CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Medical Examiner Rules Chandra Levy Death Homicide; FBI Plans Major Overhaul
Aired May 28, 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. The medical examiner rules Chandra Levy's death a homicide. The latest on the investigation and a memorial service in her memory.
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kelli Arena. As fallout from alleged intelligence failures continues, the FBI plans a major overhaul with one key goal: preventing acts of terrorism.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Candiotti in Miami. Sparked by the still unsolved case of Rilya Wilson, a blue- ribbon panel calls for reform of Florida's child welfare system.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider. Battling big tobacco is a big political winner. Can a crusade against cholesterol be far behind?
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. The death of former Washington intern, Chandra Levy, is now officially a murder investigation. Just a short time ago there was a memorial service and we expect, in just a few moments, some of her family members will speak to the press after that service.
Earlier today here in Washington, the medical examiner ruled Levy's death a homicide. But he concluded there was not enough evidence to determine exactly how she died. Just a short time ago, Chief Charles Ramsey explained how the medical examiner's decision affects the police investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: Well, what it means is it's a murder investigation. At least we know that it's not an accident. She's not just a missing person. She had to get to that location somehow. Was she -- did she do it on her own? Was she just a victim of random violence? Did somebody lure her there? I mean, there is a whole new set of questions that have to be answered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: With me now to talk more about this case, CNN national correspondent, Bob Franken. Bob, what are you learning now about where this investigation goes from here? BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as a matter of fact, the police are trying to chart that now. There have been meetings all day, now that they have the official designation, this is a criminal investigation.
What's interesting is the fact that, on one hand, they've always conducted it with that in mind. But now that it takes on that official designation, it means that they will approach witnesses in a certain way. Witnesses may be more inclined to seek out constitutional protections, that type of thing. And now they can use the word suspect when they believe that they have somebody they suspect of being involved in the death.
The one thing that they make very clear is, now they're going to not only interview other people, but more importantly, re-interview others. And among those, of course, could be -- underline "could" -- Congressman Gary Condit.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Franken joining us now here in Washington. Bob, thanks very much.
Reporters Sari Horwitz is also covering the Levy case for "The Washington Post." She joins me once again from the "Post" newsroom. Sari, if they don't know how she died, then how can they be so confident that this was a homicide?
SARI HORWITZ, "WASHINGTON POST": Judy, that's a good question. The medical examiner today made two rulings. He does this in all cases like this.
The first ruling was the manner of death. And that's what he ruled a homicide. He works closely with the police department. They take circumstantial evidence. The fact she was in an isolated area. The fact that the family says she's not a jogger. Her leggings, her spandex pants, were found tied in a knot.
They take all of that information and they weigh it against the other possibilities. Was it a suicide? Was it an accident? Was it a natural? And that's how the medical examiner made that decision, that the circumstantial evidence pointed more likely to a homicide.
WOODRUFF: Sari, do they have any thoughts at this point about the possibility of her having been killed, or having died elsewhere, and then her body being brought to the site where the remains were found?
HORWITZ: They're certainly looking at that. They're looking at two major theories. One, that she was lured to the park by somebody and was killed there. And the other, that she was jogging in the park and was abducted. Those are really the two major theories they're looking at. More those theories than that she was killed somewhere else.
One other thing I wanted to say about the medical examiner's ruling is, he ruled undetermined on the cause of death. And that's because the bones, having been out there for a year, were in such a state that there were no clues. You couldn't tell if there had been a bullet wound or a stabbing or a strangulation. Just not enough clues to say anything more than "undetermined."
WOODRUFF: Well, that gets to my next question, which is how much difference does it make in this investigation, that it took the police so long, or it took so long to find these remains?
HORWITZ: It did take a long time. And the police, of course, say they searched the area but they missed that one spot which laid between -- apparently they were searching 150 yards east and 150 yards west, and they missed that one spot.
What Chief Ramsey and other people have said today is, it was chance, it was luck that someone was walking his doing and, you know, was looking for turtles and came across these bones. And there may be a lucky break like that again where someone comes forward and helps them solve this mystery.
WOODRUFF: All right, Sari Horwitz with "The Washington Post." Thank you very much.
HORWITZ: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: As we mentioned a moment ago, we do expect some of Chandra Levy's family members to come out and talk with reporters after the memorial service, which is still under way in California. That service has been under way for a few hours now.
Chandra Levy's parents and her brother left their home together in order to attend the service. It was the first time they had been seen in public since Chandra Levy's death was confirmed. Hundreds of people attended the service, which was held at a convention center in Levy's hometown of Modesto.
