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FBI Plans Sweeping Changes; Congress Plans Oversight into Intel Failures; Wartime Records Important to Aspiring Presidents;

Aired May 29, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Reorganizing to meet the terrorist threat. Details on the sweeping changes planned at the FBI.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kate Snow on Capitol Hill. Congress prepares to exercise its oversight authority here. I will preview the planned investigation into alleged intelligence failures.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Jeff Greenfield in New York. John F. Kennedy's wartime record is just one example of how important a military record can be to an aspiring president.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, paying attention to Florida. The president hands the governor a political winner on the environment.

Thank you for joining us. FBI Director Robert Mueller today announced a sweeping overhaul in the mission and the culture of the FBI. In a joint news conference with Attorney General John Ashcroft, Mueller said the changes will begin at the top, with terrorism prevention ascending to be the Bureau's top priority.

Other changes include reassigning personnel to counter terrorism duties, and the hiring of some 900 new agents. With a nod to recent criticism, Mueller pledged to improve the Bureau's ability to process intelligence, and to better coordinate efforts with other agencies, including the CIA.


ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: Because our focus is on preventing terrorist attacks, more so than in the past, we must be open to new ideas, to criticism from within and from without, and to admitting and learning from our mistakes. I certainly do not have a monopoly, a monopoly on the right answers. And so I seek the input from those, both within the organization, as well as those without the organization.


WOODRUFF: For more on the FBI plans, we turn to CNN justice correspondent, Kelli Arena. Kelli, I understand there was more information that came out after Mr. Mueller's briefing about missed opportunities?

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Judy. FBI Director Robert Mueller today disclosed that there were other possible warning signs which the FBI may have failed to identify in its pre- 9/11 terrorist investigations.

Now, in one case, an FBI pilot noted in 1998 that there were a significant number of Middle Eastern men taking flight lessons in Oklahoma City. In a second case, an unidentified government described only as a restrictive country attempted to purchase a flight simulator in the United States.

Now, when asked whether the FBI could have prevented 9/11, Mueller responded that he could not say for sure that investigators would not have come across some lead that would have led to hijackers, had only all of the information been grouped together. And Mueller also denied the charge that the FBI had not been completely forthcoming about information pre-9/11.

Now, he did admit to making mistakes, which he attributed to being new on the job. For example, in early days after 9/11 he said that the FBI did not have information about flight schools, but was later informed of the Phoenix memo, suggesting that Osama bin Laden may have been sending men to U.S. flight schools with terrorism in mind.

Now, Mueller did underscore the need for better analytical capabilities at the FBI, an essential clearing house for information. Now, while he says that there were indeed red flags, he says again, that there were no specific warnings about 9/11 -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelli Arena, our justice correspondent. Thanks very much.

And with me now to talk more about the FBI reorganization plan, Elaine Shannon. She covered the FBI for "TIME" magazine. Elaine, Mr. Mueller says this is major overhaul. Is that what it is?

ELAINE SHANNON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Oh, sure. They're adding a huge, new analytical component to headquarters, and with a lot higher level supervision. His point is that it's not just enough to put the information together and send it out to the right field office, what they call shagging leads. But rather, somebody has to look at it for the informational value. Is there a pattern here? Middle Eastern man, flight school, Middle Eastern man, flight school. Are those dots they should have seen, even if they didn't have the names of the hijackers?

WOODRUFF: How much of a shift is this for the FBI, Elaine, to be going to a mode where counterterrorism is now their top priority?

SHANNON: It's not going to be easy, because as Mr. Mueller went through it, he was talking about how they need to centralize authority in headquarters, to see all these patterns. And there's going to be friction with the field offices because they're going to see things in their area that they think cry out for investigation, too. WOODRUFF: And kind of hand in hand with that, how much of this, in your mind, is a response to this memo from the Minneapolis agent, Ms. Rowley, and some of the other memos, the Phoenix memo, for example?

SHANNON: Actually, the first briefing on reorganization was in December. Mr. Mueller has talked about this since even before he came in. But that -- those two memos certainly pour a lot of kerosene on the fire here.

WOODRUFF: Inside the agency, Elaine, what is the reaction among people to all of these changes coming?

SHANNON: The people I've talked to are not sure that Colleen Rowley has gotten all of her facts right. Even if they would have gotten into the laptop, they're not sure that they would have found 9/11, because there were no references to the 9/11 hijackers or to communications with them. And there is still none.

