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THE SITUATION ROOM

Can America's Secrets Be Exposed to Rival Military?; Clash Over Cuba

Aired October 3, 2007 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Kitty.
Happening now, a big money merger in the works and national security on the line -- tonight, a potential threat to the Pentagon, could America's defense secrets be exposed to a rival military?

Also, an emotional clash between U.S. congressmen over U.S. sanctions against Cuba. Is it shameful to lift them or shameful to keep the status quo?

And never before seen pictures of Princess Diana only moments before her death a decade ago -- what will jurors make of these new photos as they weigh allegations that Diana's car crash was no accident?

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

Pentagon secrets revealed to China. That's the fear surrounding a major merger between an American military contractor and a huge company with ties to the Chinese military. Let's go straight to CNN's Brian Todd. He's watching this story for us.

What can you tell us about this merger, Brian, and the concerns, very serious concerns it's raising?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there are calls in Congress for a review of this. Analysts say the deal could place the Chinese firm with a questionable past a little too close to the Pentagon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): A $2.2 billion merger with national security at stake, 3Com, a huge company with communications and security contracts with the Pentagon will likely be bought out by a private investment firm. As part of the deal, a Chinese company called Huawei Investment would become a partner with 3Com.

Huawei was founded by a former Chinese military officer in the late 1980s. One U.S. defense official is quoted as saying Huawei still has extensive ties with the Chinese military. Huawei and Chinese government officials deny that. Could this deal give the Chinese access to Pentagon secrets?

GARY MILHOLLIN, WISCONSIN PROJECT: Senior Defense Department officials and senior U.S. government officials have confirmed that China is conducting computer network attacks and probes into the U.S. government, Department of Defense computer. So, this is a very real threat to the Pentagon, in particular and its computers.

TODD: Chinese officials called those hacking charges groundless, but Huawei has been involved in other controversies. During Saddam Hussein's regime, it illegally helped Iraq strengthen its military air defense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was switching equipment, fiber optic equipment that made the air defense system work better and it made it harder to destroy. And it was a clear violation of the U.N. embargo.

TODD: The U.S. government agency that would likely approve the deal involving 3Com and Huawei, the Treasury Department's committee on foreign investment, the same group that approved the Dubai Ports' merger, heavy political pressure eventually killed that agreement. When we asked if that committee would review the 3Com/ Huawei deal, a Treasury spokesman would not comment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: We tried all day to get comment on the deal and the security concerns from the companies involved. 3Com didn't get back to us. A spokesman for Huawei U.S. branch said it would not -- it would try to get something from its corporate parent in China, but so far we've not heard back. We've also not heard back from the Defense Department regarding our questions on the security concerns and its specific deals with 3Com, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian. Thanks very much.

Huge mine disaster with enormous proportions happening right now, 3,000 people trapped more than a mile underground in a gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa. Officials say a broken water pipe may be to blame for collapse of a blocking area that had only one exit from the mine shaft. But they say they have been communicating with the trapped miners and getting food and water to them. They say they expect to rescue them within the next 24 hours using cages lowered from one another. We're watching this story closely, serious potential disaster there. Let's hope that everything ends smoothly.

The Pentagon says America's defense -- missile defense shield is ready to defend the country against attack right now. That's after another successful test of the $100 billion missile defense system. Critics, however, say the system itself is more hype than substance and may not provide the protection the Pentagon is promising. Let's turn to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre. He's joining us live.

Jamie, give us some of the details of what's going on.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, what this test shows is that the U.S. can essentially hit a bullet with a bullet in a tightly controlled experiment. The question is can it do it when it really needs to, in a real world situation?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE (voice-over): OK, imagine North Korea launches a nuclear tip, long range Taepodong missile toward the U.S. In reality, this is the view from a target missile leaving Alaska behind for last week's missile defense test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a launch.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon says Friday's test was designed to mimic a North Korean attack and shows the U.S. can now react within minutes. Streaking into the California sky, this interceptor missile quickly reaches a closing speed of more than 10,000 miles per hour. What happens next, the Pentagon argues, could be what some day saves a major American city from nuclear destruction. Watch that thermal imagery again; it shows the actual kill vehicle colliding with the dummy war head in space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a major step forward in being able to show that we have a system that does work.

MCINTYRE: General Obering told CNN that with 23 interceptor missiles on standby, three in California and 20 in Alaska, the system is already providing a rudimentary missile shield against North Korea.

LT. GEN. TREY OBERING, MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY DIRECTOR: The crews are trained and certified and ready. The sensors in Alaska, as well as California are ready. So, yes, it could be used, if need be, for an attack.

STEPHEN YOUNG, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: What they're claiming is that they're ready for the World Series. Reality is they're still playing little league baseball.

MCINTYRE: Stephen Young of the Union of Concerned Scientists thinks the tests are phony, so tightly controlled they prove nothing. In any event, he argues, North Korea would have no problem overwhelming the $100 billion shield by launching several missiles at once or using simple, cheap, low-tech decoys.

