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More Details to be Released on Bombing Attempt; New Security Devices Raise Privacy Concerns; Seeking Answers from Jordanian Double- Agent's Family; Al Qaeda's Newest Recruits; FDA Seizes More than $1 Million Worth of Restaurant Food; Canada Lends Mexico H1N1 Vaccines; Cold Weather Gripping Much of the Country

Aired January 07, 2010 - 13:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Kyra Phillips in New York.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much.

What we don't know can hurt us. President Obama prepares to report to the nation on Christmas-Day airline bomb attempt. A top aide says we'll be shocked by what went wrong.

If you can't stand the cold, you're in deep trouble. Even in the Deep South. Another wintry blast is on the way.

And more of my special investigation, "Inner Peace at a Price." Former insiders claim a nationwide yoga chain is a cult. They're suing, and the chain is fighting back.

We begin now with the bomb was a dud, the plot was a bust, the alleged terrorist is under indictment. But shock waves from the botched attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner are still being felt and may not even have peaked.

Anytime now the White House is putting out an unclassified report on security lapses proceeding Northwest Flight 253 Christmas day, and what's being done to close them. President Obama due to brief the nation in just about two hours from now.

And CNN's senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, joins me to set the stage.

Ed, should we really expect to be shocked?

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the big question. And I can tell you, I just spoke to a senior administration official who said the president in his remarks is planning to take direct responsibility for these mistakes but is not planning to fire anyone, at least not at this stage.

This official telling me the president is basically going to say, "Here are the warts. I'm responsible." That he wants to step up, believes that previous administrations would play a game of what they call hide the ball, not tell the American people exactly what went wrong, shift responsibility. This president believes it's time in this particular case, given the severity of it all, to step up and say, "I'm responsible."

I pressed this official, though, as to why people might not be fired. And this senior official, very close to the president, said, look, bottom line is this president doesn't like finger-pointing. He wants to fix what went wrong.

And I said, yes, but last week the president told the American people there would be accountability at every level of government. Where is that going to be?

And this official said, what the president is talking about is accountability within the system so that they can actually fix what went wrong, and protect the American people moving forward.

We'll see whether or not that's good enough. We've got to hear from the president himself, obviously, in terms of how exactly he makes this case. But he's talking more about accountability within the system, not accountability from individual officials who could be fired. So, that's going to be very interesting to watch, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: ... word on that. Ed Henry, thank you so much.

In light of what Ed just said, let's go to our panel in our D.C. bureau, CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve, senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and Clark Kent Ervin, former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security.

Now as we look ahead to this 3 p.m. speech, guys, from the president, we're now hearing that heads are not going to roll. That's what Ed is saying.

Clark, you had told me last night that heads need to roll. So, what's your take?

CLARK KENT ERVIN, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I think that's right, Kyra. Heads do need to roll. You know, mistakes were made by people, and unless people are held accountable...

PHILLIPS: I'm not hearing anything, folks.

ERVIN: Unless people are held accountable for they were, then we're going to continue to see the kinds of problems again and again. So, I'm not surprised by this. It's the typical response of government. But it needs to change.

PHILLIPS: I'm not hearing what's being said.

All right, guys, I totally apologize. I'm not hearing our guests at all. So, we're going to take a quick break and get this sorted out. We'll come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: All right. Let's get back to our panel now, talking about the president, waiting to hear what he has to say in just about two hours from now with regard to what took place on those security lapses on Christmas day.

Clark Kent Ervin, you were saying that heads must roll. We're getting from Ed Henry now that the president's not going to allow for heads to roll, but he is going to take full responsibility. You say that's a bad move. Why?

ERVIN: That's right. You know, the president said early on, one of his initial statements after this incident, that people are going to be held accountable all throughout the bureaucracy for this, and that was the right thing to say. You know, our typical response is we have organizational changes when things like this happen. We need to have people held accountable.

Now, it's one thing if there's not sufficient information to determine at this point today exactly who is responsible for this. It's quite another if the decision has been made not to fire anyone at all.

PHILLIPS: And now sources are telling us -- let me just add to what you're saying about heads should roll. Sources are telling us that Michael Lighter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, went on a brief ski vacation just a couple of days after the Christmas-Day bombing.

Gloria -- Gloria, should that be tolerated?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, the optics of that, Kyra, are really not very good, as you know. And I'm sure he's going to be asked about that, because a lot of people are laying the blame at the National Counterterrorism Center.

