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NSA Wiretaps Ruled Unconstitutional; Lebanese Troops Enter Southern Lebanon; Interview with Michael Tracey

Aired August 17, 2006 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. And 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 tonight's top stories.
Happening now, eavesdropping on Americans, a weapon in the war on terror or a violation of the United States Constitution. It's 7:00 p.m. in Washington where the White House says it will fight a judge's ruling that its domestic spying program is illegal.

It's 2:00 a.m. here in the Middle East where troops are on the move right now into and out of south Lebanon, but are they marching toward peace?

And it's 5:00 p.m. in Boulder, Colorado, where the district attorney warns people not to rush to judgment, despite the stunning admissions from a man facing charges in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case.

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

Tonight the Bush administration is defending its wiretap without warrant program as a vital tool in the war on terror, but a federal judge in Detroit says it's unconstitutional. Today's ruling is triggering an urgent new round of legal maneuvering and fresh election year spiring (ph) over homeland security and terror fighting tactics.

Our White House correspondent Elaine Quijano has the political reaction, but, first, let's bring in our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena with details of this stunning decision -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, today's ruling was a big disappointment for the Bush administration. The administration has long argued that as commander in chief the president has the right to fight the war on terror as he sees fit, but a Detroit judge disagrees.


ARENA (voice-over): It's the first legal setback for the government's wiretapping program. A federal judge says it violates the Constitution.

ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Of course, I'm disappointed. I believe very strongly that the president does have the authority to authorize this kind of conduct, particularly in a time of war. Conduct is very consistent with what other presidents have done in a time of war.

ARENA: Attorney General Gonzales and the administration argue the program in which the National Security Agency monitors international phone calls and other communications without a warrant is necessary to keep the U.S. safe. They say it only covers communications among people with terror connections, but the judge who heard the case brought by the ACLU says the wiretapping program violates free speech and privacy rights.

ANTHONY ROMERO, ACLU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The judge agreed with our arguments. The president had overstepped his powers as the chief executive that no one is above the law, not even the president.

ARENA: The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of lawyers, academics and journalists like Jim Banford, who say some of the people they talked to could be targeted by the government. They argue the possibility of the government eavesdropping interferes with doing their jobs. Government supporters weren't very impressed with the argument.

LEE CASEY, FORMER JUSTICE DEPT. LAWYER: They don't really know whether they have been monitored. They're only guessing at that, and ordinarily that is not sufficient for bringing a suit in federal court.


ARENA: The Justice Department appealed the ruling, and the wiretap -- wiretapping will continue until the judge decides what will happen as this case makes its way through the legal system -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Kelli Arena, thank you. The Bush White House says it couldn't disagree more with the ruling against wiretaps without warrants, but some Democrats are applauding the decision and pouncing on what they call the president's power grab. Our White House correspondent Elaine Quijano has more on the political reaction -- Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And Wolf, the president is defending this program. The White House clearly defending it once again as legal and necessary. Mr. Bush himself, however, did not respond when he was asked about this as he left the White House earlier this afternoon on his way to Camp David. He's going to be spending a few days at Camp David, but in a statement, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said, quote, "We couldn't disagree more with this ruling, and the Justice Department will seek an immediate stay of the opinion and appeal. The terrorist surveillance program is firmly grounded in law and regularly reviewed to make sure steps are taken to protect civil liberties."

Now, today's ruling and the ensuing debate over the surveillance program come just 80-some days before the congressional midterm elections. As we've seen the president as well as Republicans have been trying to tout their national security credentials. In fact, just this past week on Tuesday we saw the president pay a visit to the National Counterterrorism Center.

It was there that he highlighted the recent thwarting of the airliner terror plot. Democrats, though, are jumping on today's ruling out of Michigan trying to attack those national security credentials. Their argument, that the Bush administration has mismanaged the war on terror. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid saying that the ruling is an example of how in his words the Bush administration has jeopardized the country's efforts in the war on terror -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Elaine, thank you very much. And we're going to have more on the analysis of what this ruling means. Jeff Toobin, our senior legal analyst later this hour, will join us.

Here in the Middle East, meanwhile, troops are on the march, but their mission is to maintain a fragile peace. CNN's Chris Lawrence is standing by in northern Israel. Let's go, first, to our Beirut bureau chief Brent Sadler -- Brent.

BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: Wolf, a rapid deployment of some 12,000 Lebanese army troops so far in less than 24 hours, this the first step to try to stabilize that border area with Israel. That force will swell to some 15,000. Now, the Lebanese troops could not possibly have set these first footsteps into Lebanon the first time the army has been down there for some four decades unless there had been the acquiescence of Hezbollah whose fighters and whose weapons remain in the danger zone.

Now, in addition to those 15,000 troops, when they reach strength, we are expected to see another 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers come into the area to bolster the force that's already on the ground, but while there's progress with the Lebanese army, progress in creating that new force is slow. France has just committed 200 troops to join that force, much lower than expected.

France, like other contributor nations, very concerned about the rules of engagement given that Hezbollah will remain military reactive in that area, but not visible. Now, on another front, on the political front, Saad Hariri, the head of Lebanon's parliamentary majority here launched a verbal assault against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria who the previous day supported Hezbollah and effectively a state within a state situation here. Here's what Hariri said.


SAAD HARIRI, LEBANESE PARLIAMENT MEMBER (through translator): We (INAUDIBLE) are facing a destroyed country, and the Lebanese will not allow to anybody to make the state the weakest point in the national equation.


SADLER: On the domestic fronts, some good news, Wolf. Commercial airliners flew into Beirut International Airport today. The first time we've seen planes coming in here commercially for more than four weeks since Israeli war planes and gunboats shelled the runway. Life beginning to ease a little bit here with expectation of a fuel ship to arrive tomorrow to ease chronic fuel shortages -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's hope that things get better every single day. Thank you very much, Brent, for that.

Israeli troops, meanwhile, are pulling out of south Lebanon, but what will it take for them to complete their withdrawals? CNN's Chris Lawrence is our man on the northern Israeli border with Lebanon -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a top U.N. official says they've got to get between three and 4,000 peacekeeping troops in place within the next 10 days or put the troops at risk.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Israeli armor rumbles down a dirt hill leaving Lebanon and making way for a United Nations peacekeeping force in the south.


LAWRENCE: Israel says there's more to come if two conditions of the U.N. Security Council resolution are met. Israeli officials are demanding the Lebanese army keep the peace and not allow Hezbollah to operate in the region. And countries that promise to contribute thousands of troops to the U.N. force must keep their word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) There is some soldiers still in. A lot of soldiers that need to get from Israel -- from Lebanon back to Israel, so, hopefully, everything will go according to plan.

LAWRENCE: Hezbollah launched nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, but not all of them exploded. On Thursday the hunt for unexploded ordnance began in Kiryat Shmona. With residents coming back by the hundreds, many fear unexploded mortars and rockets could still be a danger.


LAWRENCE: And that search will be going on in other towns and villages as well and will continue over the next few days -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Chris, thank you very much. Let's go to New York. Jack Cafferty is standing by with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to talk about that other war, Wolf. Since the war in Iraq began, we've been told on several occasions that we are achieving great success there. Shortly after the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down, President Bush declared mission accomplished. Then Saddam's kids were killed. Saddam was captured. We were told things are really going great now.

Then after a couple of failed efforts, some kind of government was finally put in place and President Bush declared democracy has taken root in Iraq. Somewhere around the same time Vice President Cheney told us the insurgency was in its final throes. Arab League Qaeda's number one operative inside Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was finally tracked down and killed and it was blue skies all around.

Now we can wrap this thing up and come home. Well try this. Since al-Zarqawi bought the farm, the number of roadside bombs planted in Iraq reached its highest monthly total ever. "The New York Times" reports in July 2,600 bombs exploded or were found in Iraq. That's up from about 1,400 in January, almost twice as many. Insurgent violence against American troops and Iraqi security forces has doubled since January, and the sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis has increased sharply.

Last month alone almost 3,500 Iraqi civilians died, so here's the question. Do you think we need a new definition of what constitutes success in Iraq? Email your thoughts to or go to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack. And if you want a sneak preview of Jack's questions, plus an early read on the day's political news and what's ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, sign up for our daily e-mail alert. Just go to

And still to come, killer confession. He claims to have killed JonBenet Ramsey, but does his story really add up? We're taking a hard look at the case.

And a tea party that could lead to some serious charges, Lebanese soldiers at the highest levels sit down with Israeli soldiers, and now the Lebanese soldier is facing investigation. The kinder, gentler war moment all caught on tape.

