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CNN Saturday Morning News

Porter Goss Leaving CIA; Plans For Dealing With Bird Flu; Photos Of Street Harassers On Internet; Internet Dangers To Young People

Aired May 06, 2006 - 11:30   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get you caught up now on headlines now in the news. The British military reports that casualties in a helicopter crash in Basra, but right now no details on the exact number. At least two Iraqis were killed in clashes with British troops after the chopper went down.
Vice President Dick Cheney is on a whirlwind trip to Asia and Europe. On tap this morning, meetings in Kazakhstan. That country is a U.S. ally in the war on terror. Cheney then went to Croatia.

More violent storms rumble across Texas. This is the scene around Waco, where high winds caused some major property damage and more bad weather is in the forecast today for parts of Texas.

Congressman Patrick Kennedy is now getting treatment at the Mayo Clinic. He slammed his car into a security barricade on Capitol Hill two days ago. At first, he blamed the crash on a reaction to prescription drugs and he revealed yesterday that he's battling depression.

MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: Outgoing CIA Director Porter Goss describes his resignation as just one of those mysteries. He abruptly quit yesterday without giving a reason and President Bush accepted. CNN national security correspondent David Ensor looks at what triggered the resignation and what's next.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First there was the failure to stop 9/11. Then the mistaken CIA analysis that Iraq probably had weapons of mass destruction. Those failures prompted the president and Congress to order dramatic change, a new director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, his job, to coordinate and manage the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

It meant he outranked CIA Director Porter Goss. That made it a difficult working relationship from the start. Negroponte's plan to move people out of the CIA and into the national counterterrorism center caused Goss to push back and led to Goss' resignation. Now, the president needs to name a new CIA chief, who must get Senate approval.

TIMOTHY ROEMER, FMR 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: This is a critically difficult time for the country. We are in the midst of war with terrorists and now we may have to go through a brutal confirmation hearing, talking about things such as national security wiretaps, leaks and secret prisons. This is not good for the country.

ENSOR: When Goss, a former congressman, came in with his team from Capitol Hill, they quickly pushed out several top CIA operations officers. That led to bad blood, from which many professionals say he never recovered.

Officials close to Negroponte say he and others felt the CIA was not moving quickly enough to adapt to its new role under the umbrella of Negroponte's office after for so long being the lead intelligence agency. With so much change and turmoil, CIA veterans say what's needed now for the agency to be effective is a period of stability.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATL. SECURITY ANALYST: The community has been relentlessly blamed for just about every national problem you can imagine, and very little attention's been given to its successes and its needs. And so it is a community that at this point is under some stress and needs to be nurtured.

ENSOR: General Michael Hayden, the man sources tell CNN is likely to be named, is a seasoned and respected intelligence professional, but he has never run human intelligence collecting. As former director of the National Security Agency, he could also face tough questioning in Senate confirmation hearings on the president's warrantless wiretaps program. David Ensor, CNN, Washington.


LONG: And do remember to stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

HARRIS: Your security also includes your health and is our healthcare system ready for a possible flu pandemic? This week the White House put out its plan, but critics say it is not exactly foolproof. Here's our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The chaos and finger pointing that followed hurricane Katrina is exactly what the Bush administration wants to avoid with its plan to tackle a possible flu pandemic.

FRAN TOWNSEND, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: Good planning and preparation to avoid it being chaotic.

MALVEAUX: The worst-case scenario is pretty grim. It's estimated two million Americans would die, 50 million become infected, and 40 percent of the workforce would become incapacitated, and today, a sobering admission from the White House about the vaccines available now.

TOWNSEND: There is no question, we do not have enough in the stockpile for every American.

MALVEAUX: The government says it's working with manufacturers to produce better vaccines faster, but health experts say the government will also need a new vaccine to treat the specific virus that emerges, one that would be more effective than the existing vaccines.

DAVID HEYMAN, CTR. FOR STRATEGIC & INTL STUDIES: We will not have vaccines for six to nine months after a pandemic hits us. We will not have enough anti-virals, so we're going to have to rely on measures to take care of people without them.

MALVEAUX: That's why the White House is putting out a plan that not only directs Federal agencies to prepare for a possible outbreak, but also asks state and local communities to do their part and help foot the bill. That includes the cost of hospitals stocking up to treat the expected influx of patients.

IRWIN REDLENER, CTR. FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: The hospitals in America are simply not ready to cope with that kind of input.

