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NEWSROOM for April 20, 2001

Aired April 20, 2001 - 04:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Well, we made it. It's your Friday show. I'm Tom Haynes and we'll get things started with a look at the rundown.

We begin with memories of loss as the United States remembers the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. We move on to "Editor's Desk," where we meet a very special movie critic. Up next, "Worldview" brings us the story of a divided nation. Finally, we do a little job hunting at a super secret intelligence agency. That's coming up in "Chronicle."

It has gone down in history as the worst act of terrorism ever committed on U.S. soil. It was the Oklahoma City bombing and six years after that tragic event, survivors and victims' loved ones gathered to remember and mourn.

Hundreds of people gathered at the memorial that now marks the spot where the Alfred P. Murrah federal building once stood. On the morning of April 19th, 1995, a truck bomb left at the entrance of the Murrah building ripped the massive structure apart. One hundred sixty-eight people, including 19 children, were killed. More than 500 people were hurt and countless other lives were shattered.

In 1997, Timothy McVeigh was convicted of the bombing. He's scheduled to be executed for the crime on May 16th. McVeigh confessed to the crime in a recently published book. He said the bombing of the Murrah building was in retaliation for the government raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993. McVeigh's army buddy, Terry Nichols, was convicted on federal charges of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter for helping to plan the bombing. He's currently serving a life sentence for that conviction.

It was a solemn day of prayer and reflection this sixth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. The short ceremony ended with church bells chiming to the tune of "Amazing Grace."

Here's Gary Tuchman now with the sights and sounds from Oklahoma City.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Exactly six years after the tragedy that changed their lives forever, they stood in silence for 168 seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will seem like an eternity, but each second represents one life that perished.


TUCHMAN: Relatives of Oklahoma City bombing victims and survivors paid vigil at the former site of the Murrah federal building, now a memorial where 168 chairs with the names of the victims symbolize lives lost; each life was remembered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alan Whicher, Kathy Seidl, Linda McKinney...

TUCHMAN: Linda McKinney worked for the U.S. Secret Service. As each name was called, family members placed mementos on the glass and bronze chairs.

Daniel McKinney is Linda's widower.

DANIEL MCKINNEY, HUSBAND OF VICTIM: It was just as sad as it was a year ago. I thought it would be better, but it's just once you start and walk these grounds it all comes back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Colton Wade Smith, Chase Dalton Smith...

TUCHMAN: Colton and Chase smith were two of the 19 children killed in the building's day care center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diana Lynne Day, Kim R. Cousins...

TUCHMAN: Kim Cousins worked for the office of housing. Her widower, Lyle, placed flowers on her chair during a quiet moment after the commemoration.

LYLE COUSINS, HUSBAND OF VICTIM: I don't know if it's the anniversary itself that's important because I think about her every day of every year.

TUCHMAN (on camera): On this day of commemoration the U.S. Justice Department notified 10 family members and survivors that they will be able to watch the execution of Timothy McVeigh in person on May 16 in Terre Haute, Indiana. More than 250 others will watch it on closed-circuit television here in Oklahoma City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katherine M. Cagle Leinen.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Catherine Leinen worked in the Federal Employees Credit Union. Her daughter says she will watch the execution at the closed-circuit site to see justice done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A mother is somebody that will love you unconditionally, a way that nobody could love you, and you miss that a great deal. TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Oklahoma City.


HAYNES: In the headlines today, space shuttle Endeavour roars into orbit. The shuttle is carrying a giant robotic arm that will be used to finish building the international space station. Thursday's liftoff came on a historic anniversary, 30 years ago to the day the Soviet Union launched Salyut I, the world's first space station.

Miles O'Brien reports on the mission ahead for the Endeavour crew.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Skies were clear and the wind benign as the seven person, four nation crew of Endeavour suited up and strapped in.

UNIDENTIFIED NASA EMPLOYEE: We have booster ignition and liftoff of the space shuttle Endeavour.

