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British Bombings Investigation; Security Watch; Woes of Rove

Aired July 12, 2005 - 14:00   ET


KYRA PHILLILPS, CNN ANCHOR: Terror investigation. One man under arrest, several homes searched. We're live on the British bombings investigation.
Is enough being done to guard America's trains and subways? Concerns that call for stepped-up security are going unanswered.

Countdown to liftoff. As the shuttle prepares to return to space, the brother of an astronaut killed during the last mission joins me live this hour.

From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Kyra Phillips. This hour of CNN's LIVE FROM starts right now.

Raids, warrants, surveillance tapes, controlled explosions and suspects. Five days after 52 people were killed in quadruple bombings on the London mass transit system, Scotland Yard says its complex investigation is moving at great speed. That's certainly apparent in Leeds, a West Yorkshire city with a strong Muslim population some 180 miles north of those crime scenes.

CNN's John Vause is there -- John.


For days it seemed that this investigation really wasn't making much progress. The police were even suggesting that the attackers may still be out there, that they could, in fact, strike again. But this morning, anti-terror police raided six homes here in West Yorkshire and made one arrest.


DEP. ASST. COMM. PETER CLARKE, METROPOLITAN POLICE: The investigation quite early led us to have concerns about the movements and activities of four men, three of whom came from the West Yorkshire area. We are trying to establish their movements in the run-up to last week's attacks, and specifically to establish if they all died in the explosions.

Today we executed six warrants issued under the terrorism act at various premises in the West Yorkshire area. These included the home addresses of three of the four men to whom I've referred. A detailed forensic examination will now follow, and this is likely to take some time to complete.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Now, police have confirmed that one of the bombers died on bus number 30. They are also suggesting that three others did, in fact, die in the underground. They base that on forensic evidence and also personal belongings which were found at the scene.

All four bombers were caught on those CCTV camera tapes, thousands and thousands of hours which the police have been sifting through since the bomb attacks on Thursday. They were caught on tape around 8:00 on Thursday morning at King's Cross station about 20 minutes before the blast.

Now, the breakthrough in this case may have come an hour after the attacks when a family member contacted a hotline looking for a missing family member. That, plus other evidence, has now led police here to West Yorkshire today -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. John Vause, we'll talk to you again definitely within the next hour.

Well, just days after the London attacks, a bomb threat forced the temporary closure of the subway system in Warsaw today. Polish authorities on high alert evacuated the north-south line after an anonymous caller said a bomb was there. Authorities say the claim was a hoax. Poland is considered a potential terrorist target since it's a member of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

Well, London attacks have many Americans wondering if a similar strike could happen here. Adding to the concern is the amount of funding to beef up security on the nation's rail lines.

CNN Congressional Correspondent Ed Henry reports many frustrated lawmakers are demanding change.


ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As you stand in an airport security line, think of this. America's rail and subway systems carry 16 times more passengers than the airlines do. But since 9/11, $20 billion has been spent on aviation security and only $250 million to protect mass transit.

RICHARD FALKENRATH, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: The reason is we suffered an attack using the air system on 9/11, and that's what we responded to. There really hasn't been much effort for mass transit security.

HENRY: Last month, in fact, the Republican-led Senate actually slashed the transit security budget by $50 million.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please start moving down. This is for your safety.

HENRY: In the wake of the London attacks, that has sparked outrage.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Instead of building on what we need to be doing to ensure the safety and security of our transit and transportation systems, we're going backwards.

HENRY: Russell Square say they'll restore the money this week. But Democrats are now demanding millions more.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: With what happened in London, maybe we can finally get the majority to agree with some of the basic needs of this country as it relates to first responders.

HENRY: Some frustrated Republicans worry new funds will be wasted after hundreds of reports chronicling government mismanagement.

SEN. JUDD GREGG (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: If you take this pile there, which I probably can't even pick up, and this pile here and put it on top here, you end up with -- it'll all fall over, unfortunately. You end up with almost three feet, nine inches of reports about things that are not going that well at the homeland security department.

HENRY: The president's homeland security chief insists the administration has already beefed up transit security.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We've done a lot of vulnerability assessments. We've worked to have additional canine resources, dogs, explosive dogs, additional detection equipment out in the field. We've done a lot with respect to biodetection. Some of this is not visible and shouldn't be visible to the ordinary commuter.

