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Mideast on Verge of Catastrophe?; Potential Terrorists Growing Up on American Soil?; Search Continues For Missing Woman in Florida

Aired June 14, 2007 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us tonight.
An explosion of violence all across one of the most dangerous parts of the world -- are we on the verge of a Mideast catastrophe?

Talk about a mother's courage. This mom has four sons in the Army. And, pretty soon, they will all be in Iraq. How could that be allowed?

Plus, a missing woman, a desperate search, and a very disturbing question: Would the media pay more attention if she were white?

Tonight, the Middle East is in flames. Everywhere we look, there is deeply disturbing news, on Israel's border, civil war. Gunmen from the Hamas faction of the Palestinians shot their way into control of Gaza, declaring Islamic rule and blowing up government buildings.

The president of the Palestinian Authority counters by declaring a state of emergency. He's backed by the U.S. Hamas is supported by Iran and committed to the destruction of Israel.

In Lebanon, meanwhile, a day of grief and fury, as the victims of a political assassination are laid to rest -- many Lebanese blame Syria for the killings and aren't buying the Syrian denials.

And, as always, there is bloody Iraq. In reprisals for yesterday's bombing of a Shiite shrine, at least nine Sunni mosques were attacked today. The whole country is locked down tonight, bracing for even more violence.

Let's turn to Hala Gorani, who joins us tonight from Baghdad.

So, what is the government of Iraq doing tonight, along with U.S. forces, to try to stop this violence, Hala?

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You mentioned the current and complete lockdown; 36 hours ago, a curfew was imposed on Baghdad and other major urban centers. It's a vehicular and a pedestrian curfew as well.

Also, that bombing of the Samarra mosque, the one that sparked 16 months of bloody sectarian carnage in this country, well, security forces are heading there, trying to prevent reprisal attacks as well. But, no matter what you do in a country like Iraq, Paula, violence continues. Today, several rockets hit inside the Green Zone, the international zone, one of the best-guarded places in Baghdad. But, despite the curfew, these are things that still continue to happen -- Paula.

ZAHN: So, what else can the government of Mr. al-Maliki do about this, if the curfew doesn't hold and doesn't help?

GORANI: Well -- well, that is a good question.

The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a weak, it's a fractious government. What they're trying to do right now is keep the curfew in place. It's open-ended.

But, when you really look at it, there is not much they can do. The curfew eventually is going to have to be lifted. And that is the big question. Once the curfew is lifted, and once people are free to move about, and cars are free to drive around major cities, especially Baghdad, where there are mixed neighborhoods, the fear, of course, is that these reprisal attacks -- and we have seen some throughout the capital -- but the fact that the curfew is still in place means it's impossible at this point to count the number of attacks, and really count the number of bodies that are found bullet-riddled across the capital on a daily basis.

ZAHN: And, Hala, I understand there is a great concern, with Friday prayers about -- ready to get under way, that there is an increased fear of even more of these reprisal attacks. What exactly is expected?

GORANI: Well, that is the case indeed, Paula, when you have mass gatherings of human beings going to Friday prayers, despite the fact that there is a curfew, you really can't control. People go to pray, and pray on Fridays in this country, as well as through the Muslim world. So, everybody's going to be on guard.

Essentially, it's fair to say the country is holding its breath. Everyone remembers what happened after the first Samarra attack. This time, the two golden minarets of the al-Askariya mosque have gone down. What is left of that mosque is literally, the top part, at least, a pile of rubble.

So, in the next 24 hours, we are going to be able to assess just what the impact of this latest bombing is going to be for the country and also for all these strategies that the U.S. is putting in place. We're talking about the surge. We're talking about a Baghdad security plan. This can supersede all of that, because it is such a symbolic target.

ZAHN: Hala Gorani, thanks so much for the update. Appreciate it.

Now, many people who watch our coverage of the war do it with a very personal connection. They have children over there. It's got to be really difficult, especially for parents with more than one son or daughter in combat. So, get ready now for the extraordinary story of one mom from Missouri. She's about to see a big group from her big family go to war.

Keith Oppenheim has their story tonight.



TOM HANKS, ACTOR: We're here looking for a Private James Ryan. He's part of your outfit. Any chance at all you policed him up?


KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The movie "Saving Private Ryan" is the fictitious story of a World War II Army unit that spends weeks tracking down one soldier, all because his mother had already lost three sons to the war.

