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Biden, Hagel Discuss War on Terror; Gissin, al-Kidwa Talk About Mideast Peace; Black, DiGenova Debate New Wiretapping Powers

Aired November 24, 2002 - 12:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: It's noon in Washington, 9:00 a.m. here in Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m. in Jerusalem and 8:00 p.m. in Baghdad. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for this special LATE EDITION, Showdown: Iraq.
We'll talk with two leading members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the effort to disarm Iraq and Saudi Arabia's role in the war on terror in just a few minutes. But first, a CNN news alert.


BLITZER: And joining us now to discuss a little bit more about this entire Saudi potential connection, the overall war on terror, and Iraq are two key members of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in his home state of Delaware, the committee's outgoing chairman, Democrat Joseph Biden, and in Washington, D.C., the Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Senators, welcome back to LATE EDITION.

Senator Biden, I'll begin with you. As you read all these stories about the Saudi role, potential Saudi role, the connection, what's going on, as far as you can tell?

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: What's going on is the Saudis are trying to catch up with 10, 12 years of very bad policy.

I am doubtful that there was an intentional transfer of money from the ambassador's wife to the hijackers, but it's clear, Wolf, there's a long pattern of the Saudis essentially buying off extremism in their country. They've built thousands of madrassas. They have charities that they know were not doing good things.

They've basically kept the wolf from their door, no pun intended, by sending money to these organizations as long as they stay outside of the country, and they've been incredibly lax. They're tightening up.

And so I think what this is, this is a continuing part of a saga where the Saudis don't know, have not checked, are not nearly conscientious enough in determining whether or not, quote, a "charity" is genuinely a charity or a front for, or a back door for, terrorists or terrorist-sympathizing organizations or individuals. BLITZER: Senator Hagel, I want you to weigh in, as well. But, specifically, moving it forward a little bit, do you get the sense the Saudis right now are doing everything they can to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement, U.S. intelligence in dealing with these allegations and dealing with the overall war on terror?

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Wolf, I think they are getting there. I think as Joe has described it, he's given a good framework for what has been going on, and I do believe the Saudi government is in the process of catching up.

Now, let's remember a couple of things. One is there is no final report yet. Two, our CIA and FBI have taken issue with some of these preliminary findings. And I suspect there will be some very intriguing and exhilarating differences made here, and we will not get to that until that final report's done, as far as the conclusions.

But the bigger picture is this. Our government has been looking at the funding of these foundations over the last year, where that money goes. And I think just as Senator Biden said, it's probably doubtful that the Saudi government was intentionally allowing money to be funneled to terrorists.

But nonetheless, the Saudi government is going to have to define this in a much more critical and exact way than what we have seen in the past, and I do think that they'll get there. But they have probably not done in the last 12 months as much as they need to do to deal with this issue.

BIDEN: Wolf, can I...

BLITZER: Senator Biden, I want you to weigh in and express, are you frustrated about the lack of, or the cooperation that the United States is getting from Saudi Arabia?

BIDEN: I think we're getting increasingly better cooperation, but if I can make an analogy for you. Right after 9/11, when we pointed out there were over 7,000 madrassas these guys funded, that is the Saudi government funded in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they're just hate-holes, they're just places to fill with venom against America and the West, they said, "Well, OK, we're going to crack down." And they began to help us. They began to help us, they followed the money supply, et cetera.

But then they had a second stage. It's a little harder for them to tell very wealthy billionaires who aren't members of the family, who really are in fact independent of them, to tell them to stop funding these charities which are questionable. They started to do that.

In other words, they're getting gradually tighter and tighter, but they're not doing what we do in the United States of America. If we find out that you, Wolf Blazer (sic), is contributing to a charity that we think is a charity that supports terror, we will come down on you, Wolf Blazer (sic). This government would not -- they, the government, stopped the direct funding, but they then were very hesitant to move on to Wolf Blazer (sic) and stop him from doing the funding.

We first got the answer that, "Well, you know, these are individual decisions made by wealthy individuals in our country and we're not going to control that." Well, they've gotten better and better and better. It's a little bit like they've had a bit of an epiphany here. They're beginning to see that this really does implicate them in ways that are very startling.

I would wait until the CIA report and FBI report to see whether the wife of the ambassador is directly implicated, but she may have indirectly been implicated without her own knowledge.

And this is just, they're just not nearly as tight as they should be relative to these funding mechanisms.

BLITZER: Senator Hagel, it was interesting this week at the meeting that President Bush had with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, Putin specifically himself railed out against Saudi Arabia and its role in the whole war on terrorism. Listen to what President Putin said.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We should not forget about those who finance terrorism. Of the 19 terrorists who committed the main attacks on September 11 against the United States, 16 are citizens of Saudi Arabia. We should not forget about that.


BLITZER: I think the actual number, Senator Hagel, was 15 as opposed to 16, but certainly the leader of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is a Saudi himself.

Does the United States need lecturing about Saudi Arabia from the Russian president?

HAGEL: Well, President Putin also included Pakistan in that critique, if you recall.

But I think, again, let's look at the bigger picture here. What we have cracked into here over the last year since September 11th is a universe that we've never had to explore.

We, the United States, Russians, all nations, live in an imperfect foreign relations world. There's rarely an easy choice in relationships. It's usually a choice somewhere in the middle. And we have deferred addressing the tough decisions, just like we are talking about here this morning, these issues regarding Saudi Arabia. Pakistan is another good example. Putin locked into that, as well.

Do we, the United States, consider Saudi Arabia and Pakistan allies? Yes, we do. Have they been important to us? Yes, they have. Are they especially important to us right now in our war on terrorism? Yes, they are. But do they have down sides that they bring with them to this relationship? Yes, they do.

So we are going to have to work through this in a steady way, challenge every area that needs to be challenged and probed, but keep in mind what the big picture and our long-term interests are. And that is that we win this war on terrorism. That means enhancements of our relationships, not necessarily looking the wrong way or other way when we have these tough issues to confront, which we've never confronted until the last 12 months. That's the game we're in right now, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. And, Senator Biden, before we take a break, I want you to just wrap up this whole Saudi involvement, the Saudi aspect of this by talking a little about what the U.S. should be getting from Saudi Arabia right now as the U.S. prepares for the possibility of launching a war against Iraq.

The United States is getting cooperation militarily from the Kuwaitis, from the Qataris, from the Turks, but the Saudis right now are taking a very different stance. Is that a source of concern to you?

BIDEN: No, because they will do what we ultimately ask them to do.

The real problem here, Wolf, in my view, is a cultural one. Here you have a government that is essentially a dictatorship, essentially an oligarchy, one that is not a democracy. And the way in which all of their social programs are taking place is through personal philanthropy, in effect. And so what you have is we're trying to get them to change the way in which they culturally provide for those people in their country that are in need.

And so what happens is you have all these individual charities set up in effect -- I'm vastly exaggerating in the interest of time -- but these individual charities instead of a Department of Human Resources, for example, and you have no democratic input here.

And so we're asking them to curtail the way in which they've kept themselves in power by doling out all these little bit of, you know, dole to everyone out there. And they're finding out now that a significant portion of those people to whom they dole these things out are not good people. They're bad people. They mean them harm, and they mean us harm.

And so this is a very serious cultural change they're trying to undertake while they continue to resist anything remotely approaching democratic institutions. And until they do, Wolf, we are going to have a problem with Saudi Arabia, and this is going to be a long time and arduous journey between us and Saudi Arabia over the next decade.

BLITZER: All right. Let's take a quick break, senators, we have a lot more to talk about, including Iraq, the potential of a U.S. war with Iraq, indeed the entire showdown Iraq. We're also looking for your phone calls. LATE EDITION will continue right after this.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Deception this time will not be tolerated.


BLITZER: President Bush in Europe this week, pressing to disarm the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Welcome back to this special LATE EDITION, Showdown: Iraq.

We're talking with two key members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the panel's chairman, the Democratic Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware and the Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Senator Hagel, do you believe that these upcoming inspections by these U.N. weapons inspectors can really get the job done?

HAGEL: We'll see, Wolf. The important thing is that we are now on a diplomatic high ground process and we are working that process to, in fact, reach a conclusion.

And what's important there is that we have the world community with us. We have the force of the United Nations with us. It's now up to Saddam Hussein. And what happens as we go along is really in the hands of Saddam Hussein.

So I think we'll have to wait and see, but I think this is the correct course of action that we are on. And we are preparing for a military option, if that would be required, and that's appropriate.

BLITZER: Senator Biden, are you optimistic that the inspectors can do it?

BIDEN: I'm optimistic that the job will get done one way or the other.

And I agree with Senator Hagel. If in fact, he blocks them and/or there is duplicity somehow and it's not functioning, then I think the world will support the effort to go in and take out those weapons and find them.

But it remains to be seen what action he'll take. My guess is he'll probably misjudge, as he always does. And my guess is that we're likely to be, with other willing nations, at war with Saddam over the next -- sometime in the next six to 12 months.

But I hope that's not true. This is the single best hope we have. But if we do go now, we are so, so much better off because the leadership of the president and going through the United Nations that it drastically enhances our standing in the world, as well as our prospects in Iraq.

BLITZER: Senator Hagel, let me ask you the specific questions about these no-fly zones. As you well know, Resolution 1441, the latest U.N. Security Council resolution, says that the Iraqis should not interfere with coalition aircraft. But since the Iraqis accepted that resolution, they have indeed continued to target British and U.S. planes patrolling the no-fly zones in the north and in the south.

The U.N. secretary general, Kofi Annan, insists this is not necessarily a violation of the agreement. He says this -- he said it this past week: "I don't think the Council will say that this is in contravention of the resolution that was recently passed."

But the Pentagon spokeswoman, Victoria Clarke, has a very different point of view, reflecting, indeed, the Bush administration stance. Listen to what she says.


VICTORIA CLARKE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Two things are very, very clear. One is we're going to continue to patrol these no-fly zones. We are going to continue to protect the Iraqi people from the Saddam Hussein regime. Second thing is, we do consider it a material breach.


BLITZER: Do you consider -- do you agree with the administration, Senator Hagel, that the Iraqis are already in material breach of Resolution 1441?

HAGEL: The firing at American and British aircraft, Wolf, is not new. This has been going on, off and on, for the last 10 years. Is that right? No. But the fact is, this is not a new development. Is this a provocation of Saddam Hussein's government trying to interfere with our inspectors? I don't think that we can make that case.

We're going to have to resolve this issue, because you've got the American government interpreting it one way and the secretary general of the United Nations interpreting it another way.

Obviously, if there is some blatant, provocative act on the part of Saddam Hussein's government, then I think that's a clear and easy issue to deal with. We'll know what we have to do.

But in this case, since it is not a new provocation, we're going to have to find a way to resolve this. Because if this continues, then we may find in the next two or three weeks the U.N. inspection effort completely neutered and neutralized and ineffective because the United States government says, "Well, I'm sorry this is a material breach. All bets are off, and we have now one option and that is a military option." So this is going to have to get resolved within the United Nations Security Council.

BLITZER: It's clear, Senator Biden, that the Bush administration is not going to go to the U.N. Security Council specifically on these -- the interference, the Iraqis targeting the U.S. and the British warplanes in the northern and southern no-fly zones, even though they insist the Iraqis are in material breach since they accepted the latest U.N. Security Council resolution.

A lot of critics, including conservative Republicans, are wondering where else would the U.S. allow an enemy, if you will, to fire on U.S. warplanes and not respond, let's say, more massively than the U.S. has already responded?

BIDEN: Fortunately, the president doesn't listen to the Defense Department spokesperson most of the time. You say, Wolf, I think your phrase, this reflects the Bush administration's position. I would respectfully suggest nothing reflects the Bush administration position until President Bush states it.

You'll recall the Defense Department said we will not go to the United Nations. You recall the Defense Department said we will not go to the Congress. You'll recall the Defense Department said there is no option here but the use of force. Fortunately, the president makes his own decisions. He listens to other voices.

