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CNN CROSSFIRE

Is the U.N. Being Unfair or Does Israel have Something to Hide?; Is Privacy Dead in Public Places?

Aired April 30, 2002 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE: On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson. In the Crossfire tonight, Israel refuses to cooperate with the U.N. team investigating events in Jenin. Is that team taking an unfair approach? Or does Israel have something to hide?

Are we any safer with new security measures put in place after September 11? New reports raise serious doubts.

Even a day at the beach may no longer be the ultimate getaway, especially if there are security cameras watching your every tanning moment. Is privacy dead in public places?

The prince of darkness and longhorn lefty go toe-to-toe on the issues. Ahead on CROSSFIRE. From the George Washington University, Paul Begala and Robert Novak.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to the new CROSSFIRE coming to you live from the George Washington University in downtown Washington D.C. Tonight a new study analyzes potential terrist attacks. Up to a million Americans could potentially die in a biological assault. Is the Bush Administrion doing enough to protect you? We'll ask our guests, the congressional committee chair who oversees the war on terror. Also, is it time for big brother to get lost? We will debate the issue of surveillence cameras in public places.

But first, did Israeli soldiers carry out a massacre at the Jenin refugee camp? The battle raged for eight days earlier this month. Palestinians say hundreds, maybe even thousands were killed. Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres denied the charge in an interview today with CNN. Peres says 52 people were killed and of those, 48 were gunmen.

A United Nations fact-finding team is ready to go into Jenin but Israel declared today it won't cooperate with the U.N. at least for now. The U.N. says it has done all it can to meet Israel's concerns. Foreign minister Peres says with so many international diplomats under political pressure to criticize Israel, it's hard to get a fair hearing. Let's bring out...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: So before you begin any judgment in the United Nations, you discover that Israel has a very small chance to win, even when she's right.

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: We have really done everything to meet them, to deal with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I think we have been very forthcoming. Obviously the decision is theirs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEGALA: Let's bring your guests into the "Crossfire." Please give a warm welcome to the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Moshe Arens.

Thank you for joining us.

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: Ambassador, thanks for coming in.

My pleasure to be with you again especially.

NOVAK: Thank you. I'd like to play for you a statemen that was made by the Egyptian ambassador to the United Nations, and let's listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Israelis are playing games. They are procrastinating. And they are, today, facing the United Nations and rebuffing the secretary-general's position, as well as the security council.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOVAK: That is an accusation that I hear from a lot of people who are not Egyptians, that there is procrastination and you are rebuffing the U.N. What's your response to that?

MOSHE ARENS, FMR. ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: You think this guy is very objective when it comes to Israel, the Egyptian ambassador? Not very likely, huh? I'm not discussing Egypt with you, right.

Well, it is just possible that we might not get a very objective hearing from the United Nations. The Syrians are members of the security council. Did you know that? They are on the list of terrorist states, members of the security council. In June their delegate is going to be the president of the security council. You'll think he'll give us an objective hearing? Not very likely. So we have something to worry about.

NOVAK: Then, Ambassador, you have not -- you hadn't let journalists in. You hadn't let any kind of...

ARENS: They have all been there, the past few weeks, they are all there. You could go there if you wanted to. NOVAK: But you've stopped them from the investigation and who knows what changes you've made on the ground since theses events took place.

ARENS: What changes can you make on the ground? There have been no earthquakes over there. The charges of a massacre I think have been totally disabused. It was just an outright slander -- bold-faced lie.

What should have been clear without any investigating committee coming in on the spot is that the Palestinian terrorists decided to fight the IDF from the refugee camp, knowing full well that some noncombatants would be endangered, that there would be damage to property. They didn't care very much. The Israeli army did not call in the Air Force which could have pulverized the place, went in with infantry. We lost 23 young men in the fighting. There was intense fighting. That is all there is to it. And everything else is just downright slander.

BEGALA: But you could also not only have gone in with the Air Force, Mr. Ambassador, you could have gone in there with journalists and pick up from this point that Bob made -- after the fact, during the battle, there were no journalists present and, therefore, there was this cloud of mystery.

After the fact there were an awful lot of accusations. Since then we have learned the "New York Times" says there was no massacre, U.S. State Department says there was no massacre, and Human Right Watch and Amnesty International says no massacre. So why are you so worried that the United Nations, most of those groups are not very friendly to Israel either, State Department is fine, but the rest are not exactly pro-Israel.

Why are you worried about the U.N. when other objective groups have come in and cleared your country?

