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American Morning

Autism Rates Surge; Eight American Troops Killed in Afghanistan; U.N. Building Attacked in Pakistan; Full Throttle Terror Investigation; Workplace Violence Increasing; Successful Reconstruction in Afghanistan Difficult; Supreme Court Back in Session

Aired October 05, 2009 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And that brings us to the top of the hour. Thanks for joining us on this Monday morning, the 5th of October. I'm John Roberts.


We have some big stories we're going to be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.

First, there's in new evidence of the surge of violence in Pakistan, a suicide bomber blowing himself at the offices of the World Food Programme. We're working our sources on this breaking story and we'll take you live in a moment to Islamabad.

ROBERTS: Plus, a daring attack by militants in eastern Afghanistan. Eight American troops killed. This as President Obama's national security adviser says, quote, "I do not foresee the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan, at least not in the immediate future."

What will this mean for the president's strategy on the ground? We're live from the Pentagon -- just ahead.

CHETRY: Also, the brutal murder of a grad student at Yale University putting workplace violence in the spotlight. At the same time, numbers show that harassment, bullying, and fights at work are only growing as well. Carol Costello is taking a look in our special series, "When Coworkers Kill."

But we begin with the war in Afghanistan in the deadliest day there for American forces in nearly 15 months. Eight U.S. troops killed in coordinated attacks from militants using mortars, rockets, and heavy machine gun fire. The attacks coming just as the president's national security adviser says the Taliban is not posing an imminent threat in Afghanistan.


GEN. JIM JONES (RET.), NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don't foresee the return of the Taliban and I want to be very clear that Afghanistan is not in danger -- imminent danger of falling.


CHETRY: Our Barbara Starr joins us live from the Pentagon.

And, Barbara, President Obama will huddle for at least two different strategy sessions with his national security team. What are your sources telling you about what may be discussed in those meetings?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, they say they are still discussing strategy now, several weeks after General McChrystal submitted his report that caused so much controversy, saying that there needed to be a full-blown counterinsurgency strategy that, in fact, could require tens of thousands of new troops.

All respect to General Jones there, the national security adviser, while the Taliban may not be threatening the fall of the entire country, many U.S. troops we have visited with on the ground, many U.S. commanders, will tell you that there are remote villages, mountainous areas, portions of the east and the south where, indeed, the Taliban are in control of the areas where they operate. And that is one of the reasons why this attack on this combat outpost is so significant.

These are remote areas where the U.S. does not have enough troops to defend these outposts. Even General McChrystal is talking about abandoning them, pulling back. He doesn't have enough troops to do it all, so he's trying to prioritize until some decisions are made here in Washington -- Kiran?

CHETRY: You know, a U.S. military Facebook page is getting a lot of attention this morning after some anti-Obama postings were put up on that page. What can you tell us about what's going on here?

STARR: Well, this really caught our attention. A lot of military organizations have Facebook pages. This is U.S. Forces Afghanistan's Facebook page. And, you know, people can post what they want, but it's pretty interesting. We wanted to read one to you posted by someone, K.D. Holmberg. And let me just read this Facebook posting on this military site to you.

It says, and I quote, "Obama has spent more time with Letterman and Leno than with McChrystal, not to mention all the time to fly to Denmark with Oprah so we can play games in Chicago. My son is not playing games in Afghanistan. Get a clue, Mr. President. Get in or get out. We need a leader, not a celebrity."

This is apparently an American citizen with a child serving in the U.S. military. People can post what they wish on Facebook pages, of course, in the social marketplace here of ideas, but this is a Web site, indeed, hosted by General McChrystal's military organization. It just shows: everybody's getting a voice in this debate, Kiran.

CHETRY: Absolutely. All right. Barbara Starr for us this morning from the Pentagon -- thanks.

ROBERTS: Pakistan, a U.S. ally in the war on terror, is facing a resurgent terror threat. This morning, in a bold attack, a militant reportedly disguised as a security officer blew himself up inside the offices of the World Food Program. At least five people are dead, and now, the United Nations is shutting down its offices there.

This morning, we're tapping into the global resources of CNN. Our Reza Sayah is live in Islamabad this morning.

And, Reza, how did all of this happen?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, this is hard to believe. But a government official says the suicide attacker managed to get into the offices of the World Food Program by wearing a military uniform, and -- listen to this -- asking to use the bathroom.

You can be sure someone's going to be in deep trouble after this. According to the interior minister, the military uniform belonged to Pakistan's Frontier Corps. This is a paramilitary force that had assigned several men to keep watch outside of the World Food Programme. The interior minister is saying this individual went up to the private security guards there, asked to use the bathroom, they said yes, moments later in the reception area, he blew himself up.