This seems to me to be the perfect ploy for Saddam Hussein. Get us in a fight with the United Nations over whether or not a 10-year pattern of firing at American planes is a material breach. Divide the United Nations, divide the allies on that issue, and then do exactly what Senator Hagel predicted would happen, render useless the investigations.

The president is too smart for this. The president will say when in fact it is materially, it's a material breach that existed before this new resolution and it continues. We should not take it lightly. We should fire on them. We should take out whatever they fire at us. We should go beyond that if we need to. But we should not all play into Saddam Hussein's hands and break up this coalition.

There will be stages here. What you have is the Defense Department doesn't want us there in the first place, Wolf. They never wanted us to go the United Nations in the first place. They think the president made a serious mistake in locking himself into this process. It's Powell against the rest of that organization. And this is just part of that same old game.

Let's listen to the president of the United States. I predict he will not blow the whole thing up over these continued 10-year pattern of firing on American aircraft.

BLITZER: So what you're saying, Senator Biden, just to be specific, not the Defense Department, what you're saying is that the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, is on a different page than the secretary of state, Colin Powell?

BIDEN: Absolutely, and so's the vice president based on what I can see. And they're great men. They have a fundamentally different view.

They think -- I'm reading into what I know from my conversations over the last year and the actions that have occurred over the last year. They believe it was a material mistake to go to the United Nations, to get ourselves locked into this process. They know full well that if we were unilaterally tomorrow to say this is a breach, and we invade it, then we would lose all of what we just built up.

Let's have a little bit of patience here. Nothing new has happened. Let's let the inspectors go forward. Use all the force needed to defend those no-fly efforts. Do whatever we have to do to do that. But let's not get into a semantic debate about whether is a material breach. Let's establish to the world that this guy is continuing to pursue weapons of mass destruction, generate a consensus to the world to go in and take him out.

BLITZER: All right, Senator Biden and Senator Hagel, stand by. We're going to take another quick break. We'll continue our conversation.

Also we'll be taking your phone calls. LATE EDITION will continue right after this.


BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION, Showdown: Iraq. We're continuing our conversation with Delaware Democratic Senator Joseph Biden and Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.

Senators, we have a caller from Wisconsin who has a question. Go ahead, Wisconsin.

CALLER: Hello, Senators, how are you doing today?

HAGEL: How are you?

CALLER: Can you hear me?

BIDEN: We can hear you.

BLITZER: Yes, go ahead with your question.

CALLER: OK, my question is -- it's quick -- I hear a lot that we're not allowed to -- or it's hard for us to fight Iraq, Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda at the same time, although during World War II we were able to fight two wars, basically, at the same time. Why is it so hard today?

BLITZER: What about that, Senator Hagel? You're a military veteran. Can the United States fight Iraq and continue the war on terrorism at the same time?

HAGEL: Yes, we can, if we have allies. That's a critical part of all of this, in my opinion, Wolf. The enhancement of America's relationships around the world is the key to our future success in this war against terrorism. That means enhancement of intelligence gathering and sharing with other nations, law enforcement, diplomatic, humanitarian, economic trade, as well as the military piece. And we will do what we must do, certainly, to protect ourselves and our allies. But it's going to require coalitions of common interests, partnerships. And that is the future, I think, in the 21st century, and that's the future for America.

BLITZER: Senator Biden, as you well know, the NATO alliance expanded this week, seven new nations, former Communist countries coming into NATO. The president was in Lithuania on Saturday, and he spoke in words that presumably he believes the people in Lithuania and elsewhere would appreciate. I want you to listen to this one specific reference he made to World War II and the current war on terrorism and a potential war with Iraq. Listen to this.


BUSH: Our alliance with freedom is being tested again, by new and terrible dangers. Like the Nazis and the Communists before them, the terrorists seek to end lives and control all life. And like the Nazis and the Communists before them, they will be opposed by free nations, and the terrorists will be defeated.


BLITZER: Is that appropriate, to compare these current threats against the United States to the Communist threat during the Cold War and even earlier, as well as the Nazis during World War II?

BIDEN: As I heard the president, I think what he was doing is comparing not so much the Communists and Nazis to al Qaeda, but the need, the kind of thing that was needed to defeat the Communists and Nazis was needed now, which is what Chuck Hagel talked about, cooperation of nations that love peace, nations that seek freedom.

One of the points that Senator Hagel made a moment ago -- and I completely concur with his answer to the caller, I'd just expand it slightly -- is that we have the military wherewithal to fight both al Qaeda, wherever we find it, and Iraq and more, if need be.

What we have to have, though, is, we have to have the intelligence cooperation of a vast number of other countries, in order to be able to know where to send our military. And if they're at odds with our overall policy on Iraq or anything else and refuse to cooperate with us, it makes it impossible for us to fight both wars effectively, against al Qaeda and against Iraq.

And so I think what the president was talking about -- and I agree with him -- is that there is a need to have the same kind of cohesion, the same kind of understanding of the threat and the same kind of cooperation that it took to defeat Nazi Germany and that it took to defeat the Soviet Union, in effect defeat the Soviet Union, with the Wall coming down.

BLITZER: Senator Hagel, as you know, in the war against al Qaeda, the U.S. still has not captured or killed Osama bin Laden, but it did manage to catch what U.S. officials describe as a "big fish" this week, one al Qaeda operative named Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. How big of a deal is this? Is this guy a big fish?

HAGEL: He is a big fish. And this, once again, points up the need for cooperation among our allies. As Joe Biden just said and reflected on some of my earlier comments, the intelligence gathering and sharing, the processing of that is the way we scoop these guys up. This is the way we really deal with this new scourge of mankind called terrorism.

And every time we can pick one of these guys up, we build on that success. We will continue to build on that success. So this was a good week for our intelligence community.

BLITZER: We're almost out of time, but Senator Biden, before we go, I have to ask you this question. We saw a lot, we heard a lot from the former Vice President Al Gore this week. He seems to be making a lot of indications that he's going to run again for the presidency. A, do you believe he will? And, B, are you thinking about running for the presidency?

BIDEN: Yes and yes.

BLITZER: How seriously along the road are you toward making a formal announcement that you want to run?

BIDEN: Oh, I have to learn a lot more about what prospects I'd have before I would do that. I am looking at it. I am a long way away, but I think Al Gore is not and should not be. Al Gore is a significant national figure. I think if he decides to run he'll be formidable, and I think he should.

BLITZER: But you are ready to challenge him as leader of the Democratic Party and seek that presidential nomination, at least you're thinking about that very seriously?

BIDEN: If after the next several months I concluded I had a reasonable shot of doing that, I would not be reluctant to do it. I don't know that I have that reasonable shot. I paid no real attention to it in the sense of going out.

As you know, you've covered presidential politics, Wolf, you have to do this full time. I have not been doing it full time. I'm going to go take a look and decide whether or not it's viable.

But if it were, I have real disagreements with Al on some things. I would not hesitate to run because he's running. But I do think he's very formidable within our party, and obviously he's a serious fellow.

BLITZER: And what do you bring to the table? When you talk about disagreements, what do you think you would bring to the Democratic Party as leader of the party as its presidential nominee that Al Gore would not necessarily bring?

BIDEN: Well, that's a little premature to engage in that at this moment.

BLITZER: All right.

BIDEN: Thank you.


BLITZER: But it's always fun to do it in any case.

BIDEN: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Senator Hagel, you're looking at becoming the majority in the Senate. You're going to be -- what are you going to be doing now in your role? Are you going to be chairman of the committee?

HAGEL: Well, Senator Lugar is going to replace Joe Biden. And fortunately for this country, I think Senators Lugar and Biden are two of the preeminent thinkers and most experienced foreign policy people we have in government. They work closely together.

I then will be the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. I look forward to working with the new chairman and the outgoing chairman over the next couple of years, working with the administration. We have many great challenges ahead of us.

And I would say that as far as my family's concerned, we already have a president, and that's Bush. His name is Bush, and I expect him to run again. And if Joe decides to run, I think he'd be a formidable candidate.


BIDEN: That's a long way away.

BLITZER: Senator Biden and Senator Hagel, we'll be watching all of this in the next weeks and months to come, and we'll have a little bit of fun on this program, as well. Always good to have both of you on the show.

BIDEN: Thank you very much, Wolf.

HAGEL: Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you very much. Thanks to both of you.

Just ahead, U.S. troops prepare for a possible second war in the Persian Gulf. What will they face this time around? We'll get some unique insight into the U.S. plan from the former NATO supreme allied commander, General George Joulwan, the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, Claudia Kennedy, and the retired U.S. Army brigadier general, David Grange.

It's all coming up on LATE EDITION.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: My expectation is, is that we can do this peacefully if Saddam Hussein disarms. That's my expectation. But Mr. Saddam Hussein has got a decision to make.


BLITZER: President Bush speaking during a visit with European allies this past week.

Welcome back to LATE EDITION, Showdown: Iraq.

If the crisis with Saddam Hussein does end in war, what are the challenges of a U.S.-led military campaign this time around? Joining us now with some perspective, three very distinguished military veterans.

In Washington, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, retired U.S. Army General George Joulwan. Also in Washington, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy. She's the Army's first female three-star general and is the author of an important book about that experience, entitled "Generally Speaking." And joining us from Oakbrook, Illinois, is retired U.S. Army Ranger and Brigadier General David Grange. He's also a CNN military analyst.

Generals, good to have all three of you on LATE EDITION.

General Joulwan, you're a retired four-star general so I'll begin with you.


The U.S. military, by most accounts, seems to be pretty much ready to go. It's deployed in the region. Probably going to take a few more weeks, but what's your sense right now as far as readiness level of the U.S. military if the president should give that order to go to war?

GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN (RET.), FORMER NATO ALLIED SUPREME COMMANDER: I think we're fairly well set, Wolf. We've deployed command and control headquarters, troops, the prepositioned stocks are ready. Our air bases are up. The predeployment of both air, land and sea forces are there. I think it's very important here not to get locked into option A or option B because I'm not sure the president has made that decision yet. But all options are still on the table, the military are working all those options. But quite a bit, quite an impressive bit of deployment and much different than we were in 1990.

BLITZER: And I want to flesh some of those differences out in a moment.

But, General Kennedy, as you look at that readiness, how long can a military remain in that kind of high-ready capability without losing some of its edge?

LT. GEN. CLAUDIA KENNEDY (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Well, that's always something we think about, and our commanders both at the strategic level and at the tactical level have a very good sense of how to cycle the soldiers through periods of intense training and then less intense activity.

BLITZER: So basically what, is this a matter of weeks, months? How long can they continue at sort of this hair-trigger level?

KENNEDY: Well, this army is the best prepared and the most ready we've ever had. And so, part of the reason for that is the leadership that they get. That leadership is very sensitive to the need to keep people in a high-energy state. And so we're able to do this as long as it takes. We're in here for the long haul.

BLITZER: General Grange, if the readiness level is eventually, once the president gives the order, supposed to be, let's say, at a 10, where do you estimate the U.S. military is right now?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, I don't think any military is ever at a 10. There's always things as a commander that you want to do that you haven't had time to do. But it's true, it's the best trained army in the world. It has the most experience of any army in the world since the first Desert war all the way up through all the operations ongoing until now. So it's ready.

There's some things that need to be tweaked. There's some more stocks that need to be replenished. But it's in good shape and this is what soldiers, Marines live for is actually this type of training.

BLITZER: Airmen and sailors, as well, I'm sure you meant to include them in your analysis, General Grange.

GRANGE: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Let's get right to our caller from Georgia. Go ahead, Georgia.

CALLER: Yes, thank you very much, Wolf. I'd like to ask your outstanding panel, in the event we attack Iraq, how many ground troops will be needed and how long do you think it'll take to achieve victory?

