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THE SITUATION ROOM
"Lebronathon" Ending Tonight; "Climategate": Trick or Truth?
Aired July 8, 2010 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama speaking frankly about Middle East peace prospects and why some Israelis don't trust him. You are going to hear his exclusive interview with Israel's Channel 2. That's coming up.
And the new Sarah Palin video that is fueling talk of a presidential run in 2012.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We are following breaking news this hour, the surprise end to a shocking case, a Russian spy ring whose agents embedded themselves Right in the heart of America. Now all 10 suspects have pleaded guilty and will be deported to Russia as part of the major spy swap.
Our national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, is outside the New York courthouse where it all went down just a little while ago.
Susan, tell us what happened in court.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was fascinating to watch and amazing to think that all of this could come together so quickly, within the course of just 12 days.
In court, the judge asked each defendant several questions, and each time one of -- each of them, one by one, all 10 of them stood up to say that they pleaded guilty, that they were not offered any deals and that they understood the charges against them.
And very interesting to watch, as we saw them, some of them wearing American jeans and sneakers and wearing T-shirts, golf shorts in court. We heard for the first time that seven of the 10 of them were using fake names overall these years, and some of them, many of them living here since the 1990s.
And, in fact, we learned that the Murphys, for example, from New Jersey, that their real last name is Guryev, that man -- husband -- couple named Foley and Heathfield, that her last name was Vavilova. And so on and on it went, Wolf, as finally the judge accepted their in court.
And in fact we talked with one of the lawyers who represents Anna Chapman. And this is the woman with the red hair who has received all the publicity and has a page on Facebook that was to known to have quite a social life in New York City here. And her lawyer told us that she is very -- a very intelligent person, very impressive and very perceptive, but in the end, she is also one of the ones that pleaded guilty. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT BAUM, ATTORNEY FOR ANNA CHAPMAN: Initially, the decision to plead guilty was a very difficult one, and as I mentioned, it involved numerous factors which she and I discussed along with Ms. Dougherty (ph), factors which primarily involved the conditions of her detention.
Her state of mind once the decision was made was one that she is glad that this case will be over. She's glad to be released from jail. But she is unhappy that it probably has destroyed her business and that she has to return to Moscow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: So, remember, the FBI, the U.S. prosecutors here in New York have been following these people for 10 years. That is how long this case has been under way, and they pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent, technically, acting as a spy to go out and try to eventually recruit people.
Now, we know that there were meetings in coffee shops, money buried in the underground that people would retrieve, all kinds of things that the government said was involved in this case.
And here is what the defendants have agreed to forfeit as part of the plea deal: $185,000 in cash, assets in at least a dozen bank accounts. They agreed to give up a house in Yonkers, a townhouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a house in Montclair, New Jersey, and a couple of cars, including a BMW and a Volkswagen GTI specifically -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So, walk us through how this is going to work, Susan. These guys will -- these least 10 Russian suspects -- or now confessed spies -- will board a plane and fly off to Russia, and the four people that the Russians are holding will fly over to the United States? Is that what is about to happen?
CANDIOTTI: That's exactly right. They are going to be put into a van. They are going to go to an airport here in New York. They will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and then at the airport turned over to the Russians, who will then put them on we understand from one of the lawyers a U.S. carrier and head to Russia, most likely Moscow being the end point.
So, it has been a fascinating trip from start-to-finish following this thing. Each of them said that they were not offered any kind of plea deal, except we learned one interesting thing from one of the lawyers for one of the defendants here, Vicky Pelaez. And she said, as did all of the defendants, that representatives of the Russian Federation met with them in jail and approved the plea deal before they all agreed to it, but they said that this was not an inducement in their opinion.
But one of them, as I said, Vicky Pelaez, was indeed offered a $2,000-a-month stipend for life and visas for her children to join her any time and visit her any time she likes wherever she winds up living.
BLITZER: Susan Candiotti with that part of the story.
Let's get some more now on this major spy swap.
