CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Living with the Terrorist Threat; What do Americans Think about Government's Efforts to Protect?; Planning but no Plan for Iraq Invasion
Aired May 23, 2002 - 16:00 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.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Living with the terrorist threat. Assessing America's homeland defense, and new information about an intended target on September 11th.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider. Americans are more concerned about another terror attack. But what do they think about government's efforts to protect them?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon. A lot of planning for a possible Iraq invasion but no plan. I'll tell you why.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And at the Rock Creek Park, investigators are combing an area, just as curious about what they found of the Chandra Levy remains. Not only curious about that, but curious about where they found it -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. The recent stream of high- level warnings about future terror attacks have heightened Americans' awareness and driven home the importance of homeland defense efforts. Today in Germany, President Bush said that Saddam Hussein represents a threat which cannot be ignored. And here in the U.S., new details emerge about the intended targets on September 11th.
A little earlier I asked Tom Ridge, director of homeland security, about the succession of terror warnings in recent days. And if we can expect to see more of these warnings from various government agencies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: I must tell you that across the desk of the director of the CIA and the FBI, I mean, there are potentially pages and pages.
And the whole notion that you have to sort through all of these things to -- some of which we will dismiss, some of which we'll go back and double-check, and some of which are of such gravity, not major, but of such substance, that we may go back and have the FAA issue, just a warning, double-check. Have the FBI talk to 18,000 law enforcement agencies, say go back and double-check the security procedures.
I think that's something that is commonplace and we've been doing it for a long time. I'm not sure that we have done -- the context within which America needs to accept and understand this information is as well understood, and I think that's incumbent upon us to make that clear to the American public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Tom Ridge, talking a little earlier today. All of the public discussion about the possibility of new attacks has renewed Americans' focus on the terrorist threat. For more on what people are thinking, we turn to CNN senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.
Bill, are the administration's warnings about all these possible attacks making Americans more worried?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, they are. The number of Americans who say that a terrorist attack is likely in the next few weeks has gone up, from just over half in March, to nearly 2/3 now. , this comes after a week of warnings from the -- what the White House calls the near certainty of suicide bombings, attacks on national landmarks and other terrorist activities.
But the public's concern is surprisingly politicized. Conservatives are much more likely than liberals to be concerned about new terrorist attacks. It's interesting that how seriously you take the threat depends on your politics.
WOODRUFF: Fascinating. All right, well, if Americans are worried, do they think the government can protect them?
SCHNEIDER: They do, yes, they do. But that confidence has slipped in recent weeks. In March, 82 percent expressed confidence that the government could protect U.S. citizens from future terrorist attacks. Now 76 percent are confident.
Confidence has gone up among men and down among women. Now, that change appears to be more psychological than political. Men have more confidence in the military than women do.
WOODRUFF: All of which bears more watching.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thanks very much.
Well, the capture of a senior al Qaeda leader has yielded new information about the September 11th attacks and possible clues about future terror plans. Our national security correspondent David Ensor has more.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House was indeed the target of the terrorists on United flight 93, according the senior al Qaeda prisoners, say U.S. officials. The fourth hijacked plane instead ended up in a field in Pennsylvania, killing all on board.
On balance, one official said, American interrogators tend to believe Abu Zubaydah on this one, though they look at everything he and other prisoners tell them with skepticism, suspecting some of it may be lies designed to sow panic or test the nation's defenses.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: They want to learn how we respond that kind of a warning. And they jerk us around, try to jerk us around and test us, stress our force, in a way.
ENSOR: However, officials say Abu Zubaydah has told his interrogators things that have not been made public, that U.S. officials have been able to corroborate using other intelligence methods. The warning that New York landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty might be targeted came in part, officials say, from Abu Zubaydah.
Former CIA operations officers say when the U.S. or its allies are interrogating a prisoner abroad to try to avert terrorism, some of the techniques can include: isolation, no visitors, no television, no daylight. Rewards and punishments, cigarettes, favorite food, versus bread and water.
Creating a new false reality for the prisoner using false newspapers or radio broadcasts, for example, designed to convince him that Osama bin Laden is already dead. The techniques do not include torture.
