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THE SITUATION ROOM
Bush Nominates Hayden to Serve as CIA Director; Letter From Iran; Putting a Hold on U.S. Troops Headed to Iraq
Aired May 8, 2006 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time.
Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you tonight's top stories.
Happening now, it's 7:00 p.m. in Washington. He's been on the receiving end of fierce rhetoric from Iran's president, but now in the middle of a nuclear standoff, President Bush receives a letter from his counterpart. Is there a softer side to this hard-liner?
It's 2:00 a.m. in Darfur, where a top U.N. official and a CNN crew flee for their lives from a mob of furious refugees. Our Nic Robertson has the harrowing story, along with the extraordinary and exclusive pictures.
And it's 4:00 p.m. in Los Angeles, where deejays call on Latino listeners to name their babies after Lou Dobbs. Why? That's a question our Jeanne Moos will have to answer.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It's happening now, genocide in Sudan. President Bush is calling on the United Nations to take over peacekeeping and get food aid there quickly. Our own Nic Robertson is in Darfur. He found out firsthand just how dangerous the situation is on the ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Drive! Go, go, go! Drive! Go! Go!
Drive! Drive! You have to drive! Drive! Drive!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're going to have that exclusive report from Nic, plus an interview with the deputy secretary of state.
All that coming up.
But first, at the White House tonight, vivid new proof that many Americans and even some top Republicans in Congress are second- guessing the president of the United States. Look at this. A new CNN -- a new "USA Today"-Gallup poll, that is, shows the president's approval rating at 31 percent. That's lower than it's ever been in any survey. Our new CNN poll conducted by Opinion Research shows Mr. Bush with a 34 percent approval rating, slightly higher, but hardly something for the White House to cheer about.
In our new poll, also a majority of Americans who disapprove of the president's job performance say their main beef with Mr. Bush is Iraq. Just 13 percent say they are most upset about with the president about the rising gas prices.
And here in Washington tonight, some key Republicans are openly voicing concerns about the president's choice to be the next CIA director. Mr. Bush formally tapped Air Force General Michael Hayden today, calling him, and I'm quoting now, "the right man for the job."
Our senior national correspondent, John Roberts, is standing by.
Let's go to the White House first. Our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, has the latest -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it really is a full-court press by the White House. Officials saying that they are putting all the White House machinery behind this. All systems go.
What that means essentially is they are trying to twist the arms at perhaps those lukewarm Republicans who are not quite sure of General Hayden's nomination. This did not just start today. It started back on the weekend.
They reached out to Senator Roberts, we understand, Friday and Saturday, then it was Sunday, Senator Saxby Chambliss. And all of them, of course, trying to convince them to move forward with this nomination.
Also today, General Hayden, himself, on the Hill, paying them a courtesy call.
MALVEAUX (voice over): Despite second-guessing by members of his own party, President Bush today formalized what was reported Friday, General Michael Hayden is his choice to be the next CIA director.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's the right man to lead the CIA at this critical moment in our nation's history.
MALVEAUX: Hayden is the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time, according to Congressman Peter Hoekstra, Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
REP. PETER HOEKSTRA (R), INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: It sent those signals that we are not that concerned about having an independent intelligence community, independent of the Department of Defense. MALVEAUX: While Hoekstra does not have a vote in the confirmation process, Republican Senator Pat Roberts does, and the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee sounds lukewarm.
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: I'm not saying he's the right man at the right time, and the right job, but that's why we have a hearing in the Senate.
MALVEAUX: The biggest concern, General Hayden's uniform. Many see a conflict by having an active duty military officer as head of Central Intelligence, questioning whether he can be independent from the Pentagon.
JOHN NEGROPONTE, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: Mike Hayden is a very, very independent-minded person, blunt-spoken, and who I don't think will have any difficulty whatsoever staking out positions that are independent and responsive to the needs of the intelligence community.
MALVEAUX: Another point of contention from Democrats, Hayden was director of the National Security Agency when it began a program of wiretapping and eavesdropping on Americans without a warrant.
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: He has stood with the president, others, in claiming that somehow the president has inherent authority to do this.
MALVEAUX: Now, the White House, of course, is going to push to try to move this as quickly as possible, Wolf. They are talking about the hearings, as well as confirmation process within the next three weeks before the next congressional recess. This, of course, is because they do not want this to get close to those November midterm elections -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Suzanne at the White House.
