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Novak Zone: Interview With Fran Mainella, Director of National Park Service

Aired May 1, 2004 - 09:00   ET


LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Hope your weekend is off to a great start. This is CNN SATURDAY MORNING, and I'm Linda Stouffer.
RENAY SAN MIGUEL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Renay San Miguel. Good morning to you from me. Thank you for starting your day with us.

Here's (UNINTELLIGIBLE), what we've got coming up for this hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

One year ago today, the "Mission Accomplished" banner was unfurled. The president declared major combat over in Iraq. Today, the death toll rises, and the cost keeps skyrocketing. We'll talk about all of these issues, and we'll get your thoughts on them as well, coming up.

STOUFFER: And from the world of sports, horse racing's biggest day, the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby today in Louisville. We'll head to the Bluegrass State for a preview of that.

SAN MIGUEL: And we'll take our weekly trip through The Novak Zone.

First, here's what's happening at this hour.

STOUFFER: Two Americans are dead following an attack by militants on a compound in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Another American was injured in that attack. Saudis believe the attacks were linked to al Qaeda. Two militants were killed when they detonated a car bomb. Another was killed during a shootout with Saudi police. A fourth militant was captured.

Well, photos like this one showing apparent abuse of Iraqis' prisoners have been drawing international outrage. They're raising questions now about human rights. The pictures led to charges against six U.S. soldiers. Now the British military is investigating similar allegations of prisoner abuse.

Taiwan was jarred by a moderate earthquake today. Two people were killed after the quake triggered a landslide at a national park.

The Chinese ministry of health says it's now confirmed another case of SARS in Beijing. China confirms six cases now. That includes one fatality. All of the cases are being traced to a government SARS lab. That lab's under investigation by the World Health Organization.

Celebrations in many capital cities across Europe now as the European Union welcomes 10 former cold war enemies into the fold. Poland, Hungary, and Slovenia are among those joining the 24 current members of the E.U.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, May 1, 2003)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.


SAN MIGUEL: Time now for the hour's top story. An indelible image, a banner draped across the U.S.S. "Abraham Lincoln" says "Mission Accomplished." President Bush declared major combat over in Iraq.

That was one year ago. Now let's fast forward.


BUSH: A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we had accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein. And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend of terror has been removed and now sits in a jail.

SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Mission accomplished? The mission in Iraq as laid out by President Bush and Vice President Cheney has failed. Even more disturbing, the disdain for international law and the military bombast of this cocky, reckless administration.


SAN MIGUEL: So here is where we stand today in Iraq, 602 U.S. troops have been killed since last year's "Mission Accomplished" declaration. The battles rage on. There are 135,000 U.S. troops still stationed in Iraq.

STOUFFER: And now, let's go to Iraq. There has been more bloodshed today.

CNN's Ben Wedeman joins us live from Baghdad -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Linda, that bloodshed occurring in the northern part of the country there. One U.S. Marine -- rather, one U.S. soldier was killed and two civilian contractors in an attack. Also, in northern Iraq, a soldier died from wounds he received in an attack from Friday.

Meanwhile, Iraqis are still digesting these disturbing pictures which were broadcast yesterday far and wide, not only in Iraq, but around the Arab world. Interestingly enough, Linda, they were not published in today's newspapers here in Baghdad. I spoke with one editor of a newspaper here who told me that they were hesitating to publish them because they were so highly offensive.

The reaction of those who have seen them is really one of disbelief and anger. I spent some time this morning with an Iraqi human rights activist, who said that these images really raise questions about the treatment by the coalition of all Iraqi detainees they hold around the country, Linda.

STOUFFER: Ben Wedeman live in Baghdad, thank you.

SAN MIGUEL: The new flareups of violence in Iraq are taking a toll on both the soldiers' morale and the equipment that these troops so desperately need. The price tag for this war is already steep, and the bills are still rolling in.

CNN's senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, has that story.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last April's rosy hopes for a quick, cheap victory have gone up in the smoke of this April's raging combat. All the unexpected wear and tear on military hardware, downed aircraft, burned-out vehicles, plus the unanticipated cost of maintaining higher force levels in Iraq, is rapidly inflating the war's price tag.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Obviously, there are additional costs, because we didn't budget for the war. So we all know that eventually there's a bill to be paid.

MCINTYRE: At the Pentagon, they have a name for it, the burn rate, how fast the war is consuming money. It was about $4 billion a month. Now it's closer to $5 billion.

Among the extra costs, $700 million to keep 20,000 extra troops in Iraq for three months, and $400 million to rush armored Humvees to the battlefield.

Administration critics in Congress accuse the Pentagon of lowballing the war's true cost by waiting to ask for more money until after the presidential election and leaving billions of dollars in current needs unfunded.

REP. CURT WELDON (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I think the budget request that's been provided to us is shortsighted, and in the case of the Army, I think it's outrageous.

