Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Grand Jury Nears Decision in Duke Rape Investigation; Row Over Rumsfeld

Aired April 17, 2006 - 15:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. We're going to send you right to Oklahoma now, so that we can get the latest on the arraignment of Kevin Ray Underwood.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is there live for us.

Ed, what's the latest?


HARRIS: OK, not ready just yet.

We are also following developments out of Durham, North Carolina, where we understand that the judge that is hearing, ahead of the grand jury that is listening to the evidence being presented by the prosecutor in the case involving rape allegations against the Duke lacrosse team, may be providing some additional information.

Remember, there are two things going on here: whether or not the grand jury will return indictments against players on the Duke lacrosse team. And the second bit of information we're looking for is that we might get an indication of the players who are actually involved in the allegations.

So, right now, let's take you to Durham, North Carolina, where CNN's Alina Cho is standing by with the latest information for us. And she is joined, as you can see there, by CNN's Jason Carroll -- Alina.


Tony, we have just been handed down the bills of indictment -- that is officially what it is called here -- by the superior court judge, the DA's office.

We have looked through the one, two, three, Jason, five? Three, four, five, six pages...


CHO: And, at first glance, we have tried to match up the names with the names on the Duke lacrosse team roster. And we do not (AUDIO GAP)

HARRIS: OK. I apologize. We're just having a bit of a technical problem. We're going to get you back to Alina Cho and Jason Carroll in just a couple of moments, as soon as we can clear up those technical issues.

But, as I mentioned a moment ago, we're also following developments in Purcell, Oklahoma. Let's take you there now.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is there, where we can get an update on the arraignment of Kevin Ray Underwood -- Ed.


Well, Kevin Ray Underwood making a brief courtroom appearance. He was appointed two public defenders who specialize in death-penalty cases that are part of the Oklahoma indigent defender system. So, these two attorneys appointed, so far on an interim basis, to represent him.

Mr. Underwood didn't say much in court. He was shackled, both around his waist and on -- on the wrists, and around his ankles as well, wearing an orange jumpsuit and flip-flops, as he was escorted into the courtroom.

They did not allow cameras inside to show this proceeding. But just probably you can see over my soldier -- or -- or my shoulder -- excuse me -- one of Jamie Rose Bolin's relatives speaking with reporters right now, after describing a numbing sensation, as two of them sat there in the courtroom watching this man who is accused of murdering this 10-year-old girl here last week.

Mr. Underwood's family did not appear in the courtroom to -- this afternoon. And only two of Jamie Rose Bolin's relatives, as well, appeared here.

Quite frankly, we have heard many stories that her father, who is very close to Jamie Rose Bolin and lived with their father, has been struggling quite a bit with everything that has happened. And -- and, so, that's why he hasn't been here in -- in the courtroom. In fact, his relatives here are saying that today was one of the first days that he has really started to eat.

But Mr. Underwood leaving the courtroom just a short while ago -- but there are heightened tensions here. In fact, at one point, when Mr. Underwood was taken out of the courtroom just a -- a brief moment, to meet with his attorneys, there was a man who showed up just outside the courtroom, yelling and screaming: "Hang him. Hang him. String him up," and disrupting everything.

He was rushed out of the courthouse by security guards here just a short while ago. So, the -- the relatives, you know, very up -- upset by what -- what has happened here. They understand that tensions are high across town, as people have heard this grisly story that has unfolded here over the last couple of days.

And -- and they worry that people are going to lose their cool -- Tony.

HARRIS: CNN's Ed Lavandera for us -- Ed, we appreciate it. Thank you. And, now, I understand we have CNN's Jason Carroll on the line.

And Jason is following developments in the investigation of the allegations of rape against the Duke lacrosse team.

Jason, what can you tell us?

CARROLL: Well, what we can tell you is this.

The grand jury has completed their session. And we have been given what -- what we are told are the bills of indictment. These are the -- in terms of the charges that they have recommended.

