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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Interview With General Janis Karpinski; Former U.S. Spy Speaks Out
Aired January 12, 2005 - 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: Good evening, everybody. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
She has been blamed, but now she is firing back -- my exclusive interview with General Janis Karpinski, the commander in charge of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, where Iraqi prisoners were being abused.
Then, John le Carre and Ian Fleming made fortunes with their fictional spies. Tonight, you're going to meet the real thing, a former secret agent who spent more than a decade at the CIA, her life in the shadows and why she thinks women make better spies.
But we begin tonight with the nation's multistate weather crisis. If you're warm and dry, count yourself very lucky. Torrents of water from winter floods are eroding normally dry river beds in several Western states, carrying away anything built too close. These 21 freight cars fell into a flooded wash near Las Vegas.
Farther west, floods have forced Union Pacific to shut down five of the six rail lines it runs out of the Los Angeles Basin, affecting freight and passenger travel.
Well, the weather problems aren't confined to the Western states. Heavy fog is blamed for a 20-car pileup outside South Bend, Indiana. At least one person died in that mess.
And then near Lansing, Michigan, authorities report a series of foggy pileups involving nearly 100 vehicles. At least three people were killed there. State police had to close a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 96.
And in some parts of Ohio, the water is so deep, you can't see anything but the tops of flagpoles and perhaps the very tops of buildings, as you can see in this picture. Parts of Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky have been flooded since last week, when rain fell on ground already saturated by melted snow. And another storm is on the way.
Mexico is suffering, too. Mudslides in Tijuana have killed at least three people. More than 2,500 Tijuana residents have been forced out of their homes.
Of course, the hardest-hit state is California; 28 deaths are blamed on the weather so far. And in one little town, weary rescue crews aren't hoping it will go any higher.
ZAHN (voice-over): More than two days after part of a mountain literally fell on La Conchita, rescue crews are still digging, still finding air pockets and still hoping that, in one of these voids, someone will be waiting. Ten people have been pulled out alive, but the last one was Tuesday morning.
So far today, they've only found bodies, a mother and her three young children, bringing the death toll to 10. Their father, who wasn't home Monday because he had gone to get ice cream, had been helping the rescue crews.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michelle Wallet, Paloma Wallet.
ZAHN: At a town meeting with, they read the names of 10 La Conchita residents who were listed missing. It turned out four of them were in the audience. La Conchita also got a visit from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who praised the community's resolve.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: The people that live here in this community are very strong. That's what I noticed right away. The first things they said was, we'll be back.
ZAHN: The governor promised he would do all he can to make their wish come group.
ZAHN: The mud and destruction across California was caused by a series of nearly continuous rain storms, dumping 24 inches in some places. But now the forecast calls for clear skies through at least the weekend. And that should be some good news for people like Sergeant Frank Underlin of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. He is helping in the rescue area in La Conchita.
Welcome back, sir. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
How's your effort going tonight? You making any progress?
FRANK UNDERLIN, VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: We are.
We've made great progress today. The whole system is starting to come together very, very well. We have been able to get the excavators in. We've moved a tremendous amount of material. There's so much more to do, though. In some locations, though, we're still having to go by hand at a very slow pace whenever we come to a structure. But we've made very good progress today.
ZAHN: So what is to left be done?
UNDERLIN: Well, there's still a tremendous amount of material. I'd estimate that still there's at least 80 percent of soil still left to move. But we've been able to gain access to a number of vehicles and structures that have collapsed.
While we haven't found any victims today, as you mentioned, we found some late last night. So, we're still continuing. We still have confirmed missing people that we're looking for and we're actively searching for those. We've got volunteers who have been going for the last 12 hours, but they're still going just as hard today as they were yesterday and the day before.
ZAHN: And we understand your team believes, because of where the air pockets form in this mass of mud, people could potentially live for a week in these circumstances?
UNDERLIN: You're absolutely right.
What we're doing is taking safe precautions not to move any equipment up on top of the debris piles, because we don't want to crush that. So, in places like that, we're now starting to dig by hand right in the center of that hole to see if we can get an idea of possibly some other structures there with the hope and the prayers that they might still be there.
ZAHN: And I know it's been pretty discouraging news over the last 24 hours, but you really have a lot of hope, don't you, personally?
UNDERLIN: Yes, we do. And we had successes early and we're continuing to hope that we are going to have some more.
