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CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND

Interview With Aicha El-Wafi

Aired June 23, 2002 - 21:00   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.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: exclusive; her son stands charged as a September 11 conspirator. Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker, could get death if convicted.

Speaking out after seeing her son in American custody, Moussaoui's mother, Aicha El-Wafi.

And then, with a perspective on this high-profile case, Wolf Blitzer, anchor of CNN's "LATE EDITION." In Jerusalem, CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. And in New York, Deborah Feyerick, who's covered the Moussaoui case for CNN.

They're all next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

We begin tonight on this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND with Aicha El-Wafi. We're in Los Angeles; she is in Washington. She is the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, who will defend himself on trial starting in September in the United States.

He was arrested in August, prior to the September 11 attack, but is accused of being a conspirator in that attack.

When did you see your son, Madame Moussaoui?

AICHA EL-WAFI, MOTHER OF ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI (through translator): Yesterday morning I saw him.

KING: And would you tell us how he is being treated, what your feelings are about how he's -- how well he's doing in prison?

EL-WAFI (through translator): How he's treated? He is treated as all prisoners; and he has special treatment.

KING: "Special treatment" meaning what?

EL-WAFI (through translator): What I mean, he has -- he always has -- he sleeps with the lights on, on his head every night. And he is totally isolated.

I don't receive any letters from him, and he does not receive letters from me either. And we wake him up every time he tries to go to bed

KING: But he wishes, Madame Moussaoui, to defend himself. Why? EL-WAFI (through translator): I cannot answer this question because for my part, I have no idea. And he told me that he doesn't have any confidence in anybody, and also the treatment he gets -- he doesn't trust anybody.

KING: Does that worry you, that he's not a lawyer, but he's chosen to defend himself? The judge says it's OK, but does it worry you, his mother?

EL-WAFI (through translator): Of course. Of course. I don't sleep at all. I don't know how he's going to defend himself. I don't see how.

And especially, American laws, they are completely different than European laws. And also he is completely isolated. He doesn't know what happened since September -- the month of September.

I believe that in his head, he thinks that the world is still the same, but the world has changed. And there are special laws specifically for these cases in the States.

And I think, to defend himself, it's not a very good idea.

Americans themselves and American lawyers, they have to have very good lawyers to answer these -- all these questions. If not, I think it's going to be a horrible case.

KING: But don't you think he would be better off with professional lawyers? Lawyers like to win. Don't you think he'd be better off with professional lawyers than trying to do it himself?

EL-WAFI (through translator): Yes. I'm completely -- I agree with you completely. And I've tried to reason him. But I tried to explain to him because I know myself that with the help of lawyers, it's much better.

Without a lawyer, I don't know how he's going to defend himself.

KING: Did you ask your son if he was involved in all of this?

EL-WAFI (through translator): Yes, I asked him. He promised me -- he said, "Mom, I have nothing to do with this September 11 attack." And he told me this truth, I tell you, because I'm his mother, and because he believes -- he believes in God and he believes in Allah, and that mothers are sacred.

KING: Did he -- did he...

EL-WAFI (through translator): And he is not afraid to tell the truth. He told me the truth, even though I did not ask him.

We know he sent me a letter. He sent me a letter on the month of October -- the 25th of October in 2001, and he told me exactly at that time that he has nothing to do with what happened, but it's very difficult to now defend oneself when we are in prison and when we don't have any contact with the outside world. And that's why I cannot -- I'm not able to sleep, I'm not able to live.

KING: Did he say, Madame...

EL-WAFI (through translator): My life became really very bad since September 11.

KING: Madame, did he say -- if he was not involved -- did he say if he supported what the terrorists did on September 11? Did he feel that they did the right thing?

EL-WAFI (through translator): No. He said that all these people -- he doesn't know all these people.

He is Muslim. He recognized that he is Muslim, he believes in God, he believes in Mohammed, but he never hurt anybody, never killed anybody, or he didn't do any wrong in the United States or elsewhere.

And that, he told me. And he promised me that he's telling me the truth. He said, "mother, I tell you."

