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THE SITUATION ROOM
Doubts Over Missile Shield's Effectiveness; Final Moments of Princess Diana
Aired October 3, 2007 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jack, thank you.
And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, all systems go for the Pentagon's multi-billion dollar missile shield. But despite another successful test, critics say the high tech system could be easily fooled.
Also, a side of the former president, Jimmy Carter, rarely seen. You're going to find out why he reportedly got into a shouting match while on an international mission.
And never seen by the public, these images of the final moments of Princess Diana. We're going to show you the new pictures and the new details coming out of an historic inquest into her death.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The Pentagon says America's missile shield is ready to defend the country against attack right now. That's after another successful test of the $100 billion missile defense system.
Critics say the system itself is more hype than substance and may not provide the protection that the Pentagon is promising.
Let's go right to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre. He has been studying the story for a long time -- so what does the latest test show us, Jamie?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it shows us that there is a missile umbrella over at least over the Western part of the United States. But even the Pentagon concedes that it's an umbrella with some holes in it.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MCINTYRE (voice-over): OK, imagine North Korea launches a nuclear tipped, long range Taepodong missile toward the U.S. In reality, this is the view from a target missile leaving Alaska behind for last week's missile defense test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And launch. MCINTYRE: The Pentagon says Friday's test was designed to mimic a North Korean attack and showed the U.S. can now react within minutes. Streaking into the California sky, this interceptor missile quickly reaches a closing speed of more than 10,000 miles per hour. What happens next, the Pentagon argues, could be what someday saves a major American city from nuclear destruction. Watch that thermal imagery again. It shows the actual kill vehicle colliding with the dummy warhead in space -- the bullet hitting the bullet that skeptics said was impossible.
LT. GEN. TREY OBERING, MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY DIRECTOR: And it's a major step forward in being able to show that we have a system that does work.
MCINTYRE: General Obering told CNN that with 23 interceptor missiles on stand-by, three in California and 20 in Alaska, the system is already providing a rudimentary missile shield against North Korea.
OBERING: The crews are trained and certified and ready. The sensors in Alaska, as well as California, are ready. So, yes, it could be used, if need be, for an attack.
STEPHEN YOUNG, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: What they're claiming is they're ready for the World Series. The reality is, they're still playing little league baseball.
MCINTYRE: Steven Young of the Union of Concerned Scientists thinks the tests are phony -- so tightly controlled they prove nothing. And, in any event, he argues, North Korea would have no problem overwhelming the $100 billion shield by launching several missiles at once or using simple, cheap, low tech decoys.
YOUNG: The system can't tell the difference between a Mylar "Happy Birthday" balloon and a nuclear warhead in space. They simply travel at the same speed, they look identical. You can do any number of things to fool this system. It simply can't work in the real world.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
MCINTYRE: Now, General Obering bristles at the idea that these tests are rigged or that he's cheating. In fact, he says decoys will be part of a more sophisticated test next year.
But, Wolf, his fall back argument is that however imperfect a defense, if it saves one American city, it would be better than nothing. In fact, much better than nothing -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon.
BLITZER: There -- these, by the way, are just some of the 38 missile tests the United States has performed. And of those 38 tests, the Pentagon says only eight were not successful. The interceptors are located on the West Coast, 20 of them at Fort Greely in Alaska, three at Vandenberg Air Force Base out in California. Also happening now, the House is debating a bill that would bring all U.S. contractors working in a war zone under civilian law, closing a legal loophole some said let them literally get away with murder. The White House is against it, saying it would have "intolerable consequences for national security."
Let's go right to our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena.
She's joining us now with the latest -- I guess this is all the result of this latest uproar, Kelli, over the entire Blackwater incident.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the bill's sponsor, Congressman David Price, says that he has been trying to get this legislation passed since the debacle at Abu Ghraib, but he hasn't been able to. But obviously this incident on September 16th certainly has provided a lot of fuel for the bill's passage.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ARENA (voice-over): Christmas eve, 2006 -- a Blackwater contractor was allegedly wandering around drunk in the Green Zone when he came upon an Iraqi guard and shot him dead. Within 36 hours, he was flown out of Iraq.
REP. HARRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: If a drunken U.S. soldier had killed an Iraqi guard, the soldier would have faced a court-martial. But all that has happened to the Blackwater contractor is that he has lost his job.
ARENA: The employee was fired and fined -- but not prosecuted.