ZAHN: And I hear a lot of emotion in your voice, understandably so. I understand you haven't gotten any sleep in many days.
Give us a sense of the attitude of the community, as they watch you go through the painstaking process of trying to find their loved ones.
UNDERLIN: Well, the community been very, very good.
Like the governor mentioned, it's a very small community. Everybody knows everybody here. They're extremely supportive, but the emotions just run the gamut, and with our rescuers, too. They feel very connected to this community. So, it's going good, though. And they're going to continue to dig and we'll go through the night and for the next several days, obviously.
And it's very active. And we're having -- like I say, we're finding structures. We're finding vehicles and we're still digging.
ZAHN: What does it do to the heart and souls of your rescuers when you got bad news, like you got last night, that a mother was found with her three younger children, and they did not make it out alive?
UNDERLIN: Well, it's very difficult, because they see their own children in that same position, possibly themselves. But we have a task to do here. We have to confirm and find each person that we know is missing. And whether successful, whether they're alive or not, it's still our duty to get there and put this thing to bed.
ZAHN: And, finally, what difference did it make to all of you to know that Governor Schwarzenegger had toured the area and offered his support?
UNDERLIN: Well, it's always good obviously to see that the lead person of our state here, just so he can see first-hand and support us. And he was able to touch base with a number of our rescuers. And we sincerely appreciate that.
We know he's there anyway. But for him to take the time to come down and look first-hand is a huge morale boost for anybody.
ZAHN: Well, we know it's terribly difficult, what you have got to do. And we wish you the best of luck, sir. Thank you. And I hope you do get good news here in the days to come.
UNDERLIN: Thank you.
ZAHN: Mr. Underlin, thanks again.
Please stay with us, because there's much more ahead tonight, including why the most intensive weapons hunt in history has come up empty.
ZAHN (voice-over): Iraq was an imminent threat to our security.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was a brutal dictator who posed a threat.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: He had capability. He had intent.
ZAHN: But whatever happened to those weapons of mass destruction?
And in the shadow world of espionage, it isn't all chase scenes and shoot-outs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the end of the day, the CIA is a lot of people in sensible shoes sitting in cubicles.
ZAHN: This spy was trained to lure, to lie, to slip away. Tonight, she tells us the secrets of the trade -- all that and more as PAULA ZAHN NOW continues.
ZAHN: A dog's sense of smell is 1,000 times more sensitive than ours. That's why, when disasters shatter buildings, trapping people under the wreckage, rescuers call on specially trained dogs to save lives.
And after the attacks on 9/11, dogs searched for survivors under an eight-story pile of rubble at the World Trade Center. And for the past two weeks, they've been busy searching for victims of the tsunamis in Asia. And just this week in California, search dogs are on the job hunting for signs of life under piles of mud and debris.
Joining me now from La Conchita is rescue worker Debra Tosch and her search dog, Abby.
Thank you so much for joining us at this very challenging time.
So, Debra, what kind of help can Abby give you that a fellow colleague cannot?
DEBRA TOSCH, RESCUE WORKER: Well, what Abby brings to the search for the people missing right now is her sense of smell.
The people that we cannot see because they are buried beneath the mud and the debris, Abby has a chance of smelling them and then staying there and barking, letting us know that there is someone that is alive underneath all of that rubble.
ZAHN: And once she alerts you to that, then what do you do?
TOSCH: Well, then, at that point, my job is almost finished. I just go up and I give Abby her tug toy, which is her reward.
And then, I just basically mark the area and let my search team manager know. And that's when the rescue personnel can start their job.
ZAHN: Have you had any luck over the last 48 hours or so in recovering anyone?
TOSCH: Well, I was actually working the night shift last night, and we did spend time searching on the pile. And we were -- actually, there was very short searches at a time.
And what we did do is bring a lot of hope to the families that were out there. When they see the dogs out there working, it gives them hope. And it doesn't matter if we're there on day one or whether we're there on day three. Our job is to treat every single day like it's day one.
ZAHN: And the most amazing thing about the sense of hope you're talking about is, it is based in reality. We were talking with a rescue workers who said that it is conceivable that someone could live trapped in the pile for up to seven days if the air pocket forms in the right place.
TOSCH: Absolutely. And that's what keeps us going. And that's where the training that we receive at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation comes in. It gets us used to working these long hours and continuing to watch the dogs and be able to communicate to the rescue personnel, you know, when they need to go into action.
