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North Korea Conducts Second Nuclear Test?; Should Iraqis Vote on U.S. Withdrawal?

Aired October 10, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everybody. Thank you for joining us.
We start off the night with some breaking news, new signs that North Korea's nuclear test perhaps wasn't a total success. Can the crisis be defused before they try again?

And a brand-new bulletin now coming from the Associated Press -- we are told that Japan's Foreign Ministry is now saying that their government suspects that North Korea has conducted a second nuclear test.

Now, this all gets very, very confusing, because Associated Press is also reporting that South Korean officials now say that seismic monitors did not detect any tremors that could indicate possible -- a possible second North Korean nuclear test.

We are going to try to make sense of all of this, as we get more details, but, once again, those twin reports that we are trying to make sense of.

Meanwhile, a day of death in Iraq, followed by a night of explosions in Baghdad. We're going to explore a very controversial exit strategy, letting Iraqis vote on whether the U.S. should stay.

Plus, we move on to the question of who is smarter, men or women? Brand-new study out, and we will debate that with you.

Let's quickly get back to our "Top Story" tonight.

Let's check in with Dan Rivers, our correspondent on the ground, who joins us from Seoul, North Korea.

Dan, what can you tell us about this report that we shared with our audience just about 30 seconds ago that the Japanese government is saying that they believe that North Korea has actually conducted a second test?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is coming from the Japanese Foreign Ministry that, as you say they, think that they have picked up some sort of seismic activity indicating a second test.

We have been trying to confirm that here in Seoul from the Blue House, which is the equivalent of the White House here, from the presidential office. They are saying at the moment there are no signs that they have picked up of any seismic activity or -- or a second test.

But the speculation has been all along, that, if they had carried out one nuclear test, then, there is a possibility it may be part of a series of tests.

We already know from sources that have talked to a Korean newspaper speaking to officials in Beijing, saying that they said that the first test was smaller in scale than they expected. It may be that that was because they started with something small, and then were building up.

At the moment, we can't confirm any of this. But this is bound to heighten tensions here on the Korean Peninsula.


RIVERS (voice-over): Measuring underground blasts from hundreds of miles away is not easy, but more than a day after North Korea's test, there is still confusion as to what really happened, whether the blast could have been a nuclear device that didn't perform up to expectations.

Now the question, will there be a second test?

CHON JAE HONG, NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO AUSTRALIA: It would depend on national interest and security of our nation.

RIVERS: And why did they test in the first place?

CHON: We are under extreme threat of United States, of the nuclear war.

RIVERS: Kim Jong Il's regime is notoriously secretive, but this is what unnamed North Korean officials have told the South Korean news agency Yonhap: "We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes."

Meanwhile, a South Korean newspaper, "Hankyoreh," quotes an official saying the test was "an expression of our intention to face the United States across the negotiating table."

In the past, this is where crucial talks between the north and south have taken place, Panmunjom, right in the heart of the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea.

I took a tour of this sensitive border area, now the focus of a global crisis.

(on camera): You get a real feeling of the proximity of the North Koreans right here. It's just over there. You can see where those mountains are. That is North Korea. That's how close these two opposing armies are. And this is what they have been like for the last 50 years, facing each other off through the razor wire.

(voice-over): You can just make out North Korean villages on the other side, cut off from the outside world. Only a handful of roads cross the border. This river crossing heading north has been named Unification Bridge.

(on camera): Obviously, the -- the army not particularly happy about us filming here. And it has raised tensions, and very sensitive here.

So, we will have to -- to get out the way. But you can see, this is as far as most people are allowed to go.

(voice-over): Next stop, a section of fence that has become the focal point for a nation.

People in South Korea are angry and anxious about the tests. Their country is reconsidering its so-called sunshine policy of engagement with its northern neighbor, with China signaling it may back sanctions. As this crisis deepens, the barrier that divides the two Koreas seems greater than ever.

Dan Rivers, CNN, on the border of North and South...


ZAHN: Now, Dan, once again, I want to go back to the breaking news, with one report suggesting that the Japanese Foreign Ministry believes a second nuclear test has been done -- Associated Press now saying a South Korea official denies that.

Help us better understand how long it's going to take to confirm this one way or the other.

RIVERS: Well, it should be fairly quick.

There are seismic sensors all around the globe that can pick this up. The first test was felt as far away as Wyoming, Nevada, even Australia. So, if they have conducted a second test, we should, within the hour, really, start to get a whole stream of confirmation coming in from various testing centers.

One of the bodies that monitors the nonproliferation of nuclear technology I think has 337 separate monitoring sites around the world. So, they involve not only seismic monitors. They involve things under the sea, sensors to pick up radioactivity. So, there are plenty of ways that they can pick up this test, if it has happened.

ZAHN: Dan Rivers, thanks so much for the update.

