Return to Transcripts main page
The Situation Room
The Latest on Alleged Saudi Involvement in Iraq. The 66-year- old Woman Who Set off a Bogus Terror Alert
Aired July 27, 2007 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAFFERTY: Bill in Missouri: "The first thing NASA needs to do, take the alcohol out of the quarters during quarantine before a flight. We want them to dock with the space station, not crash into it."
Al in Lawrence, Kansas: "Look, Jack, it's not rocket science -- oh, wait, yes it is."
And Dave in Massachusetts: "Little did we know that Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan all have the right stuff to be NASA astronauts."
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Jack, thank you.
And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, foreign fighters and suicide bombers flowing into Iraq from Saudi Arabia. Money and moral support going to insurgents.
Is a close U.S. ally siding with enemy forces?
A nationwide alarm sent out by federal authorities to be on the lookout for terrorists making practice runs. But was it a false alarm?
Why an older woman was asked if she knows Osama bin Laden.
And Michael Moore's showdown with the Bush administration. The director of "Sicko" now saying he's expecting a subpoena.
Where is this heading?
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Is a close U.S. friend backing America's foes in Iraq?
Dozens of foreign fighters crossing into Iraq each month and the U.S. military estimates half are from Saudi Arabia. Almost half the foreigners in U.S. detention facilities are said to be Saudis, as well. Along with that, a flow of funds from individuals in Saudi Arabia to Sunni insurgent groups.
The State Department says the Saudi government is doing what it can to stop the flow of young men going from Saudi Arabia into Iraq who are "bent on blowing themselves up or blowing others up."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates will raise the sensitive issue in a visit to Saudi Arabia next week.
And joining us now, our correspondent in Baghdad, Michael Ware -- Michael, the Saudis and their involvement in what's going on causing some consternation here in Washington. Saudi Arabia, a largely Sunni Muslim country. They're not very happy with the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.
What are you seeing on the ground?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're seeing, Wolf, is that, you know, in Saudi Arabia, is experiencing just as much consternation with this U.S. experiment here in Iraq.
Now they said before the war that it wasn't going to work. Indeed, I think the quote, from memory, was something like, "you'll fix one problem, being Saddam, and create five more."
And then, as they saw -- saw the American expedition unfold, they saw it fall to pieces. Now, at first, they started whispering about it. Then they started screaming about it. And for a long time now -- we're talking years -- they've been acting on that.
They've been providing funds to Sunni sheikhs and tribal groups. There's been some connection with the insurgency. They're funding political opponents of this Maliki government, a government they don't trust.
And that's a sentiment shared by most of the Arab world. It's seen as either an Iranian proxy or so beholden to Iran -- this government -- that it cannot function as a truly independent entity.
The Saudis see that the American endeavor here in Iraq is not protecting legitimate Saudi national interests, let alone furthering them. They're saying that this war is destabilizing the whole region, to the disadvantage of America's allies.
BLITZER: And, Michael, do the Saudis see the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, as nothing more than an Iranian agent?
Because that's the word they're spreading, according to the "New York Times".
WARE: Yes, well, I mean, obviously, I can't speak for the government in Riyadh from here in Baghdad. But what I can tell you is that the Arab world doesn't trust Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, nor this government.
I mean this is not really a government. I mean, there's no water for people in the capital right now. Electricity, if you get it at all, is down to about an hour a day. And to fill up your car with gas, you've got ton cue for anything from five to 12 hours, or even overnight. So this government isn't delivering services.
This government is a loose coalition of militia, most of them backed or supported, in one way or another, by Iran.
And we wonder why America's Arab allies are nervous at what they see as an expansion of Iranian influence?
We're hearing that they're allowing insurgent commanders and political leaders to gather in Jordan, in Syria and, indeed, even in Saudi Arabia. Just expect this to pick up rather than deescalate -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Michael, thanks very much.
Michael Ware is our reporter in Baghdad.
In our CNN Security Watch, alarms were raised all across the United States this week when we found out about a bulletin from the Transportation Security Administration with an ominous warning about airline travel. We now have an important update for you.
Let's go to our Brian Todd -- Brian, what's going on?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that bulletin for law enforcement eyes only told of suspicious items recently found in passenger' bags at airport checkpoints, warned that they may signify dry runs for terrorist attacks.
Well, it turns out none of that was true.
Here's one example.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TODD (voice-over): July 5th, San Diego. Transportation Security Administration officials find a bag with two ice packs covered in tape with clay inside them rather than blue gel. It's included in a TSA bulletin warning of dry runs for terrorist attacks.
This is the woman who carried those ice packs.
