Return to Transcripts main page
New Measures Aim to Better Protect Airline Passengers; Legalities Become Complicated In Christmas Day Terrorist Case; Tax Preparation About to Become More Regulated By Federal Government; Will Google Smartphone Give iPhone a Run for the Money?; CA Law Enforcement Captures Criminals in Different Uniform; A Chopstick Up the Nose No Laughing Matter for One Beijing Boy
Aired January 05, 2010 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Your safety is the focus today at the White House. President Obama is meeting with his top national security team to review the attempted terrorist bombing of Northwest flight 253. What went wrong and how can the system be fixed? CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is joining us now to set the stage. Suzanne, who exactly is going to be in the meeting and what can we expect to come out of it?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Heidi. Well there's going to be more than about 20 people or so at the table in the situation room with the president, clearly to give updated reports. It's really the first time he's going to have this whole group face-to-face getting these briefings.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to be there, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, as well as Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. The director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair as well as the head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, attorney general, FBI head, all of them giving reports, the latest updates.
And essentially, what one senior administration official is calling lessons learned here. At least initial reports about what do they know about this attempted airline attack, how could different agencies have acted better and done better in their performance. Four main areas, one of them is the terror watch list. Should it have been a broader list? Should it net more names, more people, give a heads up on who could be a suspicious person?
Secondly, the intelligence-gathering process, did the agency share information and was there an attempt in any way to keep information, turf battles or turf wars taking place.
Third, how do you stop these future attacks. What were the signs, the signals that people should have been looking for. And finally, the airlines themselves screening passengers ahead of time, how could you have simply prevented this guy, the suspect, Abdulmutallab, from getting on the plane in the first place. All of these things are going to be presented to the president. And Heidi, it's important to know that the president himself will come out after this meeting and tell the American people that, yes, there are some initial reforms that are going to be put in place immediately. Some of those having to do with those terror watch lists as well as visa policies.
COLLINS: Suzanne, too early to expect to see any heads to roll over this incident? We know it's a preliminary report.
MALVEAUX: Well, senior administration officials say, look, this is not going to be -- you're not going to have the president come out today and make any kind of personnel resignation announcements or a big shakeup in his cabinet, anything like that. They're going to put all of the information out there. If there are more details that come to light, where there might be lower level folks that might lose their jobs, that's not being ruled out necessarily. But for today, they are saying that this is not going to be a shakeup, it is definitely kind of an update to the president on all the information that they have learned and how to move forward. Suzanne Malveaux at the White House. Thanks, Suzanne.
COLLINS: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House. Thanks, Suzanne.
Meanwhile the government has already added dozens names to its list of suspected terrorists. And intelligence officials say the names were added after a review of a larger database of terror suspects. Now the airline lists are based on the perceived level of threat. People on the watch list face additional security before they are allowed to go into the U.S. People on the no-fly list are barred from going into the U.S. or boarding airplanes already in this country.
Rules, of course, though only as effective as the enforcement. So with that in mind, does the TSA have the staff or money to provide the extra security? At the bottom of the hour, stick around for a frank assessment by a former official with the Office of Homeland Security.
We have an update for you on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen. Today it is back open and ready for business. Washington closed the embassy on Sunday because of the threat of an al Qaeda attack. A senior administration official says intelligence suggested four al Qaeda operatives may have been planning an attack on the compound. Today the embassy says Yemeni security forces have addressed those specific concerns.
A double agent, now blamed for last week's deadly attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan. Seven CIA officers died in that attack. Their bodies were returned to the United States yesterday. Today we're learning a lot more about how the suicide bomber got through security. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has been working the story and joins us now live. Barbara, this man had provided the CIA with a lot of useful information at least in the past, right?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Heidi. According to former senior U.S. intelligence officials, this man was a trusted agent of both the United States and Jordanian intelligence services. He had a track record of providing high-value information about al Qaeda targets and they thought, at least, that is what he was about to provide, possibly intelligence on the location of Ayman al- Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's number two. It doesn't get more important than that.
