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Chilean Miners Close to Freedom?; Toxic Sludge Threatens Hungary; Social Media Scandal Goes Viral

Aired October 7, 2010 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The woman who says pirates shot her husband on a border lake returns to the scene, but is she telling the whole story?

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

(voice-over): A wave of poisonous mud threatening everything in its path. And now this sludge is hitting a river crucial to many European countries. So what's next?

Was Prince Harry kidnapped by the Taliban? No. This is only a movie, but wait until you see this.

Plus, a Duke graduate spilling the dirt about her sex life on campus. It includes ratings, names, pictures and all the scandalous details. Harmless or just plain wrong?


BALDWIN: Hi, everyone. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You ready to go? CNN NEWSROOM rolls on starting here: a commercial flight bound for Bermuda canceled, more than 100 passengers and crew members evacuated, and a man with no I.D., no badge, he's there helping load bags on to this plane.

And he started this whole thing in motion. Now, obviously, the police would like a little word with him, but he is nowhere to be found still. Now, this has all happened over the course of the last couple of hours. This is in Philadelphia.

And the official word is, this could be a serious incident, or it could be nothing. But you know as well as I do nothing involving airport security is taken lightly.

And in Philadelphia, we have CNN all platform journalist Sarah Hoye. She is joining me with the latest on -- Sarah, let's just first begin with these passengers.

I know they had to hop off that plane. I imagine they all had to be rescreened and their bags as well. Where do they stand right now?

SARAH HOYE, CNN ALL PLATFORM CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, you're absolutely right. They had rescreened all of the passengers. They have found nothing suspicious.

They are now rescreening the baggage to make sure that there is nothing else here in the way of anything suspicious.

BALDWIN: And that plane, Sarah, is that plane still there on the tarmac?

HOYE: Yes, the plane is still on the tarmac. It is behind me. And you can see where they are moving that luggage through an X-ray machine, just checking it out to make sure everything is fine.

BALDWIN: Everyone wants to be careful. Makes complete sense.

Do we have any idea. Maybe you're getting some information quicker than we are here. Any idea who this guy was, this guy who didn't have a badge? And let's -- take me back and explain to me how this whole thing unfolded.

HOYE: Well, it was approximately, you know, around 10:30, 11:00 this morning when there was some suspicious activity going on. It was two baggage clerks or baggage handlers had noticed a third gentleman who they didn't know and who did not have a badge.

Now, that individual is not known. His location is not known at this time. We don't know where he is. And I have not been able to get any update on his whereabouts or who that individual is.

BALDWIN: One more question for you, and then I'm going to move on to my guest and talk specifically airport security.

But, Sarah, you're there at the Philadelphia airport. Any idea how it works? Let's say, you know, you work at the airport and you want to access the tarmac. Are there differences in security clearance? Do you know at this point?

HOYE: I do not know if there's differences in security clearance regarding that specific question.

However, they do all have identification baggage -- badges, just like you I would going into the newsroom, where we have secure IDs around our necks that let us know where we work there, where we are, what our clearances are for. So, this individual did not have one of those.

BALDWIN: Didn't have the badge. Do me a favor. As soon as you get more information, and, obviously, as soon as they find this guy, we will get you back in front of the camera and we will let you break that news.

Meantime -- Sarah, thank you -- I want to talk now to Todd Curtis. He is in Seattle for us. And what he does is run this It's this Web site. It's a huge information security source for travelers.

And, Todd, wow. I mean, look, a lot of us travel. We hop on flights all the time. And we all know, since 9/11, you know, security has been beefed up. But here is -- here is my first question. And I have a lot of -- a lot of -- more questions, but first question, actually, I'm going to turn it over to the Twitter board guys, if we can grab that camera really quick. Hang out with me.

Here we go. I see the camera moving. All right, here is the question. "How is it that someone can even get near an airplane these days without any credentials?" -- Todd.

TODD CURTIS, FOUNDER, AIRSAFE.COM: Well, that's a good question.

In fact, after 9/11, the TSA took over security not just at the terminals, but of the tarmac areas. And there are large areas of the airport where it is required that you have a visible security badge of some sort at all times.


CURTIS: So, the people who -- go ahead.

