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CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN

Cardinals Establish a Procedure to Deal With Abusive Priests; Israel: Composition of U.N. Jenin Team Needs to be Changed

Aired April 24, 2002 - 22:00   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.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone. So, here's the deal. This page is short tonight, very short.

Imagine you're sitting at your keyboard or at your desk at work or on the assembly line or at the construction site. You're sitting there doing your job and all the while, there's some guy looking over your shoulder the entire time. Just think about that and you know a lot about my night.

Now he's a very quiet guy. He doesn't say a word. Of course, he doesn't need to. I could feel him. Do you have any idea what a pain this is. And don't get me wrong, he's a perfectly nice man, but he's a reporter and he's staring and thinking, and while I know what he's staring at, me, I don't know what he's thinking and that's unsettling, more than a bit unsettling.

"The New York Times," you know the all the news that's fit to print, the most influential paper in America, the paper with a great sports page but no comics. That "New York Times" is writing a piece, and I know I should consider this a really good deal. The P.R. people could hardly stop smiling today.

I, on the other hand, just want to get the program going before I write something or say something that will look really, really dumb in print a month from now. So on we go to the whip. I say this very carefully, and to the Vatican and CNN's Connie Chung at the end of an extraordinary couple of days for the Catholic Church. Connie a headline please.

CONNIE CHUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, no one was looking over my shoulder tonight. The American cardinals were summoned here for guidance on what to do about the sex abuse scandal. The two-day meeting is over and the work has just begun -- Aaron.

BROWN: Connie, back with you in a moment. The U.N. next, and objections to an inspection team in Jenin, Israel still not happy, CNN's Richard Roth working that for us so, Richard the headline from you tonight.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United Nations says, "let's go," but Israel says "no." They'll meet face-to-face here in New York. Both sides aren't budging. We'll have it all -- Aaron. BROWN: Thank you, Richard. Another standoff, different place, this one concerns Bethlehem. CNN's John Vause is there, John a headline from you tonight.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, three meetings between the Israelis and the Palestinians and no agreement yet on how to end this siege here in Bethlehem, though there has been some progress, and more importantly, these two sides are still talking -- Aaron.

BROWN: John, thank you. And news in the murder case against the actor Robert Blake today, news that has his defense team spinning their side of the story. CNN's Charles Feldman working it for us. Charles the headline please.

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, a cast of characters in the Robert Blake case grows by two, two Hollywood stunt men that is are now implicated as would-be hit men. I'm not kidding -- Aaron.

BROWN: All right, didn't think for a minute you were. We're back to all of you in a moment. Also coming up tonight, a question of how accurate is the information coming from Abu Zabaydah and other high-ranking al Qaeda members, who are now in custody. Is torture ever the right answer? And barring that, how do interrogators get their job done?

We'll also visit Doolittle's Raiders, 60 years after their famous raid, the first U.S. air strike on Japan in World War II. Some call it the first turning point of the war in the Pacific. These old flyers call it the best war story they'll ever tell, and the B-25s on the flight line, even today, are still something to see, all that and more in the hour ahead.

We begin in Rome. U.S. cardinals on their way home tonight. Whether they have done what needs to be done to deal with the sex scandal is not an answer that we can offer up. They did make it clear that the victims come first, and while that may seem self evident, there wouldn't have been a scandal in the first place if the church had acted that way all along.

But that is the easy part, and there are many decisions still to be made when the American bishops meet in Dallas in June. The scandal wasn't created in a day and won't go away because of two days of meetings in Rome this week. We begin back in Rome and, again, CNN's Connie Chung. Connie good evening.

CHUNG: Good evening, Aaron. The American cardinals did emerge from that two-day meeting, Aaron, with the Pope with a framework for how to deal with sexually abusive priests. They had warned against high expectations, and in fact, many of the issues were left unresolved.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG (voice over): At the end of an extraordinary two-day meeting at the Vatican, the U.S. cardinals did it the American way. They held a press conference. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BISHOP WILTON GREGORY, U.S. CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS: We want to be just in our treatment of even a priest who offends. I mean even a priest who offends, as in the laws of most nations, still enjoys rights until a decision has been made.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: So in the end, it was a two-track process that the cardinals issued. For priests guilty of serial predatory sexual abuse of minors, there is no tolerance. They will be dismissed. But a special review process will be used for priests who are considered a possible threat to children.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREGORY: We want to move expeditiously, but we want to move correctly. What we hope to put together is a procedure that is clear, specific, and to use - airtight. But we can not dispense with a priest's right to appeal to the Holy Sea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: The cardinals' plan left many matters open, the details to be hammered out in June at the U.S. Conference of Bishops meeting in Dallas. It was an effort to resolve the scandal that rocked the American Catholic Church that brought all of them here.

