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tv   CNN Presents  CNN  February 19, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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ebay informed me that products with jeremy lin are actually doubling. and as you can see there, best-selling jersey on we all have it here at cnn, don, linsanity. >> whoo! that was crazy. you talk fast, girl. katie linendoll, it's all everyone's all excited about jeremy lin. i'm don lemon at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. i'll see you back here at 10:00 p.m. eastern. cnn presents right now. tonight on cnn presents, "death of a diva." >> whitney houston was pronounced dead. >> she was born to sing. ♪ and i will always love you >> but lived a troubled life. >> when i arrived in the room on that floor, you could feel that something was terribly wrong. >> what led to her death? were there any warning signs?
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whitney houston's final hours. nuclear standoff. it happened in japan. could it happen here? >> i always thought it was fatally flawed. unfortunately, fukushima proved me right. >> safety concerns over an aging nuclear facility. deadly cargo. would you believe this laser printer is a weapon of terror? we'll show you how al qaeda got these printer bombs through security and onto planes. revealing investigations, fascinating characters, stories with impact. this is cnn presents with your host tonight, randi kaye and dr. sanjay gupta. >> good evening. whitney houston will be remembered as one of the greatest voices of her generation and many of her closest friends say the troubled star was poised to make a comeback. but that comeback, as you know, was tragically cut short with her untimely death.
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>> whitney houston's soaring talent was shadowed by her struggles with addiction and her marriage. don lemon looks at her rise to fame, her fall from superstardom, and final hours in her troubled life. ♪ but above all this i wish you love ♪ >> that legendary ballad, that blinding beauty. ♪ and i will always love you >> that breathtaking voice. ♪ i will always love you >> whitney houston, the shy jersey girl who belted her way to superstardom. six grammys and a record seven consecutive number one singles. for a time she was pop's greatest love of all. ♪ is the greatest love of all
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>> to hear her voice was a miracle because for anybody to be able to do with a voice what she did with hers speaks to a divine order. >> whitney houston, the icon, unimaginably talented, but also fatally flawed. >> there were many different sides to whitney. there was the performer, the consummate professional. there was the addict, and you never knew which whitney you were going to get. >> if houston was blessed by the heavens, she was most certainly cursed with her own demons. a contradiction right up to her final days. >> this was not a woman who was depressed, upset, high, drunk. >> it was immediate. you could smell the stench of cigarettes and liquor, and i am just like, oh, my god, she's a mess right now. >> whitney houston died here at the beverly hilton on february
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11th, the voice of a generation silenced forever. a tragic ending to a life filled with promise that was almost preordained. with a gospel legend for a mother, and a cousin named dionne warwick, houston was born to sing. >> when we first saw whitney, when you first heard whitney, you knew there was something special happening here. >> legendary music producer clive davis certainly knew. he discovered houston and changed her life forever. he packaged and polished the 19-year-old sensation into a pure pop princess, at least on the surface. >> one source who worked with whitney told us she definitely was not a goody two-shoes in any sense of the word. >> houston's bad girl side may have ultimately drawn her to r&b bad boy bobby brown. >> she was a girl from the streets of newark and fell in
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love with a bad boy with a good voice, so, you know, her fans, yes, very shocked. those who knew her best really weren't surprised. >> houston and brown traded rings in 1992, a personal high matched only by a professional one that very same year. "the bodyguard" grossed more than $400 million and launched the top selling soundtrack of all time. but even as the crossover superstar commanded millions for movies like "the preacher's wife," she increasingly struggled with her fame. >> did she ever talk to you about the stress of fame? >> she said to me, you don't know what it's like being me. i'm stressed out all the time. >> that stress was only compounded by houston's often rocky marriage. >> they were very happy at first, but pretty soon their relationship turned pretty volatile. and when she was under pressure,
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she tended to turn to drugs and alcohol. >> when houston began a string of missed appearances and cancelations, many pointed their finger at bobby brown for his wife's mounting troubles with drugs. >> i hate to say that she had started before she had met bobby brown. >> we got to live with -- >> houston's increasingly erratic behavior even played out before the cameras in the short-lived reality show "being bobby brown." but when brown spoke to cnn in 2005, he insisted that he and his famous wife were finally sober. >> i am working on a year and a half of sobriety. and my wife is, she's working on her year. so we're really doing good and i'm proud of her. >> yet her attempts at recovery only ended in relapse for houston and the years of drug abuse had taken their toll. >> i was shocked at her condition. her vocal condition. >> what happened to whitney
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houston's voice? >> i think that the psychological impact of being who she was drove her into lifestyle habits that ultimately were destructive. >> by may 2011 whitney houston was divorced. her attempt at a comeback a year earlier was in shambles. with all of these crushing personal setbacks, she entered into a voluntary outpatient program for drug and alcohol treatment. friends say she just needed a break. >> i know that she was pacing herself because she was preparing for the movie. i don't know exactly what she went through to do that. >> that movie was "sparkle," and by the time whitney houston began doing press for the film, she did seem like a different woman. access hollywood's sean robinson did the last one-on-one interview with her.
