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Is America Safer?; Princess Diana's Conspiracy Theory

Aired January 6, 2004 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. I'm Paul Zahn.
The world, the news, the names, the faces, and where we go from here, Tuesday, January 6, 2004.

It was a day that changed America, but are America's skies and borders safer than they were before the September 11 attack? Is the U.S. prepared for terrorist attacks nearly 28 months later? Tonight, the readiness report card.

As Britain opens the first inquest into the death of Princess Diana, a tabloid prints what it says was her own conspiracy theory, that her ex husband, Prince Charles, wanted her dead. Could it be true?

And an amazing new color picture from the red planet, a guided tour through the mysterious Martian landscape.

Those stories and more straight ahead, but, first, here's what you need to know at the hour.

Wiring in a woman's heated jacket led to security jitters over a Delta flight from Paris to Cincinnati today. Two passengers on the flight tell CNN that 11 people were taken off the plane by authorities after it landed. The woman was not allowed to stay on the original flight, but was allowed to take a later plane to the U.S.

And investigators say they are still looking for a man who didn't show up for an Air France flight on Christmas Eve. They want to know if he is the same person on a terrorism watch list. Government sources tell CNN that the person they're looking for could be a trained pilot with possible al Qaeda ties. And they want to know if he's the same person named on that terrorist watch list.

Meanwhile, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee says the execution of a mentally ill killer inside this prison -- you're watching pictures of it now -- will go on as scheduled less than an hour from now. Charles Singleton has a history of severe mental illness and his case has been controversial since the beginning.

Brian Cabell joins us now live from Varner, Arkansas.

Good evening, Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula. Just about an hour -- or a couple hours ago, Governor Huckabee said, no, he will not grant clemency. This was a request made by Charles Singleton's attorney. Singleton himself does not want clemency. Prison officials say it has been a normal day for him. He's been very stable. He's met with his spiritual adviser, a Pentecostal minister. He's meeting with his attorney as well. He met with his family yesterday.

He had a last meal just a few hours ago, vegetarian, for the most part, also a couple milk shakes, a couple of Cokes, some peanuts, and also some glazed doughnuts. The question central to this case, of course, is, is this man sane as he approaches his execution?

I can tell you, we met with him on death row just week ago, as a matter of fact. He is not like you or me. He rants. He raves. He rambles. He occasionally loses his train of thought. But on the narrow definition of sanity that applies here, does he understand what is going to happen to him, does he understand why, the answer would certainly be yes. He understands that he is going to be executed. He understands it's because he killed a woman some 24 years ago.

Even his attorney would agree to that -- Paula.

ZAHN: Brian Cabell, thanks for the update. We will be checking in with you a little bit later on in the program.

Now on to another story we're putting into focus tonight, terrorism and America's readiness. No question security is tighter than ever since 9/11, 2001. Air passengers and their belongings are probed and scanned, flights delayed, even shadowed by fighter jets, in some cases. Ports and shipments are under guard. And emergency teams stand ready to sniff out bio and chemical weapons. Traffic into tunnels and bridges is monitored.

But does all this mean we're any safer? It has been a very tense couple of weeks, with the nation at high alert and international air travel frequently disrupted.

So let's start there with Senator Jay Rockefeller, the ranking member oft Senate Intelligence Committee.

Always good to see you, Senator. Welcome.


ZAHN: First off, Senator, how worried should we be about this heightened state of alert?

ROCKEFELLER: We have reason to worry and we have reason to continue worrying.

You raise the question, is the world safer? Are we safer? And I think that's a really tough question to answer, if we're really honest about it. We have done some good things. From our resources, we have interdicted a number of attempts. And we're stronger in some places. Some good things are happening in Libya, India and Pakistan. On the other hand, al Qaeda is still out there. And they are an army without uniform. They're something we're not accustomed to. Talk about a war on terrorism. This is a war against an enemy that we can't even recognize. So, we have huge problems.

Our intelligence and our military are doing a great job. Is the world a safer place? Is America a safer place? As I said, that's a very tough question to answer.

ZAHN: Yes. And you made it very clear through your answer how layered the answer really needs to be, if anybody is going to be really honest about it.

But when you talk about not even recognizing the enemy necessarily when we see it, in terms of the intelligence that we rely upon today, is it any better, any cleaner, any more direct than what we had pre-September 11, 2001?

ROCKEFELLER: It is. It is better. Watch lists are better, not perfect. Information sharing among intelligence organizations internationally, as well as within our own country, are better, if not perfect.

But the question is, is that enough? Is it happening fast enough? Are we committing enough resources? And are the American people looking upon this in the way that they should? I sort of look at it this way, Paula, that 95 percent of the population growth over the next 10 years in this world is going to take place in 5 percent of the poorest countries in the world. It's a breeding ground for hatred.

Hatred against America has increased enormously on the street, the Arab street. There are reasons for that. We understand the reasons for that. We understand the reasons for doing Iraq. But this is not a world we're familiar with. It's not the simple, plain us vs. the Soviets world that we have grown up with.

And we are in the process, we as an American people are in the process of making major, major adjustments in our thinking and in our psychological outlook.

ZAHN: So, in the short term, where do you see our greatest vulnerability?

