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Interviews With Ehud Olmert, Ziad Abu Amr; Is War in Iraq Really Over?; Sherman, DiGenova Discuss Corporate Crime

Aired June 15, 2003 - 12:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: It's noon in Washington, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m. here in Jerusalem, 8:00 p.m. in Baghdad. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for our special LATE EDITION. I'll be reporting live from the Middle East throughout the week.
We'll get to my special interviews with the Israeli vice prime minister and the Palestinian culture minister. That's coming up. But first, let's check the top stories with CNN reporters around the world.

And for that, let's begin in Iraq, where U.S. troops, once again, are on the move. This time it's called Operation Desert Scorpion. It's a major operation involving U.S. efforts to deal with insurgents. Let's get details. CNN's Ben Wedeman is standing by live in Baghdad.

Ben, tell us all about it.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. This operation is -- it began, basically, in the middle of the night. It kicked off in the town of Fallujah, a very troubled town that has been the site of a spate of clashes between U.S. forces and their armed opponents.

Now, in Fallujah, the U.S. forces, they broke into houses of people suspected of involvement in those attacks, hauled them away for questioning. The Americans are also looking for what are now illegal weapons, as well.

Now, this operation, Wolf, comes after a week of other operations in other parts of the country, also aimed at trying to get back at those who are launching these attacks. And it's not clear at this point, from the perspective of U.S. intelligence, whether this is part of an organized campaign or sporadic hits against the U.S. forces.

Now, the American stick that we're seeing across the country, but particularly in Fallujah today, is also being accompanied by a carrot. Now, also in Fallujah, American forces today were pumping free gas for motorists there. In addition to that, the Americans say that they're going to be repainting some schools, setting up playgrounds and doing other various civic works to try to win over the hearts and minds of a rather antagonistic town.

Now, also in Iraq today, a two-week amnesty for people to hand in heavy weapons came to an end. As of today, it will be illegal to possess any weapons with a caliber higher than an AK-47 assault rifle. Many Iraqis, though, however, are hesitant to give up their weapons, given the very uncertain security situation here. They say they would rather keep their weapons and protect themselves than give them up and put their trust in U.S. promises -- Wolf.

BLITZER: CNN's Ben Wedeman with the latest in Baghdad. Thanks, Ben, very much.

Let's turn over to the situation in the United States right now, specifically President Bush. He's spending this Father's Day weekend in the United States in Kennebunkport, Maine, with his father, but he's closely monitoring several important situations, including what's happening right here in the Middle East.

Chris Burns is covering this story for us. He's joining us now live from Kennebunkport in Maine -- Chris.


The president, after a few days of being quiet and leaving it to his lieutenants to do the talking, the president did some talking as he stepped out of a church this morning. He did talk about his determination to put the full weight of the U.S. government behind this peace process, behind pushing ahead with that road map for peace aimed at establishing a Palestinian state by the year 2005.

And all that, despite this wave of violence that's been happening from both sides in the Middle East. The president talking about the focus being trying to quell Hamas and other militant groups.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My objective as the president is to move the process forward, so a state is established that will be a peaceful state, a free state, a prosperous state, so people have hope.

And in the meantime, before that state is established, it is clear that the free world, those who love freedom and peace, must deal harshly with the Hamas and the killers, and that's just the way it is in the Middle East.


BURNS: And how to go about that, the president talking about the importance of trying to empower Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian interior minister, in reconstituting his security forces to try to crack down or try to rein in those militants.

The president also has sent a troubleshooting team to the region headed by Assistant Secretary of State John Wolf. They are reportedly participating, helping out in the security meetings between the Israelis and Palestinians. These meetings are going ahead despite that violence.

So there does appear to be hope that perhaps the president can push ahead with his road map, if the security situation is brought under control, Wolf.

BLITZER: Chris Burns in Kennebunkport, covering the president's stay there this weekend. Thanks, Chris, very much.

Earlier today, here in Jerusalem, I had a chance to speak with Israel's vice prime minister, Ehud Olmert, the former mayor of Jerusalem. We spoke about the president's road map to peace, especially in the aftermath of a very, very violent week.


BLITZER: Minister Olmert, thanks so much for joining us on LATE EDITION.

The key question that the Palestinians want answered, of course, is, will Israel start withdrawing at least from parts of northern Gaza, so the Palestinian Authority can take charge and take responsibility for security?

EHUD OLMERT, VICE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: This is not really, seriously the question of the Palestinians, for the simple reason that we have offered Abu Mazen and Mr. Dahlan already three weeks ago that we were ready to pull out from northern Gaza right away. We said, if you are ready, guys, to take over and to assume responsibility for that area, we are ready to pull out immediately, and the answer was, we are not ready yet. Actually, until yesterday, they kept saying, we are not ready yet.

So, Israel is ready to pull out. Israel will perform all of its obligations to the president. We have enormous respect for President Bush, and what we said we are going to do. We have started to dismantle unauthorized outposts, as we have promised. We are going to pull out of the northern part of Gaza, if the Palestinians are ready to take over.

BLITZER: Well, did they tell you they're ready to take over?

OLMERT: Not yet.

BLITZER: What was the outcome of the meeting last night between the security officials from the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority?

OLMERT: Not too much, unfortunately. There is not yet a strict, explicit commitment by the Palestinians that they are ready to carry out full responsibility and prevent all the terrorist actions from those areas.

BLITZER: They also say they're seeking from your government a commitment to stop what they call the "assassinations" of Palestinian targets, the "targeted killings," as you call them. Are you ready to make that kind of a commitment?

OLMERT: If they will do it, we will not have to do it ourselves. If they will -- in other words, if they will stop terror, then we will not have to do it. You must understand, what we call now "targeted killings," what is the meaning of this? "Targeted" means that we are aiming at one individual person who we know is in the middle of an operation to commit a suicidal attack against innocent Israeli civilians, and the only way to stop this action is unfortunately to kill him.

BLITZER: Do you know, President Bush, I think it may be the first time since he took office, was critical of this policy.


BLITZER: I want you to listen precisely to what the president said this week following the unsuccessful attempt to kill Mr. Rantisi.

BLITZER: Listen to this.


BUSH: I am concerned that the attacks will make it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to fight off terrorist attacks. I also don't believe the attacks helped Israeli security.


BLITZER: The attacks, he said, doesn't help Israeli security. That's from the president who is a very supporter of Israel.

OLMERT: The president is strong support of Israel. And I know that what he said is what he felt, otherwise he wouldn't have said it.

But I think he may have somewhat changed the flavor of his attitude just a day after, because he saw what happened in the middle of Jerusalem, which was another terrible, brutal suicidal attack. And I think the entire tone of the American expressions with regard to the Middle East immediately changed because they understand that, with the continued terrorist actions by Hamas, there is not going to be any implementation of the road map.

And that the first, most urgent challenge now is that of the Palestinian Authority to stop the Hamas.

BLITZER: I'm sure you saw the poll that was published in Yediot Ahronot on Friday asking the Israeli public this question: "Should Israel continue targeted killing or give Mahmoud Abbas time to establish authority?" Continue the targeted killings, 30 percent. But stop temporarily, 58 percent.

A majority of the Israeli public wants you to stop, at least for the time being, these targeted killings.

OLMERT: Well, number one, I am afraid that this poll was taken before the brutal killing in the city of Jerusalem Wednesday evening, and it may have been different had it been taken after the brutal killing.

But I think it only reflects what we all feel, that we are ready to give the government of Abu Mazen an opportunity. What we say to them is, take it, take it, assume responsibility and tell us we don't need your help, we can do it ourselves. But in as long as they don't say -- now, what would have the United States president done had he known that at this minute there is someone in Gaza who is taking the explosives, putting them on the body of one person and sending him off to kill Israelis in Israel?

BLITZER: So you are saying Mr. Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi was doing precisely that?

OLMERT: Mr. Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi is directly involved in sending out missions of suicidal attackers into Israel, precisely. He is a murderer. He is a killer. He is not a political leader.

BLITZER: So if you have a chance to kill him again, you'll try to kill him?

OLMERT: Well, let's talk about the chances that we will not have to do it ourselves, that the Palestinians will assume responsibility and will take the necessary measures.

BLITZER: Do you believe that there can be a cease-fire between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as they've been trying to achieve?

OLMERT: I don't believe in cease-fire. I think it's a wrong approach. Had you declared cease-fire with bin Laden? Suppose that bin Laden will emerge tomorrow and will say "I want cease-fire with America. I am ready to commit myself that I will not do anything else." Would you sign cease-fire with him?

He is the same as Rantisi, the same ideology, the same people, the same approach, the same vengeance, the same brutality. Why should they make any cease-fire with him? They have to stop him, arrest him and take all the illegal weapons, as they made a commitment to do. That's all.

BLITZER: So this whole effort to achieve a cease-fire you think is a waste of time?

OLMERT: I think that it's not useful. And they will find out only too soon that it's not useful.

BLITZER: So when the Palestinian Authority takes responsibility for areas from which the Israeli military withdraws, you want them to do what, as far as the Hamas is concerned?

OLMERT: To arrest the leadership and to take off all their weapons from them, as they made a commitment to do.

BLITZER: And you think they can do that?

OLMERT: Absolutely.

BLITZER: You have confidence in their security minister, Mohammed Dahlan? OLMERT: We said we have confidence -- I personally have confidence in Mohammed Dahlan's willing to do it -- willingness to do it. I think -- I believe him, I believe Mahmoud Abbas, the prime minister, when they say that they want to stop terror because, first and foremost, because they understand that it cause terrible damage to themselves. Not because they suddenly became friends with the state of Israel, but they understand what damage it causes to them. Therefore, I believe them that they want to do it.

But it's not enough to want. It's the performance that will count. It's what they do, how daring they will be, how courageous they will be, how consistent they will be in fighting terror.

BLITZER: I want you to listen to an excerpt from an interview I did earlier this week with Senator John Warner of Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He came out with a proposal that may be of interest to your government. Listen to this.


SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: In order to allow the peace process to go forward, that we should have both the governments of Israel and Palestine invite NATO to come, temporarily, and provide such security and visibility that the infrastructure of those who send these hopeless bombers into these things, that we mean business.


BLITZER: You want to accept that proposal, to allow NATO troops, including potentially U.S. troops, to come in and serve as a buffer between the Israelis and the Palestinians?

OLMERT: Do I want one American person to be a victim of a suicidal attack? The answer is definitely no. Because I think that it's too dangerous, and we never wanted Americans to die for us or to risk their lives for us.

We are ready to fight if necessary. But what we say, and I think what your government wants, is that the Palestinians will do what they have to do. If they will seriously fight terror, that will make the entire difference. If they will not fight, no NATO forces will be able to save them.

BLITZER: So basically you're saying no to NATO troops coming in here?

OLMERT: No, I think that it's too dangerous, and, quite frankly, I don't want one American soldier to risk his life for something which is not an immediate American interest. Now, we can do this fighting, why should we have American soldiers?

BLITZER: David Olmert, thanks for joining us.


BLITZER: Up next, I'll get the Palestinian perspective. What do the Palestinians want from the Israelis in order to end the violence? I'll speak with the Palestinian culture minister, Ziad Abu Amr, a top adviser to the new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas.

Also, could the West Bank and Gaza be the next stop for U.S. troops, and is the war in Iraq really over? We'll talk with two key members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Trent Lott and Democrat Dianne Feinstein. And later on this Father's Day in the United States, perspective from a father and a son, both retired U.S. Army generals, about war and the military challenges facing the U.S. around the world.

Our special LATE EDITION, live from Jerusalem, continues right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just taking care of ourselves. Nobody else will do it for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever happened to the Jew, it also happened to the Palestinians, you know? So, I can't say -- both of these sides, you know? Mistakes. Big mistakes.


