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THE SITUATION ROOM

Republican Senator Parts Ways With President Bush on Iraq; New Documents Show Darker Side of CIA

Aired June 26, 2007 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: And to our viewers, you're in the in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, a Republican stalwart respected for his statesmanship parting ways with the president of the United States on Iraq.
When it comes to support for the war, could that be the straw that breaks the GOP elephant's back?

The CIA airs its dirty laundry. Decades of secret documents shedding new light on kidnappings, domestic spying and a plot with mobsters to kill Fidel Castro.

And a campaign surprise for one candidate. Elizabeth Edwards splits with her husband on the issue of gay marriage.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

You're in the in THE SITUATION ROOM.

A key Republican who stayed the course on Iraq is now breaking ranks with President Bush.

Is the dam now about to burst for the GOP, unleashing a torrent of Republican criticism of the war?

Let's go live to CNN's Brian Todd, who's watching this story. This is no rank and file Republican we're talking about -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is not, Wolf.

The White House is trying to downplay this, but many believe the fact that Senator Richard Lugar has such high stature in the party makes this, in fact, a very painful defection for the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

TODD (voice-over): A dramatic turn from a loyal, powerful Republican senator, who had supported the president's troop surge and had, until now, held his tongue on Iraq.

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: The prospects that the current surge strategy will succeed in the way originally envisioned by the president are very limited and in the short period of time framed by our own domestic political debate. TODD: Senator Richard Lugar, the Republican senior foreign policy voice in Congress for the better part of a decade, says he does not favor total withdrawal. But a former adviser to Democratic and Republican presidents says Lugar's push for a scaled down is bitter political medicine for the White House.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: When Dick Lugar comes out against your foreign policy, it means the dam is breaking and it means we're much more likely now, as a country, to move from Plan A to Plan B some time this fall when it comes to Iraq.

TODD: White House officials say they appreciate Lugar's advice, take it seriously.

But...

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We also believe that it's very important to go ahead and let the surge, number one, finish getting put in place; and, second, let's see what results it produces.

TODD: Analysts and Republican strategists say it's one thing for less experienced Republicans to go against the White House, but with a respected senior party statesman now turning, some believe it gives cover for other skeptical Republicans of Lugar's stature, like Senator John Warner, to make a complete break.

STUART ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": I think that most or all of them will probably wait until closer to September, when we'll have the report from General Petraeus and when Congress as a whole -- and, in fact, the White House -- will be reevaluating the policy.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

TODD: In fact, Lugar's speech has already reverberated among Republicans. Ohio Senator George Voinovich, also on the Foreign Relations Committee, sent President Bush a letter today saying it is time to start withdrawing troops -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd watching the story for us.

Thanks, Brian, very much.

Our Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, just spoke with Senator Voinovich just moments ago on Capitol Hill.

Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. GEORGE VOINOVICH (R-OH), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: And I think everybody knows that we fumbled the ball right from the beginning on this. And I think that one way that they can make up for it is to say we're going to do this disengagement in a comprehensive way, involve the world community, make sure that that area is stabilized and that we don't end up with chaos and a -- and a civil war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The criticism from within his own party comes as President Bush is back at low ebb in the polls. In our latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, only 32 percent of Americans approve of the way the president is handling his job, tying his previous low. Sixty-six percent disapprove, and support for the war has dropped to a new low, as well. Only 30 percent of Americans favor the war in Iraq. Sixty-seven percent are opposed.

The president scored one success today, a limited one. The immigration reform legislation he supports sprang back to life in the Senate. But opponents from his own party are still trying to bury the bill.

Let's turn to our White House correspondent, Elaine Quijano.

She's watching this story.

Where is it all heading -- Elaine?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, now the focus for the White House is going to be looking at these amendments with the goal of getting this legislation through the Senate in the coming week. But it has been a bitter fight so far and it is far from over.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

QUIJANO (voice-over): One huge hurdle down, several more to go, for a White House looking to keep immigration reform alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The yeas are 64. The nays are 35.

QUIJANO: Just weeks after compromise legislation stalled, Tuesday's Senate vote to reopen debate on the issue marked a White House victory.

SNOW: We know there's a long and -- a long debate ahead when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform. We are certainly please with the -- the early vote on the motion to proceed.

QUIJANO: But skepticism runs deep among conservative Republicans, including Texas Senator John Cornyn. He voted not to move forward with debate, questioning whether the government would make good on its pledges to crack down on illegal immigrants.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: My concern is the gulf between the promise being made to the American people and the likelihood that that promise will be carried out.

QUIJANO: Mindful of those doubts, President Bush told a friendly audience of immigration reform supporters, this time around the bill includes money up front to boost border security.