SARA WEISS, PASSENGER: I'm not a terrorist.
I'm a 66-year-old woman with a bad back. I was on vacation going to visit my son in San Diego.
TODD: Sara Weiss says the ice packs she carried, like these, had clay inside them because they were old and that's the way they were made.
Weiss was held for three hours, questioned by San Diego Harbor Police and two men who she said were in plain clothes and didn't identify themselves. She says one question from a San Diego Harbor Policeman shocked her.
WEISS: Do you know Osama bin Laden?
And my response was, first of all, I thought it was a very ridiculous and strange question because if I did know -- if I really did know Osama bin Laden and if I were a real terrorist, do you think I'd answer that question?
TODD: Contacted by CNN, the San Diego Harbor Police chief said his officers are not briefed to ask that question.
Weiss says she also raised suspicion because she carried a report on a survey about Muslim-Americans.
WEISS: I work for a faith-based organization. Part of their responsibility is to provide interfaith cooperation and understanding.
TODD: Is she angry about the experience?
WEISS: No, I'm not bitter. I understand that they had to do their job. I think they totally overreacted.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TODD: In fact, the FBI now says there were valid explanations for all four incidents in that bulletin and a U.S. government official says no charges will be brought in any of these cases -- Wolf.
BLITZER: If they knew there was nothing there, why did they issue that bulletin and scare -- and in the process, scaring a lot of people, Brian?
TODD: Well, the TSA first told us the incident with Sara Weiss got on that bulletin because of a systems error. But they also say that they were right to put all these incidents on that bulletin because whenever they find any suspicious objects, they have to run them to ground, as they say, and they have to tell law enforcement to look out for items like that.
BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much.
Brian Todd watching this story.
And remember to stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.
Let's update you on that story out of Phoenix, Arizona we've been covering for the last hour or so. Disaster in the skies as two news helicopters collide while following a police chase and plummet to the ground. Officials say three people were killed.
On the phone now is Assistant Fire Chief Mark Angle of the Phoenix Fire Department.
Can you tell us, Chief, what happened?
ASSISTANT CHIEF MARK ANGLE, PHOENIX FIRE DEPARTMENT: Well, Wolf, you pretty much described it before. We had two of our local helicopters from our local media stations here were following a police chase that was occurring in downtown Phoenix. Somewhere near the end of that chase, the collision occurred.
The helicopters, the two helicopters did come down in a park that is located right downtown in our Phoenix area.
I guess if there's a silver lining to this situation, just to the east of this park is our V.A. Hospital. Just to the south of the park is several high rises. So the chance that these copters came down in that park and did not strike one of those facilities or any of the neighboring neighborhoods or fall in the street and hit cars, that is the silver lining to this situation.
We have been able to confirm that there are three fatalities. One of the news agencies is reporting here locally that the pilot and the photographer were two of those three fatalities. We have not been able to confirm the other person that we have found as a fatality.
We do not know if anyone on the ground was struck, at this point. Again, being midday here in Phoenix, it's very warm. The chance of a lot of folks being out in that park at that time without any previously scheduled activities is pretty slim. So we do not believe, at this time, that anyone on the ground was struck, as well.
BLITZER: Well, as you say, there's some silver lining, but still our deepest condolences go to the families of those individuals who were killed.
Chief, thanks very much.
Fire Chief Mark Angle of the Phoenix Fire Department.
Let's go to Jack Cafferty.
He's in New York.
You know, I've watched a lot of those chopper traffic helicopter pilots in action and, you know, whenever you're in a helicopter, it's a sort of risky business to begin with.
CAFFERTY: Yes, and it's a wonder, you know, this doesn't happen more often, Wolf.
This -- these traffic helicopters, which originally were in Southern California, put in the air to help commuters navigate the crowded freeways -- this has morphed into a blood sport now, where when there's a police chase going on, these traffic copters swarm to the police chase. They broadcast this stuff live on the TV stations. This is what passes for news, as far as a lot of stations are concerned.
But you get these traffic helicopters flying into the same air space to cover these things and it's a wonder more of them don't crash. I mean it's a -- it's a dangerous bit of business and maybe something like this will wake the folks up and they'll take another look at letting them do this kind of stuff. Anyway, on to other things.
The party of losers -- that's how Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani is describing the Democrats because they're calling for a scheduled pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq. The former mayor of New York City said at a campaign stop in Texas -- and we quote here -- "Democrats have already declared we've lost. It's really strange. The Democrats want to give our enemies a timetable. Never in the history of war has a retreating army been asked to give a timetable."
Giuliani then added that he's for victory, but the Democrats live in a world, "where they refuse to admit the existence of Islamic terrorism."