BALDWIN: No. And -- and we obviously know that what happened was is, you had three guys working cargo, and this one didn't --


CURTIS: Right.

BALDWIN: -- have a badge.

Please continue.

CURTIS: They should have had badges, clearly.

BALDWIN: Clearly should have had badges.

And then my other question though, springboarding off of that, is, you know, there's a lot of different people working at the airport, Todd, everyone from folks handling your bags and my bags to the people at the airline desk, to the guys flipping burgers, you know, next to the gate.

Do these different people have different levels of security clearance, meaning, if there's a guy who is flipping burgers who has some nefarious intentions one day, he can't just use his badge and walk out near the plane, can he?

CURTIS: No, they can't.

In fact, there are very strict guidelines as to what kind of background checks anyone who is issued any kind of airport credentials has to have. For example, even the burger flipper, if they have access to just the terminal, they have to have some kind of background check, checking their names against no-fly lists, that sort of thing.

And anyone who has had access to the tarmac goes through a more extensive criminal background check. They're checking their fingerprints for arrest records and that sort of thing. And, of course, the security personnel, like TSA and airport police officers, go through their own security screening.

BALDWIN: How is -- I don't know how familiar you are -- with you -- you are with this particular airport in Philadelphia. But how are tarmacs secured? Are there fences? Are there armed guards, or no?

CURTIS: There are fences. Basically, every major airport in this country has fences around it, has access areas where you have to drive through or walk through and show some kind of credential.

However, it's not the same as what we as passengers face when we go to the terminal. You don't have, for example, a TSA person screening every ramp worker every time they go in and out of the airport. Nor do you necessarily have video surveillance of all the fence lines.

So, although there's layers of security, no one layer is perfect, and even the combination of layers can be defeated.

BALDWIN: You know what? That's an excellent point, because you and I, we go to the airport, I got to take my shoes off, got to put my laptop, my belt, the whole deal, go through the metal detector.

Sometimes, they will screen you even further. So, what you're saying is, if you work in the airport -- am I hearing you right? If you work in the airport, you may not have to go through the same levels of security?

CURTIS: That's correct, although the TSA does have programs in place where, on occasion, they may randomly institute the same kind of security for ramp workers as they would for passengers.

But it's not an everyday thing.



BALDWIN: -- since it's not an everyday thing here, help me understand. Obviously, there are loopholes, this one particular loophole perhaps exposed today. And what can you tell me and the rest of the Americans watching right now to assure us, or perhaps not, that we're going to be safe and our bags are going to be safe the next time I hop on an airplane?

CURTIS: Well, the Department of Homeland Security, TSA and other security organizations have a realistic view of this.

They look at this as a risk-assessment sort of situation. There are many thousands of risks out there. And we can't protect against all of them. But they will prioritize and protect against those that are the most likely to happen.

For example, the TSA has looked at airport security and have IDed several kinds of things that could happen from someone with credentials coming inside the gate and having an evil intention, to someone crashing through the gate, to someone breaking the security perimeter, let's say driving through the fence. They have even looked at the issue of what if they have some sort of standoff weapon, like an anti-tank weapon, outside the perimeter?

So, these kinds of things have been looked at. And there are steps being taken, some public, some private. But it's -- it's a very big task, and they're doing what they can, but, certainly, it's not perfect.

BALDWIN: It shows we have come a long way, but we have got a little bit of a ways to go.

Todd Curtis, thank you for coming on.

Also, of course, our thanks to Sarah Hoye for the report from the Philadelphia Airport. We thank you both.

Coming up next: the latest on this catastrophic environmental disaster. Here it is in Hungary. Look at this stuff. This is toxic red sludge. It is still spreading. It is becoming a potential danger for hundreds of thousands of people who live along this major river.

Also today, another campus caught up in a social media scandal. Have you heard of this? This is Duke University I'm talking about, where a graduate revealed very explicit information about past lovers, things like names, pictures, things I can't even talk about on TV. The letter even ranks the students.

That is ahead.


BALDWIN: Not at all good news from the site of a major environmental accident in Europe.

One of the worst-case scenarios was realized today when scientists discovered traces of toxic waste from this massive industrial spill in the Danube River. That obviously is a problem here. You have heard of the Danube. This is this major, major river. And this stuff is spilling into it. This is extremely poisonous.

