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American Morning

Republicans Revolt: Resolution Opposes More Troops; Alleged Kidnapper Michael Devlin to be Arraigned This Morning; Time Served for 11-Year-Old Charged as Adult

Aired January 18, 2007 - 08:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Republican revolt. Two GOP senators take a defiant stand against President Bush's new strategy in Iraq. Could it keep thousands of U.S. troops from joining the war?
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: CNN exclusive. Surveillance video of a toxic substance spilled in a subway station. The man in the tape is still missing. Could it be a dry run for a terror attack?

O'BRIEN: And a high-flying fugitive. A 9-year-old -- yes, a 9- year-old -- accused of talking his way on to two airplanes. His mom speaks out on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning to you. It's Thursday, January 18th.

I'm Miles O'Brien. And look who dropped in.

CHO: We're not trying to pull a fast one on you, everybody. I'm Alina Cho. Soledad is on assignment.

Thanks for joining us.

O'BRIEN: Yes, she had to scoot to an airplane. We'll be -- see her again tomorrow.

We begin with the political war over the shooting war in Iraq. President Bush this morning taking fire from lawmakers in his own party over his plans for a troop surge in Iraq. In the Senate they will debate a resolution opposing the Bush plan. At least two GOP senators are supporting it.

CNN's Andrea Koppel joining us from Capitol Hill with the latest from there.

Good morning, Andrea.


Well, only days before the president's State of the Union Address, two top Democrats and a senior Republican senator unveiled their plan, their mostly symbolic resolution to oppose the president's plan to send more troops to Iraq. Now, even though it is not going to have the force of law, the Republican who is pushing this plan, Nebraska's Chuck Hagel, told CNN's AMERICAN MORNING just a few moments ago that it is an important first step to begin a national debate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: This is to begin a national debate on what should we do. No one is suggesting, Soledad, in this resolution -- I never have, I don't think any of my colleagues up here have -- to cut and run, to leave Iraq in the mess that it's in. We're not talking about that.

We're talking about better ways to do it. Included in this resolution are some of those ways.


KOPPEL: Now, among some ways that Senator Hagel alluded to there, they would recommend moving U.S. troops to patrol Iraq's borders, and stepping up diplomatic efforts as outlined in the Baker- Hamilton report, engaging Iran and Syria. Now, so far, only one other Republican, Maine's Olympia Snowe, has said she would support the resolution. Other Republicans have expressed some misgivings about some of the language in the resolution, but Senator Biden, one of the Democratic cosponsors, had already indicated yesterday, Miles, that they would be open to other suggestions.

We expect there to be a vote on the floor of the Senate right after the president's State of the Union next week -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: It should be interesting.

Andrea Koppel in Washington.

Thank you -- Alina.

CHO: Also happening this morning, overnight bombings in Baghdad. At least 17 people are dead after a third straight day of deadly blasts. Today's worst near a vegetable market in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood. At least 10 people were killed when three car bombs went off within minutes of each other.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Berlin this morning. She's updating German and British leaders on her recent trip to the Middle East. Secretary Rice says both Israeli and Palestinian leaders are looking to speed up the peace process.

At least 300,000 homes and businesses are still without power after this week's rolling ice storms. From Texas to New England, crews are working around the clock to get the power back on. Officials say it could take weeks to repair all the damage.

And southern California's nearly week-long cold snap takes a surreal turn. Take a look at this, a rare snowstorm in the canyons above Malibu. Officials this morning are hoping to reopen a stretch of interstate that was closed all night between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Joaquin Valley. It is one of California's busiest highways -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: In Missouri, the man accused of kidnapping two boys now the focus in some other missing children cases. Michael Devlin is due to appear in court in about 90 minutes.

AMERICAN MORNING'S Chris Lawrence is at the Franklin County Courthouse in Union, Missouri, with the latest.

Hello, Chris.


Michael Devlin will be arraigned on one charge of kidnapping, Ben Ownby, this morning. But now he faces another. And this one alleges that he used a handgun to force Shawn Hornbeck to come with him.


LAWRENCE (voice over): Michael Devlin's first day in court may turn out to be the first of many. Already accused of abducting Ben Ownby in one county, he's now charged with kidnapping Shawn Hornbeck from another.

SHERIFF KEVIN SCHROEDER, WASHINGTON COUNTY, MISSOURI: After securing S.D.H., Michael Devlin flourished a handgun in order to gain compliance of the minor child. Michael Devlin then transported him out of the county and concealed his whereabouts for four years and three months.

LAWRENCE: By all accounts, Shawn was not locked up somewhere. He came and went. He had friends, leading some to speculate he could have escaped. But prosecutor John Rupp says people have no idea what Shawn has gone through since he was 11 years old.

