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PAULA ZAHN NOW

New al Qaeda Tape Released; Interview With Michigan Senator Carl Levin; New 9/11 Movie Under Fire

Aired September 7, 2006 - 20:00   ET

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


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome. Glad to have you all with us tonight, as we continue our "Top Story" coverage, the war on terror.
And there are some new developments to talk about tonight, including a first from President Bush, and a new look at America's public enemy number one.

Our in-depth coverage starts right now. In just the past few hours, some never-before-seen video of Osama bin Laden has been running on the Arabic TV channel Al-Jazeera. Is shows him from years ago, purportedly planning the 9/11 attacks, meeting with, and even praying for some of the top conspirators, including two of the eventual hijackers. Now, this video comes just four days before the five-year anniversary of the attacks.

Al-Jazeera is also running up a brand-new audiotape attributed to the new al Qaeda leader in Iraq. He is calling on every one of his followers to kill at least one American in the next 15 days.

Also today, here in the United States, President Bush, for the first time, is calling on Congress to authorize his controversial program of secretly wiretapping suspected terrorists here in the U.S. A judge has ruled the program unconstitutional.

Let's get straight to that chilling new al Qaeda tape.

Joining me now is justice correspondent Kelli Arena with all the details -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Paula, the images this tape are haunting.

Now, analysts say, because al Qaeda hasn't been able to pull off another attack on U.S. soil, that they need to remind possible recruits of their success on September 11.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA (voice-over): It's as if the 9/11 hijackers have come back to taunt us from the grave -- an al Qaeda video tape allegedly showing the planning of the September 11 attacks just released on the Arab network Al-Jazeera.

Osama bin Laden asks supporters to pray for the hijackers and their deadly mission. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): And I strongly advise you to increase your prayers for them and beseech Allah, the exalted, in your prayer to grant them success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARENA: Hijackers Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri speak before their suicide attacks, with video of the results eerily superimposed behind them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAIL AL-SHEHRI, SEPTEMBER 11 HIJACKER (through translator): If struggle and jihad is not mandatory now, then when is it mandatory?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARENA: Al-Shehri was on American Airlines Flight 11; Al-Ghamdi was on United Airlines Flight 175, the planes that hit the twin towers; 9/11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh is seen with Osama bin Laden, the first time the men are shown together. Binalshibh is still alive, living now in a wire mesh cage at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, where he was just transferred from a secret CIA prison.

PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: The reason for this tape coming out now is to show that al Qaeda feels they can be victorious against the United States by going back to the events of 9/11, and try to recruit additional individuals to enter the jihad against the United States.

ARENA: Some suggest a more ominous reason. Al Qaeda tapes and messages have been coming fast and furious lately -- the last release, just this weekend, leading some to speculate, an attack could be imminent.

In the past, that's happened: video, then another attack. So, are we due another?

FBI Director Robert Mueller told me, there is no intelligence to support that.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: We do not have any imminent threat, or threat reporting of an imminent attack in the United States. That is not to say that there are individuals or groups out there that we -- of which we're unaware that are contemplating such an attack.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: All right.

So, Kelli, while the FBI director says an attack isn't imminent, what did he say about the ability of al Qaeda to pull off another attack? ARENA: Well, Mueller told me that, although al Qaeda is weakened, it does still pose a serious attack, because, A, they're resolved to attack, and, B, because they still have the ability to recruit and to send people to the United States, if they want to -- Paula.

ZAHN: Kelli Arena, thanks so much.

Just a short while ago, I spoke with terrorism analyst Peter Bergen in Kabul, Afghanistan, about this new al Qaeda videotape.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So, Peter, what do you make of the release of these old tapes?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Paula, I don't think it's really particularly surprising that al Qaeda would want to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11, remind -- you know, milk it, the terrible tragedy, remind Americans, and remind also their followers that they're around, that they did this.

We have seen them do this before on the first anniversary of 9/11. Ramzi Binalshibh, who is the one of principal people in this -- in this new tape, gave an interview to Al-Jazeera that was broadcast on the first anniversary of 9/11. And, so, they have done this before.

I mean, what's strange, Paula, is that they haven't produced sort of a proof of life of Osama bin Laden, either an audiotape or videotape. Maybe that will be coming in the next few days. I -- I, in fact, anticipate it coming in the next few days. If it doesn't come, it raises big questions about his status.