ROCKEFELLER: To be honest, I see it as nuclear power plants, ports. It's not impossible that there could be a dirty bomb, chemical, biological weapons. And I don't know what more I can say than that that's not happy.

These are all possibilities, Paula. They really are. They can really happen. And al Qaeda knows how to make them happen. I mention it sometimes. People say, well, when are we going to get Osama? We are going to get Osama, but when we get do Osama, is that going to make us safer or is it going to make us feel better? Or do the two coincide? It could be that it could set of an increased rage on the Arab street that would take specific outlet on Americans around the world and in this country. You have to think about things like that.

ZAHN: Well, you certainly have given us reason to think more about it this evening.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, again, thank you for your time tonight.

And we are going to move on and see what our next guests think about the state of security in the country. In Watertown, Massachusetts, Jim Walsh is an international security expert at the Kennedy School of Government. Stephen Flynn is a U.S. commander in the U.S. Coast Guard and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Welcome, gentlemen.


ZAHN: Jim, I'm going to start with you this evening. You probably heard most of what Senator Rockefeller had to say. Let's come back to his concerns when it comes to al Qaeda, maybe not even necessarily recognizing the enemy when we're looking at it. Are you satisfied with the progress we have made in airline security?

JIM WALSH, KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: Well, that's a tough question.

I think we have a mixed bag here. On the one hand, we have had some tremendous achievements, some great successes in certain areas, Afghanistan, taking out part of al Qaeda's leadership, very, very good. In other areas, very little has changed at all. And, in some areas actually, I think things have gotten worse. So, it's a very mixed bag.

Now, what that means is, I think we should honor and pay attention to the successes, but we better get the other things fixed, because the terrorists and al Qaeda is an adaptive organization. If they survive, they will find those weaknesses. So we have to start doing some things we're not doing and avoid making some mistakes.

ZAHN: And I know, Stephen, you have some very strong feelings that perhaps we're paying too much attention to airline security, at the expense of maritime security. Walk us through your very specific concerns.


Well, first, Senator Rockefeller and Jim Walsh are right on. What we saw on September 11 was simply how warfare will be conducted against the United States for the foreseeable future. And one of our gravest vulnerabilities is in the area of our ports. And the reason for this is because we live and we work and we depend upon our ports. It links us to the world.


ZAHN: What is it that can happen?

FLYNN: Well, there are really four sets of challenges.

One is, a ship could be used as a weapon of mass destruction. They carry hazardous cargo. And they could be targeted and they could go off. That would be a horrific scenario.

ZAHN: Is that a pretty easy thing to do?

FLYNN: Well, it's not an easy thing to do, but you have ships carrying things like liquefied natural gas and petroleum products and other things that obviously are flammable. It's not an easy task, but it's one that certainly can be done.

The second one is, a ship itself can be used as sort of -- on a sabotage. It could drive into a bridge or it could sunk in a channel and shut down the harbor. The third one and the one I most worry about is a ship as a conduit, as it brings in this huge volume of goods every day. Every single day in the port of L.A. and Long Beach, 18,000 40-foot-by-8-foot containers land on the beach, carrying up to 65,000 pounds of material in each box, an enormous volume of material that comes in that fills our retail shelves, fills our manufacturing plants.

There is very little capacity to check and filter that. So you could smuggle a weapon of mass destruction in and bring it into the streets of America or set it off in a port.

The last one is the cruise ship kind of scenario as a floating city. We are putting up to 5,000 people on ships, in a very cramped space, obviously, with no place to go.

ZAHN: Sure.

FLYNN: You have a biological incident or that kind of thing, cruise ships present a huge vulnerability as well.

ZAHN: Jim, how seriously is the government taking any of these scenarios Stephen just laid out?

WALSH: Well, I think the government takes many of these scenarios seriously.

But, at the end of the day, the question is, what are you going to spend your money on? You have a dollar to spend. Are you going to spend it in Iraq? Are you going to spend it on a tax cut? Are you going to spend it on homeland defense? Are you going to spend it somewhere else? That's where the decisions are made.

And so, while I think the government worries about these things, they have made some effort and some progress in a lot of these areas. We have more effort in ports now. But I agree with Stephen. He is absolutely right to say that we are not where we should be, where we have to be. And so we continue to have these problems. So, they take them seriously. But, on the other hand, they're willing to spend money on other things. And I think that's where we have made the mistake. We had terrorism as a priority. It is now competing with other issues for money, for dollars, and for attention.

ZAHN: Final question to you, Jim.

I'm sure anybody listening to this tonight is as scared as I am listening hearing a lot of what you had to say. Put this into perspective in a final answer.

FLYNN: Well, the United States is a great nation. And, in the Second World War, we mobilized to respond to the threats of our nation. And we conquered the enemy.

One of the things I think that is missing in our approach to homeland security is drawing us into the battle. This is not something that the government can do for us and we just simply travel and shop. This is an issue where we all need to be more cognizant about what is going on in the world around us and working together to deal with these vulnerabilities.

We will never will have a perfectly secure world. We didn't have one before 9/11. We are not going to have one in the future. What we can do is manage these problems and not essentially lose our heads. That actually is the thing that worries me the most, not the events themselves, which may be horrific, but is that, we as a society will turn ourselves inside out and be no longer Americans, because we overreact.

