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Supreme Court Nominee Under Fire; Do Nail Salons Pose Hidden Dangers?; Reliving Terror in Saudi Arabia

Aired January 10, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us tonight.
We are not only following the latest breaking news, but also ahead, some amazing pictures that have never been seen before of a deadly terrorist attack.


ZAHN (voice-over): Terror in Khobar.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL ED O'NEAL, U.S. AIR FORCE: I remember my first emotion was rage. He was trying to kill me because I was an American.

ZAHN: Exclusive: never-before-seen pictures inside a terror attack, as the violence unfolds.

O'NEAL: My partner is shot through the back of the left upper arm. He screams out, you know: I'm hit. Oh, my God. I'm hit.

ZAHN: And an American hero whose courage saved lives.

The Supreme Court nominee under fire.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: The statement you made in 1985, do you agree with that statement today?

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Those are your words. Am I right?

ZAHN: Pushed on the most contentious controversies.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Presidential power, congressional power, right to choose.

ZAHN: How did he hold up under the pressure?

And tonight's "Eye Opener" -- danger hidden in the most unlikely place. Wait until you see how this bride's wedding was ruined by a common pedicure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were open sores.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All under your beautiful white wedding dress.


ZAHN: Tonight, you are not going to believe what we found lurking inside nail salons, like the ones in your neighborhood.


ZAHN: Also tonight, some amazing surveillance video that everyone around here is talking about. How did this woman survive a robber's attack? See how she used her brains and her common sense.

But there's some breaking news down in Florida to share with you, where a 10-hour hostage standoff at a bank that was followed by a car chase and second standoff ended just minutes ago.

Let's get the very latest now from John Zarrella.

What happened, John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF: Paula, it has been one long day for four hostages that had been held over different periods of time here at the Mercantile Bank. You can see the media here gathered behind me, waiting for the Osceola County Sheriff's Department to come out and confirm for us that, in fact, it is over.

But from what -- everything that we have been able to observe from our position here, it appears that a standoff with a male and a female robbers who went into the Mercantile Bank at 9:30 this morning, took four hostages, three females and one male, has just now ended.

At one point -- point -- late in the standoff, after they had given up three of the hostages, still held one female bank employee, at that point, police, we believe, tried to go in through the back, blew their way through the back of the bank. At that point, the -- the two robbers, alleged robbers, with their hostage, jumped into a car, tried to make a getaway.

They could not. The tires were blown out. They came back towards the bank. And it is that point where they apparently stopped, and, at that point, apparently gave up what had been a nearly -- or more than a 10-hour standoff.

Do not know the condition of the hostage at this point, Paula. Do not know exactly the details of how this all went down, only that it appears that this long ordeal, this long hostage standoff, is finally over here in Osceola County, Kissimmee, Florida, not far from Walt Disney World -- Paula.

ZAHN: And, John, there were some very bizarre points to this story, when the hostage-takers actually negotiated for cigarettes at one point?

ZARRELLA: At one point, they -- initially, one -- one of the hostages was released very early on. Then, a second one was released in exchange for cigarettes and a lighter.

And, then, a third hostage was released in exchange for the SWAT team agreeing to step back, to move back. But, at that point, apparently, negotiations began to bog down. And, late this afternoon, into the early evening hours, I guess, at this point, we understand police had given up the waiting process and decided to try and go in.

That's our understanding, but the details as to what exactly transpired that brought all this to an end are still not clear -- and, again, waiting for Osceola County sheriffs to give us the final details on what happened -- Paula.

ZAHN: And we are going to come back to you for those final details and the status, of course, of that hostage that we now believe is safe and -- and sound.

Now, I want to see some -- some astonishing images that no one has ever seen before. These are some surveillance pictures taken during a deadly terrorist attack. It happened in May of 2004 at a compound housing foreign oil workers in Saudi Arabia. Twenty-two people were killed, some of them beheaded or shot at point-blank range.

Caught in the crossfire were two U.S. Air Force officers, advisers to the Saudi government. They were unarmed. Tonight, for the very first time, one of them is telling his remarkable survival store.

Here's senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The May 29, 2004, attack prompted Saudi special forces to storm the complex of buildings to try to rescue foreign oil workers held by al Qaeda gunmen who had already shot and beheaded any non- Muslims they could find.

These images from a surveillance camera inside, seen here on CNN for the first time, show how the terrorists methodically carried out the attack and how one U.S. Air Force officer, armed only with a cell phone and his military training, saved his partner and a group of construction workers.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL ED O'NEAL, U.S. AIR FORCE: This is myself in the front there in desert camouflage uniform and Lieutenant Colonel James Broome, both Air Force officers. There's a restaurant here to our left. And that's where we ate breakfast.

