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CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports

Senate Debates Attack on Iraq; Did Russian Mob Attempt to Fix Olympics?

Aired July 31, 2002 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Did the Russian mob try to fix the Olympics? A reputed crime boss is under arrest in connection with last winter's ice dancing dispute.

Saddam Hussein in the crosshairs.


SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: These weapons must be dislodged from Saddam Hussein, or Saddam Hussein must be dislodged from power.


BLITZER: Will the U.S. make war on Iraq?

Al Qaeda super cells have new tactics to attack. We'll reveal the findings of an exclusive CNN investigation.

What really happened aboard flight 93 on September 11th? There were heroes you haven't heard about.

Women on edge in Louisiana. Police say a serial killer is on the prowl.

And has our national pastime come down to this? We'll take you out to the brawl game.

It's Wednesday, July 31st, 2002. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

A stunning development today stemming from the skating controversy of the Salt Lake City winter Olympic games. U.S. officials say an alleged crime boss from the former Soviet Union is under arrest on charges of trying to fix the figure skating and ice dancing competition.

Our Jason Carroll is on top of the story. He's joining us now live from New York with the latest.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, well, the U.S. attorney's office calls it a classic case of quid pro quo. Late this afternoon, they announced that Italian authorities had arrested a man by the name of Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov on U.S. federal charges of conspiring to fix the skating competition at the winter games -- this happening, again, late this afternoon.

Basically, if you remember what happened with the Canadian pair, that may jog your memory in terms of what happened with this investigation. Many had thought that the Canadian pair had skated a flawless performance during figure skating. The Russian team had made some mistakes but still was awarded the gold. Later, a French judge said that she was pressured into voting for the Russian team but later recanted her story.

Well, now the U.S. attorney's office alleges that Tokhtakhounov worked with the Russian Federation officials to arrange for a French judge to support the Russian pair in figure skating finals in exchange for the Russian Federation's support of the French pair in ice dance finals. There's your quid pro quo. Investigators say the allegations against Tokhtakhounov are based on taped phone conversations.


JAMES COMEY, U.S. ATTORNEY: What the conspirators are talking about on the telephone is, "We will make it happen. We will line up the support that's needed." And in fact, there's talk about, that the French girl in the pairs could fall on her bottom, and it wasn't going to matter.

GREGORY JONES, FBI: This case is basically another example of how organized crime, once they get their tentacles in you, we're off to the races. It's a very good example of how they dig in, in corrupting those around them, those issues, as we see here in the Olympics, as they came apart.


CARROLL: You heard the reference there to organized crime. That's because the U.S. attorney's office is also alleging that Tokhtakhounov does, in fact, have ties to Russian organized crime. They are working, at this point, to get him extradited back here to the United States. They also say, Wolf, that more arrests could be coming.


BLITZER: Jason Carroll in New York, thank you very much for that report.

Joining us now to get some perspective on what's going on is Dick Button. He's a former top figure skater, of course, and he is the best commentator on ice skating in the business.

Dick, thanks for joining us. Tell our viewers what is going on here!

DICK BUTTON, FIGURE SKATING COMMENTATOR: Well, I would like to know what's going on myself. I've only been involved in this sport some 60 years, and I'm afraid I still don't know what's going on.

I will tell you this, that chicanery in judging has been around for a long tile. I will also tell you that the majority of the time, the best skater does, most of the time, win. The real problem comes when one country conspires with another, and that's the classic example of what happened here at the Olympic games.

It's just an unfortunate situation. But I'm delighted with hearing that the FBI has made this arrest. I am happy as I can possibly be because it finally brings out the true culprits in this, and that is the Russian mafia and the Russian Federation. Remember, the mafia can't do anything without approaching the Russian Federation, who controls their own judges. And once that happens, you see where the real source of power is. Madame le Gougne (ph) from France was not making a deal with her cleaning lady or her French chef. She was making a deal with the -- through the French federation with the Russian federation, if that really was the case...


BUTTON: ... which I suspect it was.

BLITZER: Dick, you -- you...

BUTTON: But therein lies...

BLITZER: Dick, let me...

BUTTON: ... the real problem.

BLITZER: Let me interrupt. You say there's always been some chicanery going on, but is this an isolated incident, or is this -- is there a problem that's much more widespread in the winter Olympics, in figure skating, for example, than we ever suspected?

BUTTON: No, not at all. I just think, look -- there are only examples, and this problem comes when you have two people that are both at the top and both very good. When there's a clear winner, there is no problem. You -- a lot of times, you'll have a judge vote a little bit higher for their skater from their country because they live with that skater and they spend their lives with them, and it's a little difficult for them not to be, shall we say, gentle.

