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American Morning

FBI Searches Trail of Clues on Fort Hood Suspect; United Pilot Yanked from Cockpit for Being Drunk; Clinton Lobbies Health Care to Senate Democrats; A former Taliban Official a Possible Dealmaker to Broker Peace in Afghanistan; Taliban Dealmaker?; Pieces of Madoff; The New Kind of Terrorist

Aired November 11, 2009 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks very much for being with us on the Most News in the Morning. I'm John Roberts. And it sounds like we've got the voice of God coming down from the top.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. The acoustics are rocking this morning.

ROBERTS: I feel like Charlton Heston. It's Veterans Day, and it's good to see you this morning. Thanks for being with us.

CHETRY: I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us as well. We have a lot of big stories we'll be telling you about in the next 15 minutes.

First, there was a lot of finger pointing this morning over who knew what about the Fort Hood suspect and whether there was a failure to pass on potentially life-saving information. The FBI also searching a trash bin now outside of the mosque where Major Nidal Hasan worshipped. We're live in Fort Hood with the latest.

ROBERTS: Another embarrassment for the airline industry and a scare for air travelers. A United Airlines pilot pulled from the cockpit just minutes before takeoff. Police say he was about to fly across the Atlantic Ocean drunk, and that is raising new concerns this morning about air safety.

CHETRY: Well, as the White House brings in a big gun to push through health care reform, former President Bill Clinton did some political arm-twisting during a trip to Capitol Hill. His message to Senate Democrats, failure is not an option.

But first, new developments this morning in the federal blame game that seems to be expanding now over the mass shootings at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead. At issue, when or even if the Pentagon found out about contacts between the sole suspect, Major Nidal Hasan, and a radical Muslim clerk.

The FBI yesterday searching a trash bin outside of the mosque looking for clues while at the same time President Obama making it clear at a memorial service that no religious faith could possibly justify such a random act of violence. Our David Mattingly is live in Fort Hood, Texas with new details for us this morning.

Good morning, David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran. We know that Major Hasan's activities caught the attention of a joint task force investigating possible terrorism activity. But just how far up the chain of command did that information go?


MATTINGLY (voice-over): At a somber memorial service surrounded by families of the fallen soldiers, the president had strong words for alleged gunman Nidal Hasan.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice in this world and the next.

MATTINGLY: As the families grieve, the FBI was going through the trash outside Hasan's mosque in Killeen, Texas. And in Washington, growing questions about possible missed opportunities with the Pentagon saying it was never told of a terror investigation that uncovered Hasan's relationship with a radical clerk.

Senior investigative officials tells CNN Hasan communicated at least 20 times with Anwar al-Awlaki, who had close relationships with two 9/11 hijackers. Investigators reviewed those communications, determined they didn't appear threatening and were consistent with Hasan's research as a psychiatrist.

Former Bush White House Homeland Security adviser Fran Townsend says it's often difficult to put the pieces of different investigations together.

FRAN TOWNSEND, FORMER BUSH HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: It's very difficult for investigators to get all of that information in one place, especially when he's not the overall target of the investigation.

MATTINGLY: Hasan himself is saying nothing to investigators. He's under guard in the intensive care unit of this Army medical facility in San Antonio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's ensure that the process is followed, that the investigation is complete and that we proceed with the same kind of impartiality that we would want in any case involving anyone, including ourself.


MATTINGLY: "The Associated Press" this morning quoting a senior Defense Department official who says that the military was not told about this investigation into Major Hasan until after the shootings here at Fort Hood -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. There's going to be a lot of questions to be answered as far as that goes this morning. David Mattingly for us, thank you. Also this morning, authorities in Yemen now say that they are on the hunt for the radical Muslim clerk who Major Hasan reached out to. They're trying to find out if Anwar al-Awlaki had any ties to Al Qaeda. Al-Awlaki was arrested in 2006 then later released after authorities were unable to prove he had any links to the terror organization. He called Hasan a, quote, "hero" on his Web site after the attack on Fort Hood.

In about 20 minutes, our Carol Costello will be joining us to tell us more about this American-born imam and how he went on to become a soft-spoken, tech-savvy terrorist.

ROBERTS: A developing story right now from London where a United Airlines pilot has been arrested. Officers from Scotland Yard removing him from the controls of a London to Chicago flight just before takeoff. They say he was too drunk to fly. Another troubling development for an airline industry that is facing serious questions about air safety and pilot stress.


ROBERTS (voice-over): British police pulled 51-year-old pilot Irwin Washington out of the cockpit minutes before takeoff Monday afternoon. United Flight 949 from London to Chicago had to be cancelled.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: The authorities are alleging that a United Airlines employee, apparently the pilot from Colorado, was arrested for being over the legal limit, having too much alcohol in his system to operate a plane.

ROBERTS: A suspicious co-worker turned Washington in. Police say he flunked the breathalyzer test and was arrested. United Airlines has grounded Washington releasing a statement saying, quote, "Safety is our highest priority."