But they say she's right on, in terms of how people feel about the field versus headquarters. And that headquarters supervisors too often have been arrogant and unsupportive and sort of sneered at the field. Mueller said, you know, there's no question that there's a lot of tension and we're going to try to get rid of that, and facilitate things that the field is doing.

WOODRUFF: All right, Elaine, "TIME" magazine, thanks very much. Good to see you. We appreciate it.

In the meantime, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are preparing to investigate U.S. intelligence procedures in place before September 11th, including those reports that the FBI failed to process various field warnings that were pointing to signs of a potential attack. Senator Arlen Specter is a member of the judiciary committee. A short time ago he had this to say about the FBI reorganization plan.


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: There is no doubt there needs to be a reorganization. More than a reorganization, there needs to a change of attitude. There has been identified the culture of concealment, where the FBI has not shared information with the CIA. We've got to break down those barriers.

We're dealing with a life and death situation. There could be a recurrence at any time. And these stakes are too high to take any chances. We've got to find out the errors and we've got to correct them. And I'm not interested in who's to blame. I'm interesting to see that we do everything in our power to stop another attack.


WOODRUFF: CNN's Kate Snow is with me now for more on these plans and congressional investigations. Kate, what should we expect from next week's hearing. SNOW: Judy, expect to fasten your seat belt, because there are going to be a lot of hearings all summer long, really dominating the news here on Capitol Hill. The next public hearing could come as soon as next week. I'm told by congressional aides that it may involve another appearance by Robert Mueller, the head of the FBI.

You remember, he was here just three weeks ago, but he may come back again for another trip to the hot seat next week. Now, separately from that, there is this sort of super committee that's been formed. It's a committee formed of both the House and Senate intelligence committees. And ti's been formed specifically to look into 9/11.

They're going to start their work officially next week with closed door hearings. Those won't be public quite yet. But they're going to start next Tuesday. And we're told that they'll start out, interestingly, by sort of interviewing themselves. They have 23 staff people on that joint committee.

Those staffers will come in and be the witnesses at their first closed-door hearings, telling the senators and the House members all that they've been able to discover ever since February. They've been at work up here, Judy. They've interviewed some 200 people. They've collected about 30,000 documents.

So they have a lot that they've gathered already. They need to now share that with the senators and House members who maybe aren't as fully briefed. So they'll start there, then they'll start calling some more interesting characters.

Among them, we do expect them, later in June, perhaps, to call the two agents, Agent Williams and Agent Rowley, who wrote those memos. Williams was the one who wrote the Phoenix memo about flight schools and his concerns. And Rowley wrote the memo about Moussaoui in Minnesota.

We're told that they're going to look at not only failures at the FBI, things that went wrong. And we're told by one of the senior senators that it's not just going to be a lot of finger-pointing. But they also want to look at how to make things better. How to better share information between agencies, for example.

But as one congressional source told me today, Judy, they say they're not going to do a lot of finger-pointing, but Congress is probably the best example of Monday morning quarterbacking that you can find. Back to you.

WOODRUFF: OK, Kate Snow at the Capitol, thanks, .

The FBI reorganization plan breaks with the agency's historic mission, which focused more on traditional criminal threats here at home. But as CNN's Bruce Morton reports, the FBI has suffered its share of problems, even before September 11th.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They knew how to do it in the movies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very interesting. I found a financial disbursement pattern here which shows some irregular...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a badge?



MORTON: The FBI, off to nail the bad guys. This old FBI training film seems pretty clear cut too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Preparation. The fact that it separates the men from the boys, the heavies from the lightweights, those who will live from those who will die.

MORTON: But lately it hasn't worked like that. Never mind the September 11th chances no one followed up. Go back. Shoot to kill orders at Ruby Ridge in 1992. The FBI killed Randy Weaver's wife, Vickie, while she had their 10-month-old baby in arms.

Waco, mostly an alcohol, tobacco and firearms show, but the FBI got criticized for its role, too. In the mid '90s, the FBI's famous crime lab was investigated. The Justice Department inspector general criticized it for flawed scientific work and inaccurate pro- prosecution testimony in major cases.