Five people killed. All of them are employees of the World Food Program. Four of them Pakistani citizens, two of them women, one Iraqi national.

Nobody has claimed responsibility, but we should note, this comes 24 hours after the current leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakeemullah Mehsud, talked to reporters vowing to avenge the recent U.S. drone strikes and the killing of former leader Baitullah Mehsud. It's too early to say if this attack today was linked to that threat, but it certainly does have all the hallmarks of a Taliban attack, John.

ROBERTS: Reza Sayah for us in Islamabad, Pakistan, this morning -- Reza, thanks.

CHETRY: And right now, the investigation is widening into the New York plot to set off homemade bombs in the United States. CNN is learning that several men who traveled to Pakistan with the only person so far arrested, that's Najibullah Zazi, are back in the U.S. and being watched by authorities.

Susan Candiotti has details.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When accused terror conspirator Najibullah Zazi traveled to Pakistan last year, what happened to the others who were with him? Sources close to the investigation tell CNN, several of them are back in the U.S., presumably under surveillance. No one will say who, how many, or where they are.

RAY KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: There's a significant amount of resources being devoted to it and the investigation is going forward aggressively.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): You're confident that those people will not get away?


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Prosecutors allege Zazi and others flew to Peshawar, Pakistan, in August 2008. During FBI questioning, they say he admitted getting explosives training at an al Qaeda camp. Zazi has pleaded not guilty to a terror plot.

One of the people under nonstop surveillance is Naiz Khan. He's a childhood friend of Zazi and says he let Zazi stay at his apartment as an impromptu favor September 10th, after Zazi drove to New York from Denver.

Khan says the FBI also questioned him about traveling from Pakistan to New York on the same day as Zazi last January. Khan says it's all pure coincidence. He says he did not fly to Pakistan with Zazi either, and showed us his passport to prove it. He says he's not a terrorist and has not been charged in the case.

NAIZ KHAN, ZAZI'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND: Every year, I go threw months and then I come back. I did not even know that he's coming or he's in Pakistan or not.

CANDIOTTI: Went Zazi returned from Pakistan, prosecutors say he and others bought large amounts of hydrogen peroxide and other chemicals from beauty supply stores in Colorado. Those alcohols were bomb ingredients used in deadly terror attacks overseas.

CNN has learned the search for possible evidence has expanded to include fertilizer. That was a key ingredient in the Oklahoma City bombing. The FBI's been canvassing businesses, including this New York landscaper, asking about fertilizer sales, and showing a binder of male photos.

Meantime, Zazi's uncle tells CNN, federal investigators flew him and his wife to New York last week to testify before a grand jury as part of an ongoing investigation.

(on camera): This case may be going full throttle, but as one source put it, no one's ready to say the FBI has its arms completely around it -- John, Kiran?


CHETRY: Susan Candiotti for us -- thanks.

Still ahead: New information and reporting that Iran has the capability to make an atomic bomb. And this coupled with the news of a secret facility, the missile launches, and whether or not Iran is ready to give up its nuclear program.

We're going to be speaking with a former weapons inspector. David Albright joins us live in just a moment.

It's 10 minutes after the hour.



CHETRY: Good morning, D.C. Twelve minutes after the hour right now. Not a bad day down there, actually. Partly cloudy, 55, but a little later, it's going to be sunny -- actually looks pretty sunny now, too. Going up to a high of 72.

And welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

The date has now been set for international inspectors to visit Iran's recently disclosed nuclear facility. This inspection set to take place on the 25th of October. The announcement comes after a U.N. agency concluded that Iran has the technical know-how to make a nuclear bomb -- at least according to people who had the chance to view some of the conclusions of this report.

David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, joins me now from Washington.

David, good to have you with us this morning.


CHETRY: It seems -- it just seems like every day, we find out more and more about Iran, its capabilities, and perhaps its growing threat as a nuclear power. This story that's out today says that they have the data to make a nuclear bomb, this is being reported today in "The New York Times."

What do you make of all this?

ALBRIGHT: Well, it's old information for governments and the IAEA. It's information that dates to 2003, 2004. And it's taken a long time for the IAEA to do its own assessments of this information that was provided by the United States and about 10 other countries.

And the internal report that we excerpted and put on our Web site on Friday talks about, basically, the tentative or preliminary conclusions of a group within the IAEA that has expertise to evaluate these questions. And one of the assessments is that Iran probably has the ability to make a workable, crude fission weapon.