YOUNG: The system can't tell the difference between a Mylar happy birthday balloon and a nuclear war head in space. They simply travel at the same speed. They look identical. You can do any number of things to fool this system. It simply can't work in the real world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: General Obering (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the charge that his tests are rigged, that he's essentially cheating, and he points out that in the next test next year, they will be making it more challenging, using some of those decoys to see if the kill vehicle can tell the difference between the balloons and a real war head -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jamie. Thanks very much.

By the way, these are just some of the 38 missile tests the United States has performed. And of those 38 tests the Pentagon says only eight were not successful. The interceptors are located on the West Coast, 20 of them at Fort Greely in Alaska, three at Vandenberg Air Force Base California.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty in New York. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, Ann Coulter has made a fortune saying outrageous and often utterly stupid things and she's at it again. In an interview with "The New York Observer", the right-wing pundit and author said this.

"If we took away women's right to vote, we would never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream. It's a personal fantasy of mine. But I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women", unquote.

Coulter says the Democratic Party should be hanging its head in shame because it has a hard time getting men to vote for their candidates. She labels Democrats as the party of women. So, here is the question. Why would Ann Coulter say if we took way women's right to vote we would never have to worry about another Democratic president?

E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile. With comments like that, she may not have a lot of single women buying her new book.

BLITZER: A lot of people are buying her book. It's already jumping to the best seller's list. She says outrageous things and I guess people respond one way or another.

CAFFERTY: Apparently.

BLITZER: Yeah. Jack thanks very much.

In a moment, a shouting match involving the former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

Also coming up a contentious debate over the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've never had a worst foreign policy, trade policy or even an international policy than what we have with Cuba.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Is it time to lift the embargo or is Fidel Castro finally on the ropes? You're going to hear two very different views.

Plus, never seen before photos and video of Princess Diana in the minutes before her death. Will conspiracy theories become facts?

And a long shot for president raising as much money as John McCain, could Ron Paul actually deliver a shock to Republicans?

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Some really stunning political news today concerning the Republican president candidate Ron Paul and campaign cash. Let's turn to Mary Snow. She's following the action. So how much money, Mary, did Ron Paul actually get in these last three months?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, his campaign is reporting that it raised just over $5 million and that is certainly turning some heads.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Ron Paul. I'm a congressman from Texas, serving in my tenth term. I am the champion of the Constitution.

SNOW (voice-over): The Republican presidential hopeful is low in the national and state polls. When it comes to fund-raising, Ron Paul is now standing tall. His campaign reports that Paul hauled in just over $5 million the past three months. That's more than the $3 million he raised the first half of this year. It's also in the same neighborhood as what rival John McCain is expected to report.

And it's five times what former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee raised. Both McCain and Huckabee are above Paul in most polls. Paul is a former Air Force flight surgeon and a long time congressman from the Gulf Coast of Texas. He also ran for president in 1998 as a libertarian. Now he is the only Republican presidential hopeful who is against the war in Iraq. Paul can partially credit his big bucks to a strong following online.

(CHEERING)

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: His supporters range from anti-tax, limited government, pro-life activists to people who simply oppose the war. For many of them, they're knitted together by one common thread, the Internet.

SNOW: The big question is whether Paul's new bundle of cash will help his bid for the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron Paul is still a long, long, long shot to win the Republican presidential nomination. With $5 million, he might be able to influence the debate within his own party.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Paul's campaign did put out a statement today, saying that -- I'm quoting here -- "as these fundraising numbers show more Americans each day are embracing Dr. Paul's message. Wolf?

BLITZER: Mary Snow watching the story -- thank you Mary. John McCain's less than impressive fund-raising is only one of the hurdles he's trying to overcome out on the campaign trail. The GOP presidential candidate took some time out from stumping in South Carolina today to take a ride on the CNN Election Express.

The bus is a symbol of CNN's deep commitment to covering the 2008 presidential race by bringing the campaign to you, the people. Senator McCain spoke with our chief national correspondent, John King and he is joining us now live.

John, he seemed in the interview, John, Senator McCain, to try to establish some distance between himself and the president.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's quite interesting, Wolf. The McCain campaign had given us a heads up. Pay close attention today, they said. Senator McCain would launch his most critical attack on Senator Hillary Clinton. It didn't turn out that way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): Rolling across South Carolina, where for John McCain, George W. Bush seems to always be the issue. Speaking to military academy cadets, Senator McCain lamented a missed leadership opportunity in the days just after 9/11.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We told people to go shopping and we told them to take a trip. What we should have told them is join the military. Join the Peace Corps. Find a way to serve your country.

KING: He also suggested the president has failed to rally the country to confront climate change and dependence on foreign oil.

MCCAIN: And I would be talking a lot more to the American people about it.