And the race is on to minimize the deadly effects downstream.

I want to show you now how -- one small town in Hungary, a town that was nearly covered by a flash flood of chemical sludge.

CNN's Nic Robertson is right in the middle of it.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is Devecser. This is one of the villages affected.

And you can see where the red tide, the sludge, got to right here. Above, it's green. Further downhill, you have got the red sludge. And if you look over here right behind me, you can see these cleaning trucks going through the village, cleaning off the road, trying to keep the roads clean.

But that's only a very small part of the cleaning process. As you go come down the hill further into the area that the red sludge, this toxic sludge, hit, you can begin to see. You can see how the level rises against the side of the buildings over here.

Everywhere you look in the village, the cleanup is going on, people coming out, gathering whatever possessions they can get. This stuff here looks like flooring from inside the house right here.

Now, look at the line, the red tide on the house here way above me. This is how high the red toxic sludge came through here, people literally ripping up their flooring, taking it out, trying to salvage whatever they can.

Everything is being decontaminated here. The army has set up a decontamination zone. That's a police car right there. We're seeing dozens of them getting clean. This is right on the edge of the contamination area.

And this is what the military are doing. They're trying to keep their service personnel healthy and safe as they do their jobs, but also keep the vehicles clean, keeping down the amount of contaminant in the area, stopping it from spreading outside. That is one of the key parts of the containment here.

People doing anything they can to get back into their properties, wooden pallets laid down here. Somebody has brought a little dump truck here, got this, trying to clean out the -- clean out their yard.

You can see, when you look at the yard, this red, toxic sludge mixes in with the dirt underneath. It's very hard to separate the two. And if we move up here past this big here container, this has been brought in to get rid of some of all this contaminated material around the truck here.

When you come around here -- take a look at it -- you just get an idea of how devastated this village is.

Look at the -- look at the yards here. Look at that red sludge sitting in there, just completely contaminating the whole area. When you come up here a little more, these are the police lines. Right here, the police have set up lines so looters can't get in. They're patrolling them, armed policemen patrolling the village, keeping out anyone that wants to come in and steal things.

It's hard to imagine, though, how anyone would want to come into this village to take anything away. It's all so contaminated.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Devecser, Hungary.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is going to sound surreal and maybe too Hollywoodish, but I would like to invite them to dinner, turn on my tap, and hand them a glass of water from my tap.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And see if they would drink?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And see if they would -- if they would drink the water.


BALDWIN: So, this woman is claiming that ash and toxins from this lake have seeped into her drinking water, causing her family health problems.

And their story may have you taking a little bit closer look at the water sources in your area. That is here at home. That is ahead.

Also, it seems Carl Paladino has been on the national political scene for about a minute. That is plenty of time for him to become the target of this latest ad. You will definitely want to stick around to watch that.

Someone who has watched it, Jessica Yellin, she has the latest on that and all kinds of other good, juicy stuff from the campaign trail. There she is.

We will be right back.


BALDWIN: We have been showing you a couple different political ads the last couple of days and even weeks here. And we have another one for you. This is a political ad that really got our attention.

The spot concerns Carl Paladino. He's a Republican nominee for governor of New York. Let's watch this together. Keep in mind, this was produced by an abortion rights group.


NARRATOR: Carl Paladino has one word when it comes to a woman's right to choose: No.

CNN asked him, what if she's been raped? What if it was incest?

If Carl Paladino had his way, abortion would be a crime, and women would be treated like criminals.


BALDWIN: So, here is the thing.

That spot concerns one candidate -- you heard -- Carl Paladino, but it's emblematic of something we're seeing in some of these other races. We see Democrats reminding voters of their conservative social agenda.

Jessica Yellin is in Washington with us to talk us through.

And, you know, we hear a lot about the economy, and it looks as though the Democrats are saying --


BALDWIN: -- you know what, it's not just the economy.

Would that be an accurate thing to ask?

YELLIN: That's exactly right.