O'BRIEN: The ninth shuttle sortie to space station Alpha began per NASA's plan, the crew carrying a billion dollar robotic arm that will be used to build, maintain and repair the 300 foot long station.

CHRIS HADFIELD, ENDEAVOUR CREW MEMBER: The primary purpose is to bring up this huge new robotic arm, unfold it, bolt it together, hook up the wiring and bring it to life so that it becomes a permanent part of the space station.

O'BRIEN: The device should reduce the need for future space walks to maintain and repair the far flung station.


O'BRIEN: The mission comes as California millionaire Dennis Tito begins final preparations for a controversial week long visit to Alpha. Tito is paying the Russians $20 million for the privilege of riding to the station on a Soyuz rocket. NASA and its other station partners don't like the idea one bit. Meanwhile, NASA's station managers have some budget woes of their own. The $60 billion project is now $4 billion over budget and as a result, NASA may have to cut its crew habitation module and an emergency escape vehicle.

(on camera): So as Endeavour begins its mission to Alpha, it is the best of times and the worst of times for the space station. So far, the difficult job in space has gone better than anyone anticipated. The real challenge is the earthly struggle to fund the project and how that is hurting the partnership and the plan.

Miles O'Brien, CNN, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DANIELLE OLESZCZUK: Hi, my name is Danielle Oleszczuk, I'm from Toledo, Ohio and my question for CNN is: "How do you become an astronaut?"

CADY COLEMAN, NASA ASTRONAUT: I like to tell kids that there is a secret to being an astronaut, and the secret is is that no one just becomes an astronaut. Everyone is something else first. I, myself, am a chemist; I'm a scientist. We have other scientists, we have engineers, we have doctors, we have pilots, We have some military folks, some folks who've never been in the military, some folks who know how to fly, some people that learn how to fly with NASA. A whole range of people.

And for any of the kids out there that would like to be astronauts, they need to remember that they should find something they love to do, be as good as they can be at it, and then hope that NASA needs what they do in the space program.


HAYNES: You're probably familiar with the names Roger Ebert, Gene Shalit and the late Gene Siskel. They're the men who have been giving movies the thumbs up or down. But have you ever heard of Jay Forry? He's also a film critic and an extraordinary one at that. Forry is blind, but he has little trouble distinguishing a good film from a bad one.

Neil Brafman (ph) has his story.


JAY FORRY, MOVIE CRITIC: Medium popcorn, extra butter.

DOROTHY FORRY, JAY'S WIFE: No, not large, just medium.

NEIL BRAFMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Tampa-based film critic Jay Forry and his wife Dorothy, a night at the movies is just another day at the office.

DOROTHY FORRY: Is it time? It's time. I'll tell you everybody as they're introduced. It's a small country town. It looks like it's set in about the mid to the late '70s, '80s. That's the principal's wife. She's turning the cards over.

BRAFMAN: In most theaters, talking is frowned upon. But people who know Jay understand without all that talk, he can't do his job.

JAY FORRY: A lot of people will say, you know, if you go blind, your hearing gets better. That's not it. You just tend to use it a lot more. I think what I can hear, I pick up things that a lot of people don't pick up.

UNIDENTIFIED D.J.: 9:20 at the MJBJ Morning Show and Jay Forry, our blind movie critic, in the studio.

BRAFMAN: Jay lost his eyesight to diabetes 15 years ago. It cost him his job as a construction foreman, so he went to college and started a movie column, "Blindside Reviews," for the campus paper. Now, he writes for several newspapers, has his own Web site and is a frequent guest on dozens of radio shows across the country.

JAY FORRY: "The Gift," Keanu Reeves, Kate Blanchard, just, it's a thriller. I would say, my only downfall of the movie is it's a little predictable. In fact it's so predictable even I knew what was coming up, and that's pretty predictable.

BRAFMAN: Jay is aware that some people may not appreciate his self-deprecating style. He trusts Dorothy to reign him in.

