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Astronaut Heide Marie Stefanyshyn-Piper Collapses Twice At Welcome Home Ceremony; President Bush and Pervez Musharraf Have A Lot Of Trust In One Another; Palestinian President and Prime Minister Differ Over Recognition of Israel; Hugo Chavez's In-Your-Face Approach; Admitted Killer With no Contrition; 14 High Value Detainees Held at Guantanamo Bay

Aired September 22, 2006 - 14:00   ET


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Straight to the newsroom now. Fredricka Whitfield with details on a developing story -- Fred.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well, just a couple days after the shuttle Atlantis made its return to Earth and folks were celebrating in Houston with a special parade, one of the astronauts on board that space shuttle Atlantis, Heide Marie Stefanyshyn-Piper, apparently collapsed twice during this welcome-home ceremony taking place at Ellington Field, which is just near the Johnson Space Center.

And you're looking at pictures of her right now, interviews conducted just prior to the space shuttle Atlantis launch.

It's unclear exactly what happened to provoke -- provoke this collapse taking place twice there, including of Heidi Marie. But, of course, we're trying to work our sources to find out exactly what has happened and what kind of condition she is in right now -- Carol.

LIN: All right. Thanks very much, Fred. Let's hope for the best there. Boy.

WHITFIELD: Yes. It's pretty frightening.

LIN: Sure. A pretty big transition going from space to Earth, so we'll see what happens.

Thanks, Fred.

Now, keeping Pakistan in the fold, President Bush met today with Pakistan's leader, Pervez Musharraf, a reluctant but crucial ally in the war on terror. Now, differences aside, they say they're on the same page. That's even though Musharraf is quoted today as saying the United States threatened to bomb him or get him on Washington's side.

Now, there they are, Mr. Bush and his guest at the White House.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When the president looks me in the eye and says the tribal deal is intended to reject the Talibanization of the people and that there won't be a Taliban and there won't be al Qaeda, I believe him. You know? I mean, this is -- this is a person with whom I've now had close working relationships for five and a half years. And when he says if we find -- or when we find Osama bin Laden he will be brought to justice, I believe him. And we'll let the tactics speak for themselves after it happens.

We're on the hunt together. It's in the president's interests that al Qaeda be brought to justice. And it's in our interests. And we collaborate, and we strategize, and we talk a lot about how best to do this.

All I can tell you is, is that when Osama bin Laden is found, he will be brought to justice. And that's what we've continually discussed.


BUSH: Yes, please.

MUSHARRAF: I think as the president said, we are in the hunt together against these people. Now, why are we bothering of how to -- the semantics or the tactics of how to deal with the situation? We will deal with it. We are in the hunt together.

You want the person. If at all we confront him, if at all we find out his location, we are quite clear what to do. So let's not get involved in how it ought to be done, by whom it ought to be done.

There's total coordination at the intelligence level between the two forces. There is coordination at the operational level, at the strategic level, even at the tactical level. So therefore, we are working together. And when the situation arises, we need to take the right decision to strike.

That's how I look at it.

BUSH: We probably don't want to let him know what we're thinking about anyway, do we?

MUSHARRAF: And may I also -- and may I also that we need to have -- ladies and gentlemen here, we have -- the basis of a relationship is trust and confidence. If we don't have that trust and confidence in each other, and we think that we are bluffing each other, I don't think that's a good way of moving forward.


LIN: Well, it just so happens next week President Bush will host a three-way dinner with Musharraf and Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai.

Now, Afghanistan is miffed with Pakistan for not doing more to stop cross-border raids by the resurgent Taliban. So can you imagine that conversation?

So did Pakistan volunteer to join the war on terror? Volunteer? Or was it drafted by Washington?

CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The line is consistent among U.S. officials. Pakistan and its president are indispensable American allies in the war on terror. But Pervez Musharraf now indicates they might have been bullied into it.

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes," Musharraf says after September 11th, his intelligence director relayed a message from Richard Armitage, then U.S. assistant secretary of state. If Pakistan didn't help the U.S. in the war on terror, Musharraf says, "The intelligence director told me that Armitage said, 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the stone age.'" Musharraf says, "I think it was a very rude remark," but says he reacted in a responsible way.