Right now, we quickly check in with Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon.

Jamie, I know you have been working fast and furiously to try to see what the U.S. government is saying about these reports.

As Dan was speaking, I was just handed a piece of wire copy that says now that the Reuters News Agency is saying that U.S. officials cannot corroborate the report of a possible second North Korean nuclear test.

What do you hear?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, we have been checking this since the report first came from the Japanese Foreign Ministry. And, so far, we have no confirmation either, although I will tell you that, earlier this morning, I spoke to a U.S. intelligence official, who said that the U.S. had seen no preparations for a second test, but would -- quote -- and he said -- quote -- "While we're not expecting it, it would not come as a total surprise," the idea that North Korea might try a second test.

But, at this point, all of the sources that we have checked, both in Korea, in the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, and with -- here at the Pentagon, are still checking out this report. And we have nothing to confirm it either.

But, again, it was always thought that having had a -- less than a full success with this first test, that North Korea might try again.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): While the intelligence is not yet conclusive, the United States believes North Korea did in fact test a nuclear device in a northeast mountain tunnel Monday, and that something went wrong, resulting in a much smaller-than-expected blast, according to a government official with access to classified U.S. intelligence.

The official tells CNN that North Korea informed China before the test it intended to conduct a test in the 4-kiloton range. But, based on seismic monitoring, the U.S. puts the actual yield at only one-half a kiloton, or 500 tons. In fact, some evidence indicates it may have been as small as 200 tons. That strongly suggests at least a partial failure.

A North Korean diplomat is quoted in a South Korean paper as admitting the test was on a smaller scale than expected, but insisting it was still a success.

PETER ZIMMERMAN, KING'S COLLEGE, LONDON: You don't tell your people, by the way, the Dear Leader's nuclear experts goofed, and we really didn't get the yield we wanted. You tell everybody that, whatever you got, that's what you wanted to get.

MCINTYRE: The U.S. cautions, it has not yet confirmed it was a nuclear blast. Air samples collected by specially equipped U.S. Air Force plans flying out of Japan will help provide that answer, looking for telltale signs of any radioactivity.

But Pentagon sources say the U.S. military has only a limited role to play in responding to the North Korean test. There are, sources say, no plans for military action, because there are no good targets that could set back North Korea's nuclear program, without sparking all-out war on the Korean Peninsula, something that would risk an estimated one million casualties. Stiff sanctions, like the ones now being discussed by the United Nations Security Council, appear to be the only real option.

ASHTON CARTER, FORMER CLINTON ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY: They really do need to be made to feel the consequences of this last action, if we are going to have any chance of turning this situation around.


ZAHN: All right, Jamie, back to the news that you reported at the top of the report.

You are trying to get a confirmation from U.S. officials of -- of these Japanese Foreign Ministry reports that they believe there has been a potential second nuclear test. What are U.S. officials going have to do to confirm this?

MCINTYRE: Well, you know it should be, as Dan said, fairly easy to confirm, if in fact it took place, at least that some sort of an event took place.

But I would point out a couple of things. One is, unlike the first test, which North Korea announced well ahead of time, and also gave prior notice to China, this one would be unannounced.

So, it seems like that might be slightly out of character, since North Korea is trying to make a point of these tests. And, at this point, we just have no confirmation that -- that a second test has taken place, even though U.S. intelligence has indicated that, were there a second test, it wouldn't be a total surprise.

ZAHN: And, even as you speak, Jamie, the Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. Geological Survey has said it has not detected any new seismic -- seismic activity in North Korea.

Jamie, please stand by, with Dan Rivers, because I know you will be working the phones and trying to get new information. When you have it available, we will come back to you.

But, right now, we are going to move on to a "Top Story" panel, Graham Allison, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration -- he's now with Harvard's Kennedy School of Government -- former CIA officer Gary Berntsen, author of "Jawbreaker," and Jim Walsh, an international security analyst at MIT.

Great to see all of you.

Gary, we heard Jamie report that U.S. officials wouldn't be surprised if the second test took place, but he found -- they found it a little bit odd it wouldn't be announced. What do you think we're looking at here?

GARY BERNTSEN, AUTHOR, "JAWBREAKER: THE ATTACK ON BIN LADEN AND AL QAEDA": Well, in the -- in the mid-1990s, India surprised us at one point. And the reason was is, they had laid everything out well in advance. And there was no movement for almost a year there. And, then, of course, they did their detonations. And everyone was excited in Washington, saying, you know, the intelligence community missed it. So, there are some things that people can do on the ground to avoid detection. And it is possible that happened here.

ZAHN: And -- and, Graham, if it ends up being true that the North Koreans have conducted a second nuclear test, what does that mean?


I think the evidence will come in. The nice thing about nuclear tests is that the seismic indicators are unambiguous. So, I think we will know, you know, in a matter of hours what actually happened.

