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The Situation Room
Top U.S. General Says Marines Often Wrestle With Choices As They Wage War; More Than A Dozen People Kidnapped In Iraq Found; New Developments Surrounding Allegations The CIA Has Been Using Secret Prisons In Europe; Battle Over Anti-Terror Funds; Congressman Peter King Interviewed; D.C. Cardinal Firm on Helping Immigrants Despite Legislation; U.N. Ambassador Objects to Official's Comments; Specter Angry with Cheney Over NSA Hearing; Afghanistan Purging Corrupt Police Force
Aired June 07, 2006 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information 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, where enemies lock in a fierce battle. A general say Marines fight a daily personal battle over the right versus the wrong way to wage war, and those choosing the wrong path will be dealt with.
Ports in a storm. With gaping holes in the nation's port security, why is the Senate taking away money aimed at beefing up the operations?
And it's 5:00 p.m. here in Washington. Does a Catholic cardinal agree with the Catholic Church, certainly against gay marriage? You might be surprised to see how he feels about same-sex civil unions.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Conscious amid conflict. Right now, one top U.S. general says Marines battling in Iraq often wrestle with what to do and what not to do as they wage war. This comes amid an ongoing investigation into whether or not some U.S. marines massacred 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in November.
Our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, is standing by live at the Pentagon with the latest information -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, General Michael Hagee is not just the top Marine, he is the commandant. He sets the tone for the entire Marine Corps.
He's just back from a trip to Iraq, where he says he met with at least 20,000 Marines to impress upon them the importance of upholding the law of war in combat, even under the most stressful positions. And he said while he's gravely concerned about the allegations of an alleged civilian massacre in Haditha last November, he is limited by what he can say because he's in the chain of command that could review possible criminal actions. However, he said no one should doubt that this incident will be fully investigated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MICHAEL HAGEE, COMMANDANT, U.S. MARINE CORPS.: If it turns out that an individual violated rules or regulations, he will be held accountable regardless of grade or position. I need to stress that the investigations are ongoing within the operational chain of command. Once finished, they will go up the operational chain to the final adjudicating authority. In that case, the commander of Marine Forces Central Command.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCINTYRE: And while he said he's concerned about these particular allegations, he's not concerned about the Marine Corps in general. He said he was inspired by his visit with the troops and the caliber of people who are in the Marine Corps. And when asked by a reporter he should resign, General Hagee should resign over this personal -- he gave the same answer that Donald Rumsfeld did, which is that he serves at the pleasure of the president and he has not submitted his resignation -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jamie. Thanks very much.
Right now, several people are recovering after an explosion in eastern Baghdad. A blast of unknown origin set cars ablaze, even charred some furniture being auctioned off nearby. Three policemen are among those injured.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen people kidnapped Monday have now been found.
Our John Vause has the details on their horrible ordeal -- John.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, 15 hostages were found on a street in east Baghdad in the middle of the night by Iraqi police. They say they had been blindfolded, beaten and tortured by their abductors. Three of the hostages had gunshot wounds to the foot.
There's still no word on at least 35 others who were taking with them from downtown Baghdad on Monday by gunmen dressed as Iraqi commandos. Sunni groups accuse the Iraqi police of being involved in this mass kidnapping. The interior ministry says it's investigating.
Also released today, 600 prisoners being held in Iraqi and U.S.- run detention centers. The prime minister has ordered the release of 2,500 prisoners, mostly those without clear evidence against them or those who may have been jailed by mistake.
This is an attempt by the president to heal some of the rifts between the Sunnis and the Shiites. The Sunnis make up the bulk of the 25,000-strong prison population. They were the backbone of the Saddam regime, and they complain that they have been unfairly targeted by both Iraqi and U.S. forces -- Wolf. BLITZER: John Vause reporting.
Thank you, John, very much.
There are new developments surrounding allegations the CIA has been using some secret prisons in Europe to house, interrogate, and possibly torture terror suspects illegally. CNN's Brian Todd is joining us from the newsroom with more on this new report that's raising some serious new questions -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the report is the work of a Swiss lawmaker who has investigated these charges for the past seven months.
TODD (voice over): Serious charges against the CIA from a European lawmaker, including secretly rounding up terror suspects, unlawfully flying them through shadowy European airstrips, holding them indefinitely without charge, possibly torturing some, all while many of America's European allies either complied or turned a blind eye. A new report by Swiss senator Dick Marty says the CIA orchestrated what he calls a spider web of transfer sites throughout Europe with secret detention centers in Poland and Romania.