JOHN RUPP, PROSECUTOR, WASHINGTON COUNTY, MISSOURI: Shawn was abducted against his will, period, end of the story.

LAWRENCE: Now police are investigating whether Devlin was involved with other missing children, including the little boy who disappeared in 1991 riding his bike within 40 miles of where Shawn was abducted.

SCHROEDER: I don't believe that an individual just wakes up and is a child abductor.

LAWRENCE: So far, they have no evidence to link Devlin to any other children.

DON WOLFF, LEGAL EXPERT: Is there a rush to judgment? You bet there is.

LAWRENCE: Long-time defense attorney Don Wolff believes this case will never go to trial, which he thinks could be best for everyone involved.

WOLFF: Do you think if this were my child that I would want him to go through a trial? I would not want my child to have to go through a trial if I could avoid it.

LAWRENCE: Wolff says between police finding the boys at Devlin's home and their statements to investigators, more than likely the defense will try to negotiate a plea.


LAWRENCE: Now, those considerations are still a bit down the line. For today's hearing, the sheriff is very concerned about security. He doesn't even want to risk walking Michael Devlin into court.

So Devlin will stay at the jail. The judge will be here at the building behind me. And they will do the entire arraignment through remote camera -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Chris, and that security issue comes from a community with is understandably outraged by the stories they have been hearing. What has been the general mood of the community lately?

LAWRENCE: Well, I spoke with one lawyer yesterday who said, you know, a lot of people in this community, you know, would like to see Michael Devlin hanged for this. You know, there's a tremendous amount of outrage. Any time you have children involved, people feel very, very protective, and so there can be that rush to judgment before he'd even been arraigned.

And so the sheriff said, you k now, because this jail is two miles away, he didn't want to risk transporting him. They'll just do it by video conference.

O'BRIEN: Chris Lawrence in Union, Missouri.

Thank you very much -- Alina.

CHO: An 11-year-old boy, one of the youngest ever to be tried and convicted as an adult, has just about served his time. Tomorrow is Nathaniel Abraham's 21st birthday. He will celebrate it by walking out of jail. His family says he's ready for a new life.

CNN's Allan Chernoff has the story.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Nathaniel Abraham is one of the youngest Americans ever charged with murder as an adult. He was 11 years old. His mother will never forget that day 10 years ago.

GLORIA ABRAHAM-HOLLAND, NATHANIEL'S MOTHER: He was only 11. He really didn't understand the seriousness of the crime that he was being charged with. He couldn't even understand a lot of the terminology that was even being used in the courtroom.

CHERNOFF: Nathaniel shot and killed 18-year-old Ronnie Greene Jr. with a single shot to the head. The defense claimed it was an accident.

ABRAHAM-HOLLAND: It was just an unfortunate accident with a child playing with a gun. CHERNOFF: But prosecutors claimed that Nathaniel, who had been in trouble with the law before, had intentionally killed Greene and argued for a first-degree murder charge and for him to be sentenced as an adult.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First-degree murder, not guilty. Guilty of the lesser offense of second-degree murder.

CHERNOFF: He could have faced a term of up to life without parole, but the judge chose to sentence the young boy as a juvenile, which meant Nathaniel would be released after 10 years in a juvenile facility on his 21st birthday. He turns 21 on Friday. He is working on going back to college, getting a job, and getting his life back on track.

ABRAHAM-HOLLAND: He's very excited. He wants to -- he's ready to get on with his life and is very grateful for a second chance.

CHERNOFF: A chance after 10 years of detention he feels he deserves, but that the young man he killed will never have.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: Coming up, an unlikely alliance between science and religion in the fight against global warming. We will tell who is teaming up to save the environment.

Plus, how a 9-year-old boy -- yes, 9 -- managed to talk his way on to airplanes, and why his mom said he did it.

That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning right here.


CHO: The most news in the morning is right here on CNN. And here's some of what we're watching for you this morning.

An abrupt reversal from the Bush administration. The White House announcing it will get court approval before eavesdropping on potential terror suspects.

And only on CNN. Surveillance pictures of a man spilling mercury on a subway platform in Los Angeles. Authorities are now looking to find that man to rule out any possible ties to terrorism -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: A 9-year-old boy flew all the way from Sea-Tac -- that's in Seattle -- to San Antonio, Texas, with no ticket and somehow talked his way on to two airplanes, getting past security, apparently conning the agents into giving him a boarding pass.

CNN's Dan Simon tells us that's not the only ride this young man is accused of stealing.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He's just a fourth grader, but somehow Washington State authorities say Semaje Booker (ph) figured out not only how to steal a car, but to drive one as well, leading police on a high-speed chase Sunday through the streets of Tacoma, Washington, and its nearby suburbs.