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>> when i looked at whitney houston in her eyes, i thought that this woman is coming back. >> but looks can be deceiving, especially when you're talking about whitney houston. her final days when we return. fore! no matter what small business you are in, managing expenses seems to... get in the way. not anymore. ink, the small business card from chase introduces jot an on-the-go expense app made exclusively for ink customers.
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with a new movie and a new sparkle of her own, a seemingly healthy whitney houston started the new year poised to perhaps make that long-awaited comeback. but behind the scenes, some now-all-too-familiar and alarming behavior. >> well, her friends told us that even though she had successfully gone to rehab last year and had this great experience filming "sparkle," there are always temptations, and unfortunately she started partying again and spending time with perhaps the wrong people. and just fell right back into that sad spiral. >> three days before the annual grammy awards show, whitney houston was staying here at the beverly hilton. it is here where over several days, sources say the pop superstar was seen consuming considerable amounts of alcohol and acting erratically. garrett kennedy of "the l.a.
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times" was covering a pre-grammy press event at the beverly hilton when the singer raised eyebrows at the hotel pool. >> one of the conversations i had with a grammy staffer was that security was getting calls from guests that she was doing handstands by the pool. i was like, oh, that's pretty bizarre. >> and then there was this. kennedy says houston smelled of cigarettes and alcohol when she burst in on her mentor clive davis. >> come say hi to your godfather. >> hi. >> come say hi to your goddad. >> i am like, oh, my god, you are a mess right now and you are embarrassing yourself. i'm embarrassed for you. >> the pop star appeared anything but disheveled or disoriented later that night. >> whitney houston attended a pre-grammy party at this hollywood nightclub. and as she walked the red carpet, witnesses say she had it together and was on her best behavior. adam ambrose is a publicist for
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"true hollywood". >> she walked along here, holding hands, in fact, with bobbi kristina, and they both looked radiant. when they arrived, they were looking fantastic. >> houston was even up for a little impromptu entertaining. she surprised everyone when she joined her friend, r&b nominee, kelly price, on stage. ♪ >> the place erupted. it was very sweet. it was actually really touching. and then she went off. >> fun times, but too much of a good time? not so says kelly price. while she says that houston had champagne at the party, she denies reports that things got out of hand with her friend. >> this was not a woman who was depressed, upset, high, drunk. she was clearly in her right mind. she was not acting erratic.
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>> but ""access hollywood's"" shaun robinson says the pictures taken that thursday night tell a whole different story. >> i said, who is that? what the hell happened? what happened in three months that took her from this person who seemed to really have it all together to this person who looked very disheveled and just kind of not there? >> in a sad reality, houston hadn't been herself in years, at least not the one fans had come to love at the height of her superstardom. her struggles with addiction, the loss of her once incomparable voice, the pressures of fame had all but destroyed houston's once magnificent facade, and by saturday, february 11th, any hope of a comeback would be over. hours away from attending clive
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davis' annual pre-grammy celebration, whitney houston was in her fourth floor suite here at the beverly hilton when a music executive staying on the floor above hers was jolted awake by a loud thud. >> a member of her entourage went in and discovered her unconscious in the bathtub, partially submerged. the member of the entourage called 911 immediately. >> within minutes paramedics arrived making desperate attempts to revive her. >> her brother gary was in the room and his wife pat, obviously praying for a miracle. >> houston's close friend kim berell received a troubled call and raced over to the hotel. >> you could feel that something was terribly wrong, and by then i saw the yellow police tape down the hall. i rushed to the room and i said what's going on here? and pat told me, she's gone.