Washington is now the third U.S. pilot and the second from United to be busted at Heathrow on alcohol charges in just over a year. It's been a tough year for pilots. In October, a Delta crew made a near catastrophic mistake when they landed on an active taxiway instead of the runway in Atlanta. No one was hurt in that incident. Two days later, two Northwest pilots overshot their landing in Minneapolis by 150 miles and failed to respond to radio calls for over 90 minutes.

VOICE OF JOSEPH BALZER, AUTHOR, "FLYING DRUNK": You can't justify someone showing up for work under the influence.

ROBERTS: Joseph Balzer is a recovering alcoholic, a commercial pilot and author of the book "Flying Drunk." He was arrested in 1990 for exactly that -- flying drunk -- and spent a year behind bars.

BALZER: If it was up to me, I'd had my own personal breathalyzer. If I had my own device, it would have never happened. I would have been able to tell my own, you know, pre-flight myself. I'd pre-flight the airplane. I could pre-flight myself.


ROBERTS: Balzer says 4,400 commercial pilots have undergone alcohol rehabilitation since 1972 and have safely returned to the cockpit. Irwin Washington is free on bail this morning. He remains in London where he is scheduled to appear in court in nine days' time.

Pretty incredible story.

CHETRY: Yes. We were talking about it, they have rules in place. They say they call it from bottle to throttle, eight hours, right? But I mean, if you are drinking a large amount of alcohol, technically you'd what? Sleep for six and have to get ready in the plane flying eight hours later. That's really not a lot of time.

ROBERTS: Given the time that it takes for your body to metabolize alcohol as well, you know, if you have one or two drinks within six hours, you should be fine. So, it would be interesting to find out exactly how many drinks this fellow had.

Should we be concerned for our safety when we fly? And are airlines putting too much stress on their pilots? In the 8:00 a.m. hour of AMERICAN MORNING, we're going to be joined by Peter Goelz. He is the former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board.

CHETRY: Also, our top stories at six and a half minutes past the hour now, the growing debate over health care reform. President Obama has been lobbying hard for every Democratic vote in the Senate and he's getting a boost from the last president to push for a health care overhaul. That's Bill Clinton.

He paid a visit to Capitol Hill yesterday talking to Democratic senators about what's at stake if they don't pass the health care bill. Brianna Keilar has more.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Bill Clinton arrived on Capitol Hill with a message for Senate Democrats.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whatever their differences are, I just urge them to resolve their differences and pass a bill. And I also believe, you know, people hire us to come to work in places like this to solve problems and stand up and do it.

KEILAR: More than 15 years after losing a long, hard fight to overhaul the nation's health care system, Clinton said he stressed to Democratic senators the, quote, "economic imperative of delivering health care reform." Asked by reporters how important it is for Congress to pass a final bill this year, Clinton wouldn't say. But in the private meeting with Senate Democrats, Oregon Senator Ron Widen said Clinton stressed Congress needs to approve the health care overhaul this year.

It's a deadline the White House insisted on again this week, and congressional Democratic leaders say it's still their goal. But in the most definitive sign yet that it might be impossible, Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate and one of the president's closest allies on the hill said the Senate may only be able to pass its bill, one vastly different from the House-passed legislation and not the final bill that President Obama would sign into law.

VOICE OF SEN. RICHARD DURBIN, ASSISTANT MAJORITY LEADER, ILLINOIS: Getting it out of the Senate. Now, if we're fortunate enough to get it done earlier, then who knows? But I would say our goal is to make sure it's out of the Senate this year.

KEILAR (on camera): As Senate Democratic leaders struggle to get buy-in from moderates in their party who have serious reservations about a government-run insurance plan, not to mention that controversy about abortion coverage, conventional wisdom tells you it's not going to get any easier if this process moves in to an election year.

Brianna Keilar, CNN, Capitol Hill.


ROBERTS: Other stories new this morning, the mastermind behind the beltway sniper attacks is dead. John Allen Muhammad received a lethal injection at a Virginia prison last night. He was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m.

Hours earlier, Governor Tim Kaine denied his appeal for clemency. Family members of Muhammad's 10 victims witnessed his execution. His accomplice, Lee Malvo, is serving a life sentence without parole.

CHETRY: A lawyer for the CBS News producer accused of blackmailing David Letterman is asking a New York judge to throw out the case, saying it was all a sales pitch for a screenplay, not a shakedown. Robert Halderman has accused of demanding $2 million to keep quiet about Letterman's sexual affairs with female staffers. Letterman's lawyer calls it classic blackmail. The two sides will be back in court in January.

ROBERTS: Plus, E.T. phone Rome? The Vatican exploring the possibility of alien life in the universe. Astronomers, physicists, biologists and religious leaders wrapping up a five-day conference. They discussed what effects life beyond earth would have on the Catholic church and Christianity in general. But the director of the "Vatican Observatory" said the main focus was on the scientific perspective.

CHETRY: That's pretty neat.

Well, still ahead, Chris Lawrence joins us. He has an exclusive interview with a former Taliban official who could play the role of dealmaker if the U.S. and Taliban decide to negotiate.