MALVEAUX: The plan calls for schools to cancel classes and sporting events and for businesses to practice what the administration calls social distancing.

DR. RAJEEV VENKAYYA, HOMELAND SECURITY COUNCIL: Instead of people meeting face-to-face in meetings, even if they're in the same building, perhaps they ought to meet over the phone instead.

MALVEAUX: The government would consider placing communities under quarantine. Travelers would be screened, but borders would remain open. Critics are skeptical that the government's plan will be carried out, because while they say there was a plan for hurricane Katrina, it was never implemented.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, the White House.


HARRIS: So let's hear from a doctor who has written a book about the possible bird flu crisis. Marc Siegel joins us from New York. His book is, "Bird Flu, Everything You Need to Know about the Next Pandemic," Marc, good to see you.


HARRIS: Are we at a place now where the question is only when, not if an infected bird will be discovered in this country?

SIEGEL: Well, you know, I think it's fairly likely that a bird, either in Alaska or in northern Canada, or maybe from smuggling, will eventually get this, and I think, you know, that's something we have to be prepared for, that birds, there may be an outbreak here similar to what we've seen in Europe. But of course, that's far from saying that humans will be affected, because we've also seen, in Europe for example, there hasn't been a single human case at this point.

HARRIS: You know what's going to happen, once there is the announcement, breaking news here on CNN, that an infected bird has been found in the United States. It's going to be crazy here! SIEGEL: Well, Tony, I think that there's a lot of fear to be considered here, and there can be fear and anticipation of a pandemic that can actually make things a lot worse. You know, when people are emotional and they get afraid, they think it's going to happen to them, which is why we need a new public health language to anticipate things. You know, we have to convey risk in a way that actually talks about the worst case, but also lets people know that it may not be the worst case that occurs.

HARRIS: Well, Marc, let's talk about that language, then. What did you make of the White House bird flu pandemic plan announced this week?

SIEGEL: Well, here, you know, the White House plan develops a strategy for all the different departments to work together, and it talks about the state, local and Federal level. So it's a strategy that I like. But it only talks about the worst case, and there again, you're talking two million deaths. You know, this is a very unlikely scenario, and it doesn't cover all the scenarios in between.

And in addition, it didn't emphasize the fact that the best thing to do in any pandemic is to isolate sick people, you know, and to put house quarantines on. All this talking about closing businesses and schools and restricting travel may actually be somewhat necessary in a very bad case, but it hasn't been shown to be as effective as just isolating sick people. So I think that there's a lot of emphasis on the scare part here.

HARRIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. What should we be -- the White House issues the plan. What should we be doing as individuals now?

SIEGEL: Well, you know, Tony, I like the idea of not labeling it for bird flu use. You know, we're such a technology-dependent society, so who could be against the idea of what you would do if the lights went off? What would you do in an emergency? Do you have emergency supplies? Do you know what you would do?

There are so many catastrophes that could occur where we would suddenly be without all of our technology. It's a fair point to raise, but the current H5N1 bird flu is still several mutations away from being able to affect us. It may not be the next pandemic virus. While we're so worried about H5N1, another virus that's easily transmissible among humans could mutate instead.

So I think we have to think of flu in general as something to be better prepared for in the future. We don't have updated vaccines yet. I was encouraged to see that a lot of money is being put towards that idea. Our hospitals are not equipped for emergencies and for surge. So I think we need to upgrade our whole infrastructure responding to pandemic without signaling that it's going to be this.

HARRIS: Very good. Let's help you with the book here. "Bird Flu: Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic." There's your author, Dr. Marc Siegel, good to see you.

SIEGEL: Great to see you Tony. HARRIS: Thanks for your time.

LONG: I'm sure you've noticed those gas prices in the U.S. still hovering around the $3 a gallon mark right now, the national average for unleaded regular, $2.92. That is up slightly from yesterday. The highest recorded average price in the U.S. was just over $3 a gallon last September 5th. That was right after hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast. Those high gas prices are a driving force, the driving force behind some lifestyle changes for many Americans. There's a new poll out.

We're going to share it with you. Sixty six percent of respondents say they have cut back on their driving and their use of air conditioning or heat. More than one-third say they are considering buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle and nearly half say they've had to change their vacation plans. And a gloomy outlook for the road ahead. Seven out of 10 respondents say they expect the price of gas to cause their family's financial hardship in the next six months.