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>> whitney houston was dead. on the heave of music's biggest nights, one of its biggest icons was gone. she was only 48. >> bobbi kristina broke down in the hotel lobby and was screaming over and over again what's wrong with her? what's wrong with her? so we can only imagine what was going through this girl's mind, but her mother was her world. >> i wanted everything to just stop. wait a minute. because what i felt was happening, i didn't want to be happening. >> a source close to the death investigation tells me prescription drugs, including xanax, were found in whitney houston's hotel room at the beverly hilton. the coroner's office hopes subpoenas of houston's medical records will help them learn more. but they're waiting for toxicology reports to determine exactly how the singer died.
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what actually happened to whitney houston is still a mystery and still under investigation. whatever caused her death, the fact remains that a life built on triumph ended in tragedy. but for those who knew her, the mega-star known as "the voice" will always sing on. >> when someone like that dies, the music takes on a new meaning. the music takes on a meaning now that whitney is not here, and the song that makes me very emotional was that song "all at once," and the lyrics are so strong. ♪ all at once >> and then it hit me, that you're not coming back, all at once. ♪ and i'm realizing that you're not coming back ♪ ♪ and it finally hit me all at once ♪
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coming up, a troubled nuclear facility at the center of a debate that could determine the future of nuclear energy in the united states.
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since an earthquake and a tsunami at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant brought
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nuclear disaster to japan. but according to some experts, a similar nuclear tragedy could happen right here in the united states. the 40-year-old vermont nuclear plant has the exact design at fukushima, and now it's at the center of a battle that could shape the future of nuclear power in the united states. cnn's amber lyon exposes the troubled history of the yankee nuclear plant and why some people in vermont want to shut it down. >> march 11th, 2011. an earthquake and then a tsunami devastate the east coast of japan. >> there may be some melting down of a fuel rod inside there. >> over the next several days and weeks, the damaged fukushima power station north of tokyo begins to worry the world. fires break out in the reactors, radiation spews into the air. it's the worst nuclear accident since chernobyl, leaving many wondering, could this happen here?
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we're here in vermont where there's a battle brewing that could determine the future of nuclear power for the u.s. at the center of this battle, this nuclear plant, the same design as fukushima. the vermont yankee nuclear power station is 40 years old. it's operating license issued by the u.s. nuclear regulatory commission, or nrc, is set to expire next month. it's one of 23 mark-1 design nuclear reactors in the u.s. the problems with this design are well known to industry insiders, including the nrc, according to government documents dating back to 1972. >> 1972 the nrc said we never should have licensed this mark-1 design, period. but they also said, we've got so many of them licensed already, that if we were to change our mind, that would ruin nuclear power forever. >> arnie gunderson is a former
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nuclear industry executive turned whistle-blower, with decades of experience in the industry. he's been appointed the chair of the state panel overseeing the vermont yankee reactor. he says because of design flaws, vermont yankee and other plants like it across the u.s. are one major earthquake, tornado, or flood away from disaster. and that's a fear bordering on reality after massive floods and tornadoes hit vermont last year. if something were to go wrong at vermont yankee, this would be the damage area, and given its recent history under the ownership of a company called entergy, there is reason to be concerned. let's go over this list one by one of all these mechanical errors. >> we had six piping leaks in the plant, three piping leaks in the ground, then we had the fire
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and the cooling tower collapse. and that's just in the last five years. >> is this normal? >> it's not normal when cooling towers collapse. it's the only time in the history of nuclear power that a cooling tower has collapsed. the key is why the fire? why the tower collapsed? and in every case, we've been able to trace it back to inadequate maintenance. every one of the major failures could have been preventable. >> none of these problems would lead to a meltdown, but show a pattern of sloppy maintenance. vermont yankee sits on the connecticut river across from this elementary school. nrc reports show the plant has been leaking radioactive materials into the environment for years, although at levels the agency says are safe for the public. >> they found six or seven different isotopes, most of which last a long time.