This is the real-life story of Joyce Stahlschmidt. In a sense, she's the commander of her own military unit, the mother of 11 children. Four of them are in the Army. And, in just months, they will all be going to war.

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT, MOTHER OF FOUR U.S. SOLDIERS: Reality smacks you straight in the face, and it's like, I know this is coming. I knew it was coming, but here it is. This is the day.

OPPENHEIM: Her oldest, 27-year-old Joshua, is preparing to leave Fort Dix, New Jersey, and go to Iraq in July.

SPC. JOSHUA STAHLSCHMIDT, U.S. ARMY: This is what I want to do. That is why I'm going to go for it.

OPPENHEIM: Peter, Joyce's second, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was shipping out.

SGT. PETER STAHLSCHMIDT, U.S. ARMY: It was just something we all chose to do, individually.

OPPENHEIM: Not to be outdone, 22-year-old Samuel...


OPPENHEIM: ... doing drills in the California desert, set to head to Iraq for his second deployment.

SPC. SAMUEL STAHLSCHMIDT, U.S. ARMY: I kind of have an idea that anything my brothers can do, I can do better.

OPPENHEIM: And Daniel, age 20, is already there, at Camp Ramadi.

SPC. DANIEL STAHLSCHMIDT, U.S. ARMY: I have always wanted to do it since I was 9 to join in the Army. So, it was a dream come true for me. OPPENHEIM: Because of the military life, it's been three years since all four boys have been together, but, ironically, by year's end, the Stahlschmidt brothers very well could meet, because, by then, they will all be serving in Iraq.

(on camera): People probably think the chances of one of your sons either getting seriously hurt or losing his life is high.

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT: Exactly. I see it everywhere I go. It's like, the odds are, you're going to deal with tragedy, absolutely.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Joyce is a proud mom who tries hard to contain her apprehension. She says her faith gives her faith her sons will pull through.

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT: I believe in God. I believe it's more than just a stray bullet or what might happen. So, I refuse to even give place to the idea of odds.

OPPENHEIM: It turns out the military doesn't calculate odds much either. Consider that, during World War II, the five Sullivan brothers from Iowa all died when their ship was torpedoed and sank.

(on camera): After the Sullivan brothers were killed, there were several bills introduced in Congress related to family members serving together. None became law, in part, military officials told us, because it's tough to track who's related to whom in the armed forces. Bottom line, legally, there's nothing stopping the modern-day Stahlschmidt brothers from going to war together.

(voice-over): The two oldest Stahlschmidt sons say they chose the Army on their own; then the younger ones followed. The boys downplay the danger for mom.

P. STAHLSCHMIDT: She knows that it's not about, you know, going there and something bad is going to happen automatic.

OPPENHEIM: But they know how tough it must be for her.

D. STAHLSCHMIDT: My mom is just pretty much freaking out right now. Now that all four of us are going to be gone, she's trying to help, but she can't. She's losing control, really, much.

OPPENHEIM (on camera): Are you balanced throughout all this, or is it, some days, just really hard?

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT: I would like to say, yes, I'm balance. But I have got to tell you, a week ago, I was wondering if I was sane.


OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Her laughter perhaps covers a deep fear, that, one day, she will get bad news.

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT: There was a time or two that somebody came knocking on the door, and my -- my heart flipped, because the thought that it might have been -- might be somebody from the...

OPPENHEIM (on camera): From the service.

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT: From the service.

OPPENHEIM: But it wasn't?

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT: But it wasn't, no.

OPPENHEIM: But that's the kind of tension that's in the background?


OPPENHEIM (voice-over): To keep Joyce steady and to keep track of the Stahlschmidt brigade, her sister Donna (ph) coordinates family communication with the boys through the Internet and lots of text- messaging.

The Stahlschmidts are not really a traditional military family. The parents did not serve. But their joke is, being in a family with 11 kids is the best preparation.

S. STAHLSCHMIDT: Yes, it's kind of like an army. Everybody waits in line for meals.

OPPENHEIM: Joyce doesn't tend to take sides about this war. For her, it's not about politics. It's personal.

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT: It's my choice that they all feel fulfilled and doing what they believe that they should be doing. So...

OPPENHEIM (on camera): This is what a parent goes through?

JOYCE STAHLSCHMIDT: It's what a parent does. A mom, you let your kids go. When they become adults, you let them go. And that's love.

