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Did Justice Department OK Torture Behind the Backs of Congress?; National Guard Troops Denied a Key Benefit

Aired October 4, 2007 - 17:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, secret memos, signing off on torture.

Did the Justice Department go behind the backs of Congress and the courts to OK controversial interrogation techniques?

I'll ask the president's homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, about that.

Also, they served their country in Iraq. Now more than a thousand National Guard troops say they're being denied a key benefit they were promised.

And a senior Republican senator expected to announce his retirement one hour from now. We're going to have details of the brain condition he's suffering and why some say he should step down now.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Reports of secret Justice Department memos approving controversial interrogation methods some say are nothing less than torture. News of those memos has controversy swirling once again around the Bush administration's policy on torture and interrogation.

Our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, is standing by live.

She's watching this story for us.

What are we learning about these secret memos -- Kelli?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we've learned that the administration secretly OKed much harsher tactics than it was owning up to.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ARENA (voice-over): The torture debate once again busted wide open.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The policy of the United States is not to torture. The president has not authorized it. He will not authorize it.

ARENA: That's been the White House public stance for years. But behind closed doors, critics say the administration was pushing the legal limits.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), DEMOCRATIC WHIP: I'm troubled. I'm troubled by the fact we're told one thing by this administration and then learn something else is happening.

ARENA: Sources confirm to CNN that in 2005 the Justice Department issued at least two secret legal opinions. The "New York Times" reports one advised harsh interrogation techniques could be used in combination, like exposing detainees to freezing temperatures while withholding food to help break them.

To many outside the administration, that sounds a lot like torture.

TOM MALINOWSKI, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: There is no controversy outside of a couple offices in the Justice Department and the vice president's office that these techniques are torture.

ARENA: The secret opinions were written just after Alberto Gonzales became attorney general. Publicly, the Justice Department was backing away from harsher tactics and Congress was passing a law prohibiting them.

MALINOWSKI: What these opinions show is that the Justice Department was still trying to authorize the use of torture, even when Republicans and Democrats in Congress, led by Senator McCain, were trying to outlaw it once and for all.

ARENA: The Justice Department says it cannot comment on any classified legal advice it provided. The CIA will only say its interrogation program produced vital information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The intelligence they've produced is absolutely irreplaceable.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ARENA: Now, officials say that the opinions remain in effect. But as a matter of practice, sources familiar with the CIA's program say that some of the harshest interrogation techniques are no longer being used -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Kelli, thanks very much for that.

Let's continue to follow this story. In addition to some moral concerns over the use of torture, there are fundamental questions about its effectiveness.

Will the victims say simply anything to stop the pain?

Our CNN International security correspondent, Paula Newton, is standing by in London. She's been watching this story for us.

And you've been speaking to some who have been tortured in the past.

What are you picking up -- Paula?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's their claim, that they have been tortured. And here in London, Wolf, at least one former detainee tells us he's living proof that the U.S. does have a secret policy on torture.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

NEWTON (voice-over): Moazzam Begg says it doesn't take a secret memo to tell him something that he remembers so individually.

MOAZZAM BEGG, FORMER DETAINEE: I was beaten, shackled, spat at, kicked, punched, stripped naked, left in isolation, sometimes naked, hog tied.

NEWTON: As a British detainee in Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bay, Begg claims his American interrogators used the most brutal of techniques over and over to get him to confess to being an Al Qaeda operative -- something he says he finally did, not because it was true, but to escape torture.

BEGG: I signed a confession because I was terrified of being executed. I was terrified of being held there for decades on end.

NEWTON: CNN contacted the Pentagon for a response to Begg's allegations. No response yet, though in the past, U.S. officials have consistently maintained Begg was a dangerous Al Qaeda sympathizer.

After negotiations with the British government, the U.S. released Begg in 2005 and he has been a free man ever since. Among those who worked for his release, there is a feeling the U.S. has undermined its own founding principles.

CLIVE STAFFORD SMITH, ATTORNEY, "REPRIEVE": Our leaders have been so profoundly hypocritical and they stand up and say we're for human rights, we're for decency and they do the opposite.

NEWTON: At stake, not just the moral high ground, but good intelligence that is supposed to save lives. Begg says he told his interrogators what they wanted to hear, whether it was true or not. And some security experts warn that is the Achilles' heel of the torture argument.

KAREN GREENBERG, CENTER ON LAW AND SECURITY: Once you start pushing somebody and poking somebody, where do you stop?

So I would say that good old-fashioned interrogation will get us good old-fashioned results.

