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CNN Newsnight Aaron Brown
World Holds Moment Of Silence For London Bombing Victims; Braille Version For New Harry Potter To Be Released Almost Simultaneously
Aired July 14, 2005 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, HOST: Good evening again.
A week after four bombers killed at least 54 people in London, vigils were held around the world today. Even on the West Bank in Ramallah, people took part, lighting candles, someone carrying a sign reading "Not in My Name."
So in whose name? With whose help? And at whose command?
Were the bombers tied in any way to a group of men arrested a year ago in Luton, or is there a connection elsewhere?
In Great Britain and around the world tonight, police are doing what police do when the questions multiply. They're looking for answers among the living and among the dead.
Here's CNN's Matthew Chance.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the face of the man police say was responsible for the London bus bombing, just one of the explosions that shocked the British capital a week ago. Identified as Hasib Hussein, he's just 18, photographed by security cameras at Luton train station on the day of the attacks. He's wearing a backpack, which police believe concealed his bomb.
PETER CLARKE, POLICE ANTITERRORISM BRANCH: The question I'm asking the public is, Did you see this man at Kings Cross? Was he alone, or with others? Do you know the route he took from the station? Did you see him get onto a number 30 bus? And if you did, where and when was that?
CHANCE: Police appeals for information from the public have also taken to the streets. They're distributing leaflets asking for any information about the bombers and their accomplices.
They're also confirming the identity of another suspect, Shehzad Tanweer, 22 years old, from Leeds, pictured here as a schoolboy back in 1995. He's believed to be responsible for the Aldgate bombing, which killed seven.
A third suspect, Mohammad Sadiq (ph) Kahn, who's 30, has been linked to the Edgware Road explosion. These are his wedding pictures. He was a primary school teacher and a father of an 8-month-old son. And police say there's evidence a fourth suspected bomber, named by U.S. officials to CNN as Jamaican-born Jermaine Morris Lindsey, was killed in the explosion between Russell Square and Kings Cross.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation so far has uncovered the bombers, the individuals behind the terrorist attack. Now the focus is to find out who recruited them, how they were recruited, individuals that helped coordinate the activity, finance it, provide the logistics. These are the handlers. These are the most important people, because they put the cell together. And as they're out there, they're in a position to still continue with recruitment, and we still don't know how many more cells they've established.
CHANCE: And there are links being investigated with earlier antiterror raids in Britain, specifically, according to CNN sources, Operation Crevice (ph) in March 2004, which resulted in the seizure of half a ton of potentially explosive material and the arrest of eight men across the country, including in London and Luton.
And as British police continue their sweeps in the north of England and elsewhere, U.S. connections are also emerging. The fourth bomber, Jermaine Morris Lindsay, is known to have visited his mother in Cleveland, Ohio. U.S. authorities are investigating links there.
And law enforcement officials tell CNN the FBI is also tracking an Egyptian national, Makviel Nashar (ph), educated in chemistry in the U.S. and Britain, in connection with the London bombings.
The terror network responsible for the London carnage, say police, will eventually be picked apart.
CHANCE: Well, Aaron, this is an investigation that police warn is extremely complex, and could take months to complete. Remember, they're not just looking for those who carried out the attacks, those men they apparently have identified already, but also those who supported them, those who financed them, those who trained them, and those who encouraged the London bombers to strike, Aaron.
BROWN: Matt, hank you. Matthew Chance in London tonight.
As for why the American authorities have taken an interest in Mr. Al Nashar, as Matthew reported, we turn next to CNN's David Mattingly, who joins us this evening from Raleigh, North Carolina. David?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, U.S. authorities are telling us two different things. One was that al Nashar's name came up in a cell phone during this investigation. Also, that his name came up in the search of a residence.
Whichever reason, they want to find him, and they want to talk to him, and they are here because they've determined that he attended classes here at North Carolina State back in the year 2000. It happened in the spring semester. He attended classes here for one semester and one semester only as a chemical engineering student. One student at the time who knew him said that he seemed like a regular guy, and that when he was leaving, he had plans to go to his native Cairo, where he was going to apply for further study in the U.K., which apparently is what he did, because he recently received his doctorate degree in biochemical engineering from Leeds University. That happened in May. He went there right after leaving here back in the year 2000, Aaron.
BROWN: So there is a kind of tenuous Leeds connection, plus the cell phone, and a lot of investigative work to be done.
David, thank you. David Mattingly, in Raleigh, North Carolina, tonight.
