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THE SITUATION ROOM
Disappearing Northwest Flight Recordings Released; Tiger Woods Injured in Car Wreck; Investigation Continues Into White House Party Crashers
Aired November 27, 2009 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: Tiger Woods injured in a car wreck. The world-famous golfer hit a fire hydrant and a tree, and police say charges are pending.
Also, when you hear the tapes, you decide. What, if anything, do they reveal? We are finally hearing recordings of that Northwest flight that flew past its Minneapolis destination.
And the party is over, but the scandal is in full swing, after a couple crashes the president's state dinner. What's happening now may make that couple regret what they did.
Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MALVEAUX: One of the world's most recognizable names and faces in sports must now recover from serious injuries. We are following that breaking news story right now. An investigation is under way, after golfer Tiger Woods crashed his car and was rushed off for medical care.
I want to get straight to the latest with our Mary Snow, who is on the ground.
Mary, what do we know about this accident?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, just this latest update. Representatives for Tiger Woods and from Florida's Health Central Hospital now say that Tiger Woods was in a minor accident outside his home last night. He was admitted, they say, treated and released, and he is in good condition today.
Now, police say the accident occurred at roughly 2:25 this morning outside Woods' home in Windermere, Florida. It's a suburb of Orlando. Police say Woods pulled out of his driveway in a 2009 Cadillac SUV, struck a fire hydrant, and then hit a tree. He was then taken to the hospital.
The police report had listed the injuries as serious, but we have now heard from the hospital that it was a minor accident. The mayor of Windermere, Florida, told CNN in this past hour that Woods was treated for facial -- facial lacerations, that is, and was released from the hospital. Now, according to the police report, the accident, it says, was not alcohol-related. It does say that the crash remains under investigation and that charges are pending.
But, once again, Tiger Woods, according to his publicist and the hospital officials, is in good condition and was released from the hospital -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Mary, thank you.
We have got a copy of that Florida Highway Patrol talking about the investigation, the very latest on how this actually happened. It happened very early in the morning, but we want to get the very latest sound. I understand there is sound from a press conference that happened from the hospital where Tiger Woods was being treated.
I want to go very quickly to that latest sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tiger Woods was in a minor car accident outside his home last night. He was admitted, treated and released today in good condition.
QUESTION: Now, why...
QUESTION: ... it say serious injuries?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't say serious injuries.
QUESTION: The FHP report said it was serious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was released today in good condition.
QUESTION: Do you know what time?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't.
QUESTION: Was it this afternoon or this morning or...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was -- it was today. And that's a joint statement both from his office and from the hospital. And that's...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... his wishes. That's all the information. All right?
QUESTION: This is from his -- in other words, his sports management company...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tiger Woods' office, uh-huh.
QUESTION: As well as Health Central?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
QUESTION: Joint statement?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joint statement.
QUESTION: OK. Now, when it comes to minor injuries, what's that definition? What do you -- how do you -- what do you mean by minor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was able to go home today.
QUESTION: We were told that he had facial lacerations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot -- I can't -- I can't comment on that. That's Mr. Woods to decide to comment.
All right. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Perhaps we will get a little bit more information.
On the phone joining us now is Rick Horrow. He is a CNN sports business analyst.
And, Rick, what do you know about the accident? We understand that we're now being told that he has left the hospital and that these are minor injuries. What do you know?
RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS AND BUSINESS ANALYST: I have been calling around to his agent, cell phone number, and some friends of friends. And people are not being coy. It's just it's hard to get people during this holiday period.
But I will say that it is a commentary yet again on the amazing Q score and recognizability, if it is a word, of Tiger Woods that this is a story that's worldwide, that started with serious condition, then serious injuries, then some injuries, then maybe not any injuries at all, then he left his house.
So, listen, it's fluid, to say the least, but, you know, I'm not going to speculate on what the latest is. The joint statement between the Woods' -- IMG, the sports management company, and the hospital pretty much kind of tells -- tells it like it is.
I can't think of anything that anybody is holding back on. It sounds like he's had a couple of -- of facial lacerations. And -- and he was sent home.
HORROW: And, you know, the details will come out, quite clearly.
MALVEAUX: Sure. Sure.
Rick, tell us a bit about what he means to the golf world. We understand it was just last year he was recovering from knee surgery, and he was planning on participating in his own golf tournament as early as Tuesday, next Tuesday.
Can you tell us about what this means in terms of the sport itself?
HORROW: Well, what he means to the golf world is, he revolutionized it. He revolutionized what corporate sponsorships were worth. He revolutionized, not only, you know, the golf industry, but everybody in it.
He makes about $110 million a year, by the way. That's not chump change. That's on and off the course. He has sponsors, you know, who are willing to continue to throw money at him. Who knows what the facial lacerations will do.