KING: Outside, the senator blamed the controversy over the conduct of Blackwater private security contractors in Iraq on the administration's initial invasion plan.

MCCAIN: The fundamental problem was that we didn't have enough troops over there. So, we had to use people for security purposes. You can go right to the doorstep of the former secretary of defense.

KING (on camera): Is it also fair to say that if it's Secretary Rumsfeld's fault that it's his boss' fault as well?

MCCAIN: Sure. We should have listened to General Shinseki. We should have listened to all of those people in the military.

KING (voice-over): In this interview with CNN, more criticism of the president even as McCain supported Mr. Bush's controversial veto of a measure expanding a children's health care program.

MCCAIN: It's a right call by the president. It's the phony smoke and mirrors way of paying for it.

KING (on camera): Some of your Republican friends, some who support the president's veto, some who are critical of it say it's a harder message though politically, because in their view -- and these are Republicans -- they say the president has not laid the predicate on the spending issue by vetoing other bills before, so that when he says I'm a fiscal conservative. I have to do this. They say he's a Johnny-come-lately. Is that fair?

MCCAIN: Yep, it's fair.

KING (voice-over): It was here in South Carolina that McCain's 2000 campaign was knocked off course by then Governor Bush. And here again, McCain believes, his fate will be settled this time around.

MCCAIN: I think history shows that since 1980, the nominee of either party has to win two out of the first three, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: So, what happened to that planned attack on Senator Clinton? It was in Senator McCain's prepared remarks as he prepared to speak this morning. But, Wolf, he says at the last minute he looked at that speech and decided it was inappropriate to deliver those scathing remarks at a speech delivered in a chapel to young students at that military academy. We offered him the chance to repeat that criticism outside. He declined to do so. He said it is unclear whether he will add it to any campaign events in the near future, quite a curious turn of events -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's pretty curious indeed. Thanks John very much.

And take a look for our state of the art bus, the CNN Election Express on the road this campaign season. It's a TV studio on wheels that gives our correspondents, our analysts new freedom to cover campaign news as it happens and where it happens. On the road map, by the way, for the days and weeks ahead, the Election Express will be in Las Vegas next month for our Democratic presidential debate and in St. Petersburg, Florida, for our CNN YouTube Republican debate as well.

Major milestone tonight for Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, for the first time a majority of Democrats back her for her party's nomination. Senator Clinton gets 53 percent support in a new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll. That's a whopping 33 points ahead of her nearest rival, Senator Barack Obama. Going back to 1980, every candidate who got a majority support in the polls the year before the election has gone on to win the nomination.

And on Capitol Hill today a blow for Republicans; veteran Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico announcing he will not seek another term and that opens up yet another competitive seat for the GOP to defend in 2008.

A presidential shout down, the former president, Jimmy Carter, losing his cool in Sudan, we're going to show you what pushed him over the edge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SOUNDS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Plus, a strike on al Qaeda in Iraq. We're going to show you this new video that's just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM tonight from the U.S. military. We'll tell you what's behind it.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Tonight, a side to former President Jimmy Carter rarely seen in public. He reportedly got into a shouting match with Sudanese security guards in the volatile Darfur region. Let's bring in Carol Costello. She's here in THE SITUATION ROOM. She's watching this story.

So what exactly happened?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Let me tell you, Wolf. Jimmy Carter is kind of playing this down, but he was clearly angry at being detained by a Sudanese security guard in north Darfur. He was trying to visit a refugee village to see the mayor, but as he and his security detail approached the town that Sudanese guard got right up in his face.

That's a picture of him -- take a look -- Carter, who is 83 years old told the guard we're going in anyway. You don't have the power to stop me. Now the crowd around Carter was getting really tense. In fact, United Nations officials had to step in telling Carter, Sudanese security could, indeed, stop him and they should go before somebody gets shot. Now we talked with President Carter about this. He is still in Sudan. This is how he describes it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via phone): Sudanese security agent, who we had not seen before, said that we were not permitted to go and visit the chief because it was not on the schedule. So, I told him that I was -- felt free to go wherever I chose inside Darfur, inside Sudan, because I had the approval of the president of Sudan. But then we worked out very quickly an alternative, which suited me fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Yep, he eventually worked out a compromise to meet the mayor. And as you heard, he is clearly playing this incident down. Although reports say he told the guard upon leaving, I'm telling President Bashir about this. He was referring to the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir. We did talk with Sudanese officials as well about this. They call it a misunderstanding. Now Jimmy Carter is touring Sudan with Bishop Desmond Tutu. They are trying to broker a peace deal that stopped the brutal ethnic killings in Darfur and as you know, Wolf, 200,000 or more have died.

BLITZER: He is going to be here, by the way, Jimmy Carter, next week in THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll have a full interview with him right here. All right, thanks very much, Carol, for that.