MCINTYRE: Lieutenant Colonel Ed O'Neal, a personnel adviser advising the Saudi Royal Air Force, was leading a group to safety when he came under a spray of fire from a terrorist with an AK-47.

O'NEAL: And I remember thinking how anonymous it was. You know, he was trying to kill me not because of what I did, but because I was an American, because I was a Westerner, because I was someone who represented something different.

MCINTYRE: Close combat is not usually in O'Neal's job description, but his anti-terrorist training kicked in, and he was later awarded a Bronze Star For Valor for his decisive actions, even though he nearly didn't live to tell about it.

After 12 hours barricaded on a roof, O'Neal began to lead his group of six people out, after being assured by a Saudi commander by cell phone the coast was clear.

O'NEAL: We descend into the darkness. I reach for this gate. And, suddenly, a shooter opens fire.

When the shooting starts, this person reacts to the sound of the gunfire. He goes down. The other individual, you see him pull back, as if he thinks he's being shot at. And, then, my partner spins around. He runs up the stairs, trips.

MCINTYRE (on camera): He's shot there, right?

O'NEAL: He's shot. He has been shot through the left upper arm. But I wouldn't know that until we see each other again in the hospital.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): What the tape doesn't show is, O'Neal has been hit, too, five times.

O'NEAL: Bullets come by my head and start ricocheting off the wall. And I'm hit five times with ricocheting rounds. And my partner is shot through the back of the left upper arm. He screams out, you know: I'm hit. Oh, my God. I'm hit.

MCINTYRE: Both O'Neal and his partner, Lieutenant Colonel James Broome, fully recovered from their wounds. But 22 others were killed, mostly contractors working in the Saudi oil industry.

It was months later when O'Neal finally saw the security camera images he shared with CNN.

O'NEAL: You know, at first, it was pretty -- pretty chilling to see the faces of the people who did this, you know, and realize they shot you and your -- your partner and -- and killed all these other people. But, in some ways, it has kind of helped me understand the broader context of the attack and what happened and -- and kind of helped me understand, you know, this whole situation a little bit better.

MCINTYRE: O'Neal says a translation of the terrorists' own account of the attack, which he found on a Web site, also gave him shivers.

O'NEAL: From their after-action report, they say that they were kind of prepared to die from the very beginning. If -- if at some point they failed to enter a compound the way they wanted to, they had rigged their vehicle with explosives. And I think -- my personal opinion is, I think they could operate that way because they expected that, if the worst happened, that they were prepared for that.

MCINTYRE: But, amazingly, despite being surrounded by Saudi security forces, the surveillance video shows the terrorists calmly walking away after 25 hours. One attacker was apparently killed, but it's not clear if any of the others were later caught.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


ZAHN: And there's one more thing to add. Colonel O'Neal credits his survival to what he learned in one anti-terrorism training course he took in the Air Force about 12 years ago.

Tonight, the life of an American woman is in the hands of captors in Iraq. Twenty-eight-year-old freelance journalist Jill Carroll was kidnapped on Saturday. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Joining me now, someone who knows Jill Carroll and knows firsthand the terror she's going through. Micah Garen is a journalist who was kidnapped and held for 10 days in Iraq in August of 2004.

Welcome. Good to see you.


ZAHN: You received an e-mail from Jill a couple of weeks ago. She obviously was working in a very dangerous environment that you're familiar with from your work there. What was the tone of her e-mail?

GAREN: Well, she's very positive. She always is. She's a very sweet, very intelligent, very professional women. And she's one of the few out there now who is actually reporting from the ground in -- in Iraq.

And, you know, I'm just amazed at her courage. You know, I was so astounded to hear from her. I was very happy. And...

ZAHN: And, certainly, a great prize for people...


ZAHN: ... who -- who want to kidnap someone who is, you know, something rich in symbolism. You were held hostage for 10 days. You lost 10 pounds. The -- the conditions were horrible. Describe what she might encounter, based on what you went through.

GAREN: Well, she -- she has been out there for a number of years. And she's -- you know, you really -- you kind of work yourself up for situations like this. But you are still never prepared.

And in the first few days of my kidnapping, you know, it -- there's a lot of terror. But you're really working in the moment. You're only thinking 30 seconds ahead. And the most important thing is, you need to reach out to your captors and express to them who you are. You know, she's a journalist. She's a good person. And I think it's -- her ability to communicate with them, because she knows Arabic, I think is very important. So, I think, in these days right now, she's really, probably, trying to get that message across to them, that she is somebody who is, you know, there because she cares about Iraq and Iraqi people.

ZAHN: But if she's encountering what you encountered, she is going to be deprived of sleep, food. You were treated horribly.

