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American Morning

Iran Launches Another Set of Missile Tests; Jesse Jackson Apologizes for Crude Comments; DNA Clears Ramsey Family; Ingrid Betancourt Speaks Out; Denver and the Democrats Try To Pull Off an Earth Friendly Convention

Aired July 10, 2008 - 06:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Crude comments. Jesse Jackson's hot mike statement about Barack Obama. His apology and the impact on Obama's campaign.
Cleared. This morning new DNA tests free JonBenet's family from the umbrella of suspicion. But are we closer to catching her killer?

Plus, Colombia hostage Ingrid Betancourt, one on one with Larry King on the cruelty she endured for six years.


INGRID BETANCOURT, FREED HOSTAGE: Human beings can be so horrible to other human beings.


CHETRY: We're going to hear more from the amazing story of Ingrid Betancourt a little bit later. Welcome to the show. It is Thursday, July 10th.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Thanks very much for being with us.

And we begin this morning with breaking news out of Iran. For the second straight day, Iran test fires medium and long range missiles. Iranian state television says the missiles have "special capabilities" but didn't explain that.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is traveling in Eastern Europe telling reporters this morning that the United States will not back down and ignore threats against Israel.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are also sending a message to Iran that we will defend American interests and defend our -- the interest of our lives. We take very, very strongly our obligation to help our allies defend themselves and no one should be confused about that.


ROBERTS: CNN's Ben Wedeman is live in Jerusalem this morning. And Ben, one of the missiles that was tested was the Shahab-3, which is, they have a range of some 1,200 miles which means it could potentially reach Israel. What's the reaction there in Israel been to these missile tests?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the Israelis are very concerned about these missiles, John. In fact, it would only take 11 minutes for one of those missiles to go from Iran to Israel. But surprisingly, the reaction here has been fairly muted.

I wanted to show you the front page of two of Israel's main newspapers. Neither of them have the Iran missile story as the lead or on the top story or even on the front page. So Israel has been sort of mentally dealing with the potential of an Iranian missile strike for quite some time. They've taken measures over the years.

Last month in June they held a civil defense exercise in Tel Aviv. Also last month the Israelis conducted a simulated air operation in the eastern Mediterranean that many believe would be a dry run for a strike on Iran's nuclear program.

So the Israelis have really digested and become accustomed to this potential threat for quite some time. So their reaction has been surprisingly mute -- John.

ROBERTS: You know, Ben, some people are wondering if Iran's actions are as a result of those war games that Israel engaged in last month. But in terms of defending itself from a missile attack, what sort of equipment does Israel have that could potentially shoot down a missile? Do they have anything that could shoot down that type of missile?

WEDEMAN: Well, the Israeli military is the most advanced, the best equipped, and most modern military machine in the Middle East. They have a variety of means to deter some sort of attack. They have two anti-missile systems. There's the Patriot missile system which you -- anti-missile system, which you may recall from the first Gulf War which was successful at shooting down Iraqi scuds that were fired at Israel.

Israel has also developed with the assistance of the United States the Arrow anti-missile system, which is also capable of shooting down missiles coming from broad (ph). In fact, today, the Israelis put on display a spy plane which is -- essentially serves as an early warning system for incoming missiles among other things on that airplane. So Israel is fairly well equipped in the event somebody decides to fire missiles in its direction -- John.

ROBERTS: CNN's Ben Wedeman for us this morning from Jerusalem as we look at what are some pretty spectacular pictures of those missile launches. Ben, thanks very much.

CHETRY: CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour has been watching these new developments, and she joins us on the phone this morning from France. Christiane, your take on what's been going on with these long range and medium range test fires out of Iran. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (ON THE PHONE): Well, obviously this is something that the Europeans too are monitoring quite closely because it's happening at the same time as they are trying to get the Iranians to respond to a nuclear package they put before them several weeks ago. But the issue is, these missiles, people say, can either reach Israel or, indeed, other countries in Europe such as Greece and Italy.

But many observers believe that the missiles since they haven't actually been ever fired in those direction are potentially -- I mean, lots of people don't believe they're actually very accurate and potentially could not actually get to a specific target. Sort of in a scud sort of way.

On the other hand, they're nonetheless threatening. And why, the question is, is Iran doing this at this moment. Well, out of Iran, the word is that they're doing it because of the rhetoric coming from both Israel and some causes in the United States about a potential hit on their nuclear facility. So this ramp up in what are routine military exercises by Iran in the Persian Gulf, this is happening coincidentally at this time because of a lot of the rhetoric that's coming from Israel.

