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Seepage Detected in the Gulf; National Federation Expels Mark Williams and Tea Party Express; Mystery Candidate Draws Crowd: Alvin Greene Makes Case for South Carolina Senate; Seepage Detected in Gulf; Summer Camp for Military Kids; U.S. Giving $7.5B in Aid to Pakistan; Intel World Growing Beyond Control; Flu Vaccine "Patch"' Lohan's Career High
Aired July 19, 2010 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. It's a Monday, it's the 19th of July. Thanks for joining us on the Most News in the Morning. I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us. We have a lot to talk about this morning.
A setback, unfortunately, in the oil spill containment efforts. The federal government now ordering BP to hand over plans for reopening its capped well. This comes after testing reveals a substance seeping up from the ocean floor near the well. We're live in New Orleans with the latest developments.
ROBERTS: A look into the top-secret world that the government created after 9/11. A new two-year-long investigation by "The Washington Post" out just a few hours ago says the intelligence community has grown out of control to the point where no one really knows if it's really working anymore. We'll go inside the report with former homeland security adviser Fran Townsend.
CHETRY: Also, a casualty in the war of words between the NAACP and the Tea Party movement. A prominent Tea Party group and its controversial founder getting the boot by the national leadership following his comments about race. A live report from Washington just ahead.
Also, the amFIX blog is up and running. So we love for you to join the live conversation happening right now. Go to CNN.com/amFIX.
ROBERTS: But first, just when it was looking more and more like an end to the crisis in the gulf was at least in sight, a setback as BP keeps a tight lid on the damaged oil well. It's now day 91 of this crisis and the news is less promising today as the cap stays on for a fifth day. National incident commander Thad Allen said a seep has been detected in the ocean floor.
CHETRY: Yes. This means that oil could be leaking from the seabed. And if that's the case, the government wants BP's plans for reopening the well to prevent the situation from becoming even worse. Also new this morning, BP says it has now spent $3.95 billion on the response. That money includes containment, relief well drilling and paying out claims.
ROBERTS: Our Reynolds Wolf is live for us in New Orleans this morning to kick off our coverage. And, Reynolds, explain to us this latest setback, this report of oil seeping from the ocean floor. Is that an indication that there's damage in the actual wellbore itself?
REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the thing is, we don't know. The whole thing, believe it or not, is really shrouded in mystery. What's interesting, John, is last night, officials from BP and the federal government were very cryptic in the information they gave us regarding the seepage. We really don't know the amount of the seepage, the exact location, and even when or where or how it was detected in the first place. And one of the questions our viewers may have is, why is seepage even important in the first place? Why is it something that we're concerned with?
Well, it's kind of a cumulative thing. A couple things they've been monitoring when it comes to this well, one thing has been the PSI, or pounds per square inch or pressure that the oil was forcing on the very bottom of that containment lid or cap. It has been lowered than they anticipated.
And because it has been lowered that they anticipated, and then when you have the presence of possibly the seepage, that could indicate something that could be devastating. It could indicate a leak possibly far below the seafloor, perhaps even a rupture below the seafloor. Either one of those scenarios could be extremely detrimental and be a whole new ball of wax trying to deal with this issue that we've had. It just seemed like we were going so well, then this potential hazard could really be a major setback. No question about it, guys.
CHETRY: Well, when we hear about Thad Allen asking for this plan for BP to submit this plan to him, what is the next step?
WOLF: Well, the next step that he's got in a very terse letter that he sent to BP yesterday, a couple of things he wants. One, he wants to report any future seepage within a four-hour span. So they want information very quickly. Also detailed instructions for the future for possibly opening the choke valve and then a written update within 24 hours. Also, if they happen to possibly cancel a test all together, the next step would be to remove the cap, place a riser on top of the wellhead, and therefore siphon it up to the surface to contain the vessels.
But see, even with that, there's a bit of a caveat. Because if they go that route and put that riser on top of the wellhead, it could mean anywhere from one to three days of oil flowing freely back into the Gulf of Mexico. Something we haven't seen over the past 48 now, going closer to 72 hours. And to see that again, just the impact that would have is just heart wrenching.
But again, if they do manage to keep this thing capped, it's still waiting for the real final solution which would be, of course, the not one but two relief wells that would be drilled in the area, one possibly very close to completion by the end of this month, maybe in August. Might be able to seal the well off all together. Back to you.
ROBERTS: All right. Reynolds Wolf for us this morning in New Orleans on top of that story. Thanks so much.
And stay with us because in less than 20 minutes time, we're going to break down the oil spill's long-term impact on the environment when we talk to David Mizejewski. He is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation.