Brooke, what they're trying to say here is say, oh -- it's part of the Democrats' larger message, to brand Tea Party candidates in particular as what they say extremists, and to make the point that they don't -- have views that are outside the mainstream or extremely stark views, not just on things like taxes and Social Security, but also abortion rights, reproductive rights, and even gay marriage, gay rights.

There are Senate candidates in Colorado, Nevada, and Kentucky, among other states, who share this view that there should be no abortion, including in the cases of rape or incest. So, it's not a first line of attack by Democrats. But it's part of their larger effort to energize their base and remind voters that this isn't just about your anger over the economy. Other issues are at stake here as well.

BALDWIN: Sure, lots of -- lots of social issues.

And I think what's also interesting about this ad --


BALDWIN: -- you know, if you read a lot of the papers, the blogs right now, they're talking about who will be at the polls, who won't be at the polls. Right now, they're talking about how they're worried about Latino voters.

And, obviously, though, Jessica, this ad concerns women specifically. And here we are, 26 days, you know, before the midterm election. What about women turning out at the polls?

YELLIN: It's a --

BALDWIN: Is there a concern?

YELLIN: Yes. It's a great question.

So what Democrats are looking at right now is, where can they pick up voters who either right now are thinking about not voting or -- or staying -- or going the other way, voting -- voting Republican?

And they see certain groups of women voters, certain groups, especially suburban women voters, as a key demographic that Democrats need to target and try to pick up and turn these races around across the country.

So, focusing on reproductive rights is one way to help energize those voters and make them think, hey, if I wanted to stay home --


YELLIN: -- maybe this is a big reason to go out and vote.

BALDWIN: Also today, we know that -- in fact, I see him right here on a monitor down below -- Governor Martin O'Malley is speaking in Bowie, Maryland. And that's also where the president will be, part of this whole fund-raising effort.

And, of course, if he -- here we go -- if he makes any news, you know, we will let you know. We will bring that to you.

But, in the meantime, Jessica, I know you had a pretty interesting interview with a -- with a man who used to head Obama's campaign -- head of -- heading his campaign. What is his message here going into midterms?

YELLIN: Right.

David Plouffe, the guy who was the president's campaign manager in 2008, held a briefing with a group of reporters and talked about the midterm elections. And his message was trying reset expectations. And he says this is such a good year for Republicans that, if they don't win the House, the Senate and every single governor's race, that is, in his words, a -- quote -- "colossal failure for the Republicans."

And also going to what --


BALDWIN: If they don't win everything?

YELLIN: If they don't win everything.



YELLIN: So, you can see how they're trying to shift expectations.



YELLIN: You have got to have a perfect score.

And then he also made the case of what we were talking about, saying that, because the Republicans have nominated so many candidates who, in his view, are extreme, that is going to make the 2012 race, when the president is up, a very, very easy contrast for Democrats to draw with a president they think can appeal to moderates, vs. this party that they would argue is moving further to the right.

That's clear, you know, spin --



YELLIN: -- one side of the story.

BALDWIN: I was about to say, a little bit of spin here.

YELLIN: But it's always interesting to hear.

BALDWIN: You have A little bit of spin here, Jessica Yellin.

YELLIN: It's always interesting to hear how they spin because it gives you insight to what they plan to do.

BALDWIN: It does, indeed.

Jessica, great talking to you. Thank you. We will see you tomorrow.

YELLIN: Good to see you.

BALDWIN: You know, this rescue hole here, it could free 33 trapped miners. It is now only about 300 feet away from these men. This is obviously huge news. These guys have been down there for two months. How soon, though, can we start seeing them perhaps pulling out these miners?

And what about these families? They have been -- they have been waiting for weeks and weeks for good news. We're going to get an update. That is next.

Also, the royal family is fuming over this TV show. It's asking this question: What would happen if the Taliban kidnapped Prince Harry while he was on duty in Afghanistan? Huh. That's coming up.


BALDWIN: Topping the news this hour: Passengers from a flight to Bermuda are finished now being rescreened at the Philadelphia International Airport after the security breach.

They were evacuated this morning because a man loading their U.S. Airways flight did not have a security badge. The plane did test negative for explosives. The second check of passengers did not turn up anything suspicious. But the man, he's gone, disappeared. Federal agents, they are out there right now looking for him.

