updated 8/20/2004 9:41:27 AM ET 2004-08-20T13:41:27

Guest: Chris Heinz, Ray McGovern, Robert Greenwald, Cliff May, Ray LaHoo

ANNOUNCER:  DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.

DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST:  Is he John Kerry‘s secret weapon?  Tonight, stepson Chris Heinz, the venture capitalist, stepping out front and center for Kerry...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HEINZ, SEN. JOHN KERRY‘S STEPSON:  I‘d like to say how proud I am of my stepfather and how honored I am to serve his cause.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  ... and defending his often outspoken mom, Teresa Heinz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE OF SEN. JOHN KERRY:  You said something I didn‘t say.  Now, shove it!

CHRIS HEINZ:  There‘s just people who have said some pretty nasty things about her in the past.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Plus, how does Chris Heinz feel about his new image as a sex symbol?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEINZ:  First of all, I think my dad was a lot better looking than me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Another controversial film takes direct aim at the president, this one with CIA officials who go on the record, critical of the administration‘s case for war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And the ties with al Qaeda was just a scare tactic.

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA FIELD OFFICER:  I know what we had, what we didn‘t have, and I‘m here to tell you there was no information.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Tonight, “Uncovered: The War on Iraq.”  Was the intelligence there?  We‘ll have both sides of the controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We found the weapons of mass destruction.  You know, we found biological laboratories.  People are going to find out the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.

NORVILLE:  And good evening, everybody.  The 2004 presidential campaign has truly been a family affair, as the candidates‘ kids are getting an awful lot of exposure out on the campaign trail.  President Bush‘s daughters, Jenna and Barbara, have stepped into the limelight, along with Senator Kerry‘s kids and stepkids and John Edwards‘s three children.  One of Senator Kerry‘s stepchildren, Chris Heinz, quit his job in finance last year to work on the campaign full-time, and he‘s no stranger to politics, although much of it has been as a Republican.  His father, Republican senator John Heinz, died in a plane crash in 1991, but over the years, Chris Heinz‘s political views have changed.  He spoke at last month‘s Democratic convention, introducing his mother, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HEINZ, SEN. JOHN KERRY‘S STEPSON:  My mother in my heart and mind is a force—spiritual, organic and loving, smart, funny and wise.  If, as her son, I can be any two of those things in my life, I‘ll be lucky.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Joining me now, Senator John Kerry‘s stepson. Chris Heinz. 

Good to see you.

HEINZ:  Good to be here.

NORVILLE:  It seems like you guys are playing a much bigger role than maybe you would have expected going into this.  “Newsweek” magazine had a thing where they called you and your brother and the Kerry girls sort of the SWAT team of the Kerry campaign.

HEINZ:  Well, I do think it‘s slightly unique, in the sense that we‘re all sort of newly formed adults, all have our own opinions, all love our stepfather and our mother, all have a flavor for public service.  So you know, we haven‘t grown up in the public eye, but we can make all make our own decisions and be helpful.

NORVILLE:  Yes, but the commentary‘s been pretty positive about you.  “Newsweek” said, “The candidate‘s surrounded by a brigade of well-spoken, fiercely loyal young family members who seem as determined as Kerry himself is to win.”  Where‘s that determination come from?

HEINZ:  Belief in John, belief in the need to change the direction of the country, for me.  I can‘t speak for my siblings, but just a belief that John has a date with destiny—I really believe that—and that he has the right—really, the right tonic—is the right tonic for this country, and that getting into it was sort of a disappointment in this administration, and to a lesser extent, just wanting to be a part of it for the experience.

NORVILLE:  When did you have that sense personally that you thought John Kerry, the man you knew as your stepdad, was the man that you thought ought to be living in the White House?  Was there a moment when...

HEINZ:  No...

(CROSSTALK)

HEINZ:  Not necessarily a moment, you know?  So I‘ve known John for about 10 years.  And I remember when we talked in 2000, we really thought Al Gore was going to be the president.  Al Gore on the night of the election.  But—so that he would...

