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British Authorities Arrest New Suspect in Transatlantic Terror Plot; Are U.S. Surveillance Laws Hurting War on Terror?

Aired August 15, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Glad to have all of you with us tonight.
We are just getting in word of some breaking news. CNN has confirmed that former President Gerald Ford has been admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. A statement from his office in Colorado says it's for testing and evaluation and doesn't give any further details.

President Ford is 93, and happens to be America's oldest living ex-president.

We're going to bring you more information as it comes in.

Meanwhile, another "Top Story" tonight: the terrorism arrest in London, and disturbing new developments in what British officials are calling a plot to commit mass murder.

Here's what we know right now. Earlier today, police arrested a 24th person in connection with the alleged plot to set off simultaneous bombs in as many as 10 transatlantic airliners, which could have killed thousands of innocent passengers. Police are also searching a wooded area near London, hoping to find exactly where the plotters tested their bombs.

The rules for carry-ons have changed yet again. Passengers flying out of Britain can now bring a single briefcase-size bag on to planes, but, still, no liquids.

As you can see, the lines at London's Heathrow Airport still very long -- in some cases, taking two hours, and stretching out the terminal's door. Dozens of flights are being canceled because of all of the extra security.

So, we're going to go straight to London right now for more details on those terror arrests.

Let's check in with Dan Rivers, who joins us from the heart of the city -- Dan.

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, there are, as you say, now 24 people in custody in connection with this alleged conspiracy, one of them, a man arrested today just near those woods you were talking about in High Wycombe, where police have been searching, potentially, for where alleged terrorists have been testing explosives, a sign, this arrest today, that they are chasing down every lead in this inquiry. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walk away, please. Walk away, away.

RIVERS (voice-over): A terror alert in the heart of London, right in front of police headquarters, Scotland Yard -- a suspect package found, and several roads hurriedly sealed off. It turned out to be a false alarm, but the incident highlights ongoing jitters in the British capital.

The false alarm came as police in High Wycombe were arresting another suspect in the alleged airline plot, although a British government source told CNN, investigators do not view this latest arrest as a major person in the plot.

And a shop owner gave news organizations this security video of one of the suspects, Tayib Rauf, just hours before his arrest last Thursday. Friends of the Rauf family say, the video shows Rauf's demeanor was normal, as he sold products for his father's confectionery business.

ABID HUSSEIN, FAMILY FRIEND OF TAYIB RAUF: It shows Rauf coming in at nighttime, doing his normal business, day in, day out. And, as -- as you might have seen it, it's on the camera, so, he is a very down-to-earth person, very nice. He is not a sort of person that's going to, you know, go and blow himself. You know, at 2:00 in the morning, he's here, doing his stuff, collecting cash.

RIVERS: Police are continuing their searches at several locations in East London, seizing guns, computer hard drives, and household chemicals.

(on camera): A British government source with a detailed knowledge of this investigation says, the government is confident of a successful prosecution. He says, while investigators haven't found any bombs, per se, they have found plenty of evidence to present to court, including unusual quantities of household chemicals and conversations recorded on audio and video.

(voice-over): And British authorities say, they are anxious to talk to suspect Rashid Rauf, a man British security sources described as first among equals. He is currently detained in Pakistan, and the British government wants him extradited. Pakistan says, it's waiting for a formal request.

TASNEEM ASLAM, SPOKESWOMAN, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: Rashid Rauf is a British national. We do not have any extradition treaty at the moment. But, yes, because he is a British national, the possibility of his extradition remains. We have not received any request for extradition, so, it would be hypothetical at this stage.

RIVERS: Insiders say this is the biggest operation the security service MI5 has ever undertaken, with officers still engaged in watching dozens of other suspected terror cells across Britain -- the message: It's not over yet.


RIVERS: And there is a political row brewing here in Britain. The opposition party, the Conservatives, its leader, David Cameron, has said, not enough is being done to tackle Islamic fundamentalism in Britain.

The government has hit back -- the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, saying those comments are almost unbelievable -- Paula.

ZAHN: Something we are going to be exploring a little bit later on tonight on this show.

Dan Rivers, thanks so much.

Now, while you get used to some of these new rules banning liquids from your carry-on baggage, you will want to hear the results of a months-long CNN investigation into another, maybe even more serious threat to security in the air.

Our "Top Story" coverage turns to the danger right under your feet, the tons of cargo that passenger planes carry in their baggage holds. Almost none of it, it turns out, is ever inspected.

Here's investigative correspondent Drew Griffin with more.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the line most passengers don't see, thousands and thousands of trucks a day lining up to bring millions of tons of cargo on to passenger planes. And how much of that gets inspected? How much of that even gets looked at before it is placed right into the belly of the plane you fly?