HENRY: Even those sounding the alarm acknowledge the transit systems are relatively safe.

FALKENRATH: You have a much greater risk of slipping in the bathtub or being struck by a car crossing the street than you do of suffering a terrorist attack in the subway tonight.

HENRY (on camera): But key lawmakers say the London bombings should be a wake-up call that al Qaeda could strike on America's railways.

Ed Henry, CNN, Capitol Hill.


PHILLIPS: And stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security

Sources within Islamic Jihad say that CNN -- or tell CNN, rather, that the group is responsible for today's deadly suicide bombing in Israel. The blast happened outside a shopping mall in Netanya, just north of Tel Aviv.

At least two people were killed. About 30 were wounded. Netanya has been the target of previous attacks. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned today's bombings, saying it was aimed at sabotaging peace efforts.

Lebanon's deputy prime minister is recovering after an apparent assassination attempt. A car bomb exploded in a Christian neighborhood in Beirut today, killing two people and wounding 12 others, including Elias Murr. Murr is strongly pro-Syrian, and like a number of Syrian figures who have been targeted in a string of attacks since February. No arrests have been made in the previous bombings nor today's attack.

Four explosions rocked the grounds near a new power plant in northern Spain today. No one was injured. Police had cleared the area after receiving two anonymous warnings in the name of the Basque separate group ETA.

Well, it started as a secret from a confidential source. It then became a news story, then a federal case, then a talking point at a White House briefing. Now the White House is mum, but the rest of Washington is buzzing with the woes of Karl Rove, the president's longtime political mastermind and deputy White House chief of staff.

CNN's Bob Franken has the latest.

Bob, you were there in the briefing room. You were asking questions, as were many others. Scott McClellan still not wanting to give any direct answers.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, he did go a little bit of a step away from his absolute refusal to talk about things. Of course, Karl Rove is the deputy chief of staff, and as the person identified in various reports as one of the sources on the -- for the reporters who were dealing with the story in question, which appeared in July of 2003.

McClellan, when he was asked about whether Rove still enjoys the confidence of the president, stepped back a tiny bit from the investigation, he said, so he could give a bit of an answer.


SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Any individual who works here at the White House has the president's confidence. They wouldn't be working here if they didn't have the president's confidence.


FRANKEN: And that would include Karl Rove, said Scott McClellan.

Now, the Democrats have a vastly different idea. They held a news conference on homeland security, but the question came up about Karl Rove, and a man who had a very strong answer was the man who probably suffered more than anybody else from the political skills of Karl Rove during last year's presidential election.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Is the value of day-to-day politics and the value of political advice and the value of his position greater than the national security of our country and the protection of the identity of people, as well as their own word and their own policy? The White House's credibility is at issue here, and I believe very clearly Karl Rove ought to be fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Clinton, you were nodding. Can you address the camera as well?



FRANKEN: And just a nod from the president, but no answer, Kyra, when he was asked about Karl Rove today at a photo-op -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Bob, definitely a major smear campaign going on. I mean, what's the chances of hearing from Karl Rove? Could he speak? Could he come forward? A lot of people said that could just clear the air if he just came forward and gave the facts.

FRANKEN: Well, the White House would respond that the -- that the Democrats are involved in something akin to a smear campaign. The Democrats would only say they're interested in good government. And the White House says that in the context of an investigation that's ongoing, Karl Rove should not speak.

PHILLIPS: Bob Franken live from the White House. Thanks, Bob.

So was it a crime, a dirty trick, a slip of the tongue, or none of the above? We're going to talk about the law, the politics and repercussions in just a few minutes with Peter Beinart of "The New Republic" and syndicated columnist Joel Mowbray. That's at half-past the hour right here on CNN's LIVE FROM.

Well, their missions are secret and they mostly die anonymously fighting America's wars. But just ahead, the wife of a Navy SEAL comes forward to share the story of her husband and hero killed in action.

And later, by this time tomorrow the Shuttle Discovery will be a little more than an hour from liftoff. We've got more on the mission.