ERIK PRINCE, BLACKWATER CEO: We, as a private organization, can't do any more. We can't flog him. We can't incarcerate him. That's up to the Justice Department.
ARENA: Officials say the Justice Department is investigating. Justice is also investigating the September 16th shootout involving Blackwater that left at least 11 Iraqis dead. But FBI agents privately say that conducting an investigation in a war zone weeks or months later is next to impossible. And even if there is evidence of a crime, the law is murky.
REP. DAVID PRICE (D), NORTH CAROLINA: I can't imagine that we want to go any longer, especially after this last incident, without dealing with this.
ARENA: Legal experts say a prosecution is possible under what's called the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. It covers contractors supporting the mission of the Department of Defense.
But Blackwater was providing security for State Department employees.
Foreign policy analyst Peter Singer, who has studied the issue, says the law has only been used once for an Iraq contractor -- in a rape case.
PETER SINGER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It was not a situation that you're talking about with the Blackwater incidents of battle space, fog of war, people shooting right or left, Iraqi victims and the like. And so the law wasn't set up to deal with that.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ARENA: So even if the law is made more clear, there is a much more fundamental question here, Wolf. And that is, can civilian courts really deal with what happens in war zones?
BLITZER: Kelli, thank you for that.
It's a good question.
A Blackwater helicopter was used today to airlift Poland's ambassador to Iraq to a Baghdad hospital. General Edward Pietrzyk suffered burns and a leg injury when three roadside bombs exploded near his three car convoy. Three people were killed, including one of his bodyguards, and a dozen people were injured. The polish ambassador is now being taken to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and then back to Poland for more treatment.
It's a multi-billion dollar business deal that some fear could open up Pentagon secrets to China. A major American military contractor is poised to merge with a company with ties to the Chinese military.
Let's go straight to CNN's Brian Todd.
He's watching the story for us.
A lot of concern that this merger could pose some national security problems.
What's going on -- Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there are calls in Congress for a review of this. And analysts say this could place a Chinese firm with a questionable past maybe a little too close to the Pentagon.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TODD (voice-over): A $2.2 billion merger with national security at stake. 3Com, a huge company with communications and security contracts with the Pentagon, will likely be bought out by a private investment firm. As part of the deal, a Chinese company called Huawei Tech Investment would become a partner with 3Com. Huawei was founded by a former Chinese military officer in the late 1980s.
One U.S. defense official is quoted as saying Huawei still has extensive ties with the Chinese military.
Could this deal give the Chinese access to Pentagon secrets? GARY MILHOLLIN, WISCONSIN PROJECT: Given Huawei's history, it seems to me it would be dangerous to give it access to new, sensitive U.S. technology without a thorough review by the U.S. government.
TODD: Nuclear arms control expert Gary Milhollin once testified before Congress about another controversy involving the same company -- Huawei. During Saddam Hussein's regime, it illegally helped Iraq strengthen its military air defense.
MILHOLLIN: It was switching equipment -- fiber optic equipment that made the air defense system work better and made it harder to destroy. And it was a clear violation of the U.N. embargo.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TODD: We tried all day to get comment on this deal and the security concerns from the companies involved. 3Com has not gotten back to us. Huawei has, in the past, denied links to the Chinese military. A spokesman for its U.S. branch said it would try to get something from its corporate headquarters in China on this particular deal. So far, we have not heard back on that. We have also not heard back from the Defense Department regarding the security concerns and its specific deals with 3Com -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What other, shall we say, questionable dealings has this Chinese company been accused of being involved in?
TODD: Well, years ago, there were reports that Huawei helped build a telephone switching system for the Taliban, before the Taliban was driven out of power in Afghanistan. At the time, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denied that.
BLITZER: Brian Todd doing some digging for us.
Thanks, Brian, very much.
Some serious potential national security ramifications.
Let's check in with Jack Cafferty, once again.
He's got The Cafferty File -- hi, Jack.
CAFFERTY: Wolf, President Bush, who campaigned for the nation's highest office as a compassionate conservative, vetoed a bill to expand children's health insurance today. That veto was cast very quietly this morning behind closed doors -- no fanfare, no news coverage.
The bill would have allowed an additional four million children to be covered at a cost of an additional $35 billion spread out over five years -- $7 billion a year. And the tab would have been paid by raising the federal cigarette tax.