GAREN: Well, they do feed you. At least in my case, they fed me three times a day. And I was treated, more or less, on a day-to-day basis, respectfully. And I think, because she's a woman, she's probably also being treated respectfully on a day-by-day basis.

And I think what's really critical in this is to -- to get the message across about who she is and that she's a good person and she's a journalist. And -- and that's what really matters. And I think she's -- she's a professional, so she understands this. And she's going to be working to communicate with her captors constantly. So, she will be very tired, but -- but I believe that she can actually endure this.


GAREN: I mean, she's a very smart and -- and wonderful person.

ZAHN: And the American military at this hour actively involved in the search for her.

Micah, thank you for dropping by.

GAREN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.

Coming up next, the startling results of a CNN nationwide investigation -- what simple pleasure for thousands of women could leave your legs so deformed you will never even want to wear a dress again?

Plus, this story:


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ted Rowlands in Orem, Utah. You may have already seen the dramatic video from this check cashing store of a robbery. We will show you how the woman in that video was able to keep her cool and help police.

It is all coming up -- it's a great story -- as PAULA ZAHN NOW continues.



ZAHN: Now on to another of the day's big stories.

It has been a real knockdown battle on Capitol Hill today. And Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito is still standing.

As congressional correspondent Ed Henry reports, the Democrats took their best shots, and Judge Alito ducked and dodged, and even gave them some answers.


ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Judge Samuel Alito calmly deflected an immediate barrage of tough questions from Republican Chairman Arlen Specter, a supporter of abortion rights.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Let me come now to the statement you made in 1985 that the Constitution does not provide a basis for a woman's right to an abortion. Do you agree with that statement today, Judge Alito?

JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: That was a statement that I made at a prior period of time when I was performing a different role.

And, as I said yesterday, when someone becomes a judge, you really have to put aside the things that you did as a lawyer at prior points in your legal career.

HENRY: Alito tried to reassure conservatives by not quite running from a 1985 memo he wrote when he was a Reagan administration lawyer. In it, Alito supported overturning the right to abortion. But he reached out to Specter and Democrats by putting out he had written the memo as an advocate, and, now, as a judge, he has an open mind.

ALITO: Today, if the issue were to come before me, if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed and the issue were to come before me, the first question would be the question that we've been discussing, and that's the issue of stare decisis. And if the analysis were to get beyond that point, then I would approach the question with an open mind and I would listen to the arguments that were made.

HENRY: Despite White House concerns that he was not as polished as Chief Justice John Roberts, who impressed these same senators in his hearings last year, Alito's modest self-effacing approach seems to work for him.

Pressed on President Bush's domestic spying program and the broader issue of presidential power, the judge seemed to suggest the president needed wide authority in a time of war, but added, that should not reduce an individual's rights, like privacy.

ALITO: The Bill of Rights applies at -- at all times. And it's particularly important that we adhere to the Bill of Rights in times of war and in times of national crisis, because that's when there's the greatest temptation to depart from them.

HENRY: Alito found a way to backpedal when pressed on a 1985 job application in which he said he believed strongly in the supremacy of the executive branch.

KENNEDY: Those are your words, am I right?

ALITO: They are, and that's a very inapt phrase. And I...

KENNEDY: Excuse me?

ALITO: It's an inapt phrase, and I certainly didn't mean that literally at the time, and I wouldn't say that today. The branches of government are equal. They have equal -- they have different responsibilities, but they are all equal, and no branch is supreme to the other branches.

KENNEDY: So you've changed your mind?

ALITO: No, I haven't changed my mind, Senator, but the phrasing there is very misleading and incorrect.

HENRY: Answers like that left Democrats griping that Alito has been evasive.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I wonder whether he was one Samuel Alito in the 1980s, a different one today, whether he's running away from his record.

HENRY: On the question of why Alito ruled on a case involving the Vanguard mutual fund company, where he had an investment account, instead of recusing himself, as he had promised, he got help from Republicans, who pointed out that, eventually, the judge did in fact withdraw from the case.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Well, I have to say, Judge, that you went above and beyond your ethical duties here. And I think you're to be applauded, not to be criticized, for your rigorous attention to judicial impartiality and integrity.


HENRY: Sparks were flying when Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer took another run near -- another run at Alito on the issue of abortion near the end of tonight's hearing in the room behind me.

But the bottom line is that Alito still emerged relatively unscathed. And Republicans are quite confident at this point that, barring some major development, Alito is going to be confirmed -- Paula.

ZAHN: Well, we will be certainly watching it again tomorrow.

Ed Henry, thanks so much.

Right now, we go straight to Erica Hill for tonight's Headline News business break.

Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. Nice to see you again.

Wall Street taking a bit of a breather today, actually, after a five-day winning streak. The Dow paused, but it did remain above the 11000 mark. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed slightly higher.

Meantime, in San Francisco, at the Macworld Expo, Apple unveiling its new computers, the first to run on a chip made by Intel. Apple also introduced new iPod accessories, including an FM tuner for the hot-selling device.

In a bid to boost sales, GM is cutting the price of its cars tomorrow. The company says that cut will apply to 80 percent of its vehicles.

The National Association of Realtors, by the way predicting prices are going to normalize in 2006. What does that mean for the rest of us? They are going to slow down from their previously hectic pace. The realtors say housing prices may have soared by some 13 percent overall last year.

And, under a new SEC proposal, companies would have to disclose more details to investors about executive pay and perks, the type that provoked anger after a wave of corporate scandals.

Paula, that's the latest from your business break headlines -- back over to you.

ZAHN: See you on the backside of the hour. Erica, thanks so much.

And, in just a minute, the results of a nationwide investigation of our own. Did you know that one of the most popular reasons for a trip to the salon could lead to serious skin infections, permanent scars, terrible pain? What's the problem with pedicures across the country?

And, then, a little bit later on, a best-selling book that has even won praise from Oprah Winfrey, was it all a hoax?


ZAHN: And I want to warn you now that the pictures you are about to see, you might find incredibly disturbing. We have a story I think is going to shock you.

Can you imagine going into a salon to try to treat yourself to a pedicure and ending up like this woman, permanently scarred because of a skin infection? I realize this is going to be hard for some of you to stomach, but it will help you understand a growing problem all across the country.

If this happened to you, you might never want to wear a dress again.

Our consumer correspondent, Greg Hunter, has been all over the country investigating nail salons, a $6.5 billion-a-year industry. And what he found is tonight's "Eye Opener."


GREG HUNTER, CNN CONSUMER CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's supposed to be a treat for your toes, a pedicure in a whirlpool foot spa, but did you know a relaxing pedicure could lead to this, a terrible skin infection that causes painful leg boils?

MARILYN CLARKE, SUFFERED SKIN INFECTION: I had huge, oozing lesions on my leg, pussy oozing.

CYNTHIA HINZ, SUFFERED SKIN INFECTION: It looks like cigarette burns, somebody took cigarettes and went up and down your leg.

HUNTER: Hundreds of women have developed skin infections after getting pedicures in salons. Doctors say it's a disturbing trend caused by bacteria that can grow in dirty foot spas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We really can't scare people enough regarding this. It's a very real threat.

HUNTER (on camera): All across the country?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All across the country.

HUNTER (voice-over): In the U.S., the problem was first noticed in California, where there had been three serious outbreaks of bacterial infections in five years.

In 2002, a month after getting a pedicure near San Jose, Angela Lenkto (ph) noticed what she thought were mosquito bites. The bumps turned into sores. Her father, a surgeon, had to drain daily by squeezing them.

(on camera): Painful?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Extremely painful, and kind of like grit- your-teeth, you know, scream-out-loud painful.

HUNTER (voice-over): And, worst of all, Lenkto (ph) was suffering during one of the biggest events of her life, her wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were open sores that were -- that were seeping with puss.

HUNTER (on camera): All under your beautiful white wedding dress?


HUNTER: Pretty memorable?


HUNTER (voice-over): But Lenkto (ph) isn't alone.

(on camera): Did any of you ever imagine that you would be saying, pedicure, open sores in the same sentence?



HUNTER (voice-over): All of these women have sued California salons for skin infections after a pedicure.

MONICA DITTRICH, SUFFERED SKIN INFECTION: It really makes you feel ugly and damaged. And I really felt like a leper.

HUNTER: The Centers for Disease Control says, infections like these are caused by this water-borne bacteria. In a 2002 study of California salons, the CDC found the rapidly growing bacteria were highly prevalent in whirlpool footbaths.

Infections have now been reported in 12 states. Dr. Shelly Sacoola Gibbs (ph), a dermatologist, says you can absorb bacteria from dirty footbath water from through a tiny cut or abrasion on your skin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It can really hurt people's legs. And it can leave them with disfiguring scars. So, it's very bad.

HUNTER: Something these women know all too well. Several showed us their legs.

Nineteen-year-old Britney Welby (ph) had some of the worst scars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not the same person anymore. And I can't live the life that I used to when I was 18. This past year has just damaged me so much.

HUNTER: Infections can be prevented, scientists say, if foot spas are cleaned properly.

One problem is this screen that covers the plumbing in many machines. It can trap dirt, hair, and skin, turning the tub into a breeding ground for bacteria.