Giuliani's comments come one day after Mitt Romney and John McCain criticized the Democratic candidates as too liberal and ill- prepared for the job of president. Of course, we should point out, McCain's support of the war has done wonders for him. His staff has walked out and he can't raise enough money anymore to be competitive.
And it's probably worth note, as well, that the Islamic terrorism Giuliani refers to didn't exist in Iraq until we invaded their country.
So here's the question -- how productive is it Rudy Giuliani to call the Democrats losers because they want to get out of Iraq?
E-mail your thoughts to email@example.com or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile.
As unpopular as the war is across a broad spectrum of the population, Wolf, I'm kind of surprised that Rudy is sounding as hawkish as he does these days.
BLITZER: Yes, I know. He's appealing to, I guess, a certain element in the Republican Party out there right now.
Jack, thanks very much.
Up ahead, astronauts under the influence. A new report out today throws more mud on NASA's clean as a whistle image. The space agency begins to fight to get it back.
Also, "Sicko" producer Michael Moore tells "The Tonight Show" audience he's been subpoenaed by the Bush administration.
And Giants slugger Barry Bonds has taken a lot of heat as he chases Hank Aaron's home run record. Upcoming this hour, I'll go one- on-one with one of Barry Bonds' backers, former San Francisco mayor, Willy Brown. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Here's the shocking stuff -- cocktails in crew quarters and allegations of astronauts so intoxicated that colleagues raised concerns about flight safety. Yet -- get this -- they were still allowed to fly. That's the gist of a report released today by NASA.
Let's go to CNN's John Zarrella.
He's at the Kennedy Space Center for us.
How is NASA responding to these allegations, to these developments -- John?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, NASA spent over an hour this afternoon trying to explain how it plans to deal with this report and what came out in this report, which basically says that some astronauts -- we're not clear how many -- it may have just been a couple, it may have been more than that -- were drinking at the wrong time and in excess right before flight.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ZARRELLA (voice-over): If astronauts flew intoxicated, NASA officials say the agency didn't know then, but intends to get to the bottom of it now.
SHANA DALE, NASA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR: We will act immediately on the more troubling aspects of this report with respect to alcohol use and the anecdotal references of resistance by agency leadership to accepting advice or criticisms about the fitness and readiness of individuals for space flight.
ZARRELLA: The allegations surfaced in a report the space agency commissioned in the aftermath of the Lisa Nowak love triangle incident. NASA wanted an evaluation of its mental and psychological screening processes for astronauts.
The most damaging assertions in the study involved alcohol. The report found alcohol was freely used in crew quarters. In two incidents, astronauts were so intoxicated, they were deemed a risk to flight safety, but cleared to fly anyway. Senior flight surgeons felt their medical advice was being disregarded.
But at this point, the U.S. space agency does not know the extent of the problem.
COL. RICHARD BACHMANN, JR. USAF, CHAIR, NASA ASTRONAUTS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM REVIEW COMMITTEE: We don't have enough data to call it alcohol abuse. We have no way of knowing if these are the only two incidents that have ever occurred in the history of the astronaut corps or if they're the tip of a very large iceberg.
ZARRELLA: The panel's report did not provide specific details of the two incidents because in order to get candid information, the panel had to guarantee anonymity. But it was revealed that one of the incidents took place in Russia before the launch of a Soyuz rocket. The other involved a space shuttle mission. The astronaut did not leave Earth drunk because the mission was scrubbed and he flew back to Houston on a T38 NASA jet that the astronauts use to fly back and forth between Houston and the Kennedy Space Center.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ZARRELLA: Now, ironically, NASA says it's now going to implement a T-38 policy that pilot jet pilots use, which basically says you can't drink 12 hours before flight and if you're under the influence or the effects of alcohol, you're not going to fly.
You would kind of think, Wolf, that was common sense and should have been around a long time.
But NASA says it went back and looked at the books and said they didn't really have a specific policy on the books to address astronauts drinking and flying -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right.
This is all amazing, amazing stuff.
John, thanks very much.
This new allegation of astronauts under the influence is just the latest in a string of embarrassments for NASA.
Let's go to CNN's Mary Snow.
She's watching this.
What's going on, because at one point, Mary, there was a squeaky clean image that NASA had?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and, Wolf, and that image is now being rattled by a number of headline grabbing incidents within a relatively short period of time. It's raising questions about whether this is coincidence or part of NASA's culture.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about this because your package -- your report, unfortunately, there's a little technical issue right here.
But let's go some -- through some of -- some of the embarrassments that NASA has had to endure in the relatively recent past.
SNOW: Well, you know, even just yesterday, NASA had come out saying that there were allegations of a subcontractor deliberately sabotaging a computer slated for a shuttle mission. And then, of course, back in February, as John Zarrella just mentioned, the case of Lisa Nowak that grabbed such headlines.
And let's take a closer look at the history of some of these incidents.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
SNOW (voice-over): Their reputations are pristine. Astronauts for years have been known for having the right stuff.
But the image of NASA's best and brightest is taking some hard knocks.
Astronaut Jeff Ashby is in disbelief over the latest allegations of colleagues intoxicated during flights.
JEFF ASHBY, NASA ASTRONAUT: I certainly have seen nothing like it in my 10 years. And I've been very close to the crews that launch and been on three of them myself.
SNOW: The drinking claims surfaced as NASA disclosed another embarrassment -- that one of its subcontractors deliberately sabotaged a computer slated to fly on a shuttle mission. It couldn't compare to the black eye the space agency suffered in February, when astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested following bizarre behavior and an alleged plot to kidnap a love rival. There was the unforgettable detail from police that she wore a diaper for her long car ride so that she wouldn't have to stop driving. Nowak's lawyer says that was a lie.
And in April, a NASA contractor entered the Johnson Space Center and killed a male co-worker before turning a gun on himself.
KEITH COWING, EDITOR, NASAWATCH.COM: You can't avoid the issue of looking at this and saying, well, why are all these things popping up and why are they always seemingly affixed to NASA?
SNOW: Some who keep close tabs on NASA chalk it up to coincidence and they question whether NASA is really any different from any other workplace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hold NASA up to be this, you know, largely infallible organization that's all about the right stuff -- they're the best and brightest. At the end of the day, human.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SNOW: Now a NASA official today says the agency itself was baffled by some of these cases and calls them isolated. She said it shouldn't paint a picture of all astronauts or how NASA carries out its space flights -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Mary, thanks very much.
Mary Snow is watching the story for us.
The vice president of the United States heads back to the hospital. He's had four heart attacks. Now Dick Cheney faces surgery to replace a device that protects him against an irregular heartbeat.
Third degree burns from a cup of tea. Now a customer is suing Starbucks. We'll tell you what's going on.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Our Carol Costello is monitoring the wires. She's making sure that we're getting all the latest information -- Carol, what's coming in right now?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A couple of things, Wolf.
New fallout today for NFL star Michael Vick after his indictment on dog fighting charges. Reebok has announced it is suspending sales of jerseys with Vick's name and number. And we just got word of this. Nike says it is suspending Vick's contract without pay and will not sell any more of his products.
Vick has pleaded not guilty to charges of dog fighting.
A man in Wayne, New Jersey is suing Starbucks because he says he was scalded when the lid on his tea came off. He says the lid was not on properly and the tea was too hot. The customer accuses Starbucks of negligently and carelessly selling unsafe tea.
He was treated for third degree burns to his hands.
A Starbucks spokeswoman tells a New Jersey newspaper the company is investigating.
A collision today involving two tanker ships in Tokyo Bay. A cargo ship from Singapore collided with a Greek freighter. There are no reports of injuries. The accident caused a minor leakage of oil, though. Japanese Coast Guard officials have been hampered in their efforts to rescue crew members because of the danger of falling containers.
That's a look at what's happening now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Carol, thank you.
Coming up, the feud between Michael Moore and the Bush administration apparently reaching a new level.
Also, Giants' outfielder Barry Bonds has been getting a lot of flack lately as he closes in on the new home run record. Now a former mayor is coming to his defense.
Stay with us.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: "Sicko" producer/director Michael Moore is back in the news. And it was Moore himself who broke this particular item -- one that could have him answering to the Bush administration.
Let's turn to CNN's Carol Costello.
She's watching this story.
So what's going on -- Carol?
COSTELLO: Wolf, talk about drama and perfect timing for a guy about to go on national television. He says the U.S. government ordered him to go before a judge.
But did it?
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
COSTELLO (voice-over): Talk about a made for TV moment. Breaking news on "The Tonight Show".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO," COURTESY NBC)
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: Jeez, I haven't even -- I haven't even told my own family this yet. So you're asking me to say this on national television.
JAY LENO, HOST: Yes, but it's NBC. Not that many people are watching.
MOORE: Oh. OK. All right.
MOORE: I was just informed when I was back there with Jay that the Bush administration has now issued a subpoena for me.
JAY LENO, HOST: Yes.
MOORE: Going after me for helping these 9/11 rescue workers.
LENO: Well, no...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO (voice-over): Well, not exactly.
Moore's publicist told us Moore has not yet been served, but his attorney was contacted.
Plus, if the U.S. Treasury Department does subpoena Moore to appear before a judge, it's because Moore traveled to Cuba without getting a government issued license. And according to the U.S. Treasury Department, those who violate the Cuban embargo face penalties under the Trading With The Enemy Act.
The enemy in this case is Castro's Cuba.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "SICKO," COURTESY WEINSTEIN COMPANY)
MOORE: Which way to Guantanamo bay?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "SICKO," COURTESY WEINSTEIN COMPANY)
MOORE: These are 9/11 rescue workers. They just want some medical attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Part of his documentary "Sicko" focused on three people who claim they became ill working at ground zero after 9/11. Moore took them to the communist country and all three received medical care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO," COURTESY NBC)
MOORE: Look, could you guys stand?
COSTELLO: And there they were, right smack in the middle of "The Tonight Show" audience, as Moore made his big subpoena announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO," COURTESY NBC)
MOORE: I was there to help them.
MOORE: And now -- now I'm going to face this further harassment from the Bush people. And aren't they busy with something else? You know, I just --
COSTELLO: The liberal leaning Moore had long asserted his troubles with the Treasury Department are politically motivated, but keep in mind, although he applied for the license, he went to Cuba before it was granted. Moore has always maintained though, he's in the clear.
MOORE: The law is very clear about this. We've broken no laws. The law says that any American can travel to Cuba for any journalistic endeavor.
COSTELLO: It appears a judge will have to decide that now.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COSTELLO: We did ask the president's spokesperson about the subpoena and alleged political motivation behind all of this. Tony Snow told us, we're not commenting on that.
BLITZER: What is Moore's lawyer saying?
COSTELLO: Well, you know Wolf, I called his office three times today, no call back. So your guess is as good as mine.
BLITZER: All right, we'll stay on top of this story. Thanks very much, Carol Costello.
San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds remains two home runs away from Hank Aaron's all-time record. Bonds is at the center though, of a major sports controversy. One of the strong supporters is the former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown. Mr. Mayor thanks very much for coming in.
WILLIE BROWN, FORMER SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: Nice to see you, Wolf.
BLITZER: You know, a lot of people simply don't believe Barry Bonds when he insists he never used steroids. Why do you believe him?
BROWN: Well, it's difficult to disprove a lie. I believe he has not used steroids because, one, he says so, and number two, he's taken every possible test and he's passed every test. And he has also said, be clear. I've never taken steroids knowingly, other than those that might have been prescribed for whatever injury I might have received. And steroids are legal for some injuries. Some form of steroids. And so I say, the issue is not whether or not Barry Bonds has taken steroids or not taken steroids. The issue is whether or not he's going to break the record.
BLITZER: Those who have argued he has point to such factors as his shoe size went from a 10 1/2 to a size 13. This is an adult male. Even his head size, his hat size expanded which normally, even if you're bulking up and working with weights, your head size or your shoe size is not necessarily going to go up.
BROWN: Well, that's a reality, frankly. But it doesn't necessarily say you used steroids. You ought to be in a position as an individual that if there are standard tests applied to determine whether or not you have used some substance inconsistent with the rules, you pass those tests. You are no different than Lance Armstrong. You are no different than any of the other super athletes who happen to be out there. The fact that you have grown larger than some other people is to your benefit and to your credit.
BLITZER: What about all those people, those witnesses, who claim that they participated in some sort of scheme to pass along steroids to him?
BROWN: So far, they have been totally and completely discredited. Not one of them have stepped to the plate with any evidence offered other than their word. And I'm going to say, Wolf, I find it unusual for some journalists to put people on the air to broadcast that, one, I've never met Mr. Bonds, I've never seen him in person, but because of his size and who he is and how he performs, I believe he's taken steroids. That's pretty irresponsible.
BLITZER: Bob Costas, the famed HBO sportscaster, who has covered baseball for a long time, he said this the other day. He said, "As anyone can plainly see, I'm 5'6 1/2 and a strapping 150 and unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally." He was responding to angry comments from Barry Bonds suggesting Bob Costas was a pigmy.
BROWN: Well, I would suggest to Mr. Costas that I don't think I'd get into a debate with Barry Bonds or anybody else on Mr. Bonds' size, particularly if I'm Bob Costas' size. I think I'd let that go. I think I would stick to, as a journalist, discussing the facts, not my opinion and my conclusion.