But I think the intelligence report that says nobody would be surprised if they had a second test is correct. If you looked at the missile tests that they did, they did one, but then they did another, you know, barrage of -- of tests as well. So, that's consistent with their standard operating procedures.

ZAHN: And, Jim, we just heard Jamie McIntyre describe this first test not being so successful. Were you surprised by that at all?


I mean, their -- even though the consensus is that North Korea probably has five, six, 10, 12 nuclear weapons, at the end of the day, you don't really know what they have. And they have had technical problems with their missile tests.

And, Paula, frankly, the more you and I and -- and Graham and others discuss whether this was a -- a fizzle, that just motivates the North Koreans more to want to have a second test.

So, I don't think anyone should be surprised if they have a second test, maybe not today, but at some point later on, in part as a response to the fact that we're all questioning the validity of their initial test.

ZAHN: Gentlemen, if you wouldn't mind standing by, we have got Atika Shubert, one of our correspondents on the ground in Tokyo, trying to make sense of this report. The Japanese Foreign Ministry is reporting that they believe a second nuclear test has taken place in North Korea.

What else are they saying, Atika.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest from Japan's foreign minister, who was addressing Japanese parliament today -- somebody asked him a question. He said that he had been hearing reports of some sort of seismic activity in North Korea, but they had not been able to confirm yet exactly what happened.

Now, the first news of this actually came across the national television network, NHK. They reported -- they quoted government sources, saying that seismic activity had occurred in North Korea that may indicate another nuclear test. So, there's -- details are still very sketchy. We're still trying to confirm exactly what happened over there.

ZAHN: Of course, as you know, South Korean officials are saying that their monitors didn't detect any tremors that could indicate -- a possible possible second test here.

SHUBERT: That's right.

There's still a lot of confusion here, although it has to be remembered that, when the first test occurred, South Korea was the first to come out with the news of the seismic tremors. It still took a -- a few hours after that before U.S. sources were able to confirm.

So, what it could mean is that it could take a couple of hours yet until everybody is able to get their information together and figure out exactly what happened.

ZAHN: And, Gary, we were reporting before we went to Atika that the U.S. Geological Survey is now saying that it has not detected any new seismic activity that would indicate a second test.

BERNTSEN: Well, it is inconvertible when they -- they do it. I mean, it -- everyone will see if it has -- if it has been executed, if there's been a detonation, we will see it.

ZAHN: And we should know pretty quickly.

BERNTSEN: And we should know pretty quickly.

ZAHN: Atika, go back one more time to any other details we may have left out, as this news has broken.

SHUBERT: Well, we're still waiting for details.

Frankly, we're waiting to see what the Foreign Ministry has to say on this, what other kind of details. Neighboring countries -- at the moment, Japan is calling up Russia, South Korea, the United States, trying to compare notes, and see what's happened.

ZAHN: All right. Atika, please stand by. We will come back to you as soon as you have new information.

And, Graham, just a -- a quick question to you. There is a theory that's being debated out there that North Korea's nuclear test, at least the first one, was not meant so much as a message to U.S., but, rather, an advertisement to terrorists out there that perhaps their nuclear supermarket is open for business. Do you really think that's plausible?

ALLISON: Oh, Paula, that's a -- a great question. And I think that's really the bottom line.

What do we know about North Korea? We know that it sells whatever it has that people will pay for. It has never made a weapons system that it doesn't sell. As President Bush said in his announcement yesterday, they have been the principal proliferator of missiles, selling them to everybody who will pay.

So, "Missiles 'R Us" could become "Nukes 'R Us," I think plausibly. North Korea and Kim Jong Il is the only person -- only leader of a country whom I could imagine deliberately selling a nuclear weapon to a terrorist group.

ZAHN: Graham Allison, Gary Berntsen, Jim Walsh, thank you all for being so facile, as our shown was blown open tonight by this breaking news. We -- we really appreciate it.

And, before we move on, I wanted to let all of you out there know that we have just learned that the White House is saying that it has no confirmation that the second test has taken place. The U.S. Geological Survey says it has not seen any seismic activities that would indicate that.

But, at the same time, Japan's foreign minister now is saying that he suspects North Korea has in fact conducted a second nuclear test.

We have got a lot of reporting to do this -- on this tonight, a lot of confusion. And, as soon as we can nail down more of these details, we will bring them to you.

Meanwhile, another "Top Story" tonight -- a controversial way to end the chaos in Iraq. Is it time to let Iraqis vote on whether U.S. troops should stay or go? A "Top Story" panel is standing by.

And a former page is telling investigators about the sexually explicit messages he got from disgraced Congressman Mark Foley.

And tonight's "Top Story" in health could keep you arguing all night long. A new study reveals who is smarter, men or women. Who do you think in your household? We will debate. Who do you think, men or women?