DICK MARTY, SWISS SENATOR (through translator): Those places are prisons that are known but that stay secret because of their inaccessibility to international organizations such as the Committee Against Torture or the International Red Cross.
TODD: But Marty says he has no direct proof of these places and relied on air traffic control logs, intelligence sources, and witness accounts. Of the 14 European nations who he accuses of colluding with the CIA in these so-called rendition operations, some heads of state flatly denied involvement. Others had rowdy confrontations with legislators.
MENZIES CAMPBELL, MEMBER OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT: Can he confirm that the United Kingdom has given no logistical support for rendition to the CIA, nor provided any information to be used in torture?
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We have said absolutely all we have to say on this. There is nothing more to add to it.
TODD: Pressed further, British Prime Minister Blair had this response...
BLAIR: Rendition had been the policy of the American government for a long period of time.
TODD: The CIA would not comment on the report. Bush administration officials don't deny the practice of rendition but do deny allegations of torture or other illegal activities. And they add...
SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Intelligence cooperation between the United States and Europe and between the United States and other countries around the world saves lives in the war on terror.
TODD: Where does this go from here? Not very far.
The Council of Europe has no power to start legal proceedings and almost no power to punish its members for allegedly violating human rights treaties. That council was the one that sponsored this investigation by that Swiss senator, Dick Marty -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you very much.
Brian Todd reporting for us.
I want to go out to Andrews Air Force Base, outside the nation's capital here in Washington. We've got some new videotape. We're going to show it to you.
This is videotape. Kimberly Dozier, the CBS News Baghdad correspondent who was badly injured on Memorial Day, has just been -- has just landed. Her U.S. Air Force transport plane has just come in from Germany. It's out at Andrews Air Force base.
She's just gotten off that plane at Air Force Andrews Base just a few moments ago, together with 40 injured U.S. military personnel. Kimberly Dozier was badly injured. Her two-man crew, photographer and soundman, were killed. A U.S. soldier and a translator were also killed.
She's returning today to the Washington area among 40 injured Americans brought back from Landstuhl, near Ramstein in Germany. She's going to be heading over to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
There she is. This is the video that's just coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM only moments ago. She was taking off the C-17, brought in on this -- to this ambulance.
And she'll be driving about 45 minutes or so to Bethesda, Maryland, from Andrews Air Force Base. Kimberly Dozier, we wish her and we wish all the wounded military personnel a speedy recovery here in the national's capital.
I know Jack Cafferty does as well -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Here, here.
Wolf, the price is going to go up for radio and television stations that air raunchy talk or too much skin. Way up.
The House is set to vote momentarily on something called the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act. It will increase maximum fines given by the FCC to $325,000, 10 times the maximum fine now.
The Senate already approved this thing. The president is expected to sign it. Of course, this all goes back to Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 half-time show. Conservative groups say the bill will go a long way in raising the cost for networks that violate decency standards. Critics say it's more unnecessary government regulation and infringes upon freedom of expression.
So, here's the question: How aggressive should the FCC be in trying to control television and radio content?
E-mail us at CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jack, thank you.
Up ahead, fresh fighting over anti-terror funds. We'll speak live about it with the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Peter King, he's standing by to join us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Also, a growing divide at the United Nations. We'll have details of a war of words between the United States and some U.N. leaders. That's happening now.
Plus, my special interview with retiring Washington cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Would he tell his priests to break the law by helping illegal immigrants? I'll ask him.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back.
In the CNN "Security Watch," the battle over anti-terror funds. Among the latest skirmishes, money for port security here in the United States.
Let's go to New York. CNN's Mary Snow has got the details -- Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this fight comes as some lawmakers say not enough money is being spent to address security gaps at ports. These were exposed during the debate over the Dubai ports deal last winter, and it comes on the heels of a fierce debate over how anti-terror funds overall are being distributed.
SNOW (voice over): How much safer could we make America's ports with an extra $648 million to spend on security? We may never know.
A plan in the U.S. Senate to add all those millions to boost port security just died a silent death, going largely unnoticed on Capitol Hill. But in New York, as local and federal law enforcement practice what would happen if a dirty bomb on a container ship detonated at the Staten Island ferry terminal, at least one security expert is shaking his head.
