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American Morning

Kamber and May Discuss CIA Leak Scandal; Increase in iPod Violence Leads to Security Measures

Aired July 18, 2005 - 08:30   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Iraq's special tribunal is working to set a trial date for Saddam Hussein. The first formal charges against Saddam were announced on Sunday. Saddam will stand trial for a series of executions and detentions back in 1982, following an assassination attempt. The criminal court has 45 days to set that trial date.
Police in Aruba are back looking for clues in the Natalee Holloway case. Amateur video shows Joran Van Der Sloot at the site where he told authorities he last saw the Alabama teenager. Now, police have until September 4th to either charge Van Der Sloot or release him.

And two luxury cars get top marks for safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2005 Audi A6 and the 2006 Infiniti M35 top ratings. The cars were tested for front and side- impact crashes. Now the frontal crash test is done at speeds of 40 miles per hour, while the side crashes are done at 35 miles per hour. A high rating means a driver would walk away from a crashing with just minor injuries, if any.

Well, the largest church in the U.S. has a new home: The non- denominational Christian Church in Houston, Texas held its first meeting Sunday in a converted basketball arena. You can tell by the crowd. The former Compaq Center is where the Houston Rockets used to hold their basketball game. The stadium seats, get this, hold 16,000 people.

And look at this. One Kentucky couple is spending their first weekend at home with their super-size newborn, and we're not kidding. Look at this baby. She was delivered last week by C-section. No surprise. And weighed in at a whopping 14 pounds, three ounces. Wow. A nurse at the hospital says the infant appeared healthy. I'd say so. According to statistics, less than one percent of babies weigh more than 11 pounds at birth. And you guys remember that story last month about the 13 pounder? well, this one -- that one was named the Big Enchilada by her father. Well, this one, I guess use call the Big Whopper. A big baby.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, a super-sized value meal. But I think she's got about 10 pounds worth of hair.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my goodness. Her mother wishes it were only 10 pounds of hair. She had a caesarean, though, right?

NGUYEN: Oh, yes, definitely.

COSTELLO: Oh, thank God.

O'BRIEN: Mandatory for that one, right.

COSTELLO: Onto politics now.

O'BRIEN: Yes, let's go to politics.

COSTELLO: Second White House official has been named in the leaking of a CIA officer's name. "Time" magazine's Matthew Cooper says Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, confirmed the identity of Valerie Plame. Cooper says he told a grand jury that it was presidential adviser Karl Rove who put him onto the story.


MATTHEW COOPER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: After that conversation, I knew that she worked at the CIA and worked on WMD issues, but as I made clear to the grand jury, I'm sure Rove never used her exact name and certainly never indicated she had a covert status.


COSTELLO: Democratic consultant Victor Kamber is in Miami, and former RNC communications director Clifford May is in Washington. Welcome to you both.

CLIFF MAY, FMR. RNC COMM. DIR.: Thank you. Good morning, Vic. Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: Oh, my goodness. Cliff, let's start with you. So in addition to details about Karl Rove's possible involvement in this, now it's Dick Cheney's chief of staff that may have also given the story to Mr. Cooper. I seem to remember the White House saying neither had been involved.

MAY: Yes. But the involvement we're talking about is whether the identity of a covert agent, a secret agent, a top-secret operative was revealed. It doesn't appear that Rove, or that Matt Cooper, as he says at this point, or Libby or any of them, understood that Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, was a covert agent. And in fact, she wasn't at that time. She probably hadn't been for five years. That's according to Wilson himself.

The reporters went to these guys and said, I hear a rumor that the reason Wilson was sent to Africa was because his wife works at the CIA, may have sent him. That happens to be true, and that was established by a bipartisan committee. They said, yes, we've heard that rumor, too, and that rumor was true. So what you have here are officials telling the truth to reporters. That's unusual behavior, but probably not criminal behavior.

COSTELLO: OK, so, Victor, you just heard that. The RNC chairman is suggesting that Democrats apologize. Do you think they should?

