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Interview With Israeli Foreign Minister; A Look at Airline Security

Aired August 15, 2006 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. 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 2:00 a.m. here in the Middle East where Israel claims a key killing as Israeli troops move out of south Lebanon, tens of thousands of Lebanese civilians head back to their homes, which may no longer exist. I'll have an exclusive interview with Israel's foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

It's 7:00 a.m. in Toronto. Born a Canadian he says he grew up in Afghan training camps where he knew Osama bin Laden, but this son of al Qaeda says he turned away from terror. We're going to have an exclusive report.

And your bags, your body and your shoes -- what you did not know about airline security until now.

I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Israel's top general says Israeli troops could complete their pullout from Lebanon within days and on the way out a claim of success, the Israeli military saying that on the eve of the cease-fire they killed a top Hezbollah commander, a claim Hezbollah is now calling baseless. And in the hours and days ahead, Lebanese and United Nations forces will be taking over from the Israelis.

U.N. officials say up to 3,500 peacekeepers will soon be deployed. CNN's Jim Clancy is standing by in Beirut, but let's begin in northern Israel. CNN's Chris Lawrence on the scene for us -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, where the lights behind me end, that is Lebanon and here right along the border there is a cease-fire that is holding, but Israeli officials say the faster U.N. peacekeepers get in place, the better.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Israeli families are returning home for the first time since mass evacuations more than a month ago. The troops are packing up and pulling back, but the clock is ticking to get peacekeepers in place before a fragile truce is broken. Israeli officials told us mortars landed near their troops in southern Lebanon Tuesday morning. I asked Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni what this meant to the prospect of peace.

(on camera): As Israeli troops were retreating from southern Lebanon more mortar shells were fired in their direction. Does this violate the spirit of a cease-fire?

TZIPI LIVNI, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: It is a full violation. It is in violation of the Security Council resolution. It's not only the spirit; it's the (INAUDIBLE) resolution.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Livni demanded there be no more attacks.

LIVNI: Not only on Israel, but also on Israel soldiers.

LAWRENCE: Israel says it has the right to fire on Hezbollah during the cease-fire if Hezbollah poses a threat to its troops in Lebanon. On Tuesday Israeli soldiers shot five more Hezbollah fighters, killing at least three of them.

SGT. ALON BEJA, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: Yesterday we fought against someone (INAUDIBLE) now you see the same guy 50 meters from you, so better that they will be away from us and we will be away from them.

LAWRENCE: A separation of sorts that Israel is already putting into motion.

(on camera): Israeli defense forces plan to withdraw to a line about five to seven kilometers from the border. The plan is to stay at that line until the U.N. peacekeepers arrive in southern Lebanon.

(voice-over): Prime minister Ehud Olmert publicly admitted that Israel made mistakes in its military campaign, still, Olmert claimed victory for Israel, but it's one many citizens refuse to celebrate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very disappointed with the outcome of the present move.

LAWRENCE: Rabbi Abraham Goldberg (ph) says many of his fellow Israelis feel the country is no better off than before the war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Hezbollah is still in the area. There's nobody that can dare and will dare to disarm them. The two soldiers are still in their hands.


LAWRENCE: He's referring to the two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped by Hezbollah just before this conflict started. And a lot of Israelis say any cease-fire should have included their release -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Chris Lawrence reporting for us, thank you, Chris. After a month of bombing and shelling Lebanese civilians are heading home and picking up the pieces or at least trying to. CNN's Jim Clancy joining us now live from Beirut -- Jim.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we are led to believe now that three brigades of Lebanese army troops are going to be headed down toward the river, the Allawi River (ph) that is the area that they are going to deploy southward from. They are going to then go down to Tyre. They'll be along a line there. They're going to wait for those U.N. peacekeepers and then they will begin deploying at about 24 hours from now, less than that right now.

Elsewhere around Beirut and Lebanon today a lot of cars going to the south. A repeat show, if you will. People having to forge (ph) rivers that were -- because of bombed-out bridges, roadways being repaired by the Lebanese army. The airport saw some work done on it, but a lot of the focus today was in the southern suburbs where Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has promised the people there that he is going to pay for all of the destruction.

He told them he is going to build homes that are even better than the ones that they have now. The price tag on that is about $1 billion. The money thought to be coming from Iran, but no one will say so. Hassan Nasrallah trying to show that no matter how bad the cards are that he is dealt, he can turn it into a winning hand.