Thanks very much.
The CIA shake-up is expected to continue, but is that shake-up linked to a scandal?
Our senior national correspondent, John Roberts, has been looking into this part of the story -- John.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Wolf.
CNN has learned that Dusty Foggo, the executive director and number three official at the CIA, is resigning. Intelligence sources say it's pretty standard that the executive director would step down after his boss announced that he is leaving. Their career trajectories are pretty much tied to each other. But Foggo's resignation would come as he is the subject of two ongoing investigations. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ROBERTS (voice over): Both the CIA's Office of Inspector General and the FBI want to know more about Dusty Foggo's relationship with this man, defense contractor Brent Wilkes. Wilkes is described in legal filings as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of Duke Cunningham, a disgraced congressman who went off to an eight-year jail term in March for dolling out lucrative government contracts in exchange for bribes.
Foggo and Wilkes are said to be long-time friends who occasionally played poker together in hospitality suites Wilkes hosted at the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels in D.C. Did that friendship play any role when Foggo awarded one of Wilkes' companies a $2.4 million contract? That's what the CIA is looking into. Foggo insists the contract was properly awarded and administered.
Clark Kent Ervin was inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security. He says the CIA is right to check it out.
CLARK KENT ERVIN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, what are the ties between Foggo and Wilkes? How long have they known each other? What role did Foggo play in approving the contract, whether the contract was competitively bid and whether Foggo got anything from the contract.
ROBERTS: The FBI, meanwhile, is looking at Foggo as part of its investigation into outstanding issues in the Duke Cunningham case. Specifically, what, if anything, did Foggo know about allegations Brent Wilkes contracted a limousine company to pick up prostitutes for Duke Cunningham and drove him to the hospitality suites?
Foggo insists the occasional card games were that and never more, and that he never witnessed any prostitutes at the suites. Through its attorneys, the car service, Shirlington Limousine, which lists this Virginia townhouse as its mailing address, also denies any wrongdoing.
It's an important point, because transferring sex workers across state lines is a federal crime. And Shirlington holds a lucrative federal contract with the Department of Homeland Security for employee shuttle buses and executive limousines.
ROBERTS: And there is one other twist to this story. The CEO of Shirlington Limousine has a criminal record, several misdemeanors and two felony convictions. But the Department of Homeland Security says that's nothing unusual. What matters is the background of the drivers, which they checked. Not company officials.
And Wolf, DHS insists its contract with Shirlington is absolutely clean.
BLITZER: John, thanks for that solid reporting.
John Roberts reporting.
I suspect a lot more in this story about to unfold.
Meanwhile, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, is in New York at this hour, where she will meet with her counterparts from the United Nations Security Council to discuss the nuclear standoff with Iran and the possibility of sanctions. This comes as President Bush gets a surprising letter from his Iranian counterpart.
Let's bring in our Brian Todd. He's watching this story -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, on its face, this would seem a dramatic turnaround from the leader who's often rattled his saber at the United States. But experts say the Iranian presidents' public statements and private motivations are often very different.
TODD (voice over): He has declared that his country would cut off the hand of any aggressor and has said Israel should be wiped off the map. Now Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian leader to write a direct letter to an American president since the hostage crisis more than a quarter century ago. An Iranian government spokesman gave few details.
GHOLAM-HOSSEIN ELHAM, IRANIAN GOVT. SPOKESMAN (through translator): In this letter, he has proposed new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation in the world.
TODD: U.S. officials at first skeptical.
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: You know, nothing that Iran does surprises me.
TODD: At the White House, officials say the letter does not address the international community's concerns over Iran's nuclear program. But one top U.S. official says Ahmadinejad could be trying to stall possible sanctions from the U.N. Security Council, sanctions that could devastate Iran's economy.
Other possible motives, analysts say he could be worried about a U.S. military option, seeing that America didn't bluff in Iraq or Afghanistan. Ahmadinejad, they say, is unpopular at home and needs to shore up support with A population increasingly sympathetic to the United States. And there's another possibility.
ROB SOBHANI, IRAN ANALYST: Put the onus back on the United States to demonstrate that the Iranian regime is for dialogue.
TODD: And to make the Bush administration look worse if it doesn't engage. A game of checkmate that analysts say few leaders play better than Ahmadinejad.