ZAHN: I can see just, by the way you're petting Abby, how close a relationship the two of you have. Do the dogs sense the danger at all?
TOSCH: No. To Abby, she's just going out there and doing what she was trained to do. We have a Web site that tells you what these dogs, their capabilities are and how they can train. And a lot of people, they go to that and they call us and they ask us a lot of questions, which we're able to answer for them.
But all of the dogs that are out here today searching for those people that are buried alive were trained by the Search Dog Foundation.
ZAHN: And what is the Web site we all can log on to, Debra?
TOSCH: Oh, it's www.SearchDogFoundation.org.
ZAHN: All right. We will make a note of that. And I'm sure people watching would be interested in learning more.
Well, good luck to you and Abby. We know -- we mentioned at the top that you also were involved in rescue work on 9/11.
TOSCH: That is correct.
ZAHN: Very, very important, what you're doing. Good luck, Debra.
TOSCH: Well, it's a labor of love. Thank you so much.
ZAHN: And we can see that in all of the work that you all are doing out there.
And in the search for the victims of the La Conchita mudslide, help has come from a very unlikely source.
Sean Callebs has that part of the story.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chew it up, ladies.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was among the first rescue workers to respond to the La Conchita mudslide.
RUBY BETH CORTEZ, INMATE: We seen all the mud on top of all the houses. We were wondering how many houses got torn apart. And we seen all the victims, the families and all that.
CALLEBS: But 19-year-old Ruby Beth Cortez didn't come from a nearby fire station or emergency services unit. Cortez is a prisoner at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, arrested off and on since she was 13. At 16, a felony drew a three-year sentence.
CORTEZ: Stealing cars. I carjacked a victim.
CALLEBS: Orange jumpsuits like Ruby Beth's are everywhere amid the piles of rubble and debris. The people wearing them are all convicted felons and all part of a California program that dates back to the 1940s.
Chief Stephen Heill says, for many, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
STEPHEN HEILL, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY: They've grown up in gangs. And some of the family influences haven't been good. It gives them a chance to see that they can do something positive.
CALLEBS: Officials say criteria for the conservation camp program are tough. Cortez and all others are trained to fight California's notorious wildfires. They also work on floods and disasters like this mudslide.
Dwayne Johnson is the camp administrator. He's seen hardened enemies bond work shoulder to shoulder help the community and themselves.
DWAYNE JOHNSON, CALIFORNIA YOUTH AUTHORITY: If you teach someone how to work hard, a lot of times, they get self-esteem. They become positive about what they can do and they start setting goals.
CALLEBS: The felons are paid mostly in sunshine, getting out doors. They also get $1 a day. For Cortez, thinking about her 2- year-old daughter is also incentive.
CORTEZ: I've only seen her twice. So, every day, like, it pushes me to do better and learn more things, so I can teach her when she grows up.
CALLEBS: The felons will be back on the job tomorrow, scratching through the dirt and trying to save a life. And it could very well be their own.
ZAHN: Interesting part of the story that I wasn't aware of, until at least today. And that was Sean Callebs reporting for us tonight.
And it has been nearly two years since President Bush sent American troops into Iraq to seize weapons of mass destruction. And today, it became official. There aren't any. The search is over, and the hunt for WMDs ends with a whimper -- after this.
ZAHN: After almost 22 months, the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is over. It ended without fanfare last month and it ended with only one surprise. The long search was fruitless.
ZAHN: It was one of the main rationales for invading Iraq.
BUSH: Saddam Hussein must fully disclose and destroy his weapons of mass destruction. He must submit to any and all methods to verify his compliance. His cooperation must be prompt and unconditional.
ZAHN: But the U.S. didn't buy Iraq's denials. Even as coalition forces were rolling toward Baghdad in March of 2003, U.S. troops were searching bunkers and weapons depots. There was never a smoking gun.
And quietly, just before Christmas of 2004, the search finally ended.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: They've simply run out of leads. There's nowhere left to look for those WMD stockpiles in Iraq, so no more physical searches. Perhaps a little more political attention will be paid to this now. But it's really a case of putting the final line under this problem, no WMD in Iraq.
ZAHN: As the painstaking search of postwar Iraq proved fruitless, it became clear that Saddam Hussein wasn't the only problem. U.S. intelligence gathering was flawed.
