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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Broken Olympic Dreams; Frey vs. Geragos
Aired August 24, 2004 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Stories of sex and suspicion. Under attack for a second day at the Scott Peterson trial, as a top criminal lawyer tears into a former lover's testimony.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR AMBER FREY: If he wants another shot, she'll be ready for it.
ZAHN: And higher stakes, faster anger, stronger protests. Tonight, the Olympics, the judges, the broken dreams.
ZAHN: Good evening. Welcome. Glad to have you with us tonight.
When the Athens Olympics began, it looked like steroids and doping would be the scandal of the Games, but now it is the scorekeeping. Determining a winner in most events is cut and dry. It is the athlete who runs faster, who throws farther, who lifts the most weight, but not in sports like gymnastics. And that's where the trouble is. This time, the beneficiary of bad judging and the object of so much anger is an American gymnast. And it is just the latest chapter in a long story of Olympic errors.
Here's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When judges gave Russian gymnast Alexei Nemov a lower-than-expected score after his high bar routine, the uproar stopped the event. For 10 minutes, catcalls echoed and American Paul Hamm waited for his turn. Hamm has been in the crossfire ever since last week, when a scoring mistake gave him the all-around gold medal in men's gymnastics, denying that medal to a South Korean athlete. The judges involved have been punished, but the controversy lingers.
PAUL HAMM, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: It is kind of strange that people have looked at me in a negative way when all I've really done here is compete, and, you know, that's what I came here to do.
FOREMAN: The questions about Olympic judges go beyond Hamm. In swimming, they have been faulted for calling or not calling illegal strokes. In fencing, a referee was suspended for bad calls. In ice skating during the most recent Winter Games a judging scandal led to twin gold medals in the pairs competition. No wonder frustration is beginning to show.
HAMM: I've done nothing wrong, and I've just been competing for my country, trying to make America proud. And I do feel as if, you know, why am I forced to deal with this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Push off. Push. Yes, there you go.
FOREMAN: The Hill Gymnastics Center, north of Washington, has trained top Olympic athletes, including Dominique Dawes and Courtney Kupets. Everyone here knows judging can make or break any performance.
MONICA GOLDBLATT, GYMNAST: You can have the same routine two days and with different judges, on some days, you'll score higher and some days you'll just score lower.
TERI DIAMOND, GYMNAST: You can't control what the judge thinks. You just have to go out and do the best performance you can.
FOREMAN: The judging works like this. A routine is given a value, a 9.8, for example. Then each mistake is penalized. An improperly bent knee can cost a tenth of a point, a pause between elements another tenth. And a wobble can cost yet another tenth, and so on. It can be so complex, even gymnasts sometimes sympathize.
KIRK MORRIS, GYMNASTICS COACH: Straight.
I've been in this sport for 20 years, and it happens so fast sometimes, you know, I've got to look twice to see, you know, just to make sure I really, you know, saw that triple. Was it really a triple? You know, did they connect it? It happened so quick.
FOREMAN (on camera): The simple truth is, judges are challenged in gymnastics and swimming and all sorts of sports just as often as they are in baseball or football. It's part of the game.
(voice-over): And now and then, it works. The Russian Nemov's score was raised after the storm of booing, but not enough to put him into the medals and not enough to quiet the rumble about Olympic judging this year, judging that seems not always fair and not always final.
ZAHN: That was Tom Foreman.
Joining us now from Washington, 1996 gold medal winning gymnast Dominique Dawes. No controversy about that win, thankfully, right, Dominique?
Good to see you this evening.
DOMINIQUE DAWES, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Good to see you too. Good to see you. ZAHN: So Paul Hamm made the decision not to give up his gold medal, which other people are contesting. What would you have done had you been in his same situation?
DAWES: Well, I'd have to say, first, No. 1, this is an unfortunate situation that's going on in the world of gymnastics and hopefully it doesn't tarnish the performance that Paul Hamm has given throughout the team competition and all-around.
However, what I think he's going to do as well as his coach is going to do is they're going to look back at the ruling and first, No. 1, see if the South Korean coach had inquired about the start value, No. 1, during the rotation. That's very important, because there's actually a rule saying that before you rotate on or at least finish the competition that you have to put your inquiry in for any start value change before the competition is over. Then from there you go to the FIG.
ZAHN: So if that didn't happen, then you think that gives Paul Hamm all the more reason to keep his medal?
DAWES: Yes, well, I think everyone has a job to do. The athletes have a job to do to, to, No. 1, give it 110 percent effort to hit your sets. And then the rest is -- it goes up to the judges to judge fairly, then also the coaches. If there's a problem with the start value, then it's the coach's job to go up to the judges' table and put their inquiry in.
So if the South Korean coach didn't do that in the right amount of time, then, yes, I think Paul should keep the medal.
ZAHN: Did you understand the anger of the crowd last night?