BLITZER: Tough but important question, General Joulwan.

JOULWAN: Again, I hate to give a number. I think the 70,000 to 80,000 would seem, I think is something we should think about. But remember what I said. The president has not yet made a decision.

And the president will make the decision, not any of his Cabinet. The president will make his decision. And based on that option, whether it's going to be quick with SOF and Air Force, that's option A, all the way to a large ground force.

I would not underestimate the number that's going to be required now. I think it's very important to keep all those options on the table. If regime change comes into this and that means going into Baghdad, that's going to require another set of force structure. I can tell you the military is planning for all of that. I think they're looking at simultaneity, which they're not just going to come in from one axis, from one country. This is the sort of pressure that I think Saddam Hussein needs to feel.

So, the numbers involved here can vary from a very small number with SOF and Air Force, up to a larger number if that political decision is to go in and take Baghdad.

BLITZER: General Kennedy, I'm sure you've noticed, as a lot of our viewers have noticed because I get tons of e-mail on this, that many of the retired generals perhaps are considered more dovish as far as going to war with Iraq, specifically Secretary of State Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, our own General Wesley Clark, a former NATO supreme allied commander, as opposed to some of the political leaders, some of them who never served in the military.

What's your take on this?

KENNEDY: Well, my sense of this, Wolf, is that retired general officers, as is true of all ranks of soldiers who have retired, we have a perspective on this that is built on experience. And General Powell and General Clark, as well as any number of others, understand the price of war and we understand what it costs.

And so we want to make sure that when this country goes to war that we're very serious about it, not only about the military operation but about the sustained, political effort, the sustained economic development that would be devoted to this region upon completion of military operations.

BLITZER: All right. Generals, we're going to take a quick break. We're only getting started.

We have a lot more analysis to do with our outstanding panel of retired generals. They'll also be taking more of your phone calls. This special LATE EDITION, Showdown: Iraq, will be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION, Showdown: Iraq. We're talking about the military challenges of a possible new war with Iraq with the former NATO supreme allied commander, retired General George Joulwan, the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, Claudia Kennedy, and the retired U.S. Army brigadier general and CNN military analyst, David Grange.

General Grange, I want you to listen to what the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, told CNN's Bob Novak this past weekend, over these past few days about the next war, if there is a next war, against Iraq. Listen to this.


DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Saddam Hussein's forces are considerably weaker today than they were then, and our forces are considerably stronger. The fact remains that the existence of weapons of mass destruction changed the equation. And so, the very reason why it's important for him to disarm also changes the circumstance quite substantially. And one has to be sensitive to those risks.


BLITZER: Talk, General Grange, about those risks. Assuming the Iraqis militarily are weaker, the United States militarily is stronger, there is this whole wild card of weapons of mass destruction.

GRANGE: Well, that's correct. I mean, tank on tank, aircraft on aircraft, there's obviously no match, and I think Saddam and his regime knows that.

The threat would be a special Republican Guard fighting in the cities, as an example, or use of WMD, in this case a chemical attack on an advancing U.S. force or coalition force or starting, let's say, some type of biological warfare on his own people, like the Shi'a in the south, to contaminate an avenue of approach moving north.

Things like that he could use, and I think he's the kind of person that would do it, and likely if we go to war again.

BLITZER: That sounds, General Joulwan, like a huge potential challenge facing the U.S.

JOULWAN: Of course it is, and not just the U.S. I think it's also a great challenge for our European and NATO allies who are very close to Iraq, Turkey in particular, very important for our ally Israel and other nations in the region.

So I truly think that the weapons of mass destruction, by the way, have been around for 20-plus years in Iraq are something that needs to be contended with. I wouldn't panic over it, but we need to address it.

And, by the way, I'm a little bit concerned about being a doveish retired general here...


... but I think it's something that we really need to be concerned with but equally with our allies.

BLITZER: I didn't say you were a doveish general.


I called General Powell and General Clarke doveish. We'll talk about that in a moment. Generals, all of you stand by. I'm not categorizing any of you.

We're going to take another quick break. Coming up in the next hour of LATE EDITION, we'll get much more insight from our distinguished military panel. Then we'll move on, talk about the war on terror. We'll have three big-city mayors. They'll be weighing in on the state of homeland security in the United States.

All that, much more, including Israeli and Palestinian officials. LATE EDITION will be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. We'll continue our military roundtable in just a moment, including more phone calls for our three generals, but first, here's CNN's Carol Lin in Atlanta with a news alert.


BLITZER: We're getting some insight into the obstacles and challenges of a possible new war with Iraq from the former NATO supreme allied commander, retired General George Joulwan, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, and retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and CNN military analyst David Grange.

General Kennedy, if you're taking a look at the differences of the U.S. and the Iraqi militaries a dozen years ago as opposed today, you add in this ingredient that the Iraqis, if pressed against the corner, Saddam Hussein might unleash weapons of mass destruction. That certainly scares a lot of Americans right now who are worried about their loved ones who may serving in the U.S. military.

KENNEDY: Yes, well, certainly people are always very proud of the people who serve who are from their families who serve in our American military, and always a bit concerned especially in times of active operations like these.

One of the differences is that, compared to the first Gulf War, is that our munitions are far more precise than they were a dozen years ago. We have a more capable army. It will be a different size and scope of a war, although I completely agree with General Joulwan that there's a lot of range in the planning right now.

And I think that one would have to assess that the Iraqi military lacks the same robustness that it even bordered on before. And, frankly, we saw what happened once active operations got under way.

BLITZER: Do you see, General Grange, perhaps on a much bigger scale, but the same model that was used to effectively liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban and al Qaeda a year ago, that same model, bringing in special operations forces early on, then working with these -- the air power, do you see that effectively getting the job done, at least to start with, in Iraq?

GRANGE: I think it'll be more simultaneous use of forces this time, both general-purpose and special-operating forces. And I think it may start off with a limited size, but very quickly it'll, I think, produce overwhelming force, in case things change, once you start to fight, which always appears to be the case, and then have enough force in place, when you go into the consolidation phase, after you remove the regime, that you can control Iraq itself for the transition.

BLITZER: General Joulwan, we saw a historic expansion of NATO this past week. Seven additional countries from Eastern Europe, the former Soviet bloc, now full-scale members of NATO, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. And the Russians simply stood by the side. The president then went to see President Putin the next day and got a pretty warm reception over there, as well.

What role as an organization, if any, should NATO have if there is in fact another war against Iraq?

JOULWAN: Well, I think, first of all, the Prague summit was a great success. And when linked to the congressional resolution here, the U.N. resolution, and now a very strong resolution coming out of Prague, it's very significant. And I think politically that's important for Saddam Hussein to feel that pressure, so he doesn't miscalculate.

I think the allies can, and NATO in particular, can help in many different ways: basing, overflight rights, logistics, as well as on the ground. Remember, there are 400 Romanians now in Afghanistan, with U.S. forces. I think you will see several of our NATO nations joining us, if and when we get involved in Iraq.

And remember also that the Germans and Dutch will take over the international security force in Afghanistan. There is a willingness, and I think that was demonstrated.

This cohesion, this mutual trust and confidence that we felt for so many years in NATO is there again today. NATO is every bit as essential today as it was in the past. I hope we realize that. And they will be very important, particularly Turkey as a NATO member, if and when we go into Iraq.

BLITZER: All right. Let's take a caller from Kansas. Kansas, go ahead, please.

CALLER: Yes. My question is, after Iraq, what other nations we take on, especially nations where the terrorism evolved, namely, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia?

BLITZER: General Kennedy, your background, at least in part, is in intelligence. What happens after Iraq, assuming there is a war with Iraq?

KENNEDY: Well, one of the most important activities in the aftermath of military operations in Iraq is to do something about making sure that that country does not fragment, that politically they're able to find a way to effect a regime change that has some kind of transformation from the current dictatorship to something approaching democracy, and to get back on their feet economically.

I think the focus ought to be on Iraq and making sure that these people, who are basically well-educated, well-schooled, have plenty of background to be able to take on their own self-governance, that they're able to do that.

Now, that requires a longer-term commitment by the United States and all of our allies than just the period covered by military operations.

BLITZER: We know, General Grange, the U.S. military has done some extensive planning for the possibility of urban warfare in Baghdad, other major cities of Iraq. We, in fact, have some 3-D animation of some of the things that they've been looking at. But a lot of Americans remember Mogadishu, some other unpleasant experiences.

Is the special operations forces, are these capabilities there for the U.S. military, if they have to go into a huge city with millions of people, like Baghdad?

GRANGE: A lot of training effort has gone into fighting in cities, especially in the last 10 years. Some units are very good at it. Others are getting better all the time. It's a priority of training for Marine and Army units and aircraft operating in city areas, like helicopters.

So, the military's much better than it used to be. It's difficult. It's something we don't want to get involved in, but you probably have to at times. And I think the military's going to be ready for it.

BLITZER: General Joulwan, why is it so hard for the U.S. military in Afghanistan and along the border, let's say, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, to find Osama bin Laden?

Everyone assumes he is now alive, and everyone seems to assume that he's along that border someplace. Why can't the U.S. military and its coalition partners there find him?

JOULWAN: Well, it's always difficult to find one individual, but -- and I hope we learned the lesson from Afghanistan, if and when we go to Iraq. The point of military operations is to impose your will on the enemy.

I don't think we did that adequately in Afghanistan. We had opportunities at Tora Bora and Anaconda to close with (ph) and destroy the enemy. We didn't do that effectively, in my opinion. And therefore, many of the al Qaeda escaped.

We are now making adjustments in Afghanistan. We cannot make that mistake in Iraq. There is never a free operation in terms of casualty-free operations.

But what we should focus on is what is the mission, the clarity of that mission, and get on with it. There will be a price to pay, but we cannot make the mistakes we made in Afghanistan, we made in Lebanon, we made in Bosnia and the Balkans. We have to learn. And we must learn that in Iraq if and when we commit to force.

BLITZER: General Kennedy... JOULWAN: And I think it's very important.

BLITZER: Go ahead, General Kennedy, I want you to have the last word. A lot of our viewers looking at the seasons changing, the weather factor, if in fact the president gives the order to go to war against Iraq -- December, January, February and March.

Is the weather an issue that the president and the military command has to consider?

KENNEDY: Absolutely, Wolf. We think about the weather in every single military operation, whether we're in the summer or we're in the winter. And remember that our special operation troops, as well as our light infantry, train, at least half of them, train under severe winter conditions, and we're able to go in and do that.

The other part of this is that when we've been developing weapons in the last 10 or 12 years, one of the considerations has to do not only with night operations but winter, severe cold weather operations.

BLITZER: Now, there's a bigger problem, though -- and let me have the last word, General Grange -- as far as dust is concerned, in that part of the world, desert warfare and the heat if it gets to March, April. Is that a deadline, in effect, for going to war?

GRANGE: There's never a deadline. It's a consideration. It's a factor. There'll be wearing on parts of machinery, combat equipment and helicopters, but it will not be a show-stopper. It's tougher to operate, but I believe the forces are capable of doing that.

BLITZER: Three retired U.S. generals joining us. Thanks to all three of you, General Joulwan, General Kennedy, General Grange. Always a pleasure having you on this program.

When we return, a new round of violence in the Middle East. Is there any chance of renewed efforts for peace? We'll talk with the Palestinian representative to the United Nations, Nasser al-Kidwa, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's aide, Raanan Gissin. They'll join me live when LATE EDITION continues.



BUSH: We're going to continue to work toward peace in the Middle East. Two states living side by side in peace is the vision.


BLITZER: President Bush commenting on the latest cycle of violence in the Middle East. Eleven Israelis were killed and dozens more were injured in a Palestinian suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem on Thursday. And a 13-year-old Palestinian boy and a British United Nations worker were killed and another Palestinian man was injured in a subsequent Israeli crackdown in the West Bank and Gaza. Joining us now from Jerusalem is the spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Raanan Gissin, and in New York, the Palestinian representative to the United Nations, Nasser al-Kidwa.

