tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 5, 2010 11:00am-1:00pm EST
we fix the problem? questions president obama wants answered about the attempt to bomb a u.s.-bound airliner. he gets an update on the review when he meets with his national security team today. white house correspondent suzanne malveaux joining us with the preview. great to see you. who will be in the room for this meeting with the president today? >> reporter: well, tony, this is really going to be a big crowd. we're talking about more than 20 people or so gathered around this table in the situation room with the president. all of the key players, heads of all the agencies that are critical to security. so we're talking about secretary of state hillary clinton, secretary of defense robert gates as well as secretary of homeland security janet napolitano as well as the director of national intelligence dennis blair, the head of the cia, the attorney general, the head of the fbi, all of them to give these initial reports to the president. what went wrong, what needs to be fixed. there are a couple of key areas that they have going to focus
on. first and foremost, taking a look at those terror watch lists, whether or not they need to be broader, have more names, vet more people on there so if there's a suspected terrorist or somebody who's been wander that they could be a threat, that they are on that list. the other thing, intelligence gathering, whether or not these agencies were speaking with one another, whether or not they were sharing information or if it just didn't happen inadvertently or add vert ently. the other thing how to top another potential terror attack and those prescreening process in the airlines for passengers. you know, who gets a visa, how well should people be screened, all of these things that will impact every single one of us, particularly those traveling as well, that these are new kinds of things, changes that are on their way. one of the things we know, tony, is that the president is going to come out after this meeting and say there are some initial reforms, some things that we're ready to do right away. one of those is potentially expanding those terror watch lists so that they'll get more
information on folks. and that's the kinds of changes people are going to have to deal with. >> speaking of changes, you know, everyone has an opinion, it seems. you read some of the stuff in the bloggosphere and it's crazy sometimes but some suggest the president should announce some big massive staff shakeup of some kind today. we don't expect anything that dramatic from the president, do we? >> reporter: no, we really don't. i've been talking with folks here at the white house all morning and they say don't expect any kind of shakeup or resignations or that kind of thing, but that the president did say, and he will continue to say, that he's going to hold folks accountable. so he wants to see what they're calling these lessons learned from this foiled attack. what needs to change here. if there's lower level staff an more information that comes out that folks might have to go, maybe that will happen, you know, in the weeks and months to come. but we're not expecting that today. weaver expecting the -- we're expecting the highest levels of the government to say here's what went wrong and here's what
we're going to do to make it right. >> thank you. cnn's national security contributor fran townsend joins me in the newsroom next hour. she's been in those high level situation room meetings and will tell us what really goes on. checking the wire now, two days after security concerns shut down the u.s. embassy in yemen reopens. security forces of conducted a successful counterterrorism operation. americans are still being urged to be cautious. officials say the threat of terror attacks remains high. in las vegas, law enforcement sources say the man who opened fire in a federal building yesterday may have been upset over losing a social security discrimination case. witnesses say the 66-year-old suspect walked in with a shotgun under his jacket, he killed a security guard and wounded a u.s. marshal before he was shot to death. >> as soon as the gunman opened fire, there was an exchange of fire and then the gun battle then ensued into the street and then across the street where the
gunman was fatally shot. what's unclear at this point is whether it was u.s. marshals, met the row shot him. nobody is really sure or even whether they were self-inflicted wounds at that point. the florida teen who police say was set on fire has a setback. michael brewer was checked back into a miami hospital after suffering respiratory problems. he is listed in serious condition. and much of the nation still stuck in a deep freeze. four deaths in tennessee being blamed on the bitter cold weather, including a 68-year-old man found dead in his home because neighbors say he didn't have the heat on. >> when they came back, the food that they'd left for him was still there. we don't know exactly what his reasons were for not having any heat on in there because he did have utilities in the house. >> it's expensive and getting even more expensive. rob, we are talking about a
really dangerous weather situation right now. >> yeah, because you have people can't necessarily afford to heat their homes. people who don't live in anything sheltered and this isn't going away any time too soon so it's a thing where local communities are going to have to band together and start opening up shelters in a number of locations. right now we're looking at temperatures that are in the 20s, teens in some cases from pittsburgh back through indianapolis. the core of the cold air is actually back a little farther to the west. with that will be the most dangerous weather. you're talking about temperatures that are in the teens right now. windchills on top of that, it feels pretty nasty. 32 degrees the expected high temperature without the wind in atlanta. here comes our secondary plunge of cold air. it hasn't even crossed the canadian border yet. it will do that tonight. it will get towards the middle mississippi river by tomorrow afternoon and driving down to southern florida it looks like by friday. in many cases widespread at
least 10, if not 20, in some cases 30 degrees below average, so that would mean 5 or 10 degrees colder with this air mass than what we saw with the one we're experiencing right now. it will probably last through the weekend. tony. >> all right, rob. we'll check back with you later. that's pretty dramatic there. arctic chill. you know, it's called paradise or heaven. it is actually a center where the pakistani military claims children are being brain washed to be suicide bombers. in our international forecast us, arwa damon taxi you inside. first let's look at the new york stock exchange. a big rally yesterday up over 150 points. today we are down in negative territory 7 points. we are checking these numbers throughout the day. we're back in a moment.
pakistan's military says the taliban brain wash children to commit terrorist acts. here's arwa damon. >> reporter: only a 15-minute drive from one of their bases, the pakistani military says children were being trained to become suicide bombers. after three days of fierce fighting, the pakistani military took over this compound. they say that they knew that it was a training facility of sorts for suicide bombers. they suspected that maybe children were involved. what they didn't know or realize was the level of indoctrination. the military learned that the taliban used this compound to brain wash children as young as 12 years old. the children were told that images like this is what awaited them in heaven. here, for example, we're told is a river that symbolizes milk and honey. on its banks, virgins and heavenly creatures. he has been studying the taliban for two decades. >> i have never seen this kind
of elaborate painting about so-called heaven. >> reporter: these images are easily able to captivate the minds of children from this part of pakistan. they grow up in abject poverty, surrounded by this landscape with no exposure to the outside world, making them gullible and easily manipulated. >> they tell them look at this life here and if you do good things you will die and immediately go to heaven. for the person who does not have anything to look forward to, then obviously this kind of thing comes as a big incentive. >> reporter: he says it's a complete distortion of islam but one that the children fervently believe. >> they also believe that all the muslims who were killed in suicide bombings will also go to heaven. so that was a very powerful instrument of brainwashing. >> reporter: the taliban denies this compound was under their control, but says they are actively training children from pakistan, afghanistan, central
asia and the middle east to be suicide bombers. the military says parents sent their children to this center for the free food and religious education. >> when they brought them here, they were to be confined to this location, they were to be kept in the rooms with photographs of heaven in there and they were not allowed to intermingle with the local population, go to bazaar or anywhere else. >> reporter: this compound housed an estimated 200 to 300 children. >> they were taught in weapon handling and preparing of suicide jackets. >> reporter: the military says the children are now fighting on the front line or deading having carried out their mission. >> almost 90% of the suicide bombers, if you look at their profile, they are between the age of 12 to 18. >> reporter: innocent children turned into cold-blooded killers, believing it's their only escape from a hopeless
life. now, the government does acknowledge that this is an increasing problem. just this past october, for example, a teenager blew himself up in a crowded marketplace and killed dozens. tony. >> we're talking about a generation or more of young people who are being indoctrine 8ed this way. what can be done? >> reporter: experts will tell you that the war on terror should be rebranded as a war on poverty with a focus on education. if you were to do that, you would be able to remove one of the main significant factors that is allowing groups like the taliban to manipulate children and even adults in many cases into becoming suicide bombers. it really boils down to those basic things. the military here is saying that they are trying to focus on education. when they rehabilitate people into these areas that were once
under the control of the taliban, they're going to try to create economic opportunities for them, they're going to try to build better schools. but it really has to be a global effort, tony. >> how would the war on poverty look different than the war on terror? that is -- that's interesting to consider. arwa damon for us. thank you. it is a process that's just getting started and you'll hear about it until the end of the year. the census. will you participate? it's not fun. it's not pretty. it's my dry skin, and it's deep down uncomfortable. [ female announcer ] new neutrogena moisture wrap body lotion goes deep to heal dry skin at the source. the breakthrough formula wraps and seals more hydration deep inside skin, so after 12 hours, skin's condition is improved 2x more than eucerin original. now i can heal on a deeper level.
