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American Morning

Fourth Anniversary Of Iraq War; Rescue Teams Trying to Find Boy Scout Missing in Wilderness

Aired March 19, 2007 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: ...rescue teams who are trying to find a Boy Scout who is missing in the wilderness.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Firing fallout: Predictions the attorney general will be out of a job as new documents surface today in the case of those fires U.S. attorneys.

S. O'BRIEN: Today begins the fifth year of the war in Iraq. Is there any end in sight? How much more are Americans willing to take? We're live this morning from Baghdad, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and from New York all on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning, welcome everybody. Monday, March, 19. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

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

We begin with the war in Iraq, entering a fifth year today and the ongoing fight over how to end it. The house is voting this week on a timeline to bring the troops home. President Bush will veto it. And he says the recent troop build up is working.

Defense Secretary Gates saying, "so far, so good," his words, but attacks today killing six more Iraqis in a Shiite mosque in Baghdad. While here at home war protesters will rally, once again today, after marches in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon this weekend. Kyra Phillips is in Baghdad. Zain Verjee in Washington. Bill Schneider also in Washington, covering this story for us. Let's begin with Kyra and the latest from Baghdad -- Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to talk about the 2 million, possibly more, refugees right now, Miles, that we have been talking about and covering while being here in Iraq. Most living in Syria, Jordan, also Egypt. Here is just one heartbreaking story.


"I miss him so much," Rebia (ph) Sudanee says. "I'm dying to see him." Rebia and her son Bahaa, are 800 miles apart. He, in Cairo, his parents in Iraq. Bahaa, a successful doctor made a life or death decision to risk living in constant terror in Iraq, or get his family out.

But that meant leaving behind his career and his beautiful home. But most excruciatingly of all, Bahaa was forced to leave his parents. "We are old people," Kareem Sudanee tells me. "We can't afford to leave what we gathered, like money and a house. If we die, we've had a long life. And it will not be a big loss. That decision broke their son's heart.

BAHAA SUDANEE, SON SEPARATED FROM PARENTS: The hardest things in separation that you are when troubling you see the tear in the eyes of you mom (ph). And you can hear it, and you don't know when you'll return.

PHILLIPS: There are more than 2 million Iraqi refugees now, forced by fear to separate, many of them must choose between the life of an exile or the constant threat of war. Rebia sleeps with her Koran next to her head every night. Kareem waters his son's garden every day, both waiting for their son to come home.

B. SUDANEE: We are still trust (sic) that our nation patient (ph) and strong. And can solve all the problems inside the country, quickly, and so we can return again to our country.


PHILLIPS: Not everyone is as lucky as Bahaa. He had the money to get out, Miles. He was a successful doctor, 600,000 displaced Iraqis living inside Iraq still to this day.

Word just coming across, we're getting information from the Kirkuk police here just outside of Baghdad. Five blasts being reported now on this anniversary, four-year anniversary of the war. Two car bombs we're told, 15 dead, 30 Iraqis injured. We'll try to bring you more information as we get it.

M. O'BRIEN: Kyra Philips in Baghdad, thank you.


S. O'BRIEN: What a difference four years can make. There are some new numbers out this morning about just how Americans feel about the war. CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider is live for us this morning in Washington, D.C.

Good morning to you, Bill.


S. O'BRIEN: Let's start with the biggie, support for the war?

SCHNEIDER: Support for the war has deteriorated very sharply. In 2003, just after the war ended, 72 percent of Americans said they favored the war in Iraq, and now that number is down 40 points, just 32 percent say they favor the war.

What is interesting about those figures most of the decline happened within the first year. That was the year when Americans discovered the insurgency had begun and the startling success of overthrowing Saddam Hussein did not lead to peace and tranquility in Iraq. And also, of course, the discovery that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Those shocks were felt very quickly in support for the war deteriorated quite rapidly.

S. O'BRIEN: You know what surprised me, Bill, seeing the biggest drop among people who originally first very strongly supported the war from 2003 to now. If we throw those numbers on the screen, you can see. On the bottom there, 59 percent and now that number is 21 percent.

SCHNEIDER: There was a very sharp deterioration along the lines I just described. Those are people that feel very strongly about the war. When the war began, and when it was immediately over, Americans were thrilled at the success; the rapid success of that military venture.

They -- when George Bush went on the ship to declare "mission accomplished", a lot of Americans shared in that pride. It did very quickly dissipate and now the number, who strongly favor the war, is down to barely one American in five.

