CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN
Second Set of Remains Found in Oregon Identified; Cheney Makes Case for Striking Iraq; FBI Conducts Second Anthrax Search in Boca Raton
Aired August 26, 2002 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: You know, as a highly sought-after fill- in anchor, I'm often asked, Anderson, who do you most like to interview? Whose mind would you most like to probe?
You know, Peter Jennings and I often discuss this over a warm glass Remy Martin.
As you might expect, Peter says Aung Sung Suu Kyi. Me? I say Paul Lynde. Sadly, he's dead.
But number two on my list is someone who people just think is dead. It turns out he's not -- Charles Nelson Reilly. Ring a bell?
You remember Match Game PM? Ground-breaking. His repartee with Brett Sommers and Gene Rayburn -- classic.
And who can forget him as the big banana all gussied up, hawking those pens?
So you can understand our shock to see Reilly's face on the cover of the "Wall Street Journal" today, and this headline -- "Late Night TV Has No Use For Old Troopers Anymore."
Sad to say, it seems the old alias (ph) stars are relegated to the Z list, not CNR, as we like to call them, but other luminaries like Phyllis Diller and Soupy Sales. Yeah, it turns out they're not dead either.
Now, despite repeated phone calls, we could not get Charles Nelson Reilly to come on the program tonight. We couldn't do it. Note to Reilly. In order to get on TV, you have to call the booker back. Kind of one of those rules.
He told the "Wall Street Journal" reporter that if the phone rang, he'd go. So we here at NEWSNIGHT are issuing a personal invitation, a challenge, if you will, to Charles Nelson Reilly.
Call us back. Name the place and the time, at least when I'm anchoring NEWSNIGHT, and we'll be there.
Remember, in America it is never too late for a comeback.
As always, we start the program with the whip. First to Oregon we go. Very sad developments in the case of two missing girls. Rusty Dornin is on that. Rusty, the headline.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We just learned a few moments ago that the second set of remains that was discovered on the property here is -- are those of 13-year-old Ashley Pond. That means that the two missing girls earlier this year have been identified. This community is mourning. We'll bring you more later.
COOPER: All right, Rusty. We will come back to you very shortly.
Continuing questions for the White House on Iraq. Kelly Wallace is in Crawford, Texas, where the President is vacationing. Kelly, your headline, please.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the vice president makes the strongest case yet for pre-emptive action against Iraq. His message directed at critics at home and abroad who urge a go-slow approach. This is all a part of a stepped up effort by the White House to explain why it believes Saddam Hussein must go.
COOPER: All right, Kelly. Back to you shortly, as well.
On to a story about anthrax. Investigators back where it all began. Mark Potter is in Boca Raton, Florida tonight with the headline -- Mark.
MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Anderson. The FBI once again is in control of the American Media building here in Boca Raton, Florida. Agents will conduct a second anthrax search, still trying to determine who is responsible for the anthrax attacks -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Back with all of you in a minute. Also, coming up tonight, Dr. Steven Hatfill spoke out again over the weekend about how he's been treated in the anthrax investigation. We will hear some of that tonight and talk with his spokesman, Pat Clawson.
But first for us on NEWSNIGHT, there news from China on the floods that have forced nearly a half-million people to flee their homes.
Also, we'll look at Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The FBI wants to question a man -- this man, right here -- who's in Saudi custody. But will they be allowed to? Kelli Arena has that story.
And Monday makeovers. Oprah loves them. So does Maury and Rikki. But does the father of our country really need one? We'll report. You decide.
We begin tonight with the case of two missing girls in Oregon. There is a Web site that tracks the cases of missing kids, and today the file for Miranda Diane Gaddis was moved to the cases closed part of the site. Three very sad words were added -- in memory of.
The remains of the Oregon girl were found and identified over the weekend. And tonight we learned just a few minutes ago, the case of her friend Ashley Pond is about to close, as well. Investigators found a second body at the home of Ashley's neighbor. And it's been confirmed now that it is Ashley.
Devastating news for two families, as well as for a community that's been trying to keep its hope alive for months now. Here's Rusty Dornin.
DORNIN: Well, Anderson, this is news they've been dreading but expecting. And just a few moments ago, Police Chief Gordon Huiras came out and said that the medical examiner had identified the dental remains of 13-year-old Ashley Pond.
Now, immediately following that statement, some folks here, some family friends and neighbors collapsed, literally, hearing that news, into one another's arms. This has been a very emotional day.
People have been flocking here to this wall that is actually outside the home where the two girls' bodies were discovered -- the home of Ward Weaver. And this is where people have been flocking to put their memorials.
But really, this whole thing started Saturday after a search began, and the body of Miranda Gaddis was discovered.
DORNIN (voice-over): The family of 13-year-old Miranda Gaddis dreaded this outcome. When it came, it was still unbelievable.
