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CNN TALKBACK LIVE

Zacarias Moussaoui Represents Himself in Court; FBI Checks Library Reading Records for Suspects

Aired June 25, 2002 - 15:02   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.
ARTHEL NEVILLE, HOST: Work it out right? All right, hello, everybody. Welcome to TALKBACK LIVE. I'm Arthel Neville.

Are terrorists hanging out in public libraries? Librarians aren't suppose to talk about it, but some officials say the FBI has been busy checking library reading records and computer use of people they suspect could be involved with terrorists. Records of what you buy at bookstores are also open to investigators. Is this an invasion of privacy? Maybe you don't mind. Maybe you do. I want to hear from you nonetheless.

You know the number, it's 1-800-C -- oh, excuse me, do I know the number? 1-800-310-4CNN. Again that's 1-800-310-4CNN or, of course, you can e-mail me at talkback@cnn.com.

Now before we meet our guests, take a look at what we have planned today, OK?

If you're over 40, listen up, the California Supreme Court says it's OK for your boss to deny you the same benefits it provides younger workers. You might think it's against the law, but it's not.

Also, the FBI could be checking out what you're checking out of the library. Will the Patriot Act make your reading habits an open book?

And you'll meet a bilingual valedictorian who insisted on giving her speech twice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know it's American. I know I have to speak English. I also wanted to pay a little bit of tribute to my community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEVILLE: Find out why Angela Salazar's (ph) speech was not music to the ears of some of her classmates.

OK, you know what, let's start with what the FBI is doing inside the nation's libraries. With us now is Danny Defenbaugh, a retired 33-year veteran of the FBI and Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the Washington office for the American Library Association.

And I want to welcome both of you.

DANNY DEFENBAUGH, FMR. FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Thank you.

EMILY SHEKETOFF, AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION: Thank you.

NEVILLE: All right, Danny you are up first. How does this work, before we go any further?

DEFENBAUGH: I'm sorry, I didn't understand.

NEVILLE: How does this work? Tell us what's going on here. What now does the FBI have access to regarding the library records?

DEFENBAUGH: The Patriot Act actually allowed the FBI to...

NEVILLE: OK, now you know what? I'm going to have to cut you off. I do apologize. What I need to do is go to Alexandria, Virginia where Alan Yamamoto, Moussaoui's attorney is addressing the press. Let's take a listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ALAN YAMAMOTO, MOUSSAOUI'S ATTORNEY: ... seen him, but I have not spoken with him.

QUESTION: Have you spoken with Mr. Freeman?

YAMAMOTO: I have spoken with Mr. Freeman.

QUESTION: And were you able to assist him in any way in terms of his representation of Mr. Moussaoui?

YAMAMOTO: Well that's between Mr. Freeman and Mr. Moussaoui as to whether or not Mr. Freeman's going to represent him, and I don't know what that relationship is.

QUESTION: And do you know about the smoking gun evidence having spoken to him?

QUESTION: Did you go to the jail and he wouldn't talk with you?

YAMAMOTO: I have attempted to see him at the jail and he's refused to talk to me, yes.

QUESTION: Didn't Mr. Moussaoui (OFF-MIKE) ?

QUESTION: With local counsel to represent him (OFF-MIKE) ?

YAMAMOTO: I would -- I would think so, if Mr. Freeman is willing to enter an appearance, but I don't know whether or not Mr. Freeman is willing to enter his appearance to be stand-by counsel or to assist Mr. Moussaoui to act pro se.

QUESTION: Is it -- is it a puzzle to you, Mr. Yamamoto? Are you uncertain as to why Mr. Freeman has declined to enter an appearance or do you know?

YAMAMOTO: I don't know. That's between Mr. Freeman and Mr. Moussaoui.

QUESTION: But it seems to you that -- is it not accurate to say that he would -- could be of service to Mr. Moussaoui if he entered that appearance, is that right?

YAMAMOTO: I believe Mr. Moussaoui thinks so, yes.

QUESTION: Is he going to be...

(CROSSTALK)

YAMAMOTO: I don't know. I don't know anything about Mr. Freeman's background.

QUESTION: When are you going to see (OFF-MIKE) Moussaoui about what he did today in court was a no-no.

YAMAMOTO: I'll just explain to him what the consequences of a nolo plea would be.

QUESTION: You'll explain to him in writing...