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>> in 2010 a fish caught in the connecticut river tested positive for strontium 90 in its flesh. strontium-90 seeks out bone, causing leukemia, and it doesn't leave the environment for 30 years. for gunderson, the logical source was vermont yankee. >> i think if you find a fish with radioactive strontium next to a plant that's leaking radioactive strontium, a pretty high correlation that the strontium and the fish came from the plant. >> but so far, testing has suggested otherwise. this is dr. bill irwin, and he's with the vermont department of health. and this is where you keep the fish that you caught in the coun connecticut river? >> yes, this is correct. >> a recent study released by dr. irwin showed that fish almost 150 miles away in a lake had strontium in them. he believes caused by fallout from nuclear testing. >> the other place that we have
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found strontium-90 is in the natural environment everywhere, not only in that area of vermont, but all areas of vermont, and throughout the world. and again, it comes from fallout from nuclear weapons testing. >> but more tests need to be conducted to be certain. despite its age and recent problems, last year the nrc granted vermont yankee a 20-year extension. so instead of closing in march 2012, it could now be open until march 2032. >> where i have had problems is that the nrc has in some cases become a cheerleader for the nuclear industry. clearly, the nrc has got to be vigilant. >> vermont senator bernie sanders sits on the senate committee that oversees the nrc. he's worried as an older generation of america's reactors comes up for renewal. >> they have always extended
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when companies have come in and said, we would like an extension. i believe in over 60 instances, they have granted every one. and that's a problem. that's a problem. >> we wanted to talk to the nrc. over a six-week period, we repeatedly requested an interview at any time or day of their choice. but we were told they were overbooked. so we decided to show up anyway and see if we could get some answers. a spokesman came outside soon after we arrived. >> you've received the agency's response via our director of public affairs. >> yeah. >> the answer of the agency. >> so no one's going to talk to us? >> no. >> i actually have the exact quote here on your site. it says that the nrc is devoted to open government, open, accountable, accessible. >> yes, all of our information is available on our website. >> but if you guys are accessible to the public, how come you can't sit down with us
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for a five-minute interview to explain your side of the story? >> because the subject that you want to discuss is something that is currently a matter of litigation that the agency cannot discuss. >> but we don't just want to discuss the entergy plant, sir, we want to discuss overall how the nrc is regulating nuclear power in the united states. >> one reason the nrc wouldn't talk to us is that the vermont yankee plant is at the center of a pitched legal battle over who decides the reactor's fate, and the stakes are enormous. >> this case coming out of the little state of vermont has potentially very real national consequences. >> coming up, will the people of vermont have a say in their own nuclear future? look at all this stuff for coffee. oh there's tons. french presses, espresso tampers, filters. it can get really complicated. not nearly as complicated as shipping it though. i mean shipping is a hassle. not with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service. if it fits it ships, anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. that is easy. best news i've heard all day! i'm soooo amped! i mean not amped. excited. well, sort of amped.
