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New Information On What Might Have Led To Heightened Security Alert; Dean Says Timing Of Terror Alert Highly Suspicious; Bush and Kerry Both Campaign In Iowa; Bryant Victim May Withdraw From Case

Aired August 4, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper.
Are the terrorists already here?

360 starts now.

Al Qaeda operatives in place in America, planning to attack? New information on what might have led to the heightened security alert.

Howard Dean says the terror is real, but the timing highly suspicious. Is the president playing politics with terror warnings? Tough talk and strong accusations from Howard Dean. We go one on one tonight on 360.

Bush and Kerry, same day, same city? Why is Davenport, Iowa, suddenly such a hot spot? The raw politics of electoral votes.

The woman accusing Kobe Bryant of rape may withdraw from the case. If she backs out, is it case closed for Kobe?

Even Winnie-the-Pooh can't get Tigger out of this. The man behind the mask answers charges his paws were in the wrong place.

And the Philippine conjoined twins are separated. Now, can they live apart? We'll have the latest on their progress after the surgery.

ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: And a good evening to you.

Sometimes covering a big story like the current terror alert is a lot like looking at an iceberg. You know there is a lot more, the dangerous part just beneath the surface. Today we learned about that part, reports that al Qaeda operatives are already here in the U.S.

That's what Pakistani intelligence forces say they found in Pakistan. This is a story developing still at this hour in Washington and in Pakistan.

For the Pakistani perspective, we'll turn to Ash-har Quraishi in Islamabad.

But first, we go to Washington and CNN's justice correspondent Kelli Arena, who broke the story earlier today. Kelli, what's the latest?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this information came from the same intelligence that led officials to partially raise the terror alert this week.


ARENA (voice-over): Two senior U.S. government sources tell CNN one reason for increased concern about a possible terror attack is evidence showing suspected al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan contacted an individual or individuals in the United States in the past few months.

The U.S. Officials would not characterize that communication, but two senior Pakistani intelligence officials went further, telling CNN the evidence shows alleged al Qaeda computer expert Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan contacted at least six al Qaeda operatives in the United States.

TOM RIDGE, SECY. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We are exploring every conceivable potential contact that any al Qaeda operative, anywhere in the world, might have had with anyone in the United States.

ARENA: Sources say Khan also contacted alleged al Qaeda members in Britain, leading to several arrests. The information lends credibility to the concern al Qaeda may have operatives in place in the United States, ready to attack.

ED STROZ, FMR. FBI TERRORISM AGENT: Certainly when you have actionable information with adversaries who are capable and intent on taking direct military loss-of-life action, you can't have anything of greater consequence and more importance than this.

ARENA: Information about contacts between al Qaeda and someone in the U.S. follows criticism the Bush administration was touting old surveillance information found in Pakistan about al Qaeda targeting financial institutions.

But officials now say there was a separate stream of intelligence that surfaced last week, corroborating the surveillance information.


ARENA: But still, officials cite nothing definitive on the timing of an attack, or any proof showing that al Qaeda is ready to execute one, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Kelli Arena in Washington, thanks, Kelli.

There is an interesting dichotomy when it comes to Pakistan's role in the war on terror. On the one hand, "New York Times" today reports that Pakistan is allowing the Taliban to train fighters still in their territory, who then head to Afghanistan to attack American soldiers.

Now, on the other hand, Pakistani intelligence has played a major role in rounding up al Qaeda operatives.

Ash-har Quraishi is in Islamabad tonight. Ash-har, what are you hearing now from there about the type of communications between this individual and the six operatives in the U.S.? What were, what was being said between them, as far as you know?

ASH-HAR QURAISHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the real question now, Anderson. What we do know is that Pakistani intelligence officials are telling us that they know that a suspect here by the name of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan was in contact, as they say, quote, "recently" with six al Qaeda operatives already in the United States.

Now, right now, the key is, what did they talk about? What kinds of communications have been transferred between Khan and these six operatives? And were they related to any terror plots in the United States?

So right now we understand investigators are poring through the information they have, the computers, the discs, the coded messages as well, to try to find out what that information was. Now, as you know, Khan had been receiving messages that were couriered down from other levels of al Qaeda and then putting them into code and distributing them.

One person was arrested earlier this week in Nigeria named Ibrahim who, we're told by intelligence officials, also was carrying discs with coded messages. He was trying to leave the country. They're still trying to decode those messages and try and find out what kind of communications he was trying to carry out of Pakistan, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, still a lot not known tonight. Ash-har Quraishi, thanks very much.

Later on 360, Howard Dean explains why he thinks the revelations of the past few days have been driven in part by politics, not necessarily national security. That's ahead on 360.