We wanted to see for ourselves what's behind foot spa screens. So, we went along with this salon inspector in Raleigh, North Carolina.


HUNTER: In the first shop, the foot spa screens turn out to be clean. But, at another salon, watch what happens when this footbath screen is removed. Look how much buildup is there. The owner claims it's from one day of doing pedicures.

(on camera): So, that's from one day?

KELLY NGUYEN, SALON OWNER: Yes. We got very busy today.

HUNTER (voice-over): So, we take a closer look at one screen. WILDER: That looks like mold with dead skin.

HUNTER (on camera): And people's feet are in this?


HUNTER: Is that gross?

WILDER: That is terrible.

HUNTER (voice-over): But it isn't just one screen. According to our inspector, all three of the salon's foot spas show signs of serious neglect.

(on camera): Do you think this is as clean as it should be?




HUNTER: It's -- it's bad, isn't it?


HUNTER: It's gross, right?


HUNTER (voice-over): The following week, the salon was reinspected and the footbaths were clean.

(on camera): It takes about an hour to do a pedicure. But the numbers really add up for just one chair. You can do eight pedicures a day, 50 pedicures a week, around 200 pedicures a month in one chair. And, if it's not cleaned correctly, it's like sitting in the same bath as everyone before you.

CLARKE: It's gross. I would never do that. It -- it makes you feel gross, dirty and disgusting.

HUNTER (voice-over): This California salon, where more than 100 women were allegedly infected, settled, along with its insurance company and some of its suppliers, a lawsuit for nearly $3 million. Cases against five other salons are pending. Neither the salons, nor their lawyers, would agree to speak with us.

But the industry says the vast majority of millions of consumers who get pedicures every year are not at risk.

PAUL DYKSTRA, SENIOR DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL NAIL TECHNICIANS ASSOCIATION: The salon professionals with proper education will do what is necessary to make sure that this isn't a problem.

HUNTER: Paul Dykstra heads the International Nail Technicians Association, which has published guidelines, advising members to clean like this Chicago salon does, by scrubbing foot spa screens daily and disinfecting after every client.

But Dykstra believes it's up to consumer to ask questions.

DYKSTRA: If the salon professional, God forbid, is one that doesn't understand these procedures, they shouldn't get the service there.

HUNTER: So, we decided to find out what happens when consumers inquire about cleaning.

We asked Nancy King, a nationally known industry expert who trains nail professionals, to go into upscale salons in Houston wearing a hidden camera. Our expert finds one salon doing everything right, disinfecting after each pedicure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to, because there's water jets in there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the germs get caught in the water jets.

HUNTER: At another salon, the receptionist says the right thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After every client, they clean and disinfect.

HUNTER: But when King talks to the pedicure technician, she gets a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If there's a salon out there saying that they're cleaning and, like, bleaching after every client, that's a lie, because they can't do it. I mean I have never seen anybody do that.

HUNTER: CNN asked the salon owner to comment. He never responded.

(on camera): You went to seven space shuttle. How many did you approve of?


HUNTER: What does that tell you?

KING: That there are a lot of people out there that need a lot more training.

HUNTER: These women know how important a safe pedicure is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really, really sad that this -- a pedicure has changed my life like this.

HUNTER: They face a lifetime of scars they say may never heal. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So terrible. So, what are these individual states doing about this to protect all of us?

HUNTER: Well, let's start with California.

After all these outbreaks, California enacts a law which requires salons to properly clean these pedi-spas, these whirlpool spas. Now, after that -- this is the big problem -- every state has different laws. And some states don't have any laws at all.

I know what you're thinking. So, what do you do?

ZAHN: Exactly.

HUNTER: Well, here's what our expert says. Our...


ZAHN: You can read my mind, Greg.


HUNTER: Yes, I'm psychic.

Our expert says that here is what you should do to protect yourself when you get a pedicure. First of all, ask how the salon cleans the footbaths. The salon should tell you they use a hospital- grade, EPA-approved disinfectant, and they run a 10-minute cleaning cycle before each and every client. That means the footbath has to be going around.

If all they're doing is spraying some disinfectant spray on there, our experts say, not enough.

Second one, don't shave your legs at least 24 hours before you get a pedicure. Another expert told me at least two or three days. The reason, when you shave, you scrape off hair and some skin. And those abrasions leave you much more susceptible to getting an infection.

And, finally, ask the salon to take off that screen we showed you. Some of them looked clean. Some of them looked bad. Well, they should take it off every day, our experts say. And, if they won't take it off for you, or they can't take it off for you, our experts say, don't put your feet in the tub.