KING: We'll take a quick break. We'll come back with more of Aicha El-Wafi. She is Madame Moussaoui. She is the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, who goes on trial, charged with six counts of conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, to commit a hijacking, to destroy an aircraft, to use weapons of mass destruction, to murder Americans, and to destroy property.

He will defend himself.

We'll have a panel discussion about this. We'll be right back with this lady from Paris right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Madame Moussaoui, the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, on this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Some members of the attorneys say that there is a history of some mental problems in the family. How is your son's mental stability?

EL-WAFI (through translator): Psychologists and therapists should talk about this. I know -- from what I know is that my son has been for a while by himself, and this closure and this isolation don't help him to see things in an objective way.

KING: You had not seen him in some time prior to all of this. Why? Why had you not seen or been with your son?

EL-WAFI (through translator): He studied in Arbon (ph), and after that he went to Perpignon to do a technical diploma, and after that, when he had his diploma, he said that he wanted to go to England to improve his English.

KING: Did you speak to him during that time, though -- on the phone?

EL-WAFI (through translator): In the beginning, when he left to England, he called his sister a lot. And every week practically I knew that he was doing well. And in 1995, I saw him, very quickly. And in 1997, I saw him another time, and he stayed 15 days at home.

KING: Madame, in the court filing, your son described himself as "a dedicated enemy of the United States." Had he expressed those thoughts to you?

EL-WAFI (through translator): No, not like this. I believe that since he's imprisoned and he suffered and he's very miserable, he's a man -- he has lots of anger. This is a man with lots of anger that is speaking, because when he was young, he loved American movies and he was always dressed with an American-style clothes.

And I don't understand that now he says that he's the enemy of the Americans. And when I went to visit him, I talked to him about him, about me and about the family. And you know very well that we had an FBI agent sitting by us. I came to see him as a mother. I didn't come here to investigate. I came only to see in his eyes if he tells me that he did something or not, if he was in an organization or if he participated in anything.

But for me he's not a killer, because he promised me that he didn't do anything.

KING: You had no privacy when you were with him? There were agents present to listen to your conversation?

EL-WAFI (through translator): Of course. Of course. And we had a window, and we were talking through a telephone. And once I saw him for 45 minutes, another time for 50 minutes and for 45 minutes another time, and once I saw him for an hour.

And we talked about the family, we talked about his grandmother. And there was a moment when I talked to him about his grandmother, I saw that he forgot a little bit for a moment that he was in prison. And he smiled and he told me that he loved me, and he told me that the reason for him to stay in prison is he thinks about me. He thinks about me and he thinks about God, and thinks about Mohammed. And with this love, he was able to get over all these problems.

KING: He faces the death penalty if convicted. That is the ultimate in penalties. How worried are -- is it true that you've asked that if he were to be sentenced to death, you want France to get involved?

EL-WAFI (through translator): Of course. I already asked France to get involved. Because in France, we don't have the capital punishment, because my son was born in France, and the French -- I'm French -- I'm originally from Morocco, but my son, he is French and born in France.

I believe that you know very well that there was an American who was hiding in France because he had -- he had killed his girlfriend here in the United States. And the United States asked France to extradite this person. And in France, they asked not to execute this person.

So I don't see how is my son who is French, and France would accept the capital punishment...

KING: We'll...

EL-WAFI (through translator): And on top of it, it's for reasons that he tells me that he did not do.

KING: Madame, will you attend the trial?

EL-WAFI (through translator): What I want -- I want to say something.

KING: Yes.

EL-WAFI (through translator): Before -- for all the Americans, that I feel their suffering, because me, like them, I am suffering. Nobody deserved to die. But capital punishment, I'm against the capital punishment -- not for my son, not for anybody else. And that's why I will fight with the means that I have.

KING: Thank you, Madame. That was El-Wafi -- Aicha El-Wafi, the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, who goes on trial in September. We thank her for giving us this exclusive time on this Sunday night edition of "LARRY KING WEEKEND."

When we come back, Wolf Blitzer in Washington, Deborah Feyerick in Washington, and Christiane Amanpour in Jerusalem will discuss the statements made by Moussaoui's mother and other items dealing with the news of the day and the week which seems to change every other hour. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We'll devote the rest of this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND on this Sunday night to three terrific journalists to discuss what Moussaoui's mother just said and other things. In Washington is Wolf Blitzer, the CNN anchor of "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" and host of CNN's "LATE EDITION," seen every Sunday. In Jerusalem in Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, and in New York is Deborah Feyerick, CNN correspondent who, by the way, has been covering the Moussaoui case since the beginning.

So we'll start with you, Deborah. What do you make of what the mother had to say?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mrs. El-Wafi is being very loyal to her son, and when she left the courthouse after the hearing last week, that's exactly what she said. She said, you know, a mother's job is never done.

She's certainly right to defend her son. She wanted to get him the best legal representation, but he turned her down, actually. He said, "I know my mom means well, but she doesn't understand the reality of this case." So whatever promises he may have made to her, the government certainly has very strong information that, in fact, he was part of this conspiracy. He was taking flying lessons. He was also researching crop-dusting, and he was also, importantly, getting financing from a man who was also financing the 19 dead hijackers. The government, of course, is going to be bringing all of this up when they go to trial.

KING: Wolf Blitzer, what's your read? Is that -- was that just a mother being a mother?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I think it was, Larry. It was a loving mother, obviously very concerned about her son. She acted like all mothers would act in a situation like this. She doesn't want to believe what the U.S. government is alleging, that this individual was meant to be one of the hijackers. There were 19 hijackers. The government says he was number 20. One of those planes, of course, had four hijackers. The others all had five. He was supposed to be in the team that only had four, and the government seems to have a pretty strong case, as you point out. Six -- six counts against him, four of which do carry the death penalty.

So she's reacting as a loving mother would react. I guess a lot of other people don't have that reaction.

KING: And, Christiane, over in Jerusalem, and overseas where you are 95 percent of the time, what's the thinking about this matter?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not getting a huge amount of attention. I think what I found interesting about the mother's comments were that even although Moussaoui has apparently described himself as a veteran America hater, his mother rather touchingly said that ever since he was a little boy, he loved American movies, he wore American clothes, American style clothes. And she, herself, expressed great sorrow for the victims, the American victims, of September 11.

So I think that, from that point of view, she was clearly trying to be sympathetic with her son there. I could, if you like, describe to you what I think might be some of the problems of a man defending himself in court, because I've covered ...

KING: Please.

AMANPOUR: ... some of those people overseas who've tried to do that.

Well, look. Take Slobodan Milosevic, who is now at the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, who is charged with all sorts of war crimes and including genocide. He refused to play ball with the court. He didn't even enter a plea; the court has had to do it for him.

And this has presented two serious challenges, which may or may not surface in the Moussaoui case. Number one: When a defendant is on trial and refuses to be defended by proper legal defense, the onus is on the court to make sure that his interests are properly preserved, and his democratic interests are, and a democratic right to a free trial are properly preserved. So that's one issue.

The other, probably more problematic, issue for prosecutors is that, in Milosevic's case, he has taken to the stand now in his own defense, and he's using the courtroom, essentially, as his political platform. He is not prosecuting or defending himself in any legal way. He's using it, and he has been doing so since the trial opened in February -- and the trial may go on for many, many months, if not more than a year -- as a political platform.

And he is trying to reach his own audience back in Serbia. Now this is a trial that is televised, and does -- and does reach a wide audience who cares to tune in. I don't know what will be the case with the Moussaoui trial, but that kind of using the courtroom as your own personal political platform is one that can put the prosecutors and the court in a very tricky position.

KING: Deborah, do you expect that from Moussaoui, or is he going to be in a kind of state of denial?

FEYERICK: Well, I think he's definitely in a state of denial. Unlike his mom, he has shown absolutely no remorse for the September 11 attacks. He has said that America basically got what they deserved, that in fact, that future punishment will be coming, and he says that this is because America is a country full of disbelievers, because they don't believe in Allah.

As far as using the courtroom as a political platform, that's going to be a little more difficult, only because the judge has really reined him in. She does not want him to go off on tangents. He does, once in a while, but again, she's really trying to put a stop to that, and when he wants to explain something, she says, you know, no, you cannot do that. You must begin thinking and acting like you're a lawyer. I'm not going to let you go off in this direction or that direction. We are here; this is a court of law, and you know, this is not an opportunity for you to, sort of, discuss your political philosophy.