There was no consensus on the much talked about zero tolerance policy, but most of the cardinals believe that one strike you're out will apply to at least new cases. What still has to be resolved is what to do about past misdeeds.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK, WASHINGTON: What may have happened in the past through inattention or through whatever, I don't think what we've gone through, what our people have gone through, what the victims have gone through, I don't see that that - I can't see anyone with a responsibility in the church ever trying to cover up anything. I think Holy Father's calling is now to be people of light, and that's what we have to start to be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: Between now and June, church leaders in the U.S. will continue the process of fine tuning guidelines, and gauging reaction from their congregations. Most agree that this is a good first step, that is including laymen and women in the process. Aaron.

BROWN: Let's talk a little bit more about Dallas in June. This is where the American branch of the church will form its policy and then what happens to that policy?

CHUNG: Well, they have a lot of work to do in formulating that national policy. They want it to become a policy that no only the United States abides by, but other countries as well.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. presented a five- point zero tolerance policy that he hopes will be considered in Dallas:

1) Apologize to the victim and the victim's parents and get counseling for the victim. 2) Dismiss the pedophile priest, while this investigation is going on. 3) Report it to civil authorities immediately, even if it's just an accusation. 4) Send the priest to a treatment center for evaluation. 5) Get a review panel of lay people, laymen and women, to evaluate the case and then make a recommendation to the bishop.

Now, Aaron, the head of the U.S. Bishop's Conference, Bishop Gregory, Wilton Gregory, said that lay members he believes are the key, the key to a resolution to this problem. He said, as he put it to me, he said "I'm celibate. I'm not a parent, but when I sit down and talk to parents of a victim, I really understand their pain."

BROWN: Connie, thank you, a long couple of days for you. We appreciate your work there. Connie Chung in Rome tonight.

We're going to go at this story now for a bit in a couple of different directions. There's the inside stuff, how these meetings went, how the decisions got made, for want of a better word, the politics involved. In some ways, it's not at all like the politics we usually talk about, but just the same, they've been doing politics at the Vatican for centuries. The Latin word for politics is politics, so there's that.

And then there's also how it's going to be received by Catholics in the United States, and again for want of a better word, public relations. For that, we're joined in Boston tonight. Margery Eagan joined us before, a columnist for the Boston Herald, nice to see her again. And John Allen the Rome correspondent of the "National Catholic Reporter." Good to see you both again.

John, let me start with you. Anything surprising about what came out, or is this pretty much what you expected, and is - so this is a two-part question, and is Rome in agreement with the American side on what needs to be done next?

JOHN ALLEN, "NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER": Well, at the big picture level, I think all of us expected a get tough message to come out of this meeting, and that's certainly what we got. I think what's surprising is the way the document that was adopted by the American bishops and also by the Vatican, in a sense endorses one side of the debate that's going on in the American Catholic Church, about how to explain the sex abuse crisis.

As you know, Aaron, liberal Catholics have been arguing that the roots of this crisis are in things like mandatory celibacy and the failure to ordain women and what they would see as a negative view of sexuality in Catholic tradition. Conservatives on the other hand have been saying, well the problem is doctrinal confusion, doctrinal dissent, and tolerance of the homosexual subculture in the priesthood.

If you look at the document, the document takes a very strong position that we've got to tighten up on our presentation of sexual morality and that we've got to screen candidates much more carefully for admission to Catholic seminaries, which is an indirect reference to this business about homosexuals. So in a sense, this summit took sides in that debate, coming down fairly clearly on the conservative side of the argument.

BROWN: Not surprising, given the Pope is a conservative Pope. Margery, you can't speak for American Catholics and I won't ask you to, but I will ask you to speak for yourself as a Catholic. Are you getting any solace out of this?

MARGERY EAGAN, COLUMNIST, "BOSTON HERALD": No. I've got to say, I'm getting increasing disappointment. You know, the image that is going to stick with me is the images on the front page of Wednesday's papers. You had 13 or 12 very elderly men in their red hats and their red sashes around a big, plush oriental rug, big beautiful priceless painting by some pre-Rafaelite behind, that just suppose with the victims of already convicted pedophiles and abusers here in Massachusetts, who are still waiting to get some kind of help from the church.

You know, the Pope talked about being a people of light and the transparency of the church. We don't see it. We had a "Boston Globe" reporter today who's been over there covering this in the Vatican as well, saying you know, this secrecy, the shroud of secrecy that surrounded the coverage there in the Vatican.