Another, which is a little more disturbing, is that they appear to have the ability or may have the ability to make one small enough or at least design one small enough to fit on top of the Shaheb-3 missile. And, I think, for me, that was one of the more disturbing conclusions that Iran may be further along in developing nuclear weapons than has been commonly understood publicly.

CHETRY: Now, if you say that this is old information, dating back to 2003, the IAEA was informed by the United States as well as other allies about it, Mohamed ElBaradei, who's the director of the IAEI -- IAEA -- sorry, it's tough for me to say this morning for some reason -- he seems to have wanted to avoid confrontation with Iran, not inflame Iran. Do you think that's the right approach when it comes to assessing their nuclear capability?

ALBRIGHT: No, I don't. I think -- I think the IAEA's job is a technical one. And I think this team within the IAEA who produced this report is doing -- is doing the job report they should do.

I think ElBaradei has a responsibility to inform the member states of the IAEA's technical conclusions, particularly when the information that they're assessing was given to them by the member states so that the IAEA could produce a credible evaluation of that information. So, I think Elbaradei's is really not doing an appropriate thing for the IAEA, and in fact I say it's a disservice to the IAEA. I mean the IAEA and the public and Iran and others can handle this information.

For example, President Obama and his team have known about this for a long time, and yet they looked at it and said, look, we want to negotiate with Iran and try to settle this thing diplomatically, so it doesn't cause panic as much as Elbaradei thinks.

CHETRY: Alright so basically, they've talked about sanctions, talked about whether or not they're going to be able to negotiate anything. They've also said that if they don't, that sanctions are on the table. But one of the things you talk about is that Iran has possibly been getting design information from overseas, possibly from Pakistan. But also possibly from Russia and China. Those are two of the permanent members of the U.N.. security council. These are two of the countries that would have to say yes to sanctions, or at least Russia would be. If it's proven, what are the implications?

ALBRIGHT: Well, there was another part of this report that was, I think, a little disturbing. Was that the assessment was that more than likely, Iran got some external assistance on the design and production of a nuclear warhead. And that it's, in the report itself alludes to A.Q. Khan because he'd given some assistance to Iran that was well documented by the IA on its kind of centrifuge program. And possibly one part of the nuclear weaponization program. But the -- in more recent discussions, it looks like their suspicion is falling on Russia and particularly Russian scientists.

It's hard to believe it's the Russian government. And it's also unclear when it happened, but that Iran may have obtained nuclear weapons design information from Russian specialists.

CHETRY: So bottom line, I mean, you know, again, they're looking into those possible allegations, bottom line, where do we stand right now in terms of making sure that Iran is not capable of, as you said, in the worst-case scenario, launching, making atomic material small enough to launch on a missile?

ALBRIGHT: The most important thing is to try to curb Iran's ability to make highly enriched uranium. That's the long pole in the tent of making nuclear weapons, it's the nuclear explosive material and it's critical and the Obama administration is pursuing this, that it's very important to get Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program until the day comes when the international community can trust them not to build nuclear weapons.

And that's going to be the real test of the negotiations, if - if whether that goal is achieved over the next several weeks. If it isn't, then I think the Obama administration and Europeans have made it clear that it's going to get a lot tougher on Iran if they do not agree to that strategy.

CHETRY: David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, also former weapons inspector in Iraq, thank you.

ALBRIGHT: Thank you.

ROBERTS: So we're in the fiscal new year right now, what are you doing, making new year's resolution as to well I'm going to eat less,

CHETRY: Go to the gym.

ROBERTS: Spend less, save more, go to the gym. We start this fiscal new year $11 trillion in debt. And the question is, what do you do with that? Christine Romans minding your business this morning, she takes a look at all that coming right up. It's 18 and half minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Good morning, Nashville, where it's cloudy and 55 degrees right now. Later on today, it will stay cloudy, mostly cloudy, in fact, with a high of 70 degrees. Christine Romans here, minding your business this morning, she joins us now, talk about a remedy. Can we get a remedy for $11 billion of debt? Is there a remedy out there?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Trillion. Trillion! I was going to bring some news makers, happy new year, everybody, but the hangover for the new year party started way before the new year, the new year's new fiscal year for the American government. That means we're looking at new numbers, we're taking a look at -- last year we had a record budget deficit. Next year we're going to have a little bit better, but still huge in terms of the federal deficit. And then, of course, all of those deficits add into the national debt. And the national debt is more than $11 trillion. I mean, you're going to have to get Congress -- it's going to have to soon get together for a vote on how to raise the debt ceiling above $12 trillion.


ROBERTS: Its speaking of annual events now isn't it?