So it's going to be very difficult on some levels for Moussaoui not only to represent himself, but for the judge to make sure that this doesn't turn into a complete circus, with him trying to do things that you can't do. And that is definitely one of the complexities.

KING: Wolf, he's asked for the trial to be moved from Northern Virginia to Colorado. Can he get -- being honest about it, can he get a fair trial?

BLITZER: Yeah, he can get a fair trial, but he's hurting his own cause. Every lawyer I've discussed this case with, including those the most sympathetic toward him, including Muslim lawyers, American lawyers who are Muslim say that he's making a very unwise decision by trying to represent himself.

When he was arraigned, he had this very long statement that he made, which was very, very almost self-incriminating. He attacked not only the United States, but he attacked Israel and Jews, and he went out of his way to make it clear where his own political standings, his own political views were. Certainly not something that's going to ingratiate him with either a jury or the judge, in this particular case. At the same time, by not having a lawyer, the government is not going to let him see some of the classified information that they would let an attorney see, who's signed all the national security confidentiality agreements. And he's not going to have access to this because he doesn't have those kinds of national security classifications.

In effect, what he's doing is going into this with a lot of his own efforts tied behind his back. At least one arm, maybe both, tied behind his back. Which leads a lot of people to believe, Larry, that he does have just a political agenda right now, not any real legal agenda to try to get himself free.

KING: Before we ask Christiane another question, Deborah, this is the case where Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent, said that they should have been allowed to look at his e-mail and stuff so that they might have gotten a lead on September 11, right? And the FBI declined?

FEYERICK: That's exactly right. They said that there wasn't enough evidence for them to actually go into his computer. The bottom line, though, is what would they really have found? They certainly would have found a couple of interesting pieces of information, but everything sort of took on much greater significance after the September 11 attacks and after the increased threats were made apparent.

So she was right; definitely they should have followed up. The FBI had several pieces of key information from different field officers, but the threat just wasn't known until the attacks happened. And now, as you know, we're getting threats and alerts and warnings almost every couple of days. So we're in a very different position than we were prior to September 11.

KING: We'll be right back with Wolf Blitzer, Christiane Amanpour and Deborah Feyerick on this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, we have an exclusive with the Pearls. It's the first appearance ever on television, the mother and father of the late Danny Pearl of the "Wall Street Journal." We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The first indictment has been brought against the terrorists of September 11. Al Qaeda will now meet the justice it abhors and the judgment it fears.

This morning, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia charged Zacarias Moussaoui, a native of France of Moroccan ancestry, with conspiring with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to murder thousands of innocent people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania on September the 11th.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Christiane Amanpour, generally this may be true in Europe and in the United States, and you've spent a lot of time in both places. Isn't conspiracy, as a general charge, hard to prove?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, I haven't covered very many conspiracy trials, but a lot of these things are hard to prove. I don't know what evidence the United States government has, but in -- clearly from what you've heard Deborah say, they seem to have a lot of evidence that they are going to bring to trial.

I just think that just the whole notion of this man trying to defend himself is going to cause the trial a great deal of trouble. And while he may be being restrained right now, remember the trial hasn't started yet and that he is going to be given the chance, presumably, to cross-examine witnesses and then to call his own witnesses. And from the one very high profile trial that I've been covering, it is pretty much a shambles over there, in The Hague, with the Milosevic trial. And he is basically using it to attack the United States and to make all sorts of his own propaganda.

KING: Do we know, Wolf, what his defense will be?

BLITZER: No. He says he's got some secret defense that, in 10 minutes, he says, if he's allowed to speak before the court, he could be released. No one has a clue, including his own lawyers, his court- appointed lawyers, what he's talking about, but he's insisting that he has some sort of secret information that will release him. I have no idea what that is, and the judge says that it was inappropriate for him to speak about that so-called evidence during the last procedure that she ruled over.

