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CNN WOLF BLITZER REPORTS
Bush Campaign Fires First Shot at Kerry; Guantanamo Parole; Gay Marriage Showdown
Aired February 13, 2004 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now. From the top echelons of the military. Surprising words on the dangers U.S. officials believe are posed by some detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Stand by for hard news on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Battle lines. The Bush campaign fires its first shot at John Kerry.
AD ANNOUNCER: ...brought to you by the special interest...
SAVIDGE: While the fight for the Democratic nomination nears a critical point.
Guantanamo parole. The plan that could see the release of more than 100 suspected terrorists.
Gay marriage showdown. Conservatives move to stop San Francisco from licensing same-sex couples.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will be dissolved by a judge because they are not worth the paper they're printed on.
SAVIDGE: He's been to Iraq to support U.S. troops. So why is one U.S. senator so mad at Kid Rock?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of this country on a rail.
ANNOUNCER: This WOLF BLITZER REPORTS for Friday, February 13, 2004.
SAVIDGE: Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm Martin Savidge at the CNN center in Atlanta. Wolf is off today. Let's get started. For hundreds of terrorist suspects held at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it could be a shot of freedom. Today, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made an unusual move that could be the detainees' ticket out or keep them locked up indefinitely. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has details.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld detailed the critical intelligence the U.S. is getting from interrogation of suspected Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay have revealed al Qaeda leadership structures, operatives, funding mechanisms, communication methods, training and selection programs.
STARR: That disclosure was designed to demonstrate that the 650 detainees are being held because they are dangerous, but the Bush administration also responding to international criticism that detainees are in legal limbo with no assurances about their future. The International Committee of the Red Cross in January saying that U.S. authorities have placed the internees in Guantanamo Bay on the law. The internees still have no idea about their fate and no means of recourse through any legal mechanism.
The Pentagon says there will now be a parole board. Each detainees' case to be reviewed annually to determine if they're still a threat or if they can be released. The U.S. wants to return more than 100 detainees to their home country for either continued detention or release. Nearly 90 have already left Guantanamo Bay. Still the Pentagon says some of the most lethal al Qaeda operatives are being held.
PAUL BUTLER, DEFENSE ASST. SECY. OF DEFENSE: There is an individual who served as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and escorted him to Tora Bora, Afghanistan following the fall of Jalalabad.
STARR: The secretary making it clear the U.S. believes the detainees have plenty to tell their interrogators.
RUMSFELD: They've provided an information on al Qaeda front companies and on bank accounts, on surface-to-air missiles, improvised explosive devices and tactics used by terrorist elements.
STARR: But a note of worry -- U.S. officials believe one of the released detainees may have already returned to the battlefield, so the process for any future releases will be a cautious one. Barbara Starr, CNN the Pentagon.
SAVIDGE: Now to the race for the White House, John Kerry has yet to win the Democratic presidential nomination, but Republicans aren't waiting. The Bush campaign released a new ad calling Kerry unprincipled and Kerry fired back in what looks like the beginning of a very long general election campaign. CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is following developments, she joins us now -- hello, Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This war is being launched on the Internet here. This is what we saw, the Bush/Cheney camp releasing a web ad on their site to 6 million subscribers that criticized Senator Kerry, they say, for his links to special interests and it's entitled here, it's called "Unprincipled, Chapter 1", which suggests there be more ads to come. I spoke with Bush advisers and said that is absolutely right, the reason why they say they're responding to the months and months of attacks from Kerry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD ANNOUNCER: More special interest money than any other senator? How much? Oh. For what? Nominations and donations coincided? Wait. Watchdog groups. Fact Kerry. Brought to you by the special interests. Millions from executives at HMOs, telecoms, drug companies. Ka-ching. Unprincipled?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Now Bush camp advisers say that you can expect they're going to blitz the airwaves within weeks with television ads but in the meantime, of course, they're going to have the web clips distributing this. They said it is obvious that they see Kerry as the man in their sites. The Kerry camp not taking this sitting down. They fired back releasing a statement, saying it's another attempt to avoid the honest discussion of the issue. George Bush has chosen to make his first campaign message to the American people, a misleading, negative attack on John Kerry before a Democratic nominee is chosen.