STARR: One of the great unanswered questions, of course, is how the intelligence could have been so wrong. It was former CIA Director George Tenet that reportedly called it a so-called slam-dunk that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Now, almost two years later, perhaps a slum-thud.
ZAHN: Flawed intelligence, not missing weapons, was the problem they wanted to talk about at the White House today.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We need to go back and look at what was wrong with much of the intelligence that we had accumulated over a 12-year period and that our allies had accumulated over that same period of time and correct any flaws.
ZAHN: One thing hasn't changed.
MCCLELLAN: Based on what we know today, the president would have taken the same action, because this is about protecting the American people.
ZAHN: No weapons of mass destruction and no regrets either.
ZAHN: So what might have happened if there hadn't been a war? Well, some experts say it might have been possible for Saddam Hussein to assemble a nuclear weapon in four to five years, although others say it would have taken much longer than that. Biological weapons would have been difficult, too. They require a very specific set of lab procedures and a stable environment.
But the one thing Saddam Hussein might have developed is an arsenal of chemical weapons, since fertilizers and other chemicals can be altered for lethal use.
And, of course, there are just 17 days to go until the Iraq election. We don't have to remind you of what it was like when there were only 17 days left until the recent election here in the U.S.
And, as Jeff Koinange shows us, the contrast in preelection atmosphere is remarkable.
JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's election season in Iraq. But you'd be hard-pressed to feel it in the capital streets of the capital, Baghdad. Here, the only faint signs a campaign is under way, posters, sometimes mixed in with glossies of football stars, and banners proclaiming the various candidates and parties.
(on camera): There are hardly any political rallies and very few candidates going around pressing the flesh, none of the usual campaign buzz and certainly none of the euphoria you would expect of a country coming out of four decades of dictatorship.
(voice-over): Iraq's interim government insists the vote will go on as planned, despite incessant attacks by an insurgency that is determined to sabotage the vote.
IYAD ALLAWI, IRAQI INTERIM PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We will not allow the terrorists to derail this process here in Iraq.
KOINANGE: But some here question the safety of voting, given the present climate, like Haysar Alyman, a mother of two and a long-term employee of Iraq Airways, also a member of the centuries-long minority ruling class here. She knows the Sunnis are likely to lose that status. She'd like to vote, but feels the streets are just not safe enough.
HAYSAR ALYMAN, IRAQI CITIZEN (through translator): I have to think 100 times before going out. I'm scared because of the explosions that might happen. There's nothing here that can protect us. And life is precious. I won't go to vote because I'm scared.
KOINANGE: But there are very few safety assurances for potential Iraqi voters.
LT. GENERAL THOMAS METZ, MULTINATIONAL FORCE COMMANDER: I can't guarantee every person in Iraq that wants to vote goes to a polling booth and can do that safety.
KOINANGE: In one of Baghdad's many tea rooms, waiter Nabil Hashim (ph), a member of the Shiite majority, says he refuses to be held hostage to the ongoing violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are not scared. We are used to this. We have a religious pronouncement that says, go vote even if you'll die.
KOINANGE: The Shiites' highest ranking spiritual leader, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has urged his followers to vote in the January 30 poll. Father of four Ismael Kaismiel (ph), a Sunni, says it's time the country united after decades of division. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Sunni or Shiite, it doesn't matter. We are all brothers.
KOINANGE: Against a backdrop of violence, Nabil Hashim perhaps best sums the feelings of those determined to have their voice heard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's the first time we're voting in 35 years. For many years, we were forced to vote for one person. If we didn't, the next day we would have been taken away. Now, if you want to say yes, no, it's up to you.
KOINANGE: Perhaps not the ideal conditions for a new democracy. Fear and uncertainty have long ruled and may still keep Iraqis away from the polls on Election Day.
ZAHN: That was Jeff Koinange reporting for us from Baghdad.
Well, that brings us to our PZN meter of the day. Will the Iraq elections actually take place on January 30 as scheduled? Give us your opinion at CNN.com/Paula. The results a little bit later on in this hour.
And it's not often a high-ranking Army officer rakes the military over the coals, at least not in public. But you're about to see an exception. A brigadier general relieved of her duties blamed in the Abu Ghraib scandal is lashing out at her superiors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIG. GEN. JANIS KARPINSKI, COMMANDER, 800TH MILITARY POLICE BRIGADE: He was told to look for a reason to get Janis Karpinski and the 800th M.P. Brigade. And nobody will ever convince me of anything differently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: My exclusive interview with Brigadier General Janis Karpinski right after this.