A lot of his supporters believe that. They believe that he will keep his promises, but all of this may have been computed a little quickly. We understand that as they're trying to replace 15,000 apartments and give that up for rent that there aren't that many apartments for rent in Beirut right now. Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jim, thank you very much. Hezbollah's two main backers gave back-to-back speeches today claiming a triumph against Israel and offering warnings to Washington.

CNN's Aneesh Raman is the only U.S. television network correspondent in Iran right now. He has our exclusive report from Tehran -- Aneesh.

ANNESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, from the Iranian and Syrian presidents had a message, not just that Hezbollah had won, but that the United States had lost.


RAMAN (voice-over): If the victors of the war are the ones who proclaim it the loudest, then there's no doubt here Hezbollah has won, an equal certainty Israel was not alone in defeat.


RAMAN: Impassioned cheers of death to America, death to Britain echoed in the first speech by the Iranian president since a cease-fire took hold.


RAMAN: America and England and the Zionist regime, he says, with all of the equipment, all of the army they had, they faced a group of decent, devout young people and those young people stood against them. Hezbollah supporters celebrated throughout Lebanon this day. It was a costly fight for them, but for Hezbollah backers a chance to stand firm against the United States. Just hours before his Iranian counterpart, the Syrian president delivered his own remarks, his own message to President Bush.

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This administration adopted the preemptive war. It contradicts the principle of peace and six years after this administration, there's no peace. We are not expecting any peace.

RAMAN: Syria and Iran have grown closer by the day during the war. Now their leaders clearly think they are growing stronger as well. In response to talk from U.S. officials of a new Middle East, Ahmadinejad declared his own view saying Middle East nations are wide awake and they also envision a new Middle East, the one that is free of United States and British domination.


RAMAN: And from both presidents no sign that this battle has come to an end, instead that Hezbollah and the broader resistance would go on -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Aneesh Raman in Tehran, thank you.

Let's go to New York. Jack Cafferty is standing by with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. Remember this? Got some pictures to show you. That's how many people in the Muslim world reacted last year. Remember the publication of a Danish cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. These are scenes from Iran last February.

Mobs of hysterical Muslims rampaging through the streets. People were killed and injured, property was destroyed all because someone drew a picture of their spiritual leader, not a very spiritual response. Well now Iran has some cartoons of its own. An exhibition of cartoons mocking the Holocaust opened yesterday in Tehran.

It includes more than 200 entries from Iran and elsewhere. One official says it's meant to test the West's tolerance for drawings about the Nazis killing six million Jews during World War II. The winner gets $12,000. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called the Holocaust a myth and says Israel should be destroyed.

Here's the question, how should the rest of the world react to Iran's Holocaust cartoon contest? E-mail your thoughts to or go to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Shocking. Jack, thank you very much. Coming up, talking terror or talking politics, what was President Bush's real message today at America's counterterrorism center?

Plus, he was raised in terror training camps and counts close family ties to Osama bin Laden. What made him walk away from that life -- the interview that you will see only here on CNN.

And my exclusive sit-down interview with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Was Iran's revolutionary guard fighting along Hezbollah in southern Lebanon? And will Israel trade Hezbollah prisoners in exchange for two captured Israeli soldiers? We'll get the answers, our interview, that's coming up.

We're live in Jerusalem. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: In the war on terror, another man is under arrest tonight in the foiled airline bomb plot in Britain. A British government source says investigators do not see this suspect as a major person in the alleged plot. President Bush, meanwhile, is reminding Americans that the United States may be fighting terrorists for years to come.

He met today with top terror fighters back in Washington and he sent a message to voters along the way. Let's bring in our White House correspondent Ed Henry -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the president and vice president both signaling that they're going back to Karl Rove's playbook, focus hard on the war on terror.


HENRY (voice-over): Day two of President Bush's summer war on terror tour, five hours at the Secret of National Counterterrorism Center, message? It's a dangerous world this August and I'm not on vacation.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our most solemn duty in the federal government is to protect the American people and I will assure the American people that we're doing everything in our power to protect you.

HENRY: With the war on terror a key issue in the midterm elections, the president wants to show he's engaged, unlike last summer when he took a political hit for a slow reaction to Hurricane Katrina. So he's taking credit for thwarting the plot to blow up as many as 10 jetliners headed from the U.K. to America.