(END VIDEO TAPE) NEWTON: Now, the problem here, Begg says, is that those kind of results just weren't good enough for the interrogators he was faced with. He says again and again they pressured him to back up what he considered that was bad or even naive intelligence. And he did it just to get the pain to stop -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Paula Newton watching this story for us.

Thank you, Paula, very much.

Let's get some more now on these allegations that secret torture was used.

We're joined by the White House homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend.

She's joining us from the White House.

You just heard this former inmate -- this former detainee at Guantanamo Bay say I was beaten, shackled, spat at, kicked, punched, stripped naked, left in isolation sometimes naked, hog tied.

What do you say to that charge that he's making?

In effect, experts say, that amounts torture.

FRAN TOWNSEND, WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: OK. Well, let's back up and be very clear. You've heard Dana Perino say it today. You heard the president say it numerous times -- the United States does not torture.

Do we have a program?

Yes, we do. It is -- it is very limited. There have been fewer than 100 people in it. But it has pro -- and the people who participate in that program are carefully trained, with more than 250 hours of training. The average age of an interrogator is 43. They're not just interrogators who are part of the team. There are also subject matter experts and individuals who are there to monitor the health and psychological well-being of the detainee himself.

We start with the har -- the least harsh measures first. It stops after it -- if someone becomes cooperative.

And let's be clear, Wolf, this -- this is a -- this is a program that was used when Abu Zubaydah was in custody and not being cooperative. He had clearly been trained in resistance techniques to interrogation. This -- this -- and these techniques...

BLITZER: All right, well, let's go through...

TOWNSEND: Well, wait a minute, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes.

TOWNSEND: These techniques were used on Abu Zubaydah. It produced actionable intelligence that resulted in the capture of Ramzi Binalshibh. This is -- this -- these programs stop attacks.

BLITZER: All right, well, let's go through some of the specifics and you tell us if you're doing that.

For example, the "New York Times" says these memos authorized not only slaps to the head, but hours held naked in a frigid cell, days and nights without sleep while battered by thundering rock music, long periods manacled in stress positions or the ultimate -- water boarding. "Never in history," the "Times" says, "has the United States authorized such tactics."

Is that true?

TOWNSEND: Now, Wolf, obviously I'm not going to talk about each individual and specific technique that we used. The director of Central Intelligence has talked to members of both Intelligence Committees in the House and the Senate. He -- what he did was he understood this was not just a legal question, but there was a policy issue and there's a political willingness question.

Frankly, Wolf, if Americans are killed because we fail to do the hard things, the American people would have the absolute right to ask us why.

BLITZER: Well, let me -- let me rephrase the question. Without confirming that you are actually doing those things, but those things, as described in the "New York Times" today, if someone were doing those things, would that be torture?

TOWNSEND: Wolf, we adhere to the -- to the law. And the president has made clear his expectation that we will do that. No one has ever suggested that, say, Miranda or the Army field manual went to the limits that were legally permissible. The constitution does that, which is why we seek legal opinions from the office of legal counsel.

But we don't talk about the specific techniques...

BLITZER: Would it be...

TOWNSEND: ...because we know they train against those techniques that we know we use.

BLITZER: Would it be appropriate if other governments captured Americans and used those techniques against Americans?

TOWNSEND: The fact is, Wolf, these are not people who wear a uniform or represent a state. And, quite frankly, I'm a little bit baffled by this suggestion that somehow if we didn't use harsh interrogation tactics, that somehow if our men and women in uniform were captured, they would be treated that way by Al Qaeda...

BLITZER: But that's what John McCain...

TOWNSEND: They'd still be...

BLITZER: That's what John McCain, who himself was tortured when he was a POW in Vietnam, he says that, if the United States uses these harsh interrogation techniques, then others will be encouraged to follow suit.

TOWNSEND: John McCain was tortured. We do not torture. And the fact is no matter how we treat detainees, Al Qaeda, when they capture our soldiers in uniform, will still torture and behead them.

How we treat detainees is not going affect that.

BLITZER: How many detainees were given these kinds of harsh interrogation techniques?

Are we talking about handful?

Are we talking about dozens, hundreds, thousands?

TOWNSEND: Well, we know from the director of Central Intelligence that fewer than a hun -- there have been fewer than a hundred CIA detainees in any type of program. And less than a third of those have ever had -- used techniques against them.

I will say to you, though, that less than a third produced 8,500 intelligence reports on threat information. We don't even consider putting somebody into this program, the director of CIA doesn't, unless we think one of two things is a factor -- either they have information -- timely information about location of Al Qaeda leadership or they have information about an imminent or a real threat to the United States and our interests.

BLITZER: You heard Paula Newton's report saying that some of these detainees -- some of these people who have faced these kinds of techniques, these harsh interrogation techniques, in the end they'll say anything to simply stop the pain. And, in the end, you really can't buy what they're saying. Some other foreign intelligence services say you know what?

