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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Bush Twins in the Spotlight; Challenges Ahead For CIA

Aired July 14, 2004 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The president's daughters, off-limits in their younger days.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just hope you guard their privacy.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: They're not public citizens. They didn't run for office.

ZAHN: Now they're ready to compete with the Kerry clan, all grown up and hitting the campaign trail. Tonight, the Bush twins in the spotlight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Good evening and welcome. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

We will get to our feature story in just a moment.

But we begin tonight with intelligence and the war in Iraq. In London today, an official report on the quality of prewar intelligence that was used to justify the war. The conclusion, that British intel was seriously flawed. That news comes as America's spy agency licks its wounds after a scathing report on U.S. prewar intelligence failures and after the resignation of CIA Director George Tenet, who stepped down this past Sunday. Morale at the CIA is, in a word, bad.

Tonight, national security correspondent David Ensor looks at the agency and some of the challenges ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the CIA, they are reeling from the tough criminal of the Senate Intelligence Committee report. But the new acting director of central intelligence has little time for introspection. John McLaughlin told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the evidence that al Qaeda is plotting to hit the United States between now and the November election is all too compelling.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, ACTING CIA DIRECTOR: This is a very serious threat we're facing.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: How serious? MCLAUGHLIN: It's serious in the following sense, that I think the quality of the information we have is very good.

ENSOR: But it was the sharp language in the Senate report on Iraq weapons of mass destruction intelligence failures that prompted McLaughlin's unusual decision to go public.

CIA officials accept they were wrong about key aspects of Iraq's programs, that there apparently are no major stockpiles of weapons in Iraq. But when the report speaks of a broken corporate culture at CIA, that McLaughlin firmly rejects.

MCLAUGHLIN: We risk our lives around the world every day. And our analysts here in Washington risk their reputations every day by taking positions on issues on which the evidence is thin and uncertain. So there is always a possibility of a mistake. You're not always going to be right and you're going to take criticism. And the only way we can deal with that is to learn from it, as we have been for the last year.

ENSOR: And the morale at CIA? Not good, according to some who work there, what with the crushing pressure to get it right post-9/11, plus the recent political pressure.

MCLAUGHLIN: People don't join this business because they expect public praise.

ENSOR: The pressure also recently prompted a CIA al Qaeda analyst who believes the U.S. has underestimated bin Laden's group to public with his critique, though the agency insisted he do so anonymously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly, and, unfortunately, I think we're in far worse shape than probably the bulk of my superiors do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Our national security correspondent David Ensor.

Joining us now, two CIA veterans with widely differing opinions on the state of the spy agency. In Washington, former CIA Middle East officer Reuel Marc Gerecht. He is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. And, in Silverton, Colorado, former CIA operation Robert Baer, author of "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul For Saudi Crude."

Good to see both of you. Welcome.

Reuel, a lot of the analysis we have seen has been highly critical of the CIA, scathing analysis of the woefully inadequate intelligence and suggestions that the CIA has to be completely overhauled. How is that a good thing for the Bush administration? Put a positive spin on this for us tonight. We don't see it.

REUEL MARC GERECHT, MIDDLE EAST EXPERT: Well, I think if you look at the Senate intel report, all 511 pages of it, I think you can come away thinking fairly clearly three things.

First is that the most damning charge against the Bush administration, that it was guilty -- that senior officials, particularly the vice president, were guilty of pressuring analysts to come up with the right conclusions, their conclusions, I think was flatly rejected.

Second, they have a charge that the director of intelligence, the analytical wing, somehow wasn't able analytically to see the truth, the truth being that, after 20 years of Saddam Hussein trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction and spending billions of dollars, engaging in subterfuge and deceit, hiding those programs from Western inspectors, that they somehow analytically were supposed to determine that he had somehow pivoted and given up that quest. I don't think that is a reasonable critique.

And, third, that the director of operations, the clandestine service, failed to penetrate Saddam Hussein's inner circles, his politburo, so to speak. Now, that's absolutely true. We failed. We also failed against every single totalitarian regime during the Cold War. We had no penetrations of that substantial nature, nothing inside of the inner circles. So it is a fair critique, but, again, it is an unreasonable critique.

I think there are many, many problems with the Central Intelligence Agency, particularly the clandestine service, but attacking it on this issue I think is unfair.

ZAHN: Bob, are you willing to concede those three points?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: No, not at all.