I spoke with Richard Armitage, who told me he never threatened to bomb Pakistan, wouldn't say such a thing, and didn't have the authority to. Armitage says he did have a tough message for the Pakistani intelligence chief that day, telling him Pakistan had to be "with us or against us," that it was a defining moment for Pakistan and that "history begins today." Armitage says the Pakistani official was shaken after that meeting.

This latest news comes after President Bush had this exchange with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on the hunt for al Qaeda leaders...

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: If you had good, actionable intelligence in Pakistan where they were, would you give the order to kill them or capture them?

BUSH: Absolutely.

BLITZER: And go into Pakistan?

BUSH: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Even though the Pakistanis say that's their sovereign territory?

BUSH: Absolutely. We would -- we would take the action necessary to bring him to justice.

TODD: Musharraf later responded to that remark saying Pakistani forces would do that themselves within Pakistan's borders.

(on camera): As for those post-9/11 exchanges, Armitage says he doesn't know how his message could have been relayed so differently to Musharraf, but he says at least the intelligence director got the message that the U.S. was serious.

We also contacted a White House official who would not comment on the Armitage exchange but did say Pakistan is a great ally in the war on terror.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


LIN: Brian Todd is part of the team covering the world for "THE SITUATION ROOM." And, of course, you can join Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4:00 Eastern and again in primetime at 7:00.

Well, two very different messages from the Palestinian leadership. In fact, they're practically opposite.

The Palestinian president, seeming to give a bit on a main Mideast stumbling block. The prime minister saying not so fast.

CNN's Ben Wedeman joins me by phone to help sort it out.

Ben, what happened?


Well, we heard Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, saying that any future Palestinian government would recognize Israel, but this morning we heard Ismail Haniya, who's the prime minister of that authority and a leading member of Hamas, that he would never lead a government that recognizes Israel.

Now, this really could be the beginning of an even more volatile power struggle between Fatah, which is the faction led by Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas. And this -- we have to keep in mind that since the beginning of the year, on several occasions, there have been pitched battles, especially in Gaza, between Hamas and Fatah. But Carol, this is more than just a political power struggle.

The welfare of millions of Palestinians is at stake. The Hamas- led government is under de facto economic boycott by the United States and the European Union, which won't give any money to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas recognizes Israel renounces terrorism and agrees to abide by all Arab-Palestinian-Israeli agreements.

Now, as a result, the Hamas-led government has been unable to pay most of its employees, about 165,000 people, which means that money is increasingly in short supply. Civil servants are on strike. Schools don't work. The situation is becoming evermore unstable -- Carol.

LIN: So why do they support Hamas? I mean, why were they elected? Didn't they know this was going to happen?

WEDEMAN: Well, you have to keep in mind back in January that many Palestinians came out, voted for Hamas as really a vote against Fatah, the Fatah faction which had led -- ruled the Palestinians since essentially 1993 with the beginning of the Oslo Peace Accord. Many people felt they were corrupt.

They engaged in favoritism. They were brutal in many respects. They had a very bad human rights record. And therefore, it was really not a vote for Hamas, it was a vote against Fatah.

Now the problem is that they're paying the price for this. And this is embittering many Palestinians who say we voted in the kind of democracy that the United States is advocating, and now we're paying the price for it.

So it's a very complicated and thorny situation. And at this point, there doesn't seem, Carol, to be any way out of it. It's a real impasse.

LIN: You bet. Ben Wedeman, thank you very much for giving us the latest there out of the Palestinian territories.

Ben's in Jerusalem right now.

In the meantime, the president of Venezuela, his "devil" speech is still the talk of the United Nations and beyond. But those who know Hugo Chavez and admire him aren't surprised. His in-your-face approach has so far won him two presidential elections. So you might want to ask, why?

That's exactly what CNN's Rick Sanchez did when he went to Caracas.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If ever there's been a coming out by a world leader trying to portray himself as the new giant power, this was it: a defiant and personal shot aimed at a standing U.S. president in his own back yard. Even Fidel Castro was seldom so incendiary, so direct.

So what emboldens Chavez to go even beyond the man he seems to be modeling himself after? Two words: black crude. His words are bankrolled by his country's oil revenues. Venezuela is believed to have the hemisphere's largest crude reserves.