Also, politics and privacy, President Bush is dealt a legal blow. Wiretapping without a warrant is declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. Our legal analyst Jeff Toobin tells us what it all means.

Live from Jerusalem, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: There's new information just coming in tonight here in THE SITUATION ROOM about North Korea and its nuclear program. Let's go live to our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, U.S. military and intelligence officials have now confirmed to CNN that there have been some developments at a potential North Korean underground nuclear test site, but they're not sure what it all really means. Apparently what has happened about a week ago a piece of imagery -- we don't know if it was from a satellite or a U2 (ph) aircraft -- showed intelligence analysts there had been a change at one of the sites. What was that change?

Officials say that they suddenly now see on this imagery a number of wire bundles at the site above ground. Those bundles of wire could, could be used, of course, to wire the site so that if a test was conducted, it could be monitored remotely by North Korean weapons experts, but the wires haven't been hooked up to anything at this point, and it's just one indicator.

Intelligence officials say a lot more would have to happen before North Korea could conduct a test, but that underground test, of course, are very difficult to detect before they happen. The U.S. continues, of course, to watch that country around the clock -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you, Barbara. We'll continue to watch this story together with you.

Other news we're following. One of the most notorious who done it mysteries in recent memory. Who killed JonBenet Ramsey, who was beaten and strangled one day after Christmas back in 1996? Now police out they're one step closer to knowing. A man is admitting some involvement in her murder, but is he actually telling the truth?

CNN's Randi Kaye is taking a closer look at the confession, but let's begin with CNN's Brian Todd -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there are, indeed, many inconsistencies in this man's story, but for now, according to a Homeland Security official at the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, John Mark Karr will face charges for kidnapping, sexually assaulting, and murdering JonBenet Ramsey.


TODD (voice-over): Who is John Mark Karr and what was he doing in Thailand? New details from the district attorney in Boulder, Colorado.

MARY LACY, BOULDER, CO D.A.: Mr. Karr was living in Bangkok. He began his employment as a second grade teacher in the international school system in Bangkok on Tuesday morning of this week.

TODD: A Homeland Security official tells CNN he doesn't believe Karr's new job influenced the timing of the arrest. But according to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin...

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: It's a clear implication of the district attorney's statement was that he was arrested now because they feared he would molest the children he was teaching in Bangkok or that he might flee.

TODD: But when cameras caught up with him, Karr wasn't shy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you an innocent man?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you an innocent man?



KARR: Her death was an accident. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you were in the basement?

KARR: Yes.

TODD: But Karr's ex-wife, Lara, tells CNN affiliate KGO (ph) Karr was with her in Alabama during the entire Christmas season of 1996 when JonBenet Ramsey was found dead at the Ramsey home in Boulder, and there are other inconsistencies. A Thai police official says he was told by an American investigator that Karr said he drugged and had sex with the child before accidentally killing her.

But according to JonBenet's autopsy, no drugs were found in her body. But Karr does have a history with the law and children. According to divorce documents obtained by CNN, he split with his wife after local police in California investigated Karr for allegedly possessing child pornography. Law enforcement officials tell CNN Sonoma County police arrested Karr on that charge in 2001.

He pleaded not guilty, but later jumped bail and never stood trial. The divorce papers say Lara Karr sought to keep Karr away from their three children and secured a restraining order, and in the documents she claims Karr couldn't serve as a substitute teacher in Alabama in the late 1990's because he was too affectionate with children.


TODD: And one of Karr's ties to the Ramsey family, well in an interview JonBenet's father said he doesn't know Karr, but Karr tells The Associated Press he wrote to JonBenet's mother, Patsy, before she died of cancer apologizing for what happened and insisting JonBenet's death was an accident. John Mark Karr is expected to be brought back to the United States within a week -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, thank you. Let's get some more on this story. CNN's Randi Kaye is joining us now from Atlanta -- Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point, Wolf, we don't know whether John Mark Karr is innocent or guilty, but we can still learn a lot about his behavior. Criminal profilers can learn a lot from a suspect without ever having met him. I turned to the profiler known as the doctor of death for some insight.


KAYE (voice-over): Why would John Mark Karr if he is JonBenet Ramsey's killer, be talking about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I loved JonBenet very much.