NORVILLE:  So did Al Gore.

HEINZ:  Yes, so did Al Gore—just be the president for kind of John‘s generation.  And so I‘d never really thought about it because there was an incumbent for the whole time, and then after that—you know, I‘ve talked to John and I‘ve heard him have this conversation with Bill Clinton, which is—you know, in 1992, say, John was 10 years older then or whatever, he still wouldn‘t have been the right guy for the right time.  And now we have a country that needs to repair relationships abroad.  I think it needs sort of a greater vision from what we needed in ‘92, and I think he‘s just the guy to do it.

NORVILLE:  So it‘s really timing, as much as anything?

HEINZ:  I think so.

NORVILLE:  I want to get into the specifics of the campaign, but before that, I want to just get your sense of the tenor.  I get a lot of e-mails from just regular TV viewers who express to me they‘re upset at a meanness that they perceive in the campaign, frankly, coming from both sides.  Do you see that?

HEINZ:  I‘ve got to tell you—and I am completely subjective.  I admit that up front.  But I see it being much worse from the other side.  Now, I know there are a lot of angry Democrats out there and there‘s a lot of avenues for them to express themselves that make it into the media, and some people will say the Kerry campaign is orchestrating it.  But the reality is that what I see from our campaign is a real focus on issues, real focus on a positive message, and it‘s always been that way.

NORVILLE:  And yet the military career seems to be such a big thing. 

I mean...

HEINZ:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  ... both George Bush‘s military service and John Kerry‘s military service.

HEINZ:  Right.

NORVILLE:  And they‘re spending a lot of time on television running commercials about that.

HEINZ:  Yes.  Well, I mean...

NORVILLE:  Should it be a part of the campaign conversation?

HEINZ:  I think I‘d prefer it not.  I think that John‘s record stands for itself.  And the president, who served in the National Guard, you know, by all accounts honorably, speaks for itself.  Now, whether or not John has a greater appreciation for what it‘s like being in an occupying army, which we are in Iraq, I leave that to the viewers to decide.  I would suggest he does.

NORVILLE:  Well, let‘s look at some of the commercials.  There‘s one that is playing right now that was put out there by the swift boat veterans...

HEINZ:  Right.

NORVILLE:  ... association.  And here‘s a snippet of that commercial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I served with John Kerry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I served with John Kerry.

GEORGE ELLIOTT, LT. COMMANDER, 2 BRONZE STARS:  John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam.

AL FRENCH, ENSIGN, TWO BRONZE STARS:  He is lying about his record.

LOUIS LETSON, MEDICAL OFFICER, LT. COMMANDER:  I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury.

VAN ODELL, GUNNER‘S MATE 2ND CLASS:  John Kerry lied to get his Bronze Star.  I know.  I was there.  I saw what happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Now, the GOP says they had absolutely nothing to do with this.

HEINZ:  Right.

NORVILLE:  This is a splinter group that created this commercial.  But there was a research survey that was done that found that these kinds of commercials are really effective in causing second thoughts among those swing voters that are out there.

HEINZ:  Right.  Well, I mean, you know, those guys are saying that they served with John Kerry, and that‘s a pretty powerful statement.  The reality is, none of them served on John‘s boat.

NORVILLE:  They were swift boat guys, but not on the same ship as John Kerry.

HEINZ:  Not on the same one.  And none of them said anything for 35 years, on top of it.  And every member of John‘s crew, the people who served with him—and you know, let‘s see, that‘s what you do, you serve on a boat—are not only supportive of the campaign, but are out there working very hard.  And so I think that speaks volumes.

NORVILLE:  And the flip side is there is a commercial that‘s been put out there by Moveon.org...

HEINZ:  Right.