OPPENHEIM: But, as she lets them go, this mother of 11 says she will pray that her four sons return home from Iraq safely.

Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Saint Louis.


ZAHN: What a family.

One more thing: It will be at least two more years before the whole family can get back together again. But two commanding officers have said they will try to arrange a meeting of all four brothers in a safe place in Iraq.

Another story we're following tonight concerns a hospital where some people say the care can be downright dangerous, in some cases, even deadly. In just a minute, we are going to hear from somebody else who went to that same hospital. Just wait until you find out what happened to him.

And, then, a little bit later on, a Miami holiday turns into a troubling mystery. Why has this young woman vanished, and why aren't more people paying attention?

Plus, a court case exposes a very scary threat. Are would-be terrorists growing up all around us right here in our own country?


ZAHN: As if high school isn't tough enough for some kids, imagine being named Osama. Meet a boy with that name and find out what he has to put up with every single day of the week.

Out in the open now, we're learning of more shocking failures at a troubled hospital in Los Angeles. We told you last night about an outrageous case of a woman who was basically ignored until after she died. She was vomiting blood in the emergency room and getting no help at all.

The people with her even called 911, hoping to get her to another hospital.

Tonight, Ted Rowlands talks to another patient from that same hospital who may have been lucky to get out alive.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The emergency room. My wife is dying. And the nurses don't want to help her out.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Edith Rodriguez was dying on the emergency room floor of Martin Luther King Jr. Harbor Hospital, 911 dispatchers received two separate calls. Both callers seemed to see what hospital staff members apparently didn't, that this woman needed immediate attention.


911 DISPATCHER: OK, what do you mean she's dying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's vomiting blood.

911 DISPATCHER: OK, what do you mean she's dying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's vomiting blood.


ROWLANDS: What happened to Edith Rodriguez is an extreme example of more than a decade of troubling incidents at a hospital that serves some of L.A.'s poorest residents, many of whom are uninsured. Just four months ago, Juan Ponce was diagnosed with a brain tumor by the King emergency room staff. But, then, apparently, they completely forgot about him. Instead of transferring Ponce to another hospital for immediate surgery, he says he was left to sit for four days in the King emergency room.

JUAN PONCE, SAYS HE WAS IGNORED IN E.R. FOR FOUR DAYS: They don't give me food, nothing, for three or four days, never asked me for medicine for the pain, nothing, nothing.

ROWLANDS: Ponce says, eventually, his condition became so bad, he couldn't see or speak. Finally, a family member got the staff to move him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have seen a lot of people that wait 14 or 15 hours.

ROWLANDS: This man, who doesn't want to be identified, works in the hospital emergency room. He says he wasn't there when Edith Rodriguez died, but says he can see how it could happen.

(on camera): Working there, how could -- how could that have happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Incompetency is the number-one issue. Not all day is this way. Not every day is this way. But, most of the time, there are problems to treat the patients, I would say, and to take care of them, yes.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): In response to both cases, the director of L.A. County's health services said in a letter this week that, because of what happened to Juan Ponce, the hospital's chief medical exercise was put on paid leave.

As for the Rodriguez case, the letter says the triage nurse in charge that night has resigned, and "All employees working in the triage area that night have been counseled and written findings placed in their personnel files."

ZEV YAROSLAVSKY, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERVISOR: I think everybody has some answering to do for what happened at this hospital that night, the chief nurse, the physicians assistants, who may or may not have known what was going on, other personnel, the people who were sitting in the waiting room who didn't lift a finger to help her, and watched the whole thing happen for 45 minutes.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.


ZAHN: And there's another thing to add tonight: The chief medical officer at King Harbor says, despite the two recent cases under investigation, he says he believes the hospital, as you just heard, is getting much better. And he really does believe it might be able to stay open.

As we speak, a young woman is missing. An urgent search is under way. And we're about to take you along.


LT. CLIFF NELSON, MIAMI-DADE POLICE DEPARTMENT: There are pockets of wild areas. And those are areas that, if someone were to get into the middle of, no one might find anything in there for -- for months.


ZAHN: Coming up next, a baffling mystery that raises more disturbing questions than you might think.

Plus, the terrorism plot against Fort Dix -- some of the suspects grew up here. What could turn people like them into potential homegrown terrorists?