We have looked through each one of these 81 names on the list. None of these names match up with any of the names that are listed on the main roster for the -- for the -- for the Duke lacrosse team.

So, what that leads us to believe, at least as this point is, we're unsure at this point if the grand jury has, in fact, indicted any of the lacrosse players.

Now, look, this is still preliminary information. What we have done is, we have gone back up to the courtroom to see if there's any additional paperwork that we can look at, at this time.

But, right now, Tony, what we're doing is, we are looking at the bills of indictment. That has just been handed by the grand jury. A judge has looked at this here at the Durham County Courthouse. And, so far, none of the names...


CARROLL: ... at least none of the names that are listed on the Duke lacrosse team master list, match any of the names listed here, in terms of the people who have been indicted today.


Jason, let's go through this, if we could, please. Now, indictments have been handed down, correct?

CARROLL: That is correct.

But let me explain what happens here. The grand jury was looking at a number of cases today, not just the -- case dealing with the Duke lacrosse team. So, when we were waiting here at the courthouse, we were waiting to see what the grand jury -- what decisions they -- they reached on a number of cases, including this one.

And what happens is, when they reach a decision, they put out a list of names of -- of all of the defendants, what they are charged with. The grand jury says, we have looked at the evidence in that particular case. And we have decided, sure, there's enough evidence for you to proceed with charges and go on ahead and recommend (AUDIO GAP)

HARRIS: I see.

CARROLL: We have not seen the names, as I said, at least at this point, of any of the names of the lacrosse players...


CARROLL: ... that we know of on the master list.

HARRIS: Just -- just so that we're clear on this. So, the court has issued a document that has a list of names on it of people who have been indicted by this grand jury, but, so far...


HARRIS: ... none of the names match names that we know of on the Duke lacrosse team. Is that correct?

CARROLL: That is correct.

Also want -- also want to point out that, in a case like this, it -- it -- it might be a field indictment. And, so legally, you know, we're trying to find out if that, in any way, shape or form, might play into what we're seeing here. Perhaps, we might not see the name of a particular lacrosse player, if the indictment was sealed. It wouldn't be public information.

This is the public information that we're given, as a result of the grand jury's meeting today.

HARRIS: OK. And one other question there -- and -- and -- and I wonder if you have heard this.

There has been some speculation that there is another list, another list of people who were -- another list of people who were involved, who attended this party, but whose names weren't necessarily turned over to authorities. Could some of those names be on this list?

CARROLL: It's a possibility, Tony. I don't think it's a likely possibility.

HARRIS: Got you.

CARROLL: Just, from what everything that these defense attorneys have been telling me out here, it -- it doesn't seem likely.

But this case has had so many different twists and turns, who is to say at this point? But I -- you know, my gut tells me, at this point, it just doesn't seem likely. I think, at this point, we -- we would have something on paper, unless, of course, it is sealed. And -- and because of it -- of it being sealed, we're not being given the information right now at this point.


And, so, your job now is just to sort of vet this list and -- and crosscheck it, double-check it, to -- to see if there are any connections between the Duke lacrosse team, people who may have been at this party, and the names that are on this list, correct?

CARROLL: Right. Again...


CARROLL: And, again -- and, again, I just want to be clear, again, if it's sealed, you know, all...

HARRIS: Right.

CARROLL: ... bets are off. We wouldn't have their names on this list here.

We would -- you know, because it is sealed, it would not be a matter of public information, at least not at this time.

HARRIS: OK. I think -- I think we have made some sense of this.

All right, CNN's Jason Carroll, we appreciate it.

Jason, thank you.


HARRIS: U.S. Marines took on insurgents attacking from three directions today in the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

CNN's Arwa Damon is embedded with that reservist unit and has this dramatic update.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A complex attack on the governor's compound in central Ramadi, mortars fired, followed by a suicide car bomber who tried to detonate himself at this location.

U.S. Marines fired at that vehicle. It turned around and ended up targeting another Marine observation post, wounding one Marine in that attack.