When -- the real problem comes in when you have one country conspiring with another to mix up the judges between the two. Let's hope that the International Skating Union can finally come to grips with this problem and straighten it out. I think...

BLITZER: Well, what do they have to do...

BUTTON: ... it's a very difficult one.

BLITZER: What do they have to do, the Olympic committee, in order to make sure that we can have confidence in these judges?

BUTTON: Well, the Olympic committee can only put pressure on the International Skating Union, which is the one that controls the subject of this sport. The International Skating Union is controlled by the federations. And guess who has the most number of votes in their pocket, so to speak? But that's the Russian federation. Guess where the judge from Belarus lives and what nationality she is? She lives in Moscow, and she's from Russia. Guess where the judge for Israel was born and brought up? She was a Russian skater.

You know, all of these countries around this are supported by the Russian federation, and they add votes to the Russian position. So it will be very hard to clean this up, and only a very, very, very strong, quick, swift kick to the pants will straighten this whole thing out.

BLITZER: Dick Button. No one knows more about figure skating than he does. Thanks for spending some time with our viewers today.

BUTTON: Well, thank you for having me.

BLITZER: Let's turn to the war against terrorism.

There may have been a possible setback: A man suspected of selling fake IDs to two of the September 11th hijackers was a step ahead of authorities today and has apparently fled the country.

For that, let's turn to CNN's Michael Okwu. He's live in Paterson, New Jersey. Michael, tell us what happened.

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, authorities here in the state of New Jersey had a press conference just moments ago, and they said that this man did not flee, rather, that he was already on some sort of a business trip. But they do say that he is abroad, that he left the country at some point within the past week and that he is wanted here. He's now considered a fugitive.

Three of his associates were arrested this afternoon, and they say that they're eagerly waiting his return to the United States, where he now faces about 28 counts of fraud. Now, the man's name is Mohamed el Atriss. El Atriss operated businesses in Paterson, New Jersey, and also in nearby Elizabeth, where authorities say that he operated a ring that essentially made and manufactured fake another identification, fake documents of all kinds.

Now, authorities say that he sold some sort of fake identification card to Khalid Al Almidar (ph), who was on flight 77 as it hit the Pentagon. He also sold some sort of fake identification to Abdul Aziz Alamari (ph) from American Airlines flight 11, which, of course, is one of the two planes that hit the World Trade Center.

Now, law enforcement sources tell CNN that he is not considered to be a big fish. He is not on any kind of international terrorist watch list. But he is somebody who is known locally as being a criminal and profiting quite handsomely from doing so. This is what authorities told us earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHERIFF JERRY SPEZIALE, PASSAIC CO., NEW JERSEY: He was scheduled to come back. A phone call came into the location prior to our arrival there that he was en route back from his trip. They did not indicate what country he was in or if he was outside the United States.


OKWU: Now, this has been a four-month investigation, which officials dubbed Operation Paper Trail. Authorities say that they found at least 75 fake pieces of identification that el Atriss generated and sold for as much as $800 a pop. And they also said that it is likely that there's many more, much more identification floating around.

Now, authorities say that they were tipped off to this when they started noticing all kinds of fake identification on the streets during routine traffic stops. It was actually from federal authorities that they made the link to the 9/11 hijackers.


BLITZER: Michael Okwu. He's on the scene in Paterson, New Jersey. Thank you very much.

After Afghanistan, al Qaeda may be on the rebound, with new alliances and new terror tactics. Our Mike Boettcher an exclusive CNN Investigates report.


MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An attack on French naval engineers in Karachi, Pakistan -- 14 are killed. This, say coalition intelligence officials, is a new phase of al Qaeda, a collection of what are described as "super cells" that stretch from North Africa to Southeast Asia, terrorist groups reverting to smaller, more frequent attacks, while the main al Qaeda leadership works to regroup after months on the run.

ROHAN GUNARATNA, AUTHOR, "INSIDE AL QAEDA": Al Qaeda is not able to mount large-scale theatrical operations of the scale of 9/11 today because to mount such operations, you need to plan across a number of countries, and a large number of operatives are involved.

BOETTCHER: Al Qaeda operatives in coalition custody have told their interrogators that Arabs who trained in bin Laden's Afghanistan camps have returned to their home nations, forming alliances with other extremist groups, super cells and operating on their own without guidance from the men who once trained and directed them.