S. O'BRIEN: Yet, at the end of the day, it's still very partisan. We have another poll to throw up on the wall here, 91 percent of Democrats -- we're looking at the numbers now -- oppose the war. And 24 percent of Republicans. I'm honestly surprised at how that number is for Democrats, and how low that number is for Republicans, Bill.

SCHNEIDER: There is a gaping partisan split in the case of this war. Wider than there was in the case of the Vietnam war. This is the most partisan war America has ever fought. With almost unanimous opposition among Democrats and only about a quarter of Republicans favor -- rather -- oppose this war. That division is deep. It's poisonous, it is infecting everything in American politics.

When the war started there really wasn't that big of partisan division, there was a modest division with Republicans more enthusiastic than Democrats, but the partisan split has grown and grown and bitter, venomous and very intense.

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting how we have seen in every other area, too, going way outside the war.


S. O'BRIEN: Bill Schneider for us this morning, taking a looking at some new polls, thank you, Bill.


S. O'BRIEN: Moles.

M. O'BRIEN: New this morning, a suicide bomber attacking a U.S. embassy convoy in Afghanistan. It happened along a road leading out of Kabul to the Bagram Air Base. Several are confirmed hurt, including one American. Police say, or believe, there might be as many as three dead.

In Washington today a document dump, which may add fuel to the fire for those who would like to dump the attorney general. Alberto Gonzales is fighting for his job after that mass firing of U.S. attorneys, many claim it was all politically motivated. The man in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, says he wants testimony under oath from White House aides and could subpoena them this week.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), CHAIRMAN, SENATE JUDICIARY CMTE.: I reached a point where I'm not here to negotiate, I want the answers. They could either supply the answers voluntarily, or we'll subpoena them. It's as simple as that.


M. O'BRIEN: CNN's Ed Henry at the White House to tell us how they're responding there with that kind of tough talk from Senator Leahy.

Good morning, Ed.


A critical day today, for this White House. Do they turn the corner on this story or do they come up with some sort of a compromise on testimony, that puts this story away, or does it escalate into a showdown that just keeps building and building and ultimately results in no other outcome but Mr. Gonzales' resignation?

Gonzales' fate will rests really in large part on what happens tomorrow. White House Counsel Fred Fielding expected to give Democrats on Capitol Hill an answer as to whether Karl Rove or other White House aides, and a former aide, and Harriet Miers will testify. As you noted, publicly, and also under oath.

The White House very eager to limit that testimony, if there is any testimony at all. Make sure this is not a fishing expedition. But as you heard Pat Leahy is not really in the mood for compromise. He wants Rove, in public, he wants him under oath. And he has some political cover because the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Senator Arlen Specter now saying he wants that from Karl Rove, as well.

Now, if the senators don't get what they want, as you noted, as well, Thursday, Pat Leahy is expected to move ahead with subpoenas for Rove and Harriet Miers, also William Kelly a deputy White House counsel. And another big wild card in all of this, as well, is what is Kyle Sampson going to say. You remember he was the chief of staff to the attorney general; he resigned last week. There are some indications he may come forward and voluntarily testify.

If he does, what is he going to say? Democrats believe he was the fall guy in all of this. If he comes forward, and implicates others, obviously, that would be another headache for this White House, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: I should say, Ed Henry, at the White House. Thank you.


S. O'BRIEN: Let's turn to another developing story this morning. The search for that Boy Scout; 12-year-old Michael Auberry has been out in the cold since Saturday. He vanished on a Scout camping trip, in Doughton Park, in North Carolina, right near the Virginia state line. And that's where AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken is, as well. He's in McGrady, North Carolina for us this morning.

Bob, good morning.


Where we are is about seven miles from the search site, but we were up there a little while ago. We saw they have a nighttime operation, which is about half the force of the one they're going it be raising during the day. Within the hour they're going to go to their daylight operation. That daylight operation will include off trail maneuvering, searching, which they're not doing overnight because this is kind of a treacherous area. It will also include aircraft with heat sensing devices, dogs. It will be a continuation of this full effort to try to find 12-year-old Michael Auberry.

He disappeared Saturday. He stayed behind in the morning with a Scout leader and then everybody came back and had lunch, and then he was gone.

Subsequent to that, searchers have found his mess kit in the woods not far from the scouting encampment. A little bit after that they found foot prints they believe to be his. This is obviously something of great concern. The temperatures here have been in the 20s overnight, although they expect them to get up to the 50s today.

Searchers say that given the training that he had, in survival in the woods, they're still optimistic. They're hopeful that they'll be able to find something. The last thing to point out is that police say, they've been telling us, that they have been conducting an investigation. And, thus far, Soledad, see no signs of foul play.

