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Hollywood and Drinking; Gays in the Military; CDC Quarantines Tuberculosis Patient

Aired May 29, 2007 - 20:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks to everyone for joining us. Paula is off tonight.
Here are some of the stories that we're bringing out in the open.

Why is the military kicking out people who are saving American lives on the battlefield?

Also, a brutal double killing has the blogosphere buzzing with allegations of gang rape and torture. Was it a hate crime? And is there a cover-up?

Also, was Lindsay loaded? If so, will it take a Hollywood death before big stars stop drinking and driving?

We are starting with an exclusive story about military priorities and national security. Here we are in the middle of a war on terror, so you would think that the Pentagon's very top priority would be finding translators who know Arabic.

It's the language of al Qaeda terrorists, a language that can directly affect the safety of U.S. troops in Iraq. But, as we're about to see, the Pentagon has an even higher priority, it seems: keeping gays out of the military, even if it costs the country patriotic, highly skilled translators -- and the costs, live of American troops, as well.

I'm talking about People Like former Navy Petty Officer Stephen Benjamin. He's fluent in Arabic. He used to be stationed at Fort Gordon in Georgia, translating classified documents and secretly intercepted conversations.

But, during a random review of e-mail exchanges last year, an outside commander discovered a conversation that left no doubt that Stephen Benjamin is gay. Because of the don't-ask/don't-tell law, Benjamin was discharged, even though he says his sexual orientation wasn't a problem or a secret among his co-workers.

And he joins me exclusively now to tell his story.

Thanks so much for being with us, Stephen.

STEPHEN BENJAMIN, FORMER U.S. MILITARY TRANSLATOR: Thanks, Kiran. Thank you for having me.

CHETRY: Tell us, first of all, about that e-mail exchange that took place that ended up getting you in trouble. What were you writing, and who were you writing to?

BENJAMIN: I was actually exchanging messages with my roommate, who is deployed to Fallujah. He left in July of 2006.

And we exchanged various messages, a lot of it work-related, asking, you know, talking about work, what's this word mean, hey, do you know who this person is, that kind of thing.

And, then, in October of 2006, the military came through and performed a -- just a random inspection. And they discovered our messages, and they found we were gay.

CHETRY: And, so, they then accused you, of course, of violating the don't-ask/don't-tell policy that we know so much about.

Now, were you given a chance to refute the -- the charges, the claims, and -- and sort of redeem yourself?

BENJAMIN: Yes, the policy allows for a service member to rebut whatever evidence the military has.

The problem comes, if I had done that and had wrote a statement that said I wasn't -- that I wasn't gay, that I was heterosexual, the military could have come back later, if they had new evidence, and not only kicked me out, but kicked me out with a less-than-honorable discharge, and it would have been just a huge mess.

CHETRY: And you also felt a little worried that, if you did sign something, it would come back to bite you later?

BENJAMIN: Exactly. Exactly.

CHETRY: And, so, you knew about the military's policy, of course. And I guess everyone is pretty much aware that they do, do this random sweep of e-mails. I guess a lot of people were caught up in that sweep. Why did you risk it?

BENJAMIN: As far as why I risked it, it was just personal conversation. It was pretty unremarkable, just talking about our social lives.

And I guess I became a little bit complacent. I didn't -- you know, I wasn't as vigilant as I should have been with the policy. And, you know, a lot of people were having personal conversations. And everyone knew I was gay. It was never a big issue. So, I never really thought that people would have gone back, looked at the logs, and, you know, kicked me out for it.

CHETRY: And, so, is that the case?

I mean, in the -- we -- we talk about this don't-ask/don't-tell policy. It's not necessarily followed. You're saying it was pretty much an open secret, your sexuality.

BENJAMIN: Don't-ask/don't-tell is actually a misnomer for what the law says. The law actually says you can't be gay and serve in the military. It just provides a series of regulations that prohibit the military from actually asking you or for -- if you tell them, then they kick you out.

The problem comes as the policy is a lot more aggressive than people think. People are outed by their MySpace profiles, by talking with their friends. In a casual conversation out in town, if someone overhears you, and you screw up a pronoun, and you don't change he to she, I mean, that person could report you, and you could get kicked out.

CHETRY: And, so, that is what happened in your case, as well; I mean, you -- you didn't change a pronoun?

BENJAMIN: Not necessarily.

The messages were pretty -- pretty detailed about my life, you know, talking to a very close friend, pretty much anything you could think of, ask -- talking about the person I dated, you know, things like that.

And it was pretty explicit that I was gay in the message exchanges.

CHETRY: Now, if you could go back six months, would you have tried to be more careful about hiding your sexual orientation?

BENJAMIN: I think I might have been a little more careful, not because I think that the policy is correct, but I believed in what I was doing. And I think my personal life should have taken a backseat to the mission we were doing, yes.

CHETRY: So, it's estimated there are 58 Arab-speaking linguists that have been discharged from the military for being gay. How much of a loss is that, if you can put it in those terms, in terms of the war on terror and national security?

BENJAMIN: I think the loss of 58 Arabic linguists is pretty significant.

