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Security Issues At Athens Olympics; Protesting the Democratic National Convention; Interview With Apollo 11 Astronauts;
Aired July 21, 2004 - 12:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Fighting terror at the Olympic games: If American Special Forces are part of the strategy, will it be enough? In depth this hour.
And live this hour, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld briefing reporters from the Pentagon.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ted Rowlands in Redwood City, California, where more police detectives take the stand in the double-murder trial against Scott Peterson. The latest coming up.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Living legends: They made a giant leap to the moon and predict the next big jump to Mars. From our Washington newsroom, I'm Miles O'Brien. More of my interview with the Apollo 11 astronauts just ahead.
PHILLIPS (on camera): And I'm Kyra Phillips here in Atlanta from the CNN center. LIVE FROM starts right now.
Up first this hour: guards at the games. A little more than three weeks before the start of the Athens Olympics, the Greeks are denying that they've agreed to let armed foreign forces help with security.
"The New York Times" is reporting that Athens quietly agreed to admit some 400 special U.S. forces, and that U.S., Israeli, and maybe British security guards will also be allowed to carry guns. That's an apparent violation of the Greek Constitution and Olympic tradition, but very much in keeping with the concerns that have fueled a billion- dollar blueprint to safeguard athletes, dignitaries, and fans.
We are joined now by former elite Delta Force member Eric Haney, here in Atlanta, talking about that.
We're trying to get Ken Robinson with us, too, our military analyst. We're working that. Meanwhile, let's start with you. You have actually been involved in doing recon and preparation for previous Olympic games.
ERIC HANEY, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Yes.
PHILLIPS: Why don't you tell us what that took?
HANEY: Well, in one instance, it was working with a foreign country -- it was Korea -- to gear up their special operations forces in preparation for the Seoul Olympics. And they realized they needed to gain a lot and very rapidly.
So, Korea -- South Korea, being an ally of the United States, we provided that assistance to them.
PHILLIPS: All right, let's talk more about that assistance. Ken Robinson with us now out of Washington.
Ken, you were in Greece -- you were doing recon for security there. Are you concerned?
KEN ROBINSON, CNN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I'm very concerned. The -- on May the 5th, there were three simultaneous bombs exploded in Athens, and this was just 100 days prior to the Olympic events starting.
HANEY: It's like radio.
PHILLIPS: Sorry about that -- go ahead, Ken.
ROBINSON: One hundred days prior to the start of the Olympics and here we have three simultaneous bombs coordinated in a 30-minute period, so there are dissident groups there.
And the problem is, if security forces are going to be bifurcated between trying to plan for the big attacks like al Qaeda and then also these other disparate groups that are there that all have an angst that they want to advertise during the Olympic Games.
PHILLIPS: All right we're going to talk about how these countries are going to coordinate in a minute, but first, Eric, let's talk about the Greeks. We actually have some pictures of them in training. This is their anti-terrorism team, I'm told.
Let's talk about what they're training to do and if, indeed, you think they'll be ready in time for the Olympics?
HANEY: Well, they have been gaining experience, obviously, and they've had the help of all the NATO allies, the special operations forces from the United States, from the British -- I'm certain from the Germans and the French, also.
But remember, these are reactive forces. They don't prevent a terrorist attack other than the fact that if the information is disseminated very quietly to would-be attackers, that there's effective and potential counter-attack capability that works to deter, but you can't defend against everything.
PHILLIPS: Talking about defending against everything, I mean, Ken, you know, we can't forget 1972 and Black September when the Israeli athletes -- and Eric, I know you remember that, too.
So, Ken, let's talk about why this is so important that there isn't a repeat, considering the threat has grown even bigger since then.
ROBINSON: Well, the many foreign terrorist organizations in the world want to use this event as a way to advertise their story.
So, the places where the Olympic athletes are held are going to be armed camps. And so, it's potentially -- they may move to a softer target, which would be hotels. As well, the Queen Mary is going to be parked near Athens and is going to be used as a floating hotel, so there's going to be plenty of places where Westerners congregate that could potentially be used as a means of attack, as what happened in Mombassa, Kenya, in September of 2002 with the attack -- al Qaeda attack on that hotel.
PHILLIPS: The information is slowly coming out via wire services, other newspaper reporters.