CNN's Brian Todd is working another part of the story.
Brian, tell us what you're learning
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is extraordinary, Wolf. This could be the biggest spy swap between the U.S. and Russia since the end of the Cold War shaping up right now.
The first part is what Susan just reported. All 10 alleged Russian spies being held here in the U.S. plead guilty, all 10 immediately deported. The second part detailed in this extraordinary letter from the Justice Department to the federal judge who heard the guilty pleas -- quote -- "The Russian Federation has agreed to release four individuals, Russian prisoners, incarcerated in Russia for alleged contact with Western intelligence agencies. Three of the Russian prisoners were convicted of treason in the form of espionage on behalf of a foreign power and are serving lengthy prison terms."
Now, that letter says some of the Russian prisoners are in poor health and that the Russian government has agreed to release their families along with them for resettlement -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Now, the three -- three of them, we don't know who they are, at least not yet. But we do one of them.
TODD: That's right.
One of the people that Russia is apparently freeing right now is Igor Sutyagin. He is a researcher convicted in Russia in 2004 for spying for U.S. intelligence services. The State Department today denied that Sutyagin was a spy. The Russians contend he was. He has been serving a 15-year sentence at a maximum security prison in northern Russia for allegedly passing secrets about Russia's nuclear program to a London-based firm.
But now his family tells CNN he is part of this exchange. A Russian news agency quotes his attorney saying Sutyagin's father received a call earlier today and was told that Sutyagin was seen getting off of a plane in Vienna, Austria.
It is extraordinary now. It's moving fast from that end toward the United States as well.
BLITZER: Yes. What is also extraordinary, how quickly this all unfolded from the time of the arrest of these 10 Russians until now. It has been lightning. TODD: It is lightning speed. Amazing to think about this, 11 days, Wolf, 11 days from the time that U.S. officials took down that alleged spy operation to now when these Russian are being deported.
There could be many reasons why, not the least of which the Russians could have been very eager to get the case here in the United States out of here. Listen to CNN contributor Tom Fuentes, a former FBI assistant director, talk about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The Russian Federation does not want their tradecraft on television every day of the week as the trial progresses. They don't want the world to see what these people did and how they did it as a result of the prosecutions that would come up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Now, if indeed these 10 people were spying for the Russians in the U.S., Tom Fuentes says, they may get poor performance reviews from the Russian intelligence service for getting caught.
And it is not clear even what they produced. These 10 people have lived in the U.S. for years, some more than 10 years, apparently subsidized by the Russians. U.S. officials said they were here to recruit spies. It is not clear from any of the documents we have seen whether they ever recruited anyone -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What is clear is that the U.S. wanted these four individuals out of Russia, these individuals the Russians were holding, and they were willing to make this extraordinary trade to get those four out.
TODD: That's right. Almost back to the 1980s all over again.
BLITZER: All right. We have seen this story before, this movie.
BLITZER: Thanks very much.
Jack Cafferty is next with "The Cafferty File."
Then President Obama suggests his own middle name might be a liability when it comes to winning over folks in Israel. You are going to see his candid interview, the first one he has done with an Israeli news organization, Israel's Channel 2. Stand by.
And the chief medical correspondent of CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, takes us into the government lab where Gulf seafood is now being tested for safety as the oil disaster unfolds.
And Sarah Palin's new Web video, it has a very distinct campaign feel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Here in Alaska, I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody is coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs. You thought pit bulls were tough. Well, you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File." Jack?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed.
Like most everywhere else, in Pennsylvania, times are tough. But you wouldn't necessarily know it by looking at parts of the state's new $28 billion budget.
Governor Ed Rendell is planning to borrow $20 million to pay for two new public buildings to be named after Senator Arlen Specter and the late Congressman John Murtha.
The Democratic governor is setting aside $10 million in borrowed money for the Specter Library at Philadelphia University.
And he's earmarking another $10 million in borrowed money for the Murtha Center for Public Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. Murtha represented the people of Pennsylvania for 36 years. He died this winter.