The day after the attacks on 9/11, the headline in the French newspapers said all that needed to be said. "We are all Americans now," a simple enough sentiment, we suppose. But then, as now, it's a bit more complicated than that, especially in Europe, which is home to millions of Muslim immigrants, most of whom want what anyone and everyone wants, but a few who do not.
Here's CNN's Jennifer Eccleston.
JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESOPNDENT (voice-over): Solidarity across Europe, a continent joined Britain in mourning the July 7 terror bombings in London. Two minutes of silence at midday.
But the nervousness across European capitals since the attack is anything but silent. Across the continent, security has been dramatically beefed up. Evidence of that in Paris, which Thursday celebrated Bastille Day, France's national holiday.
The celebrations passed without incident, but French authorities are not taking any chances. In one significant measure, the government announced Wednesday that it will temporarily suspend the E.U.'s open border system. European travelers can no longer breeze through French immigration without showing identification, an effort to hamper possible movements by extremists with E.U. passports.
The attacks in London also prompted Italian officials to make a nationwide sweep against suspected extremists.
GISEPPE PISANU, ITALIAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): Today, after the massacres in Madrid and London, I have to say that terrorism is knocking also on Italy's door, and on the door other European countries. I feel obliged to do everything in my power to continue to keep our homes secure.
ECCLESTON: Keeping his country secure, with new proposals to increase the time police can hold terror suspects without charges from 12 to 24 hours, and easing immigration procedures for people who inform on terror suspects.
Other E.U. ministers at an emergency session in Brussels on Wednesday agreed to speed up a package of antiterror legislation, those proposed after the 2004 Madrid bombings, but not yet implemented, including cutting off terrorist finances and increasing cooperation and communication among Europe's disparate intelligence services.
Germany's interior minister wants his counterparts to share fingerprints of asylum seekers and rejected visa applications. He also wants Europol, the E.U. policing house, to have executive powers, those that would supersede national laws, to conduct E.U.-wide investigations.
Terror analyst Stefano Silvestri says these measures, while instrumental in the fight on terror, are tough to implement.
STEFANO SILVESTRI, TERROR ANALYST: Well, they are being -- have created a kind of situation in which it's easier to distribute informations. But those informations are always partial and relatively superficial.
ECCLESTON (on camera): The London and Madrid attacks are a reminder of Europe's emergence as a danger zone. Long used by extremists as a haven for recruitment and planning attacks elsewhere, the continent is now a target itself, and security officials Europe- wide say any measures to prevent future attacks cannot come soon enough.
Jennifer Eccleston, CNN, Rome.
BROWN: Those measures, by and large, will start at home. And if experience is a guide, they won't always go down easy. There'll be mistakes along the way, resentment too, mixed with the uneasiness of knowing too little about the neighbors, or knowing too much.
Reporting for us tonight, CNN's Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new reality is settling across Britain. The reality, young men born here are turning to terrorism. Shehzad Tanweer was born ion Britain to Pakistani parents, educated in English schools and university, played British sports, cricket and soccer, dressed like his English friends, but is now said by police to have been one of the London bombers.
MOHAMMAD BUTT, FAMILY FRIEND: These people are just like us. They're just normal people. So if just -- if they are normal people, then they can be anywhere, can't they? They could be anybody. And that worries me.
ROBERTSON: Mohammad Butt is friends with Tanweer's family. Now he worries if that if Shehzad could blow himself up in a terror attack, would he see it if his own English-born children began to harbor radical views?
(on camera): Does this, something like this, make you worry more about your own kids, that you think...
BUTT: It does, it does. It just really (INAUDIBLE) it, (INAUDIBLE), makes me worry, because my son's nearly 18. And it makes me worry to see, you know, what could be done. I don't -- you really want to keep an eye on your children.
PROFESSOR PAUL ROGERS, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: If it is a one- off, if it's an isolated incident, then people will Breathe a huge sigh of relief. If it isn't, if it's the start of something bigger, then I think there are very serious problems ahead.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Tanweer, and the other suspected bombers, Hasib Hussein and Mohammad Sadiq Khan, are confounding not just their families and neighbors, but British intelligence experts, who apparently never saw the attack coming.
(on camera): They were, as the British call them, homegrown suspected terrorists, so-called clean skins, with no radical track record. They avoided detection by blending in with the community.
(voice-over): The three men used to meet here at their local mosque in Leeds, northern England.