ZAHN: At Fort Hood, Texas today, the defense started making its case in the court-martial of specialist Charles Graner, the former Abu Ghraib prison guard who is accused of being the ringleader in Abusing Iraqi prisoners. The defense said Graner was only following orders when cameras caught him and others humiliating and beating up prisoners.
Well on the stand today, the top non-commissioned officer in Graner's unit testified that Graner often failed to follow instructions, testimony that could undermine his defense.
Graner is one of seven enlisted personnel charged in the scandal. But what about the officers above him? The military investigation into the abuse came down heavily on the commander of Abu Ghraib, Brigadier General Janice Karpinski. And she spoke with me in an interview you can see it here only on CNN.
BRIG. GEN. JANICE KARPINSKI, U.S. ARMY RESERVES: Now, I was offended by those photographs. I was sickened by those photographs the first time I saw them at the end of January 2004. I could not understand what would make soldiers behave in such a manner. And I know that they don't decide, on their own, to get up and change everything about their training, abandon what they know to be right and decent, and take actions like this on their own. So, do I think that they were ordered to do this? That's my belief, yes.
ZAHN (voice-over): Brigadier General Janice Karpinski claims she didn't order her soldiers to soften up detainees. That her soldiers were corrupted by influence outside her command and the Abuse at Abu Ghraib was kept hidden from her.
In June of 2003, the insurgency against the U.S. occupation was already under way. Karpinski was put in charge of all 17 U.S. detention centers in Iraq. Abu Ghraib was one of her prisons, run by the 800th Military Police Brigade, a reserve unit.
Karpinski has served in the Army or the reserves for the last 25 years, has won a bronze star and served in special forces and the military police. But she had no prior experience in running prisons when she arrived in Iraq, and was given command of some 3,400 soldiers.
(on camera): And you were in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison at that time?
KARPINSKI: Not correct. My MP's were certainly doing the detention operations. But in November of 2003, without any coordination whatsoever, the prison, Abu Ghraib only, was transferred from the military police brigade to the M.I. Brigade. The whole prison.
ZAHN (voice-over): The Abuse of prisoners is believed to have happened in October and November of 2003. But even in November, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General Ricardo Sanchez says, he transferred only the interrogation operation to M.I.: Military intelligence, the rest was still under Karpinski's military police command.
GEN. RICARDO SANCHEZ, U.S. ARMY: The prison operations remained with the 800 brigade commander. And there was never a time General Karpinski surfaced to me any objections to that tactical control order.
ZAHN: A central question is whether Karpinski's military police soldiers were taking order from military intelligence at the time of these photos.
I asked Ken Davis, who was at Abu Ghraib in the 800th Military Police Brigade. He is No. 2 in this photo.
KEN DAVIS, 800TH MILITARY POLICE BRIGADE: It was explicit. It was told to us military intelligence is in charge of this compound.
ZAHN: But a former military intelligence interrogator gave me a different answer. Roman Krol is No. 1 in this photo.
ROMAN KROL, FRM. ABU GHRAIB INTERROGATOR: That's probably their only line of defense, to blame everything on military intelligence. What happened here was obviously directed by MP's.
Karpinski vehemently denies this.
ZAHN (on camera): You actually claim there was a conspiracy to introduce torture at Abu Ghraib. Whose conspiracy?
KARPINSKI: I don't know.
ZAHN: What would be their motivation for doing that, though?
KARPKINSKI: Because they had been so successful apparently in Guantanamo Bay in extracting information from these so-called terrorists or associates, that they were trying to apply the same techniques at Abu Ghraib.
And, remember, Saddam Hussein was still out there. We hadn't captured him yet. There was a lot of pressure being placed on the M.I. Brigade, military intelligence brigade commander, to get more and better information. He had a finger from General Sanchez poked in his chest, telling him, I want more information. You find Saddam.
And if you put enough pressure on an individual, no matter what their rank, they're going to do whatever it takes to get you what you're asking for.
ZAHN: So you're saying the torture grew out of internal pressure to get more information out of these detainees?
ZAHN (voice-over): Pressures were a factor. Investigators still fault Karpinski for not preventing the abuse.
(on camera): If you had done your job differently, if you had visited that prison more, you don't think you could have stopped those activities?