KAYE: Renowned criminologist James Alan Fox sees big question marks emerging in what Karr says.

JAMES ALAN FOX, CRIMINOLOGIST: I think you have to take this confession with a whole shaker of salt.

KAYE: But, Fox says if Karr is the killer, like most, he wants attention. He wants the world to know it.

FOX: One real possibility is that this man wants attention and that he reached out to a professor at the University of Colorado telling little tidbits about the crime to intensify his celebrity or to make himself into a celebrity and look, we're all talking about him today.

KAYE: Fox says it's a myth killers want to get caught, but he says the death of JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey, may have inspired Karr to come forward. Karr told The Associated Press he had sent letters to Patsy Ramsey telling her he is sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's very important for me that everyone knows that I love her very much and that her death was unintentional and it was an accident, and I made several efforts to communicate with Patricia before she passed away, and it's my understanding that she did read my letters, and she was aware of me before she passed away.

FOX: There are killers whose level of remorse is such that they -- they cry, they apologize, they write letters to families expressing remorse.

KAYE: Karr is a man with a history. His ex-wife says he was no longer called as a substitute teacher after showing too much affection toward children, and he was arrested in 2001 on child pornography charges, and while he doesn't have a history of violence, Fox says there is always a first.

FOX: It may also be part of his fantasy that the love was mutual. Perhaps part of the problem was that JonBenet Ramsey didn't love him the way that he wanted her to.


KAYE: What makes this case unique, according to Fox, is the young victim's public image. Fox says that while the Ramseys may have thought it was totally innocent to enter their daughter in beauty pageants, there is a small segment of society, pedophiles, who see these young children in a very sexualized role and treat them as a sexualized object. That could be, Wolf, what happened here.

BLITZER: Randi, thank you very much, Randi Kaye reporting for us.

And still to come, we're going to talk to that professor who helped lead police to John Mark Karr. It's his first on-camera interview. We'll get to that shortly.

And a controversial tea party, Lebanese troops making nice with Israeli soldiers. It's all caught on videotape, and it's sparking a huge investigation in Lebanon.

Live from Jerusalem. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: We're learning more about a strange encounter that took place on the battlefield in Lebanon, a time out, if you will, for tea. Zain Verjee has the story -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, it was a strange tea party, one that's landed the host in hot water.


VERJEE (voice-over): Two enemy armies sharing a cup of tea and casual conversation as war raged all around. Lebanese and Israeli soldiers in the town of Marjeyoun were showing a bizarre camaraderie. It's August 10, about 350 Lebanese troops are at this military base six miles from the Israeli border. This edited videotape shot by an Israeli shows Israeli troops and at least two tanks rolling into the base. There's no resistance. Only white flags. Lebanon's Brigadier General, Adnan Daoud (ph), a Christian, is in charge and offers the Israelis tea. Then on the tape we hear this odd exchange.


VERJEE: We need to brief our bosses on what happened, says Daoud (ph). The Israeli commander says, we briefed Bush. You brief whoever you want. Daoud (ph) responds we need to brief Bush too.

On the video we see Israeli soldiers checking I.D. cards. They spend the day with Daoud (ph) and his men. As the Lebanese convoy came out of Marjeyoun, a CNN crew asked Daoud (ph) what happened.


VERJEE: Daoud (ph) says the Lebanese interior ministry ordered Lebanese troops to leave.


VERJEE: Why didn't you fight we ask, but the car had sped away.


VERJEE: The acting Lebanese interior minister did give orders not to fight, saying the likely armed troops were not a combat force, but a humanitarian protection force. Lebanese army intelligence sources tell CNN that Daoud (ph) has not been formerly charged or arrested for treason, but an investigation is ongoing.


VERJEE: The videotape images first aired on Israel's channel 2 and then on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Zain thank you. Coming up, the man who led police to JonBenet Ramsey's self-confessed killer. A professor who received disturbing letters from John Karr. We're going to go to that professor, hear what he has to say. That's coming up. Also, unconstitutional, a federal judge rules against President Bush on warrantless wiretapping. We'll have more on that story as well.

Live from Jerusalem, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM where new pictures and information are arriving all the time. Happening now, U.S. military and intelligence officials confirming to CNN that they've seen some developments at a potential North Korean underground and nuclear test site. Officials say they suddenly see wire bundles that could possibly be an indicator that North Korea is actually planning a nuclear test.