JORGE PINON, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: He is the 800-pound gorilla because of the oil. If prices of oil today to go back down to $25, $26 oil, let me reassure you that that gorilla -- that gorilla becomes a chimpanzee very quickly.

SANCHEZ (on camera): There's something else that emboldens Chavez. It happened here at the national palace in Miraflores. And this one for Chavez is personal.

In 2002, there was a failed coup by members of his own military. Chavez, who's a former paratrooper, was incensed. Both the White House and the State Department have denied involvement, but Chavez insists to this day it was the Bush administration who tried to overthrow him.

(voice over): Chavez's Venezuela is represented by two types of people, the middle to upper class, who tend to despise his policies, and those toward the bottom of the economic rung who tend to revere him. (on camera): The problem for Chavez's opponents is a numbers game. There are more at the bottom than there are at the top, which may explain why he's already won two elections. And now even his opponents concede he will likely win another election later this year.

JULIA SWEIG, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: He deflects attention. And by saying that the United States is exclusively to blame, he paradoxically and maybe unintentionally takes the facts -- the focus off of Latin America's own actors on the ground who are, in fact, responsible for these problems.

SANCHEZ (voice over): Here in Venezuela, critics charge he wins elections by portraying himself as Robin Hood on the world stage. His opponents say he's using oil as a weapon. He takes credit for raising oil prices to benefit his people, but he also lowers the price for political gain.

Hugo gets Venezuelan crude in exchange for doctors. And he's provided several U.S. cities, among them Philadelphia, Boston, New York, as well as localities in Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island, with 45 million gallons in subsidized Citgo fuel. At this point it seems, though, no amount of oil is lubrication enough to ease the friction between Chavez and the Bush administration.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Caracas, Venezuela.


LIN: Look for more reporting from Venezuela tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," 10:00 Eastern, only on CNN, the most trusted name in news.

Picked up your Chomsky yet? Thousands have. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, at the United Nations Wednesday, recommended every American read a 2003 book by Noam Chomsky. Well, the book not complimentary of U.S. foreign policy, proving that any publicity is good publicity.

Sales of "Hegemony or Survival" are soaring. Today it's in the top 10 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It was in the basement before it was on U.N. TV. About 160,000, I think, was the number on the list.

All right. Coming up in the NEWSROOM, the killer with no contrition.


ULYSSES HANDY III, CONVICTED MURDERER: If I'm going to hell, I'll see a lot of people there.


LIN: But first things first. He's going to prison for life. His story just ahead.

And this is why there are police officers in courtrooms. The details behind the scuffle coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM. Watch out there.


LIN: Straight to the newsroom right now. Fredricka Whitfield working on another developing story -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Well, Carol, more now on one of the six Atlantis shuttle astronauts who collapsed during a welcome-home ceremony in Houston, that woman right there, 43-year-old Heidi Marie Stefanyshyn- Piper. Apparently, she collapsed twice during this welcome-home ceremony. And let me just read to you what The Associated Press account is about what took place.

She was the fifth of the sixth astronauts to speak during this ceremony. She appeared to be confused, reportedly, before her legs simply buckled during her remarks. The NASA officials and the crew members apparently braced her and lowered her to the ground.

She stood up again, and then the crowd applauded. And then she is quoted as saying, "Boy, if that's not a little bit embarrassing." But then after speaking for about another half-minute or so, she again appeared confused and gripped the podium.

Crewmembers stepped in to her side, lowered her to the floor. She was taken from the hangar by several of the NASA officials and taken through a side door, and then she was allowed to kind of reacclimate herself, and she was not taken to a hospital.

But just to note exactly, you know, what may have transpired, at least with her body over the past 24 hours, if not a little bit more, the space shuttle Atlantis returning from space their many days' mission there at the International Space Station, just returning yesterday. And that crew did perform some rather grueling spacewalks to conduct construction on the International Space Station.

She was one of those who carried out the spacewalk, hooking up a 17.5 ton addition to the International Space Station. But again, it's unclear exactly what caused this collapse -- or two collapses from taking place today. But it is worthy of note to take into account exactly what she and the other astronauts have been through while on their mission into space -- Carol.

