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Former Iraqi Spy Chief Farouk Hijazi Captured; SARS Threatens Canadian Tourism Industry

Aired April 25, 2003 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: In custody. A key Iraqi spy and Saddam Hussein's former deputy prime minister.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I expect that with the help of the Iraqi people many more will be captured.

ANNOUNCER: What will the U.S. learn from these and other captured members of Saddam's regime. What about Saddam himself?

SARS. How bad is the outbreak in Toronto? How have the fears of the disease affected Toronto's economy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We get 22 million tourist a year and we need the tourists.

ANNOUNCER: What are the risks here in the U.S.?

The countdown is on. A Russian rocket is ready to launch an astronaut and a cosmonaut to the International Space Station in the first space mission since the Columbia tragedy. Is this the first step to keeping man in space?

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES with Anderson Cooper from CNN headquarters in Atlanta.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. It is Friday, April 25. We've got a lot ahead of us tonight.

Tracking terror, every lead, every tip, every call. Tonight we go behind closed doors inside Washington's FBI office with Kelli Arena to see how the FBI is waging its war on terror.

Also ahead tonight, meeting with the president one week, being deported the next. The startling story of Katrin Michael, an Iraqi dissident living here. She believes if she were forced to go back to Iraq she would be killed instantly. We have that report tonight from Kathleen Koch.

Once again tonight, though, we start with news that another insider from the old Iraqi regime is now in U.S. custody. This time it is former spy chief Farouk Hijazi, accused of being part of the 1993 plot to kill former President George Bush. Some say Hijazi may, and we say may, be able to link Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network. CNN national security correspondent David Ensor has the details.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Farouk Hijazi was Iraq's ambassador to Turkey and then to Tunisia, but before that, he was No. 3 in Iraqi intelligence, chief of espionage operations for Saddam Hussein.

RUMSFELD: He is significant. We think he could be interesting.

ENSOR: Interesting may be an understatement. There is evidence, U.S. officials say, that Hijazi traveled to Afghanistan in 1998 and may have met there with Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. There were also unconfirmed reports he may have met bin Laden in Sudan in the early '90s.

JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: It's a big catch and this man was involved, we know, in a number of contacts with al Qaeda. So this would be a very, very interesting development, the biggest catch so far, I would say of any of the people that we've gotten.

ENSOR: In the unsuccessful plot to kill then-President George Bush, the 41st president during a visit to Kuwait in 1993, Farouk Hijazi is a suspect. In fact, U.S. officials say he may have directed that operation.

Hijazi will also know, officials say, whether the Iraqi embassies in Ankara and Tunis where he served were used by Iraqi intelligence as bases for operations to, for example, obtain items needed to construct weapons of mass destruction.

Hijazi was taken into U.S. custody Thursday in Iraq near the Syrian border after U.S. officials had complained to Damascus that they knew he'd flown there from Tunis and was being sheltered by the Syrians. Apparently Syria got the message.

U.S. officials are also pleased to be talking with Tariq Aziz, the regime's deputy prime minister who turned himself in Baghdad Thursday. They are hoping he might know where other senior officials may be and whether Saddam Hussein survived the air strikes.

RUMSFELD: He clearly, is a very senior person and was in that regime and we intend to discuss with him whatever it is he's willing to discuss with us.

ENSOR: Rumsfeld said he does not favor sending Iraqi prisoners to Guantanamo where al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners already are.


ENSOR: Will captured senior Iraqis be treated as prisoners of war rights under the Geneva Convention or possibly will some of them be treated as war criminals? That is something that Rumsfeld said that U.S. lawyers are trying to work out right now. But he did make it clear that people like Hijazi and Aziz are being asked for much more than their name, rank and serial number -- Anderson.

COOPER: But until it's determined whether or not whether they are POWs or unlawful combatants they don't necessarily have to talk.

ENSOR: That's right. It's up to them at the moment. And how much pressure can be put on them is not yet determined. So I imagine that not too much pressure is being put on them. Although, they are certainly being questioned and if they are willing to say things, people are taking down what they say.

COOPER: Yes, no doubt about that. David Ensor, thanks very much tonight.

Word of Farouk Hijazi's arrest followed similar news yesterday. Less than 24 hours as David mentioned we learned that deposed Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was in U.S. custody. CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has been asking questions around Baghdad. He's learned more about how Aziz surrendered. Take a look.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Tariq Aziz's son Ziad (ph) looks worried. He's willing to talk with us, but not be interviewed. As he explains how his father negotiated his surrender to U.S. forces, he plays with his son, Tariq Jr.

He says his father's night-time handover was dignified, that U.S. forces offered medical support for his father's heart condition that has caused two heart attacks recently. They don't know when to expect him back, and have been told he faces lots of questions.

Outside, U.S. troops provide occasional protection. Nearby, Siad (ph), a neighbor hopes all will be well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Americans should follow the rules. And I think that there's low protective (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ROBERTSON: Salle (ph), also a neighbor comes to our car to give his opinion.

"He was a normal person," he says. "A good neighbor, but a bad politician."

At their nearby store, Talah (ph) and Yahi (ph) they prepare to open for their first day's of business since the war.

"Aziz was a politician," says Talah. "It's Saddam and the others Americans have problems with."

"Maybe he gives us information about the missing people," says Yahi. "And perhaps Saddam Hussein." Further down the road, Yusef (ph) and Mufan (ph) wait for a ride. Neither have anything bad to say about Aziz.

"We call him Mr. Aziz, and I'm proud of him," says Mufan, a former traffic cop. "He was cultured, and I wish someone like him rules us."

His friend Yusef adds, "If all the leaders stayed in Baghdad, then the Americans will catch them."

Across town in a less affluent neighborhood, reactions to Aziz's arrest are profoundly different.

"I didn't hear about it," explains Jasim (ph) the egg seller, "because we didn't have electricity."

When we explained the news to the crowd, Hesham (ph), a bystander, steps forward. "America is playing a trick on us," he says. "Where is our government and our security?"

At the pickle store, passions are inflamed by the lack of services. "Aziz is a war criminal," says Ahmed (ph). "He should get the death penalty, just like Saddam, 60 times over."

"We give Mr. Bush six months to get things right, " says Abass (ph), going on to explain, "If not, we will fight the Americans."


ROBERTSON: The biggest problem Tariq Aziz's family says they now face now that Mr. Aziz is now safely in U.S. hands is how safe they'll be out on Baghdad's streets -- Anderson.

COOPER: That's an interesting question, Nic. It was interesting to hear one of those people say he was a good neighbor, a bad politician. He's probably the most public face of the Iraqi regime for the Americans. But is there a sense of -- I mean how much did this guy really know? How much of a part of the inner circle was he?

ROBERTSON: I think the basic assumption among most people in Baghdad is that he was very much a part of the inner circle, that he knew a huge amount, that his hands were as much -- if he wasn't involved directly in some of the brutality of the regime by his knowledge, by his association with it, many people find him as culpable, perhaps as Saddam Hussein.

Some people draw that distinction. They say, look, he was a Christian. He wasn't part of the of the Tikriti -- Saddam Hussein's Tikriti Family clan. He wasn't a thug like they were. But people recognize fully that he was right in there, the top of the regime, ideologically aligned with the Ba'ath Party for more than four decades. How could he not be responsible for the many of the crimes they perpetrated?

COOPER: That's interesting. We have a guest on a little bit later who's going to be talking more about Tariq Aziz. And in the preinterview, they said he may not have been a thug with his hands, but he was a thug with his words. So we're going to hear a lot more about that later on in the show. Nic Robertson in Baghdad. Thanks very much.

As the military cleanup continues in Iraq, there was a solemn ceremony in Britain today. The remains of Private Luke Allsop and Sergeant Simon Cullingworth arrived at an air base in central England. The two British soldiers disappeared during an attack in southern Iraq on March 23 and their bodies were found later in a shallow grave. Authorities say they may have been executed.

Of course, much of the world is focused on Iraq, but U.S. troops continue to fight the war on terror in Afghanistan. And today a sad reminder of that fact, one American soldier was killed. Authorities say he died in a skirmish with suspected Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan. Several other American soldiers and one Afghan colleague were wounded in that attack as well.

I want to turn back to Iraq now for a moment. We are increasingly hearing tales of torture and terror, afaced by ordinary Iraqis under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Torture it seems was used as a punishment for simple crimes, and at times used against those who had committed no crimes at all. CNN's John Vause talked with one man who bears a horrible mutilation for which he says he continues to pay a price.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a good, close look at Falah Nori Watban's right ear. The soft, outer cartilage and tissue has been cut away. He says Ba'ath Party officials did this as punishment. They held him down and without anesthesia inflicted not only pain and deformity, but a lifetime of shame.