There are other pet construction projects, too. In all, they total $600 million, all paid for with borrowed money.
This comes as Pennsylvania is taking a scalpel to its budget due to the recession. Social services, for example, are being cut, including those for autism, mental health services, and family crisis. Aid to public libraries is also being cut by nine percent.
So, it's no surprise Governor Rendell is coming under fire for spending millions in borrowed money on a library for Arlen Specter.
The governor says these construction projects are a way to keep more Pennsylvania residents employed and to keep the state's economy humming. That's his word, humming.
Here's the question: Is now the time for Pennsylvania to borrow $20 million for centers devoted to Arlen Specter and John Murtha?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile. Post a comment on my blog.
BLITZER: Thank you, Jack.
Sarah Palin's political committee action is out with a brand-new Web video. It has a campaign feel and is already fueling talk of a possible White House run. It is called "Mama Grizzlies." Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: This year will be remembered as the year when commonsense conservative women get things done for our country.
PALIN: All across this country, women are standing up and speaking out for commonsense solutions. These policies coming out of D.C. right now, this fundamental transformation of America, well, a lot of women, who are very concerned about their kids' futures, are saying, we don't like this fundamental transformation, and we're going to do something about it.
It seems like it's kind of a mom awakening in the last year-and- a-half, where women are rising up and saying, "No, we've had enough already." Because moms kind of just know when something's wrong.
Here in Alaska, I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody's coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs. You thought pit bulls were tough. Well, you don't wanna mess with the mama grizzlies.
PALIN: And that's what we're seeing with all these women who are banding together, rising up, saying, "No, this isn't right for our kids and for our grandkids. And we're going to do something about this. We're going to turn this thing around. We're going to get our country back on the right track, no matter what it takes, to respect the will of the people.
Look out, Washington, because there's a whole stampede of pink elephants crossing the line, and the ETA stampeding through is November 2, 2010. Lot of women coming together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Let's bring in our chief political correspondent and the host of the "STATE OF THE UNION," Candy Crowley.
It certainly has a campaign feel to it, Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It does.
But there is a campaign coming up, and it is called the 2010 elections. And I think, look, no matter what Sarah Palin does, we are going to interpret it as a signal for 2012, simply because it is still out there, it's possible,. But she can raise money with this PAC.
She is talking about conservative women, but I have to tell you, I think the many times that Sarah Palin may have hurt the Republican Party, this is a pretty good ad. It is warm. It's fuzzy and it speaks to one of the most important constituencies in midterm elections or in any election, and that is women.
BLITZER: Because women go out there and vote in big numbers...
CROWLEY: In bigger numbers than men.
BLITZER: ... relatively speaking compared to men.
BLITZER: And the line she said, you know what, if you thought pit bulls were tough, wait until you see the mama grizzlies.
CROWLEY: The heck with soccer moms. We're onto grizzly moms.
CROWLEY: So, I think it was an effective ad. And I think it will probably do the Republican Party some good. It may raise money for her PAC, which is money that supposedly she will use to help some of these women out there.
And we have heard before, this may be the year of the conservative women.
BLITZER: Because she certainly helps conservatives, Republicans, in primaries, but in a general election, in a sort of a contested state, is she really going to be all that helpful, when these candidates are going after moderate independents, whether to the right or the left?
CROWLEY: I think it depends on the state.
South Carolina, I would bet that she would be a help to the governor, to Nikki Haley.
CROWLEY: In California, maybe not so much, because that is a state where a Republican like Arnold Schwarzenegger wins, and not the...
BLITZER: So, will Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, the two Republicans running for the Senate and the governor's race, will they want her to come into California and help them?
CROWLEY: If she can raise money, I bet so, yes.
BLITZER: Well, Meg Whitman doesn't have a problem with money.
CROWLEY: That's right. She does not have any problem at all.