DAWES: You know, I would have to say I was talking to a few friends that had watched the competition and they saw Alexei's routine, and they thought it was amazing. And I'm not going to dispute that. His routine was amazing. It got a great deal of oohs and ahs from the audience. But it doesn't warrant that he should be on the medal platform whatsoever.
It was a greet routine, but I saw quite a few deductions, from his landing to body positioning. But it was a great routine, and it was really disappointing to see how the crowd can have such a reaction in the judges' scoring that they could actually raise his score without really giving a reasoning and then it possibly affecting Paul Hamm psychologically, as well as how the judges scored him.
ZAHN: Well, doesn't that really subtract from the credibility of the whole process, when you see the amount of control the crowd has over judges and their scores?
DAWES: Yes, it does, because you're a young gymnast. You get up and you know you're performing to the audience to entertain them, but they're not the ones that are judging you and that's going to give you the score, because why? They don't understand all of the aspects that have to go in with the value of an element. There's little things such as feet positioning and even arm positioning and even body positioning that the judges have been knowledgeable about, whereas the audience, they look and they want to see a performance and the oohs and ahs are exciting for them. However, there are things that the judges are looking for. And it's very unfortunate that the audience can boo for 10 minutes and actually have someone's score changed.
ZAHN: What must that have been like for him, Paul Hamm, to perform after that kind of chaos?
DAWES: I would have to say that gymnasts have prepared for situations such as that, nothing to that extreme. However, we're not in golf. We're not in tennis. People can take photos. People can yell and scream. People can play loud music all they want. So we're used to having distractions.
But 10 minutes of booing, I'd have to say that it probably had a small effect on Paul, but I'm sure he snapped back. He did a wonderful set and enough of a wonderful set to actually warrant the silver medal.
ZAHN: How subjective is the process, Dominique? And be honest here. It's hard for us to believe that politics doesn't enter into this.
DAWES: Oh, politics plays so much of a role in judging. Remember, these are individuals. These are human beings. And some -- one judge may love Dominique Dawes' floor routine, and another judge may find something horrendous with my floor routine.
It's an individual -- it's a human sitting there and judging. And just like we all may look at the same thing, we see something different. And that's unfortunate, but at the same time when I started the sport of gymnastics at 6 years old and I first started competing, I knew that was what the sport was about. That's the system of gymnastics. That's the system of figure skating and many other subjective sports that actually have judges. So you expect there are going to be human errors, but hopefully, after this controversy, that USA gymnastics, FIG, and everyone else that needs to get involved really works on making some changes to rectify this problem.
ZAHN: Well, thank you for representing your sport so honestly. By the way, where do you keep that medal you won in 1996?
DAWES: Well, I keep the medal in two different places, either in my drawer or just kind of sitting in my living room, so when I go out and I give speeches, I can grab it on the go.
ZAHN: Oh, I would have thought you'd have it encased in, you know, crystal that you keep out so everybody can see.
(LAUGHTER) ZAHN: Thank you again for joining us tonight.
DAWES: Thanks a lot. thanks.
ZAHN: Coming up next, what the Games are really about. They are this year's Olympic dream team, hope and glory from out of nowhere -- right out of this break.
ZAHN: We have heard enough about the dark side of the Olympic Games. Now let's move on to what the Games are supposed to be about, the pure joy of competing for the love of sport and the chance to overcome incredible odds.
Well, today the Iraqi soccer team failed in its quest to win the gold, but Iraq still has a shot at a bronze medal. And just getting that far a year after the fall of Saddam with such chaos at home is nothing short of a miracle.
Here's Michael Holmes.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They came with high hopes for gold, the soccer team that could, playing a semifinal against Paraguay. Victory would mean playing Argentina, with a medal, gold or silver, guaranteed.
Giant killers, darlings of the Olympic Games, the Iraqi soccer team has been embraced by everyone here, not just the thousands of Iraqi immigrants who've come from around Europe, but by the locals as well. Even fans have become tourist attractions. The journey to this point has been fraught with obstacles, unable to play at home because home is so often a battlefield.
Many on this team come from places like Sadr City, Fallujah, Najaf, towns and cities known for death and battles, not soccer stars.
RAZZAQ FARHAN, IRAQI SOCCER PLAYER (through translator): It is very sad for to us see our brothers in Najaf, in Kufa, all across Iraq in these situations. And we are here and cannot do anything. But we can play football and we can try to put the name of Iraq up in lights.
HOLMES: To be celebrated by some, including the U.S. president, as a symbol of a free Iraq, has become a controversial mantle for this team.
ADNAN HAMD, IRAQI SOCCER COACH (through translator): You cannot speak about the team that represent freedom. We do not have freedom in Iraq. We have an occupying force. This is one of our most miserable times.