You know, is it too much to ask, I guess, that the cardinals came out and said, like they do in the courts of justice in this country, we'd like to hear from a victim? We'd like to have one person tell us what it was really like over there, so the cardinals can understand it, so the Pope can understand it, say we really goofed up. The five- point plan sounds good, but I'd like to get a sense that they're listening to people besides themselves.

BROWN: Well -

EAGAN: You know, you have -

BROWN: Margery, let me throw a couple of things at you quickly here, OK.

EAGAN: What?

BROWN: Number one, this thing didn't get started in a day, as I said earlier, and it's not likely to be settled in two days. So maybe the question really is, did they make a reasonable fair start?

EAGAN: It sounds like they made a reasonable, fair start, Aaron, but when you hear one of the bishops, like Francis George say, you know well it's one thing to talk about a monster like John Geoghan that molested all those little boys, but it's another thing to talk about a priest who may have had a little bit too much to drink, who had some kind of relationship with a 16-year-old girl that was consensual.

And you hear that and you say, what is he talking about, you know. I don't have confidence that these cardinals, with all due respect, understand the seriousness, many of them anyway, of what has gone on. And you know something, we here in Boston we were looking for our cardinal, Bernard Law.

This is the biggest sexual abuse scandal in the history of the United States right here in Boston. We don't really understand what happened to him this afternoon, or what his fate is going to be. I think the church moves so slowly. Now call us a nation that wants instant gratification right away, but it just is frustrating the way the wheels grind so slowly here.

BROWN: Let me take the last part of that and turn it back to John. , any reason to suspect tonight that Cardinal Law of Boston who has been the lightning rod here, is on his way out?

ALLEN: None whatsoever, at least in the short term. I mean Cardinal Law made it clear before he came to Rome that he planned to stay in office, and I mean it's quite clear that he would not have done so, had he not cleared his signals with Rome first, and there is certainly nothing that happened in this meeting to suggest anything to the contrary.

You may remember the day before the session started, the LA Times carried a piece suggesting there was a group of American cardinals who were going to press for Law's resignation. But most of the cardinals here, when approached to find out if they were the source of that, denied having anything to do with it, and tonight Cardinal McCarrick of Washington told us it was made up out of whole cloth. So any notion that there was going to be some kind of concerted effort to force the issue of Law's resignation on the table dissipated.

BROWN: John, 20 seconds. Do you think that the people of the church in America, the priests, the nuns, the lay people who are active in the church will be satisfied, perhaps more than Margery was satisfied with what happened?

ALLEN: Well, I think there were a lot of good words used here today in these two documents about what the church intends to do. But I think a lot of Catholics have heard a lot of words. I think they're waiting to see what actions will follow from those words. We don't know that yet.

BROWN: I think you just put an exclamation point on something Margery said. Margery, John, thank you both. We always enjoy talking to you.

EAGAN: Thank you.

BROWN: And we hope we'll talk again.

ALLEN: Thank you, Aaron.

BROWN: Thank you. Later on NEWSNIGHT, we'll meet some of the first heroes of World War II on the 60th anniversary of their feat. This is a terrific story. And coming up next, the latest on the standoff in Bethlehem, back to the Middle East when NEWSNIGHT continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Last night, we were talking about the Israeli pullback in the West Bank. Tonight, it appears the Israelis are moving forward again. Witnesses say a number of Israeli tanks have rolled into Hebron again. According to Palestinians who are there, the tanks came in firing. We have no official comment or confirmation on the Israeli side.

If true, it would be the first Israeli incursion into Hebron, which has been spared in this wider operation in the West Bank to this point. Again, nothing official from the Israeli government, but witnesses say Israeli tanks are moving in to the town of Hebron.

A viewer today, and not an especially happy one at that, wrote us asking why we spend so much time on Jenin and what happened there. Why not spend time each night on a pizza parlor in Israel, where a suicide bomber killed a dozen people. "Wouldn't that balance things out," he asked?

So here's the reason. We know what happened at the pizza parlor. We know who went in with the bomb and we now know who the victims were, and from our point of view, and we hope this doesn't sound callous, there isn't a whole lot much we can report that adds to it.

Jenin, however, is another matter. We still don't know an awful lot. We know there were a lot of destroyed buildings, but we don't know enough about the circumstances of the destruction or the deaths that occurred there. That's why we report it. That's why the U.N. wants to send an investigative team in, but so far, getting the Israelis to agree on the makeup of that team and the fairness of that team is a working progress.