We haven't been able to trust what George Bush has told us about the war or about the economy. We certainly can't trust what he has to say about the special interests. Martin, of course, both sides disagreeing with just what this means in terms of the numbers, the link to special interests, but what is interesting is what political analysts say about the web clips. They say it's mighty handy because it's cheaper, it's a way to get to your base quicker, to target them. But at the same time they say there are concerns, not the same regulations that you'd have for the television ads -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: Interesting, Suzanne Malveaux at the White House. Thank you very much.
A retired officer with the Alabama Air National Guard vouching for President Bush's service. John Bill Calhoun says that he witnessed President Bush serving weekend duty with the 187 tactical reconnaissance group in Alabama in 1972. Calhoun says he commanded Mr. Bush in four to six weekend drills at (UNINTELLIGIBLE) field in Montgomery. He says the drills consisted of eight hour days on Saturday and Sunday. Calhoun says when Mr. Bush first arrived he was living in Montgomery working on a Senate campaign. He says at the time another person informed him of Mr. Bush's prominent family background.
CNN military analyst Retired Major General Don Shepperd served in the U.S. Air Force for almost 40 years. His military career includes time in the Air National Guard. General Sheppherd joins us from Orlando. Good to see you again.
SAVIDGE: We have people coming forward now. Let me ask you this, if the president did not serve during the time period in question, why wouldn't someone like William Turnipseed, that is the commander of the 187, deputy commander of operations, why wouldn't he be able to remember Mr. Bush?
MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I talked to Bill Turnipseed just last night. He's 75 years old this. Was 30 years ago, and he and another man that was a squadron commander at the time, colonel now retired Jim Andrew -- Jim Daniel, I'm sorry. They had as many as 20 people pulling temporary duty with them at some time, making up drills from other states because they were very close to the air war college.
They said these guys would come in for a few days, would work projects for them, that type of thing. They wouldn't know any of their names, they weren't members of the unit, they were pulling duty for other states because they couldn't pull it in their own states due to work. They wouldn't have known their name unless they crashed an airplane or did something prominent. Bill said I remember George Bush I don't remember seeing him or anybody else that the time. There were a lot of people.
SAVIDGE: A lot of faces from a long time ago. We hear the president doesn't take a flight physical, yet he's a pilot, that's got to be a requirement. What about that?
SHEPPERD: You're required to take a flight physical every year to stay on flying status. If you don't, you're grounded until you take the flying physical, and it's approved. So everybody knows the date their flight physical is due. George Bush was not flying with the unit at that time. He was pulling ground duty.
If he decided he wasn't going to be able to go home and fly anymore, he may not have taken the physical. It's not mysterious. I did it in the Guard. I was transferred from the east coast to the central U.S. and I didn't have time to participate. My physical lapsed. I was grounded, and I subsequently ended up getting out because I didn't have time to participate. This is not mysterious and can happen all the time. It's just you can't fly once that happened.
SAVIDGE: This was at a time we didn't have computers to track everything that was done.
SHEPPERD: No computers or fax machines. All of the duties that were logged. Pay records were kept because those pay points go into your retirement system. The pay points exist. You wouldn't find the logs and things from 30 years ago, they simply don't exist.
SAVIDGE: Some records have been released. Should there be others still to come forward?
SHEPPERD: I don't know if there's other records available or not, things such as flying records and that type of thing. I think at this point in time, all you would find is the pay points probably all that was maintained. Otherwise you'd have millions and millions of documents that would be copied and transferred to microfiche from all over the United States, I don't think they exist other than the pay system which is required to be kept. SAVIDGE: General, good to see you, thank you, sir?
SAVIDGE: Now to an investigation of espionage. A National Guardsman remains in custody in Fort Lewis in Washington state one day after his arrest on suspicion of trying to contact al Qaeda operatives. CNN's Katharine Barrett joins us by phone with more on the case of Specialist Ryan Anderson -- Katharine.
KATHARINE BARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Martin. I spoke earlier with Specialist Anderson's next-door neighbor, one Jack Roberts who described yesterday's FBI raid and search of Mr. Anderson's apartment. The next-door neighbor said that search he saw FBI agents carry out computers, cell phones, and at least some guns from Mr. Anderson's collection.
