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Friends Blame FBI for Suicide; Bin Laden's Driver Found Guilty; Interview with Ron Suskind

Aired August 6, 2008 - 17:00   ET


Right now we're combing through hundreds of pages of documents just released by the Justice Department about its almost seven year investigation into the anthrax attacks. And they detail the government's case against Dr. Bruce Ivins, the Army's biodefense researcher who killed himself last week as federal prosecutors were about to seek an indictment against him.

Among the government's claims against Ivins, he had anthrax spores with genetic mutations identical to the anthrax used in the attacks; he gave false samples to investigators; and just days before the attacks he sent an e-mail warning that Al Qaeda followers -- and I'm quoting now -- "have anthrax and sarin gas," using language similar to that used in the actual anthrax letters that were mailed out.

But there are still serious questions about the tactics the FBI used in the investigation of Ivins. Some of his supporters blame them for his suicide.

CNN's Brian Todd is working that part of the story for us.

Dramatic information.

What are you picking up -- Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, federal officials deny claims from Ivins' attorneys and others that the stress of this investigation led to his death. But we are learning new information about how they may have dealt with Ivins' family.


TODD (voice-over): It's not clear what Bruce Ivins' children could have offered federal authorities in their investigation of him, but a source with knowledge of the anthrax case tells CNN federal agents offered Ivins' 24-year-old son the $2.5 million reward for information about his father and showed his twin sister pictures of the anthrax victims and said, "Your father did this."

The source says Ivins was very upset last November after the FBI searched his home and questioned his children.

Ivins' former colleague, Jeffrey Adamovicz, says Ivins gave him similar accounts.

JEFFREY ADAMOVICZ, FORMER COLLEAGUE OF BRUCE IVINS: One of the statements that he relayed to me that his children were, in fact, told by the FBI agents that were doing the interview that their father was a murder. And that, I could tell, greatly disturbed Bruce, as it would anybody.

TODD: As federal officials presented evidence they believe implicates Ivins in the 2001 anthrax attacks which killed five people, they also defended their tactics with them.

JEFFREY TAYLOR, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The notion that somehow these people were coerced or abused by the agents or the lawyers is categorically false. These agents handled themselves professionally, responsibly and with great respect for Mr. Ivins and for his family. And I would say the same thing about the prosecutors in this case.

TODD: Authorities say Ivins, an Army biodefense researcher at Fort Detrick in Maryland, committed suicide last week as they were about to charge him with the anthrax attacks. His lawyer says Ivins wasn't involved. The attorney and Ivins' former colleagues tell CNN they think the pressure of the investigation led to his death.

Federal officials have said they don't believe that. But former colleagues have told us federal agents hounded Ivins and his family. And "The Washington Post" quotes a scientist who worked with Ivins saying agents once confronted him while he was shopping with his family and said, "You killed a bunch of people."


TODD: Our source with knowledge of the case says Ivins was a former alcoholic who had resumed drinking for much of this year because of how upset he was with all of this.

Again, FBI officials deny they were harassing Bruce Ivins or his family -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A lot of our viewers will remember Dr. Steven Hatfill. He was publicly identified by the Justice Department, what, some six years ago -- it's almost seven years ago -- as a person of interest in this case. Recently, they exonerated him and gave him some $6 million as part of a settlement.

But I want to play this clip, Brian, of what he said at the time when he was publicly accused of being a person of interest in this case.

Listen to this.


STEVEN HATFILL, FORMER GOVERNMENT SCIENTIST: My girlfriend's home was also searched. She was manhandled by the FBI upon their entry, not immediately shown the search warrant, her apartment was wrecked while FBI agents screamed to her that I had killed five people and that her life would never be the same again. She was terrified by their conduct, put into isolation for interrogation for eight hours.


BLITZER: All right, did they ever answer that specific charge from Dr. Hatfill?

TODD: They've never answered those specific charges, Wolf. But they did settle with Steven Hatfill about six weeks ago in the entire resolution of that case involving him. They settled with him for nearly $6 million.

BLITZER: Now, having said all this, Ivins, I take it, himself has acknowledged, before he committed suicide, that he was in a very troubled state of mind for some time.

TODD: That's right. And that comes out in some of these documents that we just got today. They cite e-mails from Ivins to a friend eight years ago where he talks about getting "incredible paranoid delusional thoughts," being "eaten alive inside." Now, that's more than a year before the anthrax attacks even took place. Those, of course, don't prove his guilt. But, clearly, Bruce Ivins had some mental health issues dating way back.