According to this Federal Aviation Administration inspector, on most of the flights this inspector oversees, almost none.

(on camera): You've been in this business a while. Are we safer or just as vulnerable as 9/11?

UNIDENTIFIED FEDERAL AVIATION INSPECTOR: In respect to the cargo, we are probably as vulnerable or maybe more vulnerable.

GRIFFIN: More vulnerable?

UNIDENTIFIED FEDERAL AVIATION INSPECTOR: Cargo still has a lot of loopholes, where something can get on that airplane.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Fearing employer retaliation, the inspector has asked not to be identified.

As CNN crisscrossed the country over three months, at airport after airport, we saw how easy it would be for terrorists to get explosives or lethal chemicals on to an airplane, to tamper with loads on cargo trucks, and how simple it was for us to drive down this road outside Chicago's O'Hare Airport and walk right up to containers sitting outside a Post Office air cargo facility.

(on camera): And you can see, anybody could come out to any of these and put anything inside them. These are unit load devices that will be loaded into the bottom of a plane. We are standing outside O'Hare Airport. This is where a federal airline officer brought us because of the concern of safety.

(voice-over): For three weeks last year, we kept coming back to this mail facility and kept finding the same easy access. The U.S. Postal Service told CNN it relies on its employees to report suspicious activity, and told us the gate to the facility was left open because so many airlines need access to pick up and drop off cargo.

Just this week, we returned, and found the gate open again. Another veteran airline employee who did not want to be identified says he sees un-inspected cargo going on to passenger planes every day.

(on camera): Is there any government, airline, local police screening that's going on?


GRIFFIN: What the airline industry does say is, 100 percent of cargo is screened through the air industry's "known shipper" program. Simply put, it is a list of freight handlers with whom the airlines work. There are 400,000 known shippers.

(on camera): That does not mean inspected.

JAMES MAY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: It does not mean physically -- we do not physically inspect 100 percent of the cargo going aboard our planes. No, it -- we don't.

GRIFFIN: Practically speaking, our airline worker says, if a known shipper shows up at an airport with a package and gives the airline a piece of paper describing what's inside, that is essentially all the screening it gets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEDERAL AVIATION INSPECTOR: That's my understanding. I'm -- I am -- I'm not aware of the process prior to the freight arrival to the airport, but when it gets to the airport, whatever was done to inspect that freight has been done.

GRIFFIN: Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general for homeland security, says, while the Transportation Security Administration has made huge progress in screening all passengers and their luggage, air cargo on passenger planes is virtually untouched.

CLARK KENT ERVIN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: It's a glaring vulnerability, when there are virtually no inspections whatsoever.

GRIFFIN: While in office, Ervin repeatedly pointed out holes in air cargo security, he says, to little avail. The actual percentage of cargo inspected is kept secret by the TSA for security reasons. But CNN has been told by other officials with knowledge of air cargo security, it could be as low as 2 percent.

ERVIN: I would say it's very low, indeed. So, it's ironic, tragically ironic, that we are still leaving air cargo security up to the airlines, when we all have this post-9/11 experience now.

GRIFFIN: The Transportation Safety Administration has hired 100 new cargo inspectors, but that would put the nationwide total now at just 300 to cover thousands of flights every day. The TSA says it has sharply upgraded its security and is focussing more on detecting bombs in cargo.

KIP HAWLEY, DIRECTOR, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: We're going to do whatever we have to do to assure the safety of the traveling public, and we're comfortable that the level we are now meets the threat.

GRIFFIN: But many in the industry, many in government, and even current TSA employees tell CNN, air cargo remains a huge hole in America's security net.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


ZAHN: And we have learned that the Department of Homeland Security has just launched a $30 million program at San Francisco International Airport, aimed at studying ways to screen all cargo on passenger planes.

Coming up, we have got other top stories we're following tonight, including a racially-charged controversy in the age of terror.


ZAHN (voice-over): To profile or not to profile? These Arab- Americans were accused of trying to blow up a bridge. It turns out, there was no real evidence. Should profiling be a weapon in the war on terror?

Plus: This man was brought up to hate America, taught by Osama bin Laden himself. But, after 9/11, this son of al Qaeda ended up working for the CIA. You will meet him tonight -- all that and more just ahead.



ZAHN: Tonight's "Top Story" centers on the alleged terrorist plot to kill thousands by bomb transatlantic airliners.

Now, the arrests in England have reignited a passionate and very important argument right here in our country. Are this country's privacy laws and constitutional protections actually hurting the fight against terrorism? And are the British doing a better job?