Currently serving U.S. officials will not comment on where Abu Zubaydah is being held or how they are trying to get him to talk. But they do say that there's a real sense of urgency -- a hope to save lives from additional terrorism -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: So, David, would they rank someone like Zubaydah, who was a top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden, as someone near the top of their list of possible sources of information, in the middle, or what? How do they rank this kind of information?
ENSOR: Well, he was a key man at the very top of al Qaeda. He was the operations chief. He knew who was assigned to do what. So he's a key source of information. But they don't trust him. They fear that some of what he may be telling them may be information designed to confuse or test our defenses. So they're taking it very seriously, but they're cross-checking it against other intelligence.
In the case of the White House having been the target, they have other evidence that causes them to believe that. Same goes for the landmarks in New York.
WOODRUFF: All right. David Ensor. thanks very much.
As we know, the war on terrorism, main agenda item for President Bush during his trip to Europe. Just a few hours ago he was welcomed to Moscow with a brief ceremony. Before he left Berlin earlier, Mr. Bush said Europe is vulnerable to terror attacks similar to September 11th.
He also addressed calls here in the U.S. for an outside commission to investigate alleged intelligence failures preceding the September attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I of course want the Congress to take a look at what took place prior to September the 11th. But since it deals with such sensitive information, in my judgment it is best for the ongoing war against terror that the investigation be done in the intelligence committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: In his speech to the German parliament today, Mr. Bush also addressed the question of Iraq, and reports that the U.S. is considering an attack against Saddam Hussein. Our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, reports that the plans do exist, but they are not on the fast track.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): When it comes to invading Iraq, Pentagon sources say there is a lot of planning, but no plan. That's essentially what President Bush told German Chancellor Schroeder during his stop in Berlin.
BUSH: I told the chancellor that I have no war plans on my desk, which is the truth. And that we've got to use all means at our disposal. to deal with Saddam Hussein.
MCINTYRE: Sources say Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has told Pentagon planners to come up with something more imaginative than a repeat of the 1991 Gulf War, which required half a million troops and a six-month build-up.
One idea advanced by some civilian advisers is to avoid Baghdad altogether. Instead, as few as 40,000 troops could take control of the north and south, take over Iraq's oil fields and strangle Saddam Hussein economically. The Bush administration continues to say, all options are on the table.
RUMSFELD: They are diplomatic steps. There are economic steps. We're using these northern and southern no-fly zones now to keep them constrained.
MCINTYRE: For the third time in just over two weeks, Iraq has fired missiles at planes patrolling the no-fly zones. And the U.S. has responded by taking out a suspected command in control center in the south.
(END VIDEOTAPE) And as CNN reported two months ago, there are practical concerns among some military officers that have kept the Iraq attack plans on the back burner. For instance, there's a need to get back some of the elite special forces and give them time to rest up from Afghanistan, as well as move some critical assets that are in short supply, things like unmanned spy planes, that would be needed for military operations in Iraq -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Jamie, separately, we know you're working on another story at the Pentagon, a different story altogether, about U.S. military personnel and chemical weapons back in the 1960s?
MCINTYRE: This is one of those Cold War stories where things were a lot different back in the '60s. The Pentagon today, this afternoon, has admitted, for the first time, I believe, that the U.S. conducted tests in the 1960s designed to see how U.S. ships could withstand a chemical or biological attack.
And for the first time they've admitted that some actual biological agents and nerve gas were used in these attacks, including deadly serin and VX gas, in small amounts. Some of the tests were also conducted with simulants that were supposed to simulate how chemicals or biological agents would act, but were not supposed to be harmful.
Although in retrospect, now, one of those simulants is also believed to be something that could cause ill health effects. Again, this came as a response from complaints from some veterans, nearly 50 years afterwards, that they were suffering health effects and they thought they might have been exposed to something during these tests.
Up to now, the Pentagon had said only harmless substances were used. Today, six different tests were -- the results were released an declassified, indicating that in some cases, actual nerve and biological agents were used in these tests, without the informed consent of those service members -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: I know that's a story you're going to be working on, among other things, asking why it took so long for the Pentagon to make this information public. All right, Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon. Thanks, Jamie.
With the mystery of Chandra Levy's whereabouts solved now, police in Washington have turned their attention to how the missing intern died. Today police cadets searched Rock Creek Park, where Levy's body was found, for more possible evidence.
CNN's Bob Franken is covering the story at Rock Creek Park. He's with us now -- Bob.