ZAHN: That's really good advice. The third one, I think, is the easiest of all those things to follow. Were -- were you surprised by what you found? You had heard some of these nightmare stories. But I -- I couldn't imagine a 600 -- $6.5 billion industry, that it would have been as frequent as you have just found out.

HUNTER: One of our victims summed it up the best. It's a life- changing event. You're a woman. You wear a dress. You look wonderful in a dress. Women look great in dresses.

These women cannot wear dresses anymore. That's what they think. They think their legs are so scarred that they're going to wear pants for the rest of their lives. Is it a life-changing event. And it shouldn't be.

ZAHN: Consumers, beware. Greg Hunter, thanks for bringing that to us.

Coming up, we change our focus quite a bit. Do you think that slavery went away in the 1800s? Well, think again.


ALEX (through translator): We were working 24 hours. It didn't matter if we were sleeping. They would get us up.


ZAHN: Unbelievably, in America, slavery for sex. Coming up next, what is being done to stop it?


ZAHN: Today, President Bush signed a bill to fight something you probably think ended 140 years ago with the Civil War, slavery, right here in the United States.

The law extends the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. That's intended to help prosecute the people who bring thousands of teenagers and young girls here every year to be sex slaves.

You're about to meet some of them in this report from Thelma Gutierrez.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a hidden crime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, I believe we were slaves.

GUTIERREZ: From secret residential brothels in the city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They wouldn't let us leave or go anywhere.

GUTIERREZ: To brothels in the agricultural fields...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of these women, they are here against their will.

GUTIERREZ: ... women are being bought and sold.

HEIDI RUMMEL, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: It's a very lucrative crime. And that's why people are willing to exploit other human beings.

GUTIERREZ: It's called human trafficking. And only drugs and guns generate more money for organized crime. Meet Alex (ph).

ALEX (through translator): The woman who brought me here told me I would work in a restaurant and I would pay her off with my labor.

GUTIERREZ: Instead, Alex (ph) was forced to pay off her debts with her body. We can't show you her face, because she's a federal witness in the case against her captors.

ALEX (through translator): We were thinking, my God, we're all going to die here.

GUTIERREZ: Alex was smuggled from Mexico through the desert to a house here in Los Angeles, where her dreams were shattered.

ALEX (through translator): They didn't tell me what was going to happen. They just told me, you're going to go with this man.

GUTIERREZ: It was a frightening realization. The restaurant job was a farce. Alex and a dozen others, including two 14-year-old girls, were forced to work as prostitutes.

ALEX (through translator): We were working 24 hours. It didn't matter if we were sleeping. They would get us up. If we were hungry, there was no time to eat. All that mattered was their money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are the drop-off sites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming in this way.

GUTIERREZ: Sheriff's Deputy Rick Castro leads a small strike force against human traffickers. We follow the team as they conduct ongoing surveillance of an agricultural a field in the suburbs of San Diego.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got more activity out there.

GUTIERREZ: Deputy Castro and Sergeant Marcos Ramirez told me it's common for traffickers to set up brothels for migrant workers.

RICK CASTRO, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Only the customers will be coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, we watched from atop a mountain ridge.

CASTRO: The girls will generally bring in little pieces of carpet.

GUTIERREZ: On this night, our camera captures several people running into the field.

CASTRO: These kind of operations are pretty common.

GUTIERREZ: Deputy Castro is an expert in trafficking. He says, in the past four years, he has noticed a marked increase in traffic victims. And they're not easy to identify.

CASTRO: Unfortunately, when I first started interviewing some of these victims, I didn't know what human trafficking was. And I let a lot of victims -- when I think back, I let a lot of victims go.

GUTIERREZ: It is a transient operation, where women are brought to the fields. They disappear into a grove of trees. This is where business is conducted, through the bush and on the ground.

SERGEANT MARCOS RAMIREZ, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: They're out there in this bush doing it, because they have to.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): And if they don't want to or if they try to run away?

RAMIREZ: Well, they will -- they will be dealt with severely by the persons who are -- are basically the ones that we're after.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Castro says punishment for running away is brutal.

CASTRO: These girls will get raped violently. They will got sodomized, beaten very badly. And, in one case, specifically, I remember that the female was -- was beaten with a clothes hangar for about two hours. And just by witnessing this torture for two hours, those girls will have that lasting impression for the rest of their life. And they will never, ever go against that trafficker.

RUMMEL: The youngest girl at this house was 14 years old.

GUTIERREZ: Heidi Rummel is an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.

RUMMEL: October, she had 80 clients, in November, 91, December, 97.

GUTIERREZ: She shows us the journal of a young victim who was forced to prostitute herself here in a house without windows.

(on camera): Why do you think it was important to keep these journals?