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we now return to "cnn presents" with your hosts tonight, randi kaye and dr. sanjay gupta. >> the state of vermont wants to close down the only nuclear power plant in the state when its original operating license expires on march 21st. the federal government says it can stay open an additional 20 years. >> and amber lioni takes us inside this battle over a nuclear plant that could determine the future of aging plants all over this country. >> the vermont yankee nuclear plant is a test case for the fate of aging reactors all over the country. in 2002 it was purchased from the state by a private new
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orleans-based company, entergy, which owns 11 plants across the country. as a condition of the sale entergy signed an agreement with the state saying they would not operate the plant past 2012 unless a state panel agreed. four years later vermont amended the agreement to give the legislature a say in whether the plant could stay open. >> overall, it's been a profitable deal for entergy. >> they bought it really cheap. they bought it for $170 million. a new plant costs $20 billion. so they bought it for 100 times less than a new plant would cost. and they can sell power at a rate that makes them on the order of either $500,000 to $1 million every day. >> but under entergy's management, the plant was plagued with problems. # >> i've had a lot of
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ex-employees contact me, and they're appalled ed ed at the w plant is run. >> we wanted to speak with entergy's ceo, jay wayne leonard, but he declined our request. the company's credibility in vermont took a hit in january 2010 when radioactive water was discovered in monitoring wells. a leak coming from underground pipes beneath the plant. this after plant owners had testified under oath that such pipes didn't exist. entergy has since claimed to fix the problem. >> come on, you want the utmost of credibility and integrity on the part of the operators of a nuclear power plant. >> vermont's attorney general, bill sorrell, was shocked to discover the pipes existed. >> they repeatedly denied that they had that until they had a leak of tridium, which is a
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radioactive material, which was discovered in underground testing or monitoring wells, and they went, whoops, sorry, we made some misleading statements to you. because, in fact -- >> misleading? >> yeah. >> do you think they were misleading or were they lies? >> i don't know. they were not -- the statements that they made were not true. >> shortly after this leak, the vermont state senate voted overwhelming overwhelmingly, we're talking 26-4 in a bipartisan vote, to shut the plant down. entergy says that vote wasn't an original agreement with the state, and came back and sued vermont to keep vermont from ever shutting the plant down, despite the fact that the majority of residents want this plant out. >> entergy's tried to have their cake and eat it too, if you will. they made promises to induce the state, state legislature, the public service board to give
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them permission to operate, to store more spent fuels, and then when the state exercised its authority, under those agreements, and under the law, and it didn't go entergy's way, entergy backeded out of t eed o. >> in court papers, entergy has said that vermont is trying to veto federal authority over nuclear power, and therefore the state's actions are unconstitutional. opposition to the plant is not universal. in tiny vernon, vermont, where the plant is located, there are some who support the license extension. we're here in the center of vernon at nesbitt's portside tavern, which also happens to be the home of the tritium leak shot. so can i have you raise your hands if you support the court ruling that vermont yankee can
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stay open? >> yeah! >> whoo! >> it's a very safe place to work and be around. >> if vermont yankee shut down, not only would we go out of business, it would have a major impact on the entire state of vermont. >> vermont yankee's original operating license is set to expire on march 21st, and the future of this plant is uncertain. most likely, this case will go to the supreme court and what happens there could determine the future of aging plants all across the country. >> and amber lyon joins us now. you know, i have to say, that is a really troubling report. for so many plants like this. where does that case stand now? >> as of now, the state of vermont lost round one. a judge ruled this plant can stay open. weather vermont will appeal this is yet to be seen. . but the state's also looking at creative ways they can tax entergy to keep this corporation from making a profit from the plant, which would then force it to shut down. >> and as we were saying, people all over the world, this comes
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up, people want it open because it's their livelihood as well. so it's that back and forth. amber, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> thanks, amber. coming up next, deadly cargo. the race to stop a potential airborne catastrophe. we had . introducing the 2013 lexus gs, with leading-edge safety technology, like available blind spot monitor... [ tires screech ] ...night view... and heads-up display. [ engine revving ] the all-new 2013 lexus gs. there's no going back. oh! [ baby crying ] ♪ what started as a whisper ♪ every day, millions of people choose to do the right thing. ♪ slowly turned to a scream ♪ there's an insurance company that does that, too.
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liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? ♪ amen, omen you walk into a conventional mattress store, it's really not about you. they say, "well, if you want a firm bed you can lie on one of those, if you want a soft bed you can lie on one of those." we provide the exact individualization that your body needs. welcome to the ultimate sleep number event. not just ordinary beds on sale, but the bed that can change your life on sale. the sleep number bed.
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this is your body there. you can see a little more pressure in the hips. now you can feel what happens as we raise your sleep number setting and allow the bed to contour to your individual shape. wow! that feels really good. it's not about soft or firm. it's about support where you find it most comfortable. right now, queen mattresses start at just $599. and save 50% on the final closeout of our innovative limited edition bed. plus, through monday only, get a free dual comforter-and enjoy 18-month financing on selected bed sets. you can adjust it however you want so you don't have to worry about buying the wrong mattress. hurry this week to the ultimate sleep number event. only at the sleep number store.