How should the U.S. counter? SOBHANI: I think you throw the onus back to the Iranian regime and say, OK, if you would like to discuss all the issues, including human rights violations, including the funding of terrorism that the Iranian regime has been doing, then, yes, let's -- let's do sit down and let's do have a dialogue. But if this is a tactic to slow down the nuclear agenda that you have, this is a non-start.
TODD: Even though the White House says the letter does not address key concerns over the nuclear issue, analysts say it does open the door for dialogue. But they say there is a limit to what that can accomplish. Nothing, they say, will completely derail Iran's nuclear program. The best hope is to slow it down -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting.
Thanks, Brian, for that.
Let's go up to New York. Jack Cafferty is standing by with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, is it possible that we are looking at another Harriet Miers, only this one's wearing a blue uniform? There are a couple of pretty good-sized obstacles in the way of General Michael Hayden becoming the next head of the CIA.
He's an active Air Force general. The CIA is a civilian intelligence agency. And historically, this country's had an aversion to allowing the military to become involved in civilian affairs. Already, a number of lawmakers, including some powerful Republicans, are voicing concerns about putting a military man in that job.
Another potential obstacle, maybe even a bigger one, has to do with Hayden's very public and very enthusiastic support of the Bush administration spying on American citizens without a court order. Arlen Specter, a powerful Republican on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, feels so strongly that Bush is out of line on this that he's threatened to withhold funding for the program unless the administration is more cooperative in answering his questions.
So, here is the question for this hour: Will General Michael Hayden's vigorous support of domestic spying be an obstacle to his confirmation as CIA director?
You can e-mail your thoughts to caffertyfile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jack, thank you very much.
And still coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, genocide in Sudan. We'll take you live to one of the most dangerous places in the world. This is a CNN exclusive. We'll also hear from the deputy secretary of state on what the U.S. is trying to do to stop the murders. Putting a hold on some U.S. troops headed to Iraq. We'll find out if it's part of a larger plan to try to cut back on the number of boots on the ground.
And get this. Name that baby. You could win big prizes if you name your newborn Lou Dobbs. The only catch? You have to be an illegal immigrant.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: As the Pentagon considers a troop cut in Iraq for later in the year, it's announcing a delay in the planned deployment to Iraq.
Let's turn to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, to find out what it means -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, call it prudent planning or even wishful thinking, but don't call it part of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, at least not yet.
It is perhaps the worst-kept Pentagon secret, plans to reduce U.S. force levels in Iraq by 30,000 troops or even more by year's end if conditions warrant. But that is a big "if," which is why no one at the Pentagon will discuss the numbers publicly.
Still, the announcement that 3,500 soldiers from the Army's 2nd Brigade 1st Infantry Division will hold in Germany instead of beginning their scheduled deployment to Iraq this month shows how the draw-down will work. As the 133,000 American troops begin their regular rotation out in the course of the year, some will not be replaced.
The idea is by the end of the year to have only about 100,000 U.S. troops there. But the soldiers in Germany are not off the hook. They are still on standby. U.S. commanders are constantly reassessing the security situation, as well as the capability of 250,000-plus Iraqi forces to handle it.
So, the 2nd Brigade of the 1st I.D. could still be sent to Iraq later. It's also possible that they are the vanguard of a modest trend to bring more U.S. troops home -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre, thanks very much.
Let's check in with Zain Verjee at the CNN Center for a quick look at some other news making headlines right now -- Zain.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, raging brushfires are trying the patience of drivers near Tampa, Florida. Thick smoke has closed parts of Interstate 75. On Florida's Atlantic coast, firefighters are battling several wildfires that have charred more than 8,000 acres, closed parts of I-95, and destroyed three homes. But they say one blaze that threatened hundreds of houses is now mostly contained. In Australia, they are calling it the great escape. Two miners were reunited with their families today nearly two weeks after they were stranded 3,000 feet underground. An earthquake trapped them below tons of rubble. A third miner, though, was killed.
Rescuers worked around the clock to set free the two men. They are being checked out by doctors, but they appear to be smiling and healthy. Food, water and iPods were sent down to the pair through a plastic pipe.
Congressman Bob Ney says he will be vindicated after his former chief of staff pleaded guilty today to mail and wire fraud conspiracy. Neil Volz admitted he conspired to corrupt Ney and other lawmakers with trips, free tickets to sporting events, and meals. Volz faces up to five years in jail.