BLITZER: On his website, Barry Bonds said today, he said, "The comment I made about him was off the cuff and my problem with Costas is not with his height but with his irresponsible journalism. I take great offense to Costas' statements, especially coming from someone who is supposed to have journalistic integrity and not make blanket reckless accusations." But as you know, Mr. Mayor, it's not just Bob Costas. There's a whole audience out there of longtime Major League Baseball watchers who suspect -- who suspect that Barry Bonds didn't hit all these home runs without any extra help. And even the commissioner, I'm not even sure he's going to be watching these coming home runs when he breaks Hank Aaron's record.
BROWN: Well, the commissioner said a few days ago, I went and I attended in Milwaukee when Mr. Bonds was there with the opportunity to go number 754 and 755 and 756. I came to San Francisco for the Braves series. He could have hit 753, 754, 755, or whatever the numbers are. So the commissioner, I think is, in fact, doing exactly the job the commissioner should do. Suspicions should never, under any circumstances, be considered total and complete evidence of some conduct that you've engaged in. This is America. We are literally in a position where before you do terrible violence to somebody's character and reputation, you ought to be very careful and make sure you have the evidence. Otherwise, you ought to editorially say what I'm about to say. I cannot prove, but --
BLITZER: So when he breaks Hank Aaron's record, and we assume he will probably sooner rather than later, do you believe there should be some sort of asterisk in the record book?
BROWN: Not at all because after all for over the years when other records were put in place, we didn't have all of these sophisticated techniques of testing to see what you were doing or not doing.
BLITZER: Hold on a second. I don't -- I just want to make sure you're not accusing Hank Aaron of doing anything like that.
BROWN: No, I'm not accusing anybody. All I'm suggesting to you is that there's been a whole change in baseball and Barry has clearly, to this date, obeyed all those rules as has been determined by the diagnostic opinions available for testing.
BLITZER: But you do acknowledge that there have been numerous cases of baseball players trying to -- using steroids to try to make themselves more powerful, better hitters, better athletes. And that has been relatively widespread.
BROWN: And not one of them has matched what Barry Bonds has been able to do because they don't have the talent, period. And that is the bottom line. There's also, obviously been admissions by them that they have tried and they have not succeeded. I don't know about you, Wolf, but I suspect that I could take every steroid that there is, and I would still be the same size that I am now. I would still be equally as inept at swinging a baseball and hitting it for any distance whatsoever or throwing it for whatsoever. So it's not a matter of steroids. You have to have the talent. The hand eye coordination. The ability to be in sync with the nature of what baseball is about.
BLITZER: But the argument, Mr. Mayor, and we're almost out of time. The argument is that these guys are such -- all of them are talented athletes and some steroids can put them really over the top and make them spectacular athletes as opposed to just really talented athletes which you and I apparently are not.
BROWN: Well, obviously it did not because nobody has been able to match the numbers of Mr. Bonds at any level at any time. The 40/40 club for example, his membership there. The fact that there are only two people that are 700 that we know of, plus Babe Ruth at 714, which makes three. But there are two alive that are over 700. Aaron and Mr. Bonds, those are incredible performances and incredible figures. Nobody who has taken any amount of steroids admittedly has been able to come even close.
BLITZER: Willie Brown is not only the former mayor of San Francisco. He is a good friend of Barry Bonds, and he should be grateful for a friendship that he has with you, Mr. Mayor.
BROWN: Well, I think he is. We've been friends for years. And Barry has been incredible for our city. Let me tell you. He is an icon in this city of multiple icons.
BLITZER: All right, Willie Brown, thanks very much for coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.
BROWN: Thank you.
BLITZER: The key ally in the war on terror is facing a new fight from Islamic extremists. This Pervez Musharraf losing his hold on Pakistan. And it was bound to happen, Iraq, The Movie. Our Sibila Vargas is standing by to tell us about a new documentary that takes a critical look at the decisions leading up to the war in Iraq. Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
A shattering explosion today killed 13 people, wounded more than 60 near the red mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan. The government official says seven of the dead were police officers. The blast came as hundreds of students massed outside the mosque chanting anti- government slogans. Police are trying to determine if the bombing was linked to the siege this month in which troops stormed the mosque to drive out Islamic militants. Dozens of people were killed during those clashes.
India and Pakistan, two nuclear neighbors always eyeing each other nervously in a very dangerous part of the world. Now one of them has reached a landmark agreement with the United States. Could that give it an edge in a possible showdown? Let's go to our State Department correspondent Zain Verjee. Zain, what's this all about?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's a really big deal between India and the U.S. Basically the deal allows India to get access to U.S. nuclear fuel and technology. Now it still has to be approved by congress and India also has to allow for international inspections. Under secretary of state Nick Burns says that the agreement sends an important message to a nuclear outlaw regime like Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLAS BURNS, UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE: It sends a message that if you behave responsibly in regards to nonproliferation and you play by the rules, you will not be penalized but will be invited to participate more fully in international nuclear trade.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: Critics of the deal are saying that the U.S. basically caved here because its promise to give India nuclear fuel, even if it tests a nuclear weapon. India's neighbor Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, Wolf, as you can imagine, is really not too happy about all of this. Pakistani officials say that their country has energy demands, too, so they should have a similar deal. They also warn that this deal has the potential to trigger a nuclear arms race and could disturb the balance of power in the region. Wolf?
BLITZER: Is the U.S. likely to make similar deals with other countries, Zain?
VERJEE: The U.S. said today that it's got absolutely no plans to do that and that India is actually an exception because of its growing economy. And also, Wolf, frankly, because the U.S. trusts India.
BLITZER: It is a democracy. The largest democracy in the world. All right Zain, thanks very much. The Pakistanis, though, clearly unhappy about this.
Vice president Dick Cheney who has had four heart attacks, will undergo minor surgery tomorrow to replace an internal device which helps regulate his heartbeat. Let's go to our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. What's the reason, Suzanne, for this new procedure?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was actually in June. He had his annual physical and they found that this defibrillator, this special pacemaker that was implanted about six years ago, essentially the battery was low. So it is designed essentially to shock the heart, as -- if he experiences any kind of irregular heartbeat. The surgery will be done at George Washington University Hospital in Washington. He is 66 years old. As you know, he's had a history of heart problems, including four heart attacks. But his doctors, Wolf, insist that he is in good condition. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right, we wish him a speedy, speedy recovery. He's going to be on "LARRY KING LIVE", by the way Tuesday night. A third person has now died from that rocket disaster at an airport in California's Mojave Desert. The explosion happened yesterday during a propellant system test. The facility belongs to a company headed by aerospace maverick Burt Rutan. Rutan's so-called spaceship one became the first private manned rocket to reach space back in 2004. He and billionaire partner Richard Branson's team were secretly building spaceship two in a closed hanger. Spaceship two is envisioned as a fleet of commercial space vehicles. They would be -- take paying tourists some 62 miles above earth at $200,000 per ride. Passengers would experience the view from space and they would also have five minutes of weightlessness.
Up ahead, a new movie about the war in Iraq and some of the people weighing in actually helped the Bush administration plan the war.
And separation of the sexes. A company in Iran is rolling out taxicabs for women only. Stay with us, we'll go to Tehran. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: There's a new anti-Iraq war documentary that's just hitting theaters that's certain not to sit well with the Bush administration. CNN's Sibila Vargas is joining us now from Los Angeles. Sibila, what is this new film all about?
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's produced by the same Oscar nominated team that made the Enron documentary. But this time "No End in Sight" is a biting critique of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. Take a look, Wolf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will bring to the Iraqi people food and medicines and supplies and freedom.
CHARLES FERGUSON, DIRECTOR: Whether you agree with it or not, if you go to war it matters a lot if you go to war carefully and intelligently as opposed to carelessly and arrogantly.
VARGAS: "No End in Sight" a documentary by political scientist turned filmmaker Charles Ferguson details what he calls the catastrophic mistakes made by the Bush administration in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was the director of strategic policy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rumsfeld called me, humanitarian affairs, reconstruction.
VARGAS: Among the dozens of former key players helping Ferguson make his case are Barbara Bodine who was placed in charge of the U.S. occupation in central Iraq after the fall of Baghdad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had no phones for a while.
VARGAS: Robert Hutchins, chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the start of the war --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president hadn't read it. Not even the one-page summary.
VARGAS: And Colonel Larry Wilkerson, chief of staff for secretary of state Colin Powell when the decision was made to invade Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The secretary's frustration along with my own grew as we watched our careful planning, our detailed planning essentially discarded.
FERGUSON: When I interviewed people for the film, over and over again, they would tell me that they were in cabinet meetings or they participated in briefings to the president and the same thing would happen. He would not ask questions. He did not read documents. He did not read intelligence analysis.
VARGAS: Ferguson says poor planning led to what he calls the worst mistakes of the war. Insufficient troop numbers, lack of post- invasion protection for Iraqi civilians and the disbanding of the Iraqi army.
FERGUSON: Throwing half a million armed men into the streets with no jobs. And those men almost immediately began planning and creating the insurgency.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
VARGAS: Ferguson says copies of the documentary have been sent to key players in Washington. Now when contacted by CNN, the White House declined to comment. At the Defense Department, a spokesman said that the Pentagon has not yet received a copy of the film and quote, "it's hard to comment on something we haven't seen." Now the film does open today in New York and D.C. Back to you Wolf.
BLITZER: All right Sibila, thanks very much. No men allowed, behind the wheel or in the passenger seats. There's a new taxi service and it's a hit in the Islamic Republic of Iran where authorities frown on even casual contact between the sexes. CNN's Aneesh Raman is in Tehran. Aneesh?
ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Wolf, it's a first for Iran and it's proving a big success.
(voice-over): It's a sight rarely seen in Iran. Not just two women trying to fix a car, but two drivers for a new cab company. Their motto is simple, only women cabbies, only women passengers.
MOHSEN OROUJI, WOMEN'S TAXI COMPANY: There are still men who will not allow their wives to go outside, unless it's with another woman. So they trust us.
RAMAN: The company is six months old and there are still lessons to be learned. Our driver unsuccessfully tried to help. But the real help came back at headquarters where perspective drivers face a series of classes, from mechanics to working a GPS navigation system. These women are the first taxi drivers in the country to use the device.
(on camera): Right now, there are about 250 taxis on the road. But things are going so well, they are set to expand and hit 2,000 in the next six months.
(voice-over): At central dispatch, the calls keep coming in. Here, almost every employee is a woman, except for the boss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll succeed not just in Iran, he says, but eventually in Dubai, Turkey and Syria.
RAMAN: Success has come in part because of the service but also because of the job opportunity. With so many women eager to make money, these classes are packed. And the one thing the drivers hear over and over again from regulars like Roya is how important this service is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At times, like when I'm out at night, I would much rather have a woman driver. I feel more comfortable, more at ease.
RAMAN: Which is good news for women cabbies as more and more are hitting the road?
(on camera): So if all goes well, taxis like this might be popping up throughout the Muslim world. Wolf?
BLITZER: Aneesh Raman with our exclusive reporting from inside Iran.
Up next, Jack Cafferty wants to know, how productive is it for Rudy Giuliani to call the Democrats losers because they want to get out of Iraq? Stay with us you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Time now for Jack Cafferty and "The Cafferty File." Hi Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY: Hi Wolf. The question this hour is how productive is it for Rudy Giuliani to call the Democrats losers because they want to get out of Iraq? Dicky in Corpus Christi, Texas writes, "It seems that with the early start of the next campaign and the huge number of well known and lesser known candidates, there will be a lot of pressure to stand out from the pack. It will also be important to target certain demographics such as far right conservatives for example. Giuliani knows that he has problems here so he's likely to say anything to try to gain their favor." Phil in California writes, "I believe it's entirely productive and true. Terrorists will multiply wherever we take them on. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Britain, even here. Should we then abandon the fight for fear that engaging them will only recruit more?" Linda in Pennsylvania, "Come on, the Republicans and the Bush administration are the real losers for getting us into the Iraq quagmire and Giuliani knows it. That's why he is resorting to such name calling. Kind of like Bush calling anyone who questioned the war unpatriotic. Are we sure we want another bushy clone like that in the White House?" Jim in Kearny, New Jersey, "Giuliani was a blow hard when he was the mayor of New York City. Now the rest of the country who only knows him from 9/11 can get a taste of the real Giuliani. I wouldn't vote for him if he ran unopposed." Barrett in Bearden, Arkansas, "Jack, it's real easy. For those who are true Americans, the only response can be victory. For the rest, they can say that they're following the will of the people, but I don't call that leadership." And Ted writes this, "If Democrats are losers for that reason, then Republicans are stupid beyond belief. I hope Americans do not elect idiots once more. It's time to elect some losers." If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, where we post more of them online along with video clips of "The Cafferty File." Wolf?
BLITZER: You were in New York for the Giuliani mayoral administration. And correct me if I'm wrong, but by and large he was pretty widely respected.
CAFFERTY: I give Rudy Giuliani a lot of credit for doing something that didn't get nearly as much publicity as his behavior leading the city after 9/11. When he was elected mayor this city was dirty, it was full of panhandlers and squeegee people and hookers and a lot of quality of life issues were weighing heavily on the citizens. He cleaned a lot of that up and he made the city much more livable on a daily basis, for those of us who have to come in and out and work here. And I think he should get more credit for being able to do that in an unmanageable place like this, than for being in the right place at the right time on September 11th.
BLITZER: All right Jack, thanks very much, see you back here in one hour. We're here in THE SITUATION ROOM weekday afternoons from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. eastern, back at 7:00 p.m. eastern. Until then, thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now. Kitty Pilgrim sitting in for Lou. Kitty?
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com