TERRI DUFFEY, MIRANDA GADDIS' AUNT: I'm still waiting for her to pop through the door and say, quit crying, I'm right here, you know? She's beautiful and she is wonderful, and she's going to be in our hearts forever. I'm just sad that this happened to her.
DORNIN: The remains of the 13-year-old were found in a shed on Saturday. Another body was discovered on Sunday beneath a concrete slab.
GREG HORNER, CHIEF DEPUTY DA, CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OREGON: The Clackamas County district attorney's office will ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...
HORNER: ... will present evidence regarding the death of Miranda Gaddis, and a yet to be identified set of human remains, to a grand jury in the near future.
DORNIN: The district attorney's office is seeking an indictment of 39-year-old Ward Weaver. The bodies were found on property rented by Weaver. Neighbors have continuously pointed fingers at Weaver. Police said he wasn't a suspect months ago. Weaver claimed he was.
WARD WEAVER, SUSPECT IN KILLINGS: I mean, I had a lot of contact with both girls, you know. So I expect to be looked at and, you know, questioned, and background checks and that kind of thing. You know, I've got no problem with any of that. DORNIN: Police said there was never enough evidence for a search warrant. Then, two weeks ago, a woman ran screaming from Weaver's house, claiming he tried to rape and strangle her.
The woman was the girlfriend of Weaver's 19-year-old son. Weaver remains jailed on charges of rape. A search warrant in connection with the missing girls was issued on Friday.
Outside Weaver's house, a fence meant to keep people away from the search became a place to hang symbols of pain and grieving.
But for Jennifer Alvarado, the next-door neighbor of victim Miranda Gaddis, there was another, more powerful emotion.
JENNIFER ALVARADO, MIRANDA GADDIS' NEIGHBOR: ... I really am. I'm really angry that it took this long. I understand all the red tape, and I understand what the police had to go through. But I think it took too long.
DORNIN: Not so quick to judge police was Miranda's grandfather.
WESLEY DUFFEY, MIRANDA GADDIS' GRANDFATHER: I know for a fact that if they do it and do it wrong, that whatever they find is useless to them. So, I have a lot of confidence in them. And they say they took the time they needed and did it right. And I believe that.
DORNIN: Now, the FBI did come out a little bit earlier and say they have wrapped up a search of Ward Weaver's body. They've processed all the material in his house and on the property. They've dug up all the areas they need to.
Apparently, they did not believe that they would find any other remains, and they have not. But obviously, a very disturbing case with a lot of unanswered questions -- Anderson.
COOPER: Rusty, just a couple of questions. Ward Weaver is incarcerated now for the rape of his son's girlfriend. Is that correct?
DORNIN: That's correct. He is on a $1 million bond.
COOPER: And is anyone living in the house now? I mean, is Ward Weaver's son -- does he live there?
DORNIN: Not that I know of. No one has been living in the house that we know of.
I mean, the thing that's been so disturbing about this, Anderson, is obviously, it took so long for this search to take place.
But the police just said they just didn't have enough evidence to conduct a search warrant. It was just people pointing fingers at Ward Weaver. There was nothing concrete to link them -- to link him to the girls, although Ashley Pond, the remains of the girl that was found today, that was identified, did live here, apparently, at Ward Weaver's house for some time, that she was a family friend. She was a friend of Weaver's daughter.
COOPER: It's so disturbing, too, to see that video of Ward Weaver, you know, talking to news people several weeks ago.
You said the DA is seeking an indictment. Any sense of the timetable of that?
DORNIN: They are being very quiet about the details on this case and when they are seeking it. They do not want to endanger anything in the prosecution of this case.
When we asked earlier, what is some of the evidence that you've been bringing out of the house? They just refused to answer. They just don't want to say anything until this gets to court.
COOPER: All right. Rusty Dornin, thanks very much for reporting tonight from Oregon. Just to brief those who have just joined us. The remains of the second girl missing in Oregon, Ashley Pond, have been positively identified by authorities there.
So both Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis are accounted for.
Moving on now to overseas and to Iraq, and something President Bush said about his plans for dealing with Saddam Hussein. He said, "There can be, and will be, no solely American answer to all the challenges."
He said, "In the future, as before, we will consult with our coalition partners." That President was George Herbert Walker Bush. And he said it February 27th, 1991 at the end of the Gulf War.
Now, more than a decade later, his son is trying to deal with that same threat. But some critics would argue that he may not be taking his father's advice to heart.
Former Secretary of State James Baker yesterday became the latest to warn against the U.S. going it alone against Baghdad -- a Republican, no less, who helped win the Gulf War.
But if the White House plans to back down, we saw no evidence of it today. Here now, Kelly Wallace.