The woman in the mask. Her image became a symbol for British bombing victims. Later, we're going to show you the woman behind that bandage.


PHILLIPS: Fresh violence today in Iraq, this time in Kirkuk. A parked car exploded in an industrial neighborhood, killing two Iraqi civilians and wounding seven. There's word that a passing military convoy may have been the target.

The Defense Department has identified a Navy SEAL killed in a bloody military operation in Afghanistan. Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Axelson (ph) of Cupertino, California, was the fourth and final member of the team to be recovered. His body was found Sunday, almost two weeks after his team went missing.

One of Axelson's (ph) neighbors reacted to the news of his death. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY GARLAND, NEIGHBOR: There's some degree of relief that he was found, that he hadn't been captured and he was doing what he wanted to do, with whom he wanted to do it, the Navy SEALs. So there's some comfort in that amidst the tears of missing a very admirable young man.


PHILLIPS: The widow of another Navy SEAL killed in the operation issued a rare statement about her loss and her husband who died a hero. We get the story from CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The outnumbered, outgunned SEAL team was in big trouble, even before the rescue helicopter sent on a risky daylight mission was shot down. Only one of the four U.S. Navy commandos stranded on the ground would make it out alive.

REAR ADM. JOSEPH MAGUIRE, NAVY SPECIAL WARFARE COMMAND: He was able to, after suffering his combat wounds, travel at least four kilometers through extremely mountainous terrain, engaging the enemy along the way and avoiding capture.

MCINTYRE: In an exclusive story entitled, "How the shepherd Saved the SEAL," "Time" magazine says an Afghan herdsman named Gulab discovered the wounded U.S. commando and convinced him not to shoot.

"I remembered hearing that if an American sticks up his thumb, it's a friendly gesture. So that's what I did." According to the "Time" account, "...Gulab lifted his tunic to show the American he hasn't hiding a weapon. He then propped up the wounded commando, and together the pair hobbled down the steep mountain trail..."

For days they U.S. military mounted a frantic search for any survivors, but so did the Taliban, who sent a terse demand to the Pashtun villagers who sheltered him. "We want this infidel." A firm reply from the village chief, Shinah, shot back, "The American is our guest, and we won't give him up."

(on camera): CNN has learned the SEAL wrote a note, which was delivered by a villager to the U.S. military, who then came to his rescue. He's now been reunited with his family in Texas, but because of the nature of his job, his name and the details of his mission will likely never be publicly acknowledged.

MAGUIRE: Secrecies away of life with us and that's how we do things.

MCINTYRE: At a memorial service last week, the sacrifice of the SEALs was marked by their fins, face masks and combat knife: Weapons a frog man, who died 7,000 feet up the side of a mountain more than 300 miles from the sea.

MAGUIRE: We are Naval commandos. We are warriors from the sea, but we were in the Kunar Province, up in the Himalayas, because that's where the enemy was and that's where we go.

MCINTYRE: Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


PHILLIPS: Also coming up straight ahead, a bittersweet moment. As the Shuttle Discovery prepares to launch, the world rembers the Columbia crew. I'll speak with the brother of a fallen astronaut straight ahead.

Actor Brad Pitt in the hospital. We've got details on his illness coming up.


PHILLIPS: Well, anticipation is definitely building at Kennedy Space Center today. NASA's counting down the final day before the scheduled liftoff of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Tomorrow's launch will mark NASA's first manned space mission in almost two-and-a-half years. Workers are busy with final preparations, and NASA managers are confident about that launch but admit unresolved issues could still force a delay.

Well, it's an emotional time for NASA. Discovery's crew members are well aware of the risks. They'll be the first to fly a shuttle mission since the Columbia disaster, and they share a close connection with their fallen colleagues.

Doug Brown is the brother of the late Columbia astronaut David Brown. He joins us live, getting ready for the launch that hopefully will definitely take place.

Doug, great to see you.


PHILLIPS: Well, first of all, let's just reminisce a little bit. Let's talk about your brother. Let's talk about Dave Brown and just remember him a bit. And tell us why he even wanted to become an astronaut in the first place.

BROWN: Well, you know, it's funny. Dave called me and said, you know, he was -- at that point, he was Navy flight surgeon of the year. He was also a Navy pilot, flying A-6s.