VICTOR KAMBER, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: Apologize for learning the truth and passing the truth on? No, I don't think so. I mean, there's one thing to loose lips by one person. When it's a concerted effort by the White House -- and that's what it looks like, with two major figures. These are not stupid men. These are men who knew what they were doing. When they leaked the names by implication -- and Cooper has indicated it's by implication. He never said it was direct. Obviously, they had a purpose. Their purpose was to try to discredit Wilson, to try to bring some harm to him in the sense of his credibility. And again, and the president has made it clear, my White House doesn't leak. Well, this White House is leaking, and it looks like it's leaking pretty bad.

And if I was Mr. Bush, I'd be concerned that my whole agenda right now is slipping because we're concerned with Karl Rove and Libby.

MAY: Can I make this point about Bob Novak, who works here at CNN, who I know. You can say what you want about Bob Novak. He has insisted since the beginning that he didn't know she was a secret agent. He just knew she worked at the CIA. Nobody told him that. And if he had known she was secret, he wouldn't have published her name. Now who did publish her name first was David Korn of "The Nation," and he was the first one to say she was a secret agent, and he did that in a conversation with, guess who, with Joe Wilson.

COSTELLO: Wait, stop a minute. Couldn't President Bush clear this up by talking later today about it? And why isn't he?

MAY: Not easily, because there is now a special prosecutor, a total bulldog who's on the case. I think actually what should happen is let this guy do his work. If anybody's indicted, Karl Rove -- if anybody's indicted, that's the end of it. They're toast. But if it, as seems now possible, nothing criminal happened, no secret agent was exposed. This is a tempest in a teapot, and I think it's time really for Democrats not to continue to push this for political means.

We'll all agree that anybody who gets indicted by this independent prosecutor, that's the end of their career.

COSTELLO: I know we could go on and on about this, but let's move on to the next topic, because it's pretty darn interesting. It's about the Iraqi elections. And were they manipulated? Seymour Hersh alleges in this week's "New Yorker" that the Bush administration repeatedly sought ways, including covert action, to manipulate the outcome and reduce the religious Shiite influence in the Iraqi elections, despite objections from Congress.

If this is true, Cliff, doesn't that undermine the elections and the elections to come?

MAY: No, first of all, it didn't happen, because Congress prevented it, but I'm sort of sorry they did. Here's the reason why. You have the Iranians, for example, the Mullahs, and the Syrians, who are trying to help anti-Democratic forces. I think the U.S. should help those forces that are pro-democracy, pro-freedom, and pro-human rights. I would hope they could do that openly. But if they can't, I do want the pro-democracy forces to be helped. Those who share our values in the Middle East, we have not supported in the past. We've supported their oppressors. I think that's a mistake.

COSTELLO: Maybe he has a point, Victor, because the Bush administration acknowledged they had concern about the Iranians. This is also from the Seymour Hersh article. He says, in the final analysis, the president determined and the U.S. government adopted a policy that we would not try to influence the outcome of the Iraqi election by covertly helping individual candidates for office, but maybe he should have.

KAMBER: Well, number one, we don't know for sure they didn't, but I hope Hersh is correct that they did not, even though they planned it.

Number two, let's be honest, if they did it and got this bad of an election result, we should figure out what's wrong with our own operations, because we lost and we lost badly. In terms of a covert operation, we are helping. We have 150,000 troops there. We're supposedly the people that have brought them water, and built the schools, and brought them electricity, and saved their lives and provided democracy. If that's not enough and they don't want the kind of democracy that we think they should have, then maybe we're wrong for being there in the way we're being there.

And, frankly, I think it's outrageous that Cliff would think we should interject ourselves into another country's politics, especially given the billions of dollars and the manpower that we have there now.

COSTELLO: All right. We're going to have to leave it there, thank you. Victor Kamber is a Democratic consultant, and Clifford May, former RNC communications director. Spunky as always.

O'BRIEN: Spunky to say the least.

Last week, you'll recall we told you the tragic story teenager Christopher Rose, stabbed to death earlier this month during the robbery of an iPod.

