Return to Transcripts main page
CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Governments Says America Still Unprepared to Handle Emergencies; Hadith Marine's Lawyer Says No Crime, No Cover-Up; Tiger Woods Misses The Cut; Personal Information on the Internet
Aired June 17, 2006 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now in the news, woefully unprepared -- in a newly released report, the federal government says the vast majority of American states and cities are nowhere near being ready for a major catastrophe, whether it's a natural disaster or a terror attack.
We're going to tell you where your city ranks in just a minute.
RICHARD LUI, CNN ANCHOR: A deadly hour in Baghdad. Police say 19 people were killed in four separate attacks between 10:00 and 11:00 this morning Baghdad time. The deadliest attack was a suicide car bombing that targeted an Iraqi Army police patrol. Eleven people were killed in that blast alone.
NGUYEN: Canada has detected a case of bird flu. It was found in a young goose in the eastern province of Prince Edward Island. Now, tests are underway this weekend to determine if it's the deadly H5N1 strain that has spread to almost 50 countries. If it is, it would be the first case in the Americas.
LUI: And no probable cause, no charges. With that, a grand jury has declined to indict Representative Cynthia McKinney. The Georgia Democrat was accused of hitting a Capitol Hill police officer after he tried to stop her from entering a House office building in March, as you might remember.
NGUYEN: The government is suing a West Virginia mine operator for withholding evidence in a deadly mine fire. Two miners were killed back in January in a fire there. Now, the suit was filed against Aracoma Coal Company, which is a subsidiary of Massey Energy.
You're up to date right here on CNN, the most trusted name in news.
Well, from the CNN Center right here in Atlanta, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
It is 7:00 a.m. right here, 3:00 p.m. in Baghdad.
We're going to tell you about what's happening there.
Good morning, everybody.
I'm Betty Nguyen.
LUI: And I'm Richard Lui with CNN's Pipeline filling in for Tony Harris.
Thanks for being with us Saturday morning.
NGUYEN: Good to have you, Richard.
LUI: Thanks for having me.
NGUYEN: Hey, we're going to be talking about a grim and chilling reality. Almost five years into a post-9/11 era and on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, the government says America is still woefully unprepared to handle a major catastrophe like a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.
So is there a disconnect between lessons learned and getting ready for the next disaster?
CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly five years after 9/11 and nearly one year after Katrina, after $18 billion in federal grants to state and local governments, the Department of Homeland Security has concluded the majority of state and local emergency plans are not adequate, feasible or acceptable to manage catastrophic events.
GEORGE FORESMAN, UNDERSECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The ordinary doesn't mean that you're ready for the extraordinary, and we've got to do a better job of taking our catastrophic planning to the next level.
MESERVE: The assessment found many states and cities lacked a clear command structure or plans on how to keep government operating in a catastrophe. Evacuation remains a profound concern, with inadequate planning for large numbers of evacuees and particularly for people with special needs. Among the states with the lowest assessments, West Virginia, Oregon, Louisiana and Montana.
Though the cities of New York and Washington had plans that were rated far from perfect, they were much better than many, including Oklahoma City, which rated poorly despite its experience with the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. And New Orleans -- a majority of that city's emergency plan got the lowest possible rating.
FORESMAN: They were going through this nationwide plan review at the same time that they were still responding to and recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
MESERVE: The organization that represents emergency managers says hundreds of local jurisdictions do not have a full time emergency management program because of federal funding shortfalls. Further, there is no national planning guidance or standards.
(on camera): DHS agrees state and local governments have not gotten all of the tools they need from the federal government, but says this assessment will be used to measure progress from here on out.
Jean Meserve, CNN, Washington.
NGUYEN: Well, you heard a little bit from Homeland Security Undersecretary George Foresman in Jeanne Meserve's report.
He is going to join us live next hour with more insight into disaster preparation all around the country.
Which brings us to our e-mail question today -- do you think that your city is prepared for a disaster? What do you really think? E- mail us, weekends@CNN.com. Is your city prepared?
We're going to read those responses throughout the show.
LUI: A detainee in Iraq fed bread and water for 17 days, others locked in four by four cells for up to a week -- those are some of the incidents described in a just released Pentagon report, according to the Associated Press and the "New York Times."
Now, this report concludes that the detainees' treatment was wrong but not illegal. Officials investigated several incidents involving Special Operations forces in 2003 and 2004. The report was completed 20 months ago, but is just being made public.