ARENS: First you need to ask the question of the people who insist that there was a massacre. Who are they? Why do they say -- why the lie and...

BEGALA: We have and we will. But tonight we have you and I am just curious as to why you are feeding your critics? I'm a strong supporter of Israel, but I can't defend the shooting down of all investigations.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Again, why not -- if you have now journalists there, they'll obviously cover, believe me, CNN will cover like a blanket whatever it is they do. So if they try to invent evidence or -- I'm not quite sure what you are worried about.

ARENS: We're worried we wouldn't get an objective hearing, that the people would come there with their minds made up, refusing to be confused by the facts. The secretary-general of the United Nations should have ordinarily consulted with us before the committee was set up, consulted with us on the terms of reference. He did no such thing. So we are concerned that they will come with their minds made up and would not get an objective hearing. Once we are convinced we'll get an objective hearing, they can come.

NOVAK: Ambassador Arens, I can understand how the Egyptian ambassador would not be considered exactly objective. But let me read to you and put it up on the screen, a statement made by somebody who is not objective, but friendly to Israel. The leading diplomat of the United Kingdom, the British foreign secretary Jack Straw.

He said, "if you have nothing to hide, for Pete's sake, get this fact-finding mission in as soon as possible." My question to you, sir, is, when you have the British -- and, boy, if you can't find a European as pro-Israeli as the British I don't know who you'll find -- if they are raising this question, are you in danger of being isolated from everybody in the world except your good American friends?

ARENS: I don't think so. I don't know how Jack Straw would have reacted if somebody asked to send an investigating mission into the Faulkan Islands to see what the British did in the Faulkan Islands. I don't think he would have liked that idea. Mrs. Thatcher wouldn't have like that idea. If somebody were to suggest that a U.N. investigating mission go to Afghanistan, now the United States has has nothing to hide there right? But I don't think they'd welcome that idea. It probably would not be such a good idea at all. So there is some reason to believe that there is some dishonest intent here.

NOVAK: There have been reporters that have gone in from one reporter from very experienced reporter from CNN went in and found that there was no massacre. But there was some very rough treatment. There was some civilians were killed. There was some damage that was probably unnecessarily done. Don't you think it's better to get those facts out rather than to just be accused of having a cover-up?

ARENS: I told you what happened. There was intense fighting in the area. The Palestinians decided to choose that place to have that fighting. The infantry had to be sent in. We took casualties in the process. That is all there is to it.

BEGALA: Let me move to the American/Israeli relationship. Even as a strong supporter of Israel, I took umbrage at a speech that a former Prime Minister Netanyahu gave here in America. He was speing to United States senators and lecturing them and hectoring us. I want you to take a look at this film clip and then I'm going to ask for your response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The question many in my country are now asking is this: Will America apply its principles consistently and win this war, or will it selectively abandon these principles and, thereby, risk losing the war?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEGALA: This is at a time, Mr. Ambassador when America is standing nearly alone in the world for Israel. Just let me give you free PR advice -- I used to charge politicians a lot of money for -- keep this guy from lecturing the American people. We don't need his lectures.

ARENS: You know, he's not a member of the Israeli government.

BEGALA: Yes, sir.

ARENS: He is...

BEGALA: An esteemed, talented, former prime minister. He is a person with great power who may one day seek the prime ministership...

ARENS: He may be prime minister again, that's true, but look, people in Israel, I think, feel themselves four square behind the president of the United States in the battle that he is leading against international terrorism. They admire his resolve. They admire his determination. We feel that we are allies in this battle, and our feeling is that the president of the United States sees our battle against terrorism in the same context of their overall battle against international terrorism.

NOVAK: Ambassador, I must thank you very much for coming in. We appreciate it.

Coming up next on CROSSFIRE -- is the government doing enough to protect you from terrorist attacks? We'll ask the chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism and also our quote of the day. Here's a hint: This former White House insider says he will reveal the identity of Deep Throat.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOVAK: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. A new report by the Brookings Institution says there are major problems in the Bush Administration's effort to protect America from terrorist attacks.

Among several attaci scenarios cited, the report says a million Americans could die if terrorists launch a biological attack that widely disburses smallpox, anthrax or other agents. Brookings scholars stress that such an attack is extremely unlikely. Let's put the issue in the "Crossfire" with the Republican chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism and homeland security, Congressman Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

BEGALA: Congressman Chambliss, thank you for joining us from Capitol Hill. Let me begin with this Brookings report. As Bob suggested, it showed several scenarios, very frightening, but as you, I'm sure, know, potentially real.