They are reverting to their training, according to coalition intelligence analysts, using tactics taught in this 11-volume al Qaeda terrorist manual, which CNN was allowed to inspect. This encyclopedia of terror describes multiple methods of murder, using bullets, bombs and poisons, large and small-scale tactics designed to cause widespread terror. One section describes the use of cyanide as a tool of assassination. And not coincidentally, CNN has learned that coalition intelligence agencies have detected several recent purchases of cyanide by al Qaeda operatives.

GUNARATNA: Instead of taking strategic targets, al Qaeda has now decided to take small-scale and medium-scale targets. And we have seen since 9/11, al Qaeda has conducted a dozen attacks on small and medium-scale targets.

BOETTCHER: Security officials in Morocco have broken one such super cell, which was said to be planning attacks on American and British warships operating in the Straits of Gibraltar. Intelligence sources tell CNN the cell chose its own targets but got more than $300,000 from a central al Qaeda money source through wire transfers from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

This attack in Tunisia on a synagogue killed 14 German tourists. Al Qaeda took credit for the attack. Intelligence officials fear more of these small-scale attacks on tourist sites, particularly in Europe and Asia.

(on camera): And there's concern the super cells could use a new tactic: attacks through the mail. A coalition intelligence source says what amounted to a letter bomb school was discovered in Pakistan earlier this year.

Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.


BLITZER: And the U.S. Congress heard the case against Saddam Hussein today amid mounting speculation about the possibility of war, senators heard testimony on Iraq and the Iraqi president and on the benefits and risks of removing President Hussein from power.


(voice-over): Shortly after Senate Foreign Relations chairman Joe Biden opened what he called a "national dialogue" on whether to go to war against Iraq, witnesses offered some alarming testimony. Former U.N. chief weapons inspector Richard Butler said the Iraqis may now be ominously close to developing a nuclear capability.

RICHARD BUTLER, FORMER CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: What there is now is evidence that Saddam has reinvigorated his nuclear weapons program in the inspection-free years. And over two years ago, the IAEI estimate was that if he started work again on a nuclear weapon, he could build one in about two years.

BLITZER: Butler said the Iraqis may have been only six months away from developing a bomb before they invaded Kuwait in August, 1990. President Bush has not yet signed off on any military option designed to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime. If he approves a military strike, one military analyst testified that it won't be easy, given the current capability of the Iraqi army.

ANTHONY CORDESMAN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Only fools would bet the lives of other men's sons and daughters on their own arrogance and call this force a cakewalk or a speed bump or something that you can dismiss.

BLITZER: Still, there was a consensus among the committee members and witnesses that Saddam Hussein must be removed, one way or another, especially with the clock ticking down to the development of weapons of mass destruction.

BIDEN: Saddam Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, in my view, is one of those clear dangers, even if the right response to his pursuit is not so crystal-clear. One thing is clear: These weapons must be dislodged from Saddam Hussein, or Saddam Hussein must be dislodged from power.


BLITZER: So are the United States and Iraq on a collision course? Republican senator Chuck Hagel is a key member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and he joins me now live from Capitol Hill.

There was a consensus Saddam Hussein is a very bad guy, but no consensus yet, Senator -- correct me if I'm wrong -- on what to do about him.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: No, that's exactly right, Wolf. This is a complicated scenario. First, we do have an individual here who all of us believe cannot be rehabilitated. We're going to have to deal with him. But then it becomes a little more difficult. We heard testimony today -- and we are still receiving testimony from some of the best minds, most experienced minds in this business -- on the risks, the challenges, the consequences, unintended consequences, all the options that we have available. And that was the intent, of course, and is the intent of these hearings.

BLITZER: The chairman, Senator Joe Biden, says he wants a national dialogue, a debate before the president launches any military activity. Is this a good idea? I get a lot of email from viewers saying, "Why are you advertising so much of the U.S. intention and giving the Iraqis that potential advantage?"

HAGEL: Oh, I suspect Saddam has had some understanding for many years that he's on our radar scope. But here's the bigger issue, Wolf, and it's the answer to your question. America needs to be informed and educated on what the threats are here, what the risks are, what the costs would be, what's involved here. We need to be, as the people's representatives, better educated on this.

You know, I have occasionally reminded some of my colleagues -- we didn't have this debate, this dialogue before Vietnam. I understand -- we all do -- this is not Vietnam, but there are some similarities here. We'd better understand what we're getting into before we get there.

BLITZER: You heard Richard Butler testify that the Iraqis may be on the verge of developing a very crude nuclear capability. If they were to do so in the coming weeks or months, that would clearly change the geo-strategic equation out there if the Iraqis had that proven nuclear capability.