But, look, I think that there are areas, too -- and this is true of the president -- it's true of any politician that can raise money -- there are areas you can take them to where they are really beneficial. There are other areas where take them to you just don't want them to be there.
BLITZER: It was a very impressive, very well-done ad.
CROWLEY: It was. Yes, I agree.
BLITZER: We will see what it does. She will raise some money.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Candy. We will see you Sunday morning 9:00 a.m., "STATE OF THE UNION."
Estimates are still saying at least mid-August before the BP oil spill can be stopped once and for all. Meantime, the fishing industry tries to carry on in the Gulf of Mexico. There are still fish and shrimp to catch, but it is really safe to put them on the table?
And the wait is almost over. The NBA star LeBron James announcing later tonight where he plans to play. Stay with us.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Let's get to a CNN exclusive right now about the Gulf oil spill seafood and whether or not it is really safe to eat fish right now from the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta just toured a federal lab where they are testing seafood. He is joining us now live via Skype.
Sanjay, what did you find out?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, about more than a third of the Gulf is closed to fishing, as you know.
And the way that they are enforcing that is, they have ships going out and preventing people from catching fish and bringing it back in. But simultaneously, Wolf, there's about 14 big boats traveling around the Gulf almost constantly gathering fish up for testing, for examination, taking it to this particular facility and doing all kinds of testing on it.
This has been ongoing really since April 28, Wolf. They take the fish and they do two types of testing. One is called sensory testing. And it is sort of a fascinating process to watch. People literally look at this fish. They're smelling it uncooked. They smell it after it is cooked. They taste it and several people are doing it at the same time who can't see each other and writing down their notes about whether or not they think that this fish is possibly tainted.
After that, the fish is then sent off and chemically tested for a variety of chemicals. Based on those testing together, they determine whether a particular fishing area should be reopened. And again this is an ongoing process.
The main safety net right now, Wolf, for protection is simply prohibiting fishing. But, as you know, there's a great deal of interest in trying to reopen some of these fishing areas. And it's those testing procedures that are basically the gateway for that, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, bottom line, Sanjay, based on what you've learned, is there reason for concern about the seafood?
GUPTA: Well, there was a few questions that I was really trying to get at with them. We spent a lot of time with them.
One is that despite everything that we know so far, Wolf, 80 days into this oil spill, we still don't know exactly where all the oil is. So, if you're closing down fishing areas dependent on knowing where the oil is, you don't have that critical piece of data. So, that makes it a little bit hard for that safety valve to be completely in effect.
Also, there's this question about dispersants. A lot of the testing is for something known as aromatic hydrocarbons. The problem is these dispersants, which a lot of people have talked about, Wolf. There's no specific testing for those. So, it's a little bit hard to know whether or not the testing ultimately is going to provide some guarantee of safety with regard to that.
And, finally, just the long-term impact of how much oil is at any given place where, that still sort of remains to be seen. If it's affecting fish at the earliest stage of life, for example, causing DNA mutations, could that cause generational problems for fish later on down the road? These are three issues that are still needing to be addressed before you can have a complete sense of safety with regard to this.
BLITZER: Sanjay, thanks very much -- Sanjay Gupta on the scene for us.
And, by the way, he's going to have a lot more on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the testing of all these seafoods coming out of the water. That's later tonight 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Dr. Gupta will anchor "A.C. 360" from the Gulf Coast. Stay with us for that.
President Obama on the chances of a Middle East peace deal before his first term in office is up. You are going to see his exclusive interview with Israel's Channel 2.
BLITZER: President Obama says it won't be easy, but he insists it can be done. He talked about prospects for a Middle East peace deal in his first term, as well as Israeli skepticism of him, with Yonit Levy of Israel's Channel 2.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YONIT LEVY, REPORTER: Is a peace agreement, in your opinion, can be -- it can be reached in the first term of your presidency?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think so.
I had an excellent meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I think that he is somebody who understands that we've got a fairly narrow window of opportunity. On the Palestinian side, moderates like Abu Mazen and Fayyad are, I think, willing to make the concessions and engage in negotiations that can result in peace. But their time frame in power may be limited if they aren't able to deliver for their people.