You'll remember the transport minister, Shaul Mofaz (ph), a few weeks ago talked about having to take out Iran's nuclear facilities if there wasn't a deal reached. Equally, though, there have been strong voices in Israel and in the United States. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said just last week that an attack by Israel on Iran would be a high-risk operation that would destabilize the Middle East. So that really puts you where the Pentagon is on this, or at least the military in the Pentagon.

Another thing here out of Iran is that this, as I say, coming at a time when these nuclear negotiations are sort of trying to inch forward. Iranian officials say they are determined not to negotiate or not to be perceived to be negotiating from a position of weakness, and not to have any kind of negotiation or flexibility on their side be termed as weakness. So they're very, very concerned about that. Perhaps this has something to do with that, although more likely because Iran has said it will defend itself if it's attacked.

CHETRY: So we'll have to continue to watch and monitor the fall out from the international community as Iran, yet again for a second straight day, test fires medium and long range missiles. Christiane Amanpour by phone from France, great talking to you. Thanks.

ROBERTS: It's coming up now at six minutes after the hour and turning to the "Most Politics in the Morning."

The Reverend Jesse Jackson apologizing to Senator Barack Obama for making what he calls crude comments that were picked up by a live television microphone. Jackson accused Obama of "talking down to black people" in recent speeches in black churches and said that he wanted to remove a certain part of Obama's anatomy.

CNN's senior correspondent Joe Johns takes a look at Jackson's apology and the reaction to what he said. He's here now.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, Reverend Jackson's open mike moment came on Sunday on FOX News. He thought his mike was off when he said this to a fellow guest.



REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: See, Barack been, um, talking down to black people on this faith based. I wanna cut his (beep) off. Barack, he's talking down to black people.


JOHNS (voice-over): By midweek, Jackson was in full damage control calling leaders in the African-American community to explain, even before many had heard of the comment, placing himself on the firing line at a hastily arranged news conference.

JACKSON: In this thing I've said in a hot mike statement that's interpreted as distractions, I apologize for that, because I don't want harm or hurt to come to this campaign. It represents too much of the dreams of so many who paid such great prices.

JOHNS: Part of what Jackson was apparently trying to say is Obama should not talk down to the African-American community in sermons when he discusses one of his themes -- personal responsibility. It was another messy moment for Barack Obama who just seems to attract regrettable off the cuff remarks by high profile people who are quickly forced to go out and take it back.

In a statement, Obama's campaign accepted Jackson's apology, but the candidate stood his ground on the issue of personal responsibility saying, "He will continue to speak out about our responsibilities to ourselves and each other. And he, of course, accepts Reverend Jackson's apology."

But Jackson didn't receive forgiveness from his own son. Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is a co-chairman of the Obama campaign, issued a statement saying, "I'm deeply outraged and disappointed in the reckless statements," which he calls "divisive and demeaning," and says "they contradict his inspiring and courageous career."

JOHNS: It's unclear what trigged Jackson's outburst. In June, Obama delivered a speech before an African-American congregation on the problems of fatherless black households.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Too many fathers are "MIA." Too many fathers are AWOL.


JOHNS: Reverend Jackson is playing down the notion that this is any kind of a face off between the old guard and the new guard in African- American politics. But there have been rumblings for weeks that some in the Jackson camp in Chicago are upset because Obama's message hasn't been tailored and focused to appeal to the more traditional black constituencies -- John and Kiran.

ROBERTS: Joe Johns this morning with that story. Just remarkable what happened.

CHETRY: It sure is. And coming up in just a couple of minutes we're going to be speaking with Jelani Cobb. He is a professor at Spelman College, and he also wrote about this generational divide between Barack Obama and some of the more traditional black leaders. So we're going to get his take on this coming up in a few minutes.

We're also following breaking news this morning. Iran launches another set of missile tests while the U.S. sends a tough warning.

Ali Velshi is going to join us with a look at what impact, if any, it will have on oil markets.

ROBERTS: Plus, John and Patsy Ramsey declared innocent. A new DNA test proves that they did not kill their daughter. A look at the technology that finally cleared their name.

CHETRY: Also ahead, they were held captive for more than six years in the jungles of Colombia. And now, we're hearing from the only female hostage rescued and how she's adjusting to life on the outside. Again, you're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: And 11 1/2 minutes after the hour. Breaking news, Iran test firing more medium and long range missiles overnight. New video of those launches.