BLITZER: Brian, thanks for that update.

Brian Todd working the story.

Another important story we're following -- the verdict is now in the Guantanamo Bay military trial of Osama bin Laden's former driver. The charges included providing material support to a terror organization in the September 11th attacks.

The verdict -- guilty on five counts. But on the more serious charge of conspiracy to aid a terror organization, the verdict is not guilty.

CNN's senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, reports from Guantanamo Bay.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Salim Hamdan's face fell into his hands and he wiped his eyes as the jury of anonymous military officers pronounced him guilty of supporting terrorism, even as it cleared him of conspiracy to murder.

Hamdan will face life in prison after the jury found him guilty of what the judge described as essentially supporting Osama bin Laden by serving as his personal driver, bodyguard and weapons courier.

In a statement, the chief prosecutor called Hamdan "a career Al Qaeda warrior pledged to ensuring the personal security of Osama bin Laden years before the September 11th attacks up until the minute he was captured heading toward the battlefield." But human rights advocates pointed to the other verdict -- the finding that Hamdan was not guilty of conspiracy to murder innocents -- as evidence the charges were too extreme for even a military jury to accept.

Lawrence Morris

BEN WIZNER, ACLU ATTORNEY: This is not a fair system. This judgment will be appealed. But I would say that there is no appeal from the judgment of history. And it won't be kind about these proceedings.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon argued that Hamdan had "a vigorous defense that resulted in his acquittal on some charges." In a statement, a spokesman said: "These proceedings should show the world that we are committed to providing detainees with due process."


MCINTYRE: And, Wolf, the trial now moves into the sentencing phase. And Hamdan faces a potential life in prison on these charges. Of course, the irony is even if he had been acquitted, he would face a potential indefinite incarceration because the U.S. government still considers him an enemy combatant -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre is on the scene for us at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Thanks, Jamie McIntyre.

Let's go back to Jack.

He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: While you're paying $4 a gallon for gasoline, think about this. Iraq could end up with an $80 billion surplus thanks to its oil exports. $80 billion.

Remember how we were told by our illustrious president that Iraq's oil had money would pay for the war? You remember that, bunky? We've spent $700 billion of our money, including almost $50 billion, to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. We haven't seen a dime of their oil money for our efforts.

U.S. auditors report Baghdad had a $29 billion budget surplus between 2005 and 2007. And with the price of crude just about doubling last year, well, that surplus this year could breach $50 billion -- grand total right around $80 billion. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to pour money into Iraq for reconstruction, repairs to their oil infrastructure, electricity, water, security. And, you know, maybe some of that's fair. We did blow a lot of it up.

How much has Iraq spent repairing their own stuff in the last three years? Well, that would be less than $4 billion.

Senator Carl Levin says it's inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis could pay for themselves. Duh.

Of course, Congress -- the Democrats now control Congress -- Congress continues to approve one spending bill after another for President Bush's war, despite the Democrats' promise to end the war's funding in 2006. Carl Levin is one of those Democrats.

Here's the bureaucratic explanation for the screwing the American taxpayer is getting. The Treasury Department says the U.S. is working with Iraqis to fix the issue and they believe "progress is being made."

What a joke. Progress as Iraq writes the United States checks. That's progress.

Here's the question: What should be do done about Iraq's potential $80 billion oil surplus?

Go to and post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thank you.

Two very important interviews we're working on this hour for you. A top Obama supporter and potential vice presidential candidate, the Virginia governor, Tim McCain. He's standing by live. And the author of a new bombshell book accusing the White House of what could be impeachable crimes, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Ron Suskind.

Also, an illegal drug grown by illegal immigrants on U.S. government land -- stand by for that story.

Plus, an Olympic gold medalist barred from Beijing -- his visa revoked at the very last minute.

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


BLITZER: The so-called military surge of U.S. forces into Iraq now seen by a lot of people as a success and a chance for John McCain to say I told you so.

Joining us now to talk about that and more, the Virginia governor, Tim Kaine. He's often mentioned as a possible running mate for Barack Obama. He's joining us in Norfolk right now, where he joined Michelle Obama earlier in a roundtable discussion with military families.

Governor, thanks very much for coming in.

GOV. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Wolf, great to be with you.

BLITZER: Does John McCain deserve credit for pushing for that increase in U.S. troops a year or so ago that enabled the reduction in violence right now? KAINE: Well, I don't know if he deserves credit. I mean the notion that more troops might lead to more stability, I don't think, is a controversial one -- or it shouldn't have been.