WALLACE (voice-over): Answering a growing chorus of critics at home and abroad, Vice President Cheney makes the administration's most forceful case yet for military action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If the United States could have pre-empted 9/11, we would have, no question. Should we be able to prevent another, much more devastating attack? We will, no question.
WALLACE: The Vice President, in his speech to war veterans, said the world must act before Saddam adds nuclear weapons to his arsenal of chemical and biological agents.
CHENEY: The whole range of weapons of mass destruction then would rest in the hands of a dictator who has already shown his willingness to use such weapons, and has done so, both in his war with Iran and against his own people.
WALLACE: While Cheney made the argument for pre-emptive action against Iraq, aides cautioned that the President still has not made any decisions, and is considering all options.
CHENEY: We will not simply look away, hope for the best, and leave the matter for some future administration to resolve.
WALLACE: White House lawyers have told the President legally, he does not need Congressional approval for any attack on Iraq. They base this on his role as Commander in Chief under the Constitution, and two Congressional resolutions -- one authorizing the use of force against Iraq in 1991, and last year's endorsement of military force in the war on terror.
But advisors stress that legal matters alone won't influence the President's decision.
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President, if this were ever to come to this point, would consider a variety of legal, policy, historical factors, in making up his mind about this.
WALLACE: And if the past is any guide, back in 1991, former President Bush's lawyers told him he did not need Congressional approval for the Gulf War against Iraq, but he ended up seeking it anyway -- Anderson.
COOPER: Kelly, did we hear anything from Cheney, or do we know, has Cheney made any move to sort of silence the critics from the first Bush administration?
WALLACE: Well, he certainly -- his speech -- this was a speech that was planned for some time. But if you listen to his speech, he was definitely answering some of the critics who are urging a go-slow approach.
And we obviously, as you mentioned, former Secretary of State James Baker, the latest in a string of former Bush administration officials to speak out.
This administration, one official I talked to said, look. We're having a dialogue here. And right now, you have had dialogue from lawmakers and other officials. To have a dialogue, you have to hear from both sides. So now you're hearing from the administration. And we understand you will continue to hear from administration officials in the next several weeks, the Vice President saying that the administration would participate in Congressional hearings, making the case it believes something must be done to deal with Saddam Hussein, and now -- Anderson.
COOPER: Just one more question. Do we know -- you spoke about dialogue -- de we know, has there been any dialogue between former President Bush and George W. Bush?
WALLACE: That is always the key question, of course. What advice is he getting from his father? Officials never, ever want to talk about that.
We do know, Anderson, that of course, James Baker, close to the former President. Brent Scowcroft, a former National Security Advisor, who also spoke out recently, urging this administration not to attack Iraq.
We know that there has been communication with the current administration, when these two officials have spoken out, that this administration was aware they were speaking out.
But it is just not clear if, Anderson, the former President is trying to get a message to his son through these other officials. White House officials just simply won't talk about that, Anderson.
COOPER: And I'm sure that is the topic of many dinner conversations in Washington this evening. Thanks very much, Kelly.
It was the first week of October when Health Secretary Tommy Thompson told the nation that a Florida man named Robert Stevens had anthrax. And at first, Secretary Thompson focused on a trip the man had taken in the country, in the hope that he was infected naturally, not deliberately.
That hope, of course, faded almost immediately, and all the attention shifted to the place where Stevens worked -- American Media, publisher of tabloid papers like the "National Enquirer."
Well, now the FBI says it is going back into the building to hunt for more clues. It is a scene that's been described as like walking into the Twilight Zone, a workplace literally frozen in time for nearly a year.
The story, now, from Mark Potter.
POTTER: FBI agents say, since the original search of AMI last year, they have developed new technologies for gathering and analyzing large amounts of anthrax. Their hope is these methods can shed new light on whether anthrax here is linked to other cases in the northeast, and how anthrax entered the AMI building.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DWIGHT ADAMS, FBI LAB SUPERVISOR: We're looking for a dissemination device, such as a letter or letters, again, to generate new leads for the investigation.
And then finally, we're looking for large quantities of spores in order to chemically characterize those spores and compare them against the spores found in the Senator Leahy and Daschle letters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POTTER: During the original search, law enforcement officials always suspected anthrax came to AMI by way of a letter, or more than one. But a lot of company mail had already been thrown out, and a suspect letter was never found.
The new search will look for concentrations of anthrax, which may suggest where the letter came in, and how it moved through the building. Investigators will focus much of their work on the mailroom.
Florida's Health Secretary says, reopening the building can be done safely, and will not harm anyone nearby.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JOHN AGWUNOBI, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF HEALTH: I believe that we can rest assured that this process, this investigation, as it proceeds, places no Floridian at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POTTER: Now, in its search warrant application, the FBI says that it has probable cause to believe that an anthrax letter may -- again, may -- still be inside the building behind me. The FBI also revealed plans to do a detailed search of things such as desk drawers, brief cases and business records, hoping to find clues about a possible target or reason for the attack here.