LT. DAVID GUTTU, LAKEWOOD, WASHINGTON, POLICE: Speeds of to 90 miles an hour, and over by the South Hill Mall apparently lost control, or somehow -- and then the car started on fire.

SIMON: His mother told a Seattle television station he's just a troubled young kid who needs a father figure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He needs a male role model. And he's really seeking it.

SIMON: Seeking it all the way to Texas, where the boy has family. You see, one day after the police chase, Semaje (ph) turned up at the Seattle airport. Not only that, authorities say he got on a Southwest Airlines flight.

The airline tells us he posed as somebody else to get their boarding pass. How the boy knew what name to use isn't clear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't help him get on a plane. I didn't give him any money to get on a plane.

SIMON: He flew on not one, but two flights from Seattle to Phoenix, then Phoenix to San Antonio. When he tried to get on a third flight to Dallas, airport police took him into custody. Obviously there are a lot of unanswered questions. The airline tells CNN, "This is a highly unusual situation that is still being investigated."

As for how Semaje (ph) got past airport security, children don't need photo I.D., just a boarding pass, which he had. His mother says it's clear the boy needs help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We already got a plan that he's going to go stay with my sister in Illinois.

SIMON: For now, 9-year-old Semaje (ph) isn't going anywhere. He's charged with two serious crimes: car theft and evading police.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.


O'BRIEN: What a story. The mom says her son wanted to go back to Dallas, where they once lived and where his grandpa lives. This was the ninth time he's tried running away from home.

CHO: It sounds like he's a little too smart for his own good, maybe.

O'BRIEN: Resourceful, smart, but heading down the wrong road right at the moment.

CHO: That's right.


CHO: All right. Fourteen minutes after the hour. Rob Marciano, my old buddy, here in town with us.

We like that. Good morning.


Now there are going to be 9-year-old kids lining up at all sorts of ticket counters trying to get -- trying...

O'BRIEN: Me, too. Me, too.

CHO: We hope not.

MARCIANO: Blame it on CNN.


O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you very much, Rob. Appreciate that.

A stunning and unlikely alliance in the fight against global warming. A group of 28 leading evangelical Christians teaming up with top scientists, demanding the Bush administration do more to fight climate change.

We're joined by members of that alliance, scientist Eric Chivian with the Center for Health and Global Environment, and the Reverend Richard Cizik with the National Association of Evangelicals.

Gentlemen, thanks for being with us this morning. We're glad you could join us.

Let's begin with you, Dr. Chivian. If you could just explain how these seemingly groups at opposite ends of the poles here got together.

DR. ERIC CHIVIAN, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, our two groups don't usually sit on the same stage, haven't since perhaps the Scopes Monkey Trial. And we...

O'BRIEN: And that didn't go so well for either side, really.

CHIVIAN: Well, that's true.

We approached this with some trepidation, both sides, but we found that we shared a really deep reverence for life, and an enormous concern about what human activity was doing about it. And that we had to work together to solve these problems.

O'BRIEN: Reverend Cizik, do you feel the same way? I mean, what... REV. RICHARD CIZIK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EVANGELICALS: Oh, absolutely.

O'BRIEN: When the scientists said let's get together, were you a little bit -- was there some trepidation?

CIZIK: Well, to a certain degree, yes. We didn't know quite what would happen, frankly. It could have gone very well or it really could have gone bad. But I think that the evangelical record over the last few years indicates that, look, we are willing to stand up and take the criticism if it comes from the right or from whomever and say that this is our biblical duty.

So, a little bit of trepidation, absolutely, but I think it turned out beautiful. And yesterday is an example of how Evangelical Christians and scientists can put aside the debate over whether the Earth was created or it evolved to say we have a duty to care about the Earth and to address issues like habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, species extinction.

And, you know, the fact is -- and Eric is a medical doctor, he can say -- the spread of human infectious diseases is a consequence as well of climate change. And from our vantage point that's a family issue. That's a family issue.

O'BRIEN: All right. Reverend, I want to ask you, though -- you mentioned some of the debate. There's actually some debate from within your own ranks.

There's a group of leading evangelicals led by Reverend James Dobson, who many people know out there. Said this in a letter to you, in part: "Global warming is not a consensus issue, and our love for the creator and respect for his creation does not require to us take a position."

What do you say to those members of the evangelical flock who are not with you on this?

CIZIK: Oh, I say I respect them. I appreciate them. But to Dr. Dobson, of all people, I would say, this is a sanctity of human life issue.

For example, when children, 600,000 annually, one out of six children are born with mental retardation and other human disabilities associated with coal-burning utility plants and the pollution that comes from them that's then passed into our rivers and streams, eaten by fish, and then taken in by pregnant women, who pass it on to their unborn babies, now, that, to me, and to thousands and millions of evangelical Christians, this is a sanctity of human life issue.