Don't forget: this center was created post-9/11 to collate all of the information that was gathered, because the intelligence agencies had been siloing the information and not sharing it. So the NCTC was supposed to be the place when everything was shared and everything was dissected and all the dots were connected.

And he is the person in charge of the NCTC, so one would presume that what they were doing post-Christmas-Day bombing was trying to figure out what went wrong and how they could have fixed it and connect these dots, which, by the way, were pretty big ones. This wasn't like they were looking for a needle in a haystack here, you know, they had a father going to the embassy saying, "I'm worried about my son doing something terrible to the United States."

So, you know, a vacation would seem to me to be an odd choice.

PHILLIPS: So, Clark, what the heck are they doing, then? I mean, Gloria pointed out right after 9/11 there was one center that turned into now the counterterrorism organization, and the whole goal was to connect the dots and make sure there would never be a gap in this communication process of intelligence. ERVIN: That's exactly right. Kyra, you know, this is so reminiscent of 9/11. We know that NSA intercepted a couple of messages indicating that 9/11 was going to happen. One said, "The match is about to begin." The other said, "Zero hour will happen tomorrow." Those messages weren't grasped. Their significance wasn't understood until September 12.

The CIA had watch-listed two of the hijackers, didn't share that information with the State Department. Had it been shared with the State Department, they would never have gotten into the country. Once they were in the country, not shared with the FBI. The FBI could have been found them, because they whether living under their own names in the San Diego phone book.

Similarly here, there were a couple of intercepts, apparently, indicating that a Nigerian, Umar Farouk, his first two names, was being prepared for a terror attack against the United States. And Gloria said his own father, and not just any father, but a respected Nigerian banker, went to the embassy not once but twice, talked to both the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, and then followed up with telephone calls. It doesn't get any clearer than that.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: However -- Kyra, if I could jump in for just a second.


MESERVE: What we've been told is that, at NCTC, there are tens of thousands of pieces of information coming in every day. There is an incredible volume of stuff. And it is really hard to find those needles in the haystack if nobody along the way has sort of raised the flag and said, "Hey, we should pay attention to this."

So, I think responsibility here may end up being spread a little bit more broadly than just at the doorstep of the NCTC.

BORGER: I think Jeanne raises a good point, which is the question, has the amount of information really outgrown our capacity to manage it?

MESERVE: And the answer is yes, in that the computer systems don't give you everything that you would expect them to be able to do. That some of these databases are discrete from one another. They are not all interconnected. And sometimes, that's because some have to do with domestic intelligence and some have to do with international, and there are legal barriers to sharing stuff.

PHILLIPS: All right. Let me follow with this. Because homeland security officials came forward and said they had flagged the suspect in the Christmas-Day airline bombing attempt as someone who should go through additional security when he landed in the United States. And then Customs and Border Protection officials screen check the names against a different database while the flight is in the air.

So, it was during that second check that officials flagged the alleged bomber, so they had the information. They had the tips.


PHILLIPS: So, what happened?

MESERVE: Well, they had -- we know that this guy's name was in the tied (ph) database, this big database of half a million people, and in the course of doing routine CDP (ph) checks, which they do on every manifest for every flight coming into the U.S. from overseas, they got a ping. They discovered, oh, for some reason, there is low- level interest in this guy.

So following routine procedure, they would have called ahead to Detroit and said, listen, when he lands, you better ask him a few questions. But I, at least, have not heard any indication that anywhere along the way CDP (ph) saw, "Aha, this guy is of great concern." That kind of information wasn't in the databases that they look at.

BORGER: You know, Kyra, there are also -- obviously, this raises a point about the watch list. Why do you have a watch list when it's got 500,000 people on it and you're not stopping them from flying?

I mean, last week the British home secretary said, "When we put somebody on our watch list, they don't get on an airplane." And that makes a lot of sense. We only have, what, Jeanne -- you would know this -- about 14,000 people on our no-fly list? Is that around that...

MESERVE: I think it's...

ERVIN: It's about 4,000.

BORGER: Four thousand.

ERVIN: Four thousand is right.

BORGER: OK, OK, so it's very small.

MESERVE: Growing, though, I might add.

ERVIN: That's right. One of the criteria, really, the primary criterion is whether a person is known to have a particular focus on aviation. That criterion ought to be changed. We know that al Qaeda is fixated on aviation. If we know enough about someone to think that that person's a terrorist, then it seems to me we ought to certainly put that person on a selectee list, which would subject him to at least enhanced screening and perhaps the no-fly list, as well.