In Saddam's Iraq, this was the mark of the disgraced. It meant a lifetime ban from government jobs, little prospect of work anywhere else, no bank account, no chance of ever leaving the country.

FALAH NORI WATBAN, TORTURE VICTIM (through translator): When they cut my ear, they make you feel inferior, like you are nothing. When you go into the market or public places, people look at you like you're a thief, like you're something bad.

VAUSE: Falah has been this way for almost seven years. While on leave from the army, he was at the market, he says, and was angered because all of the good produce was set aside for Ba'ath Party officials. When he spoke out, he says his leave pass was taken, he was charged with deserting. First, he was tortured; then his ear severed.

Dr. Mustafa is the administrator at Basra General. He says at first, both he and his doctors refused the order, but they, too, were threatened with a similar fate.

(on camera): How difficult was it for surgeons to inflict such pain and deformity on people? DR. MUSTAFA AL-ALI, BASRA GENERAL HOSPITAL: Very, very difficult, and it is an injury for the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It is very difficult, and they did it, and they are crying.

VAUSE: At this hospital in Basra, Dr. Mustafa says about 150 young men had their ears cut over a period of eight years. And across Iraq, he estimates the number to be in the thousands.

(voice-over): Falah has survived by selling matches, juice and cookies by the side of the road. It has been a bleak existence. He says while Saddam may be gone, the stigma remains.

WATBAN (through translator): I look at myself in the mirror, and I hate myself. All I want is to settle down and get married, but I cannot get married because no one will agree to marry a guy without an ear.

VAUSE: He's heard about plastic surgery, and wonders if maybe the Americans can help. But right now in the midst of so much chaos and confusion, that seems a distance unlikely hope.

WATBAN (through translator): I don't need to be handsome or anything. I just want surgery for my ear. Make me feel like a complete person.

VAUSE: For now, one man's pain must wait, while the entire country struggles to recover from 24 years of brutality.

John Vause, CNN, Basra.


COOPER: Well still to come this evening, CNN is granted extraordinary access. We're going to take you behind closed doors of the Washington FBI office and show you how they try to track a terrorist.


JOHN PERREN, ASST. SPECIAL AGENT: We have 1,363 federal buildings. We have 175 embassies. We have the Capitol, the White House, the Pentagon. We are very concerned. We don't want September 11 to happen again.


COOPER: Also tonight, American Airlines' CEO bites the dust. Will your summer vacation plans do the same? We're going to speak with the always interesting Sir Richard Branson, head of Virgin Airlines about competition and why American carriers are facing such tough times.

And a little later on home from war, a joyous reunion marked by tears, screams of joy and embraces.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did our job and we're back. We're back to this, our families.


COOPER: A lot of smiles there. LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues in a moment.



COOPER: A few minutes ago we told you about a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, one of the many fronts, of course, on the U.S. war on terrorism. Recently CNN gained extraordinary access to another front. The FBI office in Washington where literally a huge amount of shoe leather goes into tracking down daily leads. Justice correspondent Kelli Arena joins me now and basically for the FBI fighting terrorism has become the No. 1 priority.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right and the FBI today is a very different organization than it was just a year ago.

We did spend the day with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the National Capital Response Squad in Washington, D.C. Now these are the people on the front lines of the war on terror. They are in charge of pursuing leads that come in as many as 24 different agencies.


ARENA (voice-over): Every suspicious person or substance, every bomb scare. It doesn't matter if the information is sketchy or if it's likely to be a false alarm, a counterterrorism team is sent to investigate.

BRIAN BOETING, HEAD, JOINT TERRORISM TASK FORCE: There's not anything that gets report to us that doesn't get reviewed, analyzed and followed up on as simple as it may be.

ARENA: Representatives from the FBI and 23 other agencies from Secret Service to local police to military intelligence make up Washington, D.C.'s Joint Terrorism Task Force. It's one of 66 in the nation.

This is where the rubber meets the road in the world of terror threats. Jim Rice who heads the FBI's National Capital Response Squad described a recent tip that took a half dozen agents about half a day to run down. On the average, the D.C. field office investigates three to five potential threats a day.

JIM RICE, HEAD OF NATIONAL CAPITALISM RESPONSE SQUAD: This particular threat came from overseas and it was a nuclear threat. Both a high yield and radiological disbursement device to Washington, D.C. And we had to trace down overseas phone numbers. There was references to the Northern Virginia area. We had to trace those numbers down and this turned out to be nothing more than a domestic squabble.

ARENA: The task force also works leads concerning the D.C. area coming from al Qaeda detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and on going terror investigations around the country.

But most tips are called in by the general public.


ARENA: Washington-area residents more responsive than most, as the nation's capital remains a top terror target.

PERREN: We have 1,363 federal buildings. We have 175 embassies. We have the Capitol, the White House, the Pentagon. We are very concerned. We don't want September 11 to happen again.

ARENA: Supervisors here say recently it's been unusually quiet. The threat level is back down to Yellow and there have been few reasons to send a team out to investigate. But instead of relief there is anxiety.

RICE: Since I don't believe in coincidence, I just brace for the next possibility.

TOM O'CONNOR, AGENT: So our first key is to get there set up a perimeter.

ARENA: Agents like Tom O'Connor have to be ready for anything. The trunk of his car is overflowing with everything from bullet-proof vests to fingerprinting kits.

O'CONNOR: And then for clothing and gear we've got winter jackets, pants, hats, undergarments for about a week's worth of outside work.

ARENA: But the work takes a definite personal toll. These agents have been running full throttle since September 11. More time off is finally being approved but no one is letting their guard down. As special agent Perren points out, terrorists don't take day office.

PERREN: They're never going to let down, we can't let down. That's my concern in complacent. We cannot be complacent. We have to take it seriously. We have to have our edge.


ARENA: Supervisors know it gets hard to continually be sent out on leads only to come up empty. They say their biggest challenge is to constantly remind their teams that every time they go out their lives could be in jeopardy -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Kelli Arena thanks for that rare look behind closed doors of the FBI.

We're just getting some pictures in. I just want to show just very briefly. These from WSB. These are live pictures of a tornado in Cobb -- in DeKalb and Cobb Counties in Georgia. You can't really see anything, but it's -- it is a pretty remarkable picture. We're going to actually rewind some of the elements that you could actually see before everything became clouded over. We're going to show those to you shortly.

Again this, is a tornado. There is a tornado warning in north Georgia. This is the scene near Cobb County. We'll bring you -- we'll try to get the pictures reracked, actually show you what some of it looks like from just a short time ago.

Want to move on right now, thought. At last, some good news for American Airlines. The third and final union, the flight attendants agreed to wage and benefit concessions today. Now these concessions are supposed to keep American out of bankruptcy. Earlier agreements were jeopardized after the unions learned the airline had approved bonuses pension benefits for top executives. Well CEO Donald Carty first apologized and then yesterday he resigned.

But despite union concessions, American and other major airlines continue to face serious challenges, financial and otherwise. Some say the entire industry is going to have to make big changes if it is going to survive.

Sir Richard Branson is the founder and CEO of the Virgin Group which runs Virgin Atlantic Airlines, long known for marketing innovations and bucking the conventional wisdom to say the least. We are pleased he joins us from New York. Sir Richard, thanks very much for being with us.


COOPER: What do the American -- the big American carriers not get? I mean are they just dinosaurs who don't realize the ice age has come?

Well I think they've been -- well they behaved a bit like dinosaurs for a number of years. Generally speaking, America's renowned for its quality and its innovation. But when it's come the airline industry the big carriers like American and United are anything but good quality and therefore either people have not gone out of their way to fly them. They've flown perhaps out on a Saturday because they're on a particular route, you know, that they're flying.

But the new, young carriers like JetBlue, although, you know, they charge half the price, they are actually quality carriers. Or (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we like to think carriers like Virgin Atlantic an equally, quality carrier that is profitable and competing with American, United that are losing a small fortune.

COOPER: But why are they losing the money? I mean American Airlines will quickly tell you, well, we offer more leg room, we offer more options especially for business travelers. But their costs -- I mean I believe like labor costs are as much as half of their entire cost. So is it the labor costs which are killing these airlines?

BRANSON: Well, I mean they've let costs get out of control over the years. The unions have demanded more and more. The cost of the people working for those carriers has gone up and up. You know, carriers that are sort of slightly slimmer and meaner, instead of spending money on what can end as in ridiculous salaries, they can spend money on good quality products for the consumer and also on more competitive fares and therefore attract high and low factors.

But I think the truth is that nothing lasts forever and what actually should have happened by now is one of these big airlines that are losing billions should have disappeared. What you've actually had in America is an American government that has propped the airlines up. And it's going to be interesting to see whether they are doing so. In normal industry what would have happened is that one of the companies would have gone under completely and that would have left room for the more efficient carriers to step in their shoes and use their slots and bring airfares down.