ROBERTS: And you saw the video yesterday of the woman who fell onto the tracks in Boston. There she is. Whoops. And the train stops just in time.

A little bit later on this morning, we're going to be talking to the woman who's behind the controls of that train. Stay with us.

Ten minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: And the breaking news out of Afghanistan this morning on a story that we first told you about late last week here on AMERICAN MORNING. NATO officials confirming that one of two missing soldiers in western Afghanistan has been found dead. A Massachusetts woman telling our Boston affiliate WCVB that the military has confirmed it's her brother, Army paratrooper Ben Sherman. Meredith Sherman says her brother apparently drowned after jumping into a river to rescue a fellow soldier -- Kiran.

CHETRY: And on this Veteran's Day as President Obama decides whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows a majority of Americans, nearly 60 percent, are opposed to the war and don't want more troops sent in.

Meanwhile, a former Taliban official is now emerging as a possible dealmaker, a go-between who might be able to broker peace in Afghanistan by bringing both sides of the conflict to the bargaining table. Our Chris Lawrence caught up with him in Kabul and has this exclusive report.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A man who served years in the CIA prison is emerging as a potential dealmaker, someone who can speak to the Taliban and American and European officials.

(on camera): Could the Taliban ever work with President Karzai's government?

MULLAH WAKIL AHMED MUTAWAKIL (ph), TALIBAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): They think Karzai's government is incompetent. They don't call it an independent government, and I don't think they'll work with Karzai as far as I know the Taliban.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): And he does. Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil (ph) was the Taliban's foreign minister in what's called the United States retaliation for 9/11, state terrorism. To reach him, we drove south through Kabul to a nondescript dirt road. A dozen armed guards who did not want to be photographed showed us into his home.

(on camera): Why would the Taliban negotiate now when they have momentum?

MUTAWAKIL: The common Taliban do not believe in the peace process. They don't trust it.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): But Mutawakil (ph) says its leadership is open to negotiation.

MUTAWAKIL: We are not a danger to the world. We can be flexible.

LAWRENCE: It's hard to tell whether he's offering opinion or floating an idea directly from Taliban leader Mullah Omar (ph), his former confidant.

Mutawakil (ph) says it's possible the Taliban would not allow Afghanistan to be used for planning attacks on America.

MUTAWAKIL: And from the beginning, the Taliban had a local agenda. Al Qaeda had an international agenda, and this is the difference between Taliban and Al Qaeda.

LAWRENCE: The Afghan insurgency comprises multiple groups with different areas of influence -- Mullah Omar in South, the Hakani network in the Southeast, and East of Kabul Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. He's a brutal warlord once backed by the US and he's independent about the Taliban and al Qaeda.

LAWRENCE (on camera): Which group would you recommend talking with first?

MUTAWAKIL (through translator): Only reconciling with Hekmatyar will not solve the problem. If they do not negotiate with the representative of Mullah Omar, it will be useless.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Mutawakil says the Taliban realize they can't turn back the clock to early 2001.

LAWRENCE (on camera): Could they accept a government where women are granted rights, women can go -- are allowed to go to school?

MUTAWAKIL (through translator): They will not believe in coeducation, but there could be separate education while wearing veils. This will be different.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): He says the current Taliban leadership is more focused on driving out foreigners than Islamic crusade but admits a lot of young Afghan fighters have been influenced by years of contact with foreign Jihadists.

MUTAWAKIL (through translator): The new generation of Taliban, the young boys who joined with them, they are different.

LAWRENCE (on camera): The Mullah told me that some American diplomats have already visited him to talk about Afghanistan's future, but he said the price for any deal could be taking the bounty off the heads of some Taliban leaders or even giving them control of some provinces.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Kabul.


ROBERTS: Well, we've heard a lot about him in the last couple of days, the radical cleric who was at that mosque in Falls Church, Virginia and is now in Yemen, the one that was allegedly contacted by Major Hasan. Who is Anwar al-Awlaki? Carol Costello coming up live with some details.

It's 17 minutes now after the hour.


ROBERTS: Christine Romans here now this morning "Minding Your Business" and more on the continuing saga of Bernie Madoff this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The rich and the felonious -- and now in prison. He's at Butner, North Carolina and we are auctioning off -- the American government is auctioning off every last one his possessions. They're getting rid of all of his stuff, folks, so they can pay back the victims.

And you've seen his houses, you've seen his cars. We've shown you his Montauk estate. And now let me show you what's up for auction this weekend -- earrings, for example. Look at these lovely little gems, $14,300 to $21,000. Here are the watches. You know, he loved watches. That Rolex that we just went past could get about $75,000. The New York Mets team jacket, maybe $500. A duck decoy -- he had all these duck decoys, apparently.

CHETRY: He had a duck motif, right?

ROMANS: Apparently, yes.

CHETRY: Or a bull motif.

ROMANS: You know, you can even get, if you want, you can get on it...

ROBERTS: Somehow that's a metaphor for his life, isn't it? All these duck decoys?

ROMANS: Perhaps.