YAMAMOTO: In writing, yes.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

YAMAMOTO: As a not guilty, that's correct.

QUESTION: ... that's what's before the court, but that's what's before the court, not guilty...

YAMAMOTO: At this point, that's correct.

QUESTION: What's the importance of (OFF-MIKE)?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Can you shed any light on that?

YAMAMOTO: I don't know anything about it at this point.

QUESTION: And do you know anything about the alleged evidence he has of FBI surveillance?

YAMAMOTO: I do not.

QUESTION: Or what the kinko (ph) (OFF-MIKE) is?

YAMAMOTO: I do not.

QUESTION: Does Mr. Moussaoui understand the difference between no plea and nolo contendere, no contest?

YAMAMOTO: I don't know, and it didn't appear that he did.

QUESTION: And what's the impact (OFF-MIKE) trial in your opinion?

YAMAMOTO: I don't know what impact, if any, it would have. It just indicates that Mr. Moussaoui doesn't understand what a nolo contendere plea is.

QUESTION: What were the two motions that Mr. Freeman signed that he was so upset about that he signed? Do you know?

YAMAMOTO: I don't recall.

QUESTION: Sir, how concerned now are you that if this proceeds on in this manner, that Moussaoui is not going to get a fair trial?

YAMAMOTO: Mr. Moussaoui has asked the court and been permitted to represent himself. He has in his hands, the ability to change that and have counsel represent him or to have counsel assist him. If he's unwilling to speak to counsel, and tends to continue on his own, at some point, the court may have to step in, if it feels that Mr. Moussaoui is not receiving a fair trial.

QUESTION: How do you know...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Guys, it seems hard to believe that he doesn't understand the difference between no plea and no...

(CROSSTALK)

YAMAMOTO: I don't know.

QUESTION: But he went through a litany of all the things that she won't let him do and all those things were made very clear to him, that he wouldn't be able to do when he had his hearing about representing his going pro se. I mean the business of not having access to the phone, and not having access to third parties. I mean it seems as though he is trying to have it both ways and he's not going to be able to. What can she do so that he can mount a defense given the constraints that are going to be on?

YAMAMOTO: I'm not sure that she can do much more than she has done. He's not going to get access to the phones. He's not going to get access to classified material. And he's going to have limited abilities to investigate, unless he speaks with somebody to have an investigator to go out there and look for what he wants.

QUESTION: Do you anticipate at some point she's going to shut him down and just say you're representing him...

YAMAMOTO: I don't know. I have prepared for that contingency if that happens.

QUESTION: And if that were to happen, then would there be an extension of time so that you could do some of the stuff that you have not been permitted to do?

YAMAMOTO: I would ask the court for an extension, certainly.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: ... the difference between Mr. Moussaoui saying no plea, and the judge saying that's no (OFF-MIKE) and what that -- what Mr. Moussaoui was trying to do and what the judge was trying to instruct him.

YAMAMOTO: I can't. I don't understand what he was intending to say by saying no plea. And I'm not sure I understood what he intended to say by saying nolo contendere because he insists that he wants to put on a defense. He wants access to information and evidence to put on a defense, so a nolo plea would prevent a trial. So it appears to me he just didn't understand what a nolo plea meant.

QUESTION: What would happen is she had accepted that?

YAMAMOTO: If she had accepted that, then she could find him guilty based on his plea.

QUESTION: Do you think it would be good for his case or bad for his case (OFF-MIKE) for Mr. Freeman to be entered in as his lawyer?

YAMAMOTO: I don't know. I don't know Mr. Freeman's background. I don't know his abilities as a lawyer.

QUESTION: Has Mr. Freeman contacted you at all sir?

YAMAMOTO: I spoke with Mr. Freeman, yes.

QUESTION: And what is your opinion of him?

YAMAMOTO: He's a very nice gentleman, very well-spoken.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: What did the two of you talk about?

QUESTION: As opposed to (OFF-MIKE) in court, could he not be allowed to assist Moussaoui, prepare his case out of court -- like coaching him in jail or whatever? Moussaoui says he's not permitted to even see him.

YAMAMOTO: I can't -- I can't answer that question because Mr. Freeman has not made an appearance or entered an appearance in this case. Mr. Moussaoui is restricted in who has access to him, and until Mr. Freeman makes an appearance, he's not going to be able to assist Mr. Moussaoui.