ZAHN: That's an interesting point to close with.

Stephen Flynn, Jim Walsh, thank you for both of your perspectives.

WALSH: Thank you, Paula.

FLYNN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Coming up, we're going to a ask professional royal watcher about the report today that Princess Diana feared, Prince Charles wanted to kill her.

Also, we'll turn to the Republican side as we continue our campaign coverage tonight to see what President Bush needs to do to protect his lead.

And Mars as you've never seen it before, the most detailed picture ever from the red planet, the latest image from the Spirit rover.


ZAHN: Welcome back Now on to the race for the White House and more of our interview with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. It is their first TV interview together since he formally announced his run. Mrs. Kerry has given $2,000 to her husband's campaign, the maximum allowable. But she says she would use more of her family wealth, if she had to.


TERESA HEINZ KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S WIFE: What I have said, and I said in '96, was if my own name, my family's name is in any way besmirched, seriously besmirched, that I, as an American citizen have the right, which I do, myself, to deal with it. I can go to court, I can have ads that I write by myself, I can defend myself. That's an American right, and no one can take that away from me.

ZAHN: So, given the fact that you have given the maximum you're allowed to under the law, are you bothered by the perception that some people have that in some way you're bankrolling your husband's campaign from the Heinz foundation or fortune?

HEINZ KERRY: You know, people -- most people don't get very fair or correct information, partially because the sources of the information don't check, don't check true. And so, you know, there is nothing I can do about that, you know.

ZAHN: Does that bug you, Senator, that she's been tagged sort of with this piggybank label?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yeah. Does it annoy me? Sure, it annoys me that they don't realize the serious, wonderful things that Teresa has done, and they focus on the stereotype. But we're not going to bother or worry about it. We don't spend 10 seconds on it.

ZAHN: Senator Kerry, how much of campaign advice do you get from your wife?

KERRY: Advice is the wrong word. My wife doesn't try to interfere. She's not looking for a job. She does not want to be a policy expert or adviser, but she's my wife. It's not so much advice, it's just a sharing of a journey together, and talking about the things that we see and that happen to us and that we share along the road.

ZAHN: So Teresa, are you enjoying life on the campaign trail?

HEINZ KERRY: Campaigning has been a surprise, this kind of campaigning. I've learned a lot from people, and I've learned a lot about myself. So that's always very nice, to keep learning, even at my age.

ZAHN: What was the surprise, the revelation of this kind of life that you find yourself leading?

HEINZ KERRY: Well, there are several. One is that people on the whole are much less cynical than I thought they would be, that they really want to find solutions, that they still have some of those great American values of optimism. And that I've actually enjoyed it, it's been wonderful. And lastly, that I have learned about certain things a lot myself that I -- certain measures about how much I can tolerate and how much I -- how shy I am or how -- in fact, I felt pretty comfortable. And that's kind of been rewarding for me.


ZAHN: Our thanks to Senator John Kerry and to Teresa Heinz Kerry for taking the time to talk with us during a very busy campaign.


PAUL BREMER, U.S. ADMINISTRATOR IN IRAQ: Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.



ZAHN: Capturing Saddam Hussein is just one thing that has gone right for President Bush lately. The economy looks better, by most measures. His poll numbers are strong.

So the question for his reelection strategists is how to make that lead last until November. What is the Bush strategy and how will it play against the Democrats and their nominee?

Joining me is regular contributor Joe Klein. He is still in Des Moines, Iowa, having survived the blizzard over the weekend. Also with us here in New York, Kevin Phillips, the author of "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush."

That's a mouthful, Kevin. Welcome, both of you.


ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit, Kevin, about what you think the son has learned from his father about going into election with high approval ratings, involvement in a war and everything that that entails?

PHILLIPS: Well, I think he's learned a lot.

I think he knew that the economy helped to do in his father. And he's watching that. You have some of the same problem, a jobless recovery. But he has got time for that to improve. I think you have got the question of, are people going to be happy with the way Iraq works out by Election Day? His father had a problem that several of the angles on Iraq were souring.

Bill Safire, for example, said he wouldn't support George Bush in 1992 because of the Iraq-gate scandal, Bush helping to build up Saddam Hussein before the war even started. Now, I don't see that as a problem for George W. I think he has probably got a better situation in Iraq than his father did. But he has to be mindful that there were some mine fields in all of that.

And, lastly, the thing he has to think about is that, in contrast to his father, who had a clean, easy victory in 1988, he did not win the popular vote in 2000. Polls show that some 38 percent of Americans think he is an illegitimate president. And this is one of those mine fields you can't judge. Could that be a hangover and a problem?

ZAHN: So, Joe, from what you hear from your White House contacts, which of these things does the Bush campaign team seem to be the most concerned about, the vulnerability on Iraq?

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that the vulnerability in general to a very volatile world.

It's not just Iraq, but we have a mess in Pakistan right now, an Islamic republic with a nuclear bomb, where the governing -- you know, the president is an uncertain governor. We have a mess in Saudi Arabia. And, as your previous segment showed, we're vulnerable to terrorism here. So, more than any other election that I've seen, this election is going to be hostage to events in the world.

And the president made a major decision to route the war on terror through Baghdad. And I think, at bottom, this election is going to be a referendum on that.

