CNN WOLF BLITZER REPORTS
Lindh Fights for Dismissal of Case; Al Qaeda Continues Online Activity; Identity of Deep Throat Remains a Mystery
Aired June 17, 2002 - 17:00 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.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Now on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS, a crucial case at a crossroads: John Walker Lindh wants it thrown out.
Did Pakistan arrest more Taliban-Americans?
They pulled the plug, but al Qaeda is back online, deep in the heart of Texas.
She sounded the alarm, now she's charged with starting the largest fire in Colorado history.
And Watergate plus-30: the break-in and cover-up that brought down a president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MILHOUS NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I let the American people down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Who was Deep Throat? This man promised he would answer that question today. So why is John Dean unable to deliver? I'll ask the former Nixon aide, and speak to the man who knows for sure: Bob Woodward of the "Washington Post."
And tapes you've never seen of the former president brought to you by Sir David Frost.
It's Monday, June 17, 2002. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
Critics call him Johnny Taliban, but there are concerns today the government's case against John Walker Lindh may be in jeopardy, and some of those concerns come from deep inside the U.S. Justice Department.
"Newsweek" magazine reports it's obtained e-mail messages exchanged by Justice Department lawyers. A December 7 e-mail from lawyer Jesselyn Radack warned prosecutor John De Pue there might be problems if an FBI agent questioned Walker Lindh without the presence of a lawyer.
Three days later, when Radack learned that Walker Lindh had, indeed, been questioned without a lawyer, she warned the interview might have to be sealed, or only used for national security purposes.
A memo from the prosecutor, De Pue, suggested the case against Walker Lindh my be weak, saying this, quote: "At present we have no knowledge that he did anything other than join the Taliban."
The e-mail report surfaced just as lawyers for Walker Lindh went to court hoping to dismiss the indictment against their client.
CNN national correspondent Bob Franken has been reporting that. He joins us now live from Alexandria, Virginia -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First, Wolf, let's talk about the "Newsweek" matters. They were implicitly confirmed in court when one of the lawyers for John Walker Lindh said that those memoranda, those e-mails were under seal -- that the judge had them.
So just a moment ago, the judge T.S. Ellis has ordered that the Justice Department, the federal government, conduct an investigation, and in three weeks report back to the judge to find out that if anybody covered by his court orders of confidentiality violated them. He said there are any number of way that material can be leaked to the press. But if, in fact, it was a violation of his order, he would consider contempt proceedings. That just happened.
Thus far, the threats to the case and the terms of defense requests for John Walker Lindh, who arrived under heavy security, as usually did, this morning, the defense requests in this case have all been turned down. The judge is still going through the various requests.
But let's go by, just chronologically, what he's covered thus far. The request to dismiss the case because of prejudicial publicity, or for a change of venue because this court is located just nine miles from the Pentagon, which was attacked by terrorist denied.
The judge said that, in fact, he did believe that a fair jury could be impaneled. If one could not, at the time that the trial starts -- scheduled now for August -- he would change things around.
Another very important ruling; this is the one where the defense attorneys that claim that John Walker Lindh's actions were the actions of a lawful combatant, one who was covered by combat immunity. The defense made that argument. U.S. attorneys said that this was not even a matter that should be decided in the courts; that it is not justiciable. And the judge said that, while he wouldn't go that far, the man was an unlawful combatant as far as the court was concerned, so that one was turned down.
Also, no selective prosecution, the judge ordered. So far none of the charges in the indictment have been turned down -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Bob Franken at the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington. Thank you very much.
And two American carrying American passports have been arrested trying to cross the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. CNN's Tom Mintier has that and more from Pakistan on the war on terror.
TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the confirmation that two Americans were, indeed, being held in Pakistani jails came first from the Foreign Ministry. It was not provided, but came in response to a question of whether any American passport holders were currently in custody.
Further confirmation came later in the day from the secretary of the Ministry of Interior, who said, indeed, two American passport holders were being incarcerated on passport violations. The fact that they had crossed over from Afghanistan into Pakistan, apparently illegally -- but not sure whether any links to al Qaeda.
Secondly, on the bombing in Karachi. The secretary for the Ministry of Interior said that they had been looking differently, now, at this; saying that it possibly was not a suicide bomber -- that the people who were in the car that exploded and carried the explosives may have been unwittingly partners in the crime; that this may have been a remote-controlled device is something they're looking at: that someone remotely fired this device as it pulled up in front of the U.S. consulate in Karachi, and that may have been what happened.