My question is, why in the world is this coming from a bunch of pointy headed intellectuals instead of you and Tom Ridge the people in our government who are supposed to be protecting us? Why aren't you telling us about the threats?

REP. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: We are in the process right now of completing a report within our subcommitted that will be issued hopefully by the end of next month. It is going to detail a number of intelligence deficiencies that exist that allowed September 11 to happen. We'll be making a series of recommendations to the speaker and the minority leader, Paul. And you know, we can't answer all the questions or plug all the holes within six months. This thing is so broad and vast it will take us longer to do that.

Governor Ridge is working hard. We committed money to solve these problems now. It's not sometng we can solve within a six-month period.

NOVAK: Congressman Chambliss, do you have any idea do we, the government, Tom Ridge have any idea, better idea of where the next terrorist attack will come from than the government did on September 11?

CHAMBLISS: I can say this, Bob, we are gathering more and better intelligence every day now, and certainly a lot better than what we did pre-September 11. But to tell you today that we think we know where the next attack may occur, or where we are the most vulnerable, no, obviously we can't do that.

NOVAK: That's what I thought you would say. And then that's what I can't understand. How can you say then that we are any safer today than we were eight months ago?

CHAMBLISS: Well, because we are doing a better job. Does that mean we'll never have other attack? No. As I've said on this show before, I think another attack is likely at some point in time. We may have already disrupted an attack with the warnings that have been issued, I think the terrorists have been sent a message that we are on the lookout for them and may have already disrupted some act.

BEGALA: Congressman, I want to read to you a comment that you made that caused quite a stir back in Georgia when you were asked in the town of Valdosta, which I have been to, is a great town, about the war on terrorism. And you said, and I quote from the "Valdosta Times," "just turn the Sheriff loose and have him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line."

Do you regret stating that, Sir?

CHAMBLISS: Well, it was a statement that was made in a light- hearted way. I don't try make any excuses for it. I should not have said it. I regret it and have apologized for it. As a result of that, I have an ongoing dialogue in the Muslim community that I never had before, and my friends who are Muslims quickly rallied around us and we're working very closely with those folks in dialoguing on issues relative to the Middle East as well as domestic issues.

NOVAK: Congressman Chambliss, I want to ask you a specific question, when I go up to Capitol Hill I really feel badly because the Capitol Hill, the plaza where Congress used be one of the most beautiful places in America and now it's one of the ugliest. It's got barricades and bunkers and looks like downtown Beirut in 1984. You made Capitol Hill a lot uglier. I don't know if you've made it any safer. How in the world, what were you looking for? Do you think you'll get a S.W.A.T. team of al Qaeda driving up Pennsylvania and attacking Congress?

CHAMBLISS: Certainly the best defense is a good offense. That's exactly what you are seeing on Capitol Hill and a number of other places around airports, for example. We are not going to be able to stop every single person who makes an attempt to get to the capital if they want to jump a fence and get here. There's always a possibility of that.

We need to continue to do the obvious things to make the Capitol, as well as every other public facility in D.C. safe and secure, the same way as we are trying to do with our airlines and our other methods of transportation and all other public facilities around the country.

BEGALA: I salute that. In fact you and I both well remember as does Bob, in the summer of '98 we lost two Capitol policemen to a gunman at the capitol, so I'm glad you are making the Capitol more secure.

But I want to ask about our nuclear facilities. Our secretary of energy Spencer Abraham says he needs $380 million to make nuclear facilities safe in your country. President Bush is recommending he get only $26 million. In fact part of that would help your state. Secretary Abraham asked for $54 million to secure the Savannah River Nuclear Facility, which is on the border of Georgia and South Carolina.

Can we make nuclear facilities safe for 10 cents on the dollar?

CHAMBLISS: That $300 million, billion dollars there, we could spend another several hundred billion at every airport around the country, we could spend billions more at other facilities. If we were going to make every place in America 100 percent protective we'd look worse than any prison that we are going to lock these folks in.

BEGALA: Yes, but if the secretary of energy, I think he's more right than wrong. If he's wrong by 90 percent, let's get rid of him. I think he is more right. I think we need to spend $380 million to make these nuclear facilities safe given the consequenses. But something is way out of whack when President Bush, I guess you agree with him, we only need $26 million instead of $380 like the secretary says.

CHAMBLISS: I've been to the Savannah River sight example. I have also been to plant Vogel (ph) which is also right across the river from the Savannah River site. It is a nuclear facility operated by the Georgia Power Company and some other folks, and they have done an awful lot of things at both those facilities within themselves to make sure they are better protected than ever before.