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a matter of fact, there's a $4.4 billion direct deposit on enforcement measures.

QUIJANO: But the president showed no signs of backing away from a guest worker program.

BUSH: It's important for our fellow citizens to understand that in order to enforce the border, there has to be a way for people to come to our country on a temporary basis to do work Americans aren't doing.

QUIJANO: He also says he remains committed to an earned path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a highly controversial proposal which critics deride as amnesty.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

QUIJANO: Now, behind the scenes, aides say President Bush continues to be active and personally lobbying senators, making calls on this issue.

Next up, the White House is focusing its attention on the so- called poison pills or amendments designed to kill the legislation altogether. Officials hope to push the bill through the Senate before lawmakers leave for the Fourth of July recess -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens on the Senate floor.

Thanks, Elaine, very much.

Let's check in with Jack Cafferty.

He's in New York with The Cafferty File -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, THE CAFFERTY FILE: It seems terribly disingenuous to me, Wolf, to stand there and say if you pass this new amnesty bill, which is what the conservative Republicans think this immigration reform package is all about, we're going to enforce the border. You've had five -and-a-half years to enforce the border.

Why haven't you enforced the border then?

Why haven't we secured the border?

I mean to stand up and say we've got to address this problem when it's been within your purview, within your power to do so for five- and-a-half years and you've chosen not to, what's that about?

When it comes to Muslim Americans, greater political and civil involvement is crucial to America's security and well-being. This is a new report sponsored by an independent, nonpartisan group that's called the Chicago Council of Global Affairs. Interesting stuff.

The report says Muslim Americans remain relatively isolated in this country and, as a result, lack the voice needed to get regular access to the government and the media. The findings say that it's important for Muslim leaders and institutions in the United States to step up their condemnation of extremism and terrorism, and to continue their efforts to stop radical activity.

One of the task force leaders, Lynn Martin, a former secretary of Labor and Illinois congresswoman says: "The continued isolation and mistrust of Muslim Americans since 9/11 is a recipe for a national crisis. It's in the interests of all Americans to build trust and rapidly bring Muslim Americans into the mainstream to strengthen our democratic institutions and to improve homeland security.

So here's the question this hour -- how important is it for Muslim Americans to become more integrated?

E-mail your thoughts on that to caffertyfile@cnn.com or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thank you.

Still ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, plotting with mobsters to kill Fidel Castro. The CIA lets its skeletons out of the closet, declassifying hundreds of pages of secret documents. We'll have a summary for you.

Also, a visitor from California brings Tony Blair some warm words on efforts to fight global warming. Meantime, the outgoing prime minister has a new job lined up.

And harsh words, very harsh words from Afghanistan's president. Why he's warning U.S.-led forces that his people's lives are not cheap.

Stay with us.

You're in the in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Britain's outgoing prime minister, Tony Blair, won't be going away all that fast. He'll remain in the spotlight as a special envoy for what's called the Middle East Quartet. That's the peacekeeping group made up of the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

CNN's Becky Anderson is in London -- Becky.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's been mooted (ph) for some time that Tony Blair will be looking for a position of significance on the global stage after he left Ten Downing Street behind me as British prime minister.

Well, it seems he is wasting no time at all. News from the State Department today that on Wednesday, the Quartet for Middle East peace will announce that Tony Blair will be the new Middle East peace envoy.

A good position for Tony Blair. He'll want that. He made Middle East peace a big priority for his 10 years in office. He hasn't achieved what he wanted to achieve and his reputation, for many, has been solid in the region. So it will be a position that he wants and a position that he hopes he'll be successful in -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Becky Anderson outside Number Ten Downing Street in London for us.

And as Tony Blair steps aside as prime minister, Britons are reflecting on what his legacy might be.

Let's go to our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton -- Abbi, how is the media in the U.K. looking back at Tony Blair?

ABBI TATTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Blair and the British media, you might remember that Prime Minister Tony Blair, earlier this month, accused the British media of hunting in a pack like a feral beast, tearing people and reputations to bits. A lot of the ammunition for that through the years due to Blair's relationship with President Bush.

Well, now, as he's on the eve of him stepping down from the prime minister role, the papers, the TV shows are packed with reflections on his legacy. From "The Guardian" Web site: "Blair won three general elections, waged five wars and reinvented the way Britain is governed," inviting readers there to judge for themselves his legacy.

From "The Independent," a left-leaning newspaper that was singled out by Blair in his remarks, from their lead editorial today, saying: "Once he goes, the entire system of government needs to reshuffled."

The right-leaning "Telegraph," in a retrospective on their Web site today, they seem to just want to get on with it, calling it the longest, most stage-managed farewell in British, if not world, political history -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Abbi, thank you for that.