QUESTION: And do you know why he has not made an appearance?

(CROSSTALK) YAMAMOTO: I do not know why.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) off stand-by counsel or they're now...

YAMAMOTO: No, they're still stand-by counsel.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

YAMAMOTO: Correct.

QUESTION: Can you tell us what you talked about when you -- when you spoke with Mr. Freeman? Was it to figure out how he could help with the case, or did he -- did he approach you? Did you approach him?

YAMAMOTO: Well I had called him, and he had returned my call, and we spoke about the case in general and Mr. Moussaoui.

QUESTION: Is it your understanding that he will continue to be able to see him in jail or not?

YAMAMOTO: I don't know.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Thank you.

NEVILLE: OK, we've been listening to Alan Yamamoto. He is the court appointed attorney there for Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui has been charged with six conspiracy counts in the planning of the September 11 attacks. And you may remember that Moussaoui decided to represent himself in court and today is the first day of court.

And later in this show, we're going to hear from Kelli Arena who's going to give us a little bit of color commentary, if you will, regarding what took place inside the courtroom today.

In the meantime, I think we're going to take a break right now, but don't go anywhere because I have some exciting subjects I'd like to talk to you about. OK, so we'll see you after this break. All right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEVILLE: OK, welcome back everybody. Before the break, I told you that Zacarias Moussaoui is back in federal court this afternoon, and we understand the government made some minor changes in some of the initial charges against the suspected terrorists. Moussaoui was arraigned on a revised indictment in connection to the September 11 attacks, and he has chosen, as I told you, to represent himself.

Well CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena has been inside the courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia and Kelli joins us now. And Kelli, what we would like here on TALKBACK LIVE if you could provide some color commentary for us as to what happened in court today.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Narthel (ph).

Well first of all, he entered into the courtroom, and he is flanked by two rather large U.S. marshals. He was escorted to the defense table where he sat alone. He made a request to the court not to have stand-by counsel sit with him. He said he wanted nothing to do with any government lawyer, and so the government appointed lawyer, Alan Yamamoto, actually sat one row behind Moussaoui and watched the proceedings from there.

The judge asked him whether or not he wanted to have a formal arraignment. He said, yes, and that mean that the judge had to go through every single change in the indictment from the original to the new one, and these were very, minor changes, you know, paragraph 17 becomes paragraph 19, and, you know, instead of 4,973, it's 4,972. I mean, so it's very laborious and we went through this for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Right after that, about 15 minutes end, the lawyer from Texas, a Muslim lawyer from Texas, Charles Freeman, entered into the court room late. Now we were told that, you know, you had to be in that courtroom 1:45 or forget it, but he got in there at about 2:15. This is the lawyer who has met with Moussaoui several times, in fact, the only lawyer that Moussaoui has let anywhere near him since this whole situation began.

He came into the courtroom, I think and I cannot confirm this, but I think it was his family with him, a woman dressed in a very long gown and head covered; and a young boy about 17 -- the most -- sitting next to him, next to what looked to be his father...

NEVILLE: So Kelly, if I...

ARENA: ... it was very quiet.

NEVILLE: ... I'm going to jump in for a second...

ARENA: Go ahead.

NEVILLE: ... because I want to know if there is any indication at this point if there are going to be outbursts or disruptions in this whole process?

ARENA: There were -- there were -- I mean, there have been every single time he comes into the courtroom, Narthel (ph). I mean, this time it was over his plea. The judge said, "OK, I'm assuming you're going to enter a not guilty plea." He said, "Don't assume anything. I want to enter no contest." And she said, "Well, that would mean almost an automatic guilty for you, guilty verdict. Do you understand that?" And he said, "I have nothing to say to the United States. I have nothing to plea. I want to plea no contest." Again, the judge said, "Look, that is in direct contradiction to every statement you've ever made in this court. I have to believe that what you mean is not guilty."

And he said, "Do not assume anything from me. You are preparing a way to the gas chamber for me. You are using every trick in the book to prevent me from helping myself. You will not allow me to see brother Freeman." Referring to the lawyer in the...

NEVILLE: Right.

ARENA: ... courtroom.

NEVILLE: ... right, the guy from Houston.

ARENA: ... you know, and right -- and went on and on and finally the judge started speaking, and he didn't stop, and she said: "Every other time you've been really good about keeping your mouth shut when I talk. You better continue to do that, or you're going to waive your rights because you have abused them."

