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Florida Residents Stand in Line For Food and Water in Wilma Aftermath; Nasty Nor'easter Pounds New England; Frozen Soldier Identified?

Aired October 25, 2005 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us.
Tonight, millions of people are struggling to cope with the effects of some wild, wild weather.


ZAHN (voice-over): A nasty October surprise -- Wilma leaves Florida battered, broken, and waiting in line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Been here since 10:00 a.m. It's too much.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Too much waiting for six bottle of water.

ZAHN: And New England is next.

Famous faces, secret files -- why did the FBI dig up dirt on these stars?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One could expect this to be done by "The National Enquirer." It should not be done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ZAHN: How they did it and what they found.

And the mystery man, frozen in time for decades on a mountaintop -- now new clues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kissed us all goodbye and says, I will see you soon. So -- and there was no -- and we never saw him.

ZAHN: Will a missing airmen finally make it home?


ZAHN: We are starting in South Florida tonight, where, all through this very long and frustrating day, thousands of people have waited patiently for help, in some cases, help that is only now starting to arrive at this hour.

Check out this shot. Here, outside a North Miami area Wal-Mart, people have been waiting for at least 10 hours for water and ice. National Guard troops and police are there, helping maintain order, trying to keep people calm. Trucks with the desperately needed supplies have finally arrived, but there is no power. And that's part of the reason why the distribution finally started about a half-hour ago. We are going to get a live report from the scene in just a second.

But, first, we want to bring you to date on what is happening in the rest of the state right now.

It has been a long, tiring wait for people all over the disaster zone. Their patience, as you can see here, is simply running out. A news helicopter took these pictures just a short while ago in the Miami area. When you look at the closeup, you can very clearly see people holding up a sign pleading for water and ice.

Distribution points around South Florida have been overwhelmed today. We have heard reports of six- to 11-hour waits for water, ice and emergency food. In Miami, one line stretched all the way around the Orange Bowl. It is the same story for gasoline, for cars, and for generators. There doesn't happen to be any shortage for gas. The problem is that millions of South Florida homes and businesses are still without power tonight. That means power to run gas pumps, refrigerators, and water lines.

And, if you didn't want to wait on foot, you could do it in your car. This incredible line of traffic is north of Miami in the Broward County town of Davie. Florida authorities have put businesses on notice that they're on the lookout for price-gouging.

And here is what people are waiting for. These trucks with a police escort left just before sunset from a FEMA staging area at Homestead Air Force Reserve Base. FEMA officials say the response is going well. But, beyond getting the essentials, there, of course, is all that horrendous damage to clean up.

Key West is just one example. One hundred and twenty mile-an- hour winds blew there for over two hours yesterday. And more than half of the homes were flooded by a huge storm surge. Some of the older high-rise buildings in Miami and Fort Lauderdale suffered heavy wind damage. Florida didn't enact construction changes until 1992.

These pictures tell another story. It could be Wednesday or later before South Florida's airports recover from the hurricane. Flights into Miami's airport resumed this afternoon.

Now we are going to go straight back to Florida and the situation on the ground tonight.

Let's turn to David Mattingly, who joins us from Fort Lauderdale.

What is the biggest concern there tonight, David?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, right now, the most precious commodities of people we met today was water and ice. There were great, long lines that you were talking about earlier. We saw, near Hollywood, today people coming out, standing in line, and, under the sun today, just waiting for that cooler full of ice and a case of -- of fresh drinking water -- the problem, so many lights are out. It's the -- it's hard to really describe being here in the darkness here in the east coast of Florida. Normally, it's just full of lights, all these high-rise buildings everywhere.

But you look up and down the beach, as I did last night. You look around and you see nothing but stars, as if there were no electric lights anywhere up and down the east coast of Florida -- so, a lot of folks, millions of them tonight, still without electricity.

The power company is not saying when they are going to have everybody back online. And that is a source of concern. How long will it be to get those refrigerators going, to get those gas pumps going, and to get those water pumps going again in some of the municipalities? -- some people not having freshwater coming into their houses at all.

ZAHN: David, you spent a lot of time with those people. You know what they need. How frustrated are they at this hour?

MATTINGLY: Remember, this is just day one.

A lot of people were caught by surprise by the storm here on the east coast, because, remember, Wilma hit Florida on the west side. But she was still packing a very tough punch as she came across the state and exited into the Atlantic Ocean. A lot of people were not prepared for the widespread damage that they see here. Of course, they were expecting some power outages, but not everywhere to be without power.