PHILLIPS: Got it. Clark Kent Ervin, Jeanne Meserve, Gloria Borger, great discussion, guys. Thanks so much. I know you'll be watching. We'll be watching. The president is going to talk terror and lessons learned, 3 p.m. Eastern, noon out west. And you will see him live right here on CNN.

Now, we've been hearing from a lot of you on how the system failed. Well, you got any better ideas? Tell us. We want your innovative thoughts and how to approve -- improve, rather, airport security, intelligence sharing and other counterterrorism efforts. Just tweet us at KyraCNN, and we'll try to run some of your ideas by our panel next hour.

Your security versus your privacy. How much are you willing to give up to ensure a safe flight? We're going to take a revealing look, and I do mean revealing.


PHILLIPS: Well, the wind chill of 50 below in the Dakotas. A blizzard in the Midwest. A rare southern snowstorm. Brutal weather. It's the other big story today. And in the Deep South, snow in Memphis, Tennessee, and lots of other places. Lots of schools closed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

Chad Myers, my gosh, things are shutting down across the country.


PHILLIPS: Oh, my! And let's toss in an earthquake.

MYERS: And a 4.2 near San Jose. I'll show you that quake in just a second.


MYERS: Now, I'm going to get to a Northern California heli- quarter (ph). And here is the time, local time. You would notice this is kind of like a seismograph, OK, but this is a digital representation.

You would go across here: one minutes, two minutes, three minutes, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. Then all of a sudden a couple of minutes ago, this thing went off the scale. Right you know it's a 4.2 about 11 miles from San Jose city hall but five miles deep. That means it can shake pretty good, rather than 100 miles deep, which is kind of just a rumbler. We'll keep you advised.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Chad.

It's a question that all of us will have to answer sooner or later. How much privacy are we willing to give up to make our lives safer? We'll have to decide soon, because new technology makes it possible for airline security to see everything, and I do mean everything. Is it worth it? Our Phil Black takes a revealing look.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Manchester Airport wanted an alternative to the full-body frisk. The motivation was greater passenger comfort, not tighter security. The attempted Christmas-Day bombing has given its body scanner trial new urgency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, would you step forward, please? BLACK: The British government has said body scanners will be rolled out at all British airports, despite strong concerns over privacy. To protect his identity, we won't show you this man's face, while we show you the image the machine produces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A couple of items there that I'd like to be highlighted up.

BLACK: In a nearby room, another security staff member can see through the man's clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Potentially several items, obviously, but if there's anything that's of interest to us, it's going to show up. Anything that's metal or that stands on the body. I'd prefer them to have a closer look at outside of the localized search. I'd definitely want a proper look at that one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see what we've got.

BLACK: Back at the scanner, this is how suspect areas are identified, so security staff know where to look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Your belt buckle's fine. OK, will you just turn around for me and show me what you've got in this?

BLACK: The airport says it's all done with privacy in mind. Only one person looks at the images. They're never stored. The computer is bolted down, and cameras, apart from the CCTV above, are usually forbidden in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just stand yourself on the two rectangles there, facing that side.

BLACK: Passenger Patricia Gilchrist gave the scanner a try.

(on camera) You'd be happy to do it, pretty much, at any airport?

PATRICIA GILCHRIST, PASSENGER: Anytime in and out. I don't mind, as long as security is done proper. When I object is when security's not done properly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Sir, you can step out please.

BLACK: Thank you.

I have used these machines in other parts of the world. And they are fast. They're not as intrusive as a full pat-down. But in a room not far from here, there is someone right now looking at an image of me, well, pretty much naked.

And there are people in Britain and across Europe who still have real concerns about those images.

(voice-over) Child protection advocates believe body scanner images are so revealing they may breach Britain's child pornography laws. IAN DOWTY, ACTION ON RIGHTS FOR CHILDREN: Well, as far as anybody under the age of 18 is concerned, it's an offense to take an indecent image of any such person, and it is an offense, whether or not consent is given.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And face this direction for me.

BLACK: And there are concerns about the scanner's effectiveness. British politician Ben Wallace used to work for a company that makes body scanners, and he says they have weaknesses.

BEN WALLACE, BRITISH PARLIAMENT: It doesn't really matter how many scanners you have around the world. It's not going to currently pick up what is being posed by al Qaeda: plastics and liquid and chemical bombs.

BLACK: Manchester airport carried out a body-scanner test using items the Christmas-bomb suspect is accused of smuggling onto his flight. Its assessment: the items probably would have been detected.

Phil Black, CNN, Manchester.