First of all, there is collective guilt in Washington for this war. The CIA went along for the ride. It produced a national intelligence estimate in October 2002 which stated very clearly that there were weapons of mass destruction, stockpiles, that they were deployable and that Iraq was an immediate threat. That turned out not to be true. The CIA failed.

The same message was in the Pentagon, in the newspapers and a lot of other places. And I think we have to look at this as a serious, serious intelligence failure which needs to be corrected very quickly.

ZAHN: Is there anything you could point to, Bob, that you think bolsters the Bush administration here?

Reuel is making the point that, in fact, it sort of releases Dick Cheney of the responsibility of trying to pressure the CIA to massage some of this information. The results didn't show that.

BAER: Well, as a former intelligence professional, it's the duty of the White House, if it's unsure of the sources of information, to go to the CIA and ask, how can you be so sure that this guy has weapons of mass destruction or is giving them to terrorists or planning to? Apparently, that was never done. And I think Dick Cheney should have known better and gone to the CIA and said, how sure are you of this information? And, if you're not, we're going to have to tailor the message.

ZAHN: So, Reuel, in closing tonight, what should be the No. 1 priority in overhauling the CIA?

GERECHT: Well, I think, firstly, that we all need to admit that the agency has had a lot of problems, particularly the clandestine service, for decades.

And I think you need to figure out what your No. 1 threat is. I would argue it's the Islamic terrorist target. If that's true, then the present structure of the CIA and particularly the clandestine service is inadequate to deal with it and we need to go in for serious surgical reform.

ZAHN: Bob, you get the last word on that tonight.

BAER: I agree fully. That place is completely broken. It needs to be fixed, and the faster, the better. We're under a serious threat right now. It could occur before the elections. We have to move.

ZAHN: Robert Baer, Reuel Marc Gerecht, thank you for both of your perspectives tonight.

GERECHT: Pleasure.

ZAHN: Coming up, the NAACP, on the outs with the president, but is it in synch with most African-Americans? That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: President Bush has been noticeably absent from this week's NAACP convention. He is the first sitting president since Herbert Hoover to not meet with the group during an entire term of office.

The leaders of the NAACP, who have been critical of many White House policies, are now calling on voters to oust the president. But do they speak for most African-Americans or even other members of the organization?

Our Jason Carroll is at the convention.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Familiar sounds, familiar faces, but one familiar face that wasn't here, the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry accepted our invitation to speak at this convention. And the president of the United States did not.

CARROLL: President Bush's decision not to address the convention sent a resounding message Maxine Smith (ph), a Democrat, and Gladys Johnson (ph), who says she sometimes votes Republican.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I feel that he missed an opportunity by not coming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, I don't care about you. I don't care what you think.

CARROLL: And it's not just the older delegates who feel that way.

(on camera): Who is upset by the president's decision not to come here to speak?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It speaks volumes to the commitment that President Bush has to the communities of color.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people who agree with the NAACP and the people who do not still think that he should respect the organization enough to hear what they have to say.

CARROLL: The White House says a scheduling conflict prevented the president from attending. That did not help his already strained relationship with the NAACP. To that, attorney Douglas Oden says, so what?

DOUGLAS ODEN, PRESIDENT, SAN DIEGO NAACP: I think the president has a habit of going to locations where everyone agrees with him. He goes to rallies where everyone is waving flags. And if you don't listen to what the other part of Americans is saying, you can have flawed advice.

CARROLL: And while most criticism is directed at Bush, the Democrats are also taking heat for what some here say is a feeling that party takes the black vote for granted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Democratic Party, we support them more historically, but if we had another party that could speak more to our needs as a community, I'm certain that our votes would go that way.

CARROLL: John Kerry will speak at the convention tomorrow. And under pressure from African-American leaders, the Democratic Party added a black speaker to its convention lineup, Senate candidate Barack Obama of Illinois. Many here say that was a symbolic gesture and it will take more than symbolism for either Democrats or Republicans to win their votes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Our Jason Carroll in Philadelphia.

And joining us now, NAACP chairman Julian Bond.

Always good to see you. Welcome, sir.

JULIAN BOND, CHAIRMAN, NAACP: My pleasure. ZAHN: So, Mr. Bond, the president has said that his relationship with the leadership of the NAACP is nonexistent. And he has talked about the name-calling that has gone on between your organization and his administration. You once said that his Cabinet choices represent the Taliban wing of American politics. Another one of your leaders said that this president's treatment of NAACP members is like that of prostitutes, that Bush did not want to deal with them during the light of day.

