRIFFIN: The gangs extort kickbacks. They call it taxes or rent from the street dealers.

SOSA: They say, "You better pay your taxes, pal, or else you're going to get killed or you're not going to deal dope in my town."

GRIFFIN: The man running the drug gang? The FBI says it's Reuben Castro (ph) from his cell at Supermax.

(on camera): And even though he's behind bars and away for life, he still holds that power?

SOSA: Most definitely.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Prosecutors charge for the past three years, Castro has been able to give orders and telephone calls and coded letters from Supermax.

SOSA: And he uses his girlfriend, wife, or mistress or whatever she is, or any -- any other person that will take a message out.

GRIFFIN: Inmates are allowed only a handful of calls a month, but the Justice Department report says half those phone calls were not monitored in the last year that it checked.

The Madrid train bombings in 2004 triggered the recent Justice Department report. After those attacks, investigators discovered an al Qaeda follower had been writing the terrorist suspects in Spain from his cell at Supermax. The report says personnel assigned to check the mail and phone calls often are sent to cellblocks instead as substitute guards.

MIKE SCHNOBRICH, PRISON GUARDS' UNION: I think they're pulled from those positions on occasion more often than they should be to work in other parts of the prison to make sure that we're maintaining security there.

GRIFFIN: At one point, staffing fell as low as 180. Today, it's up to 193.

Colorado legislator Buffie McFayden's district includes Supermax. She says she told us last fall she felt the prison was unsafe and says she still feels that way today.

(on camera): If somebody's in there right now over that hill and they are plotting and planning a terrorist attack, there's a good chance that we wouldn't know about it. Yes?

BUFFIE MCFADYEN, COLORADO STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Absolutely. Could happen. Could happen. And that should be frightening for any citizen in the United States of America.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Drew Griffin, CNN, Lawrence, Colorado.


PHILLIPS: Oops. Drew's right here, actually. She lays it out there. I thought was additional staffing, all these fixes. And now she's saying, "Absolutely, something do happen."

What's the deal?

GRIFFIN: She was with the attorney general yesterday, and I talked to her today. She said, "Look, all they have done is moved prison people around out there. They've got four prison facilities. They move 13 guards into Supermax. She says it's just not enough. They need to be specialists. They need to have language training and they need to be monitoring these phone calls and the mail in real time, not recording phone calls later and listening to see what happens.

PHILLIPS: This is the same conversation we had when you broke this story and now Gonzalez thinks that everything is OK. But it obviously isn't. So is anything being done to monitor these terrorists?

GRIFFIN: The Bureau of Prisons gave me a long list of things that they have done, which includes increasing the staff to this level. But it's still below the minimum that was laid out by the inspector general. They're also talking about training, adding a couple of FBI agents, which are now stationed at Supermax.

But a lot of people, including the guards and the Guards' Union, says it's just not enough. They need to have more specialized training. They need to have better linguist people out there listening to these people in all the languages they discuss.

PHILLIPS: Because they can still send letters out, right?

GRIFFIN: Letters and phone calls. They have...

PHILLIPS: So they could be planning attacks and we wouldn't even know?

GRIFFIN: That's -- well, the Bureau of Prisons says no, because we monitor that. But Buffie McFadyen and others say...

PHILLIPS: There's loopholes.


PHILLIPS: Interesting. I take it we'll get part three, four, five and six on this until something's done.

GRIFFIN: We'll see.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Drew.

LEMON: All he needed what's a little helping hand. A story about beating the odds when the NEWSROOM continues.


PHILLIPS: Live pictures from our affiliate WVEC near Topping, Virginia. Once that camera swings back around, you're actually going to see -- there it is. A small plane that went into the Locklies Creek there in Middlesex County.

Police and U.S. Coast Guard are responding to the scene. It's right off the Rappahannock River. Not sure how many people were on board that small plane, if, indeed, the pilot got out. We're trying to get as much information as we can, but we're going to monitor it and let you know as we get it.

Well this week, CNN is uncovering America. Looking at faces, names and stories that's changing our country. And today, the amazing story of a football superstar in the making.