Oklahoma City, the Bureau turned out not to have told the defense lawyers about hundreds of documents until just days before Timothy McVeigh's scheduled execution. The execution had to be postponed and a U.S. district judge called the Bureau's conduct "shocking."

The 1996 Atlanta Olympic park bombing, the FBI wrongly identified Richard Jewell as a suspect. Eric Rudolph, the man finally charged, fled and was never captured.

Wen Ho Lee, the Taiwan-born U.S. citizen accused of 59 felony counts at the Los Alamos labs spent nine months in jail, pleaded guilty to one charge, and the judge apologized to him. And then Robert Hanssen, the mole to end all moles.

Some see a troubled agency with skewed priorities going back to its first director, J. Edgar Hoover. Ron Kessler has written a history of the Bureau. He blames Louis Freeh, the director who preceded Robert Mueller.

RON KESSLER, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: No question, the FBI is now known as a bunch of bumblers. Whereas before Louis Freeh took over, it was known as a very fine agency.

There have been any number of fiascoes almost every six months, under Louis Freeh's management. And Congress really gave Freeh a free pass and allowed him to continue without any criticism. In fact, at the end, they called him the best director ever, while all these fiascoes were going on. MORTON (on camera): Others wonder whether the FBI is well-suited to counter intelligence work, which has never been its principal assignment. They note that other countries have separate agencies. The British, for instance, have the police, including Scotland Yard, MI5 for counterintelligence and MI6, for spying on other people. It's a debate that's likely to continue. Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And we turn our focus to couples considering a run for the White House next. In our spotlight, Tom and Linda Daschle on their future in Washington and life in the public eye.

Hold that hamburger. Could the next big political cause be fatty foods? Our Bill Schneider says the crusade is already under way.

And later, striking images behind the scenes of the Bush White House.



WOODRUFF: Senator Tom Daschle, Mrs. Linda Daschle, thank you very much for talking with us. This is one of a series of conversations we're having with couples thinking about running for president the next time around.

Senator, I want to begin with you. You've said repeatedly that your first and primary goal right now is to make sure the Senate remains in Democratic hands. As of now, what do you think?

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: Judy, I really like the way things look right now. There are 13 competitive races and only three of those 13 are Democratic incumbents. There are four open Republican seats and six challengers that are in competitive races on the Republican side. So we like our odds right now.

WOODRUFF: Mrs. Daschle, in your role, not only as the wife of a Senate majority leader, but also as a lobbyist for the airline industry, for airline interests, what's your sense of how it's shaking out this year, in terms of Republicans and Democrats?

LINDA DASCHLE, AIRLINE INDUSTRY LOBBIEST: Well, I think I have one disappointment, which is right after September 11th, Judy, we saw the best of politics. We saw Republicans an Democrats embrace each other and really accomplish what I thought was some very good legislative initiatives.

Unfortunately, something has happened. And suddenly we are seeing a real partisan mood again. And the one thing that I'm not particularly crazy about are the attacks on Tom. I don't think any spouse would be crazy about attacks on their husband. But we've just seen a million dollars spent in South Dakota to try to demonize Tom Daschle. WOODRUFF: Is there something different about it this time? I mean, your husband has been in politics ever since you met him. Is there something different about the nature of what you're seeing in South Dakota?

L. DASCHLE: Oh, absolutely. We've never experienced anything like this. Now, I will say that following September 11th, and then with the anthrax attack, it surprised me that these partisan attacks would follow so shortly thereafter.

In fact, they occurred almost at the same time that Tom's office experienced the anthrax attack. And they are much more sharper. They're just much more dynamic. And we're seeing a lot more of these attacks.

So -- and they're very personal. But I think you have to try very hard not to take it personally. The one thing that has occurred is that the more that I see these attacks, the more I actually hope that Tom Daschle stays in this arena and continues to fight for what he believes is important.

WOODRUFF: Do you feel, Senator, as if they are trying to demonize you, literally? Is that what's going on here?

T. DASCHLE: I don't know, Judy, what they're trying to do. That word has been used quite frequently to characterize what it is they're doing. And I think Linda's right. I think what you have to do is acknowledge it and accept the fact that there are some things that we're proud of the fact that we're not doing.