ZAHN: We have been covering some breaking news since the top of the hour, reports suggesting by the Japanese Foreign Ministry that perhaps North Korea had launched a second nuclear test.

All right. We -- we have been doing this reporting in real time. The South Koreans have denied that report -- the U.S. Geological Survey saying it has detected no seismic activity. And now there is yet a new report by the Associated Press that maybe is going to give greater clarity that -- what we have been bouncing around on all night.

The Japanese government detected tremors on Wednesday, we're told, that led it to suspect that North Korea conducted a second nuclear test. Shortly after, Japan said -- this is the seismic activity that -- that they had seen on their monitors, suspected another test had been conducted, after the country's meteorological survey reported a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that shook northern Japan.

Once again, U.S. and South Korean monitors say they had not detected any new seismic activity in North Korea on Wednesday.

I know this is really difficult to make sense of at this hour. But, once again, now it appears that that report by the Japanese of a second test potentially had been conducted came after reports that a 6.0 earthquake had shaken northern Japan -- U.S. officials telling us they have no confirmation of any of that.

We will continue to try to lend greater clarity, as we get more details. But that's all we know at this hour.

Another top international story we're following tonight is the unending violence in Iraq and a controversial proposal to bring U.S. forces home.

Here's the very latest for you. For the past few hours, we have been watching a huge fire and dozens of explosions at a U.S. base in southern Baghdad. The military says it is an ammunition dump at Forward Operating Base Falcon. They don't know how the fire started. Despite the way it looks, there are no casualties reported.

There has been horrific violence all around Iraq. At least 110 bullet-riddled bodies have been dumped around Baghdad in the past two days. And the military has just announced that three U.S. Marines were killed Monday in Iraq's Anbar Province.

Despite the violence, President Bush is telling voters there is no alternative to total victory in Iraq. Campaigning in Georgia a few hours ago, he said the U.S. can't retreat before the job is done. But Republican discontent with that strategy is now out in the open.

Over the weekend, James Baker, who was secretary of state under the president's father, and is now heading up a group studying U.S. options in Iraq, predicted his group's final recommendations will depart from President Bush's stay-the-course strategy.

Another top Republican, Senator Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, really got everyone's attention last week, when he said all options will be on the table, if the violence doesn't end soon, including letting Iraqis vote on when U.S. forces should leave.


SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Maybe we ought to have another referendum, for example: How long do you want America to stay there? Let every one of them come out and express it in a referendum, as positive proof and incentive to this government to make the system work.


ZAHN: So, should the Iraqis vote to get rid of U.S. troops?

Let's ask our "Top Story" panel right now, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, a Republican congressman from California, columnist and Republican strategist Rich Galen, and "Washington Post" military correspondent Thomas Ricks.

Welcome, all.

Representative Hunter, do you think Iraqis should be allowed to vote and decide for themselves whether or not U.S. troops stay in Iraq?

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA), HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, of course, Paula, the -- the whole idea is self- determination.

And -- and we actually have stood up a democratic structure with a -- with a group of legislators who can vote, who represent people who can make that vote. So...


ZAHN: Are you saying it is a good idea to allow Iraqis to make that decision, and not us?

HUNTER: Why, certainly.

I think that the -- if we have a -- you have a country that -- that exercises self-determination, and self-determination, that is, having a free country that decides its own destiny, is the goal of American operations there, why, certainly.

Once they make the -- they make the determination, once Iraq determines that it can stand and -- and handle its security burden by itself, that's fine.

Tom Ricks, what do you think of Senator John Warner's idea?

THOMAS RICKS, MILITARY CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think it's like a couple of the other proposals we have seen for a fast withdrawal or for a managed partition of the country.

I think they have a short-term appeal. The worry would be the long-term consequences. Would it simply lead to a really full-blown, intense civil war?

ZAHN: Do you think that's what would happen, Rich Galen?


ZAHN: There are a lot of people who already think that Iraq is in a civil war. GALEN: Well, I don't think that's true.

The -- let me go back to something you said earlier. You know, Freud once said something on this order. Sometimes, an earthquake is just an earthquake.

But let's get to this point. First of all, doing a referendum is not a small deal. I mean, it's a -- it's a major undertaking. It would take six or seven months to get the pieces in place. That's number one.

Number two is, one of the things that I think we have learned over the -- over the two or three years we have been there is -- is that, sometimes, it is helpful for the Iraqis to have a political deadline, against which they need to operate, as opposed to just being in the usual inshallah, God willing, mode.

And something, not a referendum, but some kind of enforceable deadline, against which they can build a workable political structure, I think might be a good idea.

ZAHN: Representative Hunter, behind closed doors, are Republicans really upset with Senator John Warner for breaking ranks with the Bush White House? He is...