Now we turn to the alleged U.S. intelligence failures in the days preceding September the 11th. CNN has learned that the FBI plans to announce a major reorganization tomorrow aimed at focusing the Bureau on one major goal: preventing acts of terrorism.
CNN Justice correspondent Kelli Arena joins me now. Kelly, you've already learned some things about this reorganization.
ARENA: That's right, Judy. What we do know right now is that counterterrorism resources will be doubled. About 500 analysts will be hired, with expertise in areas including world cultures, languages and technology. Now, on the agent's side, about 520 agents will be taken from various units, including the violent crimes unit, narcotics, and the white-collar crime unit, and moved over to the counterterrorism unit.
And the focus is on preventing future attacks rather than on prosecution. And among some other changes, there will a mobile counterterrorism squad, otherwise called flying squads, based at FBI headquarters in Washington, that will be discussed around the globe when needed. These are squads that will be there to supplement field agents. There's also the creation of an office of intelligence. That's going to be headed by someone from the CIA. That, we have reported several weeks ago.
Now, along with those changes, government officials say that there will also be significant changes made at the Justice Department, in terms of what an FBI agent can do in the field during an investigation. Those, Judy, are changes that can be made without congressional approval. And we are told that we'll hear details on that on Thursday.
WOODRUFF: Now, Kelli, help us put some of this in context. How much of this reorganization do you believe is as a result of the letter from the Minneapolis FBI agent, Ms. Rowley, and also that memo by the FBI agent in Phoenix?
ARENA: Judy, this whole reorganization was prompted in the early days after September 11th. It was clear that the mission of crime fighting that the FBI has had for years now, was not adequate in this new and changing world. That they needed to change their focus to intelligence gathering to be more proactive than reactive.
So, in the very early weeks following 9/11, we did hear from FBI Director Robert Mueller, sort of hinting at many of the reforms that are going to be announced tomorrow. So, this has been a work in progress for the past several months.
I think the importance of the information that came out of Phoenix, that came out of Minneapolis, is to underscore the need for change. To show how broken the structure was. The fact that there was no structure for sharing information.
That there wasn't the analytical strength that was necessary to put pieces of information together to connect the dots. And so I think the benefit there is just to underscore the need for change.
WOODRUFF: All right. CNN's Kelli Arena, thanks very much.
Now political analyst Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times" joins us. Ron, you just heard Kelli's report. Taking all that into consideration, what is the effect going to be of this letter? In particular, the letter from this Minneapolis agent, really scathing language in there.
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": It's probably going to have two effects, Judy. One, it's going to further give incentive for additional investigation. The way investigations work in Washington is that they are a sort of a perpetual motion machine. As they go on and they unearth findings, they provide a justification for more investigations.
So I think you're going to see, as you have already, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle seizing on this letter, arguing that justification for the independent commission. You'll see the judiciary committee intensifying its own series of hearings going on about the FBI.
It's going to be looking into some of the things that the intelligence committee has been looking into. So we're going to see more, I think, investigation. A sense on the Hill that there is more here that they have to get a hold of.
Secondly, I think it could create some controversy for this reorganization that Kelli Arena has just detailed with impressive specificity. You know, in this memo, Colleen Rowley, the woman in Minneapolis, argues against further centralization of authority in the FBI headquarters here, which has been the dominant thrust of what Director Mueller and many senators have been talking about.
WOODRUFF: She also comes right up to the brink of saying that there was a cover-up. I mean, she says there's been a shading and a skewing of the facts.
WOODRUFF: At the highest levels.
BROWNSTEIN: Right, I mean, she basically says the FBI is trying to cover itself and make itself look good. You really get the sense that the FBI, far more than the CIA at this point, is the agency in the crosshairs. As I said, the judiciary committee has been doing investigation hearings sort of at a low profile, until the last one.
Now they're going to be coming back in early June. She may be brought in to testify. There's going to be a lot of attention for that. But again, she makes a substantive argument in addition to the specific case, where she argues that really what is needed is more decentralization of authority to the field agents. That is, that their instincts were good. That it was as it went into the bureaucracy that it got slowed down and deferred.
And that is, I think, very much at odds with the general crux of what most people have been talking about.
WOODRUFF: All right, Ron Brownstein with the "Los Angeles Times." Thanks very much.
Now as we told you, there is a news conference following the memorial service out in California for Chandra Levy. This is Billy Martin, the attorney for Chandra Levy's family. Let's listen.
BILLY MARTIN, LEVY FAMILY ATTORNEY: Chandra has been the victim of a homicide. Her body was found in Washington, D.C. Before I take any questions to deal with those issues, we'd like to take a moment to allow the family to continue to celebrate the life of Chandra.