CHETRY: An "A.M. Security Watch" for you now. A hidden world growing beyond control. That's how a new "Washington Post" investigation out this morning is describing the world that the government created to try terrorists post-9/11. It describes a system drowning in paperwork, red tape, redundancies and layers and layers of government, too big for any person to manage. Close to 1,300 government organizations and almost 2,000 private companies working on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence and an estimated 854,000 people with top-secret security clearances.
So, is too much counterterrorism actually putting us in danger? We're going to talk about it with former homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend. She's coming up for us in about 35 minutes.
ROBERTS: Now on to politics this morning and a major split within the Tea Party movement. The national federation has expelled Mark Williams and his group, the Tea Party Express, after his controversial remarks on race.
CHETRY: The NAACP has accused Tea Party leaders of tolerating racism in the movement. Williams then responded by posting a letter that we first told you about on Friday pretending to be NAACP president Ben Jealous, a letter penned to President Lincoln. He posted that on his blog.
Jim Acosta following developments for us. He is live in Washington this morning. And of course, we remember last week, Mark Williams was very unapologetic about this. He said, look, you know, this was all in satire but I put it out there to make a point.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's sticking to his guns. And as you know, John and Kiran, all of this started last week when the NAACP condemned the Tea Party movement for some of the racially insensitive signs and language used at some Tea Party rallies and that prompted Mark Williams, as you just said, the leader of the Tea Party Express, to write what he thought was a satirical letter from the president of the NAACP to Abraham Lincoln. And that letter was filled with some racially charged comments. So over the weekend, a spokesman for another major Tea Party group, the National Tea Party Federation, said they had enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID WEBB, NATIONAL TEA PATY FEDERATION: We, in the last 24 hours, have expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams from the National Tea Party Federation because of the letter that he wrote which he, I guess, may have considered satire, but which was clearly offensive. And that is what we do, self-policing is the right and the responsibility of any movement or organization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, Mark Williams, who's never at a loss for words, said he was finished giving interviews on the controversy. He canceled an appearance on CNN, but he did release a statement slamming the National Tea Party Federation. And we can show you that graphic on the screen here. He says, quote, "Apparently, I have offended the Tea Party leadership. Mind you, there is no Tea Party leadership. Every tea partier is a Tea Party leader. But something happens when the stronger egos and personalities in a movement begin to feel a sense of ownership. It is not long before they act to claim and defend that feeling. An example of that happened today."
Still, NAACP President Ben Jealous, he seemed pleased with the actions taken by the National Tea Party Federation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN JEALOUS, NAACP PRESIDENT: David Webb has shown some real leadership. But you know, but you've got to be honest with people. You can't have people just staring at you, staring at this letter, and be like, golly gee, I don't know if it's offensive, I don't know if it's racist. Clearly, it was racially offensive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: He goes on to say there that clearly this was offensive. But Mark Williams does have a point about one thing, John and Kiran. The Tea Party movement is not a national political party, unlike the Democrats and Republicans. The Tea Party does not have a national chair. It does not have a national committee. So, it's unclear how much of an impact this move will have from the National Tea Party Federation.
And just to give you one point there, the Tea Party Express, you could argue, is actually a bigger organization than the National Tea Party Federation. You'll remember earlier this year and all last year, they had those big successful bus tours across the country. One of those earlier this year had Sarah Palin as one of their guest stars. So this is sort of like, you know, the NFL trying to expel a team from the USFL, if anybody recalls that reference. It's a little bit different here to have one Tea Party group ousting another Tea Party group when really there is no control that one has over another -- John and Kiran.
ROBERTS: It sure is a rather convoluted set of politics, no question. But as you said, Tea Party Express, you know, a very influential group, putting a lot of candidates forward in the last little while, too. Jim Acosta for us this morning. Jim, thanks. ACOSTA: You bet.
ROBERTS: Also new this morning, President Obama expected to tackle the economy and tell Republicans to get out of the way in a Rose Garden speech today. The White House says the president will call on Congress to extend unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, something the GOP has blocked three times in the past few weeks. This latest push comes as a new poll from "Politico" says more than 60 percent of the country thinks the economy is still heading in the wrong direction.
CHETRY: Check this out -- severe weather to show you right now. Hail the size of baseballs pounding parts of central Minnesota. The hail shattered windows, dented cars and destroyed a number of farm fields as well. And at the height of the storm, it knocked out power to more than 56,000 people. Fortunately though, there are no reports of any injuries.
ROBERTS: Let's get a quick check of this morning's weather headlines. Our Jacqui Jeras is in the extreme weather center for us this morning. And what are we looking at today, Jacqui?
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, unfortunately, we're likely going to see more pictures just like those out of Minnesota. You know, baseball-sized hail would hit you on the head about 110 miles per hour. That was smart. So you definitely want to stay indoors as these storms rumble on through.