Torture really doesn't work because you're just going to get these guys to say whatever they think you want to hear.

TOWNSEND: We begin, as I said, Wolf, we begin with the least harsh methods first. It has to be -- there has to be an interrogation plan. It has to be approved by senior folks in the CIA. There's got to be reports and monitoring after each interrogation session. And when detainees are cooperative, the interrogation tactic stops and it turns into a debriefing.

BLITZER: All right. We've got to wrap it up.

But are these techniques, whatever they are -- and I know you don't want to describe them -- are they still being used?

TOWNSEND: Wolf, I'm not going to talk about the operational activity of the CIA. I will tell you that when we capture someone who is in a position to have location data on Al Qaeda leadership or information about a relevant threat, we will use the -- we will operate within the limits of the law. BLITZER: Was the "New York Times" story accurate?

TOWNSEND: Look, I'm not going to go through which parts of it were accurate and not. I will tell you, as I've said to you before, I think it is incredibly irresponsible to leak classified information that threatens our national security and the effectiveness of the techniques we do have at our disposal. If we want the men and women of the intelligence community to be successful, we've got to give them the tools they need.

BLITZER: Fran Townsend is the president's homeland security adviser.

Thanks for coming in.

TOWNSEND: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is standing by in New York with The Cafferty File -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Guess who one of our biggest customers for American made weapons is?

Ready?

Iraq.

What are they being used for?

Well, Sunnis and Shias are probably using them to kill each other. But you can also bet that these weapons find their way into the hands of people trying to kill American troops in Iraq.

General David Petraeus told a Senate Committee last month Baghdad has already signed deals to buy $1.6 billions in U.S. arms, with another $1.8 billion in possible purchases set up to happen before the end of this year.

Meanwhile, "The Washington Post" reports today Iraq has ordered $100 million worth of weapons from China for its police force. They say it's because the U.S. was unable to provide this equipment and is too slow to deliver arms shipments.

That's what we need, right -- another $100 million worth of weapons going into a country whose security forces already can't account for more than 190,000 weapons that were supplied by the United States and have simply disappeared.

And even if the Iraqi security forces are the ones who end up getting the guns and the bullets, keep in mind, their police force is well known for being infiltrated by the militias and by the insurgents.

So here's the question -- what does it mean if Iraq has become one of the largest buyers of U.S.-made weapons?

E-mail us at caffertyfile@cnn.com or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Does it bother you, Jack, that Iraq, our ally, that they're going to give China $100 million for weapons that they could buy from U.S. manufacturers, too, but they decided that the Chinese are better, perhaps, at providing these weapons to them?

CAFFERTY: Well, you know, I'm a lot more concerned about what happened to the 190,000 weapons that turned up missing over there and the fact that we're already setting up shop to sell another possibly $3.4 billion worth of stuff to a country and a population that has no security, that has no enforcement of any kind of regulations. Nobody knows where this stuff goes once it's unloaded from the plane. It just seems to vanish into some sort of a black hole. And my concern is that those guns are being used to kill American soldiers. That's -- that's the real problem.

And if American companies are providing arms and that's what they're being used for, well, then, there's something very wrong here.

Isn't there?

BLITZER: All right, Jack.

Stand by.

We're going to be getting back to you shortly.

Up ahead, back from Iraq only to be denied benefits at home. We're going to show you why some National Guard troops are simply outraged.

Plus, a deadly armored car heist. We now know who the victims are. We're going to have the latest on the search for the gunmen.

Stay with us.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: More than a thousand National Guard troops back from a long deployment in Iraq are being denied one of the key benefits that prompted some of them to enlist.

Let's go right to CNN's Brian Todd.

He's watching this story for us.

What are we talking about?

What are the benefits that have been denied to these National Guard troops?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, some of them are only getting a partial G.I. Bill benefit for college, while men in their same unit who served the same amount of time get the whole package. Now, some of these soldiers, who more than did more than their time in combat, feel the Army betrayed them.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

TODD (voice-over): They served longer in a combat zone than any other ground unit in the war, suffered nine fatalities, were awarded dozens of Purple Hearts. But when they got home from Iraq recently, nearly half the members of this Minnesota National Guard unit learned they couldn't get a full package of educational and other benefits under the G.I. Bill.

LT. JON ANDERSON, MINNESOTA NATIONAL GUARD: I really feel disappointed in the Army. You know, I poured my heart and soul into the Army.

TODD: To get the full package, Lieutenant Jon Anderson needed his written orders to say he was deployed for 730 days or more. But Anderson and hundreds of others in his unit fell short by just one to 12 days. As a result, they were shorted more than $200 a month for college. And unlike those who get the full package, their college benefits end when they leave the National Guard.