Eric, I'm going to get your respond to this: This one report coming from the AP that athletes will be under the exclusive protection of Greek forces, but nations fearing terrorist attacks during the games will be allowed special security details.
All right, rules of engagement. If indeed the Greeks are in charge of -- of security...
HANEY: Which they are.
PHILLIPS: OK, which they are -- so let's say something is -- there's a fear about a bomb near American athletes. I mean, is that when American Special Forces are allowed to step in and respond?
I mean, how do you organize rules of engagement when you've got so many different forces, but yet the Greeks are supposed to be in charge of all of it?
HANEY: They are indeed in charge of it, and the coordination has been going on for quite a long time now. Everyone's been focused, all the Western security agencies and the special operations agencies and forces have been focused with liaison officers and planning for this for quite a while.
The Greeks will indeed, and are indeed, in charge of the security, and it will be Greek forces securing those venues and places where the athletes stay.
But there are a lot of other vulnerable places. Athens Airport: There is a history of just rotten security at that place. And if you're looking for Americans, and that's how you make the biggest news splash and the greatest bounce of that with a terrorist incident, what better place than a jumbo jet loaded with Americans getting ready to take off to return to New York?
There is also a history of terrorists being able to procure weapons, place them on aircraft by having access into that airport, and that's a continuing ongoing problem. Remember, terrorism depends on -- it's theatre, it depends on a lot of news -- and the whole world is focused on the Athens Olympics.
PHILLIPS: Ken, final thought: Why is this all operating under NATO? Is it because NATO doesn't have a counter-terrorism field, specifically?
ROBINSON: Well, I think it's an easier pill to swallow for the Greek population, because Greece is a member of NATO. And so, it's a way for the Greek government to be able to legitimize the fact that there will be foreign troops on their soil, against the constitution, carrying weapons, protecting their forces.
And as Eric said, on September 11th, 2001, I landed at Athens Airport, and the attacks had already occurred and the security there was abominable.
PHILLIPS: Ken Robinson, our CNN military analyst. Eric Haney from the Delta Force, thank you so much.
HANEY: You bet.
PHILLIPS: Appreciate it.
All right, well, all this is likely to come, of course, from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld meets with reporters just about 20 minutes from now. CNN will bring that to you live.
O'BRIEN: The summer games of U.S. politics get underway Monday, and there, too, security is world class. Just ask the group that wants to protest at or near or somewhere in the general vicinity of the FleetCenter in Boston.
Not only won't protesters be allowed to march past the site of the Democratic National Convention, their rally is relegated to a fenced-in lot a block away.
Now some are calling this a cage since there also is a mesh roof to keep things from being lobbed out. Though if anybody could reach FleetCenter from there, he or she ought to be in Athens.
Civil libertarians fear the unconventional precautions will start Bostonians down a slippery slope, as CNN's Dan Lothian reports.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a massive security blanket, covering Boston during the Democratic National Convention.
In the harbor, armed Coast Guard units and new Boston police speedboats.
COMM. KATHLEEN O'TOOLE, BOSTON POLICE: Capable of heading off threatening vessels at speeds up to 70 miles an hour.
LOTHIAN: Across town, for the first time, at least 75 high-tech cameras wired into a temporary surveillance network. Manhole covers have been sealed. Garbage cans and newspaper stands, potential hiding places for bombs, have been removed.
MAYOR THOMAS MENINO, BOSTON: The people of Boston can feel assured knowing that our city is more secure than ever.
LOTHIAN: But that tight security grip troubles some residents who worry too much of a good thing may cross the line.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS (singing): We are no more safer in the streets of Boston...
LOTHIAN: These protesters recently took to the streets, calling the city's plans to conduct random person bag checks on the train system during the DNC week unconstitutional.
CAROL ROSE, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: It is going to violate the fundamental right to privacy while potentially bringing the entire system to a standstill.
LOTHIAN: Civil rights advocates are poised to file lawsuits to challenge searches and halt them once they begin.
URSZULA MASNY LATOS, NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD: If we allow those searches to happen, what will be our next step? Are we going to allow searches and -- of our cars? Are we going to allow searches of everyone who enters a mall? Where are we going to stop with this?