GEORGE BAURIES, CRITERION STRATEGIES: The ultimate weapon is a tactical nuclear weapon. And we should be spending every dollar that we can to prevent that.
SNOW: George Bauries calls it a double blow. Just last week, the Department of Homeland Security cut funds to New York and D.C. by 40 percent, a move that stunned the chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
THOMAS KEAN, 9/11 COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: There are two cities that Bin Laden has said before 9/11 and after 9/11 that he wants to hit. And that's Washington and New York. So it defies any kind of logic that they don't get the vast majority of the funds.
SNOW: But CNN security analyst Richard Falkenrath, who once worked in the Bush administration, says money doesn't always equal better security.
RICHARD FALKENRATH, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Money that's allocated in a spasm in response to a political crisis of the day are usually moneys that are not going to end up being spent very wisely.
SNOW: And as for the nation's ports, the leader of the U.S. Coast Guard adds this...
ADM. THAD ALLEN, COMMANDANT, U.S. COAST GUARD: Well, I think we all understand that the maritime transportation system in this country is both valuable and vulnerable. But it's much safer than it was following 9/11, and it gets safer every day.
SNOW: This afternoon, I spoke with 9/11 Commission chairman Tom Kean, who yesterday gave some failing grades to U.S. security measures in preventing terrorism. What grade would he give port security? He says his grade is an incomplete -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Mary. Thank you very much.
For more now on terror and funding, we're joined by Congressman Peter King. The New York Republican is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
What do you make of this -- I guess you could call it a cut or a reduction in some port security funding?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Well, the port security funding has gone up. I think the report there was they wanted to add more on to it. We just in the House passed the most extensive port security bill ever. It passed by a vote of 421-2.
It did increase port security funding, but I agree that more should be done. But we are putting a lot in place as far as overseas inspections, container inspections, having radiation portal monitors at the ports here in the United States when the ships arrive. So a lot of progress has been made. More has to be done. If anything good came out of the Dubai ports, it was a wake-up call on port security for many people in the United States Congress.
BLITZER: Congressman, I assume you read Michael Chertoff's -- the secretary of Homeland Security -- op-ed piece in "The New York Times" today defending his decision to reduce funding for New York City and Washington, D.C.
Among other things, he writes this -- he says, "Congress gave us about $600 million less for our grants program, including approximately $125 million less for the urban areas initiative. Still, this year New York will receive just under 18 percent of the total funds in the urban areas initiative. This falls in line with the city's average over the last three years of receiving 19 percent of the program's funds."
Basically, what he's saying, it's your fault, the U.S. Congress, for the reduction in funding for New York.
What do you say?
KING: Well, I say he's wrong. And I just came from a two-hour meeting I had with the undersecretary of homeland security, the assistant secretary, on this whole issue of funding.
First of all, there are billions of dollars in the pipeline that have not even been drawn down, have not been obligated that's available for the Department of Homeland Security. There was more than enough money in the grant system for New York to receive the money it deserved.
Michael Chertoff is trying to have it both ways here. He's trying to pin this on us, when, in fact, he's the one who made the cuts.
New York is still by far the number one ranked city in the country, but he cut our -- number one as far as risk -- but he cut our spending by 40 percent. And that can't be defended.
I have gone through every possible analysis with the people in his department. It doesn't add up. It doesn't make sense. It's wrong.
And he can't be blaming this on Congress when the fact is the only reason cuts were made or any reduction in funding was made by Congress was not because of cities like New York, because New York can spend the money, it needs the money. It's because there was so much money in the pipeline that was just sitting there. And we said use that money first on some of these other areas. That does not apply to New York at all.
BLITZER: Do you have confidence in the secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff?
KING: I know Michael Chertoff. I consider him a friend. But I'm very, very disappointed in several actions, including Dubai ports, and certainly including the funding program via -- which affects New York.
And even that 18 percent number he's using, that includes several years ago when New York -- what he did was averaged out the first three years. And the second year of that program, New York was cut incredibly.
So it makes no sense. Why have this whole income averaging thing? It should get the money it needs.
As Governor Kean said, New York is the number one risk by far. Nobody else even comes close, unfortunately, to New York when it comes to top risk. That's how the money should be allocated.
BLITZER: Seventeen people in Canada were arrested over the weekend. Terror suspicion. Some sort of plot. We're getting more details.