ZAHN (voice-over): Throwing away shampoo, water, and other liquids we used to carry on the airliners is one way to fight terrorism. President Bush saw some others today during a visit to the high-tech National Counterterrorism Center.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is safer than it has been, but it's not yet safe. The enemy has got an advantage when it comes to attacking our homeland. They got to be right one time, and we got to be right 100 percent of the time to protect the American people.

ZAHN: Some people argue that our Constitution's restrictions on police and government powers actually makes it harder to protect Americans.

On ABC's "This Week," Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff said, in some respects, the British have better anti- terrorism laws.


MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: What helped the British in this case is the ability to be nimble, to be fast, to be flexible, to operate based on fast-moving information. We have to make sure our legal system allows us to do that.


ZAHN: British law allows electronics surveillance, if authorities merely suspect that someone is communicating with a terrorist. U.S. investigators have to meet a tougher standard called probable cause, although Congress is considering proposals to change that.

The British also can restrict terror suspects' freedom of movement, imposing virtual house arrest, without taking someone into custody, or even disclosing the evidence against them. The American judicial system has nothing like that. And the British can detain people for up to 28 days without charging them. That's not allowed in the U.S.


CHERTOFF: I'm suggesting that these rules help the British, in terms of their ability to prevent plots, rather than responding after a plot occurred.


ZAHN: In the wake of 9/11, some U.S. laws were changed to make it easier for law enforcement agencies to gather and share information.

Recently, there was a political storm, after the disclosure that President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance without first obtaining court orders. But a poll showed that, by a 65 to 31 percent margin, Americans think it's more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if it has to intrude on personal privacy.

More than 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin warned, any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both. Does that still hold true in this age of terrorism?


ZAHN: Well, we're going find that out now.

Joining me now, two people who disagree deeply on this very controversial suspect, former Reagan Justice Department lawyer David Rivkin, who is now a contributing editor to "The National Review" -- he says we need tougher laws -- and constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, a columnist for "The Washington Times," who says our constitutional rights are under attack.

Great to have both of you with us.

Mr. Fein, I'm going to start with you.

With the overwhelming majority of Americans telling pollster after pollster that they are willing to sacrifice their personal freedoms in this war against terror, isn't it better to be safe than sorry?

BRUCE FEIN, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW EXPERT, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, number one, those answers aren't as dispositive as you insinuate.

These are answers that suggest that they're giving up some privacy for some security. And the Fourth Amendment recognizes that balance. It's a matter of where you draw the line.

And it was telling that Mr. Chertoff, when he was describing these additional authorities he thought would be useful in the United States, failed to recognize that none of them had anything to do with the British breaking of this terrorist cell in -- in London.

And, indeed, it was Michael Chertoff's Department of Justice, in 2002, telling the Congress that our current laws and statutes are nimble, swift, effective. They do not need amendment. And the burden should be very strong on the government to demonstrate why these additional tools will foil terrorist plots before we yield privacy.

We all understand the Constitution is not a suicide pact, but we ought not to yield privacy for nothing.

ZAHN: Mr. Rivkin, let's talk about that -- this more carefully.

The attorney general is suggesting that he is not ruling anything out at this moment -- Michael Chertoff, obviously, saying that this intelligence has to be flexible, and all of this could eventually boil down to the fact that -- that maybe a lot of Americans could be listened to without a warrant.

What about the point Mr. Fein was just making, that isn't necessarily going to yield to breaking plots; it's, in fact, other things that have broken these plots?

DAVID RIVKIN, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PROSECUTOR: Right. It may not yield success in any given plot, but it certainly would be helpful, over a course of time, in positioning us to deal with plots better.

But let's be clear about something, Paula. I'm not suggesting waiving constitutional norms. We're now operating at a level of protection of privacy that is far higher than the constitutional minimum.

For example, my good friend Bruce does not like warrantless searches. Let me remind everybody we live with warrantless searches every day, even outside of a war-on-terror context. When people get stopped at sobriety checks, that's warrantless search, when you cross the border and custom agents search you without any probable cause or any warrant, when your children get their backpacks searched in school, looking for drugs.

So, we, as a society, have accepted the proposition that government can engage, in appropriate circumstances, in searches that are merely reasonable, which is why...


ZAHN: All right. But is it...


ZAHN: Is -- is it...


ZAHN: Is it reasonable...


ZAHN: Let me just ask you quickly, Mr. Rivkin, is it reasonable for the government to want to read my e-mails, to look at my banking transactions, to listen to my phone calls?

RIVKIN: Not -- not without any additional information.