HOLMES: But they are playing with great pride, knowing their countrymen, those who have to watch on television back in Iraq, see them as a ray of hope. Tonight, in Northern Greece, the unlikely run for gold ended, Iraq defeated by Paraguay. But their medal hopes have not died. On Friday, the Iraqis will play Italy for the bronze medal. If they do win, it will be their first medal since 1960. Whatever happens, though, this is a team that has achieved so much, against odds impossible for most of us to understand.
ZAHN: And that was Michael Holmes reporting.
When we come back, unraveling a mystery at Guantanamo Bay. Is this man an innocent bystander trapped in the war on terror or an associate of Osama bin Laden? His story next.
ZAHN: And we continue to follow developments in a breaking news story out of Russia tonight, where two airliners took off from a Moscow airport about the same time on Tuesday night. They were bound for different destinations, but they both disappeared off radar screens within three minutes of each other. One of the planes is confirmed to have crashed in the Tula region, about 100 miles south of Moscow.
A spokeswoman for the Russian Emergency Ministry says none of the 34 passengers and eight-member crew are believed to have survived. The Emergency Ministry can only confirm that the second plane has been lost to radar. But it disappeared some five hours ago. Search-and- rescue teams are trying to determine whether a large fire in the vicinity of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia is the crash site of the second plane.
That plane was carrying 44 passengers and eight crew members. That plane is a Tupolev 154. The plane that is confirmed down is what you just saw a picture of, a Tupolev 134 that was on its way to Volgograd in southern Russia. Russian authorities have ordered security to be tightened at all of the country's airports.
Let's go to Moscow right now, where our Ryan Chilcote is standing by with the latest.
What else have you learned tonight, Ryan?
RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, security -- search-and-rescue officials believe that they may now have found the second crash site, the crash site of that second plane.
What they've found is a very large fire in the place where they believe that second plane would have gone down, where they lost contact with it. So, if we back up, what we know is about five hours ago, two Russian commercial planes took off, passenger planes, a couple minutes apart from one another from the same airport here in Moscow, bound for two different domestic locations, destinations.
About a half hour later, the first plane, as you said, a Tupolev 134 -- it's a short-haul passenger plane here in Russia -- went off the radar screen. Then the search-and-rescue teams found the crash site. They have already gone there. They've found the plane's tail. They're looking for the black boxes, but they do not expect to find any survivors. They've also talked to some eyewitnesses on the scene in a village that's right next to this crash site, who say, very interestingly, Paula, that they saw an explosion on that plane before it began its fateful fall, its crash course into that area in southern Russia.
Now, just a few minutes after that, Russian air traffic controllers lost track of another plane, just three minutes after the first one, this one a Tupolev 154. It's really the workhorse here in Russia of all domestic flights. It's a medium-range passenger plane. They lost track of that plane. They've been looking for it for five hours. They think that there are at least 46 people on board.
And just a couple of minutes ago, search-and-rescue officials say -- began to say that they think that they've found the crash site. They've found an enormous fire, they say, in an area where they think that that plane would have crashed. Those search-and-rescue officials say they're closing in on that site right now -- Paula.
ZAHN: So how seriously are investigators looking at the possibility of foul play, when you have two planes disappearing from radar within minutes of each other?
CHILCOTE: Yes. Well, the Russian president has appointed, has tasked the Russian Federal Security Service -- that's the successor agency of the KGB -- with investigating these two incidents. And, obviously, they're very ominous for a couple of reasons, Paula. First of all, they were just a few minutes apart.
So it is possible that this was some kind of safety problem, some kind of mechanical problem, but the likelihood that these two incidents in such close proximity in terms of time would happen is very slim, security aviation experts say. The second thing is that Russia is just days away from holding a regional election in Chechnya, Chechnya the very place where the Russian military continues to battle tens of thousands of separatists in that region. They were getting ready for an election there. It is customary to have terrorist acts in Russia before major events in Chechnya.
So there's no way that they couldn't look at that possibility.
ZAHN: Ryan Chilcote, thanks so much.
And CNN will keep you all posted tonight as new information becomes available on the apparent crash of at least one jet and what is looking more and more likely the possibility of the crash of the second jet as well.
We're going to take a short break here. More of our show when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: A special U.S. military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay began hearings today, nearly three years after the first detainees were taken in the war against terror.
First to appear before the military court was a man suspected of having been Osama bin Laden's driver who was formally charged with terrorist conspiracy. Also scheduled to face the tribunal this week, 29-year-old Australian David Hicks, accused of firing on U.S. troops or their allies in Afghanistan.
Moments ago, members of his family spoke out about his case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY HICKS, FATHER OF DAVID HICKS: My opinion is, I don't think it is a fair and honest system. I think -- still think this should have been dealt in a civil court back home in Australia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So the question remains tonight, is David Hicks a hardened Islamist warrior or a naive young man caught up in a misguided adventure?