PHILLIPS: Brace for a shock. A warning from one of President Obama's security advisors about missed clues in the attempted Christmas-Day airline bombing. The president will reportedly take responsibility for those security lapses when he makes remarks in about an hour and a half from now. You'll see it live right here on CNN.

Three people are dead, five others wounded after a shooting rampage at a St. Louis factory. Police say it's unclear whether the suspected gunman is among the dead.

SWAT teams have been swarming the property of ABB Incorporated since 6:30 this morning when officers were told that a man had entered the building with a rifle and a handgun. Three of the surviving victims are listed in critical conditions, two others in fair condition.

It's over for the man suspected in the November am bush killings of four Seattle-area police officers. You'll recall he was killed, but Maurice Clemmons' alleged accomplices will be in court this afternoon. The six are accused of helping the shooter lay low after that bloodbath.

You may remember the smiling woman that you're seeing on your television screen right now. Why is she smiling? Well, she did the "30-Second Pitch," and now she has a new job. Leanne Taylor tells us her story.

And one of the greatest chess players ever, rocketing into history on this day in 1958. Bobby Fischer was just 14 years old when he won the U.S. chess championship. The tournament's youngest winner ever, and a record that still stands today. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, it's still tough going in the job market, but the pace of pink slips is slowing down. The Labor Department says that 434,000 people filed jobless claims for the first time last week. That's 1,000 more than the week before, but way lower than the 8,000 expected firings and layoffs.

Also, the number of people continuing to get jobless benefits tumbled by 179,000 in the final week of 2009. So, we ended the decade with about 4.8 million collecting unemployment for more than a week, the lowest level in nearly a year.

Instead of giving you a "30-Second Pitch" this hour, guess what? We're giving you a "30-Second Pitch" success story.

A woman who's been taken off the unemployment list, thanks to her appearance right here on the "30-Second Pitch" Thursday. Leanne Taylor was a laid-off radio personality when she did the pitch back in November. Well, now she joins us via Skype from her new job as morning show host with the Whale up in Binghamton, New York. She's also joined by her co-host, Big Wally, who actually saw her pitch and hired her. Congratulations.


PHILLIPS: So Big Wally, you're the one that saw the pitch and called her up. Tell me what you liked about her and how it all happened.

"BIG WALLY," RADIO PERSONALITY: Well, basically, she looked to be very good. Very resourceful. Plus when I talked to her on the phone, she was willing to work for McBucks, so that sealed the deal. She wasn't going to ask for a whole lot of cash.

PHILLIPS: Hey, what the heck. You've got to keep a good sense of humor. It's all about having fun. It's not always about the money.

So Leanne, you know, when you got the call, how did you know you were going to get along with Big Wally? How did you figure out that you were going to click?

TAYLOR: It took two seconds to know from his sense of humor that we were going to fly. We were going to be great together on the air. And I was right. We are having a blast. This is our first week, and we're just taking Binghamton by storm.

PHILLIPS: All right, so give us the pitch of your show now. Why should folks be tuning in and listening to you in the morning? This is your free promo for the show.

TAYLOR: If you want something a little edgy, something a little funny, something to make you forget what's going on in your day that isn't good, and to start things off right, you simply need to listen to 99.1, the Whale. BIG WALLY: And if that doesn't work, we'll pay you.

PHILLIPS: How much?

BIG WALLY: We have lots of big bucks left over.

PHILLIPS: All right, I love it! There you go, our first really big success story from our "30-Second Pitch." It's so exciting. The show is called the Whale. It's up in Binghamton, New York. You can watch Leanne Taylor and Big Wally. They're just fantastic. Congratulations, guys.

BIG WALLY: Thank you!

TAYLOR: Thank you!

PHILLIPS: All right. And if you want to be part of the pitch, you of course e-mail us your resume at You can also reach us at If it's Thursday, it's "30- Second Pitch."

You see one face here. But there were at least two. Maybe three. We're trying to learn how he went from CIA source to suicide bomber.


PHILLIPS: Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the double, maybe triple agent who double-crossed the CIA in Afghanistan last week, blew himself up and took seven CIA employees and contractors with him.

Several sources tell CNN he was offering the CIA tantalizing information about Osama bin Laden's deputy, but who was he really working for? Al Qaeda now taking credit for that attack. It posted a statement on an Islamic Web site.

So, if that's true, how did al Qaeda get into this guy's head, turn a Jordanian doctor into a suicide bomber? CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson sought answers from al- Balawi's family in Jordan. The interview is a CNN exclusive.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm meeting the father of the man alleged to have killed seven CIA operatives in Afghanistan.

