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Inside the Hunt for Iraqi Insurgents; Does Airline Security System Work?

Aired December 26, 2003 - 20:00   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: An exclusive CNN report, the anatomy of a raid. We take you inside an American unit in Iraq on the hunt for insurgents.
"In Focus" tonight: America is on high alert. The terror watch raises suspicions about international flights. Officials say the threat window is still open. Does the system work?

Also, David Bowie said no. Mick Jagger said yes. John Cleese said no, but McCartney said yes. We'll find out why so many people have mixed feelings about knighthoods from Queen Elizabeth.

And good evening. I'm Daryn Kagan. Paula Zahn is off tonight.

There's a lot ahead. First, though, here's what you need to know right now; 5,000 people in Iran are dead in an earthquake so powerful, it brought down buildings that had stood for thousands of years. There are reports the numbers of deaths may actually be around 20,000. Most of the ancient Iranian town of Bam has been reduced to ruins, including a fortress built 2,000 years ago. The U.S. is joining other nations in sending food, shelter and medical aid. Back in 1990, an earthquake in northwest Iran killed 35,000.

And we have breaking teams to report. Search-and-rescue teams are looking at least eight snowboarders swept down a mountainside near Sundance, Utah. Others may be trapped on the slopes. Rescuer workers are trying to get to them, but heavy snow has made the use of helicopters a problem, because they could trigger yet another avalanche.

In San Bernardino, California, rescuers digging through layers of rock, rubble and muck, have found at least six dead; 10 more are missing. Many of them may by children -- after a mudslide rolled through a church campground near San Bernardino. Officials say they'll keep on looking until they find more bodies or, hopefully, survivors. The victims are family and friends of a caretaker for a site used for church outings.

And we turn now to the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S. Authorities are still trying to trace the origin of the cow that was infected with the disease. Meanwhile, cattle prices are plunging, more countries are banning U.S. beef, and many Americans are concerned about the safety of eating meat.

Joining us now is "New York Times" reporter Donald McNeil Jr.

Don, good evening. Thanks for coming in.


KAGAN: Appreciate it.

The latest on this. It seems like the list just keeps getting longer and longer of countries that are banning U.S. beef.

MCNEIL: I gather it was Egypt and Venezuela today, but the big ones that make a difference are the people like Japan and Korea.


KAGAN: Just because of the percentage of the exports that go there?

MCNEIL: Billion-dollar markets, yes.

KAGAN: I think it's been interesting for a lot of Americans to learn about the testing that takes place here in the U.S. vs. what takes place in places like Europe and Japan. It's a lot less here in the U.S.?


We have tested about 30,000 downed cattle over the last 10 years out of 300 million, roughly, that have been slaughtered; 20,000 is how many France was testing per week a few years ago. The Japanese test 1.2 million. They test every cow that they eat right now. A USDA official said that he thought that was way over the top, that that was like testing everybody who comes into a doctor's office for prostate cancer, which you don't need to do, especially if they're female.

But they are looking at coming up with a much higher level of testing than they've been doing before.

KAGAN: And perhaps you don't need to test every cow. We certainly have heard representatives from the cattle industry come out and say you don't need that kind of testing here. They do need it in Europe, because they have mad cow there. But is it a case that, if you ask about mad cow in the U.S., you won't know that you have it, like, don't ask, don't tell?

MCNEIL: Well, the USDA has been saying for years essentially what the cattle industry has been saying, which is that, we use the gold standard of testing, and there is no disease here, so there's nothing to worry about; the beef supply is 100 percent safe.

But the truth is, they've been using a testing regimen that was never meant to keep diseased beef off your table. It was meant to give them a statistical chance, a 95 percent confidence interval of finding one case in a million, which is to say, they would know that the beef was diseased in the country, but only after it had already been slaughtered. And now one case has happened, so they're going to have to figure some new way to handle this. KAGAN: I think the other thing that's been absolutely shocking is that the tracking system seems to be lacking, trying to figure out where the cow came from and where the meat went. There's a lot of hands up in the air: We're trying to figure that out. Why is that so hard to track?

MCNEIL: Because the tracking system doesn't exist in this country.

In some countries like New Zealand, they've had a tracking system for a long time, where a calf is born, it gets an identity number, like a Social Security number, and it gets a tag on its ear with a microchip in it that has that number. And then every time that calf is sold for its entire life, that gets entered into a database as to where that calf is, or full-grown cow, until it goes to the slaughterhouse. And the tag doesn't come off, literally, until the animal's head does.