DOROTHY FORRY: You have to be real careful that people receive it as humor and not a slap. It's not, he doesn't mean it that way.

UNIDENTIFIED DJ: Well, Jay, give us your rating system for folks who may be joining us the first time.

JAY FORRY: Yes, A, so good blind people like it. I'm glad I could hear it. I had one eye open. I'm glad I couldn't see it. And my favorite, blindness is a blessing.

The worst movie this year, "Battlefield Earth" with John Travolta.

A great comedy. George Clooney stars as the head...

UNIDENTIFIED DJ: Touch on "Traffic" first.

JAY FORRY: Michael Douglass. It's a good movie. I don't have to say more. You can't go wrong with this movie.

BRAFMAN: Take it from a man who knows a good flick when he sees one.

Neil Brafman (ph), CNN, Tampa, Florida.


HAYNES: Our focus on the arts continues with a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, a southern U.S. city brimming with culture. It's the home of "Gone With the Wind" and the famed High Museum of Art. It's also the birthplace of a unique dance company, one that blends classical ballet with ethnic dance combined with a large dose of passion.


UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: Dance is what I was called to do.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: Classical ballet, modern, jazz. African dance forms.


UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: Ultimately, it's all dance.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: And that is our mission, to blend classical ballet with ethnic dance form.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: We're not looking at everyone else and saying oh, this is what everyone else is doing and it's working for them so let's do this. What we've decided is what needs to be done, you know, here in Atlanta and what we can do to empower our young people.

Land your fifth, Sam, fifth. Right.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: We are very successful in reaching out to the children because what we do is entertaining. We start dance training as early as three, four and five years old.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: I know I'm building towards the future. I'm setting a foundation.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: We are the keepers of a culture.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: This is what my life's work is about. This is the one thing in life that I feel that I could do and would do regardless of the pay scale.

Breathe and then you're saying we're dancing now.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: We all have a special gift and we need to share it and we need to give back.

UNIDENTIFIED DANCER: Yes. You see, in the nature of doing what's right and doing god's will, that's how it should be done. It should look easy. You have to be willing to work for the same thing for your brother that you would want for yourself. We're not just another ballet company.


HAYNES: In "Worldview," we focus on the border of the United States and Mexico. Our story deals with smuggling, but it's not what you think. Imagine not being able to cross a street in your neighborhood to go visit your friends or not being able to ride your bike one block to go to the store. Or what if your family wasn't allowed to drive 10 minutes to see your doctor? That sort of explains the problem of some Native Americans.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: We head to the southwestern United States and the state of Arizona, nicknamed The Grand Canyon State. A canyon is often a natural divide, but today we focus on a divide that is anything but natural.

Our story takes us to the U.S.-Mexican border, where an Indian tribe is facing a problem from both sides of the fence. John Vause explains.


HENRY RAMOS, VICE CHAIRMAN, TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION: This is our land and my people were one. The whole, you know, is we're interconnected with the plants, the Mother Earth, the sky and everything in it.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Tohono O'odham Nation, 8,000 square kilometers of mostly desert and rugged mountains thick with cacti and scrub. But this hard, arid land home to 25,000 Native Americans, is a nation divided. Stretching across the reservation, a barbed wire fence separates not only the United States and Mexico, but also the O'odham people. Henry Ramos is the nation's vice chairman.

RAMOS: We're just one big family and when we're restricted from having that freedom, it is very, it's sad, you know?

VAUSE: Every day workers from the tribal hospital like Betty Antone break the law by crossing into Mexico, driving the same dirt roads used by drug traffickers and illegal workers.

(on camera): Are you afraid you'll be stopped?


VAUSE: And what would happen if you are stopped?

ATONE: I'd probably get taken in for taking illegals. They'd probably say they're illegals.

VAUSE (voice-over): While Betty has never been arrested, by legal definition she is smuggling people across the border, the sick and elderly.

ATONE: Patients that need to go to the hospital and that are members of the nation, they're diabetics or heart problems.