ROMANS: This is big. It's just raw numbers as big as a size of the overall economy and it's because we've been spending all this money to try to rescue us from the worst collapse in since the great depression. Even Alan Greenspan was asked we George Stephanopoulos of ABC's "this week" about just how dangerous this territory is. This is what he said.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST, "THIS WEEK": Over the generations, we have been very careful to keep the total level of debt well below the borrowing capacity of our economy so far as federal issuance is concerned. That cushion is now being tested. And I'm getting a little concerned. And I don't want to find out where the upper levels are.


ROMANS: Happy fiscal new year. The former Fed chief is a little concerned that we're testing some levels here that are a little bit dangerous. How much is $1 trillion? If you spent $1 million every day since Jesus was born, you wouldn't be close yet. If you put a trillion $1 bills and stacked them, they'd stack 68, 000 miles high a third of the way to the moon. It is a lot of money as a part of the size of the economy.


ROBERTS: That's just 1 trillion, and we've got 11 of those.

ROMANS: Yes right. 11

ROBERTS: It's going to be 17 by the end of 2012.

ROMANS: It's a lot of money

ROBERTS: Incredible.

ROMANS: It's so much money that it has to do with the roman's numeral. Roman's numeral is about $38,000.

ROBERTS: Oh that's our share.


CHETRY: That's how much each household's share of the debt?

ROMANS: I think it's U.S. citizen. Every citizen, $38,416. I could say that's exactly roman's numeral, but it's changed since I actually made that graphic, because it's going up, up, up.


CHETRY: And when you crinkle your eyes, I know you're really passionate about something, your eyes crinkle


ROMANS: Well it's just, we're living in historic times, ladies and gentlemen, and I can't wait to see how we fix this.

ROBERTS: I should introduce you to my good friend Mark Knoller, who works for CBS radio.

ROMANS: He really rings the bell.

ROBERTS: He's the debt maker.

ROMANS: He's done a lot on this kind of stuff and he really kind of rings the bell. But Mark has pointed out, I think, that the interest we pay on that debt, we're actually getting a discount because the interest rates are so low.

ROBERTS: Still, the interest we're paying on the debt is


ROMANS: I know. At least rates are still low.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Christine.

CHETRY: Thanks for that silver lining.

ROBERTS: As tarnished as it is.

CHETRY: All right. Well, here's a story that has offended both art lovers and food lovers. Next month, a McDonald's restaurant and a McCafe are opening at the L'ouvre in Paris because nothing goes with Mona Lisa like a Big Mac, right? Or in France, you would have to say royale with cheese. Remember the scene from "Pulp Fiction"?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Paris, you can buy a beer in McDonalds. You know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Paris?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't call it a quarter pounder with cheese?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've got the metric system. They don't know what a quarter pounder is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do they call it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They call it the royale with cheese.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Royale with cheese.


CHETRY: Even some L'ouvre staff members say that they are not too happy about it. A statement from the famous museum says that McDonalds will be in the American part of the new food court, featuring other world cuisines; Taco Bell is going to be in the what? The Mexican part, I mean. We'll have to see.

ROBERTS: Not sure if we will have to have a little napkin to dab at the corner of her mouth.

CHETRY: There you go. ROBERTS: Hey we've got a new series running this week and it reflects a serious problem in America -- the number of people who are killed by their coworkers. We're calling this series "When Coworkers Kill," and Carol Costello is coming right up with our first installment. Twenty-five minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. The co- worker of murdered Yale grad student Anne Le is due back in court again tomorrow. Former lab technician Raymond Clark is charged with strangling Le and stuffing her body inside a wall.

CHETRY: It was a gruesome, heartbreaking crime that shocked many, but it's actually more common than most people may think. According to the stats, at least, more than 500 people were killed at work last year alone.

Carol Costello joins us from Washington for the first part of our series this week, "When Coworkers Kill." You know, it's a disturbing story, probably not necessarily happy for the mornings, but it's something we were shocked when we heard 500 people in just a year.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the number of assaults that take place at the workplace, well, those numbers are even larger. Workplace violence happens nearly every day, but we don't notice it much unless it ends in death. When Anne Le was killed inside a lab at Yale University, allegedly by a coworker, it opened our eyes again. The problem, we close our eyes after the media attention goes away. It's frustrating to those who fight workplace violence every day.


COSTELLO (voice-over): It happened at a plastics company in Henderson, Kentucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy just killed himself and killed another employee at Atlantis Plastics.


COSTELLO: And there is fear it happened at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not about urban crime, it's not about university crime, it's not about domestic crime, but an issue of workplace violence.

COSTELLO: And it happens in tiny towns, too, like Caribou, Maine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, MOTHER OF VICTIM: I said, what happened? And they said, she was beaten to death.