But it is certainly, I would submit to you, that the program, the so-called NSA warrantless surveillance program, was very narrow and tailored, was very reasonable, perfectly consistent with Fourth Amendment. And we should pass the Specter legislation that actually tries to strike the right balance here. But...


FEIN: That is nonsense on stilts, David, that -- the Specter legislation that you applaud would enable the government to read everybody's e-mail, even domestic e-mail, if they didn't know that that person was communicating only in the United States, and didn't have anyone on the system that was abroad, which is impossible to tell.

RIVKIN: This...

FEIN: It would enable the NSA to intercept every single conversation that had a foreign contact...

RIVKIN: This...

FEIN: ... even if there was no suspicion that there was a terrorist involved.

RIVKIN: Bruce...

FEIN: And the other thing that David fails to recognize is that, at present, the United States has been able to surveil all al Qaeda abroad, every terrorist abroad, without any warrant.

The only issue is, can you spy on Americans standing on American soil without a warrant?

RIVKIN: Bruce, we...

FEIN: And the custom has been, when it's conversations of that sensitivity and core essence of -- of personal privacy, do you need a warrant?

And I think the answer is, yes...

RIVKIN: Well, then...

ZAHN: All right.


FEIN: ... until they're showing that it -- it can't work.

ZAHN: Mr. Rivkin, close with a final thought about, even though these polls show that -- and -- and I know Mr. Fein says they're misleading, but show that they're willing to give up some freedoms for this war on terror, there is a slippery slope here that you have to acknowledge.

RIVKIN: This slippery slope we have to acknowledge can be alleviated by congressional oversight, by media oversight, like the ones in which newspapers engage.

To me, it is ludicrous to think that we cannot strike a balance. In essence, Paula, we're still operating, essentially, at a peacetime balance. The problem of arguments that Bruce is making, with the exception of a Patriot Act, which, by the way, was drafted by Clinton administration Justice Department officials long before war on terror, we are essentially operating under peacetime rule. Isn't it strange that the peacetime rules strike the right balance between liberty and public safety? That doesn't -- that's not very likely.


ZAHN: Well, gentlemen, unfortunately, I have got to cut both of you off.


ZAHN: Love to have you come back, because this is something we're going to hear plenty about, as a -- a lot of changes are being proposed on what would constitute a warrantless investigation here.

David Rivkin, Bruce Fein, thank you so much.

We're going to continue our "Top Story" coverage in a moment, but, right now, it's time to go to our Pipeline studio in Atlanta, where we find Melissa Long, who has the countdown of our top 10 most popular stories on

Fire away, Melissa.


More than 19 million people checked out today. And, as you will see in a moment, a lot of stories, a lot of topics were covered.

A lot of readers wanted to learn more about the controversy surrounding Virginia Senator George Allen. It comes in at number 10 on the list. Senator Allen referred to a man of Indian descent as a "macaca." It is a word associated with a type of monkey and one which some people consider an ethnic slur.

Senator Allen says the remark was not meant to be derogatory and that it was misunderstood by the media.

And now showing that wide range of interests today online, this story, number nine, the latest Britney Spears video -- it's all the rage on the Internet. Just checked it out. Don't expect pizzazz, costumes, music. This is just the pop star relaxing at home, uncensored. You can check it out by logging on to, and then click on the icon "Watch Video."

And, at number eight: Syria's president, Bashar Assad, praising Hezbollah for what he calls its victory over Israel. And he says the monthlong battle shows that the U.S. plan for a new Middle East has collapsed -- Paula.

ZAHN: So, you missed the highlight there, Melissa, on the whole Britney Spears thing. And, probably because people are dining at this hour, you didn't want to really say it, what people...

LONG: I didn't. Yes, I left that out. ZAHN: ... really are wanting to -- listening to is listening to her burp, right?

LONG: Kind of un-ladylike, huh?

ZAHN: Yes.

LONG: Yes.

ZAHN: And, when you are that far along in pregnancy, it can get pretty vivid, as you see on this videotape. No wonder it's number nine at

Melissa, thanks.

LONG: Yes. OK.

ZAHN: In virtually every recent terrorist plot -- as we move along now -- the U.S. and England have one thing in common. The suspects are Muslim, and they are consumed with hatred for the West. Next in our "Top Story" coverage: What is fueling all of their rage?

Plus: why terrorism will still be around long after Osama bin Laden is finally gone.


ZAHN: The airline terror investigation has pointed to an al Qaeda connection from the very beginning. But the truth is, the threat of Muslim extremist terror has gone way beyond al Qaeda.