So when this attack happened last week, U.S. intelligence agents had met the man off base, put him in a vehicle apparently without searching him, drove him back onto forward-operating base Chapman, as we know, and he detonated his suicide explosives there. The bomber now identified as a Jordanian man with the name al-Balawi. He came from the same small hometown in Jordan as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the one-time leader of al Qaeda back in Iraq. He had a record of militancy. He had been arrested by the Jordanians. They thought they had rehabilitated him, if you will, that he was now loyal to the fight. But apparently, a double agent wound up killing seven CIA officers and a Jordanian military officer who was covertly acting as his handler.
COLLINS: That's just tragic. All right, Barbara Starr this morning. Thanks, Barbara.
Even before President Obama took the oath of office, the threat of a terror attack loomed large. "The New York Times" is reporting intelligence officials were worried that Somali terrorists were plotting to detonate explosives during the event. The threat turned out to be bogus but no one of course knew that at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I understand President Obama even cancelled a rehearsal of the inauguration. What was -- when was the president actually briefed and do you know what his reaction was?
PETER BAKER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, he was kept up to date in the few days leading up to the inauguration. There was one moment in particular we write about in the magazine, the night before the inauguration, his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, and a couple of foreign policy advisers jumped into the limousine with him as he's heading off to one of the inaugural event to tell him the latest they had heard and what everything was being done about this.
One of the things that the new administration and the old administration agreed they would keep Robert Gates, the defense secretary, away from the inauguration in a secure location, a secret location, just in case the worst happened and everybody in the line of succession were to be killed in a catastrophic event, he would be able to take over the presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: It turns out the threat was a false rumor intentionally planted by a rival terror group.
A deadly shooting in Las Vegas, and police say the gunman was angry about his Social Security benefits. This video with the obvious audio there posted on YouTube captured some of that gunfire and commotion. One security officer was killed. So was the shooter. Police say 66-year-old Johnny Wicks opened fire with a shotgun when he walked into the court house yesterday. Here's how one witness described the shooting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY SCOTTLAND, WITNESS: The gentleman who went into the court house, I passed him as I was walking to the Foley Courthouse. Went through security, was talking to my attorney on a matter and we heard the gunshots. It sounded like popcorn. It wasn't as loud as the video shows because we were in a building. I walked outside to the foyer of the entrance to the Foley building, looked out the bay window and saw five marshals and a couple of parole officers with their guns drawn shooting -- well, they had just finished shooting towards where the perpetrator was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: A deputy marshal was also shot by Wicks. He is in stable condition. Police say Wicks was upset over losing an appeal for more Social Security benefits.
Most of the nation suffering from bone-chilling weather. Stay inside if you can. But of course a lot of us have to work and some of us outside. Better layer up at least with your clothes. We'll tell you what you can expect coming up.
COLLINS: Are you happy with your job? If you are, then you are in the minority. At least that's what a new poll says. Look at this now, it was conducted by the Conference Board Business Research Group. They found 45 percent of American workers are satisfied with their jobs. Only 51 percent are satisfied with their boss and 56 percent like their co-workers. Can't everybody get along?
Well now we want to know what you think about that. Are you getting in that job satisfaction and there's the music that you might have expected. Anyway, it is our blog question this morning. We'd love to hear what you think. Just go to the Web site there, CNN.com/Heidi. Get online and tell us what you think. Blog away. We'll share some of the responses coming up later in the hour.
COLLINS: No question, the Deep South is in a dangerous deep freeze. At least four people have died from the bitter cold in Tennessee. One man in his home and even though homeless shelters are packed, authorities say they will not turn anyone away.
In Florida, farmers are worried about their crops and people more used to warm winters are bundling up. But the cold is good for one business. Just call the pizza guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE ANDRES, PIZZA DELIVERY DRIVER: Like I said, it just makes things busier. People don't want to get out on the slick roads so they call for delivery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't blame them either. I wouldn't want to go in either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: And just like the mailman, not the pizza man but the mailman, Rob Marciano, rain, snow or sleet, you can always count on pizza to be delivered and you to be at that map.