COSTELLO: Johna lovely lost her youngest daughter January 2nd, 2005. Erin, just 20 years old, was killed by a co-worker while working the night shift at a Tim Horton's restaurant by a young man she mentioned to her sister just days earlier.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, SISTER OF VICTIM: She said she was kind of creepy is all she said. But she didn't seem overly concerned about it. So I didn't really raise that many suspicions with me either.

COSTELLO: When you found out it was someone she worked with, did it make it more difficult to deal with?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, MOTHER OF VICTIM: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It wasn't a random thing, you know. It was -- it was her, he wanted her

COSTELLO: Nationwide 517 people were murdered at work last year according to government stats. And while that number is down 52 percent since 1994, an American college survey found thing like bullying, harassment, even physical altercations are up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The call volume to human resource officers, to their EAT programs, counselors is skyrocketing. We are absolutely in a period right now of among the highest periods of threats at work in certainly recent memory.

COSTELLO: Erin was first attacked by her coworker Christopher Shumway in the store freezer. At one point, according to police records, she got out, but was eventually overpowered.

Like Yale student Annie Le, who police say was strangled by a coworker, Erin ended up alone with her attacker.

COSTELLO (on camera): When you heard about what happened at Yale, what went through your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just cried and cried and cried and so it just kind of brought everything right back.

COSTELLO: Shumway was convicted of murder and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Lovely and her older daughter have set up a fund in Erin's name.

For the past five years, they've tried to convince companies to install panic buttons connected to police departments so employees in danger can get immediate help. They thought, armed with Erin's story, it would be a cinch. They were wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was frustrating. You kind of want to look at the business owners and just scream at them and say, "Why! I don't understand why you wouldn't want to keep your employees safe."

COSTELLO: While she says most businesses did turn down the offer of free installation for new security systems, 18 did agree to install panic buttons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea why more people don't want to do this. I really don't.

COSTELLO: People say, I live in a small town, nothing ever happens here, so why bother?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they're wrong. Crime is everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We bring stuff all the time.

COSTELLO: Erin's family says they won't give up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want people to remember her and remember what happened to her. I want people to be safe at work because of her. And I want businesses to take notice.


COSTELLO: Tim Horton, Erin Sperrey's employer at the time of her murder, stepped up after Sperrey's death. They say they've beefed security procedures in all of their stores in the U.S. and in Canada, and that includes mandatory camera and recording systems in some restaurants.

CHETRY: You know, we talked also about this before, just the fact that coworkers know where you live, they know your schedule, they know when you come and go. It's a scary thing. You've got to trust your instincts, I guess.

COSTELLO: Absolutely, because we always hear, oh, that person just snapped and violence was committed. Well, very rarely does a person just snap. There are signs to look for, and, of course, I'll tell you about those signs tomorrow.

CHETRY: Carol Costello for us, thanks. And again, a reminder tomorrow in the second installment "When Coworkers Kill," we'll look at the companies that are taking this threat very seriously. Is yours one of them? It's tomorrow right there on "American Morning."

ROBERTS: We're crossing the half hour and checking our top stories this morning.

Dramatic new video of a fast-moving southern California wildfire. It has already scorched more than 7,000 acres and destroyed three homes. It's only 20 percent contained this morning.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency for San Bernardino County where thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate.

CHETRY: Well, this is a crucial week in the fight against swine flu. The first doses of the H1N1 vaccine will be available today. People in Indiana and Tennessee are among the first to get it. Their health departments are getting the shipments first. But other states will start receiving their shipments soon as well.

They say that pregnant women, health care workers, people with special health conditions like heart disease and diabetes should get the vaccine first.

And the Dali Lama will be visiting this week, but President Obama will not be seeing him. Their meeting has been postponed until after the president meets with Chinese Premier Hu Jintao next month. It will be the first time since 1991 that the Tibetan spiritual leader will visit the capitol and not meet with the president.

This weekend's assault by Taliban militants on U.S. bases in Afghanistan has ramped up the pressure on President Obama to send more troops there. At least eight U.S. soldiers were killed along with several Afghan police officers, all of this as the U.S. tries to support the emergence of a functioning democracy there.

As our nation shifts its focus from the war in Iraq to Afghanistan, what lessons can we learn from our six years in Iraq, and what mistakes can we avoid repeating, or can we avoid repeating them?

Joining me live from Washington now is Stuart Bowen. He is the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

Stuart, it's great to see you. So you have overseen the reconstruction effort there is in Iraq for a long time now. What are the big lessons to be learned from the Iraq reconstruction as we look toward Afghanistan? Earlier this year in Congressional testimony, you basically described a failure of oversight and leadership there.