But if you have been watching his commercials recently, there's less and less of him on TV, because he demands that his contracts require less and less of his time. And -- and creative advertising agencies are using his likeness and his image, not necessarily his face. So, who knows how bad the injuries are, but that is one thing to keep in mind as you evaluate this.
MALVEAUX: And, certainly, there's a whole picture of him. We know that he has a wife, that he's a -- a father, that he really brings more. He brings certainly an expertise to the sport, but he's also an inspiration to many people, and he is a shrewd businessman.
Can you explain? Overall, this is really quite the package.
HORROW: Well, he's at international businessman, too. You know, you read an article this morning talking about nearly a 20,000 percent growth in golf in China. Why? Because people brought him over for a visit last decade, and the rest is history.
So, he is clearly one of the two or three most recognizable people on the planet, if not the most. And so, you know, in our Internet and tweeting age, combined with Tiger Woods' personality, even a minor car accident has significant consequences on the slowest of news days.
MALVEAUX: And what's coming up next on his calendar? What does he have in front of him?
HORROW: Well, he has his own tournament, but then he has a little bit of rest, and then he starts with his full-blown tournament schedule next year.
This was a year that he did not win a major. He is still the most significant success story this side of Jack Nicklaus. People pointed to him as having a disappointing year. He's so competitive that, assuming he can get out there and swing a golf club, he's going to do it, because he wants to win some more majors, not only long-term, but he wants to win some majors next year.
MALVEAUX: All right. Well, we hope he does that.
Rick Horrow, thank you so much for joining us.
Obviously, we are going to keep you updated on Tiger Woods' condition after this car accident. As we get more information, we will bring that to you, once again, Tiger Woods in a car accident. We will keep you informed up until the very minute on all of the latest news coming from the scene, as well as the hospital, and to our expert panel of analysts.
Now to another story catching the world's attention. It involves an entity, one of the world's top financial centers and very popular tourist hot spots. But one expert says -- quote -- "Assume that U.S. banks are going to be hurt by this."
Now Dubai has revealed a financial shocker about its debt problems. There are fears of financial shockwaves elsewhere.
Our CNN's Ali Velshi, he is standing by, but I want to begin with CNN's Stan Grant. He is in Dubai.
And, Stan, just tell us, how serious is this? Obviously, there are some huge ramifications.
STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, that is the $60 billion question.
Why $60 billion? Because that is the amount of debt that Dubai World is carrying. Now, Dubai World has extensive real estate holdings among many of its investments here in Dubai. What's happened in recent days is that it's appealed for a stay of debt repayments, a moratorium of six months. It means it won't be able to meet its -- its debt repayments.
This has caused a lot of concern about just how this has come to pass, not just the debt, but why now? Why was this announced without enough warning, without any warning?
Why was this announced just on the eve of a four-day religious holiday here, when the markets were closed, also Thanksgiving in the U.S., when the markets were closed there? We have seen the reaction straight away. Markets have been down in Europe, when Wall Street opened, also fell there. Also, markets have fallen throughout Asia.
And the concern is, just how far will this go? Will it spread to other debts in the region? Will it spread to other countries in the region? Will it become less of a delay, and more of a full-on default? All of those questions still to be answered -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Ali, of course, how are U.S. investors -- investors reacting to this news?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Stan hit the nail on the head.
The -- during Eid in the Arab countries, a four-holiday, and Thanksgiving, there's some sense that -- where they try to sneak something out. U.S. investors did not react as -- as harshly as others around the world did, partially because not everybody in the U.S. is trading. This is a holiday week. Today was half a trading day.
You can see the Dow right under me, down 155 points, roughly. We were anticipating before the market opened it would be double that. The reality is, as people started to look into it -- and we do not have all the information -- and, hopefully, next week we will have more information about how deep this situation is.
But the reality is, direct exposure by U.S. banks is relatively limited. Citigroup has some direct exposure. Generally speaking, U.S. banks have exposure to other banks that have direct exposure.
But I want to remind you of something. This is not Lehman Brothers. This is not a U.S. bank writing down debt, money that's owed to them. This is a company having trouble paying its own debt who is asking for a stay. It may be, sometimes, a duck just is a duck. It's serious and it's big, but it may not be the -- the -- the thing we're looking for to set the world into a double-dip recession or to -- or to set something else in motion. It may just be what it is.
MALVEAUX: All right. Ali, thank you so much, Stan as well.
We will get back to you very shortly.
We are following the breaking news about Tiger Woods' car wreck, and we will bring you the very latest as those developments unfold.
Meanwhile, they may have photos and fond memories, but could they soon add mug shots to their picture collection after infiltrating the White House state dinner? What's happening now may make one couple regret what they did.
Also, for U.S. troops battling enemy fighters in Afghanistan, extra help will be welcome help. You will hear how one unit is suffering enormous hits, but working through it all.