Meanwhile, at the governor's compound, fire coming from the south mortars and small arms, and from the north, from a mosque, RPGs and heavy machine gunfire. The gun battle lasted for an hour, marines calling in quick-reaction forces to strike at the mosque that they were receiving the heavy fire from -- quick reaction forces responded, firing two tank rounds into the mosque.

Marines say that they killed dozens of insurgents in that strike on the mosque, also killing another three insurgents, a three-man mortar team, that was firing at them from the vicinity of a graveyard. Now, this is not an uncommon occurrence for this location, the governor's compound. Commanders say that they come under attack four to five times a day, be it a single potshot that is fired, or a complex attack, like the one that we witnessed earlier this morning. Earlier -- earlier, also, Marines on patrol in the area just outside of the compound, moving through the streets very quickly -- there is a huge threat of snipers, of IEDs, and, as we withdraw, of a significant gun battle.

Now, commanders do say that, while this location does come under heavy attack, and that Ramadi does remain a very dangerous place -- for most of its residents, they say, daily life is very violent -- there has been progress made. They say that, now, the Iraqi army is some three brigades strong, and an Iraqi police force is being trained, all in an effort to try to control the insurgency here.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Ramadi, Iraq.


HARRIS: Well, one side praises Donald Rumsfeld as a spectacular secretary of defense. The other side says, he's a micromanager who doesn't listen to military leaders.

Amid calls for Rumsfeld to resign, the Pentagon hopes a memo and some high-profile supporters will help put the issue to rest.

CNN senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre is at his post with the latest.

hi, Jamie.


Well, this is getting pretty thick over here. It's almost like, "My general can beat up your general," the way we're hearing from folks these days.

As -- as you said, the Pentagon put out some talking points on Friday that they sent to -- to military analyst, including retired generals, pointing out that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has frequent meetings with the military commanders and the service chiefs, and insisting that he does take their advice into account, as he makes the decision, properly, as the civilian head of the Department of Defense.

Interestingly enough, the first line from this talking points that says, "U.S. senior military leaders are involved to an unprecedented degree in every decision-making process," appears verbatim today in a "Wall Street Journal" op-ed, signed by four retired generals, who make the exact same point that the Pentagon talking paper made, in making the case that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld does take into account the views of his commanders and senior leaders.

So, I asked our own CNN military analyst, retired General David Grange, whether he thought this was more about Rumsfeld's management style or more about the tactics that were employed in Iraq.

Here's what he said.


RETIRED BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, tactics, you can argue. I mean, your tactics, my tactics, one days, yours will work. One day, mine will work. You know, it depends, again, on the situation.

I think, a lot of it, they don't like the secretary's management style. And -- and it is a bit gruff, I think, at times, from what I have -- from what I have heard. And I think that's the biggest problem.

I -- I think it would be inappropriate right now, just for -- to accomplish the mission that this country has taken on with the war in Iraq, to have Secretary Rumsfeld step down. I think it would -- the -- the -- the effect it would have on the armed forces I don't think would be beneficial.


MCINTYRE: One retired brigadier general's opinion, CNN military analyst David Grange.

Now, tomorrow, many of those so-called TV generals, the analysts, retired generals who appear on television as commentators, will be here at the Pentagon, meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and some of his staff.

And, again, none of this is to minimize the idea that there aren't -- that there aren't -- isn't real debate about some of the things that took place in Iraq, big issues about whether the U.S. had enough troops, whether it was a mistake to disband the Iraqi army.

And Rumsfeld will be making the case to the -- to the influential -- influential generals tomorrow that he believes that they made the right decisions, and they have adjusted along the way.

And, among the people attending that meeting, I am told, will be our own Don Shepperd, another CNN analyst. We will hear from him tomorrow about how it all went.

HARRIS: Oh, I would like to be a fly on the wall.


MCINTYRE: Well, we have a fly in this one, yes.