This neighbor said that Ryan Anderson had previously shown him what the neighbor said was an AK-47 assault rifle he was proud to own. The neighbor said that Ryan Anderson was a nice, regular guy, obviously, military, obviously a gun enthusiast, said that Specialist Anderson used to in his free time go to a local shooting range with the other neighbors in the apartment complex. Neighbors of Specialist Anderson's parents, though, describe his family as a wonderful, God- fearing family, in a quiet suburban neighborhood, and said that they are completely shocked that this has come out about the man.
SAVIDGE: Let me interrupt and you ask you this. In what way do we know he was apparently attempting to contact al Qaeda?
BARRETT: I don't believe that's been made clear to us at this point. He was -- I spoke with a Muslim community leader in Seattle who did have e-mail contact with Specialist Anderson under the name of Abdul Rasheed, he entered an Islamic community e-mail chat room in Seattle, and began to say that he was a marksman, a sharpshooter and was trying to solicit other Muslims to join a shooting or gun group of some kind, and after five or six e-mails of this type, the leaders of this community e-mail group decided that this is inappropriate commentary for a Muslim website. They say that Islam is a peaceful religion and they told him to stop this kind of e-mail. And he then retreated, but also apparently approached people at a local mosque here with similar requests.
SAVIDGE: OK, Catherine, we have to leave it there. Thank you very much. We appreciate it. This is a story we will continue to follow. Thank you very much.
A win for the defense -- judge in the Martha Stewart trial deals a prosecution a big blow. We're live from the courthouse.
Prosecuting a pop star. Lawyers in the Michael Jackson case prepare for what's to come. Evidence and live records. We'll have a report from California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing that yanked my chain the hardest was seeing this ignoramus with his pointed head stuck up through a hole in the flag of the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Kid Rock gets socked. Why a Georgia lawmaker blasted the rock star's Super Bowl halftime show performance.
SAVIDGE: The job for prosecutors in the Martha Stewart case just got a lot harder. CNN's Allan Chernoff is in New York. He's covering the trial. Allan, what happened?
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin, two setbacks here for the prosecution. First of all, the judge ruled that the prosecution may not bring analysts who follow Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to the stand to ask them whether their opinion of that stock had been influenced by Martha Stewart public proclamation she had done nothing wrong when she sold her Imclone stock.
This is a serious blow to the government's securities fraud charge, because the government is charging that Martha Stewart tried to prop up the stock of her own company when she said her Imclone sale had been legitimate. The government in the afternoon also sought to bring into court phone records of Martha Stewart, and also large charts summarizing those records. Defense said it would be totally misleading to introduce these as evidence.
And they argued about this in court, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, they did so with a jury not present, and once the jury was in the courts the arguments continued. A judge finally said, you guys can figure this out over the weekend, the court is adjourned. An early adjournment with a few setbacks for the prosecution -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: Allan, you know, obviously, what is the government saying about this? This is a huge blow for them?
CHERNOFF: The government is very firm in believing that these phone records indicate there had been some sort of conspiracy between Martha Stewart and her co-defendant, stockbroker Peter Bacanovic. These records are supposed to show Stewart and her broker had phone conversations at critical points. Just after Martha Stewart learned that she had to appear for an interview with the FBI, and also just before that actual interview, but the defense is saying, how do we really know that the two people, Martha Stewart and her stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic really spoke? maybe somebody else made the call, and we don't know actually what occurred during those phone calls -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: It was an unlucky day for the prosecution. Allan Chernoff, thank you very much. On the other side of the country, lawyers for Michael Jackson were in court and it was a very different scene from last time. CNN national correspondent Frank Buckley is in Santa Maria, California with that.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Marty, it was still a scene here at the courthouse, not like the scene we experienced last time. Michael Jackson did not stand up on top of an SUV and dance. In fact, Michael Jackson was not here at all.
BUCKLEY (voice-over): Michael Jackson's fans came out, fans from afar, fans with their children in tow. Fans flying as they towed their support for the pop star.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To let him know we are here for them.
BUCKLEY: But Jackson himself whose appearance at the last date caused a sensation, wasn't required to be in court this time and remained away. The singer was represented by his lead attorneys, Mark Geragos and Ben Brafman who knocked down rumors that Geragos would soon be leaving the team.
BEN BRAFMAN, JACKSON ATTORNEY: Geragos is here, he's here to stay. We're co-lead counsel and people spreading rumors to the contrary are doing it for selfish reasons or have their own agenda.