I think that's why we're there. To a certain extent, Democrats are America's brakes with this administration. We're the checks in the checks and balances in our system.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let's talk about -- your thinking ahead is something we touched on a moment ago. I saw you quoted recently as saying you are looking at three options. One is running for president. One of them is running, staying in Senate and just running for reelection. And another is retiring altogether. Is that an accurate way to characterize what you're looking at?

T. DASCHLE: That's correct.

WOODRUFF: Are they all equally weighted in your mind at this point?

T. DASCHLE: I would say so. I don't know that it's possible to -- I think it depends on the day. Some days, when you think of all the incredible things we're able to do in the United States Senate, and you read the book I'm reading right now, "Master of the Senate" by Robert Caro, you understand...

WOODRUFF: About Lyndon Johnson.

T. DASCHLE: About Lyndon Johnson -- you understand what a remarkable and historic opportunity this is. And then sometimes, of course, the prospect of a national campaign is very thrilling and exciting. And then of course there are things that I'd like to do beyond politics and government. And sometimes that appeals to me as well.

WOODRUFF: Do you believe there are, as you think about this, you have been quoted not so long ago as saying this is something you weren't so thrilled about. Mrs. Daschle, do you still feel that way?

L. DASCHLE: I think it would be fair to say that I had mixed emotions about the running for the presidency. Not about Tom staying in the Senate and not about necessarily retirement, even though, again, I'm not so sure I'm ready for him to give up the fight.

But I have mixed emotions, just about the personal sacrifice versus what would be a tremendous opportunity to stay in public service. I can't imagine the honor and the privilege of knowing that you have an opportunity for the American people to vote for you. So we'll try to, you know, take some time after the election this year and sort through, I think, what happens with Tom's career, what happens with my career. Clearly the impact on our family and the loss of some privacy, which I try guard quite a bit.

WOODRUFF: Speaking of your career, Senator, there has been some notice given to the fact that your wife is a lobbiest for the airline industry, some press about that, questions about how can she do what she does without there being a conflict of interest, given your prominent position in the Senate? Does that bother you when those articles are written?

T. DASCHLE: It does, it bothers me a lot. I think it's unfair and it's a cheap shot. And it's uncalled for. Linda has gone way beyond the -- what is required of us when we serve in public life. She doesn't lobby the Senate. And she is...

L. DASCHLE: Can I just jump in here? The one thing that I think is most disturbing about the attacks, Judy, is that they are very short-sighted. They've only looked at Linda Daschle and her career since Tom Daschle has become the majority leader.

I think I was probably born into aviation. My father was an aircraft mechanic. My first job in college was with the FAA at a flight service station. From day one, when I married Tom Daschle, whether I was in government or I was in the private sector, I chose not lobby him. I chose not to lobby his office.

And then later, I chose not to lobby the Senate. There are no rules that I say I have to do that. I felt like it was something that was important for me to do.

WOODRUFF: Final question. Senator, fire in the belly. It's been said as long as can I remember about modern American politics that you shouldn't run for president unless you've got that fire in the belly. Do you have it?

T. DASCHLE: Well, Judy, I have the fire in the belly for what I'm doing right now, I'll tell you that. I'm going to be in South Dakota and all over the country in the next few days, as I continue to reach the goals and pursue the goals that we're trying to, as the party of the majority. Everything I do, I do with passion and without hesitation.

I believe that after this election, whenever it is we decide what we're going to do, we'll do it with the same passion and commitment and determination that I've shown all through my career.

WOODRUFF: And if you had to decided today, what would you do?

T. DASCHLE: I don't know. I honestly...

L. DASCHLE: Good try.

T. DASCHLE: If I had to decide today what I'm going to do, it'd be simply to do what I'm doing. And I love what I'm doing. And we'll just see what happens after that.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, Senator Daschle, Mrs. Daschle, we really appreciate you joining us.

L. DASCHLE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much.

T. DASCHLE: Glad to do it.


WOODRUFF: Talked with the Daschles at the start of the Memorial holiday weekend.

When we return, we will hear what Tucker Carlson and Michelle Cottle have to say about Libya's potential offer to settle with the family members of the Pan Am flight 103 victims. Our debate segment is just ahead.


WOODRUFF: Checking our INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," as the FBI prepares for a major overhaul, there is word today of more possible missed clues before the September 11th terrorist attacks. Among them: an FBI pilot noted in 1998 that a significant number of men from the Middle East were taking flight training in Oklahoma City.