Anderson says this about Army officials in charge of writing those orders.

ANDERSON: It was set up purposefully to make sure that we did not get the G.I. Bill. It was set up, because why else would you pick 729 days?

TODD: The head of the Minnesota National Guard has written a memo saying, "These soldiers were victims of a significant injustice."

We asked an Army official about Anderson's charge that the Army was just trying to save money.

LT. COL. DARRYL DARDEN, U.S. ARMY: I can't imagine that there would be anybody here, anybody in the organization that would do something to save money when you have soldiers that have gone down range and answered their nation's call.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

TODD: So, how did it happen?

Army officials tell me this goes back to the surge, when Anderson's unit had their orders extended. Now, even though they're all in the same unit, not all of them had gotten their original orders on the same day.

So when they were extended, the Army tried to calculate their orders to make sure they all got home on the same day and the total days simply came out differently -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So how is the Army going to fix this?

TODD: They say they're going to review all the paperwork. They're going to ask these soldiers to apply to have their orders amended.

Bottom line, Army officials say they will help these soldiers get their full benefits, hopefully by the new year.

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting.

Let's hope that happens exactly like that.

Thank you very much.

Right now, by the way, there are some 350,000 men and women in the Army National Guard. During peace time, they're commanded by the governors of their respective states, but the president can take command. When they're not on active duty, National Guard troops usually have one weekend drill a month and two weeks of training once a year. Weekend warriors -- they used to be called that.

Up ahead, two guards shot dead in an armored car robbery. The search for the gunman happening right now.

Plus, recalled items being sold on eBay. Now the online auction giant is cracking down.

Stay with us.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Carol Costello is off today.

Fredricka Whitfield is standing by.

She's monitoring situations incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Fred, what do you have?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we've got lots.

Federal investigators are sounding the alarm about what they say is increasing risk to the public from germ research. Just hours ago, experts from the General Accounting Office told a Congressional subcommittee that some accidents in research labs have been covered up. The investigators say that because no government agency keeps track of the labs, they don't know if those cover-ups are "just the tip of the iceberg."

And the State of Kentucky is suing the manufacturer of the prescription painkiller OxyContin. That drug has been dubbed "hillbilly heroin" by some because of widespread abuse in Appalachia. Now Kentucky's attorney general is demanding millions of dollars in compensation from drug maker Purdue Pharma. The company says OxyContin's packaging warns against the dangers of abusing the drug. In May, the drug maker

Pleaded guilty in another lawsuit to misleading the public about the risks of addiction. And a day after warnings that retailers could face a shortage of toys for the holiday season, another major recall of toys made in China. Just hours ago, federal regulators announced that more than half a million toys were being taken off the shelves because they contain dangerous levels of lead paint. Among the toys involved, Pirates of the Caribbean flashlights and Baby Einstein blocks.

So, Wolf, it looks like we've to go old school again. Maybe kids just have to get used to pots, pans and spoons.

BLITZER: I used to like those old toys.

WHITFIELD: That's the safe stuff.

BLITZER: All right, thanks, Fred, very much.

With the sheer amount of goods recently recalled by the government, eBay has been criticized after recalled items appeared on its Web site. Now the online auction giant is taking some extra precautions to stop these items from being sold.

Let's go right to our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton.

So what is eBay doing -- Abbi?

ABBI TATTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, if a seller is posting a recalled item, eBay is now saying they're going to hear about it. The company this week messaging sellers, warning them that recalled items will be pulled -- could be pulled off the site and that eBay user could have their privileges lost from the site. Now, it is not company policy. It's not the policy of eBay to have these recalled items on the site in the first place. But a study earlier this year showed that some were slipping through.

Here's a toy from Mattel that was recalled earlier this summer and there it is a few weeks later on the site. And three U.S. senators had written to eBay, asking them what they were going to do about it. EBay says the reason for the new policy is the sheer number of recalled items out there right now and a spokesman said today they're not just going after the seller, but also trying to educate the buyer, posting recall lists online so the buyer knows what not to purchase -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Abbi, thank you very much.

Up next, a senior U.S. senator about to announce his retirement because of a degenerative brain condition.

Should he step down now?

Plus, a dark horse Republican presidential candidate takes in a surprisingly big haul in donations. Congressman Ron Paul -- he's standing by live, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, a judge in Minnesota is refusing to allow Republican Senator Larry Craig of Idaho to withdraw his guilty plea stemming from a men's room sex sting. But an about-face -- in an about-face, Craig now says he will not resign -- repeat -- not resign from the Senate. He says he's innocent of the charges and will explore additional legal options.