Gentlemen, welcome back to LATE EDITION.

I want to get to all of those issues in a moment, but Raanan Gissin, we just had a lengthy discussion about Iraq.

What is the position of the Israeli government? If the U.S. goes to war against Iraq and the Iraqis were to attack Israel once again as they did a dozen years ago, what would Israel do?

RAANAN GISSIN, ISRAELI SPOKESMAN: Well, Israel's a peace-seeking nation. We're not looking for any wars with anyone, neither with the Palestinians nor with the Iraqis.

But, of course, if we are attacked -- and I see that as not as the most reasonable scenario, because I believe that certain precautions and certain measures will be taken so that this will not happen. But if it does, I can assure you that Israel will know how to defend its citizens like any other democracy. And that's our prime responsibility.

But I don't believe that we will reach that kind of a scenario. I think the planning of the war, as we learn it from the United States, if there will be a war, and hopefully there won't be, but if there will be one, that issue of attack against Israel will be taken care in advance.

BLITZER: Well, let me press you on that because you obviously are vague, perhaps deliberately so. What does that mean, it would be taken care of in advance, so that the Iraqis, for example, don't launch Scuds at Israeli targets?

GISSIN: Well, I believe that it's become common knowledge, both in your press in the States as well as here, in the cooperation that we have with the United States. And the United States, if it is going to go to a war against Iraq, is going to neutralize in advance the launch capabilities of the Iraqis with regard to weapons that they may have, whether those are weapons of mass destruction or nonconventional weapons.

But at any rate, you can rest assured that we have taken all the defensive measures in order to protect our citizens. We also have offensive capabilities, and I think that the Iraqis will think twice before they decide ever to use these weapons.

I would say that a major threat to the countries of the Middle East and other countries in the world lies more so with the spread of terrorist activity rather than with the launching of these missiles.

BLITZER: All right. Let me bring Ambassador al-Kidwa in.

What do you sense will be the reaction of the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, elsewhere, if the U.S. finds itself at war, militarily speaking, against Iraq?

NASSER AL-KIDWA, PALESTINIAN REPRESENTATIVE TO THE U.N.: Well, we believe that the region does not need another war. This is -- this would be a very dangerous development. I hope that it's not going to take place. And we believe that Security Council Resolution 1441 provides for a peaceful solution through the inspection regime.

Unfortunately, we also believe that Israel is pushing, Israel and its friends, I must say, is pushing for a war. And we fear unresponsible behavior on the part of the Israeli authorities, including, for instance, waging even broader attacks against the Palestinian people and maybe getting into additional illegal schemes against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.

BLITZER: Raanan Gissin, two accusations Ambassador al-Kidwa just made against your government. Let's handle both of them, if you could respond briefly.

Are you encouraging the United States to go to war against Iraq, your government?

GISSIN: No, we're not, and we're not involved in any conduct of the war. We support the United States and President Bush efforts to eradicate terrorism because it's a threat to all democracies around the world, but we have no intention of going to war, and we're not involved in this war.

All I can say that right now, for the past six weeks, we've been facing a wave of unprecedented terrorist activity from the all the Palestinian terrorist groups, and we had to exercise our right of self-defense. And this would seem that the ones who are trying to instigate an escalation is not Israel but rather the Palestinian terrorist groups, with, I must say regrettably, the support of the Palestinian Authority.

BLITZER: All right. Let's let Ambassador al-Kidwa respond to that charge from Raanan Gissin.

Go ahead, Ambassador.

AL-KIDWA: Well, I believe that the term "self-defense" is very misleading. Let's recall that Israel exists in the occupied territory as an occupying power. It has been there for more than 35 years, waging the most oppressive campaign against the Palestinian people and actually waging even colonialism, trying to expand beyond its border and trying to annex even parts of the occupied territories.

So the legal aspect and the political meaning of the situation has always to be borne in mind. So, the situation is completely different. Again, Israel is an occupying power. And the only issue that it has to do is to end its occupation, as the United States by the way repeatedly called for, and allow the existence of a Palestinian state -- a real one, with full sovereignty over its land and its people.

BLITZER: Raanan Gissin, I'll give you a chance briefly to respond, but we have to take a commercial break. Go ahead and respond briefly, and then we'll come right back. Go ahead, Raanan.

GISSIN: Well, I think this is never been said before here on CNN, but the ones who deny Israel's right for self-defense also deny my birth right. This is not occupied territory, disputed territories, because I have birth rights on that land, is equal and if not more than Mr. Al-Kidwa.

I recognize his rights to the land. He never recognized my inherent, historical rights to the land which is my ancestral homeland.

BLITZER: And you're referring -- hold on one second. You're referring, Raanan Gissin, specifically to the West Bank, right?

GISSIN: No, I'm saying that the ones who deny my right of self- defense, it derives from denial of my inherent birth rights to the land that I live on. I'm not an occupying power.

AL-KIDWA: You are an occupying power.

GISSIN: I lived on that land for 4,000 years. My forefathers -- no, I'm not. This is disputed territory between two people.

BLITZER: Ambassador Al-Kidwa, go ahead very quickly, go ahead and respond.

AL-KIDWA: There are 37 Security Council resolutions on the situation on occupied territory that is the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Twenty-seven of those resolutions define Israel as occupying power. There is consensus, international consensus on this fact.

For Mr. Gissin to come here and deny that there is occupation actually is negating the possibility of any peaceful solution between the two sides.

BLITZER: All right.

AL-KIDWA: This is exactly the crux of the problem. They want to annex this land. They want to expand. That is the crux of the problem.

BLITZER: All right, we're going to take a quick break. We have much more to talk about.

We're going to continue our conversation with Raanan Gissin and Nasser Al-Kidwa. LATE EDITION will be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. We're talking about the crisis in the Middle East with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman, Raanan Gissin, and Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian representative to the United Nations.

Raanan Gissin, there's been a lot of interest, today, yesterday, this weekend, involving Saudi Arabia and the war on terror, allegations, suggestions that the Saudis may have at least indirectly played some role in funding some of those September 11th hijackers.

As far as your government is concerned, is Saudi Arabia funding terrorist actions against Israel?

GISSIN: Look, I don't know if they're funding directly, but there's no doubt that there has been money, Saudi money, involved in supporting families of the terrorist groups, families of suicide and homicide bombers.

There's an overall atmosphere, today, which is very permissive to this kind of suicide and homicide bombing, which is part and parcel of, I would say, that radical element of Islam that wants to see a solution to the situation by eradicating Israel, by eradicating Western democracies. And that's a very ominous sign.

And the fact that there is money funneled into it and incitement which goes unabated are the main causes for the continuation and the spread of this ominous phenomena of suicide and homicide bombing, which we had, unfortunately, the experience in the past two years of suffering from it more than any other nation in the world.

BLITZER: Ambassador al-Kidwa, as far as you know, are Saudi funds going to groups the U.S. State Department considers to be terrorist groups, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, in particular?

AL-KIDWA: Well, I don't think so, actually. Even Mr. Gissin is speaking about Saudi money going to families. And families and charities are one thing; terrorist activities are another thing altogether.

But again, this is the same Israeli pattern, trying to draw some kind of suspicion about Arab positions in general, whether it is Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country, speaking about incitement, while he himself is saying publicly on the CNN that no occupation, thus negating the existence and the national rights of the Palestinian people. This is the utmost instigation that should be condemned and, frankly, should be ended (ph), so that the two sides can indeed reach a solution.

BLITZER: Raanan Gissin, as you know, the United Nations representatives in the West Bank are very angry right now that Israeli forces apparently killed a U.N. worker on the West Bank over the past couple of days. Tell us what the position of your government is, what happened in that incident.

GISSIN: We regret very much the loss of any innocent civilians, and we are the ones who supported UNRA (ph) and U.N. workers in the territory, as much as we can.

But I think we've got to set the record straight. For the past 30 years, all those refugee camps were used, misused and abused by the Palestinian terrorist groups who used these refugee camps as launching and staging ground for attacks against Israel. They did it in Jordan, they did it in Lebanon, they now do it in the territories, and the world was silent. You know, talking about U.N. resolutions, I haven't seen one resolution in the 55 years that the U.N. exists that supports the state of Israel. I've seen over 100 resolutions that condemn Israel.

We have a debate now in Israel, because we have elections. And it's a legitimate debate about how to carve a road to peace. And what is the debate in the Palestinian Authority today, among the Palestinian groups? It's whether they should kill Israelis and Jews only in the territories or in the rest of the country.

BLITZER: Well, I'm going to move on, but there is a 1947 U.N. partition resolution, which called for the establishment of a Palestinian and a Jewish state, but that was in 1947.

GISSIN: That's the one resolution.

BLITZER: Ambassador al-Kidwa, we all saw that Jerusalem bus bombing this week. The Israeli government says the Palestinian Authority, led by Yasser Arafat, could control these suicide bombers, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, if he really wanted to.

Is there more he should be doing? Can he be doing more? Because clearly not only the Israeli government but the U.S. government is obviously condemning the Palestinian Authority for not doing enough.

AL-KIDWA: Well, unfortunately we can't do more in the circumstances, thanks to the Israeli policies and Israeli actions, including the destruction of the security capabilities of the Palestinian Authority.

We need different political atmosphere. We need to provide the Palestinian people with hope, with political horizons, so the Palestinian Authority is enabled to take the necessary actions in this regard.

So, we have no doubt in our mind about the appropriate way to proceed, but let me go back about and say something about this U.N. official who was killed by the Israeli army. The Israeli army killed him, prevented the needed saving actions to be taken. And unfortunately, they lied about that, as usual, as happened in the past repeatedly.

That proves, to my mind, the pattern being articulated or being committed by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian people in general. The Israeli soldiers, unfortunately, are trigger happy to say the least, and I'm afraid there is even a culture that was created through the upper echelon of the army that encouraged this kind of completely irresponsible behavior, if not criminal behavior, including the commission of war crimes.

BLITZER: All right. What about that, Raanan Gissin?

GISSIN: Well, you know, we have to admit when we make mistakes. I haven't heard Mr. al-Kidwa admit that the Palestinians have made any mistakes or, for example, what kind of painful compromises are they willing to make for peace? We show that we're willing to make painful compromises, and we started with a process which was dashed by the Palestinian Authority and their leader.

What kind of painful compromises today are the Arabs and the Palestinians willing to make for peace? Maybe that's the kind of question that Mr. al-Kidwa has to address himself to.

AL-KIDWA: Very good point. May I try to answer that?

Actually, we are ready to reiterate our acceptance for Israel within 1967 border and to live in peace side by side. I hope that Mr. Gissin is able to say that we accept the end of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory that started in 1967 and accept the existence of a Palestinian state with sovereignty so that we can live side by side.

This is the solution and there is, again, international consensus in favor of this resolution. What is needed is to have clear Israeli position in favor of this resolution, and then the situation could dramatically change.

BLITZER: Go ahead, Raanan Gissin. We're almost out of time.

GISSIN: Israel is committed to peace. And the prime minister of Israeli's government can lead to peace, despite all the allegations and all the demonization that spreads today in the Arab world.

But one thing must be understood. First, there has to be an end to that awful incitement which sends young school children to blow themselves up in buses and discotheques and kill other, indiscriminately, other school children, other Israelis.

Without the stoppage of incitement, the two-state solution that we want so much will not materialize. And I think it's the responsibility of Nasser al-Kidwa and the Palestinian leadership to seriously look into this matter of what the incitement does to the next generation.

BLITZER: All right. We gave Raanan Gissin the first word.

AL-KIDWA: I'll accept...

BLITZER: Ambassador al-Kidwa, you'll have the last word. Go ahead, respond to the most recent point that Raanan Gissin just made.

