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CNN Student News Transcript: March 13, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Explore the ramifications of one of Wall Street's biggest scams
  • Consider the role of FBI personnel who are armed with intelligence
  • Recognize some famous firsts from famous women in the 1990s
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(CNN Student News) -- March 13, 2009

Quick Guide

Madoff in Court - Explore the ramifications of one of Wall Street's biggest scams.

New Face of the FBI - Consider the role of FBI personnel who are armed with intelligence.

Women's History Month - Recognize some famous firsts from famous women in the 1990s.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome, even Friday the 13th. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Madoff in Court

AZUZ: First up, Bernard Madoff is behind bars after pleading guilty in one of the biggest scams in the history of Wall Street. "I always knew this day would come." That is what Madoff said in court yesterday when he confessed to running a Ponzi scheme. That's when the money from new investments is used to pay off earlier investors. This one ran for decades and scammed thousands of people out of billions of dollars. Madoff has confessed, but there are still lots of questions unanswered: Was anyone else involved? Will the victims ever see their money again? Samantha Hayes has the latest on the situation.

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SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN REPORTER: From Bernard Madoff in a Manhattan federal courtroom: 11 guilty pleas and words of remorse. The former NASDAQ chairman, whose Ponzi scheme bilked investors out of tens of billions of dollars, pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering, perjury and theft, among other counts. He told the court, "I cannot express how regretful I am for my crimes." But those who say they entrusted Madoff with their money say remorse is not enough.

BENNETT GOLDWORTH, MADOFF VICTIM: I don't have next month's rent, you know? I don't know where I'm going to work. I don't have anything.

RICHARD FRIEDMAN, MADOFF VICTIM: He affected society as a whole. You don't have to be a Madoff investor to have been affected by this.

HAYES: Madoff, who had been allowed to remain at his Manhattan penthouse since his December arrest, was immediately sent to jail until his sentencing June 16th. Those who say they were swindled took it as a consolation.

ALEXANDRA PENNEY, MADOFF VICTIM: He should be in solitary where he has absolutely no computer or telephone or cigars, where he just has to be there all by himself.

HAYES: But without a trial, many victims wonder whether all the questions about Madoff's scheme can be answered.

FRIEDMAN: A lot of this information that people want to hear about, whether there are other members of his family involved, employees, where the money is offshore, much of that may not come to light, and I think it's important that be established.

HAYES: Madoff faces up to 150 years behind bars. Reporting from Washington, I'm Samantha Hayes for CNN Student News.



AZUZ: Catching up on a couple other headlines now, beginning with a close call in space. A piece of debris forced the crew of the international space station to seek shelter in its escape capsule yesterday. The object zoomed by the ISS at about 20,000 miles an hour. It didn't hit anything. NASA sounded the all-clear after ten minutes.

And remember this moment from a press conference in Baghdad a few months ago, when an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at then-President George W. Bush? Well, he'll be spending three years in jail as punishment. Judges handed out the sentence yesterday. Defense attorneys argued that the act was an insult, not an assault, and had hoped for a much shorter sentence.

New Face of the FBI

AZUZ: Staying with law enforcement now, but shifting back here to the U.S. and the FBI. The agency has more than 31,000 employees. And when you picture one of them, you might think of someone carrying a weapon, working the streets and chasing down criminals. But as Deb Feyerick reports, many FBI employees are armed with intelligence rather than guns.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN REPORTER: FBI international terrorism analyst Jennifer Ruiz knew right away she was onto something.

JENNIFER RUIZ, FBI INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I found something that just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. I said, "This has to be something that is going to lead us somewhere and give us a big break." So, I presented it to the case agents and they loved it.

FEYERICK: Ruiz does not carry a gun, but does arm investigators with intelligence about crime in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics. Her colleague Summer Ives specializes in terror financing.

SUMMER IVES, FBI INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: The agents work more on the operational side of what's going on, where I on the intelligence side am more focused on analyzing the trends and patterns.

FEYERICK: In other words, the big picture, and this the new face of the FBI. Since 9/11, a 150% jump in the number of intelligence analysts whose primary mission is to think outside the box. That includes terrorism financing, human trafficking, money laundering and cybercrime, all connected, says supervisory agent Karen Lawrence.

KAREN LAWRENCE, FBI SUPERVISORY INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: The bad guys don't really separate themselves out by, well, "I only do international terrorism. I do not engage in other criminal activity." Obviously, they're doing whatever they need to do.