COLLINS: Expect to be counted. The 2010 census is under way in an effort to count every American resident. CNNMoney.com's Poppy Harlow is in New York with more on this morning. Obviously a huge undertaking but it is every 10 years. This one a little bit different this time around.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: A little bit different this time around, a little harder this time around, Heidi, as you said. You do it every 10 years. It's actually required by law, it's in the constitution. But you've got a number of factors that play this year.
You've got a major economic downturn and what's come with that is a flood of foreclosures. What that means is that a lot of people are out of their permanent homes and living in these temporary situations. Needless to say, it makes it very hard to count them. Then you have situations like Hurricane Katrina and Rita in the last decade. What that did, Heidi, is that displaced a lot of people along the Gulf Coast region so the Census Bureau is literally going door-to-door and trying to reach especially every one of those displaced people by hand to deliver them this survey that you're looking at, that they have to hand out.
What the census requires is that every single living person in this country is counted, regardless of their citizenship. That's another challenge. You've got illegal immigrants in this country that many of, and I don't blame them, are afraid to talk to census workers even though they've got to keep these responses confidential. So that's something, those are a number of the challenges that they're facing. However, the Census Bureau says they're determined to get an accurate count. They are planning 800 events across the country just like the one you're looking at. That took place yesterday in New York City's Times Square, trying to encourage people to fill out these forms. So why so much time and effort and money going into this? Well, the stakes are really high. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY LOCKE, COMMERCE SECRETARY: We need an accurate count. And it's not just to determine how many members of the House of Representatives every state will get, but it's also the allocation of some $400 billion a year in federal aid. And especially when cities and counties and states are cutting back. This $400 billion in federal funding per year, based on the census, going out for education, human services, elderly programs, housing, transportation, that's badly needed money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: All right, Heidi, I should wrap by saying the good news here is that it's going to create about 800,000 temporary jobs for folks. That is welcome news in this economy, that's for sure.
COLLINS: All right, Poppy Harlow with the break down. Thanks, Poppy.
One couple's happy day turns tragic, but then turns around again. A mother and child cheating death, coming back when even the doctors thought there was no chance.
COLLINS: Time now to check some of the top stories we're watching this morning. The Obama administration open to talks with Iran, even though Iran missed the president's request for movement on lessening the nuclear threat by January 1st.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Our approach, as you know, has always proceeded on two tracks. We have an engagement track and a pressure track. And as I said, the results of our efforts to engage Iran directly have not been encouraging. We want to keep the door to dialogue open, but we've also made it clear we can't continue to wait.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Senator John Kerry had asked for permission to go to Tehran for talks but according to an Iranian news Web site, an Iranian parliamentary committee said no, turning down the request by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune is dead. Thirty- year-old Casey Johnson was found in her West Hollywood home. Police say there is no evidence of foul play, but toxicology tests could take several weeks. The socialite made headlines over the years for her friendships with Paris Hilton and reality TV star Tila Tequila.
An hour-long power outage delayed travelers at Reagan National Airport outside Washington. The power problem shut down half the security screening checkpoints. Planes could still take off and land thanks to a backup generator. Equipment failure was blamed for the outage.
They're calling it a Christmas miracle. A pregnant woman dies in labor. Her child also in trouble after an imagine cesarean, he too appeared to be dead. But then both hearts started beating again, seemingly brought back to life when all hope was lost. The happy family talked about it with our Anderson Cooper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HERMANSTORFER, HUSBAND: When everything transpired and the nurses and everybody noticed that Tracy's color was blue, and they checked her pulse and everything and she'd stopped breathing at that time, they -- the whole hospital went nuts. They called a code blue over the intercom system, and the whole hospital emptied. Everybody from every area of the hospital was in that hospital room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Well, this is right up our chief medical correspondent's alley. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is also the author of "Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles that are Saving Lives Against All Odds."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in many ways I think it is a miracle. A lot of people would call it that. But it's certainly a fascinating story with a happy ending. I think that's true at a minimum. You know, we tend to think of life and death in binary terms. One moment you're here, the next moment you're not. But we know that it's much more of a process than that. Several things happening in the body. In fact, the heart stopping beating, as was the case with Tracy, is one part of that process.