A military investigator is reportedly recommending the charges against a Marine accused of leading a massacre of Iraqi civilians should be reduced. Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich has been -- had been charged with murdering 17 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha back in 2005. But now his attorney says a lesser charge of negligent homicide is being recommended.

And all 3200 miners who had been trapped in a South African gold mine are now safely above ground. An accident yesterday disabled elevators in the mine. No one was killed or injured during the ordeal. I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the new GOP fundraising numbers, is Congressman Ron Paul of Texas pulling in an impressive $5 million in the third quarter despite polling still only one or two percent nationwide. Congressman Paul is joining us now in THE SITUATION ROOM. Congressman thanks for coming in.

REP. RON PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, nice to be here.

BLITZER: I believe it was $5.1 million over the last three months. You were probably even surprised how well you did.

PAUL: Yeah I'm always surprised of how well we are doing. We keep -- our numbers keep growing, support keeps growing. We get more volunteers and this money coming in was a pleasant surprise, but we were very pleased.

BLITZER: You have a relatively small professional staff, correct me if I'm wrong. Most of your supporters are volunteers.

PAUL: Absolutely. And sometimes we don't even know where they are or where they have come from. They are spontaneous and they do their own organization -- but it is getting bigger. You know to get started we had just two or three or four in a small office. But now we're up to over 30.

BLITZER: Most of your money is coming in from donations online?

PAUL: The larger part of it is coming through the internet which makes it easier.

BLITZER: What do you attribute this $5.1 million? It's just under John McCain, he's a household name, he's been around for a long time. He got about $6 million in the last quarter. Why are you resonating with people out there? Is it because of your opposition to the war in Iraq? PAUL: I think that's part of it. I think it's a couple of things. I think the message, obviously, is popular enough that they say yes, we like the ideas of freedom, the constitution, limited government, less taxes. But I think the other part is people are worried, more so than, I think the politicians on the hill understand. That people are -- worried about their economic future, kids are worried about, you know, social security system. They would like to get out and I give them an option. The young people are certainly worried about the war spreading into Iran. And the fact that we might end up with a draft so all these things resonate and the campus rallies have been huge. They keep getting bigger.

BLITZER: You're really a libertarian. You believe in a smaller, leaner government across the board. Whether on domestic issues or on foreign policy issues?

PAUL: You know that's right, but that goes along with the constitution. So the constitution defends a libertarian position very much.

BLITZER: Let's take a look at the polls. If we take a look at the registered Republicans or those leaning Republicans, you're still down there at only two percent in July, August, September and our so- called poll of polls. Why do you think you're not doing better than that?

PAUL: Well, you know, they said that we were much weaker than they assumed. That they were just a few people out there, there were a couple libertarian experts on the internet spamming. Well it turns out you can't spam. And people who spam can't donate money. So the numbers are out there. Why it doesn't reflect in the polls, I don't know. Maybe sometimes they don't even list my name.

BLITZER: But you're running all the way -- you're not going to drop out or anything if your two percent doesn't go up much higher. You're in this --

PAUL: No, I mean we're in good shape. You know the money we raised, we have more money in the bank than we raised. We have $5.3 million in the bank, so we're in good position and now --

BLITZER: Would you consider if you don't get the Republican nomination running once again as a libertarian, as a third party candidate?

PAUL: I never think about that. I have no intention of doing that. I have done it before.

BLITZER: You've done it before I know that.

PAUL: The system is so biased against a Democratic process of allowing competition. We can't get into the debates. It's hard to get on ballots. And, you know, to me it's sort of ironic that we go around the world spreading democracy by force and there are some democratic shortcomings here in our country. BLITZER: What makes Ron Paul different than Rudy Giuliani? Why should -- he's the front runner right now in these polls for the Republican nomination. What makes you and Rudy Giuliani different?

PAUL: I guess if --

BLITZER: What do you think?

PAUL: I think on every issue. I don't know of any issues that we agree on because his foreign policy is that of an aggressive foreign policy. I don't think he has a deep concern for personal liberties, you know privacy and the things that I want to protect. Civil libertarian that I am. I think economics, he's considered a moderate liberal on economic policy. I don't know which things we agree on to tell you the truth.

BLITZER: Can you say the same thing with the other top tier Republicans like Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney or John McCain?

PAUL: I don't think it would be as strong a statement, but I think to some degree because they have grown accustomed to big government and grown accustomed to compromising the constitution and they - there's certainly a direct disagreement on the foreign policy because I'm from the old --

BLITZER: As far as the war is concerned.

PAUL: Yeah the old right didn't like us to do these things. As a matter of fact President Bush didn't campaign for this.