KARPINSKI: Well, I can tell you this: that if a soldier or commander, whether under my command or out there doing other work at Abu Ghraib had suggested to me, hinted to me, dropped a note to me, told my aide or my security guy, General Karpinski needs to be with aware of this, or this is what I heard is going on, I would have investigated it immediately myself. And I would have stopped it. It wouldn't have happened on my watch.
ZAHN: But no matter what you say about how vigilant you were, in your operation of these facilities, you had General Taguba come out with a stinging report. And here's what he had to say about your leadership at Abu Ghraib.
MAJ. GEN. ANTONIO TAGUBA, U.S. ARMY: I held her accountable and responsible not exclusively and solely for the Abuse cases there at Abu Ghraib, but the context of her leadership, the lack of leadership on her part, overall in terms of her training, the standards, supervisory omission, the command climate in her brigade.
ZAHN: Do you concede?
KARPINSKI: I do not.
ZAHN: That you were a poor manager?
KARPINSKI: Absolutely not. Here are people, all of them, that never knew Janice Karpinski before, never knew my career. And him talking about I failed to train them, my leadership abilities were poor, or non-existent, he didn't know what we were facing, because he was told to look for a reason to get Janice Karpinski and the 800th M.P. Brigade. And nobody will ever convince me of anything differently.
ZAHN: Why would he want to scapegoat you?
KARPINSKI: Well, perhaps he was encouraged to -- to put this situation, with these photographs to rest as quickly as possible.
ZAHN: But you're a smart woman. You've been in the Army for ages. Is this part of some kind of political plot that you were victimized by?
KARPINSKI: I think that's always a possibility.
ZAHN: And for what purpose?
ZAHN: To make someone a four star general?
KARPINSKI: Perhaps. Or to ensure there were no other females that got this idea that women could serve in a combat zone equally well, or perhaps I was a convenient scapegoat because I was a reservist. And after all, no matter what they did to me, I was going to go back to my comfortable civilian life, as they saw it, because I was not active duty. Why wasn't he ordered to do an investigation on how did this happen? He was ordered to do an investigation on Karpinski.
ZAHN (voice-over): Since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal came to light, Brigadier General Janice Karpinski has driven a vigorous campaign to salvage her reputation.
(on camera): Do you think you were a good leader?
KARPINSKI: Absolutely. Does anybody believe whether they were active duty or previous military experience, do they think that Janice Karpinski was selected for promotion to brigadier general because why? I was at the right place at the right time?
I took the challenging jobs, I took the toughest jobs. I had a -- in 2001, in April, I had a fire in my home, it destroyed 60 percent of the house. I never missed an hour of reserve duty time. I had a hurricane in South Carolina and the island evacuated. I never missed even so much as a minute of active duty time with the reserve components.
My husband fell from the roof, broke his leg in three places, both of his arms and his elbows and I would throw him in the back of the truck and take him to wherever I needed to go, because I felt an obligation to do my duty and do it the best with of my abilities.
ZAHN: Do you suspect you'll be spending the rest of your life defending your actions, as the person overseeing all these facilities during this brutal war in Iraq?
KARPINSKI: If I was such a terrible leader, why was I given high profile missions? Why was Saddam Hussein turned over to my control? You don't do that with people that you have serious doubts about.
ZAHN: When I hear you speak, not only do I hear anger, but I hear a lot of hurt in your voice.
KARPINSKI: Well, I -- look, I served in the United States Army, whether as active component officer or reservist for years. And I, like those soldiers, feel that everything good that was done was intentionally washed away over these photographs. And it is a terrible miscarriage of justice.
ZAHN (voice-over): Karpinski was suspended from her position. And Ricardo Sanchez, who was then the top general in Iraq, has now gone back to his command in Germany, with diminished prospects for high profile command.
(on camera) What are the implication of your being suspended?
KARPINSKI: They have to make a decision, they being people in Washington D.C., and the chief of the different components. Anybody that can spell the future for Janice Karpinski, they'll all get a vote.
And I'd like to believe that people will not be -- will not be afraid to do the right thing.
ZAHN: And what is the right thing?
KARPINSKI: They need to restore me to my position as the commander of the 800th M.P. brigade. They need to put me back with my soldiers. And I will work on getting my respect back, because I can do that.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: When we asked the Army for comment about Karpinski's allegations, we were given this statement: "There still remain ongoing Army and Department of Defense investigations into allegations of detainee abuse. The federal government doesn't comment on pending investigations."