NORVILLE:  ... that John Kerry disavowed, that Senator McCain disavows, as well, but comes at it from the other point of view.  Let‘s take a look at that one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This election is about character.  It‘s between John Kerry, who left no man behind, and George Bush, who simply left.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  And “George Bush, who simply left,” was the way the commercial ended.  Do you think these kinds of spots help the debate move along?

HEINZ:  No.  I mean, me, personally, I agree with John.  I wish that they were left to the side because, in terms of a battlefield of ideas and creating an agenda for the next four years, I think that we have a far superior offering for the presidency.

NORVILLE:  And yet both of these are coming from splinter groups.  It‘s not the DNC.  It‘s not the RNC doing it.  Are they muddying the waters by throwing this stuff out there?  Because people get emotional about these issues, understandably so.

HEINZ:  Yes.  It‘s—you know, it‘s a right to free speech.  And you know, that‘s what the 527s are all about.  I know they‘ll be looked at very closely after this cycle, but they‘re just a reality for now.  Again, there are people—there are 527s that I think...

NORVILLE:  Which is a special designation...

HEINZ:  A special designation...

NORVILLE:  ... for groups that are not...

HEINZ:  ... for groups that are basically...

NORVILLE:  ... connected with the campaign.

HEINZ:  ... funding this, that have done, certainly, great work on our part and been positive for the Democratic cause, not for John Kerry.  But at the end of the day, it‘s really the negative campaigning and not a function...

NORVILLE:  Yes.

HEINZ:  ... and mistruths that‘s the larger issue.  I mean, if you‘re going to have a 527 and you‘re going to push something positive or you‘re going to be actually truthful about someone‘s record, well, I think that‘s a lot less offensive than what I would consider something that‘s basically libel, in terms of what they‘re saying about John‘s record.

NORVILLE:  I want to look at the issues that are out there.  And there was a Zogby poll that came out this week that looked at the things that people really care about that they‘re going to have to vote on.  And it said 31 percent of the voters continue to identify jobs and the economy as the top issue facing the country.  Next was the war on terrorism.  That was 19 percent.  Iraq was 14 percent, health care and then education.

HEINZ:  Right.

NORVILLE:  Now, the same poll shows that Senator Kerry leads President Bush by 47 percent to 43 percent, but that‘s pretty tight.  That‘s almost within the margin of error.  If John Kerry‘s plan for jobs and the economy is the right plan for America, why haven‘t more people embraced it more vigorously?

HEINZ:  Well, I mean, we don‘t have the same communications tools as the president.  You know, we‘re beginning to get them.  Our first major national sort of exposure vis-a-vis the campaign was at the convention, and I thought it was a very effective convention.  We‘re obviously also dealing with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the power of the incumbency, which I think is a powerful tool.

NORVILLE:  You bet.

HEINZ:  I mean, he is the president of the United States and the leader of the free world, and regardless of what you think about his leadership, that has impact.  But on top of it, I think people are beginning to—I mean, if you look where we‘re spending our resources, in terms of really getting our message out because they‘re the states in play, the battleground states...

NORVILLE:  Right.

HEINZ:  ... we‘re doing better there than on a national basis, and I think we‘ll continue to do it.

NORVILLE:  You know, I don‘t live in a battleground state.  New York is not one of those states.  And I have to say, if I‘m a voter and I don‘t live in one of those battleground states, I feel like, What about me?

HEINZ:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  Isn‘t my opinion important?  And there are a lot of people in America who feel like because they don‘t live in those dozen or so states, they don‘t matter.  What do you say to them?

HEINZ:  I mean, I‘ve felt that a lot.  I‘ve spent a lot of time in the last year-and-a-half working in fund-raising, spending a lot of time in what are sort of the Democratic strongholds of New York, Boston, California, Pacific Northwest.  And one of the things I tell people is, Look, this is—we just have to be pragmatic here.  It‘s one of the things that Democrats have really had to focus on, and they‘ve done a wonderful job.