S. O'BRIEN: I was going to ask you about that. Because, of course, a 12-year-old missing, sort of wandering away, one could always wonder did someone grab him? But they don't think so at this point.

Tell me a little bit about this training, Bob. Do they think realistically he could spend some very cold nights out in the woods and be OK?

FRANKEN: Well, he was a first class Boy Scout, which means he had had training and of course, the Scouts emphasize the outdoors type of thing. Not only that, he was dressed warmly. He had a fleece kind of cover and he also had a heavy jacket. There is hope that he would be able to handle the cold weather, if he remembers his training and, also, if he doesn't run afoul of the treacherous terrain.

S. O'BRIEN: Gosh, we certainly hope, for his sake. Bob Franken, watching it for us this morning. Thank you, Bob.


M. O'BRIEN: Also happening this morning, indictments unsealed today against New York cops involved in the shooting of an unarmed groom. Sean Bell died, the day he was to be married, back in November. Hail of 50 gunshots from the plain-clothed officers. Three officers face reckless endangerment and second-degree manslaughter charges.

Jury selection begins today in the trial of music producer Phil Specter. He is accused of shooting and killing Actress Lana Clarkson in his home, four years ago. He says the death was an "accidental suicide." His words.

Stop before you feed your pet this morning. A huge dog and cat food recall, you need to know about; 60 million cans of wet food, sold under no less than 100 brand names, may cause your pet to have kidney failure. At least 10 deaths reported already. Some of the brands to watch out for Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger, as well as IAMS, Nutro, and Eukanuba. That's just a partial list. Go to for the full list.

U.S. Airways hoping to be back up to full speed today. The carrier was one of several forced to cancel hundreds of flights because of Friday's massive storm in the Northeast. Left thousands of passengers stranded at place like New York's JFK, Philadelphia and Charlotte airports. Some minor, scattered delays still being reported this morning.

The world's biggest airplane the Airbus A380, making it's first fully loaded transatlantic flight. It took off from Frankfurt, Germany. it is on its way right now, it's over the pond, as we speak. It should land in New York, at JFK, 12:30 Eastern Time. It is carrying 519 passengers -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Spring is officially around the corner, but rain and snow are, too. For the start of the workweek, Chad Myers will tell you where, coming up next.

And did bureaucratic bungling and just greed get in the way of treating America's wounded at Walter Reed. We'll tell you what new documents say.

Plus, a toddler is now in a life and death struggle. Doctors think his father's vaccine may be to blame. We'll explain straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.


M. O'BRIEN: It's a quarter past the hour. Chad Myers that CNN Weather Center. He's watching your workweek forecast.

(WEATHER REPORT) S. O'BRIEN: You know, Chad, usually when somebody says, hey, you can get a piece of the action, man, in business -- you want to run. But Ali Velshi says this time, stop, listen, don't run. It's 20 minutes, almost, past the hour, Ali is "Minding Your Business".

ALI VELSHI, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: This is one of those things I'm going talk a lot about because this is where people say, I missed that piece of news. You will not want to miss this piece of news.

We talk a lot about private equity, here. Private equity are those big companies that don't buy companies that are listed on the stock market. Somehow they get these better deals, or they buy the companies that are on the stock market and they take them private.

One of those groups that you hear the name of all the time is Blackstone Group. They buy big companies and they're private. Now, to involve yourself in private equity, until now, you would have to be really, really rich. Except Blackstone is going public. It will list at least a part of the company on the stock market.

Now, until now there have been very few opportunities for that, some of the investment banks, another hedge fund went public, recently. But keep an eye on this kind of stuff. This is not a recommendation to invest, it's just the idea that you might actually be able to participate in this at some point in the future.

What we have this week, coming up, is the Fed. We have a Fed meeting on Wednesday. That is Ben Bernanke, they'll are going to be looking at housing prices, housing starts, all this mortgage sub-prime mess that we've seen. No one expects the Fed to raise rates on Wednesday. Some people are hoping they might even drop rates. We will keeping a tight eye on that for you here on CNN.

And as far as markets go right now, this week we're going to be getting earnings, Oracle and Morgan Stanley are coming out.

Asian markets are higher. You can see the S&P last week was lower on the week, but we're not far off from where we were before markets started tanking on February 27th. We'll keep a close eye on where markets go in the next two and a half hours; but a positive open, so far. And I'm keeping a close eye on that A380, as well.