And should Dick Cheney run for president in 2012? There's a movement that's under way to convince him.
MALVEAUX: More on our breaking news story: Tiger Woods in a car accident, said to have minor injuries.
I want to go now live to Atlanta, our CNN's Patrick Snell. He is -- Patrick Snell, that's right. He's the last CNNer to actually interview Tiger Woods. And can you give us a sense of how Tiger Woods is doing, what is he thinking, what are some of his priorities, and some recent projects that he's hoping on -- on working on, as well as that upcoming tournament?
PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Suzanne.
Yes, it was about three, four weeks ago Woods was in Atlanta for the season-ending PGA Tour finale, the FedEx Cup, the $10 million, which he won, because, at the end of the season, he did emerge victorious, but he wasn't a happy bunny on the day, Suzanne.
I remember interviewing him briefly one-on-one, as we call it, afterwards, and he had been upstaged by his fellow American Phil Mickelson on the day, Mickelson winning the tournament, the Coca-Cola Tour Championship, winning the tournament, but Woods winning the overall series.
So, he wasn't that happy, because Woods, of course, is a winning machine. He's all about winning. And although he won the overall thing, he was upset that he lost to Phil Mickelson.
His form this year has been very much up and down. He had the knee surgery. He came back from that early in this year, February in Arizona. And the year has been all about trying to get fit. And now, just when he's got back into form, he's got to face this.
Of course, the extent of these injuries are still unfolding. In terms of his last couple of weeks, he's been on the road really. The PGA -- the U.S. PGA Tour season is done. But he's been in Asia. He's been in China, where his form was a bit up and down. Then he went to Melbourne, Australia. He won the Australian Masters.
So, he did, after all, get his hand on a jacket. It was a yellow jacket, of course, not the famous Green Jacket that he wanted so badly this year at the Masters. But he got that. He won the Australian Masters at Melbourne.
And, of course, next week he was scheduled and he is still scheduled to appear at the tournament he's hosting, which is the Chevron tournament next week in California, his native California. Whether he will be there, of course, now remains to be seen, Suzanne. We will be watching it very closely for sure, as I send it back to you.
MALVEAUX: All right, thank you very much, Patrick.
Obviously, yes, that is a big question, whether or not he will be participating in his own tournament next Tuesday.
I want to remind our viewers here, this is what we're getting from the Health Central Hospital, where he was admitted, and Tiger Woods' office, the publicist saying that Tiger Woods was in a minor car accident outside his home last night. We're getting the information that it was early morning, as well.
He was admitted, treated and released today in good condition, so still a lot of questions about the circumstances surrounding Tiger Woods and this car accident right outside his home in his neighborhood, but, again, this statement saying that he was released, treated, and now appears to be in good condition.
It's still questionable whether or not he will perform in that tournament that we had mentioned before. But, obviously, we will get to the bottom of many of those questions.
Well, four days before President Obama reveals his troop decision for Afghanistan, another question many people want answered. And that is how many more troops will go to Afghanistan from other countries. A NATO official says that allies may send between 4,000 and 6,000 more.
Now, that is according to the Associated Press, citing an anonymous source. But whatever the number decided by President Obama or NATO allies, extra help is going to be welcome help for many of these troops that are already in the war, especially for one unit that has seen enormous suffering.
Here's our own CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): A little more than six months ago, we were with the 4th Engineer Battalion when they first touched down in Kandahar, airlifted directly from Iraq to southern Afghanistan to help bolster the war effort against the resurgent Taliban.
One of those making the move, Private First Class Kimble Han.
(on camera): What's your family say?
PFC. KIMBLE HAN, U.S. SOLDIER: My family, they're supportive. You know, when you make the decision to join the Army, especially a time of war, you know, they support it and they know that we're doing the right thing.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Kimble Han was killed on October 23rd when a roadside bomb struck his vehicle. His was not the only casualty this unit has suffered.
(on camera): In all, the unit has already lost 11 men in just over six months here in Afghanistan, most of them to improvised explosive devices.
(voice-over): Seventeen soldiers have suffered so-called life- changing injuries, like losing limbs.
PFC. MATTHEW STAMFORD, U.S. ARMY: Not only mentally, but physically. It's very exhausting to know that somebody that you were working with went down and there was nothing you could really do about it.
PLEITGEN: One thing they can do, train new arrivals on how to evacuate the wounded after an IED strike. The hidden devices are now the number one killer of American soldiers in Afghanistan. And some of those in this unit that hunts IEDs say the only way to change that is by putting more boots on the ground.
SGT. BOBBY MARTIN, U.S. ARMY: I think we could use a lot more -- more presence, routes a lot safer. They don't have enough time to place big IEDs.
PLEITGEN: The bomb that killed Kimble Han was a charge packed with several hundred pounds of explosives.