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boy, it really is one of my favorite songs. yeah, can't hear enough of it. think of the 2010 census as its own mini stimulus program. the government is spending in the neighborhood of $14 billion on the head count. the census bureau is hiring around a million workers through this april. the number crunching also has big political implications. here's cnn's christine romans. >> reporter: in new york's times square, the launch of a road show. not a broadway show, but a national tour, sponsored by the u.s. government to get america ready for the 2010 census. >> it will have enormous impact on communities and people all across america. >> reporter: commerce secretary gary locke heads up the agency that's supposed to count every single person in the country. >> it's the responsibility of
every person living in america, whether they're a voter or gnaw, whether they're registered as a voter or not or even whether or not they're a natural u.s. citizen. >> reporter: the government is spending more than $340 million, including a massive ad campaign in 28 languages, to get people to fill out this census form. at stake, power and money. congressional seats are doled out depending on a state's population, and so is $400 billion in federal funding. >> if you want your fair share, be counted, because this is money for schools, for human services, for medical services as well as for transportation. >> reporter: things got so contentious during the 2000 count that utah sued the census bureau. >> in the end we were 856 persons short of having that congressional seat. >> reporter: in the supreme court ruled utah couldn't count missionaries serving overseas, since congressional seats are limited to 435, the extra seat instead went to north carolina. >> who knows exactly what that
would have meant as far as dollars and cents and programs and policies. but at the margin to have one more person there in the congress working on behalf of utah does make a difference. >> reporter: this time around, utah is likely to get that house seat. according to one projection, eight states in the south and west are expected to gain one seat after the big 2010 census. texas could gain as many as four. 10 states, most located in the northeast and the midwest may lose one house seat, but those numbers could have been far worse. >> the recession has actually frozen a lot of people in place, and so people who might have left the north and midwest and gone south or west stayed. they stayed where they were. and that saved some seats for the north and the midwest. >> reporter: all of this depends on how many people actually fill out the form. historically counting minorities has been an issue and the secens bureau is working hard to combat mistrust. there are some, a vocal
minority, who would caution against some people in the latino community participating in the 2010 census. what do you say to that? >> you don't obtain political empowerment unless you're counted so we know exactly how strong and how large you are. so i think that boycotting the census is actually counterproductive to their goals of greater political participation. >> reporter: tony, no question the latino demographic is the fastest growing in this country over the past ten years. an accurate count will show just for you fast growing. think of it, this is a snapshot of what america looks like, where people are moving. how many people we have. it's incredibly, incredibly important for the representation of power in washington and the doling out of that all-important federal money, tony, that comes out every year. >> which i don't understand why some suggest that you shouldn't participate. i guess there are reasons and we will certainly get into those reasonses in the months ahead. what about counting the people who have been displaced by foreclosures? >> reporter: it's another
challenge for the census, a particular wrinkle this time around. the commerce secretary says that they are going to be very careful about following forwarding addresses, about making sure that when they are going to people's homes they know if there are relatives who are living with them, people who might have been displaced by foreclosure in the last year and a half. census workers are very aware that this is a trend that will make it an extra challenge for them as they count these people. these forms are coming in the mail, tony, in march. they'll come in march. and then if people don't fill them out, then you'll have that knock on the door from the census worker. >> yeah, let's get them filled out. all right, christine, appreciate it. good report. our newsroom blog question deals with the 2010 census. you will get your questionnaire, as christine just mentioned, in march. do you plan to fill it out or toss it? why would you toss it? go to our blog, c nervous sysnn. tell us what you will do with your census form and why. you can also participate in our quick vote at cnn.com right now. let's see some results. oh, no results now?
okay. i guess we were just talking about the question, offering it up to you, so if you go to cnn.com/tony and weigh in, we'd appreciate it. the big chill is on. it is not just freezing cold up north. even people in florida are bundling up. daily moisture containsrid® the same nutrients naturally found in healthy skin. (announcer) lubriderm® moisture matches the moisture in your skin. skin accepts it better. absorbs it better. and has its natural balance restored for a clinically shown 24 hours. for skin that looks and feels truly comfortable. (announcer) dermatologist developed lubriderm®. your moisture matched. see sundays paper to save over thirty dollars on lubriderm and other beauty care brands. how about a coastal soup and grilled shrimp salad combination? or maybe our new savory shrimp jambalaya. seafood lunches starting at just $6.99 at red lobster.
announcer: there's an easier way. create your own business site with intuit websites. just choose a style, then customize, publish and get found. sweet. get a 30-day free trial at intuit.com. checking the top storieses, the u.s. embassy in yemen reopened after a two-day shutdown. a raid on al qaeda targets ended a threat. some are restricting visitors and services. president obama sits down with 20 members of his national security team in a few hours. afterward he is expected to announce upgraded security measures for air travel. the review comes after the botched attempt to blow up a detroit-bound jetliner on christmas day. a washington state man is expected in court on explosive charges. a spokane county police robot
pretty sad news. just in to cnn, an amtrak train traveling from new york to washington struck and killed a 14-year-old girl this morning. as you can imagine, amtrak has halted all trains throughout the northeast corridor. let's do this, let's get to rachel scott, a cnn employee who's on the line with us. rachel, you were actually on the train? >> reporter: yes, i'm on the train. we've been on the train about two hours and it struck i'm told
a teenage girl. but now the conductors are saying they finished their inspection of the tracks and will be moving shortly. >> describe what you heard, what you saw, what you felt. >> reporter: it was like a bump and the train completely stopped and they made an announcement shortly thereafter that they had to do an inspection of the train. the conductors were out there for about 30 minutes. that's when they announced that there had been a fatality. >> and raquel any woerd on when you're expected to get moving again? >> reporter: they're saying they are finished with their investigation and we will be moving shortly. we're north of baltimore. >> do you know the town that you're in now? >> reporter: we're in middle river, about 10 minutes, 15 minutes from baltimore. >> appreciate it. thanks for calling in. let's get to weather now. cold and getting colder in much
of the united states. and you, of course, are sending in your ireports to prove it. take a look at this. these pictures are in from janet molsom in omaha, nebraska. she said getting anywhere means driving through a maze flanked by walls of snow. that's pretty descriptive, janet. she also says this is the most snow she has seen in the ten and a half years she has lived in omaha. back to rob marciano as promised. we know for sure now, rob, this is not just cold, it is deadly cold. >> yeah, it's going to remain dangerously cold right through the weekend for a good chunk of the country. the pattern that's setting up is not entirely favorable to switching gears, like we see with most cold snaps. we get a cold snap, the air moderates, a storm comes in, scours out some of that cold air. all we're seeing is one air mass after another coming down from canada. until we exhaust that supply, we're looking at temperatures that are going to be below freezing in many cases, some in
cases below zero. 28 in ashtabula with snow falling across parts of cleveland. you notice as you go a little farther to the west, temperatures in the teens. farther to the south it's not that much warmer. 23, 24 degrees in atlanta. you factor in the wind and we're talking windchills in the single numbers in some cases. 31, 32 degrees. now just getting above the freezing mark across parts of new orleans. i want to show you this shot to warm you up just a little bit. phoenix. there you go. >> that's what i'm talking about. >> sunshine, temps in the 60s, maybe getting to the 70s in some spots later on today. that certainly contrasts with this video, not to be debbie downer. check out what's going on overseas. manchester airport shut down in england for a while there. and they may have similar situations down around heathrow as the uk and northern europe still in a cold snap of their own that's pretty huge. they're going to see ramifications of this for the
next few days. so remember in december we saw they had a snowstorm. >> yeah. >> and a cold snap. and they had a second one over the holidays and now they're having a third one. just to reiterate what's going to happen here across the lower 48 on this side of the pond, with temperatures below freezing now, we anticipate in some cases to be 20 to 30 degrees below average with this next cold snap that will drive down beginning tonight in canada, will make its way across the mississippi during the day tomorrow and then on thursday and drive all the way down to southern florida as we get towards friday. so from people to animals to crops and pipes, you know, do all you can to take care of your business and stay warm out there. >> and oil prices are up over $80 a barrel in international trading. do these folks know how to make money or what. >> dan, where's phoenix again. do you still have that shot? oh, take it in.