LIN: Fred, did you say that she was outside at the time that she collapsed?

WHITFIELD: Say that one more time.

LIN: Did you say that she was outside at the time that she collapsed? Because Reynolds Wolf over at the CNN weather center just said that it was 91 degrees in Houston today.

WHITFIELD: Well, we -- we understand that this welcome-home ceremony was taking place at the Ellington Field, which is near the Johnson Space Center. I don't know as of yet whether the place that she was speaking, the exact podium, was actually inside or outside that hangar where she was eventually given more aid to try to, you know, help her out after this spell of collapsing.

LIN: Gosh, poor thing. All right. Thanks very much, Fred.

Well, now an admitted killer with no contrition. His name, Ulysses Handy. His home, Tacoma, Washington. And his crime, triple murder.

Here is what Handy had to say for himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glad you did it?

HANDY: No. I didn't want (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to be this way. But we can't have everything we want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the last thing you'd say to people before you go away?

HANDY: The truth? I don't bite my tongue. Anybody got a problem with anything I do, anybody got something to say, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). If I'm going to hell, I'll see a lot of people there.


LIN: Yes, he will. There's more. At his sentencing Wednesday, Handy told survivors of his victims to "get over it."

Kevin McCarty has the story from CNN affiliate KIRO.


HANDY: Go to prison. It's like sending a wildcat back to the jungle.

KEVIN MCCARTY, REPORTER, KIRO (voice over): As Ulysses Handy spoke to the court before pleading guilty to murdering three friends, something unexpected happened. His mother, who had watched as her 24- year-old son mocked and laughed at the families of his victims, stood up and interrupted as Handy blamed his crimes on the pain he suffered as a child.

HANDY: Pain has been the only constant that's been in my life from my earliest memory. Oh, well. I can't hurt no more.



BARNES: Please let me say something.

HANDY: No. No. No. No.

BARNES: May I please?

HANDY: No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please be seated.

MCCARTY: Tekeisha Barnes' outburst put an end to her son's statement, then he pleaded guilty to the murders of Darren Christian (ph), Daniel Varo and Lindy Cochran (ph). All three were found shot to death near the University of Puget Sound last February.

BARNES: So I feel your pain. But there's no way I can describe the pain I'm feeling to know that my son could do something like that.

MCCARTY: After Handy was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison, Barnes spoke with the parents and friends of his victims.

BARNES: I'm just so sorry. I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not your fault.

BARNES: He's my son. And I love him unconditionally, but do not think that that's the child I raised.

He is not like that. He is not. He is not. And I'm sorry. I just can't stop apologizing.

MCCARTY: Debra Martsching, the mother of Daniel Varo, says the apology from the mother of her son's killer helped, but she has no pity for Ulysses Handy.

DEBRA MARTSCHING, DANIEL VARO'S MOTHER: I think that there is something wrong with him that he's lacking, a soul or -- and I don't blame her.


LIN: Well, you know what? Ulysses Handy is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. He pleaded guilty to avoid a possible death penalty.

Now, check out this courtroom video from New Hampshire. A furious spectator lunges at the suspect in a double homicide. Police held him back. They haven't said what his relationship is with the defendant or victims might be, but he now -- he now faces several charges.

Well, the pope reaches out to Muslim leaders.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "Let's hope that with dialogue we can manage to overcome this difficult moment, calm down the spirits, and quench down the tension."


LIN: That was a translation by our very own Delia Gallagher. Will a Monday meeting smooth things over and ease worries about the pontiff's safety? A closer look straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.


LIN: Hewlett-Packard's leak investigation has gone the -- gotten the company in some pretty hot water, you might say. And now the company's chief executive is ready to speak out.

Cheryl Casone joins us now from the New York Stock Exchange to tell us what he might say.


LIN: Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf, do you see any tornadoes touching down?


LIN: Now, coming up, an international who's who of terror.


KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind the barbed wire at Guantanamo Bay, in isolation, sit 14 men the U.S. government considers the most notorious terrorists ever captured.


LIN: CNN's Kelli Arena investigates straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.


