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Charter Bus Crashes In Southern Pennsylvania; Stubenville, Ohio Rape Trial Continues; Pentagon Announces Major Missile Defense Expansion; Jodi Arias Trial To Resume Monday
Aired March 16, 2013 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I am Fredricka Whitfield. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Our top stories that we are following, at least two people are dead following a charter bus crash in southern Pennsylvania. The bus was carrying members of the Seton Hill University women's lacrosse team, 23 people were on board. Everyone was taken to a hospital.
Joining me now so the phone is Megan Silverstram with the Cumberland County department of public safety.
So, Megan, do you have any understanding what caused this crash?
MEGAN SILVERSTRAM, CUMBERLAND COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY (via phone): Not at this time. The Pennsylvania state police are actively investigating. They are still on the scene with reconstruction crews and a forensics team looking into that.
WHITFIELD: Is it your understanding this bus was on its way to a match?
SILVERSTRAM: Yes, they were on their way to a lacrosse tournament at Millersville University, in Pennsylvania.
WHITFIELD: And what was the distance? How far had they been traveling?
SILVERSTRAM: We sit at about a middle point in their travels in Carlisle. So, it is the middle -- they were coming from the western portion of the state heading to the eastern portion and we sit right in the middle.
WHITFIELD: OK. How about weather? Was that a factor? I look at the videotape. I see a few snow flurries. But, is it an issue potentially, you know, of the streets being treacherous, of ice on the roads, anything to that nature?
SILVERSTRAM: That's definitely something that they will look into throughout their investigation. We are experiencing rainy conditions and some snow off and on throughout the area. So, it is definitely a factor they will look into. But, we don't have any confirmation at this time.
WHITFIELD: All right. And, Megan, everyone on board that bus has been transported to a hospital. What can you tell us about the injuries?
SILVERSTRAM: Well, they were minor to severe. A few folks are treated and released, but we do have individuals still being treated in the hospital. One individual was killed on the scene at the accident and then we have another individual who died later at the hospital. And we have just released their information Anthony Guaetta from - 61-years-old from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was driver of the bus. He was killed on the scene and Kristina Quigley, 30-years-old of Greensburg, Pennsylvania died and she was approximately six months pregnant and her unborn child did not survive.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my God. Terribly tragic.
All right. Thank you so much, Megan Silverstram, with the Cumberland County department of public safety. Tragic situation on the Pennsylvania roadways.
All right, we turn now to the northeastern section of Ohio and a rape trial involving two high school football stars accused of attacking a 16-year-old girl. The defense put several witnesses on the stand today hoping to bolster the case of the two players.
Poppy Harlow is outside the courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're about halfway through day four of testimony in the Steubenville rape trial that has captured the nation's attention. Two teenaged high school football players accused of raping a 16-year-old girl at a series of parties back in August.
Today, it has been all about the defense for the first time the defense has been able to call some of its witnesses and it has called three so far today. The first two witnesses both teenage girls, both saying they were best friends with the alleged victim until after this incident saying they're no longer friends with her.
They testified about what happened that evening, how intoxicated the girl was. The defense here by calling these witnesses really trying to get at the alleged victim's past actions, how she was acting with these two boys the night of the parties. And many of the questions they asked about the alleged victims history and past were not even allowed in court. The judge would not allow the witness to answer those questions. But, they did ask -- they were able to ask some questions about how she interacted with the two boys that night. One of the witnesses saying she was flirting with Ma'lik Richmond at one of the parties and saying she was interested in Trent Mays asking have you kissed him yet and the alleged victim saying no, not yet.
Now, a key witness for the defense was an expert witness that also called today, Dr. Kim Fromme from the University of Texas, a clinical psychologist. She focuses on the impact of alcohol intake on behavior and cognition. She said that she looked at a lot of the evidence surrounding the case including testimony, including the statement given by the alleged victim to police and she said that looking at all of that she said; quote "given my estimates of her blood alcohol level, it seems very clear that an alcohol induced blackout could account for memory loss. But she said that you can do things knowing your doing them during a blackout. That was interesting to hear.