Right now, it's very hard to find any kind of store where they can go buy their own water, their own food. And they're having -- having to rely on relief efforts right now. They're hoping that doesn't last day after day after day, but, again, they're taking it day by day and hoping that today will be the worst of it.

ZAHN: So, David, to be perfectly fair, it is next to impossible to anticipate every little surprise that a hurricane brings with it. But FEMA had pre-staged a lot of supplies all over the state. How is it, then, that there are so many Floridians that are thirsty tonight and, in some cases, hungry?

MATTINGLY: Floridians, typically, are very well prepared for their -- their hurricanes.

But, again, the -- probably, the most prevalent explanation that we have been hearing is that people, this time, on this side of the state, just did not expect the storm to do this sort of widespread damage.

We have seen a lot of individual houses, a lot of individuals have damage to their homes. It's typically not catastrophic. It's damage that can be repaired and taken care of in a short amount of time. But what we're seeing is, the damage is very widespread. There's damage from Key West all the way up to Melbourne, Florida. And that is an incredibly long area for storm damage from any kind of hurricane.

I was out on the beach as the eye went over and into the Atlantic. And, at that time, the surf was incredibly churned up. There was a lot of power in the storm. In fact, the last time I saw the sea like that on the Atlantic was when a storm was actually coming into Florida from that side. So, that gives you some idea of the kind of energy that we were dealing with here and some of the destruction that resulted from it.

ZAHN: Pictures certainly show that tonight.

David Mattingly, thanks so much.

Now, we just showed you lines of people waiting in line for ice and food and gas. And all of that, of course, has already had people pointing fingers at FEMA.

Here's Jeanne Meserve.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're supposed to be more civilized.



JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: (voice- over): Fury at FEMA again. These people have heard on the radio that FEMA will be at this distribution center with ice. It isn't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are we supposed to do? We are supposed to count on FEMA? You know, it's -- it's disgusting. It's disgusting.

MESERVE: FEMA said it was ready for Wilma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's right about here right now. So, the recon element is coming north (INAUDIBLE)

MESERVE: FEMA personnel said they had prepared for the worst, pre-positioning supplies and people. A FEMA representative was in the state emergency operations center, ready to respond to requests for assistance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If something comes up on your plate, don't say, oh, we have never done that before. Oh, we can't do this.

We are here to do one thing. And that's make it happen for you and the citizens of Florida.

MESERVE: And, today, the acting FEMA director indicated his agency's response was going well. DAVID PAULISON, ACTING DIRECTOR, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: We were able to get supplies and emergency equipment down there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's all they gave us. They didn't -- they were supposed to be here at 12:00.

MESERVE: But, in Naples, they're waiting for ice and asking a question: Has FEMA learned from the bungled response to Katrina?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't commit if you can't deliver.


ZAHN: A question a lot of folks are asking tonight.

Jeanne Meserve, thanks for that update.

Right now, some three million homes and businesses in Florida, as we mentioned, still have no power. That means an awful lot of people in the dark tonight.

Here's Allan Chernoff.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Without power, residents of the Aquarius condominium are barbecuing on their grill and then carrying food upstairs to frail neighbors who are trapped in their apartments.

PHYLISS MEGARO, RESIDENT OF FLORIDA: We're bringing them up their water and we're bringing them up their food, cooked, because they're (INAUDIBLE) whatever help they get, they can't come. So (INAUDIBLE) they can't make it, so we have to do it.

CHERNOFF: Not only are the neighbors providing food, but medical necessities as well.

CHANNA ANTEBI, RESIDENT OF FLORIDA: Yes, there is -- there is some woman. She will run out of oxygen tank. So, they ran to Memorial Hospital. They bring one for her, a new one.

CHERNOFF: In a 19th floor penthouse lives a cancer patient on hospice care.

IVNNONE VILLAGRA, RESIDENT OF FLORIDA: In fact, there is a gentleman that is dying of cancer right now. And he's in pretty bad shape, needing oxygen. We have been trying to get oxygen up there to him. We do need to get the power on, so that we can get the oxygen for him.

CHERNOFF: Utility crews are working 16-hour shifts making repairs to get power back.

(on camera): There are hazards throughout the Miami area. The storm pulled down many of the low-lying distribution power lines. This line normally carries 7,600 volts of electricity. But, as you can see, it's just hanging in the middle of the street.