HAGEL: The problem with that is, of course, Wolf, don't have good intelligence. We don't know exactly what he has, what he does not have. We think we understand his motives rather well. We think there is rather clear evidence that he is moving to that. How far along he is, we don't know. So always, it's a timing issue. It's when, how, if, the coalitions that go with you. And that's what we're working our way through, and ultimately, we're going to be working with the administration on.

BLITZER: As you know, Senator Hagel, a lot of people are saying "Why bother to launch a full-scale invasion? Why not simply try to assassinate the Iraqi leader?" That proposal's on the table, and you know it as well as I do.

HAGEL: Well, it is. No one talked about that openly today, nor would they or should they. But there's another thread throughout this that we heard a lot today, Wolf, and that is how the Iraqi situation is tied to the Middle East, the Palestinian-Israeli problem, tied to the Afghani problem. General Hoare (ph) made that comment very clearly. He's the former Central Command four-star Marine general who had that area in his portfolio in the '90s. And so this complicates all the other areas that we are involved in, and that's a part of this that many people don't recognize. And we need to make sure the American people understand that, that this is part of a bigger picture.

BLITZER: Senator Hagel, thanks for joining us. You speak with good perspective, given your Vietnam experience and all the experience you've had over the years since then. Appreciate your joining us.

HAGEL: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: And here's your chance to weigh in on this story. Our Web question of the day is this: Do you support military action to remove Saddam Hussein, if it meant the U.S. has to go it alone? We'll reveal the results a little bit later in this program. Go to my Web page, That's where you can vote. While you're there, let me know what you're thinking. Send me your comments. I'll try to read some of them on the air each day at the end of this program. That's also, by the way, where you can read my daily on-line column,

Now to the Middle East. An American is among seven people dead in a bloody bombing at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. Dozens were wounded when the blast ripped through a cafeteria at the Frank Sinatra International Student Center. A militant Islamic group says it carried out the bombing.

CNN's Jerrold Kessel reports from Jerusalem.


JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The dead were laid out amid the jumble of tables and chairs and plastic cafeteria trays, the wounded rushed away to nearby hospitals. Hamas claimed responsibility. This time, not a suicide bomber but, Israeli police say, a man or woman who brought the explosives in a bag and set the bomb off in the popular campus eatery.

Some students ripped up their T-shirts for bandages, as devastation ripped through the lunchtime scene, bringing terror to a place where Jewish and Arab Israelis and students from abroad intermingled freely. Ilana Kedmi (ph) says she'd just finished eating and was leaving the cafeteria.

ILANA KEDMI: I heard a big boom, and all the glasses fell down. And it was dark inside there, and that's all. There was silence for a few minutes, and then shouting from inside the restaurant. And here, outside, people were lying down and covered with blood.

KESSEL: Ilana says she was lucky.

KEDMI: I gained my life. My children gained their mother. My husband gained his wife. And my parents, I am sure, that they gained their daughter.

KESSEL: Summer school is in session at the university, and many of the students are from abroad, Jews and non-Jews studying Hebrew and Middle Eastern subjects. Alistair Goldrain (ph) came to Jerusalem a year ago from England.

ALISTAIR GOLDRAIN: I'm coming around the corner, and there's a huge explosion. It rocks the foundations. These are stone foundations. It rocks the foundations. It rocks everything. There's glass flying everywhere. There's blood flying everywhere. This is a disgusting scene. There's total anarchy in there. I go inside, there's bodies everywhere.

KESSEL: Hanin Hussein (ph), a Palestinian student from East Jerusalem, is searching desperately for her friend, Samia (ph).

HANIN HUSSEIN: I'm looking for my friend. She's inside. We left her for a few minutes before the bomb, and she said that she want to have a drink inside the cafeteria. We told her that we are going to wait downstairs. Then when we heard what happened, I hope that she's OK. I never expected that it will happen here in the university.

KESSEL: Shortly after the bomb, uneaten lunches strewn about, bloodstains everywhere.

(on camera): It was here, apparently, that the bomber set off his bomb, the place where the most devastation was wrought. This was an attack which came just after the Israel security cabinet under Ariel Sharon had met to try to work out ways to contain a new wave of Palestinian bombing. It is -- it seems to be an increasingly desperate Israeli attempt to find those ways to curb the bombers completely.

Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: And a serial killer on the loose in Louisiana, a third strike near a college campus. Can police catch the killer before he strikes?

Plus, the unknown heroes from hijacked United flight 93. The real story behind the passenger uprising.

Also, the youth baseball game that turned into an all-out brawl. What drove a fan to bite a dad's ear off?

First, our news quiz. American landscape architect Catherine Gustafson (ph) has been chosen for her design of a fountain in London's Hyde Park to memorialize Princess Diana. We want to know, the fountain will be in the shape of what object? Crown, necklace, ring, slipper. The answer coming up.