BUCKLEY: In court Geragos told Judge Rodney Melville that he believed the defense could be ready to go to trial in December. Pleasing Judge Melville who said his goal is to have the case tried before the end of the year left unsaid why the judge wants to move as quickly as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main witness in this case the accuser is a young man with cancer, there is no guarantee he's going to be available as a witness indefinitely.
BUCKLEY: Also Judge Melville ruled that some of the search warrants in the case, including those served at Neverland Ranch, sealed until now, will be released as soon as he removes confidential or potentially prejudicial information.
BUCKLEY: Judge Melville also said he would entertain a request from the defense to modify the gag order, the defense saying that it wants to be able to respond to what it considers inaccurate reports in the media. The next court date is potentially March 5 for a procedural matter. It's possible Jackson will be here for that, and then on April 2 we're expecting the setting of the preliminary hearing date -- Marty.
SAVIDGE: Frank Buckley live in California. Thank you very much. We want to show you something happening right now. It is a gas fire. You can see it blazing away. This is taking place in Philadelphia. It appears that a gas main has ruptured somehow, and it's sending a huge plume of flame into the air. There are said to be a number of heavily populated buildings in the area including a university and three high schools. No reports of injuries, no word of evacuations yet. We will continue to follow this story.
A sex assault scandal rocks a U.S. Air Force base, some two dozen women allegedly attacked. Now the investigation begins. Plus this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We request permission to come aboard, the army is here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Wesley Clark signs on with a former rival. The latest on the race for the Democratic nomination.
Plus the controversy over San Francisco's bold gay marriage move goes to the next level.
SAVIDGE: John Kerry won the endorsement today of a former Democratic rival, Wesley Clark. The endorsement offered in Madison, Wisconsin, comes just days before the Wisconsin primary. A new poll by the American Research Group shows Kerry surging to a commanding lead in that race with the support of more than half all likely Democratic primary voters. CNN national correspondent Kelly Wallace covering the Kerry campaign.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An aide to Wesley Clark said he decided to endorse John Kerry because he believes the senator from Massachusetts has the national security credentials to defeat President Bush in November. It was a photo-op here in Wisconsin that had to make the Kerry campaign smile. A retired four-star general backing a decorated Vietnam veteran and put the Republicans on notice.
WESLEY CLARK (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John Kerry has been the kind of leader America needs. He'll stand up to the Republican attack dogs and send them home, licking their wounds.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: General Clark is not going to stand behind me anywhere in the course of this effort over these next months. He's going to stand beside me and he's going to help block point in this battle to take back the presidency of the United States.
SAVIDGE: That was CNN national correspondent Kelly Wallace with the Kerry campaign. Despite John Kerry's seeming momentum, other candidates continue to battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. John Edwards shrugged off Kerry's endorsement by Wesley Clark telling reporters endorsements do not decide primaries. Edwards says he wants to give Democrats an option.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I want to do, and I think my responsibility is to make sure that Democratic primary voters know they still have a choice, and I want them to know what that choice is in John Edwards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Howard dean visited a Wisconsin dairy farm and said farmers should be guaranteed a fair price for milk, even if it costs consumers a few extra pennies. Dean tells supporters he still thinks he can win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's a little early to be writing the postmortems yet. What I see as a contribution to this campaign is winning the presidency and changing the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Here's your turn to weigh in on this important story. Our web question of the day is this -- "is the campaign 2004 shaping up to the roughest in recent memory?" You can vote right now at CNN.com/wolf. We'll have the results later in this broadcast.
High-level terror threats are causing low level problems for airliners. Are terrorists winning on a new level, plus this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I played him as innocent, he portrayed himself as innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Playing the part. The story of Scott and Laci Peterson now a made-for-TV movie. Is it an accurate portrayal or more fiction than fact.
Abnormal. In Athens, residents in Greece wake up to a white surprise as snow covers the acropolis. The rare pictures later.
SAVIDGE: Welcome back to CNN. I'm Martin Savidge at the CNN Center in Atlanta.
Security threats in the skies, the intelligence behind the recent British airways flight cancellations.
But, first, a quick check of the latest headlines.
The U.S. trade deficit has hit a new all-time high. The trade gap for December came in at almost $42.5 billion. The December figure outpaced analyst expectations and shoved the 2003 shortfall to a record $489.4 billion. That's up 17 percent from 2002.
A land mine blamed today for today's death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Nine others were wounded when a vehicle in their convoy rolled over the device near Ghazni. Some of the wounded treated at the scene. The rest were airlifted to a military hospital at Bagram Air Base.
A spokesman for the independent 9/11 Commission says the panel will soon request private meetings with President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Also on their list, former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore. Commissioners want to learn more about intelligence warnings received prior to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says there is a real chance the long-divided Island of Cyprus will be reunited before May. Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders today agreed to a U.N. plan to merge the islands north and south. The plan must be still approved by referendum. The island is slated to join the European Union May 1.
Well, the rapes of roughly two dozen women station at Sheppard Air Base, that is, over the past year, is triggering a military investigation.
CNN's Ed Lavandera has the story from Texas.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the last few months, the U.S. military has been forced to deal with what some say is a disturbing issue. And that is how it handles cases of sexual misconduct. It started at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, where a high number of women were coming forward with cases of rape and sexual assault.
The latest is here at Sheppard Air Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, where, in the last year, some two dozen women have come forward with accusations of sexual assault and rape against 40 airmen here at this base. No one from here at Sheppard Air Base is talking publicly about this. But the Air Force does say that it takes all of these cases seriously and that there is a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to issues of sexual assault.
However, while no one in the Air Force is talking about these specific case, this issue is getting the attention of the highest levels of the government, including the White House.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's a very serious issue, and it needs to be fully investigated and pursued to the fullest extent of the law. We have no tolerance for any such activity.
LAVANDERA: These latest allegation here at Sheppard Air Base also come at a time when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has ordered a military-wide review how these types of cases are handled. The review process is expected to take about 90 days.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Wichita Falls, Texas.
SAVIDGE: In a move that's becoming all too common, fresh threats against two British Airway flights that are forcing the carrier to keep them on the ground again.
CNN's Jennifer Coggiola joins us live from Washington with more -- Jennifer.
JENNIFER COGGIOLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, intelligence that led to the cancellation of flights since the beginning of the year now targeting flights over the President's Day weekend.
COGGIOLA (voice-over): The latest canceled flights for British Airways, Flight 223 from London to Washington this Sunday, and 263 to Saudi Arabia on Monday, all due to security concerns over possible al Qaeda terror threats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been very frightening. And the uncertainty about it and the risk associated with it is really very distressing and unnerving.
COGGIOLA: The latest FBI bulletin repeats that terrorists could use improvised explosive devices assembled on board, possibly in laboratories, even using shampoo and medicine bottles to store explosive ingredients to hijack the aircraft or destroy it over a heavily populated area.
PHILIP BAUM, EDITOR, "AVIATION SECURITY INTERNATIONAL": There is no way that the government would be taking decisions to cancel the flights with anything other than credible threat information.
COGGIOLA: Some of the intelligence pointing specifically to one flight, 223, from London to Washington, that's been canceled now five times.
BAUM: British Airways might well decide to do away with Flight Number BA 223 or BA 263 and move away from those flight numbers, so that those flight no longer become a target.
COGGIOLA: But Jim McAuslan, who heads Britain's pilot union, said Thursday he's concerned about the intelligence.
JIM MCAUSLAN, BRITISH AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: We're raising questions that are about whether that intelligence source is accurate and whether in fact we may be jumping at shadows or whether we're being overcautious and too risk-averse in the way that we're dealing with this intelligence that's been on around the world that suggests that this particular flight is at risk.
COGGIOLA: A British Airways spokesperson said it would cancel any flight U.S. or British authorities deemed at risk and that there are no plans to change Flight No. 223 or its schedule at this time.
COGGIOLA: Any British Airways passenger whose flight has been canceled has the option to be refunded, rerouted or rebooked on a later flight -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: Jennifer, thanks very much.
Well, is British Airways jumping at shadows or is canceling the flights the prudent approach?
Charles Slepian is the CEO of Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center, a security think tank focusing on traveler safety. And he joins us from New York.
Thank you, Mr. Slepian, for being with us.
CHARLES SLEPIAN, AVIATION SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Is canceling a flight a good way to deal with possible terrorists?
SLEPIAN: Well, I think, if canceling a flight is our only security measure, and it appears to be under these circumstances, then we are doing something terribly wrong. We need to be able to be confident in our security, confident enough so that, every time we get a threat, we don't have to cancel a flight.