JIM NAUGLE, MAYOR OF FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA: Residents in condominiums, if you have an elderly resident in a condominium and the elevator isn't working, it can be life-threatening. So, the power restoration is -- is our biggest concern, as we get water and other services up in the city.

CHERNOFF: Florida Power and Light says it has restored power to hundreds of thousands of homes. But to get it all back online, the utility says, could take weeks, which may be too long of a wait for some of Florida's frailest seniors.


ZAHN: That was Allan Chernoff reporting for us tonight.

Now, believe it or not, Wilma is still a hurricane -- not that you would find many doubters along the New England coast. What's it like to find a hurricane-enhanced nor'easter? We will show you next. It is not a pretty sight.


ZAHN: Well, we were all kind of hoping we had heard the last of Hurricane Wilma. But that isn't the case. Tonight, she is far out to sea, but still causing trouble.

In New England, Wilma is fueling another storm system, a nor'easter that has caused a lot of rain and high winds that have left some 40,000 people without power tonight.

Dan Lothian is on Cape Cod tonight.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Paula, the high winds and heavy rains started in the wee hours of the morning and blasted through the day without ever taking a break.

(voice-over): It looked like a hurricane; it felt like a hurricane; it even sounded like a hurricane. But, instead, it was powerful nor'easter, storming across New England, barely influenced by Wilma's wake.

In Chatham, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, Timothy Dow, whose job is to secure other people's boats, was too busy to take care of his own, until the storm was in full force.

TIMOTHY DOW, YACHT MANAGER: This is my personal boat, so it's the last to get taken care of. We just put some anchors to hold it off the pier. The winds are so strong. It only weighs about 500 pounds, so it's trying to roll it under the pier.

LOTHIAN: Off Cape Cod's Hyannis, a wrestling match in the surf. John Wilson bobbed up and down in waist-deep water, fighting to save his sailboat. A local news crew helped him pin it down.

JIM WILSON, BOATER: Just a day at the beach with a little wind and a little rain and one boat.


LOTHIAN: For fishermen from Gloucester, rough seas forced them back to port early.

SAM FRONTIERO, FISHERMAN: You would have to hold on to the nearest thing, just really strap yourself in, because, I mean, the boat's pitching and tossing and turning.

LOTHIAN: Along the Massachusetts coast, storm flags flew. We saw gusts as high as 63 miles an hour. The winds downed tree limps and power lines. At one point, more than 40,000 power customers in the state were left without electricity. There was some moderate flooding, but, in a region soaked by rain over the past two weeks, the prospect of a much bigger problem prompted flood warnings in the coastal areas and in the western part of the state.

Ferry service from Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard was halted, the seas just too rough, too dangerous. Some flights at Boston's Logan International Airport were canceled or delayed for hours. This storm, which came with plenty of warning, is now delivering its last few punches before moving north. Back on the dock, in Chatham, Timothy Dow is ready for a break.

DOW: Just take it all in stride. And it's been a pretty busy season, so, looking forward to a little more mellow weather.

LOTHIAN (on camera): The good news is that this is not expected to stick around much longer. The high winds and heavy rain should be dying down over the next couple of hours, as the system moves north -- Paula.


ZAHN: Thanks, Dan. Appreciate it.

We are going to move away from the hurricane for now, because there is some other important news to cover tonight.

Here's Erica Hill at Headline News with the hour's other top stories.

Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. Good to see you.

We are actually going to stick with the hurricane just for a minute, as we go back to Mexico, where tempers are flaring in that country's Yucatan Peninsula area. Hurricane Wilma has stranded as many as 10,000 American tourists there -- and some tourists telling CNN illnesses are on the rise and they're increasingly desperate to get back to the states. Meantime, with three more deaths today, the number of U.S. fatalities in Iraq now stands at 2,000. President Bush called the two-and-a-half years of losses -- quote -- "heartbreaking," but worth the sacrifice -- the White House, meantime, refusing to comment on today's reports that link Vice President Cheney to the leak that revealed the identity of a CIA operative. A federal prosecutor may bring charges this week or could also end the investigation.

Are you ready to know the nutritional information for that Big Mac and fries? Well, ready or not, here it comes. McDonald's is adding the data to its wrappers after criticism and even lawsuits involving its food. The fast-food chain says this is really the easiest way to let people know what they're getting.

And Rosa Parks is being remembered tonight as the mother of the modern civil rights movement. Her arrest in 1956 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white man energized the fight for equal rights. Rosa Parks died last night at the age of 92 -- Paula.