Given that kind of rhetoric, what is it that you do expect from the president?

BOND: We expect, when we extend an invitation to the president of the United States, that he'll come and talk to us. If he's got a program he thinks we'd like, I'd like to hear him argue about it.

We've dealt with every president since Theodore Roosevelt. Every president since Herbert Hoover has found time to have an audience with the NAACP. And along the line, we've been critical of many of these figures. We've applauded when they have done well. When they haven't done well, we've criticized. If President Bush didn't go places where he was criticized, I don't think he'd ever leave the White House.

ZAHN: So are you telling me now you just think he's too thin- skinned?

BOND: Well, I don't think it's really about the NAACP. I think this is about appealing to a section of his base, that tiny section of his base that rejects civil rights, rejects democracy, rejects equality, that has an abiding, almost canine-like affection for the Confederacy that he hopes will turn out and vote for him in November. I don't think it's about us at all.

ZAHN: Are you satisfied with the level of support you're getting from Democrats? Because you've been critical of them as well when it comes to these issues that the NAACP is involved with.

BOND: We have been critical. I've said that, when one party is shameless, the other can't afford to be spineless. And too often, the Democrats aren't an opposition party. They're an amen corner.

But we're very, very pleased that Senator John Kerry is coming to speak to us. We're going to give him a respectful hearing, as we would have given President Bush if he had come.

ZAHN: If you believe members of the Democratic Party have been spineless, can you point to a couple of issues that you have a problem with and their lack of involvement?

BOND: Well, particularly on the war in Iraq. You know, almost to a man, they voted to begin the war, to continue the war. Some of them voted against funding for the war.

The Patriot Act is another thing we disagree with them wildly on. Only Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin voted against it. Every single one of his colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, voted for it. But the Democrats on balance have been better on these issues than the Republicans have. But, listen, we're a nonpartisan organization. We have never endorsed a political candidate. We have never endorsed a political party. And we don't intend to begin now.

ZAHN: While you say you're nonpartisan, I think most people in America would believe that you are closer to the Democrat line of thinking than you are to Republican politics.

BOND: That's probably true.

But there was a time -- I'm old enough to remember there was a time when the Democrats thought we were a wing of the Republican Party. But times change. Things change. Parties change. We hope we're staying consistent.

ZAHN: Do you have any confidence that the Democratic Party is going to go out and churn out the vote the way you want it churned out in African-American communities?

BOND: We hope they do, but we're not depending on the Democratic Party. We're depending on our colleagues and friends and the largest civil rights movement and the environmental movement. We're going to do our best to turn on voters.

We've already registered 100,000 people in the battleground states, a couple of thousands more across the country. We intend to keep going as long as we can. And in the fall, we're going to engage in our massive get-out-the-vote campaign. Again, we don't endorse candidates, but we think it important that every citizen register and every citizen votes.

ZAHN: And given the brittle rhetoric that we've seen go on between the NAACP and the president, do you expect any rapprochement?

BOND: Well, it's odd. We have pretty good relationships with Secretary Rod Paige in the Education Department, although we've been critical of him. We have good relationships with, believe it or not, John Ashcroft, in spite of the fact that I've been extremely critical of him.

We have good relationships with Secretary Powell. We gave Condoleezza Rice an award. So we have many friends in the Republican Party. Many of my board members are Republicans. My former executive director was a Republican. This is not a partisan issue. This I think is about the Bush administration being too thin-skinned and wanting to appeal to a section of their base by dismissing us.

ZAHN: It sounds like you're counting out the president altogether down the road.

BOND: If he came here tomorrow morning and spoke before or after John Kerry, we'd give him an honest, open reception. We would be warm. There would no boos. There would be no catcalls. I'm sure there are among us people who are willing to vote for him. And I know that among us there are people who are willing to listen to him.

ZAHN: Julian Bond, thanks for your time tonight. And we appreciate it.

BOND: Thank you.

ZAHN: And when we come back, the tragedy of teen suicide and what you should know to protect your children.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: No parent should ever have to bury a child, but each year, too many do. A number of those children are taking their own lives. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people age 10 to 24. And last week, members of the Senate became keenly aware of the problem when one senator spoke of his own tragedy.

