Return to Transcripts main page


Is U.S. Selling Weapons to Wrong People?; Will Chelsea Clinton Join Hillary's Presidential Campaign?

Aired July 31, 2007 - 19:00   ET


Happening now, the Bush administration's big guns make the rounds in the Middle East, selling arms in solidarity, but are they putting weapons into the wrong hands?

He's held in the notorious U.S. detention camp for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, but he says he would rather remain in custody there than be sent home.

And her mother could make history, but is Chelsea Clinton willing to give up her own privacy to help write a new chapter and put a second Clinton in the White House?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

They're going door to door in the Middle East. The Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the defense secretary, Robert Gates, both trying to persuade Arab states to stand up to Iran and to help stabilize Iraq, but back home, the White House is facing some serious opposition.

Let's go to our State Department correspondent, Zain Verjee -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a rare road show and they are going to their allies with a double- barreled message.


VERJEE (voice-over): Working America's Arab allies, the U.S. says it is on their side against Iran, which the U.S. charges is backing Hamas, Hezbollah and Shia militias in Iraq. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warns Iran is destabilizing the region, and is the biggest challenge to U.S. interests. To make its Arab friends feel more secure, the U.S. says it will sell them tens of billions of dollars in arms.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States is determined to assure our allies that we are going to be reliable in helping them to meet their security needs.

VERJEE: Some say selling arms to Iran's neighbors will not contain Iran, and could backfire by sparking an arms race. AFSHIN MOLAVI, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: By dispatching $20 billion worth of arms to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf region, in one respect the United States may be tilting the balance in favor of hard-liners in Iran who argue that Iran should pursue a nuclear weapons program.

VERJEE: The deal has triggered outrage on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers say Saudi Arabia is part of the problem.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Saudis are a country that sent us 15 of the 19 bombers on September 11th. They're the country that sends 45 percent of the foreign fighters that are fighting in Iraq.

VERJEE: Saudi Arabia and much of the Arab world is nervous the U.S. will bolt from Iraq and leave them to clean up the mess. Defense Secretary Robert Gates offered this reassurance.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: However it's done, it needs to be done carefully and with a view towards consequences and the need not to leave Iraq in chaos in a way that will be destabilizing the region.


VERJEE: Some U.S. officials say that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have been supporting Sunni insurgents in Iraq and undermining the Shia-led government of Nouri al-Maliki. Rice and Gates are pushing them to stop it. Wolf?

BLITZER: Zain Verjee reporting from the State Department, and coming up, we're going to be speaking with a fierce critic of this arms deal, New York Congressman Charlie Rangel. Find out why he thinks the whole thing is simply about oil. That's coming up.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan police today found the body of a second South Korean Christian missionary slain by Taliban kidnappers. Twenty-one other Christians kidnapped almost two weeks ago during an aid mission are being held and they're facing death threats. Afghanistan says it won't meet Taliban demands for their release.

Neil Connery has the story.


NEIL CONNERY, ITV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frightened and unsure of their fate, this video broadcast by Al-Jazeera television claims to show seven of the female Korean hostages held by the Taliban, for now at least they appear unharmed, but their captors say they will kill them if their demands aren't met.

They've already killed two of the group of 23 hostages. This morning the body of Shim Sung-min was discovered. The 29-year-old computer expert had packed in his job to volunteer to help Afghanistan's Corps. He was shot repeatedly with an AK-47.



CONNERY: When news of his death reached South Korea, it was too much for his mother to bear. Shim Sung-min's father branded his killers as inhumane, worse than animals. The group of young Korean Christians came to Afghanistan full of hope, wanting to help, but 13 days ago they were kidnapped while traveling from Kabul to Kandahar. The Afghan government is refusing to give in to Taliban demands to trade prisoners in return for the South Koreans' release.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to discuss the details, releasing or not releasing the criminals in exchange for the hostages is details. We are not going to get into details. But the broad answer is we are doing everything we can to secure their release.

CONNERY: The Taliban's tactics are mirroring those used by insurgents in Iraq. Unless their demands are met by tomorrow morning, they say they'll kill more of the hostages.

Neil Connery, ITV News.


BLITZER: And here in the United States, the Alaskan Republican Ted Stevens is involved in a corruption probe, one day after federal agents raided the senator's home, our congressional correspondent Dana Bash caught up with him. It wasn't easy, Dana. He was obviously upset, very angry. Tell our viewers what's going on.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well furious I think is the best word to describe Senator Stevens' reaction when we tried to ask him about the raid on his home in Alaska, but he really wouldn't give any further reaction to what happened there, but it wasn't for a lack of trying, Wolf.