We're starting out with really rough weather across parts of the Dakotas and Nebraska and Iowa as well. We do think that we'll have a break maybe by midday, and then mid afternoon showers and thunderstorms will redevelop. And there's a moderate risk here for that severe weather.
Secondary area across the northeast, that includes you in New York City, as well as Philadelphia expecting to see hot temperatures, too. A heat advisory for New York as well as Kansas City down towards Tulsa, Oklahoma. More on the nation's weather and a little tropical activity possible. We'll tell you about that coming up in the next half-hour.
CHETRY: Wow, a lot going on. All right. Jacqui Jeras for us, thanks so much.
And still to come on the Most News in the Morning, Democratic Senate candidate Alvin Greene gives his first major speech in South Carolina. We're going to show you how he did and also get reaction from people who were watching.
It's 10 minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. We're coming up on 13 minutes past the hour. South Carolina's surprise Senate candidate survived his first stump speech. Alvin Greene telling voters why they should send a 32- year-old unknown, unemployed military vet to the U.S. Senate.
ROBERTS: And while there were a free moments that had people thinking awkward, there were others in the crowd wondering if maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all. Jessica Yellin was there for the big debut.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): If there is one person who believes Alvin Greene could be South Carolina's next U.S. Senator, it's Alvin Greene.
ALVIN GREENE (D), SOUTH CAROLINA SENATE NOMINEE: I'm the best candidate in the United States Senate race here in South Carolina. I am also the best candidate for the -- I am also the best choice for the image award next year.
YELLIN: He does not lack confidence. In his new campaign speech, Greene offered some specifics.
GREENE: Let's pick up with some of the projects that were put on hold after 9/11, such as improving transportation and infrastructure.
YELLIN: Some standard rhetoric --
GREENE: My campaign is about getting South Carolina and America back to work and moving South Carolina and America forward.
YELLIN: And a glimpse of his political philosophy.
GREENE: The punishment should fit the crime. Fairness saves us money. Let's reclaim our country from the terrorists and the communists. I know this guy, there are some folks that got in trouble.
YELLIN: There were a few unusual moments, especially here where Greene seemed to be referring to his own run-in with the law. He faces felony pornography charges.
GREENE: Anyhow, this guy met the criteria for pre-trial intervention, but was denied. That same guy's trial was scheduled for last week but was put off. Anyway, moving on.
YELLIN: The audience at this NAACP gathering was skeptical at first.
LORETTA BOWERS, ATTENDEE: After I heard about him a few months ago, I was very curious. And when I heard that he was going to speak today, I came so I could find out who he is.
YELLIN: But came away largely impressed.
BOWERS: I thought he was wonderful. YELLIN (on camera): Will you vote for him?
LEE MILLARD, ATTENDEE: Yes.
YELLIN: And you think he could beat Jim DeMint?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Greene, how did you think you did?
YELLIN (voice-over): When it was all over, Alvin Greene ducked reporters' questions and snuck his one-person campaign out the back door.
YELLIN: Greene had told CNN the speech would run 20 minutes. It lasted closer to seven. There was no speech writer for this man. Greene says he hand-wrote his own remarks on spiral notebook paper -- Kiran, John.
ROBERTS: Well, he's certainly not your typical candidate, which may be a good thing in this election race.
CHETRY: We'll see what happens.
CHETRY: Well, still ahead, one investor in the U.K. now owns enough cocoa beans to make more than 5 billion chocolate bars. And, no, his name isn't Willy Wonka. But he's actually having a major effect on the European cocoa market. So what's going on?
We'll take a look at that story, coming up. Sixteen minutes past the hour.
ROBERTS: Nineteen minutes after the hour. "Minding Your Business" this morning.
U2 is at the top of this year's list of highest paid musicians. "Forbes" crunched the numbers, and the Irish rockers pulled in $130 million from their U2 360 world tour and other deals. Coming in second after their recent world tour, Aussie rockers AC/DC. Now, still going strong after all these years.
Rounding out the top five were Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band and Britney Spears.
And a British investor named Anthony Ward bought 241,000 tons of Europe's cocoa beans. He paid over $1 billion for them. The beans could fill five ships the size of the Titanic.
The transaction is pushing cocoa prices in Europe to a 33-year high on fears that a handful of investors are trying to corner the market. But if you're a chocoholic, don't worry too much because cocoa prices here, stateside, are actually down.
CHETRY: Well, a troubling twist in BP's efforts to contain the oil spill this morning. The federal government saying that tests have now revealed a substance seeping near the well. This news making it even more difficult for experts to try to comprehend the nation's worst environmental disaster.