NEVILLE: Good. Good. OK...

ARENA: And so she said you go sit down and he did.

NEVILLE: So Kelli, you know what, that sounds all exciting and, of course, we're going to check in with you from -- you know, throughout the week to find out what's going on there, and I know there's a lot of excitement and stuff going on, but Kelli, I got to let you know it's not Narthel (ph), it's Arthel. I know you just made a little mistake.

ARENA: Oh I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.

NEVILLE: It's OK. We're still friends, no problem. All right...

ARENA: I keep getting Zacarias and...

NEVILLE: Zacarias exactly.

ARENA: Zacarias wrong too, you know.

NEVILLE: No, it's no problem Kelli.

ARENA: It's been that kind of day.

NEVILLE: I understand. No problem at all. OK thanks a lot Kelli Arena. OK, I'm not mad at her.

All right, so let's return now to our discussion about what the FBI is doing inside the nation's libraries.

OK, with us again Danny Defenbaugh, a retired 33-year veteran of the FBI and Emily Sheketoff who is the executive director of the Washington office for the American Library Association.

And Danny before we got interrupted I wanted you to explain to us if you will what exactly the FBI is able to gather. What sort of information are they able to collect from the libraries?

DEFENBAUGH: Prior to the Patriot Act and September 11, of course, the FBI was pretty well hamstrung with regard to searching any other type of public documents or public records that would be available to most anyone else in the public or any -- rest of the American citizenry. The Patriot Act now allows the FBI to go to the libraries and have them review their records to make a determination whether or not an individual had checked out or reviewed certain books or items, and it was for the person not for the books.

So, to determine whether or not a suspect who may be considered as being involved with a terrorist activity or who may be conspiring with others, where we can go and actually now search those public records.

NEVILLE: Now, if you can, I know it hasn't been a long time we're talking about here, because the Patriot Act was signed in October, and then what did you know, in the meantime, though, if there was any sort of track record at this point, as to if the FBI has been able to obtain any valuable information through this process?

DEFENBAUGH: Of course, I retired April 30, so I'm not so sure if I can speak to that. I can tell you that prior to that, Timothy McVeigh, of course, got a lot of his bombing explosive knowledge from the local libraries there in the Kingman, Arizona area, and some of that information was actually used during his trial.

NEVILLE: So having said that, then you believe that this could be a pretty good vehicle for the FBI to obtain some valuable information.

DEFENBAUGH: I think that anything that will unhamper the FBI or any of the intelligence agencies to be able to thwart next terrorist act is what most of the Americans want.

NEVILLE: OK, Emily, tell me if you think there's anything wrong with this process.

SHEKETOFF: Well, I would like to make a few little corrections. First of all, librarians like all other citizens, care about this country and care that laws are obeyed, but the Patriot Act lowers the bar on access to library records. Law enforcement has always been able to go into a library with a properly executed legal document like a subpoena or a court order and get access to information.

But this was with probable cause or the thought that a crime was going to be committed. Now with the Patriot Act, that bar has been lowered. There's no need for probable cause, and the information must meet a much lower standard to go in and get this information.

NEVILLE: And you... SHEKETOFF: The other thing about the Patriot Act is that it puts a gag order on the librarian, when law enforcement comes in to get this information, the library cannot tell the library patron whose information is being requested that they are under investigation. They cannot tell their library board or their library governing body that this request has come in, and they cannot go to their congressman and talk about the request, and the possibility that it might be overbroad, and it might be reaching a little.

NEVILLE: So Emily...

(CROSSTALK)

NEVILLE: So let me -- let me ask you this, though. Do you feel that perhaps because there is so much secrecy involved, then perhaps the FBI could break the rules and nobody would know about it?

SHEKETOFF: Well there is, of course, the potential for abuse, and the reason we're concerned is that there has been abuse in the past and states -- 48 states in this country have privacy rules specifically for library records because of that abuse in the past. But the Patriot Act preempts state privacy rules, and we fear that that might be dangerous.

NEVILLE: OK, hang on for me because Bob (ph) from Georgia has something to say.

BOB (PH): I question whether or not the FBI's access just to libraries is really the appropriate access they may need. I'm opposed to illegal search and seizure of personal items, but -- what access to have to the Internet's access? You can sit at home and access university libraries across the country from your own computer.