ROGERS: If, within that, you have just isolated people, it's extremely difficult, even for the community itself, let alone the intelligence people, to get a handle on it.
ROBERTSON: Marc Sageman helps track terrorists for intelligence agencies the world over. He says the problem is in Muslim communities all over Europe.
MARC SAGEMAN, TERRORISM EXPERT: A lot of the second or third generation have become very radical, reject their own culture, and become radicalized collectively, as groups, little groups, disconnected from al Qaeda Central, and some of them go on to do terrorist operation.
ROBERTSON: Unlike Europe and communities like Tanweer's, he says the United States may be less prone to the homegrown, sleeper-cell threat.
SAGEMAN: I don't see that much of a threat in the United States. Countries built on immigration have its population that integrates foreigners themselves.
ROBERTSON: But the London bombings do have some parallels with the completely separate, but recent case in the U.S. of a second generation, Lodi, California, Pakistani. Tanweer went to Pakistan late last year, and police here have called on Pakistani officials to find out what he was doing. In the Lodi, California, case, the young Pakistani is suspected of training at jihadi camps while in Pakistan.
PETER BERGEN, TERRORISM ANALYST: He's a second-generation American Muslim living in United States. And this is sort of very similar to what the profile file of the people that we're seeing in Britain. Now, there is no evidence this guy was planning a suicide attack. But he's already lied to federal investigators about his presence at a Pakistani military training camp.
ROBERTSON: The back streets of Tanweer's community may not look like the U.S. But as one senior U.S. intelligence official said when he learned the London bombers were previously unknown, We'd better wake up. We could be next.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Leeds.
BROWN: Back to this question now of how Europe is dealing with the terror issue.
We turn again to Jim Carafano, a senior fellow for defense and homeland security at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
When we talked to you earlier today, you were on a roll, I must say. Europe's problem is not the law, you said. It's politics. They are afraid to separate the good people from the bad. What does that mean?
JIM CARAFANO, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Well, what's different about Europe from the United States is, in Europe, these Muslim populations are ethnically and geographically stable. In other words, people tend to go to one place in the same area and they huddle there.
And so it's a perfect breeding ground for these guys. And it's also a place where a lot of extremists gather, and extremists who sometimes talk about very legitimate issues, like poverty. In the United States, we might call them populists.
So all these people live in this little cauldron there. And the problem is, is, in penetrating these communities, which are much more dense or much more sensitive than communities in the United States, you've got three choices on how to handle it. You can ignore them, because -- which is what we, which is what the Europeans normally do. Or on the other extreme, you can break these communities apart, like the Dutch, for example, talking about, Well, we need to figure out how to make these people Dutch, make -- force them to assimilate.
Or you can do the hard thing, which is to go into the communities and separate the 99.999 percent of the people who aren't a problem from the few people who are real terrorists. Now, that is a politically difficult thing to do.
BROWN: Well, it's also compli -- I don't, I'm not sure, how do you do that? I mean, in looking at just the London case, for a second, what we have, or what we think we have, I mean, we're, we may not know for a long time, precisely what we have, but what we think we have are four -- three or four clean skins, people who, for all the world, seemed to be perfectly law-abiding, well-behaved members of their communities.
CARAFANO: Well, I think you have -- I think there's two possible scenarios here, and we'll have to see where the evidence takes us. If it turns out, which I think is less likely, to have this many guys in a group that decide to do a suicide bombing. But if it turns out that these guys are a Timothy McVeigh or the, you know, the two high school kids who did the Columbine massacre, who just got together on their own and planned this and they -- and supported each other and just decided to go do this, quite frankly, I don't think that's a scenario that's going to be repeated very often.
On the other hand, if there's an external network that got these guys, worked with them, set them up, that's a different kind of problem, and one that will only be rooted out by going into the communities and taking these things apart.
BROWN: One day, I'll understand better how you plan to do that.
Just quickly, if you can, who has the tougher laws, the Europeans generally, or the Americans generally?
CARAFANO: Well, you know, the, I think the truth is, the Europeans have very good counterterrorism structure. They have very -- I think they generally have adequate laws. The question is, is, do they have the political will to take them into the communities and apply them? And the answer so far has been no.
BROWN: Jim, good to see you. Thanks for your thoughts, as always.
CARAFANO: Thanks for having me.
BROWN: Appreciate it.
in a moment, one way to keep sexual predators out of your neighborhood forever.