But President Bush insisted the bill was too costly, took the program too far from its goal of helping the poor and would encourage people covered in the private sector to switch over to government health insurance. He wanted only a $5 billion increase in funding.
This is the same man who will soon go to Congress and ask for another $190 billion to continue that glorious war in Iraq. Think about this -- when President Bush came into office, the federal budget was in surplus and the national debt was $5.6 trillion. Fast forward seven years. Mr. Bush signed a measure last week to raise the debt ceiling for the fifth time in his presidency, to $9.8 trillion -- not to mention the astronomical costs of those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of billions of dollars, all supplemental appropriations that don't show up as part of the budget and therefore don't show up as part of the deficit.
And, in fact, statistics show that Mr. Bush has borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks since taking office than this country 's first 42 presidents combined.
But the children's health insurance bill was too costly.
Here's the question -- President Bush has increased the national debt by trillions of dollars.
Why would he veto a bill providing health insurance for children?
E-mail your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: $5.6 trillion when he took office. The debt now another $4.2 trillion. That raises it to almost $10 trillion.
Jack, I did the math for you -- almost double.
Thanks very much.
Another Republican U.S. senator has decided to call it quits. That story coming up.
Also, growing calls in Congress for a change in a cornerstone of American foreign policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: We've never had a worse foreign policy, trade policy or even an international policy than what we have with Cuba.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: But opinions on the other side just as strong. We're going to hear those sides, as well. It's part of CNN's "Uncovering America" series.
And taxpayers footing the bill for first class flights for bureaucrats -- outrage over millions and millions of dollars spent on luxury travel.
And new information and new pictures surrounding the death of Princess Diana. You'll see them right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Let's go right to Carol Costello.
She's watching some significant -- a significant story in South Africa. Horrific numbers.
Tell our viewers what's going on.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, unbelievable. Unbelievable numbers. A mine has collapsed in South Africa, trapping 3,000 mine workers below ground. They've been there for more than 11 hours now. Now, the mine company says they are in contact with all 3,000 of these people. I don't know how, but they are. And they say they've fashioned some sort of device where you can lower it down into the hole where the shaft collapsed. But they can only bring up 300 miners at a time. And that can happen only every half hour. So it's going to take some time.
If you're wondering why so many people were down inside of a mine -- because 3,000 is a lot of employees to be working underground -- this is the explanation. It said the company had purchased an old mine and extended the shaft downwards. That meant there were not only people working on the old mine, but workers busy working on the new project below it. So they were working on two levels like this, and then the whole thing collapsed.
We'll keep you posted -- Wolf.
BLITZER: They're trapped in there.
But has it actually collapsed?
Because we're getting some conflicting information on that, Carol.
What does it say there in that story that we're getting from the South African Press Association on the nature of -- was it a collapse or are they simply trapped in there?
COSTELLO: They're trapped in there. Apparently the shaft -- there's an elevator type device that brings the workers down inside the mine. That collapsed on both levels, trapping those miners -- miners underground. They say they're in contact with the miners, they're talking to them, they have access to food and water. And they're trying to get them back above ground as soon as possible.
BLITZER: I've been to those mines -- huge mines in South Africa. A lot of diamond mines, other mines, and they're simply incredible the way they operate.
All right, we'll stay on top of this story, Carol, and update our viewers with the latest information.
There's another story that's coming in, a domestic story closer to home.
Dana Bash, our Congressional correspondent, is watching this story, involving a long time Republican Senator -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Republican Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico. Three Republican sources familiar with his decision tell CNN that tomorrow in his home state of New Mexico he will announce that he is not going to seek re- election.
Now, he is up for re-election next year and it was sort of speculated that perhaps he would decide not to run. But this decision certainly is a big blow, Wolf, to Republicans who were trying to possibly take back the Senate next year.
Because Senator Domenici is, as you said, a long time senator from the state. He had been there for six terms. That's about 36 years. He had won overwhelmingly.
So with him in there, Democrats didn't have that much of a shot of taking the seat.
But New Mexico, as you know, is a very competitive state right now. It is really a swing state. So this opens up that state -- that seat for Democrats potentially to take another seat.
But, again, Senator Pete Domenici, a long time senator from the State of New Mexico, is going to announce tomorrow in his home state that he's not going to seek re-election.
BLITZER: Not good news for Republicans hoping to become the majority, once again, in the Senate.
Dana, thanks very much.
