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American Morning

FBI Answering Questions About How Often They Were Searching Our Private Information; Hepatitis in Hollywood

Aired March 09, 2007 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: The FBI answering questions this morning just about how often they were searching our private information.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Unwelcome in Latin America. Protesters battle police as President Bush kicks off his good will tour.

S. O'BRIEN: Hepatitis in Hollywood. Should all food workers be required to get a vaccine? Is that even possible?

We're live this morning from Brazil, from London, from Washington, and in New York on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Welcome back, everybody. Friday, March 9th. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: I'm Miles O'Brien. We're glad you're with us this morning.

We begin in Washington and some very tough questions about our civil liberties. A report being released this morning accusing the FBI of reaching into our private records a lot more often than we first thought. Brianna Keilar getting the latest information for us, from D.C., she joins us there live.

Good morning, Brianna.


One official who has seen this report tells CNN the FBI under- reported its requests for personal information. Information like phone, Internet and financial records by 20 percent; this is a practice protected by the Patriot Act. The FBI can do this without a court order. And the FBI gets its information through national security letters. That's what the requests are called.

According to "The Washington Post", the FBI had about 19,000 of these national security letters in 2005 alone. Overall, that amounted to almost 50,000 individual requests for personal information, and a Justice Department spokesperson, a spokeswoman, says that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is not happy with the results of this audit. And that he has told FBI Director Robert Mueller that past mistakes won't be tolerated -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: So, have we heard officially from the FBI, from Mr. Mueller about this? KEILAR: No official comment from the FBI. They're not going to comment until this report is released, later this morning, is what we're told. But FBI Director Robert Mueller is expected to brief reporters this morning, and also there is an event later today where Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may take some questions. But from that official who did see this report, they say it's more about shoddy bookkeeping than actually any gross violations of law.

M. O'BRIEN: Brianna Keilar in Washington, watching it for us. Thank you.


S. O'BRIEN: President Bush is in Brazil right now and it wasn't exactly a warm welcome for the first part of his Latin America tour. Thousands of protesters are angry about the war in Iraq; and they're also leery about a deal over ethanol. CNN's Elaine Quijano is traveling with the president, in San Paulo.

Good morning to you, Elaine.


In addition to that, the White House insists that President Bush's five-nation Latin America tour is not an anti-Hugo Chavez tour, but, clearly, President Bush is trying to improve the United States image, mindful of Chavez's own attempts to widen his influence.


QUIJANO (voice over): President Bush wants to talk ethanol with Brazilian President Lula de Silva.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's in our national security interest and our economic security interests -- and for environmental concerns, to develop alternatives to gasoline.

QUIJANO: The two are expected to sign a deal encouraging with greater ethanol cooperation. With much of the U.S.'s ethanol coming from corn, some Republicans say the deal could hurt America's corn growers and ethanol producers.

REP. STEVE KING (R-IW): We need to build here in this country, not provide so that we can build it in a competing country.

QUIJANO: Experts say the ethanol deal and the focus on Brazil play into a larger, unspoken goal for the president's seven-day swing through the region.

PAULO SOTERO, DIR., BRAZIL INSTITUTE, WOODROW WILSON CTR.: By highlighting, for instance, President Lula, by acknowledging Brazil as the largest and most stable democracy in South America, you are, in a way counter President Chavez.

QUIJANO: Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez has called President Bush the devil and has sought to tap into anti-American sentiment in the region. With his country awash in oil, Chavez has used that revenue to spread his influence throughout the hemisphere. Feeding off what some say U.S. neglect of Latin America after September 11th.

SOTERO: The trip was perceived in Brazil, and the other parts of the region, as little bit of too little, too late. But late is better than never.


QUIJANO: Later today when President Bush arrives in Uruguay for a state visit, Hugo Chavez will actually be set to lead a rally just across the river at a soccer stadium in Argentina. And, Soledad, for the White House just how to response to Hugo Chavez will be an interesting question, indeed. Of course, officials know Chavez's rhetoric does appeal to some. At the same time, the U.S. has to be careful not to elevate Chavez in it's response -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Elaine Quijano in San Paulo for us this morning. Thanks, Elaine.

I'll be in Mexico on Tuesday. We're broadcasting live as President Bush meets with the Mexican President Calderon. We'll take a look at the immigration crises from that side of the border. That's on Tuesday right here on AMERICAN MORNING -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: When it comes to the economy and it's relative health, it's the jobs, stupid. And this morning we're going to hear how we're doing on the job front; a big unemployment report due out shortly. Ali Velshi here with a preview.

Hello, Ali.