And joining me from Washington this morning is David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. David, thanks for being with us this morning.
DAVID MIZEJEWSKI, NATURALIST, NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION: You're welcome.
CHETRY: You know, when we originally put out the call to talk to you, we thought at least for now this was capped. I mean, there was no oil flowing as of Thursday afternoon. Now, we're learning that because of this seepage, there's a possibility that they need to remove the cap and oil would flow more freely again.
But just taking a look at the three months since this disaster happened, do we know -- do we have any clearer picture of just how much environmental damage was done to the Gulf Coast?
MIZEJEWSKI: Well, it's a story that's still unfolding, and I think that we're going to be really learning what those impacts are for a long time to come. But if we look at other oil spill disasters that have happened, we know that these things don't just go away overnight and that in fact, you know, in some cases decades later, there's still negative consequences for the wildlife and the greater ecosystem.
CHETRY: Right, and most people compare it to the Exxon Valdez because that was a spill in 1989 that before this was one of the worst environmental disasters in the U.S., 11 million gallons of oil dumped in the Prince William Sound. And years and years later, even now, there -- there -- the effects are seen, right, among sea life and marine life?
MIZEJEWSKI: Absolutely. And, you know, this is the thing that I think is hard for a lot of people to -- to get, because if you look, on the surface, everything looks clean and it looks pristine and you might actually see wildlife. But the reality is that, you know, oil is a -- is a persistent substance and eventually it will, you know, sort of naturally break down in the environment.
But -- but again, that's sort of -- it's relative because eventually is, you know --
MIZEJEWSKI: -- 50 years, 100 years, you know, it really doesn't do the wildlife much good.
And, yes, in Alaska, after the Exxon Valdez spill, there's still only about a third of the species that were impacted that are considered actually recovered and --
MIZEJEWSKI: -- and one of the most important species in that ecosystem are the herring, and the herring population crashed because they had really poor reproductive success and they've yet to recover.
CHETRY: Let me ask you about the gulf, though, because it's -- it's a different ecosystem, of course, number one because of the marshlands. I mean, these are what they have talked about for so long, all of the people, both state and locally were saying we have to protect the marshes. This is where, you know, where animals spawn. This is where the oyster population grows, you know?
How do we protect the marshes? What is the long-term status for -- for the marshes right now where apparently we lose a football field of marshlands down there every 38 minutes.
MIZEJEWSKI: Right. Yes. Well the -- the best way to protect the marshlands, which are, as you say, a hugely critical habitat and ecosystems for so many species. Ninety percent of the species that live in the entire gulf are reliant on those wetlands in coastal Louisiana.
The best way to protect them is to make sure that these kinds of oil spills don't happen. And that's one reason why the National Wildlife Federation is pushing really hard for clean energy now because if we don't -- if we don't make that transition, we're just going to see these problems happening well into the future.
But, you know, the -- the oil is there now. I've been down to the gulf a couple times now and the -- on my first trip down there about a month ago I went out and, you know, there -- oil was just beginning to come in. About four days later, I went out to the same spot in Barataria Bay and the oil was getting just so much more up into the marsh grasses. And the problem is once it gets there, it's almost impossible to clean out.
If you -- if you try to do that, you can actually do more harm than good. And if the grasses die, then the roots of those grasses are what's holding the soil in and it erodes away and it basically turns into open ocean, which is not as productive for wildlife.
So, again, in the big-picture, the real solutions are to, you know, transition from a fossil fuel-based economy, get clean energy going, and we really critically need to restore that coastal Louisiana wetland ecosystem as much as we can, letting the Mississippi flow with water and sediment to help rebuild it. That was important before this disaster, it's now even more important.
CHETRY: And there's a lot of competing interests, certainly, as it deals with the Mississippi River and allowing it to flood. So that's something that is going to be debated of course in the future.
But thanks for your take this morning. David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the Natural Wildlife Federation. Thanks. MIZEJEWSKI: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Coming up here on the Most News in the Morning, a summer camp for kids with a special connection. They all have a military parent who is, or soon will be, deployed overseas.
Jason Carroll got a look at Camp Operation Purple in action, and he'll show us what it's all about.
It's coming up on 25 minutes now after the hour.
CHETRY: Twenty-seven minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Time for an "A.M. Original", something you'll see only on AMERICAN MORNING.
We talk a lot about the stress of war, of course, and military deployment and it can be especially hard for the children who are left at home.
ROBERTS: Across the country, dozens of summer camps are trying to fill the void bringing together military kids who share that experience.
So Jason Carroll has got that story for us and he joins us now this morning. Good Monday morning to you, Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning to you, too.
