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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Hunting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; Public Opinion Turning Against War in Iraq? Fahrenheit 9/11's Television Ads Could Be In Violation of McCain-Feingold

Aired June 24, 2004 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, the mastermind of those brutal beheadings.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Zarqawi, he is the person who is still killing.

ZAHN: Devastating bombings and brazen threats to kill Iraq's new leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have a prepared a special poison for you and a sharp sword.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be somebody else who is going to take his place.

ZAHN: Now there's a $10 million price on the head of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Good evening. Welcome. Thanks so much for being with us tonight.

With just six days to go before the handover of power, bombs went off in five cities in Iraq all at virtually the same time. Close to 100 people died, including three U.S. soldiers. And while Iraq's interim prime minister said the attacks were not all connected, the coalition believes they were coordinated. A group links to the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi says it was behind all of the attacks.

If that is true, it is just one more item on a growing list of death and terror that has al-Zarqawi's name on it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): He is a man some consider more dangerous than Osama bin Laden. He's a man some call the single most dangerous threat to U.S. interests. And he's the man behind the mask, allegedly, the executioner of American Nick Berg.

Just this week, his supporters claimed they also executed Korean Kim Sun-il. But Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's bloodiest handiwork, the bombing and suicide attacks he has unleashed across Iraq, killing hundreds during the past year, leading some to wonder if he is, in fact, more dangerous than Osama bin Laden; 38-year-old Zarqawi is a Jordanian who has spent time in Afghanistan and has formed two different terrorist groups.

The U.S. put a $10 million reward on his head. Zarqawi has been linked to the train bombings in Madrid earlier this year, the suicide attacks in Turkey last year, and chemical weapons plots in France and Britain. Now Zarqawi has threatened to kill interim's prime minister, Iyad Allawi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You don't even know, for you have repeatedly escaped from our attempts, but we promise you, we will continue the match with you until the end.

ZAHN: Allawi says he will not be intimidated.

IYAD ALLAWI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER-DESIGNATE (through translator): We intend to prevail and to win the fight against evil forces, against the infidels.

ZAHN: The hunt is on to capture Zarqawi. Late Tuesday, the U.S. bombed a suspected Zarqawi safe house in Fallujah, the second such strike in that city in recent days.

U.S. military spokesman Mark Kimmitt.

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. DEPUTY CHIEF OF OPERATIONS: That information came in and intelligence corroborated. There were some quick calculations done on potential collateral damage and the strike was executed.

ZAHN: Experts tell CNN that Osama bin Laden, at one time, bankrolled Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Now they may be rivals, but, like bin Laden, Zarqawi has vowed to drive the U.S. out of Iraq. The U.S. says Zarqawi must be removed.

KIMMITT: The people of Iraq must understand they have a responsibility, they bear a responsibility to making sure that we take Zarqawi and his network off the street.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: For more on what is known about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, we are joined from Washington by "Newsweek" investigative reporter Mark Hosenball. He is the co-author of an article about the terrorist which appears on Newsweek.com.

Good to see you. Welcome, sir.

MARK HOSENBALL, "NEWSWEEK": Thank you.

ZAHN: We just heard in that reporting about the hunt being on for al-Zarqawi and a direct hit to a safe house where he was believed to have been at one point. Does the CIA have any idea where he is?

HOSENBALL: My sense is -- and I talked to people both yesterday and today about this -- is, no, they don't know where he is. Apparently, they think he has got billets or hideouts all over Iraq. He communicates through couriers. He doesn't use cell phones. He doesn't use satellite phones, or not that they know of. They're not picking up very many of his supporters because they tend to blow themselves up.

And hat I was led to believe in the last couple days is, they really don't know where this guy is.

ZAHN: So are you saying the coalition is dreaming when they think they could shut down his operations?

HOSENBALL: Well, if they don't know where -- they told me, if we knew where he was, we'd go get him. And they haven't gone and got him, so they didn't seem to be particularly optimistic about this in the last couple days, the people in Washington anyway.

ZAHN: If they're going to get a break, where is it going to come from?

HOSENBALL: I assume they might be lucky and they might pick up one of his couriers. They might pick up one of his suicide bombers before they carry out a bombing. They might pick up some sort of device that they diffuse before it goes off and get some clue as to where he is. But it doesn't sound like they have very many clues at the moment.