So, to -- I say, Dr. Dobson and all the others, please join us, because we're on the same side, really, as evangelicals and as people who care. And I believe Dr. Dobson cares about these issues, absolutely.

O'BRIEN: You know, let's invite him on and see what he has to say about it.

CIZIK: OK, good.

O'BRIEN: That would be kind of interesting.

CIZIK: I think so.

O'BRIEN: Dr. Chivian, there's been a lot of talk in advance of the president's State of the Union Address next week that he's going to announce something about global warming. And, of course, rumors like this tend to be all over the map. But one of the things that we're getting fairly clearly from the White House is the president is not going to get behind any sort of imposed caps on greenhouse gas emissions. And the Bush administration thinking is that if you -- if you tie up industry in this country with these caps, you hurt the economy.

What do scientists say to that argument?

CHIVIAN: Well, the United States took the leadership role in the Montreal protocol that protected the ozone layer. And we are hoping and looking to the United States to take a similar leadership role on these issues. You know, what...

O'BRIEN: But protecting the ozone layer -- protecting the ozone layer amounted to just banning a couple of specific type of chemicals which were easily replaceable. We're talking about an economy that lives, breathes and functions on carbon.

CHIVIAN: Clearly, these issues are more complicated. But I think what's important is not just our dialogue, but what we are trying to say.

And what we are saying is that unless we reduce significantly our burning of fossil fuels, and our damaging of living species on this Earth, we will create a world which we may have trouble recognizing with irreversible changes -- more droughts, more heat waves, more famines, more floods and severe storms and infectious diseases. No one likes to think about these things, especially so early in the morning, but we must, must seriously take these threats.

And we must demand of our political leaders and our representatives that they do so as well starting now. Starting now.

O'BRIEN: So you reject the notion that this would hurt the economy?

CHIVIAN: I think there have been many studies by serious economists all over this country that have shown that, in fact, switching to an economy that is developing energy efficiency and alternative energy systems is going to be the engine of economic growth for this country in the 21st century. We do not want the United States to be behind in that growth.

O'BRIEN: A final thought here from Reverend Cizik. Reverend, there's so many things that evangelicals and scientists disagree on. And you touched on it, how the universe was created, evolution, whatever -- you can go down the list. There's not a lot of points of common ground.

Why this issue?

CIZIK: Well, I would disagree with you, Miles. We have some disagreements, yes, but let's face it, there isn't a war going on between religion and science, not really. But I'll let you continue.

O'BRIEN: But just finally, though, what is it about this scientific point that makes you come together?

CIZIK: I think it's fundamental issue here, a defining public policy issue which says for scientists it's the Earth, for evangelicals it's the creation. And we have a biblical duty as evangelical Christians that come straight from the bible. Let's not be confused about me becoming an environmentalist or a Pagan. That's what they call -- some evangelical Christians call environmentalists, neo-religions or whatever.

Look, I am a fundamental bible-believing evangelical Christian who knows that from Genesis to Revelation, this is what the bible teaches me to do, to care about the creation. And that's what I agree with Eric about.

E. O. Wilson (ph), all of us that were at the press conference yesterday, pastors, seminary professors, we are affirming this is our duty. And that's why we are pressing the Bush administration to change its policies.

O'BRIEN: All right. We've got to end it there, unfortunately. We could go on and on, of course.

We thank you very much.

The Reverend Richard Cizik, Dr. Eric Chivian, thank you both for being with us.

CIZIK: Thank you.

CHIVIAN: My pleasure.

O'BRIEN: All right -- Alina.

CHO: Coming up, another reason you should brush and floss each and every day. Not only will it save your teeth, it could prevent cancer. We'll tell you how.

And home sweet home. Get a peek at Brad and Angie or Brangelina's new place in New Orleans.

That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O'BRIEN: Well, if you're a citrus worker, you got some bad news in the form of the weather.

About 25 minutes past the hour. Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business."

Good morning, Ali.


Back in 1998 there was a big freeze in California. They lost 85 percent of the crop. We're now looking at 50 to 70 percent of the crop being destroyed by this freeze. The value of that is about a billion dollars.

Now, there are 12,500 farm workers and packers employed in this industry, and then hundreds more truckers who take this juice in. The government -- Governor Schwarzenegger has said that they will be supporting those workers who are out of work with food programs, temporary housing and energy assistance. You won't get unemployment if you're not able to legally prove that you can work, but everybody will get the other forms of assistance because of this.

Now, frozen orange juice is a traded commodity, like oil. It trades on the exchanges. And it has gone up by 7 cents, for those of you who are interested in knowing. It is now $2.07 a pound, which is about the highest it's ever been.