There's a constant contest between moderates and rejectionists within the Arab world. And then there's the demographic challenges that Israel is going to be facing if it wants to remain not only a Jewish state but a democratic state. So you look at all these pressures and you say to yourself, we probably won't have a better opportunity than we have right now. And that has to be seized. Now, it's going to be wrenching. It's going to be difficult.
LEVI: Do you believe Benjamin Netanyahu is the right man? Do you believe that he can bring peace?
OBAMA: I think that not only is Prime Minister Netanyahu a smart and savvy politician, but the fact that he is not perceived as a dove in some ways can be helpful in the sense that any successful peace will have to include the hawks and the doves on both sides. And in the same way that Richard Nixon here in the United States was able to go to china because he had very strong anti-communist credentials. I think, Prime Minister Netanyahu may be well positioned to bring this about.
And in our conversations yesterday, I had the impression that, you know, Prime Minister Netanyahu isn't interested in just occupying a space, a position, but he is interested in being a statesman and putting his country on a more secure track. So, I hope that that opportunity is seized, but ultimately, one thing you learn very quickly whether you're a president or a prime minister is that your power derives from the people. And it goes back to your first question, the Israeli people are going to have to overcome legitimate skepticism more than legitimate fears in order to get a change that I think will secure Israel for another 60 years.
LEVI: There are people in Israel who are anxious about you.
LEVI: And who -- you know, I'm quoting their sentiments feel like you don't have a special connection to Israel. How do you respond to that?
OBAMA: Well, you know, it's interesting, because this is the thing that actually surfaced even before I was elected president in some of the talk that was circulating within the Jewish-American community. Ironically, you know, I got a chief of staff named Rahm Israel Emanuel. My top political adviser is somebody who is, you know, descendent of holocaust survivors.
You know, my closeness to the Jewish-American community was probably what propelled me to the U.S. Senate, and my not just knowledge, but sympathy and identification with the Jewish experience is rooted in part because of the historic connection between the African-American freedom movement here in the United States and the civil rights efforts of Jewish-Americans and some of the same impulses that led to the creation of Israel, and so, I think where this arises from, some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein and that creates suspicion.
Some of it may have to do with the fact that I have actively reached out to the Muslim community, and I think that, sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there's a feeling of, you know, the friend of my enemy must be my enemy, and the truth of the matter is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to israel and to the west.
LEVI: So that, that fear, the tangible fear that some Israelis have that their best ally in the world might abandon them is --
OBAMA: Yes, well, it's pretty hard to square with the fact that not only have I in every speech that I've ever given talked about the unbreakable bond to Israel. Not only did I describe that special relationship and condemn those who would try to drive a rift between us in Cairo in front of a Muslim audience, but if you look at our actions, and the Prime Minister Netanyahu will confirm this, and even critics I think will have to confirm that the United States under my administration has provided more security assistance to Israel than any other administration in history, and we got greater security cooperation between our two countries than at any time in our history.
And the single most important threat to Israel, Iran, and its potential possession in the nuclear weapon has been my number one foreign policy priority over the course of the last 18 months. So, you know, it's hard to, I think, look at that track record and look at my public statements and in any way think that my passions for Israel's survival, its security and its people are in any way diminished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: President Obama speaking with Israel's Channel 2, our CNN affiliate, the reporter Yonit Levi.
Global warming skeptics called it the smoking gun. Now, the final word is in on the scandal known as Climategate or is it the final word?
And the NBA star, Lebron James, about to reveal where he'll play next with tens of millions of dollars at stake for the winning city. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: Since being named the contestant (ph) High School Player of the Year back in 2003, Lebron James has been a sought-after commodity and for very good reason. James was named rookie of the year in 2004. He's been named to the all-star team six times, has won back-to-back league Most Valuable Player awards. The fans have been waiting for years to find out if he will be leaving Cleveland this summer. Tonight, we are about to find out. CNN's Max Kellerman is joining us now with more on this. Can one player really be worth it as much of the hype and excitement as we're getting from Lebron James?