And that's where our "Top Story" coverage goes now. We have two reports tonight -- in a moment, Jason Carroll on the origins of Islamic anger against the West, but, first, the alarming growth of terrorist groups.

For that, Deborah Feyerick joins me now, live from London, with more on that -- Deborah.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, this really goes to the heart of why Americans should care. Experts say that, even if you take Osama bin Laden out of the equation, the terror threat to the United States is now so great, like a genie out of the bottle, it's almost impossible to get it back in.


FEYERICK (voice-over): It's the face of the enemy, a face that has come to symbolize the threat against America.

But terrorism did not start with Osama bin Laden, and experts say, it will not end once he is gone.

(on camera): Some people think, get rid of Osama bin Laden and you get rid of terror. SAJJAN GOHEL, TERRORISM EXPERT: Terrorism has gone beyond one individual. It doesn't actually now matter whether bin Laden is captured or killed.

FEYERICK (voice-over): The reason it doesn't matter, says security analyst Sajjan Gohel, is because al Qaeda is just one of dozens of groups determined to attack the United States. The State Department has identified some 40 known foreign terrorist organizations that have targeted U.S. interests in the last five years.

Steven Emerson is an authority on Islamic extremism.

STEVE EMERSON, TERROR INVESTIGATOR: There is no doubt that bin Laden was ultimately responsible for 9/11, and, therefore, needed to be villain number one. But we did this at the expense of ignoring other terrorist groups.

FEYERICK: Indeed, in this latest threat, the jetliner plot, intelligence sources on both sides of the Atlantic pointed to potential al Qaeda connections -- those sources telling CNN two of the British suspects traveled to Pakistan to meet with a suspected al Qaeda explosives expert. Another appears to have trained at an al Qaeda camp.

EMERSON: After every attack, the U.S. government tries to find out whether it was al Qaeda or not, somehow believing that, if it was not al Qaeda, there's a certain sigh of relief, that they can breathe. It -- this is a false distinction. If it's not al Qaeda, it's another group with the same ideology.

FEYERICK: Officials believe, as many as 20,000 men visited al Qaeda camps, but only very few took bin Laden's loyalty oath.

That may explain why, as in the alleged airliner plot in Britain, officials believe America's biggest threat is likely from within, what Gohel calls do-it-yourself terrorism.

GOHEL: You have groups that act independently that will sometimes try and adopt their own kind of mass casualty spectacular attack.

FEYERICK: In the last year, U.S. authorities have uncovered plots in Illinois, Florida, and California, all allegedly conceived by men born in the USA.

GOHEL: We're now witnessing stage two of what Osama bin Laden has envisioned. Groups throughout the world that have their own capability of launching attack.

FEYERICK: The face of the enemy, perhaps even more dangerous now because authorities are no longer sure what it looks like.


FEYERICK: And, Paula, in that last video clip you may have recognized American Taliban John Walker Lindh, but that other man is Adam Godan (ph). He was born in California. He converted to Islam, and authorities now believe that he is the one in charge of producing Osama bin Laden's videos. So again, a different face of what terrorism might look like -- Paula.

ZAHN: Deborah Feyerick, thanks so much.

Now, what fuels the extraordinary anger that leads to this kind of terrorism? Jason Carroll took to the streets of London's Muslim neighborhoods to find out.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To get to the source of the anger in London's young Muslim community, we asked an expert who is active in the community. Asghar Bukhari says you need to look outside mainstream mosques to the streets. There, he says, you often hear talk of what he believes is the No. 1 cause fueling extremism among young Muslims here, what the U.S. and Britain are doing in the Middle East. Many Muslims believe it is anti-Islam.

ASGHAR BUKHARI, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS CMTE: That foreign policy made our young children, our sons, our daughters radicals. That wasn't our foreign policy. We didn't have any say in that.

CARROLL: Bukhari supports nonviolent change, but not far from where we were talking, a small group gathered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm quite sick of it, basically, the media...

CARROLL: ... What are you sick of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well blaming Muslims for everything that happens in the world.

CARROLL: The most outspoken in the group identified himself only as Abu Jihad (ph). Translated, it means father of the Muslim holy war. It was clear he took the name seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you expect us to do? Be quiet and be calm and turn the other cheek? We're not Christians. We're Muslims.

CARROLL: I thought that Islam teaches...


CARROLL: ... Peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does, it does.

CARROLL: So help me understand as to why you would support violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islam is peace, but when somebody lays their hands on you, it tells you (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are defending ourselves, as simple as that. We are not being violent.

CARROLL: Most of the people who surrounded Abu Jihad were young Muslim men. Bukhari watched and listened, and then he gave us his assessment.