Well, the military says one report on the killing of Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha, that's complete. But it has not been released as of yet.
The defense attorney for one of the Haditha Marines says he does not believe any laws were broken there or that there was any cover-up.
He talked with senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, in his first television interview.
It's a report from "THE SITUATION ROOM" you'll see only on CNN.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There was no crime to cover up, according to the attorney representing one of the Marines who was involved in several of the shootings that resulted in the deaths of 24 Iraqis, including women and children, last year in Haditha.
GARY MYERS, ATTORNEY FOR HADITHA MARINE: The rules of engagement are the license to do what they did. And as long as they followed those rules of engagement, I believe they have a defense of justifiable homicide, on the one hand, and, perhaps, self-defense on the other. In every particular this fails as evidence.
MCINTYRE: After viewing the videotape of the victims and the aftermath shot by an aspiring Iraqi journalist, Myers insisted it would not stand up in court. MYERS: It proves nothing other than that there were people killed who died violently and who bled profusely. And all of those things are regrettable, but none of them serve -- serves to prove murder.
MCINTYRE: What about the pictures taken by the U.S. military seen by CNN that appear to show victims shot at close range?
MYERS: It will be a Herculean effort on the part of the government to muster enough competent evidence to demonstrate that anything criminal occurred. And if all they've got are pictures that were taken after the events, it will be very difficult.
MCINTYRE: Myers argues everything he believes the Marines did that day, from shooting what turned out to be unarmed men in a taxi to firing into buildings without knowing who was inside, can be defended as justified under the rules in effect at the time.
MYERS: There was a good faith belief that fire was coming from those buildings. These Marines followed the rules of engagement and if the rule of engagement at the time was, as I believe it to be, with respect to the taxi, that when an IED went off, people were seen running from the scene. They were considered insurgents and one had a right to fire.
MCINTYRE: Myers insists Haditha was not a massacre, and that comes from an attorney who successfully defended a company commander who was at My Lai, the notorious massacre of the Vietnam War.
MYERS: My Lai was a massacre. Men, women, babies and children were put into a trench, and they were fired upon by American soldiers.
MCINTYRE (on camera): How could it be that Marines could kill young children, a mother who appear to be in their bed and they just followed the rules? How can that be?
MYERS: Because they're not required to inquire under the circumstances. They're not required to inquire. If they believe they were threatened, they can use deadly force. And that's what they did.
MCINTYRE: Military experts tell CNN two principles should guide the use of lethal force -- proportionality and necessity. That is, how important is the objective and does it warrant the risk of innocent lives? And that is likely to be at the heart of this case.
(on camera): The U.S. military has announced that their separate investigation into whether there was a cover-up has been completed and is being reviewed by a three star general in Iraq. Defense attorneys for some of the Haditha Marines, meanwhile, tell CNN that an initial press release that inaccurately attributed some of the civilian deaths to a roadside bomb was not based on any information that came from their clients.
Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.
(END VIDEOTAPE) NGUYEN: President Bush gets a bit of a boost from his visit to Baghdad this week. That is according to a new CNN poll. The approval rating for his handling of Iraq has grown by 5 points since his trip on Tuesday. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say they approve of what the president is doing about Iraq, up 34 percent from last month.
No, 54 disapprove. That is down from 62 percent.
Now, slightly more than half of Americans think the U.S. should get a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Fifty- three percent say yes, 41 percent say no.
Details of President Bush's top secret trip to Baghdad plus who is al Qaeda's new top man in Iraq? Well, CNN brings you the only in- depth look at major events in the war on terror.
John Roberts hosts "IRAQ: A WEEK AT WAR."
That is tonight, 7:00 Eastern.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: coming up tonight at 10:00, a multi- billion dollar industry you probably know little about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: we have a market that is effectively unregulated on the international level.
LIN: We're talking private military contracting and you're paying the price.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm probably not going to be able to get a job now after I do this interview.
LIN: That's coming up tonight at 10:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
LUI: And in about 20 minutes, have you ever tried seeing how much of your personal information is on the Internet?
NGUYEN: I'm almost afraid to find out what's out there on the Internet. It's amazing what people can get on you.
LUI: It is a very scary endeavor, but we've got to do it.
We're about to meet a woman who found the Social Security number of Governor Jeb Bush...
LUI: ... ABC anchor Charles Gibson and other celebrities, to boot. Are your secrets out there for everyone to see?