ZAHN: We seem to be picking up new strains of information about him, though, on almost a daily basis. And I know you believe, when you study the video of al-Zarqawi standing behind Nicholas Berg -- and, of course, he is believed responsible for actually beheading him -- what do you learn about his personality from that video?

HOSENBALL: Well, from the sounds of things, he has a colossal ego which is growing bigger every second of the day.

He seems to regard himself as the great Muslim liberator. He seems to regard himself as important, if not more important, at this point than Osama bin Laden. And certainly, you know, Osama bin Laden never personally took a knife that we know of and hacked off somebody's head, although he, obviously, we believe anyway, killed 3,000 Americans with airplanes on September 11. But, you know, he didn't do that directly with his own hand.

So this guy has, you know, a lot of nerve I guess and he also has a colossal ego and he's claiming credit for all this stuff.

ZAHN: But doesn't that arrogance at some point make him more vulnerable, do you think?

HOSENBALL: You would have thought so, but not so far.

ZAHN: How much support do you think he has among the Iraqi people?

HOSENBALL: It's hard to tell. I mean, my sense is -- and, again, I was talking to a lot of people about this -- that he operates on his own. He has his own group there.

He's probably accumulated some jihadis from the Ansar al Islam group in Kurdistan, maybe some foreign fighters from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran. Maybe he occasionally works with local Baathists, but apparently that is not regarded as that much of a coalition there. My guess is that his support is fairly small, but with only 100 guys, you could carry out all kinds of chaos, especially as -- that there is so much conventional munitions lying around, conventional artillery shells looted from Saddam's arsenals.

And it's very easy to make these unexploded bombs that are going off at a rate of -- as high as 25 -- or that are being planted anyway at a rate of 25 a day around Iraq.

ZAHN: Mark Hosenball, thank you for your late reporting tonight. We appreciate it.

Now we move back to the latest on the search for al-Zarqawi.

Joining us from Baghdad, my colleague Anderson Cooper.

Anderson, I don't know how much you could hear of Mark's conversation with me, but his contacts within the CIA are telling him this is a very tough guy to track. His cell phone conversations are all but impossible to make sense of, that it's going to be very difficult to find him. Nevertheless, describe to us the effort that's under way to get to him.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the U.S. is being -- I think you're absolutely right, Paula. The U.S. is being very quiet about what efforts exactly are under way to get to this man.

If you ask coalition authority officials, military and civilian, they will both tell you, look, we are doing everything we can to try to kill or capture Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and roll up his entire network. They see it not just as a battle against this one man. They see also his entire network.

The two strikes they have done against Zarqawi's network against these two alleged safe houses in the city of Fallujah really did not actually hit, as you know, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. They hit these foreign fighters, allegedly these foreign fighters who were sort of billeting at these homes.

But the problem is, the U.S. military really does not have access into -- free access into the city of Fallujah. As you well know, it's become a hotbed of insurgent activity and also foreign fighters. Tony Perry of "The Los Angeles Times," who has done great reporting of Fallujah with the Marines, embedded there, has reported it's almost become sort of a Taliban-like city. They're no longer allowed to sell music there, other than religious music.

There are foreign fighters, jihadists, on street corners. And it would seem that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, if he is indeed inside Fallujah, has a certain amount of freedom of movement and the U.S. simply can't get to him. That's why they're using these airstrikes rather than ground operations into Fallujah.

ZAHN: In your interview with Brigadier General Kimmitt, he made it very clear that they perceive Zarqawi as just a big a threat as Osama bin Laden, if not greater. How do Iraqis perceive the threat?

COOPER: It's interesting.

When you talk to Iraqis, just regular Iraqis on the street in taxis, in shops and the like, they do tend to blame foreign fighters for a lot of what is going on here. Perhaps that is just a shyness or a reticence to admit that there is support among Iraqis and opposition to U.S. forces. But there definitely does seem to be a very strong foreign element behind Zarqawi. He himself is Jordanian.

I was actually on patrol with some of the troops earlier today. They gave me this, which is actually a wanted poster in Arabic for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as you can see, a number of photographs of him. It basically announces that there is a $10 million reward for him. It says that he is guilty of the murder of innocent women and children. And it goes through a number of aliases that he has.

It also goes through a number of ways, phone numbers in Baghdad in Iraq and outside of Iraq and e-mail that anyone can use to actually try to contact coalition authorities and Iraqi authorities and turn this man in. The U.S. basically is now saying, look, it is up to Iraqis to get off the fence, to start reporting as much information as they can. Tony Perry from "The L.A. Times" is reporting there have been a number of retribution killings in Fallujah by some of these foreign fighters, by the jihadists and insurgents who believe that local residents there are giving up information to the U.S.