LIN: Straight to the newsroom now. Fredricka Whitfield working on a developing store there -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Well, more, Carol, on the first-timer in flight, 43- year-old Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, who collapsed twice while at a welcome home ceremony just a day after returning with the other five astronauts on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Well, the welcome home ceremony was taking place in Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center. When she took the podium about to speak, it appeared, according to those audience members, that she looked a little confused and then her legs kind of buckled, and then her crew members -- fellow crew members braced her and lowered her to the ground. She stood up again. The crowd applauded. She proceeded to try to speak, and the same thing happened again.

Well, we have since learned from the NASA public relations office that something like this isn't too out of the ordinary for particularly a first-timer. Post-flight effects is what they call it. It can linger sometimes up to a week after returning from such a space flight.

Certainly being up in the atmosphere like that for so many days -- in this case, the Atlantis crew was doing work on the International Space Station -- certainly can take some powerful effects on the body, and so returning to earth is quite the jolt for the body.

And just a day after their return and then taking to the stage and talking to a number of people there, the sheer excitement of being back and seeing the excitement in the audience members, all of it kind of came possibly crashing down on Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper. Hopefully she's OK.

She was not taken to the hospital, Carol, so it's expected that she will simply recover from quite the journey.

LIN: I wonder if NASA ...

WHITFIELD: The journey up in space and the journey back home.

LIN: Yes, I think NASA needs to send her down to the Caribbean for a few days.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that would be nice. I think she'd appreciate that.

LIN: Yes, I think that would be our tax dollars well spent.

WHITFIELD: That would be quite the thank you.

LIN: All right. Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right.

LIN: Yes, we do hope she's feeling better.

More from the NEWSROOM after a quick break.


LIN: Every war has its jargon. The war on terror gave us shock and awe, enemy combatant and high value detainee. Well, 14 members of that group are now being held openly at Guantanamo Bay after years under wraps in secret lock-ups who knows where.

CNN's justice correspondent Kelli Arena has a closer look.


ARENA (voice-over): Behind the barbed wire at Guantanamo Bay, in isolation, sit 14 men the U.S. government considers the most notorious terrorists ever captured, allegedly, the masterminds and architects of infamous worldwide attacks, like 9/11, the bombing of the USS Cole, and the two U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: These guys planned mass murder.

YOSRI FOUDA, AL-JAZEERA CORRESPONDENT: They are, by far, the biggest fish.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It's really hard to exaggerate the importance that these people represent in the U.S. counterterrorism effort.

ARENA: They have been held for years in secret CIA prisons, their locations unknown, until recently, when President Bush announced they were being transferred to Gitmo.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and their plans of new attacks.

ARENA: The government claims the stories of these men reveal an interconnected web of criminal masterminds and dedicated foot soldiers who span the globe. Their paths have intertwined for years through a dark network most people never know.

One person who does is Bob Grenier.

BOB GRENIER, FORMER CIA STATION CHIEF: Well, I spent two-and-a- half years of my life chasing Abu Zubaydah.

ARENA: Grenier was CIA station chief in Pakistan from 1999 through 2002. He helped track down Abu Zubaydah, the facilitator, one of the 14 in custody. The government hails him as the first high- profile terrorist captured within months of the 9/11 attacks. Officials claim Zubaydah, a Palestinian Saudi, was hired by Osama bin Laden himself to help terrorists move between countries.

Zubaydah, Grenier says, made al Qaeda function.

GRENIER: This was an individual who was a trainer. He was a recruiter. He understood bomb-making. He was a forger. He was a logistician. This was somebody who made things happen.

ARENA: During questioning, officials say Zubaydah provided information that led to the capture of another al Qaeda lieutenant, Ramzi Binalshibh, the intermediary from Yemen.

Binalshibh was a student in Hamburg, Germany, in 1998, where he became close friends with three of the 9/11 hijackers. Intelligence officials say the four young men traveled to Afghanistan in 1999, joined al Qaeda, and pledged loyalty to Osama bin Laden.

PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Binalshibh was also supposed to be one of the 9/11 hijackers, but could not get a passport into the United States.

FOUDA: This is why he ended up being the coordinator of the operation.

ARENA: U.S. officials say the combined information from Zubaydah and Binalshibh next led to the most significant terrorist captured so far, his name, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind, known simply as KSM.