HUNTER: Well...

ZAHN: He is saying, you can -- you have got to change course.

HUNTER: Well, I -- I haven't seen that in John's statements.

I talked to him just before he took off, right after we passed a defense bill. And -- and, Paula, we have got -- we're -- we're doing two things. We're standing up a government, which is essentially accomplished. And we're standing up a military apparatus that can protect it.

And -- and we have been training that military through operations. And they are very mature at this point. And I think we're closer to being able to leave that country than a -- than a lot of Americans think. So, I don't think people have looked at John Warner's statement that self-determination should be -- should be the way to hand off Iraq to the Iraqis...

ZAHN: All right.

But, Tom Ricks, isn't it also implicit in what Senator Warner said that he doesn't think things are going too well over there right now, or at least not going as planned?

RICKS: I think that's exactly right.

One of the things you notice, as you look at Iraq now, is, yes, the Iraqi forces have stood up, and so has the insurgency. The violence this year is worse than ever. And Iraq is really in a deteriorating situation right now. ZAHN: Gentlemen, I have to leave it there, because we have more breaking news out of North Korea.

Congressman Duncan Hunter, Rich Galen, Thomas Ricks, appreciate your time.


ZAHN: Back to our "Top Story" tonight out of North Korea.

If this couldn't get any more confusing, here we go again. Just moments ago, a Japanese TV channel reported that North Korea appeared to have done a second nuclear test.

But Reuters is now reporting that Japan's prime minister has said his government has no information to confirm that. He said there's no data showing seismic waves indicating a test. South Korea is also denying there's evidence of a new test. And a U.S. Geological Survey official says he has seen no seismic evidence -- and yet another report that suggests that there was an indication of a 6.0 earthquake that shook Japan, which is what led the Japanese officials to tell reporters that potentially a second test has been launched.

Once again, we're trying to make sense of all of this. And, hopefully, as this hour goes on, we will nail down some more details for you.

But, meanwhile, we move on now to the Mark Foley scandal. It continues to be a top political story. Tonight, there are even more questions about when Republican leaders knew there was a problem. We are going to go in-depth in just a moment.

Please stay with us.


ZAHN: Our top story coverage turns now to the Capitol Hill sex scandal still unfolding tonight. On Thursday, a former aide to Congressman Mark Foley will testify before the House Ethics Committee. And just hours ago, FBI agents in Oklahoma City interviewed an ex-page who says he got sexually explicit instant messages from Foley. A lot of developments tonight, so let's get the latest from congressional correspondent Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Oklahoma City, Jordan Edmund, a former page who may have received sexually explicit instant messages from Mark Foley, told his story to the FBI.

STEPHEN JONES, ATTORNEY FOR JORDAN EDMUND: Jordan answered all of their questions, relying upon his memory, as it exists.

BASH: In Illinois, House Speaker Dennis Hastert told reporters he doesn't think his aides tried to hide Foley's inappropriate conduct with pages, but said, if anyone did, they will be fired.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: They will be under oath. And we will -- we will find out. If they did cover something up, then they should not continue their -- to have their jobs.

BASH: Some GOP officials and lawmakers blame Hastert's staff for bungling the Foley matter, allegedly not informing the speaker about a questionable e-mail aides knew about at least a year ago.

HASTERT: You know, in 20/20 hindsight, probably, you could do everything a little bit better.

BASH: Meanwhile, another Republican lawmaker, Jim Kolbe, admitted he passed along, but did not follow up on, a complaint from a former page about Mark Foley five or six years ago.

Kolbe said the former page contacted his office about a Foley e- mail that made him -- quote -- "uncomfortable."

The Arizona Republican's statement said he recommended informing the House clerk Jeff Trandahl and Foley's office, but Kolbe did not confront Foley himself. "I assumed the e-mail contact ceased, since the former page never raised the issue again with my office," Kolbe said.

Kolbe was a page in 1958. He made a point of noting his affinity for the program and desire to make it a meaningful experience for the pages.

"I visit with pages at the back of the chamber to explain politics and parliamentary procedures on the House floor," Kolbe said. In another development, Jeff Trandahl, the former House clerk Kolbe informed years ago about a Foley e-mail issued his first public statement, promising to cooperate with the FBI and House Ethics Committee investigation.

Trandahl is critical to the who knew what, when of the Foley scandal. CNN is told he observed and heard about Foley's troubling behavior for years.


BASH: And sources say Trandahl brought those concerns to Mark Foley's former chief of staff Kirk Fordham. And Paula, you remember Fordham is the Republican aide who said he tried to warn the House speaker's chief of staff about all of this, about Foley's questionable and troubling behavior. Paula, Kirk Fordham is expected to testify before the House Ethics Committee, tell them his story under oath on Thursday -- Paula?

