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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Pakistan to Withdraw Troops From Afghan Border; Alleged Cop Killer Captured
Aired September 8, 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 thank you all for joining us.
Tonight's "Top Story": the deadliest and most brazen Taliban attack in Afghanistan in five years. We are going to go in-depth to see what's happening in a country that seemed like one of the war on terror's biggest success stories.
Tonight, at least 11 civilians, two U.S. service members, are dead, after a car bombing in Kabul. It is the second major bombing in Afghanistan's capital city this week. There is also heavy fighting between NATO troops and insurgents in southern Afghanistan. A NATO offensive is entering into its second week, and has killed at least 290 Taliban fighters. But NATO commanders are pleading for thousands of new troops from the international community, warning, the next few weeks could be decisive.
Just at this moment, Pakistan is apparently backing out the fight. It has cut a deal to withdraw its troops from a huge area along its side of the Afghanistan border, leaving it in control of Taliban warlords.
We are going to go right to Afghanistan right now, where my colleague Anderson Cooper is standing by. I'm told he will be joining us in a minute or two.
But, first, the U.S. believes Osama bin Laden has been hiding in the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but, tonight, the government of Pakistan is defending that deal I just mentioned that it made with Taliban warlords to withdraw some troops, and give the warlords control of parts of the border, maybe even in the same area where bin Laden is hiding.
Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson, traveling with Pakistani forces, has an exclusive report tonight from northern Waziristan.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: About half-a-mile, about half-a-kilometer in that direction is the border with Afghanistan. We're at a Pakistani army frontier post. They have 28,000 soldiers in this area, north Waziristan.
The Pakistani government has been very keen to show us how they can patrol and secure this border, so that Taliban can't get from Pakistan, move across the border into Afghanistan to strike the coalition troops.
They have taken us on a helicopter tour of the border. They have shown us how mountainous it is. They have shown us there are many different border posts in the area.
This is typical of the border posts. It's quite an old building. They have a number of troops here who go out on nighttime patrols. The patrols here also go out during the day. On the hilltops, either side, they have observation posts. They have tracks, roads. They've built hundreds of miles of roads to help secure the border here in the past few years.
The Pakistani army has taken a number of casualties, several hundred killed, in many cases by roadside bombs, in the past year, that have been planted by the Taliban and other insurgent elements in this particular area. But the government here says that the new deal it's worked out where the tribes can work, can hold. That puts -- takes the army off some checkpoints, puts them in their bases, but allows the army to focus its strength along the border. And they say that's the most critical area.
They now have 97 of these border posts along the border, another 50 posts just behind those. The Pakistani military now say that Taliban cannot get across the border in vehicles. They say, possibly -- possibly -- one or two may be able to get across on foot. But they feel that they have this border now very well secured, stopping large numbers of Taliban leaving Pakistan, going across the border into Afghanistan, and striking at U.S. troops there.
Nic Robertson, CNN, on the Pakistan-Afghan border, north Waziristan.
ZAHN: joining me now with more on that devastating roadside bombing in Kabul, journalist and terrorism expert Richard Miniter, author of "Losing bin Laden."
Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
RICHARD MINITER, AUTHOR, "LOSING BIN LADEN: HOW BILL CLINTON'S FAILURES UNLEASHED GLOBAL TERROR": Well, thanks, Paula,, for having me on.
ZAHN: Our pleasure.
Let's talk a little bit about the staggering statistics here. You have got roadside bombings up 30 percent in Afghanistan this year, suicide bombings up 100 percent, more than 100 U.S. and NATO troops killed in Afghanistan. Why this surge in violence?
MINITER: Well, I think this surge in violence is somewhat illusory.
First of all, the surge we're seeing is seasonal. We see that attacks tend to grow from March through October, and then they shrink in the rest of the year, because it's not possible to fight a war with the snow and the water runoff in the winter and in the spring in Afghanistan.
Secondly, it looks like the mix of Taliban forces has changed substantially, that there are a great number of Arab recruits into the Taliban. This is a new development. And those people are willing to carry out suicide attacks. That's new. Taliban, for the most part, tend to follow the more traditional Muslim understanding that suicide attacks are forbidden by the Koran.
Many of their new Arab recruits, who are willing to carry out these attacks, some of whom were trained in Iraq and elsewhere, Chechnya, for example, are more than willing to do so.
ZAHN: So, you don't think this has anything to do with the five- year marker of the 9/11 attacks?
MINITER: I don't think it has much to do with that. I think the -- there are certain anniversaries that matter a lot to al Qaeda. But they tend to focus on anniversaries to send political messages, that the -- the surge we're seeing began months ago.