You know, the likelihood of an attack on a nuclear plant that allows it to emanate and distribute nuclear waste is not nearly as serious as what a lot of folks make it out to be. BEGALA: Chairman Saxby Chambliss, sorry to cut you off, but we are out of time. I want to thank you for joining us from Capitol Hill.

When CROSSFIRE returns -- how Enron's collapse is affecting the super rich and why the wife of one former Enron executive is rolling up her sleeves and getting to work.

And our quote of the day, here's another hint: His testimony blew Nixon's Waertgate defense clean out of the water.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Now it's time for a look at those unusual and interesting stories you might not find anywhere but in our CROSSFIRE "News Alert."

Linda Lay, the wife of Enron CEO Kenny Boy Lay, is opening up a second-hand store in Houston called "Just Stuff." Mrs. Lay, who memorably wept on national television at the prospect of selling one of the family's mansions, plans to sell a used lamp, made from antique street lights, a used mahogany bed, a used desk and several used members of the Bush Administration. When reached for comment, Ken Lay said I'm so proud she is continuing the family tradition of ripping off Houstonians.

NOVAK: I guess you would put her in a concentration camp, would'nt you?

BEGALA: I'd put her in jail -- not her, I wouldn't put her in jail.

NOVAK: You may not have heard from from nation of Islam leader Lewis Farrakhan lately. But in Britain, they won't hear from him at all. A British appeals court barerd Mr. Farrakhan from entering Old Blithey (ph) because his, quote, "notorious opinions" end quote, that might provoke disorder. The government claimes he is, quote, "well known for expressing anti-semetic views" end quote.

His lawyer replied that Farradhan is no anti-semitic rabble rouser, and has no criminal record of disorderly conduct. That didn't faze the British who have no bill of rights, and conceivable might exclude Paul Begala from their shores because he's mean to George W. Bush.

BEGALA: He does express rabidly anti-semitic views, Mr. Farrakhan.

NOVAK: No he doesn't.

BEGALA: Oh my goodness.

During the election campaign of 2000, George W. Bush, then governor, attacked a proposal from House Republicans to cut student loans and other programs. At the time, candidate Bush said, "I don't think they ought to balance their budget on the backs of the poor." But in a turnabout, President Bush this week asked Congress to slash student loans and other programs by over $5 billion and now it's congressional Republicans who are saying the cuts are unfair to the poor.

When asked what middle class and lower income students are supposed to do if they're kicked off from their student loans, Bush said they can do what I did, call my dad from a bar and ask for more money from the trust fund.

NOVAK: Now time for the CROSSFIRE "Quote Of The Day." He's the former White House counsel whose Watergate testimony helped bring about an end to the Nixon presidency. John Dean tells the "San Francisco Chronicle" get this -- he'll reveal the identity of deep throat in his new book, "The Deep Throat Briefs" to be published on line in June. Deep throat of course was a key Watergate source of "Washington Post" reporter Bob Woodward.

This being the 30-year anniversary of the Watergate break-in Dean explained why he's revealing the Deep Throat source, and now as our quote of the day, he said, "I thought 30 years of hiding was long enough." Does that mean that John is going to reveal himself as Deep Throat? He knows how to build up publicity, doesn't he?

BEGALA: He certainly does, Bob.

NOVAK: OK, still to come on CROSSFIRE -- a huge celebration for Queen Elizabeth II. Not here, but in England. Details on the CNN news alert and also, is it time to put a lens cap on surveillance cameras that watch you in public places?

We'll grill our guests about that on CROSSFIRE.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOVAK: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C.

Are you spending your summer vacation at the beach? Be sure to smile. Big Brother, armed with a camera may be watching your every move. Thanks to a grant from the Clinton administration, Los Angeles County is installing 360-degree surveillance cameras at beaches in Malibu and other places favored by southern California's beautiful people. Officials say the purpose is not to spy, but says safety and information service. But the move is just one of the latest by the government to keep an eye on you in public places. Cameras to catch speeders and more than 50 secret cameras in American cities. The debate has been growing about this.

And tonight, we'll have Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union and Terrance Gainer, executive assistant chief of the Washington, D.C. police department.

How are you? Nice to see you.

BEGALA: Thank you both for joining us.

TERRANCE GAINER, EXEC. ASST. CHIEF, D.C. POLICE: My pleasure.

NADINE STROSSEN, PRES. ACLU: Great to be here.

BEGALA: Chief Gainer, why spend money on cameras when you could spend it on cops?