Finally, on the so-called dirty bomb suspect currently in an American military jail, Pakistani officials say at no time they had him in custody, but when he was here they did notify the U.S. embassy in Islamabad that he had been sighted, and they carried it on from there -- Wolf.
Tom Mintier reporting live from Islamabad, thank you very much.
And the population at Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is growing. Thirty-four captured al Qaeda and Taliban fighters have arrived from Afghanistan, bringing the total number at the U.S. detention facility to 536. About 100 detainees remain under U.S. custody in Afghanistan.
While many al Qaeda members have been taken into custody, the al Qaeda network continues to operate, and the evidence of that activity keeps springing up on the World Wide Web.
CNN's Mike Boettcher reports.
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, al Qaeda spokesman, seated at the right-hand side of Osama bin Laden after September 11. Since then he has not been seen. Like other high-level al Qaeda leaders, he disappeared.
However, denied his terrestrial sanctuary, Afghanistan, apparently he has now emerged in a cyber-sanctuary. And so, say intelligence analysts, has al Qaeda itself. British journalist Paul Eedle, an Arabic-speaking terrorism analyst, was one of the first people to discover this Web site, alneda.com. Coalition counterterrorism officials who are also monitoring the site suspect it is the mouth piece for al Qaeda in exile.
PAUL EEDLE, JOURNALIST: The site's clearly linked to al Qaeda, because all the material on it is linked to al Qaeda's conflict with the West, including a number of statements which are actually issued in the name of partners (ph) with jihad; that is the base of jihad, the official name of al Qaeda.
BOETTCHER: He translates Abu Ghaith's recent Web commentary justifying attacks against civilians using weapons of mass destruction.
EEDLE: This is where he says "we have not reached the point of justice with them, for we have the right to kill 4 million Americans, among them 1 million children."
BOETTCHER: The site, originally distributed through a Web hosting company in Malaysia, was first disclosed last month by CNN and was closed down after we made inquiries to Malaysian officials.
The site contained the last will and testament of one of the September 11 hijackers, recent news about al Qaeda and a photo gallery of suspected al Qaeda operatives presently detained in Pakistan.
(on camera): Now CNN has learned that after alneda.com was shut down in Malaysia, it was soon back in business; this time distributed through a Web page provider in the United States itself: in Texas.
CNN has learned that Internet porthole has also been closed.
But will alneda.com reemerge?
(voice-over): Paul Eedle believes it will.
EEDLE: This site is so important to al Qaeda's psychological warfare against the West that I'm sure you'll see it pop up again just as soon as they can find a host that doesn't realize what's going on.
BOETTCHER: Al Qaeda is under pressure, but working to reconstitute itself.
According to terrorism experts, the Internet, specifically alneda.com, has become a key element in its drive to regroup.
Mike Boettcher, CNN, London.
BLITZER: Al Qaeda may be able to operate a Web site, but is it still powerful enough to mount an attack?
Rohan Gunaratna is the author of Inside al Katra -- "al Qaeda" -- excuse me. Brand new book, Columbia University Press.
Thanks for joining us, Rohan.
You write, among other things in your book, you write this: "Al Qaeda is a worldwide movement capable of mobilizing a new and hitherto unimagined global conflict."
What does that mean?
ROHAN GUNARATNA, AUTHOR, "INSIDE AL QAEDA": It is because al Qaeda has penetrated the Muslim territorial as well as migrant communities. So for 10 years al Qaeda has been very active. And the United States and other governments started to work against al Qaeda in a sustained way only after the 9/11 attacks.
So al Qaeda has a lead of at least 10 years.
BLITZER: How many people, though, are out there who are working for al Qaeda -- the best estimate you have?
GUNARATNA: al Qaeda is a small organization, only of 3,000 members. But by linking up with other like-minded Islamists terrorist organizations and other parties, al Qaeda's force is multiplied several folds.
BLITZER: Well, you write this, also, in your book: "Defeating al Qaeda and its associated groups will be the single-biggest challenge confronting the international security and intelligence community, law enforcement authorities and national militaries in the foreseeable future"
Even though it's been effectively dismantled inside Afghanistan, it's training bases destroyed, it still is capable of doing that, you're saying?
GUNARATNA: Yes, because what the Americans have disrupted and degraded and destroyed is the al Qaeda infrastructure inside Afghanistan. But the al Qaeda horizontal network outside Afghanistan is very much intact.
BLITZER: And what about Osama bin Laden?