RUMMEL: Because the defendant had promised them that, when they left, he would pay them for the clients they had serviced. They didn't receive money during the time that they were working here.

GUTIERREZ: Over four months, the girl was forced to have sex with 274 clients. Her trafficker, Sammy Chung (ph), is now serving 12-and-a-half years in federal prison.

From Texas to New Jersey to California, international trafficking rings have been busted across the country. As of last February, the Justice Department has 203 open trafficking investigations.

ALEX (through translator): I would get sad at times, because I would imagine my dreams escaping like water through my hands. GUTIERREZ: Alex is convinced that many of the clients knew that she and the others were being forced to sell themselves, but didn't care.

ALEX (through translator): To the men, I have so little to say. I hope they will take a step back and think, especially if they have children or daughters. I don't think they would like to see their daughters in those places.

GUTIERREZ: For her traffickers, Alex was a reusable commodity who could be used over and over again, just like the women we see here running across the field on a degrading journey that may have no end.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, San Diego County.


ZAHN: Absolutely stunning that that can go on.

Human trafficking in San Diego County has become such a huge problem that the Justice Department has now funded a human trafficking task force there. The 30-person team is now investigating eight dozen sex trafficking cases.

Coming up next, a scandal involving one of the most popular books around. Coming up next, what are the fact-checkers saying on the Internet about the million-selling memoir "A Million Little Pieces"? Is the author still standing by his story?

Plus, pictures you will be telling your friends about. How did a woman survive this robbery and savage attack?


ZAHN: There's an old saying in journalism: Even if your mother says she loves you, check it out first -- good advice, because, tonight, there's an explosive controversy over a book promoted by Oprah Winfrey for her readers club, an endorsement that immediately propelled it to best-seller status.

Sibila Vargas has been looking into the book and the accusations against the author.


SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His book is a best-seller, second only to Harry Potter. And since Oprah Winfrey picked "A Million Little Pieces" for her book of the month club, James Frey's memoirs have sold over 3.5 million copies.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: "A Million Little Pieces" is an experience, and when you finally, reluctantly, turn the last page, you want to meet the man who lived to tell this tale.

VARGAS: It's a book that Oprah Winfrey can't get enough of. The latest in her book club, "A Million Little Pieces" has become one of the most popular books of the year.

WINFREY: At 23, James has no money, no job, no home and is wanted in three states.

VARGAS: It's a dark tale of addiction to crack cocaine, alcohol and a deep criminal record.

WINFREY: At age 10, he was drinking alcohol. By 12, he's doing drugs. From there, James spends almost every day the same, drunk and high on crack.

VARGAS: It's a story that immediately drew scrutiny when it first hit shelves in 2003. How could such an incredible tale be true? Frey has consistently stood by the book.

JAMES FREY, AUTHOR, "A MILLION LITTLE PIECES": But I didn't invent anything. Everything I wrote about happened.

VARGAS: That's what he told Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today Show" back in 2003, and people believed him. But now, since his fame has skyrocketed from Oprah, that scrutiny has grown more intense.

And now blockbuster revelations by the investigative Web site

ANDREW GOLDBERG, THESMOKINGGUN.COM: There's been zero indication from anyone, anywhere, any record, anything, that he is being honest when he says, this is my true story. Zero indication. Zero.

VARGAS:, a Web site that specializes in finding documented proof behind big stories, says Frey is fibbing.

GOLDBERG: What we found was that his criminal past is, in many ways, puffed up and, in even more ways, fabricated totally, and that major portions of the book are just made up.

VARGAS: Frey claims in his book that he had warrants for his arrest in three states. Smoking Gun decided to unearth court documents, mug shots and the like and see what they could dig up.

GOLDBERG: So, then we went back and forth. You know, we talked to police over and over again. And nobody could find any record. There were no court records. That's when he sort of said to us, look, I had my (AUDIO GAP)

VARGAS: At the center of the controversy is an excerpt from the book where Frey, high on crack cocaine, gets in a huge scuffle with police officers, is arrested, and does jail time. But got the actual police report, and they say that's not at all what happened.

GOLDBERG: He was listed in the report as polite and cooperative.

VARGAS: But James Frey says he continues to stand by his book. He says -- quote -- "In an effort to be consistent with my policy of openness and transparency, I thought I should share it with the people who come to this Web site and support me and my work. So, let the haters hate. Let the doubters doubt. I stand by my book and my life. And I won't dignify this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) with any sort of further response."

VARGAS: We reached out to Oprah today. So far, no comment. But Smoking Gun says she's going to have to talk sometime.