But we do know what the government alleges in the indictment that was made public, and the most damning piece of evidence that the government has is that $14,000 wire transfer -- two wire transfers from an individual named Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who was the so-called money man of the whole operation in Germany. He's on the loose right now, but he was clearly the man who was giving money to all the other hijackers, including Mohamed Atta, the ring-leader. And there is evidence that he sent to Zacarias Moussaoui $14,000 to pay for his flight training in Minnesota, earlier in Oklahoma.

That's, when you're trying to go for a conspiracy conviction, that's pretty strong evidence, if the government can prove it.

KING: Deborah, his mother says that he speaks with his lawyers, so is he cooperating with the court-appointed lawyers?

FEYERICK: He's -- the court-appointed lawyers that he had are no longer court-appointed lawyers. He was very adamant about getting rid of them when he was -- basically appointed his own counsel. He said those lawyers were part of a government conspiracy to get him killed, and he wanted them dismissed. They, too, at a certain point said, it is not a good thing for us to stay on this because he does feel so strongly.

So what happened is, is apparently Moussaoui was contacted by a Muslim attorney who said that he would help him with some of the issues that we have mentioned. For example, being able to interview witnesses, getting clearance so that he could look at certain documents and then at least help Moussaoui prepare his defense. He does also have a new court-appointed lawyer, a man who has also sort of served as stand-by counsel to other people who are representing themselves. And this is a man who's going to, at least, guide him through some of the law.

But Moussaoui is very determined to make sure that he and he alone is the one who is mapping his own defense, because he feels that he can trust no one. And that is why it is so critical that he be there doing that.

And also, just to get to the point that Wolf mentioned about this secret information. During the hearing, he kept saying, I have an address. I have an address, judge, and if you want me to tell you what this address is, it's all going to become clear and you're going to let me leave this court, perhaps today, perhaps in the next few days. So again, this shows the complexity of him not understanding what the law is, that you don't just put out one piece of evidence and then walk free.

KING: Christiane, what are officials, if any, saying anything in France about this?

AMANPOUR: Well, as you know, they -- they have been cooperating, obviously, in the investigation. It has had quite a lot of prominence in France. And there is that issue of the death penalty that sets -- one of the things that does split most of Europe, in fact all of Europe, from the United States. But they certainly have been cooperating in the investigation, and there are several instances around Europe where several countries have got people in custody that are, perhaps, linked to the Al Qaeda conspiracy and are cooperating with the United States at the moment.

KING: Wolf, if he were convicted and got the death penalty, France and other might protest, the pope might get involved, as he has in many death penalty cases. And wouldn't one of the arguments be, he didn't kill anybody?

BLITZER: Presumably, that would be an argument, but if he were convicted and all the appeals were rejected in the U.S. court system, they wouldn't have the European defense or the other Europeans wouldn't be able to do much except try to rally public support ...

KING: Yeah.

BLITZER: ... public opposition to his being executed. Because he was arrested here in the United States, on U.S. soil, he wasn't extradited here. He was here. They picked him up. He was here, apparently, illegally. They arrested him in August, a month before 9/11, and they were holding him.

One point, I just want to elaborate on what Deborah had said earlier. Yes, the information that was -- that would have been taken from his computer, if the FBI headquarters had in Washington would have allowed the field agents in Minneapolis and Minnesota to go ahead and search his computer probably wouldn't have given them the information they needed to prevent 9/11.

But remember, there was also the stonewalling of the FBI investigations, at the same time, in Arizona, where there were agents suspicious of Middle Eastern men going to flight schools over there, wondering what they were doing. That information was sort of ignored by headquarters in Washington, not disseminated. If, some people believe, if all of this information would have been given to the proper people, maybe, maybe -- that's a huge maybe, the dots could have been connected.

KING: We'll be back with more. Wolf Blitzer, Christiane Amanpour and Deborah Feyerick on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We have two segments left. I want to touch some other bases. Christiane Amanpour, this has been a horrific week in the Middle East. I guess they all seem to roll into each other. You -- is there any bright spot you can report in all of this?

AMANPOUR: No, to be very frank. At this moment, it seems a bright spot is very, very far on the distant horizon. Earlier, the beginning of the week, it seemed that perhaps, possibly, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel, when we were anticipating a speech by President Bush to outline his vision and road map for a future political solution, or at least an interim solution.