It is not fun not to get all the—you know, the paid media thrown your way or have the candidate show up as much, but at the end of the day, this is about power, and we‘re going to—we have to do what we need to do, make sacrifices where we can, because we don‘t have unlimited resources.  The No. 1 resource that we‘re constrained by is candidate time, and that‘s...

NORVILLE:  Which is why you guys and your siblings and everybody else is out there.

HEINZ:  Right.

NORVILLE:  We‘re going to take a short back.  We‘re going to be back.  More with Chris Heinz, talking about life on the campaign trail, in just a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEINZ:  I‘d I like to say how proud I am of my stepfather and how honored I am to serve this cause.  When my mom first introduced me to John, I said to myself, Self, the only man good enough for your mother is the president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  Back now with Chris Heinz, who gave up his job as a venture capitalist to help get his stepfather, Senator John Kerry, elected president.

How does being a venture capitalist help you out on the campaign trial?  What‘s that make a difference for?

HEINZ:  Well, you know, I don‘t know if the venture capital and the private equity work makes that big a difference.  I think my kind of graduate school education made a big difference in my ability to express myself, which, again, I‘ll let you decide if that‘s good or bad.  But you know, I went to business school, and we had always—about 70 percent of our grade was class participation, so we were always in sort of a large, open forum, and you were graded on your ability to react.  And so I found that to be a skill that‘s helpful.

I also think that I‘m just—I‘m—you know, I‘m a pretty moderate person, and I think, you know, we‘re representing, in terms of what we‘re trying to deliver for the economy, neither a heavily pro-labor or heavily pro-management message.  We want the best message for America, and I think that my training and also some of the experience I got thereafter gives me a sense of what that is.

NORVILLE:  Where are you going to spend more time during the campaign? 

Where are you personally putting your efforts?

HEINZ:  Well, it‘s hard to say geographically right now because that‘s fluid.  You know, I assume that—and I‘m not a veteran to this, but I assume that is driven by how we‘re doing and what‘s in play and what‘s not.  Certainly, I know the last week or two, that‘ll be the case.

NORVILLE:  Right.

HEINZ:  But demographically, me and my siblings are focusing very much on the 20 to 40-year-old sort of demographic.  And I will be spending time in Pennsylvania because it‘s a place we have roots and some contacts.

NORVILLE:  And it‘s also a state where it wouldn‘t do badly for to you spend a lot of time in.  I mean, I‘ve seen some rumors in some of the articles about you that at some point, you might actually go and consider running for your father‘s old congressional seat.  Is that something that‘s crossed your mind, or is that media talk that just gets people...

HEINZ:  Certainly, I didn‘t put it out there.

NORVILLE:  Do you like the idea?

HEINZ:  I don‘t know.  You know, for me, I‘m just waiting until—you know, right now, I dedicated my life to J.K., you know, and I don‘t want any sort of cross-currents.  It‘s very easy to—I think we call it “perverse incentives,” in terms of who you‘re working for.  I know who I‘m working for.  I know who my boss is.  And I‘m not really worried about my future because I think if we win, I‘ll be in a much better place to decide.

And by the way, you know, the inflection point of November 2 for me couldn‘t be bigger, you know, so I don‘t rally feel a need to have a long-range plans, except for...

NORVILLE:  You look to November 2, then whatever happens, happens.

HEINZ:  Some sort of vacation from thereon.  We‘ll see where we go from there.

NORVILLE:  How has being a part of the campaign changed the family dynamic?  Because you all are working together for the same goal.

HEINZ:  Yes.  I think it‘s improved it.  I know—we‘ve all talked about this, and you know, Vanessa and Alex and I especially.  It‘s—we‘ve seen each other in kind of what I would call stretch assignments, you know, doing things that are—you know, speaking in front of the Democratic national convention or going and speaking at a rally.  And you know, you just get proud of someone when you do that.  In addition, we have empathy for our parents now which we probably didn‘t have before.

