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No Death Penalty for Moussaoui, Rush Limbaugh Resigns From ESPN Over Racial Remark

Aired October 2, 2003 - 17:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN: Happening now the CIA's man in charge of finding Iraq's banned weapons, he's giving intelligence briefings to Congress as we speak. We're waiting to hear what he says.
Stand by for hard news on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): Weapons of mass destruction, are they in Iraq or not? They key inspector goes behind closed doors with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. We're standing by to find out what he told them.

A major legal victory for the only 9/11 suspect to face prosecution. How did Moussaoui dodge the death penalty? We'll have a live report.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: And I have done things that were not right which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I have offended people.

O'BRIEN: Arnold Schwarzenegger owns up, the would-be California governor's surprise apology.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The path of least resistance became for me to resign.

O'BRIEN: Far from apologetic but he still loses his gig with ESPN and now radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has another problem.


ANNOUNCER: CNN live this hour, WOLF BLITZER REPORTS, live from the nation's capital with correspondents from around the world. WOLF BLITZER REPORTS starts now.

O'BRIEN: Thursday, October 02, 2003, hello today from CNN Center in Atlanta I'm Miles O'Brien in for Wolf Blitzer who is off today.

Some major developments and some major stories this afternoon, we have reporters covering every angle for you of course.

Kelli Arena, on a potentially significant setback for government prosecutors in a closely watched trial, the case against Zacarias Moussaoui; Bob Franken in Los Angeles with a bombshell from the Schwarzenegger campaign just five days before that recall election in California; and, Michael Okwu in Philadelphia with some surprising drug allegations coming right on the heels of Rush Limbaugh's resignation from ESPN.

Also, the search for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the CIA official in charge of the hunt is on Capitol Hill today briefing the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

We're standing by for David Kay's possible comments following his briefings, microphone stand there where that might happen. Members of the Intelligence Committee also are expected to speak. We'll bring you health doses of that as well.

Meanwhile, his boss, CIA Director George Tenet is strongly defending the agency's intelligence on Iraq. In a blunt letter to House Intelligence Chairman Porter Goss and Ranking Member Jane Harman, Tenet says he disagrees with the committee's charge that pre- war intelligence was inadequate.

He goes on to say and we quote the letter now: "The suggestion by the committee that we did not challenge longstanding judgments and assessments simply wrong. I emphatically disagree with the committee's view that intelligence reports on Iraq's ties to al Qaeda should have been screened out by a more rigorous vetting process because they were provided to analysts. Providing analysts less information on Iraq's connections to terrorists makes no sense to me."

Now, here's your turn to weigh in on this story. Our web question of the day is this. "Do you think weapons of mass destruction will in fact be found ultimately in Iraq"? Yes or no are the possible responses. No maybes allowed. We'll have the result later in this broadcast.

You can vote right now,, and while you're there we'd like to hear from you. Send us your comments. We might read some of them at the end of the program time permitting.

A federal judge has dealt a big legal blow in the long running case against the only person to face prosecution for the 9/11 attacks to date. Today's setback was suffered not by the defendant but by federal prosecutors.

CNN Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena joins us now with some details in all this.


KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a major blow to the government's case against Zacarias Moussaoui, the judge who will oversee the trial has ruled there will be no death penalty for the accused terrorist.

What's more, prosecutors will not be allowed to present any evidence Moussaoui was involved or had knowledge of the September 11 attacks. EDWARD MACMAHON, MOUSSAOUI ATTORNEY: The way we read the court's opinion is that it tried to balance the government's national security concerns against Moussaoui's fair trial rights.

ARENA: Judge Leonie Brinkema's ruling is a penalty for the government's refusal to let Moussaoui question three high-level al Qaeda detainees currently in U.S. custody overseas.

Moussaoui had argued the three, including September 11 planners Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalsheibh could help clear him of any involvement in the September 11 attacks.

Judge Brinkema concluded the defense has "adequately demonstrated that the detainees could provide testimony supporting the contention that Moussaoui may have been only a minor participant in the charged offenses."

At a complete stalemate, both the government and the defense asked the judge to dismiss the charges, prosecutors saying it would be the quickest way to get to an appeals court, which they hoped would be more sympathetic.