>> enjoy west coast. good living out there. >> thanks, rob. one in ten american workers can't find a job. for those who do work, many are unhappy. what's going on here? wellbeing. we're all striving for it. purina cat chow helps you nuture it in your cat... with a full family of excellent nutrition... and helpful resources. ♪ purina cat chow. share a better life. d yoyou rinse this morning? if you did, your mouth will thank you. listerine® doesn't just put a springn your step. it also significantly reduces gingivitis and pquque. say goodbye to germs. ansasay good morning to lisririne®.
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vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. we can't get no satisfaction. millions of americans are out of work and even those who do have jobs are increasingly unhappy. susan lisovicz is at the new york stock exchange with details of a new report. good to see you. happy new year, susan. >> reporter: tell it, mick jagger, i mean tony harris. happy new year to you. you know, everybody complains
that you can't get a job, but the fact is there's a new survey that shows only 45% of americans that have a job are satisfied with it. and that is a record low. the conference board has measured this particular trade for 22 years. why is it? well, a lot of us are bored and this really does have broader ramifications. people who find their jobs stimulating are more likely to be innovative, take calculated risks, take the kind of initiative that drives productivity and real growth. why else are we not happy? well, our wages. incomes quite simply have not kept up with inflation and then there's health care costs that are eating into our paycheck. one thing that does keep us all happy, and that is money. in this survey, tony, those who made the most are the most satisfied. it's as simple as that. >> makes sense. is this a recession-related problem? >> reporter: well, it's certainly been exacerbated by
the recession because let's face it, how many people do you know that found a job that really didn't measure up to their skills, their experience, their training, what they really should be making. and workers that are least satisfied are those who are the very youngest, like under 25, which is the group that also has the highest unemployment rate. but worker satisfaction, tony, has been declining for decades. when the conference board first did this survey in 1987, 61% of those folks surveyed said they were happy in their jobs and that really speaks to, again, these falling incomes, the fact that we're paying more for our benefits and they're eating into our paycheck and our ability to have -- enjoy a quality of life. and so this is something that measures that. it has ramifications, i'm sure, for many of us. what also has ramifications is our investments. we had a terrific first trading day of the year. today a little give-back. the dow, the nasdaq, the s&p 500
are down, but just modestly, tony. >> all right, susan. see you next hour. thank you. google is out with its new phone. which cell phone is best for you? see the smartphone showdown at cnnmoney.com. we are learning new details about a man that opened fire at a las vegas federal courthouse yesterday. he killed a security guard and wounded a u.s. marshal before he died in a shootout with officers. law enforcement sources a johnny wicks may have been set off by cuts to his social security. police say he began his rampage just in front of the courthouse metal detectors. the shooting bringing to light security concerns. last night cnn's anderson cooper spoke with an alabama judge who has taken an unusual step to protect herself. >> joining us news is judge suzanne childers. judge, you've become so concerned about safety in your own courtroom, you've begun carrying a gun into the courtroom with you. how bad is it? >> well, it's a concern.
the concern started in october when we had cutbacks and when we no longer had had security -- well, we have security. when we no longer had deputy sheriffs with us. >> so you have no bailiffs or type of security in the actual courtroom? >> no, sir, we do not. we originally had two deputy sheriffs who sat outside our door and we had two sheriffs for three domestic relations judges. and the cutbacks took those away. so now we have security guards, but the problem with the security guards is they are not trained, they are not bonded, they have no arrest capability. >> so when you heard that story today about this shooter in the courthouse and you saw that video and hearing the sounds of the gunfire, what goes through your mind? >> well, it's a terrifying situation. i don't know that it's any worse now than it has always been.
but the problem now is we don't have the security that we once have had. >> i mean the justice department says that, you know, threats against federal judges and prosecutors have more than doubled in the last six years. do you think it's being better reported or do you think that the threats are actually increasing? >> well, i don't know. i do know that there has been a problem for years. it hasn't been that long ago that a federal judge was killed here in birmingham. >> how common is it for a judge to carry a firearm into the courtroom? >> more common than you think. my predecessors carried them. and there are a lot of judges with guns. >> you haven't actually had to use it or even threaten it, have you? >> no, i haven't, and i pray every day that i never have to use it. >> from grief to joy in just minutes. a husband and father talks about his christmas day miracle when both his wife and newborn son are brought back to life.
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what do we know about this double agent? >> reporter: tony, we definitely know more than we did a few days ago. he was a jordanian who they thought were working on their side. it was a jordanian who was once a fundamentalist and that the jordanian intelligence said was reformed and they believed he was reformed and for some time he was gathering information for them. this time he said he had information on al qaeda's number two, who is believed to be in pakistan. it is said that they went off base to pick him up, brought him back in without searching him and that is when he was around those high-ranking american officials and detonated his suicide vest killing those seven americans as well as a jordanian officer. a little more that we know about him is his hometown is a place gauld zarka in jordan. it was also the hometown for al
za zarkawi. >> can we expect changes at military bases as a result of this? >> reporter: i spoke to a military official today, tony, and he said when situations like this occur when it happens on any base, american base in afghanistan, particularly the situation that occurred last week that killed these cia employees, he said that they do dissect exactly what went on, what procedures may have failed. they give new guidance to the bases throughout the country, which they also did in this situation. but for obvious reasons, he can't exactly share what guidance was given. >> okay. atia, appreciate it, thank you. top stories now. the decades-long ban on hiv positive visitors to the u.s. has now been lifted. the government removed hiv from a list of diseases that prevent non-u.s. citizens from entering the country. an aids research foundation says the u.s. was one of 13 countries
that had this ban in place. another strong earthquake has hit the solomon islands in the pacific a day after the sparsely populated islands were hit by eight quakes in just 14 hours. so far there are no reports of damage from today's quake. yesterday a ten-foot tsunami destroyed about 200 homes on one of the islands. reports out of iran say senator john kerry's request to visit tehran has been denied. an iranian news agency said kerry requested a visit in december. president obama has made gestures toward reestablishing a dialogue with iran. it is called the christmas miracle. a mother and baby both die in childbirth, then come back to life. hear from the mom next in the newsroom. medicare.