HAN: But I think we've been prepared. I think we've all done the training that's necessary to accomplish the mission that we have. PLEITGEN: But making that mission less treacherous will be a challenge, one of the most critical challenges in this eight-year-long war.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kandahar, Afghanistan.
MALVEAUX: Our special coverage of President Obama's Afghanistan decision and the best political team on television begins Tuesday night at 7:00 Eastern.
Tiger Woods after the accident -- the golf champion is out of a hospital after being treated for injuries in a car crash, but will he be able to play in an upcoming tournament? We will have the very latest on our breaking news.
And Thanksgiving Day turns to tragedy for a Florida family, police say hunting a man wanted for the shooting deaths of four people, including a 6-year-old girl.
MALVEAUX: Alina Cho is following the stories that are coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
And, Alina, what are you watching?
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Suzanne.
Police in Jupiter, Florida, right now are looking for a man suspected of turning a family Thanksgiving gathering into a holiday tragedy, an expectant mother, her 33-year-old twin sister, their 77-year-old aunt, and a 6-year-old girl all shot to death last night.
Police are searching for the twins' brother, 35-year-old Paul Merhige. At this point, authorities say they have no clear motive.
Well, Cuba is beginning its largest military exercises in five years. The island nation says the four days of maneuvers are necessary just in case of a U.S. invasion. The move comes despite the fact that U.S. and Cuban officials are talking again. Also, President Obama recently lifted some travel restrictions. Now, these are the first military exercises since President Raul Castro took over power from his brother, Fidel. And the space shuttle Atlantis is back on Earth now. Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center this morning, ending an 11-day mission. The six-member crew spent the better part of the trip stockpiling the International Space Station with, what else, spare parts. Now, seven astronauts in all were on board for the return home. The extra passenger was astronaut Nicole Stott, who returned, Suzanne, after three months in space.
CHO: Always nice to see a safe landing when it comes to those shuttles.
CHO: Back to you.
MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you, Alina.
CHO: You bet.
MALVEAUX: Well, Tiger Woods is said to be in good condition, after hitting a fire hydrant and tree in his car -- straight ahead, the latest on his car wreck.
Also, their pictures with VIPs could result in mug shots. That uninvited couple that got into the White House state dinner may soon regret they did it.
And you see crowds clamor to buy Sarah Palin's books in some places, but what's the sales expectation in Alaska? Our John King went to check it out.
MALVEAUX: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now: airplanes in, airplanes out. Well, how close is too close? Federal investigators say that safety is proving to be a big issue at one of the nation's busiest airports.
Iran thumbs its nose at world powers over its nuclear program. Now the United Nations nuclear watchdogs are playing hardball, with the U.S., and it's pressing crippling sanctions.
Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Joining us on the phone now, Damon Hack. He's a senior writer for "Sports Illustrated."
And we want to take you back to our breaking news story: Tiger Woods in a car accident earlier today. We are told that he's been released from the hospital, that he is in good condition.
But, Damon, you have talked and interviewed with Tiger Woods many, many occasions. What could this mean, if he's not able to participate in that tournament, his own tournament, that's coming up on next Tuesday?
DAMON HACK, SENIOR WRITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": It would definitely be a big blow, Suzanne.
I mean, this is the -- it's the tournament that benefits his foundation. It's in Southern California, where he grew up, a lot of attendance. People -- a large field come, a great tournament field. You have Vijay Singh, a lot of great players. And of course, this is a tournament that benefits Tiger's own foundation.
So, I have got to believe, knowing him, knowing how competitive he is, knowing his pain threshold, that, if he's able to walk, he's going to try to play in that tournament next week.
MALVEAUX: Well, we know that he has facial lacerations. That's what we have been told. We know that he's recovering from -- recovered from a knee surgery from last year.
Obviously, you said that he's highly motivated to -- to be there, and he has a high tolerance for pain, you say?
If you remember last year, 2008, he won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego basically playing with a torn ACL in his left knee and a couple of broken bones as well. So, I don't think Tiger Woods will -- will not play in this tournament if he's -- if he's able to play.
He's got such a -- a tremendous competitive streak and a -- a tremendous ability to kind of block out pain. Obviously, the fact that he was released from the hospital, and the reports are that it was only facial lacerations, I have got to think that's not going to be enough to keep Tiger Woods out of playing in the tournament next week down in southern California.
MALVEAUX: And clearly, there's a lot of questions as to how this accident happened. So far, all we know is that his car hit a fire hydrant and then a tree.
I don't suppose you know if he's a good driver or if he was just, you know, swerving out of the way of something that might have been in the road, but does this seem uncharacteristic of Tiger Woods?
HACK: I mean, it definitely does. You're talking about one of the elite athletes on the planet, a double black diamond skier who likes to jump out of planes. He has won 14 major championships. He's a tremendous athlete.