From Italy, reports that recorded conversations between a Muslim cleric from Yemen and the Egyptian leader of a mosque in Milan reveal what police believe may be predictions of the September 11th attacks, more than a year before they happened.

The conversations include vague references to a terrifying thing which all the newspapers in the world will write about. They were recorded by Italian authorities.

U.S. officials say they are concerned that al Qaeda members, through their ties to militants in Kashmir, may be trying to increase the tensions between India and Pakistan. U.S. officials say such a move could distract Pakistan from its pursuit of al Qaeda and its allies.

Governor Jeb Bush was at the White House this morning for the announcement that the federal government will buy back oil and gas drilling rights off the Florida coast. The plan also called for new mining protections for the Everglades. Afterwards, the governor was asked if the decision will help his bid for reelection.


GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I hope so. But more importantly, it is good public policy. And when there's a convergence of good politics and good public policy, I don't think we should be ashamed about it.


WOODRUFF: With us now: Mark Silva of "The Orlando Sentinel."

Mark, any doubt that this move is going to help the governor in his bid for reelection?

MARK SILVA, "THE ORLANDO SENTINEL": No, none whatsoever.

It's difficult to think what the Bush White House will do next for his brother's reelection. This is a big hit. It involves not only the Everglades, but also offshore oil drilling, two key environmental issues.

WOODRUFF: So, this, in essence, takes this issue away from the Democrats to the extent they were hoping to use it?

SILVA: It really does insulate the governor. If there are any issues on which he can be challenged environmentally, which is the secondary big issue in Florida, after education, this certainly insulates him. He's protecting the Everglades on the one hand and averting natural gas drilling offshore on the other hand.

WOODRUFF: Mark, let me ask you also about a move, an announcement, actually, by the Justice Department in Washington yesterday: that they basically found no creditable evidence that any Florida residents, any Florida voters were intentionally denied their right to vote in the 2000 election.

They went on to say that the only significant problems might be in counties where there were Hispanic voters where there was no bilingual support provided for these voters. Does this essentially put the whole dispute, which obviously was much broader than that, involving African-American voters, does this pretty much put it to rest?

SILVA: Well, it doesn't entirely put it to rest, but it is soft- pedaling, I think, to a great degree, what the Justice Department first talked about. When they initially spoke about lawsuits, everyone thought: "Ah- ha, the government has finally acknowledged deprival of voting rights," which were at the heart of 2000 election problems." But the Justice Department has come back and said through Boyd now that: "No, we're really looking at a few counties and an inhibitor to Spanish- speaking and, in one case, Creole-speaking voters." This is not anything close to a sweeping civil rights case.

WOODRUFF: You're referring to Ralph Boyd, who is the assistant attorney general for civil rights.

SILVA: That's right.

WOODRUFF: Is there enough of a sense in Florida at this point about other lawsuits that are out there? I mean, how much more are we going to hear, do you believe, from civil rights groups and others who have talked to those with complaints in Florida?

SILVA: Well, I think, to some extent, the Justice Department action will energize some private groups.

There are several suits pending, six or seven lawsuits pending privately. And the Justice Department's failure to take stronger measures will probably refocus some of the private efforts under way. It's difficult to say where they will get in the courts. But I think we'll hear more about it in the next couple months.

WOODRUFF: All right, Mark Silva, reporter for the "Orlando Sentinel" -- thank you, Mark. We appreciate it.

SILVA: Thank you. Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Well, INSIDE POLITICS has learned -- another Florida story -- that Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris, is writing a book on the state's 2000 election recount. Harris, of course, played a key role in the recount which gave George W. Bush the White House. The title of the her book: "Center of the Storm: Practicing Principled Leadership in a Time of Crisis." The book is due out this summer while Harris is on the campaign trial as a Republican congressional candidate in Florida's 13th District.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: With us now: Michelle Cottle of "The New Republic" and Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE."

Tucker, the FBI announcement today that there's going to be a big reorganization. They are making counterterrorism their top priority. Is this what is needed to address the criticisms that have been directed at the FBI?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Yes, I think it is. It sounds pretty sweeping. The main idea appears to be moving the focus from solving acts of terrorism to preventing them. And I think that's laudable and important. And shifting resources and agents from narcotics and organized crime to terrorism, I think that's important too.