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garlique's clinically proven ingredient maintains healthy cholesterol naturally. eat right. exercise. garlique. this little guy right here was born limp, lifeless on christmas eve. his mother's heart had also stopped beating. then something amazing happened. it took doctors completely by surprise. the family recently shared their near-death experience with our anderson cooper. >> when did you realize that something was going wrong? >> after they did the epidural, i noticed that her finger tips and everything were just ice cold blue. i reached out and felt her hands
and she was cold. >> at that point, what's going on in the operating room? what's going on in your mind? >> well, we were just in a regular, everyday hospital room at that point in time waiting for the pregnancy, the delivery to come a little further along. when everything -- when everything transpired and the nurses and everybody noticed that tracy's color was blue and they checked for a pulse and everything and she had stopped breathing at that time, the whole hospital went nuts. they called a code blue over the intercom system and the whole hospital emptied. everybody from every area of the hospital was in that hospital room. >> and i know they tried to revive tracy, i think for about four minutes, and then decided they had to try to get colton out. he was born lifeless. what happened when they put him in your arms, mike? >> they put him into my hands and he was totally lifeless. there was no sign of anything at that point in time. they were still working on him, trying to get him going.
it was about a minute after he reached my hands that he finally took his first breath. >> and i can't imagine what that moment was like, hearing that sound, seeing him take his breath. >> oh, it'll take your legs out from underneath of you. there is no feeling in the world that will describe it. >> and he let out a cry as well? you knew he was alive? >> yeah. yeah, when he let that cry out, that's when the whole world stops. >> that must have been the greatest sound you ever heard. >> yeah, it was. most parents can't stand the sound of a crying baby, but from experience that is one of the best sounds you could ever hear. >> mike, at what point did you hear that tracy had had made it as well? >> it was about 30 minutes after colton came to that a nurse came up from the operating room and told me that tracy did have a faint heartbeat, but they were still breathing for her. and it wasn't until about 30 minutes after that that they had told me that she was up in the
icu unit and she was stable. >> do you remember what you said to each other when you were finally able to talk? >> i said i was sorry. >> sorry? you didn't do anything. >> i just knew what i -- after hearing what actually happened, i knew what he went to, all i could say i'm sorry. i didn't mean for it to happen. >> i walked into her room. as soon as they allowed me in there. i just walked up and gave her a kiss on the forehead and told her "i love you." >> there you go. keeping you safe. it is the tsa's main priority, but the agency has been without a leader for a year. hear about the delay in filling the position next. not long ago, this man had limited mobility.
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well, today president obama will get an update on how to fix the security lapses that led to the christmas day terror attack. former september 11th commission chairman thomas keen told cnn's campbell brown last night the botched attack on board the detroit flight may have been the wake-up call the u.s. needed. >> maybe they have actually done us a favor. we're now focused on something we should have been focused on all along. the president is concentrating on it. he's going to do a full investigation and find out what went wrong. we're going to concentrate on yemen where these people are coming from. all that's good. we're going to relook at port security and it's time to look at things. >> do you think this wouldn't
have happened if someone else had been president? >> no, no, no, no, no. when i said he wasn't focused, what i meant was, look, he's been focused on health care, he's been focused on climate change, he's been focused on th economy, and he should have been, when you're so focused and a brand new president in your first year, you can't look at everything at once. this is a reminder there is nothing more important than the safety of the american people. i like the people he's appointed in these positions and i think the president has taken the right response now and i really hope he'll do a good job here. >> that's former new jersey governor thomas kean, not cane. one position that hasn't been filled on president obama's security team is chief of the agency in charge of air security. cnn's lisa sylvester looks in to the delay in filling this crucial spot. >> reporter: nearly a year and counting it's been that long since there has been a leader at the transportation security administration. acting administrator leftover
from the bush white house is temporarily holding the spot. transportation experts say having a permanent tsa chief probably would not have prevented the attempted christmas day airline bombing, but it is an important step moving forward. >> during a time of exceptional security threat, we really want somebody to come in, provide a new vision, drive the administration forward, in order to increase security for travelers in the u.s. and around the world as well. >> reporter: erroll southers, a former fbi agent is president obama's nominee to head tsa. senator jim demint has a hold on the nomination, wanting a commitment that southers will not advocate collective bargaining rights for tsa employees. >> all the members of the employees of the tsa are free to join a union now and the union can advocate for them. but collectively bargaining would bring the security concerns of tsa under the authority of union bosses. >> reporter: demint put some of the delay on the white house saying it took the obama administration eight months to name someone to the tsa position.
but senate democrats accused demint of playing politics. >> this man will get confirmed, and he'll get confirmed by a wide margin, and playing games with the process, all it's doing is hurting the traveling public. >> reporter: recently southers acknowledged in a letter to committee members that he had inadvertently given them misleading information on a background check he ran on his estranged wife's boyfriend when he was still in the fbi. the white house is standing by him, saying he regretted an error that he made in account of events that happened over 20 years ago. senate majority leader, harry reid, has promised to close off the debate and call a vote on the southers' nomination when the senate returns later this month, but this is not the only key vacancy. the top position at customs and border protection in charge of screening cargo and security at the borders, that position has been vacant for nearly a year. the senate is so busy with health care, that it hasn't voted on this nomination either. lisa sylvester, cnn, washington.
the botched terror attack on christmas day will be the focus of a white house situation room meeting in about 2 1/2 hours. what happens inside? i will talk to fran townsend in the next hour of "cnn newsroom." also coming. counting up the cost of counting america. we'll look at the price tag for the 2010 census and we'll examine the challenges census takers face this time around. and reminder, send me your thoughts on the census at cnn.com/tony. and campaigning for a cause, he was a candidate inside one powerful union's push for health care reform including a visit to the war room. and added a little fiber? sweet! sweet! (together) sweet! (announcer) now for the first time, a gram of healthy fiber in every packet. sweet! (announcer) splenda® with fiber.
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our "newsroom" blog question deals with the 2010 census. you will get your questionnaire in the mail in march, do you plan to fill it out or toss it? if you would, go to our blog, cnn.com/tony. tell us what you will do with your census form and then tell us why, please. you can also participate in our quick vote at cnn.com. right now 100% of you -- glad to hear it, glad to see it -- say, yes, you will fill out the questionnaire. we'll share some of your thoughts next hour in the "cnn newsroom." the uberwealthy trust one of their own to handle their old money. cnn's jim boulden now from london. >> reporter: if you haven't hermd of alex scott or his small london-based investment firm, then you and your family
probably didn't inherit hundreds of millions of dollars. alex scott's family did. >> that's my great grandfather, james scott. taken about the time probably that he founded the original family business. >> reporter: then after nearly 90 years, the scott family sold its insurance company, provincial, in 1994, for nearly $500 million, so what to do with the windfall? alex got an idea. pool the scott money with other superwealthy families who used to own a company and start what is known as a multifamily office, a boutique investment house. one of many now dotted around west london. >> i felt that by clubbing together with other families, we would be able to attract and retain talent to work on our behalf and all our behalves, all our clients, that would be significantly broader and deeper, therefore, more effective, than we'd be able to
attract for ourselves. >> reporter: while this might be the stereotype of inherited wealth, alex scott says the families who invest with sandair are discrete. he won't reveal any of the 20 clients. but on average, his clients have around $100 million under management with sandair. >> they've come to us because they're wealthy. if something happens so that their wealth halves, that's going to change their lifestyle. if it doubles, it probably won't. >> reporter: peter leech has written a number of books to help the families with family run businesses. his clients have included british property developers and families that own asian conglomerates. >> family and business are two words that don't go together. the idea is to strive for the family to have financial independence from the business. and so ultimately you end wup a family business which is the generator of wealth and cash flow and growth and the family office, which looks often the
collective family wealth that's been accumulated but not at risk in the business. >> reporter: it's believed many superrich families were unfre d unprepared for the economic turmoil. some have their own family office, some with multiple generations to look after. >> because we're engaged and involved and interested and empathetic with their wealth. it's just the case that wealthy families have very complex affairs. >> reporter: alex scott is torn between publicizing his family office and keeping the low profile of clients. but he points out he started the company, and created jobs with his wealth. while also keeping a close eye on the family silver. jim boulden, cnn, london. time now for your "top of the hour" reset. i'm tony harris in the "cnn newsroom." it is 12:00 at the white house, where president obama will meet soon with his national security team. he's expected to announce new air travel security measures.