ROBERTS: Not real ducks.

ROMANS: And another metaphor...

ROBERTS: (INAUDIBLE) but weren't...

ROMANS: (INAUDIBLE). The Rolex, one of those -- he had a lot of watches, dozens of watches. That Rolex we just showed you is ironically known as the prisoner watch because the British POWs really favored it during World War II and they could get it on an installment plan and pay for it after the war. Anyway, it's a very rare and 1945 Rolex Prisoner Watch which...

ROBERTS: No POW is going to be buying that. How much is it expected to go for?

ROMANS: It could be up to $87,000. He has dozens and dozens and dozens of watches. But even right down to like a pen and pad -- you know, there's going to be some -- there's going to be interest from people like you and -- well, maybe me, who -- people who are interested in like just having a little bit of Bernie Madoff after everything is done.

CHETRY: Why? If I was in the -- if I was in the financial industry, I think that would be a jinx to have anything of his.

ROMANS: Maybe.

CHETRY: I mean, seriously!

ROMANS: Maybe. But, you know, his Met -- OK, we showed the Mets jacket. You know, Mets owners were among his victims and they just auctioned off his behind-the-plate season tickets on eBay, I think, for $38,000. So victims -- his victims got $38,000 for those Mets season tickets.

There's a lot of stuff in there and you have -- I think you can register online until today to try to -- to be a bidder, but...

ROBERTS: There's a lot of people who wanted a piece of Bernie Madoff and now is their opportunity.

ROMANS: You know, and if you want to bid on the Palm Beach house, that's November 17th, the -- come on, guys. We could cobble some money together, $17.9 million.

CHETRY: Yes, right. Meanwhile, do you have a "Numeral" for us?

ROMANS: I do, and my "Numeral" is $534 million.

CHETRY: Five hundred thirty-four...

ROBERTS: It's a Bernie -- it's got to be a Bernie Madoff...

CHETRY: Is this how much he's -- they've gotten back so far?

ROMANS: Yes. That's how much they paid out so far to his -- to his victims. That's a lot of money. I mean, but they've been just grabbing it from bank accounts and selling his stuff. And $534 million, there's a lot more still to find.

CHETRY: Oh, yes. All right. Well, that's a start.


CHETRY: Christine Romans, thanks so much.

Still ahead, she's being hailed a hero for her quick thinking, her calm under pressure. Charice Lewis is going to be joining us. She is the Boston subway operator who saved the woman who tripped onto the tracks.

There she is live. We're going to talk to her in just a moment.


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

Investigators connecting the dots now as they delve deeper into possible motives behind the attack on Fort Hood, and a key focus in the investigation is the suspect, Major Nidal Hasan's contacts with a radical Islamic cleric.

ROBERTS: That man is Anwar al-Awlaki, an exiled America who has become the powerful voice.

Our Carol Costello is live in Washington with an "AM Original" for us this morning, and Carol, just who is this guy?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was born in New Mexico, but he now lives and preaches out of Yemen. Experts say he represents a new kind of terrorist -- charismatic, soft-spoken and Facebook-savvy.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Experts say Anwar al-Awlaki is a low-key extremist. They say fiery rhetoric is out, understated is in. Listen to one of al-Awlaki's YouTube lectures.

ANWAR AL-AWLAKI, RADICAL ISLAMIC CLERIC: We sometimes neglect our duties toward our fellow Muslims until we fall into their trials and realize the importance of standing in support of the oppressed.

COSTELLO: That's right, understated terrorist talk on YouTube and Facebook. Al-Awlaki has more than 5,000 friends. Jarret Brachman wrote "Global Jihadism". He's also a US government consultant on counterterrorism.

JARRET BRACHMAN, AUTHOR, "GLOBAL JIHADISM": A lot of guys in the united States read al-Awlaki's work, they watch his videos, they listen to his sermons.

COSTELLO: It's easy.

AL-AWLAKI: They are the role models...

COSTELLO: Al-Awlaki speaks perfect English. He's American-born. Before leaving the US in 2002, he was an imam at mosques in Colorado, California and then Virginia where he had contact with two of the 9/11 hijackers.

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik knew al-Awlaki. At first he was moderate in his views and popular.

IMAM JOHARI ABDUL-MALIK, DAR AL-HIJRAH ISLAMIC CENTER: Young, handsome, Californian, has the benefit of English without an accent.

COSTELLO: Then 9/11 happened. Iman Johari told us al-Awlaki grew angry at the way Muslim Americans were treated by authorities. He left for Yemen in 2002 telling his friends... ABDUL-MALIK: This is not an environment for teaching Islam or preaching Islam. I'd rather go back to Yemen. And he told us, I can go back and teach. Maybe I can do a television program.

COSTELLO: But in Yemen, he was jailed. Imam Johari says it was after that that al-Awlaki became radicalized, with a growing following, his views unrecognizable to those who knew him in the United States.

ABDUL-MALIK: What he is saying from wherever he is in Yemen to his minions, that it is not only legitimate to kill Americans -- that's the message that most people got -- but that it is also permissible to kill American Muslims.