COOPER: Now I understand you obviously compete with American and some of these other carriers internationally. I know you now run Vegas to London run on Virgin Atlantic. You also are looking to start an American operation here. So you will obviously be competing. How are you going to compete? How will you beat the major carriers?

BRANSON: We've got two concepts of airlines with Virgin. We've got Virgin Atlantic which sort of the high quality long-haul airline. And then we have an airline like Virgin Blue in Australia which is high quality, but low-cost, low-fares airlines. And it's the airline more like Virgin Blue in Australia that we wish to bring to America.

And there are many routes that Southwest or JetBlue don't fly that we believe that our new low-cost carrier can fly. And I suspect that the future will be in short-haul, low-cost, good quality carriers like the Southwest, JetBlues and Virgin Blues, and in long-haul quality airlines like Singapore, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and airlines that offer something a little bit different.

COOPER: All right. It will be very interesting to watch the competition. Sir Richard Branson. Appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you.

Still to come this evening, SARS in Canada. The prime minister says everything's fine. The question is are why are receipts from tourism anything but fine? Tonight, how bad the problem really is. And should you change your vacation plans?

Also ahead, homecoming in San Diego. This Friday thousands of war-weary families and the new battle they must face, putting their lives back together.

But first a look at the closing numbers from Wall Street. We are back in just a moment.



COOPER: Well, now the latest on SARS. In China, thousands of Beijing residents who may have been exposed to the illness are being ordered to stay at home, and the Philippines is reporting its first cases, two of them fatal. More than 4,000 cases of SARS are confirmed at this point worldwide, 247 of those are here in the United States.

Outside of Asia, the Toronto area is hardest hit by the SARS crisis. CNN's Jason Carroll is there.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new development in Canada's battle against SARS, two more people died, bringing the total number of SARS deaths in Ontario to 18.

But there was encouraging news as well. Canadian health officials say the number of hospital patients has gone down by 30 this past week, and after participating in a conference call with the World Health Organization, Ontario's health minister said he's hopeful that the WHO might lift the travel advisory soon.

DR. COLIN D'CUNHA, ONTARIO COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC HEALTH: It's my understanding when I left the call that a new risk assessment, incorporating all the current data, is to be presented to senior management and the director general on Tuesday. And I can assume that some sort of review will be made, and the data will speak for itself.

CARROLL: The WHO says it constantly examines the latest data. To date, more than 650 people in Ontario have been quarantined.

SARS having not only a medical impact on Canada, but also an economic one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are reading newspapers telling -- over, overstating what's happening in Toronto, and then not going out to the theaters, not going out to the restaurants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're working so hard, and they've contained this, and the numbers are going down, even though they were never that bad compared to other diseases. And I hope people will come and visit in Toronto, because it's a beautiful place, and it's a safe place.

CARROLL: Hotel occupancy is down. Conventions continue to be canceled. The Canadian prime minister talked about what he would do to try to restore confidence.

KYLE RAE, TORONTO CITY COUNCIL: To demonstrate in a very public way our commitment to the people of Toronto, I am announcing today that the cabinet will meet on Tuesday in Toronto instead of Ottawa. And I will be staying in a Toronto hotel on Monday night, and I will sleep very, very, very well.

CARROLL: At the first home game since the travel advisory was issued, the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays spoke about how players are reacting.

CARLOS TOSCA, MANAGER, TORONTO BLUE JAYS: We should move forward with business as usual. There are some precautions that we have to take about where we go, and keeping their hands clean, and that type of stuff, but...


CARROLL: And right now, we are standing in front of the Skydome Stadium, where the Toronto Blue Jays are going to be playing the Kansas City Royals. Still unclear what type of turnout is expected for today.

But we do have some additional updated information coming to us from the Centers for Disease Control. We are now being told that the number of deaths here in the Ontario area now up to 19. So we want to update you, Anderson, with that bit of information.

In terms of the tourism industry, though, I can also tell you that the city of Toronto is planning to embark on a multimillion- dollar campaign to try to bring tourism back to the city, Anderson.

COOPER: And we are going to talk to someone about that in just a moment. Jason Carroll, thanks very much.

Should point out that in the United States, there are 39 probable cases of SARS, and 208 cases that are listed as suspect at this time. This according to WHO as of Wednesday. Those are the latest figures for here in the United States, 39 probable cases, 208 cases listed as suspicious.

Now, as you just saw, in Canada the SARS scare has meant empty tables and hotel rooms in Toronto, which, of, relies heavily on tourist dollars.

For more now on the economic toll from this illness, let's bring in Bruce MacMillan. He's the president and CEO of Tourism of Toronto.

Bruce, thanks very much for being with us.

We just heard from Jason Carroll, the death toll up to 19 people. Why shouldn't the WHO have put out this health advisory?

BRUCE MACMILLAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, TOURISM OF TORONTO: Well, Anderson, what public health officials are telling me is that in the last 10 days, there has not been a new infection, community infection of SARS. And, in fact, all of the people that have been quarantined have come out without an infection in the last 20 days.

But, you know, as a tourism industry, we're focusing on the recovery right now. As you mentioned, we're unleashing a multimillion-dollar campaign to make sure the world knows that Toronto is safe, and we actually hope to take a page from what New York did post-9/11, and unleash -- enlisting the hearts and minds of Torontonians, and tell the world that Toronto remains a safe place to visit.

COOPER: Why at this point go do sort of a PR blitz, try to get people to come to Toronto, when this has -- when this travel advisory, when this warning from the WHO is still in effect? Why not wait until, you know, the WHO has given the all-clear?

MACMILLAN: Well, we're going to take our lead from public health officials. Our public health officials, the chief medical officer of health, is advising us. She considers it to be safe to visit Toronto. Dr. James Young, the chief medical health officer of the province of Ontario, considers it to be safe.

We're listening to them, and also the CDC, who themselves are saying that the efforts that have been undertaken by public health officials are exemplary.

COOPER: How big of an economic impact is this having on Toronto?

MACMILLAN: Well, we don't know, because the tourism is such a diverse industry that we're asking our community to help us out with that. But what we do know is that we've lost a number of conventions, the largest of which is around a $20 million economic impact.

COOPER: All right. Bruce MacMillan, appreciate you joining us tonight. Thanks very much.

Back to the Iraq story now.


COOPER: Not the big Iraq story, but a smaller story about an Iraqi dissident here in the United States, and about the ironic letter she received from the U.S. government. You won't believe this.

Here's CNN's Kathleen Koch.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was the proudest moment of Iraqi dissident Katrin Michael's life, meeting President Bush in the White House.

KATRIN MICHAEL, IRAQI DISSIDENT: I am victim of chemical weapons.

KOCH: Telling her story to help win support for the Iraq war. But a week later, just after the war started, she got not a thank-you note, but a deportation notice ordering her back to Iraq.

MICHAEL: Oh, I was crazy here.

KOCH: Katrin called Immigration officials.

MICHAEL: And I told them, You know what? It's very nice of you to deport me. Week ago I was meeting with President Bush in White House.

This is after chemical weapons...

KOCH: Katrin fled Iraq after she was injured in a 1987 gas attack. She'd been fighting in the northern mountains with the Kurdish resistance. By 1997, she made it to the United States, got a job at the Iraq Foundation. She translates documents captured from the Iraqi regime in the first Gulf War.

(on camera): Arrest...


KOCH: ... surveillance, dissident.

(voice-over): The White House isn't commenting on Katrin's deportation order, and government Immigration officials say they're not allowed to talk about individual cases.

If she goes back to Iraq now, Katrin believes she'll be killed.

MICHAEL: They will kill me right away, at the border. They didn't allow me to put my foot on the border.

KOCH: The U.S. has granted asylum to more than 9,000 Iraqis since the first Persian Gulf War, and immigration experts say the nearly 500 whose requests are pending shouldn't be returned to a country still in chaos.

NADINE WETTSTEIN, AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAW FOUNDATION: It may be that their situations are now seen in somewhat of a new light, but certainly the situation is unstable enough that it should not be that we round up all the Iraqi asylum-seekers and then send them back.

KOCH: Katrin's attorneys are appealing her deportation. She does hope, though, to return to Iraq someday.

MICHAEL: Until we will make sure there is a free government and there is a democracy -- real, really democracy in Iraq, and we can build ourselves by ourselves...

KOCH: Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Sometimes you got to wonder whether one arm of the U.S. government knows what the other arm is doing. One of those stories.

Well, still to come this evening, a homecoming, thousands strong, for war heroes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at how quick she took to her daddy being home. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She loves her daddy. She's been talking about Daddy the whole time she's been gone.