AL-KIDWA: I think we both have to exercise some additional efforts to end this miserable situation, this tragedy which is taking place. We have to try even harder, and the Israeli side has to try. Terrorism or terrorist acts has to end, but also war crimes committed by the Israeli army have to come to an end.

So, we desperately need to end this situation, and let's hope that we can still, nevertheless, work together toward that end.

BLITZER: All right. Nasser al-Kidwa and Raanan Gissin, a good debate, a good discussion today. Thanks to both of you for joining us on LATE EDITION.

AL-KIDWA: Thank you.

BLITZER: We'll have both of you back, probably in the not-too- distant future.

And just ahead, as the holiday travel season begins here in the United States, a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security is beginning to take shape. But is it enough to keep Americans safe? We'll ask Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood and Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams.

LATE EDITION will be right back.



TOM RIDGE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY: This is the first time we'll have an agency that can consolidate that information and work with the private sector to protect and harden these targets.


BLITZER: The U.S. homeland security director, Tom Ridge, speaking to CNN the day after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security. President Bush expected in the coming days to sign that bill into law.

Welcome back to LATE EDITION.

We turn now to three mayors who are on the front lines in the war against terrorism: In Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino. He's also the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In Orlando, the Florida -- Orlando, Florida, that is, Mayor Glenda Hood. She's the chairperson of the Florida Domestic Security Advisory Panel. And in Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams. He's a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Mayors, thanks so much for joining us.

Mayor Menino, let me begin with you. Now that there's about to be this formal Department of Homeland Security, do you think the people in Boston are going to be any safer as a result of that?

MAYOR THOMAS MENINO, PRES., U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS: I think the Homeland Security Department was long overdue. The mayors called for it right after 9/11. You know, it's not a partisan issue, it's not Democrat, Republican issue. It's an issue of how we coordinate the services.

But there's one missing ingredient, Wolf, is the funding ingredient, and that's the $3.8 billion that was promised to the cities over two years ago. I understand Senator Clinton is going to file the bill to give us direct block grants to cities for homeland security, but that's the missing part. They went home, they didn't even deal with the issue of finances for cities. Cities have spent about $2.6 billion since last September, and we're asked to be on the front lines every day, but nobody's willing to help us meet those costs.

BLITZER: What about that, Mayor Hood? You feel safer in Orlando as a result of what's going on in Washington?

MAYOR GLENDA HOOD, ORLANDO, FLORIDA: Well, I'm glad that they have passed the bill to put the department in place because now there will be clear lines of authority, that intelligence information will be able to get down to our local law enforcement professionals in a much quicker way and a much more efficient way, and that's what's important. Because we've all been on a heightened state of alert in our cities, and we know that it's important to provide that safe environment for those people who live here and who visit our communities.

BLITZER: But are you getting...


BLITZER: Mayor Hood...

HOOD: Yes?

BLITZER: ... picking up on what Mayor Menino said, are you getting the funding from the federal government that you need?

HOOD: No, we're not. And we've been able to advance funding, mid-budget year here in Orlando and then in our regular budget, but we can't sustain that over a period of time. So we need to see that funding, and we need to see it soon.

BLITZER: Mayor Williams, I want to read to you from the latest FBI bulletin warning of new terror threats against the United States. Among other things, it says this. It says, "In selecting its next targets, sources suggest al Qaeda may favor spectacular attacks that meet several criteria: high symbolic value, mass causalities, severe damage to the U.S. economy and maximum psychological trauma."

God knows your city, Washington, D.C., fits that description, especially the notion of high symbolic value. Are they giving you the help you need to deal with that?

MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS, WASHINGTON, D.C.: Well, Washington, D.C., itself has been given help in terms of its emergency preparedness and bioterrorism response.

But I think the mayors are right in that Congress has the duty to see that local government, your first line of response, has the resources to help the federal government execute a homeland security strategy. You can't do that with nothing.

BLITZER: Mayor Menino, they tell you to be on the alert. They tell you of possible spectacular attacks. Boston's got a lot of high visibility, potential targets as well. But what do they do after they tell you that?

MENINO: They do nothing. They just tell us to be on alert. That means we have to alert our police and intelligence units and make sure that these spectacular sites they say -- you have to put additional police. You know, the one thing they're not addressing at all in this homeland security is communications between police departments. That was a major issue in Washington and New York, but nobody's even addressing that issue when we talk about homeland security. How do different police departments and fire departments speak to each other, that's one issue that has to be addressed as we move forward and try and make sure our country is safe.

BLITZER: Do they tell you anything, Mayor Hood, after they tell you that, be on the lookout, be alert, get ready, spectacular threats that are out there? What do they tell you after they say that?

HOOD: Well, I have to tell you, it's gotten a lot better since September 11th of 2001. All our law enforcement folks say that. But we've really almost had to take things into our own hands.

And we have an organization at the state level here, thanks to our governor, Jeb Bush. We have seven regions, we have coordination among all those different regions with the state, with the feds.

But we still need to make sure that through this new Department of Homeland Security that, again, that information is getting down where it needs to get in an efficient, fast way.

BLITZER: Do you believe, Mayor Hood, that they're giving you the specific information, your law enforcement department in Orlando? You've got Disney World down there. That's certainly a potential target that everyone is very familiar with.

Are they sharing the kind of intelligence, the specific information that your law enforcement authorities need?

HOOD: All of our folks tell me that they are getting much better information now than they did previously. Do we still have work to do? Absolutely. And I believe that the new Department of Homeland Defense will help us go a long ways toward getting it right.

BLITZER: Mayor Williams, there are these color codes, these alert status levels that the federal government has put out. As you well know, right now the country is at an elevated or yellow level. They were for a brief period of time at a higher level, the orange level.

Do these codes actually have any practical impact on your day-to- day efforts to keep the citizens of Washington, D.C., safe?

WILLIAMS: Wolf, I'd agree with Mayor Hood. We're not where we want to be or where we should be, but we're a lot better off than where we were on September 11th. We're coordinating much better with the federal government in responding to events, coordinating much better with them in sharing specific information as to a specific potential event. Where I think we have a lot more work to do is sharing intelligence between state and local government and the federal government, between the federal government and the private sector, in terms of potential threats, where you work with a network, work with local government in actually obtaining that information.

We saw with the sniper, for example, where the sniper got through a number of different exchanges with law enforcement without being stopped. To me, that's a failure of sharing intelligence and information.

BLITZER: Well, Mayor Menino, on that issue, and I'm going to take a quick break after you give me your answer, but on that specific issue of sharing intelligence, as everyone knows, the CIA's reluctant to share information with the FBI, and the FBI historically has been reluctant to share some information with the CIA.

Both of these agencies presumably are very reluctant to share information with a local police department, let's say in Boston.

MENINO: Well, let me just say, Wolf, that the task force we have between state, federal and Boston police works. The sharing of information is there, that they continually exchange intelligence information that they have, working together also with the Port Authority.

I think the issue of sharing is better than it was in the past. But the issue you also mentioned is the color scheme. You know, if you're ever on an orange alert, and the federal government is, but what's the alert in Massachusetts? They haven't coordinated those alerts yet either on the federal and state side. There are some failures in the system.

But one thing I have to say is that Tom Ridge has been very responsive to Boston in particular, as we have different emergencies arise. His department has been very responsive to us.

BLITZER: All right. Logan Airport, is that safe right now, Mayor?

MENINO: Oh, I believe it is. It's much safer today than it was last year and the year before. I think they've done a great job at Logan Airport.

BLITZER: All right, Mayors, stand by. We have a lot more to talk about.

We're going to continue our conversation and also take your phone calls on homeland security. These mayors are on the front lines right now in protecting three major U.S. cities.

LATE EDITION will continue right after this.


BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. We're discussing homeland security with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood, and Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams.

We have a caller from California. Go ahead with your question, please.

CALLER: Wolf Blitzer, it's a pleasure. I'd like to ask your panel of mayors, are they surprised they haven't been attacked in the same fashion as the BM (ph) meters on the Don & Mike Show?

BLITZER: Oh, unfortunately, that was a hoax call.

But, Mayor Williams, are you surprised, though, that there hasn't been since 9/11 another major, in the words of the FBI, "spectacular" attack that we've had before?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think we live in a new era of threats, with new challenges, and I think there's risk out there. But having said that, I think that people have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect their cities and their communities. And in that respect, I'm not surprised.

I think that's what Mayor Hood and Mayor Menino were saying, is that people are out there on the front line doing the job, and they need that support. And I believe that support will be forthcoming. That's my own view.

BLITZER: Mayor Hood, I want you to listen to what your senator, the Florida senator, Bob Graham, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said earlier this week, as far as the transition as this new Department of Homeland Security gets off the ground. Listen to what Senator Graham said.


SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: There will inevitably be a time of learning who your new partners are, what the new rules and expectations are. And during that transition time, we may actually see some degree of lessened domestic security.


BLITZER: Do you accept what he says as a fact, that there could be a lessened degree of security in the coming weeks and months?

HOOD: Well, I think certainly, when you put a new department together at the grand scale that this Homeland Security Department will be, you might see some vulnerable areas.

And that's why it's important that we at the local level continue to take the lead, as we have. Mayor Menino has said that, Mayor Williams has said that. Every mayor across America will tell you that we have absolutely done everything we can to make sure that our communities are safe.

And we're engaging our citizens, giving them emergency- preparedness training, making sure they have all the information that they need, because we can't sit around and wait. We're the ones where things are going to happen, if there's going to be a terrorist threat or attack. And our first responders are the first ones there and the last ones to leave. And everybody else is in a supporting role.

So, I would agree that there will probably be some vulnerable areas. It's a difficult reorganization, the largest that we've seen, but I'm confident that we'll all be there, working together.

And I will say, like was said earlier, that Governor Ridge has been outstanding, as far as working with us at the local level.

BLITZER: Mayor Menino, Senator Jeffords, your neighbor from Vermont, also is concerned about the short term. I want you to listen to what he said. Listen to this.


SEN. JAMES JEFFORDS (I), VERMONT: It is irresponsible to divert precious, limited resources from our fight against terrorism to create a dysfunctional new bureaucracy that will only give the American people a false sense of security.


BLITZER: Those are strong words, Mayor, a "false sense of security."

MENINO: Well, let me just say, Wolf, I don't want to, since the senator, you know, has more knowledge than I do, but I just know in Boston, we coordinate all our services. Yes, you have a few bumpy roads, but it works better. There's better communications between departments when you have an emergency in your city.

So I'm a firm believer in the coordination of all these services. You know, it's about time. We took too long to do it. And, you know, like I said earlier in the program, it's not a Democrat-Republican issue, it's how we get the job done. And I think, by this consolidation, we'll be able to get the job done.

You know, we're on a different track in America today. You know, the change in our lives forever. Mayors are in two tracks: one of making sure our cities are safe, and also the other track of making sure our cities work for the people who live there.

So it's a much different world. I think this consolidation will work. Will we have some bumpy roads? Yes, it will. But I think, by having one person in charge, we're much better for it.

BLITZER: Mayor Menino, thanks for joining us, Mayor Hood, Mayor Williams, always good to have all of you on this program.


WILLIAMS: It's a pleasure.

BLITZER: Thanks so much for joining us.

MENINO: Good to be with you.

HOOD: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

It's time now to say goodbye to our international viewers. Thanks very much for watching.

Coming up for our North American audience, the next hour of LATE EDITION. What do new homeland security measures mean for your rights? We'll get two legal perspectives.

Then, LATE EDITION's "Final Round." There's no shortage of strong opinions from our panel. It's all coming up, when the next hour of LATE EDITION returns.


BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Los Angeles.

We'll explore the legal implications of new homeland security measures in just a moment. But first, here's CNN's Carol Lin with a CNN news alert.