That, of course, has been derailed by the state of suicide bombings and attacks inside Israel over this last week, and we're not sure when that speech will come or, indeed, what it will contain. Whether it will be affected by these -- by these attacks that have happened in Israel. But it does appear, at the moment, that -- that really the worst element on all sides are in control, and it just seems to be gaining momentum. The bad news seems to be gaining momentum.

KING: Wolf Blitzer, does President Bush have a lot of clout in Israel?

BLITZER: Yes, he has an enormous amount of clout in Israel. The -- every Israeli government, whether Labor-led, Likud-led. Certainly, this current government recognizes how important the United States is to Israel, providing extensive economic and military assistance. Likud, the Israelis don't have a lot of support from the Europeans, certainly not from the other moderate Arab states and from the rest of the world, but they do have a lot of support from the United States. So whatever the president of the United States says, it is heard very, very powerfully by the government officials in Jerusalem.

KING: Is he having a difficult time at all putting a clamp on Israel's response? I mean, he understands why they have to respond. The United States responded to terrorism. But he doesn't want it to be a holocaust of sorts. BLITZER: I'm not sure right now, Larry, the U.S. government, at least President Bush, his administration, is trying to stop the Israelis with much effort. They did early on when they made the major incursion into those major towns in the West Bank.

But right now, I think there's general support at the highest levels of this Bush administration for the Israelis doing something. The president says almost every day the Israelis have to defend themselves. Yes, he'd like to come forward with his big speech and announce some sort of timetable, if you will, for getting the peace process back on track.

But I think he believes, and this is what I've heard from all of his aides, that the Israelis certainly have a right to self-defense.

KING: Deborah, is that speech off the table now?

FEYERICK: Oh, boy. That's hard to say, Wolf (sic). The situation's so volatile that I think everybody's sort of taking a very cautious track in terms of how they're proceeding.

KING: Wolf, do you hear that it's off the table?

BLITZER: No, it's not off the table. It's going to happen. The only question is when. It was supposed to happen this week. There's been a draft that's been circulating. A lot of in-fighting within the administration between the various camps, and nothing unusual about that, Larry. A lot of people trying to weigh in. The president has been doing a lot of homework. So has the Secretary of State Colin Powell. They've been spending an enormous amount of time speaking to the European allies: the British, the French, the others, as well as the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Moroccans.

There was a high-ranking Palestinian Authority official here in Washington over these past several days: Nabil Shaath. He presented a formal Palestinian peace proposal, trying to move the ball forward, posturing to a certain degree in advance of the president's speech. It's going to happen, that speech, but they're looking for the right moment for it to happen.

KING: And Christiane, what is Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, what do they want to hear in that speech?

AMANPOUR: Well, that's a very interesting question, and I think that the current atmosphere is going to be very interesting in just what does come out. Basically, most people in Israel still want to negotiate a settlement and still know that military might is not going to solve this, and it has to be worked out politically.

Now the interesting thing, of course, is -- and obviously, as Wolf said, there is a bit of posturing going on by both sides ahead this speech. But in the last couple of days, Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority officials have essentially said, in fact directly said, that they now accept the Clinton peace plan that was offered to them just before Clinton left office. This was something they could have accepted a year and a half ago, and they didn't. They say they now accept it now. This could have resulted in a peace agreement with the Israelis more than a year and a half ago.

The question is, even if they do accept that now -- first, are they genuine in saying they accept that now. But is this current Israeli government, under the stewardship of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, going to accept anything like the kind of peace that was envisioned between Ehud Barak, President Clinton and now, belatedly, Yasser Arafat.

KING: Deborah, do you see any upbeat mood in Washington?

FEYERICK: No. I can tell you about the mood in New York. In Washington, I think it's probably Wolf's area, a little better than mine right now.

KING: All right, New York.

FEYERICK: In New York, just thinking of people, you know, there's a sense that there's no idea when this is all going to end. And people look at the violence that's going on in the Middle East, and I think there's a strong feeling that, is that the kind of violence that we're going to be again seeing here in America?