And if you institute a system like that, you could then trace back to each farm where it was and then look in their records to see what sort of medical attention did that particular animal with that number have or what sort of feed? Not that you would know what that cow ate that day, because nobody what they ate 4 1/2 years ago, but you'll get an invoice that says, during that month, we bought feed from such and such a feedlot operation. And then they can go check the feed, or at least the operation.

KAGAN: I think the bottom line of what people, our viewers want to know and the readers of "The New York Times" want to know, the beef they want to serve at home or go out to restaurants and eat and at their markets, is it safe? And how do you know?

MCNEIL: I think it's way, way, way too early to panic or to get nervous about the regular sort of steak that you find in the supermarket, certainly on mad cow disease. Some people don't like hamburger because of the mixing -- the possibility of mixing in what might be on the outside of the meat. But there's no reason to worry about mad cow disease in the average person's steak, I think. I'm going to eat steak tonight.

KAGAN: You were? All right. Well, we'll be over for dinner after that.

Donald McNeil Jr. from "The New York Times," thank you for that. Appreciate the insight.

MCNEIL: Thank you.

KAGAN: And now to the continuing threat of terrorism.

Christmas passed with no attacks in the U.S. but six Air France flights to and from Los Angeles were canceled over the holiday. And today, two more were delayed. We're putting the terror alert "In Focus" tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We've collaborated, had great collaboration with the French, and decided it was in the interest of the safety of the passengers, given the information that we shared, that we cancel those flights. And we will continue to do so. And the more and more information that we share with one another gives us even greater opportunities to protect one another. And that's precisely what happened there.


KAGAN: And joining us now, Sajjan Gohel, director of the international security at the Asia-Pacific Foundation. He's in London. And we appreciate there might be a bit of delay as we talk over the satellite. Here in New York with me is Isaac Yeffet. He is the former head of security for the Israeli airline El Al. And with us from Washington is Reuel Marc Gerecht. He is a former CIA Middle East expert who is now with the American Enterprise Institute.

Gentlemen, good evening and thank you for being with us here this evening.

Mr. Yeffet, I'm going to go ahead and start with you.

When you look at how this has all been handled, all the publicity worldwide, the canceling of these flights, was this a success in the way it was handled?

ISAAC YEFFET, FORMER SECURITY HEAD, EL AL: No, it was a mistake. I don't understand why they canceled the flight from Paris to Los Angeles.

KAGAN: Well, they had the information that perhaps terrorists might be on board.

YEFFET: Once they have the information and it was good information, I don't understand why the U.S. authorities did not discuss with the French authorities with the plan to wait for the terrorists on at the ground at the airport of Paris. Once they will come to take the flight, they will be arrested. What we did now?

KAGAN: You see it as a missed opportunity?

YEFFET: Sure. What we did now?

We told the terrorists, just disappear. You might leave France. Go to another country. Take your time. Build another plan. And watch if the U.S. government will publish another information they received about threat. And this is wrong.

KAGAN: Mr. Gohel, how do you see how this was handled? So far so good, in terms of how some people see it, because there was no hijacked flights.


I think, in some ways, it's easy to criticize the decision. But we're dealing with a very uncertain world. We're dealing with a situation where terrorists are able to move freely, that they have not -- the flow has not be circulated. It's not been stopped. And the security forces can't afford to take a risk. They cannot afford for terrorists to board a plane who may then explode themselves in it. They may go into the U.S. and then operate there.

Of course, it would have been good to arrest people, but we can't afford to take a risk. It's important to prevent terrorist attacks and not wait to uncover a plot.

KAGAN: And, Mr. Gerecht, let's bring you back in here. Mr. Yeffet makes an interesting point. He's shaking his head.

We'll get you back in here. Just hold on one second.

But he makes the point that there were no-shows. There were people who were supposed to be on this flight that simply didn't show up. Is the danger still out there this evening?

REUEL MARC GERECHT, MIDDLE EAST EXPERT: Well, if the information is reliable, you would have to say the danger is certainly still out there.

I think it's less than it was before. What happened was more of a victory than a failure. We'll have to wait to see what was the timing and the nature of the liaison relationship between the Americans to French to know whether in fact an opportunity was lost.

KAGAN: OK. I want to bring Mr. Yeffet back in here, because you're just kind of bursting at the seams here, ready to say something. What can be done better the next time around?

YEFFET: Not to publish this kind of information.

And my answer to the gentlemen, the best intelligence in the world cannot cover all the terrorists' plans to attack us or to attack any one of our allies.