ZAHN: You'll be watching, we'll be watching. Dana Bash, thanks, part of the best political team on TV.

Now coverage of tonight's top stories continues in a minute. Glenn Beck, my colleague from Headline Prime, joins me with his take on a possible second nuclear test by the North Koreans. But Japanese officials may have just been fooled by a real earthquake. Stay with us. We'll explain.


ZAHN: Our top story coverage continues tonight with a look at the snowballing effect of all of the bad news out there. Nukes in North Korea, rising violence in Iraq and the sex scandal rocking Capitol Hill. You may recognize my next guest. Well, you should because he tackles these subjects every day. He's on radio, so maybe you don't see him in radio but when you see him when he joins us on TV later today. Glenn Beck, outspoken host of his own program on Headline Prime as well as a daily syndicated radio talk show. Great to see you.

GLENN BECK, CNN HOST: Good to see you.

ZAHN: Our audience has been rolling around with this as we tried to make sense of some highly contradictory reporting tonight. We are now understanding -- we originally reported at the top the Japanese foreign minister indicated...

BECK: ... another one.

ZAHN: They had potentially then a second nuclear test. Now it turns out that their own meteorological agency had reported a magnitude 6.0 quake in northeastern Japan and this is what might have contributed to the hysteria surrounding the North Korea. None of this comes as any great surprise to you and you're not surprised that people are very concerned that there's a second test because a lot of people are fully expecting that.

BECK: We have a situation where we have people in play and not just North Korea, but all over the world that their goal is to confuse and to deceive.

You know, how are we supposed to deal with someone who says I'm building nuclear weapons? And then we're not sure if you really detonated one and now there's second one possibly. They are living to deceive us. We have to take him at his word and believe that he has nuclear weapons. We have no other choice.

ZAHN: What do your listeners say about what the U.S. response should be. I mean, it's clear the U.S. is now saying they believe there was a first test and it doesn't look like it was a very successful one at that.

BECK: I think that my listeners are concerned that the reaction from the United States is really -- needs to be strong because of Iran. Iran is the one that we should be...

ZAHN: ... Well what does that mean? Does that mean immediate sanctions? What do they mean?

BECK: You know, I think that we need to work strongly with China. I mean, we don't really have -- when it comes to Iran and North Korea, we don't really have good military options here. This particular case we have China. China needs to be engaged. They're our only real hope for flexing their muscle.

ZAHN: Let's move on to another issue that affects any of us who have children in classrooms across the country. We have seen a stunning string of these crimes unfold. Of course we're just getting new details about what happened in this Amish community just last week. Another story of a kid pulling out an AK-47 outside a Missouri school. What do your audience members think of our response and the government's response to this?

BECK: You know, I saw George Bush today meet and I thought, boy, the government's not going to solve this. This has to come from people. I think the frustration is right now we're dealing with such huge issues around the world and in our own communities and everybody feels hopeless. And I think the other problem is in America we have built a society where we feel empty inside. We are built around stuff and things and labels. I'm a recovering alcoholic, I had been rich, I had been poor. I have been miserable. I have been happy. The times that I have been happy is when I'm surrounded by my family and focused on my family. Government is not going to solve these things for us. We need to, as a society, concentrate more on our family and our children, stop asking our kids what do you want to be when you grow up and not expect the answer to be anything but happy.

ZAHN: But a lot of people would argue there are so many outside influences that impact on children's lives. We, as parents, can't watch our kids 24 hours a day. We don't always know who they're playing with. We don't always know who they are influenced by.

We do know what they're watching on TV. We do know what they're accessing on the Internet. How are you going to possibly change that, short of locking your kids in a room and you stand over them?

BECK: But, you know, what's really sad is I looked at the Amish situation and thought -- and maybe it is just me. When I saw it, I thought my gosh, I don't want to get up at 4:00 in the morning and milk the cow. Don't get me wrong, but look at the simple life. And my reaction to what happened in the Amish community is, I want the America that I was promised. You know, the American dream is not ...

ZAHN: But look at what happened with that simple life. You had a lot of children slaughtered.

BECK: Look at the way their children stood at the blackboard, the two sisters that were 13 and 11, and said shoot me first. Don't shoot them. Shoot me first. Two kids that said that. My gosh, if my kids can come to a place where they are that strong and they're that at peace, I have done something right as a parent.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your joining us tonight. You did something right by stopping by with us. We've got to leave it there because we've got to move on to more breaking news out of North Korea. Another minute goes by and we learn something new.

Let's go straight to Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon. Anybody in the government confirming that a second test has taken place?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have got a confirmation that no second test has taken place. It appears that what set off all the alarm bells was some mild earthquake activity off the coast of Japan that was picked up by the U.S. Geological Survey, as well.