M. O'BRIEN: OK, excellent. Thank you, Ali.

Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING. During a basketball game, teens arrested as a rumble spills out into the streets of New York City. Tell you about the basket brawl ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Well, it was basketball game but quickly started looking a little bit like hockey. This morning 21 teens are facing criminal charges after a melee at Madison Square Garden. The brawl occurred at a basketball game between two Brooklyn high schools that spilled on to Eighth Avenue, in Manhattan. The fists kept flying all the way -- eight or so blocks into Times Square. Police say at one point someone fired several gunshots into the air. No serious injuries reported, however -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Today begins year five for the war in Iraq after more than 3,000 American lives lost, and the loss of tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Are there any sign that things are improving? Joining us this morning, live from the State Department, is Ambassador David Satterfield. He's the Iraq coordinator for the State Department.

Nice to see you, sir. Thank you so much for talking with us.

In addition to those numbers, you look at the 1.6 million people who are reported displaced, many of them among that number, obviously, are people who have been helping the United States military, people who are working as translators and et cetera.

What do you think our government owes people like that who cannot stay where they are, and survive?

AMB. DAVID SATTERFIELD, IRAQI COODINATOR, U.S. STATE DEPT.: Soledad, we owe those who have served with us in Iraq. Those who have worked for the U.S. military, for the U.S. civilian agencies there; and we also owe the Iraqi people every possible effort to ensure security and stability. That's what we're determined to do.

With respect to those who worked directly for the U.S. government, we're taking steps under Secretary Rice's direction, to provide enhanced means for those individuals to reach safety, for them and their families to be taken care of. We're committed to their well being.

But with respect to the broader plight of the Iraqi people, there the government of Iraq and we are engaged in partnership. And we have seen positive results over these last months, as the Baghdad security plan has begun to move ahead, as the government has begun to take steps on political reconciliation.

S. O'BRIEN: There is word that the State Department is now considering 7,000, I believe is the accurate number, 7,000 applications to allow some Iraqis to come to the United States, people who could not stay behind. Is that number accurate? And why is that number so low when you consider the tens of thousands of people who really say they need to get out?

SATTERFIELD: Well, Soledad, as I said before, we're committed to helping all of those in need, who have worked for us. The 7,000 figure comes from the number we estimate, the U.N. High Commissioner For Refugees will be able to process this year. If that number is higher, then we will certainly consider a higher number.

S. O'BRIEN: You look at like Vietnam, when 131,000 Vietnamese people who had helped the U.S. military, couldn't stay, they would have been killed. They were rescued. They were brought to the United States under President Ford and made lives here. And were given much support by the government. Why aren't we doing something similar? SATTERFIELD: Because Iraq today is not Vietnam in 1975. Iraq is not a collapsed state. It's a state with a sovereign government. It's a state where the population who have not felt secure have found refuge immediately adjacent to that country's border, unlike the situation in Vietnam. And it is a situation where the best possible resolution, the resolution that we hope to be achieved, is for those individuals who have crossed the border to neighboring countries, return to their homes. Not to the United States, but their homes in a stable and more peaceful Iraq.

S. O'BRIEN: We've been told again and again this is a war that will not really be won militarily, that it has to be won politically. Then you read about -- over the weekend the Sunni lawmaker when they raided his home he was found with a cache of weapons. This is a lawmaker -- this is a Sunni legislature -- that happened, apparently on March 8. American people say if this is the lawmaker who is hiding weapons in his home, what hope is there for this country?

SATTERFIELD: Soledad, the hope for Iraq lies in the fact that 12 million Iraqis voted in free and fair elections for a parliament, which is acting, not on the sectarian or partisan basis, but on a national basis. It's a parliament that shortly will be considering a national hydro-carbon law, which is a model across sectarian cooperation and compromise. It's a parliament that is going to be considering shortly, we hope, the de-Baathification reform law, that holds open the door to the Sunnis to participate more meaningfully in the life of the state and the life of the nation.

These are encouraging signs, as is the performance of the Iraqi security forces. And in those indicators, with all the challenges that we recognize exist, the American people should take a greater degree of confidence.

S. O'BRIEN: Ambassador David Satterfield, joining us. He is the Iraq coordinator for the State Department, thank you for talking with us, sir. We appreciate your time.


S. O'BRIEN: Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Top stories of the morning coming up next. The search is on for a missing Boy Scout. Temperatures below freezing in the rugged area where he is lost. We'll get you up to date on that.

And a father gets a smallpox vaccine and now his two-year-old son is in critical condition. We'll explain that one ahead. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING, most news in the morning is right here.