And we have Dr. Paul Katz, his wife, Linda Katz, who are here. As many of you know, when Chandra was in Washington, the revelations of her moments and her relationship in Washington were revealed to Linda. Chandra was very close to Linda. Paul has been like a second father to Linda through their -- to Chandra, through their extended family. For any questions that you may have of the family, we have Paul and Linda and other family members. Paul, would you come up, please?
PAUL KATZ, CHANDRA'S UNCLE: As a spokesman for the family, I'd like to take a moment to thank all the other members of our family and friends, extended family, those in Modesto, here. The press corps, for all of the support you have given us.
It's been a trying time. It has been a hard journey. And without that kind of support, I'm sure we couldn't walk that path. Linda, you have anything you want to say?
LINDA KATZ, CHANDRA'S AUNT: No.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts at this moment? What does this service mean to you?
P. KATZ: Something like this reaches deep into our heart, causes us to find that inner strength. To try understand our purpose and to understand how important family is.
QUESTION: How is the family doing? How are the parents doing?
P. KATZ: We're doing the best we can.
L. KATZ: Healing.
P. KATZ: We're healing. We're walking the road.
L. KATZ: Right.
QUESTION: How did ti feel to see all those hundreds of people out there, many of whom didn't even know Chandra?
P. KATZ: You know, after this first started and as time progressed, these strangers became more like personal friends. I don't think that anybody out there sitting in that room felt like a passer-by to us.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) knew Chandra quite well, but chose not to speak today in the service. I wonder what you would have said, and what you would like to add to what was said, that would help people to understand her better?
L. KATZ: I'm just too upset to even speak. I can't make the feelings come to words right now. It's really just -- it's really hit me very hard today. I've been very strong for my family. And I just -- I just can't -- I don't know what to say. I can't express my feelings. Just very, very sad.
QUESTION: Did you get strength from today's service, both of you?
P. KATZ: Absolutely.
L. KATZ: Yes, and hope. QUESTION: And did Bob and Susan get strength too, do you think?
P. KATZ: Yes, they did.
L. KATZ: Yes,.
P. KATZ: Very much so.
QUESTION: Could you share with us just a few words about (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
P. KATZ: Well, I described Chandra today as bubbly and vivacious, adventuresome. I think I can tell you that she liked Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. She liked chocolate. She was trusting, considerate and kind. She was every father's daughter. And, I'm sorry, it's just a little too much right now to carry on.
QUESTION: Thank you.
P. KATZ: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you, Paul. That's OK. That's OK.
We also would like to bring to the podium the mayor of Modesto, Mayor Sabatino, who would have some words, as you all know, that in addition to the United States in general seeing the pain of this ordeal, this city has felt a lot of it. And the mayor would like to offer a few words from this community.
Mr. Mayor, thank you.
MAYOR CARMEN SABATINO, MODESTO: Thank you very much. On Wednesday afternoon, when I learned of the -- that Chandra Levy had indeed been found, I was reminded that she was only one of eight people in our community who are missing. And I know you can't take these names down, but I'm sure the Levy family would be most appreciative that we mention the other seven people that are still missing from this community.
Maria Delores Pacheko, Dina Railey Maclusky, Susan Robin Bender, Sylvia Stanley, Corrin Gronenburg (ph), Ruth Ann Leman (ph), Christine Sexton Stewart and Mike Madden. These pictures and names can be taken off our city Web site, of modestopolice.com.
So we would appreciate it if we could get some publicity for these people. Wednesday afternoon, when hope of finding Chandra disappeared, I ordered the flag in front of city hall at half mast. The decision stemmed from the news that she had been found. And to lower the city flag was in honor of all missing persons from the Modesto area and for the people of Modesto, who have grieved through this.
Chandra disappeared just over a year ago. The Modesto City Council recognized the anniversary of the disappearance with a moment of silence during a regular council meeting on April 23. The city has gone through, I think, various stages of grief, hope, reality, and today, mourning.
And as a city tomorrow, we will go about our work and try and put this not behind us, but make this part of our life. Thank you.
MARTIN: You seem to have some questions on Chandra as a person. We have Fran and Charles Eisner, who, like Paul and Linda Katz, are the two people, two adults, that Chandra was closest to. They also are from the Washington area and had helped on our part in the investigation, by appearing as the contact for the family in the D.C. area.
Fran and Charles, will you answer a couple questions?
CHARLES ISEMAN, CHANDRA'S GODFATHER: Iseman.
FRAN ISEMAN, CHANDRA'S GODMOTHER: Hi, my name is Franny. My husband, Charles. We're Chandra's godparents. And Sue and Bob are our very closest friends, of 40 years. Our beautiful god daughter was aptly named. Her name is Chandra. It means "higher than the moon."