But an Army spokeswoman also pointed out today Major General Taguba's findings have been validated by subsequent investigations. General Taguba is traveling this week, not available for comment for us.
American forces are hard at work helping tsunami victims, but one nation is getting ready to roll up the welcome mat. That story when we come back.
ZAHN: The nation hit hardest by the tsunamis is already talking about sending U.S. and other foreign troops home. And the White House wants to know why. And so do some of the survivors.
John King has been talking with some of them in Banda Aceh, on the island of Sumatra, a place famous for some of the world's finest coffees.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aceh coffee is a point of pride here, a tradition not to be rushed and meant to be savored.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): First, it is the coffee beans; second how we brew it. Third, we serve it with a friendly note, like a family.
KING: Nitin Nawali (ph) says more than half of his shop's regulars are gone. But business is good, in part because of all the newcomers suddenly in Aceh for the tsunami relief effort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If foreigners come with goodwill, our spirits will arise and we can recover, as long as there are no other intentions.
KING: Three years for clean up and reconstruction, he predicts, if the government has international help. But the morning paper suggests the welcome may wear out sooner.
Indonesia's president talks of tighter controls, perhaps no foreign troops by late March, 10 weeks from now. And the government says aid groups will have to prove their presence in Aceh is necessary. Too soon, Natsar (ph) says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If possible when the city is restored, they leave, maybe in a year or two.
KING: He crews a fishing boat but no work since the tsunami. Like most here, he gets nervous when asked if the government is wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I can't answer that. But when the economy is better, he'll tell them to leave.
KING: Aceh had been off limits to most foreigners since 2003, part of the government movement to contain the independence movement here.
The robust military presence is common. Faces like these are not. And aide groups since day one have expected the military to limit the mixing of foreigners into Aceh's already delicate political climate.
(on camera) "Don't leave Aceh," the sign says. It's a sentiment heard over and over again on the streets and in the shops, suggesting potential trouble for the Indonesian government here if it kicks out the foreign troops and the foreign aid workers before the job is done.
(voice-over) Abdul Hakman's (ph) shop was destroyed, business slow at the temporary storefront set up at his home. He says Aceh was better before the tight travel restrictions and is desperate now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We won't be happy if they are told to leave. They should stay here to help. We don't have enough people or resources. We need help.
KING: This cook at first won't talk when asked if the government might be in too much of a rush. A moment later, "Help us, OK," he says, "foreigners help Indonesia, OK?" Then back to the wok. Enough mixing work and politics.
ZAHN: And that was John King reporting from Banda Aceh in Indonesia.
Coming up next, this may not be Hollywood's image of a CIA spy. But when it comes to espionage, she wrote the book, and she'll spill some of her undercover secrets right after this.
ZAHN: Even though the CIA has been in the spotlight since 9/11 and the war in Iraq, its inner workings are a mystery. But this week, we're getting a rare look inside the nation's spy agency, thanks to an ex-spy who spent more than a decade there. And she's telling her story in a book called "Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy."
And she spoke with national security correspondent David Ensor.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new challenge Lindsay Moran faces is not unusual: motherhood. But until 2003 her very unusual challenge was convincing foreigners to commit treason.
(on camera) Do you believe that women make better spies than men?
LINDSAY MORAN, AUTHOR, "BLOWING MY COVER": I do think women make better spies. Because I think that women are and have been from an early age conditioned to listen. And as a spy, a lot of what you're doing is listening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lindsay Moran.
ENSOR (voice-over): On the day after she delivered the commencement address to her senior class at Harvard in 1991, Lindsay Moran first contacted the CIA about a job.
They sent her to The Farm, the secret CIA training school outside Williamsburg, Virginia.
MORAN: That was actually incredibly fun. It was like a two month Outward Bound experience.
ENSOR: They jumped out of airplanes. They practiced recruiting spies.
(on camera) OK, so you invite man to a restaurant for lunch, and here we are.
ENSOR: What is that man thinking?
MORAN: Nine times out of 10, he's probably thinking that you're hitting on him. And that's OK at the beginning, and that's one of the reasons why I think women make very effective case officers. It's a lot easier as a young woman to ask a man out to lunch or to coffee, and for it to seem perfectly natural.
ENSOR (voice-over): At CIA training school, Lindsay learned to drive with a sixth sense, tracking other cars which might be following her.