A number of them have already been killed, their bodies left in the streets of Fallujah.

ZAHN: Anderson Cooper, thank you for your update tonight.

Coming up next, amid warnings of worsening violence in Iraq, a seismic shift in public support for the decision to go to war.

And some Republicans are pretty teed off about Michael Moore's new film -- the legal fight over "Fahrenheit 9/11" coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: We are back.

The invasion of Iraq is the Bush administration's most controversial foreign policy move. When it happened, a majority of Americans supported the decision. But as the violence continues beyond major combat, attitudes have changed. And now, for the first time since the start of the war, a new poll shows a majority of Americans believe the invasion was a mistake.

Joining me now to discuss these findings, "TIME" magazine columnist and regular contributor to this program, Joe Klein.

Always good to see you, Joe.

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: So, just 2 1/2 weeks ago, a majority didn't believe the war was a mistake. Now they do. How significant is this?

KLEIN: Well, what is really significant is a long-term trend. No more than two or three months ago, 67, 70 percent of the people thought the war was the right thing to do and this is a long-term trend. People are losing faith in this war.

ZAHN: Let's move on to another result. Only 37 percent of Americans believe the war has made the U.S. safer from terrorism. This is down from 56 percent last December. What is driving this?

Well, I think that there has been a lot of testimony before the 9/11 Commission by people like Richard Clarke and also the entire intelligence community. This is kind of the intelligence community's line, that the war in Iraq was a diversion from the war on terror. And I think that people are just a lot more conscious of all the dangerous things in the world, with the bombings in Spain and with almost daily bombings in Iraq.

ZAHN: The 9/11 Commission recently found no evidence of collaboration between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Our poll shows that, while a majority do not believe Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11, two-thirds of Americans do believe he had long established ties to al Qaeda. How much credit do you give the administration for this perception?

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: When 9/11 commissioner after commission member told us that simply is not true.

KLEIN: Well, it's interesting.

The president has said that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Still, 44 percent of the American people think that he did. And that's the same number, 44 percent, as believed that the war was worth it. So maybe it's the exact same people. As for the 67 percent who believe that Iraq had long-term ties with -- or contacts with al Qaeda, that's pretty well established in the data.

But I think that, if you talk to intelligence people, they'll tell you that most of the countries in that region, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia certainly, Egypt, all had ties to al Qaeda. They'd be stupid not to. They wanted to know what was going on, what was being planned and what was the nature of this threat.

ZAHN: So while we see support for the war eroding, there are also some good numbers for the president for his handling of the economy. His approval number is up, what, some six points since early June.

KLEIN: Well, his approval number I think on the economy is up six points.

ZAHN: Exactly.

KLEIN: And that is an indication that the economy is getting better and people are recognizing that.

But the horse race numbers between Kerry and Bush are staying pretty much the same. It's a dead heat. And I think that's what's happened is that people still believe that George Bush is a strong leader, but they're beginning to wonder if he's leading in the right direction. Now, at this point and for the next month, this campaign is all about John Kerry and he needs to convince the American people that he's strong, that he's going to lead the country in the right direction on the war on terror. This election in some ways is out of George Bush's hands for the moment.

ZAHN: So it's Kerry to lose.

KLEIN: Well, I don't know whether it's Kerry's to lose. It's still a very close election. But I think the focus is now going to be on John Kerry. He's been lying low in the weeds for the last month.

But now he's got to select a vice president, which will tell us an awful lot about what kind of a guy he is. And he is going to have to make a very big speech at the Democratic Convention.

ZAHN: And as he's been lying in the weeds, he's actually seen some of his numbers go up. Check this number out, his favorability rating up five points. That's significant, isn't it?

KLEIN: Well, it's just beyond the margin of error, but I think that's probably an indication that all of those positive biographical ads that his campaign has been running, and they've put an awful lot of money into this now, are having some effect. They show him as a brave soldier in Vietnam. And he talks very forcefully about the need for health care. And I think that positive in some ways is working better than negative this year.

ZAHN: I know you believe that the Bush administration is really feeling the heat right now. And there was a situation that happened between Vice President Cheney and Senator Leahy which you think reinforces that. And it all involved the use of the F word.

KLEIN: Yes.