ERICA VAUGHN, KSTU CORRESPONDENT: What kind of noises was he making?
CARISSA ROYLANCE, CAT OWNER: He was like meow, meow!
NGUYEN: Ah. Tom the cat -- you see him right there -- trapped under concrete. How he likely used up one, and just at least one of those nine lives.
That's ahead -- good morning, Reynolds.
NGUYEN: All right.
Maybe some of us, when we were children imagined what it would be like to swap our parents. You know, I've thought of that recently. No, I'm kidding mom, really.
I'm going to get a call about that.
Well, apparently late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is entertaining that very thought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST: There's one more shopping day until Father's Day. My dad lives in Arizona. You know, he's a good father, but I always felt like I could do better.
And then one day I was watching CNN and I saw Wolf Blitzer. Now, Wolf Blitzer looks a lot like my dad.
This is my dad right here. And this is Wolf Blitzer.
So I starting thinking, maybe he is my dad. Maybe I'm not Jimmy Kimmel at all. Maybe I'm Jimmy Blitzer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: They did look alike, though, huh, Richard?
LUI: They did. You're right. Yes.
NGUYEN: Yes. A striking resemblance. Hmm. He may want to take a test there, a little blood test to find out.
LUI: Maybe they'll start to compare them to leaders in Europe soon.
NGUYEN: You know, you think?
Well, coming up next hour, you have to see what happens when Jimmy Kimmel, Papa Kimmel and Wolf Blitzer all get together for a little pop quiz.
NGUYEN: The man that scores highest gets to be Jimmy's dad. And I guess you can already figure out who that's going to be, right?
LUI: Yes, we kind of teased that one along, huh?
NGUYEN: I mean, it's Wolf Blitzer?
LUI: Also, just a few clicks away for you and voila, your Social Security number for everyone to see right online.
NGUYEN: Oh, that's not good.
LUI: Certainly not. And you'll never believe who's putting that information out there.
We'll have the details for you.
NGUYEN: But first, Tiger Woods' hope to honor his late father with a victory this weekend just wasn't meant to be.
Up next, "Beyond The Game's" Rick Horrow -- there he is -- with a green hat that looks still a little too small for that head.
RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: Hi.
It is. For the big head, right?
HORROW: ... soccer tie.
NGUYEN: That was kind of the point.
HORROW: We'll talk about it.
NGUYEN: All right, yes. (CROSSTALK)
HORROW: I don't want to set you up like that. That's not very good.
NGUYEN: It's not, is it?
NGUYEN: He's going to talk about the impact of this stunning development, though, at the U.S. Open.
Stay with CNN, the most trusted name in news.
LUI: Well, it's something we had never seen from Tiger Woods. He missed the cut in one of golf's four major tournaments for the very first time. Dashed now are his wishes to honor his dad Earl with a Father's Day victory at the U.S. Open. Tiger's mentor and best friend died last month. The U.S. Open was going to be Tiger's triumphant return to professional golf.
Well, this is only the fourth time Tiger Woods has failed to make the cut at any golf tournament. So is interest in the U.S. Open gone now that Tiger is out?
Well, let's ask the author of "When the Game Is On the Line," sports business analyst Rick Horrow, joining us from his usual spot in West Palm Beach, Florida -- Rick, good morning to you.
HORROW: Good morning.
I was -- I thought we were going to talk about soccer. I have my World Cup tie all on. I came back from Germany. I'm kidding, that's a big deal today, too. But I know we're going to talk about...
LUI: Tell me about it. Some great games, though, if you can keep your eye on that one.
Let's talk Tiger first, though, if we can.
LUI: You know, one of the things that were mentioned by one of the winners, or the winner last year, Michael Campbell, was that Tiger just seemed human. Obviously, given his past and his record, he's almost seemed inhuman.
With his loss and now that he's out of the U.S. Open, Rick, do you think that this might hurt him financially somehow?
HORROW: Well, no. I don't think so. And, of course, he is human. But he did win the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and at 2002 at Bethpage. So we've come to expect it. And certainly Nike does, too. Their sales of Woods went up 100 percent since Tiger Woods joined his camp. A major Father's Day ad unveiled by Nike. And, of course, we all owe our experiences to our father. I know I do. And they'll be watching that ad no matter what.
And, of course, Nike had his coral shirt picked out for the final round and were ready to sell it for $90. I guess they forgot to tell Tiger.
LUI: That he had to win there.