from the midwest to the deep south, winter is blasting with both barrels. this deep freeze will get even colder and hang around for a while. and in washington we go inside the war room of a health care reform lobby. let's get started. fixing the security lapses that allowed a bombing suspect on board a u.s.-bound flight. that is the focus of a meeting today between president obama and his national security team, that meeting set to begin in about 2 1/2 hours. white house correspondent, suzanne malveaux, joining us now with a preview. and, suzanne, what do we expect out of this meeting today? >> reporter: well, tony, one thing we do know from senior administration officials that i've spoken with, the president is going to talk at about 4:00. he's going to come out of the situation room meeting and talk about the reforms they can do right away with the terror watch lists. perhaps they need to be broader so they can net people who they suspect would be harmful, a threat to this country. this is a meeting where there's going to be reports about 20
folks or so in the situation room sitting with the president, defense, homeland security, the director of national intelligence as well as the attorney general, all of them giving an update of the investigation, where are they on this, and what areas specifically do they need to focus on that perhaps would improve the security situations. four different areas, clearly. one of them is the terror watch list. that might net some more folks. it might be inconvenient, but this is something they think is important to examine and perhaps make some real reform, some change. the other thing is the intelligence gathering, who should have talked to whom. how was it shared? were people hoarding information? these are the kind of questions that the president wants to know and will be addressed. the other thing, can a future attack be prevented and how. and then the screening processes. how will people travel through the airports? how will that change? we've already seen the tsa implement some -- some changes already when it comes to international flights.
perhaps those will change domestically as well. and visas, that's another thing. the state department, whether or not visas should be handled by state or homeland security. how they're going to beef up their own procedures. these are the kind of things they'll be talking about, some of the things the president will address to the american people that some changes are already under way. >> speaking of changes. any resignations? reassignments expected? >> reporter: reassignments, that's an interesting way to put it. the way they are saying it, the folks i spoke to this morning, said you'll not hear any of that today. there's not going to be a massive shake-up or anything like that. if there's more information that comes out with these reports or if the folks don't followthrough with what they say they're going to do, these improvements, then you might see some changes there. but right now, no resignations. no shake-ups. simply these are the recommendations. i'm holding you accountable to making these changes. let's see if they get done. that's going to be the president's message. >> our white house
correspondent, suzanne malveaux, suzanne, appreciate it, thank you. we'll bring you live coverage of president obama's comments following his meeting with the national security team. he'll outline new airline security measures. he's expected to speak around 4:00 p.m. eastern time. the american embassy in yemen is back open for business today. they shut down operations in san'a for two days due to a terror threat. the source of that threat, four al qaeda bombers, have been neutr neutralized. other western embassies reopened as well, but with limited services. the shooting yesterday at the las vegas courthouse happened almost four months the suspect lost a cost case over social security benefits according to law enforcement sources. take a listen here. you can hear the gunshots. a security guard was killed. at a u.s. marshal wounded before the suspect was killed in a shootout with officers outsides federal building. for some who were in the area at the time, the shooting came out
of nowhere. >> i just remember when i'm looking back at all these reports, the gentleman, a black gentleman, in a black jacket, and there weren't too many people on the street. and i remember passing. he didn't look disturbed. you know, from what i saw. if that is the gentleman. you know, nothing would have given me a second thought that what was about to happen, happened. >> boy. new economic figures just out on the housing front. a big drop in the number of buyers agreeing to purchase previously owned homes in november. the national association of realtors showing a 16% decline. man. after nine months of gains. meanwhile, a surprisingly big jump in orders to u.s. factories. the commerce department showing orders up by 1.1% in november reflecting strong demands in industries from steel and industrial machinery. to computers and chemicals. our "newsroom" blog question deals with the 2010 census. the government is spending $14 billion to count heads.
you'll get your questionnaire in the mail in march. do you plan to fill it out or toss it? go to our blog cnn.com/tony. tell us what you'll do with your census form when it gets to you in march and, tell us why, if you would, please. you can also participate in the quick vote at cnn.com, right now, 100% say, yes, they will fill it out. we'll share more results and your comments throughout our time here in the "cnn newsroom." a double agent identified now as a suicide bomber who killed seven cia officers on a u.s. base in afghanistan. cnn's pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence, joining us live with what he is learning about last week's attack. and, chris, how did this man get onto the base? >> because, tony, the intelligence officials met him off the base. they put him in a car without searching him, and they, themselves, drove him onto the base. now, a senior u.s. official is telling us, this was a jordanian man that had been used before, that he had given very good
information about extremely high-level targets. now, he had had extremist views, but the intelligence officials apparently believe that he had been rehabilitated from the extremist views and they were using him to hunt ayman al zawahiri, he's the number two man in al qaeda, he's osama bin laden's right-hand man, so this was an extremely high-level operation. they were bringing him to base and, again, without searching him in that car, they brought him on base, he detonated himself and killed seven agents and also one jordanian handler that was working with them. >> so, chris, putting this man in a vehicle without searching him feels like a breach of protocol. is there any reason they would not have searched him? >> well, i talked with a former intelligence guy, just a few days ago. he used to be special forces. also worked in the intelligence community. he gave me a better idea of what kind of work they're doing
there. and he sort of put it in perspective as to the level of trust that has to be earned on both sides. >> this is not people who are flipping hamburgers at wendy's. this is someone trying to convince someone to betray a tribal interest or an interest of a group, and they know that that betrayal could cost them the death of their entire family. >> so, by searching someone, you kind of break down those levels of trust that you're trying to establish. but some intelligence officials had said the one thing they don't understand is why so many people were meeting with this one source. they say normally it may only be a couple people. not because they think someone's going to blow themselves up, but because they want to keep the identities of both the intelligence officers and the source to a relatively small group. >> all right, chris lawrence for us at the pentagon for us. chris, thank you. president obama is getting ready to meet with his security advisors this afternoon. i'm going to talk to someone who
figuring out what went wrong and fixing the problems, president obama today hears from his national security team about the attempted terrorist attack on christmas day, and steps to prevent future attacks. cnn national security contributor, francis townsend, is with us from washington, with some insight on that meeting. fran, good to see you. >> good to see you, tony. >> they are working to strengthen the system to make sure that no one like abdulmutallab gets on the plane again.
i've heard you on issues like this, and you bring ideas. so, strengthening the airport security system, where would you start? put us in the room. >> okay, let's look at things like secure flight. the ability to separate wheat from chaff, if you will. there are known travelers. what you want is a program that lets you get through the business travelers, the people who are through airports regularly so you can focus the attention of screeners on those who matter most. so, this is an opportunity to get secure flight in place. you also want to have, you know, we've talked about body imaging and scanners. this is an opportunity for the administration to address the privacy concerns, but to put those -- to get those systems in place so you have better physical screening. explosives detection, we have temporarily right now additional dogs in place. i think you're going to need a permanent ability to have more dogs, explosive detection dogs, at airports, but while you search to have better technology in place for explosive detection, and so there's a number of things in terms of
screening you can do to better address this issue. >> yeah. as someone who has been a part of these meetings, would these discussions be framed by -- and i'm reaching here -- in this case the obama administration's national security strategy of re-engaging muslim nations, getting more of a coordinated international response to events like this christmas day event? >> well, i expect, tony, that what will happen is, the president has said john brennan, my successor, is going to lead this review. i expect the meeting will open with a briefing from john about both what he's found so far and what changes need to take place immediately, in addition to his plan for a more detailed review. i expect the president will make a very clear statement. this is one of those meetings i'm glad i'm not at, this is his first chance to express that the agency failed to the agency heads.