But first, quarter past the hour, give or take, time for some of the other news of the day.
Erica Hill joins us in Atlanta tonight. Erica?
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS: Ah, it's only a minute. We'll let you slide tonight, Aaron.
We start off with news from Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who issued a very personal opinion late tonight to put an end to weeks of speculation. "I am not about to announce my retirement," the 80-year- old chief justice said. "I'll continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits." That's the statement we received tonight. Rehnquist, who is suffering from thyroid cancer, was just hospitalized on Tuesday to be treated for a fever.
California Congressman Randy Duke Cunningham won't will not seek reelection. The eight-term congressman, who is also a former top gun fighter pilot, faces a federal investigation over dealings with a defense contractor. Just two weeks ago, Cunningham told CNN he'd done nothing illegal and wouldn't give up his seat.
Hurricane Emily is gathering speed fast. With sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, Emily moves up to category three. That is the second major hurricane of the season. One death from the storm has already been reported in Grenada, and a hurricane watch has been issued for Jamaica.
The chances of a space shuttle launch on Sunday remain slim at best. NASA engineers are trying to fix -- trying everything to fix a faulty fuel sensor in "Discovery"'s main fuel tank. If they succeed, it would be the first shuttle launch since the "Columbia" disaster two and a half years ago.
And that's the latest at this hour, Aaron. Back over to you.
BROWN: Thank you, Ms. Hill. We'll see you in a half an hour. Thank you.
More to come on the program tonight, starting with the people you want far away from your children.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was definitely a child molester. Absolutely.
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BROWN: As far as the state of California is concerned, he still is. We'll look at the uncompromising programs. It keeps him off the streets until he's not.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we're human beings. And we can change.
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BROWN: No one's taking him at his word. Locking up predators for what they've done, and what they might still do.
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SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I said it's totally ridiculous. I don't want to jeopardize anything in that investigation.
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BROWN: Later, beyond the noise of Rove and Plame and Novak and all, a novelty, perhaps, the news and the talk with one of the men at the center of it.
Then, a Harry Potter mystery.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's vital, because this is the book of the season.
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BROWN: How can a talking book speak volumes without speaking a word?
No mystery here.
This is NEWSNIGHT.
BROWN: Columbus Circle, just off Central Park. Just off the Time Warner Building. Just off this studio, as it turns out.
Whether it is absolutely true or not, the conventional wisdom is this. Sexual predators, the worst of the sexual offenders, and pedophiles cannot be treated. Yet they do not get life sentences. What they do get, in more and more states, though, are, in effect, sentences after their sentences.
They're held in what amounts to a prison, regardless of whether it's technically called a mental hospital, until state doctors can say with some certainty they are safe to be let go. More than a dozen states now hold people this way. California is one of them.
Ted Rowlands tonight on what he found inside.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alan is a 52-year- old former teacher and coach who admits to sexually abusing 25 children, mostly boys ages 9 to 17.
ALAN: I was definitely a child molester. Absolutely.
ROWLANDS: The state of California thinks Alan is still a child molester and a danger to society. So even though he finished his prison term seven years ago, Alan is still locked up at the Atascadero State Mental Hospital, along with 562 other child molesters and rapists. All of them are being held on what's called civil commitment. States often use civil commitments to hospitalize mentally ill patients who pose a threat to themselves or society.
ALAN: I don't think it's fair. I think if they wanted to do it right, they would have given me therapy in prison.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think you can do better than that.
ROWLANDS: Therapy, like this group session, which Alan attends, and which California hopes will make these predators productive citizens. Each sex offender must admit everything he's done, then analyze it, and learn how to stop it from happening again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're in that point of anger and frustration, you really need a strong coping response.
ROWLANDS: Before they can leave the hospital, Alan and the others in the treatment must finish a five-stage program. In the eight and a half years since lawmakers got tough on the sexual offenders, only three people have made it through. Two of them, Patrick Gelatti (ph), a serial rapist, and Brian DeVries (ph), a child molester, agreed to be surgically castrated. Hospital officials say all three have stayed out of trouble.
DR. JESUS PADILLA, HOSPITAL PSYCHIATRIST: You can never know what people will do. You know, human beings are human beings. They do all sorts of different things. And they surprise the best of us. All we can do is do the best job that we can.
ROWLANDS: Tony Iannalfo is a three-time convicted rapist. He, along with the majority of patients here, is refusing treatment. Iannalfo says he doesn't have a mental disorder, he just made some bad decisions, and he says he's done his time and should be free.