And still ahead, a shouting match involving the former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter. We'll share that with you. That's coming up.
Also, he's only polling at 1 percent.
So how did this long shot presidential candidate manage to pull in millions and millions of dollars in contributions?
Plus, a wealthy neighborhood on the edge as the ground below gives way. We're going to show you the latest, what's happening out in California.
Stay with us.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: We want to go right back to Carol Costello.
She's monitoring another story coming in, a highly unusual story involving the former president, Jimmy Carter, who's trying to do some good work in the Sudan and Darfur -- but something happened today and I want you to update our viewers, Carol, on what happened.
COSTELLO: Yes, you don't hear this too often about Jimmy Carter, because he's not known for raising his voice. He got in the face of a Sudanese security officer who barred him from meeting with a man representing refugees in North Darfur. Carter, who was in Sudan touring with -- touring that country with Desmond Tutu, was trying to figure out how to promote peace in a place where brutal ethnic killings are taking place.
Carter, who is 83 years old -- you see the pictures there. That's the confrontation. He was going to meet a representative of a refugee group when that security guard barred the way. You could see him yelling at Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter saying to him, "You can't bar me from meeting anybody. We're staying here."
Eventually, United Nations security had to get involved. And they told Jimmy Carter, you cannot do this, because somebody is going to get shot. We have to go.
Eventually Jimmy Carter did leave, Wolf. And I believe eventually he did get his meeting with this man who is representing the refugee group, but not before some tense words between Jimmy Carter and that Sudanese guard.
We're trying to get Jimmy Carter on the phone.
He's in Khartoum in the Sudan right now. And he'll update us.
I had seen some conflicting reports on whether he actually ever got to meet with those individuals, as promised. One report suggesting that they never showed up at this promised meeting. But, clearly, he was angry. He was clearly upset that they wouldn't let him in and to actually talk to these individuals.
COSTELLO: Well, he was upset, too, because these people who represent these refugee groups are frightened to meet with anyone. They're frightened of these security guards in Sudan. So Jimmy Carter was angry about that, as well.
BLITZER: Carol, stay on top of this.
And, once again, we're hoping to speak to Jimmy Carter from Khartoum in Sudan soon.
Growing calls for a new U.S. policy toward Cuba.
What do Cuban-American lawmakers think?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The six of us, the Cuban-Americans of both parties, are one on the issue of Cuba.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're going to hear their side. We'll hear the other side. A serious debate -- should the U.S. policy toward Cuba change?
Plus, the little satellite that changed the world 50 years ago.
Stay with us.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, President Bush has carried through with his promise to veto a measure funding a popular children's health insurance program. The legislation would have expanded the so-called SCHIP program by $35 billion over the next five years. The president said that expansion is just too much and he's called the measure one step toward federalizing medicine.
Authorities are investigating several suspicious fires on Capitol Hill. Police say four of them were set in women's restrooms in two Senate office buildings today. No one was hurt and there were no evacuations. Police right now are searching for suspects.
And the United States and North Korea sealing a deal on Pyongyang's controversial nuclear program. North Korea has agreed to begin disabling its nuclear weapons facilities. A U.S. team, including technical experts, will head to North Korea in the coming weeks to help with that process. The agreement was reached during so-called six party talks in Beijing.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Bureaucrats flying in style on your dime. A new government report says tens of billions of dollars are being wasted on first class flights for government workers.
Let's go to CNN's Kathleen Koch.
She's joining us with more on these stories.
So how were federal workers getting away with this?
They're supposed to fly coach, but they upgrade to business or first class and, in the process, cost all of us taxpayers lot of money. KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, frankly, this was happening because no one was looking. And to make matters worse, many top federal officials believed they didn't have to abide by the coach class rule, that they had a right to fly first class.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
KOCH (voice-over): The report found a State Department employee and his family of eight spent $46,000 -- four times coach fare -- to relocate from Washington to Eastern Europe. An Agriculture Department executive took 25 first class flights, costing $163,000. A Defense Department executive claimed a medical condition required him to fly premium class 15 times. His authorization -- a note from a fellow employee.
Federal workers are required to fly coach unless the flight is over 14 hours or unless a supervisor approves special circumstances. The Government Accountability Office investigation found most federal agencies don't even track business and first class travel by their workers.
SEN. NORM COLEMAN, (R) MINNESOTA: Clearly, if you can, if you don't know something is happening, it's hard to figure out whether there's a problem and even harder to correct it.