It's been climbing. And they're sort of running out of time before the winter weather cuts them off, maybe another 30 to 45 days. So, they're trying to get in as many attacks as they can. They also think -- and this is something we see in a lot of intercepted al Qaeda communications and captured documents -- that they think that, if they can drive U.S. and allied casualties up, they can force the U.S. forces to leave Afghanistan. And that would be a huge victory for them.
ZAHN: Richard, please stand by, because we now have Anderson Cooper up out of Afghanistan, who arrived in that country shortly after that bombing.
Anderson, bring us up to date on the investigation and what we have learned about that bombing.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Well, what -- intelligence sources I talked to today said that they knew that there was a vehicle in Kabul trying to attempt a suicide attack. They did not know what the vehicle looked like. They didn't have a license plate. So, they weren't able to actually stop it before it did commit its -- its deadly act this morning.
Around 10:30, a vehicle laden with explosives slammed into a three-vehicle U.S. military convoy, very close to the U.S. Embassy here. It was a brazen attack. Two U.S. soldiers were killed. One was wounded.
And, of course, as often happens in these attacks, it was Afghan civilians who paid the biggest price. Ten Afghans were killed, according to Afghan government officials. As many as 27 were wounded.
I mean, the -- Paula, when I went to the scene, about an hour or so after the blast, there were bits of -- of human flesh everywhere in the street, pieces of car. The actual suicide vehicle was just a -- a piece of scrap metal. The -- the force of the blast was extraordinarily large. It could be heard in -- in -- or, really, all throughout Kabul, according to sources.
It is, as you said, sort of a -- a trend here. There have been some 70 suicide attacks this year alone. That's a major uptick, just two in the last week alone in Kabul. And intelligence sources I talked to today said also a sign of the increasing adoption of al Qaeda-like tactics by the Taliban and by their supporters. They have seen what -- what is working in Iraq. And, increasingly, they are using IEDs and suicide devices here -- Paula.
ZAHN: Anderson, I want to bring Richard back into the discussion here, because, Richard, that you are even less likely to make the distinction today between the Taliban and al Qaeda, because their mission is so merged.
MINITER: Their mission is merged. In this particular theater, we see certain units that are commanded by former al Qaeda under Taliban. We see Taliban leading former al Qaeda as well.
I think they have gotten practical and are attempting to focus on what works for them. You look at the Helmand Province, where -- which was very quiet for a long time. It is a British-run province the south. We now see a resurgence of the Taliban under al Qaeda command, whereas, in the Kunar Province, in the east, we see Taliban fighting under -- sorry -- al Qaeda fighting under Taliban leadership, again, two provinces that were relatively quiet that are now the scenes of intense conflict.
ZAHN: And, Anderson, today, we had NATO's top commander asking for 2,000 additional troops in the -- in the region, in Afghanistan, in addition to the 19,000 that are already there. What is the expectation? Will this do anything to stop this new wave of violence?
COOPER: Well, certainly, they feel, by bringing in more troops, it's really the -- the only solution that they have.
I can tell, you intelligence sources I have talked to today are dismayed that Pakistan has now signed essentially a truce with Taliban militants in -- in north Waziristan. They had already signed a cease- fire in south Waziristan. And the intelligence sources I talked to today said that, after Pakistan did that in south Waziristan, which is right along that border, they saw an uptick in attacks inside Afghanistan.
So, you saw Nic Robertson's report, where the Pakistan -- Pakistani military is saying, well, look, we still have these outposts. We can still stop people coming across the border. Intelligence sources I talked to today said, that is simply not the case, that, essentially, they feel that there is no one now really searching for Taliban leaders inside these border regions.
And -- and they question whether there are even people really searching for Osama bin Laden anymore. In fact, intelligence sources I talked to today said they know for a fact that the leader of al Qaeda, Mullah Omar, that blind cleric, Paula, who you know disappeared -- excuse me -- the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, who disappeared back in 2001, they say, intelligence sources today said, he's living in Quetta, in Pakistan, or in the surrounding areas.
They know it. And they said the Pakistanis know it as well.
ZAHN: And, Richard, the -- the consequences of -- of that are huge.
Just a final thought on the fact that Pakistan has cut this deal with the Taliban and what this means, ultimately, to potentially capturing or killing Osama bin Laden?
MINITER: Well, it's not entirely unexpected. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that, if you were to capture bin Laden, Zawahri, the number two in al Qaeda, or Mullah Omar, you would probably find them in a cafe in Quetta. He said that more than a year ago.