BASH (voice-over): FBI and IRS investigators spent hours at Senator Stevens' Alaska home, taking video and photographs, meticulously cataloging the house and its fixtures. A local paper reports an agent carried out a garbage bag of unidentified materials to a white truck. Federal officials are tight-lipped about their investigation, but it stems from a corruption probe involving Bill Allen, an Alaska oil executive and financial contributor to Stevens.

Allen pleaded guilty to bribing state officials. The feds are apparently trying to find out whether Allen's company improperly helped pay for a major renovation of Stevens' Alaska home. On Capitol Hill, Stevens actively avoided reporters camped outside his office and in the hallways. CNN found him in a back stairway of the Capitol, where he angrily refused to answer questions.

SEN. TED STEVENS (R), ALASKA: I'm not saying anything to anybody beyond that statement.

BASH: Can you say, sir, why the federal agents went to your house or what they took?

STEVENS: Can you understand English?


STEVENS: That's the only statement I'm going to make.

BASH: In the statement Stevens is referring to, he urged Alaskans not to jump to conclusions, but refused to comment until the investigation is complete. Last month Stevens did acknowledge that federal investigators asked him to preserve documents and just two weeks ago, he gave this defense to Alaska public radio about his home renovation.

STEVENS: They told me not to answer any questions. As a practical matter, I will tell you we paid every bill that was given to us, every bill that was presented to us has been paid, personally, with our own money, and that's all there is to it.


BASH: So far, no federal officials have indicated that this investigation will lead to charges against Senator Stevens. The influential Republican said he actually made a plea to his colleagues inside that Republican lunch. He said, quote, "Stay with me". Wolf?

BLITZER: Dana doing some excellent reporting on Capitol Hill. Thanks very much for the hard work.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty up in New York. A lot of our viewers will remember Ted Stevens in that famous appropriations bill, including one little item for a bridge.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the bridge to nowhere. Maybe that bridge ran down that stairwell. He didn't seem real happy to encounter Dana Bash, did he?

BLITZER: No, you know Dana is not too tall, not too big. She's you know relatively modest.

CAFFERTY: Yes. He's a rather unpleasant human being in general, I think.

Here's a question for you. Are Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart any match for gang warfare? One Washington city plans to find out. Officials are going to install speakers this week that will transmit classical music from a local radio station at the Tacoma Mall Transit Center. They hope that it will discourage street gangs and drug dealers from hanging out at the bus stop and that it will decrease their use of public transportation as a way to get away around between the mall and other problem spots in the city.

Now if this classical music approach works, speakers playing classical music could start popping up at other bus stops. They are mounting the speakers high enough to be out of the reach of baseball bats and clubs. A transit agency official in Tacoma says that studies in other cities show classical music deters antisocial behavior in transit centers. Not everybody is buying it. Some think the music might just stir things up and that other people besides gang members might not be too fond of the classical tunes.

So here's the question. Tacoma, Washington plans to use classical music to chase gangs from the bus stops. Is that a good idea? E-mail your thoughts to or go to -- Wolf...

BLITZER: How about some classic rock?

CAFFERTY: Whatever works, you know...

BLITZER: Yes, that would be good. I like classic rock. All right, Jack. Thanks very much.

Are Army kids at risk of abuse when soldiers are away at war? Their kids are, get this, three times more likely to be neglected or abused by the parents left behind. There's a stunning new study that has just come out on one of the hidden costs of war.

Plus, you'll find out why one prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay naval base is making an emergency appeal to stay there and wants to stop the U.S. government from sending him home.

And Chelsea Clinton on the campaign trail, will she give up some privacy to help her mom win the White House?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: The U.S. detention camp for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is notorious among human rights groups, criticized for its harsh conditions, but one inmate views his alternatives as even worse.

Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd. He's watching this story for us. Brian, what is this all about?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one detainee who the U.S. government no longer considers a threat is now incredibly fighting to be kept behind bars.


TODD (voice-over): Ahmed Belbacha would rather stay at Guantanamo Bay than be sent home. He's making an emergency appeal to the U.S. government to keep him locked away in a cell described by his lawyer.

VOICE OF ZACHARY KATZNELSON, AHMED BELBACHA'S ATTORNEY: He said to me my cell is like a grave, and he lives in an all-steel cell. It's about six feet by ten feet; say the size of somebody's bathroom.

TODD: Why does Belbacha believe that's a better alternative than being sent back to his native Algeria?