You know, all we know is that it was an early morning car accident sometime around 2:00 or 2:30 in the morning, happened on his own street, so definitely a little bit of a strange situation that we're still kind of waiting to find out all the details when they come in.
MALVEAUX: OK. Damon Hack, senior writer for "Sports Illustrated." Thank you so much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And obviously, we are going to be getting back to this story as the breaking news unfolds, trying to get to the bottom of this to answer some of those questions that we have been asking, just how this all unfolded, this car accident that Tiger Woods was in earlier in the day. But now minor injuries and in good condition.
Well, turning to the ongoing scandal after a couple infiltrated the White House State Dinner. Their faces are all over the news, and their story is igniting everything from jokes to some really very serious questions.
Well, the other question is, what might happen next? Could this couple regret all of this?
I want to go straight to our own White House correspondent, Dan Lothian.
And Dan, ever since the State Dinner happened, this is all anybody has been talking about here, is how this actually happened. First time in history, as far as we know.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
MALVEAUX: What do you make of it?
LOTHIAN: And as you pointed out, people are joking about this, but this is really being taken very seriously here at the White House. There is an investigation that is under way.
And Representative Peter King, who is a ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, is calling for a congressional investigation into this incident, and the Secret Service is not ruling out the possibility of any criminal charges.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): In a sign that the investigation into the uninvited White House guests is intensifying, CNN has learned that U.S. Secret Service agents paid a visit to the Oasis Winery in Virginia, the couple's mailing address. The manager confirms two agents showed up Friday morning, indicated they were not there to arrest Tareq and Michaele Salahi, but said, "It is imperative that we speak with them. If they do not sit down with us and talk, we will take whatever action necessary."
The Secret Service won't confirm that account, but says it wants to interview everybody, including the Salahis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. and Mrs. Salahi.
LOTHIAN: It was a stunning admission from the Secret Service, that at Tuesday's State Dinner, someone at this east gate checkpoint did not follow proper procedures to ensure the Salahis' names were on the invited guest list. They got in and splashed their pictures across Facebook with the vice president, with the White House chief of staff, with the Marines.
AMY ZANTZINGER, FMR. WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY: They made a calculated decision that they were somehow going to slip into the White House, and for that to happen, it was a complete game of luck.
LOTHIAN: And Amy Zantzinger, who is a former White House social secretary, says strict security guidelines should prevent that, including a gate list with vetted names. All the details are not known, but current social secretary Desiree Rogers told The Associated Press no one from her office was at the checkpoint.
The reality show wannabes certainly looked the part, and according to a stylist who worked on Michaele's hair just hours before the event, talked a good game.
PETTY IOAKIM, ERWIN GOMEZ SALON & SPA: She said that in the mail she got an invitation, and I asked her, "Do you have it with you?" And she said, "Yes."
She tried looking for it and didn't find the invitation, so I never saw it. She didn't have it. She thought it was in the car or something.
LOTHIAN: In a statement, the publicist for the couple says that they did not crash the event and that they look forward to setting the record straight very soon -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: We look forward to the record being set straight as well, Dan. Thank you very much.
Well, the Secret Service is charged with protecting the president, but there are those who contend that the agency has taken on too many other duties. It's underfunded to boot.
So, joining me in THE SITUATION ROOM is Ron Kessler. He is the author of the book "In The President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect."
Ron, thank you so much for joining us here.
RON KESSLER, AUTHOR, "IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE: Thank you, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: First of all, I cover the president, and I covered President Bush for eight years. Every single day I present a badge, I punch in a key code. You know, a pass code. I go through a magnetometer. I have to wear security badges all the time.
Clearly, there are a lot of security layers around this president.
Was is simply an aberration?
KESSLER: No. Unfortunately, this is very consistent with the corner- cutting that's been going on in the Secret Service. Even though what you say is true, at the same time they frequently will not do magnetometer screening.
For example, when Joe Biden threw the first pitch at the Orioles game last April in Baltimore, did absolutely no magnetometer screening. They could have had 20 terrorists come in with grenades, with weapons, and kill him. And this is something that's been a repeated pattern.
They also have cut back on the size of counter-assault teams. They are not keeping up to date with the latest firearms. They don't even allow agents time for firearms requalification.
And they also bow to pressure. They don't want to inconvenience people. They're afraid of being criticized by the White House.
So, for example, Mary Cheney, when she was under protection, insisted that signatures take her friends to restaurants. When the agents refused, she got her detail leader removed. This tells you the spinelessness of the Secret Service.
MALVEAUX: Ron, let's tell us about the evening and the party crashers. Clearly, this is what the Secret Service said. They said, "It's important to know that these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of security, as did all guests attending the dinner, and they had agents that were posted."
It sounds to me as if they are clearly making the case that there wasn't any kind of physical harm or security breach when it came to the president, to the first lady, to the prime minister, as well as his wife.