You came on CNN over the weekend and said that, in your words, there was a "disproportionate number of al Qaeda in Canada." That's caused somewhat of a controversy.
Listen to what the Canadian ambassador here in Washington, Michael Wilson, told me on Sunday. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL WILSON, CANADIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: I disagree with what the chairman has said. I think that our immigration laws, as they are implemented, are very close in the outcomes as the United States' immigration laws. We take very seriously these issues of terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What did you mean, Congressman, about a disproportionate number of al Qaeda in Canada?
KING: First of all, let me say I have great regard for Ambassador Wilson, and the current Canadian government is doing an excellent job. And there is tremendous cooperation between our counterterrorism forces and their intelligence forces. So there's no problem there.
But the fact is -- and even Canada's own officials, intelligence officials have said this -- that because of their liberal asylum laws, it is much easier for someone to get into Canada. Just recently, before a senate defense committee in the Canadian parliament, you had a high-ranking intelligence officer talk about there was almost 20,000 people in the country who have not been vetted who come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East, who have not been vetted. And the fact that we have seen these large number of arrests over the weekend shows two things.
There is a large number of al Qaeda supporters in Canada. But they also have a very, very effective intelligence and police operation. But we can't deny the fact that they do have a significant number of al Qaeda supporters, and I believe, and many Canadians agree -- believe -- that it's because of the liberal asylum laws they have.
But I want to make it clear. The cooperation between the governments is extremely good. In fact, we have a number of operations going on in the United States that are being monitored because of intelligence that we've gotten from the Canadians.
BLITZER: One final question. This long border between the United States and Canada, when you add up the miles, the continental United States and Canada, plus the border along the Alaska border, what, more than 5,000 miles, have we been focusing on the wrong border as far as terrorism is concerned, namely the U.S.-Mexican border, as opposed to this relatively porous border in the north?
KING: I think we have to focus on both. Obviously, there's a great -- a great -- a much larger number of illegal immigrants coming across the southern border, but there is a risk of terrorism from the north.
Now, we have increased. I think we have tripled the number of Border Patrol agents along the northern border. I think more should be done. And that is being looked at right now by our government and by the Canadian government.
I have been in contact with the people in the Department of Homeland Security as to what's being done, and we are aware of the situation. I think more has to do done, more will be done.
And one difference, though, between Canada and Mexico is we get extraordinary cooperation with the Canadian government along the border. We get very little cooperation from the Mexican government along the southern border.
BLITZER: Peter King is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Congressman, thanks for coming in.
KING: Wolf, thank you.
BLITZER: And stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.
Coming up, the former Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, is back on Capitol Hill talking energy. We'll get his take on high gas prices and the economy.
Plus, we'll show you why the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is so upset with some top U.N. leaders. We have details of a war of words that's under way right now.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Let's check in with CNN's Ali Velshi. He's got "The Bottom Line" in New York.
BLITZER: And coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the archbishop of Washington, soon to retire. Before he goes, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is speaking out about illegal immigration and his surprising opinion about some same-sex civil unions. My interview with the cardinal, that's coming up next.
Also, guns and guts. That's what police in Afghanistan are using to take on a surprising comeback from the Taliban. But how ready are they for the fight? Our Barbara Starr is on the scene in Afghanistan.
BLITZER: Welcome back to THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
President Bush took his calls for immigration reform to Nebraska today. In Omaha, the president highlighted two of his ideas for reform, assimilation of foreigners into the American society and tougher border enforcement.
Meanwhile, despite heavy pressure from the president, the Senate today rejected a constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage. Opponents of the ban included a number of Republicans.
So how might the Catholic Church feel about these issues?
BLITZER: And joining us now is Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, D.C.
Your Eminence, always good to speak to you, especially now as you're wrapping up your tenure. More on that coming up.
Let's talk about immigration first. Your colleague, Cardinal Roger Mahony, in Los Angeles, has been very outspoken on this issue, as you have been. Let me read to you what he said the other day.
He said, "I've received a lot of criticism for stating that I would instruct the priests of my archdiocese to disobey a proposed law that would subject them, as well as other church and humanitarian workers, to criminal penalties. But I stand by my statement."
He's referring to the House version of the legislation that would make it a felony -- that illegal immigrants in the country would be deemed felons. The Catholic Church presumably would have to report them if they came in to seek sanctuary.
How do you feel about this?
CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: Well, I've made it clear, too. I think we're basically on the same page.