BUSH: Because of the good work in Great Britain and because of the help of the people there at NCTC, we disrupted a terror plot.

HENRY: This followed Monday's visits to the Defense and State Departments where he declared Hezbollah the loser in its war with Israel.


HENRY: And was quick to lump that conflict in with the broader war on terror.

BUSH: We discussed the situation on the ground in three fronts of the global war on terror, Lebanon and Iraq and Afghanistan.

HENRY: That distinction is important because a new poll from Newsweek shows 55 percent of Americans approve of the president's handling of terrorism, an 11-point boost from May. The White House strategy is to stay on offense as Vice President Cheney did at a Republican fund-raiser, pivoting off anti-war Democrat Ned Lamont's victory over Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Dean Democrats have defeated Joe Lieberman, their choice instead is a candidate whose explicit goal is to give up the fight against the terrorists in Iraq. For the sake of our security, this nation must reject any strategy of resignation and defeatism in the face of determined enemies.


HENRY: The president's poll numbers on Iraq are not as good as the numbers on his handling of the broader war on terror which is why the White House is once again trying to paint Iraq and put it in this broader context -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ed Henry, thank you. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, are fighting right back tonight against Republican efforts to try to portray them as soft on terror. Let's bring in our congressional correspondent Dana Bash -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, today Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said the vice president and other Republicans are using the same old hit Democrats on the national security playbook and he insisted it won't work. It's more evidence that Democrats are not only determined to do a better job responding to Republican attacks, increasingly they insist that it's an issue they can work to their advantage.


BASH (voice-over): Just as the president was using the bully pulpit to talk tough on terrorism, Democratic senators scattered across the country for summer recess were holding a conference call with reporters to say not so fast.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN (via phone): It's like a broken record. And the American people are not buying his effort to gain political advantage.

BASH: Democrats are working feverishly to make sure last week's blockbuster news about the alleged London terror plot doesn't turn into a summer surprise that helps Republicans in November. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released this Internet video depicting the menacing forces still threatening Americans and sums up with this bumper sticker line. Feel safer? Vote for change.

This is a Democratic Party trying to learn lessons from the two elections since 9/11 where most strategists will admit they let Republicans use the war on terrorism against them and win. The most raw examples for Democrats, in 2002, allowing Republicans to beat triple amputee and Vietnam veteran Max Cleland by calling him weak on national security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry has not been honest.

BASH: And in 2004 allowing these swift boat ads against John Kerry to go unanswered for some time.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Democrats are often scared off by the security issue because they think it's such a vulnerability for us and the only way to deal with that is to show that we have a different world view.


BASH: Democrats have learned lessons from 2002 and 2004, but that's not necessarily the biggest factor in their strategy. Opposition to the Iraq war is at record highs and Democrats think voters are so fed up there that the president and his party will get the blame in November -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right Dana, thank you.

Virginia's George Allen, a leading Republican senator, is saying he's sorry today. At issue, the would-be presidential contender's remarks about an Indian-American college student at a campaign event last Friday. Now Allen is facing some serious criticism from his opponent in the Senate race. That would be Democrat Jim Webb. Let's bring in our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton -- Abbi.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, it was this video shot by Webb campaign volunteer (INAUDIBLE) that set this whole story snowballing.


SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R), VIRGINIA: So welcome, let's give a welcome to macaca here.


ALLEN; Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.


TATTON: Allen twice referred to Sidarth as Macaca during this speech. What does Macaca mean? Well that is being debated online. A French term for monkey, some cultures consider a slur. Sidarth, a student at the University of Virginia, says he was singled out because of because of his Indian heritage.

Senator Allen put out a statement today saying this is a nickname, in no way meant to be racially derogatory and any insinuations to the contrary are false. Whatever this means and Senator Allen's intentions are being hotly debated on the Web today. The video was uploaded to YouTube by the Web campaign. It's already been viewed 40,000 times -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Abbi, thank you and thanks to Abbi Tatton, Dana Bash, and Ed Henry. They are part of the best political team on television, CNN, America's campaign headquarters.

Still to come tonight here in THE SITUATION ROOM, an exclusive interview with one of the key decision makers in Israel's war against Hezbollah. The foreign (INAUDIBLE) think the Israeli military offensive was a mistake.

And does Pat Robertson think Israel accomplished anything? The religious broadcaster is speaking out and some fellow supporters of Israel are not very pleased.