The training pipeline that Arab linguists go through is pretty long. It takes many, many years to -- to create a competent Arabic linguist. The cost in dollars alone to retrain those Arabic linguists is enormous, not to mention that the military is having trouble just recruiting basic soldiers, finding someone who can pass the ASVAB. To pass the language aptitude test is incredibly hard.

CHETRY: What's the type of stuff you were doing, Steve?

BENJAMIN: Basically, processing Arabic -- Arabic intercepts, providing intelligence to the front, to troops on the front line.

And, now, a lot of work we do is classified. Can't give too many details. But I do know that I made a difference. I made a difference every day. I was always excited to go to work. I was always excited to do my job. I was getting ready to reenlist in the Navy. And it is really unfortunate that I can't -- I can't do my job today.

CHETRY: Yes, it sure is.

Steve Benjamin, from Atlanta today, former Navy Arabic linguist discharged for being gay, thanks for being with us.

BENJAMIN: Thank you.

CHETRY: So, are translators like Stephen Benjamin so valuable that there needs to be perhaps an exception to the don't-ask/don't- tell law?

It's a question for tonight's "Out in the Open" panel tonight. We have Mark Smith with us, a constitutional lawyer, also a conservative commentator.

Good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

Jon Soltz served in Iraq during 2003, and is the leader of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans community. And also with us, John Aravosis, who has worked on a number of national gay political issues and is the founder of

Good to see all of you. Thanks for being with us.

Let me start with you, Jon.

I mean, 58 Arab linguists, and it is one of the things that they really need to -- need to constantly be ahead of, trying to recruit people that can speak Arabic in the military. Why so many? What's going on?

JON SOLTZ, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: Well, I think it's -- it's (INAUDIBLE) across the military. I am not quite sure that gays just serve in this one part.

But, you know, we have increased the recruitment age now to 42 years old. We obviously can't kick people out for being overweight. And we have sacrificed our standards. We let felonies into the military. And, when you have got people that are combat multipliers for us on the ground in combat in Iraq, people that help us at checkpoints, people that help us interrogate civilians, gathering that human intelligence, so we can defeat the enemies of this country on the battlefield, and -- and you kick them out, you're aiding the enemies of this country.

And it is a policy that needs to change.

CHETRY: Mark, in your opinion, do you think don't-ask/don't-tell is successful?

MARK SMITH, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR & CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: Well, I think we have to keep in mind that the military is about winning wars.

And, as a civilian, I'm not comfortable second-guessing the military with respect to military policy during a time of war. To me, putting openly gay people in the military is a social experiment. And now is not the time for it.

But, certainly, there -- there certainly are concerns about having, you know, openly gay people in the military. I mean, the example I like to give is if -- for example, if you put me in a platoon with nothing but, let's say, Hooter waitresses, that's going to distract me, and I'm not going to be focused on winning the war. I am going to be focused on other things.

And that's the sort of tension, that, frankly, can hurt the morale and hurt the fighting mission. So, to me, I understand what the military is getting at. And I'm not here to second-guess military decisions on these kinds of critical issues about winning wars.


CHETRY: Well, as I understand it -- and I would like to bring John Aravosis in this -- there were people also caught up in this dragnet that included people that were actually having cybersex, among other things, and were not discharged.

Do you believe that gays are targeted, John?

JOHN ARAVOSIS, FOUNDER, AMERICABLOG.COM: I think there's a double standard.

And I think what's really interesting is, when we first discussed gays in military back in 1993, with President Clinton, we had just defeated the Soviet Union. America wasn't really facing a great threat.

Now we are six years after September 11, and my main concern right now isn't social experimentation. It is not civil rights. It's not anything. I want to catch Osama bin Laden. I want to catch the terrorists. And I want to protect ours troops.

We have six fluent Arabic speakers in the U.S. Embassy in Iraq of 1,000 employees, six. That was found by the Iraq Study Group. That's not me talking. It's the, you know, bipartisan group of senators, Republican and -- and Democrat. They said that this is a serious problem hampering all of our missions in Iraq.

I'm, frankly, worried that the social experimentation is on the other side now, that -- that this administration is more worried about the social conservative issue of gays, and that they are not saying, you know what? Let's at least have an exception for the guy in the office next to you with a headset on listening to al Qaeda.

SMITH: Well, first -- I -- first of all, I don't think you can have an exception for a guy in the office, because...


ARAVOSIS: Why not?

SMITH: Because you can't apply -- it wouldn't be fair to the people that serve in the military...


SMITH: ... in the field.



ARAVOSIS: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.


ARAVOSIS: The guy in the office next to you wearing a headset.


SMITH: No, no, it's disingenuous, as well, for you to suggest that...


ARAVOSIS: I'm worried about September 11, frankly.

SMITH: Excuse me. Excuse me. Please...

ARAVOSIS: Disingenuous?

SMITH: ... let me finish. It is disingenuous for you...

ARAVOSIS: You called me disingenuous.

SMITH: ... for you to suggest that it harms the American national security...


SMITH: ... to kick gays out of the military because they're translators.


SMITH: Sir, you will not let me finish.


SMITH: And you will not let me finish.


ARAVOSIS: Excuse me, sir. You interrupted me.