BUKHARI: Really all you got was anger. Well that's -- you've cracked it. If they had been taught how to channel their anger, that guy, if he was of a certain mindset, couldn't teach them anything untoward or violent.

CARROLL: And Bukhari says that points directly to another major problem, a lack of leadership in the community.

BUKHARI: Well that's our failure, our leaders are not at all taking these young kids in and saying OK, you are angry, good. Come on let's sit down, I'm angry too. Let's talk about how we can solve this peacefully.

CARROLL: Bukhari says too many mosque leaders are too old, too conservative, and can't reach the younger generations. And he says that unless there are drastic changes in the way the world's major powers deal with Islam and in the way Muslims deal with each other, it's not likely the anger will disappear any time soon. Jason Carroll, CNN, London.


ZAHN: And a program note for you now. Christiane Amanpour hosts a "CNN PRESENTS" special, "In the Footsteps of bin Laden." The latest on where he might be and the chilling evolution of a terrorist, next Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. More now though of our top story coverage. First, though, let's go back to Melissa Long for our countdown -- Melissa?

LONG: New census numbers caught the attention of readers on today. At No. 7, the figures show a growing number of immigrants living in the U.S. In 2001, immigrants were just over 11 percent of the population. Now over 12 percent.

No. 6 tonight, NASA says the original recordings of the first moon landing including Neil Armstrong's 1969 walk on the moon are missing. A spokesman for the agency says a total of 700 boxes of recordings from the Apollo missions have yet to be found.

And a scam involving tickets to the Oprah Winfrey Show comes in at No. 5. The owner of a Maryland travel agency has pleaded guilty to bilking dozens of people who believed they had purchased trips to Chicago to see the Oprah Winfrey Show. Prosecutors say those trips never took place.

And going back to the NASA tapes, that's not like losing car keys.

ZAHN: No. That's like losing big chunks of history.

LONG: Uh-huh. ZAHN: That we all would love to experience over again, collectively. Melissa, thanks. Hope they figure out where they went.

Now, when it comes to fighting terrorism, seeing isn't always believing. Next in our top story coverage, a majestic bridge and an alleged terror plot that apparently never existed. How did the authorities get the story so wrong?

Then a little bit later on, an exclusive. A young man who says he was raised in terrorist training camps, and even managed to get in trouble with Osama bin Laden. He will tell his story, the remarkable thing about it is that he ended up working for the CIA. Stick around, we'll explain.


ZAHN: We're back now with our security watch. A top story out of Michigan that has made national headlines. The arrest of three men of Middle Eastern descent suspected of plotting to blow up an historic bridge. Now, that would be a major catch, but that's not the way it worked out. Jonathan Freed explains.


JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Mackinac bridge in upper Michigan is five miles long. Is it a terror target, or are the men suspected of plotting to attack it targets themselves? Of racial profiling. Two hundred miles from the bridge in a small town of Caro, three Texas men were arrested early Friday morning after paying cash for 80 prepaid cell phones at a local Wal-Mart. A suspicious store clerk called police who stopped the men and found about 1,000 cell phones in their rented minivan.

Police also found photos of the bridge. The men are American, of Palestinian descent and were charged with providing material support for terrorism and obtaining information of a vulnerable target for the purposes of terrorism.

The suspects claim they were just planning to resell the phones in Texas for a profit. Devices like cell phones have been used to detonate bombs and federal authorities have been warning local law enforcement to be on the lookout for purchases of large numbers of them. On Monday the FBI, Michigan homeland security, and even the governor's office all declared there is no link to terrorism in the case.

COL. PETER MUNOZ, DIRECTOR, MICHIGAN STATE POLICE: The determination was made that the bridge was not a target, this was not terrorism related.

FREED: But the county prosecutor has not dropped the charges, insisting the investigation is not over.

(on camera): Does what's happened make you angry as their attorney?

NABIH AYAD, LAWYER FOR TEXAS MEN: It doesn't make me angry. It makes me sad.

FREED: The lawyer for the so-called Texas Three says if the men were Caucasian, no one would have thought twice about what they were doing.

AYAD: I mean, you can't -- it's kind of a shame these days where Arab-Americans, the normal burden, as we know, is that innocent until proven guilty. These days, post-9/11, it's like you are guilty until you are proven innocent.

FREED: It is at least the second incident in recent days of Arab men arrested for bulk buying cell phones. Two men face similar terrorism-related charges in Ohio, but they have since been dropped. The U.S. attorney general says it's legitimate to ask questions when something is out of the ordinary.

ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We don't want to get into issues of racial profiling or infringing upon the civil liberties of Americans, but, again, you know, we're in a post-9/11 world.