NORVILLE:  How about your mom?  She is a very dynamic woman.  She‘s a very outspoken woman.  And she‘s come under criticism for that.  There was that moment in...

HEINZ:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  ... just before the Democratic convention...

HEINZ:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  ... when the guy from the Philadelphia—or the Pittsburgh paper just had at it.

HEINZ:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  And she had it...

HEINZ:  Had it back.

NORVILLE:  ... back at him, yes.

HEINZ:  Well, I certainly don‘t begrudge my mom for defending herself.  and You know, the whole story will never be told, and it‘s really not that interesting, but the reality is that, you know, not everyone has, I don‘t think, fairly reported our family.  And that‘s fine.  That‘s part of what you give up when you get into public life.

NORVILLE:  I want to look at the moment, though, that happened...

HEINZ:  OK.

NORVILLE:  ... because your mom really just gave it right back to him. 

Teresa Heinz Kerry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE OF SEN. JOHN KERRY:  I didn‘t say that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What did you say?

KERRY:  I didn‘t say that!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m just asking you what you said.

KERRY:  Well, why are you—why did you put those words in my mouth?

(CROSSTALK)

KERRY:  You said something I didn‘t say.  Now, shove it!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  You know, I have to say, a lot of people felt like, Good for her.

HEINZ:  Right.

NORVILLE:  She told him where to put it, and a lot of people think the media need to hear that every now and again.

HEINZ:  Right.  Well, you know, I know there are a lot of people—you know, this is a polarized country.  A lot of people loved it, and a lot of people who aren‘t inclined to like my mother or John Kerry who thought, Oh, this just reinforces my negative, you know, stereotype of her.  And I hope that if your vote—you know, you‘re out there listening and your vote is—you‘re still deciding, that you‘ll understand that my mom‘s a human and there‘s people who‘ve—I mean, I‘m not saying that‘s a mistake, there‘s just people who have said some pretty nasty things about her in the past and...

NORVILLE:  How does she deal with all that?  How do you deal with all that, as, you know, her strapping...

HEINZ:  I don‘t know.  We just...

NORVILLE:  ... young son...

HEINZ:  ... get through it.

NORVILLE:  ... who wants to maybe sometimes go and...

HEINZ:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  ... set them straight?

HEINZ:  I usually don‘t listen.

(LAUGHTER)

HEINZ:  You know, I just sort of deal with the people in front of me.  And you know, it‘s gotten easier, now that the sort of opponents are Republicans, in the sense that, you know, I know what the stakes are now.  It was a little more disconcerting in the primary, where people had 90, 95 percent same vision for America, had in other instances previously been allies, certainly allied.  And then you get into a situation where people are almost forced to draw distinctions between themselves, and that‘s too bad.

NORVILLE:  Is there a possibility, just as you and your family—your father was a Republican senator.

HEINZ:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  Your mother changed her registration within the last year, I guess, right?  Maybe a little bit more than that.

HEINZ:  Maybe a little longer.

NORVILLE:  Is there a possibility that you think your example of switching parties is one that you can put out there in a bigger way, that you can somehow take this personal situation and encourage others...

HEINZ:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  ... in the Republican Party to come over?  And how do you make that happen, if it is?

HEINZ:  Well, I don‘t care to make people switch parties.  You know, what—I would love our family story to have something to do with people understanding that personal change and changes in philosophy and growth are fine.  But for me, you know, I‘ll always have identified myself with moderates, whether they be Republicans or Democrats, just people—because I have it seared into my memory, it was my father telling me at a young age that politics was the art of compromise.  And it‘s one of the few pieces of political advice I remember him telling m.  And I don‘t think you can do that if you‘re ideological.

And it‘s one of the reasons I chafe under this president‘s leadership is I don‘t think he really has stretched to compromise very much, and I think that‘s pretty well known.

NORVILLE:  What advice do you think your father would be giving you right now?