Now even before Christopher's death, there was rising concern about an increase in thefts of one of the most popular consumer items around. As national correspondent Kelly Wallace reports, at least one city has launched a campaign to keep people and their iPods safe.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In grief, Sharon and Errol Rose committing their lives to making sure what happened to their son, 15-year-old Christopher, doesn't happen again.

ERROL ROSE, VICTIM'S FATHER: Christopher. is dead. I can't believe this.

WALLACE: A death during the robbery of an iPod has left some owners, like Laura Banks of Manhattan, feeling jittery.

LAURA BANKS, IPOD OWNER: You know, it makes me feel a little unsafe, when I'm just trying to listen to some music. WALLACE: But most other people we met who have iPods feel like Quincy Cummings of Brooklyn, not scared at all.

QUINCY CUMMINGS, IPOD OWNER It was like 2:00 in the morning. You don't, like, brandish about. Around rush hour, I don't think anybody would mess with you around this time.

WALLACE: Just about everywhere you look in big cities, you see an iPod with the tell tale white earbuds, as they are called. They cost about $100 to $400. Tempting targets, it seems.

So far this year, New York City police say subway crime is up slightly, about three percent, with 81 iPods reported stolen. Officials did not keep records last year, but believe iPod thefts, even though a small number of the more than 1,700 subway crimes this year, are up.

And that has prompted a new public-relations campaign. City officials warning iPod owners, earphones are a giveaway. Protect your device.

New York City is not alone. From Washington D.C. to London to Melbourne, Australia, concerns about iPod thefts means some are considering sacrificing style for safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are kind of what we suggest. They're not quite as glamorous looking, but they have high-quality sound.

WALLACE: James Pellatier says every day iPod owners come into his store looking to replace their headphones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of them are doing it to upgrade, but some are definitely doing it for security, because they know that their headphones are a dead giveaway.

WALLACE: Change the ear earphones. That's one thing to protect your iPod. Also, conceal the earphone wires and hide the iPod under your clothes, or in a bag.

(on camera): We contacted Apple, a spokesman declining our request to comment on the story. Apple has sold more than 21 million iPods so far. One police official saying, with more iPods out there, there are simply more iPods to steal.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: As if you needed another indication of how pervasive the iPod is, Apple Computer reports selling $1 billion worth just in the last quarter -- Carol.


O'BRIEN: Yes, that's a lot of iPods.

COSTELLO: I have one. Do you have one?

O'BRIEN: Of course.

COSTELLO: Do your kids have one?

O'BRIEN: The whole family has iPods.


O'BRIEN: Still to come on the program, we'll meet the daredevil who soared into the record books, the first man ever to skateboard over the Great Wall of China. I think he's the first one to try, by the way, too.

But that doesn't matter, he still did it. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. We're hanging 10, dudes. Stay with us.


COSTELLO: Towns that offer it all -- safety, jobs, schools, and entertainment? With a look at some of the best cities in which to live, Ellen McGirt of "Money" magazine, in for Andy Serwer. She is "Minding Your Business."


COSTELLO: Some of these really surprise me.

MCGIRT: Now, why is that?

COSTELLO: I've never heard of them.

MCGIRT: Oh, well. But the streets are safe and the village raises the kids. And they've got access to all the great stuff we want these days, like high-tech Internet and jobs.

COSTELLO: Is that how they come up with this list?

MCGIRT: Yes. Yes. That's actually -- that's part of the methodology. We do look at data. It's the perfect mix of data and just good old-fashioned crack reporting. We wanted to look for places that would mean the great American hometown. So we wanted to start around 14,000 people and up, close to metropolitan area, 60 miles within a major airport and a teaching hospital. But then we screened for some of those economic indicators that are so important to us: reasonable property taxes, real estate appreciation, low crime.

COSTELLO: You mean there are places like that that exist in America?

MCGIRT: Trust us, we found them. And then we also screened for some of the quality of life stuff. Low commute time, access to arts and open spaces. And then we dispatched our crack team of writers and reporters out there to go talk to people. And this is what we found.