HARRIS: And still ahead, one woman refused to be a victim. You'll never believe what she used to fight crime. Chances are, you're probably carrying the same thing right now.

LONG: Plus, protecting your children when they're online could be as easy as learning what to watch for. You are watching CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


LONG: Good morning. Keeping you posted on the top stories this morning. Porter Goss is not telling. In a CNN exclusive this morning, Goss says his resignation as the CIA director is just one of those mysteries. Senior administration officials tell CNN that Air Force General Michael Hayden is the president's choice to replace Goss.

A British helicopter crashed in Iraq, drawing a crowd to the streets of Basra. Young people clashed with British troops and appear to celebrate the accident. Britain says there are casualties aboard that chopper.

And Texas is on guard today for more windshield-cracking hail, even tornadoes, flash flooding as well. The violent spring weather marching across that state.

HARRIS: And technology is catching up with flashers. Now they're the ones getting flashed by cell phone cameras. CNN's Deborah Feyerick looks at victims turned vigilantes. Her report was prepared for "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ladies, you know this guy, the obscene gestures, rude comments. Hey, baby! Who he is and what he looks like doesn't matter. He's that guy who harasses women, thinking he'll get away with it because you don't know him. But this picture may change all that. It was taken by 22-year- old Thao Nguyen and it has sparked something of a revolution against street harassment. So Thao, you were sitting there and he was sitting here?


FEYERICK: OK, how did you first notice him?

NGUYEN: Well, he got on the train and he kept staring at me.

FEYERICK: So he's just looking like this, right at you?

NGUYEN: Yeah, he was like this, locked onto his target.

FEYERICK: Win (ph) showed us what happened the day she stepped onto a New York City subway last August. It was 3:00 in the afternoon when a stranger sat across from her and ignoring others nearby, unzipped his pants.

NGUYEN: And then I looked in the glass and I could see him rubbing his crotch, and then I took out my phone to look busy.

FEYERICK: What she did next surprised even her. Using her cell phone camera, she took his picture.

NGUYEN: I snapped it really quick. It happened really quick, like one, two, and then he zipped up and left.

FEYERICK: When a policewoman wouldn't look at the photo, the young web designer posted the image online, on a girl power site to warn others.

NGUYEN: Maybe they could go to the police and say oh, I know this man, and I was just afraid he would do something else.

FEYERICK: The picture shot from Web site to Web site, striking a very deep nerve.

EMILY MAY, FOUNDER, HOLLABACK NYC: It's incredibly scary. Women don't know who these strangers are. You don't know if some guy street harassing you is harassing you because they're going to follow you home, because they're going to kidnap you or rape you or hurt you in some way. This is one of the first posts that we got.

FEYERICK: Emily May and her friends in Brooklyn saw that picture when it was printed on the front page of a New York paper. They had talked about street harassment. Now they knew it was time to act. And though they never met Nguyen, they created a Web site, Hollaback, as in holler back, with the motto "if you can't slap them, snap them."

MAY: The women have done it, just said that it's taken the power out of the street harasser's hands and put it into their hands.

FEYERICK: On its busiest day, the site got 75,000 hits. Hollabackeu just started up also in the European Union and the group has been contacted by others who want to set up similar sites.

MAY: We're not trying to single out these men for their ignorance, but we're trying to educate men and women that street harassment is not OK.

FEYERICK: But that guy in the picture? The one who ultimately turned himself in didn't see it that way. His lawyer, who says his client is really a good guy with some issues, says posting the picture online went too far.

MICHAEL BACHNER, DAN HOYT'S ATTORNEY: To have all of a sudden know that your picture is on an Internet site, without authorization, has got to be one of the most horrible feelings you could have, especially that's labeled as stalker, immoral, you know, harasser. It's the punishment sometimes far exceeds the bad behavior.

FEYERICK: Nguyen sees it differently.

NGUYEN: If he didn't do it, I wouldn't have posted it. I didn't even know who he was. It wasn't like I was out to get him.

FEYERICK: Thao Nguyen, the cell phone photo snapper and Emily May, the Web site founder did finally meet. They recently faced down the subway flasher when he showed up in court for sentencing after pleading guilty to public lewdness, a misdemeanor. The judge gave him two years probation and ordered him to see a therapist. Do you feel empowered by what you did?

NGUYEN: Yes I do. I felt like, having the cell phone, taking the picture, after I took it, I felt so much better.

FEYERICK: How often do you ride this subway?

NGUYEN: I ride it every day.