BLITZER: Israelis and Palestinians speaking out in the aftermath of deadly violence this past week. More than 50 Israelis and Palestinians were killed in a suicide bombing here in Jerusalem and in several Israeli air strikes against targets in Gaza.

Welcome back to our special LATE EDITION. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Jerusalem.

Just a short while ago, I spoke with the Palestinian minister of culture, Ziad Abu Amr, a top adviser to Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. He joined us from Ramallah on the West Bank.


BLITZER: Ziad Abu Amr, thanks very much for joining us on LATE EDITION.

Let's get to the immediate issue. Was there any progress made during these security talks that occurred last night between Palestinian and Israeli officials?

ZIAD ABU AMR, PALESTINIAN MINISTER OF CULTURE: I think the first and initial reaction by the Palestinians was cautious optimism. They hoped that they would have a new beginning, but I guess it is premature to tell whether there was any kind of breakthrough or not.

BLITZER: What are the major issues? What do you want from Israel right now? AMR: A halt on assassinations. We are talking about a bilateral cease-fire, not a unilateral cease-fire from the Palestinian side. If that happens, then we -- the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian opposition groups -- can sit together and talk about a truce, which was within reach before this new wave of violence erupted.

So, all we need at this point is an Israeli commitment that would stop its assassinations so we have the opportunity to talk out our internal differences and come up to Israel with a unified Palestinian position.

BLITZER: When you speak of the opposition, Palestinian groups specifically, you're referring to Hamas. Did you get any indication from the Israelis that they would stop what you call assassinations, what they call targeted killings?

AMR: Not yet, and I think this is the main obstacle to breaking new ground in the talks, our talks with Hamas and other opposition groups, and in the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

BLITZER: If the Israelis stop these assassinations or targeted killings, is there any assurance that Hamas and the other opposition groups, as you call them -- Islamic Jihad or the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade -- would stop the terrorism against Israelis?

AMR: This would be the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, and Israel might as well give the Palestinian Authority a chance. Israel has been doing this for the last two and a half years, but to no avail. I mean, with all Israel is doing, attacks against Israel are taking place.

So, maybe we should try a new method. And we are confident that if we are left to sort our differences out with opposition groups, we may and almost we are certain that we can get a truce from the Palestinian side, provided that Israel commits to the same.

And, of course, Israel's required to do some other steps, such as withdrawing its troops from the cities, the Palestinian cities, the points of friction, and also stopping its frequently incursions on Palestinian territories and the destruction of Palestinian homes and property.

This would set the stage for a new phase, and we are confident. I'm involved in the dialogue with the Palestinian opposition groups, and I know exactly what is needed in order to reach an agreement on a truce.

BLITZER: If the Israelis start withdrawing from some of these areas, the Palestinian Authority will take charge. Will you commit the Palestinian Authority to make sure that there is security, that you crack down on terrorism?

AMR: Well, the Palestinian Authority will take responsibility. It will take charge. And the reason we are talking to the opposition groups is to come to that sort of agreement. And I think we are very close to an internal Palestinian agreement that, once Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas, that there's going to be an honoring of our commitment vis-a-vis Israel. We don't have to do this violently, internally, because this is counterproductive. We can do it through dialogue and under the rule of law. And I think we have reached an agreement in that regard.

BLITZER: You remember that when Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was in Aqaba and met with President Bush, Prime Minister Sharon, he uttered these words.

Let me read to you what he said then, on June 4th. "The armed intifada must end," he said, "and we must use and resort to peaceful means in our quest to end the occupation and the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis, and to establish the Palestinian state."

That statement was greeted with a condemnation from Hamas. They said they were not ready to accept any such understanding, and as a result their talks with you seemed to collapse.

Was that the cause for the collapse of your negotiations for a cease-fire with Hamas?

AMR: I don't think differences in political views was the cause of the collapse of the talks with Hamas. Before Abu Mazen went to Aqaba, we almost reached an agreement on a truce.

Now, immediately after Aqaba, Hamas and other opposition groups disagreed with Mr. Abbas, but there was an assassination in Tulkarem, if you remember. And then there was that attack on the Israeli soldiers at the Erez checkpoint. Then we had the assassination attempt on Rantisi's life, then the bus attack in Jerusalem. The chain of violence was renewed.

That's why we believe that if there is a halt on hostilities from both sides, we are able to reach a truce. And that's why we, you know, we're talking about this. Hamas is well aware, and other opposition groups are well aware that we need to do our part if Israel does its part.

And we can do this through a truce. Political differences may still be there, but there is an agreement that we will have to commit ourselves to our own responsibilities.

BLITZER: Here's one of the issues that U.S. officials, certainly Israeli officials, say is at the heart of the current problems with Hamas, mainly that while the Palestinian Authority accepts the two- state solution, Israel and Palestine, Hamas rejects such a two-state solution.

Let me quote to you what Abdel Aziz Rantisi said this week after the failed Israeli assassination attempt against him. He said, "At Hamas, we will not drop our weapons, even if all leaders are assassinated. We will not drop our weapons. This is the only option for the Palestinian people. It is the only hope in order to liberate our land and end the slavery of our people from occupation."

As a result, a lot of people, especially in Washington, suggest what's the point of even trying to negotiate with Hamas?

AMR: Mr. Rantisi and Hamas are not in power, they're an opposition group. And in Israel there are opposition groups who still have a claim to the whole of Palestine as (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Israel.

Now, the difference here is Hamas as an opposition group is resorting to the use of weapons and resistance to an occupation or as a method of its activities.

Now, this is our responsibility as a Palestinian Authority to neutralize these weapons one way or the other. We believe that we can do this through dialogue, and we have been very close to reaching that conclusion.

I think if we are given the chance again, we will succeed in committing Hamas and other opposition groups to a cease-fire, to a truce. And then we can resume our political talks with Israel.

BLITZER: This past week I interviewed Senator John Warner, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. He proposed in that interview that NATO forces, possibly including U.S. troops, come in as a buffer, if you will, to separate the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Is this a concept that the Palestinian Authority would accept?

AMR: I think the Palestinian Authority would welcome the presence of any third party to act as witness and arbiter, observers, peacekeeping, protection force. We have no objection to that.

But I challenge you if Israel would accept the presence of a third party here on the ground.

And let me, Wolf, suggest to you that let's not forget the main issue. The main issue is the Israeli occupation and the end, the need to end this occupation. All recipes we are talking about are only temporary. If they serve that ultimate purpose, they are good. If they don't, it will be waste of time.

I mean, there is a fundamental objective contradiction on the ground. You cannot reconcile the occupier and the occupied. And all we are trying to do at this point is to disengage, you know, help separate sides from one another, give the peace process a chance.

But if that end result is not achieved, sooner or later all of these attempts, all of these recipes, all of these efforts will ultimately fail.

So let's be target-oriented. Let's link all of these steps, the truce, the cease-fire, the presence of foreign observers. In the minds of the Palestinian people, this should be linked directly to the purpose -- to the objective of ending the Israeli occupation, because this is the source of all the problems. Once the occupation is ended, 95 percent of the existing problems will go with it. The remaining 5 will be very manageable. We can negotiate over any other issue beyond occupation.

BLITZER: Minister Ziad Abu Amr, we have to leave it right there. Thanks for joining us on LATE EDITION.


BLITZER: Just ahead, the road map toward peace in the Middle East, is it still alive? We'll get expert analysis. We've assembled a panel of people who have been deeply involved in this issue.

But up next, the raging debate over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Where are they? Why haven't they been found? We'll ask two key members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, Trent Lott and Dianne Feinstein.

LATE EDITION, live from Jerusalem, will be right back.



BLITZER: U.S. troops still under assault in Iraq. What's going on? What precisely is the mission? Are Saddam Hussein's forces regrouping right now? We'll get answers from two key members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee: Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Trent Lott.

And our LATE EDITION Web poll question of the week: Should President Bush be more or less involved in the Middle East peace process? You can cast your vote right now at our web address,\lateedition. We'll tell you the results later in this program.

Our special LATE EDITION, live from Jerusalem, will be right back.


BLITZER: Our LATE EDITION web question of the week: Should President Bush be more or less involved in the Middle East peace process? You can vote right now,\lateedition. We'll have the results later in this program.

And welcome back to our special LATE EDITION, live from Jerusalem. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting the burning question for many people right now: Did the Bush administration exaggerate the extent of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? There are investigations, serious investigations under way, in both Washington and London.

Joining us now to talk about that and more are two key members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee: in Washington, Republican Senator Trent Lott, and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Thanks to both of you for joining us.

Senator Lott, I want to get to those questions in just a moment, but very briefly, on the situation here in the Middle East, the Israeli policy of targeted killings of Hamas leaders and others suspected of terrorism, is this a policy that the Israelis should continue to pursue?

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: Obviously, we want peace and security in the region, and everybody has to be prepared to step up and do some tough things. But for the United States at this point to be saying that the Israelis don't have a right to try to take out these terrorists, these suicide bombers and the leaders that are sending these young people, even young teenagers, in to maim and kill Israeli people, it's tragic.

And I tell you, your heart just goes out to the -- frankly, the whole region, but to the innocent Israeli people that are being killed by this.

But there is a balance. We need to try to get everybody to stop the violence. But I think for us to presume at this point to be telling Israel what they have to do or can't do in their own defense is something we probably can't sustain.

BLITZER: What about that, Senator Feinstein?

SEN. DAINNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I feel this way about it. I think that this latest road-map process is going down the tubes right now. I don't think an assistant secretary of state can pull it out. I think that the administration has to really think about sending Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice over there and getting high-level allied Arab leaders highly involved in this.

Hamas' true goals, I think, should be obvious to everyone, and that is to drive Israel into the sea. And this has got to be stopped. Otherwise you can't have peace.

So my view of it is that we have to step in now in a major way, with our major people, and make a frontal assault to keep this road map on course, because it's deteriorating every single day.

BLITZER: In the meantime, should the Israelis stop these assassinations?

FEINSTEIN: Yes, I believe they should, as a showing of good faith, and Israel has made a number of showing of good faith.

I think that the targeted assassinations, if you could just be assured that you were going to kill the leader and not kill a child, a mother, innocent civilians -- but what they've become is a kind of rallying cry for Palestinians that have taken everybody's eye off of where it should be, which is getting this road-map peace process really implemented. And it has to be done at the very highest levels.

The other thing is, the only way Prime Minister Abbas is ever going to have the strength that he needs is if he is actually helped to build his security forces, and if Yasser Arafat -- and I'm sorry to say this, but I deeply believe it -- is really marginalized. And that's not the case right now.

So, on the Palestinian side, there really is no movement for peace, and that's a major problem.

BLITZER: Senator Lott, we heard from the U.N. secretary general, Kofi Annan, this week, suggest this. Let me put it up on the screen. He said, "I would like to see an armed peace-keeping force act as a buffer between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

Your Republican colleague, Senator John Warner, made a similar proposal in an interview I did with him this week, suggesting that NATO forces, maybe even U.S. forces, come into the West Bank and Gaza.

Is this a good idea or a bad idea?

LOTT: Well, I think it probably is a premature idea, and I don't want us to get ahead of all the parties involved in the region. So I don't think it's something that we would want to try to do now. It could be counterproductive, and also, you know, what peace exactly would they be expected to keep?

And I want to make two other points, based on what Dianne was just saying.

I do think there are indications that Israeli leaders and Mahmoud Abbas are actually trying to see if things can get back on track. Maybe the road map to peace is not going the way we wanted it to. But do we have any alternative but to try to keep it, you know, making it -- trying to make it work?

Israel has indicated they are willing to pull back in northern Gaza. You know, Abbas, hopefully, can get some security assistance -- and I agree with Dianne, we've got to try to be helpful in giving them assistance in getting real security.

And final point: There are going to be administration officials in the region. And I believe Secretary Powell is scheduled to be in Jordan with some time on his schedule to make a quick run into, you know, the discussions, if it looks like there's a good opportunity there.