The spectacular trails left by those rockets as they fly away. State television says the missiles have "special capabilities" but did not elaborate on what those might be. This is the second straight day of Iranian missile testing. On Tuesday, at least nine missiles were lunched including several capable of reaching Israel.

CHETRY: So we're asking the question today, what are the implications of Iran saber rattling on the world supply of oil?

Ali Velshi has been tracking that, and he joins us now with more on this. Hi, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, folks. The implications of these are quite serious. I wanted to come over here to show you what it looks like.

When we think of oil in the Middle East we think of Saudi Arabia. Most of the world's oil production or the Middle East oil production is in this crescent right here around the Persian Gulf. Now, here is what we need to look at. Let's push into this a little bit.

Iran is the fourth biggest oil producer in the world, but the bigger problem is all the ships that bring the oil from this area have to take it right through here and through this little place called the Strait of Hormuz.

Now, at its narrowest point, the Strait of Hormuz is only 21 miles wide. It is controlled by Iran. There are chip channels that go in either direction, and 40 percent of the world's oil that is shipped goes through that channel.

Now, Iran has said if anybody were to attack them they would choke off the Strait of Hormuz and that would immediately send the price of oil substantially higher. And I mean substantially. So at the moment, most people understand that a war with Iran would not be a beneficial thing. It would choke up the price of oil.

It would also hurt Iran because one of the problems with Iran's oil supply is that it supplies 85 percent of Iran's budget. So if they were to give up their access to oil, it would hurt Iranians as well. So any attack on Iran or an attack by Iran that provokes war would be a very, very expensive venture for Iran and for the rest of the world. And that's why you see the price of oil move as much as it does when people think that there are tensions in the Middle East that could rope Iran in.

ROBERTS: All right. Ali Velshi for us this morning with that. Any idea what the price of oil is going to do as a result of this?

VELSHI: We're watching right now. No particular movement as of yet, but we are keeping a very close eye on it. If it does increase, I'll let you know about it.

ROBERTS: Ali, thanks very much. Great explanation there.

A television network picks their presidential choice. And they're only covering the candidate that they want to win. How can they get away with that?

And the parents and brother of JonBenet Ramsey officially cleared in her death. A look at how they were exonerated 12 years later. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: New DNA evidence in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case has now cleared her parents and her brother. Prosecutors say that tests point to an unexplained third party, not a member of the family. The family has lived under a cloud of suspicion since the 6-year-old beauty queen was murdered 12 years ago.

CNN's Mary Snow looks at their extraordinary vindication.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, a Colorado prosecutor wrote a letter to John Ramsey explaining that new DNA samples in the case point to an unexplained third party.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SNOW (voice-over): Nearly 12 years after JonBenet Ramsey's murder, prosecutors are now clearing the little girl's family as suspects. And the Boulder County district attorney is apologizing, acknowledging the "ongoing living hell" that suspicions about the Ramseys created.

The DA says new DNA evidence points to a male but doesn't belong to anyone in the Ramsey family. JonBenet's father, John, mother Patsy who died in 2006, or Burke, the little girl's brother. John Ramsey spoke to KUSA.

JOHN RAMSEY, FATHER OF JONBENET: The most significant to me was the fact that we now have pretty irrefutable DNA evidence according to the DA's office. And that's the most significant thing to me. And certainly we are grateful that they acknowledge that we, you know, based on that we certainly could not have been involved.

SNOW: John Ramsey had found his daughter's body on the morning of December 26, 1996. Patsy had found a ransom note. They say an intruder had entered their house. But Boulder County Police at one point said the couple was under an umbrella of suspicion. Ramsey was asked by KUSA about the ongoing doubts as the family maintained their innocence.

RAMSEY: I think people don't want to -- they want an answer to that horrendous crime. It's hard for people to accept. I think that someone would come into a home and murder a child from their bed, and we were perhaps an answer.

SNOW: The Boulder County DA, Mary Lacy, told the Ramsey family that investigators used a new DNA technique that scraped items of clothing which did not show traces of DNA, but which JonBenet's attacker had touched. The tests were done on leggings that went over the little girl's underwear.

The DA also apologized to the Ramseys, saying "To the extent that this office has added to the distress suffered by the Ramsey family at any time or to any degree, I offer my deepest apology."


SNOW: An attorney for the family told CNN that Patsy Ramsey's death is one of the sad notes of the news because she isn't here to celebrate the vindication of her family. Patsy Ramsey died of cancer in 2006.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

CHETRY: And less than two months after Patsy Ramsey died, the case appeared to blow wide open after a false confession. Here's an "AM EXTRA" look.