The good news is for doctors and nurses and health care professionals is that at a lot of points along that process of death, an intervention can occur and the process can potentially be reversed. And people can cheat death, as were the case here. You know, several things to keep in mind. She was being resuscitated during this whole time, so someone was pumping on her chest, moving oxygenated blood through the body. That's very important.
She also had a breathing tube placed so she was getting plenty of oxygen into her bloodstream. Those two things alone very important in terms of trying to resuscitate someone. I think it's probably safe to say that she wasn't dead, the way that people typically think of it, but she was in the process of dying and that process was subsequently reversed.
Now, no question doctors had an incredibly difficult decision to make, just a few minutes into this resuscitation they had to sort of decide, are they going to focus the energy on mom or start to move some of their focus to the baby. And, you know, usually around three or four minutes they have got to decide that because the window is so tight, they have got to deliver the baby usually within five minutes and in this case they did that by cesarean section and the baby was born with a very weak heartbeat as well.
Turns out as soon as they removed the baby, delivered the baby, mom started to improve as well so it may have had something to do with the pressure from the uterus on mom's veins. No one knows exactly what happened to Tracy, you know, what exactly caused this. Sometimes things like an amniotic fluid embolism, a little bit of amniotic fluid gets into the blood system of the mother. That can cause a profound allergic reaction. Sometimes a pulmonary embolism. Could there have been some underlying heart disease? Don't know the answer. I'm sure doctors are going to investigate that, especially if she's considering having another baby. But again, fascinating story, happy ending, good luck to them both. Back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Good luck for sure.
Remember the Octomom? Nadya Suleman? How could you possibly forget? Well here's some video of her from Radar Online. The California Medical Board is accusing her rumored obstetrician Michael Kamrava of negligence. The board says he put way too many embryos into a patient referred to as N.S., the same initials as Nadya Suleman. Doctors are usually recommended only to implant one or two embryos in women her age.
Protecting the skies from terrorists. More rules, more safeguards and more questions. Now chief among them, is the TSA up to the task of enforcing tougher standards?
COLLINS: A TSA officer has been reassigned to non-screening duties after a man was able to go into a secure area at Newark Liberty International Airport. Sunday night's security breach will be just one of the topics later today when President Obama meets with his top security and terrorism officials. The man in the Newark security breach, by the way, was later seen on a security tape leaving the terminal.
Protecting you and your loved ones when you fly. President Obama is set to unveil his first security reforms for the nation's airlines, but here's the question. Is the TSA capable of enforcing tougher new standards?
Joining us with some answers, Clark Kent Ervin, a former inspector general with the Office of Homeland Security. Thanks for being with us. Yes. It seems like a good question. Maybe you can remind us of who the TSA is. Before they were TSA, they did have uniforms and they weren't government employees, but then what happened.
CLARK KENT ERVIN, FMR. INSPECTOR GENERAL OF HOMELAND SECURITY: That's right. TSA was started in 2002 as a response, of course, to 9/11. Before that, screeners worked for airlines. They were contract employees. And the notion was that because they were working for airlines, their first concern wasn't really security but was economy and efficiency, so after TSA was created, screeners were federalized and now they're employees of the federal government, the Department of Homeland Security.
COLLINS: What about the training that they received, and what about the training they'll receive now when we're talking about these full-body scanning devices?