ZAHN: Did your teachers ever make fun of your name? Well, this boy's teacher did. And it sparked some legal fireworks. Stay with us for Osama's story.

If you have ever thought about leaving your job behind and starting your own business, the man you're about to meet ought to be an inspiration.

Betty Nguyen has tonight's "Life After Work."


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the aptly named bakery born out of owner Warren Brown's fervor for cake.

WARREN BROWN, OWNER & FOUNDER, CAKELOVE: Making cakes from scratch was something that I started after I began practicing law.

NYUGEN: The health care litigator was disenchanted with his day job. So, he started thinking about his future.

BROWN: I don't want to have a midlife crisis that I can predict. I know that I don't want to continue practicing law for the rest of my life. And I know that I love food.

I didn't grow up, like, making cookies and cakes with my mom. So, baking, for me, was something that was very new. And I had a fear of flour. I put myself through the Warren Brown culinary school.


BROWN: I just marched through different recipes, experimenting and trying. The thing that made me say to myself, OK, you have got to get out of this law by day and baking by night was that I physically ran out of gas. I had to go to the emergency room. The doctor said, listen, you have got to slow down. NYUGEN: So, Brown turned his full attention to making a career out of cake. A year-and-a-half after Brown quit practicing law, his first CakeLove store opened. There are now three in the Washington area, but it's not the only outlet for his passion.

BROWN: I have got a show called "Sugar Rush" on Food Network. Here is a guy who is on a quest to learn more about baking. For me, it's a total dream. When I'm baking, I'm happy. And I didn't have that practicing law. And, with cake, I finally got to this place where I -- I have always wanted to be.

NYUGEN: Betty Nguyen, CNN.


ZAHN: I'm hungry.

We are going to switch gears now to an urgent search tonight. A young woman went to a Miami nightclub and simply vanished.

Stay with us. You're about to ride along on that desperate search.


ZAHN: And we're back.

Tonight, an urgent search continues in Florida for a young woman who has been missing since Memorial Day weekend. She had just graduated from college and was in Fort Lauderdale, visiting relatives, when she vanished.

You may wonder why you haven't heard her story, while stories of other missing young women get blanket news coverage. We will talk about that in a moment.

First, though, Susan Candiotti gives us an inside look at that search tonight.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a homemade shrine on a dining room table...

SYLVIA HENRY, MOTHER OF STEPHA HENRY: I look to the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help will come from the lord.

CANDIOTTI: Sylvia and Steve Henry are praying police will find their daughter alive. Twenty-two-year-old Stepha is still missing, after vanishing nearly three weeks ago.

STEVE HENRY, FATHER OF STEPHA HENRY: I think she's being held against her will. That's what I think it is.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Why do you think that, Mr. Henry?

STEVE HENRY: Because Stepha would never go off on her own like that, never.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): The honors grad from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, who worked as an alum in the president's office, was in Florida with her teenage sister for Memorial Day weekend.

(on camera): Police say Henry left her aunt's apartment very late at night, told her she was going to a nightclub. Her aunt saw her niece get into a car with a family acquaintance. And that's the last time she saw her.

(voice-over): Stepha Henry did go to a nightclub's private party. Luckily, the owners were shooting a promotional video. And here's Henry in a freeze-frame released by police. But what about the friend who took her there?

COMMANDER LINDA O'BRIEN, MIAMI-DADE POLICE DEPARTMENT: He said that he -- he left the club early, that, when he left the club, she was still there and with some other people that -- that he did not know.

CANDIOTTI: Police say he also told them he drove Henry to the club that night in a borrowed late-model Acura Integra. And police can't find it either. Investigators will not release her friend's name and say he is not a suspect.

Police are flying over more than 2,000 canals and wetlands, where vehicles are often dumped, looking for the mystery car. We flew with them. And they spotted something from the air. See that white beneath the water? But it turned out to be the wrong car.

LT. CLIFF NELSON, MIAMI-DADE POLICE DEPARTMENT: There are pockets of wild areas. And those are areas that, if someone were to get into the middle of, no one might find anything in there for -- for months.

CANDIOTTI: Not what Henry's frantic parents want to hear. They have been calling their daughter's cell phone. All they hear is this.

COMPUTER VOICE: Sorry. That voice mailbox is full. Please call again later.

CANDIOTTI: Police suspect Henry last used her phone to check her voicemail around the time the club closed.