and the plans and steps taken to immediately improve the system. the president will have to make a delicate balance here. he has the outreach to the muslim world. at the same time, dhs, the secretary napolitano, has announced the special screening procedures, the majority of the countries are muslim majority countries and there's this tension. while the president's reaching out, we'll have special screening procedures for those very allies who are helping us on the war on terror. and so the president's going to have to really calculate, along with secretary clinton, how they're going to manage that balance. >> that leads me to this next one. if i asked you what are the realistic threats to our security as you see it, and you are in that room, how would you answer that question? >> well, look, al qaeda has been for years now obsessed with the aviation target. that's not going to go away, but we have to look at the transportation sector as a whole. i don't just worry about aviation. i worry about trains, like we saw in madrid. i worry about buses, as they've seen in israel.
they're all the transportation targets are at risk, and we have to be careful not to just be chasing the last attack, right? we have to be careful not just put procedures in place to stop the last one that didn't happen, we have to be looking ahead. >> have you ever been in one of these national security meetings where someone has asked a question, oh, fran, is there a machine, is there a data processing program, a scanning machine that eliminates the human error from the security equation? >> you know, tony, we have a system that relies on human intelligence and law enforcement agents. we have a system that involves people, see you have to accept there's always going to be some room for human error. what you're trying to do is put systems in place that reduce that, both technology and business process, if you will, that reduce the likelihood or the ability for there to be human error. you want redundancy in the system so if it's missed at one point perhaps an analyst in another point will pick it up. so, i bet -- i feel confident that those are the kinds of
questions, john brennan and the president of the united states, are going to be asking of agency heads today. >> boy, i'm enjoying these talks. fran townsend with us. fran, appreciate it. thank you. >> thanks, tony. >> president obama's inauguration last january came off like clockwork, but behind the scenes an intense security scramb scramble. "the new york times" magazine pointed to an inauguration-day attack on the new president. peter baker wrote the article and talked to cnn's anderson cooper. >> what was the alleged threat, and how seriously did officials take it? >> well, it was -- it was some intelligence indicated that there were a group of somalis who intended to come to washington to detonate explosives on the national mall where the president of the united states, of course, would be taking the oath of office on january 20th and addressing the world with his inaugural address. they took it quite seriously in the last 48 to 72 hours before the inauguration. increasingly they were picking up signs that made them feel like this was a serious and
possible threat. they met repeatedly with each other, the old team, the bush team and the new team, the obama team, during this transition period in order to try to figure out what to do about it. and it was a moment of some quiet tension there for a new president, who was just about to take office. >> i understand president obama even canceled a rehearsal of the inauguration. when was the president actually briefed? and do you know what his reaction was? >> well, he was -- he was kept up to date in the few days leading up to the inauguration. there was one point in particular we write about in the magazine, the night before the inauguration, his counterterrorism adviser, john brennan, and a couple of foreign policy advisors jump into the limousine with him as he's heading off to the inaugural events to tell him the latest they'd heard and everything that was being done about this. one thing the new administration and the old agreed they would keep robert gates, the defense secretary, away from the inauguration, in a secure location, a secret location, just in case the worst happened and everybody in the line of
succession were to be killed in a catastrophic event, he'd be able to take over the presidency. >> wow. the plot turned out to be bogus, but that wasn't known until after the inauguration. want to get quickly to chad myers in the severe weather center. you want to talk about severe weather, let's talk about severe cold here, mr. myers. >> yeah, it's the chill that just won't go away and people are now complaining about it, even though it's only been a week or two in some spots, it's not going away. this is friday still coming up this friday, another arctic surge coming down from the north. can't blame canada. it comes from far north of there, canada cold as well. that cold air surging all the way past and into south florida, and that will be a problem for the crops down there. you probably will see those problems later on in the year with your fruit prices and maybe your orange prices. something else we're going to watch for tomorrow, a snow event through st. louis, into des moines, st. louis, hannibal,
back in toward omaha. the problem here is that it's only going to be a 4- to 5-inch snowfall, but nothing will be melting. clearly the temperatures there are well, well below freeze been and many temperatures, tony, windchill factors in the 20- to 30-degree below range. we have 5,200 planes in the sky today. it's amazing that even the bags are on the planes. if i were a baggage handler, i'd be going, i'm not feeling good today. i'm not dealing with 42 degrees below zero, all right, that's just not going to happen with me. all right, here you go. windchill now in memories, 9 below, kansas city, 6 below, st. louis it is 1 below zero there. a couple places we want to show you pictures, let's go to omaha -- let's go to oklahoma city, first, because we've got that up on cue. oklahoma it's been bitterly cold and here comes the snow, kjrh, the affiliate out of tulsa, some people are enjoying it, because when i was a kid, i lived in
buffalo i didn't even know it was cold. right now, i'm thinking it's down to 40, oh, my gosh. >> that's what atlanta does to you. >> oh, really. and a shot out of dallas, texas, here, people scrambling around with the little coats they sell in dallas. they don't sell the same coats in texas that they do in minneapolis, they look the same, but they're not insulated, but they look the same. you feel colder in dallas at 5 above than 5 below in minneapolis. and another shot of cold air comes through and makes it even colder for friday and saturday. truly unbelievable cold stuff. >> talking about buffalo, it has me thinking about my years in cleveland, in euclid, ohio, right along lake erie and the blast coming -- >> oh. >> yeah. >> it goes right through you. you can feel it going right from this side right from the knuckle right out the other side. like something that goes in this ear right out that ear. >> chad, appreciate it. thank you. >> man. let's get to our top stories. president obama sits down with 20 members of his national
security team in a few hours. afterwards he is expected to announce upgraded security measures for air travel. it comes after the botched attempt to blow up a detroit-bound jet liner on christmas day. the u.s. embassy reopened in yemen today after a two-day shutdown. a raid on al qaeda ended the threat. other western embassies in yemen have also reopened, though some are restricting visitors and services. amtrak service to the northeast halted for almost two hours today after a train struck and killed a 14-year-old girl. reports out of baltimore say the girl was on her way to school. more top stories in 20 minutes. for some lobbyists, the campaign never stops. we'll take you inside the war room for of one group. to stay in tune with life after 50,
here's one defensive measure the u.s. hopes will work, increasing the number of people on the no-fly list. homeland security correspondent, jeanne meserve, reports the list has grown significantly since the christmas day terror attack. >> reporter: hundreds of people with potential links to terrorism have been added to the lists of people who cannot fly or need additional screening. the result of a scrub of government terror databases, in the aftermath of the attempted christmas day airline bombing. an official familiar with the process says particular attention was given to certain countries and regions with ties to terrorism. all citizens and travelers from 14 of those countries will now get enhanced screening when they fly to the u.s., that could include full-body pat-downs,
carry-on bag searches, full-body scanning and explosive detection swabs. critics were harsh. >> what this was doing already identifying for the bad guys here are the 14 countries you have to worry about. as long as you're not one of the countries, you can do a work-around. >> reporter: on the list, countries officially designated as supporters of terrorism and ten others of concern to u.s. counterterrorism officials. but analysts say terrorists can, and have, come from elsewhere. a notable example, shoe bomber richard reid, a british citizen. some experts believe singling out travelers from 14 nations, most of them muslim, could backfire on the u.s. >> what that might have is the unintended effect of feeding into this al qaeda narrative that says that islam -- the united states is at war with islam. and we have to be very careful, because it's that narrative that speeds the ranks and builds the ranks of al qaeda. >> reporter: meanwhile news of another open shall clue missed by u.s. officials. they now acknowledge being briefed last summer about another bomber who hid
explosives in his underwear. he had tried to asass nate the top saudi counterterrorism official. >> pten was the substance used in that attack. we were looking very carefully at that attack. there was no indication at that time there was going to be an attack against an aircraft. >> reporter: one of brennan's predecessors said that scenario should have been examined. >> given al qaeda's obsession with aviation targets, especially at the department of homeland security, someone in the system would have been responsible for looking at the potential for deployment and our ability to detect such a device. >> reporter: some reaction to the new tsa security guidelines, the council on american-islamic relations say they amount to racial profiling. the tsa says not so, that security measures are based on threats, not ethnic or religious background. it also note also the majority of all travelers coming to the u.s. will get enhanced screening, not just those from the 14 countries named. jeanne meserve, cnn, washington. no security system will ever