Well, when we think of our beloved god daughter, we're not going to look down at the ground. We're going to look up at the stars. Because that's where she is right now. She is in god's hands. She is at home. And she's higher than the moon, surrounded by all of his love and all of the love that has been engendered in this country. All of the wonderful support of friends and family. And no one is a stranger through this.
And, thank you for all of your support in the press, for the search for the truth. And to help most of all, this family heal and get through this. Thank you very much.
MARTIN: Charles, anything you'd like to say?
C. ISEMAN: Yes. This is very hard for me. This is the saddest moment since my mother died when I was 10. And this is very hard, and we're in deep grief right now. I thank you, and the attention you have given to Chandra's disappearance and murder. Any questions?
QUESTION: What will you miss the most about Chandra?
C. ISEMAN: Fran?
F. ISEMAN: Her spontaneity, her laughter. Her great smile. She brought a lot of joy to us. But although she's not here physically, she's right here. And that will never go away, thank god.
MARTIN: Thank you.
F. ISEMAN: Thank you.
QUESTION: How do you spell your last name, please?
C. ISEMAN: I-S-E-M-A-N. F. ISEMAN: Thank you.
MARTIN: Marjorie White, who was a childhood friend of Chandra's, spoke inside at the memorial service. And Marjorie had words that go back, I think, 20 years or better. Marjorie, will you share a couple words with the public, please?
MARJORIE WHITE, LONGTIME FRIEND OF CHANDRA: I think the thing that meant the most over the last year to me, is how the community came together and how strength was found through the Levy family to make it through the entire ordeal. I just want to thank all of you for getting the word out and making sure that this continues on so the truth can found.
And Chandra's spirit has transformed itself. Several people in there said her energy has given inspiration to lots of people, for things like Wings of Protection, which is a support group for other families who have lost loved ones and not known anything about their whereabouts. And inspiration through all of the family throughout the country for support for everyone.
MARTIN: I'm sure you have a question, Marjorie -- anybody have a question for Marjorie?
QUESTION: Can you share with us what you basically told people inside about..
WHITE: That's basically what I told people inside.
QUESTION: But describing...
WHITE: Just that -- I read a short letter that I wrote to her to say goodbye. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to say for a while. And the letter was a way for myself to heal, start the healing process. And so I read that to the community, which basically described some of the ways that she and I grew up together, through family vacations, holidays, get-togethers. Things like that.
QUESTION: What is your reaction to the news out of Washington today that confirmed -- what do you think about that finding?
WHITE: I haven't heard anything about it yet.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They ruled it a homicide.
WHITE: OK, well, obviously I'm saddened about the whole event and I don't think that this makes it any worse. But it's just I think it's still very important that the media remain involved so that truth can be found. Thanks.
QUESTION: Could you spell your name?
MARTIN: Although I served as the lawyer in the Washington area, I was retained through the law offices, the Modesto law office of Curtis & Arata. George Arata is the main partner of that law firm. Mr. Arata called me almost a year ago to ask me to assist him in representing the family. It's been a team. It's been George Arata and Andy Levy here in Modesto, with my law firm and my investigators in Washington.
In addition to being the lawyer, George and his wife, Marla, have been friends of the Levy family. George, before we handle any legal questions, Marla -- why don't both of you come up. And, Marla, why don't you answer a couple questions?
MARLA ARATA, FAMILY FRIEND: Hi.
QUESTION: The family said all along since the body was found on Wednesday that they felt it was a homicide. And they never really backed down from that. Now to have that confirmed today, how did they handle that, even though they had planned for that for the last week?
ARATA: You know, it's probably the most difficult thing I think all of us who are parents could ever relate to. Because when someone's missing, they's just that, they're missing. They're not necessarily dead, so you always have that little flicker of hope in your heart.
And when that flicker, that flame is extinguished, the pain can be excruciating. And it was and still is. We're healing.
QUESTION: How about this morning when they heard that their fears were confirmed? How did they handle that?
ARATA: With difficulty. But still, you know, they must carry on. And they're here. We've been friends for over 20 years. Our children have grown up together. I think the hardest thing for us -- you know, you just don't share the common things of friendship.
It's like, where are the girls? What are the girls up to now? You know, they're off at college. One's at SC, one's at ASU, one's back here. Their various internships. We can't really do that any more. And it's just the common, everyday things that make living so meaningful that we won't have any more.
QUESTION: Do they want to know before today's service, the results of whatever Washington, D.C. police found?
ARATA: Did they want to know?
QUESTION: Did they want to know before? I mean, would they have rather found out after the service?