SMITH: People can be civilian translators...


SMITH: ... in the Department of Justice...


SMITH: ... or the CIA.

Or they can be...


SMITH: ... civilian translators working for the U.S. Army.

So, it is wrong for you to suggest that the people who are not translators in the Army cannot also help the national interests.


ARAVOSIS: Let me respond.


ARAVOSIS: They can.


CHETRY: Let's let John...


CHETRY: Let's let John Aravosis finish his thought.


CHETRY: And then we will go to, Jon.



SOLTZ: Because I have got to explain to him...

ARAVOSIS: Great. Great.

SOLTZ: ... what it is really like to be in the military...

ARAVOSIS: Right. Right.

SOLTZ: ... because he's a bystander.


SOLTZ: And he's speculating.

ARAVOSIS: Right. Well, no, no, let...

SOLTZ: And, when you give me a second...

ARAVOSIS: Right. Right.

SOLTZ: ... I will explain what it's like.


Let me explain on the national security side. And then Jon can talk about the military.

The bottom line is, we don't have enough Arabic translators. The day before September 11, we intercepted a message that said the attack was coming. We didn't translate it until days afterwards, because we are -- we were hundreds of thousands of hours behind in translating these messages.

This is a serious national security issue. I support gay rights. I don't give a damn about gay rights when we're talking about catching Osama.

CHETRY: All right.

ARAVOSIS: I want to have enough guys to do this.

CHETRY: Let's let Jon Soltz explain what -- what...

SOLTZ: This is ridiculous, these -- these statements you make.

I mean, I have been in combat for this country. There's gay people that serve with us when we're in combat. They serve well.

SMITH: That's right. And they're allowed to serve well.

SOLTZ: They serve well.

SMITH: But they just can't be openly gay or engage...

SOLTZ: But the difference is that...

SMITH: ... in homosexual...


SOLTZ: ... when we were in combat...


SOLTZ: ... and we are fighting the enemy...

SMITH: They can be in the military.

SOLTZ: ... of this country in combat...

SMITH: That's right.

SOLTZ: ... they're helping me as an officer on a battlefield. And they have done a lot more to protect this country and fight al Qaeda than you will... SMITH: That's right.


SOLTZ: ... ever do for the rest of your life.


SMITH: There are rules in place. There are rules in place...

SOLTZ: You know, we have sacrificed.

SMITH: ... that say, for example, you cannot engage in adultery.

SOLTZ: We have -- we have...

SMITH: You cannot engage in adultery.

SOLTZ: We have sacrificed...

SMITH: If you do, you're dis...

SOLTZ: We have sacrificed our standards for the armed forces of the United States. We now let people in that...


SOLTZ: ... that are over 42 years old. You can still sign up.

And I would encourage you to either thank Stephen or sign up yourself, because, frankly, these people who fought for this country, they have protected your right to stand here and speak right now.

SMITH: When they signed up, they knew the rules.

SOLTZ: They help our -- they help our country...

SMITH: When they signed up, they knew the rules.

SOLTZ: They help our country...

SMITH: And they violated the rules...

SOLTZ: ... fight the enemies...

SMITH: And, if you engage...

SOLTZ: ... of our country.

SMITH: If you engage in adultery...

SOLTZ: The question is, do you support...

SMITH: ... you're kicked out, too.

SOLTZ: The question is, do you support the people that fight for this country...

SMITH: If you -- if you -- if you...

SOLTZ: ... or do you support al Qaeda?

SMITH: ... engage in adultery, you're kicked out, too...

SOLTZ: Because, listen...

SMITH: ... because there are rules in place.

SOLTZ: We cannot -- we cannot fill our ranks in the United States military right now. And you just want to kick people out.

ARAVOSIS: That's right.

SMITH: Then let the military make the decision, not civilians.


CHETRY: All right. We are -- we are out of time.

SOLTZ: Civilians lead the military.


CHETRY: And we do have to leave it there.

ARAVOSIS: We need to -- we need to change the rules, is the point, because we need to win this war.

SOLTZ: We need to change the rules, so we can win...


SMITH: You shouldn't change war...


SMITH: You shouldn't change rules in the middle of a war. It is not the time...

CHETRY: All right.

SMITH: ... for social experimentation.


CHETRY: We're out of time.


CHETRY: Mark Smith...


SOLTZ: You're a social experiment. That's the only social experiment there is.

CHETRY: ... Jon Soltz...


CHETRY: ... John Aravosis, thank you, all -- a very heated discussion and a lot of good points brought out tonight.

Well, we are going to take a quick break.

And, when we come back -- by the way, we are going to have much more of this tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" as well.

Also, as of today, Iran has charged three Americans with spying. One of them is a woman who is already in one of Iran's most notorious prisons. Has she really done anything wrong? Her husband is going to join me to talk more about her struggle -- coming up next.

Also, it's a different kind of prisoner. He may be carrying germs that are so dangerous, he cannot come in contact with anyone. So, why was he flying on two transatlantic flights? And what could happen if you were sitting next to him?

We're going to talk about it -- coming up.