Here is Tom Foreman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid all of the well-known issues faced by young Americans today, drugs, violence, pregnancy, teen suicide is usually personal and invisible. But in the U.S. Senate, an extraordinary speech has forced the issue into the light.

SEN. GORDON SMITH (R), OREGON: We lost a child to mental illness and suicide.

FOREMAN: Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon rose late last week to talk about his son Garrett, who killed himself less than a year ago.

SMITH: He was a beautiful child, a handsome baby boy. He was thoughtful to everyone around him as he grew older. His exuberance for life, however, began to dim in his elementary years.

FOREMAN: Smith told the story of his son's descent into manic depression to gain support for schools and colleges, where he wants to establish a $60 million mental illness detection and treatment program. He got a lot more.

SEN. HARRY REID (R), NEVADA: My daddy killed himself. I used to think suicides happened to other people. But they happen to us.

BOND: One by one, his fellow senators told their own stories of loss.

SEN. DON NICKLES (R), OKLAHOMA: My father also committed suicide.

FOREMAN: And they backed the measure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact, more children and young adults die from their own hand than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, and chronic lung disease combined.

FOREMAN: Each year, 30,000 Americans kill themselves, more than 80 a day. And many begin their downward spiral when they are young. DR. LINDA ROSEN, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think really the students have been under-served. See, there is so much emphasis on getting good grades, getting high scores that the emotional needs of the students are neglected.

FOREMAN: Susan Blauner tried suicide at 14 and kept trying for years. With a great deal of therapy, she survived and now tries to help others through her book, "How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me."

SUSAN BLAUNER, AUTHOR, "HOW I STAYED ALIVE WHEN MY BRAIN WAS TRYING TO KILL ME": There is nothing wrong with being mentally ill. If I had diabetes, I would take insulin. I would watch my diet. And for me, if I hadn't had the care that I did, I would be dead.

SMITH: No family should experience the pain we have suffered.

FOREMAN: It was just one afternoon in the Senate, one story of a young life lost, but it was enough. Gordon Smith's bill passed. And for him, that is one step toward a solution.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: That was Tom Foreman.

Joining us now to discuss suicide, the warning signs and treatment, Dr. Drew Pinsky. He counsels teens and is a medical director at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena, California.

Welcome, Doctor.

DR. DREW PINSKY, AUTHOR, "CRACKED": Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: It is always shocking to hear these statistics about how many warning signs are all but ignored in this population of kids. Why are we so ignorant?

PINSKY: It's amazing.

I'm not sure that it's an ignorance so much as a denial. More often than not, what I encounter with parents is the attitude that they can't imagine their child having this kind of a problem. There's sort of a mantra of, not my kid. And what I would advise every parent, whether it pertain to mental health issues, drug abuse, risk- taking behaviors, as soon as you hear yourself thinking to yourself, no, I know my kid, not my kid, that's the point you step back and take a breath and start asking some real serious questions, because it can be anybody's kid.

ZAHN: But, Doctor, you still have to acknowledge, sometimes it's hard to distinguish between normal adolescent angst and real depression. We're not trained to see those warnings.

PINSKY: Absolutely. It is extremely difficult.

The kinds of things you might want to watch out for, obviously, is a child that is giving away possessions or a child who doesn't talk about the future or the future doesn't exist for them, a child who is not eating, losing weight, having sort of anger outbursts or truancy. These kinds of things are warning signs. But I would advise parents to really ask around. Just open your eyes.

Ask their peers, ask the parents of their peers, ask the school. They very often can know firsthand. And they're the first to detect when a child is having a problem. And then don't be afraid to get help if there is any possibility of real trouble.

ZAHN: The other shocking thing is just how the suicide rate among young men has shot up so dramatically. And young men are four times more likely to commit suicide than young women. Why?

PINSKY: Well, they're more likely to complete a suicidal act. That is really the issue here.

And we see it most likely in homosexual young males. They are the most likely to commit a successful suicide act. And the other really is the fact that young males tend to use violent means in their suicidal gestures. So the use of a firearm is more likely to be a male than not. So this is another warning for parents. If you have access, if your child has access to firearms, if there are firearms in the house, this puts your home at risk.

ZAHN: And, of course, there is still much controversy about the best way to treat a child if, in fact, you think he or she is prone to suicide.

PINSKY: Yes. And there is a lot of controversy about medications, should my children be on medicine or not.