KOCH: The study commissioned by congress found that in just one year $146 million was wasted on unauthorized premium flights. Senior officials were big violators, they make up less than one percent of federal workers, but 15 percent of the travel abuse.
COLEMAN: Senior officials should set an example. They shouldn't set an example of being the problem.
KOCH: To crack down the GAO says the government should set up an office to oversee travel policies and agencies should track, audit and report premium class travel.
TOM SHATZ, CITIZENS AGAINST GOVT. WASTE: The agencies should have been doing this on their own. It's a simple management accountability problem. Some embarrassment, some reporting oversight by congress will all force agencies to become more accountable.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
KOCH: Another obvious deterrent of course is making the federal workers, including top officials, pay the money back, but it's not expected, Wolf, that that will happen in every case.
BLITZER: Kathleen, thank you very much. Kathleen Koch reporting for us.
As part of CNN's uncovering America series, we're taking a closer look at some of the issues affecting the Latino community. Many Hispanic Americans have very definite and diverse opinions about U.S. policy toward Cuba. So does congress. Some lawmakers insist the time is right to ease sanctions against the communist country. Others say that would be a huge mistake. And joining us now, Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York and Republican Congressman Lincoln Diaz Balart of Florida. Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming in. Charlie Rangel, let me start with you, you're the more senior member of this panel. Why do you believe it's time now to go ahead and lift the restrictions, lift the embargo and try to normalize relations with Cuba?
REP. CHARLES RANGEL, (D) NEW YORK: It was time 45 years ago. The truth of the matter is that we have farmers anxious to sell chickens and pork and rice and beans and open up the markets and, so, it's good for our farmers. We have a restriction on the fact that Cuban Americans and others cannot visit Cuba. This has been for 40 years. We cannot even, they can't send money to try to help their relatives in Cuba, and lastly, they can only visit once every three years. So, if they have a relative that's dying, they have to time the death. This policy is really cut out for a handful of people in Miami and it's the tail wagging the dog. We never had to raise foreign policy, trade policy or even an international policy than what we have with Cuba.
BLITZER: All right, Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, why do you disagree?
REP. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART, (R) FLORIDA: Well Mr. Rangel first misstated some of the details of our policy, but let's focus on the principle aspects here. First of all, we are keeping billions of dollars from that communist terrorist dictatorship. And I'm sure that the family of Sergeant Greg Fronias(ph), who was killed in El Salvador in 1987 by a Cuban planned mission, a green beret who is training the armed forces at the time, or our forces who were killed fighting the Cubans in 1983 when our forces invaded and liberated Grenada. The relatives of those killed, I'm sure would agree, that it's a good idea to keep billions and billions of dollars from that regime. When that regime had $6 billion or $7 billion a year from the Soviet Union, precisely, Angola, Nicaragua and El Salvador and so many other places were hit with direct terrorism from that regime. We're keeping billions of dollars from that regime and then, now that the dictator is finally on his death bed, it's important that we retain leverage so that the political prisoners, that's what our policy says. The embargo goes away tomorrow if, all political prisoners and when all political prisoners are freed, political parties, labor unions and the press are legalized and free elections are scheduled. Which of the three conditions do the Cuban people not deserve?
BLITZER: Congressman Rangel?
RANGEL: Let me tell you one thing, first of all, he never said that Cuba or Castro has killed anybody. Indeed, the record is clear that we tried to kill him, but when he starts talking --
DIAZ-BALART: How about the brothers to the rescue who were murdered over international space? Didn't Castro kill them?
RANGEL: Let me talk about communists.
DIAZ-BALART: How about that Vietnam veteran killed by Castro in 1995 --
RANGEL: Can I finish?
DIAZ-BALART: I don't' know, but you said that Castro hasn't killed anybody. How can you say that when a Vietnam veteran was killed by Castro in 1996.
RANGEL: Please don't be, you can be emotional, but don't be rude. The fact is that we do business with Vietnam and they're responsible for at least 60,000 Americans being killed. We do business with North Korea and China. Tens of thousands of Americans that are being killed. So, we do business with Vietnam, with North Korea, with China and he's going to tell me that we should be fearful of the communist Castro? It's absolutely ridiculous. It is true that Castro had no business shooting down pilots that were flying over Havana, violating all of American laws. They were unarmed. And he shouldn't have shot them down. But the truth is, they shouldn't have been flying over Cuba in the first place, according to our laws.