GEORGE ARATA, LEVY FAMILY ATTORNEY: That's for...
M. ARATA: That's what I figured.
G. ARATA: That's a question you should direct to Mr. Martin.
QUESTION: And what about the finding of the homicide? Does that change anything?
M. ARATA: I don't think it really changes my personal opinion. I mean, the child, the young woman, she's dead. And it's not my place to speculate as to how that is for the authorities. And...
G. ARATA: That question there really is something that wouldn't change anything as far as the authorities are concerned or Mr. Martin's opinion or mine. It doesn't really change the emotional impact that it's had on my wife or other friends of the family or the family itself.
QUESTION: But one thing in limbo, it's no longer in limbo. They're now actually wanting that final question to be answered, which is who and what.
G. ARATA: Of course.
QUESTION: Actually, more than one question. But the basic question being of who. Do they now have that one goal in mind? Is something been answered enough that now they can focus on who killed their daughter?
G. ARATA: I think, without question, the family as a whole is going in that direction and becoming resolved to confront that issue when it comes, and through the investigation of Mr. Martin's office and his investigators and the D.C. police. And, God willing, we will have an answer to that.
G. ARATA: That's a question you should ask Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin is really the one that should answer that, OK?
QUESTION: Have the Levys expressed any questions at all? Have they been curious about anything? Have they said, "I want to know more about this" or "I wish I knew the answer to that"?
G. ARATA: Not to us.
QUESTION: Can you (OFF-MIKE) you names, please?
M. ARATA: M-A-R-L-A, Marla. And Arata is A-R-A-T-A.
G. ARATA: George. G-E-O-R-G-E.
QUESTION: And your last name?
G. ARATA: The same.
QUESTION: Do you anything about the evidence that (OFF-MIKE) now become a homicide? MARTIN: We do.
But, again, part of -- for those of you who don't know my background, I ran the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, was a prosecutor here in San Francisco, and, before a running private practice, was a career prosecutor.
I have a relationship with the D.C. police, where I have guaranteed them that I would not be the leak of any information. We do have that information. We are pursuing now a homicide investigation. And I do not want to disclose any information that would tip the investigator -- or the perpetrator or perpetrators in any direction. So, they're sharing information with us, but not to jeopardize the investigation. I cannot comment on it.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) How would you characterize the evidence that they have called as a homicide?
MARTIN: I spoke with the medical examiner this morning.
The medical examiner told me personally that, from all of the circumstances at the scene in Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C., his opinion was -- the opinion that this was a homicide was supported by all of that information. There was a lot of evidence recovered from the crime scene. He did not go through that evidence with me. And I would not disclose that evidence.
But, according to the authorities, they recovered sufficient evidence there to rule this a homicide, which essentially means that Chandra died at the hands of another person.
QUESTION: When you related that to the family, what did they say to you?
MARTIN: Every time I share a bit of information like this, it breaks their heart again.
Even though they wanted to know the results of the finding, both Dr. and Mrs. Levy were heartbroken again this morning. We did have the courtesy of the medical examiner and the chief of police in Washington to call me, so that I could go in to tell them before it came on the news conference this morning by the medical examiner, so that when it came on, they were prepared for it. But it's not easy to accept that your child is a victim of a murder.
QUESTION: Do you still have investigators working on this?
MARTIN: We still have -- both of our investigators are very active. Both of our investigators have been to the scene of the crime. They meet with the D.C. detectives. We continue to provide them with our leads. We, too, have been looking in Rock Creek Park. And we've shared all of that information with Chief Ramsey and his investigators.
I would say a lot of questions have been asked of me: Are we pleased with the quality of the investigation? Do we think they could have done more? We are pleased. This was a difficult investigation. And, from the location of the body and the remains of Chandra Levy, somebody went to extraordinary means to conceal Chandra's body. And that led, in large part, to the conclusion that this was a homicide.
I can tell you the resolve of the investigators, my law firm, Mr. Arata, and the Levy family. We want justice. We hope that this case will not go unsolved. Somebody out there knows information that would help solve now the murder of Chandra Levy. And we hope to solve that.
MARTIN: I cannot answer that question.
QUESTION: How hopeful are you, given the condition of the evidence, that there will be somebody identified at some point?
MARTIN: Well, I always like to say that there's no such thing as a perfect crime. And we hope to take advantage of every bit of evidence that was on that crime scene. And there is evidence there.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Mr. Condit these days. Do you still want him to talk to the police? Do you still want him to answer your questions? Do you still feel he has information that could help solve this murder now?
MARTIN: I've always said that -- and I want to be very clear with this -- that we are not accusing Congressman Gary Condit of anything.