NEVILLE: So you're saying so what if someone's actually at the library. They could actually get that information through the Internet,

BOB: Correct.

SHEKETOFF: The Patriot Act does allow law enforcement access to electronic records as well, not only from the library, but from your ISP as well. But the -- our concern is the library. Courts and the government have always recognized that the public library gives everybody access to information, and that's a precious commodity that we have always respected. It's one step away from your thoughts and in this country, we've always protected that.

NEVILLE: OK, Emily hang on for me because I know I've got Travis (ph) on the phone, Grace (ph) is standing by, Sheila (ph) here in the audience with questions. I think we have a lot of questions regarding this, so we need to take a break, but we'll continue this after the break. So don't go anywhere because TALKBACK LIVE continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEVILLE: OK, welcome back everybody, Arthel Neville. We're talking about the FBI having access to your library reading records. And I have Danny Defenbaugh and Emily Sheketoff with us. And I'm not sure, maybe Emily or Danny, I don't know who wants to answer this.

But you know, what if you're a student doing, you know, doing a paper, doing research on what's in the news. You happen to be from the Middle East and suddenly you're going to be targeted as a terrorist because you're collecting information regarding the situation that's in the news?

SHEKETOFF: Well this is certainly a concern and you don't just need to be a student from the Middle East. You can be a student here in this country, doing legitimate research, just trying to get the full picture of what's going on, and law enforcement could misinterpret what you're doing, which is perfectly legitimate, just doing research, just trying to educate yourself to the situation.

NEVILLE: And Danny before you respond to that, Jack (ph) had a good follow-up to that.

JACK (PH): Well my question is, what could you find out that you couldn't defend?

NEVILLE: And you also said that what about -- what if the actual people who are trying to get this information for devious reasons, they say I'm a student doing research.

(CROSSTALK)

JACK: That would be your defense.

SHEKETOFF: But Jack (ph), there has always been the ability for law enforcement to go to a court with proper documentation, get a court order and get this information. What we're concerned about is that the bar for the access to the information has been lowered so that now there's no need for probable cause. Law enforcement can just do a fishing expedition and pull into their net as they're looking for other things, pull into the net innocent people who are just trying to exercise their rights and investigate information.

NEVILLE: Danny ...

SHEKETOFF: And yet they'll come under suspicion.

NEVILLE: Danny jump in for me because I'm going to take my callers. Go ahead.

DEFENBAUGH: Yes, because I need to respond here. I think that we're all missing the whole point here that we aren't looking for the information on who's checking out the Ann Arcos (ph) cookbook. We're looking for specific individuals where there is reasonable suspicion that they are involved in either criminal or terrorist activity. That gives us the right to look for the records of that individual, not the entire community. The FBI doesn't have the resources, nor would they care, quite frankly. SHEKETOFF: But, Danny, you had the right before the Patriot Act to go to a court, present your suspicions, and have a judge issue a subpoena.

DEFENBAUGH: That is incorrect as far five as we needed probable cause then. You are correct when you said that the bar has been lowered now to where, if we have reasonable suspicion, you are going to have FBI supervisors and FBI special agents in charge who are going to be monitoring, when they set those investigative leads, for someone to go to the library and look for a specific individual's name.

That means that an investigative case is opened. And they are actually looking at that individual because of information that person is either conspiring or is about to commit a crime or a terrorist act.

NEVILLE: OK, now, let me -- Danny, here is -- the University of Illinois, by the way, conducted a survey of 1,020 libraries in January and February. And they found that 85 had been asked -- now, only 85 had been asked for federal or local law enforcement officers for information about patrons related to September 11. And the libraries that reported FBI contacts were nearly all in large urban areas.

Is there something wrong with that picture?

DEFENBAUGH: No, I don't think there's something wrong with that picture, because what have you to look at, again, is, what the information they are requesting on is on individuals that they are looking at or investigating at the time.

So, it would be logical to deduce, particularly after September the 11, when you had the 19 hijackers who were all primarily living in -- at the times that they were here in the United States, in the larger metropolitan areas. They are looking at those individuals, not at the entire community or not at a different race or a minority, etcetera.

NEVILLE: Hang on.

Does that bother you, Tom?