Just imagine if every business in the country had to shut down every time they got a bomb threat. They would be getting them all day every day. They rely on competent security. And, unfortunately, our security is far from competent.
SAVIDGE: Well, if you cancel a flight, and being a terrorist who may have some smarts and a computer, can't you just book yourself on another one?
SLEPIAN: I would imagine you could very easily.
The issue is, how is that terrorist going to get on board an airplane and commandeer that airplane, if that's the concern, if we're worried about hijacking, when the cockpit is reinforced and is really hijack-proof? How is that terrorist going to get weapons on board an airplane if our screeners are competent and see to it that he cannot? How is that terrorist going to bring biological and chemical weapons on board, once again, if have you competent screening on the ground?
It's when we can't rely on our screening that we cancel flights. SAVIDGE: Well, talking about screening, the CAPPS-2 computerized screening process, that was supposed to start last winter, I think it was, or then in the spring. Now the Department of Homeland Security says it could be delayed even further. A problem, obviously.
SLEPIAN: It's a serious problem.
And I think part of it has to do with some confusion over what CAPPS-2 is supposed to do, what kind of information we're supposed to have. Unfortunately, the Transportation Security Administration has had a series of false starts. I'm afraid it's being administered and run by people who just need a lot more time to learn a lot more about aviation security. They're just not doing a good job. We need to get professionals in there.
SAVIDGE: Well, we haven't got the government standing up here at this particular point to defend themselves. But let me ask you this. Is it still passengers that we believe are the greatest threat, or could we be focusing too much on passengers and, say, personnel we're not looking at clearly enough?
SLEPIAN: Well, it's clearly clear the fact that the only people we can control seem to be the passengers.
We have 900,000 employees working on ramps around the country who enter sterile areas and board airplanes every day without being search. The pilot is searched. The cabin crew is searched. The passengers are searched; 900,000 workers are not searched. And we are not dealing with that. And TSA refuses to tell us why.
As long as we have that gaping hole, I can understand why our international allies are very skeptical about our cries that the answer seems to be either a sky marshal or a cancellation. We're not doing what we need to do here.
SAVIDGE: Charles Slepian, he is the CEO of Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center.
Thanks very much for being on the program today.
SLEPIAN: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Fact or fiction?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PERFECT HUSBAND")
DEAN CAIN, ACTOR: Nothing to do with her disappearance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Scott Peterson's story now a made-for-TV movie. But how rigorous is the rendering?
California controversy. As hundreds of same-sex couples line up to marry, outraged conservative groups line up to protest.
Flag flap. Now a new controversy from the halftime show that just won't go away.
First, a quick look at some of the other news making headlines around the world.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Killed in exile. A Chechen rebel leader and his son died in a car explosion in Qatar. That's according to government sources there. The United Nations considered Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev a member of al Qaeda and he was wanted in Russia on war crimes charges.
South Korean troops to Iraq. The country's Parliament is signing off on deployment of 3,000 soldiers to help with reconstruction. They'll join several hundred South Korean medics and engineers already in Iraq.
Athens snowstorm. The Greek capital may be gearing up for the summer Olympics, but winter rules the day. Several inches of snow shut down much of the city, along with some of the coldest temperatures in 30 years; 1,600 pounds of love. Meet Bailey, pet buffalo to a family near Edmonton, Alberta. Orphaned and raised by human hands, Bailey spends most of his time outside, but is sometimes a house Buffalo.
And that's our look around the world.
SAVIDGE: Many of us have already begun the final score of this year's Super Bowl, but everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to remember what happened during the halftime show.
CNN's Brian Todd brings us up to date on the latest controversy.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A long way from Houston to the halls of Congress, a long time in TV terms from Super Bowl Sunday, nearly two weeks ago, to yesterday, and we still can't get out from the shadow of that notorious halftime show. Just listen to what a courtly Southern senator has to say about one of the esteemed performers, Kid Rock, and his flag-draped dance at Reliant Stadium.
SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: The thing that yanked my chain the hardest was seeing this ignoramus with his pointed head stuck up through a hole in the flag of the United States of America, screaming about having a bottle of scotch and watching crotch.