BLITZER: Welcome back. Residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have been on edge since police announced yesterday they believe a serial killer is in their midst. He's blamed for the murders of three women, the most recent just two weeks ago. CNN's Ed Lavandera has our story from Louisiana's capital city.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two words have injected a sense of fear in the residents of Baton Rouge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a serial killer.

LAVANDERA: Police say one man is responsible for murdering three women in the last ten months. Forty-one-year-old Gina Wilson Green was strangled in her home last September. In May, twenty-two-year-old Charlotte Murray Pace was stabbed to death in her townhouse. And this month, forty-four-year-old Pam Kinamore was abducted from her home, her throat slit and her body left under a bridge. There's no evidence of forced entry at either home. The few details that have emerged about these cases have stunned residents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's happened so fast. These women are disappearing right out of their own homes. The last person that disappeared, from what I understand, there was no signs of struggle or anything, and -- and a nice neighborhood.

LAVANDERA: Police aren't sure who the suspect is or where he might be, but they say there's DNA evidence linking the same man to the three murders. Investigators haven't discovered any connection between the three victims. They didn't know each other. And that's also led more people to speculate about who or what the killer is looking for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told my mom, "Look, they all look similar to me, with long dark hair." And that's scary, too, because it seems like they pinpoint certain looks. And they were all dark-haired.


BLITZER: CNN's Ed Lavandera reporting from Baton Rouge.

We're joined now from New Orleans by Ed Piglia. He's the brother of the most recent victim, Pam Kinamore. Ed, thanks for joining us. Our deepest condolences to you and to your entire family. Tell us what you know. Tell us about this case.

ED PIGLIA, VICTIM'S BROTHER: Well, it's so much to talk about in a short period of time. But since the DNA evidence has linked my sister's murder with the Green Pace murder, our campaign has gained momentum and, of course, national coverage, which is good because the public awareness has been increased. There are more eyes looking for possible links, connections, clues. And this is what we need, everybody participating to try to capture this individual.

BLITZER: As you know, Ed, there are reports that the killer, the serial killer -- if, in fact, it is a serial killer -- is getting braver, more blatant in his murders. What are the police telling you about that?

PIGLIA: The police haven't told us much, other than what the general public knows. We get the information a little bit ahead of time. But it seems like his motives have changed a little bit, but then there are some similarities, as well.

BLITZER: Are there any other murders in the area, in the Baton Rouge area, that are suspicious, as far as you've heard, police are now taking a second look at to see if there's a connection with this serial killer?

PIGLIA: Well, to my knowledge, there are 31 unsolved murders in the Baton Rouge area since 1992, all women. There's some differences in the different cases. But we're going back to research all the cases now to see if there's any other similarities with my sister's case and try to put some other common links to this besides the DNA evidence.

BLITZER: Did your sister -- we've heard -- know -- we've heard that she didn't know the other victims, but what do you -- what can you tell us about that?

PIGLIA: She -- to my knowledge, she did not know the other victims. They seemed to have similar physical characteristics.

BLITZER: Did your sister ever say anything to you or anyone else in your family about fearing for her life or anyone who may supposedly be out to get her?

PIGLIA: No, she didn't. She was very comfortable in Baton Rouge, a little too comfortable. If she'd have been more aware of what was happening in Baton Rouge with the unsolved murders, if they would have been publicized a little more, I think she would have been frightened and probably would be alive today. That's why we're doing what we're doing, to try to prevent this from happening again and to0 bring this individual to justice. BLITZER: Ed, before I let you go, tell me a little bit about Pam.

PIGLIA: My sister was wonderful. Four thousand -- over four thousand people showed up for her services, people that barely knew my sister, met her one time. And she was a very wonderful person. We'll miss her dearly.

BLITZER: Ed Piglia, thanks for sharing some thoughts about this horrible, horrible case, and we'll continue to monitor it and we'll be back in touch with you, as well. Thank you, and once again, our deepest condolences to you and your family.

PIGLIA: Thank you.

BLITZER: They were citizen soldiers of September 11th.


UNIDENTIFIED FAMILY MEMBER: Our loved ones died heroes.


BLITZER: A new book tells the story of the passengers and the crew of United flight 93 and pieces together the final moments before it crashed in a Pennsylvania field. I'll speak live with the author.

A commuter train passenger suffers a fatal heart attack. Could the conductor have helped?

And another case of out-of-control fans at a youth sporting event.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back to CNN. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Coming up, the heroes of United Flight 93, the men and women who fought back against hijackers bent on destruction, but first, a look at some stories making news right now.

