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Alito Confirmation Hearings Will Begin in January; Libby Arraigned in CIA Leak Case

Aired November 03, 2005 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's 5:00 p.m. here in Washington. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where we've just received new information concerning the new U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito.
Also happening now, the White House watching apprehensively as the vice president's former chief of staff is arraigned in the CIA leak case. And hearing growing criticism from some Republicans, even, who say the top presidential adviser, Karl Rove, needs to go next.

Also in the capital, new e-mail from the former FEMA boss coming to life. They paint, as we just heard, a painful picture of a man who appears in way over his head. We'll show you more of what he wrote at the height of the Katrina crisis.

And its 10:00 p.m. in London, where a major international airline is announcing that it will take some significant steps to stop a possible bird flu pandemic.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin with a developing story, new information just reported here on CNN involving the confirmation hearings of the Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Let's get right back to Ed Henry.

We expect some formal announcement, Ed, coming up from the chairman and the ranking Democrat literally any moment now, is that right?

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Senator Arlen Specter, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, they're expected to go to the microphones in a few minutes and basically report what we just confirmed from various congressional sources, that in fact the confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito will start in January.

That is a little bit of a blow to the White House. They were pushing very hard to get these hearings started maybe even at the end of November, early December, to get the ball rolling. The key is the White House and conservative outside groups want to get this nominee confirmed by the end of the year.

That obviously now is impossible. The hearings will start in January. That means a confirmation at best in late January, maybe February if all goes well. But stepping back from the process for a moment, it was a good day today for Samuel Alito on the Hill. He had a lot more one-on-one meetings with senators, various reports from lawmakers in both parties suggest he's doing well in these meetings.

And also, finally, the Gang of 14 moderates that pulled the Senate back from the brink of a nuclear showdown on lower court nominees earlier this year met today for the first time in this nomination. They came out saying they will not make a pronouncement.

They're not going to endorse him or come out against him. But they mostly had very warm words about his nomination. And individual members of that so-called Gang of 14 basically saying they do not think there will be a filibuster of this nomination -- Wolf.

BLITZER: There's -- I'm showing our viewers a live picture of the podium where Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy are expected to walk in momentarily to make this announcement on a schedule for confirmation hearings.

Ed, it has very practical substantive import, at least potentially, because there's at least several cases, including an abortion case, that's coming up right now. And Sandra Day O'Connor, the so-called swing vote among the nine justices, she's still on the court. And as long as -- as long as there is no successor confirmed, she will have a -- potentially a decisive say on that -- that decision.

HENRY: Absolutely. I can tell you, I've been talking to very senior conservative activists in recent days who were saying they were pushing very hard to get these hearings going for that reason. You put your finger on it.

They're very worried that Sandra Day O'Connor will rule in some cases and they will not be able to get Samuel Alito in quick enough to make sure he puts his imprint on the court.

Secondly, I can tell you there's some conservatives making noise that if in fact this goes through, and now the hearings start in January, they're going to express some anger at the majority leader, Bill Frist, who of course wants to run for president. Conservatives are worried about this -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And the president in announcing the nomination of Samuel Alito specifically said he wanted his confirmation process to be over with by -- before the end of this year.

Ed Henry reporting this story for us.

Ed, thank you very much.

And we're going to keep an eye out on that radio TV gallery on Capitol Hill. Once Arlen Specter, Patrick Leahy go in there to make their announcement, we'll go back there live. We'll keep that picture up on our wall here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Moving on now to another important story today. Just a week ago he was a key White House player. Today the vice president's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was fingerprinted, photographed and formally arraigned on charges stemming from the CIA leak investigation.

Our national correspondent, Bob Franken, is joining us now live from the courthouse with more -- Bob..

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Wolf, just an illustration, as you point out, that in the brutal world of politics, it's a very short distance from the heights to the depths.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Libby, it's your day in court. How do you feel?

FRANKEN (voice over): Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who so liked to work in the background as the vice president's chief of staff, was now on public display as he left the courthouse, free on personal bond after he had his mug shot taken and he was fingerprinted by U.S marshals. His new lawyer promised Libby was ready for battle.

TED WELLS, LIBBY'S ATTORNEY: He has declared that he intends to fight the charges in the indictment, and he has declared that he wants to clear his good name.

FRANKEN: Inside the quiet, orderly courtroom, facing the judge, Libby spoke for himself. "With respect, your honor, I plead not guilty."

The charges: obstructions of justice, perjury, making false statements. They're the outgrowth of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaks that identified Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative at a time when her husband Joseph Wilson was challenging the administration's claims about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.