COSTELLO: OK, so show us -- show us these utopian cities. MCGIRT: OK, let's start with number five. Louisville, Colorado. If sunshine on your shoulders makes you happy, Louisville will make you happy. Just 25 miles from Denver. It's calm, it's open. The Rocky Mountains right outside your window. And it's close to also beautiful but busy and expensive Boulder, Colorado. It's really that kind of perfect feel.

COSTELLO: Vienna, Virginia. I have been there. That is a very nice town.

MCGIRT: It is lovely and it's got all the beltway stuff. Great jobs. That's been one of the bright spots in the economy. And, of course, access to everything in D.C. But you've got that Civil War charm and the beautiful era essence of horse country. And, of course, Wolf Trap, our only national park which is also --- I mean, it's really quite...

COSTELLO: That's right.

MCGIRT: ... quite beautiful. And all the other conveniences that you want.

COSTELLO: I think Virginia is such a beautiful state.

MCGIRT: It is.

COSTELLO: OK. Naperville, Illinois.

MCGIRT: Now, this is, you know, a 33-minute train ride to Chicago. This is one of the biggest small towns on our list, about 150,000 people. So you've got access to that great small town feel, but great shopping, first run theaters, wonderful restaurants. So you really have it all.

COSTELLO: Now, I would think anything in Washington state would be a great place to live.

MCGIRT: Bainbridge Island. It's a little isolated. It's a ferry ride. But it's absolutely lush and beautiful. Right outside of Seattle. But we've got number one coming up. We don't want to short- change them.

COSTELLO: ... do we have a drummer?

MCGIRT: Da da da da. Moorestown, New Jersey.

COSTELLO: Come on.

MCGIRT: It is. It's beautiful. Just 15 miles from Philly. Just 90 minutes to come to the sidewalk and wave to Carol and Miles. I mean, you just -- it don't get much better than that.

COSTELLO: Well, you're right.

MCGIRT: As people go home, they go out, they make their way in the world, and they come home and they want to raise their kids there. It's the best endorsement we know.

COSTELLO: I got to go there. I'm going there after work.

MCGIRT: There you go.

COSTELLO: All right. Ellen...

MCGIRT: We've got friends in Moorestown, we can hook you up.

COSTELLO: Really? It's party time. Ellen McGirt, thank you so much. See you in a bit -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Wish I'd known. I would have checked it out. Too late. All right.

Still to come, meet the first man ever to skateboard over the Great Wall of China. We'll hear about the practice run that almost kept him out of the record books. That's next on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Danny Way made the Great Wall of China into the biggest skateboard ramp ever. Check it out. July 9th, the skateboarding champ became the first person to jump the 3,000-year-old monument without using a motor. But Way says he doesn't want to become the Evel Knievel of skateboarding, even though he also performed one of the most famous stunts in skateboarding history, dropping onto a ramp from a helicopter.

Skateboarder Danny Way, joining us now. Danny, you look good. I know you got a sore ankle. We'll talk about that in a minute. But let's talk about this jump. I kind of want to kind of walk through the jump quickly, then we'll ask you the big questions, like why. Let's roll the tape, as they say. I want to start off at the top here. How high was that ramp?


O'BRIEN: Here, freeze right it about there. Freeze it right there. OK. The ramp is about high how?

WAY: From the top of the foundation of the wall here to the top where I just rolled in was about 60 feet.

O'BRIEN: Sixty feet.

WAY: And this wall right here is already 50 feet off the ground. So if you fly off the side here, it's roughly around 100 feet.

O'BRIEN: 100 feet. You don't want that. And how fast are you going right there? That's about the peak speed, right?

WAY: We actually had a radar gun, and it's -- depending, I mean -- there's a little variable sometimes, but close to 50, between 47 and 50 miles an hour. O'BRIEN: Forty-seven and 50. All right. Let's roll it and see how high you get up here. Forty-seven and 50 miles an hour. Let's freeze it right there. How high up are you there, roughly?

WAY: Well, I mean, we can see the people there.

O'BRIEN: High enough. The important thing is high enough, right?