BLITZER: This week, a U.S. appeals court gave the government the approval to implement broad new wiretapping powers. In addition, a new database will be able to monitor the purchase and travel activity of virtually any person in the United States, a step the government says is necessary to fight the war on terror.

Joining us now to help through all the legal aspects of this war are two special guests: In Miami, the famed criminal defense attorney, Roy Black; and in Washington, D.C., the former U.S. attorney, Joseph DiGenova.

Gentlemen, always good to have both of you on the program.

Let's begin with you, Roy.

I don't know if you saw the story in today's "Washington Post," but an important story suggesting of those 44 people detained over these past several months since 9/11 as so-called material witnesses, only -- at least 44 of those people, only half of them, if that, have actually been called to testify before any grand jury. The rest are simply being held.

What does that say to you?

ROY BLACK, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, unfortunately, the Department of Justice is using a lot of these rules, rules that were created are being used in the name of national security, to keep people secretly detained. And if anything, our system of justice has always been one leaning toward openness, to trials, having lawyers, not having secret detention. We've always been -- and our Founders of our Constitution were against these secret kind of proceedings, and that's why we have our Bill of Rights.

BLITZER: Are you concerned about that, Joe DiGenova?

JOSEPH DIGENOVA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: No, Wolf, and I'll you why. A material witness statute was enacted in 1984 in a bipartisanship effort to codify common law in this area. And in order for a material witness to be held, it requires the government to go before a federal judge and have the federal judge rule that this person is a material witness. And not only that, they have be represented by counsel in those proceedings, and if they can't afford counsel, it's provided to them by the government.

So these proceedings, while they are secret from the public, they're not secret from the federal judiciary. And all of the usual procedures for the protection of people are attended.

We are at war. There are cells that exist in this country. You remember that the 19 hijackers who tried to destroy this country on September the 11th, 2001, were part of a cell that was functioning in this country. There are other cells in this country, according to published reports.

And the use of the material witness statute is a perfectly legitimate and constitutional means of helping us protect the republic and American citizens from future attack.

BLITZER: Roy Black, you want to respond to that?

BLACK: Of course. I have to disagree with that, because a number of judges are now beginning to make objections because they've seen they've been misled in some of the information the government has told them about people that they're holding without bail in solitary confinement, in which there's no evidence they've committed any kind of crime.

And what we're using as a procedure now to hold people secretly in the special housing units and solitary confinement and horrible conditions. And, you know, this is just totally an antithesis of our system of justice.

DIGENOVA: Well, I think it's very important what Roy just said. If federal judges have problems with these material witness situations, they have every responsibility and right to call the government to account.

It will be interesting to see whether or not some of the things we've been hearing are in fact true, but that's why we have federal judges and that's why these material witnesses have been held on the orders of federal judges.

BLITZER: Well, Joe, let me interrupt for a second. If these are material witnesses, why aren't they being asked to testify before a grand jury?

DIGENOVA: Well, Wolf, the answer is very simple. Sometimes material witnesses don't go before a grand jury. They are interviewed, they give sworn statements, they give hair samples, they give fingerprints, they give information about people that the government is interested in.

Just because you're a material witness doesn't mean you have to go before a grand jury. There's nothing in the statute that requires that.

BLACK: And sometimes you're just a target of federal law enforcement or the United States government, and they want to hold you in isolation to see what they can do to you. And that's unconstitutional.

BLITZER: All right, let's move on. Obviously the two of you are not going to agree on this whole issue of material witnesses.

There's a story that also emerged over the past few days saying that the U.S. has dramatically expanded the number of countries on a list that would require residents living here in the United States from those countries to register with the federal government earlier this month, for example, we'll put up on the screen, residents from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria. But on Saturday, they added all these other countries to that list.

Roy Black, is the federal government, as some now believe, out of control on this issue, asking people who live in the country who are originally from all of these other countries to have to formally register their whereabouts, their activities with the federal government?

BLACK: Well, Wolf, that doesn't bother me as much as their interference with American citizens. If there are people here from other countries who come into the country under the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the United States government has the ability to require them to make reports and say where they are. I don't think that really interferes with people's civil liberties.

BLITZER: This is an issue involving, Joe DiGenova, as you well know, men 16 years of age and older. And if you take a look at that list, and let's put that list back up on the screen, you'll notice one thing on those lists. Almost all of them either Middle East, North African, African countries.

You don't see France, for example, on that list. Zacarias Moussauoi is a French citizen. He's accused of being the so-called 20th hijacker. If that regulation had been in existence when he came to the United States, it wouldn't have made any difference at all.

DIGENOVA: Yes, well, Wolf, what we're doing here is we are regularizing for the first time in our history the entrance to our borders. For too long, our borders have been like sieves, and we have not regulated the conduct of aliens coming into this country. I agree with Roy, we should be doing this. Not only that, what's very, very ironic about this is that, you know, we've been subject to tremendous criticism from the Europeans for many of the things that we've been doing since 9/11.

The Europeans have the most incredibly hard-line, conservative, alien registration controls than any countries in the world. And they have -- and they're proud of the fact that when you go, even as an American, to a hotel in Paris or Rome, you have to give your passport, and they keep it. And they call the local police and let them know you're there. You get it back when you ask for it. But I'm not concerned about this.

And with regard to Mr. Moussauoi, in some of these countries that are not on the list, there are nonetheless, such as our allies in France, extra visa requirements that are imposed as a matter of reality even though they're not on the list.

BLITZER: All right, let's move to talk about this big win for the Justice Department, Roy Black, this past week, allowing law enforcement in effect to cooperate with the intelligence branches of the U.S. government to share information.

The attorney general spoke out after the appeals court came down on the side of the Justice Department. Not surprisingly, he was very happy. Listen to this.


JOHN ASCHROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: This will greatly enhance our ability to put pieces together that different agencies have. I believe this is a giant step forward.


BLITZER: What's wrong, Roy Black, if anything, with letting one arm of the U.S. government cooperate with another arm of the U.S. government and, namely, let law enforcement cooperate with intelligence and share information?

BLACK: Well, Wolf, the only problem is the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which gives American citizens certain rights of privacy and rights of illegal search and seizure.

What's happening now is there's a breakdown between intelligence and criminal law enforcement. What happened before under the foreign intelligence surveillance court wiretaps and what have you, if they're seeking wiretaps against intelligence agents from other countries, they can get it under a lesser standard than they could when they were doing it for a criminal investigation.

What happened is this review court, which has sat for the first time in history by three judges just appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist, has taken down that wall and said that they can now say any kind of intelligence warrant they get, they can now use it for a regular criminal investigation. And that impinges upon our Fourth Amendment rights.

BLITZER: Joe DiGenova, when you were the United States attorney in the District of Columbia, you became intimately familiar with all of these restrictions that were imposed on you then. In effect, what's happening now is that some of the looser standards, as far as espionage are concerned, are being broadened to the whole criminal area as part of this war on terrorism. Are you comfort with that?

DIGENOVA: Well, first of all, Wolf, I disagree with your premise. Let me direct your attention to a wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal this week written by a tremendous lawyer named Victoria Toensing, who also happens to be my wife, which explains what the court did here.

And what she said in that article is this -- and I disagree with Roy on this, obviously respectfully because Roy's a great lawyer and one of America's great advocates.

They did not lower the standard in this case for either intelligence or criminal. What they said was is that the probable cause that is required is the same as it is in any case. The difference is, you have to prove that there's probable cause to believe, for a FISA, that someone is acting as the agent of a foreign power.

What they did that was truly important was they broke down the wall between law enforcement and intelligence so that people who were working on these cases could talk to one another. And indeed, what they said was, was that that was what Congress intended in 1978 when it enacted the statute and, obviously, what Congress did almost unanimously when it passed the Patriot Act last year.

BLITZER: FISA, Roy Black, just to our viewers who may not familiar with it, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which had earlier had some of these restrictions.

I assume, you may have read Victoria Toensings's article in the Wall Street Journal. Do you agree with the wife of our distinguished guest, Joe DiGenova?


BLACK: Well, I agree with him that his wife is brilliant as well as he is. However, I disagree with the conclusions that she drew in the editorial, which, of course, I read.

What I believe is happening is that, remember in the '70s we had the backlash to what J. Edgar Hoover was doing with the FBI, combining intelligence functions against the civil rights movement and using them in criminal investigations. And we always thought this wall would be put up to have intelligence on one side and real criminal investigations on the other.

Now we're backtracking from that and going back to what we were doing 30 years ago. And I think this is a real fear because the FBI committed many abuses during the '50s, '60s and '70s. DIGENOVA: Right. I couldn't agree more with Roy on the issue of what happened back in the '70s. I was a counsel on the Church Committee which investigated the FBI and CIA, and there were clear abuses.

But at that time, what was going on was the executive branch, basically J. Edgar Hoover, was wiretapping without anybody's approval, including a federal court. Congress reacted to that, and both liberals and conservatives agreed that if you're going to have intelligence wiretaps, they should be approved by a court.

That was enacted. We now have courts approving this. The FBI and the Justice Department will not be able to go overboard because these warrants are reviewed by federal judges who authorize them. It's entirely different than it was in the 1970s.

BLITZER: But let me ask you...

DIGENOVA: So I think the concerns...

BLITZER: Joe, I just want to interrupt for a second.

DIGENOVA: Yes, sir. Sorry.

BLITZER: Whenever these federal judges are asked to provide -- to authorize these kinds of surveillance wiretapping warrants, don't they always accept what the federal government almost says at face value?

DIGENOVA: There are very few cases, it is true, in which these courts have rejected these warrants. There's a good reason for that. The lawyers responsible for these warrants and the agents do not bring them to the court unless there is sufficient evidence. I can assure you that if there was insufficient evidence, these judges would not grant these warrants.

The truth is, there has been a very responsible use of these warrants. There were 932 last year, according to published reports. There are 280 million Americans in this country...

BLITZER: All right.

DIGENOVA: ... and tens of millions of visitors from foreign countries that are enemies of us.

BLACK: Well, Wolf, how do we...

BLITZER: Roy Black, I want you to respond, but also respond in this context. These are extraordinary times after 9/11. There's a war against terrorism under way, and as a result, the federal government needs some additional tools to protect the American public.

BLACK: Yes, but, Wolf, as I recall our Constitution was forged in very troublesome times as well. And the founders recognized that we Americans needed these rights, particularly in times of crisis. You don't need rights when nothing's going on. You need rights when the government is overreaching and what's happening here.

Now, Joe says that all these warrants are being used responsibly. Well, of course, we have no idea of finding out what's being done with these warrants. And what happens practically, if the government goes to one of these judges and says, "We need this to go after a foreign agent, and here's this foreign agent," of course the judge is going to agree to this.

However, if the judge knew this was just a regular criminal investigation, then he would look at it much more carefully. And that's the problem here, because these judges, you know, particularly after 9/11, are going to give the government a lot of power to go after people.

BLITZER: All right, let me let you respond. Then we're going to move on.

Go ahead, Joe.

DIGENOVA: Let me just say, I think it's very important for people to be concerned the way Roy is and for us to be concerned about whether or not these powers are being used wisely.

But as I said, federal judges are reviewing these warrants. Moreover, there is oversight of these functions by both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Those are the people who are vested with the oversight responsibility to ensure, along with the federal judiciary, that the executive branch is not abusing its powers.

There is no record of any case whatsoever, involving any judge or any oversight, where there has been an overstepping of these bounds legally.

BLITZER: Roy Black, I want to shift gears for a moment and talk about the sniper case in the greater Washington area, indeed, outside of Washington, in several other states as well.

As you know, John Malvo, the 17-year-old suspect, denied his lawyers' petition to be treated as a juvenile in Virginia, where he's being held. Was that the right thing? Should he be treated as a juvenile or as an adult?

BLACK: Well, Wolf, that's a very difficult question. In most cases, I think that prosecutors abuse the power to charge juveniles as adults. In Florida, we use that quite often by politically elected prosecutors who do it.