BLITZER: Fair point. Let me move on now to Senator Feinstein.

Speak a little bit about the situation in Iraq right now. Ahmad Chalabi, once led the opposition, now a member of the Iraqi National Congress, was in Washington briefing members of Congress, suggesting that Saddam Hussein is very much alive and well and organizing resistance to the U.S. military.

Listen specifically to what Mr. Chalabi said in Washington:


AHMAD CHALABI, IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS: Saddam, I believe, is still alive, and he is still inside Iraq working. And I think, again, if we look for him in an intelligent way, and that the energy against him and against the Baath Party is prevalent among the Iraqi people is mobilized and channeled to work in tandem with the U.S. forces, I think he will be found.


BLITZER: Well, what about that? Do you have any indication that Saddam Hussein is not only alive but he's organizing this opposition, these assaults against the United States military in Iraq?

FEINSTEIN: I see no intelligence to that effect. Whether he's dead or alive is unknown at this time. It would not be surprising to me, however. And I think one of the things that has become very apparent is, we suited up for the war, but we didn't really suit up for the peace adequately.

And General Shinseki may be proved to be correct when he said we need at least 200,000 troops there. Because we have got to begin -- well, not begin, because we have -- but we have got to really secure that infrastructure for the Iraqi people. I mean, you have children now dying because the water is so polluted.

And it -- I think we have to continue the search for Saddam. We've got to continue the search for weapons of mass destruction. We've got to continue to disarm Iraqis. And we've also got to build the infrastructure, get the oil started and get people economically upwardly mobile. And that's a very big agenda.

BLITZER: Senator Lott, so far no real evidence, hard evidence, of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, with the exception of those two trailers that may have been used for biological weaponry potential.

How frustrated are you? And would it be OK with you, when all is said and done, if the U.S. never finds any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

LOTT: Wolf, first, I think we have to look at what we have achieved here, and it is significant. We have run Saddam Hussein at least out of office. Perhaps Mr. Chalabi has information about where he may or may not be. If he has it, I hope he'll give it to our forces, and we'll go after him. We have to assume he is alive until we know he is actually dead.

When you look at the mass graves we found, when we look at what Saddam Hussein has done to his neighbors, when we look at the fact that we know he had efforts to develop nuclear weapons in the past -- there's clear evidence that he did that. In fact, we had the Israelis bomb that site. We know he had all kind of biological and chemical weapons.

Now, we know he had them. If we just assume that, you know, he still had them, until there is proof to the contrary, then we have to be prepared to act. And that's what we did. But I think, while we don't have the final victory there, and we need to continue to work, as Dianne says, to make the peace succeed, the people of Iraq need to show leadership and step up to the solutions that we need in that region also.

But I think we went in for the right reasons. I would like to have -- find these weapons of mass destruction.

And let me just emphasize right at the beginning here, Wolf, I think that the Intelligence Committee has a responsibility to look at the intelligence information and ask good, tough questions. Where did you get this intelligence? What was it beyond what, perhaps, the Intelligence Committee saw?

After every conflict, the Pentagon does what is called an after- action review. We need to do that. What did we learn? What was good? What was not good? And let me just say, we're going to do that in a bipartisan way.

FEINSTEIN: Could I respond on that point?

BLITZER: The problem -- and we'll let Senator Feinstein speak about that.

Senator Feinstein, the problem that some of your Democratic colleagues on the Intelligence Committee say is you'll do this investigation, but behind closed doors, no open hearings. Are you OK with that?

FEINSTEIN: Well, let me tell you quickly what's happened. The ranking member, Jay Rockefeller, and at least five of us signing the letter have sent a letter to the chairman, Pat Roberts, saying that we want to sit down with our Republican counterparts and discuss how we go from here.

Under the rules of the committee, that meeting must take place. I believe it will take place this week. There are enough of us on the committee that believe, as Senator Lott does, that we need to move ahead and take a look at this.

I voted to authorize use of force. I would not have voted to authorize use of force had the intelligence not been as substantial as it was.

And about a week ago, I went back and I reread the classified version of the national intelligence assessment. And in fact, it is substantial. And the judgments in that report are substantial. Substantial enough to lead any reasonable person to believe, A, that Saddam Hussein did possess weapons of mass destruction, B, possible locations where they might be, and, C, some material to suggest that he could be an imminent threat either to his neighbors or to us.

If that proves to have been manipulated or skewed, then we, as the oversight committee, really have to know about it.

So my view would be this, that we proceed initially in closed session. And then we see what we have and make a decision about holding some public hearings.

BLITZER: Unfortunately, Senators, we have to leave it right there. We'll continue this conversation on another opportunity.

Thanks very much, Senator Trent Lott and Senator Dianne Feinstein.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much.

LOTT: Thanks, Wolf.


BLITZER: Thank you very much.

Coming up, much more discussion, including a tinder box here in the Middle East. What will it take to get Israelis and Palestinians back on the negotiating path, the road map to peace? We'll get perspective from a panel of experts.

Our special LATE EDITION, live from Jerusalem, will return right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abu Mazen, first of all, he has to have the chance to show what he is able to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as Arafat is there, it's going to be very hard for Abu Mazen to do his job.



BLITZER: Welcome lack to our special LATE EDITION. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting live from Jerusalem.

This week's suicide bombing here in Jerusalem touched the lives of many people, including some people who are not Israelis. New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Robert Singer, for example. His daughter, Sarri, was among the nearly 70 people on board bus number 14 and passers-by who were injured in the attacks. Seventeen Israelis died.

Senator Singer traveled to Israel to be with his daughter in the immediate aftermath of the suicide attack. I spoke with them, both of them, earlier today here in Jerusalem at the Hadassah Medical Center, where Sarri is being treated for her injuries, and I asked her what it was like getting on that bus.


SARRI SINGER: I had taken a bus from work that day, and I got off right after the -- it's, I guess, right after the central bus station, the next stop.

BLITZER: But you were already on the bus when the bombing occurred?


BLITZER: Where were you sitting?

S. SINGER: I was sitting in the last seat next to the window in the first section, on the right.

BLITZER: Was the bus pretty crowded?

S. SINGER: Very crowded.

BLITZER: And so, all of a sudden, what happened?

S. SINGER: I wasn't even really paying attention. I had just shut off my phone and put it in my bag, and the next thing I knew, I closed my eyes, but I felt this huge shock wave. And it was very, very strong. I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know that it was a terrorist attack.

And then finally, once the wave stopped, and I realized, I couldn't open my left eye when it happened. Something had hit it. But I just was screaming. And I realized, you know -- I didn't even completely realize what was going on around me.

And I started screaming louder and louder. And there was a man outside yelling to me to get out of the bus. I'm like, "I can't." The guy (ph) was like, "You can." And so he told me to climb through the window. So I put my feet up on top of the window, and I don't know how I made it through, but...

BLITZER: And you just jumped out?

S. SINGER: Well, no. I slid my legs out, and two men lifted me and carried me to the ground.

BLITZER: They were already there?


BLITZER: How long did it take before you realized that this was a suicide terrorist bombing?

S. SINGER: When I got off the bus, after I came through the window, and I'm sitting on the ground, I was like, "I can't believe this." I knew -- I mean, I knew it was. You know, I was very lucky, because five minutes before, I was standing, and I had just taken a seat. I didn't -- right when we got to the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), which is the marketplace, two seats opened up, and I was deciding whether or not to sit. Because usually I'll wait to see if someone older comes on the bus before I sit down.

But I figured I was really tired from the day. I'd been running around all day. So I said, I'll sit down. So, I feel like that's what saved my life. Because if I were standing, I don't know if I would have made it.

BLITZER: Did you see the people around you? Did you see what happened to them?

S. SINGER: I couldn't, because my eyes -- again, I closed my eyes when it happened. So, first I was lucky because nothing hit -- the shrapnel didn't hit my eyes. So, anything that did hit my eye, it just, you know, bruised it.

But my vision was only what was in front of me. So the only thing I saw in front of me was the man who was sitting in front of me. His head was leaned back, and I wasn't sure. I kept on asking when I got to the hospital if he was, you know, if he had made it or not.

But I didn't see the -- I knew who was sitting next to me when I sat down. I didn't know if they had -- if the were OK or not, because I didn't see them.

BLITZER: Did he make it, the man who was in front of you?

S. SINGER: No one around me made it.

BLITZER: Everybody who was on that bus with you except for you?

S. SINGER: No. Everyone -- the two gentlemen that were sitting in front of me, in the two seats in front of me. And the girl who I remember sitting down with -- I don't know if it was her boyfriend or her fiance. But I saw her -- I saw on the news on Thursday night that they didn't make it.

BLITZER: They died?


BLITZER: And then the next thing you knew, you were being taken to the hospital?


BLITZER: But you were conscious during this whole encounter?

S. SINGER: The whole time, yes.

BLITZER: When you took that bus -- before you got on that bus 14, did you say to yourself, "Is this a good idea," given the history of these kinds of suicide attacks on these buses? Did it even cross your mind maybe you shouldn't take the bus?

S. SINGER: No, I didn't think that. I mean, I felt like, you know, things have been a little calm, especially in Jerusalem. And with supposedly the peace plan coming about, I figured, you know, they wouldn't be stupid enough to -- you know, they say they want peace. They want to work things out. I didn't think they would actually, you know -- I mean, they hit right in the center of Jerusalem. I didn't think they were going to...

BLITZER: Senator Singer, when did you hear about this?

ROBERT SINGER, NEW JERSEY STATE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I had seen some news clips about the bombing, not thinking my daughter was involved. I got a call about 12:30 in the afternoon from her roommate, U.S. time, that Sarri was on the bus.

I was not in my office and I was in a bad cell area. I said, "Let me get to my office and then call you right back." And I was calling -- on the way there, I was calling the executive director of Federation and told him, "My daughter is in Haddassa hospital."

BLITZER: From the Jewish Federation?

R. SINGER: Yes. And they immediately called the president's office of Haddassa and were calling there. And by the time I got to the office, I was speaking to the doctor. They put me right through to him. He told me her condition, that she had the shrapnel wound. They were waiting for surgery because more critically ill were being taken care of.

I was able to speak to her, which made me feel a bit better. And that she would be in operation to clean out the wound and that she was not in any danger or discomfort and pain. They had checked out, they had done a head scan to make sure there was no injury to her head because of all the bruising and the problems that she had with her ears, and that her eardrums were broken in one ear and also there was a hole in the other one. And that they would be taking her to surgery in an hour or two. As soon as I heard that, I started making plans to come here right away.

BLITZER: And you got here immediately, obviously. And you see her, so you've obviously been reassured.

R. SINGER: Everyone cooperated. The governor gave me his helicopter so I could get to the airport.

BLITZER: The governor of New Jersey?

R. SINGER: Yes, Governor McGreevey volunteered whatever I needed. I said I got to get to Kennedy in time because the flight was 7:30 and it was getting late. I got to the airport. Everyone cooperated there. The Port Authority police got me right to the plane.

Once I got off the plane, they were waiting for me here, and they drove me right here. We got through the press, which was knee deep getting through here, and I was able to see her. And once I was able to touch her and kiss her and hold her, that was reassuring to me.

BLITZER: Sarri, how long are you going to be here? What else do they have to do to clean you up and get you back to good shape?

S. SINGER: I don't know. I need to meet with the doctors today to see what my condition is. I'm supposed to go back to the States anyway in a few weeks for the summer. So I don't know if I am going to go back earlier, you know, in terms of going back with my father and my brother on Tuesday or wait another week or two just to be able to recuperate better.

BLITZER: So you'll go home back to New Jersey?

S. SINGER: For the summer.

BLITZER: You've been living here for, what, a year and a half?

S. SINGER: On and off, a year and a half, yes.

BLITZER: And so do you want to go back? Do you want to stay here? Obviously, this has been a traumatic experience for you.