And I think that's why the suicide attacks resonate so clearly, because everybody's just bracing, with all these warnings. When is the next one going to be? July 4th coming up: Is there going to be an attack then? And so there is a parallel, I think, between what is going on there in terms of the attacks and is it going to happen in places like New York? Will it begin to mimic that situation? Nobody thinks it will ever get that bad, but that's one of the things, certainly, that's on people's minds.

KING: We'll go to break, and when we come back with our remaining segment, we'll have a specific question for each of our guests. Right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: First question, for Christiane Amanpour. When is that Milosevic trial going to end?

AMANPOUR: Well, that's a very good question. Probably not for many, many, many months. They thought that they would have, at least, the prosecution case wrapped up within a few months. It's still nowhere near ending, and that is because Slobodan Milosevic is using his cross-examination now as almost his own defense case. And then he has to put his defense case. It's a long way off.

KING: Deborah Feyerick, we mentioned security, and you mentioned July 4th. Are extra precautions on tap in New York?

FEYERICK: New York is already on a higher state of alert than most of the rest of the country. Everything is sort of a possibility. Police don't rule anything out. You know, there was a recent threat of ambulances possibly being used as car bombs. That's the new concern. So, sure, everybody's a little on edge and security is as tight as it can be, but in the end, you have to out-think a lot of the different possibilities. And that's the challenge.

KING: With polls today, CNN I saw took one. Wolf took one. Eighty-five percent say the people are not going to change any plans. Is that what you hear, too, Deborah?

FEYERICK: I think that's pretty much the way it is. Certainly, people are concerned, but there's a sense that if you do change your plans, then the terrorists have won. And I think that nobody's going to let that happen right now. They know that by showing up at events, by going out, by living life fully and embracing what you believe, that that's the way that they're ultimately going to win and prevail.

KING: What kind of July 4th, Wolf, is this going to be? It's the post-September 11 July 4th.

BLITZER: Well, I think it will try to be as festive as possible, not only here in Washington, the nation's capital, but around -- around the country, and I think there will be higher states of alert, a lot more security personnel, law enforcement authorities will be out and about. I think it will be very, very visible.

This -- I've got to tell you, I speak to a lot of law enforcement officials here in Washington, people who are following all these threats very closely and they say, you know, people might be getting number out there across the country, thinking we're putting out all these alerts about apartment buildings or bridges or nuclear reactors or landmarks or whatever.

But there's some justification, some serious justification, for concern, and officials are concerned, not only hoping isn't getting numb and going to be immune to these warnings, and everyone will be on a little bit higher state of alert. They want everyone to celebrate the Independence Day, the 4th of July, but at the same time they want everybody to recognize that this is a brand new world out there, and there are individuals out there who hate the United States.

KING: That big fireworks event going to take place in Washington, as usual?

BLITZER: I assume so. I hope it will. I love going to that fireworks celebration here in Washington, and I'd be amazed if it doesn't take place.

KING: New York going to do theirs, Deborah?

FEYERICK: Absolutely. They're not changing anything. They're going ahead with it. You know, again, it's a great time to be in New York. Just -- there's a lot of great feeling, pride in America, and I think we're going to see a lot of that, too. And a different kind of pride because of what happened after September 11.

KING: And Christiane, as you look from overseas, do you have fear? You know, we keep hearing about imminent, it's going to happen again. Do you have fears of terrorism again taking place in this country? AMANPOUR: Well, you know, we overseas listen very carefully to all the alerts and the alarms, and obviously this is something that affects the whole world. The victims are mostly in America, but it does have shock waves around the whole world. So we really do look out and hope that it doesn't happen again, and hope that all the precautions are being taken.

From where I sit, of course, a different kind of terrorism is being perpetrated, and different kind of struggle is going on here. So it's an ongoing thing in this part of the world.

KING: Thank you all very much. Wolf Blitzer, Christiane Amanpour and Deborah Feyerick. And earlier, Mr. Moussaoui's mother appeared with us exclusively.

Tomorrow night, the Pearls, the parents of Danny Pearl, the late Wall Street journalist killed in Pakistan.

Thank you very much for joining us on this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. For all of our guests, good night.

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