DIAZ-BALART: When they were shot down, they were shot down --
RANGEL: Well, whatever.
DIAZ-BALART: -- over international air space.
RANGEL: I agree with you. But tens of thousands of Americans have been killed by communists that we do billions of dollars of business with and you're going to tell us that we should --
BLITZER: Lincoln Diaz-Balart, let me just point out that not only does the United States do billions of dollars worth of business with these other communists regimes, but it's now seeking most favored nation trading status for a lot of them, as well.
DIAZ-BALART: Well, first of all, every instance and every geographical and historical situation in the world, obviously, merits a particular policy. I happen to disagree with our policy of enriching the communist regime in China. I think we're going to regret that in 10 or 20 years. What we're talking about right now is that we have people in prisons because of their beliefs in Cuba 90 miles away from the United States. It's one of a handful of remaining states that are classified as state sponsors of terror. You have a dictator who is on his death bed and who has had absolute and total power for almost 50 years. And what our policy is saying is, liberate all political prisoners, legalize political parties and the press and labor unions and schedule free elections. The question is, obviously, when that personal, absolute personal totalitarian dictator disappears from the scene, it's going to be an -- and it's finally approaching, it's going to be critical for those political prisoners to have that leverage for a Democratic transition.
RANGEL: Ok, you're repeating yourself. The fact is that the embargo has not proven to be ineffective. We in Israel are the only ones that respect the embargo. Every other country is doing business with them and I'm telling you the people in Florida, your constituents, who want to visit, who want to send money to their parents to help them out, you're not telling me that by punishing them that you are helping to get rid of this Castro dictator. You can't believe that.
BLITZER: First of all, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, I want you to respond to that, but also respond to Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate. He wrote recently in the "Miami Herald" he wrote this, he said, "Cuban-American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island. Accordingly, I will grant Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island. A lot of Cuban-Americans in Florida and elsewhere congressman would like that.
DIAZ-BALART: It's interesting Wolf, because we are six Cuban American members of congress, four Republicans, two Democrats. Four members of the House, two senators. We have great disagreements on partisan issues, as you can imagine. On the issue of Cuba, and obviously, we represent the overwhelming majority of Cuban Americans, the six of us. We represent the overwhelming amount of Cuban Americans in the country and we go face obviously our constituents every two years at the polls, the six of us, the Cuban Americans, of both parties, on the issue of Cuba. So if you talk to any of the six of us, and obviously we represent the overwhelming majority of Cuban Americans and those people who Mr. Rangel now and Mr. Obama now in his, in that piece that he wrote that you mentioned, Wolf, they seem to be so concerned about, it's the six of us who represent the overwhelming majority of them and we are, from both parties, totally united in saying that until the political prisoners are released. And political parties --
RANGEL: It's shameful!
DIAZ-BALART: No, what's shameful is to not stand with the Cuban people and their right to free election.
RANGEL: It's shameful to think that --
BLITZER: Let Charlie Rangel respond. Go ahead.
RANGEL: It is shameful that you think that six people should dominate our trade and foreign policy with any country. I don't care what your background is, it has to be what's in the best interest of the people of the United States and not what's in the best interest of your constituents who violently oppose what you're doing. But it's shameful that you would say that our secretary of state, our president, our trade representative, to go to four Cuban Americans in the house to dictate America's policy. That is constitutionally and morally wrong.
BLITZER: Charlie Rangel and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, speaking with me earlier. Clearly, a very, very passionate but important subject.
Coming up, Princess Diana's last moments. These are some of the pictures jurors are now looking at to try to determine if Diana and her boyfriend were murdered. We're going to be taking a closer look. Also, 50 years ago, the launch of the tiny Soviet satellite named sputnik put fear in the hearts of millions of Americans. We're now looking back at the beginning of the space race. Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're standing by to speak with the former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter. He spent part of today in Darfur and he had an angry, very angry exchange with Sudanese officials that were standing by to speak with him. He's in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. That's coming up.
Also, happening right now some dramatic photos and video of Princess Diana you've never seen before, taken only moments before she was killed in that car crash in Paris 10 years ago. The newly released pictures were shown to jurors during an inquest in Britain today. Will these remarkable images reveal any new information into the deaths of the princess and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed. Here's ITN's Romilly Weeks.
