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Highway Collapse in San Francisco; Five Britons Found Guilty of Plot to Attack U.K. Mall, Clubs, Trains, Power Plants; D.C. Sex Scandal
Aired April 30, 2007 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Commuter meltdown.
WILL KEMPTON, DIRECTOR, CALIFORNIA DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION: We expect that 80,000 or so vehicles will have to find a new route.
ROBERTS: The San Francisco Bay Area bracing for the worse for months to come after a dramatic inferno and freeway collapse.
And exposed. The D.C. madam shaking up Washington, promising to drop more high-profile names as her case heads to court on this AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: And good morning to you. It's Monday, April the 30th.
I'm John Roberts in Washington.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York.
Good to see you, John.
We have some stories on our radar this morning, and one of them comes right from your neck of the woods -- the alleged Washington, D.C., madam. So far, two high-profile figures now connected to her, and it looks like D.C. is bracing for one of its biggest scandals ever.
ROBERTS: Lots of backlash, lots of talk about George Tenet, the interview on "60 Minutes" last night and the tell-all book that was released at midnight today. We're going to be talking with the former CIA agent who thinks that George Tenet was not made a scapegoat, that he's just trying to do a little bit of CYA here, and also that he should give back his Presidential Medal of Freedom.
That coming up in the next half hour here -- Kiran.
CHETRY: And also just in to us here at CNN, a British terror trial, the outcome now. Five men convicted of a plot to carry out various bomb attacks using fertilizer. For the first time we're hearing about the suspects' connection to al Qaeda and the 2005 transit bombings. So we're going to have much more on that. But first this morning, commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area are bracing for what is going to be a traffic nightmare that could drag on for weeks, even months. A tanker truck carrying gasoline crashed and caught fire yesterday. The intense heat, at thousands of degrees, melted the ramps of one of the busiest interchanges in the Bay Area, and it could take months to repair that damage.
AMERICAN MORNING'S Chris Lawrence is live in Oakland this morning for us with a first-hand look at just -- how bad is it, Chris?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, the last time something like this happened on this same stretch of freeway, it took five months to get it fixed. And really, this could not have happened at a worse place -- right where three major freeways converge and lead into the Bay Bridge, which connects Oakland to San Francisco.
You can kind of see behind me where that damage has occurred. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was out here at the scene last night touring the area. He has authorized the state of California to pick up the tab to provide free public transportation for everyone in the Bay Area today, and he's also declared this area a disaster area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: The state has put money aside specifically that no one has to fight over who is going to pay for the first few days. It's all taken care of.
How fast you move people and goods and services, that's economic power. We don't want the economy in the Bay Area to bedisrupted, nor the economy of California to be disrupted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE: And this is what it looks like when the tanker crashed and what it looks like 8,000 of gasoline just explode on the freeway. That heat, some say, got up to nearly 3,000 degrees. It literally melted the steel and the steel bolts that support the freeway overpass above it.
Again, they're looking at about five to six months of repair. Crews are already out here. The demolition crews removing some of the debris. They've already got some engineers who have been out to assess the damage and try to come up with a repair plan. But it's going to be a headache from now until fall for the commuters here in the Bay Area -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Oh, that's just unbelievable when you look at those pictures. And unbelievably, also, is that that the driver was not seriously hurt.
LAWRENCE: No, he walked away. He did suffer some second-degree burns, but he walked under his own power to an area where he hailed a cab, hailed a cab to the hospital. Right now they're looking into whether he may have been speeding or not. That's still under investigation. CHETRY: Yes, whether he took that curb a little bit too fast.
Chris Lawrence, thanks so much.
Police in Kansas City are still trying to figure out why a gunman opened fire in the parking lot of a shopping center. The gunman shot and killed two people before police shot and killed him. At least two others were hurt. And witnesses describe the panic at the crowded mall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRAVIS JOHNSON, WITNESSED SHOOTINGS: People were screaming and yelling, and I'd look up and people were just running and crying. And I started to step out into the aisle, and, like, people just, like, knocked into me and knocked me to the ground. And someone helped me up and said, "You need to get out of here, someone is shooting."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Well, that gunman has not yet been identified. Police say that his crime spree may have actually started at an elderly woman's home. She was found dead yesterday afternoon, her car stolen. Police say the gunman then shot and wounded an officer at a gas station before he went to the mall.
ROBERTS: There's already a backlash this morning aimed at former CIA director George Tenet and his new book which goes on sale today. Already, a former colleague at the CIA is telling us that he thinks Tenet is not telling the whole story. Tenet told CBS' "60 Minutes" about his deeply personal feelings on fighting terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE TENET, FMR. CIA DIRECTOR: People don't understand us. You know? They think we're a bunch of faceless bureaucrats with no feelings, no families, no sense of what it's like to be passionate about running these bastards down.