LEMON: That's right, Kyra. A young man who a few years ago had nothing, no family, no home, no hope. But then got a big break and hasn't looked back. CNN's Miles O'Brien reports.



M. O'BRIEN: He is the big man on campus at the University of Mississippi. Big size, big dreams, big odds he would never walk this path.

(on camera) So what's your goal right now?

OHER: My goal is get a college degree and probably play in the NFL one day.

M. O'BRIEN: A few years back do you think you could have even thought about that goal?

OHER: I'd probably have thought about it every now and then. But, you know, it was basically thinking about surviving probably.

M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): Michael Oher is a football phenom, a 6'5", 325-pound lightning fast force of nature. But chances are slim he would be here, had he not crossed paths with another force of nature: the Touhy family of Memphis.

LEIGH ANNE TOUHY, MOTHER: It was just so natural.

SEAN TOUHY, FATHER: That's how easy he became part of our lives.

M. O'BRIEN: That's Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy, or to Michael Oher, Mom and Dad.

OHER: I've grown another inch and a half.

L. TOUHY: You have. OHER: Brings back a lot of good memories.

M. O'BRIEN: They met here at the Breyer Crest School in prosperous, mostly white East Memphis. Oher arrived here from the other side of the tracks, penniless, parentless and homeless.

OHER: Probably would be in the hood doing nothing, selling drugs or something, trying to eat.

M. O'BRIEN: An adult friend helped him get into Breyer Crest. Once in, the Touhys quickly noticed their daughter Collin's classmate was in serious need.

(on camera) What was the goal, though? Was the goal to do what you did?

S. TOUHY: No, the goal was to feed him.

L. TOUHY: Get him a pair of jean.

M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): Before too long Michael Oher was living in their fancy, beautiful home. The Touhys provided tutoring and correspondence courses to get him up to speed academically and graduated.

S. TOUHY: He learned algebraic formulas before he probably learned how to add three plus three.

L. TOUHY: Add, that's right.

M. O'BRIEN: The Touhys also gave Michael something even more precious.

(on camera) Is it the first time in your life you felt loved?

OHER: Was the first time that -- the first time I ever told somebody I love them when I told Leigh Anne that I loved her one day.

M. O'BRIEN: What was that like?

OHER: I was kind of scared that she'd tell me she loved me all the time. So I mean, one day I thought I'd try it, and it felt good.

M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): Michael Oher now carries a 3.75 average with some help from tutors and sister Collin, also at Ole Miss.

(on camera) You've got a bright future, don't you?

OHER: That's what they tell me. I mean, when I get there I'll believe it.

M. O'BRIEN: I think you're there. You're pretty -- you've got a bright present. Don't you? Right?

OHER: I think the present is all right.

O'BRIEN: Miles O'Brien, CNN, Memphis.


LEMON: So Sean Touhy owns more than 70 fast food franchises and before that was a standout basketball player at Ole Miss. He's now a TV commentator for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies and Michael Oher is now an heir to the family fortune.

PHILLIPS: All right, we've got good news out of Topping, Virginia. Live pictures via our affiliate WVEC. This small Cessna that nosedived right into the water. We're told the pilot got out. He was able to swim to shore and a helicopter took him to the hospital. Not quite sure what went wrong, but the good news is there were no passengers on board, and it looks like the pilot is going to be OK. We'll keep you posted.

A quick break. More from the NEWSROOM straight ahead.


PHILLIPS: Massachusetts lawmakers want retailers to pay for security breaches that have exposed millions of consumer.

Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange to explain what that means.

Hey, Susan.


Well, the proposal comes just one month after a massive breakdown by Framingham, Massachusetts based TJX, which reported that millions of its customers' personal data was exposed. In an effort to cut down on data theft, Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would make retailers pay for losses if hackers steal their customers' personal information.

Right now, banks typically get stuck footing the bill. Fraud losses totaled more than $2 billion last year. The Massachusetts bill would not cover all types of credit card fraud, such as a lost or stolen card, but it could set a precedent and prompt other states to follow -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, don't states already have consumer protection laws?