COSTELLO: Something Imam Johari says is against both Islam and the United States. It may be, he says, al-Awlaki has lost his mind.


COSTELLO: Al-Awlaki had written on his website that Major Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, was a hero. Today, that website is not accessible. It's not clear why, although some experts say al-Awlaki is afraid he's getting too much attention now and he closed his website down himself. In other words, John and Kiran, he's laying low.

ROBERTS: All right. Carol Costello this morning. Carol, thanks so much.

We're coming up on the half hour. Checking our top stories this morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US still plans to send a special envoy to North Korea despite Pyongyang's naval clash with South Korea. The US diplomat will try to persuade the communist regime to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks. North Korea has boycotted this talks because of international sanctions.

CHETRY: CVS Pharmacy agreeing to pay $875,000 to settle a lawsuit over the sale of expired products. New York State investigators say they found expired eggs, milk, baby formula and over-the-counter medication in more than half of the company's stores. A CVS spokesman says the company is committed to keeping expired products off the shelves and that the settlement doesn't admit any wrongdoing.

ROBERTS: And it will be no heavy lifting for many holiday shoppers this year. A new Consumer Report survey finds 36 percent of Americans plan on re-gifting this holiday season. That's up 31 percent from last year and 24 percent from 2007.

Recycling gifts is just one of the ways that people are cutting back. Nearly two-thirds say they'll scale back travel plans and holiday decorations.

Have you ever re-gifted?

CHETRY: Heck, yes. ROBERTS: I've never done that.

CHETRY: I mean, if I've gotten a perfume, let's say, that somebody got me and I've never opened it, it's still in the packaging, and I know somebody else likes that scent better, I'll wrap it up and give it to them.

ROBERTS: You know, I don't have space to hang onto gifts that I don't use. I get rid of it early (ph).

CHETRY: It's like the big white elephant, you know?

ROBERTS: Yes. Exactly.

CHETRY: All right. Well.

A few good Samaritans and some quick reflexes saved a life on the Boston subway. If you haven't seen the amazing video, here's another look.

Check out the woman on the edge of the platform. She loses her balance, falls right into the path of an on coming train. You quickly see other passengers jump into action, frantically waving. That gentleman looking down and frantically waving. Well, Charice Lewis. She was the train operator. She pulled the emergency brake just in time. And Charice joins me from bottom this morning for the A.M. breakdown.

First of all, wow, congratulations. I know this has been an overwhelming couple of days for you. A lot of emotions all at once.

Walk us through when you first realized something was wrong, Charice.

CHARICE LEWIS, MBTA ORANGE LINE OPERATOR: Well, I knew that there was something wrong when the gentleman, the two older guys were literally on the yellow line looking like they were going to fall in. So, you know, I was more concentrating on the people on the platform because I thought they were going to fall in.

So that made me slow down even more, and they were waving and just like waving a little bit too much, and one guy was pointing like in the pit, in the pit and waving at the same time. And then the lady slightly moved at the last minute, and I noticed her. And I was able to, you know, put my train and emergency brake and everything turned out all right.

CHETRY: Yes, it is amazing when you look at the video once again. First of all, you say that it's not unusual, especially after a game, right, for people to be excited and waving at the end of the track.


CHETRY: So how do you remember as the driver whether or not it's just excited people -- there was a Celtics game that let out -- or an emergency?

LEWIS: Well, we also have our portable radios and our inspectors that are on the platform. And they would -- if there was an emergency, I would get a call on my radio ahead of time anyway to let me know if there is an emergency to either slow my train down or stop my train and not come in to the station at all.

CHETRY: Right.

LEWIS: We do have training for emergency situations.

CHETRY: But that didn't happen in this case, right, because it happened so quickly.

LEWIS: Right. Yes.

CHETRY: And, you know, when you look at the video, Charice, it's amazing. She almost -- it looks like that young woman almost hit that third rail. Looks like she just missed it, and rolled back under the train. So as you hit that emergency break, tell us again what was going through your mind? Did know that she was OK?

LEWIS: No. Not until she crawled out, not until she crawled out herself. Once I put my train on the emergency brake, it rolled over her, you know, a little bit. All I -- I was thinking the worst. I thought I hurt her. I thought it was the worst thing possible. So I was preparing myself for the worst. But when she started crawling out, and she got up and she was standing on her own feet, I was just like, thank God. That was my only thing. I'm like, thank God. She's alive. She's alive.

CHETRY: I cannot imagine the roller coaster of emotions at that point, because at first you thought perhaps the worst and then realized she was Ok. You said that your knees buckled. I mean, what were other people saying around you. Other people, passengers in the train and then, you know, others that were there?

LEWIS: It was more or less like everybody is just trying to get her out of the pit because she stumbled back. She had tripped and fell back a little bit. But they were able to get her out. And, you know, I heard a passenger, you know say "good job." And one guy gave me the thumbs-up, and I was just like, OK, everything's all right. I can sit down and cry.

CHETRY: So you did cry after all of that?