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your plane takes off. you sit back, relax, knowing every passenger and piece of luggage has passed through security. but what you may not know is that half of the hold below you
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is filled with air cargo that may have under gone far less screening than your checked bags. even more terrifying, al qaeda knows about this loophole. cnn's senior international correspondent nic robertson reveals the inside story of the al qaeda plot that almost succeeded and he'll show how a bomb that evades detection can be made. we've left out crucial steps so this report is not a how-to for terrorists, but it does show that much more needs to be done to keep us safe. >> this could be a bomb beneath your feet the next time you fly. it is a laser printer. in october 2010, al qaeda made two of these printer bombs. both disguised as cargo passed undetected through airport security. >> two suspicious packages bound for the united states. >> the devices were probably
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intended to detonate midair and to destroy the cargo aircraft on which they were being transported. >> al qaeda dubbed it operation hemorrhage. they found a security weakness, air cargo. aviation's achilles heel. >> congressman from massachusetts. >> congressman ed markey has been sounding the alarm, because air cargo often travels on passenger aircraft. >> 44% of all cargo on passenger planes in the united states comes in internationally. that cargo does not undergo the same level of scrutiny as the cargo on planes that fly domestically. >> al qaeda's best bomb maker targeted the weakness. a plot so sophisticated, it would confuse authorities on three continents. >> we do know that the packages
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originated in yemen. >> from the terrorist group, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. the last two serious attempts to export terror to the united states both began here, and both involved the same expert bomb maker, and both involved the same powerful and incredibly hard-to-detect explosive, petn. mustafa alani knows the plans well. >> if we don't put in place international safeguards, we should expect on a yearly basis, they will try to find some ways of using a passenger plane as a way to attack us. >> master bomb maker, ibrahim al asiri, a 29-year-old saudi, is both imaginative and ruthless. in this al qaeda video, the man
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wearing a red kafir is his brother, abdullah. the brothers are saying their last good-byes, because abdullah is departing on a suicide mission. in his body is a bomb made by his brother. this is the aftermath of that mission. abdullah dead, his target, a powerful saudi prince, mohammad bineff, who has close ties to the white house, injured. this is cnn breaking news. >> a jet with nearly 300 people on it. passengers told us they saw a flash, flames, and then smoke. >> according to u.s. authorities, al asery is behind every recent plot to blow up airliners. he masterminded the so-called underwear bomber that failed to
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can detonate on christmas day 2009. he chose the explosive petn. it has become his signature. >> it looks just like sugar, just like salt, and it's easy to imagine how this could be stitched into clothing and hidden around the body, and that's what makes petn such a challenge for airport security officials to detect. >> al asiri managed to get the printers on two planes, bombs headed to the u.s. >> here we go. >> explosive expert sidney olfert showed me the power of a tiny amount of petn. >> this really is a messy powder. >> then he agreed to replicate al asiri's powerful printer
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bombs, demonstrating how they've evaded detection time and time again. we've left out some critical steps. >> and i try to shake that out. i've never tried this before. >> olfert and his ink from the printer cartridge. >> i'm going to try to replace it with as much as this white stuff as i can, and this is petn. >> petn, because asiri news it would look like ink attorney when x-rayed, making his bomb hard to detect. >> if that went off now, i would be instantly killed and bits of me would go around the room. >> reporter: al asiri leaves nothing to chance. no suicide bomber, but a sophisticated timer. >> they have sorts of clocks in them that have timers in them. the cartridge has been inserted and the click is diagnostic. that's now a bomb. >> out in a field, olfert places
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the bomb on an aluminum sheet, simulating the skin of an aircraft. >> three, two, one! >> that is where the table was standing, and you can see the blast effect. if that had been part of an airplane's fuselage, then heaven help the airplane. it would have been a terminal event, i'm afraid. >> next, with the bombs already on passenger jets, intelligence services scramble to intercept them before they can explode. i'm a marathon runner, in absolute perfect physical condition and i had a heart attack right out of the clear blue... he was just... "get me an aspirin"... yeah... i knew that i was doing the right thing, when i gave him the bayer. i'm on an aspirin regimen... and i take bayer chewables. [ male announcer ] aspirin is not appropriate for everyone so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. so he's a success story...