And he says, "Doug, you know I have a shot to be an astronaut. Do you think I ought to do it?" And I was like, "What do you mean? Why not. Why wouldn't you want to do it." And he goes, "Well, I heard it was, you know, 95 percent books and 5 percent adventure," and he says, "Right now I'm doing about 30 percent adventure, so, you know, I don't know if I want to do it."

Well, eventually he did it, and it was a good decision.

PHILLIPS: Doug, I don't know if there's a lot of Navy pilots that would say it's a 100 percent adventure to fly a strike fighter, but I can just imagine strapping into the space shuttle.

Well, he also, too, not only became an astronaut, but he became very close with his crew, actually documenting the relationship among everybody and the training, right?

BROWN: Yes, David was a -- really had a fourth career besides doctor, pilot, astronaut. And that was as a filmmaker. He had been published before in a couple of things, but he dedicated himself to making this crew movie.

He went to several professional film courses, and he took the camera everywhere. He would go in before the simulations and put -- mount the camera in the simulator. He would take it with him. And the crew actually helped him, and they would actually take shots of him from time to time.

So it became a joint project. It was really great stuff.

PHILLIPS: And it's called "The Astronaut Diaries," right? Isn't it becoming a film?

BROWN: Yes. It took me a long time, but we found a company called Bella Schwartz (ph), and Brook Barrow (ph) in particular was the producer. It's one hour. It will be on the Science Channel tonight and tomorrow.

And, you know, I've got to tell you, all the effort that it took to make it happen just made it worthwhile. They did a great job.

It's a people story. You'll get to know what each of the shuttle astronauts was like. And I don't think anybody has ever done that before.

PHILLIPS: Well, and I'm sure, you know, your brother did such a great job at capturing those people's stories. And I'm sure he called you on a regular basis and told you about what was going on among the crew and with him.

Anything specific that you remember that you will just never forget of a time that your brother called you up and said, "Doug, I got to tell you what happened today?"

BROWN: Well, I remember in the early days when digital cameras were new his first day in the simulator. He e-mailed me the picture. You know, it just shows how fast technology has moved since 1996.

That was an amazing thing to have it by lunchtime. And I think -- I knew the crew through his films by the time the launch happened. So while the other families didn't know me, I felt like I knew them. We talked about this movie at every holiday.

PHILLIPS: Well, let me ask you just about what's taking place right now with regard to NASA. This is a huge time for NASA considering what we remember unfortunately, the explosion that took place. Why do you still believe in the program, in the space program?

BROWN: I think Dave put it best. He said how could you -- "I can't imagine a world where we waited for every last detail to pursue the -- to follow the pursuit of knowledge and science." You know, it would just be unthinkable to live in a world like that.

And to me, it's a celebration of our trying to reach beyond the status quo. And I think -- I can't imagine a world where we didn't do that. So I'm looking forward to this like a space fan, which I am.

PHILLIPS: I know your parents Dorothy and Paul both extremely proud. They were extremely proud of Dave, and also extremely proud of you. But they're going to be there for the launch. We have a picture actually of them right now at a special ceremony honoring your brother and his crew.

What does this launch mean for them? You talked about what it means for you, but what about for your parents?

BROWN: Well, I think that actually they're going to be -- we're all going to come back for the landing. And I think the landing will be more stressful for us than the launch.

I think we all wanted to come and just show that we support the space program and that this needs to continue. This is not just a vacation in space.

Someday life needs to live beyond this planet. We all know that. It may not be this generation, but we have to continue. So we want to support that, and that's why we're going to come.

PHILLIPS: Doug Brown, we'll definitely be following every second. Thank you so much for joining us.

BROWN: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: And you can get a front row seat for the shuttle's return to space. CNN's live launch coverage begins tomorrow, 3:00 p.m. Eastern, with our Miles O'Brien, of course. And you can get more details about the mission. Just log on to

All right, be honest. Do you ever waste time at work by checking personal e-mail or just spacing out for a little while? Well, you're not alone. A new study shows that wasting time at work is a pretty common problem.

Kathleen Hays working hard at the New York Stock Exchange, though. She never wastes a minute.




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