Well, you know, perhaps there's a British and he'll make it all right.
One of the questions might be with Tiger now out -- and Tiger has certainly had a fantastic record -- will the fortunes of the PGA also follow Tiger's fortunes, as we go forward?
HORROW: It used to be. Not really. You know, we have 37 million of us playing 580 million rounds of golf every year.
LUI: That is a lot.
HORROW: And we're going to watch, especially Father's Day. You've got Ernie Els and Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson of the big five who made the cut. You've even got David Duval, who may be coming back after a long loss. He's only six strokes back.
But the important thing is this tournament transcends Tiger Woods these days. It's not the Tigerization of the tour. You've got 1,000 media requests from all over the globe, 25 countries, including China and Russia and India, Nigeria for the first time. You even had 400,000 separate items in the merchandise tent, by the way, $10 million. I was there for the last couple of days.
LUI: I'll bet.
HORROW: I bought a lion's share of those 400,000, by the way.
HORROW: I can guarantee you that.
LUI: Send us some of that, would you?
HORROW: Yes, maybe.
LUI: Hey, let's get -- and you've also got the South Koreans, as well as we in the United States.
Let's move on to the foul ball. A little bit of motorcycle action, is that right?
HORROW: Well, the foul ball is Ben Roethlisberger, of course. LUI: Yes.
HORROW: He will recover. Nobody knows his long-term prognosis. He may lose some of his $9 million signing bonus. His Chunky soup commercial was being filmed without he and his mom. Kellen Winslow of the Cleveland Browns just came back this last week after a motorcycle accident and now not only is there a problem with future contracts, as far as motorcycles are concerned, but it may throw the future of the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers in jeopardy, by the way. So it's a major foul ball.
LUI: Yes, it could be one.
Let's get to the fair ball.
We've got a couple of seconds left here.
HORROW: Well, quick, the fair ball is the NBA. The ratings up, up to 20 percent. A million dollars a game for "Heat" or Mavericks home games. The bottom line is the average NBA franchise value is $326 million and the "Heat" game this weekend, in this series, a blockbuster. It's going to do nothing but increase the value of the NBA. It's a really big deal.
LUI: And some good games, no doubt, coming out with the tide now.
Rick Horrow, thanks again.
HORROW: Happy Father's Day to everybody.
LUI: Yes, you, too.
Well, we'll go live to the U.S. Open, speaking of which Rick was talking about, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern for more on Tiger's tough day. And we'll look at the leader board as the top golfers tee off, all with CNN's Larry Smith, 10:00 a.m. Eastern.
NGUYEN: You know, it's amazing how nice and cooperative Rick is when Tony's not around.
Richard, we're going to have to have you come back more often to keep him in line.
In the meantime, how can a woman in Virginia find personal information about celebrities like Kelly Ripa and officials including Florida Governor Jeb Bush? If she found them, surely she can find you. The story, plus identity tips to protect yourself online in about eight minutes.
LUI: And, Betty, stuck under cement for two days. These poor guys. Fortunately, these cat's tale ends on a happy note.
We'll have the details on these furry little critters in about 25 minutes.
LUI: Wrong but not illegal concludes a Pentagon report on alleged detainee abuse. At least one prisoner in Iraq fed bread and water for 17 days, others locked in cramped cells for up to a week. That's according to the Associated Press and the "New York Times."
Officials investigated several incidents involving Special Operations forces in 2003 and 2004. No military personnel are being punished as a result of the investigation so far.
It is now mid-afternoon in Baghdad. Already, nearly two dozen people are dead after five separate incidents of bomb attacks or mortar shelling today. This is despite an Iraqi government security crack down. Dozens more civilians and Iraqi police are wounded.
States and cities across America are not prepared for a catastrophe. No matter that, it's nearly five years after 9/11 and nearly one year after Katrina. Homeland Security has concluded the majority of emergency plans are not adequate, feasible or acceptable.
It's a spectacle in London -- horse soldiers, a Royal Air Force flyover, the royal couple riding in an antique carriage. Not bad. The historic trooping the colors ceremony pays tribute to Elizabeth's 80th birthday. The week of events marks her second celebration this year. She actually turned 80 on April 21st.
NGUYEN: All right, what if with just a few clicks of your computer mouse, you could find the Social Security number, signature and home address of a politician, or, say, a talk show host?
This woman we're about to show you -- right there -- she says she can probably find the same things about u.
CNN's Drew Griffin went on assignment for CNN's "PAULA ZAHN NOW."