One caveat I would tell people is that the literature is very clear that medication plus talk has the most beneficial effect. So whether or not you are falling one way or the other about medication, please don't forget the psychotherapy. Individual therapy can be extremely important. And the fact remains that medication has revolutionized depression.

Depression has about a 1-5 probability of killing anybody with this disorder. So the medication has really had a dramatic impact on this disease and may be life-saving in certain circumstances.

ZAHN: And that in conjunction with keeping lines of communication open with your children.

PINSKY: Absolutely.

ZAHN: Dr. Drew Pinsky, as always, thank you for your help tonight. We appreciate it.

PINSKY: My pleasure. Thank you.

ZAHN: And we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: There are two new faces at Bush campaign events this summer: the president's daughters.

While Democrat John Kerry's children have already been out there campaigning for their dad, the Bush children, until now, have mostly been sheltered behind the scenes. Now fresh out of college, they have joined the reelection campaign, and they are talking.

Here is "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor Judy Woodruff. * (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): So far Jenna and Barbara Bush's days on the campaign trail seem to consist of walking and standing and smiling for the cameras and for the crowds. But after so many years of being sheltered from the family business of politics, the Bush daughters' public debut is a big deal.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I want them to be involved if they want to. But at the same time, you know, I worry about the pain that, you know, they might have, because they didn't choose this life, you know, their dad did.

WOODRUFF: For a couple of 22-year-old women, this may be the best part of it. Glossy glamour shots in the August issue of "Vogue" magazine.

JULIA REED, "VOGUE" MAGAZINE: Barbara and Jenna were incredibly gracious and actually poised.

WOODRUFF: In an interview for "Vogue" the Bush twins broke their silence about their family, their futures and their decision to join their parents in the campaign. Jenna is quoted as saying, "it's not like he called me up and asked me. They've never wanted to throw us into that world and I think our decision probably shocked them. But I love my dad and I think I'd regret it if I didn't do this." End quote.

REED: What is surprising about their experience is that they did have such a normal kind of college experience.

WOODRUFF: Barbara and Jenna have had a White House connection for almost two-thirds of their life, with their grandfather serving as vice president and then president before their own father won the top job. And yet glimpses of them have been fleeting. Many Americans may only remember this, their run-ins with the law over alcohol three years ago when they were under-age.

L. BUSH: Our children ought to be totally left alone and allowed to have a totally private life. They're not public citizens. They didn't run for office.

WOODRUFF: Now they're adults and the protective shield has been lowered. Jenna appears to have been the more outspoken sister in the "Vogue" interview praising her parents' marriage, calling her mom cute with funny quirks and describing her father's interactions with her boyfriend this way. "He's not the shotgun dad type. He's the joking around to the point where he scares the heck out of them type."

What's next for the Bush daughters? With an English degree from the University of Texas, Jenna says she plans to teach. She has applied for a job at an elementary school in Harlem.

Barbara graduated from Yale and majored in Humanities. She plans to work with AIDS-afflicted children in Eastern Europe and Africa.

But their father's campaign comes first.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: That was Judy Woodruff.

Joining us, the journalist who just sat down with the first daughters. Julia Reed is a senior writer at "Vogue" and author of "Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena."

Always good to see you. Welcome.

JULIA REED, SENIOR WRITER, "VOGUE": Thank you so much.

ZAHN: So how do the girls feel about being out there on the campaign trail? Do they really want to do this?

REED: I think they really do. I mean, the parents certainly, certainly didn't push them. I mean, they've been so careful, you know, doing the opposite to protect them and not make them jump into the arena if they didn't feel like it.

Jenna told me that she just thought she would look back on this and say, "How can I live with myself if," you know this is her father's last campaign. They've never been involved in a campaign. They've never even appeared, like, walking across a lawn in a campaign ad. So I think it's now or never.

They're out of college; they're 22. They've been, you know, largely defined by other people, because they've never given an interview. I think they were ready to sort of talk about themselves, themselves. And I think they really wanted to go on the road with their dad.

ZAHN: What's the most surprising thing you've learned from talking to the two of them? Because on the campaign trail, we're not going to see -- be exposed to a whole lot. We're going to see just that. So far, we've seen them accompanying daddy to a stop and going back and forth. We (UNINTELLIGIBLE) them publicly speak.

REED: Sooner or later they're going to open their mouths. They will. Their mom says that they've written introductions to their father's speeches and stuff. And they're a little -- I think they're a little nervous about getting right out there.