Kidnapping is, of course, nothing new. Thomas Jefferson once told international kidnappers, "Millions for defense, not a penny for tribute." He meant basically the U.S. would not pay ransom. That's the position the U.S. still has regarding hostages in Iraq. But it is a position that has really been weakened by recent actions of U.S. allies.

Last month, for instance, the Filipino government pulled its troops out of Iraq to save the life of a captive. Today the State Department announced that members of the multinational force in Iraq are all expected to sign a declaration that they will not make concessions to terrorists in the future.

The people of Mississippi River town of Davenport, Iowa, have to be feeling pretty good about themselves tonight. After all, most towns never get to see a presidential candidate in person, much less the incumbent and his challenger on the very same day, blocks apart. But Davenport is in a battleground state. That's why both John Kerry and President Bush were just blocks away from one another today, campaigning for votes.

We have two reports on both visits. We begin with CNN's Jill Dougherty covering the Bush campaign.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this squeaky-tight race, there aren't many undecided voters left. At a Davenport, Iowa, rally, President George W. Bush made his pitch to anyone who might still be on the fence.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now when you're convincing them who to vote for, don't overlook discerning Democrats and wise independents. When you get them headed toward the poll, nudge them our way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four more years. Four more years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four more years. Four more years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four more years. Four more years.

DOUGHERTY: In his stump speech, President Bush now shifts back and forth between the domestic economy and the war against terrorism. Without using the name Kerry, he takes a swipe at his challenger's competence.

BUSH: Those who claim that America's war on terror is to blame for terror threats against the United States have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the enemy.

DOUGHERTY: Proof of just how crucial battleground states are, just down the street from the Bush rally, a Kerry campaign event.

BUSH: We're here to buy some corn.

DOUGHERTY: Stopping for Iowa sweet corn, the president didn't comment on the coincidence, but his press secretary said it is not the first time the candidates have crossed paths and it won't be the last.

On to Minnesota. Mr. Bush tells voters results matter, whether in Iraq or in the United States. His task now, make the case to voters that Iraqis are better off thanks to him, and so are Americans.


DOUGHERTY: And one thing that has been pretty noticeable on this campaign trail, Anderson, is the protesters. We saw a number of them on the road in here to Mankato this afternoon. And it really has the feeling of a campaign closer to election day, let's say in October. We all know this is a very different race. It is very polarized. And you're feeling that on the campaign trail.

COOPER: Jill Dougherty, thanks very much, from Minnesota tonight.

In 2000, George Bush lost Iowa by 4,130 votes, the reason why he was there today and also why the challenger took the campaign right to his doorstep.

Here is CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After an in-your-face drive by the Bush rally site, John Kerry welcomed the president to Davenport.

When the president's in town, you are playing second fiddle, but you can play off him, say, for instance, his claim that the economy has turned the corner.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It occurred to me that he could come here for a great discussion about America's future, if he were really willing to just turn the corner.

CROWLEY: In the Midwest, where a penny saved is still a penny earned, the Democratic nominee polished his moderate creds at an economic summit with business types.

KERRY: We'll run the federal government with the kind of discipline that you run your businesses.

CROWLEY: Camp Kerry also put out a list of 200 business executives supporting the campaign. They cite eye-popping deficit figures and upwardly mobile health care costs as reason for their choice. But the war in Iraq also came up.

KERRY: And I will do the diplomacy necessary, and I have heavy cards to play. I'm not going to lay them all out on the table. No future president or no president should ever negotiate this in public. But let me tell you, I've got big cards to play to bring people to understand the stakes here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look wonderful.

KERRY: Thank you.

CROWLEY: Republicans point out at least 40 of the names on Kerry's list fit his description of Benedict Arnold companies because they have shipped jobs overseas using a tax break Kerry wants to get rid of.

(on camera): Kerry aides say he blames the tax code, not the companies who use it. They further explain that when he talks about Benedict Arnold companies, he's talking about companies who move their headquarters, not their jobs, overseas.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Davenport, Iowa.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, as if today wasn't strange enough in Davenport, some bank robbers decided it would be a good day to get busy. Here is a quick news note for you. While the two candidates were speaking, three Davenport banks were robbed. Police don't think the robberies are related. One arrest has been made. What a day to do it.

Private Lynndie England back in court. That tops our look at what's going on cross-country today. Fort Bragg, North Carolina, prosecutors described Private Lynndie England as a promiscuous soldier.

During a hearing today, comrades of the Iraqi prisoner abuse suspect testified that she had posed nude in a series of sexually explicit photographs. Witnesses also say England often defied orders not to visit her boyfriend, who was another soldier in her unit. England is nearly seven months pregnant with his child.