TOM: Well, it bothers me because I think about J. Edgar Hoover and what he did when he was in charge of the FBI. And now we are going to put him, put the FBI looking into our records, just because somebody thinks that something is wrong there? I have a real problem with that.

I think that the lady is right. If they have reason to be there, then they should get a search warrant and do it the right way, and not lower that bar, to protect the rest of America.

(APPLAUSE)

NEVILLE: OK. Thank you very much.

OK, Tom -- no, no, Travis from Kentucky and Grayson (ph) from New York, I know you are on hold. I have to take another break. I promise you are first up after the break, OK?

TALKBACK LIVE continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEVILLE: OK, welcome back, everybody.

We are talking about the FBI having access to your library reading records.

And Lee here had something -- stand up for me -- you had something interesting to say in the break.

LEE: This is a law that has not been tested in the court system. We don't know whether it is constitutional or not. All we know is, it was passed after September 11. And until it is tested, I don't know whether it is constitutional. And I think that there have been several newspapers in the United States that have written editorials to that effect.

SHEKETOFF: Arthel, that is a real issue for us.

Because of the gag order, it is going to be very hard to get a plaintiff for this case. Libraries can't tell anybody that they have been approached. The person whose records have been requested doesn't know. So it is going to be very hard for this to be tested in the courts.

NEVILLE: OK.

I am going to get Travis in here now.

Travis from Kentucky, go ahead. What do you have to say?

CALLER: Well, I was just wanting to make the comment that, if you look at what our system is doing, what our current government is doing, we are on the road to being no better than Afghanistan or any of these other Arab bloc countries that we are supposedly fighting a war on terror against, because, first off, in some ways, our country caused this, the whole September 11 attacks, because we went in. We messed with countries that we should not have messed with. We took their rights away. We took their oil away. We did this.

Now, what happened

(CROSSTALK)

NEVILLE: Hang on there. Hang on.

Is there anybody in this audience who agrees or disagrees with this caller, Travis? Anybody wants to say something to what he is saying here, respond?

I don't know about that, Travis.

You know what? I'm going to go to Grayson now. Thanks for calling, by the way.

I'm going to go to Grayson now from New York. Go ahead, Grayson.

CALLER: Hi.

I totally disagree. I think it's a double-edged sword. We expect the FBI to thwart future attacks. So, therefore, we have to allow full access in order to accomplish this. I think that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to really worry about.

DEFENBAUGH: Arthel?

NEVILLE: OK. Oh, go ahead. Go ahead.

DEFENBAUGH: I think that one thing -- and right there is the exact point. I think that we, all Americans, are going to have to realize that we are at war and that we are going to have to make a determination of what liberties that we are going to be willing to give up to protect the actual freedoms that we have under the Constitution of the United States.

NEVILLE: OK, I have got Shilly (ph) here from Georgia.

SHILLY: I just had a question. I was wondering if, would the law going into retrospect? I mean, will they look back before September 11 at anybody's records from way before then? How far back will they go? When will it start? What are the parameters around this law?

SHEKETOFF: Well, because libraries think of confidentiality and privacy in such an important way, our policy has always been to keep records just long enough until the book comes back. And then the records are erased. There is library software that, when a book is returned, the record is automatically erased. So, there is very little that is still available.

There is something electronically, depending on what your system is. But that is why this is so dangerous, because there really isn't a lot of information that they can get that might be of use. But the danger to people's privacy is quite scary. And the chance for abuse is really great.

NEVILLE: So, Emily, now, why do you erase those records?

SHEKETOFF: Because there has always been a deep commitment to privacy and confidentiality from libraries forever. So, library records have always been just to monitor when a book goes out, who has it. It comes back. Then there is no need to keep that record. And that record has always been destroyed.

NEVILLE: OK, Frank from Illinois.

FRANK: Yes, I agree with that. I think privacy is important. But I think, since September 11, the rules have changed. And we have to be flexible. And if we want to protect us, our country, we need to be flexible on that. SHEKETOFF: But I think there is still a need for oversight and to guard against abuse. And this law does not really give us much room for oversight.

NEVILLE: OK, I have an e-mail that just came in. I want to pop it up. And let's read that. It is from Brian.

OK, he says: "What happens if the war on terror is won? Will things go back to normal or will these new events and laws just be stepping stones to help Big Brother along?"

(APPLAUSE)

NEVILLE: Danny or Emily, any thoughts on that?