A congressman makes a powerful case for the U.S. to keep the heat on Cuba.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a dictator who is on his deathbed and who has had absolute and total power for almost 50 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: We're going to have a red-hot discussion about Castro's Cuba and whether it's time for the U.S. to lift sanctions and travel restrictions.

And never before seen video of Princess Diana released today, this video not long before her death a decade ago. What -- will it give jurors, though, any clues about how she died -- much more coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Happening now, President Bush has carried through with his promise to veto a measure, funding a popular children's health insurance program. The legislation would have expanded the so-called SCHIP program by $35 billion over the next five years. The president says that expansion is simply too much and he is calling the measure one step toward, in his words, federalizing medicine.

Authorities are investigating several suspicious fires here in Washington on Capitol Hill. Police say four of them were set in women's restrooms in two Senate office buildings today. No one was hurt. Police are searching right now for suspects.

And a landslide is swept away, a part of a neighborhood in San Diego. The collapse opened up a 50-yard hole in a busy street, destroyed one home, damaged five others. Dozens of residents have been evacuated. No one was hurt.

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

As part of CNN's uncovering America series, we're taking a closer look at some of the issues affecting the Latino community. Many Hispanic Americans have very definite and diverse opinions about U.S. policy toward Cuba. And so does the United States Congress. Some lawmakers insist the time is right to ease sanctions against the communist nation. Others say that would be a huge mistake. And joining us now Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York and Republican Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida; gentlemen thanks very much for coming in.

And Charlie Rangel, let me start with you. You're the more senior member of this panel. Why do you believe it's time now to go ahead and lift the restrictions, lift the embargo, try to normalize relations with Cuba?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: It was the time 45 years ago. The truth of the matter is that we have farmers anxious to sell chickens and pork and rice and beans and open up the markets. And so it's good for our farmers. We have a restriction on the fact that Cuban Americans and others cannot visit Cuba. This has been for over 40 years.

We cannot even -- they can't send money to try to help their relatives in Cuba. And, lastly, they can only visit once every three years. So, if they have a relative that's dying, they've got to time the death. This policy is really cut out for a handful of people in Miami and it's the tail wagging the dog. We've never had a worst foreign policy, trade policy or even an international policy than what we have with Cuba.

BLITZER: All right, Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, why do you disagree?

REP. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART (R), FLORIDA: Well Mr. Rangel first misstated some of the details of our policy. But let's focus on the principle aspects here. First of all, we are keeping billions of dollars from that communist terrorist dictatorship. And I'm sure that the family of Sergeant Greg Fronius, who was killed in El Salvador in 1987 by a Cuban planned mission, a Green Beret who was training the Salvador armed forces at the time or our forces who were killed fighting the Cubans in 1983, when our forces invaded and liberated Grenada, the relatives of those killed I'm sure would agree that it's a good idea to keep billions and billions of dollars from that communist terrorist dictatorship. And I'm sure that the family of Sergeant Greg Fronius, who was killed in El Salvador in 1987 by a Cuban planned mission -- a Green Beret who was training the Salvadoran armed forces at the time; or our forces who were killed fighting the Cubans in 1983 when our forces invaded and liberated Grenada. The relatives of those killed, I'm sure, would agree that it's a good idea to keep billions and billions of dollars from that regime.

When that regime had $6 or $7 billion a year from the Soviet Union, precisely -- Angola, Nicaragua and El Salvador, and so many other places, were hit with direct terrorism from that regime.

BLITZER: All right...

DIAZ-BALART: So we're keeping billions of dollars from that regime.

And then, now that the dictator is finally on his death bed, it's important that we retain... BLITZER: All right...

DIAZ-BALART: ...leverage so that the political prisoners -- that's what we're -- that's what our policy says.

BLITZER: Well (INAUDIBLE)...

DIAZ-BALART: ...the embargo goes away tomorrow if all political prisoners -- and when all political prisoners are freed; political parties, labor unions and the press are legalized; and free elections are scheduled.

Which of the three conditions do the Cuban people not deserve?

BLITZER: All right, Congressman Rangel?

RANGEL: Let me tell you one thing. First of all, he never said that Cuba or Castro has killed anybody. Indeed, the record is clear that we tried to kill him. But when he starts talking about...

DIAZ-BALART: How about the brothers to the rescue who were murdered over international space?

Didn't Castro kill them?

RANGEL: Let me talk about communists. You know, you try...

DIAZ-BALART: What were -- how about that Vietnam veteran killed by Castro in 1995?

RANGEL: Could I -- could I finish?

DIAZ-BALART: No, no...

RANGEL: Let's talk about...

DIAZ-BALART: ...but you said that Castro hasn't killed anybody.

RANGEL: Castro...

DIAZ-BALART: How could you say that...

RANGEL: Let me tell you...

DIAZ-BALART: ...when a Vietnam veteran was killed by Castro...

RANGEL: Please, don't be...

DIAZ-BALART: ...in 1996?