ZAHN: Do you want to share that with our audience tonight, Joe? You don't have to say it out loud.

KLEIN: Vice President Cheney was on the floor of the Senate and got into a verbal scuffle with Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont. And he used the barnyard F epithet. He said, "barnyard epithet off" to Leahy.

And I think that, first of all, we should really allow politicians to be human beings. They get angry. They have moments like this, too. ZAHN: But do you think that was the right forum?

KLEIN: Look, it happened. It was a private conversation.

But it is an indication of the fact that, especially given the news that you had at the beginning of this program, the difficulty in finding Zarqawi, the difficulty in making Iraq work, Cheney is completely invested in the notion that this was going to transform the entire Middle East and it's all falling apart. So you've got to figure that there is a certain amount of frustration in the Bush administration right now.

ZAHN: But it was a little more personal than that, right? Because the vice president was insulted by something Leahy had said about his Halliburton deal.

KLEIN: Leahy had been criticizing the no-bid contracts that Halliburton had gotten in Iraq. And, of course, Cheney had been the CEO of Halliburton and apparently took it personally.

Another area that Leahy has been very active in the investigation of how high up the torture authorization went in the administration. This week, we learned it went at least as high as the secretary of defense. And I think that they're feeling very uncomfortable about that as well.

ZAHN: Joe Klein, thanks for dropping by.

KLEIN: My pleasure.

ZAHN: And with all the pressure you've been under on this broadcast, I don't think I've heard you utter the F-word once. And you better not.

KLEIN: Not on camera.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Of course not. Joe Klein, thanks.

When we come back, he once headed the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Now he sees big mistakes on the war on terror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

"ANONYMOUS," CIA OFFICIAL: Unfortunately, I think we're in far worse shape than probably the bulk of my superiors do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: (AUDIO GAP) That's why our next guest and next story is so usual.

The book "Imperial Hubris," which be published on July 15, harshly criticizes how the White House is waging the war on terror. Its author known only as anonymous is currently a top counterterrorism official of the CIA and he led the hunt for Osama bin Laden during the late 1990s. We look now at the possible reasons why the agency allowed this book to be published in just a moment.

But, first, a discussion with its author. Anonymous sat down with national security correspondent David Ensor and told him why he feels the U.S. does not understand its enemy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANONYMOUS: The landscape is littered in the United States with anyone who has ever questioned our relationship with Israeli, for example. No one is going to be reelected if they argue that perhaps we should be more sufficient in terms of -- self-sufficient in terms of energy, at the cost of higher prices.

These are very difficult issues. I do not make light of the issues at all. And I'm not arguing one way or another. What I'm arguing is that our continued pursuit of these policies and our continued misunderstanding of why we're being fought will result in a war which will certainly not end in my lifetime.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: You expect more attacks here?

I do, sir. I think al Qaeda is not a terrorist organization. It's not a mafia. It's not a gang. The closest analogy you can come up with is an insurgent organization. It's an amazingly durable, flexible, large organization which we have not -- we don't even have an order of battle for al Qaeda, which it's very hard to measure progress against a target if you don't know what the target looks like.

ENSOR: Do you admire Osama bin Laden?

ANONYMOUS: I admire his clarity. One has to admire a man who I think says what he means and then follows up with actions.

ENSOR: What evidence do you know of, of connections, if any, between the regime of Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda?

ANONYMOUS: I've never -- in my researches, sir, I've never found any that I would say were compelling.

ENSOR: Why do you have to be in silhouette?

ANONYMOUS: I think they disagree with the view. And, unfortunately, I think we're in far worse shape than probably the bulk of my superiors do. And they don't want to be associated with that.

ENSOR: And you say you think your own children may be involved in this war?

ANONYMOUS: I suspect that if we continue with status quo policies and status quo behavior and a misunderstanding of the enemy, this war could continue far into my children's lifetime and certainly be fought more in the continental United States.

ENSOR: It's pretty chilling stuff.

ANONYMOUS: I suppose it is chilling, sir, but I think it's realistic. It's the best I can do in terms of analysis.

ENSOR: Mr. Anonymous, thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: That was David Ensor talking with the author of "Imperial Hubris."

A book like this had to be through a lot of screening. And publication rules for current CIA employees are very strict. So how did "Imperial Hubris" get published?

Mark Zaid joins me now to discuss that. He is a Washington attorney who has represented CIA employees in many cases, including those involving publications.

Good to see you, Mark. Welcome.