There was nobody else in this government that felt what we felt before or after 9/11. Of course, after 9/11, everybody had that feeling. Nobody felt like we felt on that day. This was personal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Earlier on AMERICAN MORNING, we spoke with Michael Scheuer. He is the former head of the CIA's unit on Osama bin Laden who is highly critical of Tenet's version of the events.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SCHEUER, FMR. CIA OFFICIAL: I think he's being less than truthful, certainly in regard to Osama bin Laden, saying that we didn't have the opportunity to kill him. That, at least in my mind, having been there first hand, that's a lie. He could have been dead in '98 or '99. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Scheuer said that they had eight chances to kill bin Laden, by his estimation.
You can hear more from George Tenet tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE," 9:00 Eastern.
CHETRY: A just-released government report lays out a bleak assessment of Iraq's reconstruction, that Iraq is still plagued by power outages and a lack of clean water and health care. The Iraq rebuilding project has already cost U.S. taxpayers $30 billion.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heading today to a conference in Egypt aimed at finding solutions to the violence in Iraq. Iran will also attend that conference, which is being sponsored by the United Nations.
ROBERTS: A developing story now in London. A jury found five British Muslims guilty of plotting a series of bombings. The men claim to be members of al Qaeda, and investigators say they planned to use fertilizer bombs to destroy shopping malls, trains, power plants, even one of London's biggest nightclubs. And there's an extra connection, as well, that came out of this trial.
CNN's international security correspondent, Paula Newton, is live now in front of the courthouse in London.
Paula, how important are these convictions?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: They're incredibly important. This was really the case that was the granddaddy, as we call it, of the U.K. terror plots, that kind of British homegrown terror, this next generation of jihadis in Britain, that security sources and police were tailing here.
John, this was a very extensive, very expensive, $100 million operation. They were tailing these guys for months and months and months, and were trying to uncover information about plots.
This, you can say, is a success. They have five guilty verdicts on their hands, two not guilty. They feel that the ringleaders in this were caught and that now they have been prosecuted, and those charges do carry life sentences.
What was really uncovered here during this trial, John, and what we learned, really, a few months ago but have been unable to report because of reporting restrictions, is that during that surveillance, two men who were the two of the suicide bombers during the July 7, 2005 transport bombings that killed 52 people here in London, injured hundreds -- a lot of Americans caught up in that transport chaos here in London -- two of those men were also picked up on surveillance. Police identified them, but afterwards, John, they failed to continue to tail them.
The big question here today, John, is could 7/7 have been prevented? Imagine finding out that -- as Americans would -- that 9/11 could have been prevented. We expect a lot of outrage. In fact, already heard a lot of outrage about this issue -- John.
ROBERTS: Yes. I mean, how much of that are you expecting to hear? Particularly because these guys were picked up, they were surveilled, but they were sort of dismissed as bit players, if I understand the evidence correctly.
NEWTON: Well, and the story -- that's right. They were dismissed as bit players, and the stories don't jive.
I mean, we expect MI5, the secret service here, to come out and say, look, we put guys into two categories. It was either essential to tail them because they were a threat, or it was, you know, at some point desirable to tail them.
They said that these guys, it wasn't essential. We didn't have to tail them 24/7. They weren't that much of a threat.
They turned out to be an incredible threat. And more than that, what doesn't jive with the stories is they never even passed them on to local police to say, look, keep tabs on these guys and see what they're doing.
ROBERTS: All right. We'll keep monitoring the situation there, Paula. And if we start get reaction on that front, we'll get back to you.
Thanks very much.
CHETRY: The big question today, will she name more names? Washington is on edge waiting for that answer. A California woman who's accused of running a prostitution ring for the rich and powerful in the nation's capital has a court date this morning.
CNN's Jim Acosta is live at the federal courthouse in Washington.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran.
Yes, there are growing worries in Washington that this alleged D.C. madam will disclose reams of phone records that could embarrass scores of high-level Washington officials in this case, but so far federal prosecutors are not backing down.
ACOSTA (voice over): Deborah Jeane Palfrey denies accusations she ran a D.C. prostitution ring.
DEBORAH JEANE PALFREY, PAMELA MARTIN AND ASSOCIATES: The firm Pamela Martin and Associates operated as a legal, high-end, erotic fantasy service.
ACOSTA: But there are fears in the nation's capital that the woman behind the business Pamela Martin and Associates has every intention of naming names to stay out of jail.
PALFREY: This is on the head of the government. This is not on me. They had a chance at any given point in the last six or so months to stop this thing, but they don't seem to care.
