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American Morning

ABC News Anchor and Cameraman in Intensive Care in Germany; Enron on Trial

Aired January 30, 2006 - 08:00   ET


I'm Soledad O'Brien.

ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, in intensive care in Germany this morning. It was just one day ago when they were hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq. We'll bring you that live in Landstuhl, Germany, ahead.


Enron on trial. The former leaders of the biggest ever bankruptcy head to court today. We're live in Houston.

S. O'BRIEN: And relief and rescue -- dozens of miners escape a potential tragedy thanks to some excellent planning. We've got the latest details ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING.

M. O'BRIEN: We're also going to talk to a NASA scientist who is an expert on global warming. There's allegations that he is being censored by the Bush administration as he speaks out about the issue of global warming. We'll talk to him about that.

S. O'BRIEN: Lots to get to this morning, of course.

Let's, in fact, start, really, in Iraq, a story that's moved to Landstuhl, Germany now.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, wounded in the line of duty, a pair of ABC News men, anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt, are at a U.S. military hospital in Germany as we speak. The two injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, along with an Iraqi soldier.

Woodruff and Vogt flown overnight from Iraq to Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany. That's the largest U.S. military hospital outside the States.

Chris Burns is at the center -- Chris, what are the doctors saying this morning?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, Woodruff and Vogt are going through a number of tests this morning. They did arrive from Iraq overnight here at the Hamstein Air Base and transferred over nearby to Landstuhl Hospital from that accident yesterday, in which a roadside bomb exploded next to the Iraqi military vehicle they were traveling in. They were very well protected. They had body armor on. They had helmets on. But they were standing in the hatch of that military vehicle and that is why the injuries were so extensive.

The authorities here are saying they are very significant injuries. They arrived here despite the surgery that went on at a U.S. military base in Iraq. They still were intubated and heavily sedated, meaning that there's still -- it's still going to be some time before they recover. Those C.T. scans and tests today could offer more insight as to how soon they could be transferred back to the States.

There could be more surgery here to clean up some of the wounds, we're hearing -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Chris Burns in Landstuhl.

Thank you.

Woodruff and Vogt were injured by an IED. That's an improvised explosive device, planted on the side of a highway.

As CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr explains, insurgents are making those IEDs more sophisticated and more deadly.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Iraq, insurgents take 120 seconds, two minutes, to set and conceal a roadside bomb. The infamous IEDs, improvised explosive devices, kill more U.S. troops than any other weapon. The bad news is they are getting even more lethal. This is one of the first images made public by the Army of the damage caused by a new and more sophisticated IED. It can penetrate U.S. armored vehicles because it uses a so-called explosively formed projectile.

Brigadier General Carter Ham is a combat veteran of Iraq.

BRIG. GEN. CARTER HAM, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: We are seeing greater degrees of sophistication, different techniques, different technological approaches. And that's a great challenge for us.

STARR: The new armor piercing bombs focus the blast at the vehicle. In this case, it badly wounded four soldiers. In May, two explosively formed projectiles hit the door and ripped through the armor. In this attack, a contractor's armored vehicle is pierced by two of the new bombs.

The technology to build them has been available for decades. None of the information we are telling you is classified. All the details were provided by the Army.

When detonated, the weapon becomes a lethal dart, flying at a rate of more than a mile per second. It can penetrate several inches of armor plate from a distance of more than 300 feet, according to the Army. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY: When the energy is concentrated in a small area, it projects out that metal and that metal caused -- can be effective against almost any armor, to include the M1 tank.

STARR (on camera): So what can be done about all of this?

Commanders say more armor isn't the answer. A big enough bomb can destroy any armored vehicle. So much of the classified IED work now focuses on detection technology -- finding the IEDs before they can explode and kill.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


S. O'BRIEN: Iraq will not be the only item on the president's agenda during tomorrow's State of the Union address. The economy, national security will also take prime spots in his prime time speech.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is at the White House for us this morning -- hey, Suzanne, good morning.


S. O'BRIEN: We do expect the tone of the speech to be?

MALVEAUX: Well, you know, we keep hearing upbeat, upbeat, upbeat. And, of course, that's not surprising considering how challenging last year was for the Bush administration. But what we're expecting the president to talk about are broad themes, broad initiatives -- improving health care, also technology, promoting those type of things that people can relate to that make their lives a little bit easier.

Of course, he's also going to be promoting and talking about the war on terror, the fact that his administration is strong on national security, defending his domestic spying program.

All of this, as you know, comes at a time when the president is considerably weaker than he was last year. This is the latest "Time" magazine poll showing the president's job approval rating now, Soledad, at 41 percent. That is down 12 points from last year -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, well, if that's sort of the short list of what's in the speech, then does that mean we don't hear any analysis of hurricane Katrina? I mean you want to keep upbeat, that's not going to work. Do you want to leave our Iran and nukes? And, I guess, Iraq and the latest violence there? And, you know, the spying without warrants?