We're live in Jerusalem. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Just getting this in to CNN. Let's go to Betty Nguyen at the CNN Center -- Betty.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf. Yes, we're getting news from The Associated Press that former President Gerald Ford has been admitted to the hospital, to the Mayo Clinic, in fact, in Minnesota for testing and evaluation according to The Associated Press. That's basically all we know at this point, but again, former President Gerald Ford has been admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for testing and evaluation. We'll stay on top of this story and bring you any details when they become available to us.

In other news, two "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper reporters must tell a grand jury who leaked them secret testimony like Barry Bonds and other baseball stars caught up in a steroid probe. That is what a federal judge ruled today. Now the reporters have said that they will go to jail rather than reveal their source.

Attorneys for Kenneth Lay are working to clear his name. A judge in Houston is granting their requests to substitute Lay's estate for the late Enron founder and court proceedings. The attorneys are expected to ask the judge to erase Lay's fraud and conspiracy conviction. As you recall, Lay died last month before he could be sentenced or appealed. That means the judge can't erase his convictions.

And about 50 Cuban migrants are being held indefinitely at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. A Cuban exile group says they were picked up at sea while trying to reach the U.S. Now normally they would be sent back to Cuba, but the exile group says the migrants were diverted to Guantanamo because they feared persecution if they return to Cuba. It says at least one migrant has been at Guantanamo for nearly two years -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Betty, thank you. Some think she has the makings to become a prime minister of Israel one of these days. Now she's speaking out about the war against Hezbollah and the cease-fire. My exclusive interview with the Israeli foreign minister, that's coming up.

Also, he says he was raised in al Qaeda training camps, but he now says he's turned against Osama bin Laden and his brand of terror. Our Zain Verjee is in Canada and she has an exclusive report. Stay with us.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM where new pictures and information are arriving all the time. Happening now, Israel now expects its troops to be out of southern Lebanon within 10 days. A two-day-old cease-fire is fragile, but it is holding, and tonight a leading supporter of Israel, the religious broadcaster, Pat Robertson says the month-long war against Hezbollah didn't accomplish anything.

Another arrest in the airline terror plot in Britain and in the U.S. authorities are trying to assure airline travelers that x-raying shoes is a reliable way to detect improvised bombs, but a new Department of Homeland Security study says that's not, not the case.

And this developing story we're following. New reports tonight that the former U.S. President Gerald Ford has been admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for testing and evaluation. We're going bring you new details as we get them.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

In addition to everything else, the conflict rages on in Gaza. Palestinian sources say two men were killed when an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a house in Khan Younis in the southern part of Gaza. They said residents received a call from the Israeli military ahead of the strike asking them to leave. The house reportedly belonged to a member of the militant Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The Israeli military tells CNN an air strike was launched on what is being called a weapons warehouse. We're following the story.

She's a new face to many Americans, but a powerful political figure here in Israel. The Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has been a key decision maker in the war against Hezbollah and in the peace moves now taking place.


BLITZER: I want to read to you what the president of Syria said today. Bashar al-Assad said we tell them, referring to Israelis, that after tasting humiliation in the latest battles your weapons are not going protect you, not your planes or missiles or even your nuclear bombs. The future generations in the Arab world will find a way to defeat Israel.

LIVNI: They will not.

BLITZER: They will not, you say.

LIVNI: They will not... BLITZER: Is Syria still rearming Hezbollah right now?

LIVNI: Yes. Yes. Yes...

BLITZER: Right now?

LIVNI: Yes. Syria and Iran through Syria...


BLITZER: Do you have evidence they're doing it now?

LIVNI: We had evidence in the last few days. Now the idea of 1701 is to stop -- is to close the international borders of Lebanon, in order to stop rearmament of Hezbollah.

BLITZER: Do you have evidence that the Syrians passed on to Hezbollah sophisticated Russian-made weapons?

LIVNI: We have evidence that weapons went, were transferred from some places through Syria to Hezbollah.

BLITZER: Including Russian-made weapons?

LIVNI: I don't want to refer to this...


BLITZER: Because there's some suggestion that you're concerned...

LIVNI: I know that.

BLITZER: ... that Russian weapons...

LIVNI: I know that.

BLITZER: ... found their way into Hezbollah.

LIVNI: I know that. And I really would like not to refer to this.

BLITZER: All right.

Let's talk a little bit about the whole Iranian connection. What evidence do you have that Iranians, whether members of the Revolutionary Guard or others, fought alongside Hezbollah during this war?