Washington, D.C., the first lady offers some sympathy in response to a question about Teresa Heinz Kerry's recent scolding of a journalist. Laura Bush told CBS's "The Early Show" that it is hard to have your husband run for president and to hear all the criticism that comes with it. As for her own daughter, Jenna, who stuck her tongue out at reporters, there it is, Laura Bush said she told her to work on her impulsiveness.

Salt Lake City, Utah, newly released video of murder victim Lori Hacking. A convenience store security camera caught the last-known images of her, Lori, with her husband, Mark, who's now accused of killing her. There's -- see them right there.

They were taken a day before she disappeared. Meanwhile, the D.A. will likely ask for a deadline extension to file formal murder charges against Mark Hacking. He says he needs more time to screen the evidence.

And that's a quick look at what's happening cross-country tonight.

Howard Dean tonight: more tough talk and strong accusations about politics and terror. Dean is not stepping back from remarks he made. If anything, he's honing his argument. Coming up, I go one on one with the former Democratic candidate.

Also ahead: freedom for Mary Kay Letourneau. Now that the ex- teacher is out of prison, will she be reunited with the man she raped as a boy? He wants to see her, and has hired a lawyer to try to make it happen.

Plus, the Kobe Bryant bombshell. (INAUDIBLE) will his accuser actually walk away from the case? And if so, what else might she have in mind?

All that ahead. First, let's take a look at your picks, the most popular stories right now on

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, no surprise, a horde of reporters and TV cameras descended on a Washington state prison today, hoping to catch a glimpse of former grade school teacher Mary Kay Letourneau. They missed her. Letourneau slipped out unannounced before the media even got there.

It's likely she won't be able to stay out of the spotlight for long, however. Already, the boy she raped and who fathered two of her children, who's now a young man, is asking the court to be allowed to see her again. Another chapter in this strange, sad saga.

CNN's Kimberly Osias reports.


KIMBERLY OSIAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She probably didn't even see the signs, hoisted by young men, saying, "I'm 18, baby," and "Take me home." Or the throngs of media trying to catch their first glimpse in more than six years of Washington state's most famous female convict.

GREGG OLSEN, AUTHOR, "IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG": There's all sorts of people and institutions that have been profoundly affected by what she did. And we can't forget that. We need to remember that this was a dangerous act. It was careless. And she paid a big price for it.

OSIAS: At 13 and 35, nobody saw it coming. With four children of her own, the teacher took her student in, even included him on a family vacation to Alaska. But soon a more intimate bond developed, a sexual relationship that included liaisons in the school gym and his teacher's classroom.

Now, seven years and two children later, Mary Kay Letourneau has served her seven-year rape sentence. And her student, Vili Fualaau, is now an adult, 21 years old. He says he still loves her.

VILI FUALAAU, LETOURNEAU'S VICTIM: I'm kind of nervous. I don't know what my feelings are right now. But I know I do love her.

OSIAS: Today, his attorney filed a motion to lift a court ruling meant to keep the couple permanently apart.

OLSEN: Yes, Mary has no say in that. It is Vili as the victim, he's the one that needs to go to the court and say, I'm of sound mind, and I know what I'm doing, and I want to see this woman.

OSIAS: Those close to the case say that Letourneau is seeking vindication, showing the world that this bond was real. She may try to get custody of their two daughters, currently living with Vili's mother. But today, the first order of business, she had to register as a sex offender.


OSIAS: The district attorney's office is deciding whether or not to ask for a hearing in the matter. For her part, Judge Linda Lau can act a number of ways, either she can order psychological testing for Vili Fualaau, she can rescind the ban, or not allow the two to see one another, Anderson?

COOPER: All right, thanks very much from Washington tonight.

Deadly clashes in Iraq -- that tops our look at what is going on around the world in the "Uplink."

In the northern city of Mosul, at least 12 Iraqis were killed today in fighting between police and insurgents. A curfew has been declared, and all bridges have been sealed off in an attempt to restore order.

Khartoum, Sudan, protesters fill the streets. Tens of thousands marched against Western military intervention to combat the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region. Today Rwanda and Nigeria, members of the African Union, announced plans to beef up its troops to around 3,000.

Bangkok, Thailand, now, orangutan kickboxing ordered to stop. An update on a story we brought you last week, for some reason. Matches like this are on hold at Safari World Animal Park. Thai police are actually investigating allegations the endangered animals were illegally smuggled from Indonesia.

That's a quick look at the "Uplink" tonight.

Right now, surgery is underway for two little boys, twins, conjoined at the head. It is risky, and it is delicate. We'll have an update when we return.

Plus, one on one with Howard Dean. Hear what he thinks about today's terror report and his candid, controversial assessment of what is behind the timing of some terror alerts.

That brings us to today's "Buzz." Are you satisfied with the level of security to protect against a terrorist attack? Yes or no? Vote now, We'll have results at the end of the program. Be right back.