More trouble for AOL Time Warner. The Justice Department has started an investigation of the media giant's accounting practices. That's on top of the SEC inquiry already under way. The company says it's fully cooperating and that its accounting complies with generally accepted principles. AOL Time Warner, of course, is the parent company of CNN.

One person is in custody in what's suspected to be the fifth domestic homicide case in six weeks at North Carolina's Fort Bragg, but this time, it's a woman accused of killing her husband, an Army major. The other four cases involved husbands suspected of killing their wives. Three of the men had served in Afghanistan, raising questions about stress among military personnel. Chicago police have one suspect in custody and are looking for more in an apparent case of street vigilantism. A driver and his passenger were beaten to death yesterday by a mob after the driver lost control of his van and hit a group of women. They are all in stable condition this afternoon.

A federal judge says two Britons and an Australian being held at Guantanamo Bay Cuba do not have the right to be tried in a U.S. court. The men were all captured with al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The judge rejected arguments from their American lawyers, who said the U.S. legal system has jurisdiction over detainees held in Cuba.

The FAA is making it harder for non-U.S. citizens to get private pilot licenses. Applicants must now prove they're already licensed in another country, show a picture I.D., and their names will be checked against a terrorist watch list. The move is the FAA's latest effort to increase security in the wake of September 11.

United Airlines Flight 93 was one of four planes hijacked on September 11, and the only one that did not reach its target. It seems no matter how often we revisit the story, it never loses its grip on our emotions and a new book reveals stirring new details.


BLITZER (voice-over): Did passengers and crewmembers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 actually recapture the aircraft from four hijackers before it crashed in a Pennsylvania field on September 11? The answer may never be known, but in his new book, "Among The Heroes," "New York Times" reporter Jere Longman reveals a theory, which had previously been disclosed only to the victims' relatives. According to the book, a U.S. federal prosecutor told relatives he believed the passengers had broken down the cockpit door with a food cart, attempting to get at the hijackers. Longman says the attorney passed on that information back in April, when the FBI allowed relatives to listen to the cockpit voice recorder.

HOGLAND: The cockpit voice recording does indeed confirm that our loved ones died heroes.

HAMILTON PETERSON, SON OF VICTIM: These were clearly people, who were informed of the unthinkable. They digested on it and acted upon it.

BLITZER: For his book, Longman interviewed relatives of nearly all the passengers and crewmembers. He learned that after hearing the cockpit voice recording, the nephew of passenger William Cashman did a drawing of a quote believed to be from hijacker, Ziad Jarrah. Jarrah was at the controls. Investigators believe he thought he was talking to the passengers, but was, in fact, speaking to the cockpit recorder. The drawing captures Ziad Jarrah saying -- quote -- "This is your captain speaking. We have a bomb onboard and are returning to the airport. To meet our demands, everyone remain seated and be quiet, and everything will be OK." The book looks at what Longman calls "the final battle for control of the plane." Through interviews with the relatives, he recreates the final, harrowing moments of the flight. He writes -- quote -- "A male voice screamed, in English. To some, it sounded as if the passengers were saying this in unison. 'Stop him,' someone shouted. 'Let's get them', one of the passengers yelled." Not long after that, the tape went silent.


BLITZER: Jere Longman covered the aftermath of the Flight 93, the crash on the ground in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. And his book, "Among The Heroes," is the product of hundreds of interviews. He joins us now from New York.

Jere, thanks for joining us. Thanks for that excellent reporting, but tell us a little bit more about what you learned about the struggle aboard Flight 93.

JERE LONGMAN, AUTHOR, "AMONG THE HEROES": The final struggle began about 9:58, five minutes before the plane crashed, according to the family members who heard the tape and saw a transcript and were allowed to take notes. You could hear a lot of crashing and screaming. The crashing, apparently, came from dishes or the sound of glass, which I think leads to the theory about the food cart. You could hear, according to the families, in the cockpit, the cockpit and "If we don't get in there, we'll die" -- this is a passenger saying this -- screaming, yelling. The hijackers can be heard praying. Then, at the end -- the families said that the voices that were distant and muffled became louder and clearer and then, at the end, you could hear remarks like "Roll it," "Lift it up," or "Turn it up" or "Pull it up." And then, there was a final rushing sound at about 10 minutes after three -- excuse me, three minutes after 10. The plane crashed. It turned upside down going 575 miles-an-hour and burrowed 35 feet into the ground.

BLITZER: So you believe obviously that the passengers did manage to get into that cockpit and take control, all be it one that eventually turned out to be unsuccessful?