LIVNI: Well, this is the kind of facts that we know for years. I mean, the problem is, Lebanon is not only Hezbollah as Lebanese organization, but, also, in fact, there are members of the Iranian Revolution in -- in Lebanon. And they fought with Hezbollah against Israel.

BLITZER: Did you kill any of them? LIVNI: I mean, this is not...

BLITZER: Did you kill any of them?

LIVNI: I really would like not to refer to these kind of facts.

But it is not -- you know, it is not a secret that Hezbollah is the long arm of Iran in the region.

BLITZER: It's widely reported you captured several Hezbollah troops, brought them back to Israel.


BLITZER: In order to get back your two captured Israeli soldiers, are you now prepared to exchange, to negotiate with the Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora a prisoner exchange?

LIVNI: Firstly, it's important to the say that there is a binding resolution, 1701, saying very clearly that there's a need to release the abducted soldiers quickly and unconditionally. But it is true that since the operation Israel has more assets in terms of negotiations.

BLITZER: And when you refer to assets, you mean Hezbollah prisoners who are now in Israel?


BLITZER: So -- so it sounds like you're opening the door potentially to some sort of negotiation.

LIVNI: We are not -- we expect the Lebanese government, we expect Hezbollah to -- not only to adopt, but to implement the Security Council resolution. And the meaning, the full means of the Security Council resolution is unconditional release of the hostages.

BLITZER: I want to just move on, but explain what you meant when you said "assets," you have more "assets."

LIVNI: Yes, I think that it was clear enough.

BLITZER: Because that does suggest possibly some sort of negotiation leading to the release of the two Israeli soldiers.

LIVNI: As I said before, there is a Security Council resolution which clearly said that the expectations and the call (ph) is unconditional release of the hostages.

BLITZER: A lot of people around the world say, yes, Israel had every right to defend itself and had every right to go after Hezbollah, but they don't understand why the Israeli military destroyed so much of Lebanon's infrastructure, and in the process, inevitably, killed a lot of civilians.

I wonder if you'd want to respond to that accusation?

LIVNI: You know, Israel showed restraint, unbelievable restraint. I mean, as a minister, as a cabinet minister, we were asked almost on a daily basis from our chief of staff to attack the Lebanese infrastructure, to attack Lebanon as a state, and a sovereign state, and we said no.

I mean, we could attack infrastructures. We could attack electricity. We could attack water resources. We decided not do it.

BLITZER: But you did attack a lot of infrastructure.

LIVNI: We attacked infrastructures that are used for terror activities or for Hezbollah. For example, roads from Damascus to Beirut, places that they can use in order to transfer weapons and arms to the south.

Places the neighborhoods in Beirut that Israel attacked was a place in which this was the headquarters of Hezbollah. And people that were living there were part of the Hezbollah organization.

BLITZER: Because some human rights organizations around the world including Human Rights Watch in the United States basically are charging Israel with committing war crimes.

LIVNI: Well, I cannot accept it. Not at all. Mistakes can happen during the war and this was a war. On the other side was the Hezbollah and they deliberately attacked Israeli civilian - Israeli civilians, kindergartens, schools.

BLITZER: Who won this war?

LIVNI: If we see a process that 1701 resolution is the beginning of this process and at the end of the process Hezbollah will leave south of Lebanon and we will not see the rearmament of Hezbollah and we can see the dismantling of Hezbollah, at the end of the process, so Israel won and the good guys won.

BLITZER: Foreign Minister, thanks very much for joining us.

LIVNI: Thank you.


BLITZER: The religious broadcaster Pat Robertson suggests the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah is pointless. This after a trip to Israel last week where he prayed for victory for the Israelis. And now some American Jewish leaders are taking some strong exception to his latest remarks. CNN's Mary Snow is joining us from New York with the story. Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Christian televangelist Pat Robertson has made no secret of the fact that he supports Israel and the war and now that he's questioning the cease-fire, prominent Jewish leaders have a message for him: leave the military decisions to Israel. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): He proclaimed his love for Israel visiting last week as a show of support. American Jewish groups like the anti- defamation league are voicing their support for Israel in ads like these ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you do if Hezbollah took over your neighborhood?

SNOW: These Jewish groups and Christian televangelist Pat Robertson say they back Israel but do not see eye to eye over the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah. Robertson in his "700 Club" program questioned the cease-fire saying so far, the war accomplished nothing.