However, in the Malvo case, considering he's 17 years old, and considering how outrageous the crimes were, certainly if there was a case in which somebody should be certified as an adult, this would probably fit that category.

BLITZER: What about that, Joe?

DIGENOVA: Well, Virginia state law is very clear. The prosecutor has the right to petition a court to have someone treated as an adult. They have done that, and the court has ruled that he will be treated as an adult.

There's a state law process, and it has been followed. And I think in this case, it is absolutely appropriate to deal with Mr. Malvo as a mass murderer and as an adult.

BLITZER: Let me throw one other wild card out there, Joe DiGenova. Put on your old hat as a former U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C.

This whole issue of the Saudi money trail perhaps going, indirectly at least, to some of those 9/11 hijackers. There's a lot of political stakes involved in this investigation.

Do you think the FBI, the CIA, federal law enforcement authorities can actually get to the bottom of this story?

DIGENOVA: Well, they can try to. But remember, Saudi Arabia is a sovereign state. Its diplomatic personnel in this country are protected by international law and international treaties. The Saudis are with us and against us, in different ways, every day. They're a strange ally. They are an ally that we needed in the past, and we still need now. Whether or not we will continue to need them in the future is an unanswered question.

But certainly the Saudis have not cooperated in investigations involving evidence on their territory. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh made it very clear, over several years, that he was getting very, very little cooperation, in fact some obstruction, from the Saudis.

On this question, I don't believe for a minute that Prince Bandar's wife knowingly gave money to people who were among the 19 hijackers in 9/11. But I do believe that the prince and others in this country have contributed to charities which they know very well support terrorists and spread the kind of outrageous, extreme Islamic radicalism that is responsible for the kind of terrorism that exists in the world today among Islamic radicals.

It's their responsibility. The Saudis' responsibility may not be for a specific act, but they are responsible for the atmospherics that exist in the Islamic world today, by virtue of sending out from their country an outrageous, extreme form of Islam which is anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-women and anti-Western.

BLITZER: On that note, Joe DiGenova, I'm going to have to leave it right there. Next time, Joe, you'll tell us how you really feel on this issue.

DIGENOVA: Good enough!


BLITZER: Roy Black, always good to have you on the program.

BLACK: I'm willing to vote for Joe in the next election.


BLITZER: We know how Joe feels about Saudi Arabia and about his wife Victoria Toensing.


Thanks to both of you gentlemen for joining us.

DIGENOVA: Thank you. Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Up next, Bruce Morton's essay.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Big Brother, if you're too young to have read the novel which came out half a century or so ago, was a dictator, and his thought police really did watch everyone just about all the time.


BLITZER: Is fiction becoming reality when it comes to our privacy? Stay with us.


BLITZER: And now Bruce Morton on the government and your privacy.


MORTON (voice-over): It's taken a little longer than he thought. 1984 was 18 years ago, but novelist George Orwell was right: Big Brother is watching you.

Big Brother, if you're too young to have read the novel which came out half a century or so ago, was a dictator, and his thought police really did watch everyone just about all the time. The hero rebels against that, has a secret love affair and so on. He loses. Big Bro finds him out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes are 90, the nayes are nine, and the bill is declared passed.

MORTON: Today's version is in the new homeland security bill. It sets up something called an Information Awareness Office -- doesn't that have a nice ring -- which will be run by John Poindexter. Yes, the same man who was Ronald Reagan's national security adviser during Iran-Contra, was convicted on five counts of lying to Congress, conviction later overturned.

What the office will do is to gather personal data on all of us from commercial and governmental databases around the world. Poindexter assured The Washington Post the data will not be misused, and we know the government wouldn't mislead us about that. Sure we do.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who enjoys the Internet, told the New York Times this plan, along with expanded authority to spy and wire tap, amounts to, quote, "the most systematic invasion of privacy of every American citizen that has ever been undertaken in this country, the most fateful step in the direction of that Big Brother nightmare that any president has ever allowed to occur."

Columnist Richard Cohen notes that the Internet was always supposed to create a global village, and now maybe it has. The old- fashioned kind of small town where everybody snoops and gossips about what everybody else is doing.

It may not be all bad, of course. It could force us to be virtuous. Can't not pay the grocery bill, it'll be on the Internet and all the neighbors will know. Can't cheat on your spouse, it'll be on the Internet and he or she will know. Can't -- well, you get the idea.

Back when I was covering anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in the 1960s and '70s, government guys would show up and take pictures of demonstrators or reporters. I always told them that they'd get a better shot free from the publicity department, but they never believed me.

Still, that was a couple of people with 35-millimeter cameras, technical lightyears from where we are today.

Now a database here, a database there. We've got the real deal. Big Bro isn't just watching you, he's close enough to smell you and breathe in your face.

I'm Bruce Morton.


BLITZER: Thanks very much, Bruce.

Up next, our "Final Round." CNN's Jonathan Karl and our panel weigh in on the big stories of the week.

I'll be back next Sunday in Washington, D.C.. Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Los Angeles.

The "Final Round," right after a CNN news alert.




JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello. I'm CNN congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl.

It's time now for the "Final Round." Joining me, Donna Brazile, the Democratic strategist, Peter Beinart of the "New Republic," Jonah Goldberg of "National Review Online," and Christopher Caldwell of the "Weekly Standard."

A key Arab ally of the U.S. is on the defensive again. The FBI is investigating whether two of the September 11th hijackers received money from the Saudi government. That is raising some new questions about the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Today, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee addressed the issue.


SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: I wouldn't look at Saudi Arabia as an ally like the British or the French or the Canadians or anybody like that. I think our relationship with them is totally transactional.


KARL: Totally transactional. Peter, is this the really the day of reckoning, the time of reckoning for the U.S.-Saudi relationship?

PETER BEINART, NEW REPUBLIC: No, it's not. America won't be able to have any reckoning with Saudi Arabia until we do something about our dependence on that oil. And there's no constituency that I can see anywhere in Washington, certainly not in the Bush administration, to get serious about America's dependence on Saudi oil.

I don't want to hear any conservatives talking tough against the Saudis unless they have a plan to deal with SUVs. Right now they don't.

KARL: Jonah?



BEINART: Exactly my point.

GOLDBERG: Other than that -- well, my plan for SUVs is also to drill in ANWR.

BEINART: That, alone, is not going to do it.

GOLDBERG: I understand, and I would actually be...



GOLDBERG: I might be in favor of a grand Faustian bargain of raising CAFE standards and opening ANWR, to do both.

Regardless, Saudi Arabia, it's not a reckoning because partly it's the Middle Eastern oil, partly it's because there are a lot of people in Washington who are deeply invested in keeping that relationship going.

And it's a real tragedy because Saudi Arabia fundamentally represents virtually everything America is supposed to be in opposition to: a corrupt and arbitrary monarchy that brutalizes women, that is a religious theocracy that brutalizes religious minorities and that exports terror around the world. And they are not our friends.

CALDWELL: That's right.

KARL: And look, the transaction they were talking about was oil. That's what Shelby was talking about. Oil for overlooking all of this.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely. But Jonah is right. I mean, we've got to somehow change our relationship with Saudi Arabia. When the administration came out and said you're with us or against us, somehow or another, Saudi Arabia was exempted from that.

And it's time that we forced that regime to stop their huge anti- American propaganda that comes out of that country, including, as we all know, 15 of the 19 terrorists, and they haven't even said I'm sorry for that.

CALDWELL: Donna's right. Saudi Arabia is now, I would say, the most detested regime in a bipartisan sense since the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979. I think what you see in Congress now is the sense that perhaps the Bush administration has been protecting them to an undue degree.

There could be a couple of reasons for this. They may not want it's hand pushed strategically, but it may just be covering up for cronies. And I think there's a pattern since sending the bin Ladens back to Saudi Arabia in the days after September 11th that they want to uncover. KARL: But the reason why we're talking about this is because of the story that the wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States gave some money that ended up, allegedly, potentially in the hands of two of the hijackers.

I mean, do you really think, Peter, that the wife of the Saudi ambassador would knowingly fund the September 11th attacks?

BEINART: I really don't know. What we know is that there is a very insular Saudi elite, not all officially in the government. But we know that nothing happens in Saudi Arabia, really, that the government doesn't have that much control over.

And there is a tight network of Islamic charities that have been supporting really bad guys around the world that are very close to this government, and that really has not been disentangled yet. KARL: All right, enough on Saudi Arabia, we've got to move on.

Debate is heating up about a new tool the government says it needs to fight the war on terror. The Total Awareness Information program includes a database that can access every American's credit card transactions, travel activities or gun purchases.

Earlier today New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich squared off on the issue.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The administration doesn't give a justification for it. They put in no safeguards. They don't talk to people. And these things leak out.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: After October 11th -- September 11th, they said "Gee, why didn't we know that the Arab men who were out there getting pilot training were somehow connected?" After the sniper we said, "Gee, why didn't we know that wasn't a white van, it was a blue car?" So Congress will come back and scapegoat later.


KARL: All right, Jonah, I mean, on the face here this new program is a little -- has some echoes of "1984." Is this Big Brother?

GOLDBERG: Not only is it Big Brother -- well, the reality is what this is, is this is Big William Safire, who has a rice-paper-thin skin when it comes to civil liberties. And every now and then, he writes these hysterical, factually insupportable, logically inconsistent screeds against some looming threat to civil liberties in the United States. And it shows how powerful he is that the media always falls for this stuff.

This is not an actual program in existence. This is basically a lab-tested computer simulation that is not doing anything right now in terms of probing people's privacy. In order to enact it, it has to go before Congress, it has to get approval. There's oversight. There are all sorts of things. We don't even know if it's works. It's basically a research project. And everyone's going nuts about it, and they shouldn't.

KARL: Donna, I mean, can you defend this former Nixon speechwriter?

BRAZILE: Oh, absolutely.


Well, I will defend Mr. Safire because I think he's right on the money. The American people take great pride in our civil liberties, and we respect the fact that we have a right to privacy. And I think if the administration funds this project and if it goes beyond what Jonah just said, a research project, into something that is truly out there, the American people will rebel against it.

CALDWELL: Well, I think information gathering of a much more aggressive kind is going to be necessary.

My worry about a computer-generated one is that it's going to be biased toward finding people who obey the law. That is, people who have Social Security numbers and college loans and health plans, and not toward people who've walked across the Canadian border, only use cash and have five aliases.

KARL: Peter?

BEINART: I mean, I'm sympathetic to the need to synthesize this information. We know that what happened before September 11th is there was too much information that wasn't being communicated. Fine.

But if you're going to give this new power, create an agency with all this new power, which people have a lot of concerns about, why on Earth do you put the guy in charge of it who lied to Congress? I mean, you can talk about...

KARL: Admiral Poindexter.

BEINART: John Poindexter, for goodness' sakes! I mean, there are a lot of smart people in this town who you could give this job to. Why give it to a guy who has a history of lying to Congress?

GOLDBERG: Well, part of the reason he got the job is because he actually brought the idea to the Pentagon as a research project, and he said, "Hey, I have this idea of how to synthesize this stuff." And since it was his idea, they said, "OK, why don't you give it a try and see if this technology even works." So it's much less ominous than the media is making it out to be.

CALDWELL: But it's not a school project. Poindexter is political poison. If you're going to change our attitude toward civil liberties in a way that you need bipartisan support for, you don't want a Harvey Pitt-style dartboard at the head of the agency.


KARL: So at the very least, it wasn't exactly smart politics, I mean, if you're looking for support for this.

All right, we've got to take a quick break. When we come back, Tom Daschle and Rush Limbaugh mix it up. That and much more when the Final Round returns.


KARL: Welcome back to the "Final Round."