So we go back to the Jenin story because there is news to report. Here again, CNN's Richard Roth.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROTH (voice over): The United Nations Jenin investigation team got a look at Israel in the West Bank, but only from a map thousands of miles away in Geneva. In the face of objection from Israeli, the U.N. is holding firm.

FRED ECKHARD, U.N. SPOKESMAN: We're confident this team is going to go and that we're going to be able to resolve our differences, if they are differences, with Israel.

ROTH: There are says Israel and supporters in the U.S., especially who is on the panel, which is led by diplomats, not military experts.

MALCOLM HOENLEIN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS: I think it's a reflection of the traditional bias that one finds in the United Nations.

ROTH: The mission is to determine who did what to whom in the Jenin Refugee Camp. The Palestinians have claimed massacres were committed. Secretary of State Powell on Capitol Hill.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I can't tell you what might be there, but right now I've seen no evidence of mass graves and I've seen no evidence of -- I've seen no evidence that would suggest a massacre took place.

NASSER AL-KIDWA, PALESTINIAN REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Whether we have a full-fledged massacre or not, I think we still don't know. We think as Palestinians, we think that this is the case.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROTH (on camera): There is also a lot of pressure on the members of this fact-finding team to determine just what occurred in Jenin, but first they have to get out of Geneva -- Aaron.

BROWN: Richard, thank you. Richard Roth at the U.N. tonight. The other standoff tonight at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators did spend a second day trying to find a compromise. In a way, it's a tribute to an eternal truth in the Middle East. Shooting and talking often go hand-in-hand.

CNN's John Vause spent the day in Manger Square and filed from there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE (voice over): Gunfire in Manger Square just moments after Palestinian delegates arrived for a second day of negotiations. For 20 minutes, dozens of journalists were pinned down, taking cover in the doorway of the Bethlehem Peace Center.

The shots rang out from all directions. Impossible to say who started the shooting. One Palestinian inside the church was killed, another wounded, so too an Israeli soldier. For more than three weeks, there has been a test of wills at this fourth century Basilica. Hundreds of Israeli troops surround the church.

Inside more than 200 Palestinians, dozens of children, as many as 40 church workers, with little food, no electricity in grim conditions, most of them are hostages say the Israelis. Not so, say the Palestinians.

HANNA NASSER, BETHLEHEM MAYOR: So you ask me why they are inside. Maybe it's a gesture of solidarity with those who are inside. They don't want - they are looking to have a total solution for this problem. Maybe one of the reasons I can not tell you because I am not inside.

VAUSE: This latest round of negotiations lasted four hours, the Israelis allowing the removal of two dead bodies from inside the church, an agreement from both sides that as many as 15 children should also leave.

But there is still the issue of the 30 wanted Palestinians, who the Israelis say are terrorists. According to a Palestinian source, the Israelis are willing to let most of them go to Gaza, and be dealt with by the Palestinians, but there is still a handful of men, possibly as few as five or six, who the Israelis are demanding stand trial in Israel or be exiled to another country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE (on camera): It is now early Thursday morning here in Bethlehem. These two sides will sit down for another round of talks later today. It's at that meeting when the Israelis are expected to give the Palestinians a list of names, those who are considered non negotiable. Aaron.

BROWN: So it sounds to me like we're getting close to last and final best offers, is that the feeling you have there?

VAUSE: Both sides have put their offers on the table. They're now coming back to discuss this offer later today. This is indeed the last and best offer, at lest according to the Palestinian source. From the Palestinian point of view, the offer to take these Palestinian gunmen to Gaza and have them dealt with there, that was in fact their last offer. That was their only offer that was put on the table yesterday. They're now waiting to find out what the Israelis have to say. Aaron.

BROWN: So I expect we'll check back with you tomorrow. John, thank you. John Vause in Bethlehem tonight.

Later on NEWSNIGHT, a new twist in the Robert Blake case. We'll have that. Coming up next, yet another terror alert and where they may be coming from. This is NEWSNIGHT on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: It's been stuck on yellow since it began, another FBI terror warning circulating tonight the second in as many days, the third in a week. This one lays out the possibility of attacks on supermarkets and shopping centers. Unlike the last warning, this one went out quietly to FBI field offices and local law enforcement, though not so quietly that we're not reporting it.

It is unsubstantiated, sources say. It comes without a time frame, and like the last two warnings, this one comes from Abu Zubaydah, the al Qaeda commander now in U.S. custody, which raises the question, is Zubaydah just stringing everyone along?