ZAHN: She was one courageous woman, even to...

HILL: Absolutely.

ZAHN: ... the end.

Erica, thanks.

And, tonight, a 62-year-old mystery may finally be solved.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first thing I said when we were talking, I said, I wish mom could have been living to know that. And she says, well, they're together up there.


ZAHN: I want you to stay with us for this amazing story. Some Ohio sisters think they finally know what happened to their older brother -- that story when we come back.


ZAHN: Tonight, military investigators are trying to solve a huge mystery. I told you last week about the fascinating discovery of the body of a World War II airman frozen in the California mountains. His body was intact and he was still strapped into his parachute.

Well, that body is now at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, where the military has its central identification laboratory. And while experts try to identify the man, there may actually be a clue to the mystery on the other side of the country in Ohio.

Here's Thelma Gutierrez.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We followed the story in the newspaper of the frozen airman who has been recovered after so long.

GUTIERREZ: A small farming community big on hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That there is celebration and closure come to this family, lord. The community can know what happened to Glen (ph).

GUTIERREZ: Ernest Glen Munn, a World War II Army airman who has been missing for 63 years. And, for all those years, Lois Shriver, Sarah Zeyer and Jeanne Pyle, all in their 80s, have prayed they would live to learn the fate of their big brother Glen.

Could this frozen man with light hair in a green military sweater, whose body has been preserved in ice, be Glen Munn?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he was the only blonde. And they say he had blond hair.

GUTIERREZ: The military says this man may have been on an ill- fated training flight that went down November 18, 1942. That's also the day the Army told the family Glen Munn was missing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That they said his plane was lost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said he went out on a training flight and never returned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember mom standing in the bathroom. It was soon after that, you know. And she just couldn't take it.

GUTIERREZ: Glen was the oldest of four children. He did well in school and always watched over his little sisters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would take me and play with me. And I would be with -- whatever he was doing, I was right there.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): And did you look up to him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I certainly did. He was my idol.

GUTIERREZ: He was tall and good-looking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And , when he walked in, they said, here comes the blond bomber. And I would say, that's my brother.


GUTIERREZ: At 23, Glen enlisted in the Army.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he left for service, he said, mom, don't ever get your hair cut. And she never did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she never did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she had long hair. It was clear down below her waist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He kissed us all goodbye and says, I will see you soon. So -- and there was no -- and we never saw him.

GUTIERREZ: So, what was it like to grow up here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just a nice little town. And...

GUTIERREZ: But, if this man is Glen, the sisters hope to finally close a painful chapter in their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first thing I said when we were talking, I said, I wish mom could have been living to know that. And she says, well, they're together up there.

GUTIERREZ: By the way, their mother, Sadie, who never cut her hair, lived to be 102 years old, but never learned of her son's fate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just believe in miracles. I think it was supposed to happen before any of us passed on.

GUTIERREZ: If the iceman is Glen Munn, Lois, Sarah and Jeanne will bring him home to Pleasant Grove, home to his family after 63 years.


ZAHN: Well, it certainly would be awfully nice if they got the answer they're hoping for -- Thelma Gutierrez reporting.

And military officials are now saying it will take weeks, if not months, to finally identify the airman found in the ice.

We're going to move on to a very different kind of story about celebrities and the FBI. Which famous comedian liked porn? Which baseball star visited prostitutes? And what famous TV couple was suspected of being communists? Coming up, fact, fiction and scandal from newly declassified FBI files.

We will be right back.


ZAHN: Back to the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma.

I want to go back to that ice and water distribution center that we showed you at the start of our show tonight. It happens to be outside a north Miami Wal-Mart. People have been waiting for as long as 10 hours for just water and ice -- National Guard troops, police on duty there helping to try to maintain order, trying to keep people calm. The distribution finally started just about less than an hour ago.

Joining me now from North Miami is reporter Rosh Lowe from CNN affiliate WSVN.

Describe to us what's going on right now, Rosh.

ROSH LOWE, WSVN REPORTER: This is the scene tonight in North Miami Beach, literally...


LOWE: Five hours.

Literally, thousands of people have been standing out here since 8:00 this morning. And all they're getting tonight is one bag of ice, three bottles of water right there. These are the people. This is a parking lot here that is simply packed. The estimates are 6,000 to 7,000 people, who got here early this morning.