MCLAUGHLIN: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is an evil genius. This is -- if you look at all the things he was involved in, it's stunning.

ARENA: Interrogators claim KSM was essentially the CEO of the 9/11 operation.

BERGEN: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, very interesting guy, sort of professional terrorist, had been involved in terrorism his entire adult life, studied, in the United States engineering, was involved in a plan to blow up a dozen airliners in Southeast Asia, and was really the guy who came up with the 9/11 idea.

ARENA: Yosri Fouda, chief investigative reporter with Al- Jazeera, is one of the few journalists to personally meet both KSM and Binalshibh. It was seven months after 9/11. In his two days with them, Fouda says KSM never stopped to rest.

FOUDA: Most of the time would be sitting in a corner on the floor, handling five or so mobile phones, text -- you know, sending text messages, receiving text messages. And he was hardly off duty.

ARENA: One of the alleged terrorists in that KSM network, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, the money mover, whose role in the 9/11 attacks was to allegedly get funds to the hijackers.

GRENIER: And they needed to have somebody who was sophisticated enough to make those arrangements, and to do it in a discrete way.

ARENA: Another alleged KSM associate, Walid bin Attash, the confidante, the man who officials say Osama bin Laden literally trusted with his life. The Yemeni was the al Qaeda leader's personal bodyguard, selected by bin Laden himself to be a 9/11 hijacker, but, like Binalshibh, was unable to get a visa.

D'AMURO: We know him as Khallad, was very instrumental. He was an individual that actually helped, we believe, through intelligence reports, funneled some moneys to two of the hijackers.

ARENA: Nabbed in Pakistan in 2003, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, or KSM, the architect of 9/11, revealed to investigators a vast web of suspected terrorists spanning the globe.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: He managed to connect all of these people together into a network.

ARENA: KSM's information led U.S. officials, they say, to several alleged terrorists who were actively putting together another 9/11-style plot, this time to attack the West Coast.

One of those alleged plotters was Majid Khan, another one of the 14 who was recently transferred from a secret CIA prison to Guantanamo Bay. In 1996 Khan moved with his parents from Pakistan to Baltimore, where he worked at his family's gas station. In 2002 he returned to Pakistan, where officials say he was recruited by al Qaeda.

MCLAUGHLIN: His major significance for them is knowledge of the United States.

ARENA: Interrogators claim Khan was sent to southeast Asia with money to help operatives there fund that West Coast plot. The plan was to allegedly crash a commercial jet into L.A.'s Library Tower. At least three other operatives, now in custody, were allegedly involved in that plot, Ali al-Aziz Ali, who happens to be KSM's nephew, another man, known only as Lillie and another called Zubair, who in turn, led investigators to the most important capture in southeast Asia, an alleged terrorist known simply as Hambali. The government claims he and henchmen already had a long and deadly track record.

PETER BERGEN, TERRORISM ANALYST: This is the group that blew up a bomb in Bali, killing 200 people, attacked the Australian embassy in Indonesia, attacked a J.W. Marriott Hotel in Indonesia.

ARENA: Intelligence officials say the capture of those men involved in the West Coast plot potentially saved thousands of lives.

BOB GRENIER, FMR. CIA STATION CHIEF: I strongly doubt, had it not been for the capture of KSM and his successful interrogation, that we would have found Hambali in time.

ARENA (on camera): These weren't the only terrorists who were caught mid-plot. Intelligence officials say there were other plans to attack U.S. interests, but this time, at sea.

(voice-over): Officials claim Al Rahim al-Nashiri was the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing which killed 17 sailors. They say he was planning more of the same when he was captured.

BERGEN: Nashiri was al Qaeda's sort of director of Gulf operations, planning to attack additional shipping, planning to attack additional American targets in the Persian Gulf region.

ARENA: Officials claim interrogations with detainees in U.S. custody also led to the capture of an entire second tier of operatives like Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an alleged master forger, who led Hassan Dourad, who they say transferred weapons and supplies; and Abu Faraj al-Libi, a Libyan communications expert. Al-Libi allegedly helped organize two assassination attempts on Pakistani President Musharraf. In the end, it was the Pakistanis who got him, capturing him alive.