S. SINGER: I mean, I want to stay. Again, the considerations of my family are much greater now than they were before, in terms of how people feel, because...

R. SINGER: I keep (ph) telling (ph) her to take cabs.

BLITZER: Yes. A lot of people who can't afford, Senator, to take cabs. They are pretty expensive.

R. SINGER: I know.

BLITZER: That's why a lot of people take the busses.

S. SINGER: Right. No, my feeling is, is you live in Israel, how could you take cabs everywhere? I mean, people do. But I feel like life has to go on normally here.

And you know, after every bombing, I always -- you know, it tears a little bit for everybody in the country. You feel for everybody, even if you don't know them. But I feel like life goes on. And here in Israel, people are very resilient, and they're able to, you know, put themselves back together and get on a bus. And, you know, I think it's important to live as normal a life as possible while things are going on here.

BLITZER: Has this changed -- understandably, I'm sure, it probably has. But how has it changed you, what you've gone through these last few days?

S. SINGER: I don't know. I guess I appreciate things much more. You know, I know I am very lucky and that, you know, I mean, everyone -- the three people around me were all killed. I don't know -- I really don't know how I made it. And you know, my perspective on life is a little different.

And you know, but I feel also strengthened. I know even more so how important Israel is and, you know, how much I want to be here. And everyone should be able to feel comfortable to be here and not feel scared and not feel that, you know, something bad is going to happen somewhere wherever they walk or wherever they go.


BLITZER: Sarri Singer, she's recuperating. She was in that bus, bus number 14, in Jerusalem, the target of a suicide bomber earlier this week.

Meanwhile, there's news developing in Gaza right now. CNN's Matthew Chance is standing by in Gaza to tell us what Egyptian officials and others are up to.

Matthew, update our viewers.


Intensive meetings under way here in Gaza between the various Palestinian factions, officials of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, other militant groups, and a delegation of senior security officials from Egypt. The Egyptians have been engaged in an effort to get the militant groups like Hamas to abandon their campaign of violence against Israel, to allow at least a chance for the U.S.- backed road map peace process to take root here.

Much, though, depends on the outcome of these negotiations, much depends on what Israel is prepared to offer in return. According to Palestinian sources, Palestinian Authority officials, of course, under Abu Mazen, the Palestinian prime minister, and Yasser Arafat, have been discussing over the course of the last day or so, with Israeli officials, the possibility of assuming responsibility for security in the Gaza Strip, in exchange for an Israeli army withdrawal from certain areas of Gaza, and a suspension by Israel of its policy of assassination of militant leaders of the kind that we've been witnessing in Gaza City over the course of the last few days.

I have to say, though, it's not entirely clear whether, first of all, Israel is prepared to meet both of those considerations, or indeed whether Hamas and other militant groups, if those conditions are met, would consider them to be sufficient for them to suspend or end their campaign of violence against Israel, Wolf.

BLITZER: CNN's Matthew Chance is standing by. He's covering the story in Gaza for us. We'll be checking back with you of course. Matthew, thanks very much.

We have much more coverage coming up, right after a quick break, including this: The road map toward peace, is it actually going to get off the ground? We'll speak with a panel of experts. And a special Father's Day conversation with a father and son, both retired U.S. Army generals, who've served their country during times of peace and war.

And a reminder: Cast your vote on LATE EDITION's web question of the week: Should President Bush be more or less involved in the Middle East peace process? You can go to our web address at\lateedition.

Our special LATE EDITION, live from Jerusalem, will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush is doing a good job, in the U.S. and outside. This is how I believe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's doing very bad. He has been doing very bad, before the Gulf crisis and before Iraq. And I think everyone is discovering now that he has been lying all the time.


BLITZER: Israelis and Palestinians speaking out about the latest prospects for continuing the so-called road map toward peace. Welcome back to our special LATE EDITION. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem.

Let's get some perspective on precisely what's going on from a panel of experts. In Washington, Mark Perry, he's a political consultant, the Washington editor of the "Palestine Report." The Pulitzer Prize-winning David Shipler, he's the author of the powerful book, "Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land." In New York, Michael Oren, his new book is entitled "Six Days of War: June 1967, and the Making of the Modern Middle East."

And with me here in Jerusalem, CNN's Kelly Wallace. She's been covering this story for the past six months.

Thanks to all of you for joining us.

Mark, let me begin with you. You're close to the Palestinians, to the PLO. Is there a chance this road map can get off the ground?

MARK PERRY, WASHINGTON EDITOR, PALESTINE REPORT: Oh, I think so. It depends on what happens in Gaza today and tomorrow. We saw in your previous report Mohammed Dahlan, the head of security, was there. I would imagine that Omar Soliman, the head of intelligence of Egypt, is there.

There's a lot of pressure now on Hamas to back away from a campaign of terror. And if that can be accomplished and cease-fire talks can take place between Hamas and the PLO and the PA, I think we have a good chance to start this process again.

BLITZER: Michael, what's your assessment?

MICHAEL OREN, AUTHOR: I agree with that, though I think that from the Israeli perspective, a cease-fire is insufficient. The Israelis are highly suspicious, and I think justifiably so, of a cease-fire that would merely enable Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups merely to regroup and rearm and to resume terrorist attacks at their convenience.

The road map specifically stipulates that the Palestinian Authority under Abu Mazen, under Mahmoud Abbas, is to disarm and dismantle these terrorist organizations. And it has to do that if it's truly to gain the confidence of its Israeli partner.

BLITZER: David Shipler, you've studied this issue for years and years and years. Is it the end of the road or potentially the beginning between the Israelis and the Palestinians?

DAVID SHIPLER, AUTHOR: It's hard to say. I mean, the situation, I think, fits the classic definition we have heard of idiocy, where you do the same thing again and again and expect different results.

You've got Hamas and other Palestinian organizations sending young Palestinians to blow themselves up in Israeli buses and restaurants. You've got the Israelis using helicopter gunships to fire rockets at cars with Palestinian leaders in Gaza, which is a very densely populated part of the world, guaranteeing that innocent people are going to be killed. An 8-year-old Palestinian girl, I read today, died from the attack from last week.

All this does is deepen the rage and ignite more zealotry, so a different path is certainly in order. And the road map may be one of them if they can synchronize their reciprocal actions and get out of this situation of violence.

BLITZER: Kelly, you've just come back from Gaza, literally, within the past few hours. Give us a little bit of the flavor. How bad is the situation over there?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, tremendous anger on the streets. People incredibly frustrated watching the Israeli airstrikes over the past few days and, as David was talking about, watching some innocent bystanders killed.

A lot of anger directed at the American administration, feeling that President Bush came out and condemned the suicide bombing in Jerusalem, but he has not come out and condemned some of these airstrikes which have claimed the lives of some innocent Palestinians.

What's interesting, he did come out, Wolf, as you know, on Tuesday with some rare criticism of the Israelis. But the Israelis believe that has changed after they presented with him a report on Hamas and on some of its activities involved in terrorism.

So right now, Israeli -- Palestinians, rather, would like to see more pressure coming from the American administration on the Israelis.

BLITZER: Mark Perry, you studied this issue for so many years. Is that likely, realistic, that President Bush, this president, is going to put any significant pressure on this Israeli government?

PERRY: I don't think so, at least not publicly. Although there were some good signs in Aqaba. He was very impressed by the report from Mr. Mohammed Dahlan and the new prime minister. He bridged some gaps that he'd had with Yasser Arafat.

I think that he wants to give them all the support he can. Obviously, he's not going to -- this president's not going to come out and really lean into Israel publicly. But I think privately he's going to work very hard, and through his secretary of state, his national security adviser, to try and engineer some kind of resolution here.

And that's all to the good. We shouldn't expect him to criticize Israel. What we should expect him to do is use the status and stature he has to try to get the road map going again.

BLITZER: Some have suggested, Michael, that Prime Minister Sharon has had a significant shift in his own attitude, now speaking openly of an occupation, an Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Do you believe that's the case?

OREN: I do believe it's the case, but I think that Sharon is an elected head of a Democratic society, and he reflects majority Israeli opinion.

You know, ever since the 1967 war, the war that I wrote about in my book, the Israeli people have undergone a profound transformation in their thinking toward the Palestinian problem.

Back in the 1960s, Golda Meir was saying there is no such thing as a Palestinian.

Ten years later, you had Menachem Begin in the Camp David accords in 1979, and he was a hard-liner, saying that, well, there is a Palestinian people and they have legitimate political rights.

And then you had Yitzhak Rabin in the Oslo accords 1993 not only recognizing the Palestinian people, but recognizing that they had a right to self-determination.

And now you have had, as you said, Wolf, you've had Ariel Sharon, the former arch hard-liner, one of the architects of the settlement movement, saying that Israel has to find an end to the occupation. It may have to make painful sacrifices for peace, which is Israeli code for removing and consolidating settlements, and that we must have a Palestinian state. Now, that's a significant evolution over the past 35 years.

The question is whether that evolution has been reflected on the Palestinian side, whether the Palestinians today truly recognize that there is a Jewish people with a legitimate and authentic historical tie to this land, and whether they are willing to share this land with the Jewish people forever.

BLITZER: David Shipler, you used to be the New York Times bureau chief here in Jerusalem. You wrote a few weeks ago about when Ariel Sharon, what, 20 years ago, used to take you and a lot of other journalists out of the West Bank and show you those settlements.

Do you sense there has been a significant shift in Sharon?

SHIPLER: I think so. I don't know. It's hard to say. I've always felt Sharon was not very ideological. The vanguard of the settlement movement quotes the Bible as the deed to the land for Jews. Sharon never waved a bible around. He always waved a military map. And what that meant to Sharon was that security, Israel's security, was the key question.

Now, the recalibrations of security, the recalculations of what security means for Israel, which have taken place in recent years, may very well lead Sharon to a position where he can abandon the Jewish settlements that are scattered throughout the West Bank, especially, which he helped place there for Israel's security purposes.

I mean, he -- I remember the first time I met him was up on a hilltop settlement of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) where it was a pretty clear day, and he pointed down to these dry river beds, the waddis (ph), and said, "Well, you see how armored columns could come through these hills from Jordan or from Iraq to the east into the heartland of Israel along the Mediterranean. That's why we need to put civilian settlements here, to control and keep this land forever."

Well, as we know, Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel. The Iraqi regime no longer exists. Those security calculations are very different today.

BLITZER: And so, there may be an opening.

Kelly, when you were out on the West Bank, I know, you didn't do any scientific polling, but did you get a sense who was more popular, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority?

WALLACE: No doubt, Wolf, Hamas, especially in the Gaza strip, is definitely more popular than the Palestinian prime minister in particular, Mahmoud Abbas. And a lot of Palestinians we talked to felt that Mahmoud Abbas, in his speech in Aqaba, Jordan, was selling out the Palestinians, and they feel that Hamas is standing up for the Palestinian cause.

But then, when you think about it, when you talk to everyday Palestinians, what they say is they want to see Israelis pull out of the West Bank and the Gaza strip. If that happens, if they see some action on the ground, there would be less and less support for some of these actions by Hamas against Israelis.

BLITZER: Is that your read, Mark, as well?

PERRY: Yes, that's exactly my read. I mean, this is very interesting, what's happened. Abbas gave his statement in Aqaba, and he said no attacks against Israelis.

When I was in Bethlehem at the time of the speech, the Palestinians around the table looked at me and said, "Not against anybody?" And I said, "Not against anybody."

Two days later, we had a Hamas attack against Israeli soldiers. Yes, I know it was an attack against Israelis, but this was a direct challenge to Mahmoud Abbas.

We have two conflicts going on here -- one between Palestinians and Israelis, and one for control of an emerging Palestinian culture, society and state. BLITZER: All right. We have to leave it, unfortunately, right there. Mark Perry, thanks to you for joining us. David Shipler, Michael Oren, Kelly Wallace, here in Jerusalem, thanks to all of you for your expertise.