FRANKEN: Judy, as a matter of fact, going on right now just behind me, various police officers are extending the crime scene. It was down the road maybe a quarter of a mile. But now, as you can see, they are placing police tape up where we are. That is going to be of course so they can search this area, looking for clues, looking for some of the remains that were scattered, looking for remnants of clothing.
As you pointed out, some of the recruits from the police academy were here earlier today. They were being used to sweep this area, too. Of course, they're looking for remains, as I pointed out. But what they're looking for has become no more important, according police officers, than where they found them.
It turns out that police are very, very interested in a man who was charged and convicted for two assaults on female joggers in this area. He's a man who is now in prison -- a man who is known as Ingmar Guandique. And he is charged with the crime of assault, serving 10 years, as a matter of fact, in a prison in North Carolina, for attacking two women. One of them in July, but one of them in May.
Both of the women were able to escape. He was carrying a knife. He was reported to police and they arrested him. We got a fuller description from a spokesman for the park police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. SCOTT FEAH, U.S. PARK POLICE: Back in May of last year, 2001, a subject grabbed a woman from behind, a female jogger, and produced a knife. The female struggled very quickly and was able to get away. Later in July, a very similar thing happened. A female jogger, a subject grabbed the female from behind. A struggle ensued. The female quickly got away. And 45 minutes after that attack, United States Park Police caught the subject and he was convicted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCINTYRE: As you just witnessed, Judy , this is an investigation that is ongoing. They're going in a variety of different directions and expanding it, as you just saw here.
As for Congressman Gary Condit, he is hoping that this investigation and the discovery of the remains, in words of one of his close sources, will "exonerate him." The police of course are investigating every possible lead. He has been one of the most prominent parts of this investigation. But now they're going in very many directions -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Franken reporting from Rock Creek Park. In just a few moments I'll be talking with a reporter from "The Washington Post" about this investigation, Mark Fisher.
A Senate committee issues subpoenas to the Bush White House. At issue, contacts with Enron. We'll discuss this and other issues "On the Record" with Republican Senator Fred Thompson.
Plus, Tom Daschle ascended to majority leader a year ago. Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile will consider his time on the job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JIM JEFFORDS (I), VERMONT: I will leave the Republican Party and become an independent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The man Tom Daschle can thank for his job on job promotion. A look back at Jim Jeffords and his big decision.
WOODRUFF: "On the Record" today, Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee. He is the ranking Republican on the governmental affairs committee.
Senator, thank you for joining us from Capitol Hill. As you know, you are ranking member on that committee, which voted yesterday to subpoena all information at the White House, other parts of the Bush administration, about any contacts having to do with Enron.
Now, the chairman of the committee, Joe Lieberman, said this is necessary because the White House hasn't gone along with earlier requests. Why did you vote against it?
SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R), TENNESSEE: Well, I think first of all, you need to keep in mind the purpose of the investigation, at least, as the chairman stated at the outset. And that had to do with the financial collapse of Enron and whether or not our federal agencies could have done anything to prevent it.
Unfortunately for the majority, the White House doesn't have anything to do with any of those things. So, before we got all of the information in from the agencies and all of the other people that we've all agreed on, either need to be investigated and talked to, before we even got that in, they chose to launch a real massive subpoena, really, that covered about 1,600 people in the executive office of the president, including the foreign intelligence advisory board and the legal councils, office of the president and all of that, without any reason to do so.
There is no indication of any impropriety or wrongdoing, or relevance to what is supposed to be the purpose of the committee. So while we on the Republican side have gone along with everything up until now -- and a bunch of subpoenas up until now -- this is just going right into the heart of presidential privilege and prerogative.
Now, the White House is cooperating on a lot of things that they probably legally don't have to. But this is going too far.
WOODRUFF: Well, among other things, for example, the White House put out this fairly detailed summary of various meetings between the vice president and people from Enron, Karl Rove and others. Something like 34 contacts, a number of which had not been disclosed previously.
I guess my question is, if they're going to the trouble to do all this, why not release the documents themselves?
THOMPSON: Well, it's not the same documents. I mean, you have to understand, the subpoenas, as they're worded, are extremely broad. It could cover conversations between the president and the vice president and other executive branch officials. Clearly, privileged material.