The -- the ability to use these safe havens in Pakistan has been a real lifeline to the Taliban and al Qaeda, and essentially makes the war in Afghanistan unwinnable, unless Musharraf is willing to take great political risks to allow U.S. or allied forces into those border regions and take dramatic action. And that just doesn't look likely.
ZAHN: Richard Miniter, Anderson Cooper, thank you both. Glad to have both of your perspectives there.
There is breaking news now that we need to move on to tonight in our top crime story coverage. CNN has just confirmed that, within the last 15 minutes, most wanted fugitive Ralph "Buck" Phillips was taken into custody. He was just added to that list. No shots were fired. Authorities had been closing in on him since he was spotted this morning.
Deborah Feyerick joins me on the phone, who has been following this case closely.
Deborah, what do you got?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, I can tell you that a source close to the investigation now confirms that, in fact, Buck Phillips was taken into custody just a few moments ago. He was spotted by members of the fugitive task force, the U.S. Marshals Service..
And then a SWAT team came in. No shots were fired. They had surrounded the perimeter, Paula, all afternoon, hoping to flush him out. They did that. We now are being told that he is in custody in Upstate New York -- Paula.
ZAHN: And joining us on the phone from Upstate New York, our colleague Allan Chernoff, who has also been traveling with investigators, as they have been searching for Buck.
What have you been told by investigators there? ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, we understand that (AUDIO GAP) just across the (AUDIO GAP) and so fortunate for police.
As you know, he has been evading the authorities for more than five months, Mr. Phillips has. And the (AUDIO GAP) State Police told me only 20 minutes (AUDIO GAP) at nightfall, and, in fact, the (AUDIO GAP) nightfall. They were planning to pull out (AUDIO GAP) two- square-mile perimeter. And on the perimeter (AUDIO GAP)
ZAHN: All right. You have heard that connection get progressively worse.
Let's go back to Deborah Feyerick.
We're going to try to get Allan's call redialed in here.
In the meantime, what is this most wanted fugitive accused of doing?
FEYERICK: He's accused of avoiding prosecution. He escaped. And, while he was on the run, he shot and killed a New York State Trooper. He also injured two other troopers. So, he will be charged, most likely, with murder and attempted murder.
But, right now, he is in custody. As Allan mentioned, that they -- they formed a huge perimeter all afternoon. You can see some of the shots there, a multi-agency effort. He was lying low. He's a very skilled woodsman, Paula. And, so, they really were worried that perhaps, as night fell, he might try to slip out of the perimeter.
They were equipped with night-vision goggles, things that they could use, in the event -- in the event that -- that he did try to make a run for it. But it does appear right now that he is in custody. A SWAT team moved in. No shots were fired. It's unclear whether he surrendered or whether, in fact, they gave chase. But, right now, we are told that he is safely in custody.
ZAHN: Deborah Feyerick, thanks so much.
I know one of the things Allan Chernoff was going to try to explain was, it appears that cops got some pretty lucky breaks here, in that the search began for this man at 2:00 this morning, when, apparently, a sheriff's deputy was pursuing a car believed to have been stolen. That car ended up crashing into a tree. And then the man inside fled.
And, then, 25 minutes later, there was a report of another stolen car. And then, as troopers chased that vehicle, the car crossed into New York, where the driver then jumped out of that car and fled into a wooded area, hence, leading to this search and this capture we are talking about tonight.
We understand there will be a news conference held some time within the hour. And, if and when that happens, we will bring it to you live. In the meantime, we're going to move on now, more top stories we're following tonight, including the latest twist in the controversial 9/11 TV movie that is causing so much outrage, even before it's aired.
ZAHN (voice-over): The battle over ABC's "Path to 9/11" -- just how far can it bend the truth? We will explore the limits for TV docudramas.
And does anyone but the government have a right to your tax records? For the first time, the IRS turns to private tax collectors to round up cash from tax cheats. Is that a threat to your privacy? And is the door now wide open for corruption?
All that and more just ahead.
ZAHN: Still ahead: more on the breaking news in tonight's "Top Story" in crime, the capture just minutes ago of a man who had been on the FBI's most wanted list for less than a day. He's accused of killing one cop, wounding two more.
There will be a news conference, we're told, maybe some time within the hour. And, if and when it happens, we will take it live.
Our "Top Story" in the war on terror tonight: ABC says its controversial docudrama about 9/11 has still not been through its final edit, and a report in "The Washington Port" that the network has made changes, following outrage from former Clinton administration officials.
Among other complaints, they say the movie gets it wrong by showing them missing a golden opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. The controversy over "The Path to 9/11" raises some very serious questions about the limits for TV docudramas.