WELLS: And he wants a jury trial. We do not intend to try this case in the press. Mr. Libby intends to clear his good name by using the judicial process.

FRANKEN: Lawyers for both sides agreed. There will be a tedious, time-consuming pretrial period. And the Democrats made it clear this case will not just be legal but highly political.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: There's got to be a house cleaning top to bottom.

FRANKEN: Adding even more complexity and politics is the unresolved questions over whether Fitzgerald will seek an indictment against the president's chief political adviser, deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove. Rove's lawyer says that's being negotiated.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FRANKEN: All of which makes it very clear that the CIA leaks controversy, Wolf, which was already more than two years old, is going to be around for a long time.

BLITZER: Bob Franken reporting for us.

Bob, thank you very much.

Let's head up to Capitol Hill right now. Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, peaking on the nomination of Samuel Alito, announcing the hearings will start in January as opposed to December.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We don't know what is -- our staff has been stretched very, very thin, having given up August, and we had to go through a very difficult scheduling process to have Chief Justice Robert seated by October 3. But we did that.

And we had a difficult process with Ms. Harriet Miers. And we finally worked that out with the consent of Senator Leahy to start on November 7. And I said to Pat a few minutes ago, after all these years of training and practice, I've turned in to be a professional scheduler. That's all I do is schedule.

So we have -- we have worked through the process, and my preference on a starting date is January 2, which would have given us hearings on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th, with an exec on Tuesday the 10th, and floor action on the 11th, 12th, and a vote on the 13th. But that allows for a week's holdover as a matter of right by any senator.

And January 2 is a difficult day. Technically it's a holiday. We could work on a holiday around here if we really had to, and it also implicates Hanukkah, I'm told.

But we could have done that. But at any rate...

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Not me. I'm not going to give up Hanukkah.


SPECTER: But at any rate, Senator Leahy and I have worked through it. And since it could be delayed for a week in any event by any senator who wants to hold it over for a week, that we would put that week back at the start on the 9th, with the good faith understanding that our intent would be to go to an executive committee meeting on the 17th, the day after Martin Luther King holiday, so that the schedule will be -- we'll start hearings on -- at noon on the 9th, and we'll have them Tuesday the 10th, Wednesday the 11th, Thursday the 12th, Friday the 13th, Saturday the 14th, if necessary.

We will then go to exec on the 17th. And here we can't get everybody bound in writing to waive it in advance. But Pat Leahy and Arlen Specter have had no problems, nor have anybody on the committee, of not fulfilling what we have said we would do as a matter of good faith intent, which will put the executive session on the 17th.

We finish that with Chief Justice Roberts in the morning. And then we would go to the 18th, 19th and 20th for floor debate, with a vote on the 20th.

Now, that will require senators coming back. And Senator Frist has been apprised of this every step of the way, as has Senator Reid.

Senator Frist, Reid, Senator Leahy and I met earlier today, and there are a lot of people to consult. We have...

BLITZER: All right. So Arlen Specter announcing a schedule for the confirmation hearings of Samuel Alito, the nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. The hearings will start Monday, January 9. And he's hoping by January 20 there will be a full vote on the U.S. Senate floor.

The president of the United States in announcing the nomination only a week or two ago specifically said that he hoped that the confirmation process could be resolved, the final vote could be done by the end of this year. Clearly that is not going to happen now. At the earliest, they're talking about January 20 now.

It has very practical importance, potentially, for several cases that are before -- several issues before the Supreme Court right now. Sandra Day O'Connor, the associate justice who is retiring, will stay on the bench until Samuel Alito or someone else is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. And she could be the swing vote in some controversial cases, including one case before the court right now on -- involving abortion rights for women.

We'll continue to watch this story, get some more information as it becomes available.

Let's get back to the Lewis "Scooter" Libby appearance today in court. Many Republican heavyweights are now saying -- or at least they're looking, they're trying to keep a close eye on the future of Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff, who also came under serious scrutiny by the grand jury, although he has not been indicted by the special counsel.

Our White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux has more on that.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As President Bush headed to the South American summit, his top political adviser, Karl Rove, stayed behind. Aides say that's not unusual. Rove's not only involved in national security matters, but is tending to a plateful of domestic priorities that include getting Sam Alito on the Supreme Court, setting next year's agenda, and working with the Tax Reform Commission.

As one White House official put it, Rove, like everyone else, is just trying to put one foot in front of the other. But Rove's legal status remains uncertain. It's been nearly three weeks since Rove's last appearance before the grand jury. A source familiar with the legal proceeding says nothing has changed. The special prosecutor has not decided whether to charge Rove with a crime.

But Rove's legal limbo has fueled speculation about his political future, and emboldened not only Democrats, but some Republican strategists to call for his resignation.

PATRICK BASHAM, CATO INSTITUTE: George Bush should ask Karl Rove to leave the White House. Karl Rove is not a political liability, but he's a liability in terms of his ability to provide the president with high-quality political counsel.

MALVEAUX: When asked on Monday whether he'd consider doing just that, the president ignored the question. But sources, both in and outside the White House, say there are no discussions taking place inside the White House about Rove leaving. That absent of him being indicted, there is no expectation of him stepping down. And indeed, he wants to stay.

Several Republican insiders say the chatter about Rove is coming from a very small circle of Republican players who "don't orbit as true White House allies, but are too big to ignore." This group, one Republican insider said, hold their noses at Karl and would love to see him go.

The problem the president faces now, this Republican insider says, is that there is a culture developing in and around the White House, where people are quietly working against one another. And for that reason, a shakeup may be necessary.

(on camera): Several Republican insiders say that the divisions took hold in the weeks leading up to the indictment, with one camp siding with Cheney's aide, Scooter Libby, and another camp siding with the president's aide, Karl Rove.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, the White House.


BLITZER: Another critical issue here in Washington, the war in Iraq. It's become the favorite weapon of Iraq's insurgents, and now the simple roadside bomb has become a much more challenging threat. The U.S. military is urgently looking for answers right now.

Let's go over to the Pentagon. Our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, standing by -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's been a vexing and deadly problem for U.S. troops in Iraq. And now the Pentagon thinks that maybe the task force that's looking into fixing the problem maybe needs somebody with more stars on his shoulder.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MCINTYRE (voice over): With roadside bombs the number one killer of U.S. troops in Iraq, and with the bombs dubbed IEDs by the military becoming more sophisticated and more deadly, the Pentagon is considering putting a higher ranking general in charge of its Anti-IED Task Force.

LT. GEN. JAMES CONWAY, JOINT STAFF OPERATIONS DIRECTOR: There's no shortage of funding to the effort. There's no shortage of emphasis coming out of theater that encourages us to come to a solution. And it has been discussed, at least.

A decision has not been made, but it has been discussed. Perhaps adding a three star oversight to the effort might further enhance its ability to get things done.

MCINTYRE: Currently a one star, Brigadier General Joseph Votel (ph) heads the effort. And while the Pentagon says he's been doing a good job, a three-star general would have more juice in seeking ideas and expertise from other government agencies and the private sector.


MCINTYRE: Wolf, the problem is, as fast as the U.S. comes up with new technology, such as heavier armor or jamming devices, the insurgents come up with new tactics, such as shaped charges that can penetrate the heaviest armor and infrared triggering devices that can't be jammed -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon.

Thank you very much.

Let's get back up to New York. Jack Cafferty standing by with another question for this hour -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Voters in Denver, Colorado, made history this week when their city became the first in the nation to legalize small amounts of marijuana. The measure wipes out all penalties for adults caught with less than an ounce of pot.

Denver's mayor, who was against the piece of legislation, warned that Colorado State law still makes possession of pot illegal. But supporters say that Denver's vote to legalize small amounts of marijuana will bring about similar initiatives to other cities across the country. They argue that legalized pot is safer than alcohol.

Here is the question: Should small amounts of marijuana be legal?

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack. We'll get back to you soon.

Up ahead, the former FEMA director, Mike Brown, fretting over what to wear and how to find a dog sitter as thousands were in jeopardy during Hurricane Katrina. We'll tell you about Brown's e- mail, sent as Katrina hit. And at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, the show went on, but the music wasn't the same. We'll tell you about the big dispute between management and the musicians.

And call them the rat pack. Can mice really sing/ Even more, can the males sing love songs to the females? There's a new scientific study out.

Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Now to the fight for Iraq and the fight over Iraq. The administration's handling of prewar intelligence sparked a serious showdown this week as Senate Democrats forced a rare secret session.

Joining us now from New York, our world affairs analyst, the former defense secretary, William Cohen. He's chairman and CEO of The Cohen Group here in Washington.

Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: You not only were a former defense secretary, but you served in the United States Senate for a long time. And you were a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee for a long time as well.

What did you think of that maneuver to effectively close the doors of the Senate to force the Republican leadership to investigate, as the Democrats say, the mishandling of intelligence going into the war?

COHEN: Well, obviously that move was born out of frustration. There was some conflicting information about it.