In fact, they report a 5.8 quake off the east coast of Japan and U.S. government officials are telling CNN that apparently it was that seismic activity that alerted a jittery Japan to say that they suspected perhaps it was some activity in North Korea.

But, again, U.S. seismic monitors and South Korean seismic monitors have picked up no event in North Korea and the U.S. government says it has no information that would suggest there's been a second North Korean test -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jamie, let's just give our audience, before we move on, some context on this. This news broke at the top of the hour, and we have done our best to make sense of what the South Koreans are reporting.

They deny that there had been the second test, and now confirmation that they now believe just the simple reports of this seismic activity due to an earthquake sparked some of these reports. It does reflect the great fear surrounding what North Korea might be up to.

MCINTYRE: Well, Intelligence officials have told CNN that they expect North Korea may conduct a second nuclear test, but they also caveated that with the disclaimer that they see no evidence that a second test is ready to go.

So they believe it is possible but they don't see any evidence of it happening immediately, and at this point, it appears that a small earthquake is what got everybody up -- their antenna up.

ZAHN: All right, Jamie McIntyre, thanks to the update. Appreciate it.

MCINTYRE: Thank you.

ZAHN: We move onto our top story in health right now, and it should confirm what most women already know, or we think they do.

Glenn, I don't know if you'll let me get away with that one. What does a new study conclude about whether men or women are smarter? Glenn, who is smarter? Men or women?


BECK: Well, because my wife is watching, women are. Women are.

ZAHN: Thank you. Thank you. Women are. But the real answer from the study is coming up next. Stay with us.


ZAHN: Tonight's top story in health, a provocative new study in the research journal "Intelligence" claims that men have higher intelligence than women. Oh, yes, right.

Well, we sent our senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to settle this controversy. Who is really smarter, men or women? That's tonight's "Mystery of the Mind."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kathryn Monkman (ph) and Gaurav Puri are a good match. Both had near- perfect undergraduate GPAs, and both are second year med students at the Schulich School of Medicine in Western Ontario.

GAURAV PURI, MEDICAL STUDENT: We're both pretty much equally intelligent. I would say that Kathryn is a little more intelligent than I am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say he's a flatterer.

GUPTA: So confident they are equal, they agreed to take a little test for us, graded by Professor Phil Rushton. He is the psychologist who ignited a new round in the who's smarter, men or women debate.

J. PHILIPPE RUSHTON, PSYCHOLOGIST: When you extract the general factor of intelligence, males on average score 3.64 I.Q. points higher than women.

GUPTA: Rushton's bold conclusion that men have higher I.Q.s is based on his study of the SAT scores of 100,000 17- and 18-year-olds, 50,000 male, 50,000 female. Now, if you think one sex would naturally do better on math or verbal, Rushton says forget it, that he factored out the bias, finding men on average outscored women by nearly four I.Q. points. Even Rushton admits that's tiny, but says it explains why you see fewer women in top jobs.

RUSHTON: Once you start getting out to I.Q. levels of 115 or 130, what you need for the highest job, you're going to get proportions of 60/40, 70/30, 80/20 of men over women.

GUPTA: Rushton's research begs the question, why? It is Darwinian, he says. Women favored men who were adept at hunting beyond the base camp so from an evolutionary standpoint, women helped create more intelligent men. Rushton's critics charge his conclusions are skewed, and he has an agenda.

REBECCA COULTER, GENDER STUDIES EXPERT: We have a very long history of science being used for political purposes, and I think this is just another example of that.

GUPTA: And not the first. Former Harvard president Larry Summers threw gas on the fire of sexual politics by suggesting womens' innate sex difference explain why there are so few women in top math and science careers. But are there really any innate sex differences? This is a human brain on display at the Mental Illness and Neurodiscovery or Mind Institute. You can't tell if it is a male or a female, but the male brain is, in fact, around 15 percent bigger by comparison.

While researchers have found a correlation between intelligence and brain size, men, don't declare yourselves the smartest yet. One of the country's top brain researchers tells me that it is not size but brain organization that matters.

DR. RICHARD HAIER, UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE: The areas of the brain related to intelligence in women tend to be more in the front. In men, they tend to be more in these side areas. Intelligence in general is normally distributed and equally distributed in men and women.

GUPTA: Now, back to our highly unscientific quiz. Gaurav scored a perfect 10 out of 10. Kathryn missed just one question. But does she think Gaurav or any of her male colleagues are smarter because they're men?

KATHRYN: I would have to say no.

GUPTA: And both agree that success as a doctor, as success in life, is measured by more than I.Q.

PURI: Hard work can compensate for lack of I.Q., but I.Q. probably can't compensate for a lack of hard work.

GUPTA: So, the last word on sex and intelligence? Scientists at the Mind Institute say someday brainscans may replace I.Q. tests altogether. It may be worth revisiting the issue then.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New York.