COOPER: Well, the story from Frank Buckley in San Diego.

But next, it will be the first manned spaceflight since the shuttle disaster. The Soyuz rocket takes to the skies tonight. Still to come, Miles O'Brien and space tourist Dennis Tito.

You're watching LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES on this Friday night.


COOPER: We are just over four hours from the scheduled launch of a Russian rocket. It's going to carry a Russian and an American to the International Space Station. Now, this is to be the first manned mission since the Columbia disaster in February.

And CNN space correspondent Miles O'Brien has been keeping tabs on the preparations.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the pair that are going up to the International Space Station should have been there for about two months by now. They were slated to fly March 1 on the space shuttle Atlantis, but Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko will instead fly on a Soyuz rocket and spacecraft up to the International Space Station, as we said, launching in about four hours' time.

There you see them, Ed Lou in the middle of your screen, blue suit. Yuri Malenchenko to the right. The latter being a So -- Soviet, I was going to say -- Russian cosmonaut, and the former a NASA astronaut.

This is the way it's going to be for the foreseeable future. With shuttles grounded, there's only one way to get to and from the International Space Station, and that is this particular vehicle, the 165-foot-high Soyuz rocket.

Versions of it have been used now for 35-plus years. It's a very safe and reliable way to get to and from space. It had two accidents over the course of its history, both on return to earth, one in '67 and one in 1971. Otherwise, it's very old technology, and yet very reliable technology.

So they will be getting their ride to space, and we'll be watching that, of course.

In the meantime, some others will be watching it with perhaps more interest than you or I, and one of them is Dennis Tito, who two years ago, just about this time, was in space, having ridden there on a Soyuz rocket, and to date remains the only American to have ever come down from space on a Soyuz capsule.

That's going to change in about a week's time, when two Americans on board the International Space Station will be coming down in the Soyuz.

Dennis Tito, we are seeing you now in -- on your way up to space. When you look back on that picture, what comes to mind? DENNIS TITO, SPACE TOURIST: Well, it brings back fond memories. I had wanted to fly in space for over 40 years, and just about this time two years ago, I realized my dream. It was a great experience.

O'BRIEN: What's the ride like? And while we're doing this, I'd like -- we have some animation we put together with our friends at Analytical Graphics which show how this two-and-a-half-stage rocket does its job. It's got four boosters kind of strapped onto the bottom.

Is it a rough ride? A tough ride? What does it feel like?

TITO: Well, it's actually very smooth. You can barely feel the liftoff. It's a total of about nine minutes from liftoff to orbit. There are two staging events, which -- we have the time noted, so they're not a surprise.

And everything went exactly as in the simulation. They simulated the launch in a centrifuge, so you could feel the G-forces, and it was very similar to what they simulated on the ground.

COOPER: Were there any moments on the ride uphill, as they say, where you were you scared?

TITO: Not at all. It worked just according to plan.

COOPER: All right. I'm also always interested in the tradition that goes along with the Russian space program. Unlike the U.S. space program, there's a tremendous amount of superstition, whatever you want to call it, and things that they do before every flight no matter what.

One of them is, for example, we just saw earlier today, Ed Lou and Yuri Malenchenko planting trees there at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Before that, they do a series of other things. They laid flowers on the tomb of Yuri Gagarin, the first man to fly in space. They are blessed by a Russian Orthodox priest. They even watch a specific movie the night before they launch, for fear that not watching it would be bad luck.

What are your thoughts in all of that? Is that -- it seems kind of quaint, but it also has a rich texture to it, doesn't it?

TITO: Well, I went through all of those rituals also, and it was a lot of fun. We also signed our names on the door of the room that we spent the night before launch in at the Cosmonaut Hotel, and there are a few other interesting traditions on the way to the launch pad.

O'BRIEN: How -- let's turn our attention a moment to the big picture here, the loss of Columbia and what that means to space travel in general. I know you're a big proponent of continuing the commercialization of space, but the loss of Columbia -- put that in the grand scheme and what that means to people such as yourself, who would like to see more people get into orbit.

TITO: Well, the loss of Columbia, obviously, was a major tragedy. It brings to something like 18 the number of people that were actually launched -- lost in spaceflight, which is about 4 percent of the total. And even though, you know, that's a large number, it's comparable to the number of pilots, percentage of pilots, that were lost in the first four years of powered flight.

So it goes with the territory. It's a new area, and life is at risk.

O'BRIEN: Anderson?

COOPER: Dennis, I was interested. I mean, I've flown on Aeroflot a couple times, and I got to tell you, I was scared to death every time I did. Are, are you -- is it -- are you really being honest when you said you had no moments of nervousness being aboard this Russian spacecraft.

TITO: No. In fact, my heart never got beyond 72 during the launch phase. So, no, I was not nervous. And I'm not -- I wasn't nervous flying on Aeroflot. Of course, they were using a 767, but, you know, the risk in spaceflight is high, and you condition yourself to the fact that you may not make it. It's like going into the military and fighting a war in Iraq.

COOPER: Does it surprise you that the Russian space program, I mean, as steeped in history as it is, that financially it has been able to keep operating? There was so much concern several years ago that it wasn't going to happen any more.

TITO: Well, it's operating because they pay their aerospace workers an extremely low monthly wage, somewhere between $100 and $200 a month. And eventually, these aerospace workers are going to retire, and for new people coming into the field, they're going to have to pay a lot more money. So I think there may be some financial problems ahead in the future.

O'BRIEN: Dennis, a quick word before we let you go. Are you optimistic at all about the tourists in space, commercialization of space, given all that's gone on?

TITO: Well, I'm optimistic for the long haul. I think in the near term, we're not going to see too many orbital space tourists. We may see a few more once the shuttle flies again. But what I'm most excited about in the near term is suborbital spaceflight, which would give individuals the experience of flying to space, possibly for the price of an SUV.

O'BRIEN: All right. Dennis Tito, space for a fraction of the tens of the millions you shelled out. Let's hope for the best on that one. We appreciate you joining us, as always, and good luck on all your endeavors.

TITO: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Anderson?

COOPER: I'm sure Lance Bass is going to be watching tonight as well of N*SYNC.

O'BRIEN: He's got to be a little bit sad that he's not going.

COOPER: Yes, I'm sure he is. All right. Thanks a lot, Miles.

O'BRIEN: Right.

COOPER: Well, be sure to keep your eyes peeled not only to the skies, because to your TV tonight, because CNN is going to have live coverage of the Soyuz rocket launch. That is at 11:54 Eastern time, for all of you night owls.

Well, still to come this evening, reunions in California today. A dockside homecoming filled with hugs and cheers and "Welcome Home" banners. We'll have that report.

This is LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES on this Friday evening.


COOPER: What a scene it was! Hundreds of California families tonight are eating at favorite restaurants, catching up on movies, or simply spending quiet time together. Hmm. Routine pleasures that, for one special group of Californians, are anything but routine. They, of course, the sailors who returned to port today on board two Navy missile cruisers just back from a detour to the Iraq war.

CNN national correspondent Frank Buckley was on hand for the amazing reunions.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The USS Mobile Bay and the USS Shiloh steamed into San Diego and the heroes' homecoming, heroes to family and friends who waited nine long months to see them return from war.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are very proud of our daughter. We are very proud of everybody on that ship, and everything that they've done to protect our freedom here.

BUCKLEY: In January, the guided missile cruisers were halfway home from a six-month deployment, when they were recalled to the Persian Gulf. It meant babies were born while their sailor dads were still at sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a lot heavier, and I guess she walks now, which -- before, she was just barely the length of my forearm, and now she's huge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did our job. We're back. We're back to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to this. Our family. My lovely wife, my kid, my newborn kid.

BUCKLEY: Newborn kids, now just beginning to recognize their fathers' faces, after nine months and a day apart, 255 of those days at sea.

Frank Buckley, CNN, San Diego, California.


COOPER: A homecoming to remember.

That is the first hour of LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES this Friday evening. The second hour begins right after this short break. Stay with us.




ANNOUNCER: The second most recognizable face of the Iraqi regime, Tariz Aziz now in U.S. custody. How did the Iraqi former deputy prime minister negotiate his surrender? A winning hand a full house of big players from the Iraqi regime in the hands of coalition forces.

RUMSFELD: Most are being apprehended with the help of ordinary Iraqis.

ANNOUNCER: Who's left in the deck and is the U.S. any closer to the trump card?

Home are the sailors, home from the sea, U.S. ships return to port and Americans welcome their warriors home.

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES with Anderson Cooper from CNN Headquarters in Atlanta.


COOPER: Good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper in Atlanta. Paula Zahn has the night off.

The big story today another big catch for U.S. forces in Iraq. This time it's a man the U.S. says once helped plot an assassination attempt on a former U.S. president.