MCINTYRE: Weldon says the Army needs $6 billion more now, including $705 million for even more armored Humvees, $295 million for more body armor, $315 million for munitions, and $114 million for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Some in Congress, like Arizona Senator John McCain, say the best way to get the money is to axe some big-ticket pet projects, such as the Air Force's FA-22, which, at $258 million a plane, is the world's most expensive fighter aircraft. Killing the $37 billion program would buy a lot of necessities.

THOMAS BARNETT, "THE PENTAGON'S NEW MAP": How many of those amazingly cheap armored Humvees can I buy if I buy 10 less future combat systems? Quite a few, because the tradeoff there is enormous.

MCINTYRE (on camera): The Pentagon scoffed when then-White House chief economic adviser Larry Lindsey predicted before the war it might cost between $100 and $200 billion. That doesn't seem so far-fetched now. That "Mission Accomplished" has become mission expensive.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


SAN MIGUEL: Coming up in just a few minutes, it'll be your chance to talk to CNN. We will take your e-mails on Iraq with CNN's Ben Wedeman in Baghdad and military analyst Lieutenant Colonel Robert Magin, who is in Washington. So please, stay with us for that.

And we'll also have some more from around America coming up.

Off the coast of Florida, a fatal accident at rehearsals for an air show. Will the show still go on this weekend?

STOUFFER: And breaking the mold for a date at the Derby. We'll take a look at a not-so-likely trainer. That's coming up a bit later here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning once again. I'm Rob Marciano in the CNN Weather Center. There's going to be a lot of rain across this area of the country. There was some snow in Denver, Colorado, yesterday. That should all be melting as we go into the afternoon. Still right around freezing, though. This is a shot from, looks like New Hampshire, actually, WMUR. Beautiful New England day forthcoming. We will talk about your forecast in about 10 minutes. See you then.


SAN MIGUEL: Well, all morning we have been taking your e-mails on Iraq, one year after President Bush announced "Mission accomplished." Now we want to answer some of those.

STOUFFER: And to help us do that, CNN's Ben Wedeman is live in Baghdad right now. Retired Army lieutenant colonel Robert Magin, a military analyst, comes to us live from Washington.

Gentlemen, welcome to both of you.

LT. COL. ROBERT MAGIN (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Thank you. STOUFFER: Colonel, my first question comes to us from Jose in new Mexico. Let me ask you what he's writing in with. He says, "For U.S. armed forces, what is the typical punishment for being convicted of abuse toward detainees, and what is the maximum punishment?" He's of course referring to those photos we've been looking at. Colonel, what do you think?

MAGIN: Well, there are a host of things, Linda, that could happen. Clearly, the Article 32, the grand jury, has come in on three of them, recommending court-martial. That's not decided yet. But, you know, you have conduct unbecoming, you have abuse of those that are incarcerated. You have a host of things.

We could talk about years' punishment that could be rendered. You know, I was talking to someone in Baghdad earlier today, and they suggested that maybe they ought to be charged with aiding and abetting the enemy, because clearly, you know, the message here is that if this is how Americans treat prisoners, you know, my -- our own prisoners be treated by them in a harsh way.

That's not characteristic of how the U.S. Army typically treats prisoners.

SAN MIGUEL: Ben Wedeman, you get the next question here. It's from Mike, who says, "What is or was the reaction of the Iraqi people to President Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' statement?" My -- Ben, I can imagine about a year ago, there was an awful lot of optimism in Iraq.

WEDEMAN: Yes, the atmosphere a year ago was completely different. It was fairly chaotic on the ground. I was here in Baghdad when President Bush made that appearance on the aircraft carrier.

And at the time, people did think that hopefully, possibly after the initial chaos that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, that things would be able -- would gradually get back to normal, that the country would start to rebuild, that a administration would be put into place.

So at the time, not a lot of people paid a lot of attention. They thought this was just sort of postwar celebration by the Americans.

But certainly, when people look back over the events of the last year, with the suicide bombings, and the chaos in much of the country, the situation in Najaf and Karbala, they do look back now with a good deal of bitterness, really.

SAN MIGUEL: Colonel Magin, Charles from Westborough, Massachusetts, wants to know, "What assets are now deployed in Iraq that would have been better off being deployed fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan?" The fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom was mostly a special operations activity, right? MAGIN: Yes, it clearly was. But right now, we have in Afghanistan more than we have in a long time, 20,000 troops, part of the 25th Division out of Hawaii, the 10th Mountain out of New York, and, of course, a Marine expeditionary unit.

They're chasing, for the most part, along the Afghan border, a great number of al Qaeda. Of course, the Pakistanis, under the leadership of General President Musharraf, who's trying to push them at us. We have, unfortunately diverted, I think, at one point, certainly within the last six months, you know, some of those special forces people over to Iraq trying to quell some of the problems.