ZAHN (voice-over): Who is the real David Hicks, a bull-riding cowboy from southern Australia or a Taliban fighter posing with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher? His stepmother, Beverly, says in a new Australian documentary that the photo is being misinterpreted.
BEVERLY HICKS, STEPMOTHER OF DAVID HICKS: This photo here, that was taken in Kosovo, and it was a posed photo for friends. And that really annoys me when they keep putting that up on the TV, because it shows him to be like a fighter there.
ZAHN: His military attorney says he was just goofing off.
MAJOR MICHAEL MORI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He's about 5'3'', and he just strikes me as a good Aussie.
ZAHN: His neighbors say this isn't the David Hicks they knew.
ANDREW WHITE, NEIGHBOR OF DAVID HICKS: He was a good bloke, never done nothing wrong while he was here in Australia. So it's hard to believe what he's done.
ZAHN: But the Pentagon says something different. The U.S. military is charging him with the attempted murder of coalition forces in Afghanistan and for helping al Qaeda. His father says David joined the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1999. Back in Australia, he converted to Islam and then moved on to fight in Pakistan.
In 2001, Hicks allegedly joined an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan like this one. He met Osama bin Laden and translated training materials from Arabic into English. After the 9/11 attacks, Hicks is accused of fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan and was allegedly part of a group that included so-called American Taliban John Walker Lindh.
MORI: David Hicks has not injured any U.S. service member. He hasn't injured any U.S. citizen. And his own country has looked at what he's done and said that he's not violated any law of Australia.
ZAHN: Hicks defends himself in a letter sent home to his family in 2002, a letter that is read in the new documentary "The President vs. David Hicks."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PRESIDENT VS. DAVID HICKS")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I'm sure you know that I'm not 10 Rambos fitted into one person. There are lots of rumors flying about."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: His case has led to international pressure on Washington to reassess the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
For two years, he was held there in solitary confinement without formal charges being filed. But for the next couple of days, Hicks will face legal proceedings with his family and lawyers present. And his father will be able to see and speak with his son, a reunion filled with mixed emotions.
T. HICKS: Nervous, yes, and probably a bit of apprehension. You know, we haven't seen David for five years. We don't know what his condition's like, what his mental state's like. So it's -- I think it's going to be a pretty emotional meeting. So, yes, it's going to be -- and it will be great as well.
ZAHN: David Hicks does not face the death penalty. If he is sentenced to prison, he will serve his time in Australia. The Bush administration says the Guantanamo hearings are a first step to finding out the truth about detainees such as David Hicks.
For more on this, I'm joined from Washington by David Rivkin, an attorney in the Justice Department during the Reagan and the first Bush administrations. And here in New York with me, Donna Newman. She is the attorney for Jose Padilla, an American citizen whom the government has declared an enemy combatant and who has been held for more than two years in a brig in South Carolina.
Good to have both of you with us. Welcome.
David, I wanted to start with you this evening.
David Hicks has been held for over two years now without a hearing. Is that appropriate?
DAVID RIVKIN, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ATTORNEY: It's entirely appropriate. He has not up to now been a criminal suspect. He's been a captured enemy combatant, an unlawful combatant at that. But even if he was an honorable POW, from time immemorial, people captured in combat have been held for the duration of hostilities.
This is, by the way, not a recent invention of the Bush administration. That has been this way for centuries. That is entirely legal. And this, by the way, has just been upheld in the Supreme Court in an opinion by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in the Hamdi case, where the court explicitly said that you can hold people primarily to make sure they don't go back and join the fight again. So that's the reason he's been held up to now. He has been charged now, and he will face the military commission.
DONNA NEWMAN, ATTORNEY FOR JOSE PADILLA: I must take exception with his interpretation of the Hamdi opinion, because, in fact, what occurred in the Hamdi opinion was that they demanded that a hearing be set when people are captured.
And what has happened in time immemorial is that when people are captured on the battlefield, a hearing is held. And that hearing is to determine their status, whether or not they are, for example, a prisoner of war or an unlawful belligerent. So what has happened here, this holding for two -- three years now without any charges, is new and a product of the Bush administration. So with that, I must, with all due respect, disagree with your interpretation.
RIVKIN: Donna, with all due respect, you're confused.
The question that was posed to me is whether it was appropriate to hold him without any specific charges. No specific charges are often proffered where people have been captured in combat. The purpose of holding him, which the Supreme Court acknowledged is valid and legal, is very simple, to make sure that he doesn't go back and join the fight against U.S.
ZAHN: Can I just ask you a question? Are you surprised that it takes two years or three years to figure out whether formal charges should even be fired -- filed against a detainee?
RIVKIN: No, I am not.
ZAHN: Does that suggest anything about the inadequacy of the system?
RIVKIN: No, Paula, not at all. Let's just say very simply. During the Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II, World War I, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people from all sides had been held. Most of them were never charged.