We're told this search at American Media could take about two weeks -- Anderson.
COOPER: You know, Mark, there are a lot of people who are going to see this and say that it smells of desperation. Obviously, publicly, the FBI wouldn't be saying that.
But, I mean, privately, what are your sources telling you? Is this simply, they don't know where else to turn, so they're going back to where they started?
POTTER: It's a common technique in law enforcement to go back over your tracks. But the FBI says that it has new technology, that it -- when it first came through here, it was concentrating on health issues, as well as the law enforcement issues.
Now with the new technology, it's going to go back, be more thorough this time, to try to see if the agents missed anything.
It's clear that they do, still do not have this case solved. Otherwise, they would not be going back in this building with such a thorough plan for such a search of the sort of things that we're talking about -- briefcases, desk drawers -- throughout the building, the mailroom.
They're going to give this a once-over to a degree that they did not do the first time.
COOPER: All right. Mark Potter, tonight in Boca Raton, thanks very much.
Ahead on NEWSNIGHT, the man the FBI labeled a person of interest in the anthrax investigation. Well he has his say again.
And up next, a person of interest in the September 11th investigation flees to Saudi Arabia.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, to say the least, it has been a very rough month, and a very rough year for American relations with Saudi Arabia.
In early August, there was a small uproar over a secret briefing in the Pentagon by an analyst who said, we should view the country as an enemy instead of an ally.
Well, now there's a case of a Saudi national wanted for questioning in the 9/11 investigation, who's turned up in Saudi Arabia.
It's not clear if the FBI will be allowed to talk with him. In international relations, it seems, friendship is a very complex word indeed.
That story tonight from Kelli Arena.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Saud Al Rashid is in Saudi custody. After the FBI issued an international alert, his family says he flew from Egypt to Riyadh and turned himself in.
DALE WATSON, FBI EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: We're glad that he is, one, not in the United States. But at the same time, we are thankful that he is with some other folks overseas.
We will assess that information and see exactly what he has or has not to do with anything that involves terrorism against the United States.
ARENA: Specifically, September 11th. Al Rashid's picture was found on a CD ROM in Pakistan, along with pictures of four hijackers.
But the Saudis are not promising the FBI will get to question him directly, and say any terrorism charges will be heard in an Islamic court.
KEN ADELMAN, FORMER ARMS CONTROL DIRECTOR: If it's like in the past, the Saudis will block the FBI from doing anything effective. That's what they did in the 1990s when the FBI tried to investigate the blowing up of the Khobar Towers, and other crimes that had been involving Saudi Arabia over the years.
ARENA: FBI officials would only say that the Saudis have been cooperative. But diplomatic sources concede, the relationship is delicate, not helped by the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi.
A lawsuit filed by the families of September 11th victims alleges, in the late '90s, some members of the Saudi royal family paid Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda protection money not to attack Saudi targets, a charge U.S. officials have heard before, but have not been able to verify.
And despite Saudi denials, critics allege money from Saudi charities is funneled to Palestinian terrorists.
MATT LEVITT, FORMER FBI COUNTER-TERRORISM ANALYST: The issue of Saudi tolerance of incitements towards, participation in international terrorism has been at the forefront of our foreign policy discourse for over a year now.
ARENA: Saudi Arabia's cabinet accuses some Western media of a "smear campaign."
Cooperation in the war on terror is sure to be discussed when Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar meets with President Bush tomorrow in Texas. Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Time for a few other stories from around the nation tonight.
The Air Force has told at least 14,000 National Guard members and reservists that they may be needed for a second straight year of active duty service in the war on terrorism.
The biggest group facing an extended term are some 5,700 Air National Guard security troops to protect bases here, as well as overseas.
An update tonight on a story we brought you last week. A judge in a poor, rural county in Ohio, who told prosecutors they couldn't seek the death penalty in a certain case, because the country couldn't afford to give the accused a proper defense.
The judge has reversed his decision, a move that was praised by Ohio's attorney general.
And there was a huge turnout in Boston yesterday, about a half- million for a walking tour of the infamous Big Dip. The massive highway project was started more than a decade ago, but it won't be done until 2004, and it has already cost nearly $15 billion.
Coming up later on NEWSNIGHT, a man at the center of the anthrax investigations strikes back at the government.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, a little more on anthrax now. The news today that the FBI is going back in the American Media building is another indication of just how stalled the investigation seems to be.
That is frustrating, of course, to us, but it is infuriating to the man described as a person of interest by the Justice Department, Dr. Steven Hatfill.