IANNALFO: Here you're locked up for what they think you might do. And that's kind of hard to swallow. You know, you're not here for actually committing an offense. It's for what you may do. In prison, you knew you did something wrong, and you had to pay for it.
ROWLANDS: Critics of the program, like psychiatrist Dr. Ted Donaldson, who's examined many of the patients, say the state is recklessly expanding the definition of mental illness to keep sexually violent felons off the streets.
DR. TED DONALDSON, PSYCHIATRIST: It's not legal to put people away in a civil commitment unless they're mentally ill. Most of these people are not.
ROWLANDS: California is one of 17 states with civil commitment laws for sexual predators. One of those that helped write the California law says he thinks it didn't go far enough.
RICHARD LOVE JOY, FORMER CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR: I think ought to just lock them up. If they committed some really basic violent crime, they would have been just gone.
ALAN: But we're human beings. We're collaborators of our problem, not objects of it. And we can change.
ROWLANDS: States like California aren't so sure about that, and are banking on civil commitments to keep people like Alan locked up until they do, indeed, show that they've changed.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Atascadero, California.
BROWN: Until they show they have changed, Ted Rowlands just said. Many would say sexual offenders cannot, perhaps should not, ever be considered cured. But evaluating and treating such patients is exactly what Dr. Fred Berlin, the founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic, has made his specialty. And he joins us tonight.
It's good to see you.
I wonder if we can work through a number of things a little bit quickly. Can you identify with reasonable certainty, OK, those who should be held beyond their sentences, and those who are not likely to offend again?
DR. FRED BERLIN, FOUNDER, JOHNS HOPKINS SEXUAL DISORDERS CLINIC: Well, I think some cases are easy. We can be pretty confident this person is very high risk, or, conversely, that they're low risk. The problem is, there are many cases that fall in between, and that's where it becomes quite problematic.
BROWN: What are the signs that someone is not likely to offend again?
ALAN: Well, it's very difficult to talk about it in the abstract.
ALAN: I think -- I don't want to try to answer something I don't feel comfortable with (INAUDIBLE)...
BROWN: That's a fair response. And more guests should do it, to be perfectly honest. Do you think that this whole idea of civil commitment, post-confinement commitment, is a is a good idea, a bad idea, well applied, not well applied, or does it vary from state to state?
ALAN: Well, society has a right to protect itself. But I don't think we've made up our mind yet whether these people are evil or ill. These people go into prison, and they say they're ill, and we say, Who are they, trying to beat the rap? Let's just get them out, I'll just keep them behind bars where they belong.
And then after they've served 10 or 20 years, and they've paid their debt to society, then we say, Oh, no, we made a mistake, they're ill, now we have to treat them.
I think some of these people are ill. I think something's terribly wrong with a person who recurrently craves sex with young children. I don't think going to jail is going to punish away those cravings or enhance that person's ability to successfully resist acting upon them.
So like with alcoholism, I think we need a firm criminal justice approach, but we also need to have a treatment component. If the only thing we did with alcoholics was lock them up, or put their name in the newspaper, we sure wouldn't be doing much about alcoholism, and yet that's the approach we seem to be taking to pedophilia.
BROWN: I agree on that point, that one of the people in Ted's piece said, You know what? I should have gotten treatment in prison. And he's, by my way of thinking, if we're going to treat him, if that's the object here, then let's treat him. That's, you know, let's him in prison, there they are, and let's treat them there. But that's generally speaking not what prisons do.
ALAN: No, and that would make much more sense to me. In other words, if you treat people in prison, you get to know them, you see if they're cooperative. And then there's some folks that aren't cooperating, there's still concern, it might make a lot of sense at that point to talk about quarantining those who don't seem to be progressing to a point where they may be safe.
But the notion of trying to have it both ways, that first you're evil and then only later on do you become ill, there's just a logical inconsistency. And I think we do ourselves a tremendous disservice by straddling the fence in that fashion.
BROWN: I think people want to know this. Does castration solve the problem?
ALAN: Well, a lot of people don't even know what castration is. There's a subgroup of sex offenders that are driven by abnormal sexual cravings, cravings for children, cravings for coercive rather than consenting behavior. Castration is a procedure is a (INAUDIBLE), is a procedure that lowers the hormone testosterone. You can do it surgically by removing the testes, or by giving medications.