KAGAN: I just want to ask you this, because there often is the comparison with El Al. And, of course, they have an incredible safety record. But is that really a fair comparison when you look at what an airline the size of El Al has to accomplish and then something like Air France or even bigger, the American airlines? Is that a fair comparison?

YEFFET: It's not only fair. It must do it the way El Al does it. Once we had information about suspicious people that are coming to take the flight, we were doing the maximum that we are supposed to do to surprise the enemy, instead them to surprise us.

What happened now, who can guarantee us that the next time, we will have the information that we received just now? Why we cannot take the right steps to surprise the enemy, instead of letting them surprising us? KAGAN: We showed our cards too soon, according to you.

Mr. Gohel, you make the point that you would like to take this even a step further, going backwards. And that is, the big problem is the recruitment with al Qaeda. This is an endless stream of new al Qaeda fighters that seem to be signing up daily, according to you.

GOHEL: Well, I think this is the biggest problem we're facing. This happened long before September the 11th. And we have not addressed this since 9/11, that, for every terrorist killed or captured, there are at least another five coming on the assembly line.

And we have not stemmed the flow of recruits for the al Qaeda and its affiliates. And every time a terrorist is being killed or captured, he's just merely being replaced. And they are being replaced with intelligent individuals that have the ability to carry out attacks. They have the sophistication. And this has to be now the No. 1 issue that we address in the war against terrorism for 2004.

KAGAN: And I would love to get more in it with you, Mr. Yeffet, and also our other guests here.

Unfortunately, we do have breaking news coming out of Utah. So we're going to cut this short a little bit. Thank you to all three in the conversation. And we will continue it on another evening, the concern to millions of Americans.

The breaking news we do have out of Utah, more on the avalanche taking place there.

Joining us on the phone right now, Deputy Dennis Harris. He is with the Utah County Sheriff's Office in Provo County.

Deputy, thank you for being with us.

What can you tell us about the search for these snowboarders, please?

DEPUTY DENNIS HARRIS, UTAH COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: About 5:00 this evening, we had a call, a 911 call from an individual that was up in the area of Aspen Grove, which is up in Provo Canyon. And he was up there snowshoeing. And he observed the avalanche. He said there was approximately seven kids that were up there snowboarding.

And when the avalanche had gone down, he couldn't see them anymore. I do know at this time that one was able to dig free. As far as the status on the other ones, I'm going to be checking here pretty quick, but we've had an awful lot of snow here within a short period of time.

KAGAN: And so you're talking about the Sundance ski resort?

HARRIS: Well, this is actually at place called Aspen Grove. And it's about three four, miles just up above Sundance. It's very close to Sundance. And a lot of kids go up there. And they love to snowboard up there and just actually practice some of the things they like to try.

KAGAN: Yes, with snowboarders liking to push the limits, which make me wonder, were they in area that was restricted, searching out some of the powdery snow?

HARRIS: Well, I don't know if this is considered as a restricted area.

We have some of our guys checking into that right now. We have quite a few members from our search-and-rescue team, as well as some of the adjoining counties. They have sent some of their search-and- rescue people over here. So I'm hoping that it's not going to be as bad as it sounds, but we're very concerned.

KAGAN: And what about daylight and how about the fall of night and how will that affect the search?

HARRIS: Well, I know they've restricted some of the officers from not use their sirens up in the canyon because of the avalanche danger.

The information I have right now is, we may have had possibly maybe two or three avalanches in that same area. And so the avalanche danger is extreme, so we're trying to be very cautious. And I know we have guys trying to find them right now, as we speak.

KAGAN: Well, we wish you well in the search for those snowboarders near the Provo, Utah, area.

Thank you, Deputy, for being with us.

HARRIS: Thank you.

KAGAN: We'll continue to track that and bring you the latest as it becomes available out of Utah.

There is a controversy facing Howard Dean. Find out what the presidential candidate said about Osama bin Laden and what it may mean for the race for the White House.

And inside a raid in Iraq, as U.S. troops go door to door searching for insurgents.

Plus: David Bowie, find out why he might not be having dinner with Queen Elizabeth anytime soon.


KAGAN: It's time to move to the political beat.

Howard Dean told several interviewers recently that he'll be talking more about his faith in his campaign. Dean says he's a committed follower of Jesus Christ and that his religion will be a visible part of his bid to be the Democratic nominee for president.

With me now, our regular contributor Joe Klein of "TIME" magazine, and Peter Beinart, who is the editor of "New Republic" magazine.