HARRIS: Yes. That's right. That's right, yes, yes, yes.

CNN senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre -- Jamie, thank you.

Well, the Rumsfeld controversy is consuming Washington. We have heard from politicians and ex-generals and whether the SecDef should stay or go. Coming up, we will hear from those who have served in Iraq.

Stay with LIVE FROM.


HARRIS: Well, when it comes to Donald Rumsfeld, to borrow one of his own turns of phrase, there are known knowns and known unknowns. And the former include the embattled defense secretary's legendary steadfastness. Some call it stubbornness, or worse.

Among the unknowns are whether that trait has finally been matched by the pitch and volume of the demands that Rumsfeld quit.

CNN's Tom Foreman reports, in a story first aired on "ANDERSON COOPER 360."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Friends and foes all know Donald Rumsfeld does not easily bend. So, here are some reasons they suggest why he's unlikely to bow under the current battering. Number one, it is not the Rumsfeld way. Rumsfeld takes his critics head on.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I just can't imagine someone looking at the United States armed forces today and suggesting that they're close to breaking. That's just not the case.

FOREMAN: His political life was built on toughness. Richard Nixon saw it 30 years ago.

RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At least Rummy is tough enough. He's a ruthless little bastard. You can be sure of that.

FOREMAN: Rumsfeld sees it, too.

RUMSFELD: You know, if you do something, somebody is not going to like it. Therefore, you have got a choice. You can go do nothing, or you can go do something, and live with the fact that somebody's not going to like it.

FOREMAN: Number two, the impact on the military. The future of Iraq is uncertain. Osama bin Laden is still free, and Iran is rattling its saber. Some military analysts say Rumsfeld bears some blame. But others say, letting the defense secretary be forced out would send a dangerous signal of weakness to enemies.

Number three, politics -- through Afghanistan and Iraq, Rumsfeld has led this administration's signature initiative, the battle against global terrorism. The White House stands by him and expects the same in return. SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a great job, having overseen two fronts in the global war on terrorism.

FOREMAN: Number four, the opposition -- critics want Rumsfeld out.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: It would energize American forces. It would energize the political environment. Yes, he should step down.

FOREMAN: Political analysts say, attacks on the White House will grow bolder if Rumsfeld blinks.

And number five, personal conviction.

(on camera): Rumsfeld has said many times, this war is difficult, it will take a long time, but it is going well.

(voice-over): He sees newsmakers and news reporters who focus on the negative as mistaken and defeatist.

RUMSFELD: A steady stream of errors all seem to be in -- of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists.

FOREMAN: Simply put, Don Rumsfeld has lost political battles, but it is not his nature to ever go down without a fight.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


HARRIS: Politicians, lawmakers, former generals, they are all part of the row over Rumsfeld. But how is it affecting troops on the ground in Iraq?

My next guests have both been there. Rob Timmins is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve in New York. He served in Iraq from the start of the war through January 2004. And Wade Zirkle is a former Marine lieutenant who served two deployments in Iraq. He's now the executive director of the group Vets For Freedom.

Guys, I have been waiting for this conversation. I have been looking forward to ti.

Good to talk to both of you.



ZIRKLE: Thank you for having me on.


TIMMINS: Good to talk to you.

HARRIS: Rob, let me see if I can start out with a point of agreement. Do -- would we agree that war is not going quite as well as advertised in the lead-up?

TIMMINS: I would definitely agree with that.

I would agree that the war is -- it -- it is not going well. We are told time and time again by members of the Iraqi parliament that -- that they are on the brink of a -- of a civil war.



HARRIS: All right, let me stop you there. Let me stop you there.


ZIRKLE: Yes, Tony. The war is going...

HARRIS: What do you think?

ZIRKLE: The war is going very well.

We have -- we're fighting a very tough insurgency. And we certainly have our challenges ahead.

However, the strides that we have made in the last three years are remarkable. And I think it's important to remember that, remember the -- remember the successes of what we're doing over there, and not nitpick over every single mistake.