WAY: ... twelve to eight feet. Close to 20 feet in the air.

O'BRIEN: What is that feeling like, being up there and hanging that long?

WAY: It's the most relaxing time, you know, in the whole jump.

O'BRIEN: I'm sorry. Relaxing, you said?

WAY: I swear, believe it or not, but, like, once you take off into the air, there's actually a moment of silence where there's, you know, no noise. There's nothing going on, except you just -- you're in a moment of silence and then...

O'BRIEN: Hopefully, there's not a moment of silence for you later, right?

WAY: Hopefully not.

O'BRIEN: Let's press on now. Roll the tape. Take it down, Michael. And as you go down here, more speed there, right?

WAY: More speed.

O'BRIEN: Even faster?

WAY: Accelerating even faster down that, which...

O'BRIEN: Now, we're looking at some of the other angles here as you did all this. Now for the big question. Why? What was it -- because it's there?

WAY: I've been experimenting with these ramps for quite some time over the last five years. I've been building ramps that are, you know, quite larger than what previously exist in a typical skateboarding environment. And just wanting to put it in a setting or, you know, get something, a spectacle or a monument there that people could recognize and understand the perception of it.

O'BRIEN: I think people did. All right, now, this has got to be the moment there. You must -- for a moment there, you're weightless, right?

WAY: Very weightless right there.

O'BRIEN: Yes, what's that like? WAY: To tell you the truth, you know, once landing the wall, which obviously was the feat that I went there to accomplish, but coming down that landing ramp -- and, you know, there's no other way to slow down on a skateboard. There's no brakes, so It's either put a big wall or hay bales or something. And, you know, the only other thing I could come up with was build a huge quarter pipe, we call it right here.

O'BRIEN: All right, let's roll. Let's roll it and see what happens when you do this.

WAY: Too slow.

O'BRIEN: This one was not the bad fall, right?

WAY: That was an all right fall.

O'BRIEN: That was an OK fall.

WAY: The shoulder got a little beat up on that one. But no, that wasn't the major ankle injury, no.

O'BRIEN: Because you got right up and you kept on going. Let's talk -- let's see if we can roll the tape of the major ankle injury, which was the day before?

WAY: The day before, they gave me...

O'BRIEN: All right, here we go. Let's watch this.

WAY: Here we go.

O'BRIEN: And -- whoa, whoa, that's not good. You want to keep the skateboard with you, right? Is that one of the tricks?

WAY: You want to keep the skateboard with you and you want to obtain a little bit more speed than I did there.

O'BRIEN: Oh, man.

WAY: And you don't want to do cartwheels down the landing ramp like that.

O'BRIEN: You've become something of a hero in China, haven't you?

WAY: I don't -- I don't really know the -- you know, what the impression has been left on the Chinese people except that, you know, from what I was told when I was there, and that was that this was a very inspirational, you know, leap for a lot of Chinese people, not just for...

O'BRIEN: Well, you're being humble. You signed the wall. And nobody -- you know, Westerners don't get to do that.

WAY: That's pretty cool. O'BRIEN: It was pretty -- yeah. I got to sign my signature, inscribe my name on the wall. And it will be there for the life of the wall, and probably it will outlive me. So it's a pretty big honor.

O'BRIEN: All right, Danny Way. I don't know what's next. But it's a tough one to top. I'm sure you'll come up with something. Danny Way, thanks for your time.

WAY: Thank you.

COSTELLO: I'm sure he will.

In a moment, we are tracking Hurricane Emily, the latest on the storm's path as it churns across the Yucatan. That's just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: New pictures this morning of the aftermath of Emily. The fury of the storm hitting vacation resorts on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Category 4 winds. A live report ahead.

An important new development in the London terror investigation. Three of four suspected bombers linked to Pakistan. We're live with the latest on that.

And, another developing story, as Eric Rudolph is set to be sentenced just hours from now for a deadly bombing in Alabama. Coming up, the survivor who will face him in court. She'll tell us what she will say, what she wants to hear, on this AMERICAN MORNING.