Gentlemen, good evening. Good to have you here with us.

Let's start with the Osama bin Laden comments, Howard Dean coming out and saying that he would want a trial for Osama bin Laden, if he's caught first. You don't think people are going to have a field day with this?

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that is going to be a trial if he's caught first, but I don't know that he's going to get caught first.

It seems, like every day this week and every day over the last month, the guy has put his foot in it. I was up in New Hampshire a couple days ago and saw him offend the moderate Democratic Leadership Council, called them the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. And he talked about talking about his religion, but only in the South, not in the North.

You begin to wonder when the rest of the Democratic Party is going to get together and say, I don't know whether we want this guy.

KAGAN: Is this what we want?

Meanwhile, the reference Joe was making there, apparently, he has found Jesus -- not necessarily Joe -- but Howard Dean talking about his religion as a Christian. But his wife and kids are Jewish.

This talk of religion coming as he does head toward the South, Peter?


I think Howard Dean did have a problem, in that didn't seem very -- he didn't seem to have much -- he has a lot of difficulty in speaking about religion publicly. And that does seem to be something that people want. I think the problem with it, he has a tendency to speak like a political consultant sometimes. You don't say, I am going to go speak about my religiosity in the South, because then it sounds like it's not sincere. It sounds like it's pandering. You just start doing it and you try to make it sound authentic.

So, I think, again, he has a little bit of a tendency to sound too smart for his own good, I think.

KAGAN: Yes. He's already a Yankee and he already had the whole Confederate flag thing.

KLEIN: It's like Bush's father. Message, I care


BEINART: That's right. Exactly. Be tactful. Don't sound tactful.

KAGAN: Are the Bush people just licking their chops? KLEIN: Well, they might be.

But I'll tell you, the up side of Howard Dean for the Democrats is that he's very strong and he's very committed. And if you look at the people who are opposed to him, they don't seem that strong. Dean is drawing huge crowds in New Hampshire. And I'll see in Iowa this week.

And I think that that is his calling card. That's what he has going for him, is that he's a really committed guy. And the Democrats are looking for someone who will really take it to Bush.

KAGAN: And real quickly, the war on terrorism, what's happening in Pakistan, is that something that the Democrats should be able to exploit?

KLEIN: Well...


BEINART: Well, I think absolutely.

We've had two attempts on President Musharraf's life. If he were to be assassinated, it would be an enormous, enormous problem. The Bush administration doesn't have a strategy to get that country back to democracy, which is the only way, ultimately, you are going to defeat Islamic fundamentalism in a country that has nuclear weapons. It's something the Democrats could exploit.

KLEIN: And, also, it bolsters those Democrats who say that the real war on terrorism was against al Qaeda and in the Afghanistan- Pakistan region, and that Iraq has been a diversion from that, which it really has, in terms of trying to keep Pakistan stable. And they have a bomb. They have a nuclear weapon -- and also trying to find al Qaeda, which is causing all this problem in the airports and national security this week.

KAGAN: Iowa, New Hampshire, it's all right around the corner with the new year. Look forward to it. As you said, there's time for holidays next year, if you're following this.

Joe Klein and Peter Beinart, thank you so much. Appreciate the discussion.

BEINART: Thank you.

KAGAN: We go on a raid with U.S. troops in Iraq. From beginning to end, the mission is played out. You'll see it unfold. And you'll hear from the troops on just how intense the operation is.

And Mick Jagger has made a career out of being a bad boy. And he got knighthood. But we'll show you the surprising list of celebrities who have rejected that honor from Queen Elizabeth.


KAGAN: Tonight, we take you to the front lines of the U.S. Army's hunt to root out the opposition in Iraq.

American troops make daily door-to-door raids searching for insurgents, terrorists and members of Saddam's regime. And, as you're about to see, they're extremely dangerous missions for troops, who risk their lives every day, not knowing what waits for them around the corner.

Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, shows us the anatomy of a raid in Samarra in the first of a three-part report this evening.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't fit a vehicle, so we might have to walk up.


CAPT. TODD BROWN, U.S. ARMY: OK. So let's go to seven, this area first, because it gets much worse during the day, as far as people out.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's before done. And Captain Todd is briefing his team. His nine months of experience soldiering in Iraq telescoping what could have been days of complex raid planning into just a few minutes of prep talk.

BROWN: Right here. The informant is going to come down here. He's going to go to zone six.

ROBERTSON: Huddling around the computer, informers, sources and translators, whose identities we're told we must keep secret. Briefing over.