FREED: The lawyer for the men says he believes they are not guilty, and the case should be dismissed.

Jonathan Fried, CNN, Caro, Michigan.


ZAHN: Now, in the wake of the arrests of two dozen suspects of Pakistani descent in London, could there be a value to racial profiling here, especially if it ends up saving lives? Ibrahim Hooper has some very strong opinions about that. He is national director of communications for CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

IBRAHIM HOOPER, CAIR: Thanks for having me.

ZAHN: My pleasure. So you can't deny the fact that when you look at some of the most recent terrorist attacks, 9/11, the attacks on Bali, the Madrid train attacks, involved Muslim extremists. Wouldn't it be irresponsible of our government not to take an interest in that kind of profile potentially for other attacks here?

HOOPER: Well, I think you outline the classic case of profiling, with the bridge case and the phone cases around the country. But look at the cases you mentioned. It involved Asian men, Arab men, Indonesian men. What exactly is it you are going to be looking for? If you are profiling at an airport, how are you going to determine who is a Muslim? Are you going to ask every passenger what their faith is? Are you going to bring out the SWAT team if somebody is praying as a Muslim in the terminal? Are you going to select people if you find a Koran in their carry-on luggage? All of these questions...

ZAHN: Well, but law enforcement people who are suggesting this saying it wouldn't be that random. It would be targeting people who are at suspicious locations or acting suspicious. HOOPER: Well, that's a different question. When you have actual suspicious behavior -- if somebody is sweating profusely and looking around and all this -- but just somebody who has a dark complexion and maybe appears to you to be a, quote, "stereotypical Muslim," I don't think that's the case.

ZAHN: Ibrahim, let me read something for you, and it is from the assistant FBI Director John Miller. He says, "We didn't bring this on in the community. The terrorists did. The community is paying for that. We are paying for that as law enforcement, because when we're doing our investigations, it seems like we're singling out a group or religion, and the fact is we're not. We have to go where the leads take us." Doesn't that make sense to you?

HOOPER: Well, it's the same issue as the driving while black. We had a case just recently in California, a Sikh man was stabbed because a person saw him with a turban. Sikhs wear turbans, and naturally they think everybody who wears a turban is a Muslim. They stabbed him and said, oh, we think you're a member of the Taliban.

I mean, you bring out the worst in people. You violate American values when you do this kind of profiling.

ZAHN: But when you look at what John Miller said, he says you have no choice but to follow up on these leads, and it's not like we are specifically going out and targeting these folks. They're the ones that created the profile by their actions.

HOOPER: Again, you have to look at objective criteria, real suspicious behavior, and not just race, religion, or ethnicity.

ZAHN: All right. We have got to leave it there. Ibrahim Hooper, thank you so much for your time tonight.

HOOPER: Thank you.

ZAHN: Always appreciate your perspective.

Now we're going to take a quick biz break. Tame inflation seemed to send stocks higher today. The Dow gained 132 points. The Nasdaq nearly 46 points. The S&P up 17.

Now, two years after hurricanes damaged pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal report says oil and gas production is still below capacity.

And here's our "Crude Awakenings" look at gas prices all over the country. States with the highest prices are in red, the lowest in green. The average today for unleaded regular, $2.97 per gallon. And here's the trend over the last couple of months.

More of our top story coverage in a moment. First, though, let's go straight back to Melissa Long for the countdown -- Melissa.

LONG: And the readers were very curious today about the lives of the rich and famous, and in this case the end of romance. Number four tonight, actress Kate Hudson and her husband, Chris Robinson, are now separated. They have been married for six years and have a 2-year-old son.

At number three tonight, Mary Winkler, the Tennessee pastor's widow who has been charged with his murder, is free tonight on $750,000 bond. Her trial is scheduled to begin in late October -- Paula.

ZAHN: Big bond there. Melissa, thanks. See you in a little bit.

Now, we have come across a young man who has this amazing story to tell, and you're only going to hear it right here. Coming up next, he grew up among terrorists, actually lived in terrorist training camps, and even knew Osama bin Laden. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: Now back to an exclusive. A man who says he grew up virtually inside one of Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps. Here's Zain Verjee with more.


ABDURRAHMAN KHADR: My father was a great person. He was always my idol. You know, he's always going to be the greatest person in my life.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Abdurrahman Khadr's path has been shaped by his father's violent philosophy. As a child, conversation at home was war and terror, religion and righteousness.

Born in Canada, raised in al Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan, we met the 23-year-old in Toronto.

(on camera): What would they teach you?

KHADR: Why we're here, why we are fighting America, why we're taking this way, why being a suicide bomber is an honor, why it's right religiously. For a lot people, they took it as it is and never questioned. There were some people that questioned.