Because, you know, talking to us was the first time they'd ever talked to anybody on the record. It's the first time they've ever been photographed. So I expected -- I mean, one of the surprises is I expected them to be a little bit more self-conscious, but they actually have all the best qualities of their parents.

I mean, Jenna more so, but Barbara, too, is very much like her father in that, you know, she's sort of very sort of warm one-on-one, very jokey. I mean, Jenna especially is like a tease. She's like her dad, you know, is going to give you a nickname. She's going to, you know, sort of -- she's teasing her sister the entire time.

ZAHN: Making fun of every outfit she picked?

(CROSSTALK)

REED: Exactly. It was so funny to watch the sisters. They call each other sister, in fact.

But they were so, really -- I mean, I think they've really grown up in the last four years. Because they were so comfortable in their own skins and very gracious and not in the least bit jaded. Well, of course, they're not bored with this yet, because this is the first time they've been made to change clothes a thousand times.

But, you know, they just couldn't have been more gracious and not in the least bit sort of, you know, privileged daughters of the president of the United States.

ZAHN: And, yet, with "Vogue" and your setup, they were in a very protective environment.

REED: Sure.

ZAHN: They know down the road...

REED: There no percentage in me attacking the daughters of the president of the United States.

ZAHN: Of course not.

REED: Even if they were these horrible women. But, in fact, they weren't, which made it a pleasure because they were really, really fun to be with.

And you know, they're curious. They're -- I mean, they're just getting out there in the world. They've got their own things now. I mean they're -- but mainly they're very funny to be around and very low-key and not demanding and sort of, you know, grateful that we were giving them a pedicure. Like Barbara is like, "Oh, great. I'm going to the beach next week. This is perfect."

ZAHN: Well, it's interesting the point you made, though. So far, they've largely been defined by people who haven't necessarily had such great access to them.

REED: Right. ZAHN: And you pick up a tabloid and you read about them over the last several months. They know they're going to have to confront that again on the road.

REED: Sure.

ZAHN: Do they talk about that and what that's been like to live...

REED: They did a little bit and their friends told me that, you know, when those kind of things would hit the stands that they would stiffen a bit.

But, you know, they've been very -- they're much like their mother, in fact. She just always focuses on the positive. This is the task at hand. This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to be positive about it.

You know, she sort of organized in her -- in her good moves. And they're a little bit like that. I mean, there's no -- there's a downside to dwelling on it. They were in college. I think they were lucky enough to be surrounded by some good friends.

I mean, I said, you know, before, I mean, my gosh, I hope I have friends like that because they were all, you know. All their friends were being called on the phone by the tabloids and stuff and, obviously...

ZAHN: Did she drink another beer?

REED: Yes, and can we have a picture of her hanging, you know, upside down on her head or whatever. But they didn't bite. So I mean, I think that they were lucky in that way.

But now, you know, they know that they're not going to have that zone of privacy anymore. They're on the road with their father. If they're 22 years old, they're, you know, they're working in jobs. Jenna's going to move to New York. There's no way she's going to be out of the public eye.

So I think they were smart to start now to speak for themselves. And they weren't -- you know, they weren't -- there was never, I have to say the White House was very good. They didn't say you can't talk about this; you can't talk about that. They obviously trust the girls enough to know what's appropriate to say and what's not. And there was never any kind of thing like that, and they were very comfortable.

ZAHN: They were counting on people -- you -- not to ask impertinent questions.

REED: Right, but I think they were also counting on the girls to handle it if -- when somebody does. You know, I mean, they're not -- they're not idiots. They're very well educated, bright girls that can take care of themselves, I think.

ZAHN: It really is a fascinating inside look and one of the first ones we've gotten, the twin daughters of the president. Julia Reed.

REED: I think you'll see a lot more of them.

ZAHN: Thank you for your time.

REED: Thank you.

ZAHN: When we come back, Americans working in Saudi Arabia and living in fear.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: In Saudi Arabia, thousands of Western workers are living in a climate of fear. After American Paul Johnson Jr. was beheaded last month, many expatriates felt trapped in their compounds. Now, they live with the knowledge that their survival depends on security measures that may not be enough.

Here's Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Blue skies, immaculate greens. A golfers' paradise. Well, almost. The high security wall and regular security patrols giving away this is no normal fairway, but one of Saudi Arabia's premier compounds for expatriate workers and their families.