But, Judge Brinkema said in her ruling that: "The unprecedented investment of both human and material resources in this case mandates the careful consideration of such sanction other than dismissal."

RICHARD THORNBURGH, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The government always has a right to appeal the judge's ruling but I think the government could also reconsider its decision not to put this case into a military tribunal where they would have a little more leeway with respect to trying the case.


ARENA: Well, the government says that it's studying how best to proceed but a quick appeal is expected and, in a statement, the government says that it still believes it has a right to keep Moussaoui away from al Qaeda detainees and that it should be able to bring all of its evidence before the court, including evidence relating to the September 11 attacks - Miles.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Kelli Arena in Washington thanks much.

Some surprising developments in the California recall election to tell you about. Just five days before the vote, Arnold Schwarzenegger is admitting he's behaved badly with women. He made the statement after a newspaper article in the "L.A. Times" alleged he groped and degraded women on six occasions over the last three decades.

CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken is joining us live now from Los Angeles with the latest on this story - Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miles, there was kind of an evolution of how the reaction to the newspaper article went. First, the campaign spokesman Sean Walsh (ph) tried to discredit the newspaper report and also tried to discredit Democrats for trying to bring down Arnold Schwarzenegger in the period before the election.

The article, of course, interviewing six women most of them anonymously, talking about gropings, to use the word that was bantered around a lot that occurred during the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, all the way up until year 2000.

After all of these reactions, it was time for Arnold Schwarzenegger who was making his first stop in a statewide bus tour in San Diego to have his reaction. It's kind of a convoluted reaction.


SCHWARZENEGGER: I always say that wherever there's smoke there's fire. That is true and so what I want to say to you is that, yes, that I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right which I thought then was playful.

But now I recognize that I have offended people and to those people that I have offended I want to say to them I am deeply sorry about that and I apologize because this is not what I tried to do.


FRANKEN: In addition to that, Schwarzenegger called the article an example of trash. Now, as for Governor Gray Davis who is trying to get back and trying to overcome the Schwarzenegger lead as reflected in the polls his reaction to all this was very studied, very non- committal.


GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: The voters will determine how significant that story is. For sometime I have been saying this race is boiling down to a choice between me or Arnold Schwarzenegger and I'm confident the voters will decide who is the best qualified to lead this state.


FRANKEN: And then, of course, the other major player in this election is the Democratic Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante who is running as a recall alternative if Davis is recalled. His response to the whole matter was much more harsh.


LT. GOV. CRUZ BUSTAMANTE (D), CALIF. GOV. CANDIDATE: These charges of sexual battery and assault are serious charges. Arnold says that he thought that he was being playful. He now says he understands that his actions were offensive. Well, according to the California penal code it says, and I quote, "Any person who touches an intimate part of another person against their will is guilty of a misdemeanor sexual battery."


FRANKEN: Now, of course, everybody is trying to see how this resonates in the last days of the campaign. A group called Code Pink, which is a collection of feminist groups is calling for Schwarzenegger to step down.

As for Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, she is not traveling with him on the statewide tour. She is campaigning, according to a spokesperson, campaigning separately for her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Bob Franken in Los Angeles thanks very much.

And now the Rush and some judgments, law enforcement sources tell CNN radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has illegally purchased large amounts of powerful prescription painkillers. This follows the controversy over what some say was a racial comment Limbaugh made on ESPN. We'll have more on that in just a moment.

But first, CNN's Michael Okwu live in Philadelphia with more on those drug allegations. Michael, interesting turn of events today.

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Interesting turn of events, Miles. It's been a very tough week, obviously, for the conservative talk show host. Now these same sources are saying that he basically started purchasing these painkillers as early as 1998 and that somebody who was on his staff says that he might have had - that she has information that suggests he might have been buying some of these painkillers as recently as last year.

Now, at least one source described Limbaugh as something of an addict, basically saying that he would take sometimes as many as 100 pills a day, including the drugs OxyContin and Hydrocodone.