LEWIS: Yes. It was a traumatic situation and it really, really scared me. But, you know, I was more happy that she was OK and everybody was all right. And it was a good situation. And that was it.

CHETRY: Yes. Well, she's very thankful to you, too, as well. She said she was pretty humiliated. Apparently, she had gone out drinking with co-workers and said that she apparently had four 22- ounce beers. She didn't think she was drunk, but then obviously realized how intoxicated she was. She said that nothing like this has ever happened to her before and that she's incredibly thankful that the driver was alert. Do you think you might speak to her?

LEWIS: Yes. If she wanted to speak to me, I have no problem with speaking to her. And I'm thankful and grateful that she is OK. And, you know, it would be like an embarrassing situation, but she shouldn't be embarrassed, you know, because it could have been anyone.

CHETRY: Right.

LEWIS: It could have been anyone.

CHETRY: And also you got a call from the governor of Massachusetts.


CHETRY: You were honored as a hero yesterday from the secretary of transportation. I mean, at least temporarily this has really changed your life. What's it been like for you?

LEWIS: It's hectic. It's a lot of excitement going on. A lot of excitement. More attention than I have ever, ever gotten. And it's a lot. But it's like I'm not the only one who needs the praise. I'm not only the hero. Those passengers, the people, the good Samaritans that were on the platform, Cynthia White. You know, they all played a part in it and did a good job, you know. I just did my job. That's it.

CHETRY: Well, you're just a delightful person, and I'm sure everybody is so thrilled that you were driving that train today, especially the family of the young woman.

Charice -- Charice Lewis, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

LEWIS: Thank you very much.

ROBERTS: Wow. What a great lady. But if they do get together, probably better that it not be a beer summit.

CHETRY: Not a beer summit.

ROBERTS: Not a beer summit, all right.

CHETRY: Diet Coke summit.

ROBERTS: It's Veterans' Day, and of course, we've been talking about the innumerable problems that the Veterans Administration Medical System is having reaching out to vets who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, who may not, you know, have immediate access to medical care. They might live in rural areas and things like. And what do they do? They can't drive all the way into a VA Medical Center. Well, now the VA is coming to them. And we'll show you how the VA is trying to bridge that gap coming up next.

It's thirty-five and a half minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Thirty-nine minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning on this Veterans' Day.

One benefit that's available to the men and women who serve their country is health care from the Department of Veterans' Affairs. The VA has come under intense criticism for not adequately taking care of vets who are in urgent need of treatment. Well, the VA is trying to address that need, in part by reaching out to vets in remote areas who may live too far away from VA hospitals to get access to care.

Our Elaine Quijano takes a look.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, here in West Virginia, thousands of veterans live just out of reach of the VA health care system but now with this high tech mobile clinic, the VA is bringing health care to them.


QUIJANO (voice-over): On any given week, lumbering along West Virginia's rural roads --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day's different.

QUIJANO: A mobile health clinic run by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs rolls out to serve some of the state's far-flung 182,000 veterans. It's mostly veterans themselves who staff this clinic on wheels.

What are we looking at here?

DR. SIDNEY JACKSON, VA MOBILE HEALTH CLINIC: Well, this is one of the clinical exam areas for the mobile health unit.

QUIJANO (voice-over): Like Dr. Sydney Jackson who says his fellow vets don't often seek the health care they have earned. And when he asks --

JACKSON: Why didn't you come to the VA system? Well, if they don't need it, they won't take it from somebody. There's other people that need it more than me.

QUIJANO: Changing that mindset is one challenge. Another is simple geography. On this day, the clinic sets up in Ravenswood, West Virginia, an hour and 45 minute drive from the nearest VA hospital.

JACKSON: Hey, Chris. Can you run an EKG? I'm just going to get a few -- you have a little irregularity in your heart beat.

QUIJANO: A check-up of 87-year-old Bill Barton uncovers a worrying combination. A morning dizzy spell, high blood pressure and an irregular heart beat.

JACKSON: Hold very still for me. QUIJANO: Aided by the clinic's modern technology, including an EKG machine and access to Barton's computerized records, Dr. Jackson prescribes medication. It's a rare event for the World War II veteran who enrolled in the VA system only a few years ago.

(on camera): Why didn't you go earlier?

BILL BARTON, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: Well, I never had any problems earlier. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

JACKSON: What's your last name, sir?


QUIJANO (voice-over): Korean War vet jack Patton is taking care of paperwork when he stumbles upon the clinic.

PATTON: And they asked if I wanted to talk to the doctor and I said yes. You know, it's not very often you get to talk to them free.

QUIJANO: In his case, everything appears normal. He leaves grateful and with some peace of mind.

PATTON: A lot of us can't get out you know. And the closer we can get to facilities, the better.


QUIJANO: Right now, the VA has three similar programs in Maine, Wyoming and Washington State. The goal -- to increase the number of veterans enrolled in the VA system and ensure funding for the program continues.



ROBERTS: Elaine Quijano for us this morning in West Virginia. Thanks.