HEINZ:  Probably, Work harder, Chris.  No.  You know, Just be yourself.  And I think my dad would also tell me to focus on treating people right, following up with them, treating everyone the same.  I think that‘s really what I think his reputation is for, is treating everyone the same and being respectful of their time.

NORVILLE:  And how do you think he would react to the label that‘s been attached to you, “the campaign stud,” the good-looking guy out there on the campaign trial?

HEINZ:  I think he would...

NORVILLE:  How do you deal with that?

HEINZ:  He would laugh.

NORVILLE:  Yes?

HEINZ:  My brothers would hit me.

NORVILLE:  They probably already have!

HEINZ:  Yes.  And my mom would tell her friends that I‘m actually not that much fun.

(LAUGHTER)

HEINZ:  But quite frankly, I think he‘d probably have a kick out of it.  You know, it‘s one of the things that I wish I—one of the things I didn‘t get to experience because my father died when I was 18, was sort of this whole dating life, which is actually pretty boring, but I would have liked to have known—you know, gotten that kind of father-son advice.  And the advice that John does—my stepfather gives me is very measured and is very impactful because of it, but it‘s not the same sort of ribbing all the time that a dad might give.

NORVILLE:  Well, you‘ve got two brothers who are there to do that for you.

HEINZ:  They‘re wonderful at it.

NORVILLE:  All right.  Chris Heinz, we wish you well.  That‘s for coming.

HEINZ:  Thank you for having me.

NORVILLE:  Nice to see you.

And today, first lady Laura Bush weighed in on one of the things Chris Heinz was talking about, his mother, Teresa Heinz Kerry, telling that journalist to shove it.  Mrs. Bush told “The Washington Times” that she empathized with Mrs. Kerry.  But when asked if she ever felt the impulse to give a journalist a piece of her mind, she said, quote, “Sure.  But so far, I haven‘t.  I‘m much more practiced, frankly, because my husband‘s been president for four years.”

We‘ll be right back.

ANNOUNCER:  Up next: Was Saddam Hussein really stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, or was truth the first casualty of the war in Iraq?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - “UNCOVERED”)

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA FIELD OFFICER:  Where are all of these weapons? 

Where is all this VX?

BUSH:  We won‘t be proven wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  Tonight, both sides of a new, controversial film about the case for war when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

NORVILLE:  Right on the heels of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” there‘s another documentary is coming out which makes some pretty strong accusations against the Bush administration.  “Uncovered: The War on Iraq” opens across the country in theaters tomorrow.  The film is a series of interviews with 25 people from the highest levels of the U.S. government.  Former CIA intelligence analysts, diplomats, weapons inspectors, certainly staff members and a former CIA director all claim that the Bush administration misled the country about its reasons for going to war with Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - “UNCOVERED”)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE:  Iraqi denials of supporting terrorism take their place alongside the other Iraqi denials of weapons of mass destruction.  It is all a web of lies.

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA FIELD OFFICER:  It was a masterful performance, but none of it was true.  Where are all these weapons?  Where is all this VX?  Where is all the anthrax?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Joining me now is Robert Greenwald, the man who produced and directed “Uncovered,” along with two people interviewed in the film, one of whom you just saw a moment ago, Bob Baer, a former field officer for CIA, and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.  Gentlemen, thanks all for being with us.

Mr. Greenwald, you first.  Why did you make this movie?

ROBERT GREENWALD, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR “UNCOVERED”:  Well, I wanted to get this story out.  There are these incredible people, who I consider the real patriots.  Between the 23 people I‘ve interviewed, they worked over 400 years of service for the U.S. government.  I mean, to me, that‘s patriotism.  And...

NORVILLE:  But why this movie?  There have been so many movies that are critical of the administration.