VAUSE: This time they're not stopped by the Border Patrol, but they say it's not uncommon for her and her patients to be turned back and there is always the fear of being caught.

MARGO COWAN, TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION LEGAL COUNSEL: Their issues are they're unable to cross freely. They can't participate in ceremonies. They can't visit family. They can't come up and conduct business here on the nation's lands. O'odham have always traveled north and worked. They're unable to come and work. They're unable to receive the same benefits of their government, the O'odham government, that members receive who are on this side of the boundary.

VAUSE: Margo Cowan is the legal counsel for the tribe. She's preparing a submission to Congress to grant U.S. citizenship for all Tohono O'odham people. Similar laws are already in place for other Native Americans on the Canadian border, like the Mohawks.

COWAN: And so it's incumbent on the United States to fix it. It's their problem and they must fix it.

VAUSE: The Tohono O'odham reservation is a legally sovereign nation about the same size as the state of Connecticut. The government is based on the U.S. side in the capital Sells, where there's a tribal police force, hospitals, schools, services available to the tribe. But to the members on the Mexican side, they have to get here first.

(on camera): Tribal leaders trace the problem back 148 years to the Gadsden Purchase, when the United States bought about 50,000 square kilometers of land from Mexico, including Tucson and parts of southern Arizona. But it seems at the time the needs of the Tohono O'odham people were overlooked when that new international border was drawn up that effectively divided their traditional lands.

(voice-over): For most of that time, the border seemed non- existent. There were no patrols, no checkpoints, the law wasn't enforced and especially for the estimated 1,500 tribe members on the Mexican side, there were no problems.

MARY NARCHO, UNDOCUMENTED TRIBE MEMBER: You know, when I was a little girl, you know, that fence, I thought that was the fence so the cows wouldn't go through because we had fences around our house, you know? We used to come and go as we pleased and there was never any fear. You can't do that now. There's no way. You'd be afraid to do that now. And people don't do that now for that very reason.

VAUSE: Over the last few years, as the United States increased its efforts to stop the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants from Mexico, there's been a dramatic increase in security, security the tribe knows is needed. Mary Narcho was born 63 years ago in Mexico. She has no birth certificate, no passport and now lives in Tucson, but says she's been stopped crossing the border, questioned by U.S. authorities and if it wasn't for her Arizona driver's license, she fears she may have been arrested.

NARCHO: It's degrading and it makes you angry. It's frustrating because, you know, this is our land. I mean it's our land and why do we have to be questioned like this? Why do we have to be stopped? Why are the Border Patrol all over the place?

VAUSE: As a stopgap measure, the U.S. Immigration Service recently issued a few hundred tourist visas to tribal members on the Mexican side like Hector Antone, who can now receive treatment for a heart condition.

HECTOR ANTONE, MEMBER OF TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION: Now that I have a visa, I don't have no problems with Border Patrol. Believe, I didn't have a visa they wouldn't let me come across. They always stopped me and turned me back.

COWAN: The visas are an insult because they force members of the nation to obtain a travel document from two different governments, the Republic of Mexico and the United States of America, to travel in their own lands.

VAUSE: The Tohono O'odham Nation issues all members an identification card.

BARBARA ATONE, MEMBER OF TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION: I have my tribal I.D. card and this is one of the first ones that they made.

VAUSE: As part of her proposal, Margot Cowan will ask Congress to recognize those cards as the legal equivalent of a state-issued birth certificate.

COWAN: Part of the benefits of being a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation is full, all of the benefits enjoyed by American citizens. And the reason that is is that the United States, you know, occupied O'odham land.

VAUSE: That could solve problems for the 7,000 undocumented O'odham living in the United States, like Henry Ramos, a veteran of the Korean War who can't claim benefits, or Barbara Antone's undocumented mother Clementia (ph), a widow who's not entitled to government assistance and lives in fear of being caught.