A lot of people in Guantanamo will never be charged. A lot of them will be repatriated when the circumstances permit. Some of them will be charged.
Remember, the purpose of making -- Look, wars take a long time. But guess what? The way to make wars even longer is to do a revolving door.
NEWMAN: David, if I may interrupt, this is not the -- when you compare this to, for example, World War II, which while no one could foresee exactly when it would end, it was a war in which there would be an end. We knew that there would be a peace treaty.
This is not a time where we -- in fact, assume it will never end. So you cannot compare it, and that's exactly what the Bush administration has said repeatedly that this is a new war, and if there are new wars there need to be new ways to look at...
ZAHN: You two, I'd love to let you go on, but I want to move you on so I can get both of your reactions to a Pentagon statement about the David Hicks case. Let's put it up on the screen, part of that statement now.
"David Hicks will receive a full and fair trial. The United States has no desire to detain anyone longer than necessary. If an individual is no longer a threat, no longer has any intelligence value, and is not appropriate for criminal prosecution, he is released."
You do not believe this man has any shot at a fair trial?
NEWMAN: The way the rules have now been put forth by the Bush administration, the word "fair" really is a stretch. It is not fair, as you and I would define it.
For example, it is the administration who has determined what the procedures are, who the judges are, what charges will be brought, who the defense counsel are. So to say that this is a fair hearing simply is not true. In fact, they can use coerced confessions.
ZAHN: All right.
RIVKIN: It's very...
ZAHN: David Rivkin, you get the last word, and we need to take a break.
RIVKIN: It's very simple. This case is going to be tried in a fair process. There's presumption of innocence. He is going to be acquitted unless the prosecution proves this case beyond a reasonable doubt.
He gets more due process than military commissions in World War II, which the Supreme Court has specifically upheld. He gets more due process than people facing international tribunals in the Hague for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
He gets less due process than criminal justice prosecutions in American civilian courts, but that's not what he's entitled to.
The problem with Donna, she still does not understand that this person is not O.J. Simpson. He is not -- this is not Leslie -- the Scott Peterson trial. This is a military prosecution. NEWMAN: I understand completely. Thank you.
ZAHN: I've got to leave it there. You're giving us a very good idea of what some of these hearings will inspire down the road. David Rivkin, Donna Newman, thank you for both of your opinions tonight.
NEWMAN: Thank you.
RIVKIN: Nice to be with you.
ZAHN: Our pleasure.
Coming up next, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Who is to blame? One answer when we come back.
ZAHN: "There was chaos at Abu Ghraib." With those words, former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger today began briefing reporters on a new independent investigation into the abuse of prisoners and detainees in Iraq.
Schlesinger's four-member commission found that there was no set policy of abuse on the part of the U.S. government. Instead, the commission blames a string of failures throughout all levels of command, civilian and military.
As for the now notorious photographs from Abu Ghraib, Schlesinger called them the result of freelance activities on a part of the night shift.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES SCHLESINGER, CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT PANEL: It was sadism on the night shift at Abu Ghraib, sadism that was certainly not authorized. It was a kind of "animal house" on the night shift. That is reflected in the fact that there was no such activities during the day shift, when there were different -- different non-coms in charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: The Schlesinger Commission says the Bush administration did not anticipate having to deal with a major insurgency after the fall of Saddam Hussein and was slow in adapting to the new conditions in Iraq.
However, when specifically asked if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should resign because of the prisoner abuse scandal, Schlesinger gave this emphatic no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHLESINGER: You've raised the question of the secretary of defense. Let me say that his resignation would be a boon to all of America's enemies. And consequently, I think that it would be a misfortune if it were to take place. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issued a written statement today, saying he appreciated the Schlesinger panel's work and looks forward to reviewing the analysis and the recommendations in detail.
With us now from Washington, CNN contributor and former Pentagon spokeswoman, Torie Clarke.
Always good to see you. Welcome.
VICTORIA CLARKE, FORMER PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: Hi, Paula.
ZAHN: All right. We heard what Mr. Schlesinger had to say, an emphatic no, Secretary Rumsfeld shouldn't resign. But how big of a blow, Torie, is this report to the credibility of Mr. Rumsfeld as a leader?
CLARKE: I don't think it's much of a blow at all.
First and foremost, Secretary Rumsfeld from the very beginning has said, "I'm responsible for what happened. I'm responsible for making sure all these investigations are carried out thoroughly, and that we ensure things like this don't happen again."
And he's taking that responsibility to the max. So I don't think it's a blow to him at all.
What I thought was interesting, watching the press conference today, was each member that spoke talked about how it was a combination of factors: the circumstances, the environment, the unforeseen circumstances of what the insurgency was doing after the major combat operations. The defined number of sadists, as Jim Schlesinger called them, who committed these absolutely appalling acts.