She went on to say in her testimony, quote, "I would conclude that she, being the alleged victim was capable of engaging in voluntary decisions that night given her alcohol level that this expert estimated."
However, on cross-examination of this expert witness, the prosecution asked if she was shown any of the photos that have been widely circulated online and in this trial of the alleged victim that night. She said no, she had not seen any of those photos and then asked by the prosecution, quote "if she was sexually assaulted during this blackout, she would not remember, right?" And the witness said right. But noted she also wouldn't remember if she consented. So, that's where it lies at this point. Many more witnesses still to take the stand.
Poppy Harlow, CNN, Steubenville, Ohio.
WHITFIELD: All right, Poppy. Thank you so much.
We turn now to threats from North Korea which are forcing a change in U.S. national security. The Pentagon has announced a major expansion in missile defense.
CNN's Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence has more.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Fred, the Pentagon plans to spend up to a billion dollars to beef up its missile defense system, but the big question is will these missiles actually work?
LAWRENCE (voice-over): If a nuclear miss sell ever fired at the United States, this is the best hope to stop it, 30 interceptor missiles which can be launched from ground Silos in Alaska and California. Now, the Pentagon is deploying up to 14 more.
CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The reason that we're doing what we're doing and the reason we're advancing our program here for homeland security is to not take any chances, is to stay ahead of the threat.
LAWRENCE: North Korea tested a long-range missile in December and conducted its third nuclear test in February. And just this month threatened a preemptive nuclear strike on the U.S. that caught the Pentagon's attention.
JAMES MILLER, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE IN POLICY: North Korea public pronouncements underscore the need for the U.S. to continue to take prudent steps to defeat any future North Korean ICBM.
LAWRENCE: But, as far back as the state of the union speech, President Obama said that U.S. would --
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Strengthen our missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats.
LAWRENCE: But, Republican congressional sources say the president's actions have been anything but firm. In 2011, the administration moth balled one Alaskan missile field arguing intelligence showed there wasn't enough of a threat. A short-sighted move says congressional sources, quote, "the Intel didn't change, this is right where we expected North Korea to be." And that is in possession of a missile that could travel nearly 5,000 miles in theory since North Korea never successfully launched a long-range ICBM.
STEVEN PIFER, DIRECTOR, BROOKINGS ARMS CONTROL INSTITUTE: I think what you see here is mainly a political signal that North Korea, that no one is going to be intimidated by the December launch and the subsequent nuclear test.
LAWRENCE: The existing interceptors have had technological problems and haven't performed as planned. The Pentagon is testing a new missile and won't buy the additional 14 until officials are sure they can fly.
JOE CIRINCIONE, PLOUGHSHARES FRAUD: We spend $10 billion a year on missile defense. We spend about 250 billion of the last few decades. We still don't/ aren't anywhere close to a system that can protect the United States from a determined adversary. Yes, I am saying we're wasting our money.
LAWRENCE: The Pentagon expects these 14 missiles to be ready to go by the year 2017. And officials are scouting locations for a potential third large site on the east coast of the United States -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much.
All right. It is the last day of that big meeting of conservatives called CPAC. Sarah Palin not only took on Democrats but she chastised the Republican establishment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They talked about rebuilding the party. How about rebuilding the middle class? They talk about rebranding the GOP instead of restoring the trust of the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Mark Preston is our political director.
All right. She was given an awful lot of time there speaking during the CPAC more than anybody else of the day. Were there any unexpected moments?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know, Fred, you know the likes of Sara Palin and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul certainly got a lot of applause and a lot of attention here at CPAC. But CPAC is really about the future in some ways in giving folks such as this gentleman, this Ben Carson, an opportunity to come on the main stage. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CARSON, PEDIATRIC NEUROSURGEON CHIEF, JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL: In 106 days, I will be retiring. And, you know, I will be 62 years old in September and I strongly believe there is a reason that pilots are asked to retire before they start crashing airplanes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can see.