BARBARA ATONE: We're always afraid that she'll, they'll get stopped and they'll ask her for her green card or whatever and she doesn't have it and then she gets deported or jailed on that side and we really have no way to get her back.

VAUSE: For many members of the tribe, especially the elderly, who once traveled freely, it is difficult to understand why so much has changed, even harder to accept.

RUTH ATONE, MEMBER OF TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION: And I'm going for my people. I'm going for the both sides people and I'm praying for them to you as a Congress, please help us.

VAUSE: But the issue is complicated by drug smuggling and illegal workers leaving the Tohono O'odham people accidental victims of a battle being waged not only on their land, but all along the U.S.-Mexico border.

John Vause, CNN, Sells, Arizona.


HAYNES: In "Chronicle," the final segment of our special series on the U.S. National Security Agency. If you're looking for a job at the NSA, you'd better be prepared to answer a lot of questions. The super secret agency is vulnerable to traitors infiltrating the organization so it's created a very strict screening and interviewing process.

David Ensor gives us an idea of what it's like.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a super secret agency that didn't even have a sign outside its headquarters until a few years ago, holding a job fair on site, inviting thousands of perfect strangers to line up for interviews, is a radical break with the past.

The National Security Agency needs smart, young computer scientists, mathematicians, linguists, if it is to keep collecting other nation's secrets in the information age, but there's a catch.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, NSA DIRECTOR: If any of these young folks decides to come work for us, we're going to put them through a process that no other employer is going to put them through, background investigation and that polygraph, before they can come and actually work for us.

ENSOR: The questions start simply enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is your middle name Frances?


ENSOR: But they can soon get more than a little personal. Are you in debt? Have you ever committed a crime? Does your sexual behavior reflect lack of judgment or discretion? The questioner no longer asks, are you a homosexual? But NSA does want to know if an employee has a sexual partner who is not a U.S. citizen, and anything a hostile intelligence agency might use for blackmail.

Though NSA officials call the lie detector test a useful tool, it is clearly not perfect. While he was spying for Russia, CIA official Aldrich Ames passed twice. But the stakes are high. After all, the damage done by the alleged spying of the FBI's Robert Hanssen is much on the minds of U.S. intelligence officials. They also haven't forgotten Ronald Pelton at the NSA, their former employee convicted in 1986 of spying for the Soviet Union.

HAYDEN: Everyone who works here has gone through a polygraph. Everyone who works here has gone through an extended background investigation. I can tell you, as one who has gone through it, I don't like either of them.

ENSOR (on camera): Are you confident, as you sit here now, that there is no serious spy working here in this agency?

HAYDEN: It is something I'm worried about as on my front burner? The answer is no. I mean, would I ever say with absolute 1.0 certitude that no, we're safe? Equally no. We work hard on this. It's an important part of our culture, the way we live.

ENSOR (voice-over): Secrecy, and a dose of what many would call paranoia, are indeed part of the culture at NSA, the intelligence agency that eavesdrops on potential rivals and adversaries of the United States.

Linguist Everette Jordan is one of the listeners.

(on camera): What can you tell your family about what you do? Can you tell your family more than you're able to tell me?

EVERETTE JORDAN, NSA LINGUIST: There are not too much more, actually. If you're going to be traveling, your family needs to know where you're going, but that's about it. Your children grow up with the knowing that either mom, or dad, or both, are working a job that they really can't talk about.

ENSOR (voice-over): And the price exacted on private lives doesn't end there. NSA employees are told to report close ongoing relationships with non-Americans. They need permission to marry a foreigner and stay at the NSA. If a close relative marries one, NSA is to be notified.

(on camera): Here at the National Security Agency, it is a subculture apart. In a nation that values openness and has never been all that comfortable with spying, people here snoop. And they keep secrets, and they do it in the name of the freedoms that Americans hold dear. David Ensor, CNN, Fort Meade, Maryland.


HAYNES: And that is CNN NEWSROOM for Friday. Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday.

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