Spent some time at this camp up in Connecticut, visited these kids. They are incredible. It's just no other way to say it. You know, the camp we visited has a simple goal, provide a place for children whose parents are deployed. And in doing so, help those children deal with the pain of separation.
CARROLL (voice-over): This summer camp in Connecticut looks much like any other camp.
You'll see the children tackling traditional camp activities. But once you speak to them --
BRADLEY VION, BOTH PARENTS IN AIR NATIONAL GUARD: My dad was gone for like 80 days.
CARROLL: -- you realize there's something special about the children here.
BAILEY GRULLON, FATHER IN AIR FORCE: My dad is deploying in a few weeks for Iraq.
CARROLL: Bailey Grullon is 12. Bradley Vion just 10. They're part of "Camp Operation Purple." Here, every child has a parent in the military who is or will be deployed.
CARROLL (on camera): Does that help to have other kids around you like that?
VION: Yes, it does. Because like they know what you're going through like at times when they're gone for a really long time and you're stressed out because they're not in the country.
CARROLL: The National Military Family Association started camps like this back in 2004. They had 12 then. Now they have 68 all over the country.
CARROLL (voice-over): The association says right now 155,000 children have a parent deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan. Both of Bradley's parents are in the Air Force and have been deployed four times.
CARROLL (on camera): How would you describe what that's like for you when your dad says "I've good to go and get on a plane." "I've got to go."
VION: Well, it's not really with a warning, so it's kind of like you're in shock. So --
CARROLL (voice-over): One study showing children whose parents are deployed are more likely to suffer from anxiety and emotional problems. "Operation Purple" helps in part by surrounding them with other children in the same situation.
Bailey Grullon's father leaves for Iraq in two weeks, his fifth deployment.
GRULLON: And I'm talking to everybody about it. My counselors, some -- even little kids. They said, oh, have your parents been deployed? I'm like, yes. And, like, oh, how do you feel? And I go, I'm sad, daddy's going. I'm like, oh, I know how you feel.
CARROLL: Support from the Sierra Club makes this week long camp possible for children like Bailey and Brandon (sic). But over time, finding funding has gotten harder.
BAILEY BERNIUS, NATIONAL MILITARY FAMILIES OF AMERICA: I mean, we're pretty far along in these wars, and at first, you know, there's -- there was a lot of interest and a lot of concern, support. But just because it's been a few years, it doesn't mean that there aren't still families that are dealing with it.
CARROLL: One way that helps these children cope is knowing their parents are doing something honorable.
GRULLON: I guess I'm feeling a little sad, but I guess just kind of proud that he's going because I know that he's going to be doing stuff for our country.
CARROLL: Well, the camp is one week and it's free and it's so popular, the National Military Family Association actually has to turn some families away because there's simply not enough space for all the demand that they're getting.
CHETRY: So, each week, a different group of campers go?
CARROLL: Each week in different places across the country, there are a different group of campers. With the help of the Sierra Club, they help make things like this possible. Private donations help as well.
ROBERTS: As you said, so many years into this war, the funding starts to run a little bit thin.
CARROLL: And you know why, John? Because people forget.
CARROLL: People simply just forget there are all of these people going through, you heard, fourth and fifth tours. And they leave children behind. So, you know, the longer that we go on with these wars, you know, the more strain it puts on these families. But at least there are some camps out there that are trying to help.
ROBERTS: Great look at that program for us this morning. Thanks, Jason.
CHETRY: Thanks as well.
It's 31 minutes past the hour -- a look at our top stories this morning.
Engineers monitoring BP's newly capped well have detected a substance seeping from the seafloor near the Deepwater Horizon. The government is now demanding that BP monitor the seabed and prepare to reopen the containment cap to relieve pressure on the well if necessary.
ROBERTS: The Treasury Department's rush to shut down car dealerships and save G.M. and Chrysler may have ended up costing tens of thousands of jobs. That's in a new report from the man in charge of tracking the bailout program. The Treasury says it disagrees with the audit and that the closures were necessary for the company's survival and to avoid losing hundreds of thousands of additional jobs.
CHETRY: Well, his presidential bid failed. Now, Joe Biden will have to pay a $219,000 fine for violating campaign spending rules. The Federal Election Commission says Biden's 2008 campaign accepted contributions above the legal limit.
A Biden spokesman says that the ruling is, quote, "commonplace" and that a repayment check to the Treasury Department will be in the mail.
ROBERTS: The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is in Pakistan this morning, unveiling a $7.5 billion aid package. But the focus here is not on military aid.
CHETRY: Instead, these projects target the country's water and power shortages along with its struggling economy. Washington is trying to win hearts and minds in Pakistan, and a key part of the Obama administration's strategy to turn things around has to do with that across the border in Afghanistan.