ROBERTSON (on camera): What can you tell us about your son?


ROBERTSON: Why no comment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is nothing sure.

ROBERTSON: You don't know for sure. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing sure.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): We're in a middle class neighborhood of Iman, Jordan. It is late afternoon and he's going to the mosque for prayers at sundown. He promises to speak to us afterwards.

With two other journalists, we knock at the front door to see if others will talk. Someone just opened the door, the brother of the alleged bomber.

ROBERTSON (on camera): You can't talk to us?

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He doesn't want to be on camera, but after a little time shares his concerns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's my brother and he was very good person. He suffers some huge pressures, we know this.

ROBERTSON: He says his brother, a doctor, was angry about the war in Gaza last year, volunteered his medical services, was questioned by Jordanian intelligence officials, left the country soon after, telling the family he was going to Turkey. That was the last they saw of him.

A senior Jordanian intelligence source told us al-Balawi in fact went to Pakistan after he had been questioned about his radical Internet postings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know there is something wrong since he was not in Turkey, so we say where has this guy gone? We thought he was in Gaza.

ROBERTSON: Then last week came the phone call no father wants to get the day after the explosion at the base in Afghanistan.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So they called and said he's made a big operation in the CIA base in Afghanistan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is bad news but this is what happened, so you have to deal with that. That is exactly what they say.

ROBERTSON: They said it's bad news?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't say congratulations?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said this is what happened. He is a hero.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): By the time they come out of the mosque, it's dark. I want to ask him about the mystery phone call, but at the door he's met by his son. They're nervous. Jordon's intelligence services have been calling them.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Who called them 11 times? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The intelligence.

ROBERTSON: So in the space of being here half an hour intelligence called them 11 times. They don't want to talk. We have to leave. OK.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): It's a very, very sensitive issue. Not only were seven CIA operatives killed, but a Jordanian officer, too, a cousin of the king.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Amman, Jordan


PHILLIPS: Missed clues? A failure to connect the dots? One of President Obama's national security advisors says you'll be shocked by a new account of the botched Christmas day airline bombing. The White House plans to release that unclassified report today, and the President will outline the steps that the U.S. is taking to tighten up airline security. He'll be speaking in under an hour and a half, 3:00 p.m. Eastern, and you can catch it here live, right here on CNN.

They are al Qaeda's newest recruits. Fresh-faced young people from different backgrounds, different countries, many drafted through the internet. Some are American.

Octavia Nasr has been monitoring the online movement of the shadowy group known as Al-Shabaab.


OCTAVIA NASR, CNN EDITOR OF ARAB AFFAIRS (voice-over): They call themselves Al-Shabaab, which means "the youth" in Arabic. They pledge allegiance to Osama bin Laden and his terror network, al Qaeda, and propagate al Qaeda's ideology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only reason we're saying here away from our families, away from the cities, away from, you know, ice, candy bars, all these other things is because we're waiting to meet with the enemy.

NASR: Al-Shabaab's enemy is anyone representing western powers and anyone who aids them or collaborates with them.

In a broken African country like Somalia, where one million people face death by starvation, the scene is wide open for gangs, pirates and Islamic militants to recruit, train and terrorize freely.

In propaganda videos and statements such as these posted on radical Islamist websites we get a glimpse of what they're up to. Al- Shabaab has publicly announced their cooperation with al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, a terror group that encompasses several others with the same ideology. Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula is based on the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, but has claimed responsibility for attacks near and far from its base. The latest was the Christmas Day failed bombing attempt on a U.S. airliner. In a statement this week Somalia's Al-Shabaab released these pictures of what it described as a graduation ceremony of its fresh recruits, trained and ready to head to Yemen to, quote, "Assist in Jihad, the brethren of al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula."

(on camera): Cooperation among terror groups in Africa and the Middle East has been a known fact among counterterrorism experts and within the intelligence community. But the new activity boasts militants on the ground and online propaganda shows that the groups are determined to continue their fight. But it also shows that al Qaeda is looking to build and strengthen new fronts for its brand of Jihad.

Octavia Nasr, CNN, Atlanta.


PHILLIPS: You grab it, you gulp it down. Nothing like an ice cold soda to quench your thirst. Well, wait until we tell you what might be in that soda. And I'm not talking sugar or syrup.

And ahead of tonight's big game between Alabama and Texas, a lot of college football fans are booing the BCS. A CNN/Opinion Research poll asks, "Should the bowl championship series be replaced by a play- off system?" 59 percent of the people polled say it's good. 36 percent calling flag on the play.