American teacher John Mark Karr was arrested in Thailand back in August of 2006. He was claiming that he was with JonBenet when she died but said her death was an accident. Well, then, he was flown to Boulder, Colorado, for further investigation and he was cleared in less than two weeks after DNA evidence showed he did not commit the crime.

He was then moved to California to face unrelated misdemeanor child porn charges. They were also dropped after sheriff's investigators admitted losing computer evidence seized from his computer. Karr was then arrested last year in Atlanta and charged with battery and obstruction of justice after a domestic argument with his then girlfriend.

ROBERTS: It's 19 minutes after the hour. New details about the money that might have paved the way for that daring hostage rescue in Colombia. An emotional reaction from one of the women saved.


INGRID BETANCOURT, FREED HOSTAGE: It was hell. It was hell for the body. It was hell for the soul. It was hell for the mind.


ROBERTS: More of Ingrid Betancourt's conversation with Larry King. That's ahead.

Plus, all Obama all the time. One television network refuses to cover the Republican Convention but they're going wall to wall with the Democrats. How can they get away with that?

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Twenty-two minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."

New details and new developments in the rescue of those 15 hostages in Colombia, including three Americans. The U.S. government is now trying to extradite two members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC.

The kidnappers would face federal charges in the United States of hostage taking and supporting a foreign terrorist organization. And CNN has learned Colombian agents offered money to at least two soldiers to help them infiltrate the rebel group and pull off the daring rescue.

In many ways, Colombia's former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt has become the face of this story. She spent more than six years as a prisoner in the jungles of Colombia. And now, a week after her rescue she's talking to our own Larry King about what she endured.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Good morning, John and Kiran. We had an incredible hour last night with Ingrid Betancourt. She told us about her six years of hardship at the hands of her captors in Colombia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) INGRID BETANCOURT, FREED HOSTAGE: It was very enduring because in the jungle, you don't have a horizon. You don't see the sky. You are in a cave of vegetation. So it's very improving (ph). I think that the worst thing is realizing that mankind -- that -- that human beings can be so horrible to other human beings.


KING: She's a remarkable woman who left us all asking, could I have survived such an ordeal? Not me. John, Kiran, what about you?

ROBERTS: Wow. Being in a situation like that would test absolutely every ounce of your fortitude. You would have to have an extraordinary will to survive to be able to deal with that.

CHETRY: Certainly, she has an amazing story and she had an amazing will. And glad we got to hear a little bit more from her.

Still ahead, an open microphone, some critical comments and this morning an apology from Jesse Jackson. The civil rights activist saying sorry for crude remarks he made about Barack Obama while he was miked for an interview. We're looking to new reaction to the controversy this morning.

Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, the dark side of black gold. Deformed fish. Discolored meat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will come and exploit and then they'll leave.


CHETRY: How locals say this big dig is killing their land. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."

The Reverend Jesse Jackson apologizing for insulting comments he made about Senator Barack Obama. The comments picked up by a FOX News Channel microphone as Jackson was waiting to go on and do an interview. Jackson didn't know that microphone was picking up what he was saying at the time. Let's listen.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: See, Barack been, um, talking down to black people on this faith based. I wanna cut his (beep) off.


CHETRY: Well, joining me to discuss is Spelman College professor, Jelani Cobb, a contributor to "Essence" magazine and He's also an Obama supporter.

Thanks for being with us this morning. Jelani.


CHETRY: Do you see this as an isolated mistake on Jackson's part or part of a larger pattern, if you will, of a lack of support for Barack Obama among some leaders in the black community?

COBB: Well, one of the things that I discovered, I just read an article two days before this started. I turned to an article on the generational dynamic in the election for "Vibe" magazine.

And one of the things that I discovered was that a wide array of younger people, people who were born after the death of Martin Luther King perceived that the old guard was very ambivalent about Senator Obama because they, perhaps thought that their own positions were threatened by his prominence. And he has been able to gain an astounding degree of support among African-Americans without having essentially kissed the rings of some of the older more established leaders. And so --

CHETRY: You wrote that two days before. Did these comments -- I mean, were you shocked when you heard these comments?

COBB: I was amazed because the comments were so inflammatory and they were so inappropriate and vile. I was amazed that someone with the track record and someone who's made the contributions, the important contributions that Jesse Jackson has made would make a comment that was that inappropriate and that disrespectful.