It's easy enough to say, well, make the president claim privilege. But that's not the way we should operate. We should show a reason and a need, other than mere suspicion. And of course the concern is, that this is a very popular president, and so let's just get into him.
Even though there's no indication of any reason to do so, let's just get in there and mull around and perhaps something will come out of it that we can talk about.
WOODRUFF: So you're saying it's just political motivation, on the part of your Democratic colleagues?
THOMPSON: No, I'm not saying it's just anything. And I wouldn't question anybody's motivation. All I know is what I view my responsibility, and that is to go after things that are relevant and needed, wherever they are, as we've done before.
But to draw the line when, clearly, the White House is attempting to cooperate, sending messages up. They were going to send some more stuff over today. And the push is on, much earlier than we'd done in times past in other investigations, and much broader than the circumstances warrant.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about another call for an investigation that. Of course, that is into whether there were any intelligence failures. What happened in the administration, with regard to what information it had before 9/11. As you know, there is now rising course of calls, including among Republicans, for an outside, independent commission, not just the Senate and House intelligence committees.
In fact, your own Republican colleague, John McCain, is saying that an outside body is needed to look at everything that went wrong. You disagree with that -- why?
THOMPSON: Well, I don't necessarily -- I don't totally disagree with that. It depends. And here's the reason that I put it that way. Usually around here when something important happens, we call for a joint bicameral, bipartisan investigation. The problem this time is that we've already got one.
And so now they're rationing it to the next level and calling for an independent commission. I'd be against a contemporaneous commission that would be competitive, and would have a bunch of politicians on it, and things of that nature, strictly focussing on September 11th.
I would be for a commission if we could get to the heart of the problem that's been longstanding in this country. And that is the deficiencies in our intelligence community, and the reasons for them.
It certainly preceded 9/11 by several years. And if we could get a group of independent experts to take their time and do it behind closed doors with the classified information that they would have and make a report, I could support something like that.
Neither one of those things are on the table right new. That's not exactly what McCain and Lieberman are proposing.
WOODRUFF: But you're saying, once the intelligence committees were to do their work, whatever it is, you would be willing to support something longer term, independent, that might follow on the heels of that.
THOMPSON: I would not rule that out. It wouldn't necessarily have to be totally after what we did. But we have to keep in mind, we've got a self-imposed time limitation on us by the end of this year. The problem is massive.
If we can come up with a few embarrassing memos, and who shot John type items, and try to throw blame back and forth with regard to 9/11, 9/11 is the tip of the iceberg. The problem is much greater than that. It's much more extensive. It goes into the heart of a couple of giant bureaucracies that need shaking up.
And we need to focus on what we can do long-range for the security of the country. I would not rule such a look -- if we could get that, in this partisan atmosphere we're in now, if we could get that, I would not rule that out.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're listening to you. Senator Fred Thompson, thank you so much for joining us.
THOMPSON: Thanks a lot.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you. We appreciate it.
And coming up next, Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan on Enron information and more. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Checking our INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," President Bush is in Moscow after wrapping up his visit to Berlin. Tomorrow Mr. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to sign a treaty to reduce nuclear forces.
On the terrorism front, sources say Abu Zubaydah, a senior al Qaeda leader captured by U.S. forces, has given new details about the September 11th attacks. The sources say Zubaydah claims the terrorists who seized control of United Airlines flight 93 wanted to crash the plane into the White House. The jet crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers struggled with the hijackers.
In Washington, police have turned their focus in the Chandra Levy case to how the former intern died. Investigators are said to be looking into a possible connection with two prior assaults on women in Rock Creek Park, where Levy's body was found. A man has been arrested and convicted in connection with those assaults. With us now, former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause. Bay, as I was just talking to Senator Fred Thompson just a few moments ago about, as you know, a subpoena now coming from the Senate government affairs committee saying to the White House, turn over everything you have on Enron. Is this something that Congress has to do in order to get this information?
BAY BUCHANAN, AMERICAN CAUSE: No, it absolutely is not. The White House has been working with the Senate. They've been turning stuff over. They've been meeting with them. As I understand, the requests are not clear. They're not focused. They're very broad, but the White House has been most willing to work with them.