Now, after we captured Saddam Hussein in the Tikrit area, now, some of those special forces were refocused in Afghanistan. And General John Abizaid explained yesterday in his press conference in Qatar that he has, he believes, the necessary resources in Afghanistan. But there was a lull for a while there, and, of course, now, with the cooperation of the Pakistanis, it's becoming a little easier.

Very different scenario, though, in Afghanistan than we have today in Iraq.

STOUFFER: All right, Ben, I got a question for you. This comes from Dale. "What role are women playing in shaping the new government in Iraq?" And I was also going to ask you just to speak a little bit how women's lives have changed in Iraq.

WEDEMAN: Well, if you're talking about women's lives, interestingly, under Saddam Hussein's regime, which was largely secular, women had a fairly important role to play. You saw them working in offices, government offices, and other businesses and whatnot. You saw them in the universities, most of them not veiled.

Now, the situation now is that with the religious sentiment much more intense than it was before, women are feeling they're somewhat -- they're becoming marginalized with the insecurity in places like Baghdad and elsewhere. Women are afraid to go out of the house. There are fears of being kidnapped and accosted in other ways. So women these days are not feeling particularly comfortable with the situation.

Now, there are some women members of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council. And if you recall, about a month and a half ago, when they were drafting a temporary constitution, there was quite an uproar here in Iraq when they tried to pass one article in that constitution that really did infringe on the rights of women. And many Iraqi women went to this -- took to the streets, protested vigorously, and then article was removed.

So women do realize they have a role to play in the post-Saddam Iraq, but the disorder that's really making life so difficult here is making that role more difficult.

STOUFFER: And Ben, what about girls? I mean, we heard for a while that girls weren't given all the educational opportunities that boys were in Iraq. What about something as specific as that? Is there a change?

WEDEMAN: Well, under Saddam Hussein's regime -- and I certainly don't want to be in the position to defend it -- women's rights were legally protected, in a way, and in practical terms, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) protected in some ways better than they are now, because -- and really, we get back to the situation of just the uncertainty, the instability. People are afraid in some areas to go out of their homes.

Now, that applies to girls and women as well as men. But, women, they're still in their -- in the universities. They're trying to practice an ordinary life. But they certainly feel more vulnerable than ordinary -- than men, for instance.

SAN MIGUEL: Colonel Magin, you get the next question, and it's from John in Columbus, Ohio. "How would you assess the chances that the insurgency will spread along the lines that we have just seen in Fallujah?" And actually, you know, there's another very tenuous situation going on in Najaf, in the south of the country.

MAGIN: You know, one of the concerns in Fallujah is that some of the bad guys have exfiltrated out of Fallujah as we've kind of pulled back. Our Marines are pulling back to a certain degree. And that the chieftains, the Zarqawi, the al Qaeda types, have gone elsewhere.

We know that -- at least we understand that they were behind for perhaps the bombings in Basra, that which went after the oil derrick out in the Persian Gulf. We believe that they're behind a lot of things.

So that is very, very important. Clearly, the level of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of fighting and violence elsewhere, in Mosul or Nasariyah or elsewhere, hasn't really echoed what we've seen in Fallujah of late.

Now, Najaf is a different proposition entirely, because it's being held by al-Sadr and the Mahdi army. And, of course, we believe that internally, some of the more moderate Shi'a clerics and the businessmen there in the city are going to probably take care of that in time.

SAN MIGUEL: And while we have got you, colonel, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a year ago, the Republican Guard was on the run. Many had been captured, many had just melted away. And I'm wondering now, we are hearing that they may be, some of those former generals may be back helping to lead this new Iraqi all-volunteer force at Fallujah. How do you feel about that, from the military perspective?

MAGIN: Well, it is an interesting turn of events. I happen to have supported keeping the large part of the conscription army in place, but it was decided back in June that they'd disband that.

Primarily, we should have done that, I believe, for security reasons. And it's a tough hove (ph) to stand up 200,000 security people even today. But hiring this new guy, you know, it used to be a caveat (UNINTELLIGIBLE) General Salaf, who was in charge of the 38th Division under Saddam Hussein, is still being vetted. It's clear that we're waiting for the ministry of defense to approve him. We're not sure that he's going to be the long-term leader. And many of the officers there from Fallujah that are joining up in this new battalion, we're still not sure they are clean.

So there's a long way to go yet on this.

STOUFFER: Colonel Magin, we're going to keep you busy. We have another question that came to us from e-mail from Douglas. It's kind of a political question. "What was the mission of the U.S. attack operations on Iraq last year? Is it not true that this mission was accomplished a year ago? I just don't really understand what the argument is. How could you argue against President Bush's statement?" That's what Douglas asks. What do you think, colonel?