CARSON: So, I much rather quit while I am at the top of my game. And there is so many more things that can be done. You know, I am very dedicated to education of the next generation. And I encourage everybody to go to Carsoncollege.org and look us up and see how you can involve. Once we get that thing here, who knows, I will just say, I'm only interested in the brain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON: In there, you have Ben Carson. He is a pediatric director of neurosurgery up at Johns Hopkins. He said he is going to leave his medical practice and he is going to focus on something on the future. What is the future? Very well could be politics.
Now, what is interesting about Dr. Carson, he is very critical of President Obama, not only was he critical today here at CPAC, but he was critical of President Obama during the national prayer breakfast President Obama was sitting on the diet when he was critical of the policies. This could be the new face in the conservative movements - Fred.
WHITFIELD: Wow. OK. So now, let's talk about the straw poll vote that will taking place in the names on that, the names that seem to be in the lead.
PRESTON: Yes. Well, certainly, 23 names on the straw poll ballot. We will hear the results in the next couple of hours. But, what was really important for the likes of Rand Paul, there are a lot of young people here at CPAC. And some people think he is trying to win the straw poll.
Same with Rick Santorum because this is a meeting of conservatives, a lot of social conservatives here, a win in the straw poll could help their campaign. Although, neither had said they're absolutely running for president, they certainly have it in their sights.
Now, Chris Christie was not invited to speak, nor with Bob McDonald. Their names are on the ballot, but by in large, the winner of today straw poll doesn't necessarily mean they will be the Republican nominee in 2016 -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Right. It just a method in which to put the feelers out so to speak.
All right, thanks so much. Mark Preston, appreciate it.
All right, the winning streak goes on for the Miami Heat. The team now has 21 straight victories and the third longest winning streak in NBA history, last night the heat down the Milwaukee bucks 107-94. That puts the NBA champs one win away from tying the second longest winning streak and the top scorers are no surprise, Lebron James and Chris Bosch, each storing 28 points and Dwayne Wade adding 20 more.
All right, the jury in Jodi Arias trial asked her more than 200 questions. What the questions say about what the jurors might be thinking next.
Plus, a 911 or I am sorry a 9/11 widow is criticizing the TSA's new policy to allow small pocket knives on planes and now she is working to add more protections on flights.
And one family's nightmare of a flight. Their dog ended up on the wrong plane. We will tell you where it ended up straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: The Jodi Arias trial resumes Monday. She spent the last 18 days on the stand trying to convince jurors she killed her ex- boyfriend in self-defense. So are they buying her theory?
I asked HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST, JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: These juror questions show they are not buying the story. They don't buy the fog. Their questions were hostile. They were sarcastic and Arizona jurors (INAUDIBLE) so they asked more than 200 of them. And if I were Jodi Arias after hearing those questions which some of them were like hey, why should we believe you now when you lied so much before? I would be rocking in the fetal position or back in my cell and wondering what am I going to do because that doesn't look good.
WHITFIELD: I almost wonder, are these really probing questions or were some of these questions them from the jurors almost like revealing themselves of this is a way I think this case is playing out?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It is almost like we got a window into the jurors' minds halfway through the trial. A lot of people think jurors shouldn't be allowed to ask questions but they are allowed to ask questions in Arizona.
So, I think it actually gives the defense an opportunity now to try to turn the ship around of the defense case is still ongoing. They have a psychologist and an expert in battered woman's syndrome going to try to convince these jurors that yes, after Jodi Arias shot Travis Alexander, she did go into a fog because that's what they didn't believe, selective amnesia, convenient amnesia. And the prosecutor was very sarcastic about all the fog is rolling in.
So, if they can get the psychologist to convince the jurors that no, hey, even cops sometimes go into an amnesia state after they have shot someone. It is not that uncommon. That could help her. And also to convince the jurors she was indeed a battered woman because I don't think they're buying that either.