Yesterday he lashed out at the Attorney General, saying he's the victim of character assassination by a department that he says is using him to show it's making progress.
We should also add that Dr. Hatfill criticized the media, specifically the "New York Times," and columnist Nicholas Kristof, saying Kristof was, "being used as a vehicle to leak irreprare" -- excuse me -- "irreparably damaging information about me to the public."
The "New York Times" said it has confidence in their columnist. More now on Hatfill's criticism from Pat Clawson, a friend, as well as a spokesperson. He joins us now in Washington tonight.
Mr. Clawson, thanks for being with us.
PAT CLAWSON, SPOKESMAN FOR DR. STEVEN J. HATFILL: Thanks for having me on.
COOPER: Why did Dr. Hatfill feel the need to come forward yet again this weekend?
CLAWSON: Well, since his initial news conference two weeks ago, there's been just a massive flood of inquiries from the nation's news media. On one day alone we got 250 requests for interviews. I mean, the amount of media attention on this case has just been absolutely overwhelming.
Since the original news conference, a number of other issues have come up, especially the intensified surveillance of Dr. Hatfill. And he felt that he needed to address it, and let the press know how he felt, and let the press know a little bit more about who he actually is.
COOPER: He has come forward, but in a very controlled way. I mean, as you noted in this press conference, he really has not been doing one-on-one interviews, really not been questioned extensively by journalists.
Is that a conscious decision? CLAWSON: He wants to be interviewed one-on-one by journalists very much. But his attorneys are taking a conservative approach to this, and they've advised him at this time that he really shouldn't do it, because we still don't know what it is that the Justice Department is trying to do to him.
He was cooperating voluntarily with the FBI, until all of a sudden, he was stabbed in the back by them, and had criminal search warrants served on his house after he'd already consented to two consensual searches.
COOPER: He said yesterday that he would be willing to give blood to the FBI, as well as a handwriting analysis, which they've already had for several weeks.
Any sense today on when that blood might be given?
CLAWSON: I don't know the exact time. I know that his counsel is trying to arrange that with the FBI.
Dr. Hatfill has made a very good faith effort here. He has concealed nothing. He's opened up his life. The FBI has all of his private papers. They have his travel diaries. They've got his tax returns.
They know just about everything about him. But they still are not taking any kind of steps to clear him.
Dr. Hatfill this weekend released his payroll records from his employer that showed that he was in Virginia at the time that the anthrax letters were mailed from New Jersey. And he's offering to basically bear all, so that he can demonstrate that he is in fact an innocent man.
COOPER: You know, publicly, as you well know, the FBI states that Dr. Hatfill is simply one of 30 people of interest, as they say.
CLAWSON: Who are the other 29?
COOPER: Well, I was going to say, you would say that they are treating him in a way other than the way they are treating any other people.
CLAWSON: There is absolutely no question about that. When they went in Princeton, New Jersey last week and held the photo displays to the citizens there, they had only one photo -- that of Dr. Hatfill.
Current Justice Department guidelines require a minimum of five non-suspect photos to be included in any kind of a photo display like that. And that just wasn't done.
COOPER: Well, what do you think is going on? I mean, do you think they are purposely targeting, in your opinion, Dr. Hatfill, or do you think, I mean, or do you think that it's just a sense that the investigation is stalled and they're just trying to do whatever they can? CLAWSON: Well, my sense of it is, is the investigation is basically stalled. Here we are, almost a year after the anthrax attacks. And the FBI, in my opinion, probably doesn't have a good handle as to who the responsible parties are. I was stunned to learn today of the search that is now going to be taking place in Florida at the "National Enquirer" offices that the FBI never did do a comprehensive crime scene search months ago. Only now are they getting around to doing a comprehensive crime scene search. I mean, that's just unbelievable.
COOPER: But are you and Dr. Hatfill alleging that the government actually knows he's not the culprit in this and they're simply setting him, is that what you're saying, or do you think this is simply, you know, a case where they've made a mistake?
CLAWSON: I think it's case where they have just made a mistake. I mean, most FBI agents I know have good intentions, and they work hard to try to protect this country. But the FBI has also had its share of notable failures over the years too. Richard Jewell comes to mind immediately. I certainly think that Dr. Hatfill fits in that category. There's no evidence that's come to light publicly, no evidence that Dr. Hatfill knows, no evidence that the press seems to know that he's been involved in any way in the anthrax attacks. And indeed, he's absolutely adamant he has had nothing to do with them and knows nothing about them at all.
COOPER: What is it like to be a person of interest? I mean, that's really a term we haven't heard much until this year. And all of a sudden, there's an awful lot of people, from different sorts of walks of life in different cases who suddenly get labeled a person of interest. What is it like to be at the center of that accusation?