Also, a somber homecoming for a soldier who served a dozen tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The body of Sergeant 1st Class Lance Vogeler was returned to Georgia this morning. He was killed Friday in a firefight in Afghanistan. He was a member of the elite Army Rangers, to be buried Saturday near his home in Georgia.

Thirty-three men trapped more than 2,000 feet undergrowth in that mine in Chile, they are close to being rescued. Could it be? They have got to get in that thing. A drill less than 300 feet from those miners , according to the Chilean government, it is expected to break through by this Saturday. And there is hope the first of the miners could be pulled to the surface early next week. That's the timetable we have.

They have been stuck underground, can you imagine, for more than two months.

And Otto is upgraded now to a tropical storm, winds about 60 miles per hour right now. Otto is north of Puerto Rico. You can see the radar right here moving slowly northeast. It could be a hurricane by Saturday. But it's not expected to threaten land.

The forecast calls for Otto to just keep on moving -- keeping on moving, Otto -- out into the Atlantic.

Here is a story. I have lots and lots of tweets on this one. This is a scandal that started on Duke's campus. It's an apparent e- mail just -- just a few friends on the Internet. And you guessed it. It has gone viral. It is no wonder why. It is a detailed account of a grad's sex life. I'm talking names, pictures, rankings of these guys.

Harmless fun, or perhaps a frightening sign of the times? That is ahead.

And looking ahead to tonight, Bill Maher, never short of opinions, and tonight, he's talking politics on CNN's "JOHN KING, USA." That's tonight, 7:00.

And, then, at 9:00 Eastern on "LARRY KING LIVE," he will be talking to an alleged victim of Roman Polanski speaking out for the first time since the director's arrest last year. What is she saying about this case now?

And then, 10:00 Eastern on CNN, bullying in our schools, now online, why do kids do it, and what can be done to put an end to it? That is an "AC 360" special you can't miss.

We will be right back.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: For the second time in less than a month, we have this controversial invasion of privacy on a college campus, and it's gone viral. And in this particular case we're about to talk about recent Duke grad Karen Owen tells all in this mock thesis on sex, and she's even named it. Listen to this. It's called "A Selling in the Realm of Horizontal Academics." She even used PowerPoint. She claims she vetted 13 Duke athletes. She's made a list. In fact, here it is. We're blacking out part of the title and the names. You see the rankings, one through 13. And because she named names, she included pictures and described details in their physique, their physical performance.

She, as I said, created a PowerPoint presentation. And she emailed it to her friends, just a couple friends she was thinking she was going to share this to who then e-mailed it to their friends who then -- well, you know the story. It went viral.

So we're leaving out some of the names and pictures, and this is the tames of her insights. This is about one of her subjects. She writes, follow me, "This was quite honestly the most amazing sex I've ever had."

Now, remember, Owen included names and pictures of all 13 of her subjects and her mock thesis has been spreading online, parents, possible employers, possible mates, boyfriends.

Frederick Lane is the author of "American Privacy." Here he is. He lectures across the country on the growing issue of privacy for the Internet generation. Fred, here we go.

Look, a lot of people have kept diaries and I know this is, I guess, the day and age where we are done with the paper and we put things on the Internet. And when we hear that she just wanted to share it with a couple of friends, you can't just share something with a couple of friends on the Internet these days, can you?

FREDERICK LANE, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN PRIVACY": No, you certainly can't, Brooke. I think the thing that's really remarkable about this is for a Duke College grad to be that naive about the ability to contain something like this is pretty outrageous.

BALDWIN: Now, this is -- it's actually an incredibly serious story. And you think about these 13 young men, beyond this young woman who there are reports that she has apologized, she didn't mean to do any harm, this is what I've read that she's said, and we couldn't reach out to her. She's basically erased her existence on social media.

My question is about these guys. This is intimate information that, you know, their mothers, potential employers could see.

LANE: Absolutely. You know, I think that it was very thoughtless on her part, and I think that that underscores, as you say, the seriousness of all this.

You know, the real issue is that this information now is part of the global library, if you will, that is the Internet. And this demonstrates how incredibly difficult it is to get rid of things that people put online.

So, absolutely, this will be a part of their history for some time to come. Now, you know, as they go through life and they do other things, this will fade somewhat, but the Internet does not forget very easily.

Actually, it's kind of ironic that Ms. Owen has essentially taken herself out of the Internet world or at least tried to do so, because one of the net effects of that is to make this the only thing that people will really know about her when they do a Google search.

BALDWIN: Now, when you do a Google search, and we know Google is sometimes not very forgiving, I think about possible employers for these young men. What about any possible recourse for them?

LANE: Yes. That's a much gray area to be honest with you, because the question is going to be what the state law is with respect to invasion of privacy, what kind of damages they might have suffered, if any. Certainly there may be some emotional distress.

But there have been some really difficult Internet-based privacy cases that haven't gone very well or very successfully for the plaintiffs. So it's not clear that they would be able to successfully pursue that.

I think as much as anything else, the best thing that can come out of this is a solid teaching moment for parents and for kids about how things can go wrong online.

BALDWIN: But Fred, I also feel like there's a bigger discussion to be had in terms of this trend of invasion of privacy using the Internet. We all know the story of Tyler Clemente, the 18 year old Rutgers freshman whose privacy was allegedly violated, and he killed himself a few weeks ago. A lot of people were saying, look, that was a gay teen story.

But this is a straight male-female story. Obviously, invasion of privacy issues do not discriminate and this is unfortunately a trend we're seeing using a tool that we all have access to.

LANE: That is absolutely right, Brooke. And that is one of the reasons that I'm working on a book specifically to discuss these kinds of issues that will be out in the spring.

The key here is that we need to do a much more thorough job of educating kids from all ages on up through college about the risks of using some of these Internet tools. One of those things that I uncovered in my research is that the average age of cell phone use now is below 10. And given the fact that most of these phones come with cameras, we're putting very powerful tools in the hands of children, really, who don't have a frame of reference on how they should be used.

And there are, obviously, very serious consequences when people break these kinds of ethical and moral boundaries associated with privacy. And I don't think that we've done a good job, frankly, either as parents or as schools to get that message across.

BALDWIN: Very serious consequences, indeed, as we've seen in recent weeks. Frederick Lane, I thank you for our conversation. By the way, a whole lot of you are tweeting me, so I want to get to a couple of these different tweets. If I can turn this way and take a look at the Twitter board. One tweet coming from someone person saying, "Whatever hits the Internet cannot be for a few friends. WWW means "worldwide web," that's worldwide." Good point.

Got another tweet for you saying, "Not sure this is uncommon except for the fact that it was leaked. Have known people that made similar lists." One more. "Silly move, but it's a shame her friends did not protect her privacy and keep it to themselves." No, they didn't. They put that button called forward.

The widow who claims pirates killed her husband on a border lake returns to the site. And as harrowing as her account is we told you this whole week here, some wonder if she is telling the whole story. That is next.

And do you remember the name Amanda Knox? She is that American girl. Here she is. She was convicted in Italy of killing her roommate. Well, Hollywood, they were paying attention. That's in trending, ahead.


BALDWIN: Welcome back to "CNN NEWSROOM." No body, no sea dew, no evidence, nothing so far has turned up for a man believed shot and killed by pirates on a lake that straddles the Texas-Mexico border. Mexican troops are spending a second day now searching for David Hartley.

U.S. and Mexican authorities have shown up both in boats and helicopters, there they are on the lake, after a full court media pretty by Hartley's family. In fact, we have this statement from Mexico's foreign ministry.

Listen to this. "The government of Mexico condemns any act that endangers the lives of innocent citizens and reaffirms its commitment to investigating the facts of this incident," end quote.

Now, that statement was released after a Texas newspaper quoted some state and local Mexican officials as questioning Tiffany Hartley's story. She was out on that lake in one of those search boats yesterday. There she is in the middle of your screen there. Obviously, she wants to find her husband's body.

And she says the couple was approached by those three boats full of these armed pirate while riding sea-dos last week. They did go on to the Mexican side of the lake. That was last Thursday afternoon. She says they shot her husband in his head and she got out of there. She hopped on her sea-do and headed back to the U.S. side of the lake as they were shooting at her.

Mexican officials are not the only ones questioning her story. She addressed, though, all of this speculation at a news conference last night.