STEVE HENRY: Stepha, we love you, and everyone else loves you. And they would love to see you home.

CANDIOTTI: Henry was planning on law school next year, and loves legal mysteries.

SYLVIA HENRY: He will protect you as you come and go, now and forever. Amen.

CANDIOTTI: Now her parents pray she's not part of a real-life crime drama. Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.


ZAHN: We did a Google News search, and turned up only 48 stories about Stepha Henry. Compare that to the 4,000 we found on Kelsey Smith. The 18-year-old white woman from Kansas was kidnapped from a Target parking lot and killed two weeks ago, wall-to-wall coverage for the white woman, barely a word about the African-American.

Why the huge difference in news coverage?

Let's bring that out in the open with tonight's panel, political strategist Cheri Jacobus, Mark Smith, constitutional attorney and commentator, and BET correspondent and producer Jeff Johnson, who is also a political strategist.

Welcome, all.



ZAHN: So, Jeff, I want us to look at these numbers together again, 100 times as many stories on Kelsey Smith than Stepha Henry. Is that because Stepha is black?

JEFF JOHNSON, HOST, "JEFF JOHNSON CHRONICLES": Well, it would be nice to say that it doesn't matter. But I think that there is an underlying issue here, which seems to, be what is the value we're placing on women of color?

So, I would say, yes. I would say that we just don't see those stories. And the only explanation, in my mind, is that there's less of a value placed on those women of color than these beautiful -- quote, unquote -- "young white women."

SMITH: You know...

ZAHN: Mark, I see you shaking your head...

SMITH: No. No.

ZAHN: ... and pretty angry when you heard what Jeff just had to say.

SMITH: Well, it's not a -- I don't think it's a question of being angry. I think it's just looking at the facts.

You have to keep in mind, look at the Duke rape case, where you had a black crime victim, or at least an allegedly black crime victim, and that got a year's worth of play.

What makes crime stories, stories and sensationalized is, there has to be a wrinkle, and whether it's -- and -- and the old saying in tabloid news business is, the best stories are murders at sort of fancy addresses.

And whether it's Brentwood, California, which is the O.J. Simpson case...

ZAHN: Sure.

SMITH: ... or, you know, in Rhode Island, with the, you know, Claus-von-Bulow-killing-his-wife story, the point is, it is something -- has to be something unusual about it.

And, in this instance, this case we're talking about, it's not that unusual, unfortunately, for college-age kids to have problems in Florida, after, you know, being out until 2:00 in the morning at a nightclub, in contrast to the Kansas case with Kelsey Smith, where you're looking at a teenager abducted in a Target parking lot in the middle of the day.

It's a little bit different. And that is, I think, why you see more media play. It doesn't really have to do with race.

ZAHN: Well, do you agree with that, Cheri, or do you think this has everything to do with race?

JACOBUS: I -- well, I think that there might be bias in some newsrooms. I believe there's bias politically in newsrooms, you know, favored toward the left. So, I think that there could be some racial bias, but I think they go to great lengths to hide it.

I think that this really is kind of a numbers game. There probably are more missing white women in this country than black women. But it is. It's the whole sensational value of a story.


JACOBUS: A 22-year-old woman missing when she's out socializing, that takes a few days to sink in.

When you have got the big dramatic effect that's almost like a soap opera when someone is kidnapped, when -- when there's, again, the big sensationalized aspect of it, people tune in.

I mean, we look at people. We start -- some people even started liking Scott Peterson, who murdered Laci Peterson, and where he had women proposing to him in jail. It's the same reason we love Tony Soprano. It really is about ratings.

I think that it is about the media outlets that put this stuff on the air, and play it over and over and over again. I don't think it's about news. I think it's about ratings.

ZAHN: And Jeff in terms of the Kelsey Smith case we saw the video Cheri was talking, showing her walking into the Target store and of course there's the famous shot of her walking out and a potential suspect walking out right after her. Doesn't that also make a difference? JOHNSON: Well, I don't, I think of course in this case there is some sensationalism, but we're not talking about just these two cases. We're talk about over and over again, black women being missing at the same time as young white women and they're not just being a small difference there being a drastic difference in the amount of coverage, and so while I agree with my panelists that there is an aspect of sensationalism, I also think we can't ignore the fact that time and time again there is not equal coverage of cases that, in many cases, are similar than the two we're talking about right now.