Now, sources also say that Limbaugh is not the focus of an ongoing investigation. He is simply one of many who have been illegally buying drugs from this multimillion dollar black market ring.

The following statement from Limbaugh, quoting now: "I am unaware of any investigation by any authorities involving me. No governmental representative has contacted me directly or indirectly. If my assistance is required in the future, I will of course cooperate fully" - Miles.

O'BRIEN: All right, Michael Okwu in Philadelphia.

We're going to go right now to Washington. Apparently, the testimony by David Kay, the weapons of mass destruction inspector, is complete and we are hearing now from Senator Pat Roberts, the Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence and let's listen.


O'BRIEN: We have been listening to Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia. There is the chairman of the committee Pat Roberts and prior to that, of course, the man at the center of all this, the man who has been hunting for weapons there David Kay offering us essentially what he said was substantial evidence of intent to manufacture weapons of mass destruction by high-ranking Iraqis but nevertheless no evidence, concrete evidence of existing weapons of mass destruction.

Let's bring in Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, who's been listening to all of this. We should make it clear Senator Nelson was not in for the classified briefing. That's not his committee. Senator Nelson, good to have you with us first of all.


O'BRIEN: Don't be surprised by surprises in Iraq, I thought that was something to take away from that. Having said all that, anything surprise you?

NELSON: Yes. I'm surprised that over a half a year ago we were told that there were weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq had the capability of delivering them with unmanned aerial vehicles and now six and a half months after the time that we entered Iraq in the war we still don't have them. So, there are Senators here that are expressing, this Senator included, the frustration that Senator Rockefeller just expressed.

O'BRIEN: Senator Bill Nelson, we're going to ask you to stand by. We need to take a little break. We're going to come back and talk with you more about this as well as the calls on Capitol Hill for a special prosecutor to investigate possible leaks by the administration of blowing the cover on a CIA operative. Stand by if you will. We appreciate your forebearance in all this.

In the meantime, a swirl of controversy and now the consequences more on Rush Limbaugh's woes as our live coverage continues.

And, a CNN exclusive for you, the last television interview with Army Chaplain Yousef Yee, taped before he was accused of spying at Guantanamo Bay.

And then, vigilante justice in Iraq, residents being urged to kill alleged Saddam informers, a story you'll see first and only on CNN and it will begin here on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS in just a few moments.


O'BRIEN: All right more now on Rush Limbaugh. In addition to his name turning up in a drug investigation as aforementioned, Limbaugh also has resigned from his role as a commentator on ESPN over remarks seen by many as racist.

CNN's Kara Henderson is here to give us some details. Hello, Kara.

KARA HENDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miles, the drama was fast and furious. It started with a comment Limbaugh made Sunday on an NFL pre-game show and it ended yesterday with Limbaugh resigning from ESPN.

He talked about it today in Philadelphia in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters.


LIMBAUGH: I offered an opinion. In my opinion it was not a racial opinion. It was an opinion about the media.

HENDERSON (voice-over): That opinion was about popular Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb a former MVP runner-up. Here's what Limbaugh said on ESPN's Sunday "NFL Countdown."

LIMBAUGH: I think the sum total of what you're all saying is that Donovan McNabb is regressing. He's going backwards. In my -- I'm sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get- go. I think what we have here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well (unintelligible) black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well.

HENDERSON: There was little reaction at the time from Limbaugh's co-hosts Michael Irvin and Tom Jackson, both former NFL players and both black. McNabb himself noted that.

DONOVAN MCNAB, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES QUARTERBACK: You know somebody should have jumped up there and said something.

HENDERSON: Limbaugh said that became a problem.

LIMBAUGH: What happened was that some of my cast members began to be made to feel uncomfortable by the press and others who couldn't believe that they had not responded to what I said so the path of least resistance became for me to resign.

HENDERSON: By midweek, Limbaugh was under fire from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the comments were a little unfair to Donovan McNabb when you consider that he's been in the National Football League for four years. He's been in the playoffs three of those four years I believe.

WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I said that he should be fired. When somebody makes comments like that that are so obviously racially prejudiced we don't tolerate that in modern American society.