ROMILLY WEEKS, ITN (voice-over): It's the most detailed picture yet compiled of Diana and Dodi's final hours. In this CCTV footage, much of which has never been seen before, they're shown entering the Ritz Hotel, crossing the lobby followed by Dodi's bodyguard Trevor Reese in the orange shirt. They go into the lift. Diana is smiling wearing sunglasses pushed back on her head and a cream trouser suit. They certainly seem relaxed in each other's company. A short while later Dodi leaves the hotel with his bodyguard. All parties agree he was heading to Adullahs, but those dispute about whether he returned having bought Diana an engagement ring as Al Fayad claims. Just before 7:00 p.m., Diana enters the frame again. The couple are going to Dodi's apartment and leave by the back door because by now a crowd of Paparazzi have gathered at the front. In fact, when they return, their car is surrounded by photographers and the couple have to be protected by their bodyguards as they reenter the Ritz. It's this moment that could be key to the tragedy that later unfolded. Diana looks furious as she comes in and the jury heard there's evidence that Dodi was angry about the chaotic scenes and that he allegedly came up with the plan to try and outwit the paparazzi. The plan that ultimately ended in the crash.
(On camera): As well as the extraordinary video evidence, the jury had intimate personal details about Diana's life, including whether or not she could have been pregnant with Dodi's child. The coroner said it might never be possible to prove that either way scientifically, but that there was evidence that Diana was taking the contraceptive pill. It seems that nothing is off limits in this inquest and there's a (INAUDIBLE) to find the truth.
(Voice-over): Tomorrow the jury will see more CCTV footage from inside the Ritz as Diana and Dodi leave on their final journey of all the millions of images taken during Diana's life. These fuzzy pictures of her smiling must be among the most poignant. Romilly Weeks, ITV News.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
BLITZER: All of these never before seen images and video shown to jurors are available online right now. Let's bring in our internet reporter Abbi Tatton. Abbi, what's been posted so far?
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, the site has been updated several times a day. It's the official site for the inquest and this is what's just been posted in there. A video recreation of the Mercedes' final journey 10 years ago. You can see the speed registering in the bottom right-hand corner. All of this from the official coroner's website that's being updated as the jurors see the information. There is so much here. Satellite images of that journey along with the maps the CCTV footage is being added every few hours. We can tell that there's more to come. It's only day two and already more than 50 images here. The jurors next week, along with the court, are taking this on the road, going to Paris for this inquest. Wolf?
BLITZER: Abbi, thanks very much.
I just want to remind our viewers, we're standing by to speak with former President Jimmy Carter. He's in Khartoum in Sudan right now. We'll go there right when we come back. He had a very angry exchange with Sudanese officials in Darfur just a little while ago. We'll update you on what's going on.
BLITZER: It was the surprise launch that launched the space race and frightening millions of Americans in the process. That would be 50 years ago, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space, it was called sputnik. Let's go to our space correspondent Miles O'Brien, he's joining us now with more on this historic moment. How important was that first sputnik launch, Miles?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're taking a look at a sputnik right here, one of five that were built around that area and when its cousin was launched into space, it was the beginning of an era. For many Americans at the time, seemed like a nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to believe that something this small can cause such a huge fervor that remains with us until this very day.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): No, this is not a scale model, it's the real thing. One of a handful of the first sputniks the Russians built to launch an era. The sphere is about the size of a beach ball. The four antennas about eight feet long. It weighed a little more than 180 pounds. But pound for pound, you would be hard-pressed to find a Cold War PR weapon with more impact.
JOSHUA STOFF, CURATOR, CRADLE OF FLIGHT MUSEUM: It freaked them out because you could be in anywhere USA and there is a Russian thing going over your head. What is next, atomic bombs? The whole country just went nuts.
O'BRIEN: 50 years later we know a lot more about what the Soviets were thinking. Russian rocket genius Sirgueye was busy working on bigger, more sophisticated satellites as well as rockets that could carry hydrogen bombs. But the work was moving slowly and he feared the U.S. team, lead by Verna Vano Brawn, was ahead. So, he formed a team to quickly make a simple, small satellite that would put the communists in space first. Ironically, the Kremlin and the Russian military thought it was nothing more than a stunt.