M. O'BRIEN: Good morning to you. It is Monday, March 19. I'm Miles O'Brien.

S. O'BRIEN: I'm Soledad O'Brien. Thanks for being with us. We're following two breaking stories out of Iraq this morning. At least 20 people are dead after bombings in Kirkuk, and a Shiite mosque in Baghdad. The first pictures are just starting to coming in. You can see them right there. Update you on these attacks -- happening as America enters its fifth year in Iraq. Going to take a closer look this morning at just how much more Americans and Iraqis are willing to take.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: We're also following some developing news in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber unleashing an attack on a convoy from the American embassy overnight. We'll bring you up to speed.

S. O'BRIEN: Plus, we're all praying for a happy pending to this story as they continue to search for this Boy Scout who is missing in the wilderness. Rescuer workers found some new clues though. We'll tell you about those straight ahead this morning.

M. O'BRIEN: We begin with Iraq, a sad milestone four years ago today, it all began with that night of shock and awe. Today the war grinds on into its fifth year, tens of hundreds dead or injured, hundreds of millions of dollars spent and some would suggest less focus on pursuing the Taliban in Afghanistan. So no end in sight. When will our troops be coming home? Kyra Phillips joining us from Baghdad, Zain Verjee in Washington, Jason Carroll here in New York, Nic Robertson in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well. Let's begin with Kyra in Baghdad. Kyra?

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can actually hear the siren behind me, the violence already taking place. As you said, Miles, we're entering into the fifth year of this war in Iraq. First, we told you about this bomb that was hidden near the entrance of the Shiite mosque. Now we're getting more information on these explosions in Kirkuk. Kirkuk just north of Baghdad, very oil rich area here in Iraq. Five blasts now we're told, three separate car bombs. The numbers now, we're told, 15 people are dead, an additional 35 Iraqis were injured. We're also told that one of those car bombs targeted a police unit. So as you can see, even on this day, it's far from any type of anniversary, the violence continues in Baghdad and around Iraq.

M. O'BRIEN: Kyra Philips in Baghdad, thank you. Soledad?

S. O'BRIEN: And more sectarian violence already today in Iraq. Six people killed, another 32 hurt after a bomb went off in a Shiite mosque and reports of five explosions in that northern city of Kirkuk. More than a dozen Iraqis killed there. Civil war is driving many Iraqis to leave home, many mainly to Syria or into Iran. CNN's Zain Verjee is in Washington, DC, for us this morning. Zain, first let's start with the refugee situation. What are the numbers?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United Nations high commission for refugees says that this is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. There are already a total as you say, of about two million Iraqi refugees, mainly in Jordan and Syria, although they are going to other countries in the region. Refugee advocacy groups though say more needs to be done.


KEN BACON, PRESIDENT, REFUGEE INTERNATIONAL: It's really time for the U.S. to take this crisis more seriously, in two respects. One, admitting more Iraqis more quickly so they can be protected, but, also, helping Syria and Jordan who have absorbed almost two million refugees deal with some of the costs of having that many people come into their country.


VERJEE: Dual refugees need a lot of help. We're talking food, health assistance, education of their children, one of which essentially drains the host countries and their resources. Aid agencies also say that more refugees are actually leaving Iraq today at a rate of 100,000 a month and even before the war, Soledad, there were still refugees in Jordan and Syria who had fled the Saddam era, as well.

S.O'BRIEN: What's the U.S. doing now and what should the U.S. be doing?

VERJEE: The United Nations has made a special appeal for $60 million to help Iraqi refugees. The U.S. for its part is giving $18 million. The U.S. has also taken in hundreds of Iraqi refugees so far. It is planning to allow 7,000 more Iraqis into the country. Some are people who put themselves on the line to help the U.S. war effort. We're talking people like translators, drivers, office assistants and people like that who really fear for their lives because of it. I talked to U.S. officials this weekend who say they've been doing a lot for a long time since 1975. About 37,000 Iraqis have come into the U.S. U.S. officials also add the program to help Iraqi refugees isn't really new. It's just been expanded today because of the current crisis.

S. O'BRIEN: So, what is that process to allow those refugees in?

VERJEE: What happens is, Soledad, is that the UN refers cases to the U.S. The refugees themselves have to show how vulnerable they are, are they religious minorities, women and so forth. All of that really takes a lot of time because you're dealing with security screening by the Department of Homeland Security, as well as all the public health concerns that there are. U.S. officials say up today, they've interviewed about 60 or 70 Iraqi refugees. When you look at the numbers, it actually seems as though the U.S. is letting in just tiny numbers into the country, but when you look overall and refugee situations, in general, only a small percentage of refugees ever really get resettled in third countries. The idea is, Soledad, the hope is to send them back home.

S. O'BRIEN: Yeah, but there's a huge number of people who can't go back home because they've been helping out the U.S. military. When they were only interviewing 60 or 70 and by some estimates, there's 10,000 to 100,000 interpreters and translators etcetera who really may need to resettle, that interview number which is 60 or 70. That seems very low.