That's going to find its way to your stores. People are going to be paying more for this. And also, Florida, which is the number one producer of oranges and orange juice in the country, is producing one of its smallest crops ever. It's a lot smaller than it was last year for other reasons, not just the weather.

O'BRIEN: Hurricane issues and other issues there.

VELSHI: Yes. So you're going to -- you're going to feel this. You're going to -- you're going to get -- pay higher prices for citrus and for the juices.

O'BRIEN: All right. Ali, thank you very much.

CHO: Thanks for the bad news.


CHO: Thanks a lot.

Top stories of the morning coming up next, including a CNN exclusive. Surveillance video showing a toxic spill in a subway station. Questions about where this man is and what he was trying to do.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.


O'BRIEN: A CNN exclusive. Surveillance pictures of a man spilling or pouring toxic liquid onto a subway platform. He's still missing and authorities are asking questions about terrorism.

CHO: Breaking ranks. Republican senators taking a defiant stand against President Bush's plan to send thousands of new troops to Iraq.

O'BRIEN: And we're paging Dr. Gutpa. Floss for your health. Now we know it can help your teeth and your heart, but it may actually keep cancer at bay as well. We'll tell about that on this on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning to you. Thursday, January 18th. I'm Miles O'Brien.

CHO: And I'm Alina Cho in for Soledad. Thanks for joining us. Happening this morning, two prominent Republican senators breaking ranks with President Bush on Iraq.

Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine are supporting a new bipartisan resolution. It opposes the White House plan to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq. We talked to Senator Hagel earlier on AMERICAN MORNING. He says the resolution is an important first step.


SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: This is the beginning of a national debate on what we should do. No one is suggesting Soledad, in this resolution, I never have, I don't think any of my colleagues up here have, to cut and run, to leave Iraq in the mess that it's in. We are not talking about that. We are talking about better ways to do it. Included in this resolution are some of those ways.


CHO: Senator Chuck Hagel speaking to Soledad earlier this morning. At the White House, a spokesman promises the move will not change President Bush's mind.

At least 17 people are dead in a series of blasts in Baghdad this morning. Dozens more injured in the third straight day of bombings in Iraq's capital. At least ten people dead after three car bombs exploded near a vegetable market in a Sunni neighborhood.

In California, homicide detectives are investigating the death of Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old mother of three who died after drinking nearly two gallons of water in a radio station contest.

The Sacramento County sheriff's department launched the investigation after officers listened to a tape of the show broadcast by station KDND in Sacramento. Here is part of that broadcast.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jennifer, I heard you are not doing too well.



STRANGE: They keep telling me that it's the water, that it will tell my head to hurt and then it will make me puke, but ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who told you that, the intern?



STRANGE: It hurts but it makes you feel light-headed, so I'm not sure if I'm like ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what it feels like when you're drowning. There's a lot of water inside of you.

STRANGE: Oh, it hurts.


CHO: Just an awful story. The woman, Jennifer Strange, was found dead at her home about five hours after the contest of apparent water intoxication. The radio station has fired ten staffers.

And southern California's nearly week-long cold snap takes a surreal turn. A rare snowstorm in the canyons above Malibu. A stretch of Interstate 5 between the Los Angeles basin and the San Joaquin Valley was closed overnight, but authorities hope to have it reopened later this morning -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: On now to Los Angeles and a CNN exclusive. Authorities there are searching for a man who may be plotting some kind of terror attack. He spilled mercury on a subway platform. Might have been malicious, might have been a mistake or maybe it might have been a dry run for a real attack.

We have learned that the police response to that spill, whatever it was, shockingly slow.

Deborah Feyerick is here a the story you'll see only on CNN. Good morning Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Miles. Well, four weeks after a mercury spill on the Los Angeles subway and in response to numerous inquiries by CNN, the FBI is now asking the public for help to find the man who spilled the hazardous material and question him to determine if it was an accident or not.

A statement released late last night says the task force is hopeful that the subject and any witnesses to the incident will come forward.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FEYERICK (voice-over): What do these pictures mean? Especially in a post-9/11 world when what appears ordinary may be the key to a future terror attack?

This surveillance video obtained exclusively by CNN shows the Pershing Square subway station in Los Angeles late Friday before Christmas. A man in a brown jacket crouches on the platform and spills a silvery liquid from a small bottle. An accident? Maybe. Except the liquid turns out to be mercury. About five fluid ounces.

KEN ROBINSON, TERRORISM EXPERT: Doesn't make sense. The only thing that does make sense is to find him and interrogate him.

FEYERICK (on camera): The fact it doesn't make sense, is that what bothers you the most?

ROBINSON: Yes. Because the -- he's got a heavy metal, and he's taking it into a subway. There's no good reason to do that. None.

FEYERICK: Ken Robinson, a terrorism expert who worked intelligence in the Pentagon, has analyzed hundreds of al Qaeda tapes for CNN.