HENDERSON: But even with a small group of protesters now hounding him, Limbaugh maintains it was a comment solely about the media and that the entire race thing was overblown.

LIMBAUGH: The circumstances at ESPN early in the week the management there, was vigorously defending what had happened. They saw really nothing wrong with it and really nothing was. I mean it's such a tempest in a teapot.


HENDERSON: Now the head of ESPN says the network regrets the circumstances and believes Limbaugh took the appropriate action to resolve the matter. But Miles, ESPN may not necessarily be off the hook. Jeffrey Lurie, who is the owner of the Eagles, came out today and accused the network of institutional racism not only for hiring Limbaugh, but also for the portrayal of athletes in their fictional show "Playmakers," which started this season.

O'BRIEN: So the story continues. All right. Kara Henderson, thanks very much.

Stepping up the pressure in Pakistan. The largest raid by Pakistani forces to date. CNN is, of course, there in the remote region for you. We'll measure the success.

Accused of espionage, suspected spy James Yousef Yee's last interview before he was taken into custody at Guantanamo.

Revenge killings in Iraq. Residents now taking matters into their own hands and all eyes are on one list.

The story in a moment.


O'BRIEN: There's a new development in the case involving possible spying at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Army Captain James Yousef Yee is one of three men being held on suspicion of espionage and treason. Yee served as a Muslim chaplain at the base, site of a prison housing hundreds of detainees, most of them al Qaeda and Taliban captured in Afghanistan.

CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher has an exclusive look at Yee's last revealing interview before his arrest.


MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Miles, the interview was conducted September 6 at Guantanamo bay by veteran journalist Ashwin Rahman, a German of Indian decent who has worked extensively in the Islamic world. After the interview, rahman became convinced that Yee is not everything he's cracked up to be, a knowledgeable student of Islam, fluent Arabic speaker and possible spy.

In the interview, Yee said he only spoke a little Arabic. And Rahman points to this exchange with Yee about which branch of Islam follows.


ASHWIN RAHMAN, JOURNALIST: So are you a Shia or a Sunni?

CAPTAIN JAMES YEE, ARMY CHAPLAIN: I'm a chaplain in the United States military.

RAHMAN: Which is neither here nor there.

YEE: I'm a chaplain at the United States military currently at -- currently at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

RAHMAN: Yes. But like a Christian, you have to be Protestant or a Catholic.

YEE: I'm a chaplain in the United States military.

RAHMAN: OK. I'll leave it...



BOETTCHER: Rahman, while admitting his view is subjective, says he would describe Yee as an Islamic romantic, not a fundamentalist spy -- Miles.


O'BRIEN: For more on this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) exclusive report, "Espionage at Guantanamo," be sure to watch Mike Boettcher's complete report on CNN's "ANDERSON COOPER" program starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time right here on CNN.

Now another front in the war on terror, Pakistan. Pakistani soldiers swooped down on an al Qaeda mountain hideout in the rugged border region with Afghanistan.

We have an exclusive story from CNN's Ash-har Quraishi.


ASH-HAR QURAISHI, CNN ISLAMABAD BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The joint ground and air operation began just before daylight, in the remote region of South Wazhiristan (ph) in northwest Pakistan.

MAJ. GEN. SHAUKAT SULTAN, PAKISTAN ARMY: You can see immediately behind me where you can see some smoke coming out upon receipt of credible information, that there are some foreign elements in a hide outhere.

QURAISHI: U.S. officials and intelligence forces say it is possible that al Qaeda Osama bin Laden may be hiding out in this rugged area.

(on camera): There has -- there have been reports and speculation about the existence of al Qaeda and resurgent Taliban fighters coming back, retreating to this location in Pakistan and then launching attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

(voice-over): Officials say they had been monitoring the movement of suspected militants crossing in and out of Afghanistan over the last day or two. The military says they had been taking refuge in mud structures at Angur Ugda (ph), very close to the Afghanistan border.

SULTAN: The effort of our troops was not to fire. Immediately upon arrival here, they first asked those people to surrender voluntarily. Once those people did not surrender, they made an effort to apprehend them.