Joining me now, media critic and radio talk show host Michael Medved, "Washington Post" media critic Howard Kurtz, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES," and non-critic Carl Sferrazza Anthony, presidential historian, co-producer of "The Reagans" docudrama that CBS actually pulled in 2003, under pression from -- pressure, that is, from Reagan supporters.
Good to have all three of you with us.
So, Carl, do you think it is irresponsible for the producers of this film to put information on that blatantly contradicts the conclusions of 9/11 Commission, wholesale make makes up scenes, and takes tremendous dramatic liberties with -- with a piece of history that is central to us all? CARL SFERRAZZA ANTHONY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes, I do think it's irresponsible. But, no, I don't think they're to be -- we're to expect more of them.
I think it -- it comes down to a simple reality that nobody wants to face on the right wing, left wing, anyone. Good history does not always make good drama. And good drama is not always a reflection of accurate, real history. And you just have to go to Shakespeare and -- and "Richard III," his play, and then look at Richard III, the real person, and you see that this has been going on for a very long time.
ZAHN: You have already got people out there, Howard, saying that ABC has bowed to some of this political pressure. They're still editing this. Some of these key scenes that some of these Democrats had objections to may be nuked altogether.
At the end of the day, where do you think this ends up?
HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it ends up on the air with a big Nielsen number, Paula.
There is a fierce pressure campaign mounted by the Clinton team and Democrats to get some of this admittedly inaccurate dialogue and events changed. And ABC, in 72 hours, has gone from saying, this is a historically accurate film, with a few things that are kind of embellished or made up, to frantically trying to make some last-minute changes to some these disputed scenes, because it's in an embarrassing position of not being able to defend such things as Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright saying things and doing things that the record shows they did not say and do.
ZAHN: Do you, Michael Medved, think ABC is caving to pressure, and they should have left it the way maybe it was 48 hours ago?
MICHAEL MEDVED, FILM CRITIC: I -- I think making minor adjustments is going to be just fine.
What -- what concerns me is the organized campaign by the Democratic Party, Democratic National Committee, to yank -- that's their term -- that is, to censor, to eliminate the opportunity for people to see this thing.
I have seen it, unlike many of the people who are complaining about it. And there is -- 99.5 percent of the running time of this particular miniseries is not controversial. It is also not an attack on the Clinton administration. People have not seen this thing. It is very harsh on the Bush administration. And I think most Americans who remember that we were asleep for...
ZAHN: Wait. Hang on -- hang on a minute, though. Michael, how can you say this is not an attack on the Clinton administration, when there's a scene that -- that is made up that makes it appear as though the national security adviser let Osama bin Laden get away, when they had a chance to nab him?
MEDVED: OK, this was dramatic license. And I spoke today on my radio show to Cyrus Nowrasteh, who is the writer and producer on this thing.
And it -- it is admittedly dramatic license, as Carl was saying. It compressed some events. But the 9/11 Commission concluded that there were CIA attempts to try to get Osama bin Laden, and they were eventually called off.
And, by the way, the scene itself, which I have seen, does not give all the blame to Sandy Berger, by any means. It shows George Tenet of the CIA involved on calling off that attempt, as he was.
The point is that everyone agrees, it would seem to me, that we -- we went through -- this -- this miniseries began in '93 with the first World Trade Center attack.
MEDVED: And it follows eight years. During those eight years under Clinton, and the eight months under Bush, which are also highlighted in the miniseries, we, as a nation, Republicans and Democrats, everybody, were asleep.
I don't understand why people won't accept the fact that there's a lot of blame to go around.
KURTZ: That's a perfectly fair debate, Paula. But what Michael kind of casually dismisses as dramatic license is, in fact, a made-up scene. And, you know...
SFERRAZZA ANTHONY: But -- but, you know, drama -- drama requires that. I mean, if you...
SFERRAZZA ANTHONY: ... if you're ending a segment where something happened on a Monday, and then you go to a commercial break, and then you start the next segment with something that happened two years later, you can't, you know...
KURTZ: This scene -- this scene says that -- this scene says that CIA people were in Afghanistan and had bin Laden in their sights. That's complete fiction.
And no amount of explanation by ABC is going to change that. And millions of people watching this, who maybe don't see the disclaimer, are going to think they are watching history in the making. That's the problem.
SFERRAZZA ANTHONY: That's the issue right there, Howard, that you touched on. They're going to think that.
Now, people need to realize that, you know, they either know and learn what the reality is through the news, or they sit back and get entertained by drama. A documentary -- and, by the way, this term "docudrama" I don't think is very accurate. It's simply drama. But a documentary has to be responsible with the facts. When the LBJ people protested the History Channel doing something on the Kennedy assassination, they were right in asking that to be yanked. But this notion of -- of drama, you know, ABC's purposes are not to record accurate history.