On the one hand, the chairman of the committee has indicated he was prepared to release the second phase of that report in a few days. The Democrats had said there has been no movement on it. So I think it's born out of frustration.

The difficulty is, that's a committee where you really do have to work in a bipartisan fashion, or should. And that may have been interrupted, at least momentarily, by this particular maneuver. But the important thing is they will be getting, hopefully, the report, and can then base their judgments from that point forward.

BLITZER: The public seems to think that the administration deliberately mislead the American people on the issue of weapons of mass destruction. Look at these numbers from our CNN "USA-Today"- Gallup poll.

Fifty-three percent thought the administration deliberately mislead public -- the public on weapons of mass destruction. Forty- five percent say no. The Senate has a responsibility for oversight in these matters to try to come up with answers. Are they doing their job, their responsibility?

COHEN: Well, I think they've tried to do their job. And that's been one of the questions, why is it taking so long? And the same question might have been raised about Patrick Fitzgerald. Why did it take him two years in order to bring forth a single indictment? And his answer was there was a failure to get full cooperation.

There was some at least allegedly obstructions of justice and some lying that had taken place. Again, allegations, but that has impeded his investigation for some two years.

I think the same thing may be true here. There's been some difficulty in getting access to the kind of information that the Intelligence Oversight Committee needs. And therefore, the frustration on the part of the Democrats, and filing this particular motion which had not been used, I think, in about 20 years time previously -- so it's a significant move.

Hopefully the partisanship which is so high right now will subside as soon as the report comes forward, and they can try to work together again, which is all too important.

BLITZER: Don't hold your breath on that.

Listen to what Dan Bartlett, the White House counselor, said here in THE SITUATION ROOM 24 hours ago. Listen to this.


DAN BARTLETT, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: President Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Vice President Al Gore, John Kerry, there's a whole list of Democrats who stepped up, as did President Bush, looked at the threat in a post-9/11 world, and said this man is a threat.

We removed this dictator for good reasons. Now, everybody recognizes that the intelligence wasn't all correct. But the decision was correct in a post-9/11 world.


BLITZER: Could Bartlett have included you in that list of Democrats and others who basically thought it was a good idea to go to war?

COHEN: Well, he was talking about post-9/11. I'd like to go back to pre-9/11, because, indeed, much of the intelligence was based upon assumptions.

Were they reasonable assumptions? Saddam had had the weapons of mass destruction in the past, chemical and biological. He was seeking nuclear.

He had used the chemical before, and he refused to account for them. So there was a reasonable assumption that he still had them.

But frankly, the Clinton administration had come to the conclusion that he could be contained. We own the skies, he couldn't move north, he couldn't move south. We were watching him very closely.

Any time we saw that he posed a threat we acted. We took out his missile production facilities, for example, in 1998. And then we systematically degraded his air defense system between 1999 and the year 2000, so that paved the way for President Bush and his administration to move very quickly into Baghdad.

But the important point was that, prior to 9/11, we did not think it was a wise decision to go in. We had a contingency plan that if we had to go in, we would go in with something between 380,000 or 400,000 and 500,000 men and women to actually secure the country not only for the attack phase of it, but the post -- the reconstruction phase and rehabilitation phase as well.

So that was prior to 9/11.

Post 9/11, frankly, I did not see any connection between Saddam and 9/11. I didn't see any connection between al Qaeda and Saddam.

But nonetheless, the administration came to the conclusion that they wanted to remove him and to try to transform the Middle East. That was a policy judgment they made. But based on the evidence that we had at the time, we decided containment was a better course of action.

But if we had to go in, we'd have to go in with 400,000 to 500,000 troops.

BLITZER: William Cohen, thanks very much for joining us.

COHEN: A pleasure.

BLITZER: Coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the royal make the rounds here in Washington, D.C. Charles makes a pitch for religious understanding, and Camilla makes a speech about a devastating disease over at the National Institutes of Health. We're going to give you an update on what Charles and Camilla were up to here in the nation's capital today.

Also, are they protecting their employees from a super flu or putting others at risk? Corporations are accused of hoarding supplies of an antiviral drug.

We'll tell you what's going on. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, are in the middle of a very hectic day here in the Washington, D.C., area. And it's only day three of their weeklong U.S. tour. Our Zain Verjee has a royal update right now from the CNN Center in Atlanta.

What's the latest, Zain?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Wolf, they may be a middle-aged couple, but Charles and Camilla are keeping up quite the schedule.

They started this morning at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where the duchess gave her first public speech in the United States. She talked about osteoporosis, a disease that she's very familiar with.


CAMILLA, DUCHESS OF CORNWALL: I first became involved with osteoporosis after both my mother and my grandmother died as a result of this devastating disease. Then, only 11 years ago, little was known in Britain about osteoporosis. It was seldom discussed.


VERJEE: On the way inside the NIH, the royal couple were escorted by the U.S. surgeon general, Richard Carmona. Now, he, Wolf, almost lead the duchess into a full-length glass window, and she could have -- it could have been quite disastrous. But they managed to avoid a collision and had a jolly good laugh about it.

From there, the royal couple went to the National Buildings Museum, where the prince received a reward for his work in promoting historic architecture. Now, that's something he's got a keen interest in. Royal spokespeople say he'll donate the $30,000 prize to hurricane relief efforts.

One last stop this afternoon. Charles traveling solo to Georgetown University for a lecture on faith and social responsibility. He mingled with more than a thousand students who turned out to greet him.

Some of the young women were asking, "Where's William?" the prince's very popular eldest son.

Finally, tonight, the royals attends a reception at the British Embassy. Tomorrow, they will fly to San Francisco, with a stop in New Orleans to get a first-hand look at the hurricane recovery efforts.


VERJEE: Wolf, are you invited there?

BLITZER: I was not invited, but I would have been happy to been -- have been invited. I got a show tonight from 7:00 to 8:00 anyhow, so I wouldn't have been able to make it, in any case.

Zain Verjee is our royal correspondent. (LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: Did an excellent job...

VERJEE: Hardly.

BLITZER: .... updating our viewers.


VERJEE: Thank you.

BLITZER: Zain, thank you very much.

You might not think of musicians as businessmen, but many are small businesses -- businessmen unto themselves. And some of them in New York are taking some drastic measures right now.

J.J. Ramberg is here to explain what is going on. She's just outside Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

What is the latest on this story, J.J.?


RAMBERG: Well, the 35 members of the orchestra that should be inside -- or should have been inside earlier today to play for the Radio City "Christmas Spectacular" were actually outside. They weren't allowed in.

The issue here is that they're under some contract negotiations, a contract dispute with the management of Radio City. And, as you said, they're really business people unto themselves. And, in some ways, that makes the issues they're dealing with even harder.


MARK JOHANSEN, MUSICIAN: Even though it is a freelance thing, it's something we rely on from year to year for these two months. And for a majority of the people in the orchestra, it constitutes a pretty hefty portion of their yearly income. And to, all of a sudden, be confronted with the loss of that income, you're scrambling to say, you know, what am I going do to make up these two months?


RAMBERG: The issues un -- this issue under dispute are salary and overtime pay.

The musicians say they are ready to go back in and be part of the show. But Radio City Entertainment released this statement today, saying: "We have told the musicians in no uncertain terms that until there is an agreement, and there is no possibility of them walking out on future performances, they remain on strike, and cannot return to the music hall."

Now, there were two performances today, Wolf. Both of them were played by recorded music -- Wolf.

BLITZER: J.J. Ramberg, outside Radio City Music Hall in thank -- thank you, J.J., for that update.

Coming up, corporate responsibility or corporate hoarding? Should airlines and other companies buy stockpiles of Tamiflu to prepare for a possible bird flu outbreak? Some companies are. We will tell you why.

And get this. Can mice really sing? Some researchers -- serious researchers -- say they can. We will tell what that story is all about.

Stay with us in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

A collision of circumstances may have cracked a case that went cold 32 years ago, a random background check for a gun purchase last year and a piece of evidence dating back to 1973. Prosecutors say a DNA test has connected the two, and now they're trying to convict the suspect for a decades-old rape.

Our Mary Snow is joining us now live from New York. She has the story -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a retired New York City police officer called to testify in a case he investigated more than 30 years ago calls it a miracle, hoping science will provide the final evidence in a rape case that was left in limbo.


SNOW (voice-over): Kathleen Hamm is a rape victim who does not want her face and identity shielded. She says she has nothing to be ashamed of. And she wants justice, which is why she faced the man charged with raping her at knifepoint in June of 1973.

Now 58, Hamm testified about the nightmare that has haunted her for more than three decades, saying: "I haven't had a good night's sleep in 32 years. I'm an insomniac."

This is the second time Hamm has testified against her alleged attacker, Fletcher Anderson Worrell. The first time was in 1974. That trial ended in a hung jury. That case had gone cold, but that changed after Worrell filled out an application at a Georgia gun shop in 2004 that revealed outstanding arrest warrants.

Authorities say red flags were raised and DNA tests were done, matching Worrell's DNA to DNA evidence they had on file. Authorities suspect Worrell of committing more than two dozen rapes in Maryland, New Jersey and New York. In April, prosecutors in New York said they reopened the case of the attack on Kathleen Hamm. ROBERT MORGENTHAU, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: And it will sent a chill through a lot of defendants to know that, after 32 years, you can still test for DNA.

SNOW: Prosecutors say the chances of a match like this are one in a trillion. They found the DNA on a pair of underpants. That is one of the only pieces of evidence that was still left in the case.

Worrell's lawyer says his client is not guilty. And he doubts the DNA.

MICHAEL RUBIN, ATTORNEY FOR FLETCHER ANDERSON WORRELL: It's old. That's -- you know, it's 32 years old. It's not this certainty that the DA wants everyone to believe it is.

SNOW: Defense attorney Michael Rubin is relying on memory and, in court, asked Hamm to look at her alleged attacker and identify him. After hesitation, she did, but said she didn't recognize him. She has testified that she was attacked with a sheet over her head.

Asked if she recalled anything about the attack 32 years ago, she said, "Some of it is burned in my memory and will never go away."


SNOW: Kathleen Hamm also testified that she feels that her life was stolen from her -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What a story.

Mary, thank you very much -- Mary Snow reporting for us, doing an excellent job, as she always does.

Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration says it has busted a young man for trying to buy 400 pounds of marijuana. He just happens to be the son of Miami's police chief and the former top cop in New York and Philadelphia.

CNN's Brian Todd is joining us. He's got more on this story -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I have gotten a copy of the affidavit.

And I have just spoken to a DEA official, who provided some details. The DEA confirms the 25-year-old son of Miami Police Chief John Timoney has been arrested for conspiring to possess, with the intent to distribute, a controlled substance. That arrest occurred Tuesday in Spring Valley, New York, according to a DEA official, two of the agency's undercover agents make what they call a controlled delivery of marijuana to Sean James Timoney at a hotel there.

The agents, according to this official, delivered some 400 pounds of marijuana to Sean Timoney and another man. The official says Timoney showed up with about $450,000 in cash, which is apparently about half the money he needed for that buy. Contacted by CNN, a spokesman for the Miami Police Department said the chief won't comment on the arrest.

The spokesman said -- quote -- "He says it's a personal matter and he will handle it as a father, not as a police chief. And he won't be discussing it in public" -- Sean Timoney expected to be arraigned in northern New York tomorrow -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, thank you very much -- Brian Todd reporting.

Still to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM, a mile high in the Mile High City. Voters make Denver the nation's first city to legalize small quantities of marijuana. Did they do the right thing? We will hear what you think.

And we will tell you how to track avian flu on the Internet by tracking the pattern of migratory birds. It's all coming up in THE SITUATION online.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Lou Dobbs getting ready for his program. That starts right at the top of the hour.

Lou, what are you working on?

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Wolf, thank you very much.

Coming up here on CNN at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, President Bush will land in the next few minutes in Argentina for the beginning of the Summit of the Americas. We will be going live to Mar Del Plata.

And the Pentagon acknowledges, for the first time, it doesn't have an effective strategy against the insurgents' most lethal weapon in Iraq. We will have that special report.

And the federal government failing to protect all of us from another terrorist attack -- tonight, we will report to you on a shocking series of missed deadlines -- missed deadlines that put this nation at risk -- all of that and more.

Please join us -- now back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much -- Lou Dobbs coming up in a little while.

Meanwhile, a congressman from Louisiana has released a series of e-mail from the former FEMA Chief Mike Brown. They paint a disturbing picture of a director apparently in way over his head and out of touch.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is joining us now here in Washington with more on these e-mail -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, another batch of e-mails and more embarrassment for the former FEMA Director Michael Brown.


MESERVE (voice-over): Monday, August 29, Hurricane Katrina has just ravaged New Orleans. Beginning at 9:36 in the morning, FEMA Director Michael Brown receives a series of e-mails reporting levee failures.

One FEMA staffer is hearing of severe flooding. Police report water level up to second floor of two-story houses. People are trapped in attics. Michael Brown's one-line response to all of this: "I'm being told here, water over, not a breach."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Topped or breach, it doesn't matter. Water is going over the top. There is another circumstance that needs to be addressed and he should be asking for more information.

MESERVE: Brown receives a flurry of e-mails about shortages of water and ice. But there is no response in the e-mails that have been released. And when a FEMA representative in New Orleans tells him the situation is past critical, Brown answers: "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"

Brown does, however, answer e-mails about his appearance on television. When a staffer tells him, "You look fabulous," Brown responds: "I got it at Nordstrom's. Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I come home?" and later calls himself "a fashion god."

He also sends an e-mail asking, "Do you know of anyone who dog- sits?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thousands and thousands of people who didn't get out were on the roofs of houses, were in need of rescue, were looking for somebody to take command. If they only knew that he was worried about a dog, rather than them, I think it would be quite distressing to them.

MESERVE: Brown's lawyer says his client was doing his job and that there were phone calls and face-to-face meetings and many more e- mails.

ANDREW LESTER, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR MICHAEL BROWN: Numerous telephone calls, meetings, face-to-face meetings, conferences, of course. Information comes in all sorts of ways. This was one way. We're looking at one tiny, tiny, tiny sliver of the information. To release that tiny sliver, the selective sliver that clearly was -- was released, it strikes me, designed to embarrass.


MESERVE: The House committee investigating the response to Katrina would like to see more of that record, but says the administration hasn't turned it over. The administration says, the request is just so voluminous, it's doing the best it can -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jeanne Meserve reporting for us -- thank you, Jeanne.

Up next, Tamiflu tensions -- some big companies involved in international travel are buying big quantities of an antiviral drug. But the company that makes it isn't very happy about all of this.

And Denver votes to legalize small quantities of another kind of drug. Should small amounts of marijuana be made legal? Jack Cafferty is going to through your e-mail.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is urging countries to prepare for a possible bird flu pandemic. He warns, should the virus mutate for human-to-human transmission, the situation could rapidly -- quote -- "spin out of control."

Amid the warnings and the worries, some companies are responding.

CNN's Allan Chernoff explains.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Virgin Atlantic says it's protecting employees by stockpiling the antiviral treatment Tamiflu.

FedEx tells CNN, it, too, is buying the drug that can reduce the severity of flu symptoms. And other major delivery companies that ship to and from Asia are doing the same, say health care industry sources. But Tamiflu's manufacturer, Hoffmann-La Roche, calls it corporate hoarding. The company has suspended shipments to wholesalers until it begins seeing outbreaks of flu.

In a statement to CNN, the company said, "We want to avoid stockpiling and hoarding of Tamiflu by individuals or corporations. We need to make sure we have adequate supplies for the regular flu season." Warnings from world leaders of a possible bird flu pandemic have companies on edge.

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: A threat like a flu pandemic cannot be addressed by one organization. It presents us with an extraordinary collective challenge and it calls for an extraordinary collective effort.

CHERNOFF: 3M says its respirator masks are in heavy demand and it has been ramping up production.


CHERNOFF: More employers are providing flu shots, 61 percent of U.S. companies, according to a survey by human resources firm CCH. And more employees are taking companies up on the offer, about one in three, on average. ROSLYN STONE, COO, CORPORATE WELLNESS: Companies are certainly being more aggressive than they have been in past years. We have received many phone calls at Corporate Wellness over the last few days from very large companies who had not made arrangements for flu shots this year and now are scrambling, trying to find vaccines.


CHERNOFF: It would seem to be a good thing that companies are trying to do a better job of protecting their employees. But in acquiring valuable drugs and vaccines, they could put the greater population at risk by making preventive measures harder to come by.

Health officials say the best step companies can take is to actively encourage workers to stay home if they get sick.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Our Internet reporter, Jacki Schechner, is here with more on the bird flu scare -- Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, Wolf, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, are tracking the patterns of migratory birds.

And what you can do is track what they have tracked online. I want to show you this site. This is the Alaska Science Center from the USGS. Let me play this behind me while I talk. Essentially, what this is, is one Pacific flyway pattern of long-tailed duck. That's the bird that we picked.

And you can take a look at this online. Basically, it travels from Alaska over to Russia, to Japan. It's a yearlong cycle. And, then, it heads back over to Alaska. These are the patterns they take. And I want to point out that, while migratory birds can carry strains of the avian flu, they're seldom found in wild birds. And that strain does not -- is not likely, rather, Wolf, to infect humans or poultry.

What the scientists are doing essentially is studying this, just to learn more. You can speed this up and take a look at how they then hit Japan and head back over to Alaska. It's a very cool tool online from the USGS.

BLITZER: Very cool, indeed -- very important, too.

Thanks, Jacki, very much.

Up next, remember the mighty baritone of Mighty Mouse? That cartoon hero belted out a song as he flew to the rescue. But it seems he's not the only singing rodent. These mice have squeakier voices, and they're singing about sex. There's a new scientific study out that studied these mice. And we are going to tell you what it concludes.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are reporting a surprising finding: Mice can sing. Yes, mice can sing.

CNN's Zain Verjee is joining us now at the CNN Center with details.

What's going on, Zain?

VERJEE: Wolf, not only do mice sing; they apparently sing love songs.

Now, researchers discovered that, because of the female mice, the boys break into song. So, what does it sound like?


VERJEE (voice-over): Songs of seduction by mice. Researcher Tim Holy was studying the effect of female mouse pheromones on the opposite sex and quickly found that it moved them to sing, although at levels humans can't hear.

So, Holy and a colleague devised a computer program to translate the ultrasonic crooning, making it audible to us.

TIM HOLY, RESEARCHER, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Here are some syllables that have make sort of low-frequency -- medium-frequency content. These syllables up here have some very high-frequency content.

VERJEE: Granted, it's not Celine Dion. But Holy says, these vocalizations meet the criteria for song, including distinct categories of sound, motifs and even recurring themes. That puts mice in the company of songbirds, whales, and some insects, all known to sing in the presence of the opposite sex. It's not what Holy was studying, but still a welcome find.

HOLY: If you put the blinders on and aren't willing to sort of follow things where they go, I mean, I think -- I think, then, you can miss some very important discoveries.

VERJEE: The discovery is so promising that Holy has now decided to devote his study solely to mouse songs. He says it will help researchers understand how pattern recognition and learning occur in the relatively simple mouse brain, and, in turn, possibly lead to a better understanding of how those tasks are accomplished in the human brain, serious stuff, but Holy hasn't lost sight of the lighter side of singing mice.

HOLY: I have received by e-mail a couple of very humorous attachments, where people have mixed now mouse song in as a backup singer to some human singer, for instance. So, that's been a lot of fun.


VERJEE: If you have got some time and you want to download some of these love songs from these mice, Abbi Tatton will tell you where to go -- Abbi.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Yes, not just -- you can read the study there at the Public Library of Science Web site. But you can also download four different audio files. So, you can listen to those little mice singing right there at your desk -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Abbi Tatton reporting for us -- what a story.

Jack, Jack Cafferty, is that news or is that news?

CAFFERTY: I -- I just -- I think Zain Verjee is absolutely delightful.


CAFFERTY: I -- and -- and she ought to be on this program...

VERJEE: We are talking about mice.



CAFFERTY: And she ought to be on this program more than you and I are.

That upset Wolf. He dropped some of his papers.

VERJEE: All right. Jack, Jack...

BLITZER: I dropped -- I got flustered -- I got flustered for a second.

VERJEE: Jack...

BLITZER: Do they call those, the lead mice, in that kind of situation the maestro?

VERJEE: You are the maestro. Didn't you conduct an orchestra fairly recently, Wolf?

CAFFERTY: And stop littering THE SITUATION ROOM with your used scripts.

BLITZER: All right, let me pick it up. Hold on.


VERJEE: Hey, Jack, Jack...

BLITZER: There it is.




VERJEE: ... did you -- did you know that, if you ever want to pick up a mouse, you have to pick it up from the root of the tail, and not the tip? Just a tip for you.

BLITZER: All right.

CAFFERTY: Thank -- thank you very much, Zain.

Voters in Denver, Colorado, made their city the first in the nation to legalize small amounts of marijuana -- no penalty if you're caught with less than an ounce of pot. The question is, should other cities do the same?

L. in Bisbee, Arizona: "Small amounts, where? In your SUV? Who composes your questions? Should possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults in their homes be decriminalized? You bet. I wouldn't hold my breath, though. The pharmaceutical industry and the DEA have too much to lose."

Bob in Mountain Grove, Missouri: "It's time to treat marijuana like alcohol. We have too many kids in jail, while the rich lawyers, businessman and politicians smoke it at home."

Mark in Pittsburgh writes: "Why not? The only reason marijuana hasn't been legalized, it's harder for the large companies to make money off it. If marijuana was as tough to grow as tobacco, it would be -- it would be sold in convenience stores everywhere."

M.C. in Naples, Florida: "Americans need to decriminalize drug use and treat drug dependency like we treat alcohol dependency. Then we can move on to concentrate on problems we can actually solve, such as updating our infrastructure, proving universal, affordable health care, etcetera."

And Spencer in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, writes: "Absolutely. I have been smoking grass for many years. And, uh, uh, umm, what was the question?"


BLITZER: Spencer in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Thanks very much, Jack. Don't go away.

We are going to be back in one hour, another hour of THE SITUATION ROOM coming up, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Is the CIA leak investigation straining the relationship between the president and the vice president? We will take a closer look.

Until then, I'm Wolf Blitzer. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now. He's in New York.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Wolf, thank you very much.