Ney's attorney says that Ney is innocent. Volz is the third congressional staffer to be ensnared in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you, Zain.
Still to come tonight in THE SITUATION ROOM, a challenge from within. Three term Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman now having to defend his position on the war in Iraq as a fellow Democrat tries to unseat him. We will show you why it's shaping up to be a closer race than many expected.
Plus, a dramatic story. A CNN reporter and crew narrowly escape deadly violence in Darfur. We have the exclusive video of what happened to our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson. He will also join us live from Sudan.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: The midterm election now is just under six months away, and Senator Joe Lieberman is running harder than ever. The 2000 vice presidential candidate is facing a serious challenge by a fellow Democrat who is opposed to the Iraq war and to Lieberman's support of it.
Our Mary Snow is in New York. She's covering the story -- Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Connecticut's incumbent senator, Joe Lieberman, is facing something he's never had to face in his 18-year Senate career. And that's a Democratic challenger and a primary. The war in Iraq has a lot to do with it.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT (SINGING): Happy Birthday to you.
SNOW (voice over): It looked like a typical campaign stop for Senator Joseph Lieberman in his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. But moments later, a dramatic change in mood when a woman claiming to be a former supporter confronted the senator as we finished an interview.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you betraying your voters?
LIEBERMAN: I'm not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you are.
LIEBERMAN: Look at my record.
SNOW: Critics say it's Lieberman's record on Iraq that is causing unrest in this largely Democratic state. He's defended the Bush administration's decision to keep troops in Iraq and not withdraw them as some Democrats want. And that's what pushed this man to challenge Lieberman.
NED LAMONT (D), CONNECTICUT, SENATOR HOPEFUL: Baby, I say it's high time we rock the boat.
SNOW: Political novice Ned Lamont admits it's a long shot in taking on Lieberman, the veteran senator who was the 2000 vice president nominee who made a failed bid for the White House in 2004. But Lamont, a wealthy businessman, claims he's finding support among Democrats who want to break with President Bush and start bringing home U.S. troops.
LAMONT: It's veterans and senior citizens and teachers and young people all standing up and saying, our country is going in the wrong direction. We need a senator who's going to stand up and change the course.
SNOW: Polls show Lamont's challenge has hardly made a dent in Lieberman's league. But new TV ads show Lieberman's camp isn't taking the challenge lightly.
LIEBERMAN: I already know that some of you feel passionately against my position on Iraq.
SNOW: Lieberman says he's not surprised he has a primary challenger this time around, but says it's principles, not politics, forming his position on Iraq.
LIEBERMAN: I haven't done it obviously for political reasons, because it doesn't help me politically. I've done it because I think it's right for the security of our country.
SNOW: Lieberman also tells voters of his differing viewpoints from President Bush as his opponent highlights their similarities. Political observers say the race is looking closer than anyone expected.
STUART ROTHENBERG, THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: The challenge by Ned Lamont to Joe Lieberman, however, does demonstrate, does confirm the deep-seated emotion that Democrats have against this war.
SNOW: And the first test between the two Democrats in Connecticut comes May 20th at the state party convention, where Lieberman's challenger will find out if he has enough support to get his name on the primary ballot -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Mary Snow, thank you very much.
And I want to point out that Mary is part of the best political team on television. CNN, America's campaign headquarters.
Just ahead, a dangerous drama played out today in Darfur when an angry mob chased a top U.N. official and a CNN crew out of a refugee camp. We've got the exclusive pictures and an on-the-scene account from our own Nic Robertson, who was in the middle of it all.
And the fugitive leader of a fringe religious group on the run and on the FBI's most wanted list. We're going to tell you why.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back to THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
President Bush is seeking more peacekeepers and aid for Sudan's troubled Darfur region. Tens of thousands of people there have been killed. Millions have been displaced by ethnic violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: America will not turn away from this tragedy. We will call genocide by its rightful name, and we stand up for the innocent until the peace of Darfur is secured.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: CNN's senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, was among a group chased out of a Darfur refugee camp by an angry mob today. He was covering the visit of a top U.N. official when the crowd suddenly turned violent and suspected a translator was a government spy.