The FDA in action. It seized more than a million bucks worth of restaurant food products from a national food processor's warehouse. The FDA says inspectors found a number of problems including rodent waste. The company, Won Feng, distributes products across Tennessee, and the FDA says it hasn't received any reports of people getting sick yet.

All right. This will make you think twice about grabbing a soda from a fast food joint. Researchers checked out 90 drinks from 30 different soda fountains. Brace yourself, nearly half of them had coliform bacteria. That bacteria linked to feces. And most of it found in the drinks were resistant to antibiotics.

Good neighbors in the fight against swine flu. Canada lending Mexico five million doses of H1N1 vaccine. Mexico has ordered vaccines from several makers, but most of them won't be ready until the end of the month. So it asked Canada for help. The vaccine loan will be repaid by the end of March.

Top stories -- cold, snowy, weather gripping much of the nation this hour, canceling flights and closing schools and causing a mess on streets and highways. Deaths in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and even South Carolina being blamed on that weather. And schools as far south as Alabama and Georgia, are canceling classes.

YouTube and the courtroom. You know the upcoming federal trial on whether California's same-sex marriage ban is constitutional? Well, it will be videotaped and uploaded to YouTube. The chief judge hasn't said why he favors tape-delayed broadcast instead of live coverage. Still it's a big deal. Only a few federal trials have ever been taped and aired in public.

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag sure has a lot on his plate these days, and I'm not talking politics. He got engaged last week to an ABC Network reporter. Now he's announcing the birth of a daughter by a different woman, his ex-girlfriend. The baby was born in November. Orszag says he and his former girlfriend were together until last spring. He met his fiancee last May at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Lose weight, eat better. I know it's tough to keep those New Year's resolutions. But I got one for you that I think you can probably manage -- have more sex.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with us now in Atlanta.

This might be probably the raciest segment you've ever done.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what, Kyra, I think it is. I think you're right about that.

But I just had to write about this when I found out that in the "Journal of Sexual Medicine," yes, there is a journal with that name, they're going to have an article in the next couple of months that look s at the physical health benefits of sex. That's right. Sex isn't just good because it makes you happy and connects you to someone, and all of those things. There are actual physical benefits.

So, let's take a look at what some of those benefits are. For example, people that have frequent sex -- and I'll describe that in a minute, or explain that or define that in a minute -- have fewer heart attacks, have lower rates of prostate cancer and have lower rates of breast cancer. And so in general, folks who have sex frequently tend to live longer than those who don't.

Now, of course, you wonder, well, what does having sex frequently mean. Some of the studies define that as having sex three times a week, other studies define it as having sex more than once a month -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Can you hear me now?

COHEN: No, go ahead, say it again.

PHILLIPS: Of course. I love the uncomfortable silence, especially with the subject matter.

COHEN: Right.

PHILLIPS: So, why does sex do all these things?

COHEN: You know what, it's not completely known why. But one of the reasons is probably pretty obvious, which is that sex is exercise. You burn about 60 calories having sex. So we did the calculations so you won't have to.

If you have sex three times a week, you're burning calories equivalent to running seven miles a month. So, if you have sex 12 times per month, look at it that way -- 12 times per month, you're burning the equivalent calories of running seven miles a month. So there's your choice. You can have sex 12 times a month or you can run seven miles.

PHILLIPS: So what are you going to do?


COHEN: I don't run, I'll just tell you that.

PHILLIPS: And you've got four kids.

COHEN: That's right. So, there you go.

PHILLIPS: All right. You've written this week about a couple who actually experienced this, right?

COHEN: That's right. Sadie Nardini and her husband decided to have sex every single day because they thought it might help them. They sort of intuitively knew it might help them health-wise. So there's Sadie and her husband. And they did. They had sex every day for a month and she said they felt great, they had more energy, they were less tired. And Sadie says usually in the winter she gets colds or the flu, she didn't get anything.

So they have resolved to do it again this month -- sex every night in January. Now, if you want to read about their adventures and the physical benefits of having sex frequently like them, you can go to where we say make your New Year's resolution to have more sex.

Now if you want to see more about this, I suggest you watch "SANJAY GUPTA, MD." That's the brand new health show here on CNN that is going to premiere this weekend. "SANJAY GUPTA MD," Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 in the morning. I'll be talking to Sanjay about sex.

PHILLIPS: He's not doing too shabby either. He's got three kids.