If a little kid comes up to you and says, "I'm lost, can you give me some money to get home," we're not going to say, "Show me your papers first." Or if an older lady comes to you and says, "Look, I need medicine badly," I'm not going to say, "Show me your papers." We don't work that way. You can't work that way. I don't think any religious body in the country works that way.
And so I've said to everybody, I think every Catholic priest, everyone who works for the Catholic Church, is going to know that if somebody comes to them in need, you don't ask them any questions. You don't say you're Catholic, you don't say anything. You say, "Are you in need?" If you're in need, then we help you. I think that's what it's all about, and that's what we'll continue to do, whatever the law might be.
BLITZER: So even if this House version were to become the law of the land, would you instruct priests to disobey the law?
MCCARRICK: I don't think I'd have to instruct them. I think they would know. They would know that the law of God tells you to take care of your neighbor. You have to do that.
I think all my priests and I would hope anyone who worked for Catholic charities throughout the archdiocese would always know, you don't turn away somebody who's in need. You don't turn away somebody in trouble. You do the best you can for them.
This is why I have been very critical about the -- that version, because even though people have said, no, it doesn't really mean that, but if it -- it should mean what it says. And what it says is very difficult for us to accept. I don't think we're going to meet that.
I cannot see the United States passing the House version. I'm sure that when we get a new comprehensive immigration reform bill, out of the Congress, it will be something that, please God, we'll be able to support.
BLITZER: Another very sensitive issue that's being dealt with in the Senate right now involves a constitutional ban on same sex marriage. Senator Ted Kennedy said this yesterday. He said, "A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple." You disagree with him, don't you?
MCCARRICK: On this one, I do. Ted and I have -- do have differences from time to time. And this is a real big one. It seems to me that we really have to continue to define marriage as we've defined marriage for thousands of years as a union between a man and a woman.
Now, I think the legislation as it is proposed would not throw out the possibility of a civil union. And I think we can -- we can live with that if this is what -- if this is what the Constitution will provide for. But to say that you can take this concept of marriage, this word of marriage and use it in ways that it has never been used before, as far as I know, in the history of the world, I think that makes no sense.
BLITZER: So just explain. You think that you could live with -- you could support civil unions between gays and lesbians, but you wouldn't like them to get formally married, is that right?
MCCARRICK: Yes. I think -- I think basically the ideal would be that everybody was -- was able to enter a union with a man and a woman and bring children into the world and have the wonderful relationship of man and wife that is so mutually supportive and is really so much part of our society and what keeps our society together. That's the ideal.
If you can't meet that ideal, if there are people who for one reason or another just cannot do that or feel they cannot do that, then in order to protect their right to take care of each other, in order to take care of their right to have visitation in a hospital or something like that, I think that you could allow, not the ideal, but you could allow for that for a civil union.
But if you begin to fool around with the whole -- the whole nature of marriage, then you're doing something which effects the whole culture and denigrates what is so important for us. Marriage is the basic foundation of our family structure. And if we lose that, then I think we become a society that's in real trouble.
BLITZER: You're about to retire. What are you going to do, because a lot of us think you're hitting your prime right now. Those of us who have seen you in action over the years here in the nation's capital. It's almost a pity you're retiring. Are you being forced to retire? Is that the rules of the Catholic Church, the Vatican? Says you reach a certain age, you've got to retire?
MCCARRICK: Well, the rules are a certain age, when you hit 75, you have to send in your resignation. And that's what I did. The Holy Father gave me a whole year later, because I sent it in July of last year.
So now the Holy Father felt that it was good to have a younger man who's going to be -- who's going to be wonderful. He's the best possible archbishop of Washington, I think, is Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh, who is going to succeed. And I think he's a great teacher. He's a man of the center. He's articulate. He's courageous. The people are going to love him, and he's going to love the people.
I think I'm really happy that we have a good man coming. I keep saying this is going to be the golden age of the archdiocese. They're in the Bronze Age now. We're going to make good progress.
BLITZER: I think you're being modest. You've been a beloved figure here in Washington, D.C., Cardinal McCarrick. We appreciate your coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. Good luck to you. Thanks so much.
MCCARRICK: Thanks, Wolf. Great to be with you.
BLITZER: And we wish Cardinal McCarrick only the best on his retirement.
Still to come, the U.S. versus the U.N. We'll tell you how officials from the United States are locked in a war of words right now with some top officials from the U.N.