ACOSTA: In an interview with the Internet radio site WS Radio, Palfrey says she plans on disclosing more than a decade's worth of phone records from her self-described erotic fantasy service as part of her defense.
PALFREY: Look, we're going to use some, if not many, of these 10,000 people who used the service for the 13 years as defense witnesses, and many of these people have government clearances, security clearances, high-level individuals.
Do you really want this to happen?
ACOSTA: High-level individuals like Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias. He resigned last week for personal reasons after confirming to ABC News that he was one of Palfrey's clients. Tobias, a proponent of abstinence-based AIDS prevention, and seen here with President Bush, told ABC he had only received massages from Palfrey's service.
ACOSTA: And later this morning, Deborah Palfrey, who also goes by Jeane, is expected to be back in court at 10:00, where she will -- or when she will request a new public defender in this case. She claims she's broke after federal authorities seized her assets last fall as part of this investigation, and we should note about that interview you just heard, she is now trying to sell clips of that interview to raise money for her legal defense -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Oh, wow. All right. Well, if she does names name, it looks like it's going to be highly explosive there in Washington. Thanks a lot, Jim.
ACOSTA: I think so, yes. Sure.
ROBERTS: Delta Air Lines is coming out of bankruptcy today. See what it's going to mean for passengers.
And we check in on the new kid on the block, an airline that promises flights for just 10 bucks. Too good to be true? We'll tell you.
Plus, who's most likely to get pulled over by police? And then what happens afterward? After all the controversy over racial profiling, we'll have some surprising new findings.
You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: A new study by the Justice Department says that Black, Hispanic and White drivers are equally likely to be pulled over by police. But after that, Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to be searched by police, and Blacks are twice as likely as Whites to be arrested.
The numbers are even worse when it comes to the use of force or the threat of force. African-Americans are much more likely to be targeted than Whites and Hispanics.
Coming up to 15 minutes after the hour. Chad Myers in the -- let's see, what's it going to be? Extreme weather center this morning.
CHETRY: Well, some high anxiety in Washington. Who else could be in Deborah Jeane Palfrey's little black book? Last week, Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias stepped down after ABC reportedly contacted him with questions about the alleged madam and her escort service.
Joining us now from Washington, Court TV's Savannah Guthrie.
Savannah, thanks for being with us.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV: Good morning, Kiran.
CHETRY: So, this woman is due to make her court appearance today. What exactly is this about?
GUTHRIE: Well, this is a status hearing. Apparently, she's going to go in and ask for a new public defender.
She has said that because the government seized her assets, she's essentially broke and can't afford her legal defense, and that's one of the reasons she was early on in this case trying to sell her list, her little black book, as you say, hoping to raise fund for her legal defense. In the end, though, it looks like she just simply gave it away to ABC News.
CHETRY: Yes. That's what's confusing here, because people are asking, how is it that she was able to release this?
Prosecutors are alleging that she was providing $300-an-hour prostitute service. Basically, she was indicted on racketeering charges for that. But how is it that ABC News can possibly publish names of her some of her clients?
GUTHRIE: Well, evidently, if the list belongs to her, she's got the document, it seems that it's well within her rights to hand it over to them. It's a phone list, so it doesn't have names that match up with phone numbers.
Apparently, it's just a list of phone numbers from her own phone records. So, it's been up to journalists to try to track down those numbers and see who they belong to. Evidently, ABC found that one of the numbers belonged to the deputy secretary of state, who had to resign last week.
CHETRY: Right, because it is relatively easy to cross-check those numbers and find out who is behind them. Apparently, it also looks like lawyers are trying to keep client's names out of public view.
Is that possible?
GUTHRIE: I'm not sure it is. According to Ms. Palfrey's lawyer, he's received calls from other lawyers around town asking whether or not their clients are actually on the list, and then whether an accommodation could be made to keep the lawyers' names secret.
I don't see that happening. I mean, if this is part of the case, it's relevant information. It's going to end up in the court files. One other name has already ended up in court papers.
So, it may be uncomfortable for quite a few people in Washington, but if she wants to name names, it could definitely come out if this criminal case goes forward.
CHETRY: All right. And there's another, I guess, element to this, and that is that there are allegations also that perhaps some of the people that worked for this woman, AKA, the alleged prostitutes or alleged escorts, are also some high-profile people in Washington, women who have now gone on to other jobs.
Can they protect themselves?
GUTHRIE: I'm not sure that they can. I mean, this is a criminal case. If it comes out in the course of the criminal case, I don't see what they have to say about it.
I mean, they can obviously go out and say, "I didn't do it." But if it's part of the criminal case, you know, as embarrassing as it may be, the case goes forward.