B.J. OSTERGREN, "THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG": Let's see if anyone else's is there.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What this woman knows about you, or, more accurately, could know about you, is frightening.
OSTERGREN: Yes, it is so easy, so quick. And let me show you.
GRIFFIN: B.J. Ostergren, also known as The Virginia Watchdog, is infuriated about how easy it is for her to find your name, Social Security number, date of birth and even your signature.
OSTERGREN: Look. Here is a Bank of America loan number.
GRIFFIN: Anything anyone would need to steal your identity right online -- and put there by the government. OSTERGREN: This is another divorce I printed out this morning. The father was in the Air Force and there is his Social Security number.
LAWRENCE (on camera): He would die if he knew this.
OSTERGREN: They have no clue.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): How did it happen? Ostergren says there was a big push in the last decade to push the access of government records into the 21st century. A paperless society -- everything accessible at your finger tips via the Internet, including government records -- historically kept inside courthouses, inside clerks' offices, behind government counters. Now many of those government records across the country can all be accessed by B.J. Ostergren, right here in the crowded office of her rural Virginia home.
OSTERGREN: But are they public records? Yes, they're public. But there is a huge difference from driving to the courthouse and looking at it right here. Would I drive there to look at this and go through the records? No. Would I have driven to Miami-Dade to get Jeb Bush's? No.
GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: This meeting was a very productive one.
GRIFFIN: Did she say Jeb Bush? Yes, the president's brother. To prove her point, she has gone on celebrity style identity hunts. The governor of Florida's Social Security number posted along with other Floridians.
OSTERGREN: I sat right at this very computer and got that record off the Florida Web site.
GRIFFIN: Jeb Bush has since had his Social blacked out, but plenty of records in Florida are still there for the taking.
OSTERGREN: Well, let's see. Here is Brevard County.
GRIFFIN: With information like your Social Security number, your signature, even your date of birth, a thief can pretend he's you. And it could cost you dearly.
OSTERGREN: Oh, you can get bank loans. You could get fake papers. You could come into this country using this man's information. You could have -- look, document fraud is a big thing. Mortgage fraud is a huge thing.
GRIFFIN (on camera): She can access almost any record on anyone anywhere, even perfect strangers here in New York City, many who would be shocked to learn that a retired woman in rural Virginia can learn so much about them from Web sites provided by the government that she could easily steal their identity.
(voice-over): Upon searching further, we also found talk show host Kelly Ripa and her husband. OSTERGREN: Yes, and with their home addresses. They own, apparently, two places.
GRIFFIN: Ostergren made exposing this electronic privacy gap her mission four years ago, when a concerned stranger warned her that her personal information was about to go online. Now she wants everyone to be warned.
She has set up a Web site to lobby governments and financial institutions to stop posting this information and she now takes the time to call strangers herself and let them know the risks.
OSTERGREN: It infuriates me no end, but what can I do? I just think that people should see what I'm showing you. And people should see, you know, what -- you want to see Colin Powell's? Here you go.
GRIFFIN: On a Virginia Web site, she found the former secretary of state's social security number; his wife's; their Virginia address; even signatures.
OSTERGREN: Yes. And you can get that record. And on the first page of that document -- here it is right here, you can see page one with his home address here.
GRIFFIN: We decided to check for ourselves. Ostergren suggested we look at Phoenix, Arizona. Maricopa County -- per capita, it has the highest rate of identity theft fraud in the country. Sitting at a computer in Atlanta, we were a bit taken back when we went to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office Web site and found just about every document you could imagine, and personal information that you would never want others to get.
(on camera): And his Social Security number right there.
(voice-over): So we physically went to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office and ran into a local resident, Phyllis Montgomery, who was shocked when we showed her all of her personal information.
(voice-over): A little surprising?
PHYLLIS MONTGOMERY, MARICOPA COUNTY RESIDENT: Very surprising. Very scary. Very scary, because this is private information. Everybody should not have information dealing with exactly where to come and murder me or pick me up or...
LAWRENCE (voice-over): The Recorder's Office here posts a sign warning people their information will be made available on the Internet. But available where? And who is the warning for?
Using the Internet, we randomly looked up Michael Russo, who lives in Phoenix. He has never used a computer and doesn't remember ever being in the Recorder's Office.