MORAN: If you can't tell when you're being followed, you're not going to be a very effective spy.
ENSOR: She learned to watch out for five, six or seven different cars that might all be helping to track her on her way to meet with an agent.
MORAN: I would often be wearing a skirt or shorts, and sometimes I would take notes of license plates and car makes and models that I saw right on my thigh. Because I could be pretty sure that I wasn't going to be strip-searched by the CIA instructors.
ENSOR: Lindsay learned to make left turns and u-turns frequently so as to force the followers to do the same and to expose themselves.
The movie "The Recruit," she says, captures pretty well the atmosphere at the CIA Farm.
AL PACINO, ACTOR: We're going to hand you the tools. The black arts. Not witchcraft, trade craft.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready, fire!
ENSOR (on camera): Hollywood presents the career you had as an enormously glamorous and dangerous profession. Is it?
MORAN: No. On both counts.
ENSOR (voice-over): The beautiful spy on "Alias," the one with the James Bond gadgets, that's far from reality, she says.
MORAN: At the end of the day, the CIA is a lot of people in sensible shoes, sitting in cubicles.
ENSOR: Lindsay Moran worked for the CIA in Macedonia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. She worked on the Iraq desk at CIA headquarters during the Iraq invasion. But already, she had doubts about her chosen profession.
MORAN: I did have a deep level of discomfort, even with the profession of being a spy and leading a sort of double life and using people and lying to everyone who was close to me.
ENSOR: And gradually, too, she lost her faith in the CIA.
(on camera) Do you think it's an organization that is broken at this point?
MORAN: Yes. I guess I do. I don't have the answers as to how the agency can adequately infiltrate terrorist networks or combat terrorism. I feel that the agency has been incredibly slow to respond.
ENSOR (voice-over): So now Lindsay Moran has written a book. Some at the CIA regard that as a betrayal as sorts. She knows that well.
MORAN: It's not a threat to write a book about a dysfunctional intelligence organization. It's a threat to have a dysfunctional intelligence organization. And that was my ultimate conclusion.
ENSOR: Lindsay Moran, author, former spy, future mother.
ZAHN: Fascinating. David Ensor, reporting.
Coming up next, more on the extreme weather that has caused havoc out West. It is now moving across the country. The latest when we come back.
ZAHN: Before we go, we have the latest from the California mudslide and other winter disasters. The painstaking rescue effort continues in La Conchita, California, the scene of Monday's massive mudslide. And within the past hours, authorities announced they will spend at least another full day trying to find anyone buried alive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF BOB ROPER, VENTURA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: We're going to continue in a rescue mode until Thursday night where we'll reassess the situation again. What we're doing is reassessing the rescue situation daily, because as long as we can continue to find voids under the pile, it means that there could be somebody still trapped in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger flew to La Conchita today and declared a state of emergency, which opens the door for state disaster money. Ten people are dead, six missing because of Monday's mudslide.
And the stormy weather is moving east. As the warm wet air moves over snowy ground it causes fog, which causes lots of accidents. Multi-vehicle pileups are reported in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
And the violent weather and natural disasters dominating the headlines may have you wondering what the heck is going on. And my colleague, Aaron Brown and the team at "NEWSNIGHT" are trying to answer that question.
Aaron joins me now. Hi, Aaron.
AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": Hi, Paula. Thank you.
The California story is a heartbreaker, isn't it?
Well, you take what's going on out there, the rain and the snow in parts of California, throw in one of the worst hurricane seasons in memory, more tornadoes last summer, far more, in fact, than normal. And we're all asking what's going on with the weather and nature generally.
So we'll take a look at that tonight, "EXTREME WEATHER." An hour looking at the drama, the sorrow and the science of the weather tonight on "NEWSNIGHT."
ZAHN: We'll be there for you. Thanks, Aaron.
BROWN: Thank you.
ZAHN: And here's our "PZM Meter" result. Tonight's question, will the Iraq elections take place on January 30 as scheduled? Sixty percent of you said yes. Forty percent said no. That is our web site opinion survey. Not very scientific but a reflection of those of you who bothered to log on. And that is it for our show tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. Tomorrow, a special look at forensic science. Just how accurate is the crime lab? Join us for "CNN PRESENTS: INVESTIGATION, REASONABLE DOUBT." Can crime labs be trusted? That's tomorrow night.
But tonight "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Again, thanks for joining us tonight.
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