MAX KELLERMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. Lebron, and no one can win a championship by themselves. You need the pieces around you, but Lebron James took one of the two worst teams I've ever seen yet to the finals essentially by himself, and he beat some very good and recent championship teams along the way. So, he has as much impact on a team as any player in American team sports, and when you consider his age, he's 25. He is at the absolute peak, and he should have many years ahead of him, at least three, four, five years ahead of him at his absolute peak. He's absolutely worth this huge deal that everyone is making.
BLITZER: And the amount of money for the team that gets and for the city that gets him is really incredible. I noticed, yesterday, Madison Square Gardens which owns the New York Knicks when the word was out there, the rumor he's going to New York, the stock went up 5 percent or 6percent. Today, it looks maybe he's not going to New York, maybe Miami, or someplace else, the stock went down 4 percent, or 5 percent. You understand the financial stakes involved?
KELLERMAN: It's millions of dollars. You know, restaurants and taxi cabs needs insurance (ph) millions of dollars, but the real value of Lebron, I really think when cities and mayors start pushing for this, it's just kind of morale boosting in the guise of. Well, we need it for the economy. The real economy Lebron James affects is the equity in the team to which he arrives. I mean, that's the economy, but that money is shared by a very small group of wealthy people. Certainly, he generates a ton of money for any city, you know, in which he plays, but the real issue here is kind of morale and the excitement he generates just from being in that city, being able to watch him every night.
BLITZER: I love the fact that he is going to raise about $2.5 million tonight this live ESPN telecast when he makes this announcement at 09:00 p.m. later tonight. The money is going to go to the boys and girls clubs of America, and he's been very active in that, the commercial revenue. That's really nice, isn't it?
KELLERMAN: It's also a -- yes. He clearly has a real genuine interest in doing this, and it's great, of course. Whatever the motivation, you're raising money for charity, so great thing. But, it also lessons the blow to Cleveland, right? And how much can you complain? Listen, I held this press conference and over $2 million to the boys and girls club, but , you know, in the event that he doesn't stay in Cleveland, and I think it's doubtful that he stays in Cleveland, he can, you know, -- it cut shields in a bit from the kind of vitriol that certainly to come his way.
BLITZER: A lot of buzz out there that Miami could be the winner. What do you think?
KELLERMAN: If you look at it strictly from where does Lebron James win the most championships. Lebron James joins Miami just with Dwyane Wade, later alone (ph) with Chris Bosh and other pieces they'll put around him. They're going to win so much that even as two teams are playing and neither one is the Heat, neither one of those teams will be able to win. Like all the winning will be monopolized by the Heat.
No other team is allowed to win in the NBA. I don't think, including the Lakers, any team would take them seven games in series where that team really comes to fruition, but it doesn't seem to me that the most rational place for him to go is Miami. It's not the place from which his star can be amplified optimally in the same way that New York number one and Chicago number two are.
BLITZER: We'll see. We'll know soon enough. Hey, Max, thanks very much.
KELLERMAN: Appreciate it, Wolf.
BLITZER: Did researchers try to suppress evidence casting data and global warming. It's a scandal that rocked the scientific world only a few months ago, but now, there's a final decision or final word.
And the octopus who's correctly picked World Cup winners six times in a row. Get ready. CNN's Jeanne Moos will take a Moos unusual look.
BLITZER: Months after the so-called Climategate case questioned the evidence of climate change. An independent review has now cleared the scientists involved. CNN's Mary Snow is joining us from New York with more. I know you've been working on the story for months, but tell us what is now happening.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, you know, life goes on, but as one scientist who came under scrutiny tells us, you know, he's looking forward to just focusing on his work, but it's not that simple.