ZAHN: And you would agree with that assessment?

PHILLIPS: Probably. Of course, they tried to blend Saddam Hussein and 9/11. This was part of all the way Bush would speak about the issue.

ZAHN: But, in the end, they backtracked from that.

PHILLIPS: Well, they backtracked after they had a terrific success doing it, because some 53 percent of Americans actually thought Saddam Hussein had been responsible for 9/11.

ZAHN: Is that line still blurred?

PHILLIPS: Well, it's still blurred in the sense that a lot of people still think it's true.

In other words, if you pay some attention to doing this over a couple months and you have a certain amount of success, the fact that you said not true one time, that doesn't exactly undo it. So I think that part of what motivated them in Iraq was sort of moving the pea that was under the shallow out there on the terrorism issue.

And, you know, if that continues to work, they're in good shape. But, as Joe just said, that's the sort of stuff that can change overnight.

ZAHN: Now, Joe, by most accounts, Karl Rove is perceived as a very astute manager of campaigns. Is there any talk out there about his being overconfident at this point?

KLEIN: Well, I don't think that, after 2000, he's very overconfident. He's very, very conscious of the get-out-the-vote-on- the-ground kind of operation that the Democrats can mount, especially when they're mobilized, as they seem to be this year, by anger.

But there is another issue lurking out there that Kevin deals with quite a bit in his book and we saw the tip of in the "TIME"/CNN poll this week. And that is that 57 percent of the people believe that George W. Bush spends too much time paying attention to big companies. Out here in Iowa, watching these guys campaign, the constant theme is Bush's closeness to the oil companies, the question of crony capitalism, as it's called, the special breaks that the drug companies get and so on.

And I think that that may be a measure of some concern for the White House, especially if the economy doesn't come back the way they expect it will.

ZAHN: All right, Kevin, but is that the kind of issue that is going to lead Democrats to mount a greater offensive the president on the issue of concern about attachment to big corporations?

PHILLIPS: Well, that's always been the Republican weakness.

And the Democrats have not been terrific at taking advantage of it. The Enron scandal made it easy for them for about six weeks. But, basically, that was not a ball they could run with very far. Now, if you take this all the way back to the four generations of Bushes, this is what they have always done. They have been loyal to the investment community, to people with money, to the oil industry, to the defense industry.

And if the Democrats can put it in that perspective, they might score some points.

ZAHN: Do you think they will?

PHILLIPS: Well, I am not impressed by the Democratic candidates.

I look at somebody like Howard Dean and I see a fellow who -- 50 times as many art galleries in Vermont as there are electoral votes. He comes from a place that has never launched a president.


PHILLIPS: And I can just see the Bush people zeroing in ads on him that you wouldn't believe.

ZAHN: Joe Klein, you get the last 10 seconds.

KLEIN: Well, I think that Kevin is right.

A key factor, a key strength that the president has is the sense that people know that he's decisive, that he will take big risks for things that he believes in. And this is something that the Democrats have not been very good at. They haven't appeared strong in the past. One thing that Howard Dean does do, as opposed to George McGovern, is that he does seem strong.

ZAHN: All right, got to leave it there, gentlemen.

Joe Klein, author Kevin Phillips, thank you for joining us.

Next up, we'll be turning our attention tonight to the disturbing rebirth of anti-Semitism in Europe.

And we'll go inside the Robert Blake case with a crime reporter who spent a year with the LAPD's elite homicide unit.


ZAHN: An age-old problem is rising again in Europe. Attacks on Jews and their property are happening more often and end with more violence.

Jim Bittermann reports from Paris.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Burly former basketball star Michel Serfaty might not fit the image of an assault victim.

But when the French rabbi tried to reason with two North Africans who shouted "Jew" at him, he got slammed in the face by a car door. For Serfaty, just like many other Jews in Europe, it was the kind of personal, direct, and unmistakable anti-Semitic attack that is increasingly terrifying.

One Paris rabbi even went so far as to recommend that Jewish men stop wearing skull caps in public to avoid attacks. Because France it is home to the largest Muslim and largest Jewish populations in Europe, it's not overly surprising that the anger of the Middle East sometimes gets played out on the streets here.

But religious and government leaders worry something has change. Especially in the past year, they say, escalating physical attacks against Jews and Jewish targets, coupled with increasingly commonplace verbal ones, indicate a new and growing climate of anti-Semitism.

ROGER CUKIERMAN, FRENCH-JEWISH COUNCIL: This change of atmosphere comes from the conjunction of these three phenomenons of extreme right, Muslim hostility towards Jews, and the extreme left anti-Zionists.

BITTERMANN: But while this new form of anti-Semitism may be centered in France, Jewish communities elsewhere are no less worried about it. After attacks on two synagogues in Turkey, Italian synagogues held an open house, inviting Catholics and Muslims to share their prayers and fears about the open hatred being directed at Jews.

TULLIA ZEVI, FORMER PRESIDENT, ITALIAN-JEWISH COMMUNITY: This is very alarming. Somehow, the tragedy of the war in the Middle East and the ancient prejudice have found a way of interlinking themselves.

BITTERMANN: The Italian prime minister promised the Israeli one he will do all he can to fight anti-Semitism.