Authorities in Colorado warning against rushing to judgment after a surprising confession in a 10-year-old murder case. In custody in Thailand, John Mark Karr told reporters he loved JonBenet Ramsey and that the child's death was an accident.

A federal judge rules the nation's top cigarette makers deceive the public about the health hazards of smoking, but she says she was barred by an appeals court ruling for ordering tobacco firms to pay billions of dollars for violating racketeering laws.

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


BLITZER: Who killed JonBenet Ramsey? For nearly 10 years, every time police thought they had an answer, their leads turned cold. But now police are hoping the cold case will be cracked, and this latest chapter all started with an e-mail exchange involving my next guest.

Professor Michael Tracey is a journalism professor at the University of Colorado. He is joining us now from Boulder.

Professor, thanks very much for coming in. There was a quote in the "Rocky Mountain News" from a Ramsey family friend, Susan Stine, who said, "He was instrumental in flushing this person out in the sense of getting him to talk." Tell our viewers who aren't all that familiar with your role how you got involved in this case.

PROF. MICHAEL TRACEY, UNIV. OF COLORADO: I got involved in the case because I've made three documentaries. The first documentary was back in 1998, and I made that documentary with my colleague in the U.K., David Mills, because I was appalled by the way the media had treated the Ramseys, and I subsequently made a documentary about the so-called intruder theory.

BLITZER: And John Mark Karr, how did he get involved? What happened in terms of your exchanges, e-mail exchanges, I take it, with him?

TRACEY: Lou, as I saw your field producer, I'm going to make no specific comments about Mr. Karr or about the e-mail exchanges. What I would say -- and to be honest the reason I'm doing these interviews today and then that's it -- is I want to remind people that Mr. Karr has the right to be presumed innocent.

John Ramsey has said that, and I say that in light of the fact that the right to be presumed innocent was something that was never granted to John and Patsy Ramsey. They were treated appallingly both by the media and by law enforcement, and so Mr. Karr has a right to be presumed innocent.

BLITZER: I want you to listen to what a famed criminologist, James Alan Fox, said about this so-called confession. Listen to this.


JAMES ALAN FOX, CRIMINOLOGIST: One real possibility is that this man wanted attention and that he reached out to a professor at the University of Colorado, telling little tidbits about the crime to intensify his celebrity or to make himself into a celebrity. And, look, we're all talking about him today.


BLITZER: I know that you don't want to really get into the specifics of your relationship with him, but is there an element there based -- if you can tell us -- that he was really looking for publicity, he was anxious for some sort of celebrity status?

TRACEY: Wolf, I'm sorry to be boring about this point, but I'm simply not going to say anything about Mr. Karr or the investigation, other than to say that the district attorney's office, Mary Lacy the D.A., and Tom Bennett, the chief investigator, other people involved have done a phenomenal job in this investigation, extremely professional, extremely hard work.

But as to Mr. Karr, I really, really am not going to say anything, and the reason why, it would be utterly inconsistent with the issue that got me into this in the first place, which was I thought it was appalling that the right to be presumed innocent was not extended to the Ramsey family, and John and Patsy in particular.

And so for me to comment in any way, shape, or form about Mr. Karr, who has the right to be presumed innocent, would be utterly inconsistent and hypocritical, and I'm simply not going to do it. Eventually the story will come out, but it won't be tonight.

BLITZER: You know, there are still people out there today -- and I'm sure you have heard some of them -- suggesting that maybe this guy fantasized, made up the whole story, and as a result, this confession isn't really a confession. Marc Klaas, he made a suggestion along those lines. I want you to listen to this.


MARC KLAAS, FATHER OF POLLY KLAAS: I'm very skeptical that this guy did it, and if this guy didn't do it, then I think that puts the suspicion right back where it's been for the last decade.


BLITZER: And I know you are extremely concerned, because I've looked -- researched all your background and your writing, your documentaries, that the Ramseys really were attacked effectively as murders, even though, of course, they're presumed innocent like everyone else. But how concerned are you that there are people out there right now, even after this guy confesses to this crime, who still think the Ramseys may have had a role in it?

TRACEY: Well, it doesn't come as any great surprise. I know this case, and I know the kind of opinions people have. And I understand that there are people who continue with the opinion that John and Patsy were -- either one or the other or both harmed JonBenet. The only thing that John and Patsy Ramsey ever did to JonBenet was to love her.