CHETRY: Tonight, three Iranian-Americans are accused of spying against Tehran, charges that could bring the death penalty.

Iran is accusing the U.S. of using intellectuals inside of Iran to spread propaganda and undermine the Islamic regime. Journalist Parnaz Azima was detained, but then released, is now barred from leaving Iran.

The second accused spy is urban consultant -- urban planning Kian Tajbakhsh. He is being in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. And also being held there is 67-year-old grandmother Haleh Esfandiari, who works with the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

And the timing of the spy charges seems rather strange, because, just yesterday, the U.S. and Iran held their first formal high-level diplomatic talks since 1979.

We're bringing this story out in the open tonight with Haleh Esfandiari's husband, Shaul Bakhash.

Thank you so much for being with us tonight.


CHETRY: We heard the news today that your wife has been charged with espionage by the Iranians, a charge that could carry the death sentence under Iranian law.

What was your reaction tonight when you heard that? BAKHASH: Well, clearly, the spokesman for the judiciary in Tehran ratcheted up the case against my wife several notches.

But I think one has to be careful about what he exactly said. He seemed to be saying that the Ministry of Intelligence has made these accusations against my wife, but he did not say that the judiciary is yet ready to proceed with trial on this.

So, you know, obviously, this is a cause of great concern to us, and I think should be for everyone who cares about Haleh, because these are serious accusations, but we don't know yet whether they're formal charges.

CHETRY: Right, and, obviously, just a very nerve-racking situation for you right now, especially knowing that your wife is being held in this notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. It is known for brutal interrogations.

For -- just from what you know, what might she be having to go through as she's being detained there?

BAKHASH: Well, we have had no contact with my wife, except for the very brief telephone call she's allowed to make to her mother in Tehran most, but not all, evenings or days.

And we know, from others who have undergone interrogation at Evin, that these interrogations can involve -- involve blindfolding, solitary confinement, intimidation threat, fabrications to disorient the person being interrogated.

CHETRY: And you're worried they might be trying to try to coerce a confession or something along those lines?

BAKHASH: Well, what other explanation is there for keeping her for 22 days in -- in -- in solitary, and not giving us any access to her? And I fear, yes, that they -- they're trying to break her, and -- and get a confession, a false confession, out of her.

CHETRY: Right.

And it's just got to be so tough, especially knowing that you are not able to speak to her. But, yet, they do allow her talk -- to talk to her mother? What have you been able to glean from those conversations?

BAKHASH: Well, these are extremely brief conversations. And we assume there's a minder standing next to her when she makes them.

My mother-in-law, who is 93 years old, lives for these brief conversations. And she's distraught when they don't occur. And, for example, tonight, there was no call from Evin. And it leaves my mother-in-law distraught.

CHETRY: Right. Obviously, there's really no other way to -- to feel, knowing that your daughter's being held there, for -- for her mother. Does it disturb you that the United States held these high-level talks with Iran, that you have the ambassador to Iran sitting down with tea with our ambassador, and none of this has come up?

BAKHASH: Well, we had hoped it would come up.

I think Ryan Crocker, the American ambassador in Baghdad, is a very experienced diplomat, and would have raised it, had the opportunity offered itself. Perhaps it did not.

On the other hand, I'm sure that, not only the U.S., but other governments who are friendly both to -- to Iran and the United States are telling the Iranian government that this arrest is a mistake, that it is giving Iran a very bad press internationally, and -- and that they are doing damage to Iran's reputation.

And I hope that these intercessions, plus the very wide media attention that this case has received, will lead the Iranian authorities to reconsider and do what they should do, which is to free Haleh and allow her to come back to her family.

CHETRY: Absolutely.

Dr. Shaul Bakhash, also a professor at George Mason University, and the husband of Haleh Esfandiari, still being held, as you said, for more than 22 days, our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. And we hope for her swift release. Thanks for joining us tonight.

BAKHASH: Thank you.

CHETRY: Also, as we learn more about the fate of the three Iranian-Americans who are accused of spying, we will have the latest tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."

Also tonight, health officials are on the lookout for people who may have been exposed to an especially dangerous and difficult-to- treat form of tuberculosis.


DR. JULIE GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: This patient's tuberculosis organism was extremely resistant to the T.B. drugs that we would normally use to treat infection.


CHETRY: Has a potentially deadly form of T.B. made to it the U.S.? Stay with us for a health story that you will want to see.

Also, imagine being a prisoner, and not because you have done anything wrong, but because you might make everyone around you deathly sick.


CHETRY: Well, imagine finding out you spent hours on a plane next to someone who had a contagious disease that could kill you.

Federal health officials said today just that happened -- the disease, a highly drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. And the infected man took two transatlantic flights this month, one from Atlanta to Paris back on May 12, the other from Prague to Montreal last Thursday. And, by the time he drove to New York, the CDC ordered him into isolation.

And he's now under quarantine in Atlanta, the first time that feds have quarantined anyone since back in 1963. And, tonight, health officials are trying to find the people who sat near him on these planes.

We are going to get more now from chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Thank you for being with us. It's good to see you, Sanjay.