One of the goals of terrorists is to instill fear. If you're afraid to go to the bank or go to the grocery store or the mall, then without exploding a single bomb, the terrorists have succeeded. So the question is simple, is Zubaydah telling the truth, real plans and real threats, or is it some kind of game, the terror game? Here's David Ensor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Abu Zubaydah, al Qaeda's top field commander, is talking but the trouble is, is American interrogators are not sure whether to believe him. Information given by Abu Zubaydah led to last week's warning that a bank in the northeast might be attacked.

Zubaydah also claimed al Qaeda is seeking to build a so-called dirty bomb, designed to spread radioactivity over a wide area. True or deliberate lies designed to sow panic?

CINDY CAPPS, CENTRE FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY STUDIES: It's difficult to figure out if, in fact, it's misinformation on his part. You know, is he, like you said, jerking everybody's chain by saying, OK a bank in the northeast is going to explode on Thursday, whatever date or, in fact, is that truth?

ENSOR: The same question applies in Kandahar, Afghanistan, to what prisoners the U.S. is holding there are saying, and again in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where some Congressional sources say the interrogations are not going well. The key, says former FBI interrogator Cindy Capps, is know your target.

CAPPS: Every person has a button that can be pushed, but you have to find the button, and in someone who has hated the United States for so long, you know what could that button possibly be? You know, is he worried about his family? Is he worried about money? Is he worried about being thrown back to some other country in the Middle East to punish him? You know, what is the button?

ENSOR: The CIA and other U.S. agencies have a policy against using torture, but prisoners can be told if they don't cooperate, they may be handed over to a less squeamish ally. One al Qaeda official, Ibin Sheikh al-Libby (ph) was in U.S. hands for a time. He is now reported to be in the hands of Egyptian justice, under interrogation using Egyptian methods.

U.S. officials refuse to describe what methods they use, short of torture, to coerce prisoners, but in 1988 Senate testimony, a senior CIA official said techniques included forcing the subject to stand for long periods, sleep, sound and food deprivation, isolation, and climate changes.

VICTORIA CLARKE, PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: When you have people, as I said, who have been trained to resist, the expectations are that this will take a long time. It will be difficult. You will use appropriate means.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ENSOR (on camera): U.S. officials stress how important this work is. They say inside his head, Abu Zubaydah has enough information to save perhaps thousands of people but that, of course, is if he will tell the truth -- Aaron.

BROWN: And there obviously are ways to try and gauge whether someone is telling the truth. There are, I suppose, electronic devices and other ways, but we're just not getting much of a clue on how they're going about it.

ENSOR: If he will tell the truth, Aaron.

BROWN: And they're obviously are ways to try and gauge whether someone is telling the truth. There are, I suppose, electronic devices and other ways, but we're just not getting much of a clue on how they're going about it, are we?

ENSOR: Something they don't want to talk about, because they don't want to show their hand to perhaps people in the future who may be incarcerated. They Want to be able save those tricks for the next guy, so to speak.

BROWN: David, I'm sorry, some day we're going to know the answers to all these questions. I think we'll know how it all played out. Thank you for your work tonight.

As NEWSNIGHT continues tonight, President Clinton, former President Clinton brings some close friends to Harlem to raise money for voter registration. And coming up next , the latest twist in a Hollywood murder mystery. This is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: OK, Robert Blake. Why do I feel I ought to put on trench coat and a fedora to talk about this story? The Robert Blake case gets to be more and more like one of those 1940's Sam Spade movies all the time. Enter, in today's scene, a couple of stuntmen, with a story to tell. Jack Webb, were he still alive, we'd hire him for the night.

Absent that, here's CNN's Charles Feldman with details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FELDMAN (voice-over): When former "Baretta" star Robert Blake was arrested, charged with murdering his wife, it was alleged he first tried to enlist two hit men to do the job. Those two potential hit men are now cooperating with the police and are expected to testify against Blake, who prosecutors say shot and killed Bonnie Lee Bakley himself. Now Blake's attorney says he knows who the two are, two veteran Hollywood stuntmen the actor paled around with. HARLAND BRAUN, ATTORNEY FOR ROBERT BLAKE: A lot of this is just people he'd hang around with. He'd tell them about how this woman is ruining his life, and how -- what a difficult situation this is. And he said some of these guys would make comments to him like, "Why don't you kill the bitch," or something like that.

FELDMAN: But Blake's lawyer says his client never tried to hire them to kill his wife.

BRAUN: Maybe someone's taking some of those casual comments and massaged them into the role of a lifetime. And the question is why didn't they call the police if this happened?