GUNARATNA: Well, the core and the penultimate leadership of al Qaeda, both Osama bin Laden and his principal strategist, Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, they are both alive.
BLITZER: How do you know they're both alive?
GUNARATNA: Because the number of al Qaeda Web sites, and pro-al Qaeda Web sites have carried messages from them, communiques from them, as well as al Qaeda took important decision to release the video of Haznawi, one of the suicide pilots. And such a decision can only be taken by a man of the stature of Osama bin Laden.
BLITZER: You've interviewed at least 100 or 200 of these al Qaeda operatives over the years in your career has been devoted to searching out this information about al Qaeda.
But where do you think Osama bin Laden is right now?
GUNARATNA: The place that Osama bin Laden would feel most safest (sic) is on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, because that is the area where he lived for more than 10 years during the anti-Soviet Afghan campaign.
BLITZER: Even though there's a $25 million price tag out there, reward for him, why is it so hard for the U.S. and others to find him?
GUNARATNA: It is because they're a tribal area. There is no -- the Pakistani troops can't operate there. The American troops also cannot operate there. So it's a lawless zone that is mostly controlled by the tribal chiefs.
BLITZER: You write in the book that the September 11 terrorist attacks were originally supposed to be even more widespread, and coming at least a couple days earlier on that Sunday.
Tell us about that.
GUNARATNA: Well, according to the Indian investigation based on the arrests of another pilot -- this time an Indian pilot who was training both in the United States, in the U.K., as well as in Australia, when he was arrested in Bombay he revealed that they also had a plan to crash-dive aircraft onto the houses of parliament in the United Kingdom.
And if his confession is true -- of course his confession has to be verified -- then the plan was going to be originally mounted on the 9th of September.
BLITZER: And then expanded elsewhere. And he's in custody, you say now, of Indian authorities?
GUNARATNA: Yes. He was in custody, but on a legal technicality he has been released. But both the Indian authorities and the British authorities continue to investigate the claims that he has made.
BLITZER: Jose Padilla, the American supposedly who had worked with al Qaeda, working on a so-called dirty bomb, do you believe that?
GUNARATNA: Absolutely. It is because al Qaeda is one of the few terrorist groups in the world that have had a sustained interest to acquire, develop and use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents.
BLITZER: You've spoke to at least 100-or-so, maybe more, al Qaeda operatives. Why would they talk to you?
GUNARATNA: Well, many al Qaeda members, as well as many other terrorists, always want to leave behind a historical record of their activities -- why they chose this particular path.
I spoke to most of these members in custody, in government detention, and some of these members who had deserted the organization.
BLITZER: OK. Rohan Gunaratna, the excellent new book "Inside al Qaeda."
Thanks for joining us. Good luck.
GUNARATNA: Thank you very much.
BLITZER: Columbia University Press.
GUNARATNA: Thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you.
And overseas airlines flying into the United States will soon have to have more fortified and new bulletproof cockpit doors. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced the security improvements will have to be in place by next April. The FAA already requires U.S. airlines to have new cockpit doors in all of their planes by the same date. Many airlines already have temporary fixes, including bars on the doors and new locks.
He helped bring downtown the Nixon presidency, but his identity remains one of the best-kept secrets in Washington. Who is Deep Throat?
We'll talk to one man who says he knows, and another who actually does.
And we'll ask the questions you want the answers to. You can call us now: 1-888-CNN-0561, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
CHARLES MOLINEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Charles Molineaux in Denver. Prosecutors want to make sure the Forest Service worker accused of starting the biggest fire in Colorado history stays locked up. I'll take (ph) part of the equation, outrage over her case.
MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Michael Okwu in Salt Lake City. The latest on the -- with the latest on the Elizabeth Smart investigation. I'll have more on that when WOLF BLITZER REPORTS returns.
BLITZER: Firefighters are busy coast-to-coast engaged in fiery battles in California. A 3,500 acre fire near Lake Isabella is half- surrounded. The blaze has already destroyed five homes, and briefly forced 200 people to evacuate over the weekend.
Other fires are burning across the state, including one near San Bernardino, and another in California's Sierra Nevada.
And in South Carolina, a wildfire near Myrtle Beach was contained this morning after burning 1,500 acres and forcing 400 people to leave a Gulf resort. In Colorado a Forest Service technician accused of starting the latest fire in the -- largest fire -- excuse me -- in the state's history appeared in court today. That, as firefighters are still struggling with the flames.
CNN's Charles Molineaux joins us now from Denver with the latest -- Charles.