We have had five audiotapes of him this year, no videotapes since -- since before the U.S. presidential election in -- October 28, 2004, it came out, just a few days before the presidential election. And, so, you know, these -- the lack of videotape, the fact that they're marking the fifth anniversary with historical footage sort of begs the question, what -- what is Osama bin Laden doing? Why isn't he coming out with some statement?

ZAHN: All right. So, if we don't see a new statement or new video with him over the next several days, you say it's going to make us question his status? Are you suggesting that he's sick or that he's dead, perhaps?

BERGEN: I mean, I think that would all be wishful thinking. You know, it may just be technical problems.

You know, wherever he is, unlike Ayman al-Zawahri, the number two from al Qaeda -- we have had 12 videotapes from him this year -- bin Laden's only doing audiotapes. In the view of U.S. military officials I have spoken to, bin Laden is in a very, very remote area on the Afghan-Pakistan border, a sort of place that maybe it's just problematic to get a cameraman in; maybe it's problematic to get tapes out. Maybe he sent tapes out, which haven't made it to Al-Jazeera or the jihadi Web sites or the -- that are the usual places that they are sent to.

You know, sometimes, things don't get through the pipeline. So, there might be all sorts of reason. But he does, I think, want to mark this anniversary. If we don't hear from him, it -- it would certainly raise some questions about his ability to make statements, his ability to communicate, or potentially some health questions.

The idea he has kidney disease is much exaggerated. But it's possible he's contracted something else in the year-and-a-half that we haven't seen him, you know, in an actual videotape.

ZAHN: What are we to read into the fact that, in -- most recently, many of these tapes have gone straight to these jihadi Web sites; this one being transferring to Al-Jazeera?

BERGEN: You know, interesting, al Qaeda is not necessarily a huge fan of Al-Jazeera. They think that Al-Jazeera edits their stuff. It's also a security problem. You send somebody to Al-Jazeera, there's a chain of custody that you can trace back to Al-Jazeera.

Put it on a jihadi Web site, it isn't edited. There are thousands of these Internet cafes in Pakistan. It's essentially untraceable. So, in recent -- in the last year or so, we're seeing more releases at jihadi Web sites, because they get their message out unedited. There's less security problems.

But I think, when they release it to Al-Jazeera, you know, bin Laden, he's had a long relationship with Al-Jazeera, given them interviews. You know, he's a TV guy. He's not an Internet guy. The Internet happened when he was living in Afghanistan and Sudan. They understand television much better, the senior leadership of al Qaeda, than the Web. And maybe it's just, sort of old habits die hard.

ZAHN: Peter Bergen, thanks for bringing us up to date. Appreciate your time.

BERGEN: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And, coming up, we have got other top stories we're following tonight, including today's blistering attacks on a TV drama that will air on ABC that depicts the journey to America's darkest day.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): "The Path to 9/11" -- a controversial TV series triggers a former president's outrage. Did his administration really downplay the threat before America's greatest disaster?

Plus: the Baseline Killer case -- the latest development in a string of murders and rapes that has terrified a city. Police arrest a man they say is linked to two of the victims. Could this be the big break?

All that and more just ahead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Another "Top Story" we're following tonight, a possible breakthrough in a baffling series of crimes in one of the West's fastest-growing cities -- we are going to have the very latest on the efforts to solve the Phoenix Baseline killings.

But, right now, we continue our "Top Story" coverage on the war on terror, a war that's turning into the number-one issue in the upcoming election. President Bush went to Atlanta today to deliver another in a series of speeches on the war and national security. And, once again, he's making news that both his supporters and opponents will consider purely political.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ZAHN (voice-over): With elections quickly approaching, President Bush used today's speech to ask and answer one of this year's most important questions.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Five years after 9/11, are we safer? The answer is yes. America is safer.

(APPLAUSE)

ZAHN: Starting in the mid-1990s, the president went through what he considers the missed opportunities to disrupt the 9/11 terrorist plot. Then, he listed what his administration has done to, in his words, fix the problems.

BUSH: We learned the lessons of September the 11th. We're changing how people can work together. We're modernizing the system. We're working to connect the dots to stop the terrorists from hurting America again.