KATZNELSON: Now that he's been in Guantanamo the Algerian government in turn may come after him.

TODD: With the stigma of Guantanamo, his attorney says Belbacha believes the Algerian government will torture him if he returns. The Algerian embassy won't comment on the specifics of the case nor would a State Department official, but State and Pentagon officials did stress to us no detainee will be sent to a nation where it's believed they'll be tortured. Belbacha actually used to work as an accountant for the Algerian government and says that Islamic radicals threatened his life back in 1999.

KATZNELSON: He fears that Islamic extremists in Algeria will target him because of his past relationship with the government.

TODD: He claims he fled to England to get away from them, made his way to Pakistan to attend religious school, then after 9/11, Pakistani locals seeking bounty money from U.S. forces turned him in.


TODD: Belbacha's lawyer says he was never with any terrorist group, but he was still accused of being an enemy combatant, taken to the U.S. base at Kandahar, Afghanistan, then to Guantanamo in 2002. The Pentagon denies his attorney's claim that he was beaten while he was first in U.S. custody -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, where does the case now stand in the courts?

TODD: Well the U.S. Court of Appeals now has it. His attorney, though, says he will fight this all the way to the Supreme Court if he loses this round.

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thanks very much.

A commentary in a top medical journal says military doctors at Guantanamo violate medical ethics when they approve the force-feeding of hunger strikers. The commentary in this week's "Journal of the American Medical Association" says the doctors should attempt to prevent force-feeding by refusing to participate. As of today, 23 Guantanamo detainees are fasting, and 20 of them were being fed liquid meals through flexible tubes inserted through their noses and throats. That's from a Guantanamo spokesman who has been quoted by The Associated Press.

Britain's "Daily Mirror" has published what it says are letters and images from the so-called shoe bomber. Richard Reid tried to blow up a U.S. airliner with explosives hidden in his sneakers. He was subdued by passengers and crew, and is serving a life sentence out in Colorado.

Let's go to CNN's homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Richard Reid described himself as a soldier, not a terrorist. Now he is a prisoner.


MESERVE (voice-over): Splashed across the front page of London's "Daily Mirror" a photo of Richard Reid. It's not clear if it was taken recently inside the super max prison in Florence, Colorado where the so-called shoe bomber is serving a 110-year sentence. Though it seems almost certain Reid will live out his life there, in letters quoted by the "Mirror" he writes, I had a couple of good dreams about my situation changing for the better in the not so distant future, so this is a blessing from Allah.

I place my trust in Allah that he will bring that into fruition and ask him to give me patience until the time when that occurs. If Reid had succeeded in igniting his shoes, the result would have been something like this, and nearly 200 people would have died. Reid doesn't mention that in the letter excerpts, but acknowledges being harsh with his father.

I'm like that with pretty much everyone, he writes. He then asked his father for money, if you are able to send me something, even a little, I'd appreciate that.


MESERVE: Reid may be tucked away in prison, but years after he was subdued by suspicious passengers and flight attendants, we still have to take off our shoes every time we fly. Wolf?

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jeanne Meserve.

Hillary Clinton versus Dick Cheney, the vice president and the woman who wants to be president trade words over the war in Iraq.

Plus "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts' breast cancer announcement. She tells viewers in her own words the battle she is now facing.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Carol Costello is monitoring stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now from around the world. Carol, what do you have?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: A couple of things Wolf.

Officials in northern California are trying to figure out what caused a highway overpass to crumble to the ground today. The collapse partially crushed a FedEx delivery truck. Firefighters had to cut the driver out of the vehicle. He is now in the hospital with injuries, but he's listed in good conditions. A construction worker who was on top of the bridge was also hurt. He clung to a steel beam and rode it down 50 feet. A BP refinery can continue releasing mercury into Lake Michigan above federal restrictions for another five years. That's under a permit issued by the Indiana Environmental Agency. Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel sharply criticized the move and sponsored a House resolution opposing the mercury dump. Studies show mercury is absorbed by fish and can harm people if consumed in large quantities, but Indiana officials say the amount of mercury dumped into Lake Michigan is minor.

A volcano in the central Philippines has been spewing ash into the air, blanketing villages and fields three miles away. Nearby residents are being warned not to enter a two and a half-mile danger zone around the 5,000 foot volcano. But scientists say there is no immediate sign of a major eruption, at least not yet.

Star Jones Reynolds is confirming rumors about her weight loss. In September's "Glamour" magazine, the former co-host of "The View" admits she had gastric bypass surgery in August of 2003. She lost 160 pounds. Reynolds says she kept mum about the surgery because she was scared of what people would think of her, but she said she began therapy in 2005 and wanted to share her story. So now you know, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you. I think a lot of people now know. Thank you as well, Carol, for that.

The Vice President Dick Cheney is pulling no punches when discusses Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Cheney sat down today for a one on one interview with our own Larry King, who paid me a visit earlier here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about the exchange you had with the vice president on Hillary Clinton, and I'll give a little bit of background. She asked as a member of the Armed Services Committee for some information about possible troop withdrawal plans from the Pentagon. As a member of the committee she got a pretty tough response from the undersecretary of defense, Eric Edelman.

A premature and public discussion over the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq. She responded in outrage that she was being accused of aiding enemy propaganda. She then got a subsequent letter from the defense secretary, Bob Gates, saying, I truly regret that this important decision went astray and I also regret any misunderstanding of intention, seeming to back away a little bit from that Edelman letter. But when you spoke about that with Cheney today, listen to what he said.


LARRY KING, CNN LARRY KING LIVE: A member of the Department of Defense sent Hillary Clinton a letter saying she should not criticize, because it helps the enemy. Do you agree with that letter?

RICHARD B. CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It didn't say she should not criticize. She was demanding plans for withdrawal from Iraq.

KING: Do you agree with that letter?

CHENEY: And I agreed with the letter Eric Edelman wrote, I thought it was a good letter.

KING: So you should not call for the plans for withdrawal?

CHENEY: No. It is an important principle here, Larry, and that is in a debate over what our policy ought to be perfectly legitimate. What we don't do is we don't get into the business of sharing operational plans; we never have, with the Congress.


BLITZER: He was blunt there...

KING: Very.

BLITZER: ... and sending a pretty strong signal to the Democratic presidential front-runner.

KING: Very, and not only blunt to her, but seeming to say to Mr. Gates, you know, I'll take it from here. It was pretty strong stuff.

BLITZER: And Eric Edelman used to work for Cheney, so he knows this man very well and he knows the background.

KING: Now you know the game better than anyone. Will Hillary respond to him?

BLITZER: Oh, you better believe it. As soon as they hear it, they are going to get another response from the Hillary Clinton campaign...

KING: So it is snowballs.

BLITZER: Yes, this is going to go on. It's good for her, to a certain degree because anytime she's in a fight with the vice president, it will help her with the Democratic base, so this is going to generate some reaction.

By the way, you can see all of Larry's interview with the vice president later tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE" that airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Pacific. And we did get some quick reaction from Senator Clinton's office. A spokesman issued a statement, among other things, saying it seems the right hand doesn't know what the far right hand is doing. Senator Clinton calls on President Bush to set the record straight. We'll see what happens next on that front.

They are left behind when their parents are called to serve their country. An alarming new report just out about the children of U.S. troops says many may be in harm's way. Why they could be suffering neglect, even abuse, by the parents still at home. We're going to update you on this report, the study that has just come out. And "Vanity Fair" calls Rudy Giuliani's wife a princess bride. Colleagues of the presidential hopeful say the magazine's article about his wife is anything but pretty. They're calling it a hit job. We're going to tell you what "Vanity Fair" is saying about Judith Giuliani and what the Giuliani campaign is saying in response.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, the United Nations secretary-general calls it an historic move. The Security Council has approved up to 26,000 troops for a peacekeeping mission to Darfur. Fighting between government- backed militias and rebels has killed more than 200,000 people and driven another two million people from their homes. Let's hope these U.N. peacekeepers can do something to stop the slaughter in Darfur.

The U.S. chief justice, John Roberts, is back in his Maine vacation home. The 52-year-old was rushed to the hospital yesterday after suffering a seizure. Doctors say test results show no identifiable reason for the seizure, and say it didn't cause any damage.

And this just coming in to CNN, News Corporation's Board of Directors has approved a deal to buy Dow Jones for $5 billion. After a meeting tonight, an anonymous source with knowledge of the News Corporation's Board meetings outcome tells CNN. Dow Jones publishes the "Wall Street Journal", a long sought prize for the media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Children in some military families are being abused and mistreated, often by their mothers. That's among the disturbing findings of a new Pentagon report that's just come out, one that's ignited grave concern about the plight of children of U.S. troops.

Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has more -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, abuse, neglect and maltreatment now some of the problems being suffered by children in military families when one of the parents is deployed overseas to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army has commissioned a new study on this matter. They looked at 1,700 military families, the results, disturbing results, now published in the "Journal of the America Medical Association." What they found was the rate of child maltreatment was 42 percent higher during deployment than when a parent was not deployed. The rate of moderate or severe maltreatment was 60 percent higher when a parent was deployed, the rate of child neglect was twice as high during a deployment.

The study found that much of the problem occurred when a civilian mother was left behind at home with a family and the soldier father was deployed. The rate of maltreatment by those mothers was three times as high when the father was deployed overseas.

The Army says it is looking at this study very closely, it's putting $100 million into family support programs and hiring hundreds of additional family support specialists. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Barbara, thanks very much. July, by the way, was the least deadly month for U.S. forces since last November; 73 Americans that died in July in Iraq. This follows a three-month period which the troop death tolls averaged more than 100, but the number of Iraqi deaths went up this month for both civilians as well as Iraqi soldiers.

Let's get back to our top story, the secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and the defense secretary Bob Gates. They're in the Middle East right now, actually in Saudi Arabia at this moment, selling weapons and trying to sell Arab allies on the need to stand up to Iran.

Critics, however, say those weapons sales are being put into the wrong hands.

Joining us from Capitol Hill, the New York Democrat Charlie Rangel, he's chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Congressman, thanks very much for coming in. You believe this is a bad idea to sell $20 billion worth of advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia?

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL, (D) NY: Just as bad as we armed Saddam Hussein, we armed the shah. We have no idea where the leadership, if you want to call it that, is going to be in that area. Saudi Arabia has not been a friend of the United States. I think it's shocking, as we have raised havoc, lost hundreds of thousands of lives, that the United States wants to be remembered by giving $20 billion of weapons of mass destruction to Saudi Arabia. It is just shocking.

BLITZER: I spoke earlier in the day here in THE SITUATION ROOM, congressman, with former Defense Secretary William Cohen, who made the case in favor of this sale. I want to point out to our viewers that the Cohen Group, which he is chairman of, does represent Lockheed Martin, one of the major U.S. arms companies that's part of this potential deal, but listen to Secretary Cohen make the case for this sale.


WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, I assume it will be somewhat contentious but the notion that this is giving the Saudis something, we're talking about selling them equipment that will help them prepare for their own defense. We're not giving them anything, they're buying it. And they can buy it from us, they can buy it from the French, the British, the Russians, the Chinese or other countries potentially.

So the real issue is are we going to continue to solidify our own influence in the region or have it undermined by other countries quite willing to move in and take over the position that we've had to date? (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. What do you think of that argument?

RANGEL: I think it's a great argument for the military construction complex. Sure they would love to make $20 billion of equipment, of guns and munitions and missiles and bombs, but that's not what America should stand for. We should ask Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Jordan to try to bring these people together, to talk in terms of economic development, and the fact that sooner or later our troops are going to be there. We should not be proud that we have armed everybody in the region.

This is a sad day in talking about democracy, but it's worse as for the footmark we will leave in that part of the world. We started a civil war, we knocked off Saddam Hussein, nothing to do with al Qaeda, nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, nothing to do with 9/11.

And as we leave, we'll put in $20, $30 billion worth of weapons in the area. That's not my America.

BLITZER: Our Larry King, congressman, interviewed the Vice President Dick Cheney earlier today, the interview will air later tonight on LARRY KING LIVE. He asked the vice president whether in retrospect he still believes going into Iraq was the right thing and Cheney said, yes, sir, he said, "I firmly believe the decisions we have made with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan have been absolutely the sound ones in terms of the overall strategy." I know you firmly believe the opposite.

RANGEL: Yeah, but it doesn't surprise me. Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and all of them had decided to knock off Saddam Hussein for the oil long before 9/11. If there's one think that Cheney, Bush and shah -- and Saudi Arabia has in commons is three things -- oil, oil and more oil.

BLITZER: Explain that to our viewers who may still be confused. Why do you believe it's all about oil, as opposed to other strategic political gains in the region? Stability, bringing democracy, winning friends at the expense, let's say, of Iran. Why is it all about oil?

RANGEL: Because the only democracy that we have in the area is Israel. There is nobody in the United States that believes that Saudi Arabia has anything close to a democracy or the king of Jordan. Certainly Egypt is no example. And the way things are so volatile, you can't tell from one year to the next who is going to be in charge of what. My friend Sadat was shot down and assassinated in Egypt.

I mean, weapons we had given 10, 20 years ago are being used against us. There's no stability in Saudi Arabia for the United States of America, and certainly not to that community. I am really shocked that Israel would believe that she has a friend in those countries that are getting this armament.