COHEN: Right. He's doing well, too. But he also does run, also. I'll tell you that.

PHILLIPS: OK. All right, Elizabeth. Thank you so much.

COHEN: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: All right. Turning the corner now to a much more serious story. Running for the boiler room, the utility closet, even into the bitter and dangerous cold. Running anywhere to get away from the man who came to the factory armed and dangerous. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Chad Myers still tracking that nasty storm for us in the CNN Weather Center.

Chad, how's it looking?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well we're going to now and looking for other names for cold because we've worn out cold. So now we found frigid. How's that one?

Our producers are putting that down all the way through the plains, blowing all the down through Oklahoma City. I'm going to get a shot of Oklahoma City next hour as they have closed schools because of the cold, not because of the snow.

There will be a lot of snow across the lakes. I think this cold air is going to come right down across the lakes, especially Lake Michigan, and we'll probably see significant snow event east of Chicago, all the way down toward Gary. You know those Indiana areas that can really get plowed, that 80/90 corridor right there from Angola all the way Eastern.

And in Atlanta, we could see some icy spots here beginning to get a little bit of light snow in Atlanta, Georgia, especially to the west. And, you know, it just doesn't take anything. It's like snowing in Miami. You know, the people are just going to go crazy down there and that's what happens here.

And then our earthquake we talked to you about, about 30 minutes ago. There's San Jose, about 11 miles or so north of San Jose, it was only a 4.1, but if you felt some rattling, that's what it was -- earthquake and a couple aftershocks but they're all under two points right now -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Chad.

MYERS: Sure.

PHILLIPS: We're keeping our eye on the story out of St. Louis. Also police say that a man took at least two guns to a manufacturing plant and just started shooting. There have been deaths and injuries and we've learned that the suspect's name is Timothy Hendron. Those details, still emerging.

So let's get straight to St. Louis and Martin Savidge.

Marty, what do you know?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT : Hello, Kyra, nice to see you but not under these circumstances.

Well, you're right. This is a story that continues to evolve. The latest information we have from authorities right now -- a total of eight people have been shot. Three people were killed, five people have been wounded. One of the questions being asked now, is the shooter among the dead? No specific answer from authorities. However, we've seen a dramatic change in the posture of authorities here. They're much more relaxed.

I-70 here, which has been closed for most of the morning has been reopened as you can see by the flow of traffic. Those two indicators which seems to imply that in some way the gunman is no longer in threat, either in custody or dead. But authorities have not confirmed to us which of the two options it is.

It all began at 6:30 this morning, at ABB, the power facility here that manufactures electric transformers. The gunman reportedly showed up in the parking lot, armed with a rifle and a handgun and began started shooting at people. Then moved from the parking lot to inside the facility and continued the shooting rampage. Authorities responded, closed off the entire area.

The problem is this facility is a huge campus. There are any number of places, hundreds of them, actually, where the gunman could take refuge or hide. They began going room to room, looking for both victims and looking for the suspect. And then around midday is when we saw the change in posture here, the indication at least at this site the situation has somehow been resolved.

No real indication as to what the motivation was, at least coming from authorities right now. But again, recapping, eight people shot, three dead, five wounded, three in critical condition and two in fair condition -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: We'll keep tracking it with you.

Martin Savidge, thanks so much.

And stick with CNN for President Obama's report on the botched Christmas Say terror attack. We're hearing that he'll take the blame for mistakes that pretty much left passengers to save themselves. We're also hearing that he won't fire anyone. The President's live at 3:00 Eastern. CNN analysis to follow.


PHILLIPS: All right. Have a gander at this commercial from Australia by way of YouTube. I'm thinking you won't see it on the air here unless suddenly it is 1862 again with television.


PHILLIPS: How about a big bucket of inappropriate, with a couple of sides of racist sides. Can you imagine that running in the U.S.? This was an actual ad for KFC Australia. The idea is how to survive a cricket match when you are surrounded by West Indian fans. Well, KFC Australia says, yes, you might perceive it as racist, but says critics in the U.S. are misinterpreting a lighthearted reference to the West Indian team. The company adds that it condemns discrimination of any kind. What would the colonel do?

And other international controversies -- cheers, jeers and, yes, some sneers over a proposed French law that bans psychological violence. The Prime Minister himself pushing the legislation. If it passes, someone who's always slamming their spouses, for instance, could end up in court. Women's groups are largely backing the measure, though it is gender-neutral. Meantime, some of the folks in the mental health and legal field say this is more gimmick than godsend.