Brown's men chill in the cold morning air, as the minutes to the raid tick by. This town that has been so much trouble for the coalition so far a potential model for other troublesome Sunni towns, but all dependent this morning on one man, the informer.

BROWN: Normally, if the guy's working with the THD teams and working with some of the higher-level interrogators, you have a higher degree of confidence than the guy whose house you raid and then he wants to talk to you and tell you about some other guy. That just leads you on a wild-goose chase, that you find out that it's just some family feud going on. So, hopefully, we'll see. OK.

All right, you guys ready?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready to go, sir.

BROWN: OK. Let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On TV this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hell, yes. That would be nice. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: TV, huh? This today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be nice, though, for my wife to see this.

ROBERTSON: Others not so relaxed. The specter of a TV camera before action not a good omen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For your own sake, you better get that thing the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) away from me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready? We're leaving. Let's go, get it on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. All right, all right, all right, now.

BROWN: All right, you got them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got it, sir.

BROWN: All right.

ROBERTSON: Brown's thoughts on their safety, one step closer to action. Their biggest dangers now, roadside bombs and rocket- propelled grenades, although, from inside the belly of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a troop transporter, no one will see it coming. In the gloom, the rumbling ride to Samarra also providing chance for reflection.

STAFF SERGEANT DONALD KEARNS, U.S. ARMY: Nobody's happy every day, but we have a lot of buddies. And your buddies bring you up when you're down. And once you get out there -- or, at least for me, I know, once I get out there, my mind goes completely away from home, my wife and kids, any of that. Your focus is on the mission at hand. And I think that's the way with most soldiers.

1ST LIEUTENANT ANDREW SINDEN, U.S. ARMY: There's always going to be guys that want to go home. It's the average soldier is just: I don't want to be here a year. I've been here nine months. I miss home.

There's always going to be someone that is saying, what am I doing here? And they might not see the big picture. Their job might be just filling water cans every day. And for nine months, they've been filling water cans every day.

KEARNS: Over here, you get to be yourself. When you're out there, you have got to be your Army self, I guess. And it's always a fine line.

ROBERTSON: Back to reality. Time to focus on dangers.

BROWN: OK. Let's go. ROBERTSON: Captain Brown out ahead, leading the way.

BROWN: Hey, follow the Humvee. All right. Let them get spread out.

ROBERTSON: When the time comes to breach, no signal needed, these men working like a well-coordinated machine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going in. Going up.

ROBERTSON: When they get in, nothing to be found, though.

BROWN: No one here? No women, no kids, no nothing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't where it was on the map, either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, well, you're dealing with a guy that's telling us -- the guy that's telling us where it is, is the same guy that's showing us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never been in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) where no one was there. That's weird, because they've got a baby. That's weird. Call Machine 5. Tell them that no one's in here at all.

ROBERTSON: Captain Brown heads back to the Humvee to question the informer.

BROWN: This is six alpha, all right. It should be either six alpha or seven. It was seven? OK. Let's go. This was five.

ROBERTSON: Almost instinctive vigilance, careful at every corner, these streets too narrow for the heavy Bradley Fighting Vehicles, for those commanders who can remember, ghosts down here of Mogadishu.

BROWN: Watch towards the mosque. We just had guys running in there.


BROWN: Is that the only entrance to the house? Cordon off that way, check for another entrance. Where are the engineers?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got charges?

ROBERTSON: After the hard knocking, surprise, surprise, you just happen to have someone open the door.


ROBERTSON: Not the man they're looking for, but maybe he can help.

BROWN: He's saying he lives right around the corner. ROBERTSON: When they do get to the next corner, there's someone else they can talk to.

BROWN: Tell him to come down and point to the door. Okay. She can get her baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say the circle house. This is it. It's here.

BROWN: What's that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The circle house.

BROWN: Okay. The circle right there. That house with the white?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have a back door.

BROWN: This right here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they have a back door too.

BROWN: On the other side?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. That's what he -- I just asked him.

BROWN: Tell this guy to go, he was right here, he lives next door, tell him to go tell Sheik Katain (ph) to come out in the street.

ROBERTSON: But it's all getting a bit old, Brown's patience wearing thin. Speculation is when Brown's 4th I.D. comrades moved into town just days before, the bad guys blew Dodge, for a month or two at least. For now, back to questioning.

BROWN: Ask him who owns this house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just moved here yesterday.

BROWN: Yes, that was a Jerry Springer action.