Now, over the next 30 minutes we're going to take a look at that story plus some of the day's other big headlines in the order in which they happened.

And later this hour, holding the cards, slowly but surely Iraq's most wanted are ending up in U.S. custody. Are they shedding any more light on Saddam Hussein's fallen regime?

Before we get to that let's start out timeline.

In the 5:00 a.m. hour, Eastern time today, U.S. diplomat James Kelly arrives in South Korea. Now he was there to brief South Korean officials on talks between the U.S. and aspiring nuclear power North Korea. The White House insists it can end the standoff diplomatically but Pyongyang's claim that it already has a nuclear weapon has certainly raised the stakes.

CNN White House Correspondent, Chris Burns reports.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has three stage missiles with a potential to reach the West Coast of the United States and in renewed talks with the U.S. and China, U.S. officials say North Korea now claims it has a nuclear arsenal and the potential to produce more from reprocessed nuclear fuel rods. That worries some observers.

WOOLSEY: If they're producing enough plutonium for several a month they have a product that they can sell for substantial amounts of money to terrorist groups, and no one doubts that they would do that.

BURNS: The White House, however, questions whether North Korea is bluffing on its nuclear capability. The Stalinist state of Kim Jung-il is struggling to fight off mass starvation and economic collapse. It has secured aid from Washington in the past and is seen as simply trying to raise the stakes.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: The North Korean way of dialog is often to engage in as bad a behavior as they could possibly engage in with the expectation that the world will reward them for ceasing their bad behavior.

BURNS: But a word of caution from the military machine that just crushed the Iraqi regime.

RUMSFELD: Clearly, the recent discussions have not moved the ball forward but Secretary Powell and the president are working on the matter and the hope is that it can ultimately be resolved through diplomatic means.

BURNS: Washington sees the next step as consultations with allies in the region and will continue to try to pull Japan and South Korea into future talks.

(on camera): Though President Bush rejects what he calls blackmail, the key leverage in getting Pyongyang to accept nuclear non-proliferation would be more aid. The Bush administration says it also has a powerful negotiating partner, North Korea's biggest benefactor, China.

Chris Burns, CNN, the White House.


COOPER: While talks in South Korea centered on a defiant nation, the focus in South Africa was on a defiant woman. In the 5:00 a.m. hour, Winnie Madacazela Mandela (ph) emerges from court. There she is, pumping her fist in the air. She looked pretty happy considering she had just been sentenced to five years in prison with one year suspended. Nelson Mandela's ex-wife was convicted yesterday on charges connected to a loan scandal. She has been released on bail pending possible appeal.

Two hours later in Iraq yet another big catch for U.S. forces. Yesterday it was the public face of Saddam Hussein's regime, Tariq Aziz, and today it is a man accused of taking part in a plot to kill a former U.S. president.

National Security Correspondent David Ensor is following the story for us. He is live from Washington -- David.

ENSOR: Well, Anderson, this is a man who's not even in the Pentagon's card deck of most wanted Iraqis but that is because he was not in Iraq when the war took place. He was in Tunisia where he was ambassador. Now, he's in American hands.

This is the man who was number three in Iraqi intelligence for many years. He is believed to know a lot about where its agents are, what its connections are, what its been up to, so the former CIA Director James Woolsey said this is a big catch.


WOOLSEY: It's a big catch and this man was involved, we know, in a number of contacts with al Qaeda, so this would be a very, very interesting development, the biggest catch so far I would say of any of the people that we've gotten.


ENSOR: For starters Farouk Hijazi is thought possibly to have met with Osama bin Laden in 1998 when he's believed to have made a visit to Afghanistan. There's also reports, unconfirmed reports that he may have seen bin Laden in the early '90s on a trip to Sudan.

Secondly, there's also information connecting Hijazi to the plot to try to kill George Bush, the 41st president of the United States, the current president's father on a visit to Kuwait. That was obviously an unsuccessful attempt but U.S. officials say there's evidence linking Farouk Hijazi to that. They want to know more about it.

And finally, he may have information, having been ambassador to two countries, about how Iraqi diplomats around the world have tried to gather dual use items that might be used in the construction of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

So, this is considered to be potentially a very important get for U.S. intelligence. It does, of course, depend on whether he's willing to talk or not -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, we simply don't know the answer to that right now. David, how exactly was he taken into custody? You said he was in Tunisia. How did he get from there to Iraq?

ENSOR: Well, that's a pretty interesting story. He, according to U.S. officials he took a flight from Tunis to Damascus, the capital of Syria. At that point, he disappeared into the crowd, so to speak, and Syria as far as U.S. officials are concerned they then publicly started to protest about that and complain to the Syrians that they were hiding this man who's, you know, a very important intelligence official for Saddam Hussein.

At some point yesterday, Thursday evening, he was pushed across -- it would appear that he was pushed across the border into Iraq by the Syrians. In any case, he ended up in American hands and U.S. officials don't want to discuss any of the details -- Anderson.

COOPER: And when the details come out though I'm sure they will be quite fascinating. David Ensor thanks very much tonight.

We're not done talking about Hijazi and the other big catches in Iraq. In about 20 minutes, following the cards, slowly but surely Iraq's most wanted are ending up in U.S. hands. What exactly does that mean and what might the U.S. be learning from them? We're going to examine that in the coming half hour.

And while things may not exactly be back to normal in Baghdad, in fact far from it, they are looking that way in Washington, at least to some.

At 9:00 a.m. Eastern, tours at the U.S. Capitol are up and running again. They've been closed since the start of the war.

CNN National Correspondent Bruce Morton takes a look.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight- twenty a.m., a line of people outside the U.S. Capitol waiting, playing cards. Public tours have started again. They stopped just over a month ago, security worries because of the war in Iraq. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer is on hand for the opener.

CHIEF TERRANCE GAINER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: You'll enjoy the capitol, one of the best places to visit in Washington and certainly the safest.

MORTON: The visitors agreed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we've been here all week. We've had a wonderful week. It's a beautiful city and we couldn't have asked for a better time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not worried. If I were I wouldn't bring my family.

MORTON: They start handing out tickets at 9:00 a.m. Guide Alyce Orloff (ph) is ready.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to start here in the main rotunda.

MORTON: People stare, take pictures. One of their cameramen spots our cameraman. The dome is a big hit. Then they move to Statuary Hall. Each state gets two statues where the House used to meet and where there's a funny spot, John Quincy Adams' old seat where you can hear a whisper from across the room.

Then the crypt where George Washington might have been buried but...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had requested in his will that he be buried at his home in Mt. Vernon, Virginia.

MORTON: The public tours are back. There is more security and the old system, the people's house open to individuals as well as tourists, those days are probably gone for good.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: In the 10:00 a.m. hour today another sign of regular life, at least for the loved ones of some U.S. troops. About 100 Army Rangers returned home this morning to Fort Benning in Georgia. The elite group was gone for about seven weeks but all the homesickness today, well simply melted away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were in a pretty isolated location and we didn't have a whole lot of access to news media but when we did receive letter or we got some of the packages that were sent to any soldier that came to the higher headquarters, we kind of got a sense that we were being supported.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You start thinking about your family and you start thinking, you know, what happens if something happened to you, you know, and you just wait for that moment, you know, until you come home to be with them again. You know you really miss them and it's been something coming home today.


COOPER: A lot of happy faces there. Reunions weren't just in Georgia. A little later in the timeline we're going to show you an emotional homecoming in San Diego.

There was a different kind of return in northern Iraq, not of people but rather of a precious natural resource, oil, crude oil again flowing, actually trickling to be more like it, through a pipeline from a key field near the city of Kirkuk. Right now it's only enough to supply power plants in northern Iraq but it is the latest sign that Iraq's oil sector is slowly coming back to life.

Coming up after the break, our timeline picks up in the 11:00 a.m. hour north of the border. CARROLL: Canadian health officials still angry over a travel advisory but the World Health Organization is expected to look at new data. I'll have the details coming up.

COOPER: Then a noon for the first time publicly the White House chimes in on the controversy surrounding Senator Rick Santorum and his comments about homosexuality. We'll tell you what the word is at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Stay with us.


COOPER: We pick up our timeline in the day that was in the eleven o'clock hour. That's when Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien issued his prescription for what is ailing Canada's tourism industry. His government will contribute $10 million toward a marketing campaign to boost Toronto's image.

Mr. Chretien also said he and his entire cabinet will visit the city next week despite the World Health Organization's warning against non-essential travel to Toronto because of SARS, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

Now, Jason Carroll is at tonight's Toronto Blue Jays game where they are taking precautions, even though a lot of people think the WHO's warning is far off base -- Jason.