GREENWALD:  This, by the way, is not critical of the administration.  What this is very critical of—and it‘s Republicans, independents and Democrats.  It‘s critical of the reasons we were given for going to war.  It‘s very specific, it‘s very precise.  It doesn‘t say who you should vote for.  But it says, Here‘s what we were told, in the words of the administration, and then here are experts who know reality, telling us, No, that was not true.

NORVILLE:  In sort of the liner notes to this film, you say there was a specific moment when it occurred to you, you needed to personally look deeper into all of this.  What was it?

GREENWALD:  It was a moment when I was reading the newspaper, and it was early one morning because I‘m up at dawn, reading the newspapers.  And there was a story.  In the middle of the story, it talked about programs for weapons of mass destruction.  And I got this knot in my stomach.  I said, Wait a minute.  We didn‘t go for programs.  A program‘s a piece of paper.  And I remembered all those very serious warnings we were given.  And that‘s when I started on this journey to make the film.  And then the next day, I heard about these CIA guys who were saying, Whatever our politics are, we weren‘t given the real reason.  And the information was distorted and misused.  And that is against everything we believe in.

NORVILLE:  And one of those CIA guys was you, Ray McGovern, who has over 27 years of service with the Central Intelligence Administration.  When your phone rang and Mr. Greenwald was on the other end of it, what was your response?

RAY MCGOVERN, FORMER CIA ANALYST:  Well, I was amazed because until then, it was only the BBC or the ABC from Australia or some foreign broadcast service or documentary service that was interested in hearing what we had to say.  And so I was delighted that someone else was interested, and an American.

NORVILLE:  And what is it you were saying? 

MCGOVERN:  We were saying that there was no substance to the charges of weapons of mass destruction.  We were saying this well before the war.  You see, when you are an intelligence analyst, you can get a good feel for if it‘s solid and when it isn‘t.  And we saw Colin Powell, for example, going before the U.N. Security Council with his very dubious intelligence,  we thought that this was really a difference in magnitude.  That the first time in our careers, the U.S. was about to launch an unprovoked war on the basis of no evidence at all. 

NORVILLE:  What specifically about Colin Powell‘s remarks to the U.N.  in February struck you as dubious? 

MCGOVERN:  Well, there are a host of things.  These trailers, these biotrailers, they showed sketches of them as though we had photography or something about them.  We know now that all of that was based on one defector, one refugee, who was known to be a lush and who was known not to have the access that he craved who was referred to us by James Woolsey, previous director of central intelligence and came through that Chalabi chain. 

NORVILLE:  Right.  The Iraqi National Congress.

MCGOVERN:  And we also know that the CIA knew that before Colin Powell gave that speech and that the supervisor in charge of this information warned his subordinates the night before, look, there‘s going to be a war no matter what.  The powers at be almost certainly don‘t care whether this source knows what he‘s talking about or not. 

NORVILLE:  You are one person with the CIA.  Bob Baer, you are another, a CIA field officer in your earlier life.  You had the same concerns.  And your phone rang and Mr. Greenwald was on the other end and he said what to you? 

BOB BAER, FRM. CIA AGENT:  He said, do you want to do a film on Iraq and the intelligence, specifically the intelligence.  This was not a political film as he described it.  He said, is this bad intelligence?  And I said, it is bad intelligence. 

I was a manager in an Iraqi collection program through the 1990‘s.  I know where they were getting this information.  They were getting it from the exiles.  And I‘m calling it trash and I still call it trash.  And they were putting this in finished intelligence reports to justify a war. 

It just struck me as wrong, because I, over the years watched good intelligence come across my desk and bad intelligence.  It‘s clear when it‘s bad, and this was bad from the beginning. 

NORVILLE:  The question is, was it cooked?  Was it bad just because they were listening to people who really weren‘t in the know, or was it bad because it was being massaged once it got to Washington? 

BAER:  It was definitely cooked.  Now, the question is was it cooked in the National Security Council as David Kay is alleging, or was it cooked inside the CIA to please the White House?  I can‘t tell you.  I wasn‘t in the inner circles, but it was definitely cooked. 