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in the wake of 9/11, congressm mandated that all caro on passenger jets be screened, but that's not always the case with air cargo. and al qaeda knows that air cargo is aviation's achilles heel. two deadly bombs nearly made it past screeners into u.s. air space. nic robertson continues his investigation into this deadly threat to our airline safety.
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>> reporter: yemen, late october, 2010. al qaeda mails two boxes. inside each, a bomb hidden in a printer. one of those packages began their journey at this courier service in sanna, the capital of yemen. counter intelligence officials believe the master bomb maker, ibrahim al asiri, constructed the bombs, carefully hiding the explosive petn inside the packages before beginning their long journey to the united states. besides recent warnings, the bombs make it past screeners at sanaa's airport on to two passenger jets. mustafa alani was briefed by the head of counterterrorism. prince muhammad bin nayef, the same royal al qaeda had already
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tried to kill. he told him what happened next. a very lucky break. saudi intelligence gets a tip. an informant tells them about the plot. but it's too late to stop the bombs taking off on passenger jets. >> by that time, the shipment's already left the country. >> all that the saudis know is that the bombs are headed to the u.s. then more luck. two packages were addressed to medieval crusaders, a saudi blunder that leads them to the tracking numbers. saudi muhammad bin nayef calls the white house, which goes into crisis response mode. >> they never questioned the credibility of the information. >> british intelligence is alerted too. but authorities still can't locate the deadly cargo. >> so it was a very complicated to find out what the shipment is moving, where it is now.
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>> many hours and several flights later, one passenger is located in dubai. the other at east midland's airport in britain. police arrive and search for the explosive. the police bomb squad finds the package, oppoens up the printer but can't find the bomb. all the while, the timer is counting down. >> i spoke on the phone a number of times to janet napolitano, my opposite number. >> i met with british home secretary, teresa may, who headed the british response. >> in the early stages, of course, the amount of information available is limited and the information has to come through very often gradually. >> after scanners and dogs failed to find any explosives, police lift the security cordon around the airport. but the saudis are sure the printer is a bomb.
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>> the sole officer's task was to convince the other officers to look again and again. this was hard to convince them. >> tensions are rising. >> the saudi's intelligence were very nervous. so it was basically fighting against time. >> finally, a breakthrough. investigators in east midland's and dubai find the explosive inside the printer cartridges. >> it was clearly that this was a sophisticated device. it was a device we hadn't seen in this sort of form previously. >> the british are about to find out they had been very lucky. forensic teams established the explosive was found 3 1/2 hours after the bomb was set to explode. it failed to go off because the bomb squad had unknowingly
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diffused it during the initial inspection. removing the printer cartridge, they had broken the power supply. if they hadn't inadvertently removed the explosives, that bomb could have gone off. >> the first thing i think about is the incredible bravery of our police officers. >> the bomb had been timed to detonate over the eastern united states. >> i want to briefly update the american people on a credible terrorist threat against our country. >> the bombs had flown through several airports, dubai and colon without being detected. it was a very narrow escape. the u.s. and international partners have taken steps to bolster air cargo security, but according to some, are still falling short. >> the cargo on planes that flies in from overseas is broken into two categories.
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high risk and low risk. well, the low-risk cargo does not receive anywhere near the level of scrutiny as the high-risk cargo. >> congressman ed markey authored a law that requires screening of all cargo on passenger jets. >> the administration is now saying that they are not going to meet the deadline for full implementation of screening, of all cargo, on international flights, and now they have given an indefinite extension. >> as yemen's security plummets and al qaeda takes increasing control, the possibility of another petn bomb increases significantly. the man who made the printer and underpants bombs, ibrahim al asiri is still on the loose here, and western diplomats say he is always working on something new.


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