be able to completely protect us from terrorists. that's what former defense secretary william cohen told cnn's john roberts on cnn's "american morning." >> do you have any confidence at all that even after this next meeting at the white house, that we're going to be any safer than we were prior to this thing that happened on christmas day? >> well, we may be somewhat safer, but we're never going to be safe. we're living in an age of terror, some people would call the age of holy terror as such in terms of the extremists who are driven by an ideology that is destructive and violent, and so no matter what measures we take to protect us, we will enhance them, but we're always going to remain vulnerable to these kind of attacks because we're a democratic society that's not going to engage in a type of centralenist extreme measures to protect ourselves so that we destroy the very essence of a -- of a democracy. so, we're going to have to live with some of that uncertainty. we're going to have to live to the fact that there are
terrorists who are out there, who will likely be out there for a long time and the best we can do is marginalize or contain them and track them down and kill them, but understand that some will get through no matter how good we get at defensive measures. we'll bring you live coverage of president obama's remarks following his meeting with his national security team. he will outline new security measures and he's expected to speak around 4:00 p.m. eastern time. ( clicking ) ( laughs, click )
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new capzasin quick relief gel. (announcer) starts working on contact and at the nerve level. to block pain for hours. new capzasin, takes the pain out of arthritis. chrysler says december vehicle sales declined 4% from a year earlier. top story right now at cnnmoney.com. also the announcement of google's nexus one, the google phone.
again, as always, if you want the latest financial news, we direct you to the great work being done by our money team at cnnmoney.com. let's get you to the big board now, new york stock exchange, three hours into the trading day, as you can see, we're selling today after yesterday's big run-up over 150 points. we're selling today down 30 points. the nasdaq pretty flat, down one. dubai is home of the world's tallest building, for now. it stands over half a mile tall and opened yesterday to a lot of media fanfare. but as cnn's bill tucker reminds us, the building is surrounded by an area plagued by financial problems. >> reporter: it's a building built to impress. the 2,717 feet into the air. it costs $1.5 billion to build, or about $225 million.
burj khalifa is built as a vertical city, offices, luxury apartments, four swimming pools, a private library and a hotel designed by giorgio armani. >> it really puts dubai on the map as a city that just arrived, you know, to the helm of -- of global city and worldly see. >> reporter: the burj khaliffifa is not the only billion and a half dollar project in dubai, the palm dubai opened in november of 2008 with a massive party. the resort offers a multitude of restaurants, retail shops, a water park, spas, clubs, and a private lagoon with hotel rooms that have floor-to-ceiling views of the lagoon from beneath the surface. it is a conspicuous display of wealth and an illusion of prosperity. it may not appear like this, but this is a kingdom in the middle of a financial crisis. dubai's next door neighborhood, the ruler of abu dhabi, has
authorized $125 billion in direct and indirect aid to dubai in the past year to save it from insolvenc insolvency, that kind of money is not free, say financial observers. >> a pound of flesh needs to be paid, it's being paid, that's why it's called the burj khalifa, we say burj khalifa, burj dubai, it's still the ridiculous building in the middle of an emirates that's essentially gone bust. >> reporter: the federation of seven small emirates which includes dubai and abu dhabi, bill tucker, cnn, new york. boy, some revealing new figures on hels care spending. the u.s. spent an average of $7,681 per person on health care in tag2008. it adds up to $2.3 trillion. that marks the slowest rate of increased spending since the government began tracking in the 1960s. those figures underscore the
challenges facing lawmakers trying to overhaul the system. our carol costello reports on key lobbyists trying to push through their method of health care reform. >> reporter: tony, since 2007, the service employees international union has treated the health care reform bill as if it were a candidate and it organized an all-out presidential-type campaign to get it elected, so to speak. today an inside look at how one large lobby sought and gawt at least in part what it wanted out of health care reform. that's andy stern, president of the powerful service employees international union, powerful because it boasts 2 million members and it has clout. after all -- >> thank you so much. thank you. >> reporter: -- it helped barack obama become president. >> this is our war room. >> reporter: stern is in the war room, filled with people who are lobbying for president obama's dream and their own. >> health care reform. >> reporter: health care reform. public option included. >> health care's been our candidate and we've been trying to win the election and we're closer than ever before.
>> reporter: the analogy is a good one. >> we want health care. when do you want it? >> reporter: these union members are unofficially lobbying for their candidate outside democratic congressman michael mcmahon's brooklyn office. >> we have a ways to walk. >> reporter: in pittsburgh union member george ann kollar makes use of another campaign tactic. >> we're going door to door today, we're going to canvass the neighborhoods and knock on doors and ask the good people in this area if they would sign cards in support of health care reform. >> local 511, your anion, how are you? >> reporter: in all, the seiu has 400 full-time people working to push through health care reform. a nationwide contingent that helps open doors to washington's elite. that's senator harry reid and his senate colleagues last november, celebrating the unveiling of the senate health care bill. and who's that standing next to him? why, it's loretta johnson, a registered lobbyists for the service employees international
union. >> thank you so much, senator reid. >> reporter: the only nonsenator to speak that night. >> great to see you. >> good to see you. >> reporter: johnson is one of the few lobbyists warmly welcomed by lawmakers, the union said it's because she's not an insider, but a health care worker turned lobbyist from rural virginia. but she's backed by a powerful union and that means something. johnson said that she's met with -- >> at least half of the congressmen and about all of the senators. >> people who represent various interests in our society have a lot of information to share and we find useful the information that is provided. >> reporter: critics aren't surprised by the union's access to lawmakers. >> local 880 seiu, because -- >> reporter: but they are surprised by the union's access to president obama, a president who has made a big deal about not working with lobbyists. if white house visitor logs through september show union because andrew stern visited the white house 22 times. but here's the catch, although stern's union is lobbying for
health care reform, stern technically isn't. because unlike loretta johnson, he's not a registered lobbyists. he deregistered in 2007. >> many lobbyists have decided clearly that they can achieve much the same effect without technically being registered, so they, themselves, have the access and influence and be invited to the white house. >> reporter: the americans for tax reform and the alliance for worker freedom say that's a violation of the lobbying disclosure act. >> they petition the u.s. attorney to investigate you for illegal lobbying activities. so, how would you respond to them? >> we're going to send them a letter and tell them the truth which is that we've complied with the law and we assume when the investigation is done, it will be fine. >> reporter: and they'll come back at you and say, oh, my god, he's visited the white house 22 times. thoon that's a lot of times. >> i don't care if i went once or every single day, they would think it's too much, because they a different vision of america than the people that i
work with every day. >> please don't filibuster the health care reform. >> reporter: back in the unions war room, all systems are go until health care reform is signed, sealed, and delivered by a man with the same dream, president barack obama. there is a rule that mandates those who spend 20% of their time lobbying for an issue must register as a lobby. this is the rule union boss andrew stern is accused of violating. the d.c. attorney's office said they did receive a letter of complaint, but because the matter was pending, they couldn't offer me any more information. we asked the white house to comment on whether mr. stern's visit swayed them to act on his behalf in any way, it declined to comment on the matter. tony? >> all right, carol, appreciate it, thank you. our top stories in just a minute. . i just shut down. ét liberty walked me through it all like, when i test at night or after i eat makes a big difference. a good diet and testing your blood sugar regularly can help you manage-even reduce-the
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flight to detroit. after the meeting the president will brief the public on plans to improve security. and we're learning more about the man who opened fire at a federal courthouse in las vegas. law enforcement sources say he may have been upset about losing a social security discrimination case. one person was killed, and another wounded, before the suspect died in a shootout with authorities. veveveveveveveveveve
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we are now getting the police scanner traffic from the shooting yesterday at a las vegas federal courthouse. the shooting happened almost four months after the suspect lost a court case over social security benefits. that's according to law enforcement sources. let's take a listen now to the scanner tracking. >> shooting outside of a las vegas courthouse. >> holy [ bleep ].