The thing that, you know, I'm struck by was how the generals, who at the beginning of the war told the Bush administration that more troops would needed to be do the job and maintain stability, they were busted back for saying that. And it seems like the Bush administration has woken up late to the notion that more troops might be more helpful.

Look, our troops do a great job over there. That doesn't change the fact that the rationale we were given is wrong and that we need to have a plausible strategy for withdrawing from Iraq. And I think that's something that the prime minister, Al-Maliki, has recently said. And that is a -- that's what we need to be focused on, what is the strategy for American withdrawal.

BLITZER: But a lot of people believe -- and you know this -- that if it had not been for that 30,000 or 40,000 increase in troops, the relative quiet or stability that's developed in the Al-Anbar Province elsewhere in Iraq might not necessarily have taken place and that McCain was out on a limb pushing for that.

KAINE: Well, Wolf, again, I'll just go back to it. The notion that more presence -- more military presence might lead to more order is not a controversial notion. I think the real question is, at the beginning of the war, when those who knew the military leaders were saying we needed more troops, they weren't only turned down, but in some instances they were basically ridiculed or disciplined, told they were wrong, much like the estimates about the financial cost of the war. Oh, it's not going to be that expensive. It will be $30 billion. We're at $700 billion and climbing.

This is a sad instance of the civilian leadership making poor decisions while our men and women on the front lines have been performing excellent in the service that they give when they're there.

BLITZER: What McCain says is he can guarantee that if you end this war the way he wants it to end, without a time line, to just get the job done, to win, the U.S. will never have to go back to Iraq. But he says if you do it like Senator Obama is recommending, a hard and fast 16-month time line, you never know what's going to happen and the U.S. might, down the road, have to go back in.

KAINE: Well, you know, the problem, I think, Wolf, with the senator's position is he says do it my way -- no time, line let's just have victory. He hasn't been able to tell the American people what victory looks like.

Is it being there for three years, five years, 10 years, being there for 100 years, as was suggested earlier this year?

I think the virtues of a time line is you start to look at facts on the ground, what might change that will lead to an appropriate strategy for withdrawal. Now you have the Bush administration itself talking about the need to have a time horizon for withdrawal. You have the prime minister, Al-Maliki, basically saying that something similar to Senator Obama's proposal is right. And then Senator Obama's proposal coincides generally with the notion of the provincial elections that are held this fall and national elections next year.

But Senator McCain hasn't given a time line, he hasn't given a strategy, hasn't defined what victory is. And I think that's something that the American people -- and especially men and women in service -- are entitled to.

BLITZER: He did define victory in an interview I did with him the other day. He said it would be stability -- a peaceful arrangement in Iraq, where the government itself is ruling the country.

But I want to move on to the sensitive issue today -- the General Accounting Office saying the Iraqis have a surplus of about $80 billion that they have in banks, including $10 billion in U.S. banks right now.

Should the Iraqis start reimbursing American taxpayers for the money that we've spent in Iraq?

KAINE: Well, I think, Wolf, I think that is a very legitimate request that we would make of them, or certainly to pick up the costs for our ongoing effort to provide stability in that country. I mean I think you know that this is an interesting announcement, because it was paired with the announcement, I believe, just last week, of the projected record deficits in the American economy that we're going to be experiencing in coming years.

And the notion that we're grappling with tough economic issues here that are leading us to deficit and the Iraqi government is in a strong surplus position, you know, I think that's got to be -- I mean that raises goose pimples on my arms, to think that we're still here, you know, five years later without a strong plan for withdrawal.

That's one of the reasons why Senator Obama, I think, was prescient in his earlier calls for caution about Iraq and why his general proposal, which Prime Minister Al-Maliki has, I think, supported, that we need to be on a flight path to withdrawal.

BLITZER: Let's talk about energy for a moment. Offshore oil drilling.

KAINE: Right.

BLITZER: McCain says it's an important issue right now, the U.S. should be doing it. Senator Obama is not so sure, maybe as part of a comprehensive compromise he might go along with it.

Where do you stand personally on offshore oil drilling off the coast of Virginia?

KAINE: Sure. Yes, let me tell you that and I'll talk about Senator Obama.

In Virginia, we've taken a position -- both me as the governor and my legislature -- that we would like to explore natural gas reserves 50 miles off the coast, not yet for drilling or production, but for -- to explore, to determine the size of the reserve.