And in Germany, where the hatred of Jews was once government policy, there are those who believe any sign that it is on the return is to be taken seriously. When a Christian democrat member of Parliament publicly equated Jews and Nazis, he was expelled from his parliamentary party group. And for saying he supported the legislator, a one-star general was discharge from the army.

(on camera): Governments across Europe are uneasy and have been meeting to come to grips with the new anti-Semitism. All understand, however, there are no easy solutions.

(voice-over): France has tightened security around Jewish institutions, but the police cannot be everywhere. So now the government is vowing to push for tough sanctions against anyone involved in any kind of anti-Semitic attack, like the one against Michel Serfaty.

Rabbi Serfaty is happy to hear that, but he knows an unresolved Middle East conflict will continue to give cover to those in Europe who detest Jews. And he fears, even with a solution in the Middle East, the problems may not necessarily end for his community here.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


ZAHN: Coming up, we're going to look at what's behind the tabloid report that Princess Diana feared, Prince Charles wanted her killed.

And the first stage in the Martha Stewart trial under way. We're going to look at what kind of people the prosecution and the defense would like to sit in judgment of her.

And tomorrow, Donald Trump joins us as he jumps into the reality show competition.


ZAHN: Welcome back. Here are some of the headlines you need to know right now. Charles Singleton is scheduled to die by lethal injection about a half hour from now, in an Arkansas prison. Singleton is severely mentally ill, and his execution has sparked a lot of controversy. The state's governor today said the execution will proceed as scheduled. We'll have a live report from the prison a little bit later on in this program.

The Pentagon is now siding with the defense contractor Halliburton in the dispute over whether it was charging too much for shipping gas to Iraq. An independent Pentagon audit suggested Halliburton paid over $1 more for gas than it could have, but the Army Corps of Engineers now says Halliburton got the best price possible. Meanwhile, the memorial for the World Trade Center will turn the footprints of the fallen twin towers into reflecting pools. The selection of the design by Israeli architect Michael Arad was announced earlier today.

More controversy faces the British royal family. The same day the royal coroner began an inquest into the death of Princess Diana, tabloid headlines made a shocking accusation. "The Daily Mirror" says a letter from the princess says she feared her ex-husband would try to kill her. Senior international correspondent Sheila MacVicar joins us from London with more. Good evening, Sheila.

SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula. Well, this indeed is a newspaper which once more has published a story that has put Princess Diana back at the top of the news agenda. The newspaper publishing a letter that Princess Diana wrote 10 months before she died, a letter in which she said that she believed that her then ex-husband, Prince Charles, was planning a car accident which would kill her so that he could marry his longtime lover, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Now, the recipient of that letter was Diana's then-butler, Paul Burrell, and today he spoke about his outrage the name has been made public.


PAUL BURRELL, FORMER ROYAL BUTLER: I am not happy about it. I only learned about it late last night, and it was always my intention never to publish that name. I never, ever wanted it to be known.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you angry towards "The Daily Mirror?" Mr. Burrell?

BURRELL: I'm not very happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you plan to do now?

BURRELL: I am going to speak to my lawyer and my agent.


MACVICAR: Now, Mr. Burrell has said he is not very happy. We should say that many people have dismissed the suggestion that Prince Charles could somehow have been involved in the accident which killed his ex-wife and her then boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, as simply preposterous. That includes the editor of "The Daily Mirror," which published the story. The coroner in opening that inquest has said that he is aware that there is speculation about conspiracies. He's asked the metropolitan police to investigate -- Paula.

ZAHN: Sheila MacVicar, thanks for the update, joining us from London tonight.

Whatever the inquest finds, today's tabloid report is sure to get conspiracy theorists buzzing. Dodi Fayed's father, Egyptian businessman Mohammed Al-Fayed, has believed for years his son and Princess Diana were murdered. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOHAMMED AL-FAYED, DODI FAYED'S FATHER: I already mentioned it, and I am mentioning it all the time. It is absolute black and white, horrendous murder.


ZAHN: Anne-Marie O'Neill, senior editor at "People" magazine, joins us tonight. Welcome.


ZAHN: So this is a lot of fodder for conspiracy theorists out there, isn't it?

O'NEILL: It really is. And you know, Diana's death has always been fodder for conspiracy theories. As we just heard, you know, Mohammed Al-Fayed has always maintained that his son and his girlfriend were murdered, and, so, you know, basically it's been percolating right up until this point, and now I guess the inquest will, you know, have something to say about it next year.

ZAHN: How many people do you think really believe what was reported in "The Daily Mirror"? That in some way Prince Charles allegedly helped create this plot?

O'NEILL: I really -- I mean, I can't really speak for what average Britons feel, but I really don't think anyone's in Diana's circle really believes that to be true. And we've had friends tell us that they don't believe it's true, and even the Spencers themselves think that Diana was probably going through one of her ups and downs when she wrote that letter, and that, in fact, it was as preposterous as even the editor of "The Mirror" said it was.

ZAHN: So when you talk to members of the Spencer family, they're basically saying she was loopy?

O'NEILL: People close to the Spencer family are basically saying not so much that she was loopy, but I think the way they put it was, you know, Diana was at a very low ebb when she wrote this letter, and they don't believe its contents to actually be true.