LONGMAN: Well, I wouldn't say I believe they got into the cockpit. I'm just reporting the theory that the prosecutor presented to the families. And it remains unclear whether they actually -- he didn't say whether they gained control of the plane. That remains one of the unanswered questions just about -- if they did get into the cockpit, how far did they get and were they able to take control or did the plane crash in the chaos of the moment or did the hijackers crash it on purpose when they knew that -- at the end of the flight, that they had no chance because the passengers had set upon them.

BLITZER: Another intriguing development that you reported on is some of the victims' families believed there were three hijackers not four, as we've always assumed. Talk a little about that.

LONGMAN: Well, you know, this was the one flight where four hijackers had been identified and the other three flights had five hijackers. But all the telephone calls that mentioned the hijackers on Flight 93 referred to three hijackers instead of four and there area a number of theories about why that might be. Some people are -- believe that maybe one of the hijackers, dressed as a pilot, had been in the cockpit the whole time, asking, you know, the pilots to let him watch them take off and land. But there's no evidence of that and a number of people have discounted that. Some people think that the hijacker may have been kept purposely anonymous in case there was a revolt or maybe, you know, he lost his nerve. Or the most benign explanation is that eyewitness accounts are often unreliable and in a long narrow airplane, maybe just no one had a vantage point to see these -- all four hijackers act at one time.

BLITZER: You also report on your conversations with some of the relatives, family members, of one of the hijackers, Ziad Jarrah. Tell us about what they said to you.

LONGMAN: Well, they were in denial, you know. They believe that he was a passenger -- that if he was on that plane, it was as a passenger not as a hijacker. Although, I talked to one of his cousins, who I think is coming around to believe that, you know, there is a good possibility that he was a hijacker.

There are just a lot of -- you know, a lot of coincidences are building up. I mean Jarrah and Mohamed Atta received a driver's license in Florida and both on May 2, before the crash. And they both lived in Hamburg at the same time. They both lost their passports about the same time in Bavaria, before leaving Germany and German investigators theorize that it's so they could cleanse their passports of any evidence that they had traveled to Afghanistan or Pakistan.

BLITZER: The book is "Among The Heroes." Jere Longman is the writer -- the author. Thanks for joining us. Good work in this very important book.

LONGMAN: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Controversy in Boston over what happened onboard a commuter train. The conductor is under fire in the death of a passenger. That story, just ahead. And just when you thought parents couldn't behave any worse at kids' sporting events, the latest outrageous incident when we come back.


BLITZER: Welcome back. Remember the hockey dad who was sentenced to prison for beating another father to death at a scrimmage? Well, it's happened again, parents acting violently at a youth sporting event.


BLITZER (voice-over): What started as routine youth hockey scrimmage ended with one hockey dad beating to death another hockey dad. That shocking, violent behavior erupted two years ago this month in Massachusetts. Thomas Junta was sentenced to six to 10 years in prison.

Too often, whenever kids are at play, fighting parents seem to be on hand. Monday night, at a youth baseball game in Port St. Lucie, Florida, an outraged fan triggered a brawl when he punched one of the players in the head. The kid's father rushed from the stands. That prompted the fan to turn on the father, biting off part of his ear.


BLITZER: And also during that melee, an infant girl was knocked from her mother's arms and a 9-year-old girl was knocked down. Fortunately, neither was injured. Joining us now to talk more about the fight and the status of the police investigation is the chief of the Port St. Lucie Police Department, John Skinner.

Chief, thanks for joining us. This is pretty shocking stuff. Have you ever seen anything like this at a youth sporting event?

CHIEF JOHN SKINNER, PORT ST. LUCIE POLICE: Well, indeed it is, Wolf. I mean, you know, baseball is part of America's pastime. And you know little league baseball is about civility and sportsmanship. And certainly, the incident that happened here didn't suggest that at all.

BLITZER: Will any charges be filed?

SKINNER: Well, indeed. When the individual, who is still at large, I might add, is in custody, a charge will be filed of an aggravated battery in the state of Florida, which is a felony. Once, again, you know, we're dealing with kids. Well, we're trying to teach kids the right things not the wrong things. And win at all costs just doesn't make it in today's society.

BLITZER: What kind of sentence does that aggravated felony bring along with it?

SKINNER: Well, the aggravated battery charge could bring up to a three-year felony charge, a three-year mandatory felony charge in a state prison. So we're anxious to get this individual into custody and set the message out here that civilian sportsmanship is what baseball is all about. It's not about biting people's ears off.

BLITZER: Is there a rise in these kinds of incidents or are we just focusing a little bit more on them because of the videotape?