There was an interesting war of words this week between the Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle, and conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Daschle said Limbaugh's rhetoric incited some of his listeners to threaten violence against Daschle and his family. Limbaugh dismissed Daschle's claims, saying they amounted to sour grapes.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: ... very small playbook. For 40 years, they had a free run with the mainstream press not challenging them on what they said, but instead challenging us. We've had to hone our response to all the accusations they make against us, and we've gotten good at it.


KARL: All right, Chris, picking a fight with a guy with 20 million listeners, what is Tom Daschle up to here?

CALDWELL: Well, he is grasping at straws. And that shows that a lot of this talk we've had in the recent years about how we need to be more civil and that kind of thing is really just a blind for anti- democratic quashing of free speech.

This kind of talk is nothing compared to the stuff you heard in the 1936 election about fascists and slaves of big business, or even in the 19th century. It's so small potatoes.

KARL: Donna, this wasn't a good move for Daschle, was it?

BRAZILE: Well, I think Tom Daschle's a little sensitive. I mean, after all, he received that anthrax letter, his family's been threatened.

On the other hand, as someone who's been a verbal combatant in the partisan war of words, I think Democrats should take Rush Limbaugh on. I go on some of those conservative talk shows, and no, I don't like being called a liberal loony, but look, I give it right back and call them conservative kooks.


So, look, we have -- there's a thin line there between free speech and going over the line. Some time they go over the line, and I think they need to be a little bit more responsible.

As for what the Democratic Party should do, we should find our own Rush Limbaughs and bring it on.

KARL: A Democratic Rush Limbaugh, there's an idea.

GOLDBERG: It's called Dan Rather.


BEINART: The reason the Democrats don't have a real Rush Limbaugh is no one knows what a Democratic Rush Limbaugh would say on the central issue of the day, which is Iraq and the war on terrorism.

The Democrats do not know what they believe about this. And until they get a sense of what they do, all of this stuff is window dressing. You can't deal with a messenger if you don't have a message.

GOLDBERG: I have a slightly cynical interpretation of this. Well, either it was just basically a stupid mistake on Daschle's part, or what it was was an attempt to rip out a page from the mid-1990s playbook of demonizing the angry white male. There was all that Rush Limbaugh-bashing. We blamed him -- the media blamed him for the killing of Matthew Shepherd and for Oklahoma City and all that kind of stuff.

The Democratic base loves it. It makes Daschle a victim of the mean, angry, nasty, fascist white guys and all that kind of stuff.

And so, if it was a mistake, maybe he decided to exploit it along those lines, or it was just dumb all the way around. I can't figure it out.

KARL: So a mistake or brilliant political move here?

CALDWELL: Oh, it was so confusing that he thought that the thing that really led to the threats was the way Republicans had called him an obstructionist. And yet the whole press conference he gave was dedicated to calling Republicans obstructionists. It was a terrible mistake.

KARL: In fact, there was a poster right behind Daschle at the time that was talking about Republican obstructionism.


And the other thing that was interesting is he was actually saying Democrats need to emulate Rush Limbaugh, that's the way to get the message out, but also, you know, make it an attack.

BEINART: The particularly (ph) strange thing is, what Daschle should be saying is, "I actually got my guy elected in South Dakota." In an election where the Democrats did terribly, Daschle should be saying, I'm one of the few guys who has something to be successful...


KARL: In a Republican state, all right.

BRAZILE: In an election where Democrats lost the Senate by 50,000 votes in New Hampshire and Missouri, the Democrats should find the good and praise it and keep fighting the next battle, which will happen in a couple of months.

KARL: All right, well, find the good.

One Democrat who was everywhere this week was Al Gore. The former vice president is promoting his new book he co-authored with his wife, Tipper. His media blitz is largely viewed as Gore's political re-emergence. He took the opportunity to criticize President Bush on the war on terrorism and express support for a single-payer national health-care system.

Donna, you are our resident Al Gore expert. What's going on?

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, I think you're going to see a lot more of Al Gore leading up not only into the election in 2003, where you're going to have three gubernatorial elections and many mayoral elections, but also 2004.

This is not a different Al Gore. This is the same fighter, the same person who wants to get back out there and cast himself back with the voters in 2004.

KARL: Is he going to run?

BRAZILE: I don't know, but I believe there's something inside of Al Gore that will lean toward him running in 2004.

KARL: Christopher?

CALDWELL: Yes, I think he's running, and he doesn't look too bad. I think his performances have been miserable, he's stumbling, he's a little bit off his stride. But he doesn't have to be the William Jennings Bryan, the repository of Democratic hopes. All he really has to be is the Michael Dukakis, as someone said in 1988, the last guy standing with money.

KARL: But, Peter, there's an emerging conventional wisdom about Al Gore, which is the Democratic elite in this town doesn't like him, but out there the grassroots Democrats want him to run again.

BEINART: I think so, particularly when you look at who his real competition is. I think his real competition is Gephardt. Gephardt's, I think, the only guy who could beat him in Iowa. And I think if Gore wins Iowa, I think he's looking in pretty good shape. And Gephardt was really hurt by these elections. So I actually think Gore is probably not looking in too bad a shape.

The weird thing about this re-emergence is that if there was an authentic Al Gore all these years, you really thought it was -- I always thought it was really as a new Democrat, as a centrist. And here he is moving to the left on both foreign and domestic policy, which makes me wonder, if this is the real Al Gore, then what was the old one all these years?


KARL: National health care.

GOLDBERG: Well, I think it is the real Al Gore, because the real Al Gore would always say or do anything based upon what the polls or what the political strategy at the time was going to be. For a long time, it made a lot of sense to be a DLC Democrat, centrist Democrat, so that's what Al Gore was. Then it made sense to go left, so now he's going left. That's the real Al Gore. And just everything else, what he says, is all superficial to the essence of the guy.

BRAZILE: I don't think it's left or right in terms of Al Gore. I think it's Al Gore moving forward to try to help redefine the Democratic Party for the 21st century. And I think Gore will have a leadership role in helping to get the party's message back in shape.

KARL: All right. And now, just one more thing. Are you seeing any specific signs that he's getting ready to run? I mean, are you seeing him lining people up, talking to people, getting ready?

BRAZILE: Well, no. But what I do see, and many of us have seen, we see him on TV, we hear him on the radio, he's in the newspaper. And I'm waiting for him to go to Des Moines.

KARL: All right. Here we go, we've got to take one more quick break, and the Lightning Round is next. Stay with us.


KARL: Time now for our "Lightning Round."

Retiring South Carolina Republican Senator Strom Thurmond will celebrate his 100th birthday next week.

All right, Christopher Caldwell, what is Strom Thurmond's legacy?

CALDWELL: I'm sorry his place in history is for the 1948 Dixiecrat election. He's been a pretty run-of-the-mill Republican ever since, and his legacy in Washington is a lot of really interesting virility jokes.


KARL: The Cal Ripkin of politics?

GOLDBERG: Actually, well, the John Holmes of politics.


Anyway, his real legacy, I actually think, is he was the harbinger of the Republicanization of the South. He was the first guy to go from Dixiecrat or Democrat to Republican and he was the harbinger of it all, along with Barry Goldwater, of turning the Democrats solid Republican.

BRAZILE: His legacy may be that of a principally conservative segregationist, but the South has changed. We now have African- Americans running for statewide office, and African-Americans serve in statewide office in the deep South, a South that he once opposed having African-Americans the right to vote. And now the vice chair of the Democratic Caucus hails from South Carolina, his home state, Jim Clyburn.

BEINART: Yes, let's call a spade a spade here. His legacy is white supremacism. His legacy is the rise of the Republican Party in the South based on the backlash against civil rights on the Republican Party becoming the anti-black party. And if Republicans really want to move away from that legacy, they should join me in saying good riddance.

KARL: All right, well, don't wait for that to happen.

Retiring House Republican leader Dick Armey is considering becoming a consultant of the foe to many conservatives, the American Civil Liberties Union. Have liberals gained a new friend?

And, Peter, I'll throw this at you, although I imagine Democrats would much rather see Dick Armey on the advisory panel for the ACLU than in Congress.

BEINART: Give Dick Armey credit. You know, I disagree with him on most things, but he has been consistent. He was consistent against the expansion of government power under Clinton and under Bush. I only wish people like John Ashcroft, who was a vehement civil libertarian when Clinton was in power, still stuck to some of those principles today.

KARL: You want to say something nice about Dick Armey?

BRAZILE: Well, not only Dick Armey, I also think they should recruit Bob Barr. I mean, he's another civil libertarian. You have a lot more in the Republican Party, as well the Libertarian Party, and they should go after all of them.

GOLDBERG: Yes, I mean, there's bizarre misunderstanding of the history of the conservative movement in America that says that somehow they aren't civil libertarians. A big tradition on the right has always been deep skepticism of government, deep skepticism governmental intrusion, and Dick Armey and Bob Barr just represent it.

KARL: But wait, it was the first George Bush that attacked Michael Dukakis as being a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

CALDWELL: But Jonah is right. Dick Armey has -- Dick Armey's problem is that, while he's always been terrific on economic issues and very consistent, he's always floundered whenever he's got off of them from the "Barney fag" remark, to his confusion about Iraq, to now. He's just looking for a place to perch.

KARL: All right. Next up, the "New York Times" is urging Tiger Woods to boycott next year's Masters tournament because of the Augusta National Golf Club's refusal to admit women members.

In an editorial this week, the "Times" said, quote, "The absence of golf's best player would be a dreaded asterisk to the name of next year's winner. And a tournament without Mr. Woods would send a powerful message that discrimination isn't good for the golfing business."

Does Tiger Woods have a special responsibility on this one to speak out? You wanted a sports question, Donna. What do you think?

BRAZILE: Oh, Lord, here I go. First of all, I don't think he should boycott it, but I do believe that he should speak out. And I think he would be an eloquent speaker on this as someone who, from his history or his parent's history, should know the pain of discrimination.

I also think Jack Nicklaus and many of the other golfing pros, and don't ask me their names, should speak out as well.


KARL: I'll give you a quiz.


GOLDBERG: Well, first of all, I have no problem with Augusta staying all-male. It's a free country.

Second of all, it's classic "New York Times," which, first of all, likes to sort of try to force and shame people into becoming the moral leaders that they want them to be.

And they often are confused by the idea that race and sex are not the same thing and they have very different roles in our society. We fought a civil war to make this country generally color blind. We didn't fight a civil war over gender. And, you know, they don't understand that.


KARL: ... a male Tiger Woods could join Augusta?

BEINART: That's right. It's not because he's black, it's because he's the best golfer. And the point is that no other golfer would have the same impact.

It's true, Augusta has the right to discriminate. "The New York Times" has this very same right to call for a boycott, and I hope Tiger Woods joins.

CALDWELL: Yes, I have to agree with Michael Wilbon of "The Washington Post." He said, "Tiger Woods is being asked to do this because he, as a black, is supposed to represent minority progressivism, and he'd be a fool if he were to listen to these yappers at the New York Times."

KARL: All right, well, we'll leave it at that. The "Final Round" is over. Thank you very much.

BRAZILE: Happy Thanksgiving.

KARL: Yes, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

All right. Oh, do we have one more question? We do have one more.

(LAUGHTER) Do we have one more? Two teenagers are suing McDonald's. They claim the fast food restaurant caused them to become obese, because it failed to provide sufficient information about the health risks associated with those meals.

So, Jonah, what do you say? Suing McDonald's, very quickly.

GOLDBERG: Well, you can read my amicas brief, because I'm blaming them for my obesity, too.


No, it's absurd. You know, it's a typical trial lawyer thing. It's idiotic.

BEINART: Yes, I agree. Look, everyone should know by now that McDonald's is not exactly health food.

KARL: All right, well, that really is it for LATE EDITION.


Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.


All right. That's it for LATE EDITION for this Sunday, November 24.

Be sure to join us next Sunday and every Sunday. And thank you for watching. We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a great weekend.

I'm Jonathan Karl in Washington.


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