MICHAEL RUSSO, MARICOPA COUNTY RESIDENT: Your privacy was your privacy up until they come out with these computers. GRIFFIN: Michael Russo ripped up our copies of his personal documents right in front of us. But we can easily print out another copy right on the county Web site.
Recorder Helen Purcell says she is working with the State of Arizona to figure out how to cleanse the records, like blackening out Social Security numbers. But she admits that in their rush to post the information online, they did not realize how easy they were making it for criminals intent on committing fraud.
HELEN PURCELL, MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER: Maybe at the outset of that, all of these things weren't thought about.
GRIFFIN: B.J. Ostergren, the Virginia watchdog...
OSTERGREN: There it is.
GRIFFIN: ... couldn't agree more. The question now, she says, what, if anything, is anyone going to do about it?
OSTERGREN: We are very stupid in this country. Very stupid. This is spoon feeding criminals.
NGUYEN: That was Drew Griffin reporting.
So, really frightening, isn't it?
What can people do to remove their own Social Security number and other personal information from these Web sites?
Joining us now from New York is James Fishman, a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
Thanks for being with us today.
JAMES FISHMAN, CONSUMER ADVOCATE: Thank you.
NGUYEN: Good morning.
All right, first of all, looking at that, like I said, it's frightening. I mean this is a virtual gold mine for identity thieves.
FISHMAN: You're right. This is a huge, huge problem and it should be a big wake up call for people all over the country to realize that their documents are out there for anybody to look at and to obtain and to use illegally. This is something that Betty Ostergren in Virginia has really hit a nerve and a lot of people need to be aware that this is out there and that we need to do something about it.
And we're going to talk about what people can do.
In the meantime, I think your microphone may have fallen down.
If you could check that real quick so if we can hear you a little bit better.
NGUYEN: The you go.
I can hear a lot better now.
NGUYEN: Here's the deal, though. In order for people to know how to help themselves, a lot of them want to know, well, first off, I've got to find out what information is out there. What organizations, what government entities have my information and is posting it on the Internet.
So how do people know?
FISHMAN: Well, the first thing people should do is search for records about themselves. What's the first thing anybody does when a new phone book arrives at your front door? You look up your own number to make sure it's there correctly and it's accurate.
You do the same thing, treat the Internet like it's a big phone book and look yourself up. Go to the various government Web sites where you think there might be documents pertaining to you and search for your own records, print them out and then demand that they redact the personal identifier information that's in those documents, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, medical information.
All of that is private and should remain private. It doesn't belong on the Internet.
NGUYEN: Well, it's private and it's important, especially with this in mind, because, for example, is it true that all you need is a birth date and where someone is born to basically get an illegal birth certificate?
FISHMAN: Yes. You can get a duplicate birth certificate if you know where the person was born. So place of birth is -- it's something very significant in this process. Nobody ever thought that telling -- putting out there where you were born would cause you a problem, but it does, because you can go back to the government agency that issues birth certificates in that town and get a duplicate birth certificate. And that's -- that's a gold mine for identity thieves.
NGUYEN: Well, you know, but that being the case, I mean it almost seems like this is an uphill battle.
Is it too late to do anything about it? I mean what can you really do? FISHMAN: Well, to a large extent, the horse is out of the barn on this because government has been putting these records on the Internet now for a number of years. They've been collecting these records for many, many years, well before the Internet even existed. And then the push has been, in the last five years or so, to get as many of those records on the Internet as possible.
But nobody ever thought that there's information in those records that can hurt people. And it seems to me that the only government agency that knows how to redact information is the FBI. When you do a request for a freedom of information request on yourself to see what they have on you, you get back all kinds of things that are blacked out that they don't want you to see.
Why is it that that's the only agency that knows how to use a Magic Marker?
NGUYEN: Well, OK.
Well, why is it? Because Governor Jeb Bush was able to get his Social Security number blacked out.
Can other people do that?
FISHMAN: Well, I think that's what people should be demanding. And if government won't do it, then sue the government and demand that they black out the information on the documents that are put on the Internet. This is outrageous that government is doing this without any concern. Government is harming people by doing this. Government should not be harming people, it should be helping people.
NGUYEN: All right, you say demand it.
Where do you go? Where is the first place people need to go in order to try to get this information off the Internet, information that they must provide to the government?
FISHMAN: Well, you -- your piece a minute ago showed the Maricopa County government agency in Arizona. You go to the head of that agency. After you've gotten your record, you print it out off the Internet and you say why are you posting this document with my Social Security number on the Internet? I demand that you redact it. And if you don't, then sue that agency and demand that they redact the information.