BLITZER: Would it be fair to call yourself an isolationist?

PAUL: No, it wouldn't be fair at all.

BLITZER: Tell us why? If you want to reduce U.S. involvement around the world

PAUL: An isolationist doesn't like to deal with the world. I am a non interventionist which is quite different. I want to trade with people, I want to talk with people. I want to negotiate with them, I want to travel and communicate. I want to do in Vietnam what we're doing today. You know we trade and they come back and forth, the president comes here. I didn't want the armies to go in there and try and pose our will -- big difference between that and isolation. Isolationists are too much protectionists and then with tax imports and this sort of thing.

BLITZER: Let me rephrase the question about the four or five other top Republicans out there. Who do you feel most comfortable with among those Republicans? In other words, who would you vote for if you didn't get the nomination?

PAUL: Well, that's an unfair question.

BLITZER: If you want to answer it, go ahead. You're a blunt guy, you speak your mind. You have never hesitated in the past to tell us what you think.

PAUL: You know, I don't have one there that agrees with me a whole lot, but I would say I have close friendship with Tom Tancredo. He comes to -- I have a little group in congress called the liberty caucus. He comes there and we visit. We both had lunch together.

BLITZER: Do you agree with him on the illegal immigration issue?

PAUL: Not entirely.

BLITZER: That's his signature issue.

PAUL: That's his big issue. I agree we have major problems and we should do a lot better, but my answers aren't exactly the same as his.

BLITZER: Who would have thought Ron Paul raising $5.1 million in the third quarter. Thanks for coming in.

PAUL: Thank you very much for having me.

BLITZER: Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. He's a Republican presidential candidate.

Police are calling it an assassination. One gunman, three guards, and a brutal attack outside a bank. The latest on an armored car robbery, that's coming up.

Also, more dramatic and poignant images are emerging right now from that inquiry into the tragic death of Princess Diana. We're going to show you those pictures, a lot more. Stick around, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A big day on Capitol Hill here in Washington. First Senator Craig insisting he will not resign and now another Senate Republican about to make an important announcement. New Mexico's Pete Domenici now planning to retire at the end of his term next year because of a degenerative brain condition. Our congressional correspondent Dana Bash is standing by live. Dana, had there been any indication, any signs of this problem that Senator Domenici was facing?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To be honest Wolf, for people who have known Senator Domenici for a while and observed him, it's said that even from those of us who have observed him, it does seem that he has seemed a bit different lately. But I can tell you that if you talk to his office, they insist that as of now, he thinks that he is fully capable and competent to serve. But his problem, Senator Domenici will himself tell the world and especially his constituents in New Mexico in about 20 minutes is that he does have a degenerative neurological disease and his doctor just within the past couple of weeks did a checkup and told him that it was having negative progression. In such a way that perhaps over the next six years, which would be his next term, Senator Domenici felt that he probably could be in a situation where he would be so bad that he would not be able to effectively serve the people of New Mexico. This is really a surprise given the fact that Senator Domenici, sure he has served six terms, 35 years, but he has already been raising money. He had already been making plans to run for re-election. Certainly a surprise and a big blow to Republicans who are tying to figure out how to gain seats in the senate. Now it looks like they're going to potentially continue to lose them. This will be a competitive seat, one that they really had safe in the Republicans' hands.

BLITZER: All right Dana, thanks very much. News of Domenici's condition have some people wondering if he should wait to retire next year or should he simply step down right now. Our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is standing by. You have been speaking to some doctors familiar with this problem he now faces. What are you hearing Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What I'm hearing doctors say, Wolf, is that they say they don't see how the senator can continue with his job.

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COHEN (voice-over): Given the news about Senator Pete Domenici's health, the question is, can he continue to be a U.S. senator? CNN asked four prominent neurologists that question. Experts on frontal temporal lobo degeneration, and they all had the same answer. They said it's difficult to see how Domenici can continue his work for long now that his disease has been diagnosed. Dr. David Nottman at the Mayo Clinton said when patients come to him with this type of dementia quote, "I would encourage them to leave employment. They would be prone to have poor judgment and make mistakes." Another neurologist says he's seen about 500 patients with Domenici's type of dementia and almost all of them have had to quit work. He said, "At times they can shift to a different style of work that doesn't require making big judgments, like being a paperboy."

Frontal temporal lobo degeneration or FTLD, affects the frontal and temporal areas of the brain. Areas that involve organization, decision making, mood, behavior, communication and personality. All important, the doctors noted, to being a United States senator.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

COHEN: Now I spoke with a source close to Senator Domenici and he said that the senator has been assessed by a physician at Johns Hopkins in Maryland and that this physician quote, "Has a comfort level," with allowing Domenici to finish out his term. This source also said for those of us who work with him we haven't noticed much deterioration. Wolf?