CHETRY: You know, this is -- is unbelievable. It hasn't been since 1963 that the feds have ever had to quarantine somebody. What is it about this particular case and this particular strain of T.B. that has them so concerned?

GUPTA: Yes. You're absolutely right, Kiran.

In 1963, incidentally, it was for smallpox, a very -- very problematic thing at that time, now as well. This is -- this is what's called extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis.

You know, we have talked about drug resistance quite a bit. What happens is, you give these antibiotics, and the bacteria gets smarter. They start sort of outsmarting the antibiotics. And, eventually, you can't -- you can't treat them. You can't actually kill the bacteria anymore with any drugs that are available.

That's essentially what's happening with this particular form of T.B. It is rare, and only about 49 cases over the last decade or so here in the United States. But, when it happens, it becomes very hard to treat. And what the -- the goal is at that point is contain it. Make sure other people don't get it, because they can -- it can -- it can be spread very easily, and become difficult to treat in a large population of people.

CHETRY: Yes. And, Dr. Gupta, with -- with T.B., how do you know you have it? What are the symptoms?

GUPTA: Well, it can be hard.

And one of things about this bacteria, it is a little bit tricky, because it can sort of hang out in your body for a long time, and cause absolutely no symptoms whatsoever.

But, when you start to develop symptoms, chest pain, coughing of blood, weight loss, and -- and the fever as well -- and the night sweats are really profound. I mean, people really complain, drenching their whole pillow and their whole bed as a result of it. Those are some of the symptoms.

CHETRY: Oh, wow.

GUPTA: Sometimes, though, it can be somewhat vague.

But, if you have those, and you're concerned about it, you can get it checked out.

CHETRY: And then how -- how about how it spreads?

GUPTA: Well, that's the thing. And that is what's particularly concerning here, is that this is a very contagious bacteria.

You cough it out. It actually sort of hangs out in the air there, and then other people breathe it in. That's typically what happens. And that's why people are so concerned about enclosed spaces when it comes to T.B. Prisons, for example, in Russia are a hot spot for this. And that's why people are concerned about a plane ride as well.

A couple of things that are important to remember, though, is that he did not appear sick at the time. So, he may not have been coughing. And, also, his sputum, the testing of his sputum was negative. They didn't actually show the bacteria, which means he probably didn't have a lot of it that he was coughing, so, possibly good news.

CHETRY: So, should they just contact their doctors if they think they were exposed?

GUPTA: Yes, that's exactly advice that -- people within the first couple of rows around him are being told that they need to get tested.

Other people that were on those flights that you just talked about, Kiran, are told, you know what? You can contact your doctor about this if you're concerned, but -- but unlikely.

CHETRY: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CHETRY: And join me tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING." We are going to have the latest on this quarantine. And we're going to be talking with CDC chief Dr. Julie Gerberding.

And, also, just to say right now, he's being treated at Grady Memorial. He's been kept in an isolation ward on a -- on a separate floor. And everyone around him is having to wear a mask right now. And he's going to get this treatment for a long time to come, because, as Dr. Gupta told us, it is very drug-resistant, this strain of T.B.

Now, we can't tell you what it is like for the man under federal quarantine in Atlanta tonight. But what we can show you is what life is like for another T.B. patient who also has been isolated for months now by local officials in Arizona.

Thelma Gutierrez has his story tonight.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is 27- year-old Robert Daniels. For the past 10 months, he has lived behind the doors of this sealed, specially ventilated room, without human contact, forced into quarantine by the Maricopa County Health Department because he has a deadly, drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. CNN was given rare access to the ward.

(on camera): Can you describe the conditions?

(voice-over): But we had to interview Daniels on the phone, because he's so contagious. Daniels says he's treated like a prisoner, not a patient.

ROBERT DANIELS, TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT: All of a sudden, you have been called an inmate. You have been given a booking number. And -- and the -- the room you're in, it has bars on the windows. There is no shower.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): The sheriff's department and Maricopa County health officials say Daniels was warned to wear a mask in public. He didn't, so he was ordered into quarantine by the court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's made his bed, and now he has to sleep in it.

DANIELS: Of course I'm regretting what I did. I should have been a little more mature about all this.

GUTIERREZ: One of Daniels' nurses, who didn't want to be identified, spoke out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It really made me very upset to think that us in America could treat a patient so punitively.

GUTIERREZ: The ACLU has stepped in, saying his constitutional rights are being violated.

Robert Daniels told CNN, he is slowly recovering, though his treatment could take years, torture, he says, because his wife and son live in Moscow.

DANIELS: Every day, I sit on the bed, and I remember my wife. And I -- and I realize I can't talk to her, and I just sit there and cry. What else I have to do, because I couldn't do nothing, nothing.

GUTIERREZ: Robert Daniels is not sure when he will be able to see them or anyone else again, because the Health Department says there's no state limit on how long he could be isolated while he's contagious. He could be here for years. Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.


CHETRY: Also tonight, we're the only news show that's tackling a crime that the blogosphere thinks we're all afraid to touch. Is a double killing in Tennessee actually a hate crime?

Also, later: the latest face on Hollywood's A-list to join the list of stars headed to rehab.