GRENIER: That occurred in May of 2005, and as a matter of fact, I was with the chief of Pakistani intelligence, having breakfast with him as a matter of fact, when one of his aides came up and whispered in his ear. And he then announced that Abu Faraj had been captured.

ARENA: Intelligence officials say al-Libi had started to climb the al Qaeda management ladder, and was taking on a bigger leadership role. He was the last high-profile terrorist taken into custody.

BERGEN: They planned additional violence, additional death, additional mayhem. That is how they made thousands of more body bags, both in the United States and its allies around the world.

ARENA: But history proves al Qaeda is relentless. Those 14 men in custody have surely been replaced, and there are associates, supporters, and commanders, including Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, who are still free and dangerous.

D'AMURO: There are still individuals out there, part of al Qaeda, that can do significant harm to the United States and its allies.

ARENA: Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.


LIN: CNN is keeping a close eye on your security. And of course you can see more of Kelli Arena's reports on "PAULA ZAHN NOW." Watch weeknights at 8:00 Eastern right here, only on CNN.

Tragedy on a high-speed, high-tech train in Germany. State police say at least 21 people were killed when a trashed into a park repair wagon today while on a test run near the Dutch border. The so- called Maglev train is designed to travel at speeds reaching 280 miles an hour, and it's said to have been moving at less than half that, about 125 miles an hour, when it crashed. It's propelled by electrically-charged magnets that allow the cars to hover just above the tracks.

Severe weather threat, possible tornadoes, damaging winds, major cities on alert. We're tracking the storms from our CNN Weather Center.

And also ahead, entertainment news with Brooke Anderson of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." Brooke, what's on top?


Well, change is in the air at "Saturday Night Live," and Usher will soon be out, and Huey will soon be in. I'll explain when CNN NEWSROOM continues.


LIN: Well, Tom Petty proves you can go home again. The news about Huey Lewis, and three performers will have to find a new way to spend their Saturday nights. "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT's" Brooke Anderson joins me with today's entertainment report.

Boy, it's loaded, Brooke.

ANDERSON: It is loaded, and I'm sure these three performers can think of something else to do on the weekends, Carol.

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" is playing musical chairs for its 32nd season which begins September 30th. Wow, 32 seasons. The first change, Seth Meyers will join Amy Poehler to co-anchor Weekend Update. Meyers takes over from Tina Fey, who of course is moving on to the new NBC comedy "30 Rock."

It's been rumored for awhile that a number of cast members will be leaving "SNL," and now it is confirmed. Chris Parnell, Finesse Mitchell and Horatio Sanz will not be returning. Executive producer Lorne Michaels tells the Associated Press the cast was slimmed down in part to cut costs.

Rocker Tom Petty heads back home after a 13-year absence. Petty played to a sold-out crowd in his hometown of Gainesville, Florida, last night. The concert sold out in 10 minutes. Can you believe it? He played at the University of Florida, where he once worked as a groundskeeper. Little known fact. Petty has even been given a key to the city, and he had a tree renamed in his honor. It is now the Tom Petty tree. All right.

Although Usher has been burning up the great white way as Billy Flynn in the musical "Chicago," he's gearing up to make his exit stage right. Usher ends his run in "Chicago" October 14th. And just a month later -- listen to this -- on November 20th, musician Huey Lewis takes over the Billy Flynn role. It will be Lewis' second stint as the slick, singing lawyer. His first was back in 2005.

Tonight on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," obsessed with plastic surgery. Hollywood's biggest stars going under the knife and why so many people are asking cosmetic surgeons to make them look like their favorite stars. It's a special report on TV's most provocative entertainment news program. That is "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 Pacific on CNN Headline Prime. I think we saw Paula Zahn there ...

LIN: Yes, but watch her too.

ANDERSON: ...but join A.J. Hammer and me.

LIN: Absolutely. All right. So are you going to be naming names on this plastic surgery thing?

ANDERSON: Indeed we are. You have to tune in.

LIN: I will. Thanks very much.


LIN: Well, he's expressed regret now three times, but for some, it's still not enough. Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, Pope Benedict plans another attempt to mend relations with the world's Muslims.

Plus, two leaders, one goal: winning the war on terror. President Bush meets with the president of Pakistan, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.