The federal moratorium against offshore drilling on the Atlantic Coast was the federal government's judgment that the costs outweighed the benefits. I think it's time to reassess, to look at the benefits again. We need to determine the size of the Reserve. And then on the costs or consequences, how would it affect the environment, how would naval operations, which are so critical off the Virginia coast, be affected by significant drilling.

But my position is I think you need to do the exploratory drilling to determine what we have.

BLITZER: So on this issue, I take it you're closer to John McCain than you are to Nancy Pelosi?

KAINE: Well, I don't -- let me focus on Senator Obama, because I guess that's what I prepared for to come today. His...

BLITZER: But what about -- but you personally, you're open to offshore oil drilling?

KAINE: I'm open to the exploration. We can only make a decision, I believe, about whether the federal -- the Congressional moratorium should stay in place by doing a new assessment of both the costs and benefits and weighing them.

BLITZER: All right...

KAINE: And in order to do that, you need to look at consequences, but you also need to look at the size of the Reserve.

Now, Senator Obama's position is pretty clear. Yes, as part of a comprehensive plan, drilling could be considered as part of it.

BLITZER: All right...

KAINE: But first let's drill in the nearly 70 million acres of land that has already been leased to oil companies for drilling. They have acreages leased already that could do significant good where they are not drilling. Before we wholesale hand over other acreages to them, let's make them in the areas they currently have permission.

BLITZER: Are you ready to be vice president, Governor?

KAINE: You know, I'm not running for anything, Wolf. I signed on to help Senator Obama in February of '07. I've been proud to be a national co-chair of his campaign. But, you know, my highest and best use is trying to be a good governor and trying to help Senator Obama in Virginia, which, as you know, traditionally hasn't gotten a lot of attention in presidential years. But I really believe, for the first time in 44 years, we've got a great chance of getting the electoral votes in a blue column behind Senator Obama this fall.

BLITZER: You certainly did a good job helping him in the primary against Hillary Clinton. We'll see what happens down the road.

Thanks very much for coming in.

KAINE: All right. Great to be with you.

BLITZER: Good luck.

A respected journalist defending allegations of potential White House crimes in his new book.


RON SUSKIND, AUTHOR, "THE WAY OF THE WORLD": The reason it's in the book as it is, is from hour after hour of direct testimony from people who had firsthand knowledge of the situation.


BLITZER: Bombshell charges -- but will he prove it by releasing his taped interviews?

The author, Ron Suskind -- he's here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Plus, President Bush on a potential change to what he calls the axis of evil.

Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Carol Costello is off today.

Fredricka Whitfield is monitoring some other important stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

What's going on -- Fred?


President Bush is in Thailand on his way to China for the opening of the Olympic Games. Earlier in Seoul, South Korea, he expressed some optimism with relations with North Korea. After a destroying a nuclear reactor cooling tower, Pyongyang is expected to be removed from the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism. Mr. Bush said North Korea might one day be removed from his axis of evil.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And my hope is that the axis of evil list no longer exists. That's my hope for the sake of peace. And it's my hope for -- you know, for the sake of our children.


WHITFIELD: And nine people are missing and presumed dead after a helicopter crash in Northern California. Aviation spokesmen say four others are hospitalized, including three contract firefighters who were battling the wildfires. The Federal Aviation Administration says the helicopter was carrying two crew members and 11 firefighters. A Forest Service spokeswoman said the chopper was picking up firefighters last night when it crashed near the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area northwest of Reading.

And Greyhound Bus Lines is ending an ad campaign after one of its passengers was accused of beheading and cannibalizing another passenger on one of its buses in Canada. The ad underscored the stress-free benefits of bus travel with the tag line, "There is a reason you've never heard of bus rage." A Greyhound spokeswoman said the ads only appeared in Canada -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Thanks, Fred, very much.

Strong allegations that the White House faked a letter about Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Listen to this.


SUSKIND: Frankly, no one except senior-most officials at the White House would give George Tenet an order certainly like this.


BLITZER: A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist defends his book and why he thinks this could be bigger than Watergate.

Plus, it's a great place for a secret marijuana field -- thousands of pot plants on public land worth, what, some $40 million. We're going to take you there.

And the Chinese say no to a famous Olympian, yanking his visa just as he's heading to the Games.


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

Happening now, sensational allegations about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We're going to hear from the author of a brand new book charging the Bush administration faked its justification for the war.

And imagine standing in a phone booth in the hot desert sun for up to 24 hours. A rare look at how the U.S. houses violent Iraqi prisoners.

Also, the economy and energy topping the candidates' agendas -- you're going to hear their plans in their own words.