RANGEL: Please, don't be. You can be emotional, but don't be rude. The fact is that we do business with Vietnam and they're responsible for at least 60,000 Americans being killed. We do business with North Korea and China -- tens of thousands of Americans that are have been killed. So we do business with Vietnam, with North Korea, with China -- and he's going to tell me that we should be fearful of the communist, Castro?

It's absolutely ridiculous.

It is true that Castro had no business shooting down pilots that were flying over Havana, violating all of American laws...

DIAZ-BALART: ...the international air space.

RANGEL: They were unarmed so and he shouldn't have shot them down. But the truth is they shouldn't have been flying over Cuba in the first place...

DIAZ-BALART: They (INAUDIBLE)...

RANGEL: ...according to our laws.

DIAZ-BALART: When they were shot down, there were shot down...

RANGEL: Well, there's...

DIAZ-BALART: ...and it was...

RANGEL: Whatever.

DIAZ-BALART: ...it was over international air space.

RANGEL: I agree with you.

DIAZ-BALART: Secondly...

RANGEL: But tens of thousands of Americans...

DIAZ-BALART: Yes...

RANGEL: ...have been killed by communists that we do billions of dollars of business with.

DIAZ-BALART: Yes.

RANGEL: And you're going to tell us that we should...

DIAZ-BALART: And the same...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, let me just...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Let me just point out...

DIAZ-BALART: Yes?

BLITZER: ...that not only does the United States do billions of dollars worth of business with these other communist regimes, but it is now seeking most favored nation trading status for a lot of them, as well.

DIAZ-BALART: Well, first of all, every -- every instance and every geographical and historical situation in the world, obviously, merits a particular policy. I happen to disagree with our policy of enriching the communist regime in China. I think we're going to regret that in 10 or 20 years.

But what we're talking about right now is that we have people in prisons because of their beliefs in Cuba -- 90 miles away from the United States. It's one of a handful of remaining states that are classified as state sponsors of terror. And you have a dictator who is on his death bed and who has had absolute and total power for almost 50 years.

BLITZER: All right...

DIAZ-BALART: And what our policy is saying is liberate all political prisoners, legalize political parties and the press and labor unions...

RANGEL: OK...

DIAZ-BALART: ...and schedule free elections. And the question is, obviously, when that personal -- absolute personal totalitarian dictator disappears from the scene...

RANGEL: OK...

DIAZ-BALART: ...it's going to be -- and is finally approaching...

BLITZER: All right...

DIAZ-BALART: ...it's going to be critical...

BLITZER: Go ahead.

DIAZ-BALART: ...for those political prisoners...

RANGEL: OK...

DIAZ-BALART: ...to have that leverage for a democratic transition.

RANGEL: OK. You're repeating yourself.

The fact of this is that the embargo has not proven to be effective. We and Israel are the only ones that respect the embargo. Every other country is doing business with them. And I'm telling you, the people in Florida -- your constituents who want to visit, who want to send money to their parents to help them out -- you are not telling me that by punishing them that you're helping to get rid of this Castro dictator.

BLITZER: Well, hold on.

RANGEL: I can't believe that. (CROSSTALK)

DIAZ-BALART: First of all, with regard...

BLITZER: Congressman Lincoln Diaz, I want you to respond to that. But also respond to Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate. He wrote recently in "The Miami Herald," he wrote this. He said: "Cuban-American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island. Accordingly, I will grant Cuban-Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island."

A lot of Cuban-Americans in Florida and elsewhere, congressman, would like that.

DIAZ-BALART: It's interesting, Wolf, because we are six Cuban- American members of Congress -- four Republicans, two Democrats; four members of the House, two senators. And we have great disagreements on partisan issues, as you can imagine.

On the issue of Cuba -- and, obviously, we represent the overwhelming majority of Cuban-Americans, the six of us. We represent the overwhelming amount of Cuban-Americans in the country. And we face, obviously, our constituents every two years at the polls. The six of us -- the Cuban-Americans of both parties -- are one on the issue of Cuba.

So if you talk to any of the six of us -- and, obviously, we represent the overwhelming majority of Cuban-Americans and those people who Mr. Rangel now -- and Mr. -- as Mr. Obama now in his -- the -- that piece that he wrote that you mentioned, Wolf -- they seem to be so concerned about. It's the six of us...

BLITZER: All right...

DIAZ-BALART: ...who represent the overwhelming majority of them. And we are -- from both parties -- totally united in saying that until the political prisoners are released.

RANGEL: It's shameful.

DIAZ-BALART: And political parties -- and it's -- no, and what's shameful is to not stand with the Cuban people and their right to free elections.

RANGEL: It is shameful to think that six...

DIAZ-BALART: Now, now, now, now, now...

BLITZER: Hold on.

Hold on.

Let Charlie Rangel...

DIAZ-BALART: Now, now, I think...

BLITZER: Let Charlie Rangel respond.

Go ahead.