VERJEE: It is very low and the U.S. officials that I talked to this weekend said that you can't let two million people into the country, it's a terrible situation. The idea has been, in general, according to the United Nations also that refugee policies, you want to keep refugees in place as much as possible with the hope that you bring them home and, as you said, the situation today as we all know in Iraq is so terrible and that it will probably take a long time (INAUDIBLE) Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Zain Verjee in Washington, DC., for us, thank you, Zain. Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: We have some new numbers out this morning about how Americans feel about the war. Two-thirds of you now oppose the war. About 32 percent favor it. This is according to a CNN Opinion Research poll that occurred, released this morning. When it all began four years ago, more than 70 percent of Americans supported the invasion. Soledad?

S. O'BRIEN: We're also following other breaking news on the other war, the fight inside of Afghanistan. A suicide bomber attacked a U.S. embassy convoy in Kabul. It happened along the road that leads to Bagram (ph) air base. Now, several people are confirmed to be hurt, including one American. We want to get right to Nic Robertson. He's live in Kabul for us this morning. Nic, good morning. What are the details?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. The details came to us from the spokesman at the U.S. embassy who said a vehicle born IED, improvised explosive device was driven at a U.S. embassy convoy this morning. There were several vehicles in that convoy. The suicide bomber's vehicle struck one of the embassy vehicles, a number of injuries, according to U.S. embassy spokesperson. One American on board that convoy has been taken away and is being treated for their injuries according to the U.S. spokesman.

The spokesman couldn't say anything else about any other casualties, but did say that the embassy had received reports of civilian injuries and possibly deaths, he said. But they condemn the attack and send their condolences to those families. We have learned from Afghan police and from other western officials here that they believe three people were killed in that bombing and it appears as if they were innocent civilians at the side of the road when the explosion took place early this morning, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Do we know who is at least claiming responsibility or who is responsible at this point?

Well, so far there doesn't appear to have been a claim. However, the expectation and the belief and understanding here is that this was an attack by the Taliban. They are known to be increasing their suicide bombings. They have threatened to increase their suicide bombings. Intelligence officials believe that there are up to 25 suicide bombers inside Kabul ready to strike at any time. People close to the Taliban believe that perhaps half the suicide bombers are Afghan from outside of Afghanistan and there say that there are hundreds of others waiting to come in and take their place as there is the expectation here that these types of attacks will continue, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Nic Robertson for us in Kabul this morning, thank you, Nic.

Another developing story that we're following for you, if Karl Rove won't agree to testify before Congress, he could be forced to. At least that's what the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is saying. Leahy said yesterday that President Bush's top political adviser and other White House staffers need to talk to Congress about their role in the firing of those eight U.S. attorneys. Leahy says he's going to subpoena them this week if they don't agree.

Scandals put pressure on the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. Gonzales has now apologized to the nation's U.S. attorneys for the way he handled the firings. Justice Department documents related to the case are scheduled to be turned over to Congress today.

M. O'BRIEN: Another developing story this morning, the search for a Boy Scout. Twelve-year-old Michael Auberry has been out in the cold since Saturday after vanishing on a camping trip in Doton (ph) Park, North Carolina. It's right near the Virginia state line. Park ranger Dave Bauer joins us from McGrady, North Carolina, with the latest on the search. It's good to have you with us. Mr. Bauer. What's the latest on the search this morning? Tell us what's going on.

DAVE BAUER, PARK RANGER: Last night we had about 60 searchers out in the woods on the trails and roads. They were not able to find any additional clues. Starting this morning we'll have about 70 more people, including state police helicopter, five dog teams and two tracking teams.

M. O'BRIEN: Now, this 12-year-old boy who has some experience with survival techniques, how far away, how big an area do you have to search when you figure out how far he could possibly walk if he made a bee line in any given direction?

BAUER: Right now the search area is 5,900 acres. We're getting ready to expand that into adjacent game lands probably today. But he could have walked a number of miles. He's a good, strong, healthy basketball player, 5'4", 110 pounds. So he could be a lot of different places.

M. O'BRIEN: Is it impossible to track him well? Do you have bloodhounds and that kind of thing that could pick up a scent?

BAUER: We do have five dog teams and then we also have some tracking teams that will go out there to actually try and find his footprints and track him from there.

M. O'BRIEN: At this point, are you optimistic he is able to make it through these very cold nights? He as part of his scout training, was taught to cover himself up with leaves and so forth.

BAUER: He is also properly equipped for this time of year and this kind of weather. He had a good coat, good boots on, so as long as he's able to stay dry, we feel he can survive for several days.