STUART BOWEN, SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION: That's right. Oversight is an essential element to a successful relief and reconstruction program, and in Afghanistan, where we've been rebuilding for over six years, and special inspector general was not created until last year. And that has been an enormous catch-up job for him to do, what I've been doing for the last five-and-a-half years in Iraq.

What I've learned in Iraq and what we've reported on in our latest report "Hard Lessons" is that there needs to be essential reform in the United States' approach to overseas contingency operations, a reform that ensures that those operations are integrated in their planning and management.

ROBERTS: So based upon that, what kind of shape are we in in Afghanistan? As you said, special inspector general only appointed last year, but what kind of shape are we in in Afghanistan compared to Iraq when it comes to this whole idea of reconstruction, trying to put that country back on its feet?

BOWEN: Well, Afghanistan is in a much more rudimentary state and much less developed than Iraq is.

For example, about 90 percent of the new army recruits there are illiterate -- not the case in Iraq. The reconstruction -- or the construction of an electrical system is essentially from scratch. The rebuilding of local governance, again, is a new enterprise.

So the investment is going to have to be extensive and it will take a long time for meaningful progress to be made.

ROBERTS: You might not have an exact figure here, but I'm sure you've got a pretty good ballpark. How much money was wasted in Iraq? BOWEN: Well, we've invested about $52 billion, spent about $46 billion, and as I've reported to Congress, about 15 percent of that was wasted. The reconstruction money, $3 billion to $5 billion, at least, I would describe as wasted.

ROBERTS: That's a huge amount of the money.

Security was also a huge issue in Iraq and you talked about this a lot. We have a security situation in Afghanistan as well. What kind of hindrance is that to the reconstruction effort?

BOWEN: Well, security was the number one hindrance in Iraq and the number one cause of waste. Many projects simply couldn't go forward because the security situation was too prohibitive. It's much changed now, but sadly most of the money is spent.

In Afghanistan, we see a ratcheting up of the security problem and thus the reconstruction and relief efforts will be similarly restricted.

ROBERTS: What's your sense of this story? And again, we just want to reface this by saying, you spent five-and-a-half years overseeing what was going on in Iraq. You were appointed by the Bush administration, yet you certainly weren't afraid to tell them how it was and what the situation was as far as you saw it.

Do you believe we are destined to repeat the mistakes of Iraq in Afghanistan?

BOWEN: I think we already have repeated a number of those mistakes. And I think that an improved, integrated focus on interagency strategy will help avert further reputation of those mistakes.

That strategy is currently under review by the National Security Council. There's a presidential study directive that's looking at exactly how the United States should approach these operations.

I met with them in the last week and I think they have grasped the issues and are looking to good solutions, the kinds of solutions that we've recommended.

ROBERTS: And the Obama administration right now is in deliberations on the best way forward. Do they increase the number of troops by 40,000 or some part of that, at least, as General McChrystal is suggesting, or do day go with some of these other suggestions, such as the one that Vice President Biden is putting forward, that you start to withdraw troops and instead of a counterinsurgency, you adopt a targeted counterterrorism strategy.

Do these suggestions on withdrawing forces from Afghanistan, given the security situation there, given what you know about how a poor security situation affects the chances of reconstruction, does that sound to you like the most prudent idea?

BOWEN: I can't comment on the strategy on Afghanistan. What I can say is an essential premise for an effective reconstruction program is that reasonable security be achieved.

Now, the commanders and emergency response program, the Defense Department's money for reconstruction, can be implemented in a relatively insecure environment. But for a large-scale reconstruction program, relief efforts to have success, there has to be reasonable security across the country.

ROBERTS: Stuart Bowen...

BOWEN: That was not the case in Iraq.

ROBERTS: I know, it was terrible there. Stuart Bowen, the author of "Hard Lessons," the latest report from the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Stuart, it's always great to see you. Thanks for stopping by.

BOWEN: Thank you, John. Good to be with you, thanks.

CHETRY: A startling new report out showing that one in 91 children in the United States will get autism, if it's a boy, one in 58.

ROBERTS: Yes. It's used to be one in 150, right?

CHETRY: Just in 2002 it was.

ROBERTS: Incredible.

CHETRY: And so there's a lot of questions about this. Is it over-diagnosing? Was it underreported before? Are more disorders being put on the autism spectrum? We're going to talk much more about this coming up.


CHETRY: It's 43 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

We've been telling you all morning about the startling jump in autism rates. According to a study that was just released, the CDC is now calling autism in America an "urgent public health concern."