CHETRY: "Out in the Open" tonight, a crime that has sparked protests in the street, even violence in Knoxville, Tennessee. A young white couple carjacked, raped and murdered earlier this year. And the suspects, a group of blacks. The question is whether it was a black-on-white hate crime or just a random case of violence.

Even though everyone involved in the investigation says no, it's not a hate crime, the case has now taken on a life of its own thanks in part to white supremacists, and this video on the Internet posted by an Aryan blogger, accusing the media of trying to be politically correct by ignoring the story.

We sent Rusty Dornin to Knoxville, Tennessee to bring it all "Out in the Open."


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom were in the wrong place at a deadly time. The couple were en route to watch a movie in a friend's apartment in this complex in January. Knoxville Police believe they were carjacked, kidnapped and taken to this house.

Both were raped repeatedly, 21-year-old Channon, a university student, had cleaning fluid sprayed in her mouth. She apparently suffocated after being stuffed into a trash can inside the house. Christopher Newsom, 23 years old, was shot. His body set on fire and dumped by the railroad traction.

TIM HUTCHISON, FORMER KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF: We don't know that many details about why this crime occurred.

DORNIN: A fingerprint found in the victim's car a few days after the murders led to arrests. Three African-American men and one woman were charged with murder in connection with the killings. Another man is charged as an accessory.

But days later the story or a version of it gathered steam on the Web. Sites with white supremacist agendas made their own headlines. It was a hate crime, they claimed, but Knoxville prosecutors say, no way.

JOHN GILL, KNOX COUNTY D.A.'S OFFICE: There's no evidence of any kind that a hate crime was involved.

DORNIN: That wasn't enough to convince the bloggers.

(on camera): The national news media, they say, spends plenty of time covering white-on-black crime, but has completely ignored the story here in Knoxville. The story really took off after there were claims that the couple was sexually mutilated.

(voice-over): That new twist may have begun with an extreme right-wing blogger, Hal Turner in New York. He told CNN "sympathetic people" in Knoxville told him back in February that the young man's genitals and the woman's breasts had been hacked off. He put those details on his Web site.

HAL TURNER, EXTREMIST INTERNET BLOGGER: I can't see any motivation other than hate that would prompt someone to do the things to these white kids that were done by these black perpetrators.

DORNIN: Prosecutors insist mutilations never happened.

GILL: A terrible crime is charged regardless of some of these fantastic reports of mutilation and things which aren't true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more savage black crime!

DORNIN: But Turner and others stepped out from behind their computer screens to lead a rally this past weekend in Knoxville attended by white supremacists. A crowd twice as large protested the gathering.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And topping our newscast tonight, the family of...

DORNIN: As the local media in Knoxville followed the story, one reporter told us she has been receiving hate mail, lots of it. Accusations, says News Sentinel reporter Jamie Satterfield, that she covered up details of the crime and questions about why the national media hasn't picked up on the story.

JAMIE SATTERFIELD, KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL: Initially my response was, you know, don't hit me with your racism, but what I've learned is that just fueled it.

DORNIN: Even while we did our interview, she got mail.

(on camera): How many have you received in the last hour?

SATTERFIELD: It looks like I've gotten three.

DORNIN (voice-over): All four defendants have pleaded not guilty. Defense attorneys declined to comment on the case, but agreed with prosecutors that the bloggers had hurt both sides.

GILL: They created a scenario, if true, makes people wonder, well, why wasn't there more coverage or what's going on? DORNIN: Channon Christian's parents attend every court appearance. The couple don't believe the murders were racially motivated. It's not so straightforward for the Newsoms, they believe it did not start out as a hate crime but may have ended up that way. Even so, they resent their son's death being used as a propaganda tool by racist groups.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I know Chris and Channon would not want to be a part of that. That's not what they stood for.

DORNIN: All four defendants will be tried separately. The first trial won't even begin until May of 2008, plenty of time for the myths, virtual and otherwise, to grow.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Knoxville, Tennessee.


CHETRY: And joining me now to talk about this, the Reverend Ezra Maize, president of Knoxville chapter of the NAACP.

Thanks for being with us tonight.

Also James Edwards, who hosts the conservative radio talk show, "The Political Cesspool."

And thanks to you as well for being with us.

JAMES EDWARDS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, "THE POLITICAL CESSPOOL": How's it going, Kiran? Thank you for having me.

CHETRY: Well, James, I just want to ask you about the Knox County District Attorney General's Office, the special counsel saying there's nothing whatsoever that indicates any hate crime. He also goes on to say there are things that really coincidentally prove just the opposite. So why has this case become a rallying cry among the white supremacists, fringe groups and even conservative columnists online?

EDWARDS: Well, I can't necessarily speak for people that I don't have any association with. But I'll tell you this, I believe that probably the government officials in Knoxville are concerned with being labeled white supremacists for taking a conservative point of view on this issue.

They probably don't want to defy the false gods of political correctness. What you have here, Kiran, is a horribly wicked crime in which two young college students were carjacked, held captive and raped before being murdered. Now if that isn't a hate crime, then I don't know what is.