I think there are probably other steps that need to be taken having to do with the culture of the FBI. For instance, before September 11, FBI agents were not allowed to follow suspects into mosques, for political correctness reasons. And that's obviously going to have to change. But, yes, I think it is encouraging.

WOODRUFF: Michelle, the right solution?

MICHELLE COTTLE, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": I think they absolutely had to do something.

But just throwing manpower at this is not going to be the issue. Tucker is right in that there are going to have to be some institutional changes. You can't have things like, if you try and get help from the CIA, you're going to be disciplined. And you're going to have to prevent infighting and things like this. With the new kind of high-profile focus on this, people are going to be very protective of their turf and things like that.

And you just have to make sure that some of that bureaucratic mess is worked out as you're throwing more people at this problem.

WOODRUFF: Let me turn you both to the announcement late yesterday by the Libyan government that it is looking at an offer to pay $2.7 billion to the families of the victims, the plane that went down. Pan Am Flight 103 went down over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

Now, it turns out now that there may be some conditions attached to this having to do with dropping sanctions against Libya. But, based on what we know, Tucker, is this something that the U.S. government should go along with?

CARLSON: Well, it is not even clear whether an offer has been made.

We're doing this topic on "CROSSFIRE" tonight. And it is sort of confusing, because now the Libyan state news agency is denying that the government of Libya has offered this money in the first place, so it may not even be real. If it is, there's going to be a huge amount of resistance from members of Congress -- a number of them have already come out and said, "We're not going to pay off Qadhafi" -- from the Bush administration, which, of course, has Libya on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and from some of the families who are saying this is unacceptable to pay off Qadhafi for these murders. It's hard to see how it could happen.

WOODRUFF: Michelle.

COTTLE: You know, I understand the families' response to this. They want a little bit more remorse shown, or whatever. But I don't think the U.S. government should be paying attention to this at all. They should be making decisions based on other issues. The State Department has come out and said that Libya has made some progress. And that's great. But I don't think the offer or the potential offer of compensating the families should play much of a role in this, other than meeting the technical requirement that Libya had to do that in order to get sanctions lifted.

WOODRUFF: Does this -- if it were to happen, what sort of precedent would it set for dealing with other countries that have sponsored terrorism in the past -- Tucker?

CARLSON: Well, look, it is problematic on another level, too, because, recently, John Bolton, undersecretary of state, said in a speech that Libya -- that the U.S. government has knowledge that Libya is developing weapons of mass destruction.

Now, coming right on the heels of a statement like that, it just seems very difficult for the State Department or the U.S. government to sort of turn and say, "No, since you've paid this money, you've met some of the conditions and we're going to drop sanctions." I just don't see it.

WOODRUFF: But that could mean these families never get any payment from Libya, Michelle.

COTTLE: I understand that, but that's not the priority here. I'm sorry that this was a tragedy. It's terrible. But that has no bearing on how we handle national security or international relations with a country that, as Tucker pointed out, is not necessarily doing all that it could to combat terrorism.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to leave it there.

Michelle Cottle, Tucker Carlson, good to see you both.

COTTLE: Thanks.

CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: To Vermont now, where Governor Howard Dean has filed his 2004 presidential candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission. This move makes Dean the first Democrat to formally indicate he plans to join the race. A spokeswoman says Dean has made no final decision to run, but she says -- quote -- "He is seven- eighths there." Dean is leaving office in January after 11 years as governor.

Democrats continue to mull their options on when to hold their 2004 nominating convention. Mayors in Boston, Miami, New York and Detroit today were advised to keep five weeks open on their calendars. As things now stand, the first two weeks that the convention might be held are July 19 or the week of July 26. There are two weeks in August that are also under consideration, the weeks of August 2 and August the 30th. That's the same week the Republicans are meeting. And if the party decides to wait even later, the week of September 6 is also a possibility. The party is not expected to make a final decision until after this year's fall elections. The September date could be the latest ever, we think.

Well, checking the headlines now in our "Campaign News Daily": New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo has released three new television ads to promote his run for governor. One of the ads features Cuomo in his former job as HUD secretary for President Clinton. Cuomo faces fellow Democrat Carl McCall in the race to challenge incumbent George Pataki. Governor Pataki will be endorsed at the state GOP Convention this evening. Pataki has a commanding 31-point lead over Andrew Cuomo in a new Marist poll. In a theoretical matchup against McCall, Pataki enjoys a 30-point lead.