ROBERTSON: As if he didn't have enough on his plate, pressure from another quarter, a roadside bomb discovered, called in by headquarters, an IED on his patch.

BROWN: Roger. Just tell him we have the cordon set for a series of raid that we're doing. And when we're done with this series of raids, we'll move someone you up there and look at your IED.

OK, let's go to eight. Yes. Just go up there to see if it's IED. Don't get too close to it, all right? Okay.

ROBERTSON: And he keeps asking trying to find Shaikh Katain (ph). BROWN: You don't know when he's coming back? Tell him he has one week to report to the C-MOC. You know where the C-MOC is? Tell him he has one week to report to the C-MOC

ROBERTSON: Lessons learned on how they'll use them on the tough town of Samarra. It's not just about good soldiering but a hard- hitting combination of tight security backed up by generous goodwill.

BROWN: We just want to talk to him. We think he knows someone we're tries to find.

Okay. Tell him I'm counting on him. He's my main man.

Turn around, go back to the street, and then go south.

Nothing. Jerry Springer. Sometimes that's what we call it when the informant just sends us on a wild-goose chase after guys that have done something to him, kind of a personal vendetta-type deal. So, when it's a personal vendetta, we call it the "Jerry Springer Show" reminiscent of all the -- just the funny stuff that goes on in American society.

Same thing going on here where it's a personal vendetta, and they just want to -- a guy stole his cow or married a girl that he wanted to marry or stole some of his land or property. He's just trying to get back by saying he's a leader of al Qaeda or something like that, and you go on a wild-goose chase with the informant.


KAGAN: Our exclusive look inside a U.S. raid in Iraq continues as troops track down insurgents. It's not easy to know who to trust

Plus, band mate Mick Jagger said yes, but can you imagine Keith Richard ever being called sir? It's a title he would rather do without. And he's not alone. We'll find out why so many Brits have refused knighthood.

On Monday, are countries outside the U.S. doing everything they can to stop terrorists from using airliners to reach the U.S.? We'll investigate.


KAGAN: And we return to "The Anatomy of a Raid." We have seen how troops rely on informants to search for suspects in Iraq, but just like it looks like they led them to a dead-end, that is where it heats up. Once again, Nic Robertson reporting from Samarra.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) guys walking down the street.

BROWN: They came out of the house? All right.

See those two guys walking right there, go get them. Those two guys. Black masks.

ROBERTSON: And at the next house, things not getting any better. Now chasing down the suspects, no more Mr. Nice Guy.


BROWN: Mohammad? Mohammad, Mohammad U-Mohammad (ph)?

OK. Bring them back.

ROBERTSON: And it doesn't get any easier. Troops frustrated too.

BROWN: They're both named Mohammad. That's awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got this guy by the scruff of the neck

BROWN: Did they say anything inside of the house? Did we (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?


BROWN: Well, we got these two. These guys were the ones that were running away.

You're going after a door, it's a white door. You got a red garage door next to it and a white door next to it. You got folks standing all around it. Go ahead into the white door and open it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secure this outside.

BROWN: OK. And then we'll just bring all the males over towards the Hum-V and they can say yea or nay on the target individuals.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your shoes on. Put them on.

BROWN: Tell them they are lucky that we came in here so gently. The next time, if they don't cooperate, it will get much more violent for them.

ROBERTSON: And his men pushing on, though. Another gate breached, another man dragged out for questioning. But it's still not the person they're looking for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, take this guy outside.


BROWN: Ask him if he goes to prison for five years he might know where he is.



BROWN: OK. So none of these guys are saying they're Saed Sala (ph).


BROWN: OK. Let's get the -- we'll have the Humvee come over here.

ROBERTSON: So far, three houses raided. No one caught. A Jerry Springer, for sure.

BROWN: OK. OK. Let's go down to the tent.

ROBERTSON: Still no good news to report, a bad feeling about the informant settling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the hell out of the way, man.

ROBERTSON: As the sun comes up, signs of how hard he's been running his men.

BROWN: Hey, clear that little building and see if there are any weapons in it. Yes, that one right there.

Is he saying it's this house right here, the white one? And no one is in there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got one male. One old lady. Sewing on the sewing machine back there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys have all left town. All the bad guys left town. Samarra is nice.


BROWN: Ask him if he has any weapons in his house. Does he know anyone that has weapons that they're not allowed to have?


BROWN: We're going to go north of the traffic circle. Yes. No, don't go to the next target. OK.


BROWN: What do you think of your source?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's good, it's just that these guys are skipping town (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BROWN: Do you think it's worth going to the other houses right now?