We think that Congressman Condit, as a result of his relationship with Chandra, knows something about Chandra, her state of mind, how she was feeling, what she may have been doing just prior to her disappearance. We'd love to talk to Congressman Condit. And now that this case has been classified as a homicide, I'm sure the police will go back and talk with every witness, including the congressman, on additional details and evidence they may have found at the crime scene that relates to Chandra and what he may know about Chandra and that evidence.
QUESTION: ... no exact cause of the homicide was named? Is that something that is troubling to you or the parents?
MARTIN: Well, it is troubling to me because we would have liked to have found the body before the evidence that was contained at the crime scene has deteriorated.
But, again, this helps the family to know what happened to their daughter. I use the word closure. And closure may be impossible for Dr. and Mrs. Levy. Their hearts have been broken. They will go through their lives now suffering from whoever did this to their child. But they at least now have had a memorial service, and they can try to get on with their lives.
And I thank you very much. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We set the room for 1,300. The estimate was approximately 1,200.
MARTIN: And, again, I want to thank the media. What the media has done for the plight and cause of missing people...
WOODRUFF: Attorney Billy Martin, the attorney for the Levy family, talking with reporters.
We've seen a number of Levy family members commenting on Chandra Levy. Perhaps the most significant thing, though, came in the last few moments, when we heard Billy Martin say a lot of evidence was recovered from the scene where Chandra Levy's remains were found in Rock Creek Park here in Washington.
And I'm quoting him. He said: "Somebody went to extraordinary means to conceal her body." He said: "We are pleased with the investigation by the Washington, D.C. police." But he said they have had a very different time, making it clear that a lot of work remains to be done. And, at the end, he said, "Of course we have hope that we can use all of this evidence that was found in order to lead us to the person who did this."
And all this follows on the heels of her memorial service in Modesto, California.
Our coverage will continue in a moment -- INSIDE POLITICS when we return.
WOODRUFF: Checking our INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle": President Bush is on his way home after his European tour. But before leaving for the United States, Mr. Bush visited the Vatican for the first time for a meeting with Pope John Paul II. Among other things, the two men talked about the sex abuse scandal involving the priesthood and its effects on the Catholic Church in the United States.
Amnesty International claims the Bush administration has lost its moral authority as a defender of human rights because of violations it has committed during the war on terrorism. Among other things, the group accuses the administration of failing to fully apply the Geneva Conventions to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In Florida, Governor Jeb Bush reacted today to a stinging report on that state's handling of the Rilya Wilson case. The 5-year-old girl disappeared while under state supervision. And, as the search for the child goes on, Governor Bush has endorsed a low-cost approach to the state's child welfare problems.
CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti has more on the story from Miami.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not making any promises for increased funding, Florida Governor Jeb Bush called his panel's recommendations a blueprint for success in a system that failed missing 5-year-old Rilya Wilson.
GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: How is it that a child could probably have lived her entire life without any degree of love?
CANDIOTTI: Faced with a fistful of recommendations, the governor promises action soon, including criminal background checks for all caregivers, including relatives, and fingerprinting and photographing foster children.
But calling a special session before the end of his next term to debate more funding in an election year?
J. BUSH: Root canals come to mind when I think of special sessions.
CANDIOTTI: It won't happen.
Seizing on the disappearance of Rilya Wilson by a state agency that admittedly acted abysmally, Bush's political opponents are already on the attack. Democratic hopeful and former Attorney General Janet Reno has called on Bush to fire the head of the Child Welfare Agency. He won't -- Reno also critical of a Florida mandate to privatize child welfare.
JANET RENO (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think we should be experimenting with our children's future, particularly children who are victims of abuse and neglect.
CANDIOTTI: Democrats disagree over whether Bush is vulnerable on this issue.
(on camera): Depending on the outcome of this investigation, do you think that Democrats will make this an issue come the fall?
RON SILVER (D), FLORIDA STATE SENATE: The Democrats will, there is no question about it, as Republicans would if they were out of office, OK? That's what politics is all about, unfortunately.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Some Republicans warn, if Reno pushes Bush too hard on Rilya, they will push one of her flash points among some in Florida: Elian Gonzalez.
RUDY GARCIA (R), FLORIDA STATE SENATE: I think that makes the person making the accusation more vulnerable.
CANDIOTTI: Bush is bracing for a battle.
J. BUSH: This is the political season. And it's typical of candidates that don't have the responsibility of something like this to make those kinds of statements to get a little news and get a little attention.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CANDIOTTI: And Bush responded to another criticism today: a lack of enough racial diversity on his blue-ribbon panel. He promised to add more people to his panel before it meets again in September for a progress report.