ZAHN: In fact, what I want to put up on the screen now is something one of Diana's former bodyguards had said publicly about this theory. "I have said this many, many times, the princess of Wales was killed tragically in nothing more than a mundane road traffic accident." The French investigation made that ruling. Why not leave it at that?

O'NEILL: Well, I mean, it's law in Britain that there has to be an inquest, and that's why the inquest is going ahead. As for why the speculation continues, you know, I think Diana was such a fascinating figure to everyone when she was alive, and I think that a mundane car crash seems like something a little bit too simple for people who felt that way about her. So somehow I think it just keeps going. ZAHN: Let's go back to Mohammed Al-Fayed, the father of Dodi. And in his reasons for believing that his son and Princess Diana were murdered. It goes beyond this whole yarn that "The Daily Mirror" reported about somehow Prince Charles being freed up to marry Camilla.

O'NEILL: That's right. I mean, Mohammed Al-Fayed has maintained for years that the royal family has a thing out for him personally and for his family. He believes that they look down upon him because he's an Egyptian, and that they wouldn't want an Egyptian marrying, you know, a member of the royal family. So he really kind of cuts it as a racial problem and then goes straight into the conspiracy theory that they murdered Diana and Dodi for those reasons, not really anything to do with Charles marrying Camilla.

ZAHN: And I guess the question a lot of people are wondering today is what role Prince Harry and William may end up playing in this inquest, maybe not directly into the inquest, but in the PR efforts surrounding it?

O'NEILL: Well, under the parameters of the inquest, families are able to sit there and watch the public inquest. I doubt you're going to see that happening. And I also doubt that they'll be making too many public comments. They don't tend to make public comments, you know, on matters regarding their mother or their father. So they tend to maintain a dignified silence about it.

ZAHN: Is this going to be your cover story next week?

O'NEILL: I can't let on what's going to be the cover story next week.

ZAHN: She's not going to tell us. All right, I tried. "People" magazine's Anne-Marie O'Neill, thank you for being here tonight.

O'NEILL: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: We're going to go behind the scenes on the Robert Blake murder case with a reporter who had unique access to LAPD investigators for an entire year. And the latest, sharpest pictures yet from Mars, from the Spirit rover.


ZAHN: Los Angeles Police Department has been one of the most admired, sometimes the most reviled and most investigated departments in the country. Some of the cases it handles are a unique mix of glamour and violence you'll find nowhere but in L.A. We're about to meet a crime reporter who has spent a whole year inside an elite unit of Los Angeles homicide detectives, and witnessed some major investigations.


ZAHN (voice-over): The unit is called Special Homicide. Its mandate is to take on the toughest, most controversial and newsworthy cases facing the Los Angeles Police department. In the year Miles Corwin spent shadowing these elite detectives, they picked up on a cold case of sorts. The murder of a Mafia princess, named Susan Berman, who had close ties to the millionaire Robert Durst. Friends said Berman had provided an alibi for Durst when his wife vanished 18 years before, and New York police were about to reopen the investigation.

Then on the night of May 5, 2001, a woman named Bonny Lee Bakley was found shot to death in Studio City. Bakley was the wife of the actor Robert Blake, now under arrest for her murder. Corwin was present when the police questioned witnesses and conducted searches in the case. And his assignment became the center of controversy.


ZAHN: And Miles Corwin, the author of the book, joins us now. His book is called "Homicide Special, a Year With the LAPD's Elite Detective Unit." Good to see you.


ZAHN: So how much of this Bonny Lee Bakley case were you exposed to?

CORWIN: Well, to understand where Blake fits in, and let me give you the context of how it fit into the book, I was given a year access to follow this elite unit that handles just the high-profile cases, the movie-star murders, the organized crime killings and serial murders.

I had been there about 10 months. I tracked about five murders already when Bonny Lee Bakley was killed, and then I picked it up. It was really the sixth case I followed near the end of my one-year tenure.

ZAHN: All right. Well, you know what the defense is arguing, that somehow your exposure to the investigation tainted the case.

CORWIN: Right. You know, I had been a crime reporter for "The L.A. Times" for many years. I did the same exact thing as a crime reporter for the "L.A. Times." I went to crime scenes with detectives, I went to witness interviews, autopsies, all the way through the case. I wrote another book about the LAPD homicide detectives of the South Central. I did the exact same thing.

ZAHN: So you're saying you didn't compromise the investigation?

CORWIN: There is no difference. Nothing I did different than I did before, and that's the first it's ever -- this question has ever been raised. There's a lot of other reporters who do the same exact thing. It's kind of that's how you cover crime, that's how you write about it. So it's kind of a red herring.

I think my job as a crime reporter is chronicle the cases, tell what happens to the detectives. His job as a defense attorney is to defend his client, and that's what a defense attorney does. It's deflect attention away from your client. Try the police department, try society at large, try the reporter who followed the case. So he's doing his job, I did my job, just like I had done it for many years, and it was never controversial in the past.

ZAHN: Another investigation you talk about in the book is the murder of Susan Berman. And she was a friend of the millionaire Robert Durst, and you later talk about in the book how he was potentially tied to her murder. What did you learn?