KESSLER: Right. Well, first of all, you know, there are many ways to kill a person besides coming in with a weapon. For example, they could have come in with anthrax, which would not have been detected by magnetometers. They also, you know, once they were in, could have grabbed a knife off the table and put it through the heart of the president.
I mean, you know, to say that the president was not at risk is disingenuous. I mean, it turns out they were not terrorists. They were not sent by Iran. They were not serial killers, thank God. But there is a reason why they do background checks, which they did not do.
MALVEAUX: But who do you blame? Because, obviously, the Secret Service was there, but there was no one from the social secretary's office, who had that list handy, who was supposed to be posted. Do you blame the Secret Service or was it something (INAUDIBLE) from the White House?
KESSLER: Absolutely. The Secret Service, you know, very honestly blamed itself, and as they should have.
They said that -- in their statement -- that their own procedures were not followed. They did not verify these people were on the list. And also, that implies they did not do a background check, which would have turned up, for example, arrest warrants, some connection with terrorists. MALVEAUX: We'll have to leave it there, Ron. And obviously there's an investigation that's under way, and so we should be getting some of those answers, we certainly hope.
KESSLER: Sounds good. Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Thank you, Ron.
Dick Cheney ignites passions from political supporters as well as opponents. But should he run for president in 2012? One group says yes. Wait until you hear what they are doing to convince him.
And as many Americans plan trips home after the holiday, disturbing news about potential danger at one of the nation's busiest airports.
MALVEAUX: After a brief holiday break, the "Going Rogue" book tour resumes this weekend. Sarah Palin will be back selling books on Sunday in Washington State, but what about her own state? What's the excitement like in Alaska as their former governor sparks excitement and anger on the national stage?
Our CNN Chief National Correspondent John King went there to find out.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wasilla's famous resident lives across this shimmering lake. Her image, still a smiling life-sized calling card at the local chamber of commerce.
It's mostly back to normal a year after the big election, but to visit Pandemonium Booksellers is to be reminded that Wasilla, like the rest of America, is preparing for the next installment of the Sarah Palin debate.
SHANNON CULLIP, OWNER, PANDEMONIUM BOOKSELLERS & CAFE: I think it will stir it up a little bit.
KING: Owner Shannon Cullip says presales of Palin's "Going Rogue" are shattering store records and reigniting the Palin political divide...
CULLIP: It's either one extreme or the other, I would say. People either completely, completely have her on a pedestal or don't like her. It's not too much in the middle. You'll have just some people just, oh, she's just such an amazing woman, I can't believe what she's accomplished and that sort of thing.
KING (on camera): And the flip side? Those who...
CULLIP: The flip side, I can't stand her.
KING (voice-over): Palin's fast political rise has been good for business here. Books on her governor tenure on the Alaska section. "Another Political Title" sell more now too.
CULLIP: I have a little bit of everything. I have "The Audacity of Hope." We have -- and during the election, you'd find that people bought both. You know, they were comparing.
KING: Palin calendars are a big seller at the moment and post- election political sales tend to reflect Wasilla's more conservative leanings.
(on camera): Glenn Beck outsells President Obama at the moment?
CULLIP: Oh, yes.
KING: Oh, yes?
KING (voice-over): This was Governor Palin's Anchorage office, until she abruptly resigned in July. As new Governor Sean Parnell tries to make his own mark, he, like everyone else in Alaska, is waiting for the next chapter.
GOV. SEAN PARNELL (R), ALASKA: I can really say nothing except that I wish her the best, because she treated me and her fellow Alaskans so well and looked out for us well.
KING (on camera): Do you, as governor, pick up the phone at all as well and say, you know, this is a tough one, let me seek her advice? Or have you both sort of moved on?
PARNELL: We keep on touch just on a personal basis. I haven't -- we haven't had the policy consults or anything, but we do keep in touch.
KING: You going to read the book?
PARNELL: Of course, I'm going to read the book.
KING (voice-over): Not everyone here is a Palin fan, of course. Democratic Senator Mark Begich among those who choose their words carefully.
SEN. MARK BEGICH (D), ALASKA: I don't know what her future's going to be. I'll let the public make that decision.
KING (on camera): Are you going to read the book?
BEGICH: I don't know. You know, I've got so many other -- I've got a health care bill to read.
KING (voice-over): Fireside Books is in Palmer, a short drive from Wasilla. It will be open three hours early on Tuesday.
DAVID CHEEZEM, OWNER, FIRESIDE BOOKS: I expect people will be lining up and knocking on the door.
Sarah Palin fans are not the most patient people in the world. They want it now.
KING: Owner David Cheezem is a Democrat and thought he had a chance at winning a race for the state house last year.