ZAHN: The most eye-opening part of today's speech came when the president called on Congress to authorize his administration's highly controversial program of secretly wiretapping suspected terrorists without getting court warrants, which a federal judge has declared unconstitutional. Until today the president had argued that he already has the necessary power to order the wiretaps. And he isn't admitting he's been wrong.

BUSH: Yet a series of protracted legal challenges would put a heavy burden on this critical and vital program. The surest way to keep the program is to get explicit approval from the United States Congress. So, today, I am calling on the Congress to promptly pass legislation providing additional authority for the terrorist surveillance program, along with broader reforms in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

(APPLAUSE)

ZAHN: While the president insists his speeches aren't political, there seems to be a clear message: To get the tools he needs to fight terrorism, the president wants a Congress that sees the war on terror the same way he does. And Congress just happens to be up for reelection in two months.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And late word from Capitol Hill tonight is that an unnamed Democratic senator temporarily rather blocked action on a surveillance bill this afternoon, ticking off a whole lot of Republicans, which brings us another "Top Story" in the war on terror and in politics.

President Bush also wants quick congressional action setting up military commissions to put captured terrorists on trial. But here's a surprise. Right now, the senators applying the brakes on this bill are the president's fellow Republicans.

Here's congressional correspondent Andrea Koppel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the second day in a row, President Bush put the onus on lawmakers to put accused terrorists on trial.

BUSH: And the sooner the Congress authorizes the military commissions I have called for, the sooner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will receive the justice he deserves.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KOPPEL: Most Republicans were quick to embrace the president's plan to establish military tribunals for terror suspects. But three powerful Republican senators, Armed Services Chairman John Warner, former POW John McCain, Lindsey Graham, himself a lawyer in the Air Force Reserves, challenged key parts of that plan.

Graham told CNN, the biggest sticking point, whether accused terrorists and their attorneys should be denied access to classified evidence, even if a jury is allowed to see it.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It would be unacceptable, legally, in my opinion, to give someone the death penalty in a trial where they never heard the evidence against them. Trust us, you're guilty. We're going to execute you, but we can't tell you why.

That's not going to pass muster. That's not necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you would comment on that. KOPPEL: House Republicans heard the same thing Thursday from the Army's top uniformed lawyer.

MAJOR GENERAL SCOTT BLACK, ARMY JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL: I can't imagine any military judge believing that an accused has had a full and fair hearing, if all the government's evidence that was introduced was all classified, and the accused was not able to see any of it.

KOPPEL: For Democrats who also oppose the president's plan, the fact that Republicans are unable to present a united front on fighting terrorism, one of their signature issues, is an election-year gift.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: I think you're looking for a fight that doesn't exist. First of all, I agree with Senator Warner and Senator Lindsey Graham. I think there's a compromise.

KOPPEL: And while Senator Graham agrees compromise is possible, he also made clear he won't let politics dictate his principles.

GRAHAM: America is not safe by making one party take a bad vote. Our troops are not being supported by creating political fights that will make good commercials.

KOPPEL (on camera): And, earlier this evening, Senator Warner told CNN, negotiations with the White House will continue at least through the weekend. According to Senator Graham, not to reach a deal would be, in his words, political malpractice.

Andrea Koppel, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And, a short while ago, I spoke with Senator Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, who says he also has some serious concerns about part of the president's plans for military commissions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So, isn't the president giving you essentially what you asked for here?

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: Well, there's a -- a number of problems, which have been pointed out by our top military lawyers in their testimony today.

There's a number of problems which have been identified by senators on the Armed Services Committee on a bipartisan basis. And we need to address those problems. We have been waiting a long time for rules relative to military commissions. Over 400 people have been detained at Guantanamo. And there has not been one military trial, one military tribunal or commission that has held a hearing yet.

ZAHN: Some of your colleagues who sit on the Armed Services Committee in the Senate and those in the House think that any military commission established to try terrorists has to have to right to protect their intelligence sources and withhold evidence from accused terrorists.

What's wrong with that?

LEVIN: We're going to protect information, which must be protected. We do the same thing in federal court. There are procedures for doing that, where we try people who are alleged of terrorism in federal court.

Those procedures can be worked out with a military commission. But what you cannot do is try people based on secret evidence that that person can't see, so that that person has an opportunity to defend against. If we do that, we're going to be doing something, as our military lawyer said today, that no civilized country has ever done in its rule of law. And we will be creating huge problems for our uniformed people in the future, if we adopt that standard.