CORWIN: That was a very interesting situation, because initially Durst -- they were searching for other suspects, and then Durst gets arrested in Texas for killing this man, and the police -- the LAPD are able to compel him to give a handwriting analysis, and that's interesting because before Susan Berman's body was found, a postcard was sent to the Beverly Hills Police Department saying there is a body at this house. That was Susan Berman's body. The police have determined that the person who -- or suspect that the person who sent that postcard is the killer.

Robert Durst's handwriting, the LAPD handwriting analysis says it's highly probable that he wrote that postcard.

ZAHN: So where does the case go?

CORWIN: It's highly probable, that's short of 100 percent definitive, so he's a person of interest. They don't have enough to arrest him, but he's a person of interest in that case.

ZAHN: The Los Angeles Police Department has had a history of controversy, particularly coming out of the Rodney King beatings, the O.J. Simpson trial, and you have covered crime in that community for a long, long time. Is it as bad as those reports suggested? Have you seen any improvement in the way the LAPD goes about its business?

CORWIN: Yes, I think there has been some improvement, but my purpose in this book was not to glorify the LAPD, not to make heroes out of detectives, but as an impartial observer, to write about what I saw. When I saw fault, I criticized the LAPD. When I saw problems, I wrote about it. In fact, the LAPD was not allowed to view the manuscript before publication. So I think I called it as I saw it, and I saw fault where -- I wrote about the fault where I saw it.

ZAHN: Well, it's an absolutely fascinating account of what you have witnessed in your almost year there with the elite unit. Thank you for sharing your stories with us tonight.

CORWIN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Miles Corwin.

Coming up, we're going to get a guided tour of Mars in the most detailed image yet from the Red Planet. Wait until you see what we're going to show you.

And who will judge Martha Stewart? We'll look at the jury selection process that started today, in her stock fraud trial.


ZAHN: The Mars Spirit rover has sent some stunning new images of the Red Planet back to Earth this week, and today the lander sent back the most detailed picture ever. Joining us now to take a look, Neil De Grasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History here in New York. Always good to see you.


ZAHN: This picture is absolutely amazing.

TYSON: I feel like I can reach out and grab the rocks and put them in my satchel.

ZAHN: What are you looking at here? What do you see? Maybe what the rest of us don't see at first blush.

TYSON: Well no, right now it's still reconnaissance, it's still pictures of where the thing landed. And we've never seen it in this level of detail before. Most of our mapping of the Martian surface had come from orbiting probes, and now we're there, and finding out where to pull out of the driveway and take a tour of the terrain.

ZAHN: So what do we know today that we didn't know yesterday?

TYSON: Not much more.

ZAHN: From these pictures?

TYSON: Well, not much more. It's nice to be reminded that, in fact, Mars is red. Red for reasons that there's iron deposits within the surface all over the plant and the iron turns rusty, so it's just red for no reason deeper than that. So it's nice to get the confirming color image to the black and white ones we had a few days ago, but the real science will start rolling, rolling out from space when the rover starts making its rounds among the rocks.

ZAHN: All right. But before we get to that, let's talk a little bit about just how detailed this picture is, and why it's so much more detailed than any image we've seen before.

TYSON: Yeah, well, because the technology is better than in previous missions. The minituarization is better. We have more sophisticated cameras and computers on board. So you have got a much better -- so this is what it would look like if you were there. If you were there, that is exactly what it would look like, and so I feel like I'm there.

ZAHN: And you say we should be elated just to see this image at all.

TYSON: Yes, yes. Like I said, the science will come rolling -- rolling in in a few weeks. But the fact that we landed on another planet and popped open like the petals of a flower ready to do science at a time when there is so much depressing news on the headlines. I was just so elated and so proud and happy for all my colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Labs.

ZAHN: Well, I think those of us that aren't in your business were elated to watch them that day in the laboratory.

TYSON: Oh, yes. The champagne corks went and everybody was hugging and kissing. Oh, yes, deservedly so.

ZAHN: You're so good at show and tell. You brought us a little...

TYSON: I brought you Mars.

ZAHN: How nice of you. No one's ever done that for me before.

TYSON: Well, first to remind you, Mars actually rotates once in 24 hours like Earth does and is tipped on its axis like Earth. So Mars has seasons like Earth and it's got polar ice caps that grow and shrink according to the seasons so it's a fascinating place with tremendous similarities.

ZAHN: Show us exactly where the rover landed and where it's going to move to.

TYSON: The rover landed right here in a tiny little crater, OK, the Gusev crater. And that crater, we think, was an impact crater left by some asteroid that slammed into it, but we also believe that that crater was, at one time, filled with water that has since evaporated away.

ZAHN: Where has all the water gone?

TYSON: Well, that's one of the biggest mysteries.

ZAHN: Oh, we thought you could answer that question.

TYSON: I'm sorry. Maybe next time, but not today. And so what the rover is, is it's basically a robotic fuel geologist that's going to go around, break open rocks, well, it's got a drill to do that.

But it's going to open rocks, take pictures with the CCD camera and microscope and study the chemical composition of rocks to see which rocks were made with water. And if that's the case, we'll have confirming first-hand evidence that water was once on the surface of this planet.

ZAHN: All right. For people who might not be as dazzled by the science as you are, what are the applications of anything that is learned on Mars that you can use here on earth?