All this is about is the Democrats are absolutely desperate for an issue here, Judy. And so in order to hype this, to get more national attention, to suggest some kind of wrongdoing, they have decided to go right to the subpoenas. There is absolutely no need for them and also there is not even a whiff, not even as much as one iota of information that would suggest any kind of wrongdoing by this White House.
WOODRUFF: So, Senator Thompson said it is not politics, but you're saying it's politics.
BUCHANAN: I'm saying it's all politics. And just there's no question in my mind that that is what it is.
DONNA BRAZILE, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's not politics.
Look, Senator Lieberman has tried for months now to get information out of the White House. He is probably one of the most moderate, centrist Democrats on Capitol Hill. He is not a real political attack dog. And what he was trying to do is get general information out of the White House. That's why he waited so long, waited very patiently for the White House to release this data.
And, look, we learned new information. We learned that Kenneth Lay has been to the White House numerous times. He's made a lot of phone calls. He's met with Karl Rove. He's even enjoyed the Easter egg roll. And, look...
BUCHANAN: You know...
BRAZILE: Bay, tomorrow is a holiday weekend. The White House, Bush is out of the country. I don't know where Cheney is. He's probably in hiding in a cave. They just should dump all this information tomorrow right after Judy gets off the show, so that we can just get a fresh start next week.
BUCHANAN: Yes, listen, they turned over an enormous amount of material today, which the committee hadn't even had a chance to look at. And on came the subpoenas without even finding out what the White House had given them.
And you talk about this moderate Lieberman. Lieberman is one of your wanna-bes, presidential wanna-bes. He's looking to grandstand. He's looking for an issue. There's a Pew poll out today that shows that Democrats, 50 percent of the Democrats do not believe Democratic leaders are doing what they should do. They are desperate. They have got five months yet. And they are looking for an issue. And nothing will stick on the president. They have nothing. It is groundless.
BRAZILE: Well, they should release the data.
BRAZILE: It is a great holiday weekend to release the information.
BUCHANAN: They did. They released it.
BRAZILE: No, they released it as a result of the subpoena. And they should just do
BUCHANAN: No, they did not. That was coming out. That was all coming out.
WOODRUFF: We're going to change the subject just slightly here. We're still talking about the Senate, but we're about to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Democrats being in control, in the majority in the Senate.
BRAZILE: I'm going to celebrate. Bay is probably going to go in hiding tomorrow.
WOODRUFF: Since you all agree on everything else, I know you are not going to agree on this.
BUCHANAN: You know, this celebrating Daschle's leadership, as I just referred to a poll, the Democrats are not -- and the Democratic people in this country are unhappy with Democratic leaders.
That's what they have done: absolutely nothing in one year. They can't even keep their base happy. They have nothing to take credit for.
BRAZILE: That's not the case.
BUCHANAN: It is a sad commentary. And I think they should be worried about November.
WOODRUFF: So, Tom Daschle gets what grade after a year?
BUCHANAN: He gets a "D."
BRAZILE: A "D"? No, no, no that's his name, Daschle.
BUCHANAN: That's right. BRAZILE: He gets an A-minus.
BUCHANAN: An A-minus for what? Tell me something.
BRAZILE: He's been the great equalizer. He put the balance back in checks and balance. He broke the logjam on campaign finance reform. The first bill he put out there was a patient's bill of rights.
We got -- the election reform bill is resolved. We also got a farm bill with a little poured gravy and rice and everything else. So, I think Tom Daschle has done a great job in leading a Senate that is equally divided.
BUCHANAN: Well, then, let me ask you, Donna, if he's doing such a great job, why are the Democrats unhappy? I know why the Republicans wouldn't be happy, but the Democrats. He hasn't hit the radar screen with his own people.
BRAZILE: Well, you know, we have 166 days before the election cycle. And I guarantee you, before November 5, the Democrats will be very excited about...
BUCHANAN: Absolutely. The clock is ticking. That's what I'm saying.
BRAZILE: Absolutely. Absolutely.
BUCHANAN: The desperate party last week assaulted the president on ungrounded facts.
BRAZILE: A very focused, a very energized party.
And once we put out the information on what the Democrats intend to run on, you will find that Democrats across the board will be raring to go and cast their ballot.
BUCHANAN: Utterly desperate party looking for an issue, looking for traction, can't get it. And the clock is ticking.
