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Cheney Could be Condit Alibi

Aired July 21, 2001 - 08:01   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We begin in Washington where the Chandra Levy investigation -- or police have new leads, rather, but they aren't saying. "Newsweek" magazine is reporting that Congressman Gary Condit was meeting with Vice President Cheney on Capitol Hill about the time that Levy was last known to be in her apartment.

CNN's Jonathan Aiken is covering this story now from Washington and brings us with more -- hi, Jonathan.

JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning, Kyra.

The "Newsweek" magazine report cites that for the first time the vice president, Dick Cheney, is being mentioned in the Chandra Levy investigation as a way to sort of support statements by Congressman Gary Condit that he had activities that kept him busy on the day, May 1, the day in question when Chandra Levy, her activities are under scrutiny by D.C. police, Metropolitan police here in Washington.

Now, according to "Newsweek" magazine, the California congressman met with Vice President Cheney at about the same time that Levy was in her northwest D.C. apartment going over sites on the Internet, among them travel sites, a local ice cream shop and also the site of the Agriculture Committee on which the congressman sits.

Now, according to the magazine report, the congressman and the vice president were discussing energy matters related to the California energy crisis along with other Congressional business at about 12:30 Eastern Time in the afternoon. The Web site also cites law enforcement and White House sources as saying that Condit met with Cheney not only at 12:30, but also that the congressman had activities on Capitol Hill that kept him in the area around the Capitol through the afternoon. He had a doctor's appointment and then he returned home to his Dupont Circle apartment that evening, where he had dinner with his wife. So his day is pretty much accounted for.

As for Saturday, as for today in the Chandra Levy investigation, a quiet day on tap, at least on paper. Police have called off the searches, or not called off, but at least have not scheduled any searches for Rock Creek Park, the major park here in Washington, D.C., along with other city parks. Those searches will resume on Monday.

Also, something else the D.C. police want to do is to talk to Washington, D.C. cab drivers. At which point they will do this it's not entirely certain, but they do want to talk to the cab drivers about their manifests. Under Washington, D.C. law, cab drivers are required to keep a manifest of their passengers and police would like to get the cab drivers, jog their memories, see if they can remember picking up anyone resembling the description of Chandra Levy in or around the Dupont Circle neighborhood, which is about two miles north of the White House, on April 30 and in particular on May 1, the real day in question as to her disappearance.

Two other quick developments in the story this morning. A local Washington television station, one of our affiliates, WUSA, is reporting that Condit is preparing to agree or has agreed to a fourth meeting with Washington police. The time of that meeting uncertain, though we're told approximately next week. Negotiations are also under way, according to the television station, for Congressman Condit to undergo an FBI administered polygraph test.

Now, last week the congressman underwent a polygraph test that was administered by a former FBI polygraph examiner. This lie detector test was taken at the congressman's own effort and submitted to the public and to D.C. police by his attorney, Abbe Lowell. Washington, D.C. police have recounted -- or rather have, not really, not recounted, but they haven't really taken much into consideration in the test. They considered it to be self-serving.

So, again, no search of Rock Creek Park, the other major parks in Washington, D.C., today, Saturday. Those, scrutiny, the scrutiny of those parks will continue again on Monday.

Now, as the days pass and the leads tend to cool in a case like this, 82 days and counting since Chandra Levy was last seen in Dupont Circle, attention is turning on other less conventional methods of investigation and the question has been raised what of psychics, what of clairvoyants and what is the, what about the success that they have had, the success or failure that they have had in prominent missing person cases in the past?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AIKEN (voice-over): Police will tell you it's gumshoe work that cracks cases, slow and methodical, like the inch by inch search of Rock Creek Park. But when the clues yield nothing but more questions, curiosity can turn to frustration, and that's when families and police departments may turn to a psychic.

BEN ERMINI, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN: The families will usually go to psychics before law enforcement, and that's usually because they become frustrated by the fact that their loved one or the missing person hasn't been found.

AIKEN: Psychics sometimes work with police in developing sketches or locating possible crime scenes, and they've been used in high-profile murders, like the 33 murders attributed to John Wayne Gacy in the '70s, and more recently, the still unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

Chandra Levy's parents have reportedly talked to psychics and heard the statements of others in news reports. R. LEVY: It's not really accurate enough to give much credence, because I mean, anyone can guess something bad has happened.

AIKEN: Sylvia Browne is a psychic who has appeared on numerous TV shows, including CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE." Browne believe the 24- year-old former intern is dead.

SYLVIA BROWNE, PSYCHIC: The minute I heard about it, I knew she was gone. I mean, you just know.

AIKEN (on camera): The accuracy of a claim like that will be hard to prove until the mystery itself has been solved. There was one study that shows that up to a third of America's urban police departments have actually used psychics, but very little scientific evidence that proves psychics have actually helped the police, and a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest they have not.

ERMINI: I know of no case where a child was recovered as a result of psychic information.

AIKEN (voice-over): Psychics do get credit for sometimes asking more probing questions than police officers, but critics say they take from police more than they give.

BILL CLARKE, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: They're very, very smart. They observe everything in the office. They look for any type of charts that are up, with addresses.

AIKEN: Even skeptics agree psychics bring hope to the family of a missing person, and as formal investigation slowly moves forward, some might think hope is the only thing worth having, other than getting your child back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AIKEN: Now just to quickly recap what's been happening in the investigation, today no searches in Rock Creek Park and the other major parks in Washington, D.C. Metropolitan police will resume those searches on Monday morning. And a local television station, WUSA, reporting two items of interest. They claim that the congressman has agreed to meet with Metropolitan police for a fourth time. That meeting may take place, according to WUSA-TV, next week. Also, that the congressman is negotiating to have a polygraph test administered by the FBI -- Kyra?

PHILLIPS: All right, Jonathan Aiken, thanks so much. A lot to sort out this morning.

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