VERJEE: Did you question it as a child, when you were there?

KHADR: I mean, I did. I was another child there. I did. I had my questions, and I was lucky that I had my father.

VERJEE (voice-over): His father, a personal associate of Osama bin Laden.

KHADR: For me, he was just a father of the kids that I played with, and he was kind of the big person in the compound.

VERJEE: He describes himself as a troublemaker, constantly questioning al Qaeda's philosophy of death, and pulling childish pranks, including one that got him in trouble with the man who would become the world's most wanted man.

KHADR: There was one incident with the children. We were -- we were playing with a Coke can outside, in the compound, and I filled up the can with gun powder and we put it on a rock and we lit it up and we thought it would just go away, you know. We'd light it up and it would just fly out of the compound. And it flew and it started turning, and at the same time, Osama bin Laden was coming out of the guest house with all his body guards.

So everybody got into the position and everybody was pretty, you know -- ready for a war. They thought something was happening, and all the other kids, because they were Osama's kids and because it wasn't really them that lit the can, they got away and I got in big trouble. I started running and had to get my, you know, go behind my dad and stuff.

VERJEE: Abdurrahman says he liked bin Laden.

KHADR: For us, I mean he was, he was an OK guy.

VERJEE: But bin Laden's violent ideology was not OK.

KHADR: For me, you know, I don't agree with the suicide bombings, obviously, but I agree with him that the Americans should be out of Saudi and they should be out of Iraq, you know, and we should find some kind of peaceful solution in Iraq. And there's a lot of things that I agree with him. I just don't agree with the violent suicide bombings.

VERJEE: September 11th, and then the Americans invade Afghanistan. Soon, everyone Abdurrahman knew was dead, on the run or in jail. Including his father and brothers. One of them, only 15 at the time was sent straight to prison at Guantanamo Bay. Abdurrahman was also captured then approached by the enemy, the CIA and asked to be an informant.

KHADR: They said, would you like to work for us and you'd get paid? You know this is a good job opportunity for you and you speak a lot of languages, you're socially capable, and I agreed. They put me through a lot of questioning, put me through polygraphs, and they just try to you know, establish if I'm capable of working for them or not, and when I was, they decided to send me to Pakistan. There was an incident and they changed their mind, they sent me to Cuba. And from there I went to Bosnia.

VERJEE: The CIA wanted to send him to Iraq he says, but he resisted. He's convinced that if he had gone, he'd be dead by now. Instead, he's disillusioned.

KHADR: I saw a lot of familiarities between al Qaeda and the CIA. The way they work.


KHADR: The blind belief in that just made me think you know I can't work -- I had a lot of discussions with my officers about, you know, things like the American soldiers and I always looked for someone to be able to sit down and be like, yeah, let's discuss this.

And tell me what you think and I'll tell you what I think, right. But people were like, no. This is how it is and that's it. And that's what I usually got from al Qaeda too. You know, that suicide bombing is the way and that's the only way. That's why I decided that, no.

VERJEE: He quit the CIA just as he quit al Qaeda, abruptly, after fighting a long legal battle he was eventually allowed to come back home to Toronto. Abdurrahman says he wants to do things his way now. He doesn't keep up with the news, because it reminds him of his painful double life. He just wants to move on.

KHADR: I was to the point where I decided that I don't want to be al Qaeda. I'm not al Qaeda. And I don't want to be CIA, I'm not CIA. But the point where I found myself in between these two people and not believing in either of their ways and trying to find my own way of understanding things. That was very big for me. You know? Because a lot of people, people are usually followers, and I think this whole experience was me following, and I need to find a way to lead my own self.

VERJEE: He likes to race cars now and dreams of going pro. More than anything he says, he wants a normal life, but his complicated, sinister and surreal past always lingers in the shadows. Zain Verjee, CNN, Toronto.


ZAHN: We need to make it clear there's no way for CNN to independently verify Khadr's story. Both the CIA and his family refused to comment.

Let's go back to Melissa Long who is standing by with our final part of the countdown.

LONG: Wrapping up the countdown. Coming in at No. 2, Paula, California authorities bust a huge prostitution ring in Palm Springs. They say it was making millions of dollars in four states. And our top story tonight, American journalist Jill Carroll gives the first public account of her ordeal as a hostage in Iraq. As you know, Carroll was held captive for 82 days -- Paula?

ZAHN: Lucky to be alive. Thanks, Melissa. We'll going to take a short break, we'll be right back.


ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here, thanks so much for joining us tonight. Hope you'll join us again tomorrow night. Have a great night.


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