ZAHN: And the other thing we can't ignore are these numbers here, Mark. Look at these numbers about the number of minorities that work in a newsroom, 13 percent of newspaper staff, 22 percent of the TV staff.

Wouldn't that be one explanation? I know you don't buy into it, but why some people say whites are giving whites preferential treatments just in story selection.

SMITH: No, I think if there's any kind of discrimination on the basis of color, it's the discrimination in favor of the color of green, which is advertising dollars based upon higher ratings, and like I said, go back to the Duke rape case where you had an alleged black crime victim, got a year's worth of play because it was an unusual story and that's what makes it. And we also can't lose sight of the fact that the news cycle was always changing. The Don Imus was a huge story until we had the Virginia tech shootings and then Don Imus is knocked totally out of the news cycle and the news cycle always changes.


JACOBUS: It's new details that come out that make it more dramatic. If there's new information that's dramatic that comes out day after day, you know, people latch onto it. Unfortunately I think we'll very soon have a day when we will have wall-to-wall coverage of a young black woman missing because there are sensationalized aspects to it and it'll be a sad day.

JOHNSON: It still comes down to the fact that in those news...

ZAHN: Jeff Johnson Mark Smith, got to move on. Thank you all.

Just weeks ago the feds broke up an alleged terror plot targeting New Jersey's Fort Dix. What really shocked people is that some of the suspects came here as children


REP JANE HARMAN (D), HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE: What turns that person into someone who will be violent? That's something we need to understand better.


ZAHN: So how do we stop homegrown terrorists? Coming up next, a powerful congresswoman determined to get some answers.

And you'll be glad you don't have this boy's problem. How does he survive with the name like Osama here in the United States?


ZAHN: Tonight, the men accused of plotting a horrific terror attack on New Jersey's Fort Dix Army Base are one step closer to justice.

Prosecutors say the so-called "Fort Dix Six" were trying to buy mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, hoping to attack the base and cause a bloodbath. All six pleaded not guilty today. A judge set their trial for August.

These guys are immigrants from Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Jordan and authorities say some are here illegally, but others grew up in this country. Some people point to this case as an example of what's called homegrown terrorism -- bad guys hating, lurking and plotting against us.

How do we find them and stop them before they kill? Today California Congresswoman Jane Harman chaired a hearing about setting up a national commission to deal with these questions and more. She heads up a Homeland Security subcommittee on terrorism risk assessment.

Always good to have you on the show. Welcome.

HARMAN: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: I found a lot of the testimony today absolutely chilling. How concerned are you about the threat of homegrown terrorism?

HARMAN: I'm very concerned about it, and -- but there's time to do something about it. Let's understand that, in our sister country, Britain, the head of MI-5, their FBI equivalent, last year, estimated that there were over 200 homegrown terror cells in Britain alone and Britain's very a small island compared to us. It's true that many of their citizens are of Pakistani descent and they go to Pakistan for a month each year and so the circumstances are different. But we have to imagine in America that there are many, I don't know how many homegrown terrorist cells.

ZAHN: What scenario keeps you awake night? You, more than anybody else, has to sift through a lot of intelligence information. You've heard it all.

HARMAN: Well, there are a lot of kids who talk a big game, but who can't execute it. On the other hand, there are the people you just described, the "Fort Dix Six," are those who have recently been arrested threatening to bomb JFK or those from Torrance, California, several of whom are in state prison, and radicalized there, who wanted to blow up military recruiting sites and synagogues.

ZAHN: What is it, though, that this commission can accomplish that's not being done by Homeland Security, that's not being done by our very talented counterterrorism experts?

HARMAN: They're all talented. They're all working hard at the problem, but I don't think any of us certainly, including me, understands this problem well enough. What is it that turns somebody, who may be radical in his thought, which we permit under our first amendment, and we should celebrate, as part of our democracy, what turns that person into someone who will be violent?

ZAHN: Do you think too much attention is focused today on the threat abroad and not here at home?

HARMAN: Yes, I do. I think all this talk about stopping them at our borders or fighting them over there, so they won't attack us here is quite short-sighted.

ZAHN: Representative Jane Harman, thank you so much for your insight.

HARMAN: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.

I want to spend a little more time exploring whether we're doing enough to find the bad guys secretly living among us. P.J. Crowley is a senior fellow and director of Homeland Security for the Center for American Progress. Welcome back.