MOLINEAUX: Yes, well Wolf, We've got a new firestorm burning in this case. Of course, it's burning right here at the federal district courthouse in Denver, where Terry Lynn Barton came in this morning. She appeared in court. She was somber and subdued. In fact, so subdued, the judge had to ask her to speak up as she responded to three federal charges: the willful burning of timber in a federal forest, destruction of federal property, and lying to federal investigators.
Terry Barton was the Forest Service worker who originally reported the Hayman fire, and then subsequently admitted, according to prosecutors, that she was actually burning a letter from her ex- husband in a campfire site, and the fire got out of control. It has now burned to 103,000 acres. Some 5,500 people are still evacuated from the fire, and there's a lot of anger over what has happened in here.
Prosecutors plan to ask that she not be allowed out on bail. And the fact that there is such outrage over this case has a big part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SUTHERS, U.S. ATTORNEY: Typically the term of bond is you return to your residence and your normal life, pending trial.
I don't think that's in the cards for her; and that's going to be part of our argument at -- in front of the court, that the whole aura of what's going on in the community, and animosity towards her contributes to the fact that she's a risk at -- to flee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOLINEAUX: The charges against Terry Lynn Barton, if you add them all up, could get her 20 years in jail, and fines of $750,000. There's also the possibility she could be called upon to make restitution for the damage she has allegedly caused. And that, of course, goes into the tens of millions of dollars. The firefighting effort alone is expected to cost more than $50 million.
Prosecutors are asking that she be held without bail. There will be another hearing to determine what happens next, and whether she will stay in custody coming up this Thursday -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you very much Charles Molineaux on the scene for us.
And turning now to the case of the missing Utah teen: Did an open garage door allow an intruder to abduct Elizabeth Smart? That's what her father is wondering on a day when police say they are no closer to identifying a suspect.
CNN's Michael Okwu joins us now live from Salt Lake City -- Michael.
OKWU: Wolf, good afternoon.
About 400 to 500 volunteers continued the search for Elizabeth Smart throughout the course of the weekend and, in fact, throughout the course of the day today.
About a third of the state has already been scoured, but investigators say they have not come forward with any firm evidence. And, in fact, law enforcement officials say that they are not any closer to finding out who is responsible for this.
Of course, they are still looking for Bret Michael Edmunds, a drifter who was seen close to the house about 48 hours before Elizabeth disappeared. They say that he is not a suspect, but they want him for questioning.
Now, at a press briefing this morning, Ed Smart, Elizabeth's father, said that he did leave the garage door open on the afternoon before Elizabeth disappeared. He did say, however, that he shut it later that evening. Police are not saying what, if anything, this means. And they have not attached any weight to this particular information.
Now yesterday, on Father's Day, a very difficult day, Ed came forward. He was supposed to speak to his congregates in his church. He was so overwhelmed with emotion, we are told, that he left without talking.
But this afternoon -- this morning, I should say -- his wife, Lois, offered some words to their daughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOIS SMART, ELIZABETH'S MOTHER: Elizabeth, do you remember when you were a young girl and your favorite story was called "Snake Girl"? That was a story about your great grandmother and how she had been bitten by a snake and survived; lived to tell about it?
Elizabeth, you're just like her: You're strong and you're brave. And you're going to make it through this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OKWU: About 100 local investigators and about 40 federal agents are still working on this case around the clock. They have received, at this point, some 6,500 tips, but they knowledge that those tips are not coming in as frequently as they were before -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Michael Okwu, thank you very much.
He promised to unmask a mystery man today. Next: Former Nixon aide and deep throat sleuth John Dean reveals what he can share.
Also: President Nixon like you've never seen him before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIXON: I brought myself down. I gave them the sword, and they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And this opportunity to talk with Bob Woodward of the "Washington Post" and Sir David Frost. I'll be taking your phone calls. Call us: 1-888-CNN-0561.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIXON: I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as president, I must put the interests of America first.
Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Welcome back.
We look back now on what may be the worst political scandal in U.S. history. It began 30 years ago today, when a security guard foiled what seemed like an ordinary burglary at Washington's Watergate complex.
But the pre-dawn break-in targeted the office of the Democratic National Committee, and the burglars turned out to be on a bugging mission for President Nixon's reelection committee.
Dogged reporting by a pair of young "Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered a massive cover-up reaching the highest ranks of the Nixon White House. Illegal wire taps, dirty tricks, hush money, a far-ranging abuse of power.