BLITZER: The Israelis are going to get some significant U.S. military assistance, presumably, as part of this deal as well. Some suggesting as much as $30 billion over the next 10 years, which comes out to about $3 billion a year.

RANGEL: I cannot believe that a democracy in that area, with all the problems they have with the Arab countries and the Palestinians would believe that $30 billion would protect them against unfriendly Arab nations. I'm really surprised they would go along with this, but that doesn't mean the Congress is going to go along.

And we will have an opportunity to reverse this, and I just hope that the American people would want to be remembered in the Middle East -- true, it was a war we shouldn't be involved in, true we started it, and true we're leaving, but to leave tens of billions of dollars in weapons of mass destruction is not what we want history to record that we're remembered for, and of course we always have the lobbyists for the defense contracts, and that may attempt to prevail, but it's not the right -- it's not the decent, it's not the peaceful thing to do.

BLITZER: Charlie Rangel, congressman from New York, thanks very much for coming in.

RANGEL: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Chelsea Clinton could become the nation's first daughter again. Find out if she's willing to trade some of her privacy to help her mom on the campaign trail.

And "Good Morning America's" co-anchor Robin Roberts makes a stunning announcement. How a close colleague's ultimate death may have helped Roberts, though, save her own life. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: She could have a special chapter in American history. Chelsea Clinton could help put a parent in the White House for a second time, but is she ready to sacrifice her own privacy? Let's go to Mary Snow in New York. Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Chelsea Clinton has kept a low profile, but with her name coming up on the campaign trail, the question is, will she take on a more prominent role?


SNOW (voice-over): Senator Hillary Clinton has called her daughter a great adviser and one of her biggest supporters, but so far, Chelsea Clinton has been seen, but not heard, in her mother's presidential campaign. Even in this "Soprano's" spoofing campaign video, she remains in the background ...


WILLIAM CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Parallel parking. SNOW: But Chelsea Clinton is so well-known that curiosity about her potential role in her mother's presidential campaign made front page news in "New York Times" without her even uttering a word. Now 27, she lives in New York and works for a hedge fund, a long way from the days when she was introduced to America at the 1992 Democratic convention.

CHELSEA CLINTON, BILL AND HILLARY'S DAUGHTER: Sometimes my dad, to make me laugh, makes funny faces.

SNOW: In the 2004 presidential election, saying the stakes were too high not to speak, she campaign for Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards.

C. CLINTON: I'm not accustomed to public speaking and this is my first political speech. Thankfully I have a couple of experts in the family. And I hope to do them proud.

SNOW: The Clinton campaign isn't saying if Chelsea Clinton will have an official role, and the Clintons has been guarded.

W. CLINTON: She cares a lot about politics and she wants her mom to live, but she has a live to live. We don't want to interrupt that.

SNOW: Chelsea Clinton did interrupt her life as a college student to campaign for her mother in the final months of her 2000 Senate race.

MICHAEL TOMASKY, AUTHOR, "HILLARY'S TURN": It added a little something, and I think the Clinton campaign knew that, that Chelsea's presence would add a bit of a twist toward the end.


SNOW: Now back in 2000, reporters say they hardly remember Chelsea Clinton speaking in public and they let her alone, but some say should she take on a more active role in 2008 and start speaking on the trail, the rules of engagement would change. Wolf?

BLITZER: Mary Snow watching this political story for us. Thank you.

The cover story in the latest issue of "Vanity Fair"" is raising the hackles of Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, not to mention his campaign. It's a less than flattering profile of Judith Nathan Giuliani, the former New York mayor's wife. Carol Costello is watching this story for us. And there's already a lot of fallout. Carol?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Oh yeah, a lot of bad blood. The Giuliani camp is really upset with this article, Wolf. It paints a very ugly picture of Judith Giuliani and even hints at cracks in the Giuliani marriage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COSTELLO (voice-over): If you're Judith Giuliani it isn't good from the start. "Vanity Fair's" front cover reads, "Terror Alert, Judi Giuliani." And it goes downhill from there. It's got the Giuliani camp crying hatchet job.

MICHAEL MCKEON, GIULIANI SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: There are so many inaccuracies and so many innuendoes in that story that are just so vile that it really isn't even worth going into.

COSTELLO: But "Vanity Fair's" Judy Bachrach stands by her story and every last unflattering detail.

JUDY BACHRACH, "VANITY FAIR": When the Giuliani people say "Vanity Fair" or I do a hatchet job they have to consider the source. They are the kings of hatchets and they try to muzzle the press at every opportunity.