ZAHN: Hi. You heard what Representative Harman had to say. She thinks this national commission is the most effective way to understand the scope of the homegrown terrorism problem and to try to understand the roots of it. Why not? What's it going to hurt?

CROWLEY: Well, I think -- well, put it this way, I think that her diagnosis of the challenge is exactly right. You know, the idea that we are fighting terrorists over there, in places like Iraq, so we do not have to confront them here is obviously undercut by situations like the Fort Dix case, like the recent JFK plot that was also uncovered.

I'm not sure I agree with the prescription, which is a national commission, because you can't really separate the phenomenon that radicalizes and inspires and radicalizes people within the United States from what's happening in Britain, what's happening in the maghreb in North Africa, what's happening in other parts of the world.

What we really need is a fundamentally different national security strategy and a fundamentally different approach to terrorism in general, al Qaeda in particular, and it's increasing popularity around the world.

ZAHN: Meanwhile, do you think the threat of homegrown terrorism is being blown out of proportion by politicians?

CROWLEY: I don't think so. I mean obviously we have these two specific cases so you can't dismiss it. I think we do have some benefits, say currently if you look at homegrown terrorism as Congresswoman Harman said, it's right now centered perhaps in a place like Britain and we have to recognize that we have strengths, here in the United States, because we have been able to, more effectively, assimilate foreign-born populations and first generation populations better than our counterparts in Europe.

That's a strength of ours. We have to make sure that we continue that strength, but there is this greater phenomena, the ideology behind al Qaeda is gaining in popularity around the world. It's a network of networks. You've got local groups that are petitioning to join al Qaeda as we saw recently in Algeria, so the idea that you could have al Qaeda inspire future attacks such as we've seen with the Fort Dix case, the threat is actually there. Today perhaps you say that the threat is centered primarily overseas, but we're certainly not immune to the same forces that are existing in other parts of the world such as Britain.

ZAHN: All right, P.J. Crowley, always appreciate your expertise. Thanks for dropping by.

CROWLEY: OK Paula, thank you.

ZAHN: The young man we're about to meet is not a terrorist, but has the same name as one and he says even his teachers make fun of him.


OSAMA AL-NAJJAR, STUDENT: And he goes, "where's Osama," and so I say, "right here." And he goes, "I thought you'd be in back of a cave somewhere."


ZAHN: So, how does he deal with being called Osama and what kind of legal action might be sparked by that?

Also, how do you get to be a hero just by getting on a bus? Wait until you see where he gets off.


ZAHN: I want to you think for a second what it would be like if your name was Osama. No joke here, because there's a teenager in New York City who shares a first name with the leader of al Qaeda and he says he has suffered relentless abuse at school because of that, but the abuse he says came from his teachers and it's gotten so bad, he's suing.

Allan Chernoff brings his story out in the open tonight.


ALLEN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Osama al Najjar, a 16-year-old high school student who has the misfortune of sharing a first name with the most hated man in America.

Because of it, he says, he has endured years of abuse at school, at one point getting so bad, he even tried to kill himself. Amazingly, he says, the abuse came not from his classmates, but from his teachers.

AL-NAJJAR: And he goes, "where's Osama," and so I say, "right here." And he goes, "I thought you'd be in back of a cave somewhere."

CHERNOFF: The abuse, Osama says, followed him from class to class at Stanton Island's Tottenville High. Math teachers in two separate grades, he says, called him "bin Laden." Two other teachers, he charges, said, "He's an Arab." "He's a terrorist."

AL-NAJJAR: I always got taught to give respect to my teachers, but teachers disrespecting me.

CHERNOFF: Young Osama became so depressed, his parents say, that he attempted suicide by taking an overdose of pills and trying to hang himself. Osama's parents Basam and Suad emigrated from Jordan in 1999, looking for freedom and safety. They complained to the school, but they say nothing was done.

SUAD ABUSASNA, OSAMA'S MOTHER: We spoke to the teacher in a conference, and some of them they said that, you know, it was a joke, but if you did not mean it once, you can't do it another time.

CHERNOFF (on camera): Osama's parents claim an assistant principal told them to transfer their son out of the public school to a private Islamic school. So the family is suing Tottenville high, its administrator administrators, New York's Department of Education and the city itself, charging they're victims of discrimination.