MARK ZAID, ATTORNEY: Thank you.

ZAHN: So why did they approve of this one being published?

ZAID: Well, it's a very strange circumstance, Paula.

When you join an agency like the CIA, you sign a secrecy agreement. That does limit your First Amendment rights, not entirely. You can publish unclassified information. But when you are a current employee, your rights are even limited further. I mean, there are several factors that the agency would apply that very easily could prevent the publication of this book. This agency in particular does nothing willingly that it does not feel serves its best interests.

ZAHN: How does this serve its best interests, Mark? This is an excoriating account on a war on terror that Anonymous feels is going very badly, a war he thinks that could go so badly that our own children, he feels, will have to fight it someday.

ZAID: Well, it's a view that's shared by many, including within the CIA. And one has to wonder whether or not this is exactly sending a message that higher level officials in the agency didn't want to say publicly and allowing someone who is lower than them on a policy level to use the message or send that message for them. This is virtually unprecedented.

ZAHN: But what are they looking for, more money, more funding, more what?

ZAID: That is a possibility. It's not unheard of that an agency has tried to do something like that as a tactic, to say, look, we need more fund to go counter this type of threat. It could be a parting message from the senior level officials within the agency to the White House to say things publicly that they refuse to do even privately perhaps.

But the fact that this book came out while he's a current employee is extremely surprising. I mean, I've had clients who would write letters to the editor about projects they were working on who weren't allowed to identify themselves as being CIA. And, at times, I've had clients who, in fact, want to publish something anonymously and were not permitted by the CIA and were in litigation over it.

So the fact that this happened, there is something else going on here, separate and apart from his views. I don't tie the author in with the policy decisions. But policy level senior officials at the agency decided this book can go forward. And there is a good story as to why that is.

ZAHN: Are you telling me tonight that you think CIA Director George Tenet wanted this book published?

ZAID: Well, I don't know anything specific about what Tenet's involvement was vs. any other senior officials.

What I can tell you is that the office that does handle this decision-making process farms out these books, these manuscripts or letters, to various officials within the agency to decide whether or not, one, the information is classified, but, even more so for a current employee, to decide whether or not the publication of the information will impact either the activities of the agency or the foreign policy interests of the United States.

And the fact that this came out excoriating, as you say, as it is by a current official against an administration just months away from an election would seem to indicate that there were very high-level decision making officials within this process.

ZAHN: Do you suspect if this is, in fact, politically driven, we'll see more of this material drip out?

ZAID: Well, it's hard to say. I don't know. Not that many officials within the CIA will actually take this type of position publicly.

I mean, as has been reported, this is an individual who's apparently getting towards the end of his career, 22 years. That's very respectable. Apparently, he's been somewhat shunted into responsibilities that he doesn't particularly like.

So it looks like he's virtually going towards the twilight of the career which may have something to do with the anger, apparently, that extends from this book.

But this is a one of a parting shot and the fact that it comes out now -- because I tell you quite honestly, if the CIA had wanted to stall this, it could have gone into years of litigation.

ZAHN: Sure.

ZAID: And they would have won. ZAHN: That's what makes this all the more fascinating. Mark Zaid, thank you for explaining that to us tonight.

ZAID: Thank you.

ZAHN: Appreciate your help.

Coming up, standing room only as Michael Moore premiers his anti- Bush film right on the president's doorsteps.

And later, keeping a computerized eye on America's borders.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Michael Moore's controversial new film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," doesn't open nationwide until tomorrow, but there was a lot of noise about it today in Washington and not just from those who caught the local premiere last night.

Here's Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last night on the red carpet in Washington, stars of the Democratic Party came out to support Michael Moore's new movie, but it was detractors of the film that Moore was thanking, for generating opening week buzz.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: They've only done this film a huge favor. I can't thank them enough, because of the publicity it's given the film, I mean, I couldn't even put a dollar amount on it.

JOHN: First, Moore charges, opponents of the movie pressured some theater owners not to put it on the screen, and by this morning there was an effort underway to shut down advertising.

MOORE: It's a violation of my First Amendment rights that I can't advertise my movie. It's a movie.

JOHNS: The movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," a documentary, Moore's sharply critical account of the Bush administration's actions after September 11.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.

JOHNS: The latest move against the film, the conservative group Citizens United filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, charging broadcast ads for the film featuring pictures and sound clips of the president qualify as electioneering communications that, by law, should be shut down on July 31, 30 days prior to the Republican National Convention.