DEFENBAUGH: I will be glad to respond.

(CROSSTALK)

NEVILLE: Hang on, Emily. Hang on, Emily, please. Let Danny go. Thank you.

SHEKETOFF: Sorry. Sorry.

NEVILLE: Danny.

DEFENBAUGH: I have spent 33 years dedicating my life to fighting terrorism. Quite frankly, I started out by looking at the old Weathermen, SDS, as far as bombers. And I think, internationally, particularly now with the look in the sights against America, that this war on terrorism is going to be very long-fought.

NEVILLE: Go ahead, Emily.

SHEKETOFF: I was just going to say that we are afraid that, once these laws are in place, they will be in place forever.

And that is not to say that we don't support law enforcement, that we don't agree that we must be vigilant. But we think we need to be vigilant with an eye on the rights of the people in this country and a recognition that what has always made this country great is our civil rights and our ability to obey the law and yet respect people's rights.

NEVILLE: OK.

DEFENBAUGH: It is also the FBI's responsibility to protect those civil rights.

SHEKETOFF: Absolutely.

NEVILLE: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

NEVILLE: Let me let Kate get in on this conversation. Go ahead, Kate. You're live.

CALLER: Yes.

In 1975, the FBI and public service utility investigators went to my little local library to see what I had been reading. My librarian turned them down. You know, I was only a housewife protesting a nuclear plant. And once you let the camel get under the tent, there they go. I had a perfect right to protest. And I have no idea why they were at my small library.

SHEKETOFF: And this is what we fear. And that is why people's civil rights are so important. And that's why librarians have always been committed to their library patrons' privacy and library records confidentiality. This is very important political speech. And we must protect it.

NEVILLE: OK, Emily Sheketoff, thank you very much for all of your comments today.

SHEKETOFF: Thank you very much for having me.

NEVILLE: Oh, absolutely.

And, Danny Defenbaugh, thank you as well for your insight on this subject.

And, to you at home, don't go anywhere, because I have someone I want you to meet. She is going to give us a lesson in how to avoid taking no for an answer. We'll be back in a moment.

Coming up on TALKBACK LIVE: It is not what she said, but how she said it. Find out why a valedictorian's speech left some students gritting their teeth.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEVILLE: Welcome back to TALKBACK LIVE, everybody. I'm Arthel Neville.

Angela Salazar got a mixed bag of boos and cheers when she gave her valedictorian speech last night in New Brunswick, New Jersey. But it had absolutely nothing to do with what Angela said. Instead, the reaction was to the fact that she gave her speech in both English and Spanish.

Now I want Angela Salazar to help fill in the details. And she joins us now on the phone from Princeton, New Jersey.

Angela, can you hear me?

ANGELA SALAZAR, VALEDICTORIAN, NEW BRUNSWICK HIGH SCHOOL: Yes.

NEVILLE: Great. Well, welcome to the show.

SALAZAR: Thank you very much. NEVILLE: All right.

Tell me, first of all, when you first approached the school about giving a bilingual speech, what did they say, the school officials? What did they say to you?

SALAZAR: They told me no. It was a no answer. And then they gave me some options to do a little bit of Spanish if I wanted to. And I really did not want that. I wanted to give my entire speech in English and my entire speech in Spanish.

NEVILLE: Right, but didn't they give you an allotted time to do it? You had seven minutes total, right, Angela?

SALAZAR: At the beginning, no. It was five minutes.

NEVILLE: And then they agreed to seven minutes total?

SALAZAR: Yes. They agreed that the day that they told me I could do it.

NEVILLE: Seven minutes total, though, right? That means you were to incorporate both of your speeches within -- inside of a seven- minute time limit.

And then, what ended up happening, I understand that you ended up doing your speech in English seven minutes and then an additional seven minutes in Spanish.

SALAZAR: Yes.

NEVILLE: That was not what was supposed to happen, right?

SALAZAR: It wasn't. So, what happened is that, once I got to the stage, I kind of couldn't hear the other people, the other speakers loudly. And they rushed too much in their speeches. So, I figured if I want to -- everybody knows that I am going to give a speech now. And I want everybody to know what my message was going to be. And I wanted to be clear so that people could understand me in both languages. And I took as much time as I could for people to understand.