If found guilty, these perpetrators should face swift justice, and the firing squad would be too lenient for them. But I will promise you this, had the roles been reversed, and had the victims been black and the murderers white, this would have been the biggest news story in America, on every nightly news cast back in February when this originally occurred.

CHETRY: Reverend Mays, do you agree with that, that if this had been reversed racially, we would have heard much more about it?

REV. EZRA MAIZE, NAACP: I beg to differ. I believe that it -- had it been reversed racially, you wouldn't have heard anything about it.

EDWARDS: Oh come on.

MAIZE: I believe that this has received some national attention. And I do not believe that it was a race crime. I believe that it was a crime that was committed. I am not one to judge. I cannot say guilty or not guilty. I do say that we do feel for the families of those who have lost loved ones. And you cannot be human and not feel sympathetic for those who have lost loved ones. I do not agree with the crime nor do I believe that it was a hate crime.

EDWARDS: Kiran, I believe there is not a doubt in anyone's mind in America that if the races in this instance had been reversed, that the NAACP would have been howling. That this would have been classified as a hate crime. The NAACP never believes that brutal acts of violence committed by blacks against whites is motivated by racial hatred. And certainly, you know, the NAACP couldn't provide America tonight with an equivalent random act of violence committed by blacks against other blacks...

MAIZE: I beg to differ.

EDWARDS: ... that can compare to this massacre.

CHETRY: All right. Well, listen, Reverend Maize, you were at this rally in Knoxville over the weekend. Apparently some whites were holding up signs saying things like "diversity equals death." Aryan groups online have been calling it a rally against genocide.

Were you surprised to see -- and there are some of the pictures, just how much vitriol there was when it comes to this story?

MAIZE: I'm sorry, repeat that question, please?

CHETRY: Were you surprised to see, if you look at the rally, you were there, you see the anger -- I mean, the palpable anger and tension there. Were you surprised to see this?

MAIZE: I was not surprised to see the anger and tension. I was surprised to see the Nazi group come to town and to protest. But I was not surprised to see the anger and the tension. I was very angry about the crime that had taken place. I was not angry because it was a racial crime.

Nevertheless, I was angry because two young people have been murdered. And that should make anyone angry. So I was not surprised by the anger. I was surprised by the racial slurs that took place during the protest. Everybody in the city clearly states it was not a racial crime. It is people outside of Cincinnati who are trying to make this a racial crime and put...

CHETRY: All right. I'm sorry. We're out of time. I wish I could let you have another word at it, James, but we are out of time. Thanks so much for both of you for your point of view. Reverend Ezra Maize as well as James Edwards.

EDWARDS: Thank you very much.

MAIZE: Thank you very much.

CHETRY: Time to take a quick business break. The Dow up 14 points. Nasdaq gaining 14. And the S&P closing 2 points higher. A former deputy secretary of state is President Bush's pick to replace Paul Wolfowitz as the World Bank president. A senior administration official telling CNN the president will nominate Robert Zoellick on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court rejecting a woman's pay discrimination case on a technicality. A former Goodyear working accusing the tire-maker of paying her less than men doing the same job. She took her case all the way to the top, but the court said that she failed to file her complaint in time.

Coming up, Hollywood has a new rehab poster child tonight. And the reason behind it has her father really worried. "Out in the Open," up next, Lindsay Lohan's DUI arrest. And then days later this scene. This wasn't even from the night that she was arrested. This is two days later. How many more Hollywood stars have secret problems with drugs and alcohol?


CHETRY: Tonight actress Lindsay Lohan is back in rehab just two days after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Police say they found a "usable amount" of cocaine in her vehicle. But what Lohan's arrest is really bringing "Out in the Open" is a stunning DUI epidemic it seems in Hollywood.

Entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was inevitable. And it's going to continue.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Lohan reacts to the news over the weekend that his estranged daughter, Lindsay Lohan, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, honey, just get in touch with me and let's get this right.

VARGAS: Lohan may be the latest star in trouble for the serious offense, but she's hardly alone. From TV stars to big screen legends, more celebrities are serving sentences for driving under the influence. The result of a growing epidemic of celebrity DUI arrests. "30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan pled guilty to DUI. Rappers Eve and Busta Rhymes have been charged with DUI, pled not guilty and are awaiting trial.

Just days after Paris Hilton was sentenced to jail violating probation on her alcohol-related defense, reality TV host Ty Pennington pleaded no contest to driving with too much alcohol in his system.

(on camera): Are you surprised that you're seeing so many celebrities being pulled over for DUI?

DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: No, I'm really not. I treat a lot of celebrities. I'm friends with people in that industry. And substance problems are exceedingly common.

VARGAS: Addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky says not are only are famous people prone to alcoholism, in a recent study of 200 celebrities, he also found what he calls off-the-chart levels of narcissism that he says could lead them to feel they're above the law.

PINSKY: They feel a deep sense of emptiness, our studies showed, very often. And when they get pumped up, what comes with that is a sense of entitlement, a sense of being bigger than life and special. And if you're special, maybe the laws don't apply to you because you're so special.

VARGAS (voice-over): Back in December, Nicole Richie was arrested after 911 callers say they saw her driving the wrong direction on a freeway. She's awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to charges of driving under the influence.