LISOVICZ: Yes. But, most of them do technically. About 35 states have data breach and consumer protection laws on the books. But they're relatively weak. Most only require companies to warn consumers of possible theft when their databases are hacked.

This bill would require retailers to assume all responsibility. It would also take a big burden off the banks. The idea is that if retailers are on the line financially, they'll be more likely to tighten their security systems, in other words, be more proactive -- Kyra. PHILLIPS: Well, it looks like investors are tightening their belts today.


LISOVICZ: Coming up, change a light bulb and you can change everything. I'll have the story behind this bright idea the next hour.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. They call it the award shows of all award shows. It's the 79th annual Academy Awards, that is under way. And I got to tell you, some Oscar losers may be striking it big this year. I'll tell you why when CNN NEWSROOM continues.


LEMON: He is bald and just over a foot tall. But everyone in Hollywood wants to take him home, guys and girls. He's Oscar. And Sunday is his night. The red carpet's in place for the 79th annual Academy Awards and Sibila Vargas is on it.

You're on it.

VARGAS: Oh, yes. I'm on it. I mean, my gosh, could you believe this? This place was actually -- this is Hollywood Boulevard. We're actually on the street. But we've got the carpet being laid out. They're working on it back over there, as you can see. I mean, they're just dressing up this place. I mean, this is the end of the award season, and the end of the award season is going to go out with a bang. I mean, this is -- you know, this is the culmination of so many things.

And this year, in the directing category, one name is definitely standing out. That would be Mr. Martin Scorsese. He's been nominated multiple times, but has yet to get that Oscar love.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Oscar goes to -- Clint Eastwood.

VARGAS (voice-over): Martin Scorsese, we feel your pain. You've grinned through six Best Director losses. Are you ever going to get a break? You were knocked out for "Raging Bull". Oscar wasn't tempted by "The Last Temptation of Christ".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God's world is big enough for everybody.

VARGAS: "Goodfellows" got whacked by the competition. "Gangs of New York" took it on the chin, and "The Aviator" put you on the redeye to Loserville.

MARTIN SCORSESE, DIRECTOR: I would like to win.

VARGAS: We know you would, Marty. And the Academy has a way of making it up to those it's overlooked. Call it the Oscar IOU.

After seven failed attempts Al Pacino finally won for "Scent of a Woman" in 1992.

John Wayne appeared in nearly 150 films before receiving an Oscar at the end of his career for "true Grit".

ROBERT OSBOURNE, OSCAR HISTORIAN: He was really good in "True Grit", but whether or not he was better than those two fellows in "Midnight Cowboy" and some others, I kind of question that.

But I think John Wayne really got it also, not only because he was good, but also because he was John Wayne and had never been really acknowledged before.

VARGAS: Sometimes nominees don't have to wait that long to get what's coming to them. Jimmy Stewart and Betty Davis were among the stars who won a year after their break performance.

OSBOURNE: They started calling it a holdover Oscar, meaning you were getting it one year because a holdover for something wonderful you had done the year before.

VARGAS: More recently, Renee Zelwegger won for "Cold Mountain" after missing out the year before on "Chicago". Well, Nicole Kidman's "Moulin Rouge" loss might have fueled her win for "The Hours".

PETER O'TOOLE, ACTOR: I'm an entertainer. That's my job.

VARGAS: And this distinguished gentleman could call in his IOU this year as well. Peter O'Toole has come up short seven times before.

SCORSESE: We'll see, well you know, whatever.

VARGAS: So cheer up Marty, the director of "The Departed" may not be departing empty handed.

OSBORNE: He'll get this year, but he'll get it not only because of his body of work, but also because he did a really good job this year.


VARGAS: And Martin Scorsese has led some people to Oscar gold, to their own Oscar gold. Robert DeNiro, Ellen Burstyn, Cate Blanchett. The list goes on and on. He definitely has that Midas touch. If only it could work on himself. Maybe this year. Stay right there because the next hour of NEWSROOM starts right now.