TRUDY ROSSOUW, RESIDENT: The security provided by the compound, I mean, it is just amazing. I mean, as you come in, I mean, there are three security blocks. Everybody is checked. Everything is on camera. Guards all over the place. So it really -- it does give you peace of mind.

ROBERTSON: Until now, the Saudi owners kept this housing compound a carefully guarded secret. But with growing fears about attacks on Westerners, they've opened the gates for the first time to show that expats can live here safely.

(on camera): But not all expatriates have this level of security. U.S. engineer Paul Johnson was kidnapped just a few miles from these gates.

And almost all expatriates we talked to were too afraid to appear on camera. Inside their compounds, a lack of information fuels fears.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel fear and I see fear in others. It makes it even more fearful for me. And my compound, my villa, my house that I'm living in is like a fort for me now.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Of these three men we talked with at a different compound, two have already decided to leave, let down, they say, by their managers, who are Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're experiencing in our company, we're never getting information from our managers. And we don't know what's going on all of the time.

ROBERTSON: The day after Paul Johnson was kidnapped, the worst they say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had returned to work the day after and we had a small gathering. They basically was discussing work situations there. The security issue wasn't even mentioned.

That was very disheartening, to see the company take such a nonchalant attitude towards a situation that was really on everyone's mind.

ROBERTSON: But that, they say, is only one of their problems with those managers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point in time, our company requires us to submit a 90-day notice. According to the Saudi labor law, if the contract is for unspecified period and you're paid on a monthly basis, you only have to turn in a 30-day notice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the companies that we seem to be employed by seem to really kind of bypass that. And they're, in a sense, keeping us here, many of us against our -- the will that we have to go.

ROBERTSON: Elsewhere in the country, this expatriate husband and wife feel similar pressures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we feel more confined. We look over our shoulders, and we are prepared to leave if we have to. We don't want to leave. We like it here. We came here to stay for awhile.

ROBERTSON: For them, the difference has been having an understanding Saudi employer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have acted very swiftly and positively and have listening -- have been listening to our concerns. There were community meetings about safety. Things have been changed almost overnight. They are being changed daily. Rules have been relaxed. We are allowed to keep passports.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've also relaxed the ability for us to leave at a moment's notice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They used to require a 30-day notice, but it's very unique. We've heard of other companies where when contracts expire, people were kept on.

ROBERTSON: At an unprecedented meeting between Western diplomats, business leaders and the Saudi foreign minister recently, security and quality of life for expats was top of the agenda. Both sides saying discussions went well, businessmen encouraged by what they heard. GENE HECK, AMERICAN BUSINESS GROUP: We got a better feeling for their sense of commitment, and I think we tried to share ways we could help them.

ROBERTSON: Back at the Arizona compound, waiting to see what happens next, an unwanted pastime.

(on camera): It's not clear exactly how many Western expatriate workers have already left Saudi Arabia or how many will leave in the coming months. But what is clear is whether or not they continue to come in the future will be determined as much by Saudi security as it will be by the way their companies respond to their needs and fears.

Nic Robertson, CNN, the Arizona compound, Saudi Arabia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So are these fears justified? And are Westerners who remain in Saudi Arabia at risk?

Joining us now from Dallas, Texas, to discuss these issues, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Robert Jordan.

Always good to have you on the air. Welcome, sir.

ROBERT JORDAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA: Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: So what would you say to Americans who have chosen to stay in Saudi Arabia and work?

JORDAN: Well, I would urge Americans to be extremely careful right now. Stay within your compound unless you absolutely have to go out. Be sure that your compound has armed security, not simply some guard at the gate who waves everyone in.

The Saudi government, I think, is stepping up their efforts to provide security to expatriates. And as I understand it, we're also about to see the use of private security guards, that will allow, for the first time, armed private individuals to guard some of these compounds.

This is extremely important, that Americans are going to have to really watch their backsides. They're going to have to determine if they're under surveillance, and they're going to have to stick together.

ZAHN: A lot of these Americans who remain in Saudi Arabia are doing so because they don't want for forfeit pay if they walk away from their contracts early. And I know you understand the demands of that.

And, yet, do you think these people are foolish to stay and that their lives are more important than additional income that may send a child off to college at some point? JORDAN: Well, that's an individual decision they each have to make. But it does seem to me, Paula, that in some cases, some of these contractors are more at risk than others. Those in the high- risk areas, those who are not as well protected in compounds really need to consider leaving.