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

Bombshell allegations against the Bush White House. A new book claiming, among other things, that it ordered -- yes, ordered the CIA to forge a letter drawing connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda to justify the 2003 invasion.


And joining us now, the author -- the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Ron Suskind. The book, entitled, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope In An Age of Extremism."

Ron, thanks very much for coming in.

SUSKIND: My pleasure.

BLITZER: You've caused quite a stir.

But let me get you to explain why you think the alleged crimes of President Bush and Vice President Cheney are worse than Watergate.

SUSKIND: Well, the way it's framed legally, Wolf, is that the CIA's charter says you cannot run disinformation campaigns on the American public. It's an amendment in 1991. It's in the statute. So that if, ultimately, in Congressional hearings and whatnot, as they go forward -- and there's talk of that in Congress now -- if they're able to show that the White House directed the CIA -- as I show in the book with lots of testimony -- that the CIA was directed by the White House to do this disinformation campaign on this letter, there will be issues of legality that will be debated in terms of high crimes.

BLITZER: And what you report in the book is that George Tenet, the then CIA director, was at the White House after the war started. He was directed to go back to the CIA and forge a letter from the former head of Iraqi intelligence alleging that Muhammad Atta, one of the 9/11 ringleaders, was directly involved with Saddam Hussein and Iraq, which was a lie.

SUSKIND: Absolutely. And also that Saddam was actively buying yellow cake with the help of al Qaeda, Habbash (sp) --

BLITZER: -- Habbash, the former Iraqi intelligence?

SUSKIND: It popped up Tom Brokaw, the stories, talked about it. What's interesting is that that letter comes at the end of 2003 after all the explosions, Joe Wilton playing during that year, and the testimony of those involved in this book, and there's much of it in the book, on the record, much of it taped, is that George Tenet came back from a briefing with the White House, had it in his hand, the essential mission sheet, a memo which said the CIA would carry forward the Habbash letter.

BLITZER: A former CIA --

SUSKIND: I'm sorry, top official at CIA, used to be a deputy head of service, head of the Mideast. He remembers talking to Tenet about it. He also talked to John McGuire about it who is also in the book, head of Iraq for the CIA.

BLITZER: All right. Let's hold on for a second. Here's what George Tenet says because this is a very specific charge that you make. He was at the White House. Someone at the White House told him to get a letter forged, making this alleged connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Husseein. Tenet said there was no such order from the White House to me nor to the best of my knowledge was anyone from CIA ever involved in any such effort. Who ordered him to do so?

SUSKIND: In the book, it says simply, it comes from the White House. There is some speculation in the book by Rob Richer, as to where things were coming from at that point. But the specificity of the testimony in the book, and there's a lot of it, is that it came from the White House, and frankly, at the White House nobody accept senior-most officials give this sort of order.

BLITZER: In terms of a specific person, you don't know who allegedly ordered George Tenet to forge this document?

SUSKIND: In the book is direct testimony from the participants and that direct testimony says from the White House. And frankly, no one except senior-most officials at the White House would give George Tenet an order certainly like this.

BLITZER: Why would he deny that flatly, George Tenet, as he does in this statement?

SUSKIND: What he says to the best of my knowledge, I'm not sure what's going through George's head, frankly --

BLITZER: He said there was no such order from the White House to me.

SUSKIND: To the best of my knowledge.

BLITZER: Nor to the best of my knowledge --

SUSKIND: There you go.

BLITZER: -- was anyone from CIA ever involved in such effort.

SUSKIND: The fact is that what I dealt with were the people who were actually involved directly in this situation, period.

BLITZER: What do you mean, in drafting, in creating this document?

SUSKIND: People have direct memory of receiving the letter, talking about it, discussing it, and passing it forward.

BLITZER: Because Richer in a statement that he released, and I'll read it to you, "I never received direction from George Tenet or anyone else in my chain of command to fabricate a document from Habbash as outlined in Mr. Suskind's book. Further, today, (5 August 2008) I talked to John Maguire who has given me permission to state the following on his behalf. I never received any instruction from then Chief/NE Rob Richer, or any other officer in my chain of command instructing me to fabricate such a letter. Further, I have no knowledge to the origins of the letter as to how it circulated in Iraq."