I mean are those things that are on the list not talking about?

MALVEAUX: Well, actually, we know he's going to talk about hurricane Katrina. He's going to talk about the rebuilding effort. Expect that to be on the plate. We know he's going to talk about Iraq, some of the challenges ahead.

What we're not going to hear are those kind of big initiatives that you heard last year like reforming or overhauling Social Security. And the reason why, his aides say, is essentially you're looking at a federal deficit more than $400 billion. The president certainly wants to try to reassure the conservative base that there's not going to be a heck of a lot of spending going on this year.

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting this time around.

All right, Suzanne Malveaux at the White House for us.

Suzanne, thanks.

We're hoping to be in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to wrap up all of the news from the State of the Union. We'll be there Wednesday morning and we begin at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time, of course.

Time to get a look at the headlines this morning.

Carol has those -- good morning again, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad.

Good morning to all of you.

We have new developments to tell you about out of Canada. Just about all of those trapped miners are now starting to come up to the surface. New pictures coming in from the scene. A fire broke out Sunday about a half mile underground, trapping some 70 miners. As I said, nearly all of them are out now. Sixty-seven are up on the surface. Luckily, they were able to hide in emergency shelters until rescue crews arrived.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is looking to Jordan and Egypt for help. He's set to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah later today. Topping the agenda, the Hamas election victory, what else? Abbas heads to Egypt tomorrow.

In the past, President Hosni Mubarak has served as a mediator between the Palestinian leader and Hamas.

The U.S. is calling on the international community to cut off aid to the new Hamas government. The Palestinian Authority gets about $1 billion from overseas donors, including the United States. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to relay that message at a Mideast conference. Talks are being held in London today.

New York City police hunting for suspects after a brutal beating at a fast food restaurant. Take a look at this surveillance video. It's kind of disturbing, but it may help police solve the case. It shows some men pummeling, pummeling an off duty police officer. The beaten man later pulls his gun and is shot three times by a fellow police officer, who didn't realize he was a police officer. The man who was shot is in critical condition this morning. New documents are casting an even gloomier light on the U.S. government's response to hurricane Katrina. It now appears hundreds of trucks, boats, planes and security officers were available but never used. That's according to an internal FEMA e-mail given to Senate investigators.

And Enron founder Kenneth Lay tells CNN he is very optimistic about his trial. Jury selection begins today. Lay and his co- defendant, Enron's former CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, are charged with nearly 40 counts of fraud and conspiracy. Both have denied any wrongdoing whatsoever. It's been four years since the collapse of the former energy trading giant and finally, finally, we have a trial -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, thank you very much, Carol Costello.

Let's get another check on the weather.

Chad Myers at the Weather Center with that -- Chad, hello.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Miles, I brought back Andy Serwer's aurora borealis map.

M. O'BRIEN: Ah, the aurora borealis is back.

MYERS: Yes, see.

M. O'BRIEN: There it is. You see what he was talking about?

MYERS: See, it has some purple up in here, because it's cold.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

MYERS: The same color that people's lips are if they go outside, kind of purple.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.


S. O'BRIEN: Some good news coming to us out of Nigeria. A three week long hostage crisis finally comes to an end. All four hostages are released, including one American. This morning, we talk to his son about the great news.

M. O'BRIEN: Also, a big development for millions of Americans living with diabetes. We'll tell you how long it will be before the insulin inhaler is available.

S. O'BRIEN: And then later this morning, melting ice caps and temperatures rising worldwide -- NASA's top climate expert sounds the alarm on global warming. Did NASA try to silence him? We're going to talk to him just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: It's a beautiful morning here in New York City. A little warmer than we'd like it to be.

A question about science. Facts are facts, but when good science meets a political reality, a political agenda, what happens?

A gag order, or so it is alleged, by a leading climate scientist at NASA. He says the Bush administration is trying to silence him because he is sounding alarm bells about the impact of climate change, global warming.

James Hansen is director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

He joins us here this morning.

Dr. Hansen, good to have you with us.


Good to be here.

M. O'BRIEN: Tell us what you said, first of all, scientifically.

HANSEN: Scientifically I said we're getting very close to a tipping point in our climate system. If we continue along a business as usual path with greenhouse gases increasing faster and faster, then it's going to become impossible to avoid losing the Arctic, for example. Already the sea ice there is reduced 25 percent in the summer.

Within a few decades, we may lose the sea ice there and, therefore, the ability for wildlife like polar bears, seals, reindeer, to survive.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's take a look at a couple of animations. These come from some of the models which have been put together to try to project global warming.

The first one I want to show you shows what happened since about 1870 to present and then beyond. And, as you can see, blue is cooler. And as you move along here, the red portions are the places that become warmer.