But the point they were making is it was a combination of factors and people that resulted in this terrible thing happening.
ZAHN: All right. But what I'm trying to understand is something that an Army Reserve general told the panel.
And basically, she alleged that the soldiers who served in Abu Ghraib were not only trained to be prison guards. She also said that they haven't been -- hadn't been given the proper training to face insurgencies, nor were they given an accurate picture of what that might look like.
Now, who should the finger point to there?
CLARKE: Well, again, it would be nice if you could single out a single person. Life would be so simple. But it's not that way.
But I will say this in response to those particular comments: a general in charge is in charge of making sure he's got the right kind of people, they've got the right kind of training, and he's got the right numbers of people.
I saw an incredible briefing a few months ago. A four-star general telling one-star flag officers you have to demand the resources you need to get the job done. And if somebody didn't do that, then they were part of the problem, as well.
ZAHN: This panel, though, or the report also suggests that the Pentagon was at least partly culpable, because it didn't give folks in the field a really defined plan for interrogations. To that extent, the Pentagon's not off the hook, is it?
CLARKE: Well, nobody's off the hook. Again, I go back to what Secretary Rumsfeld said a few months ago. He's taking full responsibility for this.
But again, if you -- if you read the report and watched the entire press conference, it's a little bit more complex than that. There were -- there was some confusion, absolutely, about the interrogations.
But two of them that I saw today, Schlesinger and Tillie Fowler, went out of their way to say that Secretary Rumsfeld and others, including the president of the United States, had made it clear repeatedly, publicly, on the record that all detainees of all kinds will be treated humanely and will be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention, whatever the lawyers may say.
So they were making very, very clear, consistently, what the policy should be. That's very clear guidance.
ZAHN: Based on the results of this survey, and we are -- or study, and we have another one coming out tomorrow, is it your belief that we will see more officials at the higher ranks of command, either in the civilian side or the military side, who will be charged with dereliction of duty?
CLARKE: Well, it's hard for me to say. There are so many investigations, and I don't even know how many trials there may be going forward. I think the lawyers will figure out that question.
I do think years down the road people will look back and say this was a horrible, horrible time; terrible things happened. It is a blot, if you will, on the reputation of the military.
But the way in which we handled it and the way in which we got to the bottom of it and put policies and practices to prevent it from happening again will do a whole lot to improve and hold up the reputation of the United States going forward.
ZAHN: Torie Clarke, always good to see you. Thanks for your insights.
CLARKE: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: Appreciate it. Still ahead, one man at the center of the Abu Ghraib scandal cuts a deal. My conversation with Chip Frederick's parents when we come back.
ZAHN: As we've seen, the Schlesinger Commission says responsibility for the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib goes way up the chain of command. Those accusations were also made today in Germany, where two days of pretrial hearings have concluded for some of the servicemen and women charged in connection with what James Schlesinger called "the animal house" atmosphere at the prison.
One of those accused, Staff Sergeant Ivan "Chip" Frederick, issued a written statement saying he will plead guilty to some as yet unspecified charges this October.
Frederick is charged with assault, maltreatment, indecent acts, conspiracy, and dereliction of duty. His attorney says an environment of criminality existed at Abu Ghraib even before Frederick and other M.P.'s arrived.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY MEYER, STAFF SGT. FREDERICK'S ATTORNEY: What went on at Abu Ghraib was a complete breakdown of discipline and authority. And these are merely specific acts within a sea of multiple specific acts.
And I think after today we will no longer hear that it was just seven rogue soldiers. After today the second line of defense from the government seems to be now that it was just 28 rogue soldiers. Now, I don't know what it will be next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And joining me now from Mountain Lake Park, Maryland, are Chip Frederick's parents, Ivan and Jo Ann Frederick.
Thank you both for joining me tonight.
I know that both of you told me in our last interview you believed your son was innocent of some of these charges. I wanted to share with you and our audience part of his statement that was read today during the hearing.
Quote, "I have accepted responsibility for my actions at Abu Ghraib prison. I will be pleading guilty to certain charges because I have concluded that what I did was a violation of the law. I am hopeful that all those within the Army who contributed to or participated in the chaos that was Abu Ghraib will also come forward and accept responsibility."
Jo Ann, how did it feel when your son said publicly that he was going to plead guilty?
JO ANN FREDERICK, MOTHER OF IVAN "CHIP" FREDERICK": Well, we're devastated. We have been for eight months, Paula. We have maintained all along that Chip will tell the truth. And if he has anything to -- that he thinks is his responsibility, he will tell the truth about it.
ZAHN: Ivan, in this statement he admitted to violating the law. Did it hurt to hear that?
IVAN FREDERICK, FATHER OF IVAN "CHIP" FREDERICK: To a certain extent. But we -- from the very beginning we said he would be willing to take his licks just along with everybody else. And if everybody else came forward and told their story and told the truth, that he was willing to take his licks right along with anybody else.