GAINER: Well, I think it extends our reach. There will never be enough officers to be around in all the places people want them. So this is just another use of technology like perhaps a computer is, or a squad car, or a ballpoint pen.

BEGALA: But you've gotten a lot of praise for how you've handled a lot of protests here in Washington. And I join in that praise. But they were handled not for relying on gee whiz technology or spying on people, but by good cops doing their job on the street.

GAINER: Actually, it's a combination of what you want to use people and technology. In these recent disorders, I was on one of the front lines where the people were surging towards the police officers. The police officers' reaction began to be, we're being attacked. I was getting an ear piece like this from a camera looking down saying, no it's only a few lines of people and they're really kind of making merriment in the back. And I was able to calm the whole thing down. So it extended my vision beyond the scariness of the front line.

NOVAK: Miss Strossen, I知 not keen about being spied on, but I知 going to play the devil's advocate a little bit.

STROSSEN: Okay.

NOVAK: And ask you some questions. What I wondered why -- I don't know, the ACLU likes to be worried about everything. But why are you so worried about this? What -- if a camera is spying on me, what do you think they're going to see? What am I supposed to be doing that's going to be so embarrassing?

STROSSEN: Well, I think you could answer that better than I could. But the truth is that all of us who cherish our privacy and our freedom should be very troubled about having the government pervasively monitoring, not only in the specific kind of situation that the chief has talked about, but what is going to be implemented in this city is the most pervasive omnipresent surveillance system of any city in this country. You will not be walking in public places without being subject to the government's monitoring.

NOVAK: I just want to press my question to you. I知 walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, which I do just about every day of the week. And I got a camera on me. What are they going to see that I知 doing then? I知 blowing my nose or rubbing my eye or something?

STROSSEN: It was bothersome enough that George Orwell wrote a whole distopia in which the most awful thing that the government was doing was Big Brother...

NOVAK: That was in the home.

STROSSEN: -- is watching. No, it was in public places.

GAINER: That was also fiction.

BEGALA: That's my worry is it'll become reality.

GAINER: But unfortunately, it's just now becoming reality. And you know, Justice Brandeis said the most cherished freedom, the most important freedom, is the right to be let alone. It's been something that's been a hallmark of American society, the freedom to go about, knowing that nobody is watching you. Nobody...

GAINER: But we only have 13 cameras. So it is hardly pervasive. And they're used in very limited set of circumstances. We're watching a lot of the governmental buildings. And we do use them if there's a large crowd. So I hardly think we're overreaching. If we have rules and regulations that guide us about use of force, whether I can lock you up or not lock you up, whether I can shoot you or not shoot you, and you entrust me to do that, then certainly it seems fair if there's rules and regulations that you entrust me to turn a simple camera on, when it seems appropriate to extend our enforcement.

BEGALA: But here's where that's different, chief is that you control everybody who gets a gun and a badge under your police force. You can't control everybody who might get access to that tape. And believe me, we live in Washington. Everything gets out. And I mean, you know, I could -- I got one of those speeding tickets in front of a red light cameras. I was running a red light.

GAINER: We got him now.

BEGALA: Right, I was running a red light. I paid the ticket. But what if I had been in, say, a red light district? What if my girlfriend were with me, or my boyfriend, or a Shetland pony? Why don't you just leave me the hell alone?

GAINER: The nice thing is we don't take pictures of the face. We take pictures of the license plate. But even in the go back to the red light running or speed cameras, it's interesting we talk about how you get caught versus what thing you were doing wrong. So in the camera area for speeding, you have complete control. If you don't want your picture taken, don't speed.

STROSSEN: Yes.

GAINER: If you don't want your picture taken at a red light, don't go through it.

STROSSEN: I知 less troubled by those, as I say, those targeted uses to find people who are committing infractions of the law. What is really bothersome is the surveillance of everybody who happens to be within the gaze of the camera, even if they are not breaking the law. And yet, they are forfeiting privacy.

NOVAK: Ms. Strossen, I don't what world you live in, but the world I live in, I go into the CNN building and there's cameras all over the place, taking my picture. I go into the Department of Commerce for an interview with a government official, there's cameras all over the place. I go into -- I go up to Capitol Hill, go through the -- there's cameras all over. That really doesn't bother me. Are they somehow penetrating my space? Are they violating my right to be alone?

STROSSEN: The difference is we're now talking about a situation where there is going to be nowhere you can go, other than perhaps staying in your own home without having a camera trained on you. All of your movements can be monitored as you go about everyday life, not just going into places that are considered to be high security risk. We are even talking about...