We have much more coming up, including a quick check of the headlines. We'll go to CNN headquarters in Atlanta for that.

But when we come back after that, President Bush is finding the situation in Iraq not that easy in the aftermath of major combat operations, supposedly over. We'll get some special insight from a father and a son on this Father's Day weekend in the United States, both retired U.S. Army generals.

LATE EDITION will be right back.


BLITZER: Our LATE EDITION web question of the week: Should President Bush be more or less involved in the Middle East peace process? You can still vote. Go to our web address,\lateedition. We'll tell you the results later in this program.

Welcome back to our special LATE EDITION. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting live from Jerusalem.

It wasn't that long ago that President Bush declared major combat operations in Iraq are over. I think it's fair to say there are some significant combat operations under way right now.

Let's check in with CNN's Ben Wedeman. He's joining us now live from Baghdad -- Ben.

WEDEMAN: Yes, Wolf. Well, we've been talking this evening about this Operation Desert Scorpion. Now, one of the responsibilities, or the things that these soldiers are going to be doing is searching for weapons -- not those pesky weapons of mass destruction that nobody can find, just plain guns.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): A midnight roundup in the troubled town of Fallujah. U.S. troops arrest suspected arms dealers and search for illegal weapons.

Midnight Saturday, the deadline ran out for Iraqis to hand in their big guns. When the deadline expired, American forces didn't waste any time in cracking down.

People are still allowed to keep pistols and small automatic weapons in their homes and offices for self-defense. For the last two weeks, they could surrender their guns without punishment. Now, possession of a deadly arsenal could land you in jail.

In Baghdad, the U.S.-sponsored weapons-collection program wasn't a roaring success. They received a smattering of small arms. The big stuff is still at large.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if we were to get one weapon off the street, we would be satisfied. I mean, we didn't get numbers in the hundreds here at the police academy, but we did get some AK-47s turned in.

WEDEMAN: This gun dealer -- we'll call him "Ahmed" -- doesn't want his face to appear on camera. With law and order in short supply, now is not the time for a farewell to arms. If anything, he says, there's an arms race on.

"If I know my enemy has rocket-propelled grenades or heavy machine guns, then I have to have the same, or even bigger weapons, to defend myself," he says.

At home, Ahmed keeps two AK-47 assault rifles, pistols and a hand grenade. The ammo is in the fridge. He says he keeps his "serious" firepower on a farm outside town.

Workers at this Baghdad money-changer are armed and ready, locked and loaded, for almost daily attempts to hold them up. Although illegal, hand grenades are now part of the ordinary arsenal.

"A machine gun isn't enough," says owner Haj Hussein (ph). "If a gang of thieves comes to rob us, they won't be one or two, they'll be six or eight."


WEDEMAN: And, Wolf, it appears that the Iraqis are going to be sticking to their guns regardless of what the Americans want them to do -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ben Wedeman for us in Baghdad. As usual, thanks, Ben, very much.

Up next, we'll assess what exactly is going on, a special Father's Day conversation with two retired U.S. Army generals, the father David Grange, the son David Grange. We'll speak to them and get their expert analysis.

And later, a judge orders parties in the Scott Peterson case to keep quiet. We'll get some legal insight into that decision and more from two expert lawyers.

And the results are in on our web question of the week: Should President Bush be more or less involved in the Middle East peace process?

LATE EDITION will continue right after this.


BLITZER: Welcome back to our special LATE EDITION.

Since President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1st when he was aboard the aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln, the fighting has continued. Indeed, on average, about one U.S. soldier or Marine has been killed every day. The situation remains extremely tense.

Let's get some special analysis of what exactly is unfolding on the ground in Iraq. And for that, we turn to two retired U.S. Army generals, a father and son. The father, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, retired U.S. Army General David Grange, Jr. And the son, joining us from Madison, Wisconsin, retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and CNN military analyst, David Grange III.

Let me begin with the elder, the senior David Grange.

Was the U.S. military, General Grange, prepared for what appears to be unfolding right now on the ground in Iraq?

GEN. DAVID GRANGE, JR (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Wolf, I can tell you, I think they are. I think they are well prepared. The training that they undergo now in our army, in our armed forces is oriented toward both active combat and also police actions which involve exactly what's going on today in Iraq.

BLITZER: General Grange, Jr, let me bring you in. The U.S. military, the Army, the Marines, they are trained to fight wars. But are they really trained for this kind of police keeping?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE III (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, actually it's stability operations. It's the transfer from large combat operations to small-scale operations like patrolling. And a lot of those tactics and techniques, those procedures, cross over between stability operations and combat operations. So they have to be prepared. It's part of what an operation transfers to after war, after combat.

BLITZER: But General Grange, the son, and let me continue to press you, counterinsurgency, is that something that the military likes to engage in?

GRANGE III: Well, it's tough. I would say it's harder than large-scale operations. In Vietnam, a lot of small-scale tasks occurred like this, searching for arms caches in villages and mountains, small patrolling. A lot of that takes place -- took place in Vietnam, as an example, which is taking place today. This is just a little bit more of an urban setting than it was, for instance, in Vietnam.

BLITZER: Do you see any similarities, General Grange, the father now, do you see any similarities between what happened early on in Vietnam and what some critics of this military operation suggest could unfold in Iraq?

GRANGE, JR: Well, Wolf, there is tremendous similarity, what's going on right now. You know, some of the things that we are very skillful in, particularly -- I speak for the Army, and I know the Marines are just as well trained -- and that's our intelligence activities, our ability to move quickly. We have trained a tremendous corps of NCOs that know how to lead their squads and their platoons, their sections, on these kinds of operations.

We had that talent. We had the ability to collect the intelligence. We had the ability to move very quickly and very efficiently to places where we encounter weapons caches or groups that are hostile to our aims in this country, same as we did in Vietnam.

And so we're prepared for this, and we know how to do this quite well.

BLITZER: Except in the end, General Grange, the situation in Vietnam did not bode well for the U.S. military, as all of us know.

GRANGE, JR: Well, you know, one of the problems they are going to be facing right now is the rules of engagement are very difficult. The enemy is everywhere now, and he doesn't wear a uniform. He's hard to find. He's got weapons caches. He'll go get his weapon at night, go out and do something at daybreak, hide the weapon and go back to his normal activities. And you've got to react very quickly if you are going to try to apprehend someone like this.

This is a very dangerous environment our soldiers are in. The rules of engagement are very tough.

BLITZER: And in the process -- let me bring the son back in. In the process, General Grange, you know there are going to be innocent victims. There's going to be what they call collateral damage. Already we've seen it happening in various parts of Iraq, suggesting that this could poison some of that good will that seemed to develop immediately after the major combat operations were over.

GRANGE III: It's very hard to determine who the enemy is at different times. Again, they are in civilian clothes. They fade back into the population during the daytime usually and come out at night, as was said. Very difficult.

And there's going to be civilian casualties. There's always civilian casualties in war. That's the toughest part for a soldier or Marine, for instance, on the ground to handle, that civilians die in these situations. And it's a lot of stress on the troopers. It's not a front line. It's 360 degrees. It's a geometric environment. You have to be on the guard constantly. And so whether you're a support troop or an infantryman, the same dangers usually exist.

BLITZER: I want both of you to listen to what Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi opposition leader formerly, now part of the U.S.-led coalition, what he said in Washington this past week about Saddam Hussein.


CHALABI: He has put a bounty and he has on the killing of American soldiers, and this has been transmitted by word of mouth to people, and you see evidence of this all over the areas where he is operating.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: The elder General Grange, if that's true, that Saddam Hussein is alive and organizing these kinds of assaults against U.S. troops, what does that say to you?

GRANGE, JR.: Well, again, I have to go back, Wolf. The rules of engagement for our soldiers on the ground have to be very, very difficult for them.

You know, these young people are out there in harm's way. They have to make a decision, a split-second decision, it's a matter of life and death, "Do I shoot or do I not shoot?" trying to avoid, and they're well-trained and constantly impressed upon them, no civilian casualties if possible.

And that's the environment in which they operate, and that's, I think, Saddam, if he's done this, you know, he's created a very difficult environment for our soldiers to operate in.

BLITZER: Let me bring your son back in and remind our viewers, indeed, tell our viewers, since they're not familiar, almost all of them, General Grange, with your experience in Vietnam, your dad's experience in Vietnam, both of you served there at the same time, and both of you were injured, what, in the same battle?

GRANGE III: No, my father was injured in World War II and Korea, I believe. I was wounded in Vietnam. But it was his third tour, my first tour. Both times I was wounded, in fact, he was in-country.

BLITZER: What was that like to be with your dad in Vietnam?

GRANGE III: Well, it was, for me, it was kind of a relief. He was my major mentor, my trainer. He taught he how to be an infantryman, how to be an infantry officer. I think it was probably tougher on my mother.

BLITZER: What about for you, General Grange, the father? Talk a little bit about being in Vietnam with your son.

GRANGE, JR.: Wolf, I was in the command and control helicopter right over my son's platoon when I saw the tremendous booby trap go off, and I knew it was right in the midst of my son's platoon. And when I called down to the soldiers and asked them what was going on, they told me they had four casualties from that explosion, from that booby trap, and two were dead and two were wounded.

And I guess the hardest question I ever asked anyone over a military radio net was the lieutenant, one of the wounded or killed? And they said, yes, it was. And then I said, well, is the lieutenant one of the dead or one of the wounded? And they said, he's one of the wounded. And I almost fell out of the helicopter with relief when I got those words.

As soon as I could get back to a base camp after everything was over in this operation, I called his mother on the phone, modern day warfare, and told her that my son is -- our son is OK. He's going to make it. He's wounded pretty severely, but he's not going to lose any parts of his body, and he's going to come back to duty in a very short time with the 101st Airborne Division, which we both served very proudly.

BLITZER: Thank God for that.

General Grange, the son, what's it like being on television with your dad on this Father's Day?

GRANGE III: Well, quite an honor. It brings back a lot of memories. When you look at the, some of the footage you're showing of the troops in Iraq, you know, regardless -- some equipment's changed, but really, take an infantryman on the ground, that never changes. That's been the same since the United States had a military.

And I think back at some of those experiences together. We were in a lot of the same units. We were in the old 101st Band of Brothers Unit, the 506th. We served as Special Forces and Rangers. We both were able to do that, at different times, but, of course, we both served in those units together. And we both commanded infantry divisions, we were both assistant division commanders all over the world.

So we have a lot to share and experiences, and we're very fortunate because we both made it through those years to retirement.

BLITZER: General Grange, did you want your son to be a United States general?

GRANGE, JR.: Yes, I did, Wolf, very much so.

BLITZER: And you can be quite proud of him. The apple, they say, doesn't fall far from the tree.

Happy Father's Day to both of you. Thanks so much for joining us.

I'll put up on the screen the latest survey we have from the CNN- USA Today Gallup poll, talking about the confidence level the American public has in the U.S. military right now. And look at these numbers. You'll be happy to see that, as far as a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the military, it's gone up from 66 percent two years ago up to 82 percent right now, which I'm sure is gratifying to both of you.

General Grange and General Grange, thanks to both of you for joining us. Appreciate it very much. Happy Father's Day.

GRANGE, JR.: Thank you, Wolf.

GRANGE III: Thank you very much, Wolf. Wonderful.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

And up next, we're going to go back to CNN headquarters in Atlanta to check all the latest developments. There's news unfolding right now. We'll also get the results of our web question of the week. And in addition, beyond all of that, we'll get to hear from you in our e-mails.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back to our special LATE EDITION, live from Jerusalem. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.

There are important developments happening in the Middle East, and President Bush is speaking out even on this Father's Day weekend in Kennebunkport, Maine. He spoke out just a little while ago.