COSTELLO: But Bachrach says she prevailed, writing "Giuliani's Princess Bride," noting the tiara Giuliani wore on her wedding day and quoting an unnamed former Giuliani aide who said "queen is her goal," Giuliani at a campaign event Tuesday stood up for his wife.

RUDY GIULIANI, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the article is very incorrect article. It has enormous numbers of inaccuracies in it and one of the terrible prices that, unfortunately, families pay in a situation like this is they get castigated and attacked.

COSTELLO: But Bachrach says she tried to interview Judith Giuliani and was denied. Through others she determined Mrs. Giuliani is an opportunist who went after a famous, married man with children, then Mayor Rudy Giuliani and proffered her business card and then flaunted their affair by appearing at New York City functions while then mayor Rudy Giuliani was still married and is now enjoying the fame and wealth he brings her, charging Judith employs a full-time assistant to style her hair, wears designer clothes and even when she's flying insists on an entire plane seat for her Baby Louis, her pricey designer bag.


COSTELLO (on camera): Now the Giuliani camp says none of this is true, there is not a full time hairdresser and I should note a lot in the article comes from unnamed sources. As for whether this will hurt the Giuliani campaign, his camp says no.


BLITZER: Carol Costello. Thanks very much.

"Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts' breast cancer announcement. We'll look a closer look at the health scare that follows the death of a colleague.

Plus the split decision that saved this terrier from going down in a chopper crash. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Right now, thousands of people are sending ABC News anchor Robin Roberts well wishes. The "Good Morning America" host today announced very disturbing news about her health. CNN's Sibila Vargas is watching this unfold in Los Angeles. Sibila, tell our viewers what happened.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, "Good Morning America" fans received some stunning news this morning. Cancer hit one of their own, again.


ROBIN ROBERTS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: We wanted you to hear from us, didn't want you to hear it anywhere else.

VARGAS (voice-over): An emotional admission from ABC's Robin Roberts.

ROBERTS: I have breast cancer.

VARGAS: The 46-year-old "Good Morning America" co-anchor said she was promised to give herself a breast exam after doing a story on the death of co-worker Joel Siegel.

ROBERTS: That very night I found a lump. Normally I would have not done anything, because I'm healthy, right? Joel was resonating in my heart.

VARGAS: Siegel, ABC's movie critic and Roberts' friend, died in June after a long battle with colon cancer. Roberts also addressed her diagnosis on the show, saying the disease is in the early stages and she plans to have surgery Friday.

On, the twelve year "GMA" anchor urged people to see their doctors, saying, quote, "I can't stress enough how important it is to get screened and checked for all cancers. Now I join the ranks of millions who are fighting the same battle each and every day."


VARGAS (on cameras): Now, according to Roberts, her prognosis is in good. In fact on the show she joked that her doctor expects her to be flying on planes, hanging on submarines and scaling the Mayan pyramids in no time.

But sadly Roberts is not alone, 200,000 women a year are diagnosed with breast cancer, a sobering number and perhaps a wakeup call for those to get screened. Wolf?

BLITZER: We wish her only, only the best. I know you and all of our viewers do as well, Sibila. Thanks very much.

Jack Cafferty, I include in that as well. I don't know if you know Robin Roberts. I've known her for some time. She's a lovely, lovely woman. CAFFERTY: I've never met her. I've been in New York for 30 years, never had the pleasure, but I wish her well. It's no fun dealing with that kind of stuff.

The question this hour, from Tacoma, Washington, the city there plans to use classical music to try to chase gangs away from the bus stops at a big shopping mall. We want to know if you think that's a good idea.

Gabriel in Montreal seriously, writes, "I live in Montreal. I can tell you this crazy idea actually works. A subway station downtown used to be plagued with gangs of all sorts. Since they put classical music on, it's about the safest station on the whole network. Go figure."

Mary writes from Dover Plains, New York. "Slow news day, Jack? It irks me that I'm unemployed and some politically connected youth in Tacoma is being paid for producing this kind of crapola. You really think political violence will stop gang violence? Are the bus drivers going to wear tuxedos, too?"

Larry in Tacoma, Washington. "Having lived in Tacoma for over 40 years, I fully understand the classical music approach to send the gang members elsewhere. Isn't that why Tchaikovsky called them movements?"

Ryan in Wheeling, Illinois. "Jack, I think playing classical music at bus stops is a brilliant idea. Maybe we should play hip hop music at the Republican YouTube debate."

Scott in Washington. "I know that would make my mugging or killing much more pleasant."

Dave writes, "If it works, sure, soothe the savage beast, but what if it attracts those rowdy longhair crowd on its way to the symphony? Tacoma could have a frying pan to the fryer scenario on its hands."