Now, there was some confusion, because they thought they were going to get their supplies at 2:00. For whatever reason, that did not occur. And what we have now is that, into the evening hours, in darkness, really, the only lights out here right now are the lights from our television crew. In darkness, the National Guard, which is right over here, Miami-Dade Police, they are supervising a scene where you have a lot of people who are frustrated, who are tired, who have been waiting, now finally getting their supplies.

Let me walk you down the line here a little bit, so you can get a look at all of these people that are coming through.

Now, the question will be asked, didn't these people prepare when they saw Hurricane Katrina come rolling in? Well, a lot of people here said maybe it was hurricane fatigue, but they simply didn't have the necessities. And we've seen the scene all day long, young children with their parents here, waiting, simply waiting to get their supplies.

Now, we are told that this relief effort will continue into the morning. Miami-Dade, Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County, they are all experiencing similar situations, and in darkness tonight here in North Miami Beach, the scene continues here. Person after person, hoping and waiting to simply get three bottles of water and a bag of ice.

The very latest tonight from North Miami Beach. Rosh Lowe. Back to you.

ZAHN: Thank you, Rosh.

We should explain to our audience, about the only good news to come out of that part of the country is that it was a little bit cooler today. That certainly didn't reduce the frustration factor there, but much nicer today than what it usually is like after a hurricane hits.

Now, we want to move on right now, because every now and then things come out of government files that just kind of make you shake your head. Like the fact that for decades, the FBI actually collected information and created files on a bunch of America's most popular celebrities. And now that the secret files are seeing daylight, we're beginning to find out that many of them read like cheap gossip columns. And that might make you wonder, what was the FBI thinking? Here's Deborah Feyerick.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call it the price of celebrity. If you were famous in the '50s, '60s and '70s, chances are the feds were watching, and what they saw could be used to manipulate.

Like funny man Bud Abbott's penchant for porn. He was accused of owning 1,500 films -- later cleared.

Liberace. Allegedly had a bookie in Buffalo and bet on horses.

Mickey Mantle, always fond of the ladies, accused of being entertained at a house of prostitution.

And sitcom stars Lucy and Dezi, off-camera suspected of being communists, tabloid gossip later proven false. Fascinating allegations, but it's their source that may surprise you -- confidential FBI files now public.

ATHAN THEOHARIS, MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY: The FBI in some cases acted as a squirrel organization, collected anything and everything because it could be of value down the road.

FEYERICK: Dr. Athan Theoharis has written eight books on the FBI and made a career of studying what he calls its outrageous practices.

THEOHARIS: What the FBI was doing was picking up information, in some cases nothing more than malicious gossip about private individuals, their personal conduct, their political affiliations, questionable relationships with individuals that had nothing do with law enforcement.

FEYERICK: In most cases the agents weren't using spy cameras or high-tech wiretaps. They were using newspaper clippings, magazine gossip columns, and anonymous tips to track the secret lives and sexcapades of America's rich and famous.

It was the era of counter-intelligence programs, when paranoia about government subversion ran high, and celebrity muckraking was a bureau priority.

THEOHARIS: One could expect this to be done by "The National Enquirer." It should not be done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the taxpayers' dime.

FEYERICK: Experts say it's the way FBI Director Edgar Hoover, a closeted cross-dresser, did business.

LARRY MCSHANE, AP: The Hoover administration in the FBI was famous for sort of using leverage against people.

THEOHARIS: And they would leak it for example to friendly reporters or members of Congress.

FEYERICK: The files were neatly summarized in what the FBI calls high visibility memorandums, and sent around the bureau. Nearly 1,500 pages worth, stacked up some 12 inches tall.

Pulitzer Prize winning AP reporter Randy Herschaft requested the memos under the Freedom of Information Act.

RANDY HERSCHAFT, AP: We had documentation that these things existed, and they couldn't play around with us.

FEYERICK: It took him and fellow AP reporter Larry McShane seven months to get copies, and another month just to read them all.

MCSHANE: Some of the files are sort of like almost "Page Six" on steroids.

FEYERICK: That's "The New York Post"'s "Page Six," renowned for hot celebrity dish.

(on camera): Copies of some of the most popular celebrity files are kept here, the reading room at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. There are millions of tidbits, gossip, allegations, dirty laundry about American icons -- not all of it's true, a lot of it is potentially embarrassing.

(voice-over): According to FBI files, John Lennon allegedly had plans to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. FBI agents ruled him out as a serious threat because of his, quote, "propensity for use of drugs."

BETTE DAVIS, ACTRESS: Oh, relax, kid, it's just me and my big mouth.