COOPER: Well, right now the family of two Filipino brothers is anxiously awaiting the outcome of a risky and delicate surgery that is happening right now. If the operation is a success, two-year-old twins Carl and Clarence Aguirre, who were born joined at the head, will finally lead separate lives.

With the latest, here's CNN's senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lying on their backs, their heads attached their entire lives, never have these 2-year-old boys had a chance to play together, to look at each other, to stand up or run. Surgeons are still busy working to make that a reality.

So far, they've spent more than 12 hours in surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, trying to separate Carl and Clarence Aguirre. The planning and the preliminary operations have been ongoing for a year.

We spoke with Dr. James Goodrich, lead surgeon, last year, early in the twins' separation process.

DR. JAMES GOODRICH, LEAD SURGEON: Our goal, hopefully, and we're cautiously optimistic (INAUDIBLE) we can bring both of these children through and in good condition. And that is the major challenge.

GUPTA: Their challenge, unprecedented, at least as it concerns how they're separating Carl and Clarence. Dr. Goodrich and his team have performed the operation in stages to cut down on the boys' time under anesthesia and to reduce the risk of extensive blood loss or stroke.

This is their fourth operation.

GOODRICH: When we're dividing these important veins that are draining each of the two children, we have to do it in a slow, deliberate fashion.

GUPTA: One goal of today's surgery, to sift through the complicated and web-like connections remaining between Carl and Clarence's veins and assign the largest one, called the sagittal sinus, to Clarence, the twins' separation hinging on how well swelling and blood loss are controlled.

Another important goal, ensuring that both twins have enough skin to cover their scalps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to have good, living tissue over the brain for protection, protect it from infection.

GUPTA: For now, their chance to live rich, separate lives and play like normal two-year-olds still seems to be within Carl and Clarence's grasp.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: And that operation is going on right now.

A quick flashback on another set of conjoined twins whose story we brought you and who are now living apart. Last week, 4-month-old twins Aaron and Jade Buckles (ph) were released from a Virginia hospital. They were separated on June 19 in a surgery that had no complications. We are told they are both in good health.

Howard Dean says the terror is real, but the timing highly suspicious. Is the president playing politics with terror warnings? Tough talk and strong accusations from Howard Dean. We go one on one tonight on 360.

The woman accusing Kobe Bryant of rape may withdraw from the case. If she backs out, is it case closed for Kobe?

360 continues.


COOPER: In the next half hour here on 360, this week, when the Bush administration warned of terror, he suspected politics. Has he changed his mind? In a moment, we go 360 with former presidential candidate Howard Dean.

And a big twist in the Kobe Bryant case. We'll tell you why he might not even stand trial.

First, let's check our top stories in the "Reset."

New information about the terror threat. Senior government sources tell CNN that al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan contacted one or more persons in the U.S. within the past few months. Meanwhile, senior Pakistani intelligence sources have separately told CNN that at least six people in the U.S. were contacted by an alleged al Qaeda member who was captured in mid-July.

At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, testimony today against Private Lynndie England, who's become the face of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. An Abu Ghraib prison intelligence officer disputed England's claim she was merely following orders to, quote, "rough up" the prisoners. He says abuse tactics don't work and were not authorized.

Team USA got another wakeup call today during an exhibition game in Koln, Germany. Cologne. The men's basketball team squeaked by Germany 80 to 77, hitting a last-second three-point shot to win. Problem is, the German team didn't even qualify for the Olympics. Ouch. Yesterday, Italy crushed the U.S. team 95 to 78.

That's a quick look at tonight's "Reset."

The events that led to the raising of the terror alert began in the second week of July with the arrest of a senior al Qaeda operative in Pakistan. The next day, another arrest, and then two weeks later, even more.

While experts were gleaning information from those arrests the entire time, it wasn't until Sunday that the terror threat level was actually raised, leading some to question whether the delay was caused by the effort to gather information or by a desire for political advantage.

Howard Dean was most prominent of those who claimed the latter. Take a look.


HOWARD DEAN (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am concerned that every time something happens that is not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. His whole campaign is based on the notion that, I can keep you safe, therefore, in times of difficulty, for America, stick with me. And then out comes Tom Ridge.

It is just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there is some of both in it.


COOPER: I talked to Howard Dean earlier today. Here is the interview.


OK, the news out today that two senior U.S. government sources tell CNN that intelligence found in Pakistan shows evidence that a suspected al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan contacted an individual or individuals here in the last several months. Does that change your belief that there is, that politics plays a role in the timing of these releases?

DEAN: The key piece of that, which you didn't read, was, a few months ago. We're still dealing with old stuff. And I actually think the Bush administration is scrambling a little bit on this one, because when you see in the news two senior officials, that means that was an unnamed source in the Bush administration, which was voluntarily giving information, to try to deflect the charge.