SUSKIND: OK. That is in accordance with Maguire says with what is actually in the book. Maguire was leaving on his way back, so it wasn't in his chain of command. It was his successor who handled the letter. What's important to know is that in terms of Maguire, he is not carrying through the letter to fruition. The book is absolutely in accord with what John Maguire said. And that statement doesn't even really deal with what's in the book about John Maguire. When it comes to Rob Richer --

BLITZER: This is an illegal act if it's true. Why would anyone at the White House be dumb enough to write down on a piece of paper for George Tenet to go ahead and commit an illegal act?

SUSKIND: At this point, in the history of this White House, frankly, Wolf, I'm not sure how you can even ask that question. There's a lot of things that happened in this White House over this period that people look back and say exactly what were they thinking.

In this case, the reason it's in the book, as it is, it's from hour after hour of direct testimony from people who had firsthand knowledge of the situation. Otherwise it wouldn't be in the book, among the many disclosures. That's why it's there.

Now, mind you, the reason the White House is so interested in this one disclosure, it's like a bridge between the CIA and the White House. And if that bridge isn't blown, there will be consequences, legal consequences potentially, and that's why their focus is really solely on that, not in the many other disclosures in the book.

BLITZER: Because potentially this is a crime.


We're going to have a lot more of this interview with Ron Suskind coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM in the next hour. His explosive taped interviews, will he make them public. I'll ask him, more in the interview, that's coming up.

How the U.S. treats Iraqi prisoners, there's new controversy on that issue. The so-called boxes used to house them. We're going to get a rare look.

And the candidates run unfiltered. Why is Senator Obama outraged right now and why does Senator McCain say Obama is simply out of touch?

And more than just a memory. What one woman is willing to pay for clones of her beloved dog.


BLITZER: Iraq's raking in a whole lot more money that could actually spend from its oil production, while the United States continues to spend billions and billions of dollars in Iraq. Senator Barack Obama spoke about this earlier today in Elkhart, Indiana.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, if you need one more example with what's wrong with our energy policy or George Bush's policies in general, there's a new report today some of you may have read in the newspaper.

Iraq has been getting a windfall because of rising oil prices. They have a $79 billion budget surplus. At a time when we're spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, they've got almost $80 billion that's not being invested in services for suffering Iraqis or reconstruction. Some of this money is sitting in American banks in New York on Wall Street, collecting interest, while you, the taxpayer, are paying for reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

That's why we've got to bring about fundamental change. Because if we're going to solve the problems of the American people, then we've got to have somebody in Washington who is fighting for the American people and listening to the voices of the American people and that's why I'm running for president of the United States of America.

Let me mention just a few things that we're going to need to do. Earlier this week I laid out a plan for ending the age of oil in our time. Here's how we're going to do it. Short term, we can do some work in improving domestic energy supplies. Right now, oil companies have access to 68 million acres of land that they are not using, that they're not drilling on. And my attitude is, you use it, or you lose it. Before we give you new leases, start using some of these leases you already have.


BLITZER: John McCain critical of his Congressional colleagues as he visits an Ohio plant that makes kitchen cabinets. He said Obama is "Out of touch when it comes to solving the nation's energy crisis."


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had a great visit with some wonderful people. Some have worked here at Merillat Industries for 25, 30 years and they're proud of their product. They're hurting obviously when the housing industry declines. Their business declines. Yet there's a spirit of hope and optimism here to get our economy moving again in the housing industry moving again. And be able to not only retain these outstanding employees, but to hire more and it's time, obviously, their message to me is it's time to get America's economy moving again.

Companies like Merillat and companies across Ohio face challenges in their businesses and around the kitchen table. And obviously energy prices are too high. We're losing jobs. Our housing market is on the decline. And the cost of everything is going up. And in the face of this, Washington is on vacation. In the face of a severe energy crisis, the Congress decides to go on a five-week vacation.

When I'm president of the United States, I will call the Congress back into session and tell them to act and not to leave town to take their vacation or their pay raise until they address this energy crisis. And now is the time for action. We need an all-of-the-above plan to solve the crisis, drilling and nuclear partisanship. Drilling here, drilling now, in the United States of America, and off the United States of America's coast. Everybody knows that drilling is a very vital part of bridging our gap between our dependence on foreign oil, which is transferring $700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much, and we have the resources to be explored and exploited, and we could obtain some of the benefit of that within months.

My opponent, Senator Obama, opposes both storage and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. He opposes offshore drilling immediately. And he's out of touch.


BLITZER: Senators John McCain and Barack Obama in their own words, raw and unfiltered. More of that coming up in the next hour.

And they're no bigger than outhouses but violent Iraqi prisoners are now being held inside these boxes for hours, possibly even days. We're going to get a rare look at these controversial segregation boxes. Stand by for that.