That translator, Nic Robertson, and his crew narrowly escaped with their lives. They captured the dramatic incident on videotape.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Whoa, whoa, whoa. What's the matter? What's happening?
Go! What's happening? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! What's happening? What's happening? What's happening? What's happening? Shut the door. Shut the door. Go, go, go. Drive, drive. Drive, go, go, go. Just go. Just go. Drive. Drive, drive. You have to drive, drive. Go, drive. Drive quickly. Do it quickly. Shut the door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't. I can't get to the door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep driving. Keep driving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. Go, go, go, go, go. Drive quickly, just get out of here. Keep driving. Just drive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. They are suspecting him to be a government spy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Get out, get out, get out, go. All right, we have got to get out of this car. We have got to get out of this car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is in the car?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Just keep going. Go, go, go, go. Quickly, quickly. That was scary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they are running after us. So we do have to keep going.
ROBERTSON: I don't know exactly what happened back there, but suddenly the crowd got very angry with the man sitting next to me in this car now. They came after the car. They came after him with knives. They were beating the car with sticks, throwing rocks. The only thing we were able to do was drive out.
And we actually drove out through some of the people's houses there. We are trying to get back now. We are hoping we can find some safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And Nic Robertson is joining us now live from the Sudanese capitol of Khartoum.
Nic, thank God you and your team got out alive. You eventually learned what drove those people so angrily against you, what did you learn?
ROBERTSON: The translator had been working for one of the aid agencies at the camp, translating for his employer then. The crowd thought that he translated something negative. He told me later, he said, I said president -- he said, these people say President Bashir is bad. Now, the people in the camp dislike the president. But they thought he said that they all like the president.
That was the point of confusion, and that was enough, because tensions are so high there, for the crowd to turn against him. One of the tribal sheikhs told him to get in the car and get out of there. The other people came after him with sticks. He was literally holding onto my shirt, trying to stay inside the car as people tried to pull him out of the vehicle.
It came about as a simple misunderstanding of what he was employed to do, which was translate for an international aid agency. And it really almost cost his life. I have no doubt, if the crowd had pulled him out then, they would have killed him -- Wolf.
BLITZER: How scared were you personally, Nic?
ROBERTSON: Wolf, I was worried. I was very worried for this man, because I knew he was the target. But you also recognize, when a crowd like that gets impassioned and angry and a momentum grows that people will do things that they would otherwise not normally do. So, I was concerned.
I was particularly concerned when I looked back later in the day. Later in the day, one of the African Union Peacekeepers -- the translators for the African Union at the same camp a few hours later -- the African Union peacekeepers base was overrun, and one of their Sudanese translators was killed by an angry mob.
Now, when we drove past the African Union Peacekeepers's base, we considered whether or not we should stop there. We didn't. We decided to keep going. I think if we would have stopped there, the story could have been very, very different for the man who was traveling with us -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank God you and your team got out OK, Nic. Thanks very much for your excellent, excellent reporting. Nic Robertson is in Khartoum right now.
And the government of Sudan and the main rebel group fighting in Darfur signed a peace deal last week. Earlier, I spoke about the situation and the U.S. response with the Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick.
BLITZER: Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us. You are just back from Africa. You helped negotiate this deal. Are you confident that we are going to see an end to this crisis any time soon?
ROBERT ZOELLICK, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, with the picture that you have seen, you realize that you can't be confident about anything in Darfur. I think the peace agreement, which the A.U. helped put together and we and other international partners helped push across the line, gives an opening, gives a chance. It's a critical step, as your correspondent said. But there has to be a lot of follow-up. I've been in that camp that you just had, the Khama (ph) camp, and it's a very, very large and it's a troublesome place. That reaction was clearly because they thought that some of these individuals who were with the crew were associated with the government.
You also have the food problem. There are demonstrations at the same time because people were worried about the cut in food aid. The United States has been providing about 85 percent of the food, and President Bush has even committed to try to do more. We need more help on the food side.
You need more help on the security side. That's why we are trying to strengthen the African Union mission and also trying to bring in the U.N. force, which the government of Sudan had resisted until we have the peace agreement.
So there's a lot of components here, including ultimately some development in reconstruction. Because after you improve the security, you have got to create the conditions so those 2 million people can come home. So it's an important step. But there's a lot to do.