What happens when you lower testosterone is, you provide the equivalent of a sexual appetite suppressant. The person who's hungering sexually for children hungers in a less intensive fashion. That can, for some individuals, be very helpful. It's not a panacea, it's not a guarantee. But we shouldn't deny it to people who might be safer in the community by having access to it.
BROWN: Have you met anyone that you thought, This is hopeless, we can't solve this with this person?
ALAN: I think we all know there are some people that are just much too dangerous to be out there. What concerns me, though, is that public policy and public perception is being driven very much by the exception rather than the rule. In other words, most of the time when we talk about sex offenders, we're talking about a kidnapping, a sexual assault, a murder.
That's less than a fraction of 1 percent of the problem. And yet much of the public perception, much of the public policy is being driven by that. And one has to ask whether we have the most effective public policy when it is being driven by the exception rather than the rule.
BROWN: Good to have you with us tonight. Nice job. Thank you, sir, very much.
ALAN: Thank you, sir.
BROWN: Thank you.
Still to come tonight, the man who says Karl Rove should go. And for him, it is personal. Later, nothing personal here, just Harry Potter. There's only certain people can see him.
We'll take a break first.
Around the world, this is NEWSNIGHT.
BROWN: Senators clashed today in Washington on the case of the leak that unmasked a CIA operative. Democrats calling it a cover up, demanding a congressional investigation into the leak. Republicans calling it partisan politics.
If anyone has been at the center of this particular storm, it is Ambassador Joe Wilson. He wrote "The New York Times" op ed piece that started the confrontation. His wife was the CIA operative whose name was leaked. Whatever he was when he started this whole matter, he is now quite angry at the administration. We talked with him a short time ago.
BROWN: You said again today -- earlier today -- that you believe that Mr. Rove should be fired. If he did not commit a crime. And as you know this law that we've been talking about is really hard to break. I mean, it's not an easy law to break. If he didn't commit a crime, what should he be fired for?
JOE WILSON, FRM. DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Well, I've said for over a year now that Mr. Rove was involved in the smear campaign that was launched against Valerie and me, including calling "Hardball" host Chris Mathews and saying Wilson's wife is fair game. I believe that that is well below the ethical standards that we should demand from our senior public servants.
It is now clear from the Rove -- or from the Cooper e-mail that Rove was talking to Mr. Cooper about my wife even before the Novak article appeared. And even if it is double super secret, it is still a leak to a journalist of classified information.
Now, with respect to the criminal vulnerability, I would point out that the CIA would not have frivolously sent this to the Justice Department. They sent it to the Justice Department for investigation because it was a belief at the CIA that a possible crime had been committed.
BROWN: And I wouldn't argue that point at all. I think there is no question a possible crime has been committed. The question ultimately will be, was a crime committed? And that's for grand juries and ultimately juries and prosecutors to work out.
Let me just go back over a couple things you said so that we -- so that viewers understand how you see this. They believed in some sense that your wife was fair game. In what sense do you see what went on as a smear?
WILSON: Well, it was very clear that after having acknowledged that the 16 words did not rise to the level of inclusion to the State of the Union Address and accepting responsibility -- and, by the way, they accepted responsibility repeatedly over a two-week period, including Stephen Hadley, the deputy national security adviser at the time, offering his . resignation And the national security adviser apologizing to Gwen Ifel (ph) on a PBS program.
But that was not enough. It was not enough just to apologize and move on, they then decided that they had to discredit me and my wife. And the reason that they did so is because they had to preserve the coverup of the web of lies that underpinned the decision to go to war. And now that coverup is coming unraveled and they're back at it again.
BROWN: I imagine there are those in Washington who would say, absent a crime being credit committed, that all this was, or what this was -- and people can decide whether appropriate or not -- is politics the way it's played in Washington. You hurt them, they hurt you. They saw you as a partisan attacking them, and so they went after you. And that's just the way Washington politics is played. It's not patty cake.
WILSON: What I did was write an opinion piece in "The New York Times" which laid out a trip I'd made that yielded results that were different from those being alleged by the administration.
BROWN: One of the things that in the GOP talking points, and they've been out there now for three days making this point again and again and again, they say, look, Joe Wilson's a partisan. This is just a partisan attack on the White House.
Are you a partisan? And does it matter in the way you view this whether you are or not?
WILSON: Well let me suggest, first of all, after they compromised the identity of my wife, I've certainly become partisan. But more to the point, I served in Baghdad in the first Gulf War under George Herbert Walker Bush. I returned to Washington and met with him. He later appointed me ambassador to two African countries. In addition, in the 2000 campaign, I donated money not just to the Gore campaign, but also to the Bush/Cheney campaign.