BRAZILE: We're not selling photos.
WOODRUFF: Tick, tick, tick.
BRAZILE: We're selling...
BUCHANAN: They're not selling issues either.
BRAZILE: ... to give seniors a prescription drug benefit.
BUCHANAN: You are changing the whole focus of what you are doing, because you failed for the one year you have had it.
BRAZILE: Look, the only reason why George W. Bush can say that he's an education president is because people like Ted Kennedy and George Miller helped him put that bill forward. So, it's Democrats that have helped this Republican Party. And now it's time for the Democrats to start focusing on domestic issues, while we have an advantage on the environment, an advantage on the economy.
BUCHANAN: Put the Republicans in the leadership position and you'll bring the Democrats right behind. I think that works as a great formula. And now we have just got to put Republicans in the leadership in the Senate as well.
BRAZILE: So, what, so we can get more Enrons and more tax breaks?
BUCHANAN: There's nothing wrong with meeting with people in this country. There's nothing illegal or unethical about that. And Ken Lay...
BRAZILE: Then disclose it.
BUCHANAN: ... in the Lincoln Bedroom with Clinton.
BRAZILE: Must have been a nice rest.
BUCHANAN: He rented it. It probably
WOODRUFF: All right, on that point, which may come back.
BRAZILE: I don't cover sleeping in the White House.
WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there, but we love listening to both of you.
Bay Buchanan, Donna Brazile, thank you both.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We'll see you. Have a good Memorial weekend.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
BUCHANAN: Same to you.
WOODRUFF: All right.
And we would like you to give us your opinions on all these topics and more at CNN.com/INSIDEPOLITICS. Plus, don't forget to e- mail Bill Schneider with your ideas for the "Political Play of the Week."
Over the years, Berlin has been a key stop for American presidents who are visiting Europe. Well, it was President Bush's first stop on this current European tour. When we return, Jeff Greenfield gives us a history lesson on presidential visits to Germany.
WOODRUFF: George W. Bush is just the latest in a long line of U.S. presidents who have made Germany a must stop while visiting Europe.
That is Jeff Greenfield's focus in today's "Bite of the Apple" -- Jeff.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Well, Judy, the president's speech today in Berlin was in fact part of a long tradition.
Every president, from the end of World War II on, has visited Germany. Some have uttered memorable words. But there is more than rhetoric at work here. What presidents have said and done has helped define more than a half-century of our history.
(voice-over): 1945: America's new president, Harry Truman, travels to Potsdam, a city in the defeated German empire. He meets with the Soviet Union's Stalin and newly elected British Prime Minister Clement Atlee to help chart the post-war world. Only three years later, as Moscow threatens to starve the enclave of West Berlin into submission, Truman orders a massive airlift to supply the besieged city. It works. Stalin backs down.
1963: At the height of the Cold War, President Kennedy receives a hero's welcome as he speaks in the shadow of the Berlin Wall and proclaims his support for a free Germany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ich bin ein Berliner!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: 1983: President Ronald Reagan places intermediate- range missiles in Germany. The move angers Moscow, but it also convinces the Soviets that the West can and will spend the Soviet Union into bankruptcy in the arms race.
And four years later, as cracks in the Cold War begin to appear, Reagan travels to Berlin with this challenge:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: Two years later, the wall came down and the Cold War effectively ended.
GREENFIELD: So, in sum, American presidents have gone to Germany because it was at the center of Cold War issues. And now? Well, it is still at the center of our concerns. The nationalists in Europe -- in, Britain, France, Holland -- fear Germany's economic might.
Germany's support is critical to any broad-based war on terror. A Germany angered at protectionist policies in the United States could severely damage our export business. So, Cold War or no, Judy, Germany will still be a major focus of any president's attention.
WOODRUFF: Jeff, we never get tired of watching those videos of Presidents Kennedy and Reagan at the Wall. Thanks.
WOODRUFF: Well, just ahead: The discovery of Chandra Levy's body puts the Washington Metropolitan police force and its track record back in the spotlight.
WOODRUFF: The discovery of Chandra Levy's body more than a year after the intern's disappearance puts the Metropolitan police force here in Washington and its track record back in the spotlight.