Projecting outward, as you see, we get into modern time now. This is the industrial age. And as you can see, over the industrial countries, you've got these splotches of red. And as time goes on, it becomes kind of a big red blob over this entire globe of ours.

At this point, some would suggest it's so far gone it cannot be stopped.

HANSEN: No, I -- that's the point. It's not too late to stop and avoid the worst consequences. But we would need to get on the scenario in which we slow down the rate of growth of greenhouse gases, get that to flatten out. And before the middle of the century, we're going to have to be producing less and less carbon dioxide than we are now. M. O'BRIEN: And that's not the way we're going right now?

HANSEN: That's not the way we're going now.

M. O'BRIEN: Now, you have been told to be careful about what you say.

Why don't you explain what you heard from public affairs people at NASA in particular about the comments you made?

HANSEN: Well, they were very unhappy about my presentation in December at the American Geophysical Union.

M. O'BRIEN: Why?

HANSEN: Well, I think because I'm connecting the dots, all the way from emissions to the future consequences and it's -- and it has -- and I look at alternative scenarios, if we continue on this path or if we take other paths. And that is getting too close to policy, I guess.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, but there really isn't much of a scientific debate anymore. So when you talk among scientific peers, there is tremendous agreement that global warming is real and it is hastened by human action or inaction.

HANSEN: Right.

M. O'BRIEN: So really what this is, is about politics, isn't it?

HANSEN: Well, yes. I think there's a big issue here, and that is the fact that the agencies, the public affairs offices at the agencies are staffed by political appointees. And that is affecting the ability to communicate with the public. So, for example -- and it's not just true in NASA.

In NOAH, for example, the hurricanes last summer, there becomes an agency perspective rather -- and you're not free to speak your own ideas. You have to follow that perspective.

M. O'BRIEN: So, in other words, if a scientist at NOAH said these storms are stronger, perhaps by virtue of the fact that the climate is changing, global warming...

HANSEN: Exactly.

M. O'BRIEN: ... the administration will say no, you can't say that.

HANSEN: Yes (ph).

M. O'BRIEN: Let me just -- I want to inject this so we have the other side here, so to speak.

Dean Acosta, who is NASA's top public affairs official, who is a political appointee, by the way, he says this: "NASA is committed to open and full communications. Our policy, which is similar to that of any other federal agency, corporation or news organization, is that any NASA employee speaking on the record, issuing a press release or posting information on our Web site must coordinate such activities with the Office of Public Affairs, no exceptions."

Now, I've covered NASA for years. Whenever you book an interview, you have to go through public affairs. That's not anything, I suppose that is out of the ordinary.

What is different now, though, do you think?

HANSEN: Well, for example, National Public Radio in Boston wanted me to do an interview. And they were told no, they needed to do the interview with someone at NASA headquarters. And then the interview didn't occur, because they wanted to speak to the scientists, not somebody at NASA headquarters.

M. O'BRIEN: Right.

So sum it up here.

Do you think that there continues to be pressure from the Bush administration not to say what scientists fully believe here about global warming?

HANSEN: Well, I think that public affairs offices have probably, for a long time, been used by whatever party is in power. But it's become much more intense in the current administration.

M. O'BRIEN: James Hansen, who is one of the leading scientists on climate change. He works for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center -- Goddard's Institute for Space Studies, I should say, more accurately.

Thank you for being with us.

HANSEN: Thanks.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Miles.

Coming up this morning, with his trial about to begin, ex-Enron chief Ken Lay still says he didn't do anything wrong. Some folks find that hard to believe. We're going to take a look at what a revealing documentary found just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

We'll be back in a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: Great news this morning for the families of four oil workers who were kidnapped in Nigeria. They're all free and officials are saying they are in good shape.

Among them is American Patrick Landry. His son, Dwight Landry, joins us this morning from Lafayette, Louisiana. Dwight, thank you for talking with us.

We sure appreciate it.

DWIGHT LANDRY, SON OF FREED HOSTAGE: Oh, thank you for having me.

It's a great morning.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, gosh, yes, I imagine it is for you, certainly.

Listen, tell me, have you had a chance to talk to your dad yet?

LANDRY: I have not had a chance to talk to him yet. I'm hoping to be able to talk to him in the next hour or two.

S. O'BRIEN: But you've talked to officials.

What have they been able to tell you about your father?

LANDRY: Right now what they've been saying is that he is doing well. You know, his health is OK, that he looks good. The other three gentlemen look good and they're presently in Warren, Nigeria at the Shell Hospital. And they're going to be checked out by physicians and then they're going to be transferred over to -- flown over to Lagos, Nigeria.

And once in Lagos, they're going to be checked out again to make sure that they're going to be able to take international flights and get on back home.