And attention parents, how sneaky children -- how sneaky are your children, that is? Might your teenagers be faking their identities to have more fun online? Stay with us.
BLITZER: Happening right now at the United Nations, a war of words and a growing divide pitting the United States against top United Nations leaders. Our senior U.N. correspondent, Richard Roth, is standing by live. He has details -- Richard.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the diplomatic gloves are off again between senior United Nations officials and the Bush administration man at the U.N. AT issue, who is responsible if middle America doesn't know or like what the U.N. is doing?
ROTH (voice-over) The United States and the United Nations are at it again. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton is outraged over remarks by Kofi Annan's deputy at the United Nations.
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: This is a very, very grave mistake by the deputy secretary-general.
ROTH: In a speech this week, Mark Malloch Brown criticized the Bush administration for keeping the American people in the dark about the good things the U.N. does around the world.
MARK MALLOCH BROWN, DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL, U.N.: That is not well known or understood back home, in part because much of the public discourse that reaches the U.S. heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and FOX News.
ROTH: Earlier in the week, Bolton called for all of Kofi Annan's senior aides to resign when the secretary-general's term ends later this year. Now, Bolton is demanding immediate action against the U.N.'s second in command.
BOLTON: Secretary-General Kofi Annan, we think, has to personally and publicly repudiate the speech at the earliest possible opportunity.
STEPHAN DUJARRIC, U.N. SPOKESMAN: The secretary-general stands by the statement made by his deputy, Mark Malloch Brown. And he agrees with the thrust of it.
BOLTON: I spoke to the secretary-general this morning. I said I've known you since 1989. And I'm telling you this is the worst mistake by a senior U.N. official that I have seen in that entire time.
ROTH: Malloch Brown now says the speech was a call to arm arms to rally support for the U.N., which he says is slipping into crisis, because the entire U.N. membership is divided over how to fix the organization.
BROWN: For the life of me, I can't understand how that can be construed as an anti-American speech.
ROTH: Malloch Brown says it's time for some truths to be told, though. Behind all of this, Wolf, deep frustration at the U.N. that the United States privately uses the organization when it wants to but doesn't make the case to the American people that the U.N. is a valuable ally. Bolton insists Malloch Brown has no business as an international civil servant commenting on middle America.
BLITZER: You've focused, and you've read that whole speech, I assume, that Malloch Brown delivered. Give us the perspective. Was it in context, that one clip that we heard? What was the thrust of his message that Kofi Annan agrees with?
ROTH: He definitely wasn't criticizing the United States all the time. He was praiseworthy of Secretary Rice and other administrations. He's just saying show your love. You want the world to be a better and safer place. Help the United Nations.
Also, Malloch Brown is quite upset with other countries because all of the sides are fighting there. He says the place is in crisis. It needs fixing. And -- but Annan only has a few months left. And it's probable that Malloch Brown and Annan, and maybe even Bolton, because of his recess appointment, will all be gone from the scene by January or February.
BLITZER: Richard Roth, thanks very much for that.
Let's say in New York. Lou Dobbs is standing by with a preview. You're smiling already, Lou. Why?
LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Well, I'm smiling because I happen to be in agreement with -- with FOX News on this, on the state of the United Nations. The idea that they're in crisis because they can't figure out how to fix the thing. That's really the crisis, period about the place. Don't you think, Wolf?
BLITZER: You know, my job is just to report the news. Your job is to think about it.
DOBBS: I couldn't help but ask you, Wolf. I'm just -- the devil made me do it.
BLITZER: Go ahead. Tell us what's coming up at the top of hour. DOBBS: Thanks, Wolf. Coming up at the top of the hour, 6 p.m. Eastern here on CNN, we'll be reporting on the role of illegal immigration and border security and a special election held in California. The Republican won, but the president lost. We'll be reporting on the implications for the midterm elections, and the winner, Brian Bilbray, joins me.
I'll also be talking tonight with Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat who says the president's amnesty plan is a danger to the nation.
And three of the country's top political analysts join us to assess what the elections yesterday in eight states mean for the midterm elections. And we'll have our exclusive report tonight on the potential role for nationwide voter fraud in the upcoming midterm elections, the questionable role of Venezuela in those elections.
We hope you'll join us right at the top of the hour here on CNN. Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: All right, Lou, thanks very much. Lou Dobbs coming up in a few moments.