When you look at this incident, do you think in your mind that this is a dry run for a terror attack?

ROBINSON: I for sure think that it should be treated as if it is.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Mercury, found in thermometers is dangerous when swallowed, but spilling it would have no immediate toxic effect. That's one reason the L.A. County sheriff's department, in charge of the investigation, believes the spill was likely an accident. Also, the man who spilled it placed a call moments after from a call box alerting authorities.

STEVE WHITMORE, L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: At this point, we are relatively confident it is not a credible threat.

FEYERICK: But a 2005 joint FBI and Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin warns terrorists may make calls to test police reaction.

In the case of the spilled mercury, according to the hazmat cleanup report read to CNN, law enforcement did not respond for a full eight hours. Pat D'amuro, now a CNN analyst, was a top FBI counterterrorism agent. He says it's premature to rule out terror.

PAT D'AMURO, GIULIANI SECURITY AND SAFETY: I'm not saying that in this video these individuals are terrorists but there's some very strange activity that needs to be identified here.

FEYERICK: The sheriff who oversees the investigation, sent out an alert to be on the lookout for a man described as white or Middle Eastern, wanted in connection with a possible act of terror. Four weeks later, the FBI in Los Angeles sent out its own bulletin, saying the man is still wanted for questioning in connection with unexplained activity.


FEYERICK: Several law enforcement people we spoke with said that the intelligence should have been shared more widely and more quickly so that authorities at the federal, state, and local levels could all have had a chance to analyze it together -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: You and our experts have gone through this tape numerous times at this point obviously. And there's some things that are kind of -- the way his hands are moving that seem a little odd. What have you been able to glean from that?

FEYERICK: What we learned by talking to a number of people who looked at the tape is that there's a possibility he had a device on his belt and that he was actually filming the incident when he spills it and then jumps back.

The way he's positioning his body. It's almost as if he has his belt looking at how the mercury is going to react. And then later, when he walks straight to the camera, you clearly see that there's something on his belt. It's not a cell phone, you wouldn't wear a cell phone right in the middle of your belt buckle. So that's one of the possibilities to that they are looking at.

O'BRIEN: So some kind of camera to document for whatever reason what he was doing.

FEYERICK: Well, surveillance. Terrorist groups do due diligence. They feed the material back to the people who are planning to see what works, what doesn't work, and how they can be successful.

O'BRIEN: So might have been feeding back in almost real time even then possibly? Wow, very interesting. Deb Feyerick, thank you very much -- Alina.

CHO: Happening in America, in Colorado, murder charges against 36-year-old Jean Johnson for at least two deaths after a fire gutted a Colorado Springs apartment complex.

Police say that Johnson did not live in the complex, about two dozen people were injured, many more still accounted for. Police say they are looking for other suspects.

In Utah, a 40-year-old woman spent nine cold, wet hours trapped in this car after she drove off the highway near Salt Lake City. The car careened down an embankment, crashed through a chain link fence and landed nose first in a construction ditch.

The woman was shaken and cold but not seriously hurt and says she blacked out around midnight. Construction workers found her in the morning. Actress Lindsay Lohan checks into rehab. "US Weekly" magazine reports the 20-year-old star of "Mean Girls" and "Freaky Friday" has checked into the exclusive Wonderland center in Hollywood.

Lohan says she is making a quote "proactive decision" to take care of her personal health. Last December Lohan said she had been attending alcoholics anonymous meetings for about a year.

And in Louisiana, home sweet home for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in New Orleans. An 1830s French Quarter mansion. The couple apparently shelled out about $3.5 million bucks for it. Jolie and Pitt plan to send their three children to school in New Orleans -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Wow. Nice digs. You know there's nothing worse than a doctor's handwriting. And sometimes that can actually lead to serious mistakes at the pharmacy. So why not get rid of the chicken scrawl and the paper and just put it all online? But are there pit falls with this idea as well? CNN's Jackie Schechner likes to look into such matters. She joins us with word of a new idea.

JACKIE SCHECHNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've been baffled before, so I'm sure everybody is. A company called All Scripts developed this web-based software that connects your doctor's computer with your local pharmacy's computer.

Now no one has to decipher your doctor's handwriting. It is all there, nice and neat in the computer. Now, with some pharmacy computers, the prescription that the doctor types up, will actually become the label, cutting out the middle man entirely. All Scripts says that this will prevent two-thirds of all mistakes on the pharmacy side. And one recent study says that 1.5 million preventable accidents happen each year when pharmacists fill out their prescriptions.

But is putting prescriptions online safe? Could somebody easily hack into the system? Think about it as a virtual equivalent of stealing a doctor's prescription pad. Well All Scripts says that they are using similar security models that you'd find in online banking or online trading.