We should mention that VA secretary General Eric Shinseki is going to be joining us on our next here, on the Most News in the Morning on this Veterans' Day. Of course, a lot of controversy about all of the soldiers and marines who are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan -- post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and how the VA is just incapable of caring for all those people.

CHETRY: Yes. It's proving to be a huge challenge. So how are they planning to tackle it in the future? We're going to talk with him about that.

Meanwhile, we're also going to check in with Rob Marciano. He was out in the midst of it yesterday tracking Ida. Now the remnants are still out there and may could slow down your travel plans. Rob joins us next. Forty-two minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Forty-six minutes past the hour. Welcome back to "The Most News in the Morning." We fast forward now through stories we'll be tracking for you later today.

President Obama and the first lady will honor our fallen soldiers on this Veterans Day. They'll participate in the wreath-laying ceremony taking place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery a little later this morning.

And it's a story we'll be watching all day. Brazilian officials are still looking for answers as to what caused a widespread power outage that plunged its biggest cities into darkness. Tens of millions of people were affected. Power was mostly restored after two hours.

And Google is launching a new tool for locating the swine and seasonal flu vaccines outside of your doctor's office if it's not available with your own doctor. You can check the service online. It went online yesterday. You can access it by going to

Last month the Internet giant expanded Google flu trends to 16 more countries. It now also provides vaccine information in 37 different languages. So I checked it out. Unfortunately in my neighborhood no swine flu still.

ROBERTS: No swine flu vaccines yet?

CHETRY: No swine flu vaccines.

ROBERTS: Really?

CHETRY: There's swine flu.

ROBERTS: There could be -- place with swine flu but no vaccine yet. You're going to move neighborhoods. What kind of neighborhood do you live in anyway?

CHETRY: One with a lot of kids.

ROBERTS: Rob Marciano has been switching neighborhoods. Yesterday he was hanging out with Ida on the panhandle, now he's back in Atlanta this morning. And what's the storm doing today, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's slowly marching east. It's going to be with us in some capacity for quite a while. Good morning, John. Good morning, Kiran, once again.


MARCIANO: So Ida going to hang around, kind of fester a little bit and bothers, right, almost for the weekend. Back to you, guys. ROBERTS: Just what you don't need. A festering Ida.



CHETRY: No, no. Good thing my father-in-law caught his striper yesterday. Eighteen pounds.

MARCIANO: Not bad.

CHETRY: How about that?

ROBERTS: That's good. Do share. Are we going to get fillets up here?

CHETRY: Yes, I'll send some fillets up here for you, guys.

ROBERTS: Excellent. Thanks, Rob.

This rudimentary telescope 400 years ago, Galileo, you might say, put astronomy on the celestial map but it wasn't until 1990 that the first major telescope went into space and that, of course, was the Hubble.

CHETRY: Mm-hmm. And now Hubble's successor is in the works. It's designed to shed new light on deep space.

Gary Tuchman has more now in this "Edge of Discovery."


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Hubble space telescope showed us galaxies, planets, even exploding stars. Things we had never seen before. In 2014 its successor will take us to infinity and beyond.

PAUL GEITHNER, JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE PROGRAM: It's going to see that part of space and time when the very first galaxies and the very first stars formed. More than 13 billion years ago.

TUCHMAN: Named after the man who pioneered the first moon landing, it's called the James Webb Space Telescope or JWST. It's made up of 18 foldable mirrorsreaching two stories high. But just how far will it go?

All these giant parts will neatly fold up into the nose cone of a rocket, that will blast about a million miles into space. And since it'll be too far away for repairs by hand scientists have designed options on board, so problems like the Hubble's blurry lens of are less likely to happen again.

GEITHNER: We designed in enough adjustability that we can get it all aligned on orbit.

TUCHMAN: NASA expects the JWST it to keep us tuned in, perhaps delivering as many surprises as Hubble, maybe more.

GEITHNER: Whenever we look at nature with a new tool, with new capabilities, we always discover amazing things.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN.


CHETRY: Those pictures are amazing.

ROBERTS: They are. Of course, the Hubble's myopic vision was a result of bad grinding of the lens on the ground. So let's hope they get that part of this new one right...

CHETRY: Exactly.

ROBERTS: ... just before they set it up.

CHETRY: Well, still ahead, it's called Manhattan Milk Company and it's turning a nostalgic idea of fresh organic milk delivered to your home, the milkman paying a visit, into a new successful business.

Stephanie Elam is going to explain coming up.

ROBERTS: Yes. And a United Airline pilot yanked out of the cockpit just moments before takeoff at Heathrow Airport. Why? We'll tell you coming right up.


ROBERTS: Six minutes ahead of the top of the hour. Welcome back to "The Most News in the Morning." Yes, the milkmen returneth. It turns out they were not the only ones who are up working in the dead of night at o'dark thirty.

CHETRY: No, not all, right? Because here in New York City there are two guys delivering milk the old-fashioned way, complete with glass bottles, and they turned their nostalgic idea into a booming business.