SKINNER: Well, I think there's a -- perhaps a cultural shift in society today where it's win at all costs and the survival type mentality. And certainly, you have to look at sportsmen like Alex Rodriguez, people like that, who really epitomize what baseball and what sportsmanship is about.

BLITZER: And I've been to Port St. Lucie. It's a beautiful community. How has your community reacted to this shocking videotape?

SKINNER: Well, certainly, my public information officer, today, has been overwhelmed by the amounts of calls throughout the nation about this. And there's a lot of outrage about this. And baseball is about good things and good times and not about angry individuals who can't win and can't take losing.

BLITZER: Chief Skinner, thanks for joining us. Let's hope this kind of action doesn't happen again although I suspect it probably will.

SKINNER: Yes, sir, thank you.

BLITZER: A tragic -- thanks. A tragic ending to a commute, but did it have to be? Should a train have stopped for a man who had a heart attack? Then, what's that cigarette doing to your cat? We'll tell you what's your tar -- what your cat wants to hear. And just what are Charles and Camilla up to right now? Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back. The conductor of a Boston commuter train has been suspended, amid allegations he failed to get prompt help for a passenger who suffered a fatal heart attack. Witnesses say the train continued on its normal schedule, instead of waiting for an ambulance, making two regularly scheduled stops before paramedics finally met the train. The man died in a hospital. Reports of the incident have caused an uproar in Boston, but one train crewmember says critics are jumping to conclusions.


SUSAN BERGERON, ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR: I have no problem with the decisions that the crew made on that train. And I'm very resentful that people are trying to play Monday morning quarterback and second- guess what we did -- that -- especially, people that don't understand what's going on behind the scenes. And that -- the number one priority in everybody's mind was to save that man and help him. Everybody did their part, what they did best, to try to help that man.


BLITZER: Officials of Boston's Transit Agency say the train crew apparently violated the agency's policy for medical emergencies, which is to stop at the next station and wait for an ambulance.

Checking some stories on our "Health Beat," Louisiana officials, today, confirmed one death from West Nile Virus, the first fatal case in the United States this year. They're still trying to determine whether another recent death also was linked to the mosquito-borne disease. At least 32 Louisiana residents have been infected with West Nile Virus and authorities are stepping up the mosquito-spraying program.

A new study suggests smoking isn't just bad for you; it may be bad for your pet as well. Experts who reviewed records from the Tufts University Animal Hospital say cats exposed to secondhand smoke were twice as likely to get the most common kind of feline cancer. There are plans now for a similar study on dogs. There's more encouragement to watch your weight. Tomorrow's "New England Journal of Medicine" reports that even a few extra pounds increase your risk of having a heart attack. Scientists say that compared with people of normal weight, overweight people have a 34 percent higher risk of heart failure. And they say the risk increases with the pounds.

Let's get a preview of "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" -- actually, we'll get that preview later. We do have an update now, first of all, on that story we're reporting earlier on -- that bombing at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. We reported earlier that one American was confirmed dead. Now, we are learning three Americans are confirmed to have been among the seven dead. Two women, one man killed in that cafeteria bombing today at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. A fourth American, we're also told, is unaccounted for, who may have been at the cafeteria as well. We'll continue to follow the story, have more information as it becomes available. At least three Americans among the seven killed at the cafeteria bombing at the Hebrew University on Mount Skopus in Jerusalem earlier today.

When we come back, another royal outing. What's the latest episode in Charles and Camilla's royal tale? We'll tell you. And it's not too late to vote on our "Question of The Day." We'll have the results when we come back.


BLITZER: Earlier we asked -- "Princess Diana's memorial fountain will be in the shape of what object?" The answer, a necklace. The American architect's design was chosen from 60 proposals. The memorial will be built in Hyde Park near Diana's former home, Kensington Palace.

And that leads us to our "Picture of The Day," the passing of a royal torch. From 1952 until her death this year, the Queen Mother was the guest of honor at the annual Sandringham Flower Show. Today, Prince Charles filled in, accompanied by his longtime girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles. They're increasingly appearing in public together, and Prince Charles has not ruled out marriage.

Now, here's how you're weighing in on "Web Question of The Day." Earlier we asked you this question -- "Do you support military action to remove Saddam Hussein if it meant the U.S. has to go it alone?" Look at this, 56 percent of you say, "yes." Forty-four percent of you say, "no." Remember, this is not a scientific poll. You can find the exact tally, by the way, on my Web site,

That's all the time we have today. Tomorrow, Erin Brockovich. Her story drew many to the theaters. Now, she's starring in her own reality TV series. Will her magic translate to TV? I'll ask her at 5:00 Eastern, 2:00 on the West Coast. Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. 'LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" begins right now.