S. O'BRIEN: Your dad's health a real concern. I know he has high blood pressure, other concerns, as well.

LANDRY: Yes, ma'am.

S. O'BRIEN: Any word on how he's doing on that front? He had medication. You were worried that that medication was going to run out.

LANDRY: Yes, ma'am. We were concerned because he actually didn't have his medicine once he was taken. He did not receive any medication until, I think it was on January 25th or 26th. We never did get actual confirmation that he did actually take medicine. But I guess it's, you know, now I guess it really doesn't matter at this point. You know, he'll be on his way home soon and, you know, it's just -- it's great and it's just a wonderful day today.

S. O'BRIEN: And the Nigerian militants who were holding your dad and the three other men had demanded $1.5 billion to be paid to them.

Do you have any idea, did money exchange hands for your dad's freedom, and the others, too?

LANDRY: At this point, I don't know exactly what took place. I haven't heard if anything at all was actually exchanged. I think what they really, really wanted out of the whole thing is just to show the plight of their people that, you know, their people are starving, that their living conditions are deplorable and they really wanted to get national and world attention that they need some help in that area.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, they sure did.

Dwight Landry, thanks for talking with us.

Congratulations to you.

A huge sigh of relief, obviously, for your family and all the other families, too.

Thank you.

LANDRY: Thank you so much for having me.

S. O'BRIEN: My pleasure.

LANDRY: I appreciate it.

S. O'BRIEN: Sure.

Remember that elaborate drug tunnel that was discovered last week be Mexico and the U.S.? Anderson Cooper got permission to go inside for an exclusive look. And tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," you're going to see why this tunnel is like almost no other.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, tonight, a "360" exclusive. We'll take you deep underneath the U.S.-Mexico border. We are inside one of the most sophisticated tunnels ever discovered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. They found the tunnel just last week. We're giving you an exclusive tour. See just how far smugglers will go to bring drugs into the United States.

That's on "360" tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, I can't wait to see that.

Anderson with a look inside that tunnel.

That's amazing.

M. O'BRIEN: It is.

S. O'BRIEN: They say about a half mile going right from a warehouse in Tijuana right through southern California.

M. O'BRIEN: Just burrowed right through.

S. O'BRIEN: Unbelievable.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, are Democrats really going to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito? That story is ahead.

S. O'BRIEN: And then later this morning, music legend Barry Manilow will join us live. We're going to ask him about his new album, that features hits from the 1950s plus his reunion with legendary producer Clive Davis.

That's ahead.

Stay with us.


BARRY MANILOW: I can do so much. Are you still mine?



M. O'BRIEN: You can get the latest news every morning in your e- mail, if you'd like. Sign up for AMERICAN MORNING Quick News at

And coming up in just a little bit, the Enron trial is beginning, the big one, in Houston.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, people have been waiting for this, huh?

M. O'BRIEN: Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling.

We're going to talk to a documentary filmmaker who did -- have you seen the documentary, "The Smartest Guys In the Room?"

S. O'BRIEN: No. I've heard a lot about it, though.

M. O'BRIEN: It is -- if you really want to understand Enron, go out and rent this one or whatever, because it is -- it's a fascinating look at not just the accounting practices, which I think confused a lot of people, but the personality and the culture of this corporation and how it became, as one of them put it, "a house of cards on top of a tank of gasoline."

S. O'BRIEN: A good description of it.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll have that in just a moment.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: Stay with us.



MANILOW: I write the songs that make the whole world sing. I write the songs of love and special things.


S. O'BRIEN: I love him. M. O'BRIEN: Swoon time.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, a little.

M. O'BRIEN: Is it true you were really in the fan club?

S. O'BRIEN: 1978, a member of the Barry Manilow Fan Club, yes I was.

M. O'BRIEN: Wow! Wow! And you say that with great pride.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, absolutely. You know, I almost wanted to call the other fan club members and tell them nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, I'm interviewing Barry and you're not.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, you still have time. You can give them a buzz. Get them to watch.

S. O'BRIEN: I'm not sure I remember everybody's names.

Yes, he's got a new CD out. It's called "The Greatest Songs of the 50s." And these really are some of the most beautiful. I mean listen to this "Unchained Melody."

M. O'BRIEN: No, it's -- that is a concert to take a date to.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: Is he going to take it on the road and...

S. O'BRIEN: You know, they obviously have videotape from some of it.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, somewhat.

S. O'BRIEN: So I don't know if he's going to continue to take it on the road.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: But really a wonderful CD.

We'll talk about this and why he's going backward while a lot of artists are kind of moving, you know, what like the young, hipper artists are doing.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, he's going back -- so far back it's actually forward.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: You know, it's that...

S. O'BRIEN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that it's new.

M. O'BRIEN: You know, it's forward -- yes, yes. S. O'BRIEN: I hear you.

That's ahead this morning.