Fred in Orange Park, Florida writes, "Dear Jack, I don't think the William Tell overture is going to put the thugs on the run. They also might become enraged if you don't waltz with them after they mug you."

And Lenny in Topeka, Kansas. "Give it a chance. If it works, try it in the other Washington. Maybe we can get rid of the gang infesting the White House."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to, where we post more of them online, along with video clips of "The Cafferty File." Maybe it is a slow news day, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much. Let's see what's coming up at the top of the hour. Paula is standing by.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, not that slow, Jack. Thanks, Wolf. Should it be a hate crime if you throw a Koran in a public toilet? A New York man is facing hate crime charges after doing that. We'll tell you his story.

Also "The Liberals Under the Bed", a new children's book designed to scare your kids into hating the political opposition. Republicans and Democrats are writing them, all that and more coming up at the top of the hour, not like the Grimm's fairy tales that we grew up with, Wolf.

BLITZER: OK. Thanks very much.

ZAHN: Those were pretty dreary stories in and of themselves, too, weren't they?

BLITZER: They certainly were. We'll see you in a few moments.

Chopper crash survivor. You're going to find out how a little luck saved this dog from a deadly flight. Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the "Hot Shots" coming in from our friends at the Associated Press. In China, a rescuer takes a break outside a mine where 69 miners are trapped.

In Oklahoma, a man tries to unplug pumps under Highway 33 after a flood.

On the West Bank a Palestinian boy rides his Indian horse through a field.

And in Berlin, no more croissants or extra fish for Germany's favorite polar bear. Knut, he's been put on a diet after the zoo's physician said he's too fat. I know how that feels.

Some of this hour's "Hot Shots", pictures often worth a thousand words.

There is a small dog in Phoenix, Arizona, who's still alive because she was left behind. Molly often flew with her helicopter pilot pal, but Friday he decided she should stay back at the hangar to wait. He never came back. CNN's Jeanne Moos has the story of this "Moost Unusual" four-legged survivor.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She may be called the flying dog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready to go flying, Molly? Ready to go flying.

MOOS: But she tended to fly with her eyes closed. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of times she likes to lay in the backseat and sleep. That's pretty routine deal, but she occasionally sits up in my lap.

MOOS: Molly was not in her owner's lap when two choppers collided while covering a car chase in Phoenix.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do have two helicopters down.

MOOS: Because the chopper left in a hurry to cover breaking news Molly was left back at the hangar waiting for KNXV pilot Craig Smith to return.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Molly is here, we know she is going to be taken care of. We know of a good family friend who is going to be coming and picking her up very shortly here, but she'll be taken care of. So all the viewers at home can know that.

MOOS: And viewers cared. The west highland terrier had become a morning TV fixture aboard ABC 15's chopper. Molly's name is sprinkled throughout the station's you're your condolences Web page. Alongside the names of the pilot and cameraman who died, comments like "Please take care of Molly, too. I'm sure she knows something is not right."

She and pilot Craig Smith were described as inseparable.

CRAIG SMITH, DIED IN HELICOPTER CRASH: She's my companion and buddy.

MOOS: Craig used to call her his cantankerous westie.

VLADAE ROYTAPEL, DOG TRAINER: Molly was a little terrorist.

MOOS: That's Vladae, the Russian dog wizard, Craig hired him to train Molly.

ROYTAPEL: You say Molly come. Molly comes.

MOOS: He got her used to being strapped in the chopper suited up. She wore headphones?

ROYTAPEL: Yes, she did.

MOOS: The Russian dog wizard told Craig to use a special treat when Molly flew.

ROYTAPEL: I told to use American cheese or polish or Russian kielbasa with garlic. He had it with him every time when he flew with her in helicopter.

MOOS: He offered to adopt Molly, but Craig's wife says the terrier will be living with Craig's mom. ABC 15 once did a profile with Molly, imagining her doggy dreaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wind at her fur.

MOOS: Molly the flying dog is now grounded, moping around without Craig, but OK.

ROYTAPEL: Wonderful couple which we will never see in the sky anymore.

MOOS: Man's best copilot.

SMITH: We have a good time together, don't we, Moll? Yes.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Thanks very much for joining us. Tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern here in THE SITUATION ROOM, CIA secrets in the wrong hands. Hamas gets the goods on plots and plans after taking over Gaza. That report here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Remember we're in THE SITUATION ROOM weekday afternoons from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern, back for another hour 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Until then, thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Up next PAULA ZAHN NOW. Paula?