PAT ROBERTSON, RELIGIOUS BROADCASTER: Ladies and gentlemen, that's what they're facing, Israel went in, but what have they done? Is the word of Isaiah true? We arrived in pain but we gave birth to win. I'm afraid so.

SNOW: Anti-defamation leader Abe Foxman blasted Robertson for his political and military judgment.

ABE FOXMAN, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: I think it's arrogant, offensive, outrageous and you know, maybe you should stick to prayers and spirituality rather than trying to be a political pundit or a military general.

SNOW: Other American Jewish groups also echoed support of Israel's decision for a cease-fire.

RABBI JEREMY KALMANOFSKY, ANSCHE CHESED: I certainly welcome the cease-fire.

SNOW: Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky of New York says a number of his congregants oppose the war. Others were conflicted but he says they share a love for Israel. And he says that support for Israel can make for some odd alliances.

KALMANOFSKY: Israel as you well know has often felt friendless and likes to have friends. So it wouldn't be my first choice that Pat Robertson would become a spiritual compatriot with Ehud Olmert, but that's not my business.


SNOW: Now calls to Pat Robertson's representatives for further comment on Jewish reaction to his statement were not immediately returned -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary, thank you. Still ahead tonight here in THE SITUATION ROOM, he has family ties to Osama bin Laden and to al Qaeda. So why did he turn against his terror training? Our Zain Verjee has an exclusive report and shoes off or on? Are airline passengers really any safer one way or another? There's new evidence and new arguments in the war against terror. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Based on amazing claims, the man in our next story could be (INAUDIBLE) but instead he tells our Zain Verjee he's trying to help the U.S. catch terrorists. Zain is in Toronto she has an exclusive report -- Zain.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, he comes from the so-called first family of terror in Canada. Most of his family are either dead or in prison, but Abdurrahman Khadr says he rejected terror.

ABDURRAHMAN KHADR: My father was a great person. He was always my idol. You know he's always going to be the greatest person in my life.

VERJEE (voice-over): Abdurrahman Khadr's path has been shaped by his father's violent philosophy. As a child, conversation at home was war and terror, religion and righteousness. Born in Canada, raised in al Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan, we met the 23-year-old in Toronto.

(on camera): What would they teach you?

KHADR: Why we're here, why we are fighting America, why we're taking this way, why being a suicide bomber is an honor, why it's right religiously. For a lot people they took it as it is and never questioned. There were some people that questioned.

VERJEE: Did you question it as a child, when you were there?

KHADR: I mean, I did. I was another child there. I did. I had my questions, and I was lucky that I had my father.

VERJEE (voice-over): His father, a personal associate of Osama bin Laden.

KHADR: For me, he was just a father of the kids that I played with, and he was kind of the big person in the compound.

VERJEE: He describes himself as a troublemaker, constantly questioning al Qaeda's philosophy of death, and pulling childish pranks, including one that got him in trouble with the man who would become the world's most wanted man.

KHADR: There was one incident with the children. We were playing with a Coke can outside, in the compound, and I filled up the can with gun powder and we put it on a rock and we lit it up and we thought it would just go away, you know. We'd light it up and it would just fly out of the compound. And it flew and it started turning, and at the same time, Osama bin Laden was coming out of the guest house with all his body guards.

So everybody got into the position and everybody was pretty, you know -- ready for a war. They thought something was happening, and all the other kids, because they were Osama's kids and because it wasn't really them that lighted the can, they got away and I got in big trouble. I started running and had to get my -- you know, go behind my dad and stuff.

VERJEE: Abdurrahman says he liked bin Laden.

KHADR: For us, I mean, he was, he was an OK guy.

VERJEE: But bin Laden's violent ideology was not OK.

KHADR: For me, you know, I don't agree with the suicide bombings, obviously, but I agree with him that the Americans should be out of Saudi and they should be out of Iraq, you know, and we should find some kind of peaceful solution in Iraq. And there's a lot of things that I agree with him. I just don't agree with the violent suicide bombings.

VERJEE: September 11th, and then the Americans invade Afghanistan. Soon, everyone Abdurrahman knew was dead, on the run, or in jail, including his father and brothers. One of them, only 15 at the time, was sent straight to prison at Guantanamo Bay. Abdurrahman was also captured, then approached by the enemy, the CIA and asked to be an informant.