FEYERICK: Bette Davis and Robert Blake...

ROBERT BLAKE, ACTOR: Yeah, this is Baretta.

FEYERICK: ... were black-balled from playing parts in the TV series "The FBI." Davis was suspected of having communist sympathies, and Blake allegedly made comments that Hoover took issue with.

(on camera): And this is interesting, the reason they give is because he was interested only in playing bad guy roles, and that killers aren't at fault, society is. So that black-balled him from this particular series.

MCSHANE: Exactly. Hoover didn't want that to be the representation on television of what the FBI was.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Marilyn Monroe made the radar. A tipster telling the feds about her alleged ties to communist Americans.

WALT DISNEY: Dreams have a way of coming true.

FEYERICK: As for cartoonist Walt Disney, he was actually an approved contact for the special agent in charge of the Los Angeles FBI office.

The FBI insists not all public figures were under investigation. It was just a way of keeping tabs.

THEOHARIS: I think what the bureau did was outrageous, because of the fact it had no authority to do it. And it was also able to get away with it because we didn't know what they were doing.

FEYERICK: The FBI declined our request for an interview, but in the past it said it no longer does this kind of thing.

Theoharis is not so sure.

THEOHARIS: If it was done in the past, there is no reason to conclude that it wouldn't be done again.

FEYERICK: Of course if a government agency did decide to gather embarrassing information on celebrities, it would be much easier today. There's a lot more dirt out there on any given person, and a whole new generation of high-tech tools to gather it.


ZAHN: Deborah Feyerick, with a very strange slice of our history.

For months now, some Colorado radio listeners followed the triumphs and tragedy of a young woman in the military. They ended up getting a big surprise. You will, too. And you might be outraged. Coming up next.


ZAHN: We mentioned a little bit earlier on that today, the war in Iraq reached a very important and unfortunately very grim milestone. The number of American servicemen and women killed in Iraq has now reached 2,000. All of them deserve our recognition and all of their families deserve our compassion.

But for all those families, the next story may cause shock and outrage. Here's Sean Callebs.


ROBERT SR. JOHN, RADIO PERSONALITY: I'm just here, I'm looking for funny stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, when are you going to do the redneck church?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To Grand Junction, Colorado, they are simply Robert and Libby, radio personalities who often take phone calls, including one they got months ago from Amber Kenny, a young woman from Grand Junction who said she was off to join the army and begin boot camp.

JOHN: Sounded very friendly to us. And we thought, you know, we could adopt this one as a soldier, adopt a soldier, because we've always wanted to do that, want our station to do that. And then follow her.

CALLEBS: It was the beginning between a six month relationship between the community and Amber, who was merely a voice on the radio. Libby heard it from listeners all the time...


CALLEBS: While she said she was in boot camp, Amber's calls were broadcast to Grand Junction all the time, for a period six months. The community was really falling for this patriotic woman, and her husband Jonathan (ph), who listeners learned was already serving in Iraq.

Then, in February, there is day Iraqis went to the polls, a dreaded phone call for all to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you guys heard the news?

JACKSON: No, what?

JOHN: What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband was killed over in Iraq, in active duty.

JACKSON: Amber, no!



JOHN: When? When? When? When?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard Saturday afternoon.

JACKSON: Oh, my gosh.


JACKSON: Oh, Amber.

And I was sickened. I thought it was like -- it felt like somebody in my family had died.

CALLEBS: Amber told the station because Jonathan died, she had been discharged from the service and was back in Grand Junction. Robert and Libby said the town of 45,000, that got to know Amber over six months, now rallied around her. Sympathetic calls, offers of assistance. Homefront Heroes, a veteran support group, was eager to pitch in. Phylis Derby started the organization and says Amber described her husband's heroic death.

PHYLIS DERBY, HOMEFRONT HEROES: He died saving an Iraqi child. And they were moving children out of the area and he got caught in the crossfire.

CALLEBS: But Amber's story had holes in it. Libby and Phylis scanned the Department of Defense Web site. Not a word about Jonathan Kenny. And when Amber says her husband's body was being flown to Iowa, no mention in the local newspapers. Amber left this message with Derby after a reporter called the Iowa funeral homes, looking for confirmation of the soldier's death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's not going to find that funeral home because the funeral home that he's at is not listed, and the family owns and they do not want to be contacted by any media.

CALLEBS: Libby spent a weekend questioning herself and the emotional investment in Amber's story.