Here is the timeline, Anderson. In, before 2001, these folks wrote up -- cased these buildings, probably along with the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. After September 11, they continued to update. The last update was January of 2004.

Since that time, eight months later, we've captured, the Pakistanis captured two operatives. The most recent one was three weeks ago. Presumably the administration had this information available for the last three weeks.

COOPER: But that's a presumption. I mean, "The Washington Post," an article, I think it was yesterday, said that a lot of senior CIA officials and intelligence officials didn't get the translations of these computer documents until Friday, and that they were working through the night.

DEAN: "The Washington Post" also said senior officials who did not want to be named thought that there was no new information here.

COOPER: And in fact the information that came out today makes you even more convinced that the timing is suspect. That it is political.

DEAN: It is. If you look at the timelines there was no particular time that these guys could have announced this that they had this information for quite some time. In the last two days since I made this charge, they've been covering their you know whats, and trying to come up with additional information. Two days later they claim they stayed up through the night getting the translation and all this kind of stuff.

July 13, the Pakistanis captured the operative who owned the computer discs which this information was on. And that information was, most of it, was more than three years old. A little of it was eight months old.

COOPER: You don't buy that it might have taken three weeks to interrogate this guy to get information?

DEAN: If it took three weeks for them to get this information, than they're not doing their job protecting the United States of America. There is one of two possibilities here. One, they need -- we need a new president so we can really take care of intelligence needs and the defense of the United States of America against terrorism. Or, two, they're playing politics with their timing of the release of these documents. And the release of this information.

The other question is, okay, this has been going on three years, these buildings were targeted three years ago, now we have high security protections around these buildings, which I agree with, because I think the threat of terrorism is real.

COOPER: You've never said the threat isn't real?

DEAN: No, the threat is real. You to say al Qaeda is a real threat based on what they were able to accomplish in September 11. The threat is very real.

COOPER: Your fellow Democrats, John Kerry, the governor of Michigan, among others, have distanced themselves -- not sort of, have distanced themselves from your comments. They said they don't think there is anything political in the timing of these announcements. Why do you think they're doing that?

DEAN: I don't know. That's up to them. We're all entitled to our own opinions and I think that's fine. But I'm just telling you the evidence is -- the circumstantial evidence I think is pretty convincing.

COOPER: How do you think this works? What you're accusing them of, this political timing, what you think Karl Rove, George Bush calls Tom Ridge and says, crank out another release?

DEAN: I have absolutely no idea. I do know that Karl Rove wrote a memo in 2002 directing Republican candidates to run on the war and run on terrorism issues. I suppose that's Karl Rove's M.O. still. The president of the United States himself has said that he intends to run as a war time president. If you say those kinds of things than you're going to have to expect your motives to be questioned.

COOPER: But according to your theory, there would have to be some sort of operation going on where they -- I mean, phone calls are made, e-mails sent where they ask Tom Ridge to get on board and come up with a new terror alert.

DEAN: If those things are going on, I can assure you I'm not on the e-mail list.

COOPER: Tom Ridge has said, we don't do politics. Do you believe him?

DEAN: No. I think it's very clear these series of warnings, warnings at particular junctions -- this warning is different than the other ones. I think the administration has done something right here. I think this is -- the specifics are important. I was very much an opponent of these warnings that we had for a long time saying there is a general state of we're going to be attacked somewhere in America. I found that as incredibly unhelpful.

I do not -- let me underline, I do not believe that terrorism is an empty threat. I think terrorism is a very serious problem. I think it is wrong for the president of the United States to play politics with terrorism. And I think there is ample evidence for the fact he's doing that.

COOPER: Governor Dean, thank you very much.

DEAN: Thank you.


COOPER: The Bush administration has adamantly maintained politics had nothing do with any part of homeland security.

Joining us to respond to some of the accusations made by Howard Dean is Terry Holt, the national spokesman for the Bush/Cheney campaign. Terry, thanks very much for being with us.

You heard the interview. Why didn't Tom Ridge on Sunday highlight the fact that a lot of this information was several years old and why now over the last several days are we seeing administration officials, unnamed, leaking stuff, more details?

TERRY HOLT, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN BUSH/CHENEY CAMPAIGN: Anderson, I was sitting here trying to figure out why you put this guy on the air. What he's saying is shameful and irresponsible.

COOPER: A lot of people believe it, I got to tell you, Terry.

HOLT: Let me finish. You let this guy go on and on, this bizarre conspiracy theorist that also a senior adviser to the Kerry campaign. That's why you have him on here. Because he is a leader in the Kerry campaign, a senior adviser and he is saying things that are irresponsible that are shameful.