KHADR: They said, would you like to work for us and you'd get paid? And, you know, this is a good job opportunity for you and you speak a lot of languages, you're socially capable, and I agreed.

They put me through a lot of questioning, put me through polygraphs, and they just try to, you know, establish if I'm capable of working for them or not, and when I was, they decided to send me to Pakistan. There was an incident and they changed their mind, they sent me to Cuba. And from there I went to Bosnia.

VERJEE: The CIA wanted to send him to Iraq he says, but he resisted. He's convinced that if he had gone, he'd be dead by now. Instead, he's disillusioned.

KHADR: I saw a lot of familiarities between al Qaeda and the CIA, the way they work.

VERJEE (on camera): How?

KHADR: Their blind belief in that just made me think, you know, I can't work -- I had a lot of discussions with my officers about, you know, things like the American soldiers and I always looked for someone to be able to sit down and be like, yes, let's discuss this, and tell me what you think and I'll tell you what I think, right.

But people were like, no. This is how it is and that's it. And that's what I usually got from al Qaeda too, you know, that suicide bombing is the way and that's the only way. And that's why I decided that, no.

VERJEE (voice-over): He quit the CIA just as he quit al Qaeda, abruptly. After fighting a long legal battle he was eventually allowed to come back home to Toronto. Abdurrahman says he wants to do things his way now. He doesn't keep up with the news, because it reminds him of his painful double life. He just wants to move on.

KHADR: There was a point where I decided that I don't want to be al Qaeda. I'm not al Qaeda. And I don't want to be CIA, I'm not CIA. But the point where I found myself in between these two people and not believing either of their ways and trying to find my own way of understanding things.

That was very big for me. You know? Because a lot of people, people are usually followers, and I think this whole experience was me following, and I need to find a way to lead my own self.

VERJEE: He likes to race cars now and dreams of going pro. More than anything he says, he wants a normal life, but his complicated, sinister and surreal past always lingers in the shadows.

(on camera): We asked Abdurrahman why anyone should believe his story. He says it has too much detail just to make up. He also added, he's taken polygraph tests as well as photo identification tests. He says, his story is true.

Zain Verjee, CNN, Toronto.


BLITZER: There's no way for CNN to independently verify Khadr's story. We contacted the CIA. It declined to comment. We also contacted his family and their lawyer and they also refused to be interviewed.

Our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour has talked with many other people saying they once called Osama bin Laden an associate and a friend, and their amazing comments have been put together in a powerful new documentary. "CNN PRESENTS: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BIN LADEN" premieres Wednesday, August 23rd, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You'll want to see that.

Up ahead, the Holocaust truly no laughing matter, so why is Iran now mocking the execution of millions of Jews? Jack Cafferty wants to know what you think.

Also, your bags are X-rayed, your body is screened, now your shoes? It will be a mandatory part of the airport screening process as well, but is it just another unnecessary inconvenience? Does shoe screening even work?

Live from Jerusalem, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: In our CNN security watch, your body is checked, your bags are scanned, but what if terrorists bent on blowing up an airplane try to smuggle on explosives in their shoes? Will the now mandatory shoe-screening process stop that? Our Brian Todd is at Washington's Reagan National Airport with more. Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're now at a checkpoint where it's a matter of routine as of now and regulation. TSA making mandatory shoe x-rays part of the screening process. Everybody coming through here has got to take their shoes off, put them in these plastic bins, send them through the x-ray machine. But the question that now comes up and it's come up several time today, is it necessary?


TODD (voice-over): A report from the Department of Homeland Security first reported by the "Associated Press" says x-ray machines at U.S. airports cannot detect explosives in shoes, but the TSA is playing defense.

KIP HAWLEY, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: Screening shoes by x-ray is an effective method of identifying any type of anomaly, including explosives.

TODD: TSA administrator Kip Hawley shows x-ray photos of a pair of shoes. One with explosives in it on the right, one without on the left. TSA officials and outside experts say the x-ray machines are not meant to detect explosives outright.

EARL MORRIS, TSA FIELD OPERATIONS MGR.: What we're looking for in these shoes is anomalies initially. So initially you're going to pick up something strange or odd or different from the thousands of shoes we see every day, and then we get a closer look.

TODD: After an anomaly is found, shoes can be swabbed for traces of explosives. We tested our shoes on an x-ray machine at CNN, made by the same company that makes some of the x-rays at airports, although smaller. Expert Steve Lancaster who hopes to sell screening software to the government, observed. We put wires around the inside heels of each of my shoes.