NOVAK: I can't stay home in bed, can I, all day and -- that's an option, isn't it?

STROSSEN: That is exactly the point, that you should not have to have...

GAINER: But it's nowhere near that degree.

STROSSEN: ..a government...

GAINER: Nowhere hear that degree.

STROSSEN: Well, you're saying that we should trust you not to use it to its full potential. And one of the concerns, and I think another distinction from the use of force and firearms is that there has been no discussion, let alone approval, by the elected representatives of the people of this city. There has been no determination that this serves any net beneficial law enforcement purpose. I agree the evidence shows that...

GAINER: Well, because the Supreme Court and the law clearly says -- and there's no expectation of privacy in public space.

STROSSEN: That's not true.

GAINER: We don't -- I thought that was well founded, but I'll give you that one, counsel. But we don't need the permission of the city counsel every time we take enforcement action. On the other hand, we turn to them. I've submitted our proposed rules and regulations. I invited the ACLU into look at we were doing. I gave them a copy of our proposed order. And they came back and said, "Well, we don't think it's fair, so we're not going to comment it."

STROSSEN: That's -- no, that's not.

BEGALA: We're going to take a break.

STROSSEN: OK.

BEGALA: Ms. Strossen and chief. We will be right back, believe me.

And when CROSSFIRE returns, a lot more debate on cameras in public places. And also, why homeland security chief Tom Ridge is dodging a hearing on Capitol Hill.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to the new CROSSFIRE. More now on government surveillance cameras in public places with our guests, Terrance Gainer, the executive assistant police chief of Washington, D.C.'s police department and Nadine Strossen, the president of the American Civil Liberties Union and Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Nadine Strossen, let me try to figure out what's so bad about surveillance cameras. Say I go out to California and I take off on a Sunday afternoon and go out to Malibu, and I知 lying there. And say Barbra Streisand comes up to me and is going to hurt me. You know, wouldn't it be good for the police to be looking to prevent damage being done to me, harm being done to me?

STROSSEN: Well actually, this leads to the point I was going to make in response to the chief's last point, which is no showing has been made that this kind of surveillance is effective or justified at all. And therefore, to say we've got rules and regulations that will make them more effective or minimize their invasion of privacy, the preceeding question is, is it at all effective?

And in fact, the consensus of the evidence based on cities that have used it pervasively, is that it does not reduce crime. Certainly London, which has had the most pervasive surveillance network, there has been not even a correlation with a decrease in crime. And all -- the consensus of law enforcement community seems to be it's far better to take your police force and gauge them in the neighborhoods, in community-based policing, rather than putting them in front of cameras.

NOVAK: Well, I was obviously being facetious, because Barbara Streisand has never attacked me ever, and never had any intent...

STROSSEN: To your regret.

NOVAK: But isn't it -- all in seriousness, wouldn't that be a safety factor for children on the beach to prevent something from happening?

STROSSEN: You know, well we do have this experience. Te British government actually commissioned a detailed three-year study, which I知 sure the chief is familiar with, that was done by the University in Scotland. And they found that there was no -- a positive impact in reducing crime, that there was a lot of abuse as you had bored police officers sitting behind these -- in front of the screens. What they were mostly looking at by the way, were young, attractive women, and young men with dark skin. And so there was video voyeurism. There wasn't crime control.

BEGAL: Let's let the chief respond.

GAINER: You're now a little bit guilty of biased ACLU-ing. I mean, you're categorizing...

STROSSEN: I'm talking about the report.

GAINER: ...all of us. But you know, it's interesting when we talk about England. We hold up England as the model when we talk about gun control. And we poo pooh them when we talk about the cameras. So I never understand where you're coming from on the England analogy.

STROSSEN: Well, I think you know about this country, somethings are good and some are bad, too.

GAINER: But I gave you some examples right at the front end, where I in the past seven days, have very effectively used the cameras. And we're not talking about cameras replacing police officers. We're talking about another tool. Just the same way eventually we got into squad cars off of horses and bikes. And we use computers, rather than writing on papers. It has to be controlled. It has to be reasonable. It shouldn't be pervasive. It shouldn't be an invasion of privacy. And that's not the way we operate.

BEGALA: Again, this question that raised before that -- because we got off into my red light running problems, is that how do you control what others do with that tape? Again, you can much more easily control what a cop does with his gun. Everty time that gun's discharged, there's almost always a witness. You can follow through and you know. But other people, little people who I don't have as much faith in as I do you, will get a hold of this tape. Believe me, chief. This I know.