And like Mr. Schlesinger was patting Rumsfeld on the back, that's the way I feel my son was patted on the back by the military intelligence, telling him he was doing a good job.
ZAHN: Did you have any contact with your son, Jo Ann, in advance of his making this decision?
J. FREDERICK: No. Not really. We -- we talk on computers, and we've talked on the telephone a couple times since he's been in Germany. Matter of fact, I talked to him today.
ZAHN: Is he at peace with this decision?
J. FREDERICK: Not really. Not really. And we can't go into a lot of the details about these charges. For one thing, we're not certain what it is.
But we will say -- I will say one thing. We will work to clear his name, because he is not guilty of abuse or torture.
ZAHN: Why would he then plead guilty, if he's not guilty of those things?
J. FREDERICK: Well, that's -- that's what I can't go into.
ZAHN: Ivan, let me ask you this. I know you're limited into what you can say. But are we to read into this that he accepted this guilty plea in exchange for perhaps cutting what might be time he has to serve later on?
I. FREDERICK: That might be what went on at this pretrial hearing, but I'm sure he conferred with his lawyers and they have recommended what he should do. And as far as I'm concerned, he should listen to his lawyers, because they -- they're there to advise him.
ZAHN: And Jo Ann, a final question to you, and I know this is a sensitive one because obviously, you've been steadfast in your support of your son and his innocence.
J. FREDERICK: Yes.
ZAHN: You have said he would never participate in this abuse. But there is a picture that your son is alleged -- or that is allegedly attributed to your son. And that is him standing over a picture of a dead Iraqi prisoner. How would you explain that photo?
J. FREDERICK: No, I haven't seen a picture like that.
I. FREDERICK: He's not standing over a dead Iraqi.
J. FREDERICK: No, that's not him.
I. FREDERICK: That's not him.
I. FREDERICK: The one of him is sitting on the man. And the other picture of him doing anything at all was the one with the feces, which is a mental case and did that to himself. And he...
ZAHN: So just a final thought, what you want the American public to know about what happened in the court today and why you don't think that squares with the man you know.
J. FREDERICK: I think that people in Washington need to sit down and shut up or tell the truth.
ZAHN: All right. We are going to have to leave it on that note. Ivan and Jo Ann Frederick. Thank you so much for sharing...
J. FREDERICK: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: ... your thoughts with us tonight.
When we come back, we change to a different legal arena, the Scott Peterson trial. The star witness has her final day on the stand.
ZAHN: Amber Frey has completed her testimony in the murder trial of her former lover, Scott Peterson. In its cross-examination, the defense tried to turn Frey's taped phone calls to its own advantage.
Our David Mattingly has more.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Amber Frey took the witness stand, probably for the last time, it wasn't her much anticipated testimony that left the courtroom buzzing. Again, it was the tapes she recorded while cooperating with the police.
In this conversation, introduced by the defense, a clearly annoyed Frey pressed Scott Peterson for information, an exchange that appeared to bring Peterson to tears.
SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: I wish I could tell you everything.
AMBER FREY, FORMER MISTRESS OF SCOTT PETERSON: Save your tears.
PETERSON: I'm so sorry. MATTINGLY: But throughout cross-examination, defense attorney Mark Geragos never attacked Frey's character. Instead, he used her testimony to contradict investigators and her tapes to portray Peterson as unwavering in proclaiming his innocence, pointing out he never told Amber he loved her.
FREY: She's missing because you love me, right?
PETERSON: Amber, she's missing because someone abducted her.
CHUCK SMITH, LEGAL ANALYST: At the end of the day her testimony does not make or break the case. It still is a thin, circumstantial evidence case. Her testimony overall adds to the circumstantial evidence but not in a overwhelming way.
MATTINGLY: Frey emerged as the central figure in this high- profile case in dramatic fashion more than a year ago. The massage therapist and, at the time, single mother of one magnified the already intense suspicion surrounding Peterson when she revealed she was his girlfriend and that he had lied to her.
FREY: I was introduced to him. I was told he was unmarried. Scott told me he was not married.
MATTINGLY: It wasn't until after Peterson was arrested and charged with the murders of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child that it was revealed Frey was coached and cooperating with investigators.
Prosecutors played recorded conversations catching Peterson in flagrant lies. But when Frey was finished, Peterson's family did not believe she said much to support a case for murder.
JANEY PETERSON, SISTER-IN-LAW: She testified to an affair. She testified to a man who was having an affair whose wife went missing. And you know...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's it, then.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not the star witness everyone says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's enough.
MATTINGLY: But the value of Amber Frey's testimony will be determined by the jury, in a still largely circumstantial case that accuses Scott Peterson of being much more than a lying, cheating husband.