Yesterday, we brought you Part I of an investigation that I've been working on. We're going to push forward today on the controversial Dahn Yoga, a huge chain of wellness centers being sued by some ex-employees who say it's a cult. Some of the allegations will shock you.

And his name just keeps popping up in connection with terror plots and suspects. We'll look at the link between a radical American Muslim cleric and the Christmas Day bomber.

Going behind the scenes to get the stories you see on air. Watch how Baghdad police try to swelter our CNN crew. It's our Back Story and it's on the other side of the break.


PHILLIPS: Today's Back Story -- something that every journalist inevitably runs into -- official hurdles. Police, politicians, anyone with any authority making truth finding and story telling that much more difficult.

Michael Holmes host of Back Story here to show us a CNN correspondent's face-off with the Baghdad police.

And Michael, as you and I well know, that is no fun.

MICHAEL HOLMES, HOST, BACKSTORY: It's no fun. And Baghdad's not a place where you want bureaucracy gone mad. You'll see in the piece that we're going to show you that CNN has permission to shoot pretty much all over Baghdad, from an official standpoint.

But you know, even though there is improved security in the Iraqi capital, you still, as a westerner, do not want to hang around in one place too long. And when that happens, because of bureaucracy, it makes it that much worse.

Diana Magnay, and our shooter (ph) Clayton Nagel (ph) are going to take you to New Source Square where those Blackwater incident happened in 2007.

Just see how it unfolded.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We seem to have a big problem with the police. I am not quite sure what is going on but we're trying to film this interview with the lawyer. We're trying to get him tell us exactly what happened but the police have an issue. So it's almost not worth just trying to do this interview. The thing is they don't know now (INAUDIBLE). Basically, apparently we believe what they're saying is that we don't have permission to film here. But actually we don't need permission to film here.

Maybe we can try to do this now? Let's try to film it now. OK.

Can you show me where -- can you talk about where the incident happened?


MAGNAY: Can we walk there?


MAGNAY: We think we're probably going to have to leave. Unless this is resolved quite soon.

We're hoping we will restart this once they've cleared whatever they have to clear with the superiors. The trouble is that you often get into situations with the police in any country you're working about, whether you have permission to fill m or not. But when you have the added addition of the security problem and only a limited time to spend in a place and do your filming, then you simply don't have time to resolve all of these permission issue, and do your filming, and do your piece with the camera, and get out of there.

So, so far, we've got something for Back Story, but very little else.

So apparently the issue was that recently we have received a letter from the Interior of Ministry, telling us that we have blanket permission to film anywhere. We don't need to get individual permissions each time. But these particular policemen didn't realize that this was the case.

Now 10 minutes later, it's all been resolved, so we're on our way back. So, we are going to try this one again. We're going to go to the exact spot where he was.


And then he will, and then the camera will turn the other angle on us. OK. So we're going to go now.


HOLMES: Yes, they got the story, Kyra. And kudos to Clayton Nagel to keep rolling there for us, as well, you saw it all unfold there.

PHILLIPS: And also, to you, remember, in Baghdad, with the war going on and a government and laws and legislation all not perfectly in place that a lot of people just sort of make up their rules. You and I experienced that on a regular basis. HOLMES: Yes, that's right. And it's important, as I said, that you don't stick around even now because I remember a few years ago, and you do too, there were a couple of journalists that got kidnapped because they stuck around too long and word got out they were there.

And I always say this about Iraq, too. It is a relative term when you say that things are more secure. I get regular security reports from Iraq and I tell you, last week of December, 114 people -- not including the militants or terrorists, were killed around Iraq in terrorist actions, 400 wounded.

So it's still not a safe place in our perspective, you know?

PHILLIPS: And even though there are police, we know that the police still get infiltrated by bad guys. Military there -- Iraqi military -- still infiltrated by bad guys. So even though there are police officers, you don't want to start too much trouble because you're not quite sure how they're going to respond.

HOLMES: Yes, yes. Absolutely. It's not a place where you want to argue with officials. And you can tell there that Diana and the shooter there and Mohammed (ph) you could hear in the background, our producer on the ground there. We're getting, OK, we better go until we sort this out. (INAUDIBLE), stick around. And you're right. The cops have been problematic right throughout the war.

PHILLIPS: Right. But it works to your advantage, too, in that you can negotiate things that sometimes you normally wouldn't be able to get here in the states due to the laws.

Michael, thanks so much.

For more on this and other back stories, you can go to And of course Michael is going to be joining us every day, this time, Monday through Friday.