By the way, on his last full day in office, the prime minister met with visiting California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who praised Tony Blair for taking steps to tackle global warming. Schwarzenegger put in a plug for his own state, saying California could serve as a model for the U.S. government in protecting the environment.

In Afghanistan, a rising civilian death toll has led to angry warnings aimed at U.S. and allied forces.

Here's our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With as many as 40 Afghan civilians killed by coalition troops in recent days, President Hamid Karzai, under pressure from his people, is blasting what he calls careless operations by the U.S. and NATO.

PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: You don't find a terrorist by firing a field gun 37 kilometers away into a target. That is definitely surely bound to cause civilian casualties. STARR: The U.S. on Saturday took the unusual step of firing into Pakistan, trying to strike insurgents on the run. Nine Pakistani civilians were killed.

Two days earlier, in southern Afghanistan, two dozen civilians may have been killed when Taliban fighters tried to hide in their village.

And on June 17th, seven children were killed in a U.S. strike on a suspected insurgent compound in Eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. commanders say they hold the Taliban and Al Qaeda responsible for all of it, because they use civilians as a shield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We operate against an insurgent enemy who has no regard for the civil population, frequently conducting terror operations within population areas, waging a campaign of intimidation.

STARR: A group of relief work organizations says that so far this year, coalition strikes have been responsible for the deaths of a minimum of 230 civilians, including at least 60 women and children. Tensions may rise even further. The German magazine "Focus" published this story, alleging U.S. soldiers tied this Afghan man to their vehicle, threatening to drag him to get information. A U.S. military criminal investigation is underway.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

STARR: Wolf, all of these incidents underscore the tense position that U.S. forces occupy in the country. But U.S. commanders say they are taking every precaution to be very careful and assure that Afghan civilians are not accidentally killed or targeted when they go after the Taliban or Al Qaeda -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you, Barbara, for that.

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Coming up, a claim of responsibility for that deadly suicide bombing which killed at least a dozen people right in the heart of Baghdad.

And Germany shoots down a move by Tom Cruise to shoot a movie on location in Germany.

We're going to tell you why.

Stay with us.

You're in the in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Carol Costello is on assignment in Ohio. She'll be coming up shortly.

Brianna Keilar is monitoring stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Brianna, what do you have?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a mother and a child are back on dry land and safe after firefighters pulled off a heart- stopping rescue earlier today. The woman's car became stranded on a northwest Oklahoma City road flooded out by heavy rains. Firefighters reached the woman and child in a raft attached to lines extending to the water's edge, and that daring rescue was carried live on television.

The German government says nein to a movie starring Tom Cruise. Cruise was to star in a film about a World War II German officer who was in on a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler. The makers of the film had hoped to shoot it in Germany. But officials have turned them down because Cruise is a Scientologist. The German government says the Church of Scientology masquerades as a religion to make money.

Iranian state run television says Tehran will begin rationing gasoline to motorists on Wednesday. It says the move is intended to reign in the use of imported fuel in anticipation of U.N. sanctions over Iran's nuclear program. Iran is the world's second largest OPEC producer of crude oil, but it lacks refining capacity and must import about 40 percent of its gasoline.

A notorious Islamic militant group is claiming responsibility for Monday's deadly suicide bombing at a central Baghdad hotel. The claim appeared today in a posting on the Internet and in it the group, calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq, which includes Al Qaeda in Iraq, said it carried out the attack in retaliation for an assault. Monday's attack killed at least 12 people -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brianna, thank you.

Here's an historic footnote. Fourteen years ago today, U.S. forces launched 23 cruise missiles against Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. President Clinton ordered the attack -- retaliation for a failed Iraqi assassination attempt against former President Bush two months earlier in Kuwait.

CNN's then senior White House correspondent reported on the missile strike.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JUNE 26, 1993)

BLITZER: If there were more of these kinds of operations in the works, as the president says, and as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the defense secretary all say, this will send a powerful wake up call to officials in Baghdad that this Clinton administration is as determined as the Bush administration was to make sure that the Iraqi government does not engage in what the U.S. describes as state- sponsored terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Fourteen years ago today.

Kuwait later sentenced five Iraqis and a Kuwaiti to death for the assassination attempt.

Coming up, the CIA calls them its family jewels, hidden away for decades. The wraps finally coming off some of the spy agency's dirtiest secrets.

And Elizabeth Edwards splits from her husband on the issue of gay marriage.

Was the candidate really surprised?