QURAISHI: Even as journalists were allowed close to the compounds, helicoptered gunships could be seen overhead. Smoke rose in the distance and sporadic gunfire could be heard.

Inside one compound, security forces displayed some of the suspected militants they said had been captured, along with AK-47 assault rifles, anti-tank mines, audio cassettes and other documents.

As journalists were taken out of the area by military helicopter, one Pakistani soldier killed in the operation was loaded on board with us. Another soldier was killed and two others wounded.

The Pakistani military has only recently begun to move into these previously inaccessible tribal areas. It is treacherous terrain where sympathy for al Qaeda and the Taliban runs strong, and where opposition to the central government has a long history.

(on camera): I'm Ash-har Quraishi, CNN, reporting from Wazhiristan in the tribal belt on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.


O'BRIEN: All right.

Joining me now, Washington studio, to talk more about the Pakistani raid and also that spy case at the navy base at Guantanamo, security consultant Jeffrey Beatty.

Mr. Beatty, good to have you with us.


O'BRIEN: It's my pleasure.

Now this raid we just heard all about, is significant for a lot of reasons, I'm told. Why don't you put it in perspective for us?

BEATTY: Well, I think that there's a couple of items that really leap out to me. You know, both of the little things we're going to talk about deal with intelligence collection.

There seemed to be a big improvement in the Pakistani ability to use intelligence effectively, to be able to focus in on an area of the country where they've previously had not had much success, to put surveillance in place, to watch it for a day or more and then become convinced that they needed to bring in reaction forces. These reaction forces were able to assemble over a 12 to 24-hour period and move to the northwest part of the country and launch a very successful raid. And when you look at the numbers of people there, 25 to 30, that's a significant number of al Qaeda fighters who, no doubt, were kind of achieving that critical mass and getting ready to move across into an operation probably in Afghanistan against coalition forces.

O'BRIEN: So you have the sense they were big fish?

BEATTY: I don't have the sense that they were big fish, but I have the sense that this is not insignificant. To be able to have this capability to take away a safe haven, if you will, really is significant for the Pakistanis and it really shows -- it takes some pressure off the coalition forces that are fighting in Afghanistan.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk for a minute about the perspective of how you deal with the situation in that region. That is lawless country, rugged country. Your background is special forces, Delta Force specifically. You know a lot about how to go after people in this kind of situation. Is it an all but impossible task to root them out?

BEATTY: It really isn't. But people cannot expect that it's going to be easy. Patience is required. Discipline is required. And I think that this is almost a textbook case, from everything we know thus far, Miles, of how to go about doing these operations. You put in a limited number of resources to confirm that you have a target. And then you bring in an assault force big enough to handle that target.

Again, the Pakistanis appear to have gone about this conscious of the lessons of Somalia, that baited-trap ambush that brought about Black Hawk down. They seem to use caution, did not rush in. I think that this shows that these operations can be successfully done but that they take time and they are dependent upon intelligence which, of course, is what al Qaeda is out there gathering too.

O'BRIEN: And the Pakistanis have been very ambivalent about this whole issue. A lot a political issues to deal with at home for president Musharraf.

Do you think that there is a turn of events there, some pressure being applied which will make them more players in this region?

BEATTY: I think that this clearly shows they are committed to doing this type of activity. Once they've kind of let the genie out of the bottle, they have no course of action but to pursue this rather aggressively. Because these people -- allies of these people could just as easily try to launch operations against Pakistani forces. And clearly, they want to stabilize the Pakistani government because Pakistani government is now coming down on them.

O'BRIEN: I am sorry we spent a lot of time on this. I've got to ask you about (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Yee. Mike's piece was very interesting. It cast new light on it. It sort of gives one the impression he might have been innocent idealistic, whatever, and this might have been slightly misunderstood.

BEATTY: It could have been misunderstood. But the military is showing us they have three different people suspected of gathering intelligence in Guantanamo Bay. The intelligence they were gathering were people's names, not only names of the people being held, but the guards and diagrams of the site. I talked to some government officials today who say one of the possibly interpret is, believe it or not, al Qaeda may have been planning or is considering some sort of offensive operation directed against Guantanamo Bay. Whether it's assassinating people that are talking or even retribution against the families or individuals that are holding those people captive.