BLITZER: The president used the word genocide today. Is it the position of the U.S. government that the Sudanese government, together with the Janjaweed, the rebels, they are engaged in genocide against these people in Darfur?
ZOELLICK: The U.S. has found that position. The U.N. found it to be something different, crimes against humanity. But that was, of course, the term that was used in the Nuremberg trials. So whatever it is, it's something that we need to do all the that we can to stop, which is what we have been trying to help. And that's one reason that I was rushed there last week and tried to move this peace accord forward.
BLITZER: George Clooney was in Africa recently. I interviewed him here in THE SITUATION ROOM as soon as he got back. He praised the president and what the president is trying to do in Sudan, but he also said this, listen to what the actor George Clooney said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: I think that we are a country that is always slow to act. We have failed, you know -- it's politically savvy to say, hey, we are all doing a little bit of something and it's good that we are moving in the right direction. We're not doing enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The question is 60 years after the Holocaust, after Rwanda and Burundi, what happened when former President Bill Clinton was slow to act then after Bosnia, is it a fact that the U.S. government was too slow to act in Darfur? ZOELLICK: Well, with due respect to Mr. Clooney, I appreciate all the involvement you have people from across churches and communities and universities. I was in Darfur four times last year. I'm glad that Mr. Clooney is bringing his name and reputation involved, but I think what we're trying to do and have been doing is we've been feeding those people. We ended a 21 year north/south civil war. We have now given a chance to end the conflict in Darfur.
But to do that, we had to bring rebels and the government together. As you might have known, some of the rebels have been fighting the rebel forces. So as that picture showed, this is a very violent and dangerous people. The African Union has taken the lead. And we've been supportive of that. It needs to be an African solution.
But, as I said, we now need to get the momentum of this agreement to follow up, with the U.N., with food and also ultimately with development, and keep the pressure on the government of Khartoum. So I hope everyone can help us do that.
BLITZER: One final question before I let you go, Mr. Secretary. Osama bin Laden has now weighed in on the situation in Darfur in that April 23rd audio tape he said this, "I call on mujahedeen and their supporters, especially in Sudan and the Arab peninsula, to prepare for a long war against the crusader plunderers in western Sudan."
Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, weighing in on Sudan now for the first time. What do you make of this added, I guess you could call it complication?
ZOELLICK: Well, the most important thing is that both the rebels and the government, while they don't agree on much, both rejected it. But, as the president said today, what it really tells you, that at a time that the United States and others in Africa and Europe are trying to help save lives, and these are all Muslims in Darfur, that you have got Osama bin Laden thinking that for some reason we don't want to help with their security.
And that's why the people of Darfur and the people of Sudan seem to be rejecting it. That's the main message.
BLITZER: Robert Zoellick is the deputy secretary of state, thanks for your good work. Thanks for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: And still ahead tonight in THE SITUATION ROOM, what is the leader of a controversial religious group have in common with Osama bin Laden? They are now both on the FBI'S most wanted list but for very different crimes. We'll have the details, and CNN's own Larry King will join us live with more on this story.
Plus, why one radio show is offering prizes to certain parents who name their baby after a CNN anchorman, and it's not me. Guess who it is. It's Lou Dobbs. We're going to tell you what this story is all about. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Happening now, the head of a controversial breakaway religious group is in the company of terrorists and murderers, including Osama bin Laden, on the FBI's most-wanted list. CNN's Chris Lawrence is joining us now live from L.A. with details of the unusual charges against him. Chris?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, Warren Jeffs face will soon be plastered all over the world. But he's only been accused, not convicted, and when you think of all the convicted sex offenders that are out there, it took some digging to determine exactly why his crimes rate that kind of treatment.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): In Utah, Warren Jeffs has been charged as an accomplice in the rape of an underage girl. In Arizona, having sexual contact with a minor, and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct. As heinous as those allegations are, on the surface, they don't seem to fit with the rest of the FBI's 10 most wanted.
PAUL CHARLTON, U.S. ATTORNEY: It puts him in some extraordinary company, including people like Osama bin Laden.
LAWRENCE: A terrorist leader and men suspected of armed robbery and multiple murders. Federal agents say Jeffs is the prophet of a religious group that practices polygamy.
CHIP BURRUS, FBI: He is the leader of a very large sect that promotes sexual intercourse with minors, particularly those under the age of 16.
LAWRENCE: FBI assistant director Chip Burrus says they placed Jeffs on the list because of his influence over so many children.