Stick around.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

House Democrats say they will move to strip some of the funding to Vice President Dick Cheney's office. The proposal could come in the form of a spending bill amendment as early as Thursday. It comes after Cheney's assertion that he's exempt from certain national security disclosure rules because he's not necessarily in the executive branch of the government.

Wild weather in Europe and the British Isles. Waters from torrential rains flooded sections of London, killing three people and knocking out power to tens of thousands. A sizzling heat wave in Greece, Italy and Romania blamed for dozens of deaths, as well as brush fires and power outages.

And the Gaza militant group calling itself the Army of Islam has renewed its threat to kill BBC journalist Alan Johnston. The warning came after Hamas arrested two of the group's members today. Johnston was kidnapped in mid-March.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

You're in the in THE SITUATION ROOM.

That devastating wildfire still rages south of California's Lake Tahoe for a second day. Almost 300 homes and buildings are already ash, while hundreds more could still be in danger. Some residents of homes in the fire's wake are getting their first look at what's left.

CNN's Kara Finnstrom is in Meyers, California -- Kara.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, firefighters believe they may have really gotten a break today. They're looking at what they hope is a 48 hour window where the winds have died down and they hope to really get in there and fight this fire and keep it from spreading.

Right now, it is really burning actively only in an unpopulated area. So that is good news for the other homes that they were worried about, another 500 homes that could be threatened if this thing should pick up again and shift.

Now, for the families who were impacted already, this comes too late. And you can take a look here and see some of the damage that was done. This house completely destroyed. It burned to the ground. A little earlier, we were out here and we spoke with the family that lived in this home. It was a two story home and, oddly enough, it was owned by a retired firefighter. He came out here. He used his hose. He tried to knock down hot spots, but he was unable to save his own home.

And we spoke with his wife, who says she does feel lucky that her family got out safely.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was driving home and saw the fire over on the other end of North Upper Truckee. And he got here and another fireman showed up. And David, my son, showed up. And they started cleaning stuff out of the house.

And while they were doing that, there were spot fires everywhere. And then the house right behind us burst right into flame. So he sent -- my husband said everybody away. And he stayed and tried to fight the fire, but he -- he couldn't save anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINNSTROM: You can see some of the smoldering still there in the background and you can see what's left of a piano. And for this family, as they were going through this rubble, it just looks like rubble to you and I, but so many personal, very important things to their lives that they were pulling out remnants of. A very difficult day for this family.

One other big important thing for this community that we haven't touched on yet, Wolf, is that the lake here, Lake Tahoe is very important both economically and kind of just spiritually for this community. They kind of center around it. And right now it's got a lot of ash in it and there is some concern what this could mean both environmentally and economically for this town, which brings in a lot of tourists. And that's important for their bottom line -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Kara, thanks very much.

What a sad story out there.

Witnesses at the fire are sending in new images to CNN from Lake Tahoe.

Let's bring in Jacki Schechner.

She's watching this -- Jacki, what's the latest?

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, Wolf, we're getting this video in from Kyle Conroy, 18 years old. He went to South Tahoe High School. He's graduated. He took this video about 4:00 a.m. On Monday. He and a friend drove as close as they could to the high school. They got next to the campus. They said there was heavy firefighter and police presence. They sprayed flame retardant to protect the high school. He said the school is now safe. But as you can see, this incredible video.

And Kara Finnstrom was mentioning the importance of Lake Tahoe. We've also got I-Reporter Ami Shurtleff, who sent these in from on the lake. You can see the smoke there in the background. She says they just saw this. They didn't even hear the news reports. This is just what they witnessed on vacation, on the boat.

They could smell the smoke. As Kara mentioned, there was ash falling. They said there were people still on the beach as they were evacuating.

So, as you can imagine, Wolf, if you didn't know the news of what was going on and you were on a boat in the lake on vacation, this is what you would see. Obviously, an incredible, incredible sight. If you want to send an I-Report to us here at CNN, do so, cnn.com/ireport -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Jacki, for that. It's rare to see a presidential hopeful's spouse openly disagree with the candidate's positions during a campaign, especially on some sensitive issues. But we're seeing precisely that in the John Edwards camp where Elizabeth Edwards has now broken with her husband over the issue of gay marriage. Let's go to CNN's Mary Snow. She is watching the story for us.

What is their difference of opinion, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you know, John Edwards has said it is one of the hardest issues for him. He supports civil unions but his wife is taking it one step further.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): On gay marriage Elizabeth Edwards parts ways with her husband, she favors legalizing it.

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS: I don't know why somebody else's marriage has anything to do with me. I'm completely comfortable with gay marriage.

SNOW: To hear John Edwards tell it on "The Tonight Show," his wife's position was news to him.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can I tell you how I found out?

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Yes?