ZAHN: Do you think the president expected for these alleged flaws to be exposed, and this really is about putting Democrats in a position where they have to take a stand on this one way or the other?

LEVIN: If that is the president's motive, I don't think it's working particularly well, because he's putting some key Republicans on the spot, who understand the importance of our following procedures which we are willing to see used against our own troops, and who see the importance of having procedures which, when convictions are achieved, can see those convictions sustained in the court.

ZAHN: So, do you give the president any credit at all on this one?

LEVIN: Well, it's very late in coming, and there's a lot of flaws in it. And I neither want to challenge his motives, nor to give him what I think might be unwarranted credit.

I don't want to go in either direction at this point. I would rather keep working, on a bipartisan basis, to come up with a -- a draft which is acceptable to the Senate and hopefully to the entire Congress.

ZAHN: Senator Levin, you sound like a judge tonight. Thank you so much for your time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And there's a lot more "Top Story" coverage ahead.

But, first, our countdown of the top 10 stories on CNN.com -- about 20 million of you logging on to our Web site today.

At number 10: newly released footage of an Israeli airman who vanished after he was shot down over Lebanon in 1986. The images were shown last night on Israel and Lebanese TV. The airman was captured by a pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim militia.

Number nine -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair today announced he will step down some time within the next year. He's been in office since May 1997.

Number eight -- police in Phoenix say they have arrested a man in connection with two sex assaults that were blamed on the elusive Baseline Killer -- much more on a possible big break coming on that case right here, and more of our countdown just ahead.

Also, one of today's controversies is so big, it's a "Top Story" in politics, the war on terrorism, and entertainment -- coming up, an in-depth look at a TV miniseries -- that is, miniseries -- about 9/11 that has former President Clinton and his supporters really angry.

A little bit later on, a "Top Story" in crime fighting. Find out who the FBI has just added to its list of most wanted fugitives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Tonight, our "Top Story" in entertainment is outrage over a TV miniseries about 9/11. "The Path to 9/11" premiers on Sunday night on ABC, the night before the fifth anniversary of the attacks.

Former President Clinton and some of his former top aides say it's inaccurate and unfair to them. But not only has the movie not aired yet. The producers say they haven't even finished editing it.

Entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson has all the details for us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PATH TO 9/11")

HARVEY KEITEL, ACTOR: Despite all the red flags, no one's taking terrorism seriously. Political correctness rules the day. And we're not safe yet. And no one seems to care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ABC's new miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," is raising the ire of former President Bill Clinton and some of his Cabinet officials. ABC says the miniseries is not a documentary, but a dramatization based on the 9/11 Commission report, interviews, and other published materials. It depicts events leading up to the September 11 attacks.

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: ABC doesn't seem very embarrassed about the fact that it's putting a movie on a serious, sensitive topic on the fifth-year anniversary of 9/11 that contains fiction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PATH TO 9/11")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What are your intentions, once you seize the target?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright both have written letters to Robert Iger, the head of Disney, ABC's parent company, to complain about what they call contrived scenes which bear no relationship to actual events, and scenes that are false and defamatory.

Neither has actually seen the miniseries, but Albright says she requested the opportunity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PATH TO 9/11")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The president has approved every snatch plan presented for review.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: But that's for review, George. This is actionable. I can't call him until we're all on the same page.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The ABC movie depicts Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser, as refusing to give approval to CIA people in Afghanistan who are seeing Osama bin Laden. They want to call in an effort to capture him. Berger insists that he feels defamed by the depiction of him as undermining an effort to capture bin Laden.

ANDERSON: Tom Kean, the head of the 9/11 Commission, who served as a consultant on the film, tells CNN that scene is subject to change -- quote -- "I believe ABC has gone back and looked at their sources. If it's not accurate, according to their sources, they're going to reconsider how they present that scene. So, we will see what the final version shows."

An attorney for former President Clinton sent a letter to Iger on September 1, saying, "ABC has gotten it terribly wrong," and calling on the network to either fully correct all the errors or pull the drama entirely.

ABC says -- quote -- "No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing process is not yet complete. So, criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible."

People will get a chance to make up their own minds. ABC's miniseries "The Path to 9/11" is scheduled to air Sunday, September 10, and Monday, September 11.