BLITZER: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you. Senator Domenici's announcement could impact the balance of power in the senate. Right now the split is 49-49 with two independent who side with the democrats. That makes it 51-49. As of today there are four open senate seats. All held by Republicans who are retiring. Democrats are gunning hard to retake the four seats which are in Colorado, Virginia, Nebraska, and New Mexico. And Senator Larry Craig's seat could be available as well but that would most likely stay Republican because Idaho is a very, very red state.

Up ahead, more video made public today from the last hours of Princess Diana's life. As a jury tries to figure out exactly how she died. Plus, an unlikely guest on "The View," that would be Jack Cafferty. You're going to hear what happened that had the whole audience laughing today. Jack and "The View" all coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

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BLITZER: In a British courtroom today, more striking new images of Princess Diana, only moments before she died in 1997. The jury must decide what, if anything, the pictures indicate about the car crash that killed her. CNN's Phil Black is in London with the latest. Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, these latest images track Princess Diana through some of her final minutes on the night she died. They've remained a secret for 10 years. Now a jury must use them to try and decide if her death was an accident or something more sinister.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone's out, they're very important.

BLACK (voice-over): This was the scene, Princess Diana, and her boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed were desperate to avoid the night they died. A crowd of paparazzi and onlookers waiting outside their hotel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chasing Princess Diana.

BLACK: These images were captured by an Australian tourist and shown to the jury at the inquest into the couple's death, to give a sense of the atmosphere that night. To fool those photographers, two cars were left waiting outside the front entrance shown here on the hotel's closed circuit TV. Meanwhile, Diana and Dodi rode the service lift to the ground floor and a staff entrance at the rear of the building. There they waited for about seven minutes for the car to arrive. And in that time, the security camera captured the couple's intimacy. Diana and Dodi are seen standing close. Sometimes holding hands. Sometimes holding each other. At one point Diana is seen speaking to driver Henri Paul and she appears to salute him.

ROBERT JOBSON, AUTHOR: The fact that she was saluting Henri Paul was mocking him really, it seemed to me. Police security arrangements were a little bit, well they weren't really well organized.

BLACK: In the 90 minutes of security video played to the court, Henri Paul is seen often. But at no time does he appear drunk. The jury was shown images of him bending down to retie both shoelaces without any problem. Previous investigations had found Paul's high blood alcohol reading was a likely contributor to the accident that killed himself, Diana and Dodi. Other CCTV images showed Paul talking to members of the paparazzi on three occasions. Just before Diana and Dodi left the building, he is seen gesturing in the direction of two waiting photographers.

JOBSON: Henri Paul raised his hand as if to wave at the photographers, almost a signal that they were coming out any second. Now we don't know if that was the case. The truth is, when you see the footage like that, it's quite compelling.

BLACK: The photographers start flashing, as Diana and Dodi, their bodyguard and driver walk out onto the street and get into the car. Shortly after, three of them would be dead.

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BLACK: The hearings have adjourned in London for the week. On Monday, they move to Paris, where the jury will visit key locations, including the hotel and the site of the accident, which is still being investigated a decade later. Wolf?

BLITZER: Phil Black in London for us. Thank you.

In Philadelphia, police are searching for a lone gunman who carried out a bold robbery of an armored truck in a crowded business district earlier today. Two guards were shot dead. CNN's Jim Acosta is on the scene for us. Jim, what's going on?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, investigators believe the gunman had cased his target and decided he wasn't going to leave anyone alive. Today the city's police commissioner called on the presidential candidates to start paying attention to the issue of gun control.

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ACOSTA (voice-over): Three armored car security guards servicing an ATM machine in Philadelphia did not know what hit them until it was too late. A gunman opened fire, killing one guard, grabbed a bag of cash and then killed another before making a clean get away. A third guard sprayed with shattered glass from the gunfire somehow survived.

COMM. SYLVESTER JOHNSON, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: Obviously, it was planned. Obviously, whatever he did today, he intended on assassinating people and he did. And he robbed the place.

ACOSTA: The two guards who died were both retired Philadelphia police officers. 50-year-old Sergeant Joe Ulo and 65-year-old William Woodmeyer. Police say they had been friends for years. Images of the two guards were cropped out of these snapshots from the surveillance tape out of respect for their families. The tape may not offer many clues only that the shooter dressed in dark clothing wearing a yellow cap escaped in a black Acura TL.