J. EDWARDS: I read it in the newspaper.

LENO: Really?

(LAUGHTER)

J. EDWARDS: It's the first time. She has never told me that.

SNOW: The Democratic presidential hopeful has said he will only support civil unions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think homosexuals have the right to be married?

J. EDWARDS: No, not personally. Now you ask about me personally. But I think there is a difference between my belief system and what the responsibilities of the president of the United States are.

SNOW: One Democratic strategist says while sometimes the spouse takes a differing position from the candidate deliberately, this was probably not one of those times.

CHRIS LEHANE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: So I really do think that that was probably a surprise to him to learn about his wife's specific views. And I think that they're being straightforward on that.

SNOW: Since none of the major presidential candidates has come out in favor of legalizing gay marriage, does it make a difference that Elizabeth Edwards supports it? The group, Freedom to Marry, which does not endorse candidates, says yes, it can.

J. EDWARDS: How are you guys doing?

SNOW: And notes that John Edwards has been saying he's wrestling with the issue.

EVAN WOLFSON, FREEDOM TO MARRY: In a more political way of looking at it is that it is an attempt somewhat to have it both ways. To say, I'm not there yet, but nudge, nudge, wink, wink, I'm going to get there. I'm moving in the right direction.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: As some Democratic strategists say, among Democratic primary voters, Elizabeth Edwards' support of gay marriage could serve as an olive branch to people who care about the issue. But they say, in the general election, could be seized upon as a polarizing factor by opponents -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary Snow watching the story. A little more than half of Americans go along with either John or Elizabeth Edwards. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll asked whether homosexual couples should be allowed to marry, 24 percent Americans surveyed said they support gay marriage, 27 percent say they support civil unions, 43 percent say gay and lesbian couples should not be allowed the right to either marry or have a civil union.

The next presidential debate to be featured here on CNN will take place on July 23rd. We're teaming up with YouTube. It will be the first debate where all of you can submit your questions to the candidates online.

Still ahead, the Senate tries once again to pass an immigration reform bill, so our Lou Dobbs is in town, he's here in Washington. He is keeping a very close eye on Congress. He's standing by to speak with us live.

Also, some dirty little secrets are being made public. We'll take a closer look at the CIA's so-called "family jewels." Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Literally locked away for decades, they tell stories of kidnappings, domestic spying and assassination plots. Now, the CIA has taken the wraps off some of its secret records. For that let's turn to our homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, she is watching this story for us.

Jeanne, what makes this such gripping reading?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the papers have the drama of a John Le Carre novel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE (voice-over): 1960, Cuban President Fidel Castro targeted for assassination. According to newly declassified documents, the CIA recruited two of the nation's most wanted mobsters to take Castro out with six poison pills. The plot was eventually scrapped, but one of the mobsters later tried to blackmail the agency.

These revelations and more, part of the so-called "family jewels," 700 pages of CIA documents that show an agency with few limits in the '50s, '60s and '70s.

THOMAS BLANTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE: Black bag jobs, wiretaps, you name it. All it too was orders from on high. If the president was mad, sic the CIA on these people. If the president wanted to get rid of some obnoxious foreign leader, sic the CIA on them. And there didn't seem to be any serious congressional oversight.

MESERVE: According to one memo, Howard Hunt, an ex-CIA agent, called his former contacts at the agency looking for an accomplished lock picker, apparently to assist with the Watergate break in.

Other documents reveal the CIA provided a safehouse and equipment for Secret Service surveillance of the 1972 Democratic for the Republican conventions.

Spy satellites and Soviet subs were among the subjects of Michael Getler's reporting in the 1970s. The CIA put him and other journalists under surveillance to uncover their sources.

MICHAEL GETLER, FMR. WASH. POST REPORTER: They have no charter to carry out domestic law enforcement, which is what they were doing. And they were way out of line in doing it.

MESERVE: Some say CIA abuses like these could not take place today.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Today's structure for supervising the CIA is radically different. And so I don't think Americans today need to look at these documents and say, oh, my God, what are they doing now?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: CIA Director Michael Hayden says the CIA now protects Americans with a powerful framework of law and review. The documents, he said, provide a glimpse of a very different era, a very different agency -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Jeanne, for that. They may read like fiction but these CIA documents, hundreds of pages of them, are all too real. Joining us now is Tom Blanton. You just saw him in the piece. He is the director -- executive director of the National Security Archive here at George Washington University.

You've been trying for a long time...

BLANTON: Fifteen years.

BLITZER: ... to get these documents. You have it right there. I just want you to lift it up, show our viewers this booklet, how thick it is. What, 700 pages?

BLANTON: Seven hundred pages long.