He is obviously part of this grand group of people in the Democratic party that won't let anything be above politics. The war on terror, people's lives on the line are what is at stake in this. The president's solemn promise to this country and his job is to protect this country first and let politics go by the way side.

We're warning people and adding security measures, because we know that the terrorist threat is real. Remember, John Kerry himself said that we had exaggerated the terror threat on the same day that Osama bin Laden issued another threat. These people fundamentally don't understand the threat we face and Howard Dean by his own words he's making things up. He doesn't understand how these people work.

COOPER: Well, Terry, do you understand why -- there are many people who believe what he's saying and cite basically -- don't feel that President Bush has much credibility given misinformation that he has received in the past and has put forward regarding WMD in Iraq and regarding other things? What you to say to those people?

HOLT: But empty conspiracy theories do not help us solve the problem, do not help us win the war on terror. It is the first responders, people that are guarding these buildings tonight. It is the people that are staying up overnight to analyze intelligence data as it comes. It's the people that are on the front lines, the CIA people, the friends and allies we have around the world, that are collecting this information and bringing it to our attention, to allow us to know about these threats.

COOPER: Why -- a lot of people point to Tom Ridge's press conference and Tom Ridge has said, look, politics, we don't play that. But at a press conference he did say that the intelligence behind the alert was, quote, the result of the president's leadership in the war against terror. That sounds political, no?

HOLT: It is also a factual statement. The president created the Department of Homeland Security. He went after the terrorists abroad. He assembled a group of nations to help us win this war on terror. We have hunted them down every day since September 11. You don't do that passively, you do that with strong leadership from a president.

COOPER: But you were just citing all those front-line responders and all those people, those are the people who are prosecuting this war in many of the same ways, just as much as the president is, Tom Ridge only talked about President Bush, his leadership.

HOLT: But the president's leadership is what put -- has put us all on a different footing. We have taken people off the table, Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, all used to harbor, support terrorists, all over the world. The president's leadership have taken those threats...

COOPER: But is it appropriate for Tom Ridge to say that kind of thing at a press conference where he's announcing raising of the terror alert. It is a political statement, or it would be interpreted as such whether or not he meant it as such.

HOLT: I understand the interpretation. Everybody respects the job Top Ridge is doing. And don't forget, we have a chorus of people that have discredited and repudiated the Dean statements. The only person who stands by Dean and kept him as a senior adviser is John Kerry.

COOPER: Well, that's actually not true. John Kerry on CNN in an interview with Bill Hemmer says he does not agree with what Howard Dean said. And has distanced himself.

HOLT: However -- however, he said that I value his opinions, I value his input into his campaign, and he remains a senior adviser.

My only point is, Anderson, we have Joe Lieberman and Democratic leaders all over this country that understand the threat. The mayor of New York himself was adamant about this.

And, again, this is a fundamental element that should be above politics. We're talking about the war on terror. And this shameful display of angry partisanship from Howard Dean is more of the angry face of the Democratic Party and it is not helping us win the war on terror.

COOPER: Terry, we wanted to give you a chance to respond and we did. Terry Holt, thanks very much. Good to have you on the program.

Today's "Buzz" is this. What do you think? "Are you satisfied with the level of security to protect against a terrorist attack? Yes or no." Logon to, cast your vote. Results at the end of the program.

A battle was waged on the streets of Davenport, Iowa, today. A fight between the blue and the red. The goal of the presidency, the weapons: words, slogans, rhetoric wielded by the highest ranking men on both sides.

The skirmish, at times, reminded us of a military campaign, but it was at heart pure, raw politics.


COOPER (voice-over): As a skilled commander, the senator from Massachusetts first reviewed his troops. Glad handing and trying to boost their morale with words of confidence.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a better plan. We're going to get everybody covered.

COOPER: It was still early in this midsummer day in Davenport, Iowa. But the blue army was already at the ready. The senator then ordered them to quickly march south, deeply penetrating the center of the quad cities with a clear objective: hold position at the river center.

Soon words spread and the opposing army quickly mustered its forces and rallied together by the hundreds.

CROWD: Four more years! Four more years!

COOPER: Chanting slogans and hails to the chief.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States!

COOPER: The president appeared confident before a flag-waving throng. The red troops fortified their position at LeClaire Park, just three blocks west of enemy lines.

The mission: win the battle of Davenport. The town is small, 98,000 people, and evenly divided. Swing votes are scarce and will be bitterly fought over, for they might hold the key for the seven electors of Iowa.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: This is trench warfare. It goes town by town, street by street, block by block. And it's in remote areas all over the country. With such a tiny number of swing voters all over the country...

COOPER: Each leader knows that the final victory might, in the end, depend on who wins the small skirmishes.

SCHNEIDER: It's like Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where Lincoln said, "The world will little note, nor long remember, what was said here, but it will never forget what was done here."