ERVIN: Well, at the inception of TSA back in 2002, training was a problem. There was only minimal training. There was some initial training before they were hired and just a little on-the-job training. That's been expanded dramatically. Now with the deployment of these full body imagers around the country more widely, there's going to be additional training. By the way, I'd long advocated for the deployment of that technology, ever since 2004 when I was the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security. So, if there's any good news from this Christmas Day plot, aside from the fact that it was foiled, it's that finally we'll see the widespread deployment of this technology.
COLLINS: But why are we so reactionary? If this has been talked about, as you say, for several years, clearly the budget for all of this had been discussed after September 11 -- kind of no matter what the cost we needed to try to make this country safe, and yet here we.
ERVIN: Right, Heidi. You put your finger on the big issue. We're always reactive, we're always at least one step behind the terrorists. They're always at least one step ahead of us.
Terrorists exploit one security gap, we close that gap. We take our shoes off now after Richard Reid, but they exploit another. We need to anticipate the next potential attack and get ahead of the curve.
Part of the reason why we haven't done this is cost. These machines are costly, $150,000 or so. The main reason, though, really has been privacy concerns. But those concerns have been mitigated, legitimate concerns, in a number of respects. There's only a cartoon stick figure. You're only seeing an outline of the body. Furthermore the person looking at the image is some (ph) removed from the checkpoint and finally the images can't be stored or printed, so that addresses legitimate privacy concerns.
And we can't have it both ways. We can't have 100 percent privacy and 100 percent security. This is as close to an antidote to these concealed weapons as is possible to get.
COLLINS: But I think you put your finger on one of the issues that hasn't been talked about a whole lot, and that is being one step behind the terrorists in all of this and being so reactionary, and yet talking about our tactics so much, even in the media. We know, you know, which 14 countries are going to be using these devices coming into the United States. We're sharing, it seems like, a lot of information with the enemy.
What's to keep them from just going to a different country, getting on a plane and saying, I know I can't come into the U.S. from that particular country, I'll just do somewhere else and do exactly what I planned to do to start with.
ERVIN: Right. On that point, Heidi, if these enhanced screening procedures announced yesterday or a couple of days ago applying to 14 countries, the four known states sponsored of terrorism and 10 additional countries -- if it were limited only to those countries then that obviously would be a concern because, as you say, terrorists would just come from other countries.
The good news, though, is that was coupled with the random application of these enhanced procedures to every other country, including the United States. So at least now, there's going to be an increased chance, greater than it was on the Christmas Day plot, that wherever you come from, whatever passport you hold, you're going to be subjected to enhanced screening techniques.
COLLINS: Is it enough?
ERVIN: It's not enough. We need to do that and also get these watch lists in order. It's crazy that we had as much information as we had, different elements of the United States government, about Mr. Abdulmutallab, and yet he wasn't on a select list for enhanced screening.
I would have placed him on the no-fly list, in which case he wouldn't have boarded an airplane at all. We need this technology, we need training, we need better morale and supervision for screeners. We need a number of things, and we need them yesterday.
So, I'm very happy that this meeting is taking place. The administration has already announced some measures. I understand further measures are likely to be announced after this meeting today. We are meeting in the right direction. The problem is, it shouldn't take a crisis to do this. This should have been anticipated long ago, but better late than never, at least in this particular instance.
COLLINS: Clark Kent Ervin, former inspector general, Office of Homeland Security. Thanks for your time.
ERVIN: Thank you.
COLLINS: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been characterized as a terrorist, but he was caught here in the States instead of outside our borders. Our Brian Todd explains now why that may have tricky implications.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He sits in a federal penitentiary in Milan, Michigan, charged by the US government with attempting to destroy an aircraft. To some in Washington, that's the problem.
SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If we had treated this Christmas Day bomber as a terrorist, he would immediately been interrogated military style rather given - rather than given the rights of an American and lawyers (ph). We've probably lost valuable information.
TODD: Another senator, Homeland Security chairman Joe Lieberman, calls it a very serious mistake for the administration to place Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab under civilian criminal charges rather than treat him as an enemy combatant. Lieberman argues Abdulmutallab committed an act of war and should be interrogated like a military prisoner so another possibly imminent attack can be quickly prevented.