Just a little under an hour and a half away from the monthly unemployment report where you'll have a rate in this country of 4.6 percent. And most people expect it to stay there. There are economists think it might tick up to 4.7 percent.

This is historically low. Look at what it looks like across the nation. We don't have the same story across the nation. We have states in green, which you'll see, those are 4.6 percent, or lower, and states in red 4.7 percent or higher; higher than 4.6.

Here's the thing, I talk about earnings' reports, company earnings, now and then. I am sure some people watching think why do I need to know about company earnings? Company earnings show you about the health of America's companies. If the company's are healthy that means they continue to expand and employ people. There is probably no bigger variable in whether or not we'll have a recession than whether people continue to be employed.

Housing is a big deal, but you don't refinance your house every day. You don't buy and sell every day. You work every day and get paid for that work every day. The unemployment situation is probably the single most important thing that we're going to be looking at.

Now, after the stock sell offs, we have had in the last couple of weeks, we've made a lot of that ground back, but we're not all the way there yet. The Dow was up 69 points yesterday, Nasdaq up, the S&P up. Today, if that unemployment rate comes in at 4.6 percent, or lower -- and shows good job creation. There are two components to the employment report. Unemployment as a percentage and the number of jobs created or lost.

If both of those things are OK, we'll probably see the stock market do well. If they're not, it's one more thing to put into the mix of whether or not we're headed for recession.

M. O'BRIEN: Is the Street already expecting a bad report?

VELSHI: Most people are expecting it to be good, but there's probably 20 to 25 percent of economists out there who think there's a chance it could go the other way.

M. O'BRIEN: Ali, thank you.

VELSHI: All right.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: The White House is promising to veto a new plan to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq. House Democrats came up with a timetable that could bring troops home by the end of this year if the Iraqi government fails to meet security requirements. Senate Democrats want to bring the troops home by next March. And that plan is tied to renewed diplomatic, political, and economic strategies to end the war.

Speaking of diplomatic strategies, it looks as if the White House is opening the doors to talks with Iran and Syria. It's supposed to happen at a conference this weekend in Baghdad. And on one condition, CNN State Department Correspondent Zain Verjee is in Washington for us this morning.

Zain, good morning to you. What's the one condition?


After months of playing hard to get, the U.S. is showing that -- it's in the mood.


VERJEE (voice over): It may be coy, but just a wink, but the U.S. is flirting with Iran and Syria. The idea, talk one-on-one, but only about Iraq. Special adviser to Iraq, David Satterfield, heads to a conference this weekend on how to fix Iraq. Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria, will be there.

Satterfield says, "If we are approached over orange juice by the Syrians or the Iranians to discuss an Iraqi-related issue, we're not going to walk away."

U.S. Officials tell CNN the offer to talk is on the table. And, so far, Iran isn't showing interest. The U.S. accuses Iran of arming Iraqi militias and insurgents with deadly explosives that kill U.S. forces. The American military has detained Iranian operatives in Iraq. U.S. officials say a regional conference will put Iran's activities in the spotlight.

SEAN MCCORMACK, SPOKESMAN, STATE DEPT.: That certainly is positive. It certainly has, I would argue, a different dynamic, than the Iranians being able to operate in the shadows.

VERJEE: Iranian officials say they help the U.S. in Afghanistan in 2001, but later got burned when President Bush stuck them in the axis of evil.

AFSHIN MOLAVI, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: They're going to come into these talks with heavy doses of caution, but I think there is a certain amount of hope that these talks will expand beyond the limited issue of Iraq.


VERJEE: There's a high-level meeting, Soledad, planned for next month. The State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack also says if Secretary Rice, herself had a chance to talk directly to Iran and Syria, even she wouldn't walk away -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you think there are risks to being involved in this conference, to having the United States and Iran and Syria all sitting around the same table?

VERJEE: There is a danger. You know, the U.S. could look like it's rethinking its policy towards countries that it essentially accuses of supporting terror. Also, you know, countries in the region have their own competing agendas. Many of them are worried about the rising power of Shia Iran and they want to try to contain it. Arab Sunnis in the region, Soledad, really want the Sunnis in Iraq to have more power and the Shias don't want that.

The U.S. is going to find itself squarely in the middle of all of this at this conference, so, it's playing down expectations. And many experts are saying don't expect any real breakthroughs here.

S. O'BRIEN: Zain Verjee for us in our Washington, D.C., bureau. Thank you, Zain.


M. O'BRIEN: Another command change at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Army creating a new job there, the official title is deputy commanding general; unofficially known as the, Bureaucracy Buster. The man charged with cutting the red tape, Brigadier General Michael Tucker, his responsibility, troubleshooting problems that wounded soldiers and their families encounter -- Soledad. S. O'BRIEN: In Massachusetts the governor there is blasting federal immigration agents for a green card raid that he called heavy handed. You can see some pictures of that raid.