CHEEZEM: The thought was, well, you know, the Republicans aren't that excited about John McCain. I might be able to get some votes here, where otherwise I wouldn't. And then she came in and ran for vice president and at that point, there's just no way. And I lost dramatically.
KING (on camera): You don't seem to hold it against her too much?
CHEEZEM: No, no. Not if she sells a bunch of books here.
KING (voice-over): Proof that all politics is local, even as the debate about Sarah Palin's national ambitions opens its next chapter.
John King, CNN, Palmer, Alaska.
MALVEAUX: Be sure to join John this Sunday for CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION." That's from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Again, that's "STATE OF THE UNION" with John King, Sunday at 9:00 Eastern.
Well, we are following our breaking story -- Tiger Woods hurt today in a car crash. Spokespeople for the golfing great say the accident was minor and so are his injuries, but can he still play?
We have the latest.
And a couple of airline pilots shot past their destination by 150 miles last month. Now federal aviation officials release recordings of the incident.
MALVEAUX: We have an update on the story that we've been following about the couple that crashed the president's State Dinner at the White House.
I want to go straight to our CNN correspondent Dan Lothian, who has a fresh statement, I understand, from the Secret Service.
Dan, what can you tell us?
LOTHIAN: That's right. This is the director of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan.
Essentially, they are taking full responsibility for this incident that occurred. And I just want to read you some graphs (ph) from that statement that we just received.
He begins by saying, "The Secret Service is deeply concerned and embarrassed by the circumstances surrounding the State Dinner on Tuesday, November 24th. The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint verifying that two individuals were on the guest list."
"Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That failing is ours."
He goes on to say how the Secret Service is involved in doing screenings for millions of people and that they are typically correct. They are able to stop anything from happening, prevent any dangerous situations, but he says that they need to be correct 100 percent of the time. He also ends by saying that the investigation continues and that all appropriate measures will be taken to make sure that something like this does not happen again -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Dan, I understand from that statement they take full responsibility. Do they mention any changes that are going to come about as a result of this, or do we need to wait until the investigation is over to know that? Do they address that at all?
LOTHIAN: Yes. I think we have to wait until the investigation is complete.
I mean, the closest that they come to that is to say that they will be looking at taking these measures, whatever those measures are. They are not being specific on that, but they are going to be taking some measures to make sure that what happened will not be repeated.
So, certainly, you know, a lot of concern here. We've been talking about, you know, how did this happen, who is responsible for this? The Secret Service certainly taking the responsibility for it, saying their investigation continues and they will try to make sure this doesn't happen again.
MALVEAUX: OK, Dan. I want you to stand by.
I want to bring in our political contributor, James Carville.
James, obviously you've been to a lot of these State Dinners during the Clinton years. Give us a sense here of, how unusual is this? Was this a surprise to you, that this -- something like this could happen, or does it seem like there's a little flexibility there with Secret Service and getting into these kinds of affairs?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: No, it's surprising. I mean, it's almost stunning. And anybody that's been around the Secret Service, I think to a person, would tell you that these are really dedicated people.
They are very professional, and I'm sure that, as the statement indicates, that they are very embarrassed by this. And they are going to have a real investigation about it. I mean, this is a snafu of the first order here, and I think they realize that. And I'm sure they're going to move to correct it.
But, no, I never would have thought that somebody could slip through the process that they have there. I was as shocked by it as the next guy.
MALVEAUX: And Dan, how much of this has been a distraction, a headache to the White House? Clearly, these are the kinds of questions you and I, we've been asking all week here since this State Dinner unfolded.
LOTHIAN: It really is. And, you know, first of all, it's a distraction from the event itself. I mean, this was something that -- the first State Dinner for the president, something they were highlighting as this relationship between the United States and India on a host of global issues, how critical this is. But the follow-up stories, obviously, after this was very little about the event itself and so much about this incident.
And then, of course, the investigation and the big questions as to how this could happen. And certainly there's concern as well here at White House.
I mean, this is a president -- all presidents obviously are targets. There are dangerous situations which have to be defused all the time. But in this particular case there are threats against this president.
There's been a lot of concern about that. And so this just shows, as one representative already talking about, here is someone who is a possible target by extremists, and yet someone like this was able to slip into the White House. And so, a lot of concerns here and certainly a distraction, something that they did not welcome at all.
MALVEAUX: And James, I assume that this really goes both ways. It's not just the Obama administration.
When I was covering President Bush, there were a couple of security breaches that happened. There was even a stowaway who managed to get on the press plane in Africa, get into the press corps, and was arrested and taken away during a Bush trip.
Clearly, this is the Secret Service corps that goes from one administration to the next, but can make a mistake in either.
CARVILLE: Yes, of course. And their job is to protect whoever the president is.
And we should be clear to our viewers here, the president -- or the White House doesn't have anything to do with this. This is strictly the Secret Service, which I think is -- it used to be under the Department of Treasury. I think -- I'm almost positive that it still is.
