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Financial Side of Military Operations in Iraq; Greenest Building in the World; Ethical Hackers Expose Security Vulnerabilities.

Aired September 18, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to ten minutes of current events with no commercials. This is CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz. Thank you for


First up, President Obama made a promise yesterday to U.S. troops. He says he won`t get them involved in another ground war in Iraq. Several hundred

American servicemen and women are in the region. Their missions include launching airstrikes against the ISIS terrorist group, gathering

intelligence about ISIS, and training and helping Iraqi forces fight ISIS.

The Obama administration says U.S. troops themselves will not be going in the combat. But the nation`s highest ranking military advisers says if he

thinks U.S. troops should get involved, he`d recommend it to the president.

Well, some lawmakers have questions about the roles of U.S. troops in Iraq, there`s another issue to be considered as the U.S. leads the way in

fighting ISIS. Money.


CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The bill from military operations in Iraq keeps rising. On August 29, the Pentagon said the mission is costing

United States $7.5 million a day, a relatively tiny sum compared to the billions spent in Iraq during our last campaign in the country.

But what started as an effort to protect American interest in Iraq from Sunni militants, is now morphing into something much bigger. The U.S. has

completed over 150 airstrikes that started in August. And since the Pentagon released the daily average spending figure, President Obama

authorized additional military personnel twice. He also opened up the possibility of airstrikes outside of Iraq.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country wherever they are. That means I will

not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria as well as Iraq.

ALESCI: On top of that, the president is hoping Congress will authorize $500 million request he made in June for training and equipping the rebels

in Syria to fight ISIS.

Currently, the U.S. is financing its involvement in Iraq through an $85 billion allocation in the Pentagon`s overseas contingency operations

account. That money had been financing troop grow down (ph) in Afghanistan and other activities in the region. And the president says, he does not

need extra authorization from Congress.

To be sure, the scope and strategy of U.S. involvement in Iraq today is very different than during operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2011. For

one, at its peak, there were more than 150,000 troops on the ground that needed housing, logistical support and supplies. An estimated price tag

for that war by the congressional research service is $806 billion. Now, that doesn`t include interests on the debt to fund the war or billions more

for continued veterans care. It`s important to remember, it wasn`t expected to cost that much.

In October 2003, six months after operation began, the CBO estimated Iraq would cost 85 to 200 billion dollars through 2013.

Estimates that were way off.

With Obama`s latest announcement, the U.S. military will have approximately 1500 personnel in Iraq. Now, more people means more money, so we`ll have

to see how high the figures go from here.

Cristina Alesci, CNN Money, New York.


AZUZ: Time for the Roll Call. All three of these schools requested a mention on yesterday`s transcript at

James M. Bennett High School is present in Salisbury, Maryland. The Clippers send the competition sailing. Jumping south to Fort Lauderdale,

Florida. And sending a shoutout to all of the raiders at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. And in the South Dakota City of Bonesteel, it`s great

to see the Cougars of South Central Middle School.

There are a few different definitions for computer hacker. One is someone who`s really skilled in computer programming. One is someone who tries to

break in and protect its systems. And then there are ethical hackers. These are people who aren`t intending to steal information like credit card

numbers. They are employed to hack in the systems, to show a company or government where its networks are vulnerable, how they can be broken into.

Ethical hackers can make over $100,000 a year while keeping criminals from steeling a dime.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You might think that the government takes your information, your personal data very, very seriously and safeguards

it, but if you think that you are wrong.

We have been talking to two ethical hackers who have found major security vulnerabilities in 50 universities, more than 100 schools and more than 20

government agencies, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of incredibly sensitive files. So how did this happen?

In 2012 Oracle told its customers we have this vulnerability. Use the security patch and these government agencies and schools and universities

didn`t apply it. So, this big security hole exists there and now bad guys can access it too.

What kind of information are we talking about? Really, it`s the most sensitive information that anyone who traffics an identity theft might be

very eager to get their hands on. Dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, addresses, parents` information, court documents in some cases, grades,

transcripts, medical information. For students, you can see where exactly the bus routes are to pick up and drop off the kid. It`s really the kind

of information you don`t want anyone to know.

So, what can be done about it? Already these ethical hackers working with the FBI have alerted three of these schools and government agencies as to

what happened, and they have fixed the patch, although I have to say, one of them was a major court authority, and for a month, the names of Defense

Intelligence Agency agents and diplomats and State Department employees, all their information was sitting there on this port server for anyone to

get, although now it is closed.


AZUZ: Next time you get a mosquito bite, you`d be perfectly correct in saying "She got me." Why she? Because only female mosquitoes bite, the

males eat flower nectar. Now, that`s random.

Sustainability is a word you here discussed a lot, it`s defined as something like a building, for example, that doesn`t harm the environment

or use up too many natural resources.

But while going green is intended to be good for natural surroundings it comes in an additional cost.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are producing more waste and using more energy than ever before, and it`s actually buildings that are in large

part to blame. They use 70 percent of the nation`s electricity and are responsible for 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

But here in Seattle, one building is trying to change that. By pushing the envelope with green technology. This is the Bullitt Center, the greenest

commercial building in the world.

DENIS HAYES, PRESIDENT AND CEO, BULLITT FOUNDATION: When people do bold things and buildings, they try to do one thing bold, they cover the roof

with solar. They have something that`s collecting rainwater. They use really interesting building materials. We jumped in and did it all.

CRANE: The six-storied Bullitt Center combines all of these green technologies to achieve net zero energy and water used, receiving countless

awards as a result, and now they are pursuing the most rigorous performance standard in sustainable construction: living building certification.

HAYES: Living building is sort of like an organism. It automatically tries to rebalance and keep everything well.

CRANE: To regulate temperature, the building`s brain can sense weather conditions and will automatically open and close the windows. When it`s

bright, the shades come down, even tilting at the appropriate angle. Integrating all these technologies isn`t cheap. All in, the price tag to

build the world`s greenest commercial building was about $30 million.

(on camera): When you are looking at a balance sheet, it doesn`t always make economic sense to create a sustainable green living building.

HAYES: This building did cost (ph) us premium. It costs almost 25 percent more than a standard Class A office building. But it`s the first. The

first of anything is more expensive.

CRANE (voice over): The building`s tenants range from engineering firms to lawyers and contractors.

MICHAEL DIX, FOUNDER, INTENTIONAL FUTURES: Everyone here gets excited about the fact that we are having a positive impact on the world around us.

HAYES: People are becoming very aware of the fact that their employees are most productive when they get access to fresh air and access to sunlight.

CRANE (on camera): And yet we are standing on the floor that`s empty right now.

HAYES: But we`ve got a building that is 85 percent leased one year from the opening date. We are the first to have done something that is an

essential part of the sustainable human future.


AZUZ: All right, when I was told our last story would be about a Siphonophores, I was like what? The most common one we`ve heard of

Portuguese man of war. This is not a common one. It`s a purple species of Siphonophores, an extremely rare one found by Marine biologist during a

deep sea expedition. It`s probably best described as a colony. Some parts of its catch pray, some swim, some digest food. They compose one strange

looking sea creature.

But how do you make puns on that story? I mean talk about brain, a rare animal to the Siphonophore front, mention its environmental creature

comforts, say scientists really had to dig deep to identify it, my producer didn`t think I can make any - I was able to siphon off for. I`m Carl Azuz