We're not saying that the document itself shouldn't be publicly available if it's a public document. However, government has to strike the right balance between what's public and what's private. And this...
But very quickly, though, I mean that is -- that's one government organization. That's one area that's putting your information out there. There's a ton of people that have your information, from billing agencies, credit card agencies, all of that stuff. So it seems like there are a ton of places for people to have to pick up the phone and call or walk down to the office and ask them to black out that information.
NGUYEN: Are there services that do that for you?
How do you find out to get in touch with all of the people who have your information out there?
FISHMAN: Well, I don't think you'll ever get in touch with everything and everybody that has your information, because it's endless.
But as far as the government and how many government agencies have documents with your information on it, there are search engines and Web sites where, for a small fee or a relatively small fee, you can do a search on yourself and find out what's out there, all licenses you've ever applied for, real estate that you've purchased, drivers licenses.
You name it, there's records about it. And there are companies out there that make money selling that data.
FISHMAN: So what I'm suggesting is people buy their own records and see what's out there, print it out and then go to those agencies and demand that that personal information be redacted from those records.
James Fishman, it's going to take a lot of work, but it's important work that needs to be done so that people can protect themselves.
NGUYEN: thank you for your time today.
FISHMAN: You're very welcome.
LUI: Betty, a daunting situation there.
We're talking about I.D. disasters, we're going to move on now to natural disasters.
If disaster strikes, will your town be ready to respond?
A new report has a not so encouraging answer. Next hour we'll speak with Homeland Security's Undersecretary for Preparedness.
But first, we have Veronica de la Cruz at the Dot-Com Desk -- a very good morning to you, Veronica.
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you.
Fancy meeting you here.
LUI: Yes, that's right.
So what have you got for us?
DE LA CRUZ: Oh, well, you know what, Richard?
On a more serious note, we're going to be taking you around the world this morning to watch the fury of Mount Merapi. The volcano has claimed its first victims. The details online.
That's coming up next from the Dot-Com Desk.
CNN -- the most trusted name in news.
LUI: Well, welcome back.
The island of java in Indonesia was still reeling from a deadly earthquake last month when another natural disaster loomed over them.
Veronica de la Cruz has more for us from the Dot-Com Desk.
DE LA CRUZ: I sure do, Richard.
Mount Merapi, one of Indonesia's most dangerous and active volcanoes, was destabilized by this earthquake. At least that's what many scientists are saying. The volcano erupted Wednesday and rescuers dug through volcanic debris trying to find two missing men who were helping people evacuate a nearby village.
Unfortunately, the two were later found dead in an underground emergency shelter, overcome by the extremely hot temperature and gas from the volcano.
Earlier this month, more than 11,000 people were evacuated as Mount Merapi spewed hot ash and gas.
At CNN.com, you will find incredible images of fiery lava pouring down the slopes of the volcano and clouds of smoke and gas billowing from its dome. And on top of CNN.com, you can also check out CNN Pipeline. Just search for the word "volcano" and that will give you the latest video and images from Mount Merapi. Now, experts say that Mount Merapi was overdue for a major eruption. The last one in 1994 killed 60 people. But the worst was in 1930. It left 1,300 people dead.
You can read more online at CNN.com/world and you can also watch video there. And you can also watch video on CNN Pipeline, isn't that right, Richard Lui?
LUI: That's right, Pipeline at CNN.com. You can't miss that. Lots of fun.
NGUYEN: I'm a little outnumbered here with the Pipeline folks.
I tell you, this is a ultimate merge of television with the Internet capability.
LUI: Ah, we're just...
DE LA CRUZ: We've taken over.
NGUYEN: Yes, that's a good thing, though.
LUI: We're just having fun-this Saturday, that's all.
DE LA CRUZ: Absolutely. It's good to be here and good to see you.
LUI: It's good to be here...
DE LA CRUZ: I just, you know, I can't shake this guy. He sits next to me downstairs, he follows me around the building and he ends up right here, next to me.
DE LA CRUZ: ... security then, OK?
LUI: Can I ask for a better place to be stuck between? I've got to say it's a great place to be.
NGUYEN: You should be paying us.
LUI: I should.
NGUYEN: Really, I think.
LUI: I should.
NGUYEN: All right.
LUI: I'll pay you guys later.
NGUYEN: We'll look for that check in the mail.