So, for more, let's bring in our Reza Sayah. He's live for us in Islamabad this morning.
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran.
The U.S. desperately needs Pakistan as an effective friend in the fight against militants. And when you need a friend, oftentimes, you have to be nice to the friend, you have to say nice things about the friend, and you have to help the friend. That's what Mrs. Clinton is here doing in the federal capital of Islamabad. She's trying to win as many hearts and minds as possible by spending billions of dollars of U.S. aid money.
This morning in Islamabad, Mrs. Clinton announcing dozens of projects and plans designed to specifically address Pakistan's biggest needs -- among them, the energy shortage, a water shortage, and jobs. Among the plans: construction projects for hydroelectric dams, hospitals, revamping Pakistan's aging power grid. One of the plans is designed to increase exports of Pakistan's world famous mangos. That plan, the U.S. is hoping, will create jobs.
Here's Mrs. Clinton earlier today in her news conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We know that there is a perception held by too many Pakistanis that America's commitment to them begins and ends with security. But, in fact, our partnership with Pakistan goes far beyond security. It is economic, political, educational, cultural, historical, rooted in family ties. That this misperception has persisted for so long tells us we have not done a good enough job of connecting our partnership with concrete improvements in the lives of Pakistanis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAYAH: Now, keep in mind, the bigger picture here is the fight against extremists in this region. The Obama administration has said over and over again, there will never be any success, any progress across the border in Afghanistan without the help of Pakistan, without Pakistan doing more against militants across the Afghan-Pakistan border that are fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan. Getting Pakistan to do that hasn't always been easy for the U.S. There's a huge trust deficit here and there's anti-American sentiments that are running rampant.
With these programs and with Pakistani mangos, Mrs. Clinton is hoping to change that -- John, Kiran.
ROBERTS: Those mangos are good, I can attest to that myself. Reza Sayah for us in Islamabad this morning -- Reza, thanks so much.
Next up on the Most News in the Morning: the nation's intelligence apparatus. Out of control? A new report out is raising serious questions. Fran Townsend joins us next to break it all down for us.
It's 35 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Thirty-nine minutes now after the hour.
A top-secret intel community is growing out of control, too big to fit into 22 U.S. capitals or almost three Pentagons. That's what a two-year-long "Washington Post" investigation into the post-9/11 world has uncovered and no one knows how much it's costing or whether it's even working.
CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend was homeland security advisor to President Bush. She worked in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration and she is now a member of the CIA's external advisory board.
Fran, good to see you this morning.
So, this three-part series in "The Washington Post," much anticipated -- as we said, two years in the making. How's the administration -- how's the intelligence community feeling about this report coming out now?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: You know, John, this has been sort of an open secret in Washington. Remember, the executive branch of government, the intelligence community in particular, doesn't get their money on their own. It's appropriated by Congress. And so, you know, there are many people here in Washington who understood very well the growth of the intelligence community.
Let's remember, you know, after the end of the Cold War, the intelligence community budget had been sharply reduced. They had lost people. They were understaffed.
And so, 9/11 happens and there's this influx of money. Well, much of that money, particularly in the counterterrorism community, is one-year money because it's done by what's called supplemental. That means it's not in the regular budget.
And so, how do you spend that money, how do you get the capability quickly? You hire contractors. And that's really what the article is about.
ROBERTS: You know, it's one thing to grow the intelligence community, but then it's another thing to make sure that it's all functioning well together. And one of the findings of this "Washington Post" article, if we can quote it, it's quote -- it says, "No one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work."
There's a suggestion here that this may have grown out of control, has it?
TOWNSEND: Well, I don't think it's fair to say it's grown out of control. I do think what you see is there are pockets of excellence around the intelligence community. Unfortunately, as we've seen, whether it's the Christmas Day attempted bombing or the Fort Hood shooting, they're not all talking to one another. They're not all sharing the information.
Do they have the actual knowledge we need them to have to prevent these things? And that's a right concern. But again, that's why the government established the director of national intelligence. That's really the job of the director to manage the enterprise that has become our intelligence community.
ROBERTS: OK. You mention the Fort Hood shooter, the Christmas Day bomber. You know, those were areas where either somebody fell through the cracks or certain things were missed, you know, why didn't Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab end up on the no-fly list before he tried to set up that bomb? Why was that his seatmate who discovered the plot as opposed to one of the many intelligence agencies?
This report found 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances. There are 1,931 private companies working on counterterrorism and intelligence, along with government organizations. How is it that you can have this many people, this many agencies and organizations all looking into this and still these things are falling through the cracks?
TOWNSEND: Well, John, I think Americans, as they read this article, will share your frustration because what it means is, the more people you have working on it, the more likely it is that somebody won't have told the right other person in the community. And we work very hard, when I was in government, to increase information sharing.