The feds already flying 150 of those people caught up in the raid to Texas from Massachusetts. Happened in New Bedford at a leather mill; more than 300 allegedly illegal immigrants, most of them women, were arrested. And 60 mothers had to be released so they could take care of her kids. And the governor says nobody else should be flown out of the state until they can be sure that no children will be left without a parent.


GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D-MA): There's stories of humiliation, of fear, of anxiety and uncertainty that reflect, I think -- for me, not what this country at its best is about.


S. O'BRIEN: One mother had to be released when her baby was hospitalized with dehydration because the baby was nursing and the mother wasn't around. Now officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement are defending their actions. They say they're trying to treat the detainees humanly -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, close to record cold this morning, but you may be able to -- just maybe -- put away the scarf and mittens this weekend. Severe Weather Expert Chad Myers tells us what is in store. Sounds like it would be bad luck to do that, though. So maybe hold off.

Plus, Hollywood's hepatitis scare. Should food workers be required to be vaccinated? Is that even possible? The most news in the morning right here on CNN.


M. O'BRIEN: Most news in the morning, right here, on CNN.

The FBI under fire this morning, accused of underreporting the number of requests, under the Patriot Act, to get our private information.

Murders and robberies up more than 10 percent in a dozen big cities over the last couple of years. A report due out today by the Police Executive Research Forum, that's a think tank that handles law enforcement.

It is now about a quarter past the hour. Chad Myers at the Weather Center, he's watching the temperatures for us.


S. O'BRIEN: Here's a question: Should restaurant workers be forced to get hepatitis A vaccines? It is a question, in fact, that some cities are seriously pondering after hepatitis scares. The most recent one was very public. It happened at a party that was thrown after a "Sports Illustrated" cover shoot in Hollywood, catered by the famous Wolfgang Puck. It turned out that one of the workers had hepatitis A. AMERICAN MORNING's Chris Lawrence has the story from New York.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit party showed off plenty of skin, but also exposed L.A.'s ongoing problem: Outbreaks of hepatitis A at catered events and restaurants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The public health department needs to be aggressive and ensuring that food handlers are all healthy and not endangering our public.

LAWRENCE: Los Angeles County has seen about 400 cases in hep A in each of the last two years. Supervisors have ordered health officials to examine what it would take to make vaccinations mandatory for all 100,000 food service workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It protects the public.

LAWRENCE: You might expect agreement from food safety experts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just not sure that it's worth the cost.

LAWRENCE: Restaurant owners would have to fork over $200 per vaccination and some say, that's too much for an industry with high turnover.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Workers need to be vaccinated twice, about six months apart. For many workers, they would never reach that six- month vaccination. So, vaccination is not a cure all.

LAWRENCE: Some consider Manhattan the food capitol of the free world. But the New York State Restaurant Association told me "a mandatory order would be overkill". And the Chicago health department says "mandatory vaccination is not under consideration, and we're satisfied that our ordinance is sufficient."

Thing is, other cities have bet on the requirement and won big. In 1998, the last year before it made vaccinations mandatory Las Vegas had more than 200 cases of hepatitis A. Last year, only seven. Chris Lawrence, CNN.


S. O'BRIEN: Straight ahead this morning, some new unemployment numbers coming out today. We'll talk to Ali Velshi about that as he breaks it down for us. That's straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) S. O'BRIEN: Most news in the morning is right here on CNN.

The FBI is under fire today for how it uses the Patriot Act. The watchdog group accusing the agency of underreporting, by a lot. Just how often it seeks access to private information without warrants.

In Indonesia, plots say it was a violent drown draft that caused that 737 to crash in Yogyakarta. And 22 people died, 118 others, though, were able to survive.

M. O'BRIEN: We are springing forward earlier this year. It happens this weekend. Matter of fact, it's so early it's not really even spring. So, but winter forward doesn't really work very well, does it? Congress moved the clock -- uh, moving -- three weeks earlier, supposedly to save energy.

That, apparently, is a dubious claim. And there's a lot of unintended consequences. AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken went to the place where we all set our clocks.

Whether we're there or not, because that's the official timekeepers right there at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington.

Hello, Bob.


Here you thought this is just where the vice president lived. If he wants to set his clock, all he has to do is look outside. Once this massive truck passes me, you'll see that there is a clock, which reflects the atomic clock inside. It is 7:22:38, Eastern Time, right now. In case you want to set your watches.

Of course, it is all going to move up an hour on Sunday morning at 2 o'clock. And a whole lot of people are not happy about that.


FRANKEN (voice over): The airline industry calls the jump ahead an onerous challenge. It messes up schedules, particularly overseas. The literally down-to-earth farmers don't like it either. Of course, they never did like Daylight Savings Time. They already get up early enough.

And it confuses their cows. It upsets the milking schedule. It can also really play havoc with Saturday night, Sunday morning's bar time. So, if you're among those who are not pleased. Blame this guy.

REP. ED MARKEY (D-MA): It lowers the number of traffic fatalities when the hour of daylight is moved to the evening. It helps people who have trouble seeing because in the light they can move around in the evening, much more freely. It helps with the issue of energy savings.

FRANKEN: Congressman Ed Markey basis his conclusions on those energy reductions, on studies done, in the 1970s. But many U.S. government officials are skeptical, pointing out that was then, and this is now.

CRAIG STEVENS, DEPT. OF ENERGY: Today we have energy efficiency. Today we have conservation. Today we have better technologies and better appliances. So, I think we're all going to be curious, once this is all over in November, to see what the difference is.

FRANKEN: The law requires that in November the Energy Department will begin to study whether the extended Daylight Savings Time really did make much of a difference.

But according to Congressman Markey, an idea whose time has come, an hour earlier, of course.

MARKEY: In addition, it brings a smile to people's faces.


FRANKEN: Well, maybe not to everybody's face, but just think, Miles, on Monday morning, we'll get to see each other an hour earlier. Whoopee.

M. O'BRIEN: Whoopee, whoopee, it is. All right. Well, it's just going to be that much darker. It is still dark. What is the difference when you get up at 4 in the morning, right?

FRANKEN: That's true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sunshine Franken.

S. O'BRIEN: Yeah, exactly.

M. O'BRIEN: Bright, sunny Bob.

S. O'BRIEN: The silver ling man.

M. O'BRIEN: Hey, Bob, quick, what time is it? No just kidding.

FRANKEN: Well --

M. O'BRIEN: Anyway.

S. O'BRIEN: He's teasing you, Bob. Don't worry about answering that.

Lots of debate about the "R" word, recession. Yes or no? Are we in one or heading to one, or not in one at all? Ali Velshi is watching that for us.

M. O'BRIEN: We could talk our way into one, couldn't we?

VELSHI: This is all about talking.

M. O'BRIEN: Yeah.

VELSHI: Remember Alan Greenspan, after almost 20 years of being virtually indecipherable he chooses last week to make a very clear point.


VELSHI (voice over): In an interview last week the masterfully obtuse former Federal Reserve chief says he think there's is a one- third probability that the U.S. will slip into a recession by the end of the year.

From the current chief, a different story.

BEN BERNANKE, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: We're looking for moderate growth in the U.S. economy going forward. There's a reasonable possibility that we'll see some strengthening in the economy sometime during the middle of the year.

VELSHI: Not only is Bernanke saying no recession, he's betting on a stronger economy. So, who do you believe Bernanke, on the job for a year, or Greenspan, who held the post for 18 years? Some economists are going with Greenspan.

JAN HATZIUS, GOLDMAN SACHS: What he said, from my perspective, is quite reasonable. It's not a million miles away from what at least some private sector economists have been saying for quite some time.

VELSHI: Now, just to be clear the economy is growing right now, but by a relatively paltry 2.2 percent. And to keep it growing, Americans need to keep spending. A continued housing slump means consumers can't keep refinancing their homes to get cash. And while the jobless rate is low, so is consumer confidence. February's disappointing retail sales numbers prove that when Americans are worried about their financial future, they hold on to their wallets.

So, if a recession is a possibility, even a small one, why is Bernanke standing by while someone else tells us?

CARL RICCARDONNA, DEUTSCHE BANK: That's really what he has to do as chairman, is sort of be the reassuring father figure, or protector figure, for the economy. Former Chairman Greenspan now that he's out of his role at the Fed has the luxury of being a little bit more of a -- I don't know if I would necessarily say a fire brand -- but he can take a more opinionated tone.


VELSHI: Now, it's important to remember that recessions are not high science. People cause recessions when they worry about what interest rates and stock markets and housing prices and layoffs are going to mean to them. So, if you think a recession is coming, you might actually start spending less and, inadvertently, help trigger a recession.

M. O'BRIEN: So, Alan Greenspan, and now us are just -- got the ball rolling?

VELSHI: We're get -- that's every time I talk about this --

M. O'BRIEN: Aiding and abetting.

VELSHI: We're aiding and abetting. Start spending.

M. O'BRIEN: OK. That's your fault.

VELSHI: Right.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you.

Top stories of the morning, coming up. We're right in the frontlines of the protest against President Bush's on his swing through Latin America.

And there's this: A deadly crash landing for a helicopter in Hawaii. Just after the FAA changed all the regulations for flying those flights. What went wrong?

Plus, a whole controversy over a 9/11 memorial for New Jersey. It's all about location, location, location. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. Most news in the morning right here.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Good morning to you, Friday, March 9th. I'm Miles O'Brien.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: And I'm Soledad O'Brien. Thanks for being with us. We are watching a couple of developing stories for you this morning. A new report coming out about just how often the FBI went after private information without notifying people that they were the subject of some kind of search. Talking to our legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, about the consequences this morning.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll find out where a national security letter is as a matter of fact.

We're preparing to spring forward, way forward, this weekend moving up the clocks three weeks earlier than we're used to. It's not even spring, just dispense with that for a moment. Why do we have to go through this? What do we gain, if anything? We're going to talk to a man who knows an awful lot about daylight savings time. He wrote a book on it.

S. O'BRIEN: And then you know about the 9/11 memorial that has been really contested in New York City. Believe it or not, there is another 9/11 memorial and it's also in the middle of a big battle, a September 11th tribute, big showdown just across the river from ground zero.

M. O'BRIEN: Also happening right now, President Bush is in Brazil, not exactly getting a warm reception on the first leg of his trip to Latin America. Police in Colombia already have their hands full with protesters. The president isn't even there yet. He'll arrive in Colombia on Sunday. Right now Air Force one is in the capital of Brazil and so is our Elaine Quijano live, actually, that's not the capital of Brazil. She joins us live from Sao Paolo, though, hello, Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you Miles. That's exactly right, Brazilia would be the capital of Brazil. But here in Sao Paolo, President Bush is looking forward to talking about ethanol. This is an issue of course as you know, near and dear to President Bush's heart. He wants to see Americans decrease their gas consumption by 20 percent in the next 10 years. He believes ethanol is the way to do that. So really the centerpiece for the president's trip here to Brazil, an announcement on a deal expected later today between Brazil and the United States to share ethanol technology.

Not everyone, though, is happy about that. In addition it protests over the Iraq war here in Brazil also, some people demonstrating recently over this ethanol deal saying that it will hurt Brazil's rain forest, the Amazon rain forest, but President Bush, nonetheless, expected to talk about that later today when he appears with Brazil's president (INAUDIBLE) Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Elaine Quijano joining us from Sao Paolo. Thank you very much. Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's turn now to that report that's coming out about the FBI accused of reaching deep into private records a lot more often than they were reporting. The focus are these national security letters that request information without telling people they're subjects of some kind of investigation. One of the legal issues at stake here, let's get right to CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin to talk about that. The FBI can do this under the patriot act, of course, after 9/11. They've got this power. So the bottom line is, how important are the violations that were found and have been reported this morning?

JEFF TOOBIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the inspector general, the Justice Department just did a sampling. He didn't look at all the national security letters that had been issued, but in the sampling he looked at, 20 percent of it seemed to be wrong in some way. So, it could be a very substantial problem.

S. O'BRIEN: Wrong in big ways, wrong in sort of bookkeeping little ways, wrong in legal ways?

TOOBIN: Hard to tell. The FBI, in its immediate reaction seems to say most of it is bookkeeping. Certainly, they don't appear to have articulated the justification for these national security letters in the way that they're supposed to. In certain cases the banks, telephone companies have given more information than they were supposed to give. So, I mean, there's going to be a lot of problems not clear whether they were intentionally bad or just mistakes.

S. O'BRIEN: One thing I thought were interesting when they were requesting information from a bank or an Internet company or a telephone company and that company responded with all this detailed information, maybe too much information, more than they were supposed to under the law be able to give. FBI didn't say, oh, we shouldn't have this, let's destroy it. They sequestered it, whatever that means. TOOBIN: That means they kept it aside until they could get it perhaps under other means. What makes this disturbing to a lot of people is that the FBI has authority working with U.S. attorneys' offices to get information with a grand jury subpoena. It's easy, when I was in AUSA -- I spent a lot of my days subpoenaing banks, subpoenaing telephone companies but the customers always learn that their information has been subpoenaed.

S. O'BRIEN: Somebody has requested your information.

TOOBIN: Right. The whole point of a national security letter is that the customer never learns.

S. O'BRIEN: It's a secret. You're being spied on essentially by the government.

TOOBIN: You're being spied on, with permission. The law allows that. But because of that, there's no oversight, there's no way of knowing. They've tried to keep it, the circumstances fairly narrow. They've apparently gone beyond that.

S. O'BRIEN: Also just the numbers are off, as well. It looks like maybe by as much as 20 percent in some cases, 19,000 letters, national security letters in 2005, making something like 47,000 individual requests and it looks like this report says, actually, they underreported how many letters they sent out.

TOOBIN: And it's not surprising that the numbers went up because the patriot act, basically made it easier to use national security letters. So, they understood that there would be more of them issued. This many I think is surprising to most people, tens of thousands of requests for information.

S. O'BRIEN: When you hear officials say, listen, this is really about shoddy bookkeeping, that's a quote, shoddy bookkeeping, does that seem surprising to you? Or do you think that in the end of the day, it's going to actually turn out to be shoddy bookkeeping?

TOOBIN: One of the differences, now that there is a Democratic Congress, this story won't go away in a day. There will be hearings in Congress where the Democrats are now in charge will engage in oversight and bring the FBI people in and say what's going on, how big is the problem, are you going to fix it? We'll know more soon, probably.

S. O'BRIEN: It's not going to go away any time soon. Jeff Toobin, thank you for helping us understand. This one is a little tricky. Thank you. Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Happening this morning, investigators trying to figure out why a tour helicopter crashed in Hawaii killing four. The chopper went down at an airport on the island of Kauai. The pilot apparently radioed to say he was having hydraulic problems. The crash comes just one month after the Federal Aviation Administration announced new safety standards for air tour companies there. Some much-needed help on the way to tornado-ravaged Newmous (ph), Arkansas. FEMA now says it is sending 30 government trailers to house the folks left homeless by the February 24th storm. The state will pick up the tabs, move the trailers.

Earlier this week we told you about thousands of Katrina trailers sitting empty nearby in Arkansas. FEMA wouldn't let the state use them because Numous wasn't declared a Federal disaster area.

Police in Covington, Kentucky, that's right near Cincinnati, looking for whomever fired a shot into a 12th floor room at the Radisson hotel last night. No one was hurt, but the hotel was evacuated. Soledad?

S. O'BRIEN: A 9/11, memorial is serving up some controversy in Jersey City, New Jersey. The problem, a group's upset because they say the memorial is going to destroy their view of lower Manhattan. Here's John Bufkey (ph) from our affiliate news 12 New Jersey.


JOHN BUFKEY, NEWS 12 CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The memorial is called empty sky. Two 30-foot high stainless steel walls, 200 feet long that will be inserted into this hill of dirt next to the railroad terminal and almost directly across the Hudson River from ground zero. It may seem like a poignant location, but preservationists says it destroys an irreplaceable view.

SAM PESIN, FRIENDS OF LIBERTY STATE PARK: The Friends of Liberty state park's goal is to save these dramatic views of the New York City skyline.

BUFKEY: The group is suing the state, claiming the department of environmental protection hold dirty tricks with permits, found ways around holding public hearings to get the memorial built here.

CYNTHIA HADJIYANNIS, ATTORNEY: They got a permit designed for recreational facilities. This is not a recreational facility.

BUFKEY: The Friends of Liberty state park want the memorial scaled down so it doesn't block the view or moved somewhere else altogether. Park visitors news 12 New Jersey spoke with also had concerns about such a high memorial along the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that this park is big enough, it's a beautiful park and it doesn't have to be on the waterfront.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think, you know it shouldn't block it completely. There should be some access to the skyline.

BUFKEY: A spokesperson for the DEP said its lawyers have not read the lawsuit and could not comment. In Jersey City, John Bufkey, news 12 New Jersey.

(END VIDEOTAPE) S. O'BRIEN: Certainly it's better on the New York side where things are actually going well in the World Trade Center memorial and memorial museum construction plan. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says so far they've raised $253 million for both things and construction has gotten under way on both. Miles?

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, daylight savings time starts this weekend, three weeks earlier. But why? Could it be a, shall we say waste of time?

And a super nanny par excellence is the target of some angry moms. Now the name calling could end up in court. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING, the mother of all morning news programs right here on CNN.


M. O'BRIEN: You know like so many great American inventions, daylight savings time was the brainchild of Benjamin Franklin. It was 1784. He was living in Paris. At the time, Parisians arose at the crack of noon and partied well into the candlelit night. He suggested, tongue in cheek, that they shift the clocks to save on wax. Michael Downing is the author of a book on this whole subject of daylight-saving time. He joins us now from Boston. Michael, good to have you with us on the program. Congress didn't really weigh in on this and make this the official law of the land until quite some time after 1784. Why did it take so long in the first place?

MICHAEL DOWNING, AUTHOR, "SPRING FORWARD": Well, it took so long in the first place because of course, most of us weren't using clocks until the beginning of the 20th century. And then when we first tried it in World War I, it was a total bust on the energy saving and Congress was really facing one big opposition and that was the farmers. So Congress kept their hands off our clocks until 1966. That's when we first get peacetime daylight savings across the nation.

M. O'BRIEN: And frequently what is said is, this saves energy. That, I think, is a bit of a red herring isn't it? There's actually something else at work here, isn't there?

DOWNING: You've got that right. Congress has been telling us it's going to squeeze a drop of oil out of our clocks for a hundred years. They know it can't work. They have the studies. But here's what daylight saving is, a tremendously effective retail spending plan.

M. O'BRIEN: This is a Chamber of Commerce deal is what this is.

DOWNING: Absolutely. Since 1915, the most persistent lobby has been the Chamber and there's a reason for it. When we give Americans more sunlight when they're walking home from work, they will stop and shop. This is a boom for big retailers.

M. O'BRIEN: I read somewhere that one of the big supporters of all this is the golf industry.

DOWNING: Absolutely. In fact daylight savings was a favor to all sports industries early on in the century because of course we couldn't illuminate our parks. But even now, we can't light up golf courses. The last time we got an extra month of daylight savings which was 1986, the golf industry told Congress that one month was worth $200 million in additional golf club sales and greens fees.

M. O'BRIEN: Why isn't Congress, this is I guess a question we all know the answer to. Why isn't Congress honest about it? Just say what it is, it's about business.

DOWNING: Well, listen, it's absolutely the right question. It's one we ought to be asking with this new extension. It's a cynical substitute for real energy policy and Congress likes this instead of real energy policy because it doesn't seem to cost consumers anything directly and, of course, it doesn't cause us to change our behavior and use less fossil fuels.

M. O'BRIEN: But it does cause a ripple effect of unintended consequences. We've been telling folks about it now for a couple of weeks. Is it worth all this hassle?

DOWNING: Well, I don't think this new extension is. When we go into the winter, we don't have enough available sunlight to save an hour for the afternoon, so, I think this time we're not really going to see much benefit. More importantly, clocks only have two great virtues, that is synchronicity and predictability and when Congress goes it unilateral, that is not changing the dates with the rest of the world, our clocks, whether they are on our walls or imbedded in our computers, are going to be off with Europe for three weeks every year and that can't be a help.

M. O'BRIEN: Do you think that in London they'll vote to move what they call summertime to match us or are we going to be the lone wolf in all of this for quite a long time?

DOWNING: I think for right now, we're the lone wolf. And Congress has promised or you could say threatened to study this again to see if we get any energy saving and if we don't, they're threatening to put us back on the old dates next year which will cause the same software and airplane confusion we're seeing this year.

M. O'BRIEN: Even further confusion. I guess the solution is to move to Arizona or Hawaii. They don't play in this game, do they?

DOWNING: They've long been exempted. The state of Arizona thinks it's not the Federal government's business to stick a finger in the face of its clocks.

M. O'BRIEN: That's an interesting analogy, a way of putting it. I like that image anyhow. Go Arizona I say, Michael Downing, the author of "Spring Forward" the annual madness of daylight saving time. We appreciate you being with us any time of the day.

DOWNING: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad? S. O'BRIEN: Forty seven minutes past the hour, let's get right to Chad who is watching some cold right where I am and other people are freezing, ending soon, though.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know what daylight-saving time does to the weather department? We get two computer runs a day. The computer models runs a day, well, you can't get the forecast early enough for an 11:00 newscast so you get an old forecast for 11:00 where you don't have daylight savings time you actually get a more accurate forecast. So the forecast quality will go down for the next six months, as well, for your 11:00 local newscast. Montpelier, Vermont, yesterday broke a record, nine below zero, Concord, New Hampshire, seven below, even this morning we're breaking records already, Boston, Mass, five, Providence, Rhode Island, three, man, it's chilly out there in many, many spots.

Not as windy today as it's been, but there's your Portland, Maine, right at zero degrees and Montreal, six degrees below zero with or without the wind chill factor so it's cold, even Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, but it is warming up today if you're traveling. Travel to Orlando and Miami, temperatures there in the 80s up the east coast warmer today, 34, but 50 by Sunday. Soledad, back to you.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning on AMERICAN MORNING, the queen of routine. One of the world's best-known child care experts is now the target of some very angry mothers. The name calling could end up in court. We'll tell you straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: In Britain, she's sort of a super nanny. Author Gina Ford is one of the world's best-known experts on how to raise your baby. Fans swear by her strict methods. Critics say she hates children. All this name calling could end up in the courts. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports from London for us this morning.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The preschool rush, recognized by mothers the world over. Lisa Peets has read all the books on how to raise her children, including those by author Gina Ford, but she's not a fan of her strict methods. Ford says the baby must be fed by 7:00 a.m., the parent must eat by 8:00 a.m. and a baby must be allowed to cry so it learns it will not always be picked up.

LISA PEETS, MOTHER AND INTERNET LAWYER: For example, she suggests that parents and children have separate beds and for this one, at least, you couldn't put him down in his own cot. He screams like hell all night long. So we ended up just letting him sleep in our bed and it was easier for everybody. HANCOCKS: But some critics have been brutal. Ford alleges there is a defamatory campaign against her on the British parenting website mumsnet. Public postings in the site's discussion areas have called her a psychopathic child hater and mentally unbalanced. Ford won't talk on camera until mediation with the founders of the website ends, but she told CNN I can tolerate criticism of my methods, but I cannot accept vile and relentless attacks against me and my family. The founders of mumsnet stopped all discussion of Ford on their website when threatened with legal action, action more likely to succeed in Britain than in the U.S.

PEETS: In the U.S. they tend to put a premium on free speech. In the UK, in contrast, they tend to put a premium on individual reputation, personal integrity and so on. So it's much harder to make a defamation claim in the U.S. than it is in the UK.

HANCOCKS: Ford also has a loyal army of supporters. Victoria Evans swears by her methods. What some called regimented, she simply calls it routine.

VICTORIA EVANS, MOTHER: My belief was that if I could get sleep and if Isabel could get sleep, we'd both be happier and it worked out that way. So I can't really understand what's wrong with what Gina's suggesting.

HANCOCKS: Proof, there is no one way to bring up a baby.


HANCOCKS: Now, both sides will be meeting for mediation next Tuesday and both sides are also saying they do hope that this will not end up in court. Now, just a couple of hours ago, I spoke on the phone to Gina Ford who didn't want to speak on camera, but she said that she was devastated by what was happening at the moment breaking down in tears on the phone saying that she sees this as personal abuse, personal attacks on herself and her family. She has an opinion. People don't have to take that opinion. Now we also spoke to the founders of mumsnet and they're very worried that if this does go to court, then they could being very much debt, one of them even saying she's worried she could lose her house. So at this point the mediation's going to carry out on Tuesday. Both sides do seem determined to find some even ground. Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: They both sound very motivated. Some of the nastiest fights that I've ever seen have been in many cases over parenting and what kind of style you think you should raise your kids in. It's kind of weird. Paula Hancocks for us this morning, Thanks Paula. Miles?

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, the Feds are looking into online brokers and it could be costing you money. Ali Velshi tells us who got hit ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning, our stock in trade right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) M. O'BRIEN: My e-mail box is full of them, those spam stock tips. More than five billion are sent to me each year just to me alone, no, that's actually total and it just seems that way. The Securities and Exchange Commission is cracking down on all this. Just a few minutes before the top of the hour, Ali Velshi, what could we do to save our money here?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don't buy the stocks.

M. O'BRIEN: You're not supposed to buy those stocks.

VELSHI: Here's one that I got. This is an actual e-mail I got. It's touting a stock with the symbol ARSS, 21 cents showing a five-day target of 75 cents. That stock ended up dropping in value and by the way, it doesn't exist any more. What happens though is people unwittingly buy these stocks, causing the prices to jump and then the people behind the e-mail sell the stock for a profit and the stock then drops quickly and you're left holding the bag.

M. O'BRIEN: So it's an e-pyramid scheme.

VELSHI: It's an e-pyramid scheme exactly. These e-mail tips often say things like fast money, ride the bull, things like that and about 100 million of these things go out a day, like you said, five billion a year. Don't buy them. Don't buy stocks because somebody sent you an e-mail to tell you to buy a stock.

S. O'BRIEN: It's somebody you don't know. Who buys stocks off tips from somebody you don't know.

M. O'BRIEN: But they say it's can't miss, Soledad.

VELSHI: Guaranteed. Now, there is some progress. The SEC has suspended trading of 35 stocks in this story. Unknown traders using a trading account based in Latvia hacked into account at seven online brokerages, sold off investors' holdings and then used the proceeds to pump up the stocks of other companies.

M. O'BRIEN: Like a double whammy.

VELSHI: Unbelievable. These are the brokerages affected, e-Tade, Sott Tade, Ameritrade, Vanguard, Fidelity, Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab. The losses are in the range of $2 million. If you use one of these brokerages, call them or check your statement.

M. O'BRIEN: OK, thank you, Ali, appreciate that.

S. O'BRIEN: Top of the hour, Chad Myers at the weather center for us.