Let's bring in senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen for more. And a lot of people are wondering why these rates are going up. It's such a mysterious disorder, and people still don't even know what causes it.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kiran. And when you look at these numbers, it really is startling. I can see why people are asking why.

Let's take another look another look at them. In the 1990s, one out of 166 U.S. children was diagnosed with autism. In 2002, that number jumped to one in 150. 2009, one in 91 children in this country has been diagnosed with having autism. Now, unfortunately, there's no clear answer why, but there is no shortage of theories. For example, the CDC says they can't rule out the theory that it's something in our environment, something we're eating, something we're breathing, something we're drinking.

There's also some thinking that it has to do with people having children at an older age. There's a study that shows that dads over the age of 40 are more likely to father a child with autism.

And then there's another theory that many, many doctors point to, which is that doctors are just getting better at diagnosing autism, that in years previous, if a child who was brought to their office might have been just been called mentally retarded, and now they actually know to give them the diagnosis of autism, and maybe that's why we're seeing those rates go up.

And Kiran, maybe it's a combination of all of these reasons.

CHETRY: And then also, are there other disorders that are being put on what they call this autism spectrum as well? There are some who ask whether or not that's the case.

But also there are some who say, hey, are we just over-diagnosing kids today, because there could be a variety of reasons why they're developmentally delayed or having problems?

COHEN: Right Kiran. There is that concern, that a child comes in with something other than autism and a doctor gives them the label of autism. One of the reasons why they're concerned about this is that in this study, 40 percent of the parents said that their children had autism but got treated and no longer has autism.

Doctors will tell you, that is impossible; once you have autism, you always have it. So if parents say that it went away, maybe it wasn't really autism to begin with.

CHETRY: And the other thing that just startled me was the differences in the sex and gender, 1 in 58 boys, 1 in 91 children in general. Do they know anything about why that seems to be the case?

COHEN: You know what Kiran? They don't. Is there's something about the X chromosome? Is there something genetically about boys that makes them more prone to autism? Or is it just the boys sometimes act out more than girls do. And they get diagnosed for having autism when really they don't.

Nobody really knows, but that is definitely a point that they need to research.

CHETRY: Elizabeth Cohen for us this morning, thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: We've got a new tropical storm forming out in the Atlantic. Hurricane season continues on. Our Rob Marciano is taking a look at where Grace is headed. And the Supreme Court starts its new term today. It's the first Monday in October. Will there be a new vibe on the court because of Justice Sonia Sotomayor?

Jeff Toobin, author of the best-selling book on the Supreme Court, "The Nine" joins us coming up straight ahead.

It's 46 1/2 minutes now after the hour.


ROBERTS: Beautiful day in New York City if you're just waking up and getting your first look at it; sunny and 54 degrees right now. Later on today, partly cloudy with a high of 65; it will be a beautiful, comfortable day in the city.

Not so comfortable, though, if you're a fish out in the Atlantic Ocean. Our Rob Marciano is tracking tropical storm Grace and where Grace is headed. Good morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. Very small storm, so if you are a fish in the ocean, odds are you're not going to get hit by Grace. Check how far north it is and how far east it is.

Here's New York, Azores, and Grace is like right there. It's out there and it developed in pretty chilly water and there's some question as to whether it actually is a tropical storm, but from the satellite imagery, NHC is saying yes, it is.

It has 70-mile-an-hour winds, it's motoring off to the northeast at 28 miles per hour. That puts it towards England in the next couple of days. But it's really going to head into much cooler water and it should be absorbed by another storm. So we're not too worried about Grace but that does add to the numbers.

Let's talk about what's going on across the south. We do have some rain here. Some of this is beneficial. Of course, Georgia has its fair share, don't need anymore. It's starting to move out of at least north Georgia.

The Carolinas certainly seeing a little bit of rainfall and they're still officially in a slight drought. So they'll take it. Back to the west we go with heavy snow and winds across this storm which is very strong for this time of year. And it looks like it's going to be a nice day across the New York City area and much of New England. Maybe some wind slowing down the airport there, but I think Atlanta, Charlotte, and New Orleans will be the area of greater concern today as far as some travel delays.

Daytime highs will be in the 50s, rain-cooled in Atlanta, 68 degrees in New York, and 63 degrees in Chicago. That's the latest from the weather department, John and Kiran, back up to you.

ROBERTS: Robby, thanks so much.

CHETRY: Still ahead, we're going to be joined once again by Jeff Toobin. He's an expert on the Supreme Court. They're starting the new term. Is there going to be a new vibe? We have new member, of course, Sonia Sotomayor. So Jeff is going to join us to talk about it.