JACKSON: And I came to work the next morning and got the newspaper. And opened it up and said woman's story of lost soldier may be a hoax. And I just -- I was just sick. I mean, sick.

CALLEBS: It was all a big lie.

JACKSON: We dragged everybody in this, you know? People are going to quit giving to Homefront Heroes. What are we going to do?

CALLEBS: We couldn't get Amber, whose real name is Sarah Kenny, to speak with us. Her family says she has a job now, but wouldn't say what and that Kenny is doing well and working to put this behind her.

(on camera): The people in Grand Junction were furious that they'd been duped. The county prosecutor says he got dozens of angry calls from people who wanted Sarah Kenny punished. The D.A. thought her actions were unforgivable, even immoral, but did this big lie constitute a criminal act?

PETE HAUTZINGER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Originally when it first broke, it wasn't clear what her motivation was.

CALLEBS (voice-over): District Attorney Pete Hautzinger charged Kenny with criminal impersonation. That's usually associated with underage drinkers or impersonating an officer. A stretch, he thought, but Sarah Kenny had received no money, so he was in unchartered territory. Hautzinger wouldn't have to test his case in court. Serving as her own attorney, Kenny pleaded guilty to a felony, never explaining why she had lied.

HAUTZINGER: She had some good things going for her. I give her a lot of credit for having fallen on her sword and taken full responsibility for what she did. CALLEBS: People tell us they hardly ever see her out. And while people window shop, Kenny is on probation for four years and has to undergo counseling. Kenny did apologize, but no one who embraced her then wants anything to do with Sarah Kenny now.

DERBY: My gut reaction was, why would you do this? Why would you lie?

JACKSON: She's just a liar. I mean, she didn't try to steal anything. Well, she did break everybody's heart.

CALLEBS: It took a while for Robert and Libby to actually trust callers again, but they did, eventually even adopting troops. But before these pictures went up on the wall, the two made sure these guys were the real thing.


ZAHN: And for very good reason. Guess we may never know what caused Kenny to do that. Sean Callebs with that report.

Our next story is definitely not a hoax. See what the Army is doing to honor its fallen troops in Iraq. You might be surprised.


ZAHN: Today President Bush said the best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete their mission, laying the foundation of peace by spreading freedom. What you may not know is that the Army pays another very special tribute to every single man or woman who has given their life in Iraq.

Here's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So many funerals, so much grief. For nearly three years, the Army has buried its dead from the war in Iraq. Since the beginning of the war, the Army has assigned a general to each funeral, each time, to render final honors.

MAJOR GENERAL WAYNE ERCK, U.S. ARMY RESERVE: This particular funeral, Lieutenant Colonel James was in my division. He was a battalion commander. So I knew him personally, I knew the family personally. And this is the only place I would want to be today, right next to him.

STARR: It's an extraordinary mission for the nation's highest- ranking officers. More than 200 Army generals have now journeyed, often on a moment's notice, to towns across America, meeting widows, moms and dads they may not even know, telling families, the Army is sorry for their loss.

MAJOR GENERAL GALEN JACKMAN: There is not a general officer in the United States Army who would not drop what they're doing to participate in a funeral.

STARR: Major General Galen Jackman escorted former First Lady Nancy Reagan through President Reagan's funeral. He has now attended four funerals. here at Arlington. This senior officers says the heartbreak of death so young is tough for everyone.

JACKMAN: You see them, they're lance corporals and sergeants and private first classes, and so most of these young and women are probably anywhere from about 18 to 23 years old.

STARR: It begins with a phone call from Major Holly Gay, whose job is to make sure there is a general for every family who wants one there. She says it's the hardest job she has ever had.

(on camera): How many funerals have you coordinated for?

MAJ. HOLLY GAY, U.S. ARMY: Too many. Too many.

STARR: Give me a ballpark?

GAY: Well, you know, it's been about 15 months, over 700.

STARR (voice-over): In the next cubicle, Staff Sergeant Terrell Gant reads an e-mail from one general about how a small town responded.

STAFF SGT TERRELL GANT, U.S. ARMY: The procession was at least a mile long. Grave site, pipes, drums, played "Amazing Grace." And the firing detail and bugler rendered honors.

STARR: The names and faces of the fallen are very personal, even after 2,000 deaths.

GANT: You see some of these young soldiers, been in the Army for a year, couple of months, and see what's actually happened, the sacrifice they have made. And you always think, it could be you.