BURRUS: We think if he's allowed to continue to go between his enclaves, continue to arrange marriages and to do that type of activity unimpeded, he affects a whole generation of children.
LAWRENCE: The FBI says the list is not just based on who's the most dangerous or commits the worst crime.
BURRUS: The second thing that goes into it is, will the publicity generated by this give us an opportunity to catch him?
LAWRENCE: Which means the federal agents who recommended Jeffs had to prove how added attention could lead to his capture. They say Jeffs may be moving comfortably between church compounds in five states and Canada, but soon his face will be recognizable to people outside his inner circle.
(END VIDEOTAPE) LAWRENCE: And the FBI says odds are on their side. The man that Warren Jeffs replaced in the top 10, he was captured within 48 hours of being placed on the list. Wolf?
BLITZER: Chris, thanks very much. CNN's Larry King is going to have a lot more on the hunt for Warren Jeffs tonight on his program. Larry is joining us now live. Larry, you know a great deal about this case. Share with our viewers why this Warren Jeffs is so dangerous.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Well he's dangerous because of the harm he brings to children, because he leads a giant cult, and the effect he has on so many other people. He hasn't killed anyone, but -- or been charged with killing anyone, but he's been involved as an accomplice to a rape accusation, and of course he brings to the fact that he brings together young children and older people into a marriage.
It's certainly a cult. It's not the Mormon Church. It's an offshoot off the Mormon Church. They claim they are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the fundamentalists, but the Mormon Church discounts them.
Last time we did a program on, they issued a statement for our show, discounting any contact with, or thoughts or availability to Jeffs' thinking. We're going to have his nephew on tonight, Wolf, and we're going to have the attorney general of the state of Utah, and a journalist who has tracked this story like no other out of Arizona. So it should be quite an hour tonight at 9:00 Eastern.
BLITZER: Larry, we will be watching. Larry King, thanks for that.
Still ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the man President Bush wants to run the CIA. He was a big supporter of the domestic spying program, the spying program without court orders. But should that be a reason to block his nomination? Jack Cafferty is taking your e- mail, plus a look at the spy program that involved AT&T and your e- mail.
Also, a chance to win big prizes for naming your baby Lou Dobbs. The only catch? You have to be an illegal immigrant. Jeanne Moos will have that story. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: The bottom line on the markets today. The Dow and the Nasdaq were up slightly, with the Dow closing in on record territory. The S&P was down, but just barely.
The president today nominated Air Force General Michael Hayden as his new CIA director. Before he can be confirmed, he will face tough questions from senators in his role in the domestic spying program. Now, we are getting new details about the program, and if AT&T helped the government spy on the company's customers. Let's go to Abbi Tatton who is watching the story. ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a former AT&T employee says he observed the AT&T sharing vast amounts of information with the NSA. In a court filing the technician says he saw a signal of Internet data that was split with one exact copy going directly to the National Security Agency.
This is the latest in a class action lawsuit against the telecom giant which alleges that AT&T gave the NSA access to vast e-mail and phone data bases, violating customer privacy. A spokesman for AT&T said they wouldn't comment on an issue of national security, however, they protect customer privacy and operate within the law.
No one from the NSA would comment. If the Department of Justice has their way, the lawsuit won't go ahead. The Department of Justice recently said they are seeking to dismiss the lawsuit because it deals with state secrets. Wolf?
BLITZER: Thank you for that. Let's go to New York. Jack Cafferty has "The Cafferty File."
CAFFERTY: Will General Michael Hayden's vigorous support of domestic spying without a warrant be an obstacle to his confirmation as CIA director.
Tony writes, "It should make him a non-starter. This being an election year, there's a chance our do-nothing congress will actually pretend to represent us until November.
Anonymous in Wilmington, Delaware. "Obstacle. If the NSA's listening to us at home, why can't they figure out that we don't want him running the CIA."
Hank in North Carolina. "Jack, i don't see a problem with General Hayden as CIA chief. I trust the integrity of the military. I don't want to see another Bush crony or political hack in charge of the critically important CIA or any other national agency. Come on, the fact that Bush finally nominated a competent person for an important position should be, in itself, reason to celebrate."