ROBERTSON: Refusing to give up, Brown tries one last house. BROWN: OK. Where's the interpreter? Ask her whose house this is?


ROBERTSON: When they get in, all they find are women and children and a hole in the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Saddam in there? Was Saddam in there?


BROWN: Ibrahim? Saed (ph)? They haven't seen him for seven years?


BROWN: Ask them who the soldier on the wall is.

Her brother?


BROWN: He died seven years ago? How did he die?

He was sick in his head? He had mad cow disease?

ROBERTSON: After 10 minutes or so, things seem to pick up. Brown gets a lead.

Gun magazines found, and suddenly the women's stories don't hold up.

The old lady has an answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did this come from?



BROWN: Let's talk to the old lady by herself.


BROWN: They're lying. These guys, what they do is they just come over here and they lie, and so you create a little fear by taking the mother outside, they think that we're going to detain the mother, but we're not going to take the mother, but they're all terrified of that, so now they're starting to tell the truth, because all of their stories, they just weren't lining up, so we instill a little fear. Then they tell us the truth and we bring their mom back in and it will all be good and we'll understand the neighborhood a little bit more.


BROWN: I'm sure this guy has shot at me before. I'm sure. I think this is the guy that was shooting the RPG when you shot him.

ROBERTSON: As to the informer, Brown's hard-found philosophy: work with what you've got. A kind of post-Saddam soldier's roadmap. Something to work on when Brown is gone.

BROWN: The informer, he's a little bit shady, but this is kind of what -- you get an informant, and then he leads you to something, which leads you on to something, and you start understanding the neighborhood a little bit more, and the more houses you go to, the more the people will step forward and start offering up information, leading you to caches. But if you don't -- if you're a little bit complacent and you don't go in and you don't act on information, then you'll never find anything, so you have to get in there and you have to do some of this stuff, even though it's kind of intrusive.

Now they're showing us pictures of the guy that they said they had no idea who he was, but now we've busted out the photo album and they're showing us pictures, so I'm going to give them about another 5 - 10 minutes, and then we'll move north to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and link up with Evil-6 (ph) and then go pay that house off that we blew up the other night.

ROBERTSON: Late morning. Loading up, now feeling a little better. A handful of photos and one detainee. Five hours hard soldiering and, possibly, Samarra a little safer.


KAGAN: And as Nic Robertson's report continues, the irony of war, how foes become friends is just part of the daily routine for U.S. troops.


BROWN: We've put people in prison and held them in prison and then all of a sudden, you know, they all start talking, show us where everything is, and then we release them because of their cooperation, and then all of a sudden we're like invited to their release parties.



KAGAN: We return now to the anatomy of a raid, the hunt for insurgents in Iraq. U.S. troops are conducting door-to-door searches in Samarra and through it all, the soldiers use strength, goodwill and as you will see, cash, to make the city safer. Once again, here is our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson reporting from Samarra.


BROWN: I just set up a hasty traffic point. Stop all BMWs. ROBERTSON: When is rest not rest? When you're a soldier. Checkpoint duty while Captain Brown talks to his U.S. government agency workmates.


BROWN: We'll give them 48 hours and then we'll go back into that house and we'll just go hard, we'll go hard, breach everything.

ROBERTSON: While they talk, two Iraqi men show up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a translator over here.


ROBERTSON: They want to help Brown. It turns out, U.S. troops left an anti-tank missile on a raid. Brown offers money and sets to work capitalizing on the help.




BROWN: What's that?


BROWN: Yes. If you take us to show it, we'll pay you money. If we find RPGs.

ROBERTSON: Another of Brown's big tips, money and tough action talks.

BROWN: And like these guys, they just came up and they said, "Hey, we know where there is a weapon," and, you know, they weren't doing that before. They were taking the weapon and shooting it at you. So, we've got ahead a couple of RPG ambushes down here (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But the town right now is quiet, and that's kind of the -- when you drop the hammer on them, that's kind of what happens. The town goes silent. Give it a little time, and then they come back out and start cooperating and you can start rebuilding. Once they know that you're in charge, then it makes it infinitely more easy, because otherwise they're just terrified of whoever, the boogeyman that's down there.

ROBERTSON: What he's calculating now is that with them in town, Operation Ivy Blizzard, their big security crackdown, Samarra will turn for the better.

BROWN: You know, it was a Wild West town, but now -- and no one really kind of dropped the hammer on them, and we just let this problem just go and go and go. And all the other towns that we've been to, we come in hard, and then you just kind of, and then you back off a little bit, and then all of the sudden, the people are, like, very, very cooperative.