CHETRY: And a lot of people are wondering, so why would she want to take all these people down with her? She's trying to use this as her defense. We heard a little clip. I guess she spoke on a radio program, and she said, "I would hate to have to do this, but the reason I am is because I may have to call some of these people as defense witnesses to show that it wasn't an escort service."
GUTHRIE: Exactly. And it makes sense, right? She wants to call people who are a part of her escort service that she says is not anything illegal and have them come in and verify what she's saying, is that it was all on the up and up.
CHETRY: So would that work? I mean, would that be something the court would take into consideration?
GUTHRIE: Well, sure. Potentially, yes. But I felt like what she was saying on the radio program was, don't make me do this, don't make me call you as defense witnesses...
CHETRY: Right. Right.
GUTHRIE: ... as though she's got some leverage. But I really don't think that that will affect it at the end of the day, because, I mean, if the prosecutor suddenly dropped this case, people would be very suspicious.
It's not like the threat of going forward and exposing all these names means suddenly this case is going to disappear into thin air. So, it may be uncomfortable for a lot of people, but I see it going forward.
CHETRY: All right.
Savannah Guthrie from Court TV, our Washington correspondent.
Thanks so much.
ROBERTS: I wonder how many folks in Washington are worried this morning.
Still to come, Dow 14,000. We take stock after a record-breaking week on Wall Street. And see what this week might bring you coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: Coming up now to 23 minutes after the hour.
As you probably heard, it's going to be a nightmare commute between the city of Oakland and San Francisco because of that freeway collapse in California yesterday. Some interesting pictures. Some amazing pictures, actually, hitting the Internet.
Jacki Schechner here now to show us what some citizen journalists are putting up.
What do you got?
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, we went on to YouTube, and we found this video from a guy named Devon Dorset (ph). Talk about being in the right place at the right time. He actually works in the nightclub industry.
I'm going to pull this up larger so you can get a better view of this. But he was driving home from his job. He works as a graphic artist, a freelancer, a sound engineer in a club. So they were actually on the road at this time. He said it was about 4:30 in the morning, and this is what they saw.
You could hear when they're talking in the background. They're trying to figure out what it is, and they actually guess that it's a tanker explosion. They try to get a closer look. He basically said that there were emergency response vehicles around, but they didn't stop anybody at the time.
ROBERTS: And you can see the big tear in the overpass.
SCHECHNER: Yes. I'm going to show you in a minute some photograph where you can get a closer look at that. But look at that amazing view.
And we've actually been corresponding throughout the night, and he was just telling me that the emergency response people really let people get close for a while until they decided that they wanted people to leave the area. But he drove around Emeryville to get a better -- a closer look at that.
So pretty incredible video showing up online. And actually, some other people responding to him, and they caught it, too, on their cell phones. And they were going to upload it later.
ROBERTS: This is an area called the MacArthur Maze, which was very similar to something we had here in Washington which was called the Basket Weave, which has been sort of straightened out. But some 80,000 cars use this particular piece of asphalt every day. This is going to cause a real nightmare for commuters.
SCHECHNER: A lot of people are going online, too, to try to figure out what to do for commute information. There's (INAUDIBLE) in the San Francisco, and people were going online to try to figure out what they should do. You can see there, just amazing.
ROBERTS: Look at that.
SCHECHNER: Right. And then we've got the aftermath. I just want to show you real quickly.
These came to us from Sarah (ph), who took some photos, put them online at Flicker. That's -- you can see it down at the bottom here -- the aftermath of what this looks like.
ROBERTS: Looking at it.
SCHECHNER: It's pretty incredible to get that close up. She grabbed her camera and went out. She takes some shots of this.
I mean, just look at how that melted. Take an incredible, close- up look. So, it just gives you an idea of what you've got out there.
ROBERTS: It looks very similar to what happened after the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles. And thankfully, they've already got demolition crews there starting to take this apart. But it's still going to take months to get that particular interchange back up.
SCHECHNER: And only the driver injured, right?
ROBERTS: Yes. Slightly burned, too.
SCHECHNER: Well, good news.
ROBERTS: It's incredible that nobody was killed.
Jacki, great pictures. Thanks very much.
CHETRY: Well, it's 25 past the hour now. Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business".
We're talking about the markets.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
CHETRY: Should we buy, should we sell? Is it too late? We heard about the big jump last week.
VELSHI: Yes. I'm not going to bother telling you that Friday was another record on the Dow, because I imagine people are bored of hearing this. This is the third one last week.
Take a look at how markets did last week. We've decided to use percentages to show you the gains across the board, because, you know, at some point with these big numbers the number gain and drop doesn't mean as much.