CLAWSON: Well, it's a terrible thing. It's turned his life upside down. He's had around-the-clock FBI surveillance. His name has been dragged through the mud in the press in this country as being this person of interest. You know, John Ashcroft, the attorney general, a man who I happen to personally like a great deal, John Ashcroft owes this man an apology. And the reason being is that this man has not been accused of any crime. The FBI told the press he's not even officially a suspect in the anthrax case, but here you are, you have the attorney general, the nation's highest law enforcement officer, coming out and pointing an accusatory finger at an individual on the basis of no evidence, saying he's a person of interest. It's terribly intimidating, and it's a real violation of civil rights.
COOPER: I know you and Dr. Hatfill been critical of the "New York Times" for their coverage. How do you think in general the media has covered this story?
CLAWSON: Very poorly. I'm in the media business myself. I've been an investigative reporter. As a matter of fact, I used to be one for this network years ago, and I have got a pretty good opinion of the media coverage here. It's been dismal, by the most part.
What's happened is the media continues to parrot and recycle endlessly groundless reports that were published in "The New York Times" and in some other publications, reports that have no factual basis whatsoever, but they continue to be recycled and recycled and recycled. And after a while, it's almost like Hitler's big lie. If you repeat a lie long enough, people think it's true. There's been very, very little original investigative reporting in this case. Most of it has simply been parroting government leaks.
COOPER: Do you think it was a mistake that it took Dr. Hatfill so long to come forward publicly? I mean, it wasn't until about two weeks ago he held the first conference, and there was this conference this past weekend.
CLAWSON: In my own opinion, yes, I think the delay was unfortunate. But you have to take a look at what's going on here. All of a sudden, a fellow who had been cooperating with the FBI, suddenly finds FBI agents coming into his house and ransacking his girlfriend's house, and giving him notice of basically he's at the center of a criminal investigation. That's not what he had thought, that's not what he had been led to believe by the FBI when he had been cooperating with them, trying to help them solve this case.
So his lawyers, as a natural result, take a conservative approach and decided not to say much until they can sort out the situation.
COOPER: Only a few seconds left. Dr. Hatfill's attorneys have filed a complaint with the Justice Department over their handling of this. Do you actually expect...
CLAWSON: And against Attorney General John Ashcroft too.
COOPER: Right. Do you expect anything to actually come of that, or is that more of just, you know, a shot in the dark, basically?
CLAWSON: Well, I would like to hope that something would come out of it. But the Justice Department historically in my opinion has been very, very poor about doing internal policing. The FBI has a bad record in that regard as well. High officials at the Justice Department very rarely are being held accountable for misconduct. And even though I happen to like John Ashcroft personally, I will tell you that I think John Ashcroft committed a very grievous error here. It almost makes you think that he's become power drunk as attorney general.
COOPER: OK, that's about all the time we have tonight. Just curious, are you employed by Dr. Hatfill, or are you just doing this as a friend, spokesperson?
CLAWSON: I'm doing this as a friend. I've been a friend of Dr. Hatfill's for many years. I think he's receiving an unjustified trashing at the hands of the government and in the media, and I've offered to come help my friend. I'm not charging him anything.
COOPER: All right, Pat Clawson, thanks very much for joining us tonight.
CLAWSON: Thank you. COOPER: Still to come on NEWSNIGHT, is it time to pass the old wooden teeth? George Washington is looking for a makeover, apparently.
Also, a report about China under water on their TV news.
COOPER: Coming up on NEWSNIGHT, we'll look at more of your designs for ground zero.
COOPER: Two weeks ago, we were seeing the devastation caused by the flooding in Europe, more than 100 people killed, tens of billions worth of damage. It even shut down beer production in the biggest beer drinking country in the world: the Czech Republic. And just as Europe begins drying out and trying to clean up, floods are now causing havoc on another continent, Asia, a disaster for the people of Central and Southern China. So we thought we'd take a look at their news from China, from the station CCTV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Hello, everyone. Welcome to today's newscast. Our reporter in Hubei (ph) province has learned that the floodwater in the Yangtze river has safely flowed past Gian Li (ph), with no harm done to the nearby cities. From today's water level analysis, the floods have reached Yohan (ph) City, but have not yet reached its maximum potential. Areas along the Yangtze River are poorly prepared for arrival of more floodwater.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): At 8:00 a.m. on August 26, the water level river of Yangtze River near Yohan (ph) already reached 28 meters. The Flood Control Agency in Hubei (ph) province says this is the largest flood the region has had in three years, and its duration has been longer than in the past. The city of Yohan (ph) is already covered with floodwater, but it's hard to predict when the water level will reach its peek.