Think about that. This is the same flag that we pledge allegiance to. This is the same flag that is draped over coffins of dead, young uniformed warriors killed by protecting "Kid Crock"'s bony butt. He should be tarred and feather and ridden out of this country on a rail.
TODD: As if that could possibly be misinterpreted, we called Senator Zell Miller's office today. He not only stands by his comments, but a spokesman says the response from all over the country today overwhelmingly positive.
It's worth noting, Kid Rock's not exactly the poster boy for subversion. He has performed for military personnel all over the U.S. and Europe, donated profits to military support group, and last summer did a USO tour, performing for the troops in Baghdad, Qatar and Kuwait.
He spoke to Wolf Blitzer about that trip in June.
KID ROCK, MUSICIAN: I thought maybe it was time that somebody step forward and say something positive about what these kids are doing, which is basically putting their lives on the line for our freedom.
TODD: On that point, the kid may be in agreement with Zell Miller's spokesman, who told us -- quote -- "Nobody's ever died for Janet Jackson's breast. People have died for the flag."
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
SAVIDGE: And we tried to get reaction today from Kid Rock to Senator Miller's comments. His record company, Atlantic Records, says Kid Rock's on tour and unavailable for comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PERFECT HUSBAND")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm going to ask you one time, Scott. Did you cheat on Laci?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: The Laci Peterson murder case makes its way to the small screen.
Then, pucker up. It's a kiss felt around the world just in time for Valentine's Day.
But first, today's news quiz. Which state produces more than half of America's roses, Arizona, Oregon, California, Louisiana? The answer coming up.
SAVIDGE: Earlier in the show, you remember, we talked about President Bush's military records during the Vietnam War, suggesting there was more to come. Guess what. There is more already.
Suzanne Malveaux joins us from the White House with the latest -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are expecting nearly 300 pages of documents within about five to 10 minutes from the White House.
The president made this decision, we're told, this afternoon. He decided he was going to release his entire military personnel record. That includes from the years 1968 to '73, also includes the time, a controversial period, where Democrats say that it shows that he did not serve, the White House saying that President Bush was concerned that Americans were getting the wrong impression that he had something to hide.
Therefore, they're going to release the entire file within moments.
SAVIDGE: Suzanne, any idea how many pages we're talking about here, how extensive this file could be?
MALVEAUX: We're talking about medical records, personnel records. We are told there are three separate files, one from the Texas Air National Guard, a performance report.
Another one is a summary from about 2000, telling us about his service, another one from a Denver facility, 2004, another summary of his service. We're told that this is going to be hundreds and hundreds of pages, a lot of it repetitive, some of this material, some of it redacted as well. But we're told the only redacted, blackened- out portions are going to be Social Security numbers, personal medical information regarding family members, but that everything else will be an open book.
They're certainly hoping, the White House hoping that they will lay these questions to rest about whether or not President Bush completed his military service with honors.
SAVIDGE: Suzanne Malveaux, live at White House, thanks very much. There goes Friday night for a lot of journalists in Washington, D.C.
Outraged conservatives in California are moving to stop San Francisco from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. But, right now, that's not having any effect on the hundreds of ecstatic partners lining up to get a city marriage license.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you, Joy, take this woman, Keltey (ph)...
SAVIDGE (voice-over): For the second day in a row, San Francisco's baroque City Hall is wedding central. Gay and lesbian couples started lining early this morning up to get their marriage licenses, some of them back from yesterday, when city officials were simply overwhelmed by the demand. Now those opposed to same-sex marriages are fighting back. The Campaign For California Families is asking the courts to stop the city from issuing more licenses.
RANDY THOMASON, CAMPAIGN FOR CALIFORNIA FAMILIES: Marriage is for a man and a woman. That is how the marriage law -- everyone has been equal right, but you have to play by the rules. You need a man and a woman.
SAVIDGE: But, because Monday is a holiday, no court order can be issued before Tuesday. One critic calls it a brilliant strategy. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city to license gay couples, defying state law, during a short span of days that nothing can be done to stop him.
GAVIN NEWSOM (D), MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: It's fundamental. It was fundamental when blacks couldn't marry whites the late '60s in this country. It was fundamental when Christians couldn't marry Protestants in the turn of the century. It's discriminatory. And I think we have an obligation to turn that around.
SAVIDGE: But for some of the newly married couples, it's more personal than that.