For example, when a doctor registers, All Scripts will confirm his or her DEA number, that's the number that's already on the prescription pad and their state license number. Then they are going to go through years of old records and ask the doctor personal questions.

For example, what was the color of your car in 1978? Questions that only the doctor himself would know. Also, All Scripts says it will monitor doctor's prescribing habits, so that if the company sees a sudden spike in prescriptions for controlled substances or a dramatic change in the times that prescriptions are coming through, they will follow up with the doctor.

Now right now the program is used by 30,000 doctors and generates millions of prescriptions per year and the program is growing. The software costs thousands of dollars, but starting February 1st, the company is going to offer the service to doctors for free.

O'BRIEN: Why would they offer it for free? What would they get out of that deal?

SCHECHNER: Well they have a whole consortium of companies who have actually funded this to make it available so that it is all online, so that they can really prevent these accidents. That's what they are really most concerned about.

O'BRIEN: It's amazing how resistant the medical community has been to moving away from paper files in general.

SCHECHNER: It is actually incredibly surprising. You'd be surprised, but they are all automating it. The biggest concern of course is safety and how quickly can somebody hack into a system like this. But they say that they've got all of the measures in place to combat hacking, so we'll see.

O'BRIEN: All right. One sure sign of security, that handwriting. There's not anybody who can read it if they got a hold of that pad.

SCHECHNER: If you can't read, how can a pharmacist going to read it.

O'BRIEN: That's the problem. All right, thank you Jackie -- Alina.

CHO: Coming up, what do clean teeth and cancer have in common? Turns out quite a lot. Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us about a new connection between flossing and cancer.

And slick roads are to blame for dozens of deaths around the country this week. Coming up, lessons from winter driving school that could save your life. You are watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.



CHO: Two pieces of good news in the war on cancer. For the second year in a row, the number of cancer deaths in the U.S. has dropped, down about 3,000 cases. Doctors say people are getting diagnosed earlier and fewer people are smoking.

And some promising research that will make you reach for your floss this morning. Keeping up with your brushing and flossing might actually lower your risk of one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has that in this morning's "House Call." Hey Sanjay, good morning. You're there with Monique understand?


CHO: Dominique. Tell us about the study.

O'BRIEN: I messed up. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Dominique.

GUPTA: Yes, no, it's OK. It is some good news as you mentioned Alina. They say that flossing can cure just about everything, and that's not necessarily true, but there's good news as far as its relationship with pancreatic cancer.

It turns out that periodontal disease, gum disease can actually double your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Pretty surprising to a lot of people, but we have known for some time that there is a link between periodontal disease and other diseases, such as heart disease, such as diabetes.

And this latest story, a study rather about the link between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer just lends more evidence to that. There's this belief that if you have inflammation in your mouth, you have this low-grade infection in your body, it can facilitate tumor growth. That's what people believe is happening as far as the relationship goes.

Now the pancreas itself, the bad news is, it's one of the deadliest cancers out there -- only about 5 percent of people who are diagnosed with this actually live beyond five years. The good news is we are coming up with preventive strategies to try and deal with this.

I want to show you what we are talking here specifically with Dominique. First of all, we removed the liver, we removed the stomach. The pancreas is right here. It's about a six-inch long organ sort of in the back.

And what it does is produces digestive enzymes to help you digest foods. It produces insulin as well to help control your blood sugars. Sometimes it can fail, which is why it leads to diabetes and sometimes it can go remarkably wrong which happens with pancreatic cancer. That can be a terrible cancer, a painful cancer and a difficult one to treat. So this is some good news possibly Alina.

CHO: All right. So, you may know that you don't brush and floss every day. A lot of people don't do that unfortunately. But periodontal disease is hard to detect, right? So, how do you know if you have it?

GUPTA: It can be hard to detect. Well, first of all, there are certain risk factors, things that will put you at higher risk for it. Smoking is one that you have to talk about, that's always going to be a concern. Also certain medications. If you are taking steroids or oral contraceptives, you need to be more vigilant about gum disease as well.

If you have crooked teeth or if you had a bridge or an old filling, for example that needs to be replaced, those could be concerns as well. Things to specifically look for, swollen gums, bleeding gums as well. persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth -- that can be a sign of gum disease. Or just teeth that are loose or separating obviously if they are falling out, that's a problem, that could all be signs of gum disease as well. These are things to look for, but your best obviously is to go see your dentist.

CHO: All right. I may not do a lot of things, but I do brush and floss twice a day.

GUPTA: There you go.

CHO: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks for joining us. We'll see you later -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: CNN NEWSROOM just moments away, Heidi Collins at the CNN Center. Heidi, you look like a flosser.

COLLINS: God, I'm a flosser and I'm trying to -- Dominique is still here, so take her away.