LOTHIAN (on camera): The ACLU is also concerned about all the surveillance cameras, which will be keeping a close eye on activity across the city, raising questions about oversight and safeguards, fearful that they could be used for the wrong reasons.
(voice-over): But law enforcement officials say they're just targeting criminals, not snooping on the general public, and that all the security measures, while inconvenient, are necessary.
O'TOOLE: This is a different world today. It's a post-9/11 world. We have to err on the side of caution.
LOTHIAN: Some residents are understanding.
RICHARD GROSSACK, BOSTON COMMUTER: We have to be somewhat sympathetic, no matter how much of a civil liberties person you are.
LOTHIAN: The law enforcement challenge: working to keep Boston safe and free. Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.
PHILLIPS: Not even hospitals are off limits in Baghdad, apparently. Two Iraqi patients were killed today when a rocket- propelled grenade slammed into the seventh floor of the surgical recovery floor of Medical City Hospital downtown. It's not clear whether or why the site might have been targeted.
Elsewhere in Baghdad, yet another car bombing left four people dead near a swimming pool. Authorities say that this was not a suicide attack -- again the choice of target isn't clear.
Raiding al Qaeda in Riyadh, Saudi officials believe that they hit the group's major regional command and control site in an operation that killed two suspected militants.
The raid also netted an awesome display of weapons, as well as the head of murdered American hostage Paul M. Johnson. The head was found in a freezer and positively identified this morning. Johnson was a Lockheed Martin engineer who was kidnapped in Riyadh June 12.
CNN's Nic Robertson now has more from the Saudi capital.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): By the busload, reinforcements rushed to help bolster one of Saudi Arabia's biggest anti-terrorist operations in months.
Hundreds of National Guard, police, intelligence officials, an elite counter-terrorism forces combining to surround a large residential and commercial neighborhood following a late-night shootout with al Qaeda.
According to sources close to Saudi Intelligence, two al Qaeda members were killed and three wounded when security forces closed in on what they described as an al Qaeda safehouse used to store weapons.
Among those arrested, the wife of the new Saudi al Qaeda leader, Saleh al-Oufi. In the massive operation, not all details are yet clear, but, say sources, it's possible al-Oufi himself could be among the dead or wounded.
(on camera): With just two days more to go with the government's offer of leniency for al Qaeda members to turn themselves in, this is one of the biggest police operations so far and perhaps an indication of what may come for those who don't take up the offer to turn themselves in.
(voice-over): Following the surrender of leading al Qaeda sympathizer Klaled al-Harbi a week ago, 58 al Qaeda recruits have now taken up the government offer. All facing interrogation and detention.
It's not yet clear exactly what led Saudi security forces to initiate this massive raid, or how many al Qaeda members may yet be out there.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
O'BRIEN: Sandy Berger says he made an honest mistake when he took classified documents and personal notes out of a reading room at the national archives, but Republicans warn the former national security advisor and former Kerry campaign advisor won't be allowed to paper over a federal investigation.
CNN's Bob Franken has been following the story.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandy Berger has gone from former national security advisor to President Clinton to former informal advisor to the John Kerry campaign to current political distraction in this week running up to the 9/11 Commission report.
Berger accused of mishandling classified documents, inappropriately taking some from the National Archives as he was preparing to submit testimony and information to the 9/11 Commission.
Berger says that it was simply just a very, very dumb mistake.
SANDY BERGER, FMR. NATL. SECURITY ADVISOR: Everything that I have done all along in this process has been for the purpose of aiding and supporting the work of the 9/11 Commission, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply, absolutely wrong.
FRANKEN: Republicans see far more sinister motives. They've been jumping on this, saying that there was some sort of effort either to help the Kerry campaign or to withhold information from the 9/11 Commission. And the Commission says that there was no harm done in any case. But some of the complaints from the Republicans have been fairly vitriolic.
REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: As far as the Sandy Berger incident is concerned, all I know is what we read in the papers, but it looks like to me that this is just a third-rate burglary.
FRANKEN: And through all the political rhetoric that seems to surround everything these days, the reality is that Sandy Berger is still under investigation by the FBI.
Bob Franken, CNN, Washington.