WHITFIELD: So, a sort of post traumatic stress, but then prior to that yes, you have to prove this battered woman or, you know, victimization as, you know, one who is abused by her boyfriend. How do they do that? Is this purely going to be based on testimony?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what's so interesting is they have a woman who has been an advocate for battered women taking the stand as a domestic violence expert to argue on Jodi's behalf as an expert witness that she was a battered woman.
Now, a lot of actual battered women are very furious to Jodi Arias her saying she is basically giving them a bad name and trying to use kinky sex games and equate that with being a battered woman. They are two totally different things. And so, what she is hanging her hat on is that sex tape, that raunchy sex tape where the victim, Travis Alexander, said things to like I'm going to tie to you a tree and bleep you. I'm going to do all sorts of degrading things to you. So, she is making a leap from that to, oh, I was a battered woman.
The only corroboration that is provided is the tape. There is no other - she never called police. There is no records. There is no photos of her bruises or being beaten by him.
WHITFIELD: This is her word against --
WHITFIELD: No one else's really.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Except for him testifying beyond the grave for her in the form of that sex tape.
WHITFIELD: It seems though, prosecution that would be concerned, there is a relationship that is being built between she and the jurors given she has been up there so long and the audience that you talk about, the fascination with the case people are riveted and her participation. So, it almost seems like that would bode well for the defense.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I say never, ever, ever predict what is in a juror's mind even despite these questions. Look at the Casey Anthony case. All the talking heads say she is going away, she walked. And you're right, 18 days on the stand, her answering their questions, that creates an intimacy. They have a relationship Jodi Arias to these jurors. But then, they also say familiarity breeds contempt. So, you don't know whether they have gotten to know her so much now they officially hate her.
WHITFIELD: Jane Velez-Mitchell, thank you so much. VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: Good to see you.
All right, this is a big weekend for college basketball. I am talking about March madness, but what is all of this madness about anyway? We break it down for you next.
KAKENYA NTAIYA, CNN HERO: I avoided the ceremony as far as I could. Most of the Maasai girls undergo this mutilation when they are 12. I really liked going to school. I knew that once I go to the cutting I am going to be married off and my dream of becoming a teacher was going to end. My mind said drawn away but I had to face my dad and say I would only go through the cutting if he lets me go back to school.
It was done in the morning using a very old rusty knife with no anesthesia. I can never forget that day. Eventually, I was the first girl in my community to go to college in the U.S.
I am Kakenya Ntaiya, and I return to my village to start a school for girls so they, too, can achieve their full potential.
When they start at school they are very shy, but over time you see them very confident.
How are you class?
They are doing very well. It is the most exciting thing. Our walk is about empowering the girls. These girls are saying no to being cut and dreaming of becoming lawyers, teachers, doctors.
My daughter will do better than my son.
Why should you work hard to achieve your goals?
I came back to the girls in my community don't have to negotiate like I did to achieve their dreams. That's why I wake up every morning.
WHITFIELD: Oh, boy, that time again. Already, March Madness is kicking off tomorrow with selection Sunday. That's when the country's top college teams are selected and seated for the annual basketball tournament. But, it can be rather hard; we will trick you, that is, to keep track of it all.
So, CNN's Matt Weiner breaks it all down for us.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATT WEINER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: March madness is really a nickname for the NCAA men's division I basketball tournament. It is also a description of phenomenon which happens every March which is why people are interested in the first place because it really is sort of insanity in the world of college basketball.
There are well over 300 divisions I basketball programs within the NCAA. There are 68 teams that get in each year, 31 by what is called automatic qualification or automatic qualifiers by virtue of winning in their conference either in the regular season or through a tournament. The other teams, the other 37 are so-called at large bids. It is a little trickier who gets in and who doesn't. There is a selection committee that looks over the resumes of each and every one of the teams available to play in the NCAA tournament and deems 37 of them worthy of the tournament.
The bracket itself for most people is the physical piece of paper you hold in your office pool when you try to determine who the winners are of the tournament. As you look at a bracket, you see 32 teams on either side of it which then whittle themselves down to 32 teams and 16 and then eight, et cetera, all the way to a final four and then of course the final two teams who play for the national championship.
People tune in to watch March Madness first and foremost I think because it is a compelling sporting event and there is a lot of drama inherent to those games. But, it would be naive to suggest that gambling doesn't play a significant role in the popularity of the sport.
The estimates I have seen are that there are something like $2.5 billion wagered each year on the NCAA tournament and most of that is illegal betting. It is tolerated largely because it is in the form of low stakes office pools.
There are a million methods. You can pour overall the data you want to. You can look into trends. You can look into match ups between coaches, match ups between players, schools, conferences, and you can employ the which mascot would win in a fight method if you like.
I have always thought if Notre Dame is in the tournament, I am hesitant to pick against them on St. Patrick's Day. Does that matter? I don't know. My advice, don't think too much about it. Go with your gut and have fun.
WHITFIELD: All right, it is all about fun. So, you can test your bracket skills against me in the official NCAA March Madness bracket challenge game. Go to www.CNN.com/brackets and then join the CNN group to put your bracket skills to the test. We will be following them along the way.
All right, vacations cut short for thousands of carnival cruise ships after two ships run into problems this week. So, what happens if something like this were to happen to you? What are your rights as a passenger? We have advice straight ahead.
And an Arizona family may think twice before they put their dog on another flight. We will tell you what happened next.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back to the NEWSROOM. I'm Fredericka Whitfield. A look at what's trending online right now.
Rapper Lil' Wayne is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a seizure. He tweeted to his fans "I am good, everybody, thanks for the prayers and love." This is Weezy's second trip to the hospital because of seizures this week.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and the celebrations have already begun. One of the biggest in Savannah, Georgia. Historians say this is the city's 200th St. Patrick's Day parade.
And Hendricks the Springer Spaniel almost made St. Paddy's Day in Ireland. That's because an airline cargo mix up sent him to Dublin instead of Phoenix, Arizona. United Airlines acted quickly when it realized the error and got Hendricks back to the U.S. and his family. That's one happy dog.
All right. President Obama has spent this past week trying to end gridlock in Washington. He went to Capitol Hill for three straight days of meetings with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, trying to exercise his so-called charm offensive. The president says he hopes to reach a deal on the budget. But critics say his meetings were all for show. I asked White House press secretary Jay Carney what the president thinks about that criticism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has enjoyed very much his meetings on Capitol Hill this week. He met with House Republicans, Senate Republicans, House and Senate Democrats. Following up on a series of meetings and conversations he has been having over the last several weeks with lawmakers and focusing especially on those Republicans who have expressed interest in finding common ground on a host of issues, including our budget challenges.
And what he is looking for is you know, agreement on the principle if we go for a bigger deal to reduce our deficit that we need to do it in a balanced way, the way the American people say they want it done. And that means additional spending cuts and savings from entitlement reforms, as the president has proposed, coupled with savings from tax reform by closing loopholes and special tax breaks for the well-off and well-connected and using the revenue generated from that to help pay down our deficit. That's the way we should be doing it. That's the way the American people want it done, not just Democrats and independents but Republicans outside of Washington.
And he is at least hopeful that engaging with Republicans on this issue with those who say they're interested in finding common ground, we might be able to produce a compromise. And that would be a good thing for the American economy and a good thing for the American middle class.
WHITFIELD: Are there any indicators at this juncture there is some common ground being found?
CARNEY: Well, again, I think you saw prior to the president's dinner with a group of Republican senators - that a handful of senators were on the record -- Republicans saying they would be willing to consider a balanced approach. Consider revenue from tax reform, coupled with savings generated with entitlement reform. And that's essentially the president's position and what he has put forward in his proposal, so we'll see.
The gap is wide. And we saw with the House Republican budget proposal presented this week by chairman Paul Ryan that there are - there is a huge chasm in terms of the president's view and the view of a lot of folks in the country and also in the Senate versus the House Republican view, which is basically to have all of the burden of deficit reduction be borne by senior citizens, by voucherizing Medicare, by families that depend on assistance for education and assistance for helping their elderly parents and nursing homes. Basically asking all of those folks to pay for deficit reduction while giving a $5.7 trillion tax cut, most of which goes to the wealthy.
I mean, not only does the president think it is a bad idea, the American public overwhelmingly thinks it is a bad idea. And the American public thought it was a bad idea last year when the Republicans campaigned on it and were defeated in the polls on November 6th.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: White House press secretary Jay Carney there.
The president has a lot on his plate, domestic matters, international matters. Next week, he'll be heading to Israel.
All right. Actress Valerie Harper is suffering from a terminal brain cancer. Next, she tells our Piers Morgan where she finds the strength to face her last days.
WHITFIELD: Actress Valerie Harper has a terminal type of brain cancer. The actress won the hearts of millions of television viewers playing Rhoda on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Well, doctors have given her as little as three months to live. During an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan earlier this week, Harper reflected on some of the most memorable moments of her life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIE HARPER, ACTRESS: Oh, my goodness, my husband telling me that he thought we should adopt.
(LAUGHTER) HARPER: Because I great -- make a great mother. That was a nice one. And other -- the achievements, being directed by Paul Newman. Who wouldn't want to look into those blue eyes?
HARPER: Just there have been -- there have been milestones all along. But I guess, biggest of all, was just having Tony Cacciotti in my life, at my side, at my back, helping me in every way possible. Enjoying life with me and traveling and all the things we've done. So I guess my marriage which is ongoing, unfolding to this minute.
MORGAN: Because I've never seen anybody who -- I have known some people in my life who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition. And to most people, it would be the single most crushing thing that's ever happened to them. You have reacted in this extraordinarily positive way, which I think has really inspired people. And they're all asking the same thing. Why do you feel you get the strength to be like this?
HARPER: Well, first of all, I am almost 74. And I have had a magnificent run. The most wonderful husband in the world for 34 years, a great career. And finally, after all of these years of wanting to be a little stage actress, I got a Tony nomination in 2010. At 70 years old! What could be better?
But I really look at my life as blessed. Sure, I have had challenges and terrible things happen and loss of dear people and all of that, but I really think if we had less fear and resistance like -- a stratified thing to death, life would be happier. Everyone says brave. And I don't know that it is brave so much as what's good for Valerie to do. It feels natural for me after Tony and I talked it over that we go public. Go public once in a big way so that it is clear and people get to see how I am doing and they'll be prepared. Then they don't have to do big memorials. We've kind of -- done it.
HARPER: And I have experienced it. I mean it! I have heard all of your speeches. And I have gotten all of your love. And it is so humbling, and it is so comforting, and it is such -- so good for my spirit that you are all out there doing that, you know. Through whatever method -- even old phone calls and people saying call me back and I want to tell them I can't. I have to save my voice for more talk shows, and I will do it. I will get back to everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Wow. What an inspiration. She's touched so many.
All right, qe'll have much more of the NEWSROOM right after this.
WHITFIELD: A woman who lost her husband on 9/11 is fighting for better airline security. She wants a secondary barrier to stop attackers from forcing their way into the cockpit and taking over the aircraft. Her push comes after the TSA announced it would soon allow passengers to carry pocket knives on board. Here is Renee Marsh.
RENEE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the TSA's new knife policy has one 9/11 widow saying how dare they. She says the policy will endanger pilots like her late husband. Now, she is on Capitol Hill pushing to make it a requirement that all airplanes have a secondary barrier when the cockpit door is open in flight.