ZIRKLE: This is a huge national security issue. And we need to look forward. Where do we go from here? What do we need to -- need to do to -- to succeed.

HARRIS: Rob, if the war were going better, in your opinion -- I'm -- I'm just curious -- would Rumsfeld's leadership style be thought of as smart, insightful? Would he be the model for kind of tough-talking, give-no-quarter leadership? But, now, since, in your opinion, the war isn't going well, he's arrogant and -- and he's irritating?

TIMMINS: I -- I -- I believe so. I believe he would be seen as a -- a better leader. But I think it's the -- his strategic mistakes of -- of not -- of not having enough boots on the ground from the -- from the onset to secure the -- Iraq's infrastructure, to secure the artillery shells that are being used for roadside bombs.

I think -- I think a lot of -- a lot of these strategic mistakes are really hurting American troops on the ground that are fighting on the ground now. HARRIS: Mmm-hmm.

TIMMINS: And they're -- and the troops are doing a great job. I'm not -- I'm not discounting that.

HARRIS: Right.

TIMMINS: But it's -- I'm discounting the leadership at the top. And there needs to be some sort of accountability. And...

HARRIS: And...


HARRIS: And, Wade, mistakes or not, you don't want a secretary of defense who is in front of reporters second-guessing everything and...

ZIRKLE: Well -- well, Tony, first...

HARRIS: You don't want that, do you?

ZIRKLE: First, mistakes are inherent of every combat mission.

And I think it's important we recognize mistakes and take corrective action to fix them. However, we should not be using mistakes to define defeat for the U.S. in this long global war on terror. We have made mistakes and we have fixed them. And, right now, we're on the right track in Iraq. We're training...

HARRIS: Well...

ZIRKLE: ... the Iraqi security forces to take...

HARRIS: But, Wade, let me stop you. Wade, if not mistakes, how do you judge? How do you judge what you have done and how successful you have been, if -- if you don't look back from time to time?

ZIRKLE: Well, you must look back. And you have to take corrective action, and -- and -- and fix things that need fixing.

However, you all -- you can't harp on these mistakes and let them define defeat for -- for the U.S. You need to look at these mistakes, fix them. For example, the Iraqi security force is a perfect example. We made some mistakes earlier on. But we have fixed them, and we're on the right track, and we're getting it done, and we're doing it right.

And it's important to focus on that and understand that that is going to bring us success in Iraq.

HARRIS: Well, doesn't -- and let me stay with Wade for just a second -- but doesn't that mean, almost by definition, that he has lost this war? He has lost this war. This -- this -- your -- as your -- as you mention, this is clearly going to be prolonged, but it's not necessarily what we were promised. We weren't promised a prolonged insurgency. We weren't promised this kind of a budget for this war. So, hasn't he lost the war he promised?

ZIRKLE: I -- I don't know. You're -- you're -- you're -- let me just say this. If -- if there's a mistake that Donald Rumsfeld is guilty of, it's that he has failed to manage expectations.


ZIRKLE: The American people, if they were ever under the impression, rightfully -- rightfully or wrongfully, that this would be a short, clean war, they were wrong. And -- and -- and they're -- and the -- the -- Rumsfeld, if he gave that impression, was wrong to give that impression.

This is going to be a long war. And I think we need to look at it as a long war against an unrelenting enemy that wants to kill -- kill Americans and destroy freedom. And I think we need to look at the war as a long war...

HARRIS: Mmm-hmm.

ZIRKLE: ... and understand that harping over past mistakes and pointing fingers and -- and politicizing the troops is not going to get us...

HARRIS: Got you.

HARRIS: ... to victory.

HARRIS: Hey -- hey, Rob, the same question to you. Has the defense secretary -- well, does he have to go, because he has lost the war he promised?

TIMMINS: I think we can't go any longer with the status quo.