M. O'BRIEN: Final thought here, does anybody suspect anything other than a young boy who wandered away? Is there any possibility of foul play here?

BAUER: We're looking heavily into that and so far we have turned up absolutely nothing.

M. O'BRIEN: We wish you well today. Let's hope this is the lucky day. Park ranger Dave Bauer, joining us from North Carolina, thank you. Soledad?

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, jury selection begins today in the trial of music producer Phil Specter accused in the shooting death of an actress in his home. We'll tell you what he is saying in his defense.

Also a father gets a smallpox vaccine. The toddler is now in critical condition. We'll update you on the little boy's condition. We'll tell you what happened. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.


M. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, the most news in the morning right here on CNN. New pictures just in, a bombing at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad. At least six killed, 15 others died in a car bombing in Kirkuk a short time ago. We're tracking it for you.

And U.S. Airways is rolling out extra flights today to keep service on track after a snow storm stranded thousands of travelers over the weekend. It's about quarter of the hour right now. Chad Myers at the weather center with a look at the hot spots for you. How is that Airbus doing?


M. O'BRIEN: He made some time since we last checked in.

MYERS: 453 knots at 3,600 feet.

M. O'BRIEN: Excellent.

MYERS: I just love this program. We'll keep watching it. It's an Airbus. It's the biggest plane ever to fly into JFK. It's making its way all the way from Frankfurt all the way to JFK today and we'll obviously show it to you live when it lands. Here's the snow and rain all the way back into a little bit of a clipper. This is not a major storm for today compared to what we had over the weekend and for Friday, this is a minor snow event. It'll kind of change into a misting event by the time it gets to the east coast because New York City, you're getting it all the way into the 40s, even though right now it could snow. It's 30 in New York City, by the time it gets here, by the time it gets to Philadelphia and DC, it's just going to be well, well above freezing, 43 in New York, 65 in DC, 43 in Detroit and 68 the high today in Atlanta. Warm air rushing up the east coast for the next few days. Cold air coming down into the west and, in fact, Phoenix, Phoenix you go from 90 to 72 in the next four days. So, wow, a big cool down in the west, only 70s for Phoenix. Soledad and Miles, back to you.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, thank you, Chad.

Happening in America this morning, in New York City in just few hours indictments will be unsealed against the police involved in the shooting death of Sean Bell. Remember Sean Bell, he was killed and his two friends were wounded in a barrage of 50 police bullets as they left Bell's bachelor party that was taking place at a Queens strip bar back in November. Now, three under cover officers are expected to face manslaughter and criminal endangerment charges today.

In California, jury selection begins in the Los Angeles trail of music producer Phil Spector. He is accused of shooting and killing actress Lana Clarkson in his home four years ago. Spector says he's not guilty and that it was an accidental suicide.

You heard Chad just a moment ago telling us about that Airbus A380 somewhere over the Atlantic, just east of New York City. The Airbus A380 is the largest airliner ever built heading towards Kennedy. It's a Lufthansa flight filled with 550 passengers and crew. Quantas A380 with a flight crew but no passengers is going to be landing at LAX. We're going to update you on those landings when they happen.

And ahead this morning, pretty startling medical mystery to tell you about. There's a toddler now who is really fighting a life or death battle. It's because his father was vaccinated against smallpox. We'll update you on the boy's condition and tell you exactly what happened straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: A 2-year-old boy is being treated for a life threatening infection this morning after touching his father, who just been vaccinated against smallpox. Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is in Atlanta this morning for us. Good morning to you, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Soledad. Soledad, this really is an incredible story and a highly unusual one. What happened here was that this little boy's father was vaccinated against smallpox and a couple weeks later went home to visit his family. Now, soldiers are warned after they're vaccinated against smallpox to keep that vaccination site covered with a bandage and also with a shirt. Something went wrong here and this child apparently had contact with his father's vaccination site and this child had eczema already. Eczema is a skin condition that can make someone particularly vulnerable if they come in contact with someone else's smallpox inoculation. This child now is in critical condition. He has a terrible rash that is covering 80 percent of his body. He will likely lose 20 percent of his outer layer of skin. He has since infected his mother, who is ill, but not nearly as ill as the child is. Now, with many, many military people being vaccinated against this since 2002 how common is this? How often does this happen? According to the U.S. Army, from 2002 to 2006, just over a million military personnel were vaccinated and 56 family members have become infected, but none have been nearly as sick as this little boy. They have had much less severe infections. Soledad?

S. O'BRIEN: This is such a horrible sad, sad story. Now, the risk to the general public with this family. It is not going to spread outside this infection zone, is it?