Two years later after grand jury and congressional investigations, indictments of his aides and the approval of articles of impeachment, President Richard M. Nixon resigned. President Gerald Ford took the oath of office, saying: "The long national nightmare is over."
President Nixon's counsel was among the White House officials who went to prison. Involved in the cover-up, he later warned the president of a cancer on the presidency, and his testimony linked the president directly to the Watergate-era crimes.
John Dean had planned to mark this anniversary by unmasking Deep Throat, the key source for reporters Woodward and Bernstein. John Dean joins me now live from New York.
Mr. Dean, thanks for joining us.
What happened? You had promised us you'd tell us who Deep Throat was, and today you came up with a list of four or five names.
JOHN DEAN, NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well Wolf, Bob Woodward really said I could only have three times at bat. He said I've been at bat twice, and he said I've missed both those; so I only get one more shot, so I had to get it right.
And so I've been very careful this time.
BLITZER: Well, you're very careful, but that's not enough.
And he's referring to the fact that in the past you did say Alexander Haig, who was then Nixon's chief of staff was Deep Throat. Earl Silbert, you suggested,. was Deep Throat.
BLITZER: Yes, right.
But now you have some other names. You're saying four or five.
Let's go through some of them. Pat Buchanan, who was then one of Nixon's chief speechwriters in the White House.
We tried to get in touch with Pat today, unfortunately we got no comment from him.
But why do you think Pat Buchanan may have been Deep Throat?
DEAN: Wolf, what I did, is I took all of the conversations between Throat and Woodward. There's some 14, 15 conversations, depending on how you count them. I analyzed each of those conversations.
If you take and start with the beginning conversation, which was on June 19 of 1972, and last conversation on the first week of November, you'll see a pattern where the people who could have known that information becomes narrower and narrower.
And what happens is, first of all it's very early. You have -- the information is known by both the reelection committee and the White House. And it gets tighter. It's only known in the White House.
I think when Bob Woodward reads this material, he's going to learn about the flow of information that he is not even aware of. I'm aware of it because I was the desk officer of a cover-up.
I didn't go to prison for it. That's not quite right on your intro. I did end up in the witness protection program, and spent 123 days in a safehouse. But my knowledge is fairly encyclopedia of what did happen within the White House, and who had access to this information.
When I wasn't there, I was able to get, through records at the archives, what did happen.
So my entire analysis is really based on pure evidence, and that's the reason I've not named anybody, is because the one person the facts did focus on told me I was wrong.
BLITZER: And the other person, some of the other people you did name, Ron Ziegler, we spoke to him today, our producer, Christian Hudson, and he said, "This has gotten to the point of absurdity. Any time someone wants to make money off of Deep Throat's mystery claims I'm Deep Throat. I'm not Deep Throat." Ron Ziegler was Nixon's press secretary.
BLITZER: Of course.
DEAN: Well, he had denied it before. And as Bob has said in the past, Deep Throat has denied it, and that's one of the problems. That's one of the reasons, Wolf, I have not rushed to judgment on this. I -- it is a game for me. It is obviously not a game for Deep Throat, and for a few other people. And to make it into a game, I've got to play it very fairly. I've got to be very correct when I make a naming of somebody, a tagging of somebody.
And so what I've done in this book is collect information that nobody else has. I've gathered it all together in one place and put it on Salon.com, where others can now look at this material and find out exactly how that flow of information proceeded.
The other thing I've added, and I think Bob may find this interesting as well, is he does give us a number of clues in "All the President's Men." And there is a profile that emerges from those clues. You can -- I believe everything Bob has said. I've talked to him about this, I've told him I take his word at gospel. And if you take that word at gospel, it can't be a composite, and it has to meet all those clues.
And there are really -- clearly a profile does emerge.
BLITZER: One of your finalists is also Raymond Price, one of Nixon's principal speech writers. We spoke with him today as well, and he said, "No, and my own guess is that he is probably fiction," referring to Deep Throat.
Steve Bull, who was a special assistant to the president, you include him in your list. We spoke with him today as well, and he says, "I was not Deep Throat, nor do I have knowledge. Proximity would make me a candidate. I would hope character would disqualify me."
And then finally Gerald Warren, a deputy presidents secretary, you said maybe it was him, he told CNN...
DEAN: No, he's not on my list, Wolf.
BLITZER: I know, but he was among those mentioned.
DEAN: All right.
BLITZER: One of the things he does say, I want to tell you what he says, he says, "It is not me. I think John Dean is just blowing smoke. If anyone fits the qualifications," listen to this, "for being Deep Throat, it is John Dean himself."
Are you Deep Throat?
DEAN: Well, ask Bob Woodward that question. No, I am not, I...
BLITZER: Well, I'm ask -- what about...
DEAN: Let, let me...
BLITZER: Go ahead.
DEAN: ... let me back you up a minute here. First of all, Gerald Warren is not on my list. He was on the list that was prepared by the students at the University of Illinois. And what's very interesting is, there's a juxtaposition between the names they came up with and the names I came up with. I can remove several off their list, as I know for a fact that don't work.
But we're not chasing Osama bin Laden here, we're trying to find a very interesting, mysterious source. And I anticipate all these people would deny. I say in my book they would all deny. They all have denied on prior occasion. But that doesn't make it any less of an interesting mystery.
BLITZER: John Dean, thanks for joining us. The mystery will continue. Appreciate it very much.
And 30 years later, where -- here's what we do know, by the way, about Deep Throat. Deep Throat is one individual, not a composite of people. Deep Throat is a man, he is still alive. He held an extremely sensitive position in the executive branch as of 1972. Deep Throat was a smoker and was fond of Scotch. Before the term "Deep Throat" was coined, Bob Woodward referred to him, quote, as "an old friend."
You have a chance to weigh in on this story. Our Web question of the day is this -- Do you think Deep throat is a hero? Go to my Web page, cnn.com/wolf, that's where you can vote. While you're there, let me know what you're thinking. Send me your comments. I'll read some of them on the air each day at the end of this program.
Also, that's where you can read my daily online column, today on Watergate, at cnn.com/wolf.
Up next, we need you to weigh in on John Dean's comments about Deep Throat and the Watergate legacy. We'll take your questions live with two men who were at the center of the storm, Sir David Frost and Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post." Call us now, 1-888-CNN-0561, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's just ahead, stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN STEIN, HOST, "WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY": I'm sure there was no Deep Throat. I'm absolutely sure of it. I've got a million dollars there's no Deep Throat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That was Ben Stein, a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon, now a comedian in California, betting a million dollars there was no Deep Throat.
We've heard some clues as to the identity of Deep Throat. Joining me here now in Washington is one man who knows for sure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Bob Woodward. Deep Throat, of course, was one of his many, many sources.
And from London, a man who's been privy to many secrets, Sir David Frost. He brought us the other Nixon tapes a quarter century ago, now he brings us some parts we didn't hear before. They'll air in full tonight on the Discovery Civilization channel.
Gentlemen, thanks for joining us.
And Sir David Frost, let me begin with you, and play an excerpt that our viewers, none of our viewers have ever heard before that's going to be part of our program later tonight, when Nixon explained to you why he went ahead with that cover-up. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIXON: We had contained the matter during the campaign. We contained it, and I tried to contain it for political purposes, because I didn't feel at that time that any erosion of the strength of the president in the country, of his support in the country, and also I didn't feel that his defeat in an election would be in the best interests of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Did that explanation ever sound sincere to you, Sir David Frost?
DAVID FROST, JOURNALIST: Well, I think that's a fascinating example you've chosen there of the Nixon style, and the Nixon thought processes and so on, that he talks about "the president" in the third person, and the country and so on, as if it's not me. You know, and that's that classic thing that politicians do, and he did a great deal of, which is confusing the national interest with their own, and that politicians who feel that anyone who criticizes them is slightly being unpatriotic.
And that's a classic example of it, "the president should not, the country should not." He was talking about himself all the time.
BLITZER: And Bob Woodward, another excerpt from these previously unaired interviews, has Nixon basically saying, you know, I was such a nice guy, I didn't want to hurt any of my aides, that's why I engaged in the cover-up. Listen to this little excerpt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIXON: I felt that Haldeman and Erlichman and Mitchell, we weren't close personal friends, but boy, they had worked their butts off for good causes, and I appreciated it. They'd been loyal. I appreciated that. They told me after this conversation, Look, we didn't intend to obstruct justice. I wanted them not to be hurt, if that could be accomplished within the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Now, when you hear that, what goes through your mind?
BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, the record is so clear from the Nixon tapes. I mean, here he is saying it's OK to break the law. And there are other tapes where he essentially says, Look, the president is the law. I can decide. And now in this excerpt he's saying, I didn't want to hurt the boys, so I broke the law on a massive scale.
This is the level of self-justification, this is the level of self-delusion that he had that is why he was forced to resign.
BLITZER: Go ahead, Sir David Frost.