We've had some terrible tragedies just in the past few weeks involving Americans who were not in compounds. They lived in houses on the street. Their garages were subject to attack. And so these folks absolutely need to consider at least getting into a hardened environment.

It's a tough decision when you're trying to support your family and put your kids through college to leave a lucrative job. I understand that. And I sympathize with it. But the family needs this parent around, and so they're going to have to make some important decisions.

It's going to be individual decisions, case-by-case, situation- by-situation.

ZAHN: Do you think the Saudi Arabian companies should be cutting these workers more slack? They say it's a business decision, that these workers knowingly entered into these contractual situations and they're got to live up to their obligations. But given the kind of terror attacks we've seen, is that fair?

JORDAN: I'm not sure that it's fair, and I'm not sure that it's to their best interest in the long term. Over the long haul, they need workers who want to be there.

And so I think they're going to have to rely on the Saudi government and the Saudi private sector to provide the kind of security that Westerners are willing to live with.

In the long run -- In the long run, it's going to be very hard for these companies to continue to hire the quality of people they want if they can't provide at least minimal security. So I think they ought to cut them some slack, and I think the minister of labor, who is a very smart and well-educated individual, probably understand this, as well.

ZAHN: Are you confident things will change and that some of these workers will be allowed to leave their contracts early so they don't have to give up income?

JORDAN: I think it's a tough commercial environment right now. I -- I understand the plight of the workers, but I'm not optimistic that we're going to see a wholesale departure of these folks and that we're going to see these companies give up the contractual rights that they bargained for.

I think that's going to be a pretty tough situation.

ZAHN: For a man who spent a number of years in that country, that must be extremely disappointing to you. JORDAN: It's very frustrating, but the key, I think, Paula, is to be sure we're improving the security situation, and then some of these problems will take care of themselves.

The Saudis, along with private security guards, the housing compound ownership, and these companies themselves, I think, are going to have to take some responsibility for the security environment and, hopefully, see some continued progress.

We're seeing episodes of progress here, and I am at least cautiously optimistic that we'll see a slight degree of improvement.

ZAHN: We appreciate your candor tonight. Ambassador Robert Jordan, thanks.

JORDAN: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: And finally tonight, no strain, no gain. The art of getting really, really strong.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: According to the Centers for Disease Control, just under half of Americans exercise as much as they should. Some, however, do a lot more than the minimum.

They are the so-called gym rats who spend hours on treadmills, StairMasters, elliptical trainers and dozens of other high-tech exercise machines. Others prefer more primitive methods.

Here's our Bruce Burkhardt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barbara Winslow is pulling her own weight and someone else's too, which just goes to show you that behind every strong woman is a weak man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go!

BURKHARDT: But not many weak men around here. A gym not far from Boston's Logan Airport that looks more like a transmission shop than L.A. Fitness.

These guys are strong amateur versions of those guys you see on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is so strong! Look at his back!

BURKHARDT: Though it only gained prominence as a TV sport starting in the late '70s, its roots go back much further, to the Scottish highland games. Then and now it basically involves, well, just lifting heavy stuff.

C.J. MURPHY, GYM OWNER: Yes, it's pretty much people like to lift heavy stuff. BURKHARDT: C.J. Murphy, better than known as Murph, started this gym, he says, because regular gyms are not very welcoming to the strong man types.

MURPHY: You drop a 300-pound weight on the floor 20 or 30 times, it's probably going to go through the floor.

BURKHARDT: It's not just a macho thing. A lot of fitness benefits, they argue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a wimp. Yeah, he's a big baby.

BURKHARDT: Unlike bodybuilding, which isolates a muscle to make it stand out, strong men workouts work out all of the muscles, and strong men isn't just for men.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got like these wrong impressions, like that if you lift heavy weights you, like, start to look like a man and stuff like that, so I was always kind of, like, leaning towards, like, not lifting weights and doing a lot of cardio.

BURKHARDT: Cardio. That's Bostonese for cardiovascular, another benefit of all this. But mainly it's about the satisfaction of taking something really heavy and showing it who's boss.

(on camera): There. See, that's what -- that's what I'm talking about. You better watch out. Yes.

(voice-over): Well, she's been coming here longer than I have. Showoff!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Heavy lifting from our own Bruce Burkhardt.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for being with us.

Tomorrow, the eve of Martha Stewart's sentencing. How likely is it that she'll get the max? We'll look at that tomorrow night.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Thanks for joining us tonight. Good night.

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