ZAHN: All right. I'm sure many of you are still arguing about this out there, and in the interest of domestic tranquility, maybe you would like to take an I.Q. test with your mate. You can check out our Web site at and look for "Mysteries of the Mind" and solve this once and for all.


ZAHN: Well, turns out that Barbra Streisand did a heck of a lot more than just sing last night when someone in the New York audience started heckling her. She really let him have it. Oh yeah, the "F" word came out and next we're going to have a top story panel and get their take on whether that was OK for Ms. Streisand to do that. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: Our top story in entertainment. Superstar Barbra Streisand has everybody buzzing after the funny girl launched the "F" bomb in New York during one of her 20-city comeback concerts. No, I'm not going to spell that for anybody tonight. The outburst came after she was heckled during a skit like this one, with a George W. Bush impersonator. When Streisand couldn't get the heckler to quiet down, she let it rip.

"Shut the 'F' up. Shut up if you can't take a joke," she said. "Why don't you leave and get your money back?" Well, the man did just that.

But with concert tickets averaging about $400 per ticket, did Streisand cross the line with her performance in the key of F? Our top story panel has some very strong feelings about that.

Conservative syndicated radio host Michael Medved, celebrity publicist Marvet Britto and from the liberal Air America radio, Rachel Maddow. Good to have all of you with us.

So Michael, we have heard what Ms. Streisand's PR person said, that this Bush skit was just a small fraction of her performance. She's singing some 30 songs. Give her break. Doesn't she have the ability to use creative license here?

MICHAEL MEDVED, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: I'm not sure the F word counts as creative license. She's always been a class act. And she sings standards, which have to be classics, the kind of songs, the kind of music that's always had to bring us together. I think it's a shame that somebody who has so much talent as Barbra Streisand all of the sudden has to become polarizing and vulgar because the spirit and the intensity of this electoral season.

ZAHN: Is she really going to polarize people here? Marvet Britto, or do you think this is much ado nothing?

MARVET BRITTO, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST: I think it's much ado about nothing. I think it's unbelievable that people can expect fans to come to a show and infringe their opinions. I mean, it's her show. She has the right to say whatever she wants to say. You can't be mad at the fact that she chose to tell you to shut up. Should have never -- it is her show. You paid to see her and you have to accept everything she says and everything that she does.

ZAHN: And Rachel, Barbra Streisand apologized to her audience for using the F word and said, quote, "The artist's role is to disturb." But Michael Medved said this is a woman who sings classics, that she crossed the line here, that she didn't need to do that.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO: Well, it may be that her voice is soothing, but it's also true that we go see live performances for a reason and hecklers are one of the great things about live performances. Because when they knock somebody off their script a little bit, you get to see what the performer is really like. And in this case, yes, I don't necessarily always approve of the "F" bomb, but it was kind of nice to see her be like, don't mess with me. I thought it was kind of awesome. She stood up for herself.

ZAHN: So Michael, are you holding her to a higher standard? You know, rappers can say anything basically they want to other performers can use the "F" bomb and we don't pay attention to it. Is it fair to hold Ms. Streisand to the standard you're holding her to tonight.

MEDVED: Well I don't think that people would spend $400 a ticket to see Barbra Streisand do hip-hop. They are paying the money to see her give a soothing and maybe inspiring performance. Look, everybody knows she's a partisan Democrat. But I think it says something about the emptiness of the message here that rather than talking about my vision for the country or America the beautiful or this is what I see the direction we should go, what she can do is only Elaine Bush satire that even liberal critics admitted was painfully unfunny.

ZAHN: What about that Rachel? It made up a small fraction of the performance. But, does she need that?

MADDOW: I think that she could have give a sermon on the need for healthcare reform and everybody to inflate their tires more and maybe that would have been soothing, but what she did is she had a comedian. And a heckler stood up and yelled at the comedian and she told them to -- what they could do with themselves. And that's live performance and it's funny. And I think that it shows some spunk.

ZAHN: And you know that she's going to get that the next time she performs, going on the 17-city tour, right? So what is your advice to her, very briefly?

BRITTO: To keep doing what she does. She's in control. She has the mic. You don't go to a basketball game and call plays. So you know, I think that you should not disrupt an artist who is being creative. You just don't do that. No, you don't do that. You go, you pay to see Barbra. Let Barbra be Barbra.

ZAHN: Michael, quickly?

MEDVED: But you don't go to a Barbra Streisand concert looking for lame political satire.

BRITTO: But it doesn't matter. You go because you are a fan of the artist. And if that's her creative expression, then go with it.

ZAHN: All right, trio. We have got to move on. We've got to pay for this segment. Thank you all. We'll take a short break, we'll be right back.


ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for being with us. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow night, hope you'll join us then. Have a great night, "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.


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