Now, my trip out to Niger took place eight months before I ever spoke out on the Iraq debate. And when I spoke out on the Iraq debate, I wrote an article for the "San Jose Mercury News" in which I acknowledged that the key strategic issue for the United States was weapons of mass destruction.
After that article was published, I sent it to former President Bush. I also shared it with Brent Scowcroft. Former President Bush wrote me a letter about a week later in which he said -- and I have the letter with me -- in which he said, and I quote, "Dear Joe, I read your fascinating article. And I agree with a lot of it. Further, I have great respect for you and your service to our country. I hope you know that." And there's George Bush's signature. So, it's very clear that in the debate on the war on Iraq, Republicans from the first Bush administration with whom I had worked closely, in the Persian Gulf War, were sympathetic to the views that I was trying to constructively offer to the administration during the debate on what our policies should be.
BROWN: Just one, maybe two more quick things. Do you agree that as long as you are the center of this, as they -- as people in the White House side, I guess, make you the center of this, that Mr. Rove is just fine?
WILSON: Well, I don't think they're going to succeed in that, because I believe the American people are understand that in fact this is not a case about Joe Wilson, it is a case about a senior White House official leaking classified information to members of the press And then stonewalling the investigation for two years up to and including the jailing of a "New York Times" journalist.
BROWN: It's nice to see you, ambassador. Thanks for your time tonight.
WILSON: Thanks very much. Nice to be with you.
BROWN: Thank you, sir.
BROWN: Joe Wilson, and that's his side of all of this.
Still to come tonight, could the departing Justice O'Connor also be the returning Justice O'Connor? What's up with that?
And next, the Harry Potter no one gets to see, but everyone gets their hands on. Nice tale, that. We'll take a break first. This is NEWSNIGHT.
BROWN: Millions of kids, in truth I bet a whole lot of adults, just can't wait to get their hands on the newest Harry Potter book due out Saturday. Some used to have to wait longer than others. But this time, one group of kids will have the book at their finger tips almost as soon as everyone else. An explanation tonight from CNN's Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're off the conveyor belts, shot by photographers, security's tight. Fans everywhere, like these children, anxiously awaiting the arrival of "Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince."
(on camera): Who is a Harry Potter fan? Just raise your hands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a Harry Potter fiend.
CARROLL: A Harry Potter fiend?
(voice-over): These Potter fiends know all about the midnight magic parties at book stores on the eve of a new Potter release. They cringe when they're sighted friends, those who can see, get the books first.
(on camera): What was that like for you guys, having to wait?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Annoying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Painful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. It's so annoying.
CARROLL (voice-over): All of these children are blind, students at the Perkins School in Watertown, Massachusetts. Eddie Tabor says he usually can't get braille or audio copies of a new Potter book until weeks or months after it's released.
EDDIE TABOR, STUDENT: Everyone else can be talking about the book and they get to read it right away. And we're just like sitting there, like, I want my copy.
CARROLL: Michelle Smith has been told she looks like Potter's friend, Hermione, and so she likes to follow what happens to Hermione, but she prefers to read it in braille but not listen to it on audio tape.
(on camera): What's the difference between too you between listening and reaing it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes you miss the punctuation marks. And so you don't know who is saying it.
JUDY CANNON, LIBRARIAN: This is the book of the season.
CARROLL (voice-over): Judy Cannon is the school's librarian.
CANNON: Everyone's going to be talking about this book. And one of the important things is being a blind person is to participate in those discussions. It's very, very important.
CARROLL: So important, the book's publisher put aside concerns the plot would get out, and gave the National Braille Press an advance copy to be translated.
WILLIAM RAEDER, NATIONAL BRAILLE PRESS: It's a mighty good feeling to get this out in a timely fashion.
CARROLL: This time, Harry Potter in Braille, will be released almost at the same time as the written version, just a day or two following it. The braille version is nine volumes long. Each one containg about 130 pages. That adds up to nearly 1200 pages, twice the number of the written version.
(on camera): You've got, in your hot possession here, what a lot of people want to take a look at and get their hands on. I think a lot of people will be -- are shocked that we're which this close to it.
RAEDER: We're this close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thin man stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Harry.
CARROLL (voice-over): Very soon, Potter fans like Ashley Bernard can stop re-reading the last book and start talking with her classmates about the new one.