FELDMAN: One of the stuntmen is Gary Mclarty. Back in the 80's, Mclarty worked on the "Twilight Zone" motion picture. He testified in court after actor Vic Morrow and two children were accidentally killed on the set while filming a stunt.

Mclarty would not talk with us about the Blake case. The other stuntman, Ronald "Duffy" Hambleton, could not be reached for comment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FELDMAN: Now Blake's attorney perhaps summed up the latest twist in this case best. "This is a Hollywood case," he says. "In Hollywood, truth is fantasy, fantasy is truth." But Aaron, the jail cell Robert Blake finds himself in tonight is very real indeed.

BROWN: Yes, it is that. Just in the legal scheme of things, real quickly, where does this thing go next?

FELDMAN: Next date in court, May the 1st. And that's going to be a hearing to determine yet the date of another hearing.

BROWN: That's a week from today, I believe. Charles, thank you. Charles Feldman in Los Angeles tonight.

We welcome now an old friend of ours, Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey, a former federal prosecutor, of late a successful author, joins CNN as a legal analyst. I hear we lost one of those a few months ago. Anyway, that's what I hear.

Welcome, Jeffrey. Now I know it's an O.J. reunion.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. The circus is back in town.

BROWN: OK. Quickly on the first point, I want to talk about a couple different things. Your take on the thing today the stuntmen and the rest?

TOOBIN: Harland Braun is trying to get a jump on this story. He knows that this accusation has been made. So he's putting the names out there so we'll do his job out for him. We'll dig up dirt on or dig up whatever there is to be dug on these two stuntmen, see if there's anything in the past to suggest that they're not trustworthy. And also, he gets to raise the question, why didn't they report it if was a real threat.

BROWN: I don't want to blindside you on this. I heard something today that maybe the -- one of the tabloids "The Enquirer," I think, may be running something on these two guys, which of course, then I went to O.J. again, but that actually has implications here.

TOOBIN: It does. And I think the missing name here is Matt Drudge. Matt Drudge of Monica Lewinsky fame, the Internet columnist, had an item today that "The National Enquirer" is running an item at the end of the week, saying you know, these guys' whole stories, these two stuntmen. Now what we know about "The National Enquirer" is that they often pay people often for interviews. And if these stuntmen, in fact, took money from "The Enquirer," that could very much could compromise their usefulness as witnesses. That came up in the case a couple of times.

BROWN: I was going to say. It was -- I can't remember the second one. The witness I remember, you'll remember the second one, was a woman who claimed to have seen Mr. Simpson driving down, I think Barrington Avenue.

TOOBIN: Yes, indeed, that was Jill Shively was her name.

BROWN: Boy, you're good. Oh man, you're very good. And she ultimately for having taken the money became a worthless witness, a non-witness in the case. And in fact, might have been a significant witness.

TOOBIN: Might have been. The other one was the knife salesman. In the preliminary hearing, remember the prosecution thought they had identified the murder weapon. It turns out, they were wrong about that because the knife was found in unused condition. But this comes up over and over again in these high-profile cases. The tabloids essentially could taint the witnesses without the prosecution being able to do anything about it.

BROWN: Let me suggest something else they can do, which isn't so much in your legal baileywick, as it is in your sort of broader author one, which is that they have a way of driving coverage. They help create the --almost said mania...

TOOBIN: We're not quite there yet.

BROWN: We're not going there again. But they help drive the coverage in ways, they certainly did in Simpson. And in fact, I think you could argue that some of the reporting that they do is pretty good.

TOOBIN: Some of it was absolutely was. In fact, "The National Enquirer", to its great credit, they're the ones who unearthed the photograph of O.J. wearing the famous Bruno Male shoes, which is really the single most important piece of evidence in the civil trial.

But one the great phrases in the media these days is, you know, a fact, an allegation is out there. You know, it's out there somewhere, whether it comes from Matt Drudge or "The National Enquirer." And it seeps its way into the food chain through you and me. And that's, you know, they do in many respects set the agenda on stories like this.

BROWN: Speak for yourself on this, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: Just for me.

BROWN: We were dancing around this a week ago tonight. Are we looking at O.J. 2?

TOOBIN: I don't think so. I mean O.J. was, I think, actually a very serious event, mostly because of the racial dimensions that were in it. I mean, this -- you had a case there with sex, race, sports, Hollywood. And the only eyewitness was a dog.

And here, I think you have a much lower, lower rent operation in every respect. I mean, Robert Blake is many things. He is not a superstar. He's not someone many people spend time thinking about. But it is -- he was famous at one point. And this is an intriguing story. And if the trial is televised, and I think that's a critical, critical thing...