NEVILLE: OK, and I understand what you are saying, Angela. But, at the same time, that was the whole purpose of you deciding to give your speech in two languages, so, in fact, the Spanish-speaking audience could understand, as well as the English-speaking audience could understand. So, you didn't really have to stretch at that point, because -- here is the follow-up, though, is, because, in a way, it is not fair to your fellow classmates to have to sit through that. If they don't understand Spanish, it is a bit long.

SALAZAR: Right, but I took the same time in Spanish as I did in English.

NEVILLE: Right. I understand that you did seven minutes each, but that is part of the problem, that you were supposed to only do seven minutes total. So, in essence, you ended up giving a 14-minute speech when it should have been half that time.

SALAZAR: Yes, but the time -- when I timed my speech, it was a total, a maximum, it wasn't even 10 minutes. But I -- like I said, there were people who were interrupting me and all that. So, that kind of distracted me and made me go over. Nobody else -- nobody warned me that interruption by the audience.

NEVILLE: I see. So, it's not as if you got up there and said: "I don't care you gave me several minute. I'm taking 14." You ended up...

SALAZAR: No, no, not at all.

NEVILLE: Right.

Now, your story is very interesting. And I think your accomplishments are more than admirable. You came to America, what, four years ago from Ecuador, is it?

SALAZAR: Yes.

NEVILLE: And you had -- you spoke not a word of English, right, when you first showed up?

SALAZAR: Right.

NEVILLE: Right. And now you are graduating four years later with a 4.0 GPA and the valedictorian. What an accomplishment.

SALAZAR: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

NEVILLE: Congratulations to you. That is just really amazing. And then, so I ask you, what is your drive? What drives you to work so hard and to be so good, to be No. 1?

SALAZAR: I've got to say that it is my motivation to study and my dedication and hard work. But it also has to do with my parents' support and what they have taught me. Family values have to do a lot with this. And my family, my entire family, my parents and my siblings, have been an unconditional support. And that has helped me.

NEVILLE: Oh, absolutely.

Do you think that your classmates might have been jealous? Here they can speak English as their native tongue, many of them, and then you came in and just went to the head of the class.

SALAZAR: I always thought that. I mean, you always have to consider that everybody is a human being. And we are jealous. And sometimes we get jealous. And I imagine if somebody -- if I would have been in Ecuador and somebody from outside would have come in and would have gotten the first place, I know I would have felt a little bit jealous. And I could understand that. NEVILLE: Hang on for me, Angela. I have to take a break. I have Mark (ph) on the phone, who wants to talk to you when we come back, OK?

TALKBACK LIVE continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEVILLE: OK, welcome back, everybody.

We are talking to Angela Salazar about giving her valedictorian address in English and in Spanish.

And, Angela, I want you to listen because I have a lot comments from the audience right now, starting with Mark, who is calling in on the phone.

Go ahead, Mark.

CALLER: Hi, Angela.

Basically, you had a right, that you earned through your hard work, to make that speech. The students in the audience had a right not to be overburdened by what you wanted. You took what you wanted and overrode their rights just because you had demands. Were I the administrator of that school -- and I feel it is unfortunate that the administrators of that school did not act in this way -- I would have turned off the microphone at the pre-agreed amount of time.

NEVILLE: All right, Mark, you know what? I am going to turn the mike off of you right now, only because I am running out of time. And I appreciate your call, but I have got a lot of comments here. I want to get everybody in.

Go ahead, Dan.

DAN: Well, the speech, obviously, should be targeted to your audience. And she had her Spanish family there, who, from what I understand, only understood Spanish. So, I feel that it was appropriate. And it was only seven minutes. So, I don't really think it's a big deal.

NEVILLE: Thank you.

OK, Kathy (ph), stand up.

KATHY: My question to the valedictorian -- I forget her name -- Angela -- is this. This country being filled with people that speak a mother tongue that is a different language, should each of those people, when they give a lecture, be allowed to do it both in English and German, English and Italian? We have to incorporate all those languages in, not just Spanish.

NEVILLE: Right.

You know what? That is going to be a rhetorical question, because I have no time for a reply.

Angela, thank you very much for joining us here on TALKBACK LIVE. Good luck to you at Princeton, by the way.

SALAZAR: Thank you.

NEVILLE: Of course.

And thanks to all of you for watching. I'm Arthel Neville. Tomorrow, TALKBACK LIVE returns, 3:00 Eastern. I will be here. I hope you will be, too.

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