Citizens United says it is not opposed to the screening of the film, just the ads. But make no mistake, top Republicans are seething about the content.

ED GILLESPIE, RNC CHAIRMAN: I saw "Shrek" and I think it's probably more factually accurate.

JOHNS: Still, there's disagreement in both parties over whether it's a good idea to boycott or even dissuade people from seeing it for political reasons.

Congressman Mike Pence is a Republican from Indiana.

REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: I frankly think that people that are interested in the political process and want to know just how incoherent some of the arguments are against the war and on the extreme left would do well to see this movie.

JOHNS: An argument that in some way squares with what many Democrats are saying.

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: You know, this is America. We ought to have a discussion and availability of all ideas of all kinds.

JOHNS (on camera): The debate over advertising for the movie may go on. Moore's critics say ads for "Fahrenheit 9/11" are political weapons that should not be used to hammer the president in the last months before the election.

Moore says it's his constitutional right -- Paula.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Joe Johns reporting from Capitol Hill tonight. Joining me now to discuss the controversy surrounding "Fahrenheit 9/11" in San Francisco, Chris Lahane. He is a Democratic strategist who is currently advising director Michael Moore.

And in Washington tonight, David Bossie. He is the president of Citizens United, the conservative advocacy group that says Moore's movie ads could eventually violate federal election laws.

Good to see both of you. Welcome.

David, I want to start with you this evening. We should say right off the bat we know you're not crazy about this film. Just name one factual error that you think is significant.

DAVID BOSSIE, PRESIDENT, CITIZENS UNITED: Well, clearly, Paula, I haven't seen the movie yet, but from what we've read and seen we have members of Congress saying Michael Moore has taken them out of context and lied about what he told Michael Moore. So I don't know. I haven't seen the movie, but that's just one error, and that's a member of Congress saying it.

ZAHN: So Chris, is Michael Moore playing fast and loose with the facts here?

CHRIS LAHANE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We are extremely comfortable with all the facts in this movie. We invite anyone to go to the movie. The movie easily stands on its own two legs based on the facts.

And what this movie fundamentally does, it asks some questions that haven't been asked over the last couple of years. Asks questions about why are soldiers on the ground in Iraq? How did they get there? What was the process that led to them being there?

And a lot of Americans are asking those questions. This movie presents it in a very compelling and provocative way and, frankly, it is extraordinary to me to see some of the Republicans who constantly talk about the Constitution and the First Amendment, now saying that it's really only a one-way street and it only applies to them.

This is America, as one of the people in the earlier segment said, and people ought to have the opportunity and the right to be able to go out and see this type of a movie.

ZAHN: You're not suggesting, David, that nobody see this movie. You're just not crazy about the content, right?

BOSSIE: Well, no, no, no. I'm saying that the ads are a violation of the law. They will be a violation of the law on July 31. They are not right now. But they will be.

And, Chris, I'm glad to hear you say that. I was one of the people who went to the Supreme Court to argue for people like Michael Moore and myself to have that First Amendment freedom that we all think we have, but...

LAHANE: David, I really do want to thank you.

BOSSIE: ... McCain-Feingold...

LAHANE: David, you're doing a tremendous...

ZAHN: David, David, David!

BOSSIE: Chris, Chris!

ZAHN: Both of you guys. I've got to stop both of you because we can't understand you talking over each other! Just finish your point, David, and make it brief. Give Chris a chance to react.

BOSSIE: Chris, we want the American people to understand the ramifications of McCain-Feingold. McCain-Feingold stripped Michael Moore of his First Amendment. Not us. We want to follow the law.

LAHANE: Didn't you oppose McCain-Feingold through your organization earlier?

BOSSIE: That's my point.

LAHANE: So you opposed McCain-Feingold earlier, and now you're trying to switch positions? That's not surprising, given the consistency... ZAHN: Chris, I think what we need to do now -- I don't want people to get lost in the minutia of the argument. We're going to replay for them what is so controversial.

Let's show our audience now what would run as an ad, and this is the thing that might potentially not be seen when we get closer to the general election. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Call upon all nations to stop these terrorist killers. Now, watch this drive.

ANNOUNCER: "The New York Times" calls "Fahrenheit 9/11" scorching. Two thumbs way up. Everybody should see it.

"Fahrenheit 9/11". Rated R. Starts tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Now Chris, are you going to deny tonight that this will have no influence on voters?