Now, if people choose not to believe that, if people choose to believe in the absurd notion which is that the parents were involved in her death, then there's nothing I can do about that. What I'm convinced of is that someone came in from outside and killed JonBenet. It was not a member of the Ramsey family.

Now, I say, Mr. Klaas wants to take it back to the Ramseys. There's nothing I can do about it. I regard that as irrational. I regard it as a viewpoint that is offered in the face of overwhelming evidence that someone else did this, but there's nothing I can do about what people think.

And a lot of people have a kind of almost emotional attachment, an emotional need, to believe that the Ramseys are guilty. I don't understand the psychology of that. I don't understand the culture of that. It exists, I understand. There's nothing I can do about it.

I do not believe -- with every fiber of my being, I do not believe that John and Patsy Ramsey had anything to do with hurting JonBenet and, therefore, someone else did.

BLITZER: One final question before I let you go, Professor. Do you believe that this cold case, which has been out there for 10 years now, is about to be resolved?

TRACEY: That's a very good try, Wolf. In order to answer that question, I have to make a comment about Mr. Karr, and I'm simply not going to do that. I'm not going to comment about Mr. Karr. I'm not going to comment about the e-mails. And this, in fact, is the last interview I'll give for a very long time. So I really don't want to comment. I hope someday that Patsy ...

BLITZER: Well, it's certainly understandable. Go ahead.

TRACEY: I hope someday that the Ramseys and the memory of Patsy is vindicated. They deserve that. Their life has been a living hell for 10 years. None of us can begin to imagine what it's like to be John and Patsy Ramsey, and they stayed together. They were in love until the end. Their family stayed together. The family loved their father. John Ramsey is a man of surreal courage, and he didn't do anything to JonBenet. Neither did Patsy.

BLITZER: Professor Michael Tracy of the University of Colorado, thanks very much for spending a few moments with us, and I certainly understand why you're reluctant to speak out about the specifics of your role and Karr's role, and I'm sure our viewers understand that as well. Everyone is presumed innocent until convicted guilty. Thanks very much for joining us.

Up ahead tonight, unconstitutional -- that's what a federal judge decides about the Bush administration's domestic spying program, and the judge says it must stop. But what are the practical implications of what has happened today? I'll ask CNN's senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin.

And we've been talking about the JonBenet Ramsey case, but we haven't talked about the media frenzy surrounding it. Jeannie Moos will talk about that. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Tonight plenty of politicians are arguing about a new court ruling that the president's domestic spying program is unconstitutional. Will the decision, now under appeal, hold up in a higher court?

Let's get some analysis from our senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin. A major defeat, potentially, for the Bush administration, although in the short term they did get a stay. They are not going to force the government from stopping to implement these warrantless wiretaps. How does that happen if the judge, Jeff, rules that it's unconstitutional, why then allow it to continue as the appeals process goes forward?

JEFF TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well judges understand that declaring a major government program unconstitutional is a tremendous, important step. And they are usually willing to let the appeals process play out rather than shut a program down initially and that's what happened here.

BLITZER: Because that, clearly, is something that at least a short-term gain from the administration's perspective. Walk us through the process. How is this legal battle going to unfold right now? Will it wind up, presumably, at the Supreme Court?

TOOBIN: You know, I think almost certainly. Because this is such a sprawling and disorganized series of lawsuits at this point, all based to try to determine the same thing, whether this warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional.

This judge, today's opinion, said it was unconstitutional in very scathing terms. But this was a very liberal judge. You look at the sources she cites in her opinion. She almost exclusively cites other liberal judges. I am virtually certain that other courts will see this differently. And the only way to resolve those sorts of differences is to have it wind up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

I think what's even more likely is that the Supreme Court may say, refuse to deal with this issue on the merits and say, look, we are going to let Congress deal with this, try to sort it all out, then figure out what's going to happen rather than decide a case of this magnitude on the very sketchy facts that are available about this program. Because still, to this day, not a lot of detail is known about what kind of surveillance goes on in this warrantless way.

BLITZER: Well, one way of resolving it would be for Congress to enact new legislation giving the executive branch this kind of authority to go forward with the warrantless wiretaps. That's what Senator Specter, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, wants to do but we just heard Alberto Gonzalez say they think this program is legal and no additional legislation is necessary. Who's going to win that fight?

TOOBIN: Well, I do think that this opinion will strengthen Senator Specter's argument that Congress needs to step in and make a clear rule that is, without a doubt, constitutional, but Wolf, as you know better than I, Congress is not doing much these days leading up to the election. It's very hard to get Congress to agree on anything, much less something as controversial as the struggle between individual liberty and national security.

The odds against Congress coming together on something of that importance, at the same time, they have to deal with the question of how to handle the inmates at Guantanamo, because of the Supreme Court decision, another legislative project that looks like it is going nowhere fast.

Even though this will be a spur to Congress to try to resolve it, there doesn't seem to be much chance that Congress actually will resolve it before the election, which is only 80-some days away.

BLITZER: Jeff Toobin, our legal analyst.

Up ahead, voters may have snubbed Senator Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary earlier in the month, but will he get the last laugh?

And a media frenzy, the suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case talks while almost everyone else says no comment. What do we make of the apparent stunning confession? That's ahead. Jeannie Moos with more on that. Live from Jerusalem, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Tonight Senator Joe Lieberman may feel a little bit better about leaving his own party. Our Mary Snow is covering the showdown in Connecticut, Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, a new poll shows that Senator Lieberman is 12 points ahead of his Democratic challenger. He is getting the numbers while Democratic challenger Ned Lamont is getting support from some high profile Democrats. Earlier this evening former Senator John Edwards came here to New Haven, Connecticut, to campaign for Lamont and like Lamont, he is calling to withdraw troops from Iraq.


SEN. JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER V.P. CANDIDATE: I voted for this war. I was wrong. I should not have voted for this war, and I take responsibility for that. We need a change. We need a change in policy, a change in direction in Iraq. We need to make it clear that we're going to leave Iraq, and the best way to make that clear is to actually start leaving.


SNOW: Now in a new poll one week after Lieberman lost the Democratic primary, he now has 53 percent of likely voters in a three- way race, with Ned Lamont getting 41 percent and the Republican challenger Alan Schlesinger only getting four percent.

Earlier today Lieberman says though he is not taking anything for granted.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: The first thing to say is that it's great to be ahead in a poll again. The second thing is I learned from the primary campaign that early polling results don't decide campaigns.


SNOW: And this race is getting more intense. Earlier this week Vice President Dick Cheney had words of praise for Senator Lieberman, while Senator John Kerry launched an on-line fund raising effort for Ned Lamont. Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary Snow, thank you very much.

Still ahead, success or debacle? What's really the best way to describe what's happening in Iraq? Jack Cafferty wants to know.

And when young JonBenet Ramsey was first killed, it indicted a media obsession. Now that media frenzy is happening all over again. Our Jeannie Moos takes a closer look.


BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack Cafferty in New York -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Question this hour, Wolf, is, "do we need a new definition of what constitutes success in Iraq?" In case you hadn't noticed, and it's possible you haven't because of the coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, things aren't going so well in Iraq these days. In fact, they're going terrible.

Ken in topeka, Kansas. "We don't need to redefine success in Iraq, we need to redefine failure, because that's what American policy in the Middle East has become and Bush has conflated the two. Bush's mission was accomplished, he got reelected."

Tom in Florida writes, "success is when the country in Iraq and its divergent citizenry learn how to coexist in a well-run and secure nation. In the aftermath of our own revolutionary and civil wars, it took years for real and lasting peace to set in. Give the folks some time to work it out. It's the right thing to do for them."

Josh writes, "I'm a 19-year-old from Blue Springs, Missouri. I'm a member of the Marine corps, so I get to listen to everybody's beliefs on the subject. I'm told day in and day out that we're winning the war. Well, I don't think we're winning the war. And the proof is right in front of our faces. Honestly, how much does it take to show the right people that we're going nowhere with this whole thing. I think our elected officials need to take a step back, see what's better for the good of the people rather than the good of themselves."

dave in Seekonk, Massachusetts, "bringing our soldiers home sounds like Iraqi success to me."

And George in North Carolina, "come on, guys. Of course we don't need any new definitions of anything. The Bushies play by that great line in Alice in Wonderland, it means exactly what I want it to mean. Get a life."