And Team Darfur gets a former member of the Team USA barred from the Beijing games. His visa revoked only hours before he was supposed to go. We'll explain right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Right now we have some rare images for you to see of those controversial containers where the U.S. military places violent Iraqi prisoners. These are containers so small, they're known as boxes.

Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. She's seen the photos and will share them with us.

What do we know about these containers, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, we know very little about them, because once again, these are pictures from Iraq that may shock and surprise you.


STARR: They're called segregation boxes, wooden crates the U.S. military uses in Iraq to hold violent prisoners. These grainy pictures rarely have been seen. Military officials say some of the boxes measure three feet square and about six feet tall, leaving little room for a prisoner to move. Human rights advocates say little is known about how the military treats prisoners it puts inside these boxes.

JENNIFER DASKAL, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: There's concerns that they can be used in places where detainees are enclosed in extremely hot conditions. It's important to know whether or not detainees are provided food.

STARR: The military insists the boxes are humane, that they are checked every 15 minutes, and typically prisoners are isolated for no more than 12 hours. A military spokesman telling CNN "someone in a segregation box is actually observed more than those anywhere else."

Since the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the U.S. has improved conditions for the 20,000 detainees it holds. But life is tough behind the wire. Hundreds are still deemed to be al Qaeda loyalists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a place that you want to hang around.

STARR: The U.S. hopes to continue releasing prisoners. Recently some 20 foreign fighters were sent back to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and thousands of Iraqis have been set free.

GEOFF MORRELL, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We are able to capture threats to the Iraqi government in the population, detainee them, rehabilitate them and 99 times out of 100 release them.


STARR: Now, Wolf, the U.S. military says the people it puts in these boxes do get food, water and access to a toilet. The human rights advocates say they wonder how the American people would feel if some day a U.S. member was put in one of these wooden crates -- Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Thanks, Barbara, very much.

Let's go to Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack?

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is what should be done about Iraq's potential $80 billion oil surplus?

Mark in Arizona: "They should spend the $80 billion on no-bid contracts to rebuild America. All our bridges are in disrepair ready to fall down. Maybe it would help promote democracy in the U.S."

Ibrahim: "The key word is reconstruction. America bombed Iraq to hell, killing hundreds of thousands of its people. Now America needs to assume the costs. I'm opposed to using Iraqi money to repair damage America has done. If anything, Americans should consider this as reason not to be so enthusiastic about starting wars in the future."

Jay in Utah says: "I remember when we had a surplus. We couldn't decide what to do with it either. Eventually Mr. Bush found a great cause. Let's have a war, we can spend it there."

Paul writes: "We cannot touch that money. As soon as we do, we've proven every extremist Muslim correct, we were only in Iraq for the oil. We went in, destroyed their country and asking them to pay for it would do more for jihadist sentiment than all our years of support of Israel combined."

Jay in Texas says: "We ought to demand at least $40 billion of that money be repaid to American taxpayers in the form of free gasoline for every American with a driver's license."

Donna in South Carolina: "Make them our 51st state, then the Bush regime can rob them the way they've robbed the rest of us."

Brian in California: "Match their surplus as a gift for damaging their country, killing women and children and hope some day they'll forgive us."

And Rick says: "Take half of it, buy every American a tire gauge and presto, energy independence."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog and look for yours there -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Jack, thanks. See you in a few moments.

The White House is protesting China's decision to deny the former Olympic athlete Joey Cheek a visa to this year's games.

Abbi Tatton is working this story for us. Abbi, what happened here?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Joey Cheek told CNN he was all set to travel to Beijing today until he got a phone call from the Chinese consulate last night.


JOEY CHEEK, U.S. OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: They said, you know, you're not going to be able to travel to China, your visa's been revoked. When asked for a reason, or someone else I could speak with, they said, we don't need to give you a reason.


TATTON: Cheek co-founded this group, Team Darfur, to raise awareness of the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, a country receiving economic support from China. Three hundred-sixty athletes worldwide have joined this core, 70 of them will be competing in the Olympics. The group plans to use the Olympic spotlight to highlight the crisis, but Cheek says there's been a systemic effort by the Chinese government to threaten athletes who speak out.

Our attempts to reach the Chinese embassy for comment were not successful -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Abbi, thanks for that.

The government lays out its case against a scientist in the anthrax attacks. You're going to hear the evidence that makes them believe Bruce Ivins sent those deadly letters. And Ivins' lawyer has just issued a lengthy statement. Stand by.