Yesterday's Kentucky Democratic Senate primary is still in dispute this afternoon. The latest totals show Lois Combs Weinberg defeating former Congressman Tom Barlow by fewer than 1,000 votes out of more than 460,000 ballots that were cast. Barlow has refused to concede, however. The winner will face Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

Coming up: On this day that would have been John F. Kennedy's 85th birthday, there is word of what could be an important discovery related to the former president. And it's prompted Jeff Greenfield to take a look at wartime heroism and its effect on the presidency.


WOODRUFF: If John F. Kennedy had lived, the former president would be celebrating his 85th birthday today. And, ironically, there is word today that the PT-109 boat that JFK captained during World War II may have been found. Radio reports from the Solomon Islands quote deep-sea explorer Robert Ballard as saying that his team may have found the patrol boat's wreckage off of those islands in the South Pacific. There are tests coming to determine if that is true.

Kennedy became an American hero after his PT-109 went down after it was sliced in two by a Japanese destroyer.

In today's "Bite of the Apple," our Jeff Greenfield takes a look at the connection between wartime heroism and political success.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: When John Kennedy was asked how he became a hero, he replied: "It was involuntary. They sunk my boat." Well, despite that self-deprecating remark, Kennedy knew full well how much that wartime exploit propelled his political career, something, by the way, that has been true throughout our political life.

(voice-over): John Kennedy's service in the Navy was one of the keys to his first political success: his election to Congress in 1946 as a returning war hero. His brush with death insulated him from the rich-man's-son label. Close aides and supporters wore PT-109 tie clasps.

During his presidency, a pop song celebrated his wartime exploits. And Hollywood made a movie about them. They didn't have movies 200-plus years ago, but it was George Washington's stature as Revolutionary War leader that made him the unanimous choice to be America's first president.

And look at how often we have chosen military heroes as our leaders: Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans; William Henry Harrison, Tippecanoe hero of Indian wars; Zachary Taylor from the Mexican-American War; Ulysses S. Grant from the Civil War; Teddy Roosevelt, who led the charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War; Dwight Eisenhower, supreme allied commander in Europe during World War II; George H.W. Bush, a young Naval pilot in World War II who narrowly escaped death.

Of course, this military record doesn't help if you have led in an unsuccessful war. William Westmoreland, who commanded American troops in Vietnam, ran for governor of South Carolina in 1974 and finished well out of the money. And the unhappy experience in Vietnam may be one reason why the controversy over Bill Clinton's draft history did not stop him from besting Medal of Honor winner Bob Kerrey in the primaries and Bush in the fall campaign.

(on camera): We may see the power of a military record tested next time out. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a probable presidential candidate, is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran. In a campaign where a war against terrorism may still be a dominant theme, we are likely to be hearing about that record.

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: With his "Bite of the Apple."

Big tobacco became a big political target? Is fast-food the next frontier? Bill Schneider goes on patrol with the food police when we return.


WOODRUFF: We are all well aware of how the political tide turned against the tobacco companies in recent years.

Well, CNN's Bill Schneider is here with us now to talk about a new possible political target -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: We're fat and we're lazy, the government says. So what? What business is it of the government's to tell us what we should put in our mouths?

In the words of the late John Belushi: food fight!


(voice-over): One side says it's an issue of public health.

DR. MARGO WOOTAN, CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Obesity is the most pressing public health issue facing the country.

SCHNEIDER: It's not just a couch-potato problem. It's also a french-fried-potato problem. Americans eat out a lot more. Public health activists have been warning consumers about the hidden dangers of pizza and tacos and Kung Pao chicken, and running ads like this one comparing food dangers to tobacco. So, the food and restaurant industries are fighting back with ads like these attacking the food police.


ANNOUNCER: Hear why your rights and your cheeseburgers may soon be in jeopardy.


SCHNEIDER: Food industry spokesmen say the government's new obesity standards are ridiculous.

RICK BERMAN, CENTER FOR CONSUMER FREEDOM: According to the government's standard, I am obese. In fact, if I lost 15 pounds, I would still be obese. But I'm in good company, because Tom Cruise is obese. And Russell Crowe is obese. And Michael Jordan is considered overweight.

SCHNEIDER: Public health activists talk about a bad food environment.