It's 51 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: We've got Jeff bopping this morning. The Supreme Court starts its new term this morning, and grabbing headlines, new Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be on the bench and there are also some critical cases on the docket to talk about.

Jeff Toobin, our senior legal analyst is here this morning. Of course, Jeff is the author of the famous book, "The Nine, the definitive look at the Supreme Court," also a best seller here. Jeff great to see you.


ROBERTS: So what impact do you think that Justice Sonia Sotomayor is going to have on the court? And how do you think she'll be different than Souter was?

TOOBIN: Initially, probably not that much. I think she'll probably vote very much the way Souter did. She seems to be a moderate liberal, he was a moderate liberal.

But over time, there certainly could be an influence. You know, the liberal block of the court has been pretty old in recent years. Justice Stevens is 89 years old, Justice Ginsburg is 76.

The fact that there is this injection of new blood, that she's only in her mid-50s; Justice Stevens is likely to leave, likely to be replaced by President Obama with another liberal, that could generate some force on the liberal side even though they are basically outnumbered on the courts.

ROBERTS: It's heartening to think that somebody in their mid-50s could be considered new blood.

TOOBIN: You know what? That's what your name sake, the Chief Justice, I loved how they always talked about him, he's so young, he's so young. That's good for us.

ROBERTS: People obviously will be looking for rookie mistakes to be made, but she's got 17 years on the bench, she proved herself when they had that rare September hearing on the Hillary Clinton movie that she's not going to just sit back and let the other ones take the lead. She jumped in there and asked a lot of questions.

TOOBIN: She has more federal judiciary experience than any nominee in 100 years. I don't think there's a shred of doubt that she can do the job. There are also a lot of institutional safeguards on the court. Nobody ever really embarrasses themselves. It's just a question of how they'll vote and you never know precisely how they'll vote until they start voting.

ROBERTS: People believe that this is going to be one of the most significant Supreme Court seasons in recent memory. We've got this case that we were talking about this morning with Kate Bolduan, the Salazar v. Bono case about this cross that was erected in 1934 in the Mojave Desert that was a tribute to fallen veterans of World War I and about ten years ago it became a problem.

TOOBIN: This issue, these church/state issues, public displays of religious activity is something that the court has struggled with for decades and they haven't really figured out a way. The most famous example, on the same day in 2005, they said it was okay to post the Ten Commandments in a park in Austin, but not permissible to post the Ten Commandments in a courtroom in Kentucky.

ROBERTS: Somebody wrote me this morning and said what about all those crosses in Arlington Cemetery?

TOOBIN: Well, that's up to the individual person that...

ROBERTS: That's federal land?

TOOBINS: What the court always looks to, is it an expression of the state expressing a religious preference? And I think when it comes to the graves, it's not. It's the individual's choice.

I think when it comes to this cross in -- what, New Mexico, right?

ROBERTS: Yes the Mojave Desert.

TOOBINS: I think the court will probably leave it alone. There's no real threat that this is seen as a state endorsement of religion. The court seems to be moving in that direction generally. But you never know.

ROBERTS: A couple of others to get through quickly. McDonald v. Chicago, this falls out of the second amendment case out of Washington?

TOOBINS: Right, a couple years ago, the court in a major, major decision said the federal government could not violate individual's right to keep and bear arms. The question in this case is can state governments regulate guns? Big issue because most gun control laws are state laws.

Again, very likely to be a 5-4 decision. Anthony Kennedy is probably likely to side with the conservatives. I think it's going to be a loss for gun control.

ROBERTS: And two cases that will be heard concurrent with each other. Sullivan v. Florida, Grand v. Florida; can you put away a minor for life without parole for a non-murder offense?

TOOBINS: Famous decision by Justice Kennedy in 2005 said, you can no longer execute juvenile offenders. The death penalty can only apply to adults. This case tries to push that further. Can you put children away for life for a crime that's not murder? Very hard case. Again, very likely to come down to Anthony Kennedy's vote.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to a great season. Jeff thanks for joining us this morning.

TOOBIN: Every year.

ROBERTS: This could be exciting; looking forward to it. Thanks.

We want to know what you think, as always, by the way. How will the court change with Justice Sotomayor on the bench and how should they rule on these landmark cases? Sound off on our show hotline, 1- 877-MYAMFIX, or got to our blog at

Two minutes now to the top of the hour.


CHETRY: And that's going to do it for us. Hope to see you back here tomorrow.

Meantime, you can continue the conversation by going to our show blog at

ROBERTS: And the news continues all day on CNN.

Up next, Heidi Collins in the CNN NEWSROOM.