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
CHETRY: The top stories of the morning coming up next.
We're going to go back to the West Coast. Rush hour is about to start, and it's going to be very rough for the Bay Area. We're live from the collapsed freeway in Oakland.
Also, former CIA chief George Tenet takes on the White House, speaking out about Iraq. We're going to talk with a former CIA agent who thinks that Tenet should give away the profits from his book.
That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
The most news in the morning is on CNN.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: A nightmare wake-up call for commuters in northern California. A tanker truck crashes, catches fire and literally melts away the highway. Drivers are now preparing for their worst ride since the 1989 earthquake on this AMERICAN MORNING.
And thanks for being with us on this Monday, April 30th. I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: And I'm John Roberts in Washington, DC. I guess, Kiran, the only ray of sunshine on that whole thing with that interchange in San Francisco is that the bay bridge is still open, unlike it was in 1989 when the earthquake brought it partly down.
CHETRY: That's right, but the big mess, I guess this happened at one of the worst possible spots, where three different highways connect and so it really is going to be tricky. They said five to six months before everything is back up and running.
ROBERTS: And the alternate commute is going to take people through this maze. Maybe we should get somebody to drive it and take a look at what they're facing.
Other stories on our radar this morning, the George Tenet book, his interview last night on "60 Minutes." We're going to speak with a former CIA intelligence official in just a couple of minutes who sent a letter, actually, with five of his colleagues to George Tenet asking for Tenet among other things to give back his presidential medal of freedom. We'll talk with Larry Johnson coming right up.
CHETRY: You got to give it to zoo keepers and animal experts that are always coming up with unique ways to try to help out pandas, as we know are extremely endangered and they have a hard time mating in captivity. So they're getting a little help with what's called panda porn. It's true John. They're showing the pandas how it's done to get them in the mood. They're showing them video of successful mating to those who are maybe having a little bit of trouble.
ROBERTS: I've seen some pictures of pandas watching panda porn and apparently it doesn't always get them in the mood.
CHETRY: That's their problem. That's why they're nearing the endangered list.
ROBERTS: We've talked enough about that, a little TIA (ph) there.
Also a pilot completes a flight around the world in a tiny micro light aircraft. Some of you say what's so special about that? Well, how about this; he's blind. More on that coming up.
CHETRY: All right, also this morning as we talked about the collapse of that major section of highway in the San Francisco bay area, it has commuters about to be dealing with the worst. AMERICAN MORNING's Chris Lawrence is live in Oakland, California. I know it's still early out there, but are people making their way onto the roadways Chris?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we can hear traffic above us on a lot of the other overpasses right behind us and above us. But again, it's early. It's 4:30 in the morning so a couple hours before the real traffic gets going. And on a normal day here, the traffic is bad, but, you know, as you said, it's going to get a lot worse from here on out. And they're estimating that these repairs might not be done until October. When this tanker couldn't make the turn and crashed, it spilled out 8,000 gallons of gasoline. That gasoline just exploded in a fireball and literally melted the overpass that was right above it and it could not have happened at a worst spot. Three major highways converge right here. They all lead directly into the bay bridge that connects Oakland to San Francisco. This is going to be a major headache. There are some alternate routes that drivers can take, but it means getting off the highway and going through some side streets, looping around and getting back on the freeway several miles away and in an area as congested as the bay area, that's not a good option, especially when you draw that out over five, six months. Kiran.
CHETRY: I understand they're trying to offer free public transportation among other things. Is that any quicker?
LAWRENCE: Yeah, for today, for today they're offering -- the state's picking up the tab to allow free public transportation across the bay area. They're encouraging people to not take those alternate routes. They're saying, use public transportation, if you can. Try to work from home, but, again, five to six months of that, that's a lot of companies are going to have to come up with alternate plans to get people into the office or get that work done a different way.
CHETRY: Right. It just doesn't seem very realistic at this point to do that for months. All right, Chris Lawrence, thanks so much.
ROBERTS: Former CIA Director George Tenet is taking aim at the White House. In his new book out today, he claims the administration used his slam dunk comment about finding WMDs in Iraq out of context and made him a scapegoat for an unpopular war. Here's what Tenet told CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE TENET, FMR CIA DIRECTOR: I believed that he had weapons of mass destruction and now what's happened here is you've gone out and made me look stupid. It's the most despicable thing I've ever heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Larry Johnston is one of six former CIA officers who have written a letter to Tenet calling his book quote an admission of failed leadership. Larry Johnson joins us now live. Larry, you and your five colleagues in this letter called George Tenet the quote, Alberto Gonzales of the CIA. Why?
LARRY JOHNSON, FMR CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: He seems to have trouble remembering what he was doing when he was out at the CIA. His account in his book is at great odds with some of his other actions.