CHETRY: Jackson did weigh in on that and tried to explain why he said those comments yesterday. Let's listen to what Jackson said in an interview with CNN.


VOICE OF REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: He asked about Barack's speeches lately at the black churches. I said they can come off as speaking down to black people. The moral message must be a much broader message. Then I said something I thought regretfully crude. But it was very private.


CHETRY: And so, he's trying to explain that he felt this was private. He didn't realize the mikes were up. But does it speak to the larger issue of concerns that Barack Obama, in some circles, has been criticized for talking down as Jesse Jackson puts it, to black people?

COBB: Well, I thought that was interesting because Reverend Jackson has made comments of that nature for the past 30 years. He's made very -- comments about personal responsibility and the importance of fatherhood and active fatherhood and active parenting.

He made a comment some time back about teen pregnancy and there's no longer shame associated with it. So I didn't really think that what Senator Obama said was outside the mainstream of African-American commentary, which is another reason I was surprised that Reverend Jackson had the vehement response that he did.

CHETRY: Does this change how relevant Jesse Jackson is going to be in terms of getting black people to rally around his causes?

COBB: Well, I think there's a clear mandate for Senator Obama within African-American communities. And Reverend Jackson has made tremendous contributions. His 1988 campaign run opened the door for the candidacy that we're seeing now for Senator Obama. But perhaps it's time for him to take a less visible position in African-American public life.

CHETRY: Very interesting. Jelani Cobb, great to get your take on it this morning. Thanks for joining us.

COBB: Thank you.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Just crossing the half hour now. We're following breaking news this morning. Iran conducting a second round of missile tests overnight. A state television report says the missiles have, quote, "special capabilities." And the tests show that Iran is ready to strike back if attacked by the United States or Israel.

Yesterday, Iran test fired at least nine medium and long range missiles including ones capable of hitting Israel. Meantime, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told supporters in Eastern Europe that the U.S. will defend American interest and interests of its allies.

Much more on this breaking story throughout the next hour here on the "Most News in the Morning."

President Bush savoring a legislative victory this morning with Senate passage of a new terror surveillance bill. The vote ends nearly a year of political wrangling over secret government wiretapping. The bill grants immunity to telecom companies that helped the administration evesdrop after 9/11. The president says that he'll sign the measure into law very soon.

And Hurricane Bertha has strengthened once again to a category 2 storm and could gain even more strength later on today. Bertha is getting closer to the island of Bermuda about 500 miles away now with winds of around 105 miles an hour. Still unclear if the storm is going to make land fall.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": The African- American cable network TV One is coming under fire for its plans to cover the Democratic convention, but not the Republican convention. And, believe me, black Republicans are very upset. Both of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: Well, it gets laughs on late night television. But how can a television network seriously get away with choosing one candidate over the other?

CNN's Jason Carroll and the reasons why and how they're allowed to only cover the one that they want to win. The one that seems to serve their interests, if you will. Jason Carroll joins us now this morning.

Good morning, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you. You know, a representative for the network says this was in part a business decision, not a political one. Critics say it may be good for their business but it's not good in terms of providing a public service.


CARROLL (voice-over): What if a network decided it was only going to cover one political party's convention? It might lead to audience outrage. So why then is a capable channel called TV One deciding to only cover the Democratic National Convention?

JONATHAN RODGERS, PRESIDENT, TV ONE: We never made a decision not to cover the RNC. What we did at TV One was make a decision to cover Barack Obama.

CARROLL: TV One's CEO Jonathan Rodgers says the network is geared towards lifestyle and entertainment for African-Americans. They're not a news station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's how we do it, baby, on TV One.

RODGERS: We are an entertainment network designed to support, and engage and encourage African-Americans.

CARROLL: Some Republicans say TV One is being short-sighted.

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You don't choose one candidate over the other because then you're ultimately deciding everything for your viewer. Let the viewer decide for themselves.

CARROLL: Because TV One is a cable network, it doesn't have to follow the same FCC rules regarding political coverage that broadcast networks like NBC or CBS would follow. Rodgers put it this way. He says 93 percent of his audience is black and most African-Americans are Democrats, so why should he cover the Republican Convention?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think they're responding to their audience. They're responding to those who watch TV One to cover this as a historic event and not to cover it the way that most political units cover it.