WOOTAN: We have ads that encourage us to eat, eat, eat.

SCHNEIDER: They want people to see the food issue as comparable to the tobacco issue: greedy companies that make money by endangering public health.

WOOTAN: Health advocates are looking at tobacco as a model.

SCHNEIDER: The food industry says food is not addictive like tobacco. They prefer the prohibition model.

BERMAN: This intrusion of the federal government into people's lifestyles, which we find pretty alarming.

SCHNEIDER: The response from public health activists? "We're not trying to force anything on people."

WOOTAN: We're trying to help people do what they already want to do.


SCHNEIDER: As usual, it's a contest to define the issue. After all, 10 years ago, tobacco lawsuits were considered frivolous, until the issue got defined as one of public health and corporate greed. WOODRUFF: Clearly, there are some differences, Bill, between food and tobacco. What are the strategists among these health activists doing to try to make this more like the tobacco battle?

SCHNEIDER: They're treating it as an issue of protecting children's health, that the food companies want to trap children in bad eating habits.

So, one of the things they're trying to do is get junk food out of schools. Interestingly, a lot of teachers unions oppose doing that, because the food industry gives the nation's public schools $750 million to put those vending machines in the schools. And they'd lose all that money if the junk food got taken out of the schools.

WOODRUFF: I wonder when the parents will weigh in.

OK, Bill Schneider, thanks very much.


WOODRUFF: Still to come on INSIDE POLITICS: images of a tragedy. White House news photographers exhibit their pictures showing the aftermath of September 11.

But first let's check in with Wolf for a look at what's coming up at the top of the hour on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hello.


The FBI promises to get its act together, but more missed opportunities keep cropping up. Hear what happened in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. And who would protect you if your plane is hijacked? You are going to get a rare look at air marshals training to take down terrorists.

That and much more coming up at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: Checking what's in the works on INSIDE POLITICS -- tomorrow, Kentucky politics uncovered: Bill Schneider will focus on some of the races in the Bluegrass State that have taken some nasty, even dangerous turns. And Brooks Jackson will give us a lesson on nuclear power and the complicated politics behind it.

Some members of the White House News Photographers' Association are showing off their award-winning photographs at the Corcoran Gallery of Art here in Washington. The exhibit focuses on the terrible events of September 11.

Here now a closer look:


SUSAN WALSH, PRESIDENT, WHITE HOUSE NEWS PHOTOGRAPHERS' ASSN.: Now, this is a picture shot by Michael Williamson from "The Washington Post," again at ground zero. And I think you will see a very wide- ranging display of photos from that.

Here's a very quiet, solitary moment with one of the people sleeping. It's just well composed. You really -- you look at it and you just wonder how this person is managing to find this place comforting to sleep in. But you also realize that they are probably so exhausted that any place to rest your head. And it looks like more like a war zone. It looks like it would be Afghanistan, actually, rather than the World Trade Center.

This picture by Mario Tama for Getty Images, it's just like, these people look like ants. It's a frame that gives you a chance to see the scale and the perspective and the size of ground zero and the destruction and the devastation.

DOUG MILLS, WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Obviously, it was a horrific day. It was a very emotional day for all of us.

I was chosen -- once we left Florida and flew to Barksdale Air Force Base, the pool went down to five people. And I was the only still photographer that was chosen to go with the president from Barksdale Air Force Base. At that point, we didn't know where we were going. But, eventually, we went to the Strategic Air Command in Nebraska.

This picture was taken obviously September 11 in the classroom in Florida. This is the moment when Chief of Staff Andy Card walked over to the president during the middle of an education event and whispered, "Mr. President, a second aircraft has hit the World Trade Center. America is under attack." The look on the president's face after he told him these words were just striking.

This was a soldier standing outside of Air Force One -- something we have never, ever seen before and hope never to again -- guarding the plane when we landed in Barksdale Air Force Base. And these are some of my colleagues, obviously watching on the television. As we're at about 36,000 feet, everything unfolded beneath us.

This picture there was taken shortly after the attacks. This was after the president's first news conference. This was the Friday after the September 11 attacks, when the president went to New York City to visit with the firefighters and go to visit ground zero.


WOODRUFF: White House photographers.

Again, the exhibit is at the Corcoran Gallery of Art here in Washington.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.


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