MAGIN: Well, a year ago, of course, the -- I think the explanation has changed a couple times, quite frankly, Linda. You know, we heard a lot about weapons of mass destruction, and we're still waiting for a final outcome on that, perhaps.

We heard that Saddam Hussein was a terrible henchman, and clearly the people of Iraq agree there. But then, you know, we're finding some al Qaeda people. We were told that they're terrorists there. Well, there probably were, Abu Nadi Nadal (ph), clearly some, Zarqawi has come in from Jordan and some others.

But the explanation appears to be more -- I would have made the human rights argument, that this man killed thousands and thousands of his own people. In fact, in al-Hila (ph), I was at a mass grave where 3,000 people were buried, and I saw the holes in the back of the skulls, the shackles on the hands, and the blindfolds.

So, you know, no question, this was a terrible man. He's going to be held to justice. But the question, though, I think, Linda, is whether or not we should still be there today. And we should have looked back to 1920. The Brits took care of the problem and moved themselves out as quickly as possible.

It looks like we might, however, be there for some time to come.

SAN MIGUEL: Yes, a lot of people...

STOUFFER: Very complex.

SAN MIGUEL: ... lot of people looking back at history to see how this is going to play out for the future of Iraq.

We want to thank our viewers for writing in in our Talk to CNN segment. Also want to thank our participants, Ben Wedeman, joining us live from Baghdad, and our CNN military analyst, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Magin. Gentlemen, thank you both for taking part today.

STOUFFER: Thank you. Now to an issue a lot of people deal with. With millions of people posting information on the Internet, how do you know if what you read is true? There's so many fake e-mail and Internet stories written to look as if they are indeed fact. Well, some people get hurt by deceptions out there.

So join us tomorrow when we show you how to sniff out the fakes. That's tomorrow morning on CNN SUNDAY MORNING at 9:00 Eastern time.

SAN MIGUEL: The murders of five family members and plenty of suspicion. Now one year later, charges are filed against a suspect in California.


SINGER (singing): (UNINTELLIGIBLE), mellow as the month of May. Oh, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...


SAN MIGUEL: And following the beat of the campaign trail, an update on Democratic candidate John Kerry coming up on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


SINGER: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) way, let me hear you sing. I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the skies are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) down...



SAN MIGUEL: Well, we have already talked a lot this morning about how the track at Churchill Downs could get a little bit soggy today, but there are other cities having events going on that could also get some rain.

STOUFFER: Yes, and at the Derby, if those women have those fancy hats, I hope they're sturdy hats (UNINTELLIGIBLE) keep the rain out.

What's going on, Rob?

MARCIANO: Well, they get all dolled up for that event, too, and, you know, and they drink their fancy mint juleps, and...

STOUFFER: Mint juleps, right.

MARCIANO: But they haven't seen rain in several years, and, on average, they get maybe one out of four Derbies get at least a little bit of rain. I think that will be the case today. So, hope you enjoyed the past several years. Looks like rain's coming your way. Some of it as far east as eastern Texas, some of that could be heavy at times.

Warm across the Northeast. And could be a sloppy Derby track. So make that, take that into considerations as you place your bets.

Underneath the clouds we go. Houston earlier today, Liberty County, was under a tornado warning. Thunder and lightning's going to be he case from San Antonio to east of Dallas, St. Louis, east of there as well, and across the Ohio River Valley from Cincinnati.

And where it's not raining, mostly east of the Appalachians, we're going to see a pretty warm southwesterly flow. So temperatures will easily be in the 70s, feeling a little bit more like June than the first of May.

Also, where it's going to be pretty warm is out West. Pacific Northwest down to SoCal, pretty much offshore flow again today, which means temperatures should be above average, and that will be the case again tomorrow.

Boston and New York, temps in the 70s. Mentioned that. The rains will arrive tomorrow. D.C. might get clipped before the sun goes down this afternoon.

Nashville, some showers and storms, some of which could be heavy at times. And some leftover showers tomorrow with cooler weather expected. And Miami with some temperatures in the mid-80s.

Chicago, showers and storms expected today. A dryer, cooler day tomorrow. And Detroit will see some showers and storms also today. St. Louis, once we get through the afternoon, I think it'll begin to dry out.

Dallas, most of the rain to the east of you. But where it is raining, it could be heavy at times.

Denver 57. That's different from yesterday, where there was snow falling across the Mile High City.

We have a live shot for you, where right now it is below freezing, KUSA, but you see the blue sky and the sunshine, and temperatures will quickly rise through the 30s, well above freezing into the 40s, and eventually top out in the 50s today. By the time Monday rolls around, over 70. That time of year across the Mile High City, where you get extremes from day to day.

Out West, some extremes as far as warm weather is concerned. Los Angeles 74 today, but well into the mid-80s tomorrow, possibly even warmer than that in the valleys. And Seattle and Portland will enjoy temperatures today in the 70s to near 80 degrees.