The president's top counter-terror adviser aggressively defends the decision to go the civilian route.
JOHN BRENNAN, WHITE HOUSE SR. COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: We have great confidence in the FBI and other individuals in terms of debriefing. We have great confidence in our court system so that we can use that to our advantage. And individuals in the past have, in fact, given us very valuable information as they've gone through the - the plea agreement process.
TODD: Contacted by CNN, a US law enforcement official would not say whether a plea bargain is being discussed for Abdulmutallab or not.
Former White House Associate Counsel David Rivkin argues the problem with offering him a plea bargain is crucial time lost in setting it all up.
TODD (on camera): What could the military system produce that the civilian system could not produce in this case?
DAVID RIVKIN, FORMER ASSOCIATE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The straight answer, it (ph) can produce things faster and better. Faster, first, because you do not have access to counsel, you do not have Miranda warnings, you do not have people, in effect, telling you to clam up.
TODD (voice-over): Rivkin says Abdulmutallab's lawyers could drag this process out for months while they strike a deal.
TODD (on camera): The suspect has at least one public defender. The law enforcement official we spoke to would not say whether he's cooperating or if he was read his Miranda rights.
TODD (voice-over): Eugene Fidell (ph), who's tried several military and civilian cases, says the administration's made the right move.
EUGENE FIDELL (ph), LAWYER: Choosing a military form rather than a civilian form is not going to make any difference in terms of the speed with which you could extract information from a - from a suspect. In fact, the rules are going to be the same in both forms.
TODD: And there are indications that Abdulmutallab gave some information to US officials very early on. A law enforcement bulletin obtained by CNN the night of the attempted bombing says the subject is claiming to have extremist affiliation and that the device was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
COLLINS: Google set to unveil its new smart phone. Will this be one to finally give Apple's iPhone some competition? We'll take a look next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Checking our top stories now, President Obama meeting with his national security team today. He'll get an update on the investigation into the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas day. They will also discuss methods for preventing future incidents like this. The president is expected to speak afterwards. We'll carry those comments for you live around 4:00 p.m. Eastern.
Turns out Tareq and Michaele Salahi weren't the only ones who crashed the White House state dinner in November. The Secret Service now says a third person who wasn't on the guest list got in with the Indian prime minister's delegation. A State Department official will only identify that person as an American man. But supposedly he did not have any contact with the president or first lady.
A warning, and this one is going to make the animal lovers out there cringe. A dog apparently used for target practice in Kentucky. This 11-month-old black Lab was found wandering around with an arrow sticking out of his body. But animal workers were able to take it out and save his life. No word on who shot the arrow.
Do you pay someone to prepare your taxes? Well, watch out. The IRS is cracking down on that.
COLLINS: This week some of us are taking down the tree, pulling out the documents. It's tax preparation time. Once again, there are new rules to consider. This time, for the people that prepare them, actually. Susan Lisovicz is following that story from the New York Stock Exchange this morning. Hi, Susan.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Heidi. Well, you know, tax preparation is a largely unregulated field, but not for much longer. Because the IRS wants to crack down on fraud and errors. So under new rules, tax preparers will have to register with the IRS, pass a competency exam and take education classes every year.
Now, there are an estimated one million tax preparers in the U.S., so it will take a few years to really put into place. Heidi, people who are exempt from this are CPAs, certified public accountants, lawyers and IRS agents, because they're already regulated. Heidi.
COLLINS: So, how big of an issue is the current lack of regulation? Are there a lot of people who are abusing this?
LISOVICZ: Clearly there is some abuse because, first of all, Heidi, most of us, an estimated 80 percent of us, use a tax preparer. Lots of companies have their own education programs, but it's that time of year when all these independent agents pop up. People who do it on the side. They may have no credentials at all.
Basically, the IRS wants to level the playing field. One thing you have to be certainly wary of, anybody who promises to give you a big refund or bases their fee based on the size of your refund. So, be careful. You know, some of us are disappointed with the refund we get, but you don't want to get in trouble with the IRS. That is a road you do not want to go down.