ROBERTS: Now, earlier today we had Tony Snow on, who I asked this question about slam dunk and was Tenet hung out to dry and made a scapegoat? Here's what Tony Snow said about that. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It seems to that that there is a lot of umbrage taken with the term slam dunk. That was in Bob Woodward's book, but on the other hand, there doesn't seem to be any dispute about the fact that the best intelligence available to the United States, to the intelligence committees on Capitol Hill, to intelligence services around the world was that Saddam had some weapons of mass destruction and was pursuing further weapons of mass destruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Tony Snow claiming that everybody was on the same page with the weapons of mass destruction, but in your letter you say, that's not the case at all.
JOHNSON: It's not the case on several fronts. Number one, it is true that Saddam had chemical weapons. But what intelligence analysts do is say, under what circumstances are those used? When would they be used? The fact of the matter was Saddam always used them on the battlefield in military engagements. He did not line people up in gas chambers and gas them like the Nazis doing the Jews in concentration camps in World War II.
Secondly, he was specifically wrong on his issues about Saddam and Osama. He correctly said last night that the CIA had no link between Saddam and Osama with 9/11 and that he said that early on. Yet he went before Congress in February of 2003 and, in fact, laid out what he said were linkages which, in fact, were not really relevant associations. And the intelligence analysts who followed it were saying, there is no, there there, George. So it is very disingenuous of him at this point to say that.
ROBERTS: Condoleezza Rice yesterday on the Sunday morning talk shows said that really no one is to blame here. Take a listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: It was not just an intelligence problem with George Tenet. It was not just an intelligence problem with U.S. intelligence. It was an intelligence problem worldwide. We all thought, including UN inspectors, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: She says no one was to blame. Everybody was on the same page. But in your letter, you said that Tenet should have resigned in protest rather than taking part in a build-up to a war he now claims he didn't totally support.
JOHNSON: Correct. He knew at the time it was a problem. I've talked to seven different officers, senior officers who were in there at the time. Number one, in the fall of 2002, he was told specifically that there was a high-level source in Saddam's government that was saying, we don't have WMD and, yet, remember, it was also George Tenet who was at the summer meeting with Richard Dearlof (ph), the head of British intelligence and Dearlof came out and said the Americans are going to fix the facts and intelligence around the problems. People I know who were in that meeting said that was the message George Tenet was delivering. So George Tenet's hands are just as bloody as everybody else in this administration in helping gin up what was an unfounded case for war.
ROBERTS: So he says the White House made him look stupid by taking his slam dunk comments out of context. What do you say to that?
JOHNSON: As Forest Gump said stupid is as stupid does. You know, he looks stupid because what he was admitting to there was he was willing to tell the president, I'll go out and help manipulate public opinion to build this case for war. That's not the role of an intelligence chief. The role of the intelligence chief of the United States government is to tell the facts to the president and to the Congress regardless of what the political import is.
ROBERTS: One part what George Tenet says in the book and has said in these interviews is very troubling to the American people. He said that he firmly believes that it's al Qaeda's goal to get its hands on a nuclear weapon. You can go out and you can bomb here and there and make news, but if you get hold of a nuclear weapon and set it off in a major population center, you're making history.
JOHNSON: Sure. I think it is correct that they would like to do that. I would like to win the Publisher's Clearinghouse lottery, as well. You can counter bin Laden's desires with effective intelligence, effective law enforcement and cooperation with other countries. It can be done out of the limelight.
ROBERTS: So what is your overall assessment with this whole book?
JOHNSON: I think George Tenet owes the soldiers and their families who have died or been killed or wounded in Iraq part of the proceeds of his book because now he could have stood up and spoke out when he had the chance, when he had the job. He could have changed the course of American history. Instead, he kept silent and now he wants to get a $4 million pay day and $50,000 speaking engagements. The man is profiting from the blood of American soldiers and I think he owes Americans more than just an I'm sorry.
ROBERTS: And you and your colleagues also believe that he should give back the presidential medal of freedom.
ROBERTS: Larry Johnson, thanks very much for being with us.
JOHNSON: Thanks, John.
ROBERTS: Appreciate it. Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. George Tenet will also be Larry King's guest tonight on "Larry King Live" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Still ahead, the so-called DC madam promising to name names. Deborah Jeane Palfrey (ph) will be in Federal court today and Washington is waiting to hear what she has to say. She faces racketeering and money laundering charges, but denies that her escort service provided sex to its customers. Her attorneys have been engaged in a battle with the court over documents like phone records that list these numbers and some other personal information of her clients.