Washington police have been criticized in the past for failing to solve homicides and missing-persons cases. A check of police statistics shows that 333 missing-persons cases still open, some of them dating back to the early '80s. In the 1990s, there were 1,500 unsolved homicides. And, in 1999, only 37 percent of the homicides in Washington were solved.
Marc Fisher, with "The Washington Post," is here to talk more about the police department and its track record.
Marc, first of all, how would you describe -- what kind of job would you say the police department has done just on the Levy investigation? MARC FISHER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, it's been spotty.
They're getting a lot of criticism now for not having found this body, for leaving it to someone who was out with his dog to find the body in Rock Creek Park. But, in fact, they took -- they did quite an extensive search of certain portions of the park. Now, as it turns out, they did not look where this body was found. And I suppose you could criticize them on that.
But this is a vast park of 2,800 acres. They searched 1,700 acres of that. And they searched particularly in another section of the park, where they had some reason to believe Chandra may have been heading that day. So, if you talk to police experts around the country, they are pretty clear that this kind of search often comes up empty. And you really can't blame them for that in this case, I think.
WOODRUFF: How does their track record in solving murders and missing-persons cases compare to that of other cities of comparable size and comparable demographics and so forth?
FISHER: Well, that's where the Washington Police Department is more vulnerable. This is a very troubled homicide division, has been for many years.
And they've made several attempts at reorganizing it and trying new strategies to get that closure rate, the percentage of cases that they actually solve, up from what is a pretty abysmal low. They've made some progress in the last couple of years. They've reorganized. They've hired an FBI expert to come in, in a senior position in the homicide squad.
But they lost a lot of their top people, a lot of their experts a few years ago. And they're still struggling to come back from that. This is a department that has been troubled for quite some time on several fronts: training, the use of force, and so on. But Chief Ramsey, who has taken a very personal, hands-on approach with the Chandra Levy case, has made some very definite progress in bringing the numbers up and in regaining the confidence of people who live in Washington.
WOODRUFF: Why has this department been so troubled, as you put it?
FISHER: Well, part of it is a historic situation, where they have had a lot of -- they were under tremendous pressure to hire up back in the early '90s, when the city was undergoing a crack epidemic and there was an enormous increase in murders and other violence.
And so they dropped some of their standards. They actually stopped doing psychological testing of recruits for a couple of years. And that brought in a couple of classes of police recruits who went on to cause quite a bit of trouble, and disproportionately used force, and were accused in brutality cases. And so, it took them a number of years to start weeding out some of those police officers and also reinstating much tougher standards, which they have now done. WOODRUFF: Well, clearly, this is a city where the federal government has some say about how much money is spent and how the city is run, to a degree. How much satisfaction is there, not only among Congress, members of Congress, but also among the people who live in the city?
FISHER: Well, interestingly, public confidence in the police department is higher than you'd expect.
Part of that is pride in it being our own police department, one of the aspects of home rule that the city has pretty firm control over. Part of it is a matter of ethnic pride, a majority black city with a majority black police force and a black police chief as well. But, also, there is a sense that this is a department that has raised its standards and that is trying to be more professional.
They have cut way down on the use of force. There have been far fewer complaints of brutality in the last couple of years. So, there is progress. But, as the Chandra Levy case points out, this is still a department that's trying to make it back to average, let's say.
WOODRUFF: All right, Marc Fisher, with "The Washington Post," thanks very much for talking with us. We appreciate it.
Well, checking the headlines now in our "Campaign News Daily": New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo today announced his pick for a running mate. Lawyer Charles King will run for lieutenant governor, forming a team with Cuomo in his run for governor. King and Cuomo plan to gather 15,000 signatures to force their way into the Democratic primary. Cuomo's rival, Carl McCall, won the support of the state party convention today after Cuomo decided to skip the gathering.
San Fernando Valley residents who want to secede from Los Angeles have won a key victory. A regional commission has voted to put the secession request on the November ballot. But opponents say they will go to court to block the measure. If successful, San Fernando Valley would immediately become one of the nation's 10 largest cities.
The man who admitted making illegal campaign contributions to Senator Robert Torricelli was sentenced today in New Jersey. David Chang was given 18 months plus one day in federal prison. He admitted making more than $53,000 in illegal donations to Torricelli's campaign. Prosecutors investigated Torricelli's finances for three years, but never filed any charges.