RANGEL: It is shameful that you think that six people should dominate our trade and foreign policy with any country. I don't care what your background is, it has to be what's in the best interests of the people of the United States and not what's in the best interests of your constituents...

DIAZ-BALART: And what I...

RANGEL: ...who violently oppose what you're doing.

DIAZ-BALART: Oh, oh, oh, oh...

RANGEL: But it's shameful that you would say that our secretary of state, our president, our trade representative -- to go to four Cuban-Americans in the House to dictate America's policy. That is constitutionally and morally wrong.

DIAZ-BALART: Well, you know, what's interesting is that we hear so many arguments here.

Number one, that our constituents disagree with us. I think there will be...

RANGEL: Yes.

DIAZ-BALART: Very well.

Who are the constituents who can vote for us, the six of us?

So, if that's the case, then it would seem that every two years our constituents, being in such disagreement with us, it would be manifested at the polls.

RANGEL: No...

DIAZ-BALART: Number two...

RANGEL: I think that...

DIAZ-BALART: Number two...

RANGEL: I think that probably...

DIAZ-BALART: Number two, please...

RANGEL: That probably...

DIAZ-BALART: Please, let's not...

RANGEL: That probably...

DIAZ-BALART: Please let's not be -- talking about rudeness. Please, if you could have...

RANGEL: That probably is going to happen.

DIAZ-BALART: If you can give me a chance to speak.

RANGEL: OK.

(INAUDIBLE).

DIAZ-BALART: With regard -- as I started saying -- as I started saying when we started this -- this conversation, when the regime in Cuba had an equivalent amount of what it would receive only from mass U.S. tourism alone -- which was $6 or $7 billion a year, what did that terrorist regime do?

It killed our G.I.s in Grenada. It killed Sergeant Fronius in El Salvador. It sponsored terrorism throughout this hemisphere and much of the world.

So...

BLITZER: All right...

DIAZ-BALART: ...you'd better believe that it's in the interests of the United States to deny billions of dollars from a regime and have a policy that calls for free elections and the liberation of all political prisoners...

BLITZER: All right...

DIAZ-BALART: ...in a country that's 90 miles away.

BLITZER: Well, we're...

DIAZ-BALART: It is in the interests of the United States to not fund a terrorist regime 90 miles away.

BLITZER: Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Charlie Rangel debating here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Coming up, never seen before images of the last moments of Princess Diana's life. They show her with her lover only moments before they died in Paris. A jury is now looking into allegations that they were murdered.

And harrowing video coming into THE SITUATION ROOM from Iraq. Every day Iraqi citizens, they fight back against Al Qaeda. And U.S. forces are now swooping in to try to help. Stay with us. You'll see the new video.

All that coming up and a lot more, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Dramatic photos and video of Princess Diana you've never seen before, taken only moments before she was killed in that car crash in Paris 10 years ago. The newly released pictures are being shown to jurors at an inquest in Britain.

But will these remarkable images reveal any new information into the deaths of the Princess and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed?

Reporting from London, CNN's Alphonso van Marsh.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diana Princess of Wales' last hours in life captured on video and shown publicly for the first time, a decade after her death. Security cameras at The Ritz-Carlton Paris showed Diana and her partner, Dodi Al-Fayed, walking through the hotel lobby. Wearing a pants suit and with those sunglasses in her hair, she rides in an elevator with Dodi to the posh imperial suite, looking relaxed -- the mirrored walls capturing a smile. Images presented to jurors sitting on the inquest into Diana's death -- images of Dodi reaching his hand out to Diana as they returned to their suite after dinner. Images that could prove crucial -- of the paparazzi pursuing the Mercedes carrying Diana, Dodi, their bodyguard and driver, before it crashed in a Paris tunnel.

All these images kept from leaks or publication until now, part of the evidence aiming to determine if Diana's death was an accident or if, as Dodi's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, the Egyptian business mogul, alleges, was something more sinister.

He says the Princess and his son were to be engaged. Just 24 hours earlier, Al-Fayed again accused the royal family and the British establishment of murdering Diana and his son. The reason, according to Mr. Al-Fayed, Diana was expecting a child with his son and the establishment would be appalled that the future king would have a Muslim stepfather.

Inquest coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker told jurors to be prepared to consider all the allegations surrounding Diana's death, all the possibilities. Jurors on Wednesday heard evidence raising the possibility that Diana may have been on a contraceptive pill, that her friends, family and doctors say on record that nothing Diana had said gave them reason to believe she was pregnant, and that scientific evidence may not determine if Diana was carrying Dodi's child.

Jurors also watched a reconstruction of the route Diana's Mercedes took that fateful night in Paris. London Metropolitan Police shot it in February 1998 -- again, seen publicly for the first time at The Royal Courts of Justice. Jurors are expected to travel to the accident scene in Paris to see for themselves next week.