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is fighting for his job today. He'll be speaking to a special panel investigating whether he should be fired for helping his girlfriend transfer to a higher-paying job. Many have called for his resignation, but Wolfowitz says the bank's ethic's committee knew about what he was doing. A decision on his future is expected before the end of the week.
ROBERTS: It could be that the news that millions of families are waiting for. Is there a way to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's on memory? The story is ahead.
And how do you help pandas try to make more pandas? We'll show you one way that they're trying to get the pandas in the mood ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Forty-three minutes now past the hour. We're going to check in with Chad Myers, as you call it, typical spring weather, but a mess at least in Texas.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, it really depends on where your bull's eye is and this weekend the bull's eye was right over Ft. Stockton, Texas, with nearly 10 inches of rain there. Even flood warnings for the Rio Grande, if you can believe it. I mean a big, wide river and flood warnings going on there. The rain is now into Abilene, almost to Dallas, almost into San Antonio. There are some showers moving into New York City, but you can easily find the back edge through Binghamton and through the Catskills and even a few showers right now almost to Dulles on the west side of DC, but, literally, in an hour it will be gone and you'll have a delightful afternoon. It's just kind of a morning mess up there. Could slow down the airports a little bit, but, eventually, the sun will come out and everything will get back to normal. Still heavy rain in Texas today and tomorrow, even the chance of some pretty strong storms on into upstate New York and also into Ohio and Pennsylvania for tomorrow. The story though for New York City, partly cloudy today. Couple showers tomorrow. Those are the thunderstorms we talked about, 64 and then, John, for you, I mean, you can't get better than a rain shower in the morning and then all of a sudden 82 by the afternoon in the nation's capital. Back to you.
ROBERTS: I'm playing in a charity golf tournament today Chad, so, that's going to be perfect, perfect weather for this Fisher House charity event.
MYERS: Oh, good for you.
ROBERTS: Yeah. Forty five minutes after the hour, a candlelight dinner, maybe a bottle of wine, someone special. That may work for people, but it's not exactly the recipe to get pandas to mate. CNN's John Vause has got the story of some unusual steps that researchers in China are taking to put pandas in the mood.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're cute, playful, cuddly, but, apparently, not so passionate. So researchers in China have found a way to get male pandas to put down their bamboo, get out of their trees and get in the mood.
ZHANG HEMIN, DIR.. WOLONG PANDA RESERVE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We videotape pandas who mate successfully and play that for pandas who don't know how to do it.
VAUSE: That's right, panda porn. The theory is simple, show pandas like Lulu (ph) how it is done so he can make the most of the three days every year when females are ready to mate. It's not just the visuals, but also the sound of panda loving that does the job. And Lulu is raring to go. Scientists here at China's Wolong research center have found what's good on tape, is even better live, taping pandas who may be a little shy to watch others who aren't. Pandas also regularly swap panda partners so each finds that someone special. All of this has led to a panda baby boom with 20 cubs, including this little guy, who is not so little, called (INAUDIBLE) being born here in the past year alone and that's more than ever before. Zhang Hemin, the park's director boasts his breeding program now has almost 100 percent success rate. When you look at this, do you feel like a proud father? But not everything has worked. They tried Viagra once. It proved just too much for your average bear.
HEMIN: They stay excited for way too long.
VAUSE: Even so, after teetering on the edge of extinction, the future for the giant panda is looking hopeful and a little bit frisky. John Vause, Wolong, CNN, China.
ROBERTS: Sometimes just the simplest things.
CHETRY: You know, there's just so much with that. First of all, John, when he was holding the panda, why was he wearing a plastic suit? Did you see that?
ROBERTS: I would expect that maybe the panda was, you know, it's a baby panda and they can be a little incontinent from time to time.
CHETRY: OK, fine, well, that panda seemed to be in love with John, that's the wrong thing. He was supposed to be in love with another panda.
ROBERTS: I was just thinking at the very beginning that there are probably a lot of women in America who would like human males to be like the panda male and just want to sit around and chew the bamboo instead of -- CHETRY: Well, all I know is I want to know who added that music for sound effects, as well. Wow, all right, brought a smile to our faces today.
It could be the breakthrough that millions of families have been desperately hoping for, a possible way to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease on the memory. We're going to have details on that coming up next.
Also, they're excruciatingly painful, but might be just the start of the trouble caused by migraines. A worrisome new study is next on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. We have some health headlines for you. Both Kentucky Fried Chicken and its sister company Taco Bell are now banning trans fats. They're using healthier vegetable oils, instead. The switch over follows studies showing that trans fats can clog arteries.
An alarming new study on migraines is out this morning that ties migraines to brain damage. Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York found that migraines can starve the brain of oxygen and cause it to swell. That might explain why migraine suffers are more prone to strokes. The study also highlights the need to prevent migraines, not just manage the pain after migraines hit.