BROWN: Yes.

TOOBIN: If it's' televised, I think a lot of people will follow it.

BROWN: Thank you. It is wonderful to see you to sitting next to me again.

TOOBIN: Great to be back.

BROWN: You're a great pal. And no more hammering in on this case for me for now.

Still -- that wasn't an absolute promise.

Still ahead on NEWSNIGHT, 60 years ago, their feat helped set America on the path to victory in World War II. It's coming at the end of the program. It is a terrific story on the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Up next, the former president still knows how to campaign. This is NEWSNIGHT from New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: When former President Bill Clinton decided to move his offices into Harlem, he said it wasn't just about symbols, that he wanted to become a part of the community there. Now in all honesty, former presidents do not move around anyplace quite so easily. Security issues and all of that. But tonight, the former president is in one of Harlem's most noted shrines, the Apollo Theater. It's a live picture from there. It is part of a get out the vote campaign. Mostly, though, in truth, we don't cover these sorts of events. On the other hand, we don't often hear from former presidents, any of them. And when they talk, we tend to listen.

Judy Woodruff talked with Mr. Clinton today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: How many seats are the Democrats going to win in the House? What do you think this year?

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know. I think it'll be a close race. I think there will be, you know, the redistricting didn't change as many as people thought. You -- so we get about -- I think we're about net down two or three in the redistricting, depending on what happens in Pennsylvania. But I think we can win somewhere between 12 and 15. And I expect when this election is over, I think the House will still be quite closely divided. Even if we win, I think we got a pretty good chance to win.

WOODRUFF: Unusual for a former president to be out, doing this kind of party building activity. Why are you doing it?

CLINTON: Because I really believe that a big key to the future of the country is getting all these young people to vote. And because America's youth population is increasingly diverse. We have more and more -- you look out here, a lot of these young people are first generation immigrants. Came here with their families.

And I think, you know, getting then to feel that they have a stake in America is really, really important. We, so far, have avoided the kind of wrenching, cultural and racial and religious conflicts that you see, even in Europe now, in lot of these anti immigrant elections.

And it's been bipartisan thing. Let me say one thing. I agreed with the president. One of the best things after September 11 was go to a mosque and say to these Muslim leaders, our fight is with terror, not with Islam.

So if we want to avoid from now on, the kind of conflicts that other countries have within them, we got to get all these young people mobilized and comfortable with the idea that they share a common citizenship and they're going to exercise them.

WOODRUFF: Do you run a risk when you talk about the past election 2000, Terry McAuliffe just said that we'll never forget. Do run a risk there, as Democrats focusing too much on the past, what happened in November?

CLINTON: Well, I don't think -- I think that, you know, he's the party chairman. That's his job. And I think it keeps people -- keeps our activists energized. But the most important thing is always have an alternative positive vision. It's always the most important thing.

In '92, I was elected president because people bought into what I said I would do if they hired me for the job. And I always tell all candidates, all elections are job interviews. The most important thing is for us to be out there talking about, what is our alternative vision? What would our people do that is different from what the others would do? And I think that's what this election will be about.

WOODRUFF: You're going to keep on doing this kind of thing?

CLINTON: Well, I like these -- you know, anything I can do to kind of encourage young people to vote, I'll do that. But I'm also, you know, I try to talk specific, today wasn't the time. I also like to talk about the kind of specific things I think we should be doing. Because that's good for America. It's good for America perhaps to have all these debates about the real substantive issues that are out there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Former President William Clinton up in Harlem earlier today. Travel as far from Harlem as you can in this country. Go to Maine or Montana or San Diego or Sioux Falls and say wherever you are to almost anyone. The Apollo Theater, and they'll know what you mean. You mean the place that's been the well spring for more American great music, rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, more great American music than you could load in roomful of CDs.

It turns out though that the Apollo Theater has been the wellspring for even more than that. The Apollo is not just a part of the history of Harlem, it is a part of our history period.

Here's CNN's Maria Hinojosa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The photos from Harlem back then were only in black and white. Society back then was divided, black and white, as well. Perhaps the Apollo Theater's greatest legacy, integration.

DAVID RODRIGUEZ, DIRECTOR, APOLLO THEATER: There were all kinds of various artists who were performing at various theaters, but they couldn't go and see their own. So, they came up to the Apollo, because it was one of those first truly integrated theaters, where there weren't just black and Latino people on the stage, but they could actually go and interact in the audience as well.