Alphonso van Marsh, CNN. London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And joining us now, our correspondent in London, Becky Anderson -- Becky, why is it so hard to determine whether or not she was pregnant? BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are three issues here. Let's remember what the chief justice here, Lord Justice Scott Baker, said today. He said, crucially, that it would never be possible to show whether, in fact, she was pregnant or not scientifically. And this is why. There was no pregnancy test ever carried out. We will hear -- the jury, at least will hear, he said today, that she never told her friends or family that she was pregnant. And, indeed, she complained to a masseur on the yacht that she was on with Dodi Al- Fayed that the -- the newspapers now had her pregnant, suggesting that that was a surprise to her, as well.

Now, Mohamed Al-Fayed suggesting that this is, of course, a conspiracy theory here. These allegations of her pregnancy result from an embalming process, which the French say was carried out on Princess Diana's body because of a problem with an air conditioning system at the time -- not being able to keep her body in a decent condition. And what the -- Mohamed Al-Fayed's parties say is that the embalming process would have corrupted any possible pregnancy test.

And let's remember here, crucially, as I say, the coroner says there may never be any scientific evidence to prove whether or not she was pregnant.

BLITZER: And, Becky, how is all of this playing in London right now?

It's been 10 years. Everyone thought they probably knew everything there was to know about this case. And yet there are new details, even now, emerging.

ANDERSON: Yes. I mean these are remarkable images that you've seen. It is quite incredible that these pictures have never been seen in the public domain -- these pictures of Princess Diana and Dodi Al- Fayed at the hotel, getting into the lift. You can see her state of mind there, looking extremely happy. And not three hours later, coming back in, looking really, really disgruntled, pictures we've never seen before.

What the coroner wants to do here -- and let's remember, he's a high court judge. He's not any old coroner here. What the authorities here are trying to do is to lay out all the building blocks, as he described them, get all the allegations out in the open and clear this up once and for all.

Whether the British public will buy into that after they've seen these new pictures remains to be seen, of course. We haven't got the press yet. We've got to wait to see how the national newspapers play this out.

It will be a difficult one, though. You know, as I say, the British authorities want this cleared up once and for all. They don't want appeals. They want this to be finished -- a line drawn under this. The British public, well, we'll see -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A good point.

We'll see.

Becky, thanks very much.

Everyday people fighting terrorists -- we're going to show you some harrowing video from Iraq. It shows U.S. forces apparently taking out some members of Al Qaeda in Iraq after Iraqi civilians took them on.

And Whoopi Goldberg raising eyebrows about Nancy Pelosi. "The View" co-host welcomed the House speaker with a joke about Pelosi and her husband. It's most unusual and Jeanne Moos will explain.

Stay with us.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Check out this video that's been released by the United States military today. It shows what American commanders say is a strike on an Al Qaeda -- an al Qaeda truck in Iraq. This happened in a rural area south of Baghdad, where insurgents were said to be trying to reclaim areas they had recently lost. U.S. forces say local Iraqi citizens fought off the insurgents with support from coalition troops.

Meanwhile, Poland's ambassador to Iraq was the apparent target of a deadly bombing attack in Baghdad today. General Edward Pietrzyk suffered burns and a leg injury when three roadside bombs exploded near his convoy. Three people were killed, including one of his bodyguards, and a dozen people were injured. The ambassador was airlifted to a hospital. He's being taken to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany and then to Poland for more treatment.

Let's check back with Jack Cafferty.

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

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is why would Ann Coulter say the following: "If we took away women's rights to vote, we would never have to worry about another Democrat president?"

Allison writes from San Diego: "Why does Ann Coulter say any of the stupid things she says? Because she gets attention. Fragile egos continually seek the spotlight. They think they're clever, when really they're just desperate."

Laurie writes: "The statement is a plain and simple fact. And here's another. If everyone who could vote did vote, we'd never have a Republican president. As to what would make someone else say something like that, who knows? What makes me say what I say is disgust with the apathy of the people of voting age. I'm hoping your viewers can shed some light on it."

Herman in Fresno writes: "Ignore her. She'll go away. Keep scratching this wicked itch and it will just turn into a festering sore." Cruz in California: "Democrats existed long before women got the vote. Ms. Coulter, as usual, is off the mark. But what can you expect from a Bush supporter? As a female and a long time Republican, I plan to vote for the most moderate Democrat offered up on the ballot. Anyone but a Republican in '08. My party has lost its way."

Noel in Michigan writes: "I wonder if Ann Coulter thinks the same thing about the first amendment -- you know, the one that guarantees free speech and also gives her the right to be the national version of the village idiot."

Carl in Atlanta writes: "Ann Coulter knows that women are very intelligent. Because of that, they will vote for the best candidate available -- not because she is Democrat. But if you took away a woman's right to vote, like Coulter wants, then men would vote for the person who will defend their right to have guns, attack every country that looks crosswise at us and burp a lot."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to CNN.com/caffertyfile.

We post more of them online, along with video clips of The Cafferty File -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And this important note to our viewers. Tomorrow, Jack will be a guest on "The View".