ZAHN: That was David Mattingly.
Here to talk about Amber Frey's testimony, Mickey Sherman, a defense attorney, and Pam Hayes, a former prosecutor, who is now a defense attorney. Heavy on defense attorneys tonight.
How did Mark Geragos do, and why didn't he keep her on the stand longer?
MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think he did very well. I think everyone expected that he would beat up on her, that he would be mean and nasty and bring up her promiscuity and children out of wedlock. He stayed with his eyes on the prize, only focused on what he needed...
ZAHN: Come on, he hinted at her promiscuity, Mickey. Which trial are you watching? Come on.
SHERMAN: A hint is not the same as hammering the heck out of her.
ZAHN: A hint? He could not have made it more obvious, could he have?
PAM HAYES, FORMER PROSECUTOR: It was very clear what he was trying to do. He was trying to expose her as being someone who would do anything to get a man, that she was desperate, that once she's found a guy who possibly was available, she would do everything.
And then he went on to show that you know, "Hey, here she is, and she's cooperating with the police. She's been ditched and she's sad."
SHERMAN: She became undercover Amber. And she still couldn't get a confession out of the guy. Even that leading question, and is she missing, is your wife missing because you love me? I mean, there was no way out of 96 phone calls she could get an "I love you" out of the guy. OK, that's the motive evidence.
HAYES: He's a smart guy. But that's what the prosecution is trying to show.
ZAHN: I know. But is it working?
HAYES: Well, that's questionable. They need a little more. They really do. I mean, this helps them. They're in a much better position than they were before, but they need more.
ZAHN: Even with her as what you both believe was a weakened star witness?
SHERMAN: I don't think she moves the ball closer at all. She allows him to testify without getting on that witness stand. Through her, through her tapes, he is able to say, "I didn't kill my wife. I don't know who did, and I'm sorry she's gone."
ZAHN: What about the new fact that came out, that she admitted to only, what, one phone call where she was encouraged by him not to call the police?
SHERMAN: And where is that phone call?
HAYES: Yes. That's...
SHERMAN: How come we haven't heard that phone call? HAYES: That's troubling, because we need to hear. I suspect that the prosecution will bring on that phone call later on down the line...
ZAHN: Are you telling me, though, tonight that the prosecution is dead in the water just based on the testimony?
SHERMAN: No. It is -- no case that's dead in the water on either side. Believe me. But right now...
ZAHN: You've been there, haven't you, Sherman?
SHERMAN: Exactly. There are no slam-dunks on either side, but I think they need a little more than this to prove that the guy is a cheater, a liar, and a sleazy guy, to find -- to have a jury find him guilty of murder.
ZAHN: So you're sitting on the jury right now. What are you thinking tonight?
HAYES: If I'm on the jury, I'm not thinking for the people, I'm not thinking for the prosecution, because they haven't shown me that he did it. And that's what's really important.
What they have done is dirtied up Scott Peterson and made it appealing to the extent that we don't like him, so therefore he might have been able to do this.
So if they bring in their evidence, then the jury can put it together, say he's a cad, he's a nasty guy, he's coldhearted, deadpan, and he could have done it. But they need the information.
ZAHN: Isn't that where the circumstantial evidence leads some of these jurors?
SHERMAN: Circumstantial evidence is parts of a jigsaw puzzle. They don't have enough parts of a puzzle, and the parts that they have, the edges have been shaved a bit. They need something -- they need the hair that we always heard was going to be there. They need the proof of him actually being there physically with her, a witness.
ZAHN: All right. Are you convinced he didn't kill Laci Peterson?
SHERMAN: Absolutely not. If I was on the jury I'd probably -- I'd say he probably did. But probably is not and should not be beyond a reasonable doubt.
ZAHN: Would you represent him?
SHERMAN: Me? I -- Only if he is innocent.
ZAHN: Oh, no. Now we come back to...
SHERMAN: Everyone's entitled to...
ZAHN: That's right. You would perjure yourself if the guy admitted to you that he was guilty...
HAYES: Of course I would represent him. Absolutely. Why wouldn't you? You know, because even if he's guilty, he could take a plea.
But they have to prove their case. And that's what the prosecution is trying to do here.
ZAHN: Are we going to see a bombshell in the weeks to come?
SHERMAN: No, no. Only -- not a bombshell, maybe little grenades if he can get some good stuff, Geragos, that is. But there ain't no bombshells from the state in this case.
ZAHN: With the A team tonight, Mickey Sherman, Pam Hayes, two people that we hope we never have to get in trouble with, so we need your services. But you both do what you do so well.
Thank you for joining us tonight. Always good to see you.
That wraps it up for all of us here this evening. Tomorrow, your money. When it comes to homeland security, where is it really going? You're going to be surprised at what we found out.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Again, thanks for dropping by tonight. Now be good the rest of the night.
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