Well, we have all heard the "Cat In the Hat," right? but what about the cat under concrete?
Coming up in about three minutes, how this little one found himself in a bit of a sticky situation.
NGUYEN: OK, so you've heard about this thing, curiosity and cats, right? well, Tom the cat -- right there -- probably used up a couple of his nine lives in his latest adventure.
Erica Vaughn (ph) of CNN affiliate KSTU in Salt Lake City has this cat's tale.
MEGAN ROYLANCE, CAT OWNER: Every now and then we'll find him playing with Tigger (ph) or a dog.
VAUGHN (voice-over): When he's not sleeping or eating, Tom is exploring.
M. ROYLANCE: When we had our house built and they poured our driveway, they didn't compact the ground. So we had big sinkage holes like this one.
VAUGHN: Megan Roylance thinks Tom crawled under the driveway, then construction crews filled in the hole, sealing the curious cat in cement. He went missing for two days.
M. ROYLANCE: We were all pretty sad and kept our eye out for him, though.
VAUGHN (on camera): What kind of noises was he making?
C. ROYLANCE: He was like meow, meow!
VAUGHN (voice-over): Carissa (ph) heard the cat's crying from under the garage floor.
M. ROYLANCE: And it made me feel pretty sad knowing that he was stuck under cement so...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very, very rarely do we get something like that, maybe once in a lifetime, at this job.
VAUGHN: David County Animal Control couldn't believe this rescue call and had several concerns.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he had enough air to stay under there, when we would get him out, if we had enough space to remove him out without hitting the cat with the saw. VAUGHN: Firefighters used a saw to cut open a hole in the cement, exposing a foot deep tunnel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He decided to come out and poked his little head up and everything was good to go. It was a happy reunion.
M. ROYLANCE: He's still kind of freaked out from being under there and -- oh, shoot. He's in the -- ew. Come here, Tom! Come here.
VAUGHN: Tom is obviously not too traumatized and didn't learn his lesson. After two days of no food and water, he dusted himself off and is ready to explore.
M. ROYLANCE: We're used to having him going places where you wouldn't think he'd go.
NGUYEN: Yes, like under concrete. The cat's like no big deal.
Did you see that cat?
LUI: Yes, talk about concrete ...
NGUYEN: Yes. He didn't even care.
That was Erica Vaughn of CNN affiliate KSTU.
Hey, that was a bit of a disaster for the cat, although the cat really didn't seem to mind.
But speaking of disasters, we're hearing that only 10 cities throughout the U.S. are sufficiently prepared for them. So, this leads to our e-mail question today -- do you think your city is prepared for a disaster?
Well, Steffen Schmidt, which is a professor of public policy, says: "We are as prepared as financially possible for disasters here in Central Iowa. Most cities could spend every cent of their operating budget on disaster and still not be adequately prepared to anticipate the endless variation of potential threats."
LUI: And adding perspective to this whole question, we've got Michael Bonnes. He's from Huron, South Dakota, saying: "My city is not even prepared for the illegal Mexicans living here."
NGUYEN: All right.
Well, Zach in New York, which is another city that is arguing about funding, says: "Common sense dictates that the only effective preparation is prevention. Reaction to disaster logically involves readiness to deal with piles of dead bodies, masses of debris, etc. I prefer the government spend money on prevention rather than reaction."
So, here's the question one more time. Send us your thoughts. We've gotten some good replies so far, but there are people throughout the nation.
So what do you think? If your city prepared? Where you live, is your city prepared for a disaster?
E-mail us. Here's the address, weekends@CNN.com.
we'll read some of those responses on the air.
LUI: And we've gotten some good responses so far.
So, let's add to them.
The next hour, though, for you of CNN SATURDAY MORNING begins in a moment.
But first, Gerri Willis has your "Tip of the Day."
GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Father's Day weekend and this is the year to make your gift stand out. Instead of the typical necktie, how about something he wouldn't buy for himself -- some new music or sports memorabilia autographed by his childhood hero?
Ever heard him say he wish he had done something as a kid, like learn how to play the guitar or how to cook? Get him lessons.
Even if your father is no longer alive, you can still do something to honor him. Make a donation to his favorite cause or charity.
And you're not limited to your biological dad, either. Take the opportunity to show some appreciation for his older brother, a great friend or even your first boss.
I'm Gerri Willis and that's your Tip of the Day.
For more, watch "OPEN HOUSE" today at 9:30 Eastern, right here on CNN.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com