O'BRIEN: Programming note for you: A week before his speech at the Democratic Convention, vice presidential candidate John Edwards sits down with our Larry King. Senator Edwards and his wife Elizabeth will be Larry's guests for the full hour tonight. That's 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
A helicopter shot down; more foreigners kidnapped: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld expected to talk about these developments in Iraq a few moments from now from the Pentagon. We'll bring it to you.
Also ahead: Three astronauts who made history at the moon make a rare appearance together right here on CNN, and Neil Armstrong explains why he shies away from interviews. Stay with us.
O'BRIEN: Thirty-five years ago today, two men were on the moon covered with the talc-like lunar dust, knee deep in checklists, getting ready, they hoped, to launch themselves on the long journey back to earth. Today, the crew of the first mission to land humans on the moon took a much more sedate trip to the White House for a meeting with the president.
Shortly after that meeting, I spoke with Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, a rare joint interview.
This is a rare gathering of the crew. Thirty-five years after that historic movement -- 35 years ago yesterday, of course, was the landing. And that initial walk by two out of the three gentlemen here. One of them was described, at that time, as the loneliest person or off the planet.
Joining us now, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. The crew of Apollo 11 just spent some time with the president. Let's begin with the commander. How was the president today? What did he say about the current initiatives in space?
NEIL ARMSTRONG, APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUT: The president was in marvelous spirits this morning. He didn't really talk to us -- he thanks us for our participation, but he really didn't talk so much about the future. He talked about the character of the country.
O'BRIEN: And you want to elaborate a little bit about that? What did he say...
ARMSTRONG: Well, I was extremely impressed with his knowledge and enthusiasm about our heritage.
O'BRIEN: Yes. Michael Collins, today there's new talk of returning to the moon and Mars on NASA's part. Of course, on a day- to-day basis, there are all kinds of obstacles to that, specifically who is going to pay the bills.
Are you optimistic that the feat which you accomplished 35 years ago might happen one day again in some form or another?
MICHAEL COLLINS, APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUT: I think certainly we'll go to the other planets. Mars is the next logical step as we go outbound. It's a fascinating planet, much more so than the moon.
You've recently seen a lot of information coming back from Mars, and I'd like to see that followed up with people actually populating Mars.
O'BRIEN: Thirty-five years ago, if we'd had this discussion, wouldn't you have predicted that there'd be a more permanent presence in space in the part of the U.S.?
COLLINS: I've always been a very bad predictor.
O'BRIEN: So, you wouldn't have predicted it, necessarily?
COLLINS: Not one way or the other. O'BRIEN: Buzz Aldrin, your thought on where the space program is now and why it's taken 35 years to get to this point where it is focused on a destination?
BUZZ ALDRIN, APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUT: Back in those days, I think we were very pioneering. And in the pioneering age you move ahead very rapidly. We had competition in the world, and I think that spurred on the competition and spurred on the support for it. Things are a little different today. We're emphasizing cooperation in a world. And I think we need to have more evolutionary approaches. Much as I would like to see a growing permanence toward Mars, I think we have to start out by going back to the moon first, the asteroids and the moons of Mars in a very gradual evolutionary process, one that we can afford and one we can go as we're able to pay for it.
O'BRIEN: This gradual evolutionary process, Neil Armstrong, is the approach right now, the Bush administration to NASA. Do you think that can work? It's a far cry what you experienced in the Apollo days.
ARMSTRONG: Yes it is a different approach. And I don't know a lot about the details of the plan. I think that's going to evolve over the next couple of years as this is discussed by NASA and the other members of technological community and put some flesh on the bones, and I think then we'll be in a much better position to judge what really makes sense.
O'BRIEN: On this 35th anniversary, though, I suppose it's nice to be having a conversation like this, which is forward thinking, as opposed to once again just regaling old tales?
ARMSTRONG: It certainly is. It's nice to be looking forward.
O'BRIEN: Michael Collins, as long as we're mentioning regaling old tales, this time 35 years ago, you were alone in that command module. What are your recollections today? What memories come to the fore? And what are your thoughts about the accomplishments 35 years later?
COLLINS: Well, I was very happy in the command module by myself. I was sort of glad to get these guys out of my hair for a few hours, a day or two.