OMAR T. MOHAMMEDI, LAWYER FOR AL-NAJJAR FAMILY: That's an outrage. I mean, those teachers should have been suspended right away. Nothing happened.

CHERNOFF (voice-over): Tottenville High School referred CNN's inquiry to the New York City's Department of Education, which refused to comment.

An attorney for New York City handling the case also declined comment. But the education department's Bill of Students' Rights states: "Students have a right to be in a safe and supportive learning environment, free from harassment, discrimination, and bigotry." Eventually Osama did transfer to a different public school that provides help for traumatized children. The family also officially changed Osama's name to Sammy, though he says he intends to change it back.

AL-NAJJAR: I didn't want to change my name. My mom thought it was better. I felt like I was running away from the problem.

CHERNOFF: Basam and Suad say they're suing not to win money, rather, they say, they want to ensure that New York enforces its anti- discrimination policy so that no other children have to endure the abuse their son suffered.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


ZAHN: We move on now, LARRY KING LIVE is coming up in just a few minutes with a very special guest -- Larry.

LARRY KING, LARRY KING LIVE: Hey, Paula. Coming up, Angelina Jolie on fame and family and acting and activism and the true tragic story behind her new movie "A Mighty Heart," what she sees in her future and more. That's Angelina Jolie at the top of the hour on LARRY KING LIVE.

ZAHN: Larry, we'll be there. See you then. We're going to take a quick biz break, in the meantime.

Dow gained 71, the Nasdaq finished 17 higher. The S&P closed up seven points.

More trouble in the subprime mortgage market. The Mortgage Bankers Association says late payments and foreclosures on subprime loans hit an all-time high in the first quarter of the year.

Wholesale prices jumped in May for the fourth straight month. The Labor Department says its producer price index rose 9/10th percent last month, driven by higher food and energy costs.

Kodak says it's come up with a way to make digital cameras two to four times more sensitive to light, and that means you may never need a flash again. Kodak's new light-sensing chips could show up in cell phone cameras and point and shoot sometime next year.

What will it do anything to the red eye problem? Well.

What does it take to be a hero? Sometimes it starts with something as simple as getting on a bus. This man's been riding to a very special place and saving lives for years. See how he does that, next.


ZAHN: This happens to be World Blood Donor day and we want to introduce to you someone who knows why this day is very important for millions of people fighting deadly diseases. He's been making blood donations and quietly saving lives for years. That's why Wilbur Armstrong is tonight's "CNN Hero."



WILBUR ARMSTRONG, BLOOD DONOR: My name is Wilbur Armstrong. I've been donating blood for 33 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wilbur is a very good donor. He never flinches and he never complains.

ARMSTRONG: So many people afraid of needles, but it doesn't hurt at all. Every other Thursday I go to donate blood. When I became legally blind I couldn't drive anymore.

Hi there.


ARMSTRONG: Thank you.

I can travel around the public by myself. I take three buses. Roughly an hour-and-a-half each way.

HARVEY SCHAFFLER, DIR MARKETING & DONOR RECRUITMENT: Wilbur's exceptional. Today makes his 216th platelets donations. Patients with cancer chemotherapy require platelet treatment. So, it's really urgent people donate.

ARMSTRONG: They told me I had a high platelet count and I was what they called a splitter. A splitter is a double donation. Whole blood takes about 10 minutes, to split the platelets will take you an hour-and-a-half, but you'd be helping out two people instead of one.

RICHARD PRENDERGAST, RECRUITER: Great, great, great, great, great. For all the platelets he's donated he's bound to run into people that have his platelets running through their blood and they're alive because of him.

ARMSTRONG: I don't know who these people are that I'm helping, but I'm helping somebody and if I'm helping to keep them alive, it makes me feel good. I lost three kids in my neighborhood to cancer. That shakes you up. These kids, they're just beginning to live and they were gone already, so I says if I can prevent somebody else from dying like that, let me do it.


ZAHN: What a generous man. You're going to find much more about Wilbur Armstrong at our website, That's where you can also tell us about someone you think deserves special recognition later this year.

Moments away from the top the hour and one of the most beautiful women in the world, Angelina Jolie, joins Larry King. She's got a new movie and lots to talk about.


ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of here, tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. LARRY KING LIVE is up next. His special guest, for the entire hour, Angelina Jolie. Again, thanks for joining us. Good night.


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