Quickly, I'll tell you what's happening with the market. We're still seeing a little give-back. But we're coming back a little it. We have two economic reports at the top of the hour. Factory orders are good, pending home sales, not so good. Little bit of give-back.
Heidi, back to you.
COLLINS: OK. Susan, thank you.
It's a big week for tech lovers. The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off tomorrow and lots of new gadgets there. People are already talking about Google's new smartphone. Have you heard about it? Errol Barnett joining us now with more on this. Hey, Errol. What do you we know about this new phone. I bet you iPhone knows an awful lot.
ERROL BARNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. And as the minutes approach the actual announcement in two hours, 15 minutes from now, there's more information online. The way Google went about sharing details is interesting. They gave these devices to their employees to take home and test them out. They have taken pictures and shared them online.
I have one Web site here, gadget.com, which is claiming to show what they believe to be this new Google phone called the Nexus One. Let me tell you about some of the specs. Has an ultra-fast processor. A 3.7-inch touch screen, which you see there. That is one of the most appealing features of the iPhone. The small pictures here, I want to show you as well. You get a better idea.
Also has a scrolling track pad. That's one of the best features of the BlackBerry, many people say. Appears to be very thin and sleek and have a compass. The software -- everyone's wondering about that, the stuff inside the phone -- will be similar to Google's Android 2.1 software.
Mashable.com (ph) has also been posting what they've been finding about the device on their Web site. People have been tweeting pictures and what they believe the specs to be.
And the one big selling point to this Google phone will be that it will be unlocked. What that means is that it won't be like an iPhone where you have to have one cell phone carrier, for example, AT&T. We believe when this device comes out, you'll be able to have any service provider.
The downside to that, the cost will stay high. Usually a provider will subsidize the cost. This device, we expect, to cost around $500.
You mentioned CES starting tomorrow. This announcement being specifically timed to take place before the world's largest Consumer Electronics Show for maximum impact. All of this is being talked about online. Tech-savvy people are having these conversations, so it's a little anticipation up to the 1:00 p.m. Eastern announcement, which we'll be seeing soon.
COLLINS: Yes. So what's Apple saying about it?
BARNETT: Some say this might be the iPhone killer but that happens any time a device comes out. Experts say no, this is not going to be the iPhone killer. Consider the number of applications available on the iPhone. They in fact announced today some three billion applications have been downloaded. There's only about 16,000 available on Google.
And shares are up on Apple today on this news. So it's an interesting smartphone war. We'll see who wins much later.
COLLINS: Yes. Definitely. All right, Errol. Thank you.
COLLINS: A pair of suspects make a very wrong turn during their alleged getaway. Even in a week filled with bowl games, this is one of the most exciting finishes you'll hear about on a football field.
COLLINS: A bad choice combined with some bad luck. A pair of suspects allegedly make a break for it, only to run into police in a very different kind of uniform. Reporter Danielle Lee from KCRA explains.
DEP. MATT CURTIS, SACRAMENTO CO. SHERIFF'S OFFICE: I arrived in the area and noticed two other suspects that matched the description, so as I made a U-turn to try and stop them, they took off running through the school behind us.
DANIELLE LEE, KCRA-TV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That's when 20- year-old James Hill Jr. and his 17-year-old brother trying to escape Sacramento Sheriff's deputies got a big surprise. They ran right into an entire football team of law enforcement officers practicing at Foothill High.
DEP. SHANE GREGORY, SACRAMENTO CO. SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Yes. They made a bad choice running onto the field.
LEE (off camera): So they were run from a couple of guys, and...
GREGORY: And ran into a field of 50 of us.
LEE (voice-over): All of whom jumped into police mode, splitting up and chasing both young men wanted for an attempted burglary on Robert Frost Way and Foothill Farms.
GREGORY: I just asked him to come over and talk and took off running.