ALEXANDRA D'AMARIO, RECEIVED MARRIAGE LICENSE: I woke up so excited this morning. And how is it different? It's not that different. We have a piece of paper which now tells us that we have a lot of legal protection, and it's just -- it's life-changing, really.
SAVIDGE: More to come on that one.
Still, jury selection hasn't begun in the Peterson trial, but the saga has already been made into a cable TV movie. And now the family of Laci Peterson is breaking their silence on the project.
CNN's Kris Osborn has that story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PERFECT HUSBAND")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Why would he say missing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KRIS OSBORN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A fictional movie?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PERFECT HUSBAND")
CAIN: The press has a victim. They want a villain now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OSBORN: Or fact-based account of gripping, real-world events? Some of both is what makers of "The Perfect Husband" say about the USA Network movie on the Laci Peterson saga. But producers insist the movie script is based on facts reported in the media. Dean Cain, known to many as a TV Superman, says he adopted Peterson's look and mannerisms.
CAIN: We told the story as, again, based on the facts as we knew them. I played him as innocent. He portrayed himself as innocent, so that's how I played him. But his behavior was such that he did a lot of things that made you believe that he was guilty.
OSBORN: Script writers used a research company to stick to facts. A USA Network spokeswoman said, "We tell the story responsibly."
However, USA also says fictional composite characters were used to play Laci's friends. Laci's family, still suffering from Laci's death, is not amused.
RON GRANTSKI, STEPFATHER OF LACI PETERSON: We have to deal with the loss of a part of our family and memories we will never have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's much of a movie, but that's my own personal opinion.
OSBORN: USA is shown nationally on basic cable, so some question whether the film could impact a potential jury pool.
TONI BLAKE, JURY CONSULTANT: By very nature, it's not going to expose potential jurors to all of the facts. And we worry about whether the facts will be reported erroneously or whether some things won't be reported at all.
OSBORN: USA Networks also produced "D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear," a TV movie that aired during the trials of the two men who were convicted in the 2002 string of shootings.
Kris Osborn, CNN, Atlanta.
SAVIDGE: Still to come, late-night matchmaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TODAY SHOW")
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bachelorette No. 1?
JENNIFER TILLY, ACTRESS: Yes.
KUCINICH: Valentine's Day is coming up.
TILLY: Don't be frightened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Dennis Kucinich not only looking for a Democratic bid for the presidency. He's also looking for love.
That and the results of our hot "Web Question of the Day" when we come back.
SAVIDGE: Earlier we asked: Which state produces more than half of America's roses. The answer, California. The Golden State produces more than 60 percent of the nation's roses, although the vast majority sold on Valentine's Day are imported.
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. And what better way to celebrate with someone you love than with a kiss, along with flowers, chocolates and all the rest? Well, if you're like the people in our picture of the day, you can also be trying to set a record for the biggest kiss- off; 5,000 couples gathered in Manila in the Philippines to try to kiss their way into the record books. They beat the old record of 4,400 hundred couple kissing, which was set just last month in Santiago, Chile. I wonder which city will take on the kissing challenge next.
Here's how you're weighing in on our "Web Question of the Day: Is campaign 2004 shaping up to become roughest in recent memory? Fifty-seven percent of you say yes, 43 percent saying no. As we always tell you, this is not a scientific poll.
Well, even if you're not the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, there are a few perks that become available when you continue in the race. Take candidate Dennis Kucinich, for instance. He wound up on Jay Leno's show last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TODAY SHOW")
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bachelorette No. 1, if I win the Democratic nomination -- could happen.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KUCINICH: So I win the Democratic nomination, but I have laryngitis.
KUCINICH: So I ask you to make the victory speech. What do you say?
TILLY: I say, good evening, delegates. My husband, Dennis, thought he was going to lose, so he didn't write a victory speech. And now he's pretending like he has laryngitis.
(APPLAUSE) KUCINICH: That's really funny.
JAY LENO, HOST: You want an honest woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Well, who did Kucinich pick? It was bachelorette No. 1. And that, of course, was actress Jennifer Tilly.
A reminder, you can always catch WOLF BLITZER REPORTS weekdays at this time, 5:00 Eastern. And don't forget to tune in to "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk -- this weekend, U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer. That's at noon Eastern.
Until then, thanks for joining us.
"LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now.
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Parole; Gay Marriage Showdown>