COHEN: No, they're not. There really is no risk to the general public. You would have to come in contact with the father's site, vaccination site on his arm. You'd have to actually touch it and that would be true. Also, you'd have to actually touch this little boy and be in close contact. That is why the mother got sick. The two of them, the mother and the son, are in an isolation room under negative air pressure. That means that air goes in, but does not come out. So, there really is very little, if any risk to the general public at this point.

S. O'BRIEN: Basically, I mean, normally if someone had a smallpox vaccination, they would be very heavily advised to keep it covered. I mean it wouldn't sort of be, it's hard to imagine a circumstance where you would let a baby touch a vaccination where the doctors made it very clear no one is supposed to touch this.

COHEN: Right, I think what could happen. Soledad, you have children. When you have a two-year-old, you're holding them and you're bouncing them up and down and they're on your shoulders. Things can happen. Even if something is covered up with a bandage. Things can happen. Bandages sometimes fall off. I know I was, for example, living in a house with someone once who had just had a smallpox vaccination and she really went to great lengths, gauze with a bandage on top of the gauze and at least one layer of clothes. That's what you're supposed to do is be really extremely vigilant. But sometimes things do happen.

S. O'BRIEN: This poor little baby. All right, thank you for updating us on his condition and what they're doing there, appreciate it, Elizabeth Cohen in Atlanta for us. Thanks, Elizabeth. Miles?

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up on the program, we're waiting for a live news conference to begin in North Carolina on the search for a missing Boy Scout. There's live pictures as sunrise sets in there and the search heats up. We'll going to give you the very latest on that effort.

And on this anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a violent day from Baghdad to Kirkuk. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) M. O'BRIEN: I guess you could say the reality check is in the mail. Wal-Mart's desire to open up its own bank prompted a banklash, if you will. A few minutes before the top of the hour. Thank you for the sound effects, I do appreciate that.

S. O'BRIEN: Any time.

M. O'BRIEN: You here all week?

M. O'BRIEN: Yeah.

M. O'BRIEN: Ali, take it away.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wal-Mart back in 2005 applied for a license to open up what's called an industrial loan bank. This isn't a bank where you go in and do your banking. It a bank that processes transactions. For Wal-Mart, they have a lot of transactions, so that would have been a big money saver. It has now withdrawn that application because of criticism from others that really, it's just going to be a stepping stone to opening up sort of branch banking services which would put everybody out of business.

Other companies do have these industrial loan banks. Target's got one for instance. Wal-Mart, for its part, says it wasn't looking to become a branch bank. It was just looking to do this and save money but the criticism was harsh. I guess Wal-Mart has decided where to pick its fights. It's pulled back on that.

M. O'BRIEN: I guess you could say there would be temptation to expand once you get in the business, right?

VELSHI: It's not a given that once you get that license, you do, but yeah that's what critics have said.

S. O'BRIEN: Did Target expand?

VELSHI: No they've got an industrial loan bank. They process their own transactions. When you're talking about millions and millions, hundreds of millions of transactions, the idea of doing it yourself as opposed to paying somebody even a couple cents is a big deal. Maybe Wal-Mart can go back to the table and say, look, we really, here's the guarantee that that's going to happen. But you can imagine people are saying...

S. O'BRIEN: Wal-Mart doesn't back down in these things a lot.

VELSHI: I think Wal-Mart, no way. It picks its fights.

S. O'BRIEN: Or it prepares for version 2.0.

VELSHI: We'll see what it looks like. We'll be on top of it.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you Ali. See you in a bit.

S. O'BRIEN: Coming up at the top of the hour, Chad Myers at the weather center with an update on the big weather story today. Good morning.

MYERS: Good morning. The big weather story today is the big cleanup, cleanup of the roads and also clean up of the airports, I'm afraid. We should be in really good shape getting people in and out of the northeast today if you have been sitting at an airport for a long time, today should be your day. Sunshine, no real airport delays, just a little deicing in Detroit, but that is it for this hour. The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.

M. O'BRIEN: The fifth year begins, America marks an ominous anniversary. The Iraq war has a deadly new round of attacks, rattle Iraq this morning.

S. O'BRIEN: Suicide mission, a bomber targets a convoy near the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan. We've got some exclusive new pictures just in to CNN.

M. O'BRIEN: And a frantic search, new clues today in the search for a Boy Scout missing in bone chilling conditions. We'll have an update expected this hour. We're live from North Carolina, Baghdad, Tehran and the White House on this AMERICAN MORNING. Good morning to you, it's Monday, March 19th. I'm Miles O'Brien.