I don't know policing. I know PR. I know politics. Someone's going to get those tapes and use them for nefarious purposes. How do you control that?

GAINER: Well, several ways. Number one, when we talk about tapes, that's not the technology we're in. We're talking about digital, wireless recording. They're in a computer. And we have control over who has access to the computer. And I think...

BEGALA: But even a nine-year-old can hack a computer at the Pentagon.

GAINER: There is always a possibility that some system could be compromised, even someone could be hacking in to the TV and putting out another voice as we sit. But that's not very likely.

BEGALA: Happens to Novak a lot.

GAINER: But what we do is we have rules and regulations and controls and audits. And again, I invite people in. Come in, watch what we're doing.

STROSSEN: But why even take the risks, unless you have -- the government has first satisfied some burden that this is going to be useful? There is not a...

GAINER: My word is not enough and my experience? STROSSEN: No, because the experience that we've had in Australia, the experience we've had in London, the experience we've had in this country...

GAINER: But this is America.

STROSSEN: ...in Detroit, you know that after years of using it, Detroit abandoned it because it was not effective. It was a waste of money. It was the worst of both worlds. Invading privacy without improving safety.

GAINER: But we are not invading -- the one thing we have to be -- this is not an invasion of privacy.

BEGALA: I want to ask you about one more thing, unrelated matter, but you are here and you gained national fame for your work in looking for a disappeared Washington intern, Chandra Levy. She disappeared a year ago this week. What's the latest on that case?

GAINER: We're still working the case. We have investigators assigned to it. The grand jury, the U.S. Attorney's working it. There's private investigators. And anybody who has information should contact us at (202) 727-9099.

BEGAL: The case is not cold?

GAINER: Absolute -- well, it's getting old, but we haven't quit on it.

NOVAK: Chief, thank you very much and Nadine Strossen.

STROSSEN: Thank you both very much.

NOVAK: Chief Gainer, thank you very much.

Coming up a little later, your onley chance to fire back at us. Also, "round 6," Begala and I take the gloves off and go at it over efforts by some on Capitol Hill to get homeland security director Tom Ridge to testify.

(COMMERICIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Time now for "round 6," where Novak and I go at it. No guests, no gloves, no holds barred. And only one topic tonight, the standoff continues. Both sides making threats, calling names, digging in. No, not in the Middle East, but on Capitol Hill. The issue, whether homeland security director Tom Ridge should testify before the Congress as lawmakers consider the $38 billion dollar budget request for homeland security.

Bob, this is a no brainer. That guy wants to spend $38 billion of our money, he should be accountable to the people who write the checks.

NOVAK: Well, if you knew a little bit about the way American government works, you'd know that we're dating all the way back to Harry Hopkins. With FDR, they refused to testify before Congress, personal aides. Now what we all know is that Senator Byrd, who wants to take all this homeland security money and transfer it to west Virginia, where he lives, that he wants to -- he loves to beat up our government administration officials.

And so, what the administration is doing, they're saying, Senator Byrd, we're going to send the Agriculture Secretary. We're going to send the Treasury secretary. Both of them appeared there today. And they can give you a testimony about their part of homeland security, but Tom Ridge is a personal aide to the president. And he should not, under the American tradition, have to testify.

BEGALA: Well, let me tell you the American tradition. First off, Gerald Ford, a Republican, but a fine president, testified before the Congress of the United States as president. When I worked for Bill Clinton in the White House, not me, but most of his personnel aides were summoned up there. Take a look. This is just the four or five most famous that we saw. John Podesta, the chief of staff to the president of the United States. No more personal aide was there. Hauled up there to testify. George Stephanopoulos, Harold Ickes, the deputy chief of staff. Maggie Williams, the chief of staff to the First Lady. All of them hauled up there to the Hill by Republicans.

Now all of a sudden they're saying this guy can't explain the $38 billion?

NOVAK: Can I explain to you the difference? They were brought up to testify on criminal charges against the president of the United States.

BEGAL: No, they were not.

NOVAK: Wait. And if I could speak while you're interrupting.

BEGALA: No. While I知 answering while you are misleading.

NOVAK: And they were called up there, not to talk about policy questions. They were called up to talk about criminal matters. You know, this was a very difficult period for all of us. And naturally, they had to testify. Now if Tom Ridge, if there were a impeachment proceeding against President Bush, I'd say Tom Ridge would have to testify.