Today, Democratic senators on Capitol Hill blasted the administration after learning that personal information for more than two million active U.S. military personnel may have been on that stolen veterans affairs laptop computer. We're learning that House lawmakers are now weighing in with some specific actions.
Let's bring in Abbi Tatton. She's got the latest -- Abbi.
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, just this hour, 145 House members, almost exclusively Democrats, sending this letter to President Bush, urging the president to request emergency funding to provide certain things: free credit monitoring for all these veterans and active duty servicemen. In addition, one additional free credit report per year to every individual effected.
Who are these people affected? Well, we heard just late last night from veterans affairs, that now, that in addition to all the veterans, it's 1.1 million military members on active duty, plus hundreds of thousands of reservists and National Guard members, as well.
The latest information is that FirstGov.gov, the veterans affairs, has been updating that. The data is still missing. Montgomery County police in Maryland appealing to the public for the return of that laptop. They've offered a $50,000 reward -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Abbi. Thank you.
Up ahead, the law versus the Taliban. With the wave of lawlessness returning to Afghanistan, how ready are Afghan police to fight back right now? Our Barbara Starr is on the scene with details.
And in our 7 p.m. Eastern hour, survival of the fittest? After a Republican was able to hold on to a congressional seat in California, what might that mean for Republican survival in the midterm elections?
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: There's a war of words that's unfolding right now between a key Republican member of Congress and the White House. Let's go to our White House correspondent, Ed Henry, for the details -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're just learning of an extraordinary clash between Republican Senator Arlen Specter and Vice President Cheney. Specter just firing off a hard-hitting three page letter to the vice president, charging Mr. Cheney lobbied behind Specter's back to block the judiciary chairman from issuing subpoenas to telecom giants to find out what role they may have had in a secret domestic spying program for the administration.
Specter was planning a closed meeting of his committee yesterday afternoon to discuss this matter but reveals Mr. Cheney was calling Republican senators and urged them to stop these subpoenas. Specter gripes in the letter he's particularly perplexed that the vice president never mentioned this to Specter directly yesterday. They were at a closed door lunch together, a Republican lunch in the Capitol.
Specter writes, quote, "I walked directly in front of you on at least two occasions en route from the buffet to my table."
Specter did move forward with this hearing yesterday, a public hearing, but was blocked from going to a private session, blocked from the subpoenas. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch revealed at that public hearing that he had been speaking with Vice President Cheney and that the vice president had agreed to review legislation dealing with the NSA domestic surveillance program. In exchange for that, the phone companies would have to not be subpoenaed.
Specter now furious about this turn of events, threatening that the committee will consider subpoenas of administration officials, and if the administration sites executive privilege, they will then move ahead and maybe subpoena the telephone companies.
Specter closes this missive by saying, quote, "I am available to try to work this out with the administration without the necessity of a constitutional confrontation between Congress and the president." He puts the ball in the vice president's court.
I just spoke to the vice president's spokeswoman, Lea McBride. She told CNN the vice president, quote, "has not had a chance to study the letter." So they will not respond directly to the charges in this letter. But she added the administration still intends to work with members of Congress in good faith to discuss oversight of this NSA program, Wolf.
BLITZER: Specter versus Cheney. We'll see how that falls out. Ed, thank you very much. Overseas now, the Afghan government recently announced it's firing and replacing of dozens of senior police officials. We hear a lot about the state of readiness of Iraqi troops. But as the Taliban is making a comeback in parts of Afghanistan, how are Afghanistan's security forces coming along? Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, reports from southern Afghanistan -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, here at this base in southern Afghanistan near Kandahar, new Afghan police troops are being trained. They are going to form the backbone of security for the new Afghanistan.
(voice-over) The commander inspects a line of new police officers and reports to the minister they are ready. Ready to face the threat from an increasingly strong Taliban.
Local tribal leaders watched this ceremony closely. Here in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province, the Taliban are on the rise, and Afghan police are the major security force in rural towns and villages.
Some of these officers have only big on the job for a few weeks. Thirty-two-year-old Shakan (ph) says he joined the force to serve his country. He says security in the Kandahar area is very bad. The Taliban are everywhere.
Four and a half years after the Taliban were overthrown, the police force is now emerging with a new face. Young women are training, too. Masamo (ph) is 18. She says her parents are just fine with her being a police officer.