Also some encouraging news for Alzheimer's patients looking to recover lost memories. MIT researchers found that the memories of elderly mice come back, actually, improve with drugs called HDAC inhibitors. Memories also improved by living in bright light and getting a lot of exercise. Scientists say that the study suggests that Alzheimer's doesn't erase memories and that the right treatment could help get them back.
ROBERTS: That could be promising.
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is set to leave the hospital today. He was seriously hurt in an accident on the Garden State parkway two and a half weeks ago. The governor broke a leg, 11 ribs, his breastbone and a vertebrae in his lower back. He plans to rehab at the governor's mansion and aides say that he's going to take his time before resuming his duties as governor.
We talk would White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who is back at work today, a month after he had cancer surgery. Snow spoke with us last hour from the White House.
SNOW: Five weeks ago I left and we did some exploratory surgery. They found a recurrence of cancer and so, what we're doing now is we're treating it. I've recovered from the surgery more or less. I got a little more recovery to do. I'll start doing chemo on Friday. We'll do that every other week for four months. We'll do eight treatments and then if everything goes according to plan, once a month we'll do a maintenance chemo just to make sure that we got the thing knocked out and put into remission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: And of course, we welcome him back to the White House. Snow says that he hopes to be an example to other cancer patients and that he expects to live a full life.
She says that she's got a little black book full of dark secrets. The question, will she go public with them? A threat from the alleged DC madam has Washington on edge this morning. That story straight ahead.
Delta flies out of bankruptcy, but how will it change the way that you fly? We're live with the answers.
And also, it's not your average flight and he's not your average pilot. Up next, meet a guy who doesn't know the meaning of the word, impossible. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is here on CNN.
ROBERTS: Fifty seven minutes now after the hour. A former "American Idol" finalist is out on bail this morning after being charged with battery. Twenty-one-year-old Jessica Sierra was arrested on Sunday on felony battery charges for allegedly hitting a man in the head with a heavy glass at a cafe. No, that's not her mug shot. She was also charged with cocaine possession. Jessica Sierra was one of "American Idol's" 10 finalists back in 2005. What an incredible story.
CHETRY: It really is. Wow.
All right, three minutes before the top of the hour. Ali Velshi minding your business right now and we were just talking about something really interesting about what credit card companies should be doing to protect you.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Retailers ever since September and think a lot of folks don't know this, are supposed to give you your copy of a credit card slip with only the last five digits showing. Everything else should be X'd out and according to a lot of people, the expiration date shouldn't be showing either. Now a lot of major retailers are being sued right now for not doing this. The problem, of course, is that a lot of these companies don't have the right software to program into their point of sale terminals to give you this. But the idea is it is supposed to keep you safe. Now as I have noticed, a lot of retailers are giving you your credit card receipt with all of your numbers on it. This remains a source of identity theft. Even though most times you hear about it because some company lost your information, the fact is, some people still get that information off of your credit card slips. I was speaking to Frank (INAUDIBLE) the other day from (INAUDIBLE) He.s the guy about who that movie was made. He works for the FBI now. He says, you know, with a phone number and that kind of information, you can completely get someone's identity.
CHETRY: He actually helps check --
VELSHI: He now helps catch these bad guys.
CHETRY: Because he was so good at it before. The other thing is, they do seem to do this online. Online you see that everything is X'd out except for the last five. But when you get your actual statements, you can't just throw those in the garbage either because they have your full account number.
VELSHI: And he recommends shredding and not just regular ribbon shredding, not even cross cut shredding. He says micro cut shredding. They don't cost a lot more. But that those are the ones that are very, very hard to put together. Although the FBI and CIA have managed to put that together. It's when they're looking for terrorists that hey do that.
CHETRY: You have to really have a lot of time on your hands to do that so people can safeguard themselves if they shred anything. All right, thanks a lot Ali. John, over to you.
ROBERTS: Thanks. A blind pilot has landed in Sydney, Australia after a 13,500 mile, 59-day flight from London, England. Fifth-eight year old British adventurer Miles Hiltonbarber (ph) had the help of a sighted copilot. He completed the trip in a micro light aircraft, which is sort of a cross between a tricycle and a motorized hang glider. Hiltonbarber lost his eyesight about 20 years ago. He's hoping that the trip is going to raise money to prevent blindness in developing countries. What an incredible ride that was.
CHETRY: Good for him, unbelievable. He also runs marathons. He does a lot of things. So it's certainly not keeping him down.
ROBERTS: No, not at all, which is great to see, an inspiration to other people.
CHETRY: He is. The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING begins right now.
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