BUSH: The message is clear. Prime Minister Abbas wants peace. Prime Minister Sharon wants peace. America wants peace. The European Union wants peace. But there are clearly killers who don't.

And the -- for those of us who are interested in moving the process forward, we must combine our efforts to cut off all money, support, for anybody who tries to sabotage the peace process.


BLITZER: In the meantime, there is serious tension here in the Middle East, as CNN's Jerrold Kessel points out.


JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A pivotal moment in the attempt to move the bitter conflict from this to more of this.

Ariel Sharon told the Israeli cabinet he won't let up in actions designed to prevent more attacks by Palestinian militants. But his defense chiefs, after a meeting with top Palestinian security officials Saturday night, the first in months, confirm Israeli forces may be withdrawn from Palestinian areas, starting in Gaza, if Palestinian security forces move in instead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main objective that we have at the present time is to defeat terror. If the Palestinians will do it, God bless them. If they will not do it, we will have to do it.

KESSEL: Israeli sources say preventing a planned, continuous Hamas terror campaign was the goal of the Israeli air force's targeting of top Hamas operatives over the past week -- attacks that, the sources say, were meant as a forceful message to the militants, to the Palestinian leadership and to Washington.

After the Aqaba summit 10 days ago, President Bush promised, in his words, to ride herd, to keep the two sides in line.

Now his special envoy, veteran diplomat John Wolf, has arrived at the head of a monitoring team to ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians not flag from their commitments. This in a bid to keep the peace initiative from collapsing in a welter of ongoing blood- letting.

Egypt is also intervening urgently. A top-flight security delegation arrived in Gaza to try to mediate between Hamas and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas is still talking tough about continuing its bombing campaign, but is also indicating it could end its boycott of Abbas, whom the Islamic group accused of neglecting Palestinian interests, an allegation the Authority denies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are confident that if we are left to sort our differences out with opposition groups, we may, and almost we are certain that we can get the truce from the Palestinian side, provided that Israel commits to the same.

And, of course, Israel is required to do some other steps, such as withdrawing its troops from the cities, the Palestinian cities.

But what's happening on the ground isn't helping, with violence continuing, and with Jewish settlers establishing a fresh presence on a few West Bank hilltops, a provocative move against Mr. Sharon's declared intention to remove unauthorized outposts.

Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Jerusalem.


BLITZER: And our web question of the week here on LATE EDITION has been this: Should President Bush be more or less involved in the Middle East peace process?

Let's take a look at the results. Fifty-five percent of you say the president should be more involved in the Middle East peace process. Forty-five percent say he should be less involved.

Remember, this is not -- not -- a scientific poll.

We always welcome your comments. We always welcome your visits to our webpage, While you are there, let me hear from you, I'd love to get your comments. We'll try to read some of them on the air each week at this time.

And from the Middle East, let's turn to our legal segment of the week. Important legal developments happening on several fronts. And for that, let's turn to two special guests. In Connecticut, the famed criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman, and in Washington, the former U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, Joe DiGenova.

Thanks to both of you for joining us.

Let me begin on the whole issue of Martha Stewart, Sam Waksal. Sam Waksal this week got the maximum sentence, seven years, for his role in insider trading.

Mickey Sherman, was that a good sentence for him? And what, if anything, does that bode for Martha Stewart, who also is facing criminal charges, as all of our viewers know?

MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, it's a great sentence if you are for the prosecution. It's not a great sentence if you are on the defense side.

But what you have to keep in mind is the amount of money that's involved in every particular case. As Joe could probably tell you a lot better than I can, in the federal system, you are sentenced, very often based upon the amount of money that's involved. How much money did you steal? How much money did people lose?

And the money with Waksal is enormous compared to the money with Martha Stewart. The Martha Stewart damages are, what, between $50,000 and $250,000 max. So that bodes that she will not get that kind of a jail sentence or have that kind of exposure to jail.

But when the money is in the millions and the trillions, you're looking at, you know, substantial time.

BLITZER: What about that, Joe?

JOE DIGENOVA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I agree with Mickey. I think what Mr. Waksal's problem was, he chose to commit securities fraud at the wrong time in American history, when Wall Street corruption was the crime du jour.

But he got exactly what he deserved. And remember, he pleaded guilty in order to spare his father and his daughter from criminal charges.

By the way, unbeknownst to us until very recently, according to published reports, he is cooperating with prosecutors, which means he may be providing evidence against Martha Stewart or helping in that case somehow, which means that he could possibly get his seven-year sentence reduced by cooperating.

BLITZER: A lot of people, Mickey, are coming around to the conclusion that Martha Stewart is unfairly being picked at, in part because she's a celebrity, perhaps in part because she's a woman, but the government's case against her is not all that significant.

BLITZER: You've studied this case. What's your take?

SHERMAN: I agree. I don't think it's as much a gender issue, I don't think it's because she's a woman. I know feminists like to maybe harp on that a bit, but I disagree. But the fact that she is a celebrity, and a celebrity who's perceived as not generally a nice person, that has really -- and it will continue to hurt her.

Also, I think her public relations aspect in this case was abysmal. I think that if she'd come out moment one, the day after this event happened, without a lawyer, or with a lawyer in the shadows, and said, "You know something, I screwed up, folks, I did something maybe I shouldn't have done, what should I do, where would you like me to send a check, and I'm really sorry" -- you know, in the legal business it's called a mea culpa -- but she didn't. And instead, she ran away from the cameras, you know, a la Gary Condit.

And for someone who's in the public eye, someone who we have built up as a major celebrity and someone that we all wanted to like, it just did not come out too well.

BLITZER: You know, Joe, if you ask any lawyer if a defendant or someone who may have made a mistake, a legal mistake, should undertake that kind of strategy, all the lawyers I know tell their clients immediately, "Don't say anything, just simply shut up."

DIGENOVA: Well, I agree, though, with Mickey in this case, and I'll tell you why. If Martha Stewart had admitted candidly what she had done, she would have never been prosecuted for anything, because there was no insider trading on her part, legally, and there would have been no obstruction if she told the truth. And she also then would have never been charged with illegally propping up the value of her stock by lying about her behavior.

But I do disagree with Mickey on this. She was not targeted because she's a celebrity. She was a stockbroker for seven years. She was on the board of the New York Stock Exchange, and she was the chairman and CEO of a publicly traded company. You cannot do what she did -- lie to the SEC and federal prosecutors -- and expect to get with it today, in this environment.

SHERMAN: But they're under a microscope. I mean, they're handling this case...

BLITZER: But, Joe...

SHERMAN: ... you know, with all of the world looking at them. And I think they had to make an example out of her.

DIGENOVA: Well, I don't think it's necessarily bad to make an example of a chairman and CEO who lies to the SEC and the Department of Justice.

BLITZER: Yes, Mickey, let's take a look at these poll numbers. We asked our CNN-USA Today Gallup Poll this question: Are the charges against Martha Stewart true or not true? At least according to the American public, 75 percent think they're true, 18 percent think they're not true.

But are you at all uncomfortable, Mickey, with the fact that they didn't nail her on insider trading, but they nailed her, as Joe DiGenova points out, on the obstruction of justice, namely the allegation that she lied to FBI or other investigators?

SHERMAN: Yes, I don't think anyone really disagrees that she did something wrong, and that she handled it very badly, and that she probably lied. But the issue is, do you lose everything you've ever worked for, do you wind up in jail because you did that?

And it just sticks in one's craw that she's being prosecuted for lying about a crime that she was not charged with. It's like they went around the back door because they couldn't find the actual case against her.

You know, no one disagrees that she was wrong and that she was, you know, really making some bad judgments, but do we really need the full force of the federal government to put her behind bars? It's a waste of money.

DIGENOVA: Well, I'll tell you one thing, though, she still has a chance to get out from under this. I dare say that if attorneys on her behalf, instead of attacking the government, and the motivations of the government in press conferences and website remarks, were to go in and have a genuine discussion with the government about settling this case with a plea, this could probably still end with what I consider to be a very good result for Martha Stewart. But that does not appear to be in the cards.

SHERMAN: I think that train left the station a long time ago, Joe. I think that she probably ticked them off a lot. I don't think it was necessarily her lawyers, because she's got great counsel now. But I think that...


SHERMAN: Yes, exactly. We agree on that.

DIGENOVA: Now, now. She's had many lawyers.

SHERMAN: Yes, but really, I think the ship sailed.

DIGENOVA: Perhaps.

SHERMAN: I think it's passed.

BLITZER: Joe, when you were a federal prosecutor, did you ever go after someone to simply make an example of that person? And is that OK according to the federal guidelines?

SHERMAN: Joe, I advise you not to answer that question.


DIGENOVA: Well, no. First of all, we never did that. But we did investigate cases where there was evidence about public officials or other well-known people being in possible violation of the law.

You cannot ignore something because somebody is a famous person. People don't get immunity because they are famous. Only O.J. Simpson gets immunity because he's famous.

SHERMAN: Yes, but by the same token...

BLITZER: Mickey, in your experience, do federal prosecutors seek sometimes to make an example of someone, to send a signal out there to the public at large, "You know, you better not do this because this what you are going to face"?

SHERMAN: Yes, but, you know, it's not just federal. It's state prosecutors as well.

And I don't think that they do it because they want to, you know, get their name in the paper or something like that nature. They have so much incredible power and so much discretion to charge someone, not to charge someone, to bring, as I say, the full weight of the federal government, a billion FBI, CIA, DEA agents at their beck and call. And if they choose to direct that against one person, it makes one hell of an impact.

And I think sometimes they will do it for, you know, what they call deterrent value, to let the other 2,000 people out there in their situation know that you better not cross the line or this is what's going to happen to you.

BLITZER: One of the charges, Joe, against Martha Stewart is that when she was initially accused of doing these misdeeds, she denied it. She said she was innocent. And the federal prosecutors now, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York says by doing so, she misled stockholders, and the value of the stock may have gone down because of what she simply said, that I am innocent. That seems like a novel interpretation, novel use of the law.

DIGENOVA: Well, it's actually not, Wolf. She was the chairman and CEO of a publicly traded company. Any statements that she makes publicly can be attributed to the company that she is the chairman of. She knows that, as I said, because she was a stockbroker for seven years and she was a sitting member of the New York Stock Exchange.

Once she went down the road of denying publicly what she was accused of, she brought into play her relationship with her own company. That was a terrible mistake on her part. She should have either taken the Fifth and said nothing or she should have come clean and told the truth. Now, according to her, the truth is she did nothing, and all these allegations by the government are absolutely false. She's going to have an opportunity to prove it.

BLITZER: Mickey, just wrap this one question up. When she denied any wrongdoing, she's being accused now of lying and misleading stockholders.

SHERMAN: Yes, I agree with you, Wolf. You know, forget about the legal mumbo jumbo, it just doesn't make sense, and it's just not right. If you say I didn't commit the crime, "Well, you're lying," it's like, you know, being in fifth grade, you know. It doesn't make sense.

You either committed the crime or you didn't. And whether or not you admit it or not, that shouldn't be the charge. The charge against you should be whether or not that crime was committed and not what you said.

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

We're going to switch gears in the second segment of our legal segment and talk about the Scott Peterson case that's unfolding in Modesto, California. A key ruling handed down by the judge this week. We'll assess that.

We'll also be taking your phone calls. Your questions, get them ready.

Plus, Bruce Morton's essay.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why was Sosa more believable than Clinton or Stewart? The poll doesn't tell us that.


BLITZER: Public figures and the public trust.

LATE EDITION will be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. We're talking about the big legal stories of the week with two attorneys: the criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman, he's joining us from Connecticut; and the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Joe DiGenova, he's joining us from Washington.

Let's talk about the Scott Peterson case in Modesto, California.

Joe, I'll begin with you. The gag order imposed by the judge this week, who does that help, who does that hurt, the prosecution or the defense?