STOFF: When it was successfully launched, it wasn't headline news in Russia. It was buried in the back page, because they didn't think it was really that big of a deal, I'm told the United States just freaked out and then it became front page news around the world and the Russians didn't realize what a PR coup they had until days later.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
O'BRIEN: Wolf, this sputnik is at the cradle of aviation museum on New York's Long Island. When you walk through the exhibit here you really get a sense of how quickly things change. That was 1957, check out this room right here. 12 years later the cousin of this. This is a test article for the lunar module. Its cousin was on the moon and meant it left footsteps behind. All that with what began with a beach ball size satellite 50 years ago tomorrow. Wolf?
BLITZER: Where are you right now, Miles?
O'BRIEN: I'm at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York. This place is great. There is really cool stuff here.
BLITZER: Out on Long Island. All right, very cool, Miles, thank you very much. Miles O'Brien reporting for us.
50 years after sputnik, there are now almost 6,000 satellites in space handling everything from military intelligence to your cell phone and television programming. More than 1,700 of those satellites, by the way, are from the United States, but almost twice that number, more than 3,200 are from the former soviet republics.
President Bush has increased the national debt by trillions of dollars since taking office. Jack Cafferty is asking this question. Why would he veto a bill providing health insurance for children? Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Around the world. Here is a look at some of hot shots coming in from our friends at the "Associated Press." Pictures likely to be in your hometown newspapers tomorrow. In London a sculpture of a giant spider stands outside a modern art museum. It's more than 30 feet high and made of bronze, steel and marble.
In Columbia, police officers inspect packages of cocaine. About two tons of the drug were seized in a recent bust.
Here in Washington, visitors to the White House feel the wind in their hair as President Bush's helicopter takes off, Marine One.
And in Switzerland, an elephant enjoys a bath on a Swiss beach. Some of this hour's hot shots. Pictures often worth 1,000 words.
Let's go to Jack Cafferty, he's in New York with "THE CAFFERTY FILE." Jack?
JACK CAFFERTY: Thanks Wolf. The question this hour, President Bush has increased the national debt by trillions of dollars. Why would he veto a bill providing health insurance for children. A bit of a loaded question, I'll give you that. Andy in Massachusetts, "He told us why, he said it covered kids who weren't really poor and that the policies of the government ought to be to help people find private insurance, not federal coverage." You know the kind of federal coverage that he and Laura and Jenna and not Jenna got on January 20, 2001, when they were poor. Archie in Los Angeles, "What's wrong, Jack, have you lost your hearing or just most of your mind. This bill would cover children up to 25 years of age and people earning $86,000 per year. Poor little kids? Wise up, America. You're being fed a load of crap by the Democratic Party again." John in Ohio writes, "It's simple, he'll spend money to benefit rich friends, but anything that might benefit the poor or middle class doesn't deserve his support. He hates anyone who doesn't fit into his tiny little world." James writes, "I'm glad he vetoed the bill, it would have provide aid to illegal immigrants. No thanks, let them go home, get their health care there.
Bruce writes I think you know the answer, he doesn't want to have the Democrats start picking their way towards a universal health care system." Audrey writes from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, "The man is a classic case of narcissism with a delusional Napoleonic complex. He's going to conquer and change the ancient culture of the Middle East. That's his priority. Why hasn't anyone had him committed yet? If a member of your family acted this way, he would be wearing a rubber blanket by now." And F. writes, "Hell, we're lucky if there were oil involved, he would make war on the children." If you didn't see your e-mail here you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. We post more of them there online along with video clip of "The Cafferty File." Wolf?
BLITZER: We had been hoping Jack to speak to Jimmy Carter, he had a rough day today in Darfur. He's trying to do something about the refugees there, a genocide that's been going on. He tried to get in and he thought he had a deal with the Sudanese government. There was an angry exchange that he encountered and he was forced out, our sister network CNN International did get him on the phone. Later in our 7:00 p.m. eastern hour we're going to be playing a clip of that. Get his side of the story, what happened. But you know a lot of people have been trying to do something about Darfur. So far the situation there continues.
CAFFERTY: It's interesting to me how engaged and passionate he has remained on issues that matter to him, even though he's been out of the White House for these many years. He's a good man. I interviewed him several times when he was president. He wasn't a particularly good president, but he's a very, very good man.
BLITZER: He's 83 years old. You have to give him credit for even heading to that part of the world. Jack, I'll see you back here in one hour. We're on at 7:00 p.m. eastern. Until then, thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now. Kitty Pilgrim sitting in for Lou. Kitty?
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