LEE (off-camera): Did you tackle him? GREGORY: Yes, up on the hillside.
OFFICER T.J. PRICE, SACRAMENTO POLICE: We're off duty having fun and you don't expect a criminal to come running in your lap and then take off running from you.
LEE (voice-over): At the time, Deputy Matt Curtis, who had been chasing the suspects, had no idea the football players were actually law enforcement officers.
CURTIS: I was thinking that they were just a football team helping us out. You know, doing us a favor, basically.
LEE: He found out the athletes' real identity when they brought him the suspects, who were handcuffed and taken into custody along with 19-year-old Jamario Hill who had already been caught.
GENE CHAPMAN, TEAM MANAGER: World's dumbest criminals. They belong in that category.
GREGORY: That had to be the most fun foot pursuit I've had in a long time.
COLLINS: The three suspects face charges of attempted burglary and conspiracy.
Cold weather stretching from the Midwest to the Northeast. With that deep freeze comes snow for some states. In South Bend, Indiana, shovels, snow blowers a necessity there. People are digging out from several inches of snow and more is on the way.
And record-breaking snow in Burlington, Vermont. Thirty-three inches. People got out their cross-country skis for that one. Rob Marciano has been watching all of this. Cold in the South, obviously too, and that is where people are just plain not used to it.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Exactly. Well, they might get used to it by the time this week is over, Heidi, because the pattern is not changing.
COLLINS: Boy. All right, thank you, Rob.
You know it's something moms tell their kids all the time. Don't put things up your nose. A toddler learned a very unforgettable lesson the hard way after a trip to the hospital.
COLLINS: I want to give you some of our responses to our blog question today. We asked the question about how you feel about where you work and your job satisfaction. Well, Shawn writes this, "I'm unhappy at work because I couldn't find work in my hometown so I travel and work jobs in other places. I work a job I hate in a place I'd rather not be just to make it. It's depressing."
Mary writes, "I loved my job before new management took over. Now they demand more production, paperwork and overtime. Morale is low. Yes, I am lucky to have a job, but I despise going there."
And David writes, "I like what I do and where I work. Sure, there are things that could make it better, but I think I have a great boss and the employer is great. I consider myself to be very fortunate."
Remember, we always like to hear from you so thanks for responding to our question today. Just log on to CNN.com/heidi to share your comments.
It may sound funny. A little boy in Beijing gets a chopstick stuck in his nose, but it's really no laughing march. As John Vause reports, it almost cost him his life. We do want to warn you, some of the video might be a little hard to watch.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): JinChao Lee isn't the first kid to put a chopstick up his nose, but this chopstick got stuck.
He was playing at the time and fell, his mother told me. CT scans show it went all the way up his nose and four centimeters into his brain. His mom was washing dishes in another room when she heard her son cry out.
I rushed in and saw him lying on the ground. He couldn't stop crying, she says. I noticed a chopstick stuck in his nose.
At first, she didn't think it was that serious, but her local doctor wander removing it could cause massive bleeding, and her son's life would be at risk.
The Lees (ph) live about a thousand miles outside Beijing. The day of his JinChao's accident, a relative drove them to this hospital. It was a ten-hour-long harrowing journey, says his father. By the time they arrived, the little boy had a fever, was delirious and half his body was paralyzed.
When we arrived, my heart was pounding, my wife was crying, the kid was lying on the bed, the chopstick still stuck in his nose. I thought he was going to die, he says.
Doctors prepped for brain surgery, worried they might return an artery as they removed the chopstick. Then the moment of truth.
Out it came, just like that. A lot easier, it seems, than how it went in. And his doctor says JinChao was lucky. If the chopstick had had gone any further into the brain it could have caused massive bleeding. If it had gone a little to either side, he may have been permanently paralyzed, he told me. So, for one little boy a lucky break and a valuable lesson early in life, be careful what you stick up your nose.
John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
COLLINS: I'm Heidi Collins. CNN NEWSROOM continues with Tony Harris.