But, you know, the article goes -- describes in real detail Mike Leiter, head of the -- director of National Counterterrorism Center, has six hard drives under his desk. He's got to check all these different databases and he logs it as a success that his e-mail is on a single computer.
That doesn't have to be that way. Those are turf battles and turf wars that need to go away for the good of our security.
TOWNSEND: And, again, it needs a strong director of national intelligence.
ROBERTS: Yes. The article makes the point that those six hard drives under his desk, they're not talking to each other, they're all from separate databases.
What about the revolving door in the intelligence community where, you know, young people in their 20s or early 30s are brought in to an analyst position at the CIA, they're making somewhere between $40,000 or $60,000 a year, then they are plucked away by a private security firm, their salaries are tripled. And then a couple of years later, they come back to the CIA and say -- OK, I've gained all this experience in the real world out there, how much are you going to pay me to come back?
TOWNSEND: That's right, John. And this has been a real problem. When Mike Hayden was director of the CIA, he put a cooling- off period. In other words, if you left the CIA and went to a private contractor, before you could come back and work as a CIA contractor, there was a cooling-off period of, I think, it was a year.
I know when I left the government, there was a two-year cooling-off period. That was required, in my case, by Congress. And I think we're going to see Congress take a look at this now about the revolving door problem. You know, after all, when people leave the government with a top-secret clearance, that's worth substantial amounts of money --
ROBERTS: Oh, yes.
TOWNSEND: -- on the outside to these private contractors.
ROBERTS: All right. Well, we look forward to seeing the reaction on Capitol Hill today from this article and over the next couple of days as well.
Fran Townsend, it's always great to see you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.
TOWNSEND: Thanks, John.
CHETRY: All right. Well, it's 44 minutes past the hour. Jacqui Jeras is in for Rob this morning. She's going to have a look at the morning's travel forecast, extreme heat in many parts of the country. She's going to update us after the break.
Also, in 10 minutes, will jail and rehab be Lindsay Lohan's ticket to movie success? We're going to hear why some say her career is far from over despite her legal troubles.
CHETRY: Look at Columbus Circle this morning, New York City at 47 minutes past the hour now. Right now, it's 78 degrees with some clouds. A little bit later, 88 degrees, and this afternoon, we could be looking at some thunderstorms in the area.
ROBERTS: Sure was a hot weekend here as well.
CHETRY: Oh, yes.
ROBERTS: It was nice to get out, though.
CHETRY: It was super hot, and the triathlon was this weekend. And there were some people that had to be hospitalized because of the heat.
ROBERTS: Yes. Once they get in critical condition -- or Sanjay Gupta participated in that. He's going to join us later on this morning to talk about that whole experience. Time now, though, for an "AM House Call," stories about your health.
How about getting your flu vaccine in a patch instead of a shot? Emory University and Georgia Tech Researchers are working on it. The vaccine patch is made up of micron needles. Don't worry, they're not very big. They're less than a millimeter in Length. The slap it on like a Band-Aid, and it dissolves the flu vaccine into the skin. They had success with experiments in mice and are now working on a patch for larger animals and eventually potentially one for humans.
CHETRY: Take the shot for now. Micro needles? No way.
ROBERTS: Come on, just a little patch. Just slap it on.
CHETRY: I guess so. Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Time to get a check of this morning's weather headlines. Our Jacqui Jeras is in the Extreme Weather Center for us. And, we're looking at more of the same today, left over from the weekend?
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, in a lot of places, you know. Our weather pattern is going to be kind of similar throughout the work week ahead. And we're going to see a lot of stormy weather across the upper Midwest, couple in the northeast for you and the heat really still kind of gripping much of the nation especially central parts. So, we'll start you out across the upper Midwest and where we have clusters of thunderstorms rumbling on through, no watches at this time but a lot of lightning and some torrential downpours. In fact, you could pick up a good one to two inches in just a short period of time today.
Now, the northeast, you can see your thunderstorms just off to the west of Philadelphia as well as New York City. We'll expect to see more thunderstorms developing this afternoon, probably mid afternoon. Some of those could be severe. Just a slight risk in the northeast but a moderate risk across parts of Iowa and into Nebraska. We could see more of that large hail, maybe even up to baseball-sized ones again as well as isolated tornadoes. On the south side of that front, yes, we're still dealing with the heat. Advisories in effect from Kansas City down toward Tulsa, feeling like 100 to 112 at times. And New York City, you, guys, also had the heat advisory for all five boroughs. It's going to be more like mid 90s, but depending on the timing of those thunderstorms, that could help you out a little bit and make you feel a little bit cooler. But there you can see all the 90s. That's weather in the upper Midwest if can you stay north of those thunderstorms where highs will be in the mid 70s. Guys, I was in Milwaukee this weekend, can I tell you how gorgeous, no humidity. It was just great this weekend.