O'BRIEN: Lot different than we just heard. All right, you decide. Jeffrey Beatty, security consultant former Delta Force. Always a pleasure to have you with us, we appreciate it.

Show me the weapons. The CIA's top weapons hunter faces Congress. You heard him talk to us just a few moments ago. Gave us a sense of what he said behind closed doors. We'll tell you a little bit about that. We have the report. We'll get reaction. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: Let's get back to our top story. The Bush administration's continued search for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. David Kay, the man in charge of the CIA's weapons hunt, was questioned behind closed doors by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. This is his non-classified statement to that committee just a few moments ago. He told reporters as much as he could about all this.

And our man covering the story is CNN's national security correspondent David Ensor who obviously has access to this and as well as that, his sources giving us a sense of what went on behind closed doors -- David.

DAVID ENSOR, NATL. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Miles, I think the headlines still have to be, this quote right here from the report, "We have not yet found stocks of weapons, but we're not yet at a point where we can say definitively either that such weapon stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war. Our only task is to find out where they have gone."

That said, there is a lot of interesting new detail here about what is being found. David Kay says in the testimony that he's found a clandestine network of laboratories and state houses run by the Iraqi Intelligence Service containing equipment suitable for chemical and biological weapons research. They found a prison laboratory complex they believe may have been used to test biological weapons agents on prisoners. They found in the house -- in the home of a scientist, they found live organisms, botulinum and toxin in test tubes. And think we may have a picture of that to show you. This was found in the home of a biological weapons scientist. It includes live botulism.

They found research also on Brucella and Congo Crimean Haemorrhagic fever . Research on ricin, and aflatoxin. All of this not declared to the U.N. All of this secret research on biological weapons that was being done by the Iraqis, according to David Kay. They found thousands of documents and equipment hidden in scientists homes, including some that could have been useful for uranium enrichment, although the headlines are really not of a nuclear area. A lot of information showing, as David Kay mentioned on our air a short time ago, that the Iraqis were trying to develop a 1,000 kilometer miss that will would have been able to hit places like Cairo and Abu Dhabi and that they had a much more advanced program using liquid and solid fuel than had so far been known.

Finally, there is 600,000 tons of artillery shells and bombs and other equipment that the U.S. has its hands on in Iraq and has not yet had time to test to see whether they are chemical munitions. Know, you'll recall, Miles, at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, the U.N. declared that there were a lot of chemical munitions, not spoken for. And this testimony, in it Kay says that the chemical munitions were known to have been mixed in with all the other munitions. So they still may find chemical munitions among all the other shells and military equipment that they have. There is a lot here, although there is not yet any finding of a weapon of mass destruction -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: CNN's David Ensor in Washington. Thank you very much.

Let's get back to Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida who has been listening to all of this. Wasn't there for that classified briefing we've been telling you about by David Kay, but nevertheless is among the people watching this very closely. Senator Nelson, listening to David Ensor reading this report in front of me, there is an awful lot of puzzle pieces here, clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses, a prison laboratory complex for possibly human testing, strains of biological organisms, propellant, on and on. It sounds like the pieces of the puzzle but not the assembled puzzle.

Aren't the pieces enough?

NELSON: No. The question is one of timing. We know, for example, back in the mid '90s that he still had weapons of mass destruction. But the question was, did we need to go when we did in March, or was there sufficient threat to the interest of the United States so that we had to go then as opposed to waiting and building an international coalition that would have given us significant international cover instead of now being an American face occupying a Muslim country. And I think it's one of nuance here.

Did Saddam used to have the weapons of mass destruction? Yes.

But did he at the time that the administration said that he did? And there hasn't been the evidence produced.

O'BRIEN: Senator Nelson, what you're talking about then is really sort of the evidence of a clear and present danger. You know, missiles in a silo, that kind of thing. I suppose it seems pretty unlikely at this point that sort of intact capability would be found. It probably would have been discovered by now. How much time are you willing to give David Kay and his team -- he says he needs six to nine more months, some $600 million more to do this.

Is that worth the effort at this juncture?