But, Judy, police say so far, there is no progress to report on the key question: Where is Rilya Wilson?
WOODRUFF: Susan Candiotti, such a tragedy -- thanks, Susan.
"Inside Buzz" on presidential fatigue straight ahead: Bob Novak has the scoop on Presidents Bush and Putin and their long hours in Moscow.
WOODRUFF: Here now with some "Inside Buzz": our Bob Novak.
All right, a little background information on the Bush-Putin meeting in Russia.
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, the two presidents got along fine, but the bureaucrats who were running the operation for Putin were the same old Russians. U.S. officials complained they were very difficult to deal with on scheduling, on security matters. It sounded like the old Soviet Union.
But, in addition to that, the president had to stay up until midnight for President Putin, who wanted to take part in the light show in St. Petersburg. You know, President Bush is not a night person. He had jet lag. And he was really exhausted. But you can't say no to the president of Russia.
WOODRUFF: It is not polite to turn down the head of state.
WOODRUFF: Second, back here in the U.S., in California, the Republican Party: infighting?
NOVAK: Yes, it was fascinating.
In Sunday's edition of "The Los Angeles Times," Shawn Steel, the chairman of the California Republican Party, wrote a column attacking Gerry Parsky, the venture capitalist who is President Bush's designated agent in California. They've been feuding beneath the surface. Now it came to the public.
What he really complained about was Parsky naming a commission to screen federal judge nominations, which, in effect, the Republican regulars have been saying, gives the two Democratic senators from California, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, a veto over President Bush's judges. But that is really very interesting, that they had decided to go public with this feud attacking the president's man.
WOODRUFF: It will be interesting to see if the White House weighs in on this.
NOVAK: We'll see.
WOODRUFF: It could play. We'll see.
Bob Novak, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
And coming up: It's not the first time a president and a reporter have squared off. And it won't be the last. Find out what prompted a testy response from President Bush at a news conference earlier this week in Paris.
WOODRUFF: President Bush showed a little testiness this week during one of the stops on his European tour. It happened in Paris when NBC report David Gregory was questioning Mr. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: But I wonder why it is you think there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you and against this administration, why particularly there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world, particularly when it comes to the Middle East and where the war on terrorism goes next?
(through translator): And, Mr. President, would you maybe comment on that?
BUSH: Wait a minute. That's very good. The guy memorizes four words and he plays like he's intercontinental.
BUSH: I'm impressed.
Now I'm literate in two languages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Hmm, well, that dust-up in Paris is Jeff Greenfield's focus today in his "Bite of the Apple."
All right, Jeff, this isn't the first time the president has got a little testy with a reporter.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: No. Hardly.
I mean, many of us remember one of the most famous ones back in 1974, when President Nixon, who was beleaguered by Watergate, he called on CBS's Dan Rather at a conference with an audience of media executives. Rather was greeted with some booing and cheering. Nixon said to him, "Are you running for something?"
And Rather answered: "No, Mr. President. Are you?"
And then, in 1988, at the start of his presidential campaign, George H.W. Bush had a live interview with Rather that quickly grew very sharp when Rather kept pressing Bush about his alleged involvement with the Iran-Contra affair. I think we can show you the emotional peak of that confrontation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is not fair to judge my whole career by a rehash on Iran. How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York? Would you like that? I have respect for you, but I don't have respect for what you're doing here tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: Now, let's move to the other party.
In 1993, when President Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, at a press conference, he was very emotional about Ms. Ginsburg's background. Brit Hume, then with ABC, asked a question about the lengthy process to pick this nomination. And Clinton did not like it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1993)
BRIT HUME, ABC NEWS: The withdrawal of the Guinier nomination, sir, and your apparent focus on Judge Breyer, and your turn -- late, it seems -- to Judge Ginsburg, may have created an impression, perhaps unfair, of a certain zigzag quality in the decision-making process here. I wonder, sir, if you could kind of walk us through it and perhaps disabuse us of any notion we might have along those lines? Thank you.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have long since given up the thought that I could disabuse some of you of turning any substantive decision into anything but political process. How you could ask a question like that after the statement she just made is beyond me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: Now, most recently, course, we had George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on the campaign trail back in 2000, as Bush pointed to a "New York Times" reporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
G.W. BUSH: There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole.
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, yes, yes, big time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: So, Judy, hardly unique in the annals of presidents and press what we saw this week.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff, what do we see in the way of a pattern here?
GREENFIELD: I actually think that presidents generally bristle when they feel they're being attacked at a vulnerable point: with Nixon, obviously Watergate; with the elder Bush, Iran-Contra; with Clinton, the notion that he ran a messy White House.