Linda and Renay, back to you. So you mentioned some events, the New Orleans Jazz Festival probably going to get some rainfall as well today. I can't think of anything else.

SAN MIGUEL: Music Midtown here in Atlanta.

STOUFFER: Yes, that's right.

MARCIANO: Music Midtown here in Atlanta, probably, actually, I think we'll be dry this afternoon, so...



MARCIANO: Just a chance.

STOUFFER: We'll be patient. All right.

MARCIANO: All right, good.

STOUFFER: And I should mention, we're going to take you live to the Derby in just a little bit. Our Josie Burke is out there. So we'll see if they've crushed the ice yet for all those mint juleps.

SAN MIGUEL: That's right.

STOUFFER: Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: You bet.

SAN MIGUEL: Here's a quick look at some of the stories making news across America.

A New Jersey jury has acquitted former NBA all-star Jayson Williams of charges of aggravated manslaughter and assault in the fatal shooting of a limo driver. He was convicted on four lesser charges and could still be sentenced to 13 years in prison.

In California, a vice principal has pleaded innocent in the murders of his wife, three children, and his mother-in-law last July. Vincent Brothers was taken into custody near his home in Bakersfield on Friday and is being held without bail. A prosecutor says he plans to seek the death penalty.

And Arnold Schwarzenegger stands firm against bobblehead dolls. California's governor has told two Ohio brothers to quit making and selling bobbleheads in his image. Company makes other dolls as well. Their best sellers include Anna Nicole Smith and Jesus.

STOUFFER: Turning now to this year's presidential race and a mystery that has everybody guessing. Could this be the picture of the Democratic presidential ticket? Presumptive nominee John Kerry stumped with former rival Dick Gephardt at a fund-raiser in Missouri yesterday.

As Kerry's campaign looks for that suitable running mate, Gephardt is rumored to be among those going through an intense background check. During the event, Gephardt defended Kerry's military service and pledged his full support. The fund-raiser, by the way, pulled in $600,000 for Kerry's campaign.

A decade of excitement for air enthusiasts in Florida is just about to get off the ground.

JOHN ZARELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm John Zarella on Fort Lauderdale Beach. More than a million people expected here today for what is billed as one of the world's largest air and sea shows.


STOUFFER: Well, who's the one to watch in today's Run for the Roses? We'll have a preview in just about 10 minutes.

SAN MIGUEL: We're going to be watching the weather at Churchill Downs.

Welcome back. That live update from the Kentucky Derby is coming up.

But first, here are the headlines at this the hour.

A search is due to resume today in Texas for a 1-year-old missing after last night's thunderstorms. The boy's mother and brother died after being swept away by rushing water. Fort Worth authorities say the woman apparently drove her car through a low-water crossing.

Pat Tillman, the former pro football player killed in Afghanistan, has been awarded the Silver Star. He's being recognized posthumously for racing to the rescue of his comrades caught in an ambush. Tillman was shot and killed April 22 during a convoy assault in eastern Afghanistan.

A special legislative committee in Connecticut requests an article of impeachment be drafted against Governor John Rowland. The move comes after Rowland's lawyer refuses to answer questions before a House subcommittee. They want documents in connection with a bribery investigation. The three-term Republican governor earlier admitted to lying about who paid for renovating his summer home.

STOUFFER: And it is May 1. Never too early to look ahead to summer. Where are you planning to go for your summer vacations? If you planning to visit one of America's national parks, you just might be interested in what's being done to get them ready for you.

Fran Mainella is head of the park system and joins CNN's Robert Novak for a spin in The Novak Zone.


ROBERT NOVAK, HOST: Welcome to The Novak Zone.

We're at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., with the 60th director of the National Park Service, Fran Mainella, the first woman to hold the job.

Ms. Mainella, have the terrorist attacks of 9/11 taken a toll on the number of Americans who take advantage of the wonderful parks that you are, that you have under your jurisdiction?

FRAN MAINELLA, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: Well, we have had some attendance drop. But what we have found that since 9/11, people want to know more about America. And they want to come out and visit their national parks. They've been more focused, though, on parks that are within one to two hours away from their urban or suburban areas.

Some of the areas that have dropped off a little more have been our fly-to parks, or destination parks, like Grand Canyon and a few others. But we're beginning to see that come back again. And, in fact, what we're working on now is, making sure everyone knows a welcome mat is out for everyone, particularly this summer. And we joined in a partnership with the Travel Industry Association, and we're doing see America's national parks. So we love to have people come out.

NOVAK: A lot of Americans are still worried. Do you have extra security to protect them in these places?

MAINELLA: We do. We have extra law enforcement rangers that have come on. We've also been able to add a few extra security checks. As we have right here at the Washington Monument, when you go up the Washington Monument, you have an extra check to go up as you go through. But it is safe, and people are welcome to be out in those parks.