A $40 million fine. There are huge, huge field of pot plants on public land. We're going to take you there.

Five puppies, all genetically equal. A California woman gets her dog cloned. You'll see how right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Federal agents uncovered a huge pot farm hidden on public land and it's worth a bundle. Dan Simon takes us into the secret field in Califonria.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you want to hide from the world, this is a good spot. This is forest land in the California sierra. The Mexican drug cartels have figured out this is one of the best places in the world to grow marijuana. Illegal immigrants spend their time in makeshift camps hours from civilization.

Are they here 24/7 watching over these places?

LT. MIKE BOUDREAUX, TULARE CO., CALIF. SHERIFF'S OFFICE: They're here 24/7. There's a tremendous amount of product here, tremendous amount of money source here.

SIMON: Lieutenant Mike Boudreau is leading a raid on the crop and the people who grow it, part of a ramped up effort to smoke out marijuana gardens on public lands.

It infuriates people that people can cross illegally into this country and grow marijuana on public land.

BOUDREAU: Absolutely. It's something that's troublesome for many of us in law enforcement. You have illegal criminal activity occurring in the mountain regions, not only destroying the natural beauty of the landscape, but as well as the potential for this product to reach the children of our community.

SIMON: Finding and destroying the gardens has become a top priority for the nation's drug czar, John Walters. In one week, as part of a covert operation, authorities say they destroyed 340,000 plants and arrested three dozen suspects.

JOHN WALTERS, DRUG POLICY DIRECTOR: These aren't Cheech and Chong plants. People who farm now are not doing this for laughs, despite the fact Hollywood still thinks that. They're doing it to make a lot of money and the single biggest source of the money for the guys with the horrific violence along the border on the Mexican side, and on our side now, are making it from marijuana.

SIMON: The growers, the drug cartels, come into the national forest like this because the environment is so ideal for growing marijuana. You have the sunlight, you have the water, you have remoteness. It's just the perfect place to set up shop.

They create their own little communities in the mountains often leaving a trail of trash. Empty bottles of fertilizer litter the ground. The plants are nurtured by irrigation systems, a network of hoses feeding the thirsty plants in the often triple-digit heat. Each plant able to produce a pound of high-quality marijuana.

What do you make of the elaborate irrigation systems?

WALTERS: I think it's a measure of how valuable these plants are.

SIMON: So valuable, that in fact this garden had an estimated street value of $40 million.

Dan Simon, CNN, California.


BLITZER: A California woman traveled thousands of miles for a special litter of puppies. They're clones of her beloved dog.

Rusty Dornin has her story.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For dog owner Bernann McKinney, this is a dream come true.

BERNANN MCKINNEY, PAID TO HAVE DOG CLONED: I'm in heaven here. Hi, little Buggers. I'll tell you about your daddy.

DORNIN: These five little puppies are carbon copies of the adored original. A pit bull named Bugger who died in 2006. McKinney said Bugger saved her life from a vicious attack by another dog, and while she was recovering from that attack, he would open the door and even help her pull her socks off at night. So like many pet owners, when Bugger was diagnosed with cancer, she dreamed of cloning her canine.

MCKINNEY: It's a special deal. I guess you might say I got five for the price of one. That's a pretty good deal isn't it?

DORNIN: She first went to the U.S. company, Genetic Savings and Clone, but there wasn't enough demand for its services and the company shut its doors.

RNL Bio in Korea says it has cloned more than 20 canines since 2005. But these are the first clones to go to a paying customer.

RA JEONG-CHAN, PRESIDENT, RNL BIO (through translator): We're planning to put the main focus on special purpose dogs or service dogs like cancer sniffing dogs and drug sniffing dogs. For pets, we're also planning to conduct cloning after going over the ethical measures. DORNIN: The price tag for McKinney was $50,000. She sold her home to raise the money. But she got a deal because they were the first. The next customer will have to pay $150,000.

Two surrogate mixed breed mothers were used to carry the embryos. The process took 70 days. The company hopes to clone 300 dogs per year. McKinney hopes to keep at least three copies of her beloved Bugger.

MCKINNEY: I planned on one dog. I was going to be grateful to God for one. I'm going to try to keep three if they'll let me.

DORNIN: And the other two?

MCKINNEY: I think the other two they want for service animals in Korea.

DORNIN: McKinney has high hopes that these four-legged recreations will resemble her former best friend not only in body, but in spirit.

Rusty Dornin, CNN Atlanta


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