BLITZER: And the title is?

BLANTON: They actually called it "The Family Jewels." I personally was sticking to "skeletons in the closet." That's what Colby used to call it. But the Office of Security titled the opening memo "Re: Family Jewels."

BLITZER: So there is a wealth of material. I'm sure you haven't had a chance to completely go through it. But give us your bottom line assessment. What you've seen right now, how historically significant are these documents?

BLANTON: It's the firsthand -- it's the first person testimonials. It's kind of a whole generation of CIA officers going into the confessional and saying, forgive me, father, for I have sinned, and writing up what their sin was just for the eyes only of the director.

BLITZER: And they knew they were sinning when they did these things.

BLANTON: Exactly. And that's how he -- what he asked them. He said, think of anything you've done that was off the reservation, against the law, violated the charter, write it up, get it to me. I don't want to read it in the paper first.

BLITZER: Tell us about the plots to assassinate Fidel Castro.

BLANTON: There is just amazing detail here, particularly about ideas of poison pens, exploding bombs. There has been a lot of detail out on the assassinations. To me the stuff that really jumped out of this collection was much more the domestic surveillance. This is sort of the CIA as our Stasi.

BLITZER: Because the FBI is supposed to do that kind of thing.

BLANTON: Exactly right.

BLITZER: The CIA is supposed to spy around the world, but it's not supposed to be involved in...

BLANTON: That was their excuse.

BLITZER: ... in domestic activities.

BLANTON: Exactly right. And that was their excuse. They said, we're looking if foreign intelligence. That anti-war movement, that couldn't be homegrown Americans doing that, that must be sponsored by Moscow or Beijing. And so they were looking for the communist influence on movements.

BLITZER: But why didn't they trust the FBI to do it? Because that's what the FBI is supposed to do.

BLANTON: I think basically because there was no limit back then on what they could do. There was no congressional oversight. There was no real oversight within the executive branch. Colby -- Will Colby, who got this file delivered to him, said he was shocked. He had been in Vietnam for five years, he didn't know about all this domestic stuff. Even the CIA's own right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing.

BLITZER: And they were really watching not only politicians and academics but journalists, as well.

BLANTON: Absolutely. They were tracking, taking pictures of Mike Getler through his picture window.

BLITZER: From The Washington Post.

BLANTON: Exactly right, just because he had written a couple stories, leaked information, made the administration look bad.

BLITZER: And they were obsessed with Jack Anderson, the syndicated columnist, and his entire staff, if you will.

BLANTON: Absolutely.

BLITZER: He used to write that "Merry-Go-Round" column in The Washington Post and...

BLANTON: Full of leaked documents.

BLITZER: ... hundreds of other newspapers. He was getting a ton of stuff and they wanted to know where he was getting it from.

BLANTON: Following him all the time. They took the teams of CIA agents, specialists in surveilling KGB guys, and sicced them on to the journalists, 24/7 coverage, tracking them from the elementary school down the street.

And what they ultimately found out, they found who their sources were, but they never found the sources of the leaked information. And I think that's what's striking. And this is probably right in your bailiwick, Wolf, because top officials were so obsessed with the spin.

They spent so much time working on their own press coverage, on their own headlines. There's this amazing item in here where they get a memo, this is about the drug experimentation on unwitting Americans and the guy, Sidney Gottlieb, who was the mad scientist guru, was talking, reporting now on it to the inspector general.

And the director's staff says to the director, we don't think the -- the director would be ill-advised to say he's acquainted with this program. It's like, let's spin this one.

BLITZER: You heard John McLaughlin, the former deputy director of the CIA, at one point acting director, he's a CNN national security adviser right now, say this couldn't happen in this day and age. You know there are a lot of people out there who believe it could happen in this day and age.

You have studied this for as long as anyone, what do you think?

BLANTON: It's absolutely the case that the CIA of 1973 would never have declassified these memos. It is a different agency today, for sure. There's way more congressional oversight. There is way more internal executive branch oversight. There is way more oversight within the CIA. There aren't mad scientists there any more.

But, there are bits and pieces of these family jewels, these skeletons that resonate a little too closely with...

BLITZER: Like what?

BLANTON: Warrantless wiretapping.

BLITZER: Right now.

BLANTON: Seen that in the headlines recently?

BLITZER: Yes.

BLANTON: Rendition, kidnapping, one of the 18 key jewels is a detention of a suspected defector for several years.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: What about allegations of torture?

BLANTON: Exactly. So I think the CIA would like to say there is a bright line with the past, but people are going to look at this and it's going to raise the issue, yet again, how do we have a spy agency, a secret agency in a democratic society? How do we hold them accountable? Well, step number one is a little sunlight.