Those came up on the monitor. We put a simulated explosive under the insoles of another shoe. That showed up. But Lancaster also used a technique he expects terrorists would use, cutting a thin sheet with the same texture as a sheet explosive to fit exactly into the insoles of another pair of shoes. Enough he says to damage an airliner.

STEVE LANCASTER, GUARDIAN TECHNOLOGIES: The challenge is for analyzing the x-ray image is there is no anomaly, at least to my eye. I see no anomaly in those shoes. Do you?

TODD: I don't see it, but you've got the stimulant of a sheet explosive underneath those soles.

LANCASTER: As a matter of fact, there is.


TODD: We called the TSA for reaction to our test. Officials there said they could not comment on any test or x-ray machine that they didn't see. They say they're confident that their x-ray machines and their screeners can pick up any anomalies. And they say the x-ray machines are just one part of a multilayered system for explosive detection -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, good report -- Brian Todd reporting from Reagan National Airport in Washington. And to our viewers, stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security. Let's find out what's coming up right at the top of the hour, Paula is standing by.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN HOST: Hi, Wolf. In just about six minutes from now where we will go in-depth of the London terror arrest, as part of our top story coverage, we're going to find out what is fueling the rage that even British-born terror suspects feel against the west. Also, we'll have a very provocative debate. Would you be willing to give up some of your personal freedoms if it would help authorities fight terrorism? Like letting people look at your library list, read your e-mails? We'll see what the British are doing and some people think that we as Americans should copy. All of that coming up at the top of the hour, Wolf?

BLITZER: Thank you, Paula. We'll be watching. Coming up, Jack Cafferty. He's asking whether you want to respond to an Iranian government proposal to make a mockery, cartoons involving the Holocaust. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Let's get an update on former President Gerald Ford's condition. Betty Nguyen is joining us -- Betty?

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, in a statement from his office it says the former president has been as permitted to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for testing and evaluation. The statement does not give any further details on exactly why the 93-year-old former president was admitted and it also said no further information or press releases or even updates should be anticipated until early next week.

Now as you'll recall, the former president spent last month in a Colorado medical center for shortness of breath and back in January he spent 12 days in a hospital for pneumonia. He is the oldest living president and CNN's Paula Zahn will have more on this at the top of the hour, Wolf?

BLITZER: Thank you, Betty.

Let's go to New York and Jack Cafferty. Jack?

CAFFERTY: Wolf, the question this hour is how should the rest of the world should react to Iran's Holocaust cartoon contest? They're running this thing as a reaction to the Danish publication of the cartoon of Muhammad that caused quite a stir of the Muslim world back a few months ago.

John in Las Vegas writes: "No response at all. They won't get the lesson, but let us be silent and show them our values that even when someone is hateful, stupid or wrong, we believe in freedom of speech."

Eric writes: "In a similar vein, we should uphold fundamental freedom of expression, which allows anything to be used in a humorous context. Joking about tragedy is one way of dealing with it. The cartoons are not offensive unless we take offense."

Don writes: "I have no doubt the western world will react exactly as it should to the Holocaust cartoon exhibition by condemning the casual attitude toward mass murder, but also by acting with the restraint which marks advanced civilians from barbarian ones."

Susan in Vancouver checks in with: "If the free world reacts the same way the Muslim and Arab world reacted to the Danish cartoon, we lose our credibility. As a free society, let's suck it up and wait for Iran to explain why it's OK for them to be intentionally insult others, but it's not OK when they feel insulted by others."

Eric in College Park, Maryland: "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is starting to creep me out, almost as much as you, Jack. How can this guy be that smug when we are almost breathing down his neck?"

Marty writes from Toronto: "Israel should stage an exhibition entitled 'Arab and Iranian Contributions to Modern Science, Medicine and Technology' and hold the exhibition in a completely empty room."

And our apologies, our Web site is having some software problem, I am told, this evening. So we usually post some of these e-mails online, but I'm told we are not able to do that tonight, so you'll just have to be patient and wait for us to fix it hopefully by tomorrow, Wolf?

BLITZER: Jack, thank you very much. We'll be back tomorrow, same time. Among my guests tomorrow, the attorney general of the United States, Alberto Gonzales. Until then, thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem. Let's go to New York with Paula Zahn. Paula?


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