Davenport could be the new Gettysburg.

COOPER: In the raw politics of campaigns, every inch of electoral land is worth fighting for.


(on camera): It's like a Ken Burns documentary.

Potential bombshell in the Kobe Bryant case coming up next on 360. What the woman at the center of the trial is saying that may have the prosecution very nervous indeed. Is she going to back out? That's the question tonight.

Also, going for gold. From street fighting to Olympic boxing, one athlete's inspirational story you will not want to miss.


COOPER: Last night, we said that in just over three weeks, Kobe Bryant will stand trial for allegedly raping a young woman. Today, we're not so sure. Today, the one witness who can make or break the prosecution's case against the NBA star may be making it easy for the defense to win a dismissal.

National correspondent Gary Tuchman explains.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 13 months after the night of the alleged crime, after hundreds of hours of pretrial hearings, it has now come to the point where CNN has been told the Kobe Bryant criminal trial might not occur.

One of the personal attorneys of the alleged victim tells CNN it is "up in the air" whether she will go ahead with the criminal case against the basketball star, saying she has "lost faith in the court system." The attorney says a civil suit against Bryant is now an active possibility.

John Clune's comments come after reporters gained access to what were secret transcripts in the case, describing aspects of the woman's sexual history. On three occasions, the court has made errors, resulted in confidential information about the woman being made public.

CRAIG SILVERMAN, COLORADO TRIAL ATTORNEY: It's a little unfortunate that they're going to blame the judge and the court for the problems of this case. The judge indeed named the stakes, but the judge did not make up the facts which are so damning to the prosecution in this matter.

TUCHMAN: The district attorney could pursue the case, even if the woman did not want it to happen. But practically, it would be very difficult.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney does say, "We have no indications that this trial will not proceed forward after conversations with Mr. Clune and the victim."

Clune does say that it's inappropriate to say she is definitely out, but adds a decision has to be made within days with the trial scheduled to start in over three weeks. I'm Gary Tuchman reporting.


COOPER: Covering the case for us in justice served tonight: 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom; and from Philadelphia, CNN contributor and civil attorney Michael Smerconish. Both of you, appreciate you being on the program tonight.

Michael, let me start off with you. The alleged victim's attorney says that they wonder if she can be treated fairly in the criminal justice system. Can she?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CIVIL ATTORNEY: Absolutely. She can be treated fairly, and I think hat Mr. Silverman just made a heck of a point, which is they're now trying to draw attention to the fact there've been leaks and errors on the part of the court system, but the facts haven't changed.

That information, which was leaked or brought out in error by the court system, has been well known to the accuser and to the defense. So, for them now to say, well, because of this we can't get a fair trial, the jury was going to hear all of it anyway.

COOPER: Kimberly, what's going on here? Is she angling for a civil trial, perhaps?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, 360 LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's what people are saying. Was this a shakedown from the beginning? Was she always just after the money with Kobe Bryant?

But look at how far she's come in this case, how long she stood with it. She didn't have to bring criminal charges and make a complaint. She could have proceeded with this civil case. I wouldn't be surprised, though, at this point if she says enough's enough and just pursue remedies from a civil court.

COOPER: Michael, do you suspect her motives at this point?

SMERCONISH: I don't think that she would have endured the beating that she has taken simply for some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And I feel strongly that she cannot win a civil case, because someone would have to be on Neptune to not have heard of all the problems that the prosecution has had in assembling this case.

So, if the case goes away -- and I've been saying in Philadelphia for two months that it'll never happen. And if it goes away now, I don't see how she can overcome the knowledge in the community, any community, that the prosecution couldn't put it together.

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: I think she's dealing, though, with a civil court, which would have a lower burden of proof. We saw in the O.J. Simpson case where as the criminal prosecution was unsuccessful, the civil case was successful, and there was some justice there for the family members of Nicole Brown Simpson.

In this case, we heard John Clune say she wants justice. She's been victimized over and over again. Whatever your opinions are about this case and the fact we really don't know them all, it's too soon to make any judgments one way or the other.

If she decides to proceed civilly, we'll see the facts then. And it's her decision to make, and it's one she should make with her family.

SMERCONISH: Anderson, one other observation in retrospect: I'm not so sure that, as a policy matter, the right decision was made to try and shield her identity and protect her from public scrutiny. Because as was noted by the descent in that opinion regarding the release of those documents earlier in the week, all someone has to have is a rudimentary understanding of the Internet and know how to operate Google, and you can find out anything you want to know about her.

And I'm saying that perhaps from jump street, we should have known everything publicly, because we certainly knew Kobe Bryant's identity, and I'm now thinking that he's the real victim in this case.