The water level has been rising in area south of Yohan (ph), along the Yangtze River, including Jang-si (ph), Han-huei (ph), and Jung-su (ph) provinces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): One million sandbags donated by the German government valued at nearly $50,000 U.S. arrived today. The Chinese central government today alone has received flood donations equivalent to more than $3 million.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This shipment of goods is the largest disaster relief donation China has received this year from foreign nations. It will be put to use in the Hunan (ph), Hubei (ph), Jung-si (ph) provinces. This year, parts of China have suffered severe flood damages, prompting some foreign governments, international organization and overseas Chinese to donate money and goods. According to the Chinese central government, this year China has received more than $2 million in monetary donations, and $950,000 in goods for disaster relief.
The central government firmly reinforces that all flood donations are used exclusively to assist the flood victims, to ensure goods are quickly and promptly distributed to the ones needed. This is a report from CCTV.
COOPER: There are some stories in our world roundup tonight, beginning with a global summit in South Africa. The United Nations opened the summit, which is focused on trying to boost living standards for the world's poorest people. More than 100 heads of state will attend, President Bush is not one of them, however.
More violence today in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Several people, including a Reuters photographer, were hurt during clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in Ramallah. The photographer was shot by Israeli soldiers firing rubber bullets at children throwing stones.
We're told this Galapagos giant tortoise of the Cairo zoo is celebrating its 361st birthday. Frankly, I'm not sure how anyone would be able to know that, but never mind. George Burns swore by cigars and martinis. No word on this turtle's secret to longevity.
Ahead on NEWSNIGHT, the move over Indiana Jones, here comes the nation's first presidential action hero. And up next, your ideas for ground zero.
COOPER: NEWSNIGHT has been collecting your ideas on what to do with those 16 acres in lower Manhattan. We're taking your proposals at cnn.com/newsnight. Keep the ideas coming. Just reminder, this is not a contest, there is no prize at the end.
This idea came from John in Virginia. One tower that would be the tallest in the world, at the approximate height of the old World Trade Center, there would be an eternal flame as well as a memorial park in the sky.
We got this from Leopoldo in New Jersey. Ground zero as a memorial and a cultural center, tying together different areas in lower Manhattan through two intersecting promenades.
And we love getting ideas from kids. This one came from Dakota Brown, age 10 in Savanna, Georgia. Two towers and a wall of remembrance, and a tunnel that connects them.
Keep the ideas coming.
Last fall, we did a series of remembering profiles, victims of 9- 11 remembered by the people who loved them. We'd like to try to re- air some of the profiles leading up to the one-year anniversary. Tonight, we remember Wayne Alan Russo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love my son.
The thing that bothers me most about this, is not knowing what happened to him. We were very close. Ever since -- ever since he was a little boy. Took out the garbage. I mean, this sounds like simple things. For the first time that I could remember today, I took out the garbage.
His sister's name is Lynne. Anything that Wayne did was all right with her. At Lynne's wedding, there was a little bit of an amusing thing during the course of the wedding when Lynne announced that she and her brother were now going to dance together. And when they danced together, the entire family went wild as they saw Wayne out there dancing with his sister. And he was so happy about that.
I just don't want to overstate this, but in simple terms, he was a gentleman. He was kind, and he was wonderful. But he's gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "Segment 7." Every time I fill in for Aaron, I like to give you a preview of the latest magazines to hit the newsstands. Think of it as my way of giving back.
I had to pry "In Style" magazine out of the sweaty palms of several young women in the NEWSNIGHT office, but frankly, it was hardly worth the effort. Same celebrities, same tips, blah, blah, blah. Orange is the new pink, floral prints are in, Jennifer Aniston is deliriously happy.
Just once, I'd like to see an honest headline in this magazine, you know, like "No Matter How Many Chemical Facial Peels You Have, You Will Never Look as Good as Cameron Diaz." Or, "How Do Stars Look so Good?" They have more money than God, and they don't really have to work for a living. That's how.
This month, "In Style" asks stars the burning question, "what's the worst pickup line you've ever heard?" Charlie Sheen says the worst he's heard was, "Did you hurt your head when you fell out of heaven?" That's the worst line Charlie Sheen has heard? I don't think so. I think the worst opening line someone ever gave Charlie Sheen was, "sorry, I won't have sex for money." But then again, he lives in Hollywood, so he probably never heard that line.
"Details" magazine is becoming my favorite, because in just about every issue, they have something that's really, really creepy, and yet you can't turn the page, can you? This issue has an article on men who have gynecomastia, never heard of it before, but it's a condition that makes their breasts bigger than most women's. The cover actually features a headline which reads, "Are Your Breasts Bigger than Hers?" You know, if you have to ask -- the article profiles this man, Bill, a 40-year-old software salesman who recently worked up the courage to purchase his first bra. That's the kind of thing my mom would just love to do with me. She'd want to kind of make a day of it, you know, have some brunch, see a flick, buy a 38DD. It would be fun.