NOVAK: Director Mainella, there was a new addition here in Washington to the monuments under the Park Service, a World War II Memorial. When does that open? When is that dedicated? And tell us what kind of plans you have for that.

MAINELLA: We are so excited about this, because on May 29, over Memorial Day weekend, we will have the World War II Memorial actually transfer officially to the National Park Service, and we'll be open and ready to go for everyone.

And we're -- it's going to mean such a great story about all those who served in World War II, and also all of us that are some of us that are able to really know. There are parents and others that were in World War II, to be able to appreciate what they've gone through.

NOVAK: Now, as I remember, there was some criticism of the World War II Memorial that it wouldn't be in consort, or it wouldn't be in harmony with the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial on the National Mall. Is that a problem?

MAINELLA: What I have seen of the memorial so far, it's just so compatible with all the Washington Monument, the Tidal Basin, and working along with General Hereling (ph), who has been working so much on the Battlefield Association that has actually raised the money to bring forth the memorial, it's going to be a great complement to the Mall.

NOVAK: Tell us about some hidden treasures of the Park Service that Americans want might want to visit this summer.

MAINELLA: In fact, that is what we're trying to really let people know. When they come to Washington, not only visit the Washington Monument, but go to Frederick Douglass's home. It's a great jewel and a great history to be told, particularly of African- American history. And our national parks reflect both Hispanic, African-American, Native American stories throughout the system. We want more people to know about that. But also about those jewels, Shenandoah, of course, many people know it in Washington, but not always throughout the entire nation. And now we're finding more and more people are finding Shenandoah National Park, particularly with our partnership with the Travel Industry Association.

We are going to focus on those lesser-known gems in our system. And again, it'll be see America's national parks this summer.

NOVAK: You came here after many years as director of the Florida parks. What is your biggest challenge as director of the National Park Service?

MAINELLA: Well, I love the great national parks. And coming from the best job in Florida now to the best job in the national system, being National Park Service director. But the challenge, I think, as you mentioned earlier, I probably have learned more about security than I ever knew before and probably and ever hoped to know.

NOVAK: When I was only 10 years old, in 1941, our family drove from Illinois to Colorado to visit the Rocky Mountain National Park, the first national park I ever visited. That was a wonderful for a family of limited means to go. Is, what are you doing to make sure that ordinary Americans can still afford to visit the national parks?

MAINELLA: Well, we enjoy our national parks by being able to have a annual season pass that you can be able to go on our Web site,, and learn more about that. For $50, you are able to visit all the national parks throughout the whole year, and all that money goes directly back to help the national parks.

So that's a great buy, and that's something we have really encouraged. And as you know, Bob, not all our parks have fees. Many do not. But even those that do, we have found through surveys that people who have found those fees to be fair.

NOVAK: And now, the big question for Fran Mainella, the director of the National Park Service.

Ms. Mainella, there's a lot of talk around the country of outsourcing jobs. And you talk about competitive sourcing. Does that mean that the 20,000 workers in the Park Service, the federal employees, will be reduced and replaced by private workers? Will the Park Service be partially privatized as an economy measure?

MAINELLA: Well, Bob, we started the National Park Service in 1916, and we have been in existence a long time. Currently, we already are 56 percent private sector. That's with your volunteers, that's with your concession partners, that's with your cooperating associations, that's with your students, like the Student Conservation Association, and others.

All (UNINTELLIGIBLE) so that at this point, we're 56 percent private sector, 44 percent only federal government. But as we look at ourselves, we are looking at ourselves only through analyzing ourselves from a management analysis. And we don't know that we will ever have any of our employees replaced by the private sector.

So far, some of our, most of our analysis has shown that our employees are the -- just do the job the best way possible and are the most economical as well. We do believe our employees are our best asset we have in our National Park Service. And without them, we wouldn't be achieving that 96 percent satisfaction level that I think everyone knows and expects from our national parks.

NOVAK: Fran Mainella, director of the National Park Service, thank you very much.

MAINELLA: Thank you so much, Bob.

NOVAK: And thank you for being in The Novak Zone.


SAN MIGUEL: Well, Warthogs and Tomcats, we're not talking animals, we're talking aircraft, part of the McDonald's Air and Sea Show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A pilot was killed in an accident yesterday during practice, but officials saying that the show must go on.

CNN's John Zarrella brings us more now live from the scene. John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Renay, it's right, about a million people here just about every year. This should be no exception. You can see behind me there, the beach is already packed. Still a couple hours to go before the actual events get going.

And they will kick off with an amphibious assault from that U.S. Navy vessel out there, Marines and naval personnel participating in with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in what is going to be a fabulous event here, as this amphibious assault on the beach.