One year later, we revisit the dramatic power shift on Capitol Hill: Senator Jim Jeffords and the decision that changed the balance of power in Washington.
WOODRUFF: One year ago, Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont did what many Republicans considered unthinkable. He left the Republican Party and became an independent, handing Democrats control of the Senate. Well, today at the Capitol, Democrats rallied to commemorate the event, and Jeffords shoulder to shoulder with the man he made majority leader, Senator Tom Daschle.
Our Jonathan Karl was also out front on this story from the very beginning. And he joins me now from Capitol Hill -- hello, Jon.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Judy.
Well, if you remember, during those frenzied last few days before Jeffords actually made his decision, Republicans made a last-ditch effort -- Republicans right up to the vice president and the president -- to try to get him to stay in the Republican Party.
But what we didn't know at the time is about the efforts of Jeffords' closest friends and advisers. And his own family members also tried to talk him out of leaving the Republican Party. I talked to Jeffords about that extraordinary aspect of the story as part of our year look back.
KARL: So you have your wife saying it's a bad idea, your son saying it's a bad idea, your staff apprehensive, and yet you're going forward.
SEN. JAMES JEFFORDS (I), VERMONT: Well, I had one, my daughter. Daughters are a little bit closer in that sense. She said, "You know, whatever you want to do, just go out and save the world."
KARL (voice-over): A year later, the true story of the behind- the-scenes drama can finally be pieced together.
Nobody was physically closer to Jeffords in the tumultuous days before the decision than his staffer Ken Connally, seen here leading a dazed Jeffords through the political paparazzi less than 24 hours before his announcement.
KEN CONNALLY, JEFFORDS STAFF MEMBER: I thought I'd never live through a moment in history when I was that close to the action that I needed to somehow record it, and kept notes. And I have a videotape of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is going to continue to work with people regardless of their party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Holed up in a small hideaway in the Capitol Building, Connally's camera captured a few minutes of history, including what every news organization wanted and none got: the emotional reflections of Jeffords before his switch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFORDS: Probably one of the most emotional days I've had in a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Connally was also in the room the day it all started, when Jeffords first spoke with a prominent Democrat about leaving the Republican Party.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: I just raised it as two people talking. I finally said in frustration sort of, "What the hell are you doing with a party that's walking away from these issues that you and I care about?"
CONNALLY: And Senator Jeffords said: "Well, I couldn't be a Democrat, but I could be an independent." And you kind of saw Senator Dodd get out of his seat and say, "You're always welcome." Then they sat back. And then they both laughed and dismissed it.
KARL: He may have laughed, but Senator Dodd didn't dismiss it at all.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: Senator Dodd called me, very excitedly, to say: "I think this is something we could do. I just had a conversation with Jim and it looks very promising. And you need to follow up." We did.
KARL: Daschle did act: in a series of high-stakes negotiations that not even Jeffords' closest friends and advisers knew about.
KARL: Judy, we also learned that, less than 24 hours before Jeffords made his decision, Trent Lott placed a call to Jeffords' son, Leonard Jeffords -- who, by the way, is a pretty conservative Republican -- and Senator Lott said: "Please make one last effort with your father. Get him to stay a Republican."
And Leonard Jeffords, his son, did make that call. And, as a matter of fact, when he made that call, that video camera was running in Jeffords' hideaway in the Capitol. And we also captured that moment. You'll see a lot of that tonight at 8:30 -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, we can't wait. Fascinating about the divisions within the family, a son against and a daughter for. All right, Jon Karl, thanks a lot.
And Jon will be hosting a special report tonight: "LIVE FROM CAPITOL HILL." It's "The Shift of Power: The Jim Jeffords Story." It will air at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
There is more INSIDE POLITICS ahead, but first let's go to Kate Snow with a look at what is ahead at the top of the hour on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hi, Kate.
KATE SNOW, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Hi, Judy.
In the wake of a number of terror alerts, how safe are the American people? Wolf sits down with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and gets the answers you may be afraid to hear -- that and more coming up right after INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Here is what's in the works for tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS: As Presidents Bush and Putin sign a treaty to reduce nuclear forces, we will hear from former Senator Sam Nunn. He is the chairman of a foundation pushing for a global reduction in nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction. And Bill Schneider will check in with his "Political Play of the Week."
CNN's coverage continues right now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.
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