JOHNSON: Again, if you're a police officer, once you leave home there's no guarantee. ACOSTA: At a news conference Philadelphia's police commissioner who has come under heavy criticism over the city's high murder rate wondered aloud why urban crime and the availability of guns are barely getting a mention in the presidential campaign.

JOHNSON: Any time you have in a country where there's 100,000 people shot or killed, there's not even a mention in the presidential campaign, there's something wrong with that.

ACOSTA: The commissioner has come up with his own controversial solution to street violence. Proposing that 10,000 men take to the streets later this month to help patrol the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.

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ACOSTA: Last year Philadelphia had the highest murder rate of all of America's big cities but today the city's police commissioner said as for those ATM killings, 20,000 people on the street would not have made a difference. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right Jim, thanks very much. Jim Acosta in Philadelphia for us.

Up ahead, what does it mean if Iraq has become one of the largest buyers of U.S. made weapons? That's Jack's question, your email coming up in "The Cafferty File."

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BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the hotshots coming in from our friends over at the "Associated Press." In Congo of Kinshasa that is, volunteers pass a fire hose to the site of a cargo plane crash. At least 19 people were killed and homes engulfed in flames. In Turkey, a soccer player keeps his eye on the ball while making a move during a first-round match. In Jerusalem's old city, ultra Orthodox Jewish men carry torah strolls during the celebration of Torah at the western wall.

In San Diego, a 9 week old giant panda cub gets an eye exam from a veterinarian. Zoo visitors can suggest a name for the young cub starting tomorrow. Some of this hour's hotshots, pictures worth a thousand words. Jack Cafferty was a special guest today on ABC's "The View." As usual, Jack didn't pull any punches as he offered some really good straight talk on a variety of controversial issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: We're looking for a leader in the next year, like who do you think is going to -- at this point do you see as the leader to take us out of this situation?

JACK CAFFERTY: I don't think he's out there yet. And if he is out there, he's not getting the attention he deserves.

JOY BEHAR: Well he's not out there Jack, she is out there.

[ Applause ]

CAFFERTY; I forgot what show I was on. (END OF VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Let's go to Jack Cafferty. What was it like to be a guest on "The View"? I know you are promoting your new bestseller, but tell us a little bit, take us behind the scenes.

CAFFERTY: It was a lot of fun. I have known Whoopi Goldberg, who is the moderator for the show, for a very long time. I have known Joy Behar for a while. It was a pleasure meeting the other two ladies and the audience was terrific, they got a couple hundred people in the audience. They gave them all a copy of the book. And they seemed happy with that. And it was -- a lively experience. I enjoyed myself.

BLITZER: "It's Getting Ugly out There," that's the name of the book.

CAFFERTY: That's true, it is.

BLITZER: In case anyone forgot.

CAFFERTY: Yeah, well thanks for reminding them. Here's the question this hour. What does it mean if Iraq has become one of the largest buyers of U.S. made weapons? Cheryl writes from Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, "It means that the people in charge of America's foreign policy won't be happy until the entire Middle East has been turned into a bloodbath. It's nothing new, we've been arming opposing factions for decades. How many rogue dictatorships has America propped up with its weapons? Let's not forget that we gave Saddam weapons to use against Iran." Shirley in Idaho writes , "It means just one more area where our government is using American tax dollars to defeat our own way of life." Shane writes, "It means that we have set up a good source of income to fund the military-industrial complex in real time, a sort of perpetual motion machine. We occupy the country, and then sell them our goods and services." It's like the saying goes, war is good for business. Sally in Virginia writes, "It means big business is alive and well as always in this Republican administration. It's all about dirty money and not the least bit about national security." If it were national security, it would behoove us not to supply weapons all over the world. Phillip writes, from Bayshore, New York, "Using our money we give them, they buy weapons from us, with our money. Only this White House could pull this off!" E in Dallas writes, "I don't know. Is it a cash on delivery deal? Or, weapons for figs? Anyway, I didn't know there was a shortage of weapons over there. I couldn't tell it from watching the news" And Kevin writes, "We've replaced the oil for food program with the oil for weapons program. Oliver North would be proud." If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, where we post more of them online, along with video clips of "The Cafferty File."

BLITZER: So, give us a little more flavor of "The View."

CAFFERTY: Flavor of "The View." Very well-run operation. The first two segments of the show are about -- just kind of whatever occurs to the ladies to talk about. Things in the news. They had a couple of other guests on., a well-known movie actress whose name escapes me because I don't get out very often. And it is -- it is a delightful program. It's becoming a kind of a daytime show of record, I think, when it comes to discussion of current affairs and current issues in the news. It was a very enjoyable time. I had a lot of fun.

BLITZER: And you did really well, but I was not surprised. Jack, see you back here in one hour. Let's go to "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT".

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