LAHANE: I'm surprised that someone like David would be opposed to seeing his very own president out there. He's the star of the movie. In his own words, by his own actions, through his own deeds.

ZAHN: Chris, come on! You've got to admit that last clip was incredibly humiliating to the president.

LAHANE: Look. The last three years, we have seen predominantly a one-sided view portrayed from the right. This movie presents a different viewpoint. A viewpoint that, frankly, should have been out there for the last couple of years. And a viewpoint that is fundamentally predicated in facts.

BOSSIE: Chris, you...

LAHANE: David hasn't seen the movie but yet, he's filing suit without having seen the movie.

ZAHN: OK. David, your turn.

BOSSIE: Look, this has nothing to do with the movie. I don't care. It has -- this movie is going to have no impact on the election. What I'm saying is...

LAHANE: But, David, you just said...

ZAHN: Chris, hold on.

BOSSIE: Chris, hold on! Stop interrupting me, please!

Michael Moore is going to be violating the law. He's going to be showing the president's picture within 90 days of the general election, which is a violation of the law. He's using corporate money to spend on those ads, and he's using foreign money to pay for those productions and those ads. All a violation of McCain-Feingold.

Those are the facts. That's the law. He has to follow it. And I've got to tell you, we're going to be making sure that the ads are pulled by the time the window closes that McCain-Feingold has put into place on July 31.

ZAHN: All right, gentlemen. We're going to be watching the debate closely from here. We got to leave it there. Time-out! We got to go!

Chris Lahane, David Bossie, thank you both for joining us tonight.

And you can hear more from the director himself tomorrow. Michael Moore will discuss "Fahrenheit 9/11" on "CNN LIVE TODAY" with Daryn Kagan. That's tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Coming up next, the newest weapon in the fight to secure U.S. borders. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Early in the war on terror we heard a lot about the military's use of unmanned aircraft in battle. Now the same kind of unmanned planes may be used to monitor America's borders.

Here is homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At an Army base 20 miles from the Mexican border, an unmanned aerial vehicle is launched, but not for a military mission. Its high tech cameras and sensors are scanning the brush and sands of the desert landscape for illegal immigrants.

It is part of a four-month study by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to determine if the UAVs have a part to play in protecting the border.

(on camera) Is it potentially a silver bullet?

MICHAEL WIMBERLY, U.S. BORDER PATROL: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

MESERVE: But the UAVs may be a valuable tool, able to stay aloft for up to 20 hours at a stretch, sending back real time images night or day. The UAVs are virtually invisible and inaudible to people on the ground, making them ideal for surveillance and, some worry, for spying.

CHRISTOPHER BOLKOM, CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE: I can tell you, from a policy standpoint, the Department of Homeland Security is not going to use these things to be able to spy on people in their homes or in their backyards, any more than they do any other piece of equipment that they have. We just don't do that. ROBERT SMITH, U.S. BORDER PATROL: You don't want people to fear they're being spied on while sunbathing or engaging in personal activities in their backyard.

MESERVE: UAVs are not cheap. This four-month trial has a price tag of $4 million, but perhaps UAVs could bring some monetary efficiencies, giving customs and border protection information that allows them to calibrate their responses to intrusion.

WIMBERLY: We should have been here looking at this technology long ago.

MESERVE (on camera): Why weren't you?

WIMBERLY: I don't think we had the vision.

MESERVE (voice-over): There is little argument that the situation right now is dire. More than 100 migrants have died in the desert heat along the southwest border already this year. UAV surveillance might help save some and stop others.

Fifteen hundred migrants are captured every day along the Tucson sector of the Mexican border, and no one knows how many cross undetected.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And Jeanne Meserve joins us tonight from Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

Good to see you, Jeanne. I guess you're standing in front of one of those unmanned drones right now.

What are some of the current concerns about having these fly around in general air space?

MESERVE: Well, there is a concern about that. They have never flown outside of restricted military air space before. There was a lot of negotiation between customs and border protection and the Federal Aviation Admission to work out protocols for doing this.

They are doing it now. When the UAVs do venture out of their restricted place they're very carefully monitored by air traffic control and by others. And they try to reassure other pilots up there that these things are piloted. It's just that the pilots are on the ground, not in the aircraft.

ZAHN: And who are these pilots? How well trained are they?

MESERVE: Well, they actually are certified pilots right now. They're using some Israelis and also some Americans who are contracted with Customs and Border Protection.