Every one of these guys testified long before that right-wing lynch mob tried to impeach Clinton. What this was -- so this is a Novak rule. If you spend $38 billion of our money trying to save our lives, well we won't ask any questions. But if you happen to work for a good president, a great president, we're going to harass you every day of the week.

NOVAK: Who has criminal charges against him, yes.

BEGALA: He didn't at the time.

NOVAK: Straight ahead on CROSSFIRE, your big chance to fire back at us. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Ready, aim, fire back. Or in the case of some of our e-mails, ready, fire, aim. Let's open the old e-mail bag.

This is the first one from Richard Rich, Wexford, Pennsylvania.

NOVAK: Richie rich? Is that Richie Rich?

BEGALA: Richie Rich. He's probably a Republican, one of your guys.

Oh, no. "Bob Novak seems to like Saudi Arabia. Could it be the very chauvinistic regime is the reason he would feel at home?"

NOVAK: Well, he's trying to be insulting, but I do like Saudi Arabia. I had a very good time there, I enjoy it. It's a lot of oil. 10 cents a gallon gasoline. How can you beat it?

BEGALA: And women can't vote or drive.

NOVAK: I know. Oh, I'm sorry.

BEGALA: This ones yours.

NOVAK: I was just thinking about that. Scott, my old buddy, Scott from LaBelle, Idaho says, "Paul, although this program is certainly more entertaining than it has been in the past, I find I can't believe a word you say because of your role as a spinmeister in the Clinton White House."

BEGALA: What did he not believe? The 24 million new jobs, the lowest crime rate in history, the lowest welfare rates in history, the greatest president in my lifetime? Scott?

Here's Dano in Salone Springs, Arkansas. Book 'em Dano or maybe Dano. "I finally figured out why Novak is called the Prince of Darkness. His small mind is too closed to allow light. He and the squeaky boy tie seem to think that volume control compensate for lack of intelligence."

NOVAK: They call me the prince of darkness because I believe in limited government, low taxes and personal liberty.

BEGALA: All right. Fair enough.

NOVAK: OK, Robert Cook III from Cottage Grove, Oregon says, "It is a good thing our government is not run the way you run your show. Nothing would ever get settled and this country would always be at war." He may have a point.

BEGALA: But the ratings would be great, Robert. And that's what we're here for.

NOVAK:: OK, first question out there. ALLISON KURASO: Yes, I知 Allison Kuraso from South Riding, Virginia. And my question is for Mr. Novak. I would argue that we, the U.S., Work to subvert the U.N. When it best serves our purposes. So why should we be expecting other nations like Israel in this instance to be acting differently? Should we be setting a better example?

NOVAK: I think somebody has to investigate what happened there and Israel is making a serious mistake. I don't know that the U.N. is the best way to do it but there needs to be an international group that is doing the investigating.

BEGALA: Good question though. Yes, sir, your question?

TIM FONCY: My name is Tim Foncy. I'm from Brentwood, New Jersey. I wanted to ask this to Mr. Begala. I'd like to ask you if storing the nation's nuclear waste at one site would improve national security considering the transportation issues?

BEGALA: Yes, honestly, I don't know enough about it. My inclination is no. It scares me to see all of that nuclear waste from all around the country moved around. But I知 open to it. My bigger problem is that when Governor Bush was running, he went to Nevada ask said I won't dump nuclear waste there. And he lied.

NOVAK: Oh, he had to wait to the last minute before the nightly Bush bashing.

BEGALA: And ain't ever going to stop. I don't like him. I don't support his policies.

NOVAK: He's our president. Get over it.

BEGALA: No, he shouldn't be lying to people in Nevada. I ain't going to stop.

NOVAK: Question?

BILL LEAPER: Hi, Bill Leaper from Fresno, California. My question, is there a bright line between the use of cameras in commercial areas versus residential areas? And who's going to make the decision?

NOVAK: Is what?

BEGALA: Is there a bright line? I don't know. I don't think there is. I wish Chief Gainer were still here. I think what a lot of civil libertarians are concerned about is that once you start, and maybe it's legitimate at certain security areas, obviously it's legitimate. But once you start, then it can be in our neighborhood.

NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) thing about Nevada. The thing that they're worried about that is it's going to disturb the gamblers when they're shooting craps. They got 70 miles away, the got some nuclear waste. Ridiculous. BEGALA: Yes, it's just that he said he wasn't going to do it. And then he flip-flopped. Well, he lied. From the left, I'm Paul Begala. Good-night for CROSSFIRE.

NOVAK: From the right, I'm Robert Novak. Join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

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