MARSH (voice-over): After September 11, the FAA mandated reinforced cockpit doors, called one of the most effective ways to protect pilots. But what happens when the doors are open? 9/11 widow Ellen Saracini knows the worst-case scenario.
ELLEN SARACINI, WIDOW OF UNITED FLIGHT 175 PILOT: The reason why Victor is not here right now is because there was a breach of the cockpit. And so I'm here today to stand for Victor, because he does not have a voice anymore.
MARSH: Her husband was captain of United Airlines Flight 175 when hijackers using small knives overpowered the flight crew and flew the plane into the World Trade Center.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Nice to meet you. How are you?
MARSH: Saracini is on Capitol Hill, pushing for more protection in the skies. With the TSA set to allow small knives on board within weeks, she says Congress needs to mandate all airplanes have this, a secondary barrier to add protection when the cockpit door is open and pilots leave for the bathroom or to get a meal.
SARACINI: Studies have shown that it takes three to five seconds to breach a cockpit. And once inside, it's two seconds and the cockpit is taken over.
HEIDI OBERNDORF, UNITED AIRLINES PILOT: I've been flying with United since 1997.
MARSH: Pilot Heidi Oberndorf says these doors give the crew extra time to react. Right now, airlines use a food cart and a flight attendant to protect the cockpit. Airlines believe their current security procedures are sufficient. But for this pilot and her union, it's not enough.
OBERNDORF: When they have tested, you know, which is more effective, again, the secondary barrier wins out every time.
MARSH: But the International Air Transport Association disagrees.
PERRY FLINT, INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: There are procedures in place for entrance and exit from the cockpit. The doors themselves are very strong. And as long as the procedures are followed, then there should not be any issue.
SARACINI: If the secondary barrier were installed on Victor's airplane, we wouldn't -- we wouldn't be talking today. We would have a safe aircraft, and no one -- and 2,973 people would not have died that day.
MARSH: Well, Saracini and the pilot's union say they believe they can get bipartisan support for a law that would make these barriers mandatory, especially in light of the TSA's new knife policy, which kicks in next month. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Rene.
From trouble in the skies to trouble on the high seas, more problems for Carnival Cruise Lines. Trouble with two more ships this week. We'll find out what you can do when a dream vacation turns into a nightmare.
And you have heard about snakes on a plane. But what about roaches on a bus? We're not talking about just one or two. We're talking about thousands of them. It happened, and it is next from our NEWSROOM.
WHITFIELD: All right. The troubles keep piling up for Carnival Cruise Lines. One ship is limping home after it had problems with its sailing speed. That happened a day after Carnival's Dream ship got stuck at port in St. Martin. Some elevators and toilets stopped working. The company has been flying thousands of passengers back to Florida.
And of course, there was last month's Carnival Triumph disaster, where thousands of passengers were stuck on board in horrible conditions. It happened for days on end.
I'm joined by Eric Dezenhall. He's written several books on crisis management and teaches at Georgetown University's business school. Good to see you, Eric.
ERIC DEZENHALL, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having me.
WHITFIELD: OK. Well, before we get to what in the world is Carnival going to do, what if I'm a passenger who has a ticket? I'm a traveler who has a ticket. I'm getting ready to go on a cruise ship. I need to know what kind of protections I have just in case something goes wrong. What is in place, or is it kind of travel at your own risk?
DEZENHALL: Well, I think that it's important before you figure out what the cure is you have to figure out what the problem is. Somebody asked me a few weeks ago if I thought that Carnival was communicating poorly. And I had to explain it was not a misuse of Twitter. It's that a few thousand people were stuck in the middle of the ocean covered in filth.
So, I think that what you have there is an operational problem. And I think in terms of what a consumer has to do, a tourists has to do, is they have to check with the with company. And the company needs to communicate in a forum where they are not necessarily overcommunicating, talking to the whole world, but speaking specifically to tourists who have a pre-existing interest in this subject matter.