FEYERICK: Thao Nguyen doesn't know whether she would do the same again, but she keeps her cell phone charged and ready.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


HARRIS: Again, that story comes to us from "PAULA ZAHN NOW." Join Paula weeknights, 8:00 p.m. Eastern and 5:00 Pacific.

LONG: "CNN LIVE SATURDAY" coming up at the top of the hour, what's on the agenda?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: More of it. Of course we'll have all the top stories, and then something else that's very different out of Iraq, but very inspirational. Birds, not necessarily bombs. I'll talk with a soldier who served in Iraq and still found time for his peace-time hobby. He'll be telling us all about birding Babylon. He wrote a book about it.

Also, he plays guitar in one of the biggest bands in rock n' roll, now the Edge of U2 is helping out fellow musicians in New Orleans hard hit by hurricane Katrina. All this in the final weekend of Jazz Fest.

HARRIS: That's right, which is, you know, it's a favorite of yours. I'm sure you'll be there next year. You love it.

LONG: Do you speak leet?


LONG: Do you speak leet?

HARRIS: You know, we did this segment last hour and I still don't understand it. That's terrible.

LONG: We're going to try to clear up any confusion you have about leet. Chances are that your teen does speak this unique language. Coming up for you, we'll decode the new slang and tell you why you really need to know exactly what it is.


HARRIS: You remember the days when parents worried about their kids when they left home? Today's parents worry when the kids are at home. The Internet can be a very dangerous place. Now a program may give parents a bit of a head's up. CNN's Dan Lothian has details. His story aired on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."


KATIE LECLERC, INTERNET EXPERT: Unbelievable the things that these kids are getting into online.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katie Leclerc is an Internet-savvy 23-year-old, holding the hands of parents, as they take an eye-opening excursion through cyberspace.

LECLERC: So you can know what's really going on. I don't take it lightly. I do say I'm not trying to scare you, but it's scary out there. So I'm honest.

LOTHIAN: With the explosion of social networking sites like MySpace and growing concerns over online predators, more and more communities in places like Massachusetts and Florida are finding that parents, not just children, need to be educated.

ERIC WALTON, COMPUTER FORENSIC ANALYST: We want them to be as comfortable as they can be in order to be able to help their kids.

LOTHIAN: Walton is part of a team training parents in Florida. Leclerc works for the Massachusetts attorney general's office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had some cases and then decided we'd better start some education here.

LOTHIAN: So Leclerc was hired full-time to crisscross the state, offering more than just tips and talking points. She logs onto live chat rooms, poses as a 14-year-old blonde girl with blue eyes and shows these Massachusetts parents how easy it is for chatter to turn dark and potentially dangerous.

LECLERC: See, I just got offered a cyber sex chat.

LOTHIAN: Then comes this offer --

LECLERC: Any sexy, petite blonde or brunette females under 21 want to make a sexy 20-year-old male feel better? I'm really stressed out.

LOTHIAN: Leclerc then goes back and forth instant messaging a 20-year-old male who jokes, he doesn't mind that she's 14.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We show them, and they realize what their children have access to.


LOTHIAN: Maryanne Ellis, a mom, says she now understands the potential online dangers facing her 17-year-old daughter and others like her.

ELLIS: All her friends have her pictures from a prom on the Internet, and they can be tapped into in various places, and it's out of her control.

LOTHIAN: This effort isn't aimed at pulling the plug on the Internet or MySpace, just a tool to help parents make good decisions and ask their children the right questions.

LECLERC: What are you doing, who are your friends, what are you using, show me how to use it.

LOTHIAN (on-camera): All of the sites have safety guidelines and some have age restrictions, so if your child is too young, those sites should probably be blocked. Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


HARRIS: And Soledad O'Brien, along with Miles O'Brien keep a close eye on issues important to parents. CNN's "American Morning" weekdays from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

LONG: Most of the people that use the net regularly know LOL means laugh out loud, kind of Internet shorthand for a chuckle. But do you recognize these acronyms? POS and its variations are how children signal each other when they're online that a grownup is hovering nearby. So if you see these letters in your child's online communications, you really do need to take notice.

They could be a signal of lurking danger, this alphabet soup of online lingo known as leet speak. That's even hard to say. Throughout the day here on CNN, we will tell you which ones are the red flags, possible signs of Internet predator trolling for your child.

HARRIS: "CNN LIVE SATURDAY" with Fredricka Whitfield is up next right after this short break.