Doug in Moorefield, West Virginia. "Jack, I think having General Hayden in charge of the CIA is like having you in charge of the diplomatic corps. It just doesn't make any sense. It also sounds like Big Brother will be looking into our private lives a lot more."
Mike in Glendale, Arizona. "Uniforms follow orders. This automaton will follow the orders of the decider. What's that tone on my phone?"
BLITZER: See you tomorrow, Jack, thank you very much. Let's stay in New York and find out what's coming up at the top of the hour, that means Paula is standing by.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, wolf, thanks so much. We are going to meet an amazing woman tonight. Almost 30 years ago, a man with a hatchet nearly killed her. Detectives were never able to solve the crime but she set out to do just that. Has she finally figured out who did it?
Plus what may be the most common crime at any college and it can be downright deadly. Why are so many underage students drinking and drinking, and even worse than that, binge drinking. It is frightening for anybody who has kids in college. We are going to find out what schools are doing to stop this madness at the top of the hour. Wolf?
BLITZER: Sounds like a fascinating program.
Still ahead, name your baby after CNN's own Lou Dobbs and win big prizes. But you must be an illegal immigrant to be the winner. Jeanne Moos has that story next in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the hot shots coming in from our friends at the Associated Press. Pictures likely to be in your newspapers tomorrow. In Baghdad, a car bomb explodes near a security patrol, killing two policemen and wounding 12 others.
In Indonesia, volcanic activity at a Mount Maripee (ph). Molten lava and huge clouds of gas and ash spew from the crater. Scientists say it could erupt at any moment.
In Pakistan, hundreds of people dip in a river to cool off in scorching temperatures that have topped 111 degrees. The heat wave has killed 25 people.
In Russia, World War II vets sing in downtown Moscow on the eve of Victory Day to celebrate Nazi Germany's defeat 61 years ago today. Some of today's shot shots, pictures often worth 1,000 words.
Picking a baby name isn't always easy. There's an incentive for some parents to pick a well-known name for their bundle of joy. That name being Lou Dobbs. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Having a baby, well, if you're an illegal alien, this may sound alienating to you.
LALO ALCARAZ, CO-HOST, "POCHO HOUR OF POWER": Name your baby Lou Dobbs challenge.
MOOS: CNN's very Lou Dobbs is a lightning road for immigration controversy. Sorry, Lou. And now a Latino radio show in Los Angeles is inviting illegal immigrants to name their baby after Lou.
ALCARAZ: Five hundred bucks to the first immigrant that brings us a piping fresh baby right out the oven named Lou Dobbs.
Reporter: Five hundred bucks in baby products. It sounds counterintuitive. An illegal immigrant naming their kid after a kid so against illegal immigration.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Let me finish. The American dream is being ripped out of the hands of millions of U.S. citizens today.
MOOS: The DJs on the "Pocho Hour of Power" tend to refer to Lou as...
ALCARAZ: The Puffy Pundit.
MOOS: And now they are trying to take Lou's name in vain.
ALCARAZ: I'm sure people have named their children for famous American bigots, but --
ESTEBAN ZUL, CO-HOST, "POCHO HOUR OF POWER": Jane Wayne.
ALCARAZ: Archie Bunker.
MOOS: We are sure Lou would have some choice words about being lumped in with bigots. Lou wouldn't comment on this story.
ZUL: If it's a girl, can we call her Lupe Dobbs.
MOOS: Lou has plenty of fans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Lou.
MOOS: The other day, some gathered in front of Time Warner headquarters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lou Dobbs, you're the man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love Lou Dobbs. He tells it like it is, he tells the truth. If I have a dog, I would name him Dobbs. A child, maybe Lou. That's OK.
MOOS: Just name the dog Lou Dobbs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have respect for Lou.
MOOS: The radio show has already registered baby Lou Dobbs on the Babies'R'Us registry where you can choose a big and burp set, or maybe a booster seat for a kid whose namesake occupies an anchor chair. And though no one has come forward yet...
ALCARAZ: I believe there is an immigrant out there, there are many immigrants out there, who would willingly and lovingly name their baby Lou Dobbs.
MOOS: Why quibble about broken borders when your water is breaking. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: Sweet little Lou Dobbs over there. We are here in THE SITUATION ROOM weekday afternoons from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. eastern. We are back again at 7:00 p.m. eastern. Until tomorrow. Thanks for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW" and Paula is standing by in New York. Paula. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com