FROST: Well, you're absolutely right, Bob. And there was one point, in addition to his final mea culpa on Watergate, I remember the sessions on the Houston plan, where he said that line, which, I mean, hit me between the eyes when he said it, it was, "Well," he said, "if the president does it, that means it's not illegal." I mean, that was such a definition of the approach to so much of his domestic policy.
I mean, that was, if anything, the line that outraged people more than any other in the interviews.
WOODWARD: Yes, and of course, what Watergate established is that the president isn't above the law, that he is fully accountable, and as we know from the record, it's the Republican Party that came in and said, We are not going to have this, and it's the Republican Party that pulled the rug out from under Nixon.
BLITZER: You know, I yesterday interviewed secretary of state -- former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who's very angry at you for what you said on "Meet the Press" yesterday, when you called Nixon a criminal president. I'd like you to listen in part to what Henry Kissinger said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He made mistakes at the time of Watergate, but I totally disagree with this notion that he was a criminal president, and I think it is that attitude that contributed so much to the drama of that period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODWARD: It's sad that Kissinger after all these years still doesn't get it. He was a criminal president. I mean, look, here you have Nixon on the tapes saying, Lie to the grand jury. That is a felony to order or request somebody to lie to the grand jury. He says, Let's pay hush money to common burglars to keep the system from finding out the truth.
You have to label it what it is, unfortunately.
BLITZER: OK, Bob Woodward and Sir David Frost, please stand by. We have much more to talk about on Nixon, Deep Throat, and all the other Watergate intrigues. We'll take a look at that and your phone calls. We'll hear from you. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back.
We're continuing our conversation with Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post" and Sir David Frost.
We have a caller from New Jersey. New Jersey, go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Yes, hi. Has Mr. Woodward made any provisions to identify Deep Throat if he should die before Deep Throat does?
BLITZER: God forbid.
WOODWARD: Yes, I have, in fact -- you know, if something like that happens, all of the questions about this are going to be answered.
BLITZER: How paranoid, Sir David Frost, was Nixon about the identity of who this Deep Throat was?
FROST: Well, one of the interesting things is that we, bearing in mind Bob being with us now, is that when we did the interviews, we prepared them for a year, and John Burke (ph), Bob Zelnick, James Reston Jr., great journalists, and we prepared everything, we went through every session, 12 sessions, 28 3/4 hours, we went over each session, made sure we'd covered everything.
And at the end of the time, we thought we had. But funnily enough, we realized, one day later, that the one question we hadn't asked was, Who was Deep Throat? Then we realized that wasn't much of a loss, because if there was one person who certainly didn't know Bob's secret, it was, in fact, President Nixon himself. So it wasn't such a loss.
But funnily enough, that was the only question we ever regretted not asking, although we wouldn't have got much of an answer.
Paranoia, however, is central to this whole presidency, I think. For instance, at one point he said, "People may say we're -- I'm guilty of paranoia, but paranoia for peace is no bad thing." And everybody started doing buttons saying, "Paranoiacs for Peace" and so on.
But it was absolutely central, that exaggeration of the danger of enemies, exaggeration of the power of "The Washington Post," exaggeration of the power of the media, exaggeration of the power of his enemies and the people on the enemies list. That was the -- he who is not for us is against us, and so on, that paranoia was at the root that bit away at the Nixon presidency.
BLITZER: Let's take another caller from Oregon. Go ahead, Oregon.
CALLER: Hi. Do you think you would have uncovered what you had about Watergate without Deep Throat? (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BLITZER: That's a -- let's leave that at that. Go ahead, Bob.
WOODWARD: No, that's an important question. And as Carl and I laid out in "All the President's Men," we had dozens of sources, and Deep Throat largely confirmed things, helped us connect the dots, and as Len Garment, Nixon's former counsel said, in October 1972, we really understood the basic parameters and fundamentals of Watergate, namely, that it wasn't one isolated event, it was all kinds of events, wiretaps, break-ins, using the government to investigate opponents, and so forth.
So people have focused on that source because of the clandestine meetings, because the managing editor of "The Washington Post" gave him the name Deep Throat, which was a pornographic movie, and it's taken on -- it's become a little bit of a mis-focus.
BLITZER: In the past, when people have guessed who Deep Throat was, like Alexander Haig and John Dean, years ago, you've denied it. I noticed yesterday on "Meet the Press" when they said -- they asked you about Pat Buchanan, you sort of threw your hands up in the air with a "No comment." What's all that about?