You didn't see your e-mail here. We got lots of them. Go to And can you read more of them online there.

Wolf, I understand you are headed home tomorrow. Be good to get you back in the states.

BLITZER: It will be good to get back home, Jack. Thanks very much.

Let's find out what is coming up right at the top of the hour. Paula standing by. Hi, Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Travel safely, Wolf. Thanks.

Tonight, we're going to devote our entire program to the day's very bizarre development in the JonBenet Ramsy murder case. We're going to take a long hard look at the news conference held today by the new suspect in her killing.

Is John Mark Karr telling the truth? And why was he still teaching even after being arrested on a child pornography charge? As part of our top story coverage, we're going have a startling look at how little our schools know about who is teaching our children and what we as parents should do about that.

I'll see you at the top of the hour, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. We'll be watching, Paula.

Still ahead, confession to killing? Jeannie Moos on the media and the murder case. Stay with us.


BLITZER: The 41-year-old teacher arrested in Thailand has ties to both California and Georgia, and now we're picking up some additional online clues regarding John Mark Karr's whereabouts over the past few years. Let's bring in our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton. She's been digging for details -- Abbi.

ABBI TATTON, INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, resumes in John Karr's name posted online for job sites for international teaching opportunities. Here's one, including his photo sitting next to an unidentified girl of about elementary school age. This lists that from 2004 to 2005 he was a second grade teacher in Honduras, central America.

Go back a little bit further, he lists himself as a caregiver and teach ner western Europe, in Germany, in the Netherlands, pointing out on his resume that he took special attention to changing, feeding and bathing an infant in one of the families he worked for.

The resume also puts Karr from 1996 to 2001 in the U.S. It says he was at prestigious schools. It doesn't list where.

There's nothing to indicate that Karr actually got a job through any of these web sites. We tried to contact the organizations, didn't get a call back. And these links that were active earlier on today, some of them are no longer working.

While Karr has been arrested, he is still presumed innocent -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Abbi, for that.

And a confession to killing and lots of questions. Here's CNN's Jeannie Moos on the media frenzy.


JEANNIE MOOS, CNN CORREPSONDENT (voice-over): Media coverage was so intense that one network went live among the dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greg, you can see those graves right behind me.

MOOS: The graves of JonBenet and her mother. But the story that started with the headline "Solved," seemed to dissolve into scepticism as analysts began wondering whether...-

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just another cook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wackos coming out of the woodwork.

JEFF TOOBIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is he a guilty sicko, or an innocent wacko?

MOOS: "Sicko Bagged in Bangkok," screamed the New York Daily News. Not only bagged, but paraded like a trophy before the media mob.

Like a blob, they squeezed through vestibules, squeezed through doors, leaped onto chairs. As John Mark Karr was moved along like a doll, plopped into a seat, sat placidly as the pack frayed.

JonBenet may be a household name in the U.S., but here in Thailand a reporter got mixed up calling Karr by the victim's last name.


MOOS: Somehow the whole perp walk was reminiscent of the last walk JFK's accused assassin took. Lee Harvey Oswald and Karr even look amazingly alike, but while Oswald declared his innocence...

LEE HARVEY OSWALD, JFK ASSASIN: I didn't shoot anybody. No.

MOOS: Karr did the opposite.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you an innocent man?


MOOS: At least he answered the question, and that's more than reporters got from almost everyone else, from the D.A...

MARY LACY, BOULDER, COLORADO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We cannot comment. I cannot comment past that. I apologize for continuing to say I can't comment.

MOOS: From police.

CHIEF ED WILLIAMS, ROSWELL, GEORGIA POLICE: We cannot let the information out prematurely. It's not something that we are at liberty to release. No, we can't help there you.

MOOS: And from the journalism professor who exchanged e-mails with the suspect.

PROF. MICHAEL TRACEY, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: I'm not going to talk about Mr. Karr. I have no comment on Mr. Karr.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any feeling...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a comment on Mr. Karr?

MOOS: No comment on him, and a couple of time no comment from him.

KARR: No comment.

MOOS: But on the big question.

KARR: I love JonBenet.

MOOS: Many pundits seem to think he doth confess too much. Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: That's all the time we have. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Jerusalem. I'll be back in Washington tomorrow. Until then, thanks very much for joining us. Up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW," Paula is standing by in New York -- Paula.