No, I think the -- in my memory, it's that things went as well as they did go on that particular flight and on Apollo flights in general. There were just so many things that could go wrong, small things that could balloon into large tragedies and we were very fortunate that none of those things overtook us, and that did surprise me.
O'BRIEN: Now Kyra, even as we are celebrating that 35th anniversary, a Congressional subcommittee was telling the NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe that it was going to cut drastically the portion of NASA's budget that would be earmarked for that moon-Mars initiative by about a third.
So, there's still a lot to be debated over whether this new initiative, this new trip to the moon and Mars will occur.
And on a personal note, Kyra, that was quite a thrill for me...
PHILLIPS: I was...
O'BRIEN: ... to spend a little bit of time with them -- and -- fortunately I forgot my camera -- fortunately a good friend in the crew had a nice camera there so I have that memorialized.
PHILLIPS: Well, I would hope so. All -- we were all talking this morning and everybody thought how is Miles going to get all those players? I said believe me, Miles will get all those players.
And I know they were excited to be with you, too, and they would want a picture just as much.
O'BRIEN: Well, you know, as I said to Neil Armstrong, this is easier than a root canal.
He said, you know, root canals are getting a lot easier these days. He doesn't like doing it. But I got to tip of the hat to them for giving us a few moments.
PHILLIPS: Well, he did it for you -- Miles thanks. We'll see you in a little bit.
Straight ahead: You're moments away from a live briefing from the Pentagon. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will talk live with reporters. We're going to bring it to you.
And we'll take you live to the Scott Peterson murder trial where prosecutors are hammering away on his character.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pedal. Forward honey, forward.
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PHILLIPS: All right. And we're moving forward on a bicycle built for -- seven. LIVE FROM pops a wheelie right after this.
PHILLIPS: News around the world now. In Gaza a firefight erupts in Rafah after Israeli tanks and bulldozers roll into a refugee camp to begin demolishing homes.
Palestinian militants were spotted with gunfire and Palestinian officials say a nine-year-old Palestinian boy was killed when tanks fired toward houses in that area.
Crisis in Bangladesh: That country is bracing for the worst flooding since 1998. Monsoon floods, tornadoes and rains have saturated that region. Officials say water levels were rising alarmingly. About a million people have been stranded in low-lying areas at the capital due to those swollen rivers.
In Australia, eco-tourists are having a whale of a time. It's time for the annual migration of humpback whales as they make their way from Antarctica to Australia to give birth, a definite boom to local business. Last year more than a million-and-a-half people took part in whale watching tours down under.
O'BRIEN: A big payout, to say the least, for Microsoft shareholders is in the works right now. Darby Mullany joining us live from the New York Stock Exchange. What is it? Thirty-two billion or something? Big money.
DARBY MULLANY, NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE: That's it -- it's a big number and it is a lot of money and something investors have been waiting for for a long time.
Microsoft will soon start sharing its huge pile of cash with its shareholders. The world's biggest software maker is going to give back as much as $75 billion total to owners of its shares through a combination of dividends and stock buybacks.
The company plans to pay a one-time dividend of $3 a share. That totals to a cost of $32 billion for Microsoft. Now Microsoft generates about $1 billion in cash per month, just to keep this all in perspective.
The company said it will still have, however, sufficient funding for research and for making acquisitions, even after the pay out -- Miles.
O'BRIEN: And they'll be a big pay off, of course, for Bill Gates. I understand it's all going to his foundation. Now, the reason that they're doing this is that their stock performance has been so lackluster of late. How's the market reacting to this?
MULLANY: Well, really Microsoft shares have been relatively flat over the past six years but as you would expect stock is getting a boost today and its definitely helping to boost investors sentiment overall on Wall Street.
Microsoft shares are up more than three percent in today's session. In addition to that, think of the 30 companies that make up the Dow Industrial. Close to solid results for the second quarter. United Technologies, J.P. Morgan Chase, Honeywell, General Motors, Merck and Pfizer. All of them are also gaining ground today and helping to lead the Dow higher.
Blue chip index is currently up almost 25 points at 10,1074. The Nasdaq, however, is down almost 1 percent. And the number of declining stocks is running ahead.
That is the latest news from Wall Street. Coming up later this hour, AT&T might be hanging up on some customers. I'll have details. LIVE FROM continues after the break.
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