BLITZER: And I guess you have got to give the director, Michael Hayden, a lot of credit for releasing this. Did he have any choice? Did he have to release it? Could he have kept these family jewels secret for another decade?

BLANTON: He might have been able to. He didn't have a lot of choice. We had a Freedom of Information Act request for these. On the cover page -- when the CIA hand-delivered these documents to us this morning, the cover page says, this is in response to your Freedom of Information Act request. We're cleaning up our backlog of old requests. Yours is from 1992, it's the oldest one in our backlog.

But the real reason Hayden was releasing this, a bunch of very smart diplomatic historians invited him to come speak to them last week. You don't show up to a bunch of historians and say, sorry, guys, I'm going to hold all of your sources secret. He had to release something, this is at the top of the list of what people have been asking for 30 years.

BLITZER: Tom Blanton, he has been waiting 15 years for these documents. Go home and read them right now. We'll talk.

BLANTON: Thanks, Wolf. Real pleasure.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. Still ahead, he's accused of killing the mother of his 2-year-old son. The people who thought they knew him now try to understand Bobby Cutts Jr. Carol Costello is on the scene for us.

Also the immigration bill dead but now resurrected. CNN's Lou Dobbs has some very strong feelings about it, shares them with us. He's here in Washington. He's coming up next in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Lou Dobbs here in Washington getting ready for his show that begins right at the top of the hour.

Welcome to Washington, Lou. Good it have you in THE SITUATION ROOM.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: You were here earlier speaking at the National Press Club. I've got a little clip, I want to play it for our viewers, what you said, among other things.

DOBBS: Among other things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: This is one of my favorite George Bushisms. "We cannot have border security unless we have a guest worker program."

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: Mr. President, no one has told you, and the national media has not reported it, we have six guest worker programs in this country. I guess what he meant is we need seven guest worker programs in order to have border security.

With that kind of tortured reason, tortured logic, I just -- I find my response to be in-affable to this kind of leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. Lou, what do you think of the move in the Senate today? They got through that one hurdle that at least this debate is going to go forward. It could have ended today, but it's going forward.

DOBBS: It's going forward. Seven Republican senators changing their votes. Those seven are up for re-election, by the way. And they're going to feel, I think, the wrath of the voters. What we watched...

BLITZER: Because they just allowed the debate go forward?

DOBBS: They just reversed their vote from the previous cloture vote. And this procedural vote makes it a very difficult battle to stop this sham legislation in the United States Senate.

It will now -- you know, one can hope, but what you watch today is an outright betrayal of the American interest and the American citizen. It is disgusting what the United States Senate has done.

BLITZER: But do you think it will pass by the end of this week in some form so that the House of Representatives will get a crack at it?

DOBBS: I think that it very likely could because from now on, as you know, the Senate only needs simple majority to pass whatever legislation survives it. I think that Senator Harry Reid, President Bush, Senator Mitch McConnell, as the leader of the Republican minority, these men should be embarrassed.

They have not put any of this legislation -- it did not originate nor was it processed by committee. There has been no public hearing and no, no study of any reasonable scope in terms of the impact either societally, economically or certainly fiscally on the American people.

This is amnesty for illegal employers. It's amnesty for an administration that has left our borders wide open since September 11th. It's Amnesty for a United States Congress that has been derelict in its duty to the sovereignty of the nation and the well- being of American citizens. BLITZER: Tell us what is coming up on your show at the top of the hour?

DOBBS: Well, tonight we're going to be talking with Senator Cornyn of Texas and Senator McCaskill of Missouri, two who voted against cloture. We'll be talking also with Congressman Bilbray and Congressman Pete King about what will likely transpire from here, what the impact is on the American people, and the level of betrayal that they feel as a result of on what transpired today.

We'll also be talking with three of the most popular radio talk show hosts. Remember, Senator Trent Lott says they are going to have to do something about those talk show hosts because they're actually exercising freedom of speech. That's the kind of country we're living in. That's the kind of Senate and that's kind of House we have right now.

BLITZER: We'll be watching, Lou, thanks very much.

DOBBS: Appreciate it, Wolf, thank you.

BLITZER: Welcome to THE SITUATION ROOM.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. Always a pleasure.

BLITZER: Thank you. It has been only a matter of days since the body of Jessie Davis, young and very pregnant, was found in Canton, Ohio. The community is still trying to come to grips with the subsequent arrest of the father of her 2-year-old son. Our Carol Costello is live in Canton.

Carol, what have you learned about Bobby Cutts. He's the suspect, he has been arrested.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, he's in the jail behind me, Wolf. You know, I've been going around town talking to neighbors of his, to friends and also to just community members, and the same question keeps popping up. Why were so many women willing to fall for this guy? And some of these women were educated and certainly had the means to live on their own.

