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October 28th, 2009
10:45 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Your taxpayer dollars put to waste?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/28/art.un.attack.kabul.jpg caption="An injured man is carried on the back of a policeman following the attack in Kabul on Wednesday."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Tonight we have part two of our exclusive investigation into the destruction in American Samoa caused by a tsunami nearly a month ago. Despite the millions and millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that have been sent to the U.S. territory over the past five years with the explicit purpose of disaster preparedness, no warning system was in place. Drew reports on how this devastation – and 34 deaths – may have been prevented had the American funds been put to good use to prepare for this type of natural disaster.

Right now, the clean-up of American Samoa is largely being driven by volunteers, not by the local government. Anger and criticism is growing. In the second part of this investigation, Drew looks at why there’s been so little oversight of all the U.S. funds sent to the island and why the money train is still very much in motion.

It’s been a bloody day in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  In Pakistan, an explosion in a marketplace in Peshawar killed at least 90 people and injured more than 200. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is there for a three-day visited aimed at quelling the rising tide of anti-Americanism.

In Afghanistan, Taliban militants attacked a private guesthouse in central Kabul, killing at least 12 people, including six U.N. staff members. At least one American was killed in the attack, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul reported. The violence comes 10 days ahead of a presidential runoff election that will be held on Nov. 7. Taliban militants have already threatened to disrupt the polling.

And it’s also been reported that Ahmed Wali Karzai, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother, gets regular payments from the CIA – and has for much of the past eight years. Mr. Karzai is also a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade. The CIA allegedly pays him for a variety of services – including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force. Is this a conflict of interest or just a reflection of how complicated and complex the U.S. political and military strategy in the country continues to be.  Just how much don't we know?

Meanwhile, President Obama is reviewing plans for next steps in the region. Today he’ll sign into a law a defense bill that would pay Taliban fighters who renounce the insurgency. The provision establishes a program in Afghanistan similar to one used in Iraq where former fighters were re-integrated into Iraqi society. Under the legislation, Afghan fighters who renounce the insurgency would be paid for protection of their towns and villages, according to Sen. Carl Levin. We’ll dig deeper on all of these developments, including when we can expect to learn more about a new strategy for the Af-Pak region, tonight.

Last night we reported on the latest developments in the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside a Richmond, CA high school homecoming dance over the weekend. Investigators say as many as 20 people were involved in or stood and watched the two-and-a-half hour rape. Police posted a $20,000 reward for anyone who comes to them with information that helps them arrest and convict those involved. So why has no one come forward? Is this reminiscent of the beating death of the student in Chicago last month? Why are people afraid to speak up? What does this say about our youth and our communities?

And there is a House Judiciary Committee hearing today on football head injuries. The prevalence of football-related head injuries has provoked quite a lot of interest yesterday, as retired football players have reported physical and mental problems that they attribute to head injuries sustained during their football careers. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to testify. We’ll keep an eye on this today.

What else are you following today? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET!


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Trish Sublette

    Hi, Anderson,

    Regarding the gang rape of that poor 15 year old girl, no one speaks up because they are scared. It's just like the kids who see drug pushers and users. My granddaughter told me she sees this stuff going on all the time and if she tells an authority figure or even if I tell, she is a snitch and the repercussions could be horrible. I wish I had answers for this. If we could just get the kids to realize, and especially those who witness the gang rape, that by not coming forward with information, someone else could be hurt or worse and the violence, drugs and fear will continue.

    October 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  2. Michelle D. Fonthill .Ont

    Good Morning Eliza

    How could they have not have had warnigns for the tsunami ? There should have been sirens and emergency officals with paln to get people to saftey . I can't unnderstand how they could mismanage money for th aid that they needed. Thanks for keeping them honrest about whre the money is going and how it's really being used . Corpution is everywhere .

    Thanks for the buzz
    Michelle D.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  3. Isabel Siaba, Brazil

    Hello AC360 team!

    Where is Anderson Cooper? I understand that he has to take off, but he's essential on the AC360. John King is doing an excellent job, but the show is AC360, then without the boss is not the same thing.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  4. SLM

    CNN how about a report on our Tax payer dollars put to waste, right here at home? We want to know where all that stimulus/pork money went, since we aren't getting the transparency and accountability that Obama promised in his great speeches for "change". Would love to know how much he has racked up on that private jet for campaign purposes.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:21 am |