WOODWARD: Lots of people have died, people have taken -- gone off the list because we've taken them off the list. So it's a narrowing group. And our job is to protect sources. And by further reducing the list, we tend to jeopardize disclosure of that source before he wants to be disclosed.
BLITZER: He's still alive right now, Deep Throat.
WOODWARD: Last I checked. BLITZER: And you're still in touch with him?
WOODWARD: I'm just not going to get into that.
BLITZER: All right, Bill (ph). Let's bring back David, Sir David Frost. We have an e-mail question for you from Jim, who asks us this, "In a culture that celebrates and rewards celebrity, why hasn't Deep Throat cashed in?" I assume he hasn't cashed in, and you have to speculate about that. But what do you think?
FROST: Well, that's an interesting point. I think this whole thing is a great tribute. I mean, I could imagine that seeing the record that Bob and Carl have had over the years of keeping this secret, I mean, presidents who get paranoid about leaks, the first of which was Richard Nixon, you know, could take a lot of lessons from them.
I think obviously it's a debt of honor on both sides of keeping it quiet. But you're right, if Deep Throat cared to surface, and if Bob said, Yes, that's true, that person would become a huge national celebrity, not just for Andy Warhol's 15 minutes, but for at least for 30 minutes, at the very least.
So I think he could become a celebrity, but obviously he doesn't want to be, because I think Bob said that he's obviously told friends and other people something that wasn't entirely accurate. But of course he could become on the front cover of "People" magazine.
BLITZER: Henry Kissinger yesterday denied to me that he was Deep Throat. I assume he's telling me the truth. But he did say this to you, Bob Woodward, and I want you to listen precisely to what the former secretary of state said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KISSINGER: If our government, including the CIA, had to give up its most secret -- its most secret documents after 25 years, I don't see why a newspaper cannot reveal the source of one story after 25 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODWARD: And the answer is, we gave our word, and in a town and a culture that does not honor giving its word, we are trying.
BLITZER: To keep your word.
A noble thought. You have the last word, Sir David Frost.
FROST: Well, no, I was just thinking that in these -- in the Nixon tapes, the Nixon interviews, one of the most amusing things for connoisseurs is that Nixon and Kissinger obviously wanted the credit for everything that went right in foreign policy, not what went wrong. But they couldn't slag off the other one, because they were too closely linked. And so the way they play off one another, Nixon says, Well, of course he was a genius, Henry Kissinger, but they're -- geniuses, of course, are very shaky and unstable and they need a strong father figure behind them. That was his way of putting it. Henry Kissinger said, President Nixon was a great president because he was -- had the wisdom to delegate everything important to me.
You know, they both had this way of trying to take the maximum of the credit without putting down their partners in -- if not crime, their partners.
BLITZER: OK, Sir David Frost, we'll be watching those interviews that you did with Richard Nixon later tonight on the Discovery Channel. Thanks so much for joining us from London. Bob Woodward, the one thing I admire about you, among many other things, 30 years later, you broke a story yesterday on the -- in the "Washington Post" front page, you're still working hard, working those sources, making news. Appreciate it very much.
WOODWARD: Thank you.
BLITZER: Bob Woodward and Sir David Frost, thank you very much.
No one expected them to come this far, now more Americans will be watching the World Cup. Coming up, the pictures that tell you why.
BLITZER: Prosecutors say they're shocked at the turn of events in the dog-mauling case in California. A judge threw out the second- degree murder conviction of Marjorie Knoller, one of the dog's owners. The judge says the evidence did not support the conviction as defined by state law. He let stand convictions of involuntary manslaughter and keeping a mischievous animal that kills for both -- that kills, for both Knoller and her husband, Robert Noel.
Also today, Noel was sentenced the maximum four years in prison for his role in the attack.
I'll be back in just a moment with our picture of the day. But first, our news quiz.
The United States today shocked the soccer world, beating Mexico 2 to 1 to advance to the World Cup quarter-finals. Only one other U.S. team in history has made it as far as the current one. What happened during that season? The World Cup was in its first year, the World Cup was played in the United States, the World Cup was delayed a month because of weather, the favorite was disqualified?
We'll have the answer coming up.
BLITZER: Now back to our news quiz on the World Cup. Only one other U.S. team in history has made it as far as the current one. What happened during that season? The year, 1930, and it was the first playing of the World Cup.
And here are the results of our Web question of the day. Take a look, there, put them up on the screen. Sixty-two percent of you say yes, they believe Deep Throat is a hero, 38 percent of you say no.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" begins right now.
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Online Activity; Identity of Deep Throat Remains a Mystery>