DIGENOVA: Well, it helps the public by having all of the discussion of the case reined in, but it really hurts the defense, because Mr. Geragos, Mr. Peterson's attorney, has been engaged in a very dangerous, high-risk strategy of throwing out various defense theories of who the quote/unquote "real killer" was of Scott Peterson's wife and unborn child.

The problem was, every time he threw out a theory it got shot down by the facts and by the press. And this week, the judge, who ordered the eight search warrants unsealed at some time in the future, said in a June 6th hearing he expected to get some evidence from Mr. Geragos under oath about alternative killers. He got none, and said that the only thing he got were news stories from the defense, and that was one of the reasons he was going to unseal the search warrants.

That's very bad for the defense, because those warrants will show very large amounts of scientific and other evidence against Mr. Peterson.

BLITZER: All right. What about that, Mickey? Are you as critical of Mark Geragos, Scott Peterson's attorney, as Joe DiGenova is?

SHERMAN: No, and it's not, you know, blind support of every defense lawyer. You know, if I thought he was doing something wrong, I would tell you. But he's putting his fingers in a very big dike that's got a lot of leaks, and he's got to do something.

His problem is is that when he put out that theory, if, in fact, he put it out himself, you have to kind of follow through it with it. You've got to have something to show. Otherwise it's going to bite you in the rear end.

But I have to agree that the release of these affidavits is very damning. It's going to have one side of this case out there for a long time. It's going to have the allegations, the summaries, the conclusions, all the bad stuff that the state has against Scott Peterson. And that's going to be eaten up by the media and by the public and by all of us, you know, for days and weeks and months.

And Mark Geragos, or his people, are not going to be able to answer that or in any way counter it because of this gag order. And I don't know that that's fair. Not that he should be out there spreading false stories, but he should be able to say, "Hey, paragraph five where it says my client did this or that, we are not agreeing with that. We don't believe that's true." Instead, it's going to be just, you know, very damning, and it's not going to be answered by the defense.

BLITZER: Is it unfair for the judge to impose that gag order?

Because, as Mickey points out, Joe, all of the evidence that's in those search warrant documents that eventually are going to be released, presumably in July, that was material that the prosecution put in there to make the case to authorize the search warrants. Presumably, it's not good news for the defendant in this particular case, Scott Peterson.

DIGENOVA: Well, Wolf, you know, sometimes the evidence does really point to who the real killer is.


And sometimes that's just something lawyers and their clients have to live with.

I think the real -- I think Mr. Geragos, when he decided they were going to do this very public spouting off of theories, instead of quietly dealing with the judge, invited this reaction from the court.

And besides, under California law, search warrants are supposed to be unsealed after 10 days. And the only reason they weren't was because the judge had listened to Mr. Geragos say, "You got to keep them sealed so that we can show you that the real killer is somebody else, and the basis for our theories."

They couldn't do that, and the judge said, we're not going to keep from the public any further evidence of why the government charged Mr. Peterson and why he is now locked up without bond.

DIGENOVA: This is public policy. The law is, this information has to come out.

SHERMAN: Yes, but it should come out at the trial...

BLITZER: Why wait there -- I was going to say, why wait until July, therefore? Why not release the documents right away?

DIGENOVA: Because under California law, the Court of Appeals, which also has jurisdiction of this case at this point, is reviewing those warrants to see whether or not there are other reasons to keep them sealed.

SHERMAN: But, Wolf, I don't see the necessity that the public has to know here. That maybe sound a little bit, you know, heretic and anti-American...


... but if the overriding, you know, reason here is to ensure that everyone has a fair trial, the defendant, the victim's family, the entire process, I think that if we upset a few segment producers, you know, various networks and editors of papers for the next eight months, you know, I don't think that's a big price to pay.

I think if we want to try and sanctify the process as much as possible, why can't we keep it under wraps? Why can't we let the jury see what they should see when they should see it and not before on news blurbs all around the country?

BLITZER: Joe, if you were prosecuting this case -- I know you're not, but if you were -- and Mark Geragos said, "I move to move the trial away from Modesto," let's say to Los Angeles, what would you do in response to that?

DIGENOVA: Well, I would oppose that and I'd say, "Your honor, the way to handle this is to see if we can select an impartial jury in Modesto. And if we can't, then that's the time to consider whether or not to move the trial."

I think there is an awful lot of fact-finding that has to occur before a change of venue occurs in the case. Although it might ultimately be decided to move this case somewhere else in California. Although I think, given the extent of the publicity, the likelihood of a venue change having any significant impact is very, very small.

SHERMAN: Yes, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to give the man a fair trial.

BLITZER: What do you say, Mickey?

SHERMAN: Yes, you still have to try. And I've got to tell you, it's not that I am so critical of the folks in Modesto, but they will try and you're going to get a jury. But, you know, I'm sorry, I don't believe them.

Unfortunately, this is, you know, the big case. And in that kind of a situation, people, they don't shy away from jury duty, they want to get on this jury. They want to get that interview at the end of the trial with Katie Couric or Paula Zhan or Wolf Blitzer, you know, some time later down the road.

So they are going to get up there and they're going to say, "Yes, I've heard about it, but I haven't made up my mind yet." Meanwhile, they may have been in the crowd of 3,000 greeting the shackled Scott Peterson.

Again, I am not trying to be overcritical of them, but let's be realistic. These people have had such a part in the search for the victim, in the arrest of the defendant. There is just no way that this man can get a fair trial or the semblance of a fair trial in Modesto.

But yet, I agree with Joe. I don't know where you're going to go, but you got to at least take a shot and get out of town.

BLITZER: Well, and how do you do that, though? If they were to decide that you couldn't get a fair trial in Modesto, the atmosphere is just simply too raw, too charged there, where do you move it, given the publicity that this case has had, Joe?

DIGENOVA: Well, I don't know, Wolf. Theoretically, you could move it to the opposite end of the state, you know, just to pick the farthest place.

But again, I think what they are going to do first is they're going to try and select a jury in Modesto. And if they run into problems, the judge on his own may very well decide that a change in venue is necessary.

But even if you move it, you still have the problem that Mickey just talked about, and it's a very serious problem in American law today. And that is the celebrity juror. Forget about the celebrity defendant, jurors who want to be on juries, who lie about their feelings about a case because they want to write a book, they want to do an interview, they want to do this.

This happened, for example, in the Arthur Andersen case down in Texas. The foreman of the jury, several days after the verdict, held a news conference and said he was going to write a book about the jury deliberations.

We've got to figure out a way to stop this type of nonsense by people whose job is to decide a case and not to become stars because they are performing a public duty.

DIGENOVA: But it's not going to stop. There is no way you can stop it.

BLITZER: Well, you raise a...

DIGENOVA: There is just no way you can stop it.

BLITZER: Both of you raise important issues. Unfortunately, though, we are going to leave our viewers hanging on that note. Joe DiGenova, Mickey Sherman, two of the best in the business, thanks for joining us on double duty today on two big legal stories of the week.

DIGENOVA: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much. Happy Father's Day, of course, to you and to all of our viewers out there.

Let's get to Bruce Morton's essay right now, his essay on icons, those we believe and those we don't.


MORTON (voice-over): Lots of people in the news this past week involved in controversies of one kind or another: Hillary Rodham Clinton, author of a best seller; Martha Stewart, the lifestyle guru; Sammy Sosa, the baseball slugger, stuck in a controversy over a corked bat.

A CNN-USA Today Gallup poll tried to find out how Americans feel about these people. Who they believe, for instance.

Senator Clinton? Our poll asked, "Senator Clinton says in her book she did not believe Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky until he admitted it to her, about eight months after the story was first reported. Do you think she was telling the truth about this?" Thirty-five percent said yes, fifty-six percent said no.

What about Martha Stewart? The poll asked, "Do you personally think the charges that Martha Stewart obstructed a federal investigation into possible insider trading are true?" Seventy-five percent said definitely or probably true. Eighteen percent, definitely or probably not true.

And Sammy Sosa with the famously corked bat. The poll asked those in our sample who said they were baseball fans, about half the sample, "As you may know, Sosa says he had previously used the corked bat for batting practice and did not intend to ever use it in a game. Do you believe Sosa or not?" Well, sixty percent believed him. Only thirty-seven percent did not.

Why was Sosa more believable than Clinton or Stewart? The poll doesn't tell us that, but one possibility is because he did what damage-control experts say you should do: Get out in front, right away, with your story.

Then there's the fact that his other 76 bats -- can you imagine? Do you supposed Babe Ruth ever had that many bats? Anyway, the other 76 were cork-free, so that may have helped his case.

Baseball fans also didn't think Sosa had hurt the integrity of the game. No laughing, now. And they didn't think that Sosa or Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds or Babe Ruth had cheated when they set their home-run records. Ninety percent said the Babe didn't cheat. The other three scored in the 70s. And maybe there's another reason, a Chicago Cubs reason. If your team hasn't won a pennant in more than half a century, hasn't won the World Series since 1908, they need to believe in something. Why not Sammy Sosa?

And this year they've got some good young pitchers. Even us old, often disappointed fans can dream a little. It's only June. They've got a chance.

I'm Bruce Morton.


BLITZER: Thanks very much, Bruce.

Up next, a legendary broadcaster, we said goodbye to him this week. When we come back, my special tribute to David Brinkley. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back. Let's take a quick look at what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines in the United States.

Newsweek magazine has an exclusive report on al Qaeda in America: How the Terror Organization Works Within Our Borders.

U.S. News and World Report takes an inside look at the secret prisons in North Korea.

And on the cover of Time magazine, Book Number Five comes out this week, and Harry Potter is all the buzz: a look at why the young wizard rules.

Jonathan Karl is standing by in Washington to moderate our Final Round panel. That's still to come after a quick check of the news headlines.

I'll be reporting live from here in Jerusalem twice a day, Monday through Friday, for the rest of this week, at both noon and 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

Before I go, though, let's take a quick look back at the extraordinary work of the newsman David Brinkley.


DAVID BRINKLEY: Good night, Chet.

CHET HUNTLEY: Good night, David, and good night for NBC News.

BLITZER (voice-over): In the mid-1960s, even Walter Cronkite couldn't match Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. One survey claimed they had more name recognition then than the Beatles.

But David Brinkley's run was extraordinary: 41 years at the forefront of a business that changed so much, so fast, that at times it seemed he was one of only a few who could put it in perspective.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: This guy knew how to speak to people in language they could understand, and that is a rare gift that no, you know, television coach or bunch of focus-grouped executives can teach.

BLITZER: He grew up at a perfect time for his life's work. Raised in North Carolina with a passion for writing, he came to Washington during World War II. While with NBC, in 1956, Brinkley and Chet Huntley began covering political conventions when they actually meant something.

BRINKLEY: I was a little staggered to see this convention start on time, and so were the delegates, because they weren't here.

BLITZER: Through 14 years of the Huntley-Brinkley Report, David Brinkley brought us history as he saw it, and we could always relate.

BRINKLEY: In about four hours, we have gone from President Kennedy in Dallas alive to back in Washington dead, and a new president in his place. What has happened today has been just too much, too ugly and too fast.

BLITZER: It was that style, never flowery, never trying to impress us with too many words, that won us over.

BRINKLEY: Vladimir Lenin, who brought communism to Russia, is pulled off his pedestal.

BLITZER: When his run at NBC ended, all that was left was for him to change the face of Sunday morning talk shows, with ABC's "This Week."

BRINKLEY: First a little news since the Sunday morning papers...

BLITZER: There were plenty of hard-hitting interviews, but we always seemed to look forward to his humor.

BRINKLEY: We'll be back, with a few words about -- this is the truth -- a few words about some people who watch this program stark naked.

BLITZER: Near the end of his network career, there was one remark that President Clinton was a bore, for which Brinkley later apologized.

Then, in 1997, he said goodbye to all of us for the last time.