"People" magazine promises all the inside scoop on Britney Spears, as is "Us Weekly." "People" got an interview with Spears, "Us" relies on unnamed sources, as they usually seem to.
"Us" did get the big celebrity scoop of the week, however. Yeah, page 20. They enlarged a photo of Ben Affleck and they identify the kind of underwear he's wearing. I'm not kidding, right there. It's Old Navy boxers, in case you're wondering.
Why stop there at invading someone's privacy, "Us" said? "Us" is now actually promoting a contest in which they will give away 100 pairs of underwear just like it. Man, the winner must be so proud. Official contest rules can be found at the "Us" Web site.
Now, I don't want to sound like Andy Rooney, but I noticed this month that magazines are thicker than ever, but it seems like there's less and less in them. I've come up with a little theorem. I'm calling it Anderson's theorem. Sure, it's no Nash equilibrium, but I think the Nobel committee might be interested. My theory is that a magazine's interesting content is in inverse relation to its weight and thickness, so to test this out, look, we have the official NEWSNIGHT scale right here.
"Newsweek," with Dr. Phil on the cover, it weighs in at a scant six ounces right there, while "In Style," magazine, look at that, it's off the charts, the scale can't even weight it. It's more than 2.5 pounds; that's the limit of the scale. Why is it that the most magazines that are obsessed with thinness and keeping trim are the fattest of all? Something to chew on tonight.
Finally from us, the making of a sex symbol. He's tougher than Vin Diesel, he wears better clothes than Steve Seagal -- although, frankly, that's not difficult -- and he's an disputed American hero. So why aren't teenagers putting his picture up on their walls? Is it the hair? Maybe it's the wooden teeth. Garrick Utley reports on trying to make George Washington bigger than a boy band.
GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's time for George Washington's makeover. Sure, a million visitors still come each year to Mount Vernon to visit the home of George and Martha, and enjoy the view they enjoyed over the Potomac. But young Americans are losing interest in the father of their country, because in school they are being taught less about him. How much less?
NICOLA THREATT, TOURIST: Just that he was our first president, and that he did great things. But I mean, we never went into depth about it, which is sad.
TAYLOR THREATT, STUDENT: We just talked very little about him when we studied U.S. history.
UTLEY: That worries James Rees, who runs Mount Vernon.
JAMES REES, DIRECTOR, MT. VERNON MUSEUM: Every year, we felt the American people and George Washington were moving further apart.
UTLEY: Rees says the time has come to make George Washington a more exciting, edgy figure. Could he be the Indiana Jones of his time?
REES: Tell me any 8-year-old boy, for instance, who wouldn't be excited by the fact that in one battle, Washington had two horses shot out from under him, and ended with four bullet holes in his coat? Doesn't that sound like a great movie?
UTLEY: Older Americans grew up with Washington's picture on their school room wall, and his birthday as a holiday, before it morphed into a generic President's Day. And that's only part of his decline.
(on camera): Poor George. Not only is less attention being paid to Washington in the school textbooks used today, but what is being taught often goes light on the traditional adulation of the man.
For example, he is described as a person with somewhat ordinary talents. And, quote, "it might be said that the idea of George Washington, the idea, not always the man himself, was what counted."
(voice-over): True, as the first president, Washington gets pride of place on the dollar bill. So, why doesn't he turn us on today?
CHARLENE BICKFORD, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: He was somewhat aloof. He didn't write things down that were emotional, that showed how he felt about things in any real way. He comes off as more bland, maybe, than a Thomas Jefferson, or certainly, a Benjamin Franklin.
UTLEY: Seeing where George Washington lived and died is interesting, but in our hands-on, interactive media age, it's no longer enough. Mount Vernon is planning a new museum and education center, complete with a film produced by Steven Spielberg. Could that lead to a new George Washington?
REES: I think they will be saying, "wow, I never knew George Washington was such a sensational guy."
UTLEY (on camera): Was he a sexy figure?
REES: I think in the 18th century, he was considered very attractive to women, and I think we are going to try to communicate that to people today.
UTLEY (voice-over): And why not? In a land of so much political spin, our first president is about to get his.
Garrick Utley, CNN, Mount Vernon, Virginia.
COOPER: Who knew that in the 18th century, George Washington was a hotty? I didn't know that. I still think it's the wooden teeth. That is NEWSNIGHT for tonight. Be sure to sign up for our daily e-mail. You just go to CNN.com/newsnight, and we will send you an e- mail every day with some very exciting information about the important news of the day, as well as what we're having for dinner.
We'll also warn you when I'm going to be filling in for Aaron. I will see you tomorrow. Thanks a lot for joining us tonight on NEWSNIGHT, and see you again tomorrow night.
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