unbelievable. >> i apologize. that's clearly not the scanner traffic. that is obviously cell phone video of the incident as it is was happening posted on youtube and other places. as you know, a security guard was killed and a u.s. marshal wounded before the suspect was killed in a shootout with officers outside the federal building. and for some who were in the area at the time, they report that the shooting seemed to come out of nowhere. expect to be counted. the 2010 census is getting under way in an effort to count every american resident. cnnmoney.com's poppy harlow is in new york.
poppy, good to see you. this is, man, you talk about undertaking, this is quite an undertaking. >> huge. exactly. and, you know, it's funny, i didn't ever remember filling out one of the census forms, but i will this year. every ten years you've got to count the population of the united states. this year's census is really unique. there's a lot of challenges, so let's go through some of them. first of all, we're coming off the worst economic downturn in modern history, that has pushed a lot of people out of their homes. there will be a lot of people that are very hard to count because they are in temporary living situations. you also have hurricanes katrina and rita, they pushed a lot of people out of the gulf coast, so the census bureau is saying, listen, we're trying our hard toast deliver the surveys by hand to each and every one of the displaced people especially and also you've got to countny illegal aliens, illegal residents, or immigrants, to the -- to the united states, tony, regardless of whether legally they should be here or not, you've got to include them in the census.
many times they don't want to talk to the government for obvious reasons. so, that's a big challenge. but the kren krus bureau, we talked to the secretary of commerce who helps run this yesterday, they said, listen, we're determined to get an accurate count, so what they're doing is kicking off this huge road show to go to 800 cities across the country. this is what they started off with here in new york city yesterday in times square, trying to encourage people to fill out these census forms. but the big question is why spend so much time, so much effort on it, really it's because the stakes are quite high. take a listen -- >> we need an accurate count, and it's not just to determine how many members of the house of representatives every state will get, but it's also the allocation of some $400 billion a year in federal aid and especially when cities and counties and states are cutting back, this $400 billion in federal funding per year based on the census going out for education, human services, elderly programs, housing, transportation, that's badly
needed money. >> it is. so, you better fill out that form, tony. they're going to start coming to your house in march and, again, it's required by law that you fill them out. tony? >> all right, poppy, appreciate it. thank you. we're back in a moment. got to build a website. i hired someone to make my website... five months ago. we are building a website by ourselves. announcer: there's an easier way. create your own small-business site with intuit websites. just choose a style that fits your business and customize, publish and get found in three easy steps. sweet. all from just $4.99 a month, get a 30-day free trial at intuit.com.
shown both love and hate towards president obama. >> reporter: for nearly 50 years, cuban leader fidel castro led marches against the united states and blasted the cold war enemy in marathon speeches. [ speaking in spanish ] >> reporter: then sidelined by illness, castro railed against president george w. bush in written essays, published on the internet, state newspapers and even read aloud on cuban television, but with the election of barack obama, a new mood took hold in cuba. "we're all happy to see they've elected a black president for the first time," this man says. "we have high hopes he'll do a good job." fidel castro was the first to signal a mood change. in his columns called "reflections of comrade fidel" he praised obama's youth and vigor and defended the decision to award him the nobel peace prize, of the 100-plus columns
he wrote last year, a quarter of them were focused on obama. but by december, they turned less flattering as we saw in a letter he sent to venezuelan president hugo chavez insisting washington was on the rampage against latin america. "the intentions of the empire are obvious," he says. "this time hidden behind the friendly smile and african-american face of president barack obama." in november current cuban leader, recall castro, led the country's biggest military exercises in five years, saying he wants to be prepared in the event of a u.s. invasion. and in a recent speech, he accused mr. obama of what he called the same dirty tricks that president bush had used. "the enemy is as active as always" he said. he was referring to the u.s. contractor who was arrested last month. in his first essay of the new
year, fidel castro takes another swipe at the current president. not a good sign for the future of relations between cuba and the united states. shasta darlington, cnn, havana. a bit of breaking news we're getting here into the "cnn newsroom." california's bakersfield meadows airport has been shut down. and here's why. tsa agents were doing what they described as a normal swab of a piece of luggage when it tested positive for a hazardous substance. and then here's what happened. a tsa agents opened the bag and both became nauseous. it's a bit concerning and gorying here. they were transported to a local hospital. our understanding now is that the bag is being examined and x-rayed and tested. one adult male is being detained and questioned as well. he is the owner of the bag and things at the airport aren't expected to get back to normal in a few hours. we'll keep an eye on the situation and bring you further updates. introducing fast crystal packs.
is the suspected christmas day bomber a defendant or combatant. as cnn's brian todd tells us, the debate is brewing over his treatment and whether it may have cost investigators valuable time and information. >> reporter: he sits in a federal penitentiary in myland, michigan, charged by the u.s. government of attempting to destroy an aircraft. to some in washington that's a problem. >> if we had treated the christmas day bomb bomber as a
terrorist, he would have immediately been interrogated military style rather than given the rights of american and lawyers. we probably lost valuable information. >> reporter: another senator, homeland security senator, joe lieberman, calls it a very serious mistake for the administration to place umar farouk abdulmutallab under civilian criminal charges rather than treat him as an enemy combatant ap. lieberman says abdulmutallab committed an act of war and should be interrogated by a military prisoner so another possible attack could quickly be prevented. the president's top counterterrorism advisors aggressively defense t ivelivel decision. >> we have great confidence in our court system that we can use that to our advantage and individuals in the past have, in fact, given us very valuable information as they've gone through the plea agreement process. >> reporter: contacted by cnn, a u.s. law enforcement official would not say whether a plea bargain is being discussed for abdulmutallab or not.
former white house associate counsel david rivkin argues are the problem with offering him a plea bargain is crucial time lost in setting it all up. what could the military system produce that the civilian system could not produce in this case? >> the short answer is they can produce things faster and better. faster first. because you do not have access to counsel. you do not have miranda warnings, you do not have people telling you to clam up. >> reporter: rivkin said abdulmutallab's lawyers could drag it on for months as they strike a deal. the law enforcement official we spoke to would not say whether he's cooperating or if he was read his miranda rights. eugene fidel who tried several military and civilian cases say the administration's made the right move. >> choosing a military forum rather than a civilian forum is not going to make any difference in terms of the speed with which you can extract information from a suspect. in fact, the rules are going to be the same in both