TIFFANY HARTLEY, DAVID HARTLEY'S WIFE: I think it would be difficult for anybody in my situation and I know, you know, there's been stories out there before and people question. But I know what I know, I know what I saw, and I can just tell you what I know.

It is hard to be judged. But, you know, if you were looking at the end of a barrel of a gun, I think maybe then you could -- you could judge.


BALDWIN: Mexican authorities pulled their searches off the lake around dusk last night. The sheriff of Zapata County, Texas, says they were too afraid they would be ambushed by drug cartels that control much of the area south of the border. David Hartley has been missing for a week.

And I see a tweet out of the corner of my eyes. This is from the governor of Texas. This is from Governor Rick Perry. He's tweeting "My thoughts and prayers are with the family of David Hartley. I remain in contact with the family, local law enforcement, and Mexican officials." We're staying on top of that story. As soon as anything changes, we will let you know.

Meantime, how far would Afghan President Hamid Karzai go to bring the war to an end? Should talks with the Taliban be on the table? We're going to drill down on that very question coming up next.

And you've got to see this. An alligator hunt ends with a record catch. Look at this thing. Wow, the beast checked in at more than 600 pounds. Where was it wrangled? We'll tell you, ahead.


BALDWIN: This is a huge story. A senior Pentagon official is confirming to CNN that the Afghan President Hamid Karzai is now in talks with the Taliban to end the war our U.S. troops are over there fighting. We, of course, reached out to the Afghan side here doing our due diligence.

What they're saying is Karzai isn't holding face-to-face talks, but is getting "signs and signals" from the Taliban. In fact, today he has appointed a peace council to explore an end to the fighting.

But let's backtrack here for a second. We all remember September 11th, 2001. We all know what happens that day. And less than a month later, our troops went into Afghanistan to kill or capture the terrorist groups that were behind 9/11.

Well, nine years later, there we are. That's right. Today is the ninth anniversary of the afghan invasion and we are still there. Fighting the same Islamic forces we initially overthrew.

So back to these talks here, is this the way out? That is really the one question we all want answered. And Kathleen Parker posed it last night in our new prime time show "PARKER/SPITZER."


KATHLEEN PARKER, HOST, "PARKER/SPITZER": This whole idea of bringing the Taliban into the government, is this just a way for us to get out? Is this the best exit strategy for us?

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": I don't think we should think of it that way. A couple of very good studies of civil wars -- most civil wars end through negotiations. It's very rare to have the north triumphing over the south quite as it did in the American Civil War.

ELIOT SPITZER, HOST, "PARKER/SPITZER": The timing of this seems to me to be such that we are negotiating from complete weakness. We have not shown any military success. We have announced a departure date. And the Taliban knows that politically, domestically, the American public has lost all confidence in this war. So we are not negotiating in a position where we can bring anything to the table to demand that they give on the significant issues.

ZAKARIA: I'm not sure that we're as weak as it seems. Obviously it would be better if we had somehow broken the Taliban's momentum the way the president had talked about, the way Petraeus had talked about. It's proving difficult to do because Afghanistan is a vast, mountainous country. The troops are spread thin.

But we are -- I think we have some real threats, which is we can stay there for a long time. We can't stay there in these numbers, but we can play walk-a-mole for a long time.

SPITZER: What is to prevent Al Qaeda from going back into Afghanistan the moment we're gone?

ZAKARIA: Because we're not leaving forever. That's what I mean when I say -- the president has said he's not going to keep 100,000 troops in combat forever. It's 150,000 when you count NATO. That doesn't mean we won't be there. People underestimate America's staying power. We are still on the bangs of the Rhine. We are still in Okinawa. We are still in South Korea.

So could there be 25,000 American troops in Afghanistan 10, 15 years from now? Sure.


BALDWIN: Parker/Spitzer, they're asking the questions every weekday at 8:00 eastern.

Is the John Edwards' investigation shifting into high gear now? A, quote, "sizable" number of subpoenas have been issued in this case. You remember this story. This guy possibly, possibly could have been our president. So you will want to hear today's developments that we are getting.

Also, you got see this. A patient shows her MRI -- does it look like Jesus to you? She says yes, ma'am. If you take a closer look and hear her emotional story, when we are right back.