We've put people in prison and held them in prison, and then all of a sudden, you know, they all start talking and show us where everything is, and then we release them, because of their cooperation, and then all of a sudden we're invited to their release parties. I mean, they show you where everything is, and by and large they want peace.


ROBERTSON: And maybe he hasn't quite yet fully turned his two new friends, but it seems like they're getting on well.

BROWN: All the Iraqis have to help us. They have a responsibility to help us find them.

ROBERTSON: The offer of a cigarette nailing it. A sure sign they'll be back with more.


ROBERTSON: More than money, though, the heavy hammer of security followed up with a message of support and help. Brown now knocking on doors, offering money for damage done during heated raids.

$40 for a damaged door, broken window and cracked sidelight on the family car.

BROWN: Tell her to buy the kids something nice because we scared them.

ROBERTSON: As they leave, the lost U.S. anti-tank missile is delivered; $40 for the men who turned it in.

In the background, Brown jokes with friends.

BROWN: This is so Iraq. This is so Iraq. You've got three separate actions going on right now. One is to go police, like, missiles. One is to go pay these people. And one is to do a raid. And they got the guy. This is so -- this is so Iraq.

ROBERTSON: So Iraq. So what Captain Todd Brown will be passing on to his replacement next year.


KAGAN: And we thank CNN's Nic Robertson for that in-depth and fascinating report from Samarra.

And we're going to wrap up our week here with a visit from Richard Quest in London where the buzz is about who is rejecting the queen's offer of knighthood.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just think about it, a damehood for Daryn, a knighthood for Quest. The queen wants to give you an honor. So why would you say no? I'll tell you, when PAULA ZAHN NOW continues.


KAGAN: Well, when you think knighthood, you might think Sir Galahad in shiny armor. Then again, Sir Mick Jagger wore a pair of Adidas sneakers when he was knighted recently. But would you believe there are some who answer the royal call with a resounding "no way"? Richard Quest joins us from London, saying yes to our assignment. Good evening, Richard.

QUEST: Good evening, and happy holidays to you, Daryn. You would have thought it was the pinnacle of your career. You have toiled long and hard, and finally, government, queen and country says yes, you can have an award, an honor.

So why would you say no?

What we've discovered in the last couple of weeks is secret documents that show the topsy-turvy world of Britain's honor system.


QUEST (voice-over): She said yes, he said no. She finally said yes, after first saying no. And he said no, hoping for something better, which he eventually got.

Twice a year, Britain hands out its honors to the great and the good. It's nicknamed "getting a gong." Some years are stuffed to the palace with lords, sirs and dames.

Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Andrews and Shirley Bassett (ph) were all made dames in the year 2000.

But this year, a shock revelation. Some people don't actually want the gongs. The reasons are many. Some think the whole award business is silly. Others think it's political, because it's actually the British prime minister who decides who gets what. And then there are those like the poet Benjamin Zaphaniah, who hates the idea of aristocracy and royalty.

BENJAMIN ZAPHANIAH, POET: This queen has to have a different kind of relationship with the people of East End, we have to have a different kind of relationship with -- she has to have a different kind of relationship with her subjects.

QUEST: The giving of awards is literally a centuries-old tradition. Knights go back to the Middle Ages, and as I found out on the streets of London, that is still what ordinary people would like to get.


QUEST (on camera): You'd like a knighthood.




QUEST: So what, you would become sir?


QUEST: You'd become Sir Rob. All right. Let's do it. Let's knight him. I knight you Sir Rob.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.


QUEST: And now I'm probably off to the Tower for all that unofficial dubbing, but here you are, one for you, Daryn, Dame Daryn, how is that for your Christmas present?

KAGAN: I'm very honored. Thank you for that.

Serious question, though, can ordinary people, like Sir Rob in your piece, can they be knighted?

QUEST: They can indeed. Most of the honors list is actually made up of Mrs. Migginses (ph) and dinner ladies and car park attendants and crossroads attendants. They have to work for 25 years toiling in charities, and if you're lucky, they will get an NBE or an OBE, which incidentally, OBE is often nicknamed "other buggers' efforts."

KAGAN: Well, thank you for that. They are going to be off with our heads if we don't get out of here, because Larry King is up next. Richard, thank you. For you, happy holidays, and thanks to all of you for being with us tonight. More on Monday. Have a great weekend. I'm Daryn Kagan.


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