CARROLL: And, Anderson, I can tell you that so far attendance here at the Sky Dome is at about average, at least that's what we're being told. In terms of how some people are reacting to it, a little earlier this afternoon some of the players were out there on the field and there was some world earlier that some of the players had expressed reservations about signing autographs.

The manager for the Toronto Blue Jays basically said look we're going to continue to live our lives. We're going to continue to get out here and do what we do. If some of the players feel uncomfortable about signing autographs we're telling them then maybe that's something that you shouldn't do. But we did see people out there signing autographs; as I said before, attendance at this point about average.

COOPER: Jason, it's a little confusing because on the one hand the WHO says don't go to -- don't travel to Toronto unless it's essential travel and yet to put it into perspective, as you reported earlier, only 19 people have died so far. I think there are some hundred or so cases or roughly that amount people who are hospitalized. Do the people you're talking to, I mean at the game and stuff, do they say this thing is being blown out of proportion?

CARROLL: That is really, Anderson, the sense that we're getting from a number of people that we've talked to throughout the city of Toronto. They feel as though the World Health Organization probably overreacted and they feel as though the media overreacted as well, a lot of criticism right here at the media. They say that we have overblown this story, so you've got a lot of anger here in the city of Toronto -- Anderson. COOPER: Now, the WHO we are hearing is going to look on Tuesday at whether or not this travel advisory should stick and the indications that had been reported were that they were going to look to see if there were any new cases of SARS that had grown in the last three weeks or so. Any word, I mean what is the status right now? You reported just an hour or so ago that there has been another death today bringing it up to a total of 19, but do we know of any new cases?

CARROLL: At this point there have been no new cases that we've heard of outside of the medical community. The World Health Organization is going to be looking at a number of factors on Tuesday.

One Canadian health officials feels as though something encouraging might come out of that meeting, possibly the lifting of the travel advisory. But I also want to point out that the World Health Organization on a regular basis in a situation like this will review data weekly.

So, it's really too early to say what will be the outcome of the meeting on Tuesday. Of course, Canadian health officials at this point are hopeful -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, no doubt, and you know it's one of those confusing situations because the U.S. CDC doesn't have this travel restriction. They just say use your judgment, use common ways to prevent an illness. Wash your hands, stuff like that, where the WHO says unless it's essential travel don't go. So, people got to use their own judgments. Jason Carroll thanks from Toronto.

At noon Eastern, we got word that an important U.S. business was going to pull through at least for now. American Airlines employee unions agreed to ratify wage concessions that are needed to keep the airline from going bankrupt but new problems keep showing up on the radar.

Later in the day the federal government filed a civil complaint charging American with discriminating against passengers who look Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim.

Also during the noon hour today, President Bush's spokesman finally addressed a topic he has been accused of dodging all week long, Republican Senator Rick Santorum's comments about gays.

The Senator from Pennsylvania's opponents have accused him of comparing homosexuality with incest, polygamy, and adultery. Santorum says he's been quoted out of context. At noon, White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer weighed in with a brief seven second endorsement.


FLEISCHER: The president has confidence in Senator Santorum, both as a Senator and as a member of the Senate leadership.


COOPER: Very brief. Fleischer added that President Bush judges people by who they are by their individual souls.

After a quick break we're going to focus our attention on the West Coast and some very happy homecomings.


BUCKLEY (voice-over): Look at how quick she took to her daddy being home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She loves her daddy. She's been talking about daddy the whole time he's been gone.


COOPER: We're going to pick up our timeline at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, an hour that thousands of sailors and their families are going to treasure forever.

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES, we return in just a minute.


COOPER: We are looking back at the day's headlines.

At 1:00 p.m. Eastern time today the cheers and screams at a San Diego dockside were heard literally all across the country. As we watched on live TV, the Navy missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay, seen here, and the USS Shiloh returned home after taking part in the attack on Iraq.

Frank Buckley, well he was mingling with the crowd.


BUCKLEY (voice-over): You can see the emotion, so many people on the pier there, the sailors here all waving down toward their family members. They haven't seen each other for nine months.

(on camera): They were on deployment, had completed their six- month deployment cycle and then had to turn around and go back to the Persian Gulf.

(voice-over): They launched more than two dozen Tomahawk missiles into Iraq and the good news for all the sailors aboard this ship of 351 sailors coming home, all of them safely to their families.

What you're seeing are the first women who get to come aboard. Now their husbands were the winners of a lottery, husbands and boyfriends, who get to actually get what they call the first kiss, and you can imagine that that's an exciting moment for them.

They actually sell tickets to the sailors and they will buy these tickets for $1 or $2 and have a chance to get the first kiss and then they take that money and they put it back into their, either to Navy relief which helps sailor families, or they'll put it into their recreation fund on the ship.

Let me let you see this wonderful moment, the first kiss.


COOPER: I'm blushing. That was quite a kiss there. In the coming weeks we're going to see many more joyous scenes like that, let's hope.

Tragically, of course, there is sometimes another side to military duty all too often as we were reminded during the two o'clock hour today. The Pentagon gave us updated information on a firefight in Afghanistan that left one U.S. soldier dead. A patrol checking out suspicious activity near a rocket launch site was attacked. A second U.S. soldier was seriously injured.

One more military story made news today. It broke a little more than an hour ago. U.S. Army Secretary Thomas White has resigned. White has been at odds with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over modernizing the Army.

Among other things White, a one-time Enron executive, was against Rumsfeld's decision to cancel the Crusader artillery project. This is a story no doubt, we're going to hear a lot more about in the coming hours and days.

Well, 12 of Iraq's 55 most wanted are now in U.S. custody and the U.S. hopes they may have some much wanted information.

Coming up, folding the cards, we're going to take a closer look at the attempts to complete the deck, including the ace of spades himself, Saddam Hussein. Stay with us for that.




ANNOUNCER: Tightening the noose, more of Iraq's most wanted now in coalition hands. Who's left in the infamous deck of cards?

The art of negotiation, are Iraq's top cards cutting deals before their surrender?

And, as the cards are cut in favor of the U.S., is the game bringing it any closer to the ultimate prize?

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES, folding the cards.


COOPER: Well, for centuries now the classic deck of cards has decided the fate of gamblers all over the world. As the second Gulf War comes to an end at the beginning of the 21st century, the cards are once again playing a crucial if symbolic role in the lives of some infamous Iraqis.

Who is in custody and who's still at large? Here's CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Fifty-two cards, 52 Saddam Hussein henchmen, each a wanted man. At least 15 cards folded, leaders of the old regime caught or believed dead.

And two big catches this week, Tariq Aziz, the regime's chief defender. He surrendered after negotiations with U.S. authorities. And, Farouk Hijazi, former intelligence official believed to have been a key player in the plot to kill former President George Bush in 1993.

M.J. GOHEL, ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION: He was very close to Saddam Hussein and he is privy to a lot of secrets.

SCHNEIDER: That's what the U.S. wants from these men, information. Even though Saddam Hussein's regime has fallen there's still a lot of unfinished business starting with what happened to Saddam Hussein? Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe he's still alive. They're not going to achieve closure until they find out what happened.

What about the weapons of mass destruction? Weren't they the reason the U.S. went to war in the first place? When the war started most Americans thought it was very likely the U.S. would find conclusive evidence of those weapons in Iraq. Now, they're not so sure. Neither is President Bush but he is certain the weapons were there and he has to find out what happened to them to make his case to a skeptical world.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And whether he destroyed them, moved them, or hid them, we're going to find out the truth.

SCHNEIDER: And while the war in Iraq is winding down, the war on terrorism goes on.

RUMSFELD: We need that information so that we can track down the terrorist links between Saddam Hussein's regime and various terrorist networks.

SCHNEIDER: So, the manhunt goes on but what does the U.S. plan to do with these guys once it gets the information? Put them on trial but where: Iraqi courts, Iraq's judicial system may not be up to the task; international courts, the Bush administration may not trust them; U.S. military tribunals?

RICHARD DICKER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: If the United States retains control as occupying power of a process like this, it will lack legitimacy. It will be seen as the United States imposing its will on those accused of what are horrific crimes.


SCHNEIDER: In Iraq, justice is the secondary concern. The immediate concern is information, finding out the truth. The man the U.S. really wants to bring to justice is Osama bin Laden -- Anderson.

COOPER: That is certainly the case.

The question though, again -- and it's worth asking again -- where are these guys going to stand trial, if at all? As you said, there is no justice system in Iraq and most of the old judges were Baath Party officials.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. The United States insists, Iraq. They say the U.S. believes that they are answerable first and foremost to the Iraqi people, but almost certainly with the advice and consultation of international jurists, including some prominent jurists from Muslim countries.