ASHLEY BERNARD, STUDENT: The it day comes out, everyone's going crazy so, you know, I want to have it as fast as possible so that I can join in the talk.
CARROLL: Will Harry Potter finally defeat his nemesis Volgamort (ph)? This time, wanna-be wizards everywhere won't have to wait to read what happens.
Jason Carroll, CNN, Watertown, Massachusetts.
BROWN: I like that.
Still ahead tonight, another reason you should worry about cell phones on airplanes. Do you need another reason? Besides being driven crazy by your seatmates' endless conversation. Take a break. This is NEWSNIGHT on CNN.
BROWN: Heading towards the top of the hour, we won't even pretend we hit quarter to the hour. Here's Erica Hill in Atlanta with some of the day's news.
HILL: Hi, Aaron. We start off, if four U.S. senators have their way, Sandra Day O'Connor will one day return to the Supreme Court. The four, all women, have sent O'Connor a letter asking her to reconsider her recent resignation. They say they'll urge President Bush to name her chief justice if the current chief justice, William Rehnquist should retire, which in light of his statement tonight, of course, does not appear likely.
In Aruba, Joran Van der Sloot, the teenaged suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, isn't going to be released from jail just yet. Local judges today saying there is sufficient evidence to continue holding him. They also told prosecutors they may not bar his Van der Sloot's attorney from attending interrogation sessions with his client.
Cell phones during a flight, maybe more than just an annoying possibility. In fact, in testimony before Congress today, a Justice Department official asked for greater power to intercept or block calls and e-mail. This to keep terrorists from communicating with one another.
And a reminder, if you can ever forget, you can watch the best news video from around the world and watch it without paying a penny at CNN.com. And just sit back and laugh at those poor, poor people paying for their video. This might be the last night I tell you this. So, I hope you remember.
BROWN: Is it really?
HILL: It might be.
BROWN: I was going to say. Just for that you have to work tomorrow. Thank you very much.
"Morning Papers" after the break.
BROWN: Lots of papers I like today, of all sorts of different moods, to be honest. You expect me to be honest and I try to be most nights.
"The Guardian," British paper, "The World in One City." A moment of silence today. It's hard to see the picture, but that's Trafalger Square in London. And thousands of people there today and around the world, people stood quietly for a couple of moments and thought of the people who died a week ago in London. They even stopped the British Open up in Scotland for a couple moments. It was a very nice scene.
And they paused in Arlington, Virginia. "Our hearts go out. Area joins the world in quiet homage to July 7 victims." These are firefighters in the Arlington area, pausing.
Terror really is the story on the front pages of most papers. London was a shocker for a lot of different reasons, I think. "How far will Europe go to stop terror?" The lead in the "Christian Science Monitor."
Also, just here's a troubling little development for you. House not home: foreigners buying up American real estate. One of the reasons we're in the midst of a bubble is people are coming here buying them as investments. Particularly true in Miami, apparently.
I like this story too. "International Herald Tribune." "Muslim Doubts on Extremist. More believe attacks are wrong, the poll finds." Thank you. A little appreciative of that.
"San Antonio Express News." There's no great story here, I just love the picture. What a great dayne. This little girl and a huge dog. That's like a Shetland pony. Man!
In fact, I think I could have convinced my daughter that was a Shetland pony at some point in her young life.
"The Rocky Mountain News" -- not anymore, she's much too wise -- remember Danny Dietz, he was buried at Arlington today. Home to rest a hero. He was one of the Navy S.E.A.L.S who died in the mountains of Afghanistan. His wife wrote that incredibly poignant biography of him and them. It was really lovely.
"The Oregonian" leads with controversy. "Nike stand on civil unions bill draws fire." Nike is supporting a civil unions bill in the state of Oregon. Conservative groups aren't happy.
"Chicago Sun Times" "Foul-mouthed Fugitive Nabbed." Not for being foul-mouthed, as it turns out. But that's not a terrible idea either.
The weather tomorrow in Chicago if you're passing through, relentless.
We'll end the night in a blaze of glory when we come back.
BROWN: They're celebrating down in Charleston, South Carolina tonight. Here's your picture of the day. And it's moving, because we can't resist fireworks. They have good reason to celebrate, they opened the largest cable-stay bridge in the continent -- or on the continent today, 1,500, plus feet, $632 million.
Hey, we'll see tomorrow. Good night for all of us.
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