I think he -- he should -- he should definitely hand in his resignation, because he -- he hasn't -- he hasn't led our -- our -- our military and the Defense Department in a path that will actually lead us to an exit without any more -- with -- without large numbers of -- of American troops and -- losing their confidence in the administration.

HARRIS: Got you.

HARRIS: Hey, Wade, you're both out of -- of active duty right now.

But I'm -- I'm curious. Does any of this debate reach the rank- and-file on the ground...

ZIRKLE: That's a good...

HARRIS: ... fighting the...

ZIRKLE: That -- that is a good question, Tony.

I really don't think it does. I think the troops want someone to lead them who is going to win and who is going to bring them to success. And I -- I don't think that this affects morale. I think morale right now is very strong. I hear a lot from my buddies that are still over there. And I got to tell you, the recruitment numbers -- rather, the retention numbers that were released as early as last week indicate that retention of troops in theater -- that's in Iraq and Afghanistan -- is higher than that of troops out of theater, which tells you that these troops that are -- that are in the fight are willing to reenlist, are willing to do four more years.

And that tells you right there...


ZIRKLE: ... they believe in the mission. They -- they want to stay in.


ZIRKLE: They want this fight. And they believe we're doing the right thing.

HARRIS: Rob, what do you think?

TIMMINS: I think a lot of it has to do with the troops believing in their unit. They don't want to let their -- their comrades down.

But -- but they know that, when they are going back to Iraq for a second, third tours, that, you know, it's Russian roulette.

HARRIS: Mmm-hmm.


ZIRKLE: They are volunteering to go back for these tours. I don't think it has anything to -- to do with unit. They believe in the mission.

When your life is on the line, and you have a choice to serve honorably for four years and get out because you're dissatisfied with the mission, it's -- it's an honorable thing to do. And people do it.

But the fact is, these -- these soldiers and Marines and sailors and airmen are reenlisting at an overwhelming rate.

HARRIS: And...

ZIRKLE: And -- and I think you have got to recognize that.

HARRIS: And, Wade -- but, Wade, let me ask you...


HARRIS: This criticism from these generals, retired generals, this isn't insignificant.

ZIRKLE: You know, six generals have come out.

HARRIS: Mmm-hmm.

ZIRKLE: There are several thousand generals, both active and retired, that are out there. So, six out of several thousand, it's a drop in the bucket.

Second, if these generals thought so strongly against this mission three years ago, then, they should have had the moral courage to resign, instead of be careerists, and they should have said so three years ago.

The fact they are doing it now...

HARRIS: I think that is a good point.

ZIRKLE: ... it is -- it is -- it is armchair quarterbacking at its worse. And it's shameful.

HARRIS: I think that's a good point.

Wade, thanks for your time.

Rob, thanks for your time. We appreciate it.

ZIRKLE: Thank you for having me, Tony.

HARRIS: Good -- good debate.

ZIRKLE: Thanks, Rob.

TIMMINS: Thank you.

HARRIS: Thank you.

TIMMINS: Have a great...

HARRIS: We now take time to...


HARRIS: We want to bring you some of the stories behind the sacrifices military men and women are making in Iraq. We salute these fallen heroes.

Private 1st Class Joseph I. Love of Alaska kept in touch with his family through e-mail. His stepmom says, Joseph didn't talk much about work, but did love to talk about the children in Iraq. He told her he liked to see the kids smile. Joseph Love was killed April 9 by a roadside device in Balad. He had been in Iraq for just a few months.

Marine Lance Corporal Bryan N. Taylor was shot by an Iraqi army soldier on a base in Qaim. His death is being investigated. Taylor was 20 years old and from Milford, Ohio.

More than 1,000 residents of Saugus, Massachusetts, lined the streets to honor Marine Corporal Scott J. Procopio. At his funeral, his cousin said that only Procopio's wife, Kristal, could get by, by calling the Marine the nickname she gave him, "Buttercup." Procopio was killed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi.

These are just three of the 2,376 troops killed in the war in Iraq.



© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines