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President Bush Tries Another Approach To Make Case For War; President Bush Called Reporters In For News Conference And Suggested U.S. Troops Will Be In Iraq Awhile; Helen Thomas Interview; Alan Dershowitz Interview; Pepsi's Gatorade Sues Coca-Cola's Powerade; High Drama On Israeli Highway; Where Will The Next Breakthrough In Medicine Come From?

Aired March 21, 2006 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information from around the world are arriving all the time.
Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you today's top stories.

Happening now, it's 1:00 a.m. in Iraq. In a surprise attack, dozens of insurgents carry out a bold and bloody jailbreak.

And in a surprise news conference, President Bush hints he'll be out of the White House before all U.S. troops are out of Iraq.

It's 5:00 p.m. here in Washington. She's been covering the White House for half a century, but today she was part of the story. I'll ask columnist Helen Thomas about her latest clash with the president.

And a tip about suicide bombers on the loose ends, heavily -- on the loose. Heavily-armed commandos now involved in a high-speed chase after the suspects along a heavily traveled highway. We're going to have details.

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

On another bloody day in Iraq, President Bush tried another approach in his campaign to make the case for the war. He unexpectedly called reporters in for a news conference and he gave them some news, suggesting U.S. troops will be in Iraq longer than he'll be in the White House.

Our Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr is standing by.

But let's go to our White House correspondent, Elaine Quijano, first -- Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, officials here are saying that the president, in responding to a question about troop levels in Iraq, was simply allowing for the possibility that perhaps a small number of U.S. forces would remain there beyond his term.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) QUIJANO (voice over): He said before he refuses to set a time frame for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. But at his news conference, President Bush seemed to suggest one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will there come a day -- and I'm not asking you when, I'm not asking for a timetable -- will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it won't happen on your watch?

BUSH: You mean a complete withdrawal? That's a timetable. You know, I can only tell you that I will make decisions on force levels based upon what the commanders on the ground say.

QUIJANO: With the Iraq war now in its fourth year, the president also rejected calls for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to step down, saying he was doing a fine job.

BUSH: I don't believe he should resign.

QUIJANO: At the same time, President Bush acknowledged the U.S. military's tactics in Iraq have not always worked. But he insisted his administration's overall strategy would prevail.

BUSH: If I didn't believe we could succeed, I wouldn't be there. I wouldn't put those kids there.

QUIJANO: His news conference marks the fourth day in a row the president has pushed his "stay the course" message on Iraq. His tone, a cautious and some say much needed mix of realism and optimism.

BUSH: There's going to be more tough fighting ahead. No question that sectarian violence must be confronted by the Iraqi government and a better trained police force. Yet, we're making progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's important, the president continues to show a real world analysis of what's going on. And again, this level of engagement, this level of emotion, this is what people want to see out of their leader.


QUIJANO: Now, the president acknowledged that he is spending his political capital on the Iraq war. But he maintains he doesn't think that is costing him on other issues -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Elaine, thank you very much.

The news conference was at times congenial, at times contentious. One veteran reporter who had a particularly scrappy exchange with the president, Helen Thomas. She flatly asked the president -- and I'm quoting now -- "Why did you really want to go to war?"

In a few minutes, I will ask Helen Thomas about that exchange. She'll be joining us live here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Are U.S. troops in Iraq now in for the long haul, perhaps a much longer haul than many thought?

Let's turn to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

Barbara, do the president's comments suggest that American troops are going to be there for many, many years to come?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I think what they suggest, in addition to that, perhaps, is that it may be many years before Iraqi security forces can really fully take over, because the U.S. strategy is U.S. troops will only leave as Iraqis can stand up and take possibility for the security of their country. Here at the Pentagon, most top generals behind the scenes point out that insurgencies throughout history have usually lasted something more than a decade.

So, three more years in the president's term might, in fact, be a very optimistic outlook -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Is that the kind of assessment you're hearing from analysts over at the Department of Defense?

STARR: You know, I think that the top commanders here have seen Iraq evolve into something they never expected three years ago when they went in. When you ask almost everyone here, no one is willing to make prepredictions. They all think that there is progress, that there is forward movement, but everyone here increasingly is very cautious -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much for that.

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, today made it clear he favors the proposed talks between U.S. and Iranian officials on Iraq, but he warned that the United States must not try to bully Iran. His comments came hours after the president voiced his own approval for such a meeting, saying U.S. officials would show Iran what's right or wrong in their activities inside of Iraq.

The president has accused Iran of fomenting violence there and says some of the deadly roadside bombs are made with Iranian parts.

Zain Verjee is joining us now from the CNN Center in Atlanta with a closer look at some other stories making news.

Hi, Zain.


Dozens of masked gunmen stormed a police station near Iraq's border with Iran in a really daring raid today. They set loose more than two dozen detainees being held there. U.S. and Iraqi troops responded to the early morning attack.

Iraqi officials say 18 police officers and one insurgent were killed. Nine people were injured, including a U.S. soldier and seven Iraqi police.

A military jury has found an Army dog handler guilty of abusing detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. Sergeant Michael Smith was found guilty of maltreatment and dereliction of duty under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Most of the charges involved Smith tormenting prisoners with his unmuzzled military dog. He faces eight years in prison when he's sentenced tomorrow. Nine other U.S. soldiers have been convicted of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib.

A former roommate of confessed al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui says Moussaoui urged him to prepare for jihad, or holy war. Hussein al-Attas (ph) testified by videotape at Moussaoui's sentencing trial in Alexandria, Virginia, today. He shared an apartment with Moussaoui in Oklahoma back in 2001.

Al-Attas testified that Moussaoui encouraged him to go to Pakistan for terror training. He said Moussaoui even requested a visa application for him at the Pakistani embassy.

And British Prime Minister Tony Blair is defending his decision to take part in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He told journalists in London today a global war of values and ideas is needed to fight the threat of terrorism, and he says the struggle against terrorism is a clash about civilization -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Zain, for that.

Let's go up to New York and Jack Cafferty with "The Cafferty File."

Hi, Jack.


Florida prosecutors have dropped the charges against a former teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student. The court decision came hours after a judge rejected a plea deal.

This means that Debra Lafave will not go to trial and the victim won't have to testify. That's her on the right.

The prosecution, defense and the boy's mother wanted to avoid trial for the child's well being. The 25-year-old Tampa school teacher says she has bipolar disorder. She already faces three years of house arrest and seven years probation in another county where she was charged with having sex with the same boy. She pleaded guilty in a plea bargain there. The question is this: Should prosecutors have dropped the charges against a teacher accused of sleeping with her 14-year-old student?

E-mail us at or go to

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

Up ahead, pressing the president. The veteran reporter Helen Thomas has been doing it for decades. Today was a little bit different, though. Or was it?

After the break, I'll speak live with Helen Thomas about today's scrappy exchange with the president.

Also a bridge to the past. Deep under the Brooklyn Bridge, that is. Workers make a surprising cold war-era find.

And fashion and function. In the future, could the very clothes you wear keep you in style and keep you in good health?



BLITZER: President Clinton once said of her -- and I'm quoting now -- "Presidents come and go, but Helen's been here for 40 years now." And that was back in 2000.

The veteran reporter Helen Thomas has covered every president since John F. Kennedy. And they've all faced her no-nonsense questions, including President Bush today.


BUSH: Helen, after that brilliant performance at the Gridiron, I am...

HELEN THOMAS, REPORTER: You're going to be sorry.


BUSH: Well, then let me take it back.

THOMAS: I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly, at least, has turned out not to be true.

My question is, why did you really want to go to the war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your cabinet -- cabinet officers, intelligent people and so forth, what was your real reason. You have said it wasn't oil, quest for oil. It hasn't been Israel or anything else.

What was it? BUSH: Yes, I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist, is that I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just -- is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect.

THOMAS: Every...

BUSH: No, hold on for a second, please. Excuse me. Excuse me.

No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true.

I -- my attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We -- when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people.

Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy, but we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget it, and I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people, that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.

Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq.

Hold on for a second. Let...


BUSH: Excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did.

The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda they trained and -- Helen -- excuse me.

That's where -- that's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.

I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council. That's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed, and the world said, disarm, disclose or face serious consequences.

THOMAS: Did they say go to war?

BUSH: And therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world, and when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, sir. Secretary Rumsfeld... THOMAS: Thank you.

BUSH: You're welcome. I didn't really regret it. I kind of semi regret it.

THOMAS: Let's have a debate.

BUSH: That's right. Anyway, your performance at the Gridiron was just brilliant. Unlike Holland's (ph). It's a little weak.



BLITZER: Helen Thomas is joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM on today's exchange she had with the president.

Helen, thanks for coming in.

What, it's been about three years since he agreed to answer -- take a question from you. Is that right?

THOMAS: It's been a long time.

BLITZER: What do you think the reason was? Because I know, you know, you have been a fixture for decades at these presidential news conferences. Americans have grown up watching you ask questions.

What happened?

THOMAS: Well, I didn't merit a first or second question because that's a tradition for the wire services and I was no longer in the wire service.

BLITZER: You used to work for UPI. That's why you always got either the first or second question.

THOMAS: Right. Now I work...

BLITZER: But you left UPI a few years ago. Now you're a columnist for Hearst.

THOMAS: That's right. So -- well, he wasn't calling on me because I think he was avoiding what he considered very tough questions that I would be asking. And I don't blame him for that. That's his privilege.

BLITZER: You did say in January of 2003, you said -- you said, "This is the worst president ever. He is the worst president in all of American history."

THOMAS: I never said that on the record, but it certainly got out.

BLITZER: It got out.

THOMAS: Yes. I think that there's room for improvement.

BLITZER: You can't really blame him, if you are calling him the worst president, for him saying, you know what, I'm not going to call on her.

THOMAS: Oh, I agree with you.

BLITZER: So what do you think...

THOMAS: I wasn't -- I wasn't surprised that he didn't call on me.

BLITZER: What do you think happened today? Why do you think -- I know you were in the Gridiron. I was at that dinner. And you did a nice performance, skits, and you were -- you know, satirical skits on the president, the vice president, and everybody else.


BLITZER: And you did an excellent job, as you always do, singing and dancing. But what happened? What do you think happened?

THOMAS: Well, I think -- I think we smoked a peace pipe. I think that, you know, there's a different rapport now, which is good.

BLITZER: Did you talk to him privately or something? Did you meet him?

THOMAS: No, not really. But I sort of felt bad for the things that I had said that were not supposed to be -- I sort of apologized.

BLITZER: You did.


BLITZER: All right. So he called on you today...

THOMAS: And very nice of him to call on me.

BLITZER: And you asked him a tough question. Did you accept his answer? Namely, that he didn't come into the presidency believing he was going to go to war against Saddam Hussein, but after 9/11 his world view changed?

THOMAS: It doesn't -- it doesn't parse. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, it certainly had -- was secular, it was not tied to al Qaeda.

I think he wanted to go into Iraq because he had all the neo- conservatives advising at the top of their agenda for Project for a New American Century. First Iraq, then Iran -- then Syria, then Iran, and so forth.

BLITZER: So you believe even before 9/11, he was about -- he wanted to take out Saddam Hussein? THOMAS: Oh, I think this is very clear. You couldn't sit in that press room day after day. Every time -- every time it was mentioned by Ari Fleischer or Scott, they would say in one breath, 9/11, Saddam Hussein, 9/11, Saddam Hussein.

I don't -- I don't blame the American public for thinking there was a tie.

BLITZER: So you don't accept his answer today? You think, what, he was still spinning? Is that what you're suggesting?

THOMAS: It wasn't that. I think maybe in his own mind he didn't, but I think that everybody knows, everybody who was in the know, knows that Iraq was on target, it was on the radar screen from the moment he came into office. The Treasury secretary says it, people in CIA say it, and so forth .

Nothing would deter him. It was a very big goal.

BLITZER: You're thinking of Paul O'Neill, the former Treasury secretary.


BLITZER: Richard Clarke, who was one of the counterterrorist advisers...

THOMAS: Right.

BLITZER: ... who have made those kinds of suggestions.

Let's go back to this issue, being the worst president ever. And you've covered a lot of presidents, going back to President Kennedy.

Worse than Richard Nixon?

THOMAS: Well, I think what this president has done is really strike a match to the tinderbox that we all know is the Middle East. And I think that Nixon's crime, so-called, was the abuse of government power.

In the case, in the case of the president and his cohorts, I think they have really spread war throughout the Middle East. They have really encouraged all of the horror that is going on.

We have killed so many innocent people. I mean...

BLITZER: But you can't forget 9/11. Three thousand people were killed.

THOMAS: But the Iraqis didn't do it. I mean, how can you -- why don't you go bomb some other country? I mean, if you have no reason -- this is -- I don't believe in preemptive war, and it certainly is against international law. It's against the U.N. charter, it's against Geneva, and it's against Nuremberg. BLITZER: Tell our viewers, who, as I said earlier, have grown up with you, Helen, what you're up to nowadays, how you feel, what your goals are right now.

THOMAS: My goals are to seek the truth, wherever it leads me. And I do think that's the goal of journalists, and I think we fell down on the job.

BLITZER: The news media in general? That we weren't watching?

THOMAS: Come back. All is forgiven.

BLITZER: You're going to forgive us?

THOMAS: To the White House.

BLITZER: You're part of -- they're part of the news media, too.

THOMAS: Right.

BLITZER: We sat in those briefings for a long time together.

Helen, I hope you're around...

THOMAS: You ask very tough questions.

BLITZER: Well, I'm trying to do the best I can, like you.

THOMAS: You asked President Clinton why he wouldn't resign.

BLITZER: I asked him some tough questions, but that's another time. And this is another story right now.

It's always good to have you here...

THOMAS: Thank you.

BLITZER: ... especially in THE SITUATION ROOM.

THOMAS: Thank you.

BLITZER: Helen, we hope you're asking many presidents down the road tough questions to come. Thanks very much.

THOMAS: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: And thanks for all your excellent work over these years as a fellow journalist.

THOMAS: Thank you. You're very kind.

BLITZER: Thank you, Helen.

Just don't leave yet, because we are going to take a quick break.

Coming up, should the United States hit its anticipated enemies first to help prevent a terror attack? It's the policy of preemption. It's the central question in a new book from the esteemed Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

He's standing by live. I'm going to ask him some tough questions. That's coming up. He's got a new book out on the subject of preemption.

And a treasure trove of water, drums, medical supplies, high- calorie crackers that are decades old. What were they doing under the Brooklyn Bridge?

Jeanne Moos standing by with that.


BLITZER: Let's take a look at some of the "Hot Shots" coming in from our friends over at The Associated Press, pictures likely to be in your newspapers tomorrow.

Let's begin in Mosul, Iraq. Shiite women carry symbolic heads of the followers of the religious figure Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Kabul, Afghanistan: It's the Afghani new year. This wrestler marks the occasion by having -- get this -- a tractor drive over his legs. According to Afghanistan's solar calendar, it's now the year 1385.

Northern Australia: Jeff Downey (ph) checks out the damage to his now roofless home. He hunkered down in the shower as Cyclone Larry tore his home apart.

Those are some of today's "Hot Shots," pictures often worth a thousand words.

Let's go to Zain now at the CNN Center. She's watching a developing story.

What's going on, Zain?

VERJEE: Wolf, Lionel Tate, the youngest person ever sentenced to life in prison before his conviction was overturned, has made a new request. According to his lawyer, Tate wants to withdraw a guilty plea for armed robbery.

Tate had earlier pled guilty for holding up a pizza delivery man at gunpoint last year. Tate will not withdraw a guilty plea on probation violation.

Now, a hearing has been set for the 31st of March. Tate was convicted back in 2001 for killing a 6-year-old playmate in 1999 when he was only 12 years old.

Tate was sentenced to life in jail without parole. And then more than two years ago, his conviction was overturned because he never had a competency hearing in the case -- Wolf. BLITZER: Zain, thanks very much.

Coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, does Powerade have more power than Gatorade? Pepsi doesn't think so and it's going after Coke in federal court.

And Florida prosecutors dropped charges against a former teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student. Did they make the right call? We're hearing what you think.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

The Bush administration says Iran, with its suspect nuclear program, may be the greatest challenge facing this country. But just today, the president counseled some patience.


BUSH: It's important for our citizens to understand that we have got to deal with this issue diplomatically now. And the reason why is because, if the Iranians were to have a nuclear weapon, they could blackmail the world.


BLITZER: But there are times when the United States should strike first to prevent terror attacks or to blunt a threat by weapons of mass destruction -- at least, that's the argument that the Bush administration makes.

The administration's own national security blueprint says, that option is absolutely necessary for America's self-defense. The Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz takes up the issue in his latest book. It's entitled "Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways."

Alan Dershowitz is joining us live now from New York.

Alan, thanks very much...


BLITZER: ... for joining us.

What does that mean, a knife that cuts both ways?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, preemption should never be taken off the table. We only wish that Britain and France had preempted Nazi Germany in the 1930s and avoided the Second World War.

But preemption is a very dangerous doctrine as well, because it can be misused. Perhaps, it was misused during the Iraqi war. And since that's the experience that most of remember, the Iraq war, it has given preemption a bad name. It may be necessary to use preemption against Iran. It's possible that we picked the wrong target to preempt, when we went after Iraq. But these are some of the issues that I discuss in "Preemption."

And I try to come up with a jurisprudence, a framework for analysis, when we should preempt, when we shouldn't preempt.

BLITZER: So, what is -- what are some of the moments when the United States -- or any country, for that matter -- has the moral, the legal, the political right to launch a preemptive strike? Give us a few examples.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, primarily when the people who are threatening to attack us can't be deterred, when they're suicide bombers. And you can't deter a suicide bomber by threatening to kill him or imprison him.

So, we may have to go after suicide bombers preemptively. And I think everybody agrees with that, the Clinton administration and the Bush administration. The question really is whether you go after a nation preemptively. And a nation like Nazi Germany, yes. A nation like Iran, perhaps. It's a very, very complicated issue.

I think any government that could have prevented 9/11, or the subway attacks in London, or the Bali attacks outside of -- killing many Australian citizens, would have preempted, if they could have. So, it should never be taken off the table.

When your previous guest, Helen Thomas, says she's against preemptive war, that's like being against punishment, or being against any concept. You can't be against preemptive war. You can be cautious about it, and say it should rarely be used, but everybody will agree that, on certain occasions, a preemptive attack to prevent imminent harm is not only desirable, but lawful, under international law.

BLITZER: Here's what you write in your book: "No one can be certain what the effects of a successful or failed preemptive strike on Iran, for example, would be, except that the law of unintended consequences would rear its always unpredictable and often ugly head."

In other words, let's get to the issue of Iran right now, which is in the news. Under what circumstances would the U.S. be authorized to launch a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear reactors, facilities, along the lines of what the Israelis did at the Iraqi Osirak reactor back in 1981?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think the United States already is lawfully authorized, as is Israel, to attack Iran. The leaders of Iran have said that, if they develop a nuclear bomb, they will use it to wipe one of the United States' allies, Israel, off the face of the Earth.

And we can't ignore that kind of threat made by the leader of a country. The question is not whether it's lawfully authorized, but whether it is wise. Right now, it would not, in my view, be wise, because there is a strong dissident movement in Iran.

And the one thing all Iranians agree about, whether they want regime change or not, is, they do agree that Iran should be able to get nuclear weapons. So, we would probably end the dissident movement at this point, which is why I agree with the president that diplomacy has to come first, every option, short of preemptive war.

Moreover, the Osirak model doesn't work. Osirak was a one-shot attack, only one casualty. Israel managed to disable virtually all of the Iraqi nuclear capacity. That is not true now.

In Iran, there are many nuclear facilities buried underground, some of them perhaps under schools in Baghdad (sic). It would take a multifaceted attack on Iran to set back their nuclear program by perhaps 10 or a dozen years.

BLITZER: That...

DERSHOWITZ: So, it's much more complicated.

BLITZER: That raises this other issues -- and you discuss it in your book -- a preemptive strike that you know is going to result, not only in the destruction of the target, but in what they call collateral damage. A lot of innocent civilians, women and children are going to be killed. When is that justified?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, actually, preemptive attacks have far fewer civilian, in general, than reactive attacks, because preemptive attacks are always directed against military targets. Israel, preemptive attack in Osirak, or the preemptive war in 1967 caused very few casualties.

When you retaliate, tit-for-tat retaliation -- you bomb our city, we will bomb your city -- you are targeting civilians. So, in terms of civilian casualties, preemption generally causes fewer civilian casualties.

But the downside, the reason it's a knife that cuts both ways, is that, when you preempt, you don't know whether you have prevented anything. You don't know whether or not there would have been an attack. You are always basing something on probabilistic inferences, whereas, whether you wait -- when you wait to be attacked, you know you have been attacked, and you have to respond.

But, sometimes, the stakes are simply too high. The risk of a nuclear attack is too high. And if we could prevent it, if we knew it was imminent and relatively certain, we would have an obligation to do that, even though the law of unintended consequences could produce terrible, unforeseeable consequences, as they have in Iraq. So, use it with caution, if you're going to use it at all.

BLITZER: Does the world community, the international community, need new international law to codify, if you will, this whole issue of preemptive strikes?

DERSHOWITZ: Yes. And, in my book, "Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways," I talk about the U.N. actually now redefining the charter. The charter says you can only use armed forces if you are actually attacked.

But the U.N. Commission is now saying, if the attack is imminent, a country can preempt. On the other hand, if the attack is not imminent, but relatively certain, but there's time, then the country should go to the Security Council first. So, a new jurisprudence is needed. There are those who are working on it. We cannot afford to have simply have an ad hoc approach to preemption. It's too important, and the stakes are too high.

BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz has written an important new book entitled "Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways."

Alan Dershowitz, thanks very much for joining us.

DERSHOWITZ: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: And still to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the FBI has come under criticism for possibly looking over your e-mail. But now thousands of FBI employees can't send e-mail themselves. We're checking out the details. That's coming up in our SITUATION ROOM.

And it's the battle of the soda companies, Pepsi going after Coke. Who will be the victor? More coming up on this legal skirmish here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Lou is getting ready for his program. That begins right at the top of the hour. Lou is joining us with a little preview.

Hi, Lou.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: How you doing, Wolf?

Coming up at 6:00 here on CNN, we will be reporting on a new threat to our middle class -- Congress doing absolutely nothing to help our middle class. In fact, they are trying to do quite a few things to harm them. We will have that special report.

And communist North Korea threatening to launch a preemptive nuclear attack against the United States. We will have that report.

And what do the American people think about the president's efforts to defend his conduct of the war in Iraq? I will be joined by three of the country's leading talk radio hosts about what America is thinking.

And Sonia Nazario, the author of "Enrique's Journey," we will be talking about illegal immigration -- all that, a great deal, coming up at the top of the hour. We hope you will join us -- back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Lou, for that.

They have long locked horns in the cola wars. That would be Pepsi and Coke. Right now, they are battling again, but over a different kind of drink.

Let's bring in our Ali Velshi. He has got the "Bottom Line" -- Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Wolf, it's not a cola war, exactly. It's a power war. Pepsi is taking on Coke again.

Pepsi's Gatorade business is suing Coca-Cola's Powerade unit to stop what it calls a false and deceptive ad campaign.

Now, these spots, which we are showing you here, tout Coke's new Powerade Option drink. It has got 10 calories per eight-ounce serving, vs. Gatorade's 50 calories. But the ads also say that Powerade makes you move faster, gives you more energy. Pepsi says Coke can't back that claim up. Coke, on the other hand, is standing by the ads.

Now, who says business is bad? Not Hispanics. According to the U.S. Census bureau, Hispanic-owned businesses are opening three times as fast as the national average. The numbers show that the Hispanics owned 1.6 million businesses in the United States as of 2002. Those are the most recent numbers. They are concentrated in industries like construction, repair and maintenance.

Well, Hispanics, as you know, Wolf, have accounted for half of America's population growth since the beginning of this decade.

And 108,000 subscribers to magazines like "TIME," "People," "Entertainment Weekly" and "Sports Illustrated" might be getting some money back. Time, Inc., which is a unit of CNN's parent company, Time Warner, has settled a probe into some unusual subscription practices.

Now, you might have seen those automatic renewal notices, Wolf. They look a lot like a bill. Twenty-three states said that "TIME" had billed consumers or charged their credit cards for unwanted or unordered subscriptions between 1998 and 2004.

Time, Inc. has responded by saying it has changed its ways, and it has agreed to return $4.3 million to consumers -- to customers who had signed up, another $4.5 million to cover the investigation. And maybe those who are due a refund will get it with a prepaid mailer.

Wolf, for those of you waiting to get a new Dow record, it did not come today. Keep waiting. Markets were lower across the board. The Dow low -- lost 39 points, closing at 11235. The NASDAQ gave up 19 points, ending the day at 2294 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Ali, for that.

Up ahead, another twist in the case of a teacher accused with having sex with a 14-year-old student. Are prosecutors right to drop the charges? Jack Cafferty reading your e-mails. And who's calling the shots in the Clinton family? Does the senator now have the final say on what the former president can say in public? We will clue you in on the Clintons. That's coming up in our 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: A tense drama played out at a high speed today along a key Israeli highway. Traffic was halted for miles, as elite police commandos on motorcycles raced after a van full of Palestinians armed with explosives.

CNN's Guy Raz picks up the story from Jerusalem -- Guy.

GUY RAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, vigilance and good intelligence prevented a potential catastrophe in Israel today.

Police and medical teams went on high alert early in the day, after being tipped off that suicide bombers had infiltrated Israel from the West Bank.


RAZ (voice-over): Ten would-be bombers, Israeli police say, caught along the country's main highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv -- inside their van, a powerful suicide bomb vest, detonated by explosives teams, before it could reach its target.

The men were caught just hours after police declared a nationwide terror alert, a measure triggered by intelligence reports. Just a week to go before Israelis vote in a national election -- police aren't taking any chances.

Just before the 1996 election, a rash of suicide bombings killed dozens in Israel. That wave of attacks is credited with helping to assure victory for the hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu.


RAZ: And, this time around, Wolf, Israel's caretaker government, led by the centrist Ehud Olmert, has ordered security officials to be extra vigilant. Olmert's party is way ahead in the polls, and he knows that a wave of violence might just help his political opponents -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Guy Raz reporting from Israel -- the Israeli elections next week. We will have extensive coverage right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Let's go to Zain once again at the CNN Center in Atlanta with a closer look at some other stories making news -- Zain.

VERJEE: Wolf, transportation workers in New York City have made a stunning discovery.

They have found a trove of supplies from the 1950s Cold War era stashed away in the Brooklyn Bridge. The workers were doing routine maintenance when they found boxes of medical supplies, cans of food, as well as water drums. One container was marked "To be opened after attack by the enemy." The supplies, apparently, were intended to help New Yorkers survive after a nuclear attack.

New York's finest will soon get a lot bigger. After years of downsizing, the nation's largest police department is adding to its ranks this summer. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says, 800 new officers are going to be hired, and about 400 officers on desk duty will be reassigned to patrols. The new hiring marks an end to a department downsizing that began after the 9/11 terror attacks.

In our CNN "Security Watch," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is calling for government regulation of security at the nation's chemical plants to better protect them from potential terrorist threats. At an industry forum today, Chertoff suggested that his department set performance standards. The chemical industry would come up with its own measures to meet those standards, which would then be verified by private auditors -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Zain, thanks very much for that.

In the wake of a $425 million plan to overhaul FBI computers, there's word of some troubling technology challenges. As of now, more than 10,000 FBI employees are said to be without e-mail.

Let's get some specifics from our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton.

What are you picking up, Abbi?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, 30,000 FBI employees, and almost half of them don't have this official FBI e-mail that allows them to communicate with people outside the bureau.

I spoke to the New York field office today. What they told me was that there are about 500 people there who have yet to be assigned this official dot-gov e-mail. I said, "What are they doing in the meantime?"

And the answer was simple, using the telephone, or, if they need to send an e-mail, they are using a colleague's account that has already been assigned one.

Now, what everyone stressed to me today is that there is an internal secure system that allows FBI employees to communicate worldwide with each other. An FBI spokesman here in Washington told me today that this is a priority. They are making rapid steps forward. And what he said was that, by the end of 2006, every employee will have been assigned one of these e-mails -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Abbi.

And, to our viewers, stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

Jack Cafferty is in New York with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack. CAFFERTY: Florida prosecutors have dropped charges against a former schoolteacher accused of having sex with her 14-year-old student. This means the 25-year-old Tampa woman won't go to trial, and the victim won't have to testify.

So, the question is: Should prosecutors have dropped these charges against a schoolteacher accused of sleeping with her 14-year- old student?

John in Dayton, Maryland: "Jack, I think this shows the double standard regarding men in the legal system for these types of cases. I can guarantee you, if this was case in which a 27-year-old male teacher was having sex with a 14-year-old female student, they would have thrown the book at him, and rightfully so. She should be treated exactly the same."

Josh writes: "I think the decision is right. The boy, even being 14, knew what he was doing, and no doubt wanted it to happen, especially considering it happened more than once."

Carol in Grand Rapids, Michigan: "I'm 50 years old. I have suffered from bipolar disorder since my early 20s" -- this woman, by the way, claims she had bipolar disorder -- "Bipolar has become a very popular excuse for many things, including sex crimes, which this is. If she is too sick to be responsible for herself, she needs supervision, not a teaching position."

Harry in the Bronx writes: "The charges should not have been dropped. But, with all that is on TV, that 14-year-old kid knew exactly what he was doing, and that is sad."

And Richard in Seattle writes: "Debra Lafave wants to be a CNN anchor in her next career. First, she will get a lucrative book deal. Then, they will do a made-for-TV movie of her life starring Charlize Theron. Beauty goes a long way in America. And the prosecutors know that" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I can see the made-for-TV movie. I'm not sure about the CNN anchor thing, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Well, didn't we hire somebody once from Headline News to do anchor work that was an actress on one of the TV shows? What was her name? I can't remember.

BLITZER: But not someone accused of having sex with a 14-year- old boy.

CAFFERTY: Well, not that we know of.


CAFFERTY: We haven't looked into everybody's background around here.

BLITZER: Jack...


BLITZER: ... thanks very much.

Up next, clothes that make you look good and feel good. In the future -- get this -- might the question of what to wear also concern your health care?

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Now to our series, "Welcome to the Future." Where will the next breakthrough in medicine come from?

As CNN's Miles O'Brien shows us, it could be inside something you wear.


DR. JAMES MIN, CARDIOLOGIST: You know, I went into the field of cardiology to make patients better. I didn't go into cardiology to collect data.

Right now, a good deal of our time during the day is spent monitoring our patients. It would be great if we could monitor our patients in a more effective manner, if we could come up with a more automated process that. With the press of a button, somebody could get all of the data that you need, without having to hook people up to EKG leads, so the time isn't spent collecting data, but the time is talking about the data and making our patients better.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: When they happen, heart attacks seem so sudden. But, usually, an ailing heart is sending out warning signs. You may not be aware of them or you may be ignoring them.

So, is there a better way to watch for trouble?

(voice-over): This is Georgia Tech professor Dr. Sundaresan Jayaraman. And this is a piece of clothing that could save your life.

DR. SUNDARESAN JAYARAMAN, PROFESSOR OF POLYMER, TEXTILE & FIBER ENGINEERING, GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: The smart shirt has the ability to monitor vital signs, such as your heart rate, your body temperature, your pulse, ultimately.

O'BRIEN: These electronic textiles have sensors embedded within the fabric, wired to this PDA-like device, which, in turn, transmits it to a doctor's office, all in real time.

The next step? To create an interactive system that not only monitors a person, but also plays doctor, as well, giving shots and medication, when needed. And, in the future, your gadgets and your clothes may become interwoven. You might one day be wearing your iPod. JAYARAMAN: You can put any kind of sensors you want on it. For instance, you can plug in an MP3 player or mobile phones. It will become an integral part of everybody's life.


BLITZER: On your next trip to Nashville, you may fly through a place called "HEHAW" (ph). "MICKEY" (ph) and MINNIE (ph) are locations on your way to Orlando.

Today, we are learning more about the so-called secret language of airline pilots.

Let's get an inside guide now online from our Internet reporter, Jacki Schechner -- Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, it we can pull up the audio, what you can behind me is air traffic control chatter. You can listen to it live on the Internet at any time.

And, if you listen to it long enough, you might hear something that they call fixes. These are five-letter phrases, and they essentially refer to air navigation points on approaches in and out of airports.

Take a look. For example, in Kansas City, they have got a sense of humor. You will hear "SPICY," "BARBQ," and "RIBBS." If you're flying into Houston, where they like their football, you might run into "TAKKL," "RECVR," or "FMBLE."

We spoke to the FAA today. They say there are 37,000 of these fixes. They never repeat them, because they don't want to confuse the pilots.

And, just so you know, Wolf, we did check out the Buffalo Airport. So far, no sign of Wolf or Blitzer. We are going to have to petition the FAA for that one.

BLITZER: Buffalo, my hometown.


BLITZER: A lovely place.

Thanks very much, Jacki, for that.

To our viewers, remember, we're here in THE SITUATION ROOM weekdays, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern. We're back at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. That's just an hour from now.

Until then, thanks very much for joining us.

"LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now.