There 's one person who stands right next to the runway with one small box, controlling the avionics for the takeoff and landing. Once the UAV is in the air there's a command center that's about 7-by-7-by- 10 feet. It's a box set out next to the runway.

Right now, there are two pilots in there. They have duplicate sets of controls. They're looking at mapping, telling them where the drone is. They're also controlling the cameras and the sensors that are on that drone. They're the ones who determine whether they zoom out or whether they go in and take a closer looking at something in the desert.

But they are, indeed, pilots, at least at this point in time.

ZAHN: It's certainly a lot more complicated than it looks on the surface.

Jeanne Meserve, thanks so much.

We're going to take a short break here. The thorn in John Kerry's side. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Democrats who are dying for Ralph Nader to drop out of the president race have one more reason to want him to go. It is the Quinnipiac University poll of Pennsylvania voters, and it gives John Kerry a six-point lead over President Bush in a head-to-head match up, but add Ralph Nader into the mix and Kerry's lead shrinks to one point.

And polls like that frighten liberals and now some people who have been behind Nader for decades are turning against him.

Here is congressional correspondent Ed Henry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESONDENT (voice-over): Back in the summer of 1969, anything seemed possible. America landed a man on the moon. The civil rights movement had broken through. And a consumer advocate was spawning scores of Nader raiders. They wanted to change the world.

RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It must be stated again and again that the existing pollution control laws in this country are shams, they are a deception incarnate.

HENRY: Nader inspired a generation of activists like Michael Charney, a 23-year-old medical student who bunked down in a Washington frat house to join the raiders.

DR. MICHAEL CHARNEY, FORMER "NADER RAIDER": This was a very idealistic time. I was, you know, a JFK kid, so to speak. We believed in doing something for the country. And Nader is a wonderful, you know -- beautiful figure. I mean, he was just very inspiring.

HENRY: John Spanogle was teaching law when he answered the call in 1970. JOHN SPANOGLE, FORMER "NADER RAIDER": It was great fun. It was a psychological high. Of course, it had to be a psychological high because we were just getting psychological income, rather than real income.

HENRY: But, now, these onetime Nader raiders have signed an open letter, warning that a vote for Ralph Nader could undermine everything he's ever stood for by keeping George W. Bush in the White House.

SPANOGLE: I honestly think that what folks in my position are trying to do is to try to preserve his legacy. Right now, the Bush administration has had four years to dismantle his legacy. Another four years and that dismantling will be absolutely complete, and there will be nothing left.

HENRY: Democratic leaders are convinced Nader cost them the White House last time.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I respect much of the work that he has done, but it was very disappointed in the outcome of the 2000 race and think it would have been different without his being on the ticket -- on the -- in the race.

HENRY: That's why Democrats want Nader out. But Michael Charney sees no chance of that.

CHARNEY: I suspect he's not going to drop out. He is -- he is of such firm conviction in the things he does. I think he'd go straight over the cliff.

HENRY: Charney, now an activist on global warming issues, fears his nightmare of 2000 will repeat itself.

CHARNEY: I'd like people to be thinking very deeply about how they're going to feel the morning after. There was a very sick feeling back in 2000.

HENRY: These former Nader raiders say they're just being realistic.

CHARNEY: There are many, many of us who have shared and still share much of his idealism. I think it's a matter of blending that idealism with reality. And making what's possible happen. And what's possible is to get Kerry elected.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And Ed Henry joins us now from the Capitol. You know, Ed, every time I interview Ralph Nader he certainly hears these calls, but there's no scenario under which he will get out.

Do you think he eventually will heed these calls?

HENRY: No way. In fact, he insists that he's taking votes away from Republicans. Democrats don't believe that in a minute. If you look in states like Florida, Nader right now is getting about two percent, whereas Kerry and Bush are in a statistical dead heat. As Democrats know, two points can make all of the difference.

ZAHN: And you will be watching it closely from there, Ed Henry. Thank you for the update. We're going to be back with a final thought after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Before we say good night, you may have heard somewhere that former President Clinton is promoting a brand new book. That also caught the attention of the CNN/"USA Today/Gallup poll, which asked people if the book was an attempt to tell the truth or improve the former president's image. Most seem to think it's all about image.

Well, you're going to hear from the president himself, if you please stay tuned to "LARRY KING," who is next, former President Bill Clinton.

Thanks for joining us tonight. Have a great night.

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