SNOW (voice-over): It was portrayed by global warming skeptics as the smoking gun. Hacked e-mails between scientists published on the internet that critic say proof to threat of global warming was exaggerated. Seven months later, an independent review has concluded there was no evidence to question the rigor and honesty of the climate scientists in those hacked e-mails including meteorology professor, Michael Mann of Penn State. But Professor Mann and others have already paid a personal price. He tells us he's received threatening e-mails and phone messages.
MICHAEL MANN, PENN STATE: That's really how ugly the climate change denial campaign has become, to the point where, where those behind that campaign are trying to intimidate the scientists, to scare the scientists.
SNOW: Mann shared some of the e-mails with us, one reads, you and your colleagues who have promoted this scandal ought to be shot, quartered and fed to the pigs along with your whole damn families. Another, you should know the public will come after you. At the heart of the controversy, the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit led by Phil Jones who, in one e-mail, referred to a trick. That fueled the controversy.
But this week's report concluded, the use of the word amounted to scientific slang. It did call a figure Jones supplied for a report in 1999 misleading of failing to display the proper degree of openness when it came to responding to request for information. It's that lack of openness which critics of this week's report stress.
BJORN LOMBORG, AUTHOR, "THE SKEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST": The fundamental problem here is that's what makes people turn off on climate change discussions when they get the feeling that they're not hearing the whole truth, but they're only hearing our edited version, if you will.
MANN: This whole affair has caused many of us to, many of the scientists, including myself to re-evaluate, again. What our role is not only as scientists, but as a communicators of findings of our science.
SNOW: But the so-called Climategate episode casts doubts just weeks before world leaders met at a United Nations conference in Copenhagen, and one environmental group says despite exonerations, there's damage.
KERT DAVIES, GREENPEACE: The lasting effect is that people now have some more doubt about whether or not climate change is urgent, whether or not global warming is here and now as we know it is or whether it is somehow questionable.
SNOW (on-camera): And, Wolf to, the point of scientists being more open, one thing stressed in this week's report is the influence of blogs, transforming the way science is done with lots of challengers and critics, and like it or not, the report states that it's a fact of life, and it would be foolish to challenge its existence -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. It's a fact of life for all of us. We got to watch and we got to learn. Thanks very much for that, Mary Snow. Good report.
But there's another way to follow what's going on in the SITUATION ROOM right now. I'm on Twitter. You can get my tweets at twitter.com/WolfBlitzer@CNN all one word. Jack Cafferty has your e- mail. That's coming up next.
Also, Senator Barbara Boxer of California talks about the tough race she has right now to try to keep her seat. That's coming up at the top of the hour on "John King, USA."
And his name is Paul, and he's a most unusual odds maker. Can this sea creature predict the World Cup final? Stay with us here in the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Let's get back to Jack for the "Cafferty File." -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: The question, Wolf, this hour, is: Now the time for Pennsylvania to borrow $20 million for centers devoted to Arlen Specter and John Murtha?
Ruth writes stories like this never cease to amaze me. While Americans are tightening the belt with their spending, losing jobs and homes, fearful about the future, these hapless politicos keep partying like it's 1999. This is not about keeping the economy humming, and Ed Rendell knows it.
Julie in Louisiana says: Why does Arlen Specter need a library? I thought that was for presidents. Why doesn't he pay for his own library?
Carl in San Francisco: When these facilities are finished by construction workers, there'll be permanent jobs for those who will maintain and operate them. The only money going into the economy now is from the government who's borrowing it from those fat cat money pigs that caused this mess in the first place. I don't see any Wall Streeters lifting a finger or a dollar to help the rest of us out. As long as all is well in the Hamptons, all is well everywhere. The fat cats got the gold mine, and the rest of us are getting the shaft.
Donna in Pennsylvania writes: I live in Pennsylvania, have all my life. I just watched you on the SITUATION ROOM with tears in my eyes. I have a 15-year-old grandson with autism. That money should not be borrowed, and if it is, use it on the budget. That's not good either, I guess. I don't understand what's happening to the United States.