Our Stephanie Elam stayed up late to get this "AM Original."


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Delivering milk door to door, just like the old days, but these are not your grandparents' milkmen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're the modern version with sneakers and jeans.

ELAM (on camera): Yes. And the ripped out jeans. That too.

(Voice-over): Meet Matt and Frank. Their city slicker customers place orders on their Manhattan Milk Web site for organic farm fresh goods. MATT MARONE, CO-OWNER, THE MANHATTAN MILK CO.: For a minimum of $15 order, so, say, three bottles of milk. So that's a $15 (INAUDIBLE) charge.

ELAM: Overnight they make delivery after delivery after delivery. Why so early?

FRANK ACOSTA, CO-OWNER, THE MANHATTAN MILK CO.: Well, that's another reason why we start early. One for the traffic and the two, and everybody has their milk and dairy products before they go to work and so it's not sitting outside for hours in the heated hallways in all the building.

MARONE: I saw one client -- the kids wake up early and they try to like bring the milk in themselves. And they're like 2 or 3 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Frank bring you that milk?



ELAM: Jill Bekwar (ph) who's been a loyal customer since their start a year and a half ago says Frank and Matt are like family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I heard about Manhattan Milk, I thought, wow, this takes me back to where I was growing up and my kids are going to get to experience something I got to experience. So every, you know, Wednesday morning we go out, get the milk and bring it in, just like we did when I was a kid.

ELAM: While they have several competitors, Matt and Frank say they are the cream of the crop because of their personal touch, hormone-free products and reused glass bottles from local dairies.

ACOSTA: They call us. They reach one -- either Frank or myself, and they can talk to the boss, the owner.

ELAM (on camera): It's 2:30 a.m. How many stops have you guys made and how many do you have to go?

MARONE: I'd say about, 10 stops, about 40.

ACOSTA: Ten or 12 we did already.

MARONE: About 40 or 50 more.

ACOSTA: Yes, about 40, 45 more to go.

ELAM: And what time do you expect to be done?

MARONE: Hopefully by 9:00.

ACOSTA: Hopefully by 9:00.

ELAM (voice-over): While they admit the hours hurt their personal lives, the guys say they are satisfied.

ACOSTA: We love what we do. I wouldn't change it, you know?.

MARONE: It's fun.

ELAM: So as most of the big apple awakens the guys are finishing up, off to catch some Z's. After all, sleep does a body good, too.


CHETRY: All right, well, Stephanie's back now. We're just talking about it. I mean it's a really neat concept, but you're going to be willing to pay five bucks for 32...

ELAM: Yes.

CHETRY: ... ounces of milk.


ELAM: We are talking about Manhattan.

CHETRY: That's true.

ELAM: So this is not exactly the weirdest thing, you know? And when we talk about Manhattan Milk it really is just Matt and Frank. They're the two guys who are doing this. They're up Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, however you see it, and they're out delivering these.

So they dropped off some milk this morning for us so that we could get it. Next they plan to expand to Brooklyn. But one little side note that I thought was pretty interesting, they met years and years ago because they were dating sisters. They didn't like each other at first. But now the sisters are no longer in the picture.

ROBERTS: What prompted them to get into the milk business?

ELAM: Well, it is -- actually Matt got a chain -- like a delivery route in Westchester so he's been doing that for about 10 years and then they just expanded into Manhattan so now they've put their brains together. Now they're delivering.

CHETRY: Pretty cool.

ELAM: They've got their little bags here so they can make sure that it's all green.

CHETRY: So the sisters are out of the picture and they're best buds and business partners.

ELAM: Exactly.


CHETRY: And turning in a profit. ELAM: And they're turning a profit and they're doing well. And again, they have their name out there and they've got some very loyal customers. So they do this every Wednesday morning.

I say I got in bed at 4:00 a.m. after hanging out with them, after working the full day. I was loopy after that.


So the fact that they are able to do this and still get up to do their paperwork is pretty amazing. But the milk is still cold.

ROBERTS: This is how far back I go. Some of my favorite memories as a kid were riding around with my friend's dad in the milk truck. He was a milkman. We'd go to the dairy. We'd load it all up, we help him on a Saturday, go around, deliver all the milk, then we come back, and we'd have an ice cream cone at the dairy counter there.

ELAM: You know, it's funny doing the story. I found a lot of people have memories about the milkman coming to their house.

ROBERTS: Absolutely.

ELAM: And it's like nostalgic. But it's more than just milk there.

ROBERTS: Many of those people are dead now from old age.

ELAM: No...


ELAM: I'm not taking the fall for that one.

ROBERTS: We're on the way.

ELAM: Yes.


ROBERTS: All right, thanks, Steph.

ELAM: But it was a fun story to do.

ROBERTS: That's great.

ELAM: Sure.

CHETRY: Thanks, Stephanie.

Well, still ahead, another embarrassment for the airline industry. A United Airlines pilot yanked out of the cockpit just minutes before takeoff after failing a breathalyzer test and then getting arrested. We're going to have much more on that story coming up at the top of the hour, in just two minutes.