I guess that's designed to promote your best-seller, is that right, Jack?

CAFFERTY: Well, we're going to talk about it "It's Getting Ugly Out There," yes. I'm going to go by and see my buddy Whoopi and Joy and -- and -- isn't that awful?

Who is the lady that did the -- Barbara Walters.

BLITZER: Yes.

CAFFERTY: That's terrible. I'll probably get disinvited now for that.

BLITZER: No, you won't.

But please give them our best regards.

It's a good -- it's a good show.

CAFFERTY: I will pass along your good wishes.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

CAFFERTY: Sure.

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty tomorrow, not only in "THE SITUATION ROOM," but on "The View," as well.

Let's check in with Rick Sanchez to see what's coming up at the top of the hour -- hi, Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, HOST, "OUT IN THE OPEN": I like the way he forgot the older one, he says.

(LAUGHTER)

SANCHEZ: You know, that will go over great, Jack.

Hey, "Mind of Mencia" -- have you seen that show?

There's a young guy with quite a personality. He's going to be joining -- you know, he's got a different take on this whole immigration thing that we've been doing this week.

Wolf, we're getting tens of thousands of e-mails and people calling us about this.

We talked about language, right?

And then we talked about jobs.

Tonight, we're going to be talking about the border itself, including this -- what's it like to live there?

People who live near the border share their stories. You're not going to believe it. They say it's like hell living down there. We've got roundups and we've got video of a guy who tore down a Mexican flag because he was insulted because it was flying above the American flag. Our conversation with him, Carlos Mencia, really a lot to bring you, and people are talking about it.

Back to you -- Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: All right, Rick.

Thanks very much.

See you in a few moments.

And speaking of "The View," there was another guest there today -- the speaker of the House of Representatives. And it turned out to be most unusual. Stand by for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: What do you get when the speaker of the House goes on a daytime chat fest of women known for stirring things up?

You get a most unusual view, as CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sometimes "to do" is a don't.

(on camera): Whoopi said to Nancy Pelosi, I want to "do" you. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh.

MOOS: But before the gang on "The View" started speaking about House Speaker Pelosi, there were jokes about Paul Newman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE VIEW," COURTESY ABC)

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST: Oh, I'd "do" him in a minute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: And Paul Newman's wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE VIEW, COURTESY ABC)

GOLDBERG: But I don't want Joanne to think I wouldn't "do" her. I would probably "do" her, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Eventually they got around to Nancy Pelosi's husband.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE VIEW," COURTESY ABC)

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST: You want to take a look at Nancy Pelosi's handsome husband sitting in (INAUDIBLE)...

(CROSSTALK)

WALTERS: There you go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey there.

(CROSSTALK)

GOLDBERG: I see you eyeing me. That's cool, though.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: And when Mrs. Pelosi appeared, it was even more of a "to do," as Barbara told on Whoopi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE VIEW," COURTESY ABC)

WALTERS: She says "do" Paul Newman and I think she'd like to "do" your husband.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But Whoopi didn't leave out the Mrs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE VIEW," COURTESY ABC)

GOLDBERG: I would "do" her, as well. But we should wait on that, because you're still in office and I don't want to cause a problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Speaker Pelosi smiled. Mr. Pelosi chuckled. But on the Web: "eewww!," "ugh!," "triple yuck!"

"Is there no decorum left in this sad nation?"

Hmmm, I don't think they do decorum on "The View".

(on camera): So, do you care?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. She's funny, Whoopi. That was hysterical. I was laughing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a joke. Now people can't say anything without getting in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a joke, but I thought it was weird.

MOOS: She said she was going to "do" her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, please. I was saying -- I was saying -- Whoopser (ph), please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was doing everybody yesterday.

MOOS (voice-over): Which brings us to singer Faith Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE VIEW," COURTESY ABC)

WALTERS: Well, also, we'd all like to "do" your husband.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Hey, they're not alone.

Did you hear about the fan who groped Tim McGraw in the nether regions while he was performing in Louisiana?

Faith Hill scolded the fan. The scolding ricocheted around the Web.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM YOUTUBE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody needs to teach you some class, my friend! You don't go grabbing somebody else's -- it's very disrespectful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: At least no one's accused any of the presidential candidates of grabbing, though the question, say something you like about the candidate next to you elicited this response from Senator Joe Biden to Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Dennis, the thing I like best about you is your wife.

(LAUGHTER)

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wait a minute. He talked about my wife.

BIDEN: Well...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: And later, he talked to your wife. But at least he didn't use the word "do".

All in all, we call this story much ado about a to do list.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BLITZER: And that's it for us.

Thanks very much for watching.

Remember, we're in THE SITUATION ROOM weekday afternoons 4:00 to 6:00, back for another hour 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Until tomorrow, thanks for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

Up next, Rick Sanchez with "OUT IN THE OPEN" -- Rick.

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