WHITFIELD: So, when you say check with the company, you're saying before you even make a purchase, you need to do a little bit more research about the cruise line or what is being promised to you, what kind of services, what happens in case of emergencies? That kind of thing?
DEZENHALL: Well, I think what the company has an obligation to do when you're dealing with a marked (ph) assault or a crisis like this is you have to hold the hands of very anxious tourists who are understandably anxious. So, I imagine Carnival has operators, they have customer service people, they have a Web site. And among the things that are going to be addressed here are how some of the problems they have been having are being nipped in the bud.
WHITFIELD: In your view, is Carnival Cruise Lines in trouble? Does it have a real P.R. nightmare right on its lap?
DEZENHALL: Well, I think -- look, this is a very, very good company. These are very savvy people. Of course, they have a problem. I don't think this is necessarily one that will go on forever. But first of all, you have to realize what the problem is. It's operational, largely. So, you solve the operational problem. By that I mean if you have toilets overflowing and engines stopping, that's what has to be addressed. That's what solves the problem.
Second, I think there has to be some restitution for those consumers who are very, very angry.
And then third, you begin the process of how do you talk about it? And you have seen some of the requisite apologies. But I think you have to really be very focused in who you are talking to as opposed to turning on the TV every night and seeing massive ads apologizing. I think that's overestimated.
WHITFIELD: And I guess restitution, too, might be sending a signal, especially for your business somewhere down the line. If people see that a cruise line is handling it well or passengers whose were inconvenienced or their vacations got ruined, if there is some decent compensation, it still might secure future business, I would imagine.
DEZENHALL: Well, a vast majority of crises like this are resolved by preaching to the choir. Holding the hands of angry consumers as opposed to talking to the world. And so whether you're dealing with a Toyota that hasn't worked correctly or a cruise, you speak to the people who have an active investment in what your product is as opposed to talking to the whole world. WHITFIELD: So, Eric, we are also joined by Reid Bramblett. He's an author who's written ten travel books and runs ReidsGuides.com. Good to see you, Reid.
So, I wonder if I have a ticket for a cruise line upcoming -- it may not necessarily be on Dream or Triumph, etc. -- but I want to know how my future trip might be impacted. You know, I have a lot invested. I'm going to catch a plane or a train or drive in order to get there. But if I get there and find out the ship is not fit for the high seas, what kind of recourse do I have?
REID BRAMBLETT, FOUNDER, REIDSGUIDES.COM: Unfortunately, not much. The conditions of carriage, all that fine print that comes with your ticket, are pretty ironclad, written by the lawyers for the cruise companies.
And travel insurance isn't much of a help, either, because with travel insurance, canceling for any reason has to be done 24 hour -- 48 hours, excuse me -- in advance, anyway. So, there aren't that many things you can do to save yourself from something like this happening. Or at least not many things you can do to prevent it.
But we also shouldn't blow it out of proportion. There are more than 20 million people who cruise every year. So, even when something happens to a ship of 4,000 people like this -- and it's terrible for those people - that's still .02 percent of the people cruising -
WHITFIELD: So, in your view, this really is an anomaly. So how do you - quickly, in about 30 seconds or less, how do you do your research, find out what is the best cruise line for me? What best meets my needs?
BRAMBLETT: Well, I would say there are cruises for different types of people, lots of different styles of travel. Go to CruiseCritics.com, Cruisemates.com. These are message boards of cruisers, people who do it all the time. And they really can give you a good sense. It's like Trip Adviser just for cruising.
WHITFIELD: All right. Reid Bramblett, Eric Dezenhall, thanks so much, gentlemen to both of you. And I'm sure a lot of folks who were planning those trips on the cruise lines appreciate your advice as well.
BRAMBLETT: Thank you, Fredricka.
DEZENHALL: My pleasure.
WHITFIELD: All right. We are getting some new insight into the new leader of the Catholic Church. What hotel bills and bus rides reveal about Pope Francis. That's straight ahead.