ZAHN: Well, it will be interesting to see whether Michael's prediction is true, and this is going to be a huge number in the Nielsen's. I guess we will have to wait to see until Monday night, when the numbers are added up.
Michael Medved, Howard Kurtz, Carl Sferrazza Anthony, appreciate all three of you joining us tonight.
Once again, ABC saying that they make it very clear in their disclaimer that what people are watching is not based totally on the 9/11 Commission, but in part, and also making it clear that some aspects of the story are fictionalized.
I guess you get be the judge on Sunday and Monday night. We are going to ask you to stay with us for an update on tonight's breaking news on our top crime story, the capture of a man, only one day after he made the FBI's most wanted list.
ZAHN: Our "Top Story" now moves on to politics.
A surprise on Capitol Hill tonight throws some gasoline on the political fire over the war in Iraq. Two brand-new reports just out today from the Senate Intelligence Committee conclude that the pre-war intelligence about Saddam Hussein's quest for weapons of mass destruction and reports of his ties to al Qaeda were completely wrong.
Now, if you think the political shouting match will end after November's congressional elections, think again. The end of 2006 is only the beginning of the 2008 presidential campaign.
And here's our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, with more.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the end, the '06 election will be the beginning.
DICK GEPHARDT, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, it's kind of the -- the starting gun going over off for '08. And, so, everyone that has been looking at it, thinking about it, perusing it, has to make a decision almost the day or the week after '06.
CROWLEY: Attention, presidential candidates. The days of playing coy are dwindling down to a precious few. This man knows where of he speaks. Less than six weeks after the last midterm election, Dick Gephardt was off and running for president. After all, there was only two years left. GEPHARDT: If you're not in the mix, you can get far behind, just like a foot race, because the early runners will get way out ahead, have the infrastructure in place, the relationships, everything that you need to run a presidential race.
CROWLEY: But '06 is more than a launchpad for wannabes. It's a road map, bread crumbs from voters marking a path to the White House.
JACKIE KOSZCZUK, "CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY": John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and all those prominent Democrats so situated in the Senate to be even contemplating presidential runs have to be looking at the results of '06 to hear, what are people trying to tell us on the -- on the war?
CROWLEY: Right now, the latest poll from CNN and Opinion Research Corporation shows, 41 percent of Democrats will not support a candidate who voted for the Iraq war.
Since that eliminates nearly every Democrat ogling the White House, expect '06 to force some Democrats into what is known in the trade as repositioning.
KOSZCZUK: Two years is a long time to be able to say, yes, I supported the president then, but now I see, and, you know, I -- I have got this vision for getting us out of this -- this situation in Iraq.
CROWLEY: Even the makeup of Congress will play into the '08 race. Even though Americans say they prefer Democratic candidates over Republicans, 70 percent expect a Democratic Congress and a Republican president would create stalemate. And mostly, they're right.
DICK GEPHARDT, FORMER HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: Holding one house, or even two houses, when the president's of the other party really is not a prescription for an elaborate or an energetic legislative program.
CROWLEY: Divided government is no way to make law, but it's a great petri dish for campaigns. Look for the 10 to 12 lawmakers thinking about running for president to begin launching trial balloons from the Senate floor, testing out campaign agendas before taking it on the road.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
ZAHN: All right, if you want to mark your calendars, the 2008 Iowa caucuses are tentatively scheduled for January 14th -- yes, that's right. With the New Hampshire primary not too far behind on January 22nd.
We want to show you some pictures that have just been fed into us. Our breaking news crime story tonight that New York state police have captured escaped convict who is suspected in the killing of one state trooper and in the wounding of two others. You can see in the back of the squad car, Ralph "Bucky" Phillips. Before that, he had walked out with his hands up, ending what turns out to be the state's largest manhunt for the 44-year-old career thief who broke out of a Buffalo-area jail back in April.
Again, he's in custody tonight after being just added to the FBI most wanted list yesterday.
Allan Chernoff is in upstate New York. He's been tracking this investigation and search very carefully. He will join us when we return from our break. Please stay with us.
ZAHN: We're going to update some breaking news in our top story in crime tonight. Just minutes ago, New York state police captured a fugitive who was on the FBI top 10 wanted list for killing a state trooper and wounding two more. Ralph "Buck" Phillips had eluded SWAT teams, local and national police, and U.S. marshals along the New York-Pennsylvania state line for days. Our Allan Chernoff now joins us from Carroll, New York, with the very latest on this breaking story.