NELSON: Well, I think we need to keep searching. I'm not sure it's a good expenditure of funds. We're going to be in a position to search because we're going to be in Iraq for a long period of time. But goodness, gracious, sure hope we're in there with an international force instead of it just being Americans.

O'BRIEN: Give us a sense then of, as he said, don't be surprised by any surprises from Iraq.

What at this -- would it surprise you if this team did in fact find what you talked about, something that was imminent and posed a threat to the region and perhaps the United States?

NELSON: Well, I think the greatest find that they can have now to protect the interest of the United States is to find Saddam Hussein. And then, if we find evidence later on of weapons of mass destruction, that bolsters our case.

But right now, you know, if they haven't found him in 6 1/2 months after we crossed the line on March the 19th, it's getting to be less and less of an important issue. Because where are those unmanned aerial vehicles that we were told that they could use that anthrax and suddenly drop on American interests, including American cities?

O'BRIEN: All right.

NELSON: It's just not there.

O'BRIEN: What they talk about a UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle production facility, which of course is precisely your point. Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, thanks for being patient with us today. We appreciate it.

One last dozens of names. Now some Iraqis get even for the last three decades they've lived in fear. This is an exclusive report. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: There is a list circulating throughout Baghdad. It contains the names of suspected informants for the cruel fallen regime of Saddam Hussein. It calls for their heads. Some Iraqis say they would embrace vigilante justice. Other see revenge in a much different light. Harris Whitbeck back has a CNN exclusive for us.


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Graduation day at a Shiite religious school in the Baghdad neighborhood Hi al-Salam (ph). Proud students, but their principal Sheik Mohammed al Bakr al Basry is prouder. These students he says are the best revenge.

Their story of vengeance and how these young children became its instrument began with the killing of this man, Sheik Abdel al Zabehr (ph). The current Sheik's father, a leader in Iraq's Shiite community. He founded the school in the early 1970s when Saddam Hussein's government was bent on repressing the Shiites.

SHEIK MOHAMED BAKR AL BASRY, SCHOOL PRINCIPAL (through translator): I remember the day well, he says the security forces arrived and entered the school. It was dawn. We ran from the school but they took my father.

WHITBECK: The Sheik says hundreds more like his father disappeared from this predominantly Shiite neighborhood during the Saddam Hussein years. Mostly, he says, at the arrogant and ruthless hands of members and supporters of the ruling Ba'ath party.

(on camera): Residents say that even after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the neighborhood Ba'athists were still highly visible. But after this list started circulating, most of those Ba'athists simply melted away.

(voice-over): The document was circulated in the neighborhood a week ago by an obscure group devoted to finding Iraqi political prisoners. It has two columns of names. In one, the names of those who disappeared during the Saddam Hussein regime. In the other, the names of the local Ba'athists who allegedly turned them in. It's not clear how the named were obtained or if they've been verified.

Fatima's (ph) young brother, Abdul Latif (ph), disappeared in 1980. At the time he worked at underground religious school. Fatima says now that she knows who is responsible for her brother's death, she wants revenge.

FATIMA (through translator): We are Arabs, she says, which means our blood boils. If he is responsible for the death of my brother, I will not tolerate seeing him in front of my eyes without taking revenge.

But just a block from her house at the religious school, Sheik al Basry has a different take on seeking revenge. He says he too now knows from the list the identity of the man who might be responsible for his father's death. But, though the Koran, like the Old Testament says, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, the Sheik says that's now how he sees it.

AL BASRY (through translator): We don't have to kill them physically, he says. Every time a child walked in and out of this school, it is a type of revenge. We're killing them with our intellect, with our energy, with the lives we have taken back.

Children back in the school whose founder was killed for running. Revenge can take many forms. Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Baghdad.


O'BRIEN: So, do you think weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq ultimately? Vote now at That's our question of the day. We'll have the results when we come back.


O'BRIEN: Once again out question is, "do you think weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq?" You response, 65 percent of you say no. Once again, that poll was not scientific. Nevertheless, we find it interesting.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Miles O'Brien in for Wolf Blitzer today. "LOU DOBBS RIGHT" starts right now.


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