CARROLL: Critics say TV One may be focusing on Obama, but are missing an important part of the senator's message. BILL TRIPLETT, TV ANALYST, VARIETY: I think TV One's decision will run count to the positioning and the image that the Obama campaign has been at pains to project. And that's essentially that Barack Obama is -- he's post racial. He's not about being the first black Democratic candidate. He's about being the first Democratic candidate who happens to be black.

CARROLL: Another channel targeting African-Americans, B.E.T., Black Entertainment Television, is taking a more balanced approach. Its senior vice president releasing a statement saying, "We plan on covering both conventions. But considering the historical nature of Senator Obama's candidacy, we will have a heightened presence on B.E.T. for the Democratic National Convention."


CARROLL: There you go. And One Republican strategist told us MTV considers themselves an entertainment network and they still plan on covering both conventions. Neither campaign would comment on TV One's decision.

ROBERTS: Of course, the audience demographic for MTV slightly different than it is for TV One or B.E.T.

CARROLL: Absolutely. Absolutely.

ROBERTS: Did you get any kind of a sense that Jonathan Rodgers may be willing to add some coverage on the Republican side?

CARROLL: Not yet. But, you know, now, since the story has come out, maybe once he hears more voices from a lot of different areas, perhaps they'll change their minds.

ROBERTS: All right. Jason Carroll for us this morning. Jason, good story. Thank you.

CARROLL: Thanks.

CHETRY: Well, it's a high-tech ATM scam. You and your bank account could be at risk. What you need to know about a new kind of bank robbery.

Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, the dark side of black gold. Deformed fish. Discolored meat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will come and exploit and then they'll leave.


CHETRY: How locals say this big dig is killing their land. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: A little midnight oil this morning as we look at the tar sands of Northern Alberta. Ali Velshi on the "Energy Hunt" today.

And Ali, you were talking a lot yesterday about the process of getting oil out of the tar sands. But what does that process do to the environment, big question.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, and that is a big question. This is the third and final installment of our series on Canada's oil sands which today pump 1.5 million barrels of oil in to the United States everyday.

Now, as long as oil prices stay above $50 a barrel, there is much more oil to come from that region. Some people say it's a win-win situation for Canada and the United States. But others say the cost to the environment is too high.


VELSHI (voice-over): Robert Cree lives on an Indian Reserve in Canada. He's worried about the future of his ancestral land. His home sits on top of the oil sands, the world's largest known reserve of oil.

(on-camera): This is oil sand. It's basically little grains of sand with a little bit of water in it and bitumen, which is -- yet, it sort of smells and feels a little like tar but it's not actually tar.

Now, what you do is you separate the bitumen from the water and the sand. And when you purify it, it sort of comes out like this. It looks like molasses. It's very thick and heavy.

(voice-over): That heavy stuff is then upgraded into usable like crude oil. 1.5 million barrels of it per day and growing fast. Most of it U.S. bound. So what's the problem?

Critics say the upgrading process emits three times as much carbon dioxide as drilling for conventional oil and transporting it to market. Shell, one of the major operators in the area, disputes that saying it's only twice as polluting.

Still, the oil sands are responsible for three percent of Canada's total greenhouse gas emission. And then there's the land. The oil sands are under 54,000 square miles. An area the size of Florida. And some of that area woodland has to be clear cut to be surface mined, creating the largest industrial zone on earth.

Robert Cree says cutting the forest down could bring environmental disaster.

ROBERT CREE, GREGOIRE LAKE RESERVE: I call the Boreal Forest lungs of the earth. And if the Boreal Forest were depleted to a point and what's going to happen?

VELSHI: And then there's the water taken from the local river used to wash the oil from the sand. The used water is then left to evaporate in huge lined ponds required by law to ensure it doesn't leak back into the earth.

After it's gone, a fine sand blows across a vast, surreal, devastated landscape. Locals have reported deformed fish, discolored meat in the wildlife, and a local health Ford study says there's been a spike in illnesses. Cree Chief George Poitras wants new oil sands production to stop until the dangers are clearly established.

CHIEF GEORGE POITRAS, MIKISEW CREE FIRST NATION: And like any kind of resource boom anywhere in the world, people will come and exploit and then they'll leave. And we'll be here with land that is decimated.

VELSHI: The oil companies are required to replant the land that they displace. They show off this former mine complete with bison as an example of what the land can look like once it's reclaimed. It's a process that can take up to 50 years.


VELSHI: Well, the environmental concerns have spread to the United States. Some U.S. mayors are urging major American cities to ban the use of gas that's made from oil sands in municipal vehicles although it's virtually impossible to trace the origins of any given gallon of gasoline. So it's more to raise awareness that there are concerns about this.