STARR: One reason for the effort, it keeps senior officers in touch with the grief of a life lost.

GAY: When you go to the funeral, you understand the sacrifices that the soldiers and their families are going through.

STARR: Confronting the last full measure of devotion. The generals say they will keep coming to each funeral for each soldier for each family.


ZAHN: Thanks much, Barbara Starr.

We're going to shift our focus quite a bit right now. Let's move on to the HEADLINE NEWS business break with Erica Hill.


ZAHN: We appreciate it, Erica. Thanks. We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: So tonight, you got millions of hurricane survivors in Florida completely in the dark, enduring another night without electricity. Most of the attention is being focused on the cities, but Florida is dotted with havens for people who want to get off the beaten track. And tonight, people in some of those small towns are bearing the cost of simply being out of the way. Here's Heidi Collins.


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chokoloskee Island is only 40 miles south of Naples, but it feels like a world away. The quiet fishing town, in the middle of Chokoloskee Bay, is home to fewer than 1,000 people, mostly fishermen and retirees in search of a slower pace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chokoloskee's this deep.

COLLINS: Just yesterday, Chokoloskee was underwater, virtually inaccessible.

PAUL WILSON, FIRE CHIEF, OCHOPEE DISTRICT: They have no water, no sewer, no electric, no phones, nothing. Our estimate is about 300 to 400 people from that area stayed in that area.

DWAIN DANIELS, CHOKOLOSKEE RESIDENT: Everything's gone. The roof's gone, everything in the house is gone. It went up on our sofas and stuff, eight inches.

COLLINS: The Daniels family has lived in this home for generations.

DANIELS: Whenever you lose everything you got, I mean, you're sad. Yes. Yes. Everything I got's here. And my whole family's here, you know? You stay with family.

COLLINS: The Daniels are lucky. They have a small generator. They're also determined to stay here despite the mess.

SUSAN DANIELS, CHOKOLOSKEE RESIDENT: A lot of mud. Mud, mud. Nothing inside is any good.

COLLINS: The mud is a challenge, but water is also a major concern.

KEVIN TITUS, RED CROSS SPOKESPERSON: Water damage is a challenge because, you know, it goes into the homes, it doesn't discriminate where the water goes. Many times, you know, there's a lot of damage, you know, that we can't see from the road.

COLLINS: A two-man Red Cross team is passing through Chokoloskee Island before heading south to Key West. Their main concerns -- food, water and putting residents in touch with FEMA. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I also wrote the number for FEMA.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you want to make sure that you call that number.

COLLINS: Despite their losses, the Daniels are hopeful.

S. DANIELS: Not one life's lost. And, so that's great. Everybody will try to work together and there's some good people in this group that's already been here to offer help.


ZAHN: Got to admire an attitude like that.

Before we go, we want to check in now with our severe weather expert, Chad Myers. At the top of the hour, we had one of our reporter in Cape Cod who was getting blown around a little, and thought the winds were going to die down eventually. What's going on in that part of the world?

CHAD MYERS, CNN SEVERE WEATHER EXPERT: It will probably die down to 20 or 25 overnight, Paula. And that's pretty good, because they were gusting to well over 65 for a while.

Believe it or not, temperatures there are only in the 40s and the wind chill factor in the 30s. And that's -- yes, that is snow. Some spots from upstate New York where it's snowing now in the capital district, it is snowing in Albany, Norwich, New York at 10 inches, Binghamton even at 6 inches of snow on the ground from this nor'easter. The nor'easter did not hook up with the hurricane. This is not -- any of this is not part at all of Wilma. Even Ocean City and Cape May, 74. Hurricane force winds without a hurricane. That hurricane is so far east, it's 500 miles off to the east now. But we have this nor'easter that would have been here anyway.

ZAHN: Let's talk about the calendar here. Because you've had to deal with this cold, hard reality since this season started. We have had a record year so far. We've got until November 30th. What do you think we can expect?

MYERS: Well, the water is still warm. There is no question we can still have another hurricane. If we just had a Category 5, and that's what it was south of Cozumel, we could certainly see another Category 2 or 3, and it's what, still another 35 or 40 days until the end of that? That's still a long time.

ZAHN: Well, we know you were trying to be home with your family on Thanksgiving, so you might get a break, and so might the rest of the country.

MYERS: Right.

ZAHN: Chad, thanks so much, and want to thank you all for joining us tonight. Appreciate you being with us. We'll see you same time, same place, tomorrow night.


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