Now, some of these guys may also be put on trial in international courts for crimes against humanity, some U.S. military tribunals for crimes against U.S. soldiers. But, first and foremost, they will go on trial in Iraq. And I do not think they will be tried before Muslim religious courts. I don't think the United States will allow that to happen.

COOPER: All right, interesting stuff. Bill, thanks very much.

Well, as Bill mentioned, getting the Iraqis on the cards to tell all is a key objective. But the question is, how much are they going to reveal or are they going to keep a poker face? It may all depend on negotiations between the hunted and those holding the cards.

CNN military analyst General Wesley Clark knows first-hand about the process from his experience in Kosovo. He joins us tonight from Washington.

General Clark, thanks for being with us. Good to see you again.


COOPER: So let's talk about it. We hear about these negotiations, Tariq Aziz negotiating his surrender. How does this negotiation process work?

CLARK: Well, that negotiation process probably didn't involve very much.

My guess would be that he had an intermediary. Some Iraqi went up to a military guy, said he had information about them. It was passed up the chain of command to someone in a position authority, perhaps Lieutenant General Scott Wallace or one of his deputies in Baghdad. And the negotiation was: If I surrender, can I get some medical care? Will I be humiliated? Will I be shot right away?

And the course the answer to all those three is: You're going to get medical care. You're not going to be humiliated. We're going to treat you as an individual and we're not going to shoot you. So it wasn't much of a negotiation. The question is: How much can we get from them and how little can we give up, beyond what our basic standards of humane treatment are?

COOPER: It was interesting. I read an account in the "L.A. Times" about the surrender of the military intelligence guy, I think it was yesterday or a couple days ago. And I think it was his daughter or his sister who was doing the negotiation. And one of the main sticking points was whether he was going to sit in the front seat of the Humvee that was taking him in or in the backseat. And as a general, he wanted his honor maintained and to sit in the front seat.

So, as you said, you're not really talking about negotiation, because negotiation implies giving stuff away. You're basically just having a discussion.

CLARK: Well, that's exactly right.

You're not going to give him something like immunity, not at this stage and probably never. But what you are going to do is try to coax them to come in. And you're going to try to set it up so that they feel comfortable enough about it and respect it enough that you can then move to the next stage and get them to talk about what they know.

COOPER: Is it clear to you -- because it's not clear to me and no one has really been able to give me an answer on it -- exactly what the status of these people is once they're in custody, whether they're POWs, unlawful combatants? It seems like the U.S. isn't saying much about where they're being held or how they're being held. Do have any sense of that?

CLARK: Well, they can be declared detainees and they can be held in indeterminate status before a decision is made that they get all the protections of the Geneva Convention as being declared POWs.

My guess is, Hijazi as the head of military intelligence would be declared a POW. And he may already be declared that way. Tariq Aziz would probably be called a detainee. And his status would be indeterminate for a prolonged period of time until a body of evidence is built up, it's determined whether or not he is fully cooperative, partially cooperative, or uncooperative. And he's got to be held while this case develops.

So this is going to be a prolonged period of uncertainty for these people who have turned themselves in. But on the other hand, they're going to be safe. And if you're out there and a member of this regime, and particularly if you are a Sunni who has repressed the Shias, you have to have some concerns about your public safety when you're on the run.

COOPER: Well, I was going to say, what is the benefit for them for giving themselves up, as opposed to continuing to try to hide? And you just answered the question. They're probably afraid for their own safety or their family's safety.

CLARK: Exactly. And there are economic problems they're putting -- and it's just a question of time before it gets worse.

So I think the smart move for these men is to turn themselves in and to try to win the good graces of the United States by cooperating. That would be the smart move.

COOPER: But how do they do that? How do they win the good graces? If they have information -- let's say they have information about WMD -- they may not want to give that up unless they get something in return. Does the U.S. negotiate in that sense?

CLARK: Well, as the process goes on, there are ways in which, in every investigation, people are given blandishments, encouragements to be cooperative, and recognition of what could happen to them if they aren't. And the individual makes up his own mind on the basis of the two different alternatives. It doesn't mean they would ever get off scot free if they're criminals. But it might be taken into account in the sentencing, for example, or in the degree of their complicity in some of the crimes that are emerging.

COOPER: And perhaps the treatment of their family or the like, not necessarily how they end up.

All right, General Wesley Clark, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

We're going to take a short break to try to pay our bills a little bit.

When we come back: He swore he would rather die than surrender to the U.S. Haven't we heard that an awful lot? Well, now he's turned himself in. What do his fellow countrymen think about his capture? We're going to gauge the reaction from Baghdad.


COOPER: All right.

So it's Friday night. Maybe you're kicking back with your friends, having some beers, going to play a game of poker. And you're playing with the new playing cards which has all the members of the Iraqi regime on it. Well, this is your best poker hand. A little advice here. It's a royal flush, with Saddam Hussein as the ace of spades. Then joining him in his most-wanted court is the king of spades, Chemical Ali. Coalition officials say he may be dead.

The queen of spades depicting the Euphrates regional commander, then the jack of spades, with the armed forces chief of staff, and the 10 of spades, the commander of the Air Force. There you go. That's your best poker hand.

And one of the most high-profile captures so far, if not at the top of the most-wanted list, is the eight of spades, Tariq Aziz. We were just talking about him. And Iraqis both near and dear to Aziz, as well as ordinary citizens on the street, for that matter, well, they're expressing strong feelings about the big catch.

Nic Robertson joins us from Baghdad with that -- Nic.

ROBERTSON: Anderson, I was talking a little earlier in the day with Ziad, Tariq Aziz's eldest son.

Now, Ziad was actually thrown in jail during Saddam Hussein's regime, essentially, he told me, because of political intrigue, not only political intrigue between Saddam Hussein and Tariq Aziz himself, but because of intrigue between Ziad, Aziz's son, and Uday, Saddam Hussein's eldest son. So, clearly, the regime -- or at least Saddam Hussein -- not afraid to put the pressure on somebody like Aziz.

I asked Ziad why, after all this time when his father was saying, look, I'd rather die than go into a U.S. jail, why did he turn himself in? And he said: I don't know, but he did arrive at the decision very, very quickly.

Presidency, it could have been the fact that Aziz has had a couple of heart attacks recently. He knows it would perhaps be difficult to get medical attention in Iraq without drawing attention to himself. Certainly, he has got fewer places to run and hide. His family home was ransacked. And that was something Ziad and the rest of the family members I talked to today were really concerned about. They don't know if they can go out on the streets and be safe.

They know that Tariq Aziz is now safe because he's in U.S. custody. And if you do go out on the streets and ask people in Baghdad, the thoughts range from, "Yes, I'd vote for Tariq Aziz again, put in power, I like him", to: "No, he should hang 60 times." And there are certain parts of Baghdad where, for somebody like Aziz, it would be absolutely suicidal to go out on the streets. He may get away walking around in that small neighborhood where we visited his family today.

But, elsewhere, Anderson, I have got to tell you, he's not a popular figure in Baghdad.

COOPER: Nic, it's fascinating that you said his son, Ziad, was under arrest. So, basically, at the same time that Tariq Aziz is the front man for this regime, his own son is in jail?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely.

And it seemed to be, Ziad was trading in sugar and other commodities in Iraq. That seemed to step on Saddam Hussein's son Uday's own industrial and business interests inside Iraq. And, therefore, they took it out on Aziz's son. Even, I'm told that Aziz at one point actually disowned his son, so intense was the pressure from Saddam Hussein. But it just goes to show the intrigue that was going on and very much the way that the business interest in the country were carved up between senior Baath Party officials and their families.

So when people look at Aziz and perhaps try to draw an assessment that he was the kinder, nicer face of the Baath Party, he was in that party for so long, he was in the leadership for so long. And he was very much -- albeit under pressure from Saddam Hussein -- bound up in all this intrigue and pretty much all his doings, Anderson.

COOPER: From what you could tell -- and I don't know how much time you were able to spend with them -- but does Ziad -- does the family still have a lot of money? Do they live in a nice place? Do they have resources?

ROBERTSON: I think the resource that they're shortest of at this time is room for maneuver. They're afraid of people coming to their house and destroying their house.

The house I visited them in was probably the nicest house in that neighborhood. It was clearly -- the family had no shortage of money in the past. Ziad was wearing a Rolex. One of the other sons of Tariq Aziz was wearing a diamond-studded wristwatch. There's no shortage of money there, but there's a shortage of freedom. And they pointed out that their family home, Tariq Aziz's house, that was ransacked right when the regime fell, they can't go back there.

They really don't know where they can turn. They're afraid that the house they're in right now will be targeted. And I think Ziad try to play to this by -- when I talked to him, he brought out his children, Tariq Aziz's grandchildren, to show that he's a family man, that they have genuine human concerns, and that the family is very much worried.