ROBERTS: That huge scar in the earth that we see. Those giant machines making -- how do they ever put that back to that land that we saw (INAUDIBLE)?

VELSHI: They save the stuff that they scrape off the top. And once that water has evaporated, they put that earth back in there and they have to plant it. It's got to grow back.

They say within 50 years it's got to be as productive as it was before. At least that's what the law says. We haven't seen 50 years of this so we don't know if that's going to work.

ROBERTS: Well, fascinating stuff. Ali, thanks so much.

CHETRY: We're also watching Hurricane Bertha churning up the Atlantic. The storm re-strengthens to a category 2. Winds now over 100 miles per hour. How close is she to Bermuda? We're going to get an update on the forecast, coming up.

ROBERTS: The modern heist.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ATM crime has become more and more sophisticated.


ROBERTS: Forget covering your hand. Thieves have a new way to crack your code and clean you out. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Breaking news for the second straight day. Iran test fires medium and long range missiles. On Tuesday, at least nine missiles were launched including several capable of reaching Israel.

Earlier this hour, CNN's Christiane Amanpour told us that this is all coming as nuclear talks try to inch forward. Iranian official say the tests are meant to show Iran's readiness to strike back if attacked by the United States or Israel.

CHETRY: All right, 44 minutes after the top of the hour. And Jacqui Jeras in the weather center in Atlanta this morning watching Hurricane Bertha.

So, you know, Hurricane Bertha, a little bit of a bust yesterday, now regaining some strength?


CHETRY: Well, still ahead, your secret P.I.N. number may not be so secret after all. Hackers now breaking into ATM machines, cleaning out bank accounts, and they're never even physically there.

ROBERTS: Painting the town green. Bikes, recycled utensils, even compost piles. Denver and the Democrats try to pull off an earth friendly convention.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're all learning right now what is the best way to go green.


ROBERTS: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: It's a high-tech rip off and your money is at risk. Thieves stealing millions of dollars from ATMs and they're nowhere near the machines.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick explains.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, it's apparently a new kind of bank robbery. Hackers breaking into ATM machines through holes in the computer software accessing a number of bank accounts.


FEYERICK (voice-over): It's something you probably take for granted. That when you use an ATM machine and enter your personal P.I.N. code that secret number stays between you and your bank. Think again.

DON JACKSON, SECUREWORKS: We're at a tippling point, where this is actually becoming a serious problem. FEYERICK: It happened most recently at 7/11 stores across the country. Hackers broke into Citibank's network of ATM machines, snatched people's P.I.N. numbers and stole some $2 million from a range of bank accounts.

KRUT HELWIG, ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER ASSOC.: ATM crime has become more and more sophisticated. You see organized crime rings, for example, that are willing to sometimes invest large sums of money up front in order to compromise, you know, in order to compromise an account or accounts.

FEYERICK: ATM trade spokesman Kurt Helwig says it was an isolated incident. Still the question, how they do it. 60 percent of ATM machines are owned by private independent companies.

(on-camera): Prosecutors are investigating the possibility that the thieves hacked into the private ATM computer network owned by Cartronics, stealing the P.I.N. codes during transmission before they ever reach the bank.

(voice-over): City Bank tells CNN that the situation has been resolved. There had been no fraudulent transactions since March. Three people believe to be at the center of the theft have been indicted. And City Bank says they've repaid anyone whose accounts may have been compromised.


FEYERICK: In the past, ATMs have been compromised by pony card scanners or cameras recording people punching in their P.I.N. numbers. This raises the stakes because hackers can steal an unlimited number of pin codes electronically.



CHETRY: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, the biggest Salmonella outbreak worsens. The list of suspected foods grows and still no answer.

The $85 million give away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: FEMA needs to come and tell the committee how such a debacle could occur.


CHETRY: The CNN investigation after warehouses of new supplies never made it to the victims of Katrina. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." The Senate approves new rules on spying. The bill updates a 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA.

The new rules require a warrant for any intelligence agencies spying on a U.S. citizen either at home or overseas. It also prevents phone companies from being sued for cooperating with the government. That's a provision President Bush said the bill had to have or he would veto it.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States Congress passed a vital piece of legislation that'll make it easier for this administration and future administrations to protect the American people.

This vital intelligence bill will allow our national security professionals to quickly and effectively monitor the plans of terrorists outside the United States while respecting the liberties of the American people. This legislation is critical to America's safety. It is long overdue.