PINSKY: Unfortunately, what it's going to take is some obituary reports. It is not until something horrible happens that people are willing to change.

VARGAS: In the case of "Prison Break" star Lane Garrison, something horrible did happen. A 17-year-old boy died and now garrison is facing six-and-a-half years in jail. He pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence.

PINSKY: The press tends to spin these stories about celebrities as though it's something we should sort of chuckle at, when the fact is these are serious medical and psychiatric problems.

My hope is that something like a legal action, a jail time will get someone's attention and get them to meaningfully participate in treatment.

VARGAS: While the fate of Hollywood's newest DUI suspect hangs in the balance, one-time pal Paris has just one week left before she must begin serving 23 days behind bars, punishment the LAPD hopes will send a strong message.

SGT. LEE SANDS, LAPD: On the average every 22 minutes a person dies -- an American dies as a result of being involved in a DUI- related traffic accident. People that may emulate these celebrities, some of the younger people, when they see, hey, this person got arrested for drunk driving and it has brought this much attention to them and has affected their career somehow, maybe I won't do that.

VARGAS: Sibila Vargas, CNN, Hollywood.


CHETRY: Well, now we turn our attention from those people to some really amazing people, people we call "CNN Heroes." You're going to meet a San Francisco couple who will show you how just $25 can help a small business in a developing country.

Matt and Jessica Flannery are tonight's "CNN Heroes."


JESSICA FLANNERY, "COMMUNITY CRUSADERS": My name is Jessica Flannery and I'm co-founder of

MATT FLANNERY, "COMMUNITY CRUSADERS": I'm Matt Flannery, co- founder and CEO of

J. FLANNERY: We connect people through lending for poverty alleviation.

M. FLANNERY: By facilitating loans from people in the developed work to those in the developing world.

J. FLANNERY: On our site, anybody in the world can browse profiles of entrepreneurs and then lend directly to those entrepreneurs.

M. FLANNERY: And get paid back over time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mother started getting sick in 1989. We had to pay the rent, we had to eat. With my heart only, I could not make it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a savings account. It was sitting there, it wasn't doing anything. And then I saw this opportunity where I could do something useful with it. Positive for other people. The cool thing about Kiva is that it's not a donation, the money is actually yours. When the borrowers finish with their loan, you get it back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I took that loan, I extended my business. We eat from here and we are able to pay the rent. The way I was before is not the way I am today.

M. FLANNERY: I wasn't necessarily surprised intellectually by how $25 can really transport someone's life in East Africa, but I was surprised in my heart.

People, by nature, are not selfish and if you just give them an outlet for expressing their generosity, they will be generous. J. FLANNERY: Someone out there is overwhelmed, thinking what can I do? I'm just one person. That's all you need to be. That's enough to get started.


CHETRY: And to learn more about Kiva or to nominate someone that you think could be a "CNN Hero," go to

Well, the next time you're filling up your car and emptying out your wallet to do it, you may think about the guy we're about to meet. He's definitely one of the people you should know.


CHETRY: While you're paying more than $3 a gallon for gas, imagine how much less painful it would be if your car got 100 miles to the gallon. That's the dream of the man you're about to meet. Miles O'Brien has tonight's "People You Should Know."


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has already inspired incredible innovation with the first private manned flight into space. Now Dr. Peter Diamandis is using his multimillion dollar X-Prize to tackle America's crisis of fuel inefficiency and dependence on oil.

DR. PETER DIAMANDIS, FOUNDER, X-PRIZE FOUNDATION: The Ford Model T got 25 miles per gallon and the cars today are getting 18 miles per gallon. And that's just wrong. It is possible to come up with a new generation of cars that are sexy, affordable and get over 100 miles per gallon equivalent.

O'BRIEN: You heard right, 100 miles per gallon. Diamandis is challenging teams from across the globe to come up with a super- efficient vehicle that can also be mass produced.

DIAMANDIS: It may be powered by electricity, by natural gas, by methane, by hydrogen, we don't know. And we don't want to pre-guess what the technology that will be able to make the car of the future happen.

O'BRIEN: Once the automotive X-Prize is officially launched later this year, teams will have roughly a year-and-a-half to build their fuel efficient vehicles before the first qualifying race in 2009.

Diamandis says he hopes the prize will inspire change in a world that desperately needs it.

DIAMANDIS: We are living in such a risk-averse society that it's killing us. There is no problem that intelligent human mind cannot overcome, none whatsoever.


CHETRY: Pretty cool. And Donald Trump certainly got a lot of mileage out of his feud with Rosie O'Donnell. The Donald himself is tonight's guest on "LARRY KING LIVE." What he'll have to say about Rosie this time, don't go away.


CHETRY: And that's all for tonight. Join me tomorrow for CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING." It's bright and early, 6:00 a.m. Eastern time.

An experiment that will literally blow you away in a first of its kind simulation, we're going to what happens when a college engineering team basically duplicates hurricane force wind conditions hitting a home. The point is to learn how to build stronger homes, homes that can withstand hurricanes, that as we get closer and closer to hurricane season. That's 6:00 Eastern.

And Paula is back tomorrow. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.


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