But as eager as these young officers are, they have a hard road ahead. A complete overhaul of the police force is underway, meant to root out corrupt senior officers. Major General Robert Durbin runs the U.S. training effort.
MAJ. GEN. ROBERT DURBIN, U.S. ARMY: By putting in new leaders who can be trusted, new leaders who are vetted both by the Afghans and the international community, we'll have a solid base upon which to address the corruption problems that permeate the entire force right now.
STARR (on camera): There are supposed to be 60,000 police in this country. But currently, just over half are trained and equipped. These are some of the weapons they are being issued.
(voice-over) The test for the police will come in small villages where there is no real security and in the capital of Kabul, a teaming city of four million, torn apart by recent rioting. Police were able to restore order, but only after some had their weapons taken by rioters.
For the minister and dignitaries in Kandahar, the new recruits practice crowd control. These young Afghans will spread out to police stations throughout southern Afghanistan. Confronting the Taliban and other insurgents. Bringing security and stability to areas where terror tactics are creeping back.
(on camera) With concern about Taliban reappearing in small towns and villages across the country, here today they say getting the police forces trained, equipped, and out in the field is vital -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Barbara Starr on the scene for us. Doing some excellent reporting from Afghanistan.
Up next, how aggressive should the FCC be in controlling TV and radio content? The House of Representatives has just weighed in here in Washington. Jack is standing by with your e-mail on our question of the hour, as well. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Did anything unusual happen to you yesterday on 6/6/06? Going back to biblical times, people have been uneasy about the numbers 666. Some women postponed giving birth yesterday to avoid that date. On the other hand, lottery tickets with that number were big sellers.
Ernestine Wright was a big winner in a school board race in Alabama. Her vote total, by the way, was 666.
Jack Cafferty is joining us now with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: How do you avoid giving birth? I mean, if it's time, it's time, isn't it?
BLITZER: You would think, but I don't know.
CAFFERTY: Been my experience. The House has overwhelmingly passed the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, which means I have to leave now. It will increase maximum fines given by the FCC to $325,000, which is 10 times the maximum now. The bill is on its way to the president. The Senate has already passed it.
The question is how aggressive should the FCC be in trying to control TV and radio content?
Art writes from Valparaiso, Indiana: "For years, the FCC has been nothing more than a tool for born-again right-wingers and mothers who want the government to do their parenting for them. My TV came with a channel changer, and if I don't like what is on, I change it. I'm offended by the decision that I'm not able to make my own."
Bob in Radford, Virginia: "The FCC has absolutely no business regulating free speech in any way, shape or form. Except for its technical purposes to prevent overlapping signals and apportion the airways, it should not stick its big, ugly nose into anything else." Stephen in West Palm Beach, Florida: "As usual, politicians have to prove they're on the job by making a mountain out of a mole hill. I think the FCC and decency rules are silly to begin with, and upping the penalty to $325,000 is just absurd. I don't understand why portrayals of violent murder and rape are perfectly acceptable while the appearance of a woman's breast is the end of the world." Referring to the Janet Jackson thing.
Beverly in Arkansas: "If you can tell me one good thing that can come from the raunchy trash on TV, then I'll be glad to reconsider my position."
Sheila in Crossville: "Well, all I know is they haven't been aggressive enough, because Rush Limbaugh is still running his big mouth."
And Steve writes, "So how much would it bleeping cost CNN to show this?"
Only he didn't write bleep -- Wolf.
BLITZER: See you in an hour, Jack.
BLITZER: Thank you.
What type of personal information are teens posting online? And how often are they telling the truth? Two new studies provide some startling statistics. Jacki Schechner has details -- Jacki.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, the first study comes from Democratic pollster Greenberg Research. They're studying Gen Y, 18- to 24-year-olds. They found out that one-third have lied or stretched the truth about themselves online and about a quarter have pretended to be somebody else entirely.
About 78 percent have personal Web sites or blogs, the majority of those on MySpace.com. They're putting up photos. They're putting up e-mail. Smart enough not to put phone numbers or addresses, by the way.
And this is the generation that started young, which makes the second research interesting. It's Common Sense Media, a nonpartisan nonprofit. They interviewed parents, talked about teens. They said that the Internet was the greatest risk to their kids, and they are monitoring. Eighty-seven percent check in at least once a month -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jacki, thanks very much.
That's it for us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll be back in one hour.
Let's go up to New York. Lou is standing by to pick up our coverage -- Lou. DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf.
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