Bush may have thought that Gregory was trying to high-hat him on intellectual capacity, showing off at his expense. Bush, in the past, has talked about his resentment about kind of Ivy League smugness. But, in fairness to Gregory, many reporters from other countries at bilingual press conferences use both languages, because, outside of the United States, most educated people speak English. We Americans don't really bother all that much with other languages. I think maybe Bush felt he was being kind of made to not look good.
WOODRUFF: Yes, we have heard the reporters from other countries do that here in Washington.
Jeff, any fallout from this?
GREENFIELD: You know, I don't think so.
Ever since Harry Truman back in 1950 wrote a letter to "The Washington Post" music critic who had attacked his daughter's singing, threatening very personal bodily harm, you can go hardly wrong -- you can't go wrong knocking the press a bit, because we, of course, are sure we are steadfast crusaders for truth and justice and the people's right to know.
But, A, Bush's base probably sees a lot of the press' bias. And plenty of others, liberal and conservative and independent, really see the press as just another powerful institution with our own agenda. I don't know anybody who has really suffered from going after us.
WOODRUFF: I think you have a point. Jeff Greenfield, as always, we'll see you tomorrow. Thanks.
GREENFIELD: What do you mean by that, Judy?
WOODRUFF: More INSIDE POLITICS is coming up, but first let's go to Wolf for a look at what's ahead at the top of the hour on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hello.
WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Hi, Judy.
We'll have an exclusive story that we're going to break: a "Sports Illustrated" expose on the hidden use of steroids in Major League Baseball. You may be stunned when you hear what's going on. Also, more on the Chandra Levy mystery: I'll speak live with the D.C. police chief, Charles Ramsey, on where the investigation goes from here.
It is all coming up at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: With us now from the CNN "CROSSFIRE" set at George Washington University here in Washington: James Carville and Tucker Carlson.
Gentlemen, President Bush today at the Vatican meeting with his holiness, Pope John Paul II. Some cynics are saying there's part politics going on in all of this, perhaps a ploy or at least a bid to make sure the president remains in good standing with Catholic voters -- James.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, I don't know.
The president is the head of the United States. The pope is the head of Vatican City. I think the president tipped his hand. He trusts the hierarchy. He said he trusted Cardinal Law to handle the sex abuse scandal. So, I don't think that that is going to inure him to Catholic voters in the United States.
And I don't think a visit with the pope is necessarily going to do that. I think the president has cast his lot. He thinks the way to get Catholic voters is through the Catholic hierarchy. I doubt that that's the case. I think Catholic voters respond to issues, as do other people. And I think if he would talk more about the Catholic faith and what's going on in these parishes around here and the pain that the church has gone through, he would do a lot better than sitting there praising Cardinal Law.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, look, that was a number of months ago what he said about Cardinal Law, before all the facts that we have now were available.
He was in Vatican City. Of course he's going to meet with the pope. And of course he's going to ask him about the sex scandal matter. It's in the news. It's like if you were doing a profile of Ted Kennedy, you would ask him about Chappaquiddick. You don't expect a significant answer, necessarily, but you are sort of bound to ask about it. And I think that's what the president was doing.
WOODRUFF: But how -- can you really...
CARVILLE: But it's all President Bush's friends that are in the Catholic hierarchy that he claims to be -- he thinks the way to get Catholic voters is through the cardinals and the archbishops. I suspect that there is a different set of criteria that Catholic voters are going to respond to across the country. CARLSON: Look, I think Condoleezza Rice probably said it best last week, when she said: Look, this is a matter that is best handled within the Catholic Church. And the Catholic hierarchy can clean it up itself. And I think the president probably would have been better served if he had stuck to that. But he didn't.
CARVILLE: I vehemently disagree. I think that it is being handled in the courts, where it needs to be handled. This is not some internal matter. These were crimes that were committed. This is something that needs to be exposed.
I think the lawyers and the families of this case deserve a lot of credit for taking it outside of the Catholic Church, and putting it where it belongs, and getting it away from this hierarchy that President Bush professes such loyalty to.
CARLSON: Look, there is a comic element here. Here you have a Methodist president talking to an elderly, ailing pope about pedophilia. This is not the forum in which the problem is going to be solved. And I think to look too deeply into it, it's probably silly.
WOODRUFF: Gentlemen, I hate to cut you off.
CARVILLE: Yes, it is. Well, there's more to come on "CROSSFIRE" tonight.
WOODRUFF: You better believe.
Tucker Carlson, James Carville, thanks very much. Both of you will continue this debate and more tonight on "CROSSFIRE." That's at 7:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.
Well, CNN's coverage continues right now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." We thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.
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