ROBERTS: Very nice.
CHETRY: Those were few spots across the country that were that nice. You got lucky.
ROBERTS: This morning's top stories just minutes away now including, they're calling it seepage. What could be another major setback at the site of the Gulf oil leak and why that cap may have to come off? Why this development may be the worst case scenario come true?
CHETRY: And white-collar crimes committed behind bars. How prisoners have conned the IRS out of millions. The red flags blocked by red tape, and how it's costing all of us. Those stories and much more at the top of the hour.
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LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ACTOR: You're actually in the middle of the workshop right now. This is your first lesson.
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CHETRY: Wow. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.
"Inception" getting a terrific reception at the box office and also some pretty good reviews as well. The highly anticipated thriller starring Leonardo Dicaprio debut at number one this weekend earning $60.4 million in ticket sales, then the animated comedy, "Despicable Me," was second with $32.7 million. See that, it's like (ph) here. Also, the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" finishing third making just $17.4 million in its first weekend. There you go.
Lindsay Lohan is scheduled to begin serving her 90-day jail sentence tomorrow.
ROBERTS: She may be in the midst of what would appear to be a low point in her life. Some predict that her career actually can be heading toward new highs. Yes, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. Our Kareen Wynter explains.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The courtroom meltdown --
LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I'm not taking this as a joke. It's my life.
WYNTER: To controversial photo shoots. Lindsay Lohan's life off screen has been anything but picture-perfect. Now slapped with rehab and a jail sentence for violating probation after a 2007 DUI.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new legal bombshell!
WYNTER: Many wonder if Lohan's once fast-tracked career can survive this latest crash. The director of Lohan's upcoming film "Inferno" says don't write her off just yet.
MATTHEW WILDER, DIRECTOR, "INFERNO": There's so much untapped power there.
WYNTER: Matthew Wilder says once the smoke clears, Lohan's career will reignite.
WILDER: The people who are putting money into the movie redoubled their commitment and called the same day and said, you know, we're on, we're doing this, we're not going to do it with anybody else.
WYNTER: But for now, that movie is on hold.
How crucial is it for you as a director of this film that she gets ready to work when she's done with rehab.
WILDER: Just my knowledge of people who have going through this kind of stuff is that the thing you'll be thinking about while you're going through all that stuff. You're going to want to get out and work and get into your life and not kind of stay on the sidelines.
WYNTER: Besides "Inferno" where Lohan plays 1970s porn star Linda Lovelace, she's also attached to the thriller "Machete" set for September release. But industry insiders say it will take a lot more than that for the troubled starlet to regain her status as a bankable actress.
MARVET BRITTO, THE BRITTO AGENCY: Sharing (ph) companies and studios don't want to hire liabilities. They want to hire assets. And right now, Lindsay is solely a liability.
WYNTER: Public relations and brand strategist, Marvet Britto, admits it only takes one hit to have Hollywood talking again, and PR guru, Howard Bragman agrees.
HOWARD BRAGMAN, PR GURU: Her value as a working actor is not what it was a few years ago. But at the same time, she's going to have to take interesting roles, get critical acclaim for them, amd then she can re-evolve.
WYNTER: "Mean Girls" may have put Lohan on the map, but Britto cautions, these days, there are plenty of young stars sinking their teeth into the competition.
BRITTO: With the success of "Twilight" and other properties, there's a lot of talent out there. So, for Lindsay, I think she really should step away, focus on what made her captivating and see if she can really bring some of those fans that she had -- seemingly loved her in the beginning, see if she can recapture that same shine.
WYNTER: Wilder predicts Lohan's portrayal of film like infamous porn star will wow audiences and perhaps silence critics.
WILDER: You'll see it in every scene. If there's like anything good to all of these who are roars and all of these troubles, I think it's now. I think those things in a horrible way that kind of make you a better artist.
WYNTER (on-camera): And when you look at artists like Robert Downey, Jr. and Mickey Rourke who made amazing come back despite their legal problems, Wilder say this hiatus for Lohan may actually be a good thing -- John, Kiran.
ROBERTS: Kareen Wynter for us this morning.
CHETRY: I don't know what to say.
ROBERTS: I mean, it's a sad fact of life that circulation of the "National Enquirer" is higher than "The New York Times" has been traditionally.
CHETRY: Yes, I don't think (ph) that they bother to cover her --
ROBERTS: I guess, that's why Lindsay Lohan keeps coming back. There you go.
Top stories coming your way right after the break. It's 57 minutes after the hour. Stay with us.