Dave in Harrisburg writes: I'm a Pennsylvania state trooper, and today, I was driving around in a cruiser with 116,000 miles on it, overtime being micromanaged, but $20 million borrowed and wasted on nonsense. I can think of different ways to spend that kind of money.
And Mark writes: If I was a member of Congress, I wouldn't even want people to know I had served there, especially if I stayed way over the age of retirement just so I'd have somebody to talk to me in my old age. That's just me.
If you want to read more on this, you'll find it on my blog at CNN.com/caffertyfile.
BLITZER: I think I will do that.
CAFFERTY: That's why I stay here and talk to you every day because, you know, you're the only person will talk to me.
BLITZER: No, no, no. There are a lot of people talking to you, Jack. See you tomorrow. We'll continue this conversation.
She's facing the fight of her political life right now. The California democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, joins "John King, USA" at the top of the hour. Stand by for that.
Plus, World Cup predictions from "Paul" the octopus. He's now called six in a row. Jeannie Moos will take a Moos unusual look.
BLITZER: Here's a look at some hot shots. In Sri Lanka, the housing minister rests during a hunger strike to protest allegations that the Sri Lankan military committed war crimes.
In Egypt, workers digging a site where two painted tombs were discovered.
In Germany, two pose before the annual Chinese lantern plant there.
And another blistering hot day here in Washington, D.C., the national zoo male panda cools off by snacking on a popsicle. Hot shots, pictures worth a thousand words.
Groundhog Day has an oracle named "Phil". The World Cup has "Paul" the octopus. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos with a Moos unusual soothe sayer.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's an octopus who doesn't realize his goal is to predict World Cup winners.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call the oracle octopus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: he psychic sea creature.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tense called (ph) oracle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The psychic (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mystic mollusk has gotten famous.
MOOS: Paul lives at the Sea Life Aquarium in Germany where they lowered two boxes labeled with the flags of competing teams. Each box contains mussels, one of Paul's favorite foods.
He picked the winner like six times in a row.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a very sensitive octopus. MOOS: Faced with a choice between Germany, his current home and Spain, Paul to Germany then slinked over to Spain and later strattle (ph) the two before making his final pick by opening a box with the Spanish flag. Paul's less lucky relatives were on sale at New York's fairway market.
Octopus, $3.99 a pound, Paul's worth a heck of a lot more than that.
Some who were buying octopus were skeptical.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing must be fixed. I don't believe that there's some genius octopus.
MOOS: Paul isn't the first animal prognosticator. "Princess" the camel picked winning football teams by selecting one of two graham crackers from her owners' labeled palms while "Chippy" the pundit chimp was pinned against human pundits deciding between Rudy and Hillary for U.S. Senate. But Chippy never made it big like Paul who has his own website. Don't tell any my of my handlers that I can type and his own twitter account.
MOOS (on-camera): PETA has even gotten to the act demanding that Paul be set free. They're saying an octopus is not a prop that should be used for entertainment.
MOOS (voice-over): After correctly predicting Germany's loss to Spain, the psychic octopus has even received death threats. Put the thing on the menu. I ate your mother.
OLIVER WALECIAK, SEA LIFE AQUARIUM: We take a little bit more careful with the octopus than before. So, there are quite a lot of visitors who want to kill him.
MOOS: Prime Minister of Spain joked about sending Paul a protective team. And after Spain beat Germany, Spanish celebrity Chef Jose Andres took octopus off the menu. But a jokester on YouTube made Paul the target of a Hitler assassination plot.
Roasted one fan with eight tentacles, I'd like to see him do a penalty kick.
Jeannie moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: Good game this weekend. We'll be watching. Remember, you can always follow what's going on behind the scenes here in the SITUATION ROOM. I'm on twitter. You can get my tweets at twitter.com/WolfBlitzerCNN and WolfBlitzerCNN is all one word. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the SITUATION ROOM. "JOHN KING USA" starts right now.