O'BRIEN: Kind of freaky isn't it, yes.

COLLINS: She's a little freaky, yes.

Coming up today on the NEWSROOM this morning.

Michael Devlin, arraigned next hour in Missouri. See it live in the NEWSROOM. Police are trying to find out now if Devlin is involved in two other kidnapping cases.

And only on CNN, a man puts a toxic substance on an L.A. subway platform. It takes law enforcement eight hours to respond.

And cowboy blues. A rodeo rider trampled and kicked. An angry 1,700 pound bull on a body-bruising rampage. We'll talk to you about that.

Meanwhile Tony Harris and me will be coming up in the NEWSROOM. We get started at the top of the hour right here on CNN. Miles back to you.

O'BRIEN: I don't think flossing was going to help him for sure. hat -- ooh, boy. All right.


O'BRIEN: All right. We'll be tuning in. Coming up, go behind the wheel at winter driving school. Some important tips to keep you safe when the roads turn dangerous. You are watching AMERICAN MORNING.


CHO: Welcome back. All across the country winter weather is making for some pretty rough conditions on the roads and highways. But you can learn to be a better driver when the roads are bad.

CNN's Rob Marciano went to winter driving school. hey Rob good morning, so what was that like?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it was a lot of fun as you can imagine because it was a safe environment. We were on a closed track with no other cars to deal with.

But the whole object is to avoid scenes like we have been showing you all week. So, class is in. Sit back, pay attention, and take some notes.


MARCIANO (voice over): You think you've got winter driving skills? Or is this more your style? No worries. The pros are here to help.

KURT SPITZNER, WINTER DRIVING INSTRUCTOR: We have a saying in the business. It's called hands and feet follow the eye. If you are staring at what you are about to hit, you are going to hit it. If you make yourself look somewhere else, almost instinctively your hands and your feet will figure it out.

MARCIANO: Of course, slowing down is essential. Winter driving instructor Kurt Spitzner explains how to use today's antilock brakes.

SPITZNER: When you use antilock brakes -- in other words, you are feeling that chatter against your foot -- that you leave your foot firmly on that pedal until the slowing down or stopping situation has come to an end.

MARCIANO (on camera): Don't pump the brakes?

SPITZNER: Absolutely not. Come on down and brakes. Let's try it just a little bit slower this time. And brakes.

The thing to remember about antilock brakes is that it doesn't necessarily shorten your stopping distances, but it does improve your control.

MARCIANO (voice over): In other words, don't tailgate.

(on camera): Kurt, what's the first thing that somebody should think about when they start to feel their car slide?

SPITZNER: Well, they need to identify what kind of skid they are having. There's two types of skids. One is called understeer, one is called oversteer.

MARCIANO (voice over): Oversteer is when the back end slides out. Understeer is when your wheels are turned but the car keeps going straight. And Kurt says, in that situation, you need to get off the brake.

SPITZNER: And go for the brakes. Go for the steering. Nothing steers. Let go of the brakes. The car steers.

MARCIANO (on camera): God, it takes you right out of it

SPITZNER: Absolutely.

MARCIANO (voice over): An oversteer slide is one most people have experienced. Instincts tell the driver to hit the brakes, but you need to get the weight on the rear tires. You need to hit the gas.

SPITZNER: The back end comes around. Turn to the right, add a little bit of throttle, it settles right down. Beautiful. Notice how we didn't add any speed.


MARCIANO: Boy, it's a lot easier on a closed track than in traffic when you've got cars all around you. I guess, a couple things I took away from that. Look away from the bad stuff.

O'BRIEN: So you were looking at the cones when you hit them? is that what happened?

MARCIANO: Pretty much. But your eyes kind of will lead the rest of you. And the anti-lock brakes, you just want to hammer those brakes and press it down to the floor and make sure ...

CHO: Must have been a dream come true for you.

MARCIANO: It was a lot of fun for sure.

CHO: All right. Thank you Rob.

O'BRIEN: Thank you Rob. Thanks for being here, we'll see you tomorrow.

Here's a quick look at what's coming up on CNN's NEWSROOM at the top of the hour.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): See these stories in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Missouri kidnapping suspect arraigned next hour. Police try to find out if Michael Devlin is behind two other kidnappings.

President Bush reversing course on wiretaps without warrants. The attorney general facing questions about the program next hour on Capitol Hill.

Live free or die. A New Hampshire couple challenging the tax man. You're in the NEWSROOM, 9:00 a.m. Eastern. 6:00 Pacific.


CHO: Fresh out of time. That's all for this AMERICAN MORNING.

O'BRIEN: Thanks for dropping by. Soledad will be back tomorrow. She's on assignment right now. CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris and Heidi Collins begins right now.