Brooke Anderson, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And, right now, we're going to turn to someone who has screened part of the miniseries.

And, earlier, I spoke with Richard Ben-Veniste, who was a member of the 9/11 Commission.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: So, Richard, you have seen the movie. What's your major objection to it?

RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, FORMER 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: My only concern is that, if -- if they purport to present a docudrama based on the 9/11 Commission report, it should be accurate. And it wasn't. It was fiction in some important respects, one of which was the suggestion that the United States, through its operative in Afghanistan, had in his sights Osama bin Laden a short distance away, and was ready to attack and kill him. And that just didn't happen.

So, that's a major failing, in my view, in terms of the accuracy of this presentation.

ZAHN: Let me share with you what one of your colleagues has said, a fellow member of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean. He says that the film criticizes both sides. Here's more of his defense of the film.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS KEAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: The writer and I worked together on the project, so that he would share the script with me. And I could look it over from the point of view of the accuracy of the events that he was portraying. And, where I thought suggestions needed to be made or changes needed to be made, I could do that.

And ABC, and the writer in particularly, were very, very sensitive to that. I mean, any time I said that that isn't the way it happened, or I don't think it happened that way, they were very -- very good to make changes that were necessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Your reaction to that?

BEN-VENISTE: Tom Kean is a great American, Paula. And I'm proud that he's a friend of mine.

And, look, the -- the nation owes Tom a continuing debt of gratitude for his outstanding leadership on the 9/11 Commission.

Having...

ZAHN: Did he get used by ABC?

BEN-VENISTE: Having said that, look, like all of us, Tom is not infallible. He's, you know, close to it, but not exactly infallible.

ZAHN: Finally, tonight, "The L.A. Times" is reporting that ABC has already softened some of the scenes in the movie, and has changed its credits. And now the credits will read, that "This film is based in part on the 9/11 Commission report," as opposed to the way it was originally, "based on the 9/11 Commission report."

Does that satisfy you at all?

BEN-VENISTE: Well, look, you can shave this any way you like. The closer they get to a correct interpretation of our report, as compared with what they are going to show the country, the better. And I think the honorable thing to do would be to present a report that is factual and not fictionalized, in important respects.

ZAHN: Richard Ben-Veniste, thank you for your time tonight.

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you Paula.

ZAHN: We appreciate it.

My next guest served no the Clinton administration's National Security Council. P.J. Crowley is now director of the National Defense and Homeland Security, the Center for American Progress. Good to see you. Thanks so much for being with us.

P.J. CROWLEY, FMR. CLINTON ADMIN. OFFICIAL: Hi Paula.

ZAHN: Hi. So I'm going to start off with ABC's disclaimer tonight. They make it very clear, highlighting the fact that this is not a documentary. It is a docu-drama, that some scenes are simply made up and that it is only partly based on the 9/11 Commission Report. Isn't that a fair warning to viewers about what they're going to see?

CROWLEY: Well, I mean partially the horse has already left the barn because they've already promoted this program as being based on the 9/11 Commission Report. We obviously know from Commissioner Ben- Veniste that that's not the case. I think it really is a missed opportunity. ABC, five years after 9/11, has spent $40 million on fiction. Why not spend $40 million so that the American people understand the real history behind this? Because unlike say John O'Neill, one of the characters in the film, the other characters that took us through the '90s, into 2001, are all here. Most of them are in the public sphere. They could be interviewed by ABC, by CNN, by others. So why present fiction when you can actually present fact?

ZAHN: You talk about this being a missed opportunity. But you're not telling me tonight the viewers who see this disclaimer are going to believe that everything they're watching in this docu-drama is true, are you?

CROWLEY: Well Paula, you know, three years after we invaded Iraq, 30 percent of the American people still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. I mean that's the power of television here. But I also think that ABC has violated its own standard. The president of ABC Entertainment said when you're telling the story behind an important event you have to be accurate, and this is not accurate.

ZAHN: All right and ABC is turning around and saying all you folks are criticizing it aren't being accurate because the final edit hasn't even been done. Isn't it premature for you to be taking a whack at this when you haven't seen the final version? CROWLEY: Well, as you reported, this went out to media. It went out to some conservative talk show hosts. It didn't go to some of the key participants in the film. So it remains to be seen what ABC does. But they're now on notice. Key aspects of their film are inaccurate. The first question is will they correct these before the weekend? Secondly, they've said they're going to distribute this film as an educational product to schools. They shouldn't do that. So there are key things that ABC will have to do to make sure this comes out right.