HINOJOSA: Over the years, the biggest names have performed there: Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Barry White, and an unknown Lauryn Hill.

REP CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: There's hardly anybody that made it, that didn't play right there on that stage.

HINOJOSA: The tourists, these from Ohio, flock to the site.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hidee hidee hidee ho!

HINOJOSA: For a guided musical and historical tour...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Duke, duke, duke, duke of earl!

HINOJOSA: ... and a chance to be on stage. But at the Apollo, it hasn't always just been about art, but politics as well.

LOUIS FARRAKHAN, NATION OF ISLAM: They know that Farrakhan had nothing to do with the murder of brother Malcolm X.

HINOJOSA: And now, beyond black politics to mainstream politics, the Democratic party held a presidential debate there.

RANGEL: If Harlem is the capital for blacks in this nation, then the Apollo has to be the White House.

HINOJOSA: The Apollo, which is owned by Time Warner, is sprucing up yet again. A $5 million renovation, from the bottom to top.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Finally from us tonight, another piece of history come alive. Since the end of World War II, a group of men have come together every 10 years to remember. They are old men now. Fewer each year because that's the way things work. And this year's reunion is likely to be their last public gathering, but what they did when they were young and brave and full of confidence and adventure should not be forgotten. They are living reminders of why we say they were the greatest generation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): Overhead, flying in formation in a South Carolina sky, or landing gently on a sun-baked runway, the sight of these World War II aircraft can snap most people of a certain age back in time. And that is especially true of these men.

J.R. STORK, LT., U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE (RET.): Everybody knew exactly what to do. We got up there. Bang, smash. And next thing you know, we were in the air. And we turned around and said, "My God, we made it. What happened?"

BROWN: They are old men now. Men in their 80s, but they are still alert, still heroes to many. And they seemingly never tired of describing their roles in one of the most famous wartime exploits of all time, the first American air raid over Tokyo, Jimmy Doolittle's raid.

RICHARD COLE, LT. COL., U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): We were to light up Tokyo. The original plan was, we were to take off on the 19th, around 4:00 in the afternoon. The way it worked out, we took off around 8:00 in the morning, and put us over Tokyo right at noon.

BROWN: Dick Cole was Colonel Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot in plane number one. In all, 16 B-25 bombers, with a total crew complement of 80, were to take off from the tiny deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet. In pitching seas and in high winds, fully loaded with fuel and bombs, something that the planes had never been designed to do.

COLE: I had no doubt. We had accomplished it on land. And I was flying with the best pilot in the world.

BROWN: On the day of the attack, things got worse. The pilots had planned to fly about 400 miles from the Hornet to Japan, and then land safely in China. But fearful of Japanese detection, the launch time was moved up by 10 hours.

DAVID JONES, MAJ. GEN, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): We had hoped for 450 miles.

UNIENTIFIED MALE: Right.

JONES: 650 was our limit. Over 650, we weren't going to have enough fuel to get to our destination in China. And we had studied weather probabilities for years back. It turned out we were 810 miles.

BROWN: They all launched anyway, 16 planes, spread out over the Pacific with not enough fuel to safely land anywhere.

JONES: My gunner was about 18-years-old. And about two hours off the carrier, he was in the back end. And you couldn't get back and forth, just talk on the inter-phone. And he called up and said, "Sir, we don't have enough fuel." And I said, "That's right." Click. End of story.

BROWN: The bombs fell on Tokyo and four other Japanese cities. Most of the planes did make it to China. Most crash landed. And the result, although the bombs did little real damage, there was an enormous boost for American morale.

This movie, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo," made some of the crew even more famous. Doolittle, played by Spencer Tracy, was lionized. But most of the real crew members didn't like it at all.

ROBERT HITE, LT. COL., U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): It was a pretty outlandish movie, I thought. I didn't think it really portrayed American officers or airmen or the Air Force properly.

BROWN: And nearly 60 years later, this movie, "Pearl Harbor" tried to re-create the raid again. Its depiction of reality was not even close.

JONES: Our part of it was a complete fantasy, particularly the back of end of it. They had some enemy action. Complete fabrication.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 100 percent wrong. BROWN: Once every 10 years, the surviving raiders meet publicly. This year's event in Columbia, South Carolina, where many of the original crewmen first volunteered.

Somebody said that when you're dispersed at home, different areas, that it seems like it was a million years ago. But when you get together, it seems like it was yesterday.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Good to have you with us tonight. Hope you'll join us again tomorrow. Until then, I'm Aaron Brown in New York. Good night from all of us at NEWSNIGHT.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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