COOPER: Well, understandably so. Nic Robertson, thanks very much.

In all, a handful of the infamous cards can now be retired; 12 of the most-wanted Iraqis are in custody, including Tariq Aziz, as Nic Robertson just mentioned. But dozens still remain on the loose.

For a look who is still at large, we turn to Judith Yaphe, a former Iraq analyst for the CIA. She's with us from Washington.

Judith, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: How significant do you see the arrest of Tariq Aziz?

YAPHE: Well, it's nice to get Tariq Aziz. He's really important. He was the regime's public face. He was one of the most loyal to Saddam since the mid-'50s, when they both joined the party.

There are only two other figures that I can think of that have been with Saddam that long, were such staunch loyalists and also represented no threat to Saddam, which is why they survived. I don't think there are many others who could brag that they had been there when Saddam and they first came into the party.

COOPER: What does it tell you about the Iraqi regime that, at the same time he was the front man defending this regime, his own son is jailed by Saddam Hussein? The internal machinations of that regime must have just been fascinating for you as a CIA analyst to analyze.

Let me ask you, though, about this other man in custody, Farouk Hijazi, head of Iraqi intelligence. It's got to be a major catch.

YAPHE: That is the major catch. That is the most important one so far. Almost all the others that have been caught so far are peripherals, in other words, not important. Saddam's half-brothers are not important. They had been kept away, locked on their farms for several years, total isolation.

But Farouk Hijazi is very important. He could be -- and I stress, could -- be the key to Iraq's links, whatever they were, with the al Qaeda organization, if he indeed met with Osama bin Laden. I can hardly wait to hear that. But he also -- in addition to being Mukhabarat intelligence chief, served in Turkey, Jordan and Tunis, all of those key places, but especially Turkey and Jordan, where he could run operations, where there was a lot of smuggling going on.

Those were important windows for things going into and out of Iraq. And Hijazi himself I think is someone who would know a lot of operational details. So I think he's the biggest catch.

COOPER: As you look at the list as it still remains intact, the people who are still on the most-wanted list, who do you think has the most information about the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein?

YAPHE: Qusay and the No. 2, his bodyguard, presidential -- keeper of the office -- I can never remember his name. Humein (ph), I think it is -- only those two.


COOPER: You say Qusay more than Uday?

YAPHE: Oh, yes. Uday wouldn't know. Would you trust Uday if you wanted to keep your whereabouts a secret? I don't think so.

COOPER: Yes, unstable he certainly seems.

YAPHE: Unstable, not to be trusted. But Qusay was totally loyal to his father, which is proven in the fact that he was head of the all the intelligence and security services. They all reported to him.

And my understanding is that only Qusay and the bodyguard who was always behind Saddam were the only two who knew where Saddam would be any night. And he would sleep at different palaces, different locations. But meals and houses would be prepared for him, say, at five different locations. But only Qusay and his chief aide would really know where he was. But Qusay would not necessarily be with him. That might attract attention.

COOPER: Do you believe Saddam Hussein is alive or dead?

YAPHE: I'll give you 60/40 odds, 60 percent, yes, he's dead. But the fact that we have found Tariq and could find others, you have got to leave yourself a little room for maneuver at this point.


COOPER: All right, spoken like a true analyst. Judith Yaphe, appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.

YAPHE: That's fine. Thank you.

COOPER: Well, coming up: How close is the U.S. to retiring the No. 1 card in the deck? We'll have the latest on the hunt for Saddam Hussein, the ace of spades, when we come back.


COOPER: Well, the Iraqi on the top of the most-wanted list was the target of at least two specific strikes designed to take him out of the deck and out of commission. Still, Saddam Hussein remains unaccounted for. Is the former Iraqi leader dead or alive? You just heard Judith Yaphe, a former CIA analyst, said she would give you 60/40 odds he's dead.

U.S. officials say they simply don't know, but they hope the cards are going to shed some light on his fate.


DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Everyone is talking about this deck of cards, of 55 -- I don't know how they got 55 instead of 52, but in fact we have a list of some 200. That original list was purposely kept low at the outset because we wanted to separate the worst people from the regime, hoping that others would come forward. And, indeed, that has happened.


COOPER: Well, joining us now from London with his perspective is Simon Henderson. He is the author of "Instant Empire: Saddam Hussein's Ambition for Iraq."

Simon, thanks for being with us.

So you got Tariq Aziz and Farouk Hijazi in U.S. custody. Do you think we're any closer to finding out the whereabouts, the status of Saddam Hussein?

SIMON HENDERSON, AUTHOR, "INSTANT EMPIRE": Well, everyone that is arrested will clearly be asked: Do you know where Saddam Hussein is? When did you last see him? Was he injured?

I'm not sure whether Farouk Hijazi, who has been the ambassador in Tunis, will know anything of that. But he might know who to ask and where that person might be hiding. Tariq Aziz is probably a better one to ask. But you have to remember that Saddam remained a conspirator, a secret conspirator all his life. And it wasn't as if he would, as far as I know, sit around drinking coffee with Tariq Aziz and the other senior members of the regime.

Tariq Aziz did his bidding and came to meetings when he was summoned to meetings. So, Tariq Aziz, even if he's cooperative -- and he's such an arrogant man that I doubt whether he's going to be that cooperative -- but he just might not know the answer. COOPER: Does the fact that he gave himself up -- there are some who say, look, Tariq Aziz gave himself up. Perhaps that indicates that he believes Saddam Hussein is dead or he knows Saddam Hussein is dead, because, if he thought there was any chance of Saddam coming back, this guy was a loyal party follower. He followed Saddam Hussein for years. He wouldn't give himself up if he believed Saddam Hussein was still alive.

Do you buy that?

HENDERSON: I think there might be something in that, although there has also been a report that Tariq Aziz has been unwell. And if you're feeling ill and you think you're going to die of a heart attack or something in the back bedroom of your sister-in-law's house, maybe you think now is the time to get some decent medical treatment.

But you're right. I think that if he thought that Saddam was alive, somewhere around, somewhere still in control, able to exert at least some underground control over loyal Baath members in Iraq, he would not have surrendered. It would be a shame on what he's done.

But in terms of finding out where Saddam is, there's some other good people as well as Tariq Aziz that have been arrested. There was the son-in-law of Saddam, who's married to Saddam's third daughter, indeed, his favorite daughter, Hala. And he might have known something as well.

COOPER: I want to ask you about the Iraqi International Congress. They have been making a lot of statements of late. They made a statement a couple days saying they believe Saddam is alive and that they're tracking him and that he's staying one day ahead of them. Do you buy anything they say?

There are some people who are saying, look, their press releases are about -- it sounds like Mohammed Sahhaf is their P.R. guy, because some of their claims seem quite outrageous. Do you believe what they say?

HENDERSON: It's a difficult one.

In my role, I can safely look at their press releases and put them to one side and then, a day later, decide whether I'm going to believe them or not. That's not something like an organization like CNN has the luxury of time to do. They clearly have a political motivation to appear to be as effective as possible. So there might be some spin in this. But they are also one of the more organized groups on the ground.

Whether that organization is capable of really searching for these people in a parallel bid to what the American forces are trying to do, I'm not so sure. But, at this stage, while not necessarily giving them too much credit, I don't think you write them off completely either.

COOPER: Is it possible that Saddam Hussein is alive somewhere in Baghdad and that he really is trying to reform the Baath Party in some way? It would seem a very difficult task to stay out of attention. He is quite recognizable. Even if he shaves the big handle-bar mustache and shaves his head, he's still got that big beer belly. How does he hide?

HENDERSON: Well, in fact, I think it was one of his doubles who had the big beer belly. In fact, of course, we haven't found Saddam, nor any of his doubles either. So that's a bit of a disaster.

My own view is that he's probably not in Baghdad. He might be in one of the tribal areas in the more rural areas out towards the west and the north, generally speaking, in the direction of Tikrit. Or he might be trying to get abroad into exile. Frankly, I thought only Russia or China would be possible safe havens for him, even if they wanted to be so generous. They're the only countries which could really tolerate American pressure and ignore American pressure.

But it's the $64,000 question. And I would give roughly the same odds as Judith Yaphe did.

COOPER: Sixty/forty.

All right, Simon Henderson, appreciate you joining us. Sorry we lost focus with you a little bit, but I appreciate you joining us.

As a final thought tonight, an extra bit of insight into CENTCOM's 55 most wanted Iraqis in that deck of cards. If you're looking for a winning poker hand among the captured Iraqis, the best you can get so far is a nine-high straight. It beats the next best hand of two pair, queens and eights.

That's about it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. Stay with CNN for "LARRY KING LIVE," right after a quick check of the headlines.

I'm Anderson Cooper. Good night.


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