BALDWIN: OK. Here we go. One of my favorite parts of the show, you have got to see this. You know how every now and again, someone sees the Virgin Mary in an icy window, on a leaf, or maybe Mother Theresa's face on a cinnamon roll? Some say it is not so much.

Well, there is a new one, the face of Jesus spotted where you might least expect it. Let's look closely at this together. This is a woman in South Carolina. She is convinced that the face of Jesus is right there on the copy of her MRI scan.

The woman, in fact, she is a cancer patient. She says that while she was praying while the scan was being taken and she -- yes, indeed, takes comfort in believing she is not alone. So look at t here we go. Look some more. You see Jesus, maybe the side of his face in the MRI.

Another amazing video for you. Watch this woman. This is a horrible -- oh. It just makes you gasp, right? She's obviously slammed by the car. Watch it again. She is thrown like 50 feet into the air and there's no way she could have possibly survived this, right?

Look, we wouldn't be showing to you if she is not -- she is OK. The guy who hit her stopped. He's frantic, checks on her. The woman is not only alive, but she is not even badly hurt -- minor injuries to her arm and collarbone. She didn't even -- she didn't even lose consciousness.

The video went global, went viral, people all over the world marveling at how close this lady cheated death.

OK, I got one more for you, yes, you got to see this. Get a load at this enormous honking he will alligator. This thing is as tall as this warehouse, 13 feet, one inch of teeth and attitude, a whopping 680 pounds.

This is one of those south Florida Everglades monsters, right? No. Arkansas. I'm talking Fayetteville, Arkansas, is where they wrestled this guy. John Baxter hunted down and scored the biggest alligator ever recorded in the state. So, now what? John Baxter says he is going to make a rug out of it? Wow. Kind of a scary rug, right?

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are killing nature, trees, wildlife, and making human beings sick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are sick and people are dying.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: It's a frightening story. These people, they are blaming this man-made lake. It has coal ash and possibly other dangerous toxins that leaked from the lake into the drinking water. We are going to tell that story.

Also ahead here Wolf Blitzer has been tracking the day's top political stories. We are going to check to see the Political Ticker next here in the CNN Newsroom.


BALDWIN: It's just 26 days until Election Day and CNN's got all your latest political news with "The Best Political Team on Television" led by Mr. Wolf Blitzer. He is at the desk. Wolf, what do you have?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": We got a bunch of items at we are following right now, including the president of the United States, only the second time since he became president, he is vetoing some legislation. This legislation would make it easier to go ahead with foreclosures.

It sort of snuck through the process by unanimous consent. There was really no debate in the final days of the house and Senate them got this legislation through. It basically allows out-of-state notaries, notarizations foreclosure deals to be accepted in other states, and this would make it a lot easier to go ahead with foreclosures.

The president doesn't want it, aides at the White House don't want it, and as a result the president is going to veto this. The format gets a little arcane, whether it is a pocket veto or a formal veto. The bottom line is it is going to be vetoed.

There is going to be an investigation I assume how this got into this legislation to begin with because it is not something consumers necessarily wanted, something that the banks probably wanted.

Another story right now, the president is in nearby Maryland, campaigning for the incumbent Democrat Martin O'Malley, giving a pretty fired up speech right now saying the pundits are all wrong when they say Democrats aren't motivated, won't show it up to vote. He says just wait and see what the Democratic base does.

O'Malley is ahead, by the way in this gubernatorial contest over Robert Ehrlich, the former Republican governor of Maryland, but that contest is still out there as well.

Finally, one interesting item, the former Pennsylvania Republican senator, Rick Santorum, he's opened up a formal PAC, a political action committee in Iowa. He has visited Iowa several times it is fueling speculation that this former senator may be thinking of running for the Republican presidential nomination. He has visited Iowa several times already.

You know, Brooke, right after November 2nd there is November 3rd, that's when the presidential race begins it is only going to be about a year's sprint to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and all of those other states.

BALDWIN: Anyone who sticks their big toe in Iowa, we have questions for them. Wolf Blitzer, thank you.

Reminder to you, we will get another quick political update in half an hour. And you can always get your latest Political Ticker news, go to or twitter@politicalticker.