Throughout the day, the Army's Golden Knights parachute team going to fly in here, as well as the Blue Angels performing later in the afternoon. And between all that, stealth bombers and fighters and F-14s and -15s. It is a fabulous show.

But it is bittersweet as well this year, because, as you mentioned, yesterday, during a practice run, an aerobatics pilot, Ian Groom, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean just a few miles offshore from where we are here standing.

And we spent a couple of hours with Groom the day before yesterday. And he was more than just an aerobatics pilot. As you'll see in this piece we did, he was serving his country.


ZARRELLA (voice-over): To Ian Groom, the love for flying was a passion from the time he was a boy. An aerobatics performer, Groom's limit on this flight was about 40 of these snap rolls in 20 seconds.

Groom was one of the best in the world at what he did. Because he was, Immigrations and Customs officials, part of Homeland Security, sought him out in the days after 9/11.

IAN GROOM, AEROBATICS PILOT: I was performing at the air show, and three agents came up to see me, and asked me, how would I like to help the country? How would I like to serve?

ZARRELLA: Groom was asked if he'd be willing to teach Customs pilots how to get out of bad situations and how to avoid poor decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll get a guy that comes to us with a helicopter background, and we will transition him to fixed wing. But what he grew up with is a helicopter recovery technique. And we need to have what Ian tries to focus on is breaking that habit and getting them used to recover an airplane the way an airplane needs to recover.

ZARRELLA: Groom instructed more than 100 Customs pilots, who every day are flying missions to protect the nation's cities and watch its borders. He took no money. For Groom, an immigrant from South Africa, it was a way for him and his family to say thank you.

GROOM: America's just been such a great opportunity for us, and giving something back is just our way of making ourselves feel good.

ZARRELLA: Customs officials say every pilot who completed Groom's course is better for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ian starts every course with the pilots that are there with these words. He says, "There's nothing you can do in this airplane that's going to impress me. There's nothing you can do in this airplane that's going to scare me. So let's go out and learn."

ZARRELLA: Groom performed before 4.5 million people every year at air shows. But his greatest satisfaction came, he told me, from teaching the men and women who protect the homeland.


ZARRELLA: There will be many tributes, air tributes, to Ian Groom today, including the Canadian Snow Birds flying team, who will perform the Missing Man formation later today.

But again, here on Fort Lauderdale beach, expected to be a full house. And a wonderful show here in Fort Lauderdale.

I'm John Zarrella, reporting live from the beach.

SAN MIGUEL: All right, John, thank you very much.

We'll be back with more news right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SAN MIGUEL: Well, it is Derby Day, 18 horses, 18 jockeys, and one goal, to win one of the greatest prizes in horse racing, the first jewel in the Triple Crown.

And joining us now to talk about one of the more interesting stories of Derby Day, Josie Burke. She is live at Churchill Downs.

Josie, did you spot any of those fancy hats yet?

JOSIE BURKE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I've seen a number of hats. In fact, Linda, one just walked by that's apparently edible.

But before we talk about the interesting story that you alluded to, I want to give you a little bit of a weather update. It looks like the weather is going to be a factor in this race. Forecast calls for rain off and on throughout the day, and this wide-open field now becomes even harder to pick. You have to go through, look for horses who have had some success on off-track conditions.

One of those horses is Imperialism. Now, this is a horse that's gotten a lot of attention this week for a different reason.


BURKE (voice-over): The horse with the sunken eye and the eye- popping trainer are a perfect fit. Imperialism can't see that 21- year-old Kristin Mulhall breaks the mold when it comes to the Kentucky Derby.

KRISTIN MULHALL, TRAINER, IMPERIALISM: I never dreamed I'd be here this quick, no. And even all the way up until when we bought this horse, I never thought we would be here. But it's a great feeling.

BURKE: Being young and female make Mulhall a pace setter on two front. Most successful trainers are older men. Her father was one. And when Mulhall gave up riding show horses and got her trainer's license two years ago, Dad wasn't thrilled with the idea.

RICHARD MULHALL, KRISTIN'S FATHER: I wasn't at all in favor of her doing it, and being on the backside and everything. But she's handled herself very well, and so it's worked out well.

KRISTIN MULHALL: I'm a little hard-headed, and I decided I wanted to go on my own and do it, and I did it.

BURKE: Mulhall is just the 11th woman to enter a horse in Kentucky Derby history. If she wins, she'll be the first woman and the youngest trainer ever.

STEVE TAUB, OWNER, IMPERIALISM: Kristin's an awesome horse trainer. The horses talk to her. She listens. And they respond to each other. She might be 21, but she's probably 30-some years, you know, mentally. She's pretty sharp kid, and she's been around race horses all her life. BURKE: Mulhall's a special relationship with Imperialism grew in the barn and on the track. She's one of the rare trainer who mounts her Thoroughbred for workouts.