But look, again, I go back and I just know how bad these guys feel -- guys and women, too, in the Secret Service -- and I know how seriously they take their job. And, you know, something like this, it really hurts. And that's a very, very good agency.
And I'm pretty confident -- I was surprise that had it happened once. I'd be stunned if it happened twice.
MALVEAUX: All right.
James Carville and Dan, thank you so much for the very latest. Appreciate it.
Well, crashing this week's State Dinner is by no means the first presidential security breach.
In September of 1994, a small plane entered White House airspace and crashed on the south lawn, killing the pilot. The Clinton were away at the time.
Now, I was with President Bush in northern Mississippi in November of 2003 for another security breach. That's when a woman drove through a security barrier, crashed into a building just as the president's motorcade was waiting to leave.
I also remember July, 2003, I mentioned, when a man sneaked on to the press plane that I was following President Bush on his Africa tour. Well, he wound up being arrested just feet from where I was working.
And you may recall the incident in Baghdad last December, when a legitimate member of the media threw his shoes at Mr. Bush. Secret Service can't necessarily prevent bad behavior.
Turning now to health care for Americans.
For tens of millions without insurance, one private employer has found a unique way to cover his workers and keep those costs down.
I want to go to CNN's Jim Acosta for the story.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, as members of Congress close in on a final health care reform bill, they may want to check into a hotel we found down in Florida. In addition to the restaurants, swimming pool and gift shop, there's a health care clinic, only it's not for the guests, it's for the workers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, February. What day would you like?
ACOSTA (voice-over): At this health clinic in Orlando, Florida, there's no such thing as no vacancy. It's located inside a hotel...
HARRIS ROSEN, ROSEN HOTELS HEALTH CLINIC FOUNDER: How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good, how are you?
ACOSTA: ... and run by the hotel's owner, Harris Rosen, who started the clinic 18 years ago to see if he could cover all of his employees and save money.
ROSEN: There is an apprehension, a fear, an anxiety on the part of most employers to step into an area they know very little about. But we did it, and at a cost that were a fraction of what the national averages are.
Why? We emphasize wellness.
ACOSTA: Rosen dumped his insurance company, hired his own doctors, nurses and support staff, all of it at little cost to his employees. But there's a catch.
ROSEN: If you smoke, Jim, you can't work for me.
ACOSTA: The employees have to follow Rosen's rules or risk losing their coverage. Smokers have to quit. Heavyset workers have to go on weight loss programs and so on.
ROSEN: So there is a bit of big brother looking over to make sure that you're following the regimen.
ACOSTA (on camera): And you're big brother?
ROSEN: Yes, and I don't like that very much because I'm not very much a fan of big brother, any big brother. But I am.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Chris Teague the assistant manager at one of Rosen's hotels lost 100 pounds with the clinic's help.
(on camera): You're glad they nudged you?
CHRIS TEAGUE, HOTEL ASSISTANT MANAGER: Yes. Oh, yes. This changed my life dramatically.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The clinic's approach does have its critics who say it's an invasion of privacy.
JEFFREY BLOOM, TRIAL ATTORNEY: The idea of providing wellness care is wonderful, but if I choose not to go back to a follow-up care with - with a doctor, that's my decision.
ACOSTA: But it's not the critics who worry Rosen, it's Congress.
(on camera): You'd think with the health care system Harris Rosen has put in place here, he'd be a big fan of Democratic plans for health care reform. But the message at this health care hotel is quite the opposite. It's do not disturb.
(voice-over): Under the Democratic proposals in Congress, Rosen says he'd save money by shutting down his clinic, forcing his employees into a public plan and paying a government-imposed penalty.
ROSEN: I'd hate to close this facility down. It means so much to all of us.
ACOSTA: Including Harris Rosen, who seems to enjoy providing health care, whether it's in Spanish or French, more than he likes running the fanciest of his seven hotels.
ROSEN: Some of my friends will probably not be happy with what I'm about to say, but I do believe that it's a right. (END VIDEOTAPE)
ACOSTA: And get this. Harris Rosen pays just $2,400 per employee every year in health care costs. That's about a third of the national average. He has an umbrella insurance policy and contracts with specialists and hospitals to provide catastrophic medical care that goes beyond what the clinic can handle -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thanks, Jim.
Well, we're staying on top of our breaking news story. Golf great Tiger Woods was injured in a car crash this morning.
What could this do to his game? Well, we'll talk to Golf Channel reporter Adam Barr.
And it was a light that got a lot of attention. The pilots of a Minneapolis-bound plane overshot their destination by 150 miles. Now voice recordings of the mishap are also released.
And Iran backs away from concessions over its nuclear program. A frustrated United Nations responds with a censure, but the question is, is it enough?