ZAHN: Do you think ABC will do some of those things you just mentioned to us?

CROWLEY: Well, I mean, they're putting themselves in a very difficult position. So, you know, what we have here is a situation where, say, on a daily basis Charlie Gibson at ABC news, he's supposed to separate fact from fiction and then ABC itself can deliberately deceive its viewers two hours later. I don't think this is right. I don't think it's what television is all about.

ZAHN: P.J. Crowley, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.

We have much more of our top story coverage in just a minute. Right now though, we're going to move on to our countdown. It continues with this video at number seven in San Diego. This is just amazing to watch. Check this out, a TV reporter and cameraman were attacked while working on a story about alleged real estate fraud. Well, you're not going to see it all, but the cops do show up. The alleged bad guy got in lots of trouble. And that would not be the reporter.

Number six is a story we have just covered, president Clinton and some former aids outraged, as we've been talking about this, over the upcoming mini series on events leading up to 9/11. Still not clear exactly what that final cut will look like, but I guess we'll see that unfold beginning Sunday night.

Number five, a new CNN poll done by Opinion Research Corporation shows Senator Hillary Clinton and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are the favorites for their party's 2008 presidential nominations.

Numbers four and three in our countdown still ahead, plus a top story along the U.S. border is shaking up political races all over the country. So why is immigration reform coming off of the congressional front burner? And which political party is likely to get burned the most as a result of that?

A little bit later on a top story outside the law. Find out who has just filled the vacancy on the FBI's most wanted list.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Now the top story in politics tonight, the downfall of immigration reform. Maybe it's just too hot to handle this close to election day or maybe the movement we saw earlier this year is running out of steam. Either way congressional leaders admit it's dead for now, but what was billed as a huge protest in Washington today even fizzled. Congressional correspondent Dana Bash has the very latest for us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One last rally before the midterm elections. One last protest calling on Congress to allow illegal immigrants to stay in America legally.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The time is now. The time is now. The time is now.

BASH: But turnout was light, far short of the hundreds of thousands of people organizers had predicted. Disappointing numbers reflecting their disappointment with House Republican leaders inside the Capitol nearby, who announced their immigration focus will be on border security and only border security from now until election day.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Before you have a guest worker program or any other program, you need to heal the wound or stop the bleeding.

BASH: These Republican leaders are being careful not to publicly declare a broad immigration overhaul is dead for the year. But supporters of the Senate bill, which would give millions of illegal workers a path to citizenship, have given up hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don't believe that we'll be able to get comprehensive reform done.

BASH: Putting immigration reform on the sidelines is a blow for the president. Mr. Bush considered it such a priority that he delivered a prime time address.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Therefore I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to.

BASH: And the president repeatedly sent top adviser Karl Rove to Capitol Hill to pressure House Republicans who were blocking the guest worker program. So why hasn't there been a compromise?

SEN. MEL MARTINEZ (R), FLORIDA: I think politics happened.

BASH: Republican Senator Mel Martinez says some in his party played to anti-immigrant feelings.

MARTINEZ: It became fashionable to bash a Senate bill as a way of gaining points with those who really are annoyed about what has been an illegal and broken down system.

BASH: In fact, GOP candidates are running no immigration in key races, like this House district just outside Chicago. The Republican Campaign Committee spent $120,000 on flyers saying the Democratic candidate supports amnesty for illegal aliens. This district is 1,400 miles from the Mexican border, but Republican Peter Roskam insists people care about this issue.

PETER ROSKAM (R), ILLINOIS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I oppose taxpayer-subsidized health care for illegals. (inaudible). And that ain't complicated.

BASH: Republicans are playing up border enforcement in the hope of playing to their strengths.

AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: And there are a lot of Republicans now that say if we pass legislation that looks like the bill that's in the Senate right now, if we pass anything that to conservatives smacks of something like amnesty, then our voters are most certainly not going to come out and vote.

BASH (on camera): Republicans success in selling that message is critical not only to their chances of keeping the majority here in Congress, but also the direction the immigration debate will take in the years to come.

Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And we've got more top story coverage for you in just a moment. First, we move on with our countdown. Number four, the U.S. military is now listing an American Air Force officer who vanished in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan as "duty status whereabouts unknown." Major Bill Metzker was last seen Tuesday at a shopping mall.

Number three, the only survivor of last month's Comair plane crash has regained consciousness. First Officer James Polehinke was at the controls when the plane crashed at a Kentucky airport. Forty- nine people were killed.

Numbers two and one on our list straight ahead. Also in one western city today, some very big news in the war on crime. But next, our top story coverage takes us to Phoenix, where authorities hope they finally have a breakthrough in a series of nearly two dozen crimes, including eight killings.

And just a short while ago, the FBI put a dangerous new fugitive on its most wanted list. We'll tell you more about him when we come back.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight on "360," mistaken identity in the for the Taliban's top man. The State Department's Web site offers a reward, but apparently it's using the wrong picture. Is the government working with bad information? We're keeping them honest. "360" tonight at 10:00 Eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: We move on now to our top story, "Outside the Law." In a startling new development today in the case of an elusive serial killer in a series of brutal attacks, the first began in the Baseline Road area of Phoenix. Right now, police have a man under arrest with a possible link to the case. Dan Simon has just filed this report from Phoenix.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Phoenix police couldn't say whether they'd actually caught the man known as the Baseline Killer, but seemed to do little to dampen speculation that they had. Even going as far to say he looked like the sketch of the suspect plastered all over the community.

KIM HUMPHREY, PHOENIX POLICE: I've looked at it. I think it definitely resembles the individual. There are some things, and you'll have to make that judgment on your own later on.

SIMON: What got everyone excited is investigators say they've been able to link 42-year-old Mark Goudeau to one of the 23 crimes tied to the serial rapist and murderer going back to last year. That crime involved two sisters in their 20s, sexually assaulted last September.

The police report says the armed suspect took the sisters to a park, pointing the weapon at both of them throughout the course of their contact. The report says one of them was six months pregnant. They say the evidence tying him to the sexual assaults is solid.

HUMPHREY: It's forensic evidence, and we're trying to preserve some aspects of the evidence that we've obtained, because obviously we've got a case that involves potentially many other crimes and possibly numerous homicides.

SIMON: That forensic evidence, however, is separate from what detectives obtained from the other crime scene, where forensic evidence was found. Still, investigators say there's additional lab work to be done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's honest. He's not guilty.

SIMON: People who know Goudeau were quick to defend him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're way off base. Way off. I've known this guy since he came home, and that's been about a year and a half. And you could practically track him.

SIMON: Police arrested Goudeau yesterday evening during a traffic stop near his home. It happened to be his birthday.

CNN obtained these court records, showing that Goudeau served 13 years in jail for armed robbery and kidnapping.

At this point, though, it's too early to say whether Phoenix police got the man who has terrorized this community.

(on camera): Goudeau's attorney told the Associated Press that his client will plead not guilty. The suspect's wife also telling them that her husband is innocent, and that this is, quote, "a huge miscarriage of justice."

Dan Simon, CNN, Phoenix.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And we're going to wrap up our countdown right now. Number two, a storm of controversy over comments about the death of Steve Irwin after Australian author Germaine Greer called Irwin's mourners, quote, "idiots" during a television interview.

Number one, Paris Hilton, arrested in Hollywood on suspicion of driving under the influence this morning. These pictures were taken by tmz.com after her arrest. Her publicist said she had only had one drink and hadn't eaten all day. She's supposed to appear in court at the end of the month.

There's another top story in crime fighting tonight. Coming up, the newest member of the FBI's most wanted list. But first, let's take a quick biz break.

Fears about inflation sent the Dow into 74-point dive. The Nasdaq lost 12 points, the S&P down 6.

Realtors have slashed their forecast of new home sales this year, because many buyers are waiting for better deals.

And executives from BP faced angry members of Congress today in a hearing triggered by a major failure of part of the Alaskan oil pipeline.

Here's our look at gas prices all over the country, our "Crude Awakenings." The states with today's highest prices are in red, the lowest in green. The average today for unleaded regular, $2.68 a gallon. That is continuing the downward trend at the pump.