So it took, what, some 25 SWAT officers, 12 dogs, the stealing -- apparent stealing of two cars to finally lead to his arrest tonight. Take us back to when the cops got their real first break.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, actually, Paula, it started all about 2:00 this morning, when police in Pennsylvania were chasing a stolen car. That car actually crashed into a tree. The suspect ran out. About 20, 30 minutes later, he stole another car. And then, as that car was moving, he jumped out, and the police chased.
Later that morning -- later this morning, in fact -- one canine team chased Mr. Phillips into the area right behind me, about a mile behind me, and actually fired at him but missed. But they did corner him in a cornfield, and within the past hour actually did capture Ralph Buck Phillips, after chasing Mr. Phillips for more than five months. So that really adds to the drama here, the fact that it's taken so long and also that this happened just before nightfall, because the superintendent of New York state police told me just an hour ago that he planned to pull his men back when it became dark here because they felt it was simply too dangerous to continue hunting for Mr. Phillips.
So the police officers right behind me, they are so pleased. We've heard lots of yelping over the past half hour or so as news has spread of the capture -- Paula.
ZAHN: It's surprising to hear -- well, maybe not so surprising given the danger if they had pulled back, some of the SWAT teams from the area, they didn't seem to be surprised at all that this guy was so capable of eluding them. He was really very good at this, wasn't he?
CHERNOFF: Not only at eluding the police here, but of course of escaping out of the county prison. He used a can opener, if you can believe it, a large can opener. And also some cans as well, sharp metal cans, and he actually dug through the roof above the kitchen of the prison.
That's one reason that Buck Phillips really spread -- his legend spread so much in this area. Some people just thought it was simply so funny that he was able to break out of the jail in such a fashion. But of course after the shooting of the police officer, this was no laughing matter whatsoever.
ZAHN: And remind us once again what led to the killing of one police officer and the wounding of two others.
CHERNOFF: Right, well, this all happened during the chasing of Buck Phillips. One officer was shot, wounded in June. And then, a couple of weeks ago, two officers were shot, one of whom actually died two Sundays ago and the other remains now in critical condition.
ZAHN: It makes you wonder, with this guy just getting his name on the FBI's most wanted list, how that might have sped up this whole process. Did it make much of a difference? After all, his name just went up on the list last night.
CHERNOFF: Right, I can tell you, though, for certainly the past week, the search has been very intense. Ever since those two officers were shot, there have been dozens and dozens of officers swarming around this entire area, not only from the New York and the Pennsylvania state police but also from all the major municipalities, from the FBI, other federal authorities as well. There have been just dozens and dozens of officers. Nearly 200 officers per shift chasing Mr. Phillips.
ZAHN: We were told to expect a news conference maybe within this hour. Any update on that?
CHERNOFF: And actually, Paula, looks like it's about to begin shortly right here.
ZAHN: We will listen in. Thanks, Allan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If everyone would just remain here, the superintendent of New York state police will be addressing you shortly. I will confirm we have one in custody. All other information will be forthcoming from the superintendent. He will be here shortly. He's en route from Pennsylvania.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Superintendent will be addressing you shortly.
QUESTION: How relieved are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very.
Thank you. ZAHN: Allan, I have got to tell you, that's probably one of the swiftest preludes to a news conference I have seen. But it is a certainty that they've got their man tonight, isn't it?
CHERNOFF: They are quite certain of it, yes. And they do believe that in fact, it did occur just over the state line in Pennsylvania. So the superintendent, the head of all New York state police, actually went over the border very close to here and he'll be coming back. In fact, he held a briefing only an hour and a half ago. So this certainly is exactly what he could have been hoping for.
ZAHN: This picture tonight of Buck Phillips in the back of this police vehicle says it all. As well as, Allan, as what you described when you heard the spontaneous outbreak of applause when the crowds knew that the authorities had nabbed him. These folks watching this case were very angry that this man is accused of killing a cop and wounding two others. A final thought?
CHERNOFF: Certainly there's been a lot of anger about that. Prior to the shooting of the police, it was a little bit of a joke among some people, particularly in some of the Native American reservations -- Mr. Phillips is part Native American -- and there had been t-shirts saying, "Run Bucky, run." And even Bucky Burgers to go at one restaurant, but that's long past, of course, because it has been such a serious matter, Paula.
ZAHN: Bucky is not going to be doing any running anytime soon. Allan, I know you'll keep your ear tuned to the news conference when it gets under way. The man in charge of the investigation on his way to that news conference site. Once again, a vacancy now on the FBI's most-wanted list. Buck Phillips' name was put on that yesterday. I think that's the swiftest I have ever seen a name removed from that list.