TYSON: Well, I'll tell you this. Mars once had water and it doesn't today.

ZAHN: OK, you got me scared. You got my attention. TYSON: So what knobs are we turning on in our own atmosphere on earth so that one day, we might lose our own water? I want to know why Mars doesn't have water any more. Another neighboring planet, Venus, has a runaway greenhouse effect. So the entire effort to understand our neighbors in space is, I see it as a safety net to try to learn what might be happening to Earth. What we might be doing to Earth and what might be in our future.

ZAHN: Can I hold Mars before you go?

TYSON: You can definitely hold Mars.

ZAHN: I won't drop it. I promise. Thank you. Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson from the Hayden Planetarium. Always appreciate you dropping by.

Martha Stewart trial is in phase one. We're going to look at what kind of people may be called on to judge the domestic diva. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: Martha Stewart's trial on charges of stock fraud and obstruction of justice got rolling today with selecting a jury or at least starting the process. CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins me now with a look at who's in the jury pool. Good evening. So who were these folks?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is the most unusual jurisdiction in the country. Manhattan, Westchester, The Bronx, Rockland county, some of the wealthiest, best-educated people in the country are in this jury pool and that makes this a very different group than any other jury that you're likely to see.

ZAHN: A different group. Who does it help? The defense?

TOOBIN: I think it does help the defense. Another factor to remember here, in New York, everybody serves on juries. There is no getting out of jury duty. Trust me, I've been on a jury recently. I was on one with Bryant Gumbel and we were forced to serve.

So you have doctors, lawyers, very well-educated people and defense lawyers, by and large, prefer better educated jurors, people who understand the nuances. That is something, at least at this point, looks like it helps Martha Stewart.

ZAHN: There was a questionnaire that these jurors had to fill out. Neither the defense nor the prosecution is releasing that questionnaire to the public but you have done some digging as a reporter. What are the kinds of questions these jurors or potential jurors being asked?

TOOBIN: This is fairly standard stuff during a high-profile case. A lot of demographic information. Where you're from, how much money you make, ethnicity. But a lot of questions about what these people know about Martha Stewart generally. Do they read her magazines? Do they watch her on television? And do they have any strong feelings about her, because a lot of people do, both pro and con. Plus, of course, how familiar they are with this investigation.

ZAHN: Well, those are pretty obvious questions. So there's nothing that you've learned that would suggest there are any trick questions on the questionnaire that would be really revealing one side or the other?

TOOBIN: The one most interesting area is they talk about stock holdings and whether you lost money recently. So the question being, if you've lost a lot of money, are you angry at CEOs, are you angry at the white collar crime because you've lost money personally? That's something that I think both sides will look very closely at.

ZAHN: I want to close tonight by talking about Charles Singleton, the diagnosed schizophrenic. What's the deal in this country? You can never be too insane to be executed?

TOOBIN: That's pretty much it. Five justices of the Supreme Court believe that even if you're mentally retarded you can be executed. This is a tough country on the death penalty. And even though Singleton needs medication even to understand that he's being executed, that, based on prior precedent, is OK. We're very tough on people who have mental disabilities and we execute them.

ZAHN: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks for covering so much ground for us this evening.

And we're just five minutes away from the scheduled execution of Charles Singleton. The very latest now on the case. Let's turn to Brian Cabell who is in Varner, Arkansas. Hello, again, Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Paula. It looks like things will go on as scheduled. In just a few minutes, Charles Singleton will go to his death. This after 24 years on death row.

He did one clemency and he apparently will not get it. Without his medication, he is clearly insane, doctors say that with his medication, he is rational. We talked to him on death row last week and clearly he rambles, he rants, he raves, but he says even when he's rational, he hears voices and he sees demons.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, you believe certain things and you hear certain voices that the rest of us don't hear or believe.

CHARLES SINGLETON, DEATH ROW INMATE: That don't mean they don't know about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that mean that maybe the rest of us are insane?

SINGLETON: I don't know. I don't know what's best for you. I don't even know what's best for me, man, but I'll tell you this, we're not living. We're too busy fighting death. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CABELL: He is surprisingly coherent at times, even insightful, other times, extremely difficult to follow. But the bottom line now is with medication, he is insane and that according to the law, is enough to execute him. As we say, Paula, within a matter of a few minutes he will die by lethal injection.

ZAHN: Brian, let's remind our audience of what his wishes were. That he wanted to die, he tried to prevent his attorneys from filing any appeals. Are there any Singleton supporters out there who are fighting this in the last minutes of his life?

CABELL: Amnesty International has filed a protest. People from the European Union have filed. We are told there may be one or two demonstrators out there, but for the most part, no. His family, there are a few family members that would like him not to die, but they have basically given up. His attorney says -- he's saying he basically has given up, as well.

ZAHN: And the overall reaction to the community there as you zero in on the last 30 seconds of his life?

CABELL: You really don't see much out here. We are in rural Arkansas. There's really no reaction. The feeling generally around here is 24 years is long enough to be on death row and so he will, in fact, die.

ZAHN: Brian Cabell reporting from Varner, Arkansas. Thanks so much for the update.

And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for being with us. Tomorrow night, Donald Trump will be joining us as he launches a brand new reality TV show.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Again, thanks for joining us tonight.


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