Another top story in crime is just developing at this hour. Coming up next, the latest details about the new man on the FBI's most wanted list.

And then coming up at the top of the hour on LARRY KING LIVE, Andre Agassi sits down for his first interview since retiring from pro tennis. Have you ever seen a classier goodbye, or a more heartfelt one? I haven't. You'll see more of him tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Tonight we have another top story Outside the Law. When polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was captured it opened up a vacancy on the FBI's Most Wanted List. And just hours ago the FBI added Ralph "Buck" Phillips to the list. He's the guy who escaped from the New York prison last April and is now suspected in the fatal shootings of two New York State troopers. Here's Allan Chernoff with the latest on the manhunt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) AlLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The subject of one of the biggest manhunts in New York history appeared to have been close to turning his life around after spending 13 years in prison for burglary and attempted drug sails. Ralph Phillips was living in this Buffalo halfway house, holding a steady job as a machinery repair man and visiting daughter Katrina and his grandchildren on weekends. Dan Suitor, who didn't want his face on camera, says his old friend Buck was delighted with his new life.

DAN SUITOR, FRIEND: He was the happiest guy in the world over the fact that he was able to rekindle the relationship with his daughter.

CHERNOFF: The division of parole case summary said Phillips appeared to be doing well, but when a counselor at the halfway house denied Phillips a weekend pass at the beginning of the year to visit his daughter, because of her concern he might attack a family member, an argument ensued in which Phillips called the counselor a Bitch. Parole officers kicked Phillips out of the halfway house and forcing him back in jail.

JOHN KEAVEY, ATTORNEY FOR RALPH PHILLIPS: His daughter and his grandchildren were basically what he lived for. All of a sudden he's back in jail being told you're here because you threatened to kill your family and that just drove him crazy.

CHERNOFF: The director of the halfway house refused to talk about the incident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no comment.

CHERNOFF: The New York State Division of Parole told CNN Mr. Phillips violated the conditions of his parole. In prison Phillips was despondent, convinced, his attorney said, that he'd be forced to serve the maximum of his original sentence, all the way to 2012. Phillips wrote to Keavey, I hope you and your kids will always be able to share the things that which make your lives most happy. At least one of us has it. And then he drew a smiley face.

(on camera): A judge sentenced Phillips to five additional months in prison. Shortly after his parole hearing Phillips broke out of the Erie County correctional facility, using a large can opener to cut a hole through the roof.

(voice-over): He's been evading authorities ever since and is the prime suspect in the shooting of three police officers, one of whom died Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just such an incredible amount of tragedy.

CHERNOFF: Suitor says he believes his friend did kill the officer and fears it could happen again.

(on camera): How long do you think he can last out there?

SUITOR: Forever.

CHERNOFF: Forever?

SUITOR: Forever. He's just that determined.

CHERNOFF: Allan Chernoff, CNN, Buffalo, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And we're going to shift gears now to bring you another story about Life After Work. Tonight, what a former mayor of one of America's biggest cities doing with his retirement. It's all about helping a special group children. Valerie Morris has tonight's Life After Work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VALERIE MORRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wilson Goode Senior served two terms as mayor of Philadelphia. In retirement the 68-year-old is now serving children of incarcerated parents and hoping to change the direction of their lives.

WILSON GOODE SR., DIRECTOR, AMACHI: When I learned 70 percent of those children will end up in jail themselves, I knew that I had to do something.

MORRIS: In 2000 Goode earned his doctorate of ministry and became director of Amachi, a faith based organization that has paired 30,000 children with mentors.

GOODE: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, whatever the case may be.

MORRIS: The cause is close to Goode's heart. At age 14 his father went to jail and a local church came to his rescue.

GOODE: My pastor and his wife became, in essence, my big brother and my big sisters, and when my high school counselor said you're not college material, they said you can be whatever you want to be.

MORRIS: Goode is on the job about six days a week, meeting with inmates, congregations and public officials. One of his goals is to secure state funding in all 50 states.

GOODE: I'm at the highest point of my life. I wake up, I look forward to what the day will bring to me.

MORRIS: Valerie Morris, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: We wish him continued success. We're just minutes away from the top of the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE," tennis great Andre Agassi joins Larry for his first interview since hanging up his racquet and retiring.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. We'll be back same place tomorrow night. We hope you join us then. Until then, have a great night. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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