Tonight's top consumer story involves one of the government's least popular agencies. Coming up next, if the IRS starts outsourcing some of its work, could it also be creating a new identity theft crisis? And are you at risk of having your identity stolen?
And a little bit later on, a very personal remembrance that brings home the enormous loss our entire nation will be commemorating on Monday.
ZAHN: Tonight our top consumer story this week. For very first time, private bill collectors are knocking on doors to collect federal taxes. Yes, collection agencies are now doing some of the work for the IRS. Now, this has privacy advocates absolutely outraged, screaming about the possibility of identity theft, and the union for IRS workers isn't happy about this either. Gerri Willis has the details tonight on this controversial program.
GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The next time a bill collector calls, it may not be just any collector calling, it could be from the tax man. But not a tax man from the IRS, a hired hand from a private company. That's because the IRS has a controversial new program that will outsource the job of tax collection to three private collection agencies, a move they say to make the most of limited staffing resources and to force tax cheats to pay up.
Here's what will happen. These three companies will take the private financial records provided by the IRS and divide up calls to more than 12,000 low- to middle-income Americans.
But privatizing tax collections means, in addition to the personal information collection agencies normally get -- Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth -- now salary and tax withholding information of thousands of Americans will be in the hands of private companies and the people who work for them. But in an age of identity theft, that has privacy advocates alarmed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very concerned. In this year of the security breach, that dumping taxpayer records over to debt collectors is going to lead to more security breaches.
LINDA STIFF, IRS: The IRS has taken every measure. We've taken every step. We've gone above and beyond to mitigate any concerns with the privacy or security of the data, the systems, the people or the procedures that the private collection agencies will be using.
WILLIS: Why would private companies want to be in the unsavory business of tax collection? The answer's simple -- profit. The firms will get a bounty, up to 24 percent of everything they collect.
COLLEEN KELLEY, NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION: If these private collection agencies collect zero dollars, they will earn zero dollars. So there has to be a collection made, and that is going to invite, very inappropriate, I believe, and overly aggressive collection tactics that you would not seen being done by IRS employees.
WILLIS: While the collection agencies may cash in, Congressman Steven Rothman says taxpayers stand to lose out.
REP. STEVEN ROTHMAN (D), NEW JERSEY: Reality is, don't waste the taxpayers' money by privatizing this. Let the IRS handle it. The work can be done cheaper, without the privacy concerns, by the IRS.
WILLIS: There's something else. Two of the three collection agencies chosen have had problems with the law. At Pioneer, the company settled a civil case involving unethical collection practices for student loans in 2004. At Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, a partner there pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2004 in connection with a bribery scheme to win a collection contract. The firm says it was an isolated incident, and they, quote, "took extensive measures to make sure that such activity never occurs again." And added, quote, "privacy protection is our highest priority."
The other two agencies hired by the IRS did not respond to CNN's inquiries. The IRS stands by its selections.
STIFF: Those actions, I believe, have been resolved through legal proceedings. The people that were involved in the wrongdoing or the bad acts are no longer a part of those companies
WILLIS: The bottom line is that under the new program, the next time the tax man calls, it may not be Uncle Sam on the line.
ZAHN: Gerri, you were talking about how it seems to be low- and middle-income Americans that are being targeted here. So who is the most likely to get one of these calls?
WILLIS: People who owe less than $25,000 and haven't disputed. They will get the call, because those are the people that's hardest for the IRS to track.
But get this, the IRS recently laid off about half of the staff that it had assigned to targeting wealthy tax cheats. So you get the whole picture here. They're going after people with very small debts, but at same time, if you have a big debt, you will be less likely to be caught because there are fewer cops.
ZAHN: It doesn't make any sense at all. Now if you get one of these calls, do you have to respond? Do you have any obligation to take it?
WILLIS: You have to respond. But what you can do if you don't to work with one of these debt collectors -- and who would -- is write the IRS directly and say, please, do this yourself. I don't want to work with the debt collector. They have to honor that request.
ZAHN: Gerri Willis, thanks so much. Appreciate you spending part of your Friday night with us.
Next Monday, of course, is September 11th, and everybody knows what one of that day's top stories will be. Coming up, a man whose twin brother was on one of those hijacked planes. He'll share his thoughts about how he has found the strength to carry on despite his enormous loss.
Then coming up at the top of the hour on LARRY KING LIVE, a 9/11 woman who was attacked by conservative columnist Ann Coulter fires back in her first prime-time interview.