FEYERICK: And that's what you're charged with doing, is simply connecting all the dots.

TERESA CARLSON, ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, INTELLIGENCE DIVISION: There's absolutely no question that we are much safer today.

FEYERICK: Teresa Carlson is one of the top agents heading up the FBI's intelligence division in New York.

CARLSON: The analyst is looking at it from a, "This is what we don't know. These are the things what we need to, in addition, go and find out." They may not be an element of the crime that the agent is looking for. He's looking to prove his [evidence] of the crime, but it's all this other stuff that is helpful in building a big picture of monitoring the threat and being able to neutralize the threat across the board.

FEYERICK: The Patriot Act and new attorney general guidelines have given the FBI more authority to collect intelligence. Both have been criticized. But these analysts say the bureau has benefitted due to greater cooperation between intelligence agencies, something taboo in the past. For teacher-turned-cyber analyst Suruchi Chen, the difference is huge.

SURUCHI CHEN, FBI INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: To say I'm working with 23 other countries, that's pretty awesome.

FEYERICK: In the end, it all boils down to better communication. Not only do you have these intelligence analysts teaming up with investigators, but within the last few months, the FBI has added another layer of analysts who look at all cases everywhere in an attempt to make even more connections. All that information then goes back to executives at headquarters. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.



GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Farrell's Journalism classes at Cooper Middle School in McLean, Virginia. When did the WNBA tip off its first season? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) 1987, B) 1992, C) 1997 or D) 2002? Three seconds on the shot clock -- GO! On June 21, 1997, the New York Liberty played the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA's first game. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Women's History Month

AZUZ: She didn't play in that game, but Sheryl Swoopes was one of the first stars of the WNBA. She was signed by the league in October of 1996, just months after she won the first of her three Olympic Gold Medals. Swoopes Is one of the women we're profiling in this week's Women's History Month installment.


NINETTE SOSA, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Toni Morrison developed an interest in literature as a child. She received degrees from Howard and Cornell Universities and went on to teach at colleges around the U.S. Morrison has authored several books and written plays, children's books and song lyrics. In 1993, she became the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

On February 11 of that year, Janet Reno made history as the first female appointed U.S. attorney general. Reno won praise for the Justice Department's success investigating and prosecuting the Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber cases, but was criticized for the FBI raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas that left 80 dead. After leaving office in 2001, Reno returned to her native Florida, where she ran, unsuccessfully, for governor.

In 1997, Sheryl Swoopes became one of the first players drafted in the Women's National Basketball Association, or WNBA. She led the Houston Comets to four consecutive championships from 1997 through 2000, and was named MVP of the league three times. Sometimes called "the female Michael Jordan," Swoopes was the first woman to have a Nike basketball shoe bear her name: the "Air Swoopes."

Donna Shirley's accomplishments took her to incredible heights. As a teen, Shirley became fascinated with space exploration. She studied aeronautic engineering in college and worked on NASA's first mission to Mars in 1996. But her crowning moment came on July 4, 1997, when the Pathfire and Sojourner rovers that were built by a team under her leadership touched down on the Red Planet.

Honoring achievments from the 1990s this Women's History Month.


Off The Beaten Path

AZUZ: It's been a while since our last look at the lighter side of news. But thanks to a restaurant with a unique theme, it's time to go Off The Beaten Path.


AZUZ: A lot of restaurants use gimmicks to goad you inside. This place has gone down the tubes. "Modern Toilet" isn't a bathroom, though it has all the fixtures. It's a place where you can relieve your urge to eat, assuming you still have it when your food is served in a bowl. That kind. A manager of the Taiwanese restaurant chain says it's "supposed to shock and confuse the senses." Mission accomplished. Consider the seats. Consider the drinking receptacles. But the food? Well, customers say the "aroma is appetizing," even if the presentation is in the can.

Now, here's a presentation of sheer endurance... or insanity. What looks like a few friendly folks floundering has a really cool twist. Notice the coats on the onlookers. Notice the crust on the water. That's ice, ice, baby! These brave bathers aren't just raising their risk of hypothermia; they're raising funds for charity just by chillin'! Makes for a cool conclusion to this trip Off the Beaten Path!




AZUZ: We would have told you more about that toilet-themed restaurant, but we didn't have time to flush out all the details. We do have a new video up on our Facebook page, though. So, go check it out and have a great weekend!

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