GOLDBERG: It's everywhere. And I don't think that you can just ignore it if you're Oprah Winfrey. I think you have to, at some point, either say, I'm going to stand behind this book and I trusted this author, and, you know, that's where I'm going to go. Or you're going to say, look, you know, I have doubts now, and we trusted this guy, and I feel betrayed, as well.


ZAHN: Sibila Vargas reporting for us tonight.

And we asked some of our readers what they thought. Their reactions ranged from disappointment to disbelief. Some readers say it doesn't make any difference at all. They still like the book. You can see an exclusive interview with James Frey tomorrow night. He will be Larry King's guest at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up next, some heart-stopping pictures -- a woman confronts a would-be robber. How did she stay so cool? And what happened to the man with the gun?


ZAHN: Some stunning video to watch. There's a store clerk in Utah tonight who has an absolutely amazing story to tell. She used her brains and a little bit of luck to survive a brutal attack.

And surveillance cameras caught it all on tape.

Here's Ted Rowlands with a story from "Outside the Law."



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He came flying over the countertop.


ROWLANDS: Angie Hershey (ph) was alone. She had just opened her check cashing store when she was attacked.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was wearing a yellow sweat suit. He was like a...



ROWLANDS: The man that attacked Angie (ph) took her by surprise. But, right away, She noticed his gun was fake.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could tell, because (INAUDIBLE) orange plastic thing on the -- on the front of it like. It was the cheapest gun. It looked like he got it at, like, a dollar store. I thought it was a joke at first.


ROWLANDS: It wasn't a joke. The man wanted money.

And, as you can see in this surveillance tape, he forces Angie (ph) to the floor to open the safe.

LIEUTENANT DOUG EDWARDS, OREM, UTAH, POLICE DEPARTMENT: She gave the money to the suspect. There was absolutely nothing in that safe that was worth her life.

ROWLANDS: The attacker then tries to get ahold of Angie (ph). He uses his body to pin her against the wall. But she continues to squirm free.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had masking -- he had electrical tape. He was trying to tie me up.


EDWARDS: She didn't want to be tied up. She talked him out of taking her into a backroom, because she was fearful that she would be raped or worse.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I kept saying, someone's going to come. Someone's going to come. You got to get out of here.


ROWLANDS: Angie (ph), who is married and the mother of two, says she continued to plead with the man to let her go and to leave.

Then, after a few minutes, the phone on the counter starts to ring. You can see the attacker pause for just a second. Then, he decides the best thing to do is to rip the phone out of the wall.

(on camera): But he didn't knock the phone out of the wall at all. In fact, all he really did was knock the receiver off. On the other end of the line was Angie (ph)'s husband, Sy (ph).

(voice-over): Her husband could hear what was happening. He immediately called 911. A few moments later, Angie (ph) walks away from the attacker. And he decides to leave. She waits until he's gone, locks the front door, and calls 911.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have just been robbed by a man.


ROWLANDS: She tells the dispatcher what happened, and she says she may know the attacker.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he could possibly be one of our customers that I gave money to not too long ago.


ROWLANDS: Police say she was right. They showed up and used the information on file at the store, including his home address, to identify the man they believe is the attacker.

EDWARDS: In fact, the officers got to his home before he did. And they were there waiting for him when he returned.

ROWLANDS: The best part of this amazing surveillance tape may be here at the end, when Angie (ph)'s husband, Sy (ph), who had rushed to the store, finally arrives and finds that his wife is OK.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Orem, Utah.


ZAHN: She's one lucky woman, and a smart one at that.

Let's quickly get an update on this hour's other top stories.

Erica Hill has that for us at Headline News.

HILL: Paula, a sad and shocking disclosure today -- the owners of the Sago Mine say 12 miners -- that the 12 miners who died actually might have survived if they had walked to fresh air less than half-a- mile from where they sought shelter.

President Bush again saying critics of his Iraq policy could be giving comfort to the enemy. Democrats responded to that statement by saying the president should be held accountable.

And the EPA is adjusting its mileage estimates. The agency says the new estimates will reflect the real world. They will also show a drop of up to 20 percent.

A new study estimates 19 million Americans are impaired by alcohol during the work day. That's 15 percent of workers, Paula, really a pretty large number. We will hand it back to you in New York.

ZAHN: Erica Hill, thanks so much.

I want to update you now on a breaking news story.

There has been another deadly coal mine accident, this one in Pikeville, Kentucky, just a week after that deadly mining accident in West Virginia. This afternoon, a miner was trapped by a roof that collapsed at the Maverick Mining company's mine in Pikeville. When rescue crews finally got to him, the miner was dead.

We are going to take a short break here. We will be right back.


ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Really appreciate your joining us.

We will be back same time, same place tomorrow night. Until then, have a good night.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now. He joins us from New York City tonight.

Good night.


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