So why did they fall for a guy even when they knew he had a dark side?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO (voice-over): Friends say Bobby Cutts Jr. was always known as a lady's man, a star athlete at Canton GlenOak High School. He was gifted in a way football-crazy northeast Ohio respects. Fellow students like Myisha Ferrell looked up to him.

Today she's behind bars, accused of obstructing justice in Jessie Davis' murder.

AHMED DAVIS, MYISHA FERRELL'S FRIEND: Myisha got caught up into something that I don't think that she was ready for or didn't know that she was ready for.

COSTELLO: It's unclear if Cutts' relationship with Ferrell was simple friendship or something more, but some call him a player, a man who used his athleticism and his good looks to collect women. He has father children with three different women, and he is just 30. It is something he addressed in a Canton Repository interview.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a married man who has fathered one child and expecting a second with another woman. Do you understand where people are coming from with all that?

BOBBY CUTTS JR., ARRESTED FOR MURDER: I understand, but me and my wife, I mean, we're still married, but we're together and things happen when we weren't together, so.

COSTELLO: Psychologist Gail Saltz says generally speaking, Cutts may be like men who are not in the game to create a family.

DR. GAIL SALTZ, AUTHOR, "ANATOMY OF A SECRET LIFE": It feels masculine to sort of capture a woman, to own her, so to speak, by having sex with her and by impregnating her.

COSTELLO: Nikki Giavasis is one of the women who had a child with Cutts. She was attracted by his athleticism and he was accepted by her family. But according to her brother, Lee, he seemed distant.

(on camera): He never attempted to come over on holidays and talk to you guys and get to know you?

LEE GIAVASIS, NIKKI GIAVASIS' BROTHER: Oh, never, never, no.

COSTELLO: Did you find that odd?

GIAVASIS: Well, you know, in hindsight -- 20/20 hindsight, I guess you can say, yes, that is -- I'm sorry, I guess you can say that is really strange.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Tricia Porter, Jessie Davis' mother, agreed.

PATRICIA PORTER, JESSIE DAVIS' MOTHER: I don't think my daughter ever knew him either. I don't think -- maybe his family never knew him.

COSTELLO: Bobby Cutts Jr. seems to have been a mystery to a lot of people, people who now feel betrayed by him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: They feel very betrayed because he was very likable, as to why he may have killed -- allegedly killed Jessie Davis, that, too, remains a mystery and Canton Police or the Sheriff's Department, they're just not saying -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Carol Costello in her hometown of Canton. Carol, thanks very much. Up next, how important is it for Muslim Americans to be more integrated into American society? Jack Cafferty with your e-mail, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's check back with Jack for the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Study out, Wolf, questioning how important it is for Muslim Americans to become more integrated in this country, in its mainstream.

Ginny writes from South Carolina: "There is always a price to be paid for isolating entire communities of our people. For our sakes as much as theirs, it's important not to isolate American Muslims. We have no reason to believe most think of themselves as Muslim first and American second, so why behave in such a manner as to change the equation?"

T. writes from Georgia: "It's just as important for Muslims to become integrated into American society as it was for Italians, Irish, Jews and any other ethnic or religious group. If not, what are they asking for? Separate but equal? That was stupidly tried here and we're still reaping those wonderful benefits as a society."

Doug in Colorado: "Look at every country in the world, Muslims don't integrate into the societies they move into since their design is to multiply and become dominant. Then they impose their culture on the host country. Remember this as the problems multiply in the decades to come."

Shelby in Florida writes: "I teach adolescent psychology, I usually invite a Muslim imam and two Muslim teenagers to talk to my class about growing up Muslim in America. I'm a Christian. I have a great respect for the Muslim way of life. I have seen my students grow from ignorance and hostility to appreciation during this activity. And I think it's necessary and mutually beneficial for the moderate American Muslims to make themselves available for things like this, and for American mainstream to seek them out to learn more about their culture."

Fern in North Carolina: "What's being said is all well and good, but in order for the American people to build a trust in the Muslim community, they must step up to the plate and condemn the bombings of so many people all over the world and especially in Iraq, where we're trying to give the people there a life."

Ed in Norman, Oklahoma, pragmatic soul that he is: "They, like all other Americans, should just learn Spanish."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile where we post more of them online, along with video clips of the "Cafferty File" -- Dr. Blitzer.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jack. See you back here in one hour. We're in THE SITUATION ROOM weekday afternoons from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern, back in another hour, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, lots more news coming up at that time. Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now here in Washington. Here's Lou.

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