ZAHN: We want to take a look ahead to our top story on Monday, the fifth anniversary of 9/11, barely 60 hours away tonight. CNN will have special coverage of the anniversary and the remembrances all day long. I will be reporting from Ground Zero, not far from where I was five years ago on my very first day of work here for this network. And you will be able to go online on Monday and see all of CNN's original coverage of the attacks, uncut, and unedited, as it happened. That's on CNN's Pipeline, starting at 8:30 a.m. Eastern and you can log onto CNN.com to watch that.
Now tonight with the anniversary in mind, we have a story that's a reminder for all of us, that while five years may seem like a very long time, for anyone who lost a loved one, it really only seems like yesterday. Here's Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were literally mirror images of each either. Mike Bavis and his twin brother Mark look so much alike at times only their clothing distinguished them. The two shared that special bond identical twins often talk about.
MIKE BAVIS, LOST IDENTICAL TWIN ON 9/11: We were very close. We spent so much of our time together, being in sports and really always together.
CARROLL: They grew up in Boston in a large, loving, Irish Catholic family, went to the same schools, played on the same hockey teams, even in College.
JACK PARKER, BOSTON UNIV. HOCKEY COACH: They did everything together. When we were recruiting them, there was a question of whether we were going to take both of them or we were only going to take one. There was no way they were going to split up and go to different schools.
BAVIS: We played together quite a bit. We were very lucky.
CARROLL: In 2001, Mark Bavis was working as a hockey scout for the Los Angeles Kings. On September 11, he boarded United Airlines flight 175 in Boston. His life and the lives of 64 others cut short when the plane hit the World Trade Center.
BAVIS: I got two children and my brother was a big part of all of my nieces' and nephews' lives. So I think that, you know, I look at that, and I know they have missed that. And that's tough.
CARROLL: For the first time since his brother's death, Bavis has agreed to talk publicly, motivated by anger over what he sees as preventable gaps in airline security and concern that Mark's death might have been in vain.
BAVIS: In my brothers eulogy encourages people to get back on planes. You know if I had known then what I know now, I don't know if I could make that statement.
CARROLL: Today Bavis is especially critical of the Transportation Security Administrations or TSA. He says they are withholding key documents relating to the 9/11 hijackings and are not open enough about their current security procedures.
BAVIS: I don't think being secretive, in terms of the performance, in terms of the job they're doing, is good for the American public. And I think if the American public knew before 9/11 that there was a threat, we would have been much better prepared to act when those people entered the planes. What we don't know is bad for national security.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear bag.
CARROLL: The TSA says they provided information about their security operation to 9/11 families who requested it, redacting only the minimum necessary to continue to protect our aviation system. Bavis said that's not enough. He says there needs to be more federal oversight of the TSA and he's urging people to lean on their lawmakers.
BAVIS: Wherever you might be, red state or blue state, if you can't get engaged to learn more about what's happened since 9/11, then we're destined to have another terrorist act.
Get over, get over, get over.
CARROLL: Bavis now coaches hockey at his alma matter, Boston University. The ice is where he has some his fondest memories of his brother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bavis, backhand goal with one second left.
CARROLL: In the school's arena, an image, memorializing Mark shooting a championship goal.
(on camera): Is it OK for you to look at things like this.
BAVIS: Yes. I think that some are probably harder than others. I think that if you asked anybody in my family, we all have times that we feel like he's right there with us.
CARROLL: Jason Carol, CNN, Boston.
ZAHN: And Mike and his family have set up a college scholarship fund for the needy in Mark's name and you can go to www.MarkBavisLeadershipFoundation.org for more information.
And just a quick reminder of CNN's special coverage all day long on Monday, once again, I will be reporting from Ground Zero and you can watch the original uncut CNN coverage of 9/11, starting at 8:30 on Pipeline on CNN.com.
Still ahead, an update on the breaking news tonight, the capture of fugitive Ralph Buck Phillips, suspected of killing a New York state police officer and wounding two others. Please stay with us.
ZAHN: I wanted to recap this hour's breaking news and top crime story before you head off into the weekend. Authorities have captured top ten fugitive Ralph Buck Phillips. An all day man hunt along the border between New York and Pennsylvania wrapped up just about an hour ago when Phillips finally gave up. He is a prison escapee wanted for the shootings of three New York State troopers, one of whom died. It was a wild search with a lot of SWAT team action and dogs, an elusive guy, but authorities thinking they have nabbed their man tonight.
That wraps it up for all of us tonight. Once again, I will be joining you live from Ground Zero on Monday, September 11th. Thank you for joining us tonight. We hope you will join us next week as well.
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