BRINKLEY: I quote Shakespeare, who said, "All's well that ends well." My time here now ends extremely well. Thank you.

BLITZER: David Brinkley, dead at 82.


BLITZER: And what a remarkable newsman he really was. Our deepest condolences to David Brinkley's family and all of his friends.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to the Final Round. I'm Jonathan Karl.

Joining me: Donna Brazile, the Democratic strategist; Peter Beinart of the "New Republic"; Jonah Goldberg of "National Review Online"; and Robert George of the "New York Post."

We begin with the meltdown in the Middle East, a wave of violence just one week after the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers promised to push for peace. More than 50 people have been killed as the result of a Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem and several subsequent Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

Jonah, is the road map for peace dead?

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Well, the map is doing fine. It's just the road is a real mess.


It's a terrible situation, and I think it boils down to the fact that, first of all, Hamas is vastly more popular than the Palestinian Authority. And the Palestinian Authority is absolutely correct when they say to disarm Hamas would mean civil war. And the problem is, that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen.

And either the Israelis are going to destroy Hamas, or the Palestinians do it. If the Israelis are the ones who are forced to do it, it's -- the road map is gone.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think the road is bumpy, and it will be bumpy as long as the Bush administration stays here and just, you know, uses the telephone. Secretary Powell needs to get back in the region and force both sides to get back together, and also get Arab leaders at the table so that they can force Hamas to stand down.

KARL: But, Peter, very risky for the president to really get personally involved, the way Clinton did on this, right?

PETER BEINART, NEW REPUBLIC: I think that's true, and I think you saw them pulling back a little bit.

But I think Jonah is largely right. I mean, basically, the only way this things has a chance of working is if you really build up Mahmoud Abbas as a successor to Yasser Arafat. The Bush administration wants to do that. The Israeli government is not united behind that goal.

And when they went after the Hamas leader militarily last week, they made Abbas look like a chump. And he was already pretty weak, and now his chances of really dealing with Hamas are that much lower. ROBERT GEORGE, NEW YORK POST: One of the problems that the Bush administration has, though, is that one of the secondary reasons for taking out Saddam, actually, was a feeling that it would give the U.S. better leverage, dealing with the Palestinians.

However, that seems to have fallen apart as well. So the political pressure on the president and the United States is even greater because of our, because of the success in Iraq. And so in certain ways, they are in kind of a no-win situation.

KARL: But if the goal here is to build up Mahmoud Abbas as a viable alternative, as somebody, a true leader of the Palestinian people, I mean, does anybody who is built up by the United States, by the Western governments here, going to have any credibility?

GOLDBERG: No, it's a huge problem. It's like taking your sister to the prom. I mean, the idea of being (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with the United States is a problem for any Palestinian leader.

BEINART: The only -- what he would have to do is make people's lives in the Palestinian territories a lot better, quickly. And he hasn't been able to do that.

KARL: OK, let's move on, from the Middle East to nagging questions about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Today, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Pat Roberts, again rejected calls for a formal investigation into the handling of intelligence on Iraq and why no weapons have turned up so far.


SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS: Bottom line is, we know the weapons of mass destruction were there. The real bottom line is, what has happened to them from the standpoint of national security.


KARL: All right, Peter, with no weapons found, do we have a situation where the U.S., where this administration, is losing credibility?

BEINART: Yes. I think what we know from the journalistic reports so far is that the Bush administration systematically misrepresented the intelligence. They systematically went further in their statements, over and over and over and over again, dozens and dozens and dozens of times, than the intelligence -- than a fair reading of the intelligence would have suggested.

And it was on that basis that we went to war. And I don't think it's an overstatement to say this will go down as one of the most significant subversions of the democratic process in modern American history.

KARL: All right, but Donna, the question to you, are Democrats going to make an issue out of this? Because, as you know, some Democrats are still, to this day, afraid to attack the administration on this.

BRAZILE: Well, this is not about attacking the administration. This is about getting to the truth. And I think the Democrats, as well as Republicans, should try to find the truth.

After all, we're still waging a war on terrorism. We need international support for that. And if our intelligence is weak, as Peter said, perhaps ineffective in this case, how will we get these groups and others to support us in the future?

KARL: Robert?

GEORGE: I'm not going to go so far as Peter did, in terms of a subversion of the democratic process. However, I will say that I think Roberts would be more effective if he actually got out in front of this and not resist a formal inquiry.

When the vice president went on Meet the Press in March and basically said that he, the CIA and the other members of the intelligence community seem to all have the same -- the basic view that Saddam was chasing nuclear capability, we basically know that that's incorrect right now.

We also know that administration sources are leaking that the CIA screwed up. The CIA is pushing back.

I mean, this is -- it's an embarrassment in the context of domestic politics. It's becoming a real hit to the credibility overseas.

KARL: But, Jonah, if Republicans on the Hill are continuing to resist the idea of public hearings or a formal investigation, don't they risk looking like they are simply covering for the administration?

GOLDBERG: Yes, look, there's a huge potential political downside in all of this.

And I don't give nearly the credit that Peter and, I guess, Robert do, both, to the journalistic facts that we have so far. I mean, according to the journalists covering this was, the museum was looted of 170,000 items, and now they were looted of a handful.

GEORGE: I'm just talking about the leaks between the CIA and the administration. That's all.

GOLDBERG: I understand. Regardless, a lot of this -- my only point on that front is that facts can change very quickly in this story, and all they need to do is find a couple of drums of anthrax and the story goes away. That said...

BEINART: No, it doesn't go away. It doesn't go away at all if they find it, because on a lot of stuff, we know what they said was not a fair reading of the intelligence. GOLDBERG: Well, we don't know because we don't know what the intelligence is yet.

BEINART: We know what the DIA report was.

GOLDBERG: Well, yes, but that DIA report, it actually goes both ways to both arguments.


GOLDBERG: I'm in favor of an investigation. I do think this has the potential to simmer in much the way something like Watergate did, where it seems a real low-priority thing and then flares up.

KARL: All right, next subject, to the domestic front. The Senate is expected to vote on a new $400 billion prescription drug benefit for older Americans as early as this week. The legislation calls for the most sweeping change to Medicare since the program was created 40 years ago. President Bush supports it, and so does Senator Ted Kennedy, to the dismay of many of his fellow Democrats.

Robert, if this bill becomes law, who is the winner here? Is it the president? Is it Democrats who first started pushing for this? Or is it all those old folks that'll be getting their prescription drugs?

GEORGE: The old folks, of course, come out big winners. President Bush, though, comes out as a very big winner.

Personally, from a conservative standpoint, I think this is probably perhaps like one of the worst bills to come down the pike probably in the last 30 or 40 years. Mainly because it doesn't do anything to substantively reform Medicare, as the president had talked about.

But it takes prescription drugs off the table in the same way as the education bill that he cut with Kennedy did at the beginning. And so that means that we're playing on his ground in 2004.

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, I think before President Bush prepares for another photo-op with Ted Kennedy before the election, he really needs to accept some Democratic amendments to strengthen this bill, cover up some of those loopholes, and, of course, give seniors the type of drug coverage that they really want.

The bill doesn't go in effect until 2006, and I think any senior citizen reading this legislation this week would have to go and get some over-the-counter medication like Alka Seltzer just to get some relief.


KARL: But, Peter, who would have thought that a Republican government here -- House, Senate, White House -- would have as a signature domestic achievement a new $400 billion entitlement program and be happy about it? BEINART: No, and Robert is exactly right. I mean, this is the Republican equivalent of the welfare bill. It very shrewdly takes off perhaps the strongest Democratic issue, off the table.

And I think the longer-term issue that Republicans can hope is that they'll create such a fiscal crisis as we have less revenue and these entitlements grow, that eventually they will get more public support for a kind of radical attack on it.

KARL: All right, 10 seconds.

GOLDBERG: Bush and the Republicans win, the country loses. Bill Clinton blissfully declared the era of big government was over, and George Bush is declaring that it's back.

KARL: There you go.

We have to take a quick break. Up next, could a four-star general be our next president? We'll take on that and more when the Final Round returns.


KARL: An already large field for the 2004 presidential nomination could get even larger. Today former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark said he's mulling a White House run, but he still at this point will not say whether he would run as a Democrat.


GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME COMMANDER: In many respects, I'd like a chance to help this country, and I don't know if that means being president or doing something else.

It's very hard not to think in terms of the welfare of the country, and when you see the country in trouble, in challenge, yes, you'd like to pitch in and help.


KARL: All right, Donna, if General Eisenhower could do it -- this guy didn't win World War II, but he won Kosovo.


Now, can Wes Clark do it?

BRAZILE: Why not a four-star general? Why not run in the Democratic primaries? Look, I think he's itching to run. He has a Web site. He's been in New Hampshire numerous times. The Democratic pool is still warm. He should jump in.

GEORGE: Dwight Eisenhower didn't run against an incumbent president, first of all. I mean, that's something to keep in mind. As much as Kosovo was a successful action, you know, it's a little bit different than winning World War II. KARL: A little (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

GEORGE: Yes, a little.

And I just -- I think he would be a rather impressive vice presidential pick, but I don't see him winning the Democratic nomination.

KARL: Peter?

BEINART: I think he'd be a good person to have in the primaries, for the same reason Bob Graham is, which is that he will make national security a larger debate in the Democratic primary, despite those in the party who would like to kind of bury it. And I think that the party desperately needs more credibility on this issue, it desperately needs a debate, and I think he can help start one.

GOLDBERG: Yes, look, the country would be better off if the Democratic Party would have someone like him, but it won't. You know, the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party is now the hawkish wing of the Republican Party, and that's not going to change any time soon.

KARL: OK, on to California. Efforts to recall California's embattled governor, Gray Davis, appear to be picking up speed. Davis' popularity has sunk, as his state struggles with a $38 billion deficit.

Could California be on the verge of a political earthquake? Peter?

BEINART: Yes, it's possible. And, you know, it's hard to feel sorry for Gray Davis, who is really one of the people who can make you most cynical about American politics of any politician out there today.

On the other hand, I do think there's something to be said for the principle of -- California just had an election, he did win, and I think it seems to me that should be that, particularly in an era where you can pay -- basically pay for these signatures, to get on the ballot. You've got one of his potential opponents paying to get the recall thing. I think it's not a good idea.

KARL: I mean, you don't like Gray Davis either, but this recall thing is kind of screwy.

GOLDBERG: I agree. Philosophically, I think it's terrible. And look, Californians elected Gray Davis, and now they must be punished.


And they have been, and that's it.

GEORGE: I would -- having lived in California for several years in a previous life, I would say that there is a tradition, actually, of this, or at least a precedent, I should say, in California, of recall. They recalled the chief justice... KARL: They've never been successful.

GEORGE: No, they recalled the chief justice, Rose Byrd (ph), in the 1970s, and I wouldn't be too surprised if it happened.

KARL: All right. Donna?

BRAZILE: It's a big story now. But look, everyone knows that when Gray Davis gets his back up against a wall, he comes out fighting like an alley cat. So, I'd say that this campaign has a lot of legs and a lot of momentum, but it will peter out by the fall.

GEORGE: Coming soon, Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Total Recall 2."


KARL: All right, LATE EDITION, the Final Round. Thank you very much.

That's all we have for LATE EDITION, this Sunday, June 15.

Coming up next, "IN THE MONEY" looks at the shadowy past of Martha Stewart's jail-bound friend, Sam Waksal.


That followed at 4:00 Eastern by "CNN LIVE SUNDAY," with reports on today's top stories from around the world.

And at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, "NEXT@CNN" explores why West Nile virus, SARS and now monkeypox may be just the tip of the iceberg in emerging diseases.

Thanks very much for joining us. And to all the fathers out there, including mine, happy Father's Day. I'm Jonathan Karl in Washington.


Really Over?; Sherman, DiGenova Discuss Corporate Crime>

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