COOPER: Well, we're going to have to leave it there. Kimberly, just very briefly, if she does back out, this thing doesn't go to trial.

GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: No it doesn't go to trial; D.A. can't proceed. But again, that could still motivate Kobe Bryant to settle the case civilly, because a criminal case could be brought back by the D.A. if she became cooperative in the future.

COOPER: All right. Michael Smerconish, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, thanks.

SMERCONISH: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up: He's a young boxer looking for another shot at the gold medal. Next on 360, meet a fighter who spent time in prison and knows the Olympics may be his last chance at success in the ring and out.

Also tonight: Bruce Springsteen teams up with Ted Koppel for one rocking "Nightline." Details ahead in "The Current."


COOPER: This fall two broadcast networks will crown new boxing champions in reality TV shows. But the reality is you don't usually become a boxing champ by simply letting TV cameras into your home for a few weeks. Ron Siler, Jr. is doing things the old-fashioned way. And when the Olympics begin next week, he'll fight for gold and a chance to put his rough past behind him.

CNN's Jason Bellini reports.


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ron Siler, Jr.'s dream is to box his way out of the tough Cincinnati streets. He's had one chance in the year 2000. He lost focus and didn't make the team.

RON SILER, JR., OLYMPIC BOXER: All I was thinking about was in 2000 was, to be honest, when I turn pro, I'm going to take care of my friends and, you know give them money to buy weed and sell weed, just be one of the biggest dudes on the street.

BELLINI: Before he could try again in 2004, he landed in prison. The crime was assault. He served nine months. Siler says the prison experience changed him. When he got out, the 5'3", 112 pound fly weight hit the gym. This time his focus was in providing for his children. This time he made the team. Siler got sponsorship. The sponsor paid for his dad's ticket to Athens.

SILER: I got the ticket in my hand. That's reality right there.

BELLINI: The reality is Siler's Olympic performance could help make the 24-year-old a rich man.

(on camera): After the Olympics Ron Siler, Jr. says he wants to go pro. If he wins the gold, he believes he could be fighting for $100,000 purse to start with. If he loses, perhaps $500 a round.

SILER: People start to tell me they love me now. They start telling me they love me now and stuff like that.

BELLINI: Didn't say that before?


BELLINI (on camera): He occasionally senses resentment on street. SILER: They just jealous because they got to -- they feel like I'm making it the easy way.

BELLINI: Siler wants to become a positive influence in the gym and on the streets. He's gotten rid of the gold caps on his teeth.

(on camera): Going for a different kind of gold now.


BELLINI: He has his dream and his dream has a fighting chance.

Jason Bellini, CNN, Cincinnati.


COOPER: We wish him well.

Time to check on some pop news in tonight's "Current," some silly stuff.

Bruce Springsteen will be Ted Koppel's guest on tonight's "Nightline." The two will talk politics and music, and if there is time, we are hoping Koppel may join the boss for an acoustic rendition of "Rosalita." I don't know, that's what I'd like to see.

Residents in the Vermont town of Coventry, are concerned that Phish's final concert will turn the community upside down. Some fear the throngs of fan will destroy Coventry's rich grassland. Some Phish fans have tried to dampen those fears, insisting they'll be happy to bring their own grass.

And Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie fans, rejoiced the dynamic duo will appear in yet another season of "The Simple Life." Set your TiVo, plans are underway for the celebutants to really stun the audience this time around, which means they could go to Europe or go back to school or actually do something productive with their lives. I wouldn't hold out hope on that last one.

360 next, remembering the man behind some remarkable photos next. We take his legendary career to "The Nth Degree."

COOPER: Plus, from our radical new treatment for those hooked on OxyContin, we'll talk with a recovering addict.

But first, today's "Buzz." Are you satisfied with the level of security to protect against a terrorist attack? Log on Still can cast your vote. Results when we come back.


COOPER: Time now for "The Buzz." Earlier we asked you satisfied with the level of security to protect against a terrorist attack, 35 percent of you said, yes, 65, no. Not a scientific poll, but it is your "Buzz" and we appreciate you voting. Tonight, taking a legend to "The Nth Degree." Legendary is an adjective we throw around a lot these days. But when it comes to describing French photographer Henri Catier-Bresson, legendary seems fitting in deed. You've likely seen his work. Black and white images of people and places frozen in town. No flash, no fancy lights, just human moments captured with a sure eye and quiet light. The camera is merely an extension of my eye, Catier-Bresson, once said. And what an eye he had. The greatest photographer of the last century, say some, an inspiration to those born long after he began.

Henri Catier-Bresson, died on Monday, the age of 95. He was buried today. The man is gone, that is certainly sad, but there is joy in knowing the legend and a lifetime remain.

That's 360, thanks for watching. I'm Anderson Cooper, coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


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