KRISTIN MULHALL: Because I can feel things other people can't feel, that they can't explain to you or that you see with your eye. He he has a huge heart. He tries, he gives you everything he has every single time. And I think that's basically what you need. That's something that's going to try and not cheat you.

BURKE: The horse and the trainer have a lot in common.


BURKE: Mulhall is actually one of two female trainers entered in this year Derby. The other one, Jennifer Peterson, her horse is Song of the Sword, Linda.

STOUFFER: All right, well, I sure hope the weather holds for you out there. Josie Burke, thank you.

SAN MIGUEL: Now a check of the morning's top stories is coming right up. The latest from Iraq as the war's deadliest month comes to a close.

And we want to say good morning to Las Vegas. We will have your complete weather forecast in about five minutes from now.

CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues in just a moment.


SAN MIGUEL: Linda and I are almost done for the morning. But the ladies of "ON THE STORY" are getting ready for their hour. Kathleen Hays joins us now live from Washington with a preview. Hi, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN HAYS, "ON THE STORY": Oh, boy, we're just getting started here, Renay. We're on the story from here in Washington, to New York, to Iraq, and to the Kentucky Derby.

Jane Araff is on the story in Najaf, Iraq, a dangerous military mission and a tricky diplomatic challenge for U.S. forces. Kelly Wallace talks about how the Iraq war and the Vietnam War are powerful issues in campaign 2004.

I'm talking new signals of economic recovery and worrying signs too.

We're all "ON THE STORY," and it's all coming up, Renay.

SAN MIGUEL: All right, thank you. We'll see you then.

STOUFFER: And now we'll take a quick look at your headlines.

Iraqi forces are taking control of the besieged city of Fallujah, the site of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and Iraqi insurgents for nearly a month now. And as residents head home, they're seeing the aftermath of those deadly attacks.

The U.S. embassy says two Americans were killed, a third was wounded, when militants opened fire on workers at a Saudi compound. The attack happened in an industrial town called Yanbu, about 100 miles north of Jedda. Saudi officials suspect the attackers are linked to al Qaeda.

SAN MIGUEL: Before we let you go, we're going to check in one more time in the Weather Center with Rob Marciano. Rob?


MARCIANO: Hi, Linda, hi, Renay.

We're looking at the Kentucky Derby. So if it's going to rain there, not right now, but I think later on it will. Here's the forecast, Louisville, Kentucky, Churchill Downs today at 6:00 p.m., probably see some thunderstorms around. Temperatures will be warm, though, as they get dressed up for it all.

Here's a radarscope. Indianapolis, not quite raining yet, but rain is on the way. And there's Louisville right now, not quite raining, but these thunderstorms will begin to expand as we get some of the heat of the day. And there's plenty of moisture to tap from. And we're seeing some of that moisture from the Gulf of Mexico stream into southeastern Texas.

Couple of watchboxes out for the rest of this morning, Houston, under the gun earlier this morning, now another line of thunderstorms about to roll into your area, and these will be heading down the I-10 corridor in through much of southern Louisiana, where they've already had enough rain, that's for sure.

Forty-eight degrees expected in Chicago, kind of cool, 77 degrees in D.C., 73 in New York City, 68 degrees in Salt Lake City, and we start to warm it up in Denver with a high of about 57. Ninety-three in Phoenix.

In between there and, say, San Francisco and Reno, here's Vegas, here's your live shot for you this morning, where it's currently 60. KVBC is our affiliate. Good morning there. And looking for a high of about 88 degrees.

Kachella (ph), just down the road and just outside of Palm Springs, another big musical festival for SoCal residents, where a lot of the hip new acts are going to be playing this afternoon and tomorrow. Should be good weather, at least for that music festival.

Back to you guys.

STOUFFER: And those hip people will be very happy about that. Thanks a lot, Rob.

MARCIANO: Sure, OK. SAN MIGUEL: Well, we're sorry we don't have the pictures for you on this next story, but trust me, you'll be grateful. Minor league first baseman Jeff Leifer (ph) got stuck in the dugout bathroom for about 20 minutes Thursday night.

The umpires had to delay the game while maintenance workers helped him dismantle the bathroom door. It seems he took the incident in stride, because the next night, he set a team record with six RBIs in the game. So maybe now he has a new pregame ritual or something like that.

Still a lot more to come on CNN. Up next, it is "ON THE STORY." At 11:00, it's "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS," with a profile of everyone's favorite, "Friends." And at noon Eastern, it's "CNN LIVE SATURDAY," with more on the situation in Iraq. We'll also be talking about the stress that members of the military have to deal with, and how they get through it.

STOUFFER: That's going to do us, do it, rather, for us right here. So glad you could be with us on this Saturday morning. Have a great rest of your weekend.

SAN MIGUEL: "ON THE STORY" is up next, after a quick check of what's making news right now.


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