CHETRY: The bill passed by a vote of 69-28. Barack Obama voted for it. John McCain did not vote.

ROBERTS: With the "Most Politics in the Morning" now. Here's a look at your Thursday "Political Ticker." Tuesday's would be old by now, right?

For the first time since his brain cancer diagnosis almost two months ago, Senator Ted Kennedy returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday. You can hear it there, that roaring ovation from his colleagues. His vote helped end a Republican filibuster on a Medicare bill. Kennedy had brain surgery, you'll remember, to remove a cancerous tumor on June the 2nd.

Who doesn't love a field trip? House Minority leader John Boehner is expected to announce later on today that he is taking ten House Republicans to Alaska. They are highlighting their criticism of Democrats who are fighting legislation that would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.

Will he or won't he? Former professional wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has been dropping hints left and right about a possible run for the Senate. Now he's finally said, he'll tell us later. Ventura told the Associated Press that he's going to announce his decision on Tuesday, which is also the deadline to file.

Plus, it's hard for a candidate to remember everything. Particularly with all that time out on the campaign trail. So many things to think about. But after ending his speech in New York on Wednesday night, Barack Obama must have had the feeling that he left something out. Because he took to the mike again, quieted the DJ and reminded supporters to please take care of Hillary Clinton's campaign debt.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE: Turn on the music again let's keep on partying, but New York, take this responsibility seriously. It's something that is important to us. And obviously Senator Clinton will be grateful as well.


ROBERTS: Yes. Who wouldn't appreciate a little bit of debt relief.

For more up to the minute political news, just head to

CHETRY: Well, when the Democrats go to the Denver convention next month, they're going to be trying to make it the greenest one ever. They've even created a position just to think of environmentally friendly ideas, like riding bikes and eating off plates made from corn.

Our Ed Lavandera talked to the convention's so-called director of greening.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, when Democrats descend on Denver in August, the buzz word will be green. The goal is to leave a zero carbon footprint on this city. But the question is, will going green really make a difference or is it a PR stunt?


MAYOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER, DENVER, COLORADO: Why shouldn't we have the greenest convention that's ever done?

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The Denver mayor's question sounds simple. But talking green and acting green aren't the same. First, the city and Democratic convention organizers hired green idea people. Actually, they're called directors of greening.

Meet Andrea Robinson and bike riding Patty Burnham. She's arranged for free public bicycle stations so Democrats can pedal to the convention. And Burnap also made sure recycle bins were placed on downtown streets.

PATTY BURNAP, DIRECTOR OF GREENING: This moment is a great opportunity for nudging us over so that it becomes common place business practice and personal habits.

LAVANDERA: The Pepsi Center where the convention will be held and the Media Pavilion will be partly powered by wind and solar energy. Cups, plates, and utensils will be made from corn and discarded items will be sent to a compost pile.

Democrats also have a fleet of hybrid cars to move dignitaries. And for $7.50, the delegate can buy a carbon offset by contributing to a cause that helps reduce greenhouse emissions as a way to make up for the carbon footprint left by their air travel.

ANDREA ROBINSON, DIRECTOR OF GREENING: You're not going to notice anything different by it being sustainable. That's very important to this party to not only have a sustainable event, but act responsibly towards the planet.

LAVANDERA: The city even sponsored green workshops for catering companies and hotels. Inside three tomatoes catering, chefs now compost food scraps they used to trash.

JOANNA KATZ, THREE TOMATOES: I think it's a learning process. I'm not sure that every decision we make is the right one and I think we're all learning right now is, what is the best way to go green?

LAVANDERA: But some observers say going green for a four-day convention doesn't mean much. Only three out of 50 state delegations have fully signed on to the party's green initiatives.

SUSAN GREENE, DENVER POST: I think it's a PR effort. Let's be clear. Convention is a party.

LAVANDERA: And what about all those balloons they like to drop at conventions? Those aren't environmentally friendly. Word is you might not see them in Denver.


LAVANDERA: And Republicans also tell us they're committed to putting on one of the greenest conventions ever as well. However, they haven't gone as far as hiring directors of greening. But they do say they're looking for ways to save energy and cut down waste.

John and Kiran, back to you.

CHETRY: Well, the City of Denver is expecting about 50,000 visitors for the convention which starts August 25th.

ROBERTS: We are just coming up to the top of the hour now. And topping the news this Thursday morning -- breaking news. Iran performs another missile test. New video for you here of the launches that took place overnight.