This stuff shouldn‘t have made it into the National Intelligence Estimate in October 2002. 

NORVILLE:  And yet it did. 

And Mr. Mcgovern, what I don‘t understand is why, we‘ve have the most competitive news organizations in the country, why were you and Mr. Baer or some of the others who made it into this film standing on the street corner screaming, you got to listen to what I‘ve got to say.  Surely someone of the networks would have put you on. 

MCGOVERN:  We put out memoranda.  We, Professional Intelligence for Sanity—Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, VIPS, 3 memos before the war.  One was called “Cooking Intelligence For War.”  The second was called “Forgery: Hyperbole, Half Truth, A problem Mr. President?” 

We warned as well as we could.  None of the mainstream press picked up our warnings.  We were virtually out on all the street corners.

An important distinction here needs to be made.  The administration was not led into war by faulty intelligence.  The intelligence was, to be sure, very bad.  It was cooked, but it was cooked post-facto.  Decision for war preceded the intelligence by at least six months. 

NORVILLE:  This is a huge claim.  Who was the chef if the intelligence was being cooked? 

MCGOVERN:  Well, the chef was George Tenet, the head of the the CIA, who was happy to pander to the likes of his president.  He was given marching orders when it became necessary to persuade Congress to approve this war. 

See, Congress has the sole prerogative to do a war.  And Congress needed to be persuaded.  And so George Tenet was given that task.  And from that point of view, it was great intelligence, because it succeeded in its primary purpose, that is, to deceive our elected representatives to see their prerogative tool for war to the president. 

NORVILLE:  Needless to say Mr. Greenwald, these are explosive claims that are being brought up in the movie, and we want to be able to hear from an other side, specifically from one member of Congress who had to listen to the intelligence as it was presented. 

We‘ll take a short break.  When we come back, Robert Greenwald, Bob Baer and Ray McGovern will stick around.  And we‘ll also be joined by Congressman Ray LaHood, who is on the House Intelligence Committee, and Cliff May from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy.  They‘ll join our discussions.  Stay tuned. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  ...Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER:  A clear threat to the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Dozens of ballistic missiles.

BUSH:  ...biological and chemical agent to kill millions of people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We were all wrong.  And that is most disturbing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

NORVILLE:  That is a clip from a new documentary that opens tomorrow.  It‘s called, “Uncovered: The War On Iraq.”  Back with me is the movie‘s producer and director, Robert Greenwald.  Also, 2 folks featured in the film, former CIA field officer Bob Baer and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.  And we‘re joined now by Cliff May.  He‘s the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.  And also with us tonight is Republican Congressman Ray LaHood from Illinois.  He‘s a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.  He‘s also the chair of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

I thank both of you for being with us as well.  And congress, I have to tell you, we called the White House, we tried to get somebody from the administration to be with us.  We spoke with the offices of every single member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and every member of the House Intelligence Committee, you were the only one brave enough, I guess, to come in and have this conversation with us.  Why this apparent reluctance? 

REP. RAY LAHOOD ® ILLINOIS:  Well, I can‘t account for why people don‘t want to appear on the program.  I can say this, Deborah, that I think this so-called documentary, which I question that term to describe it, is part of a pattern by moveon.com, by the Democratic Party and by people in this country, including a big segment of the Hollywood crowd who want to trash the president, and trash his policy in Iraq for no other reason than to get John Kerry elected president.

The thing that wasn‘t disclosed in the piece here and in the interview, is that a part of this was paid for by moveon.com (sic), which is an organization whose sole is to elect John Kerry to the presidency of the United States and to trash President Bush.

NORVILLE:  Well, you are right about the financing of that, and we‘ll get into that.  But I want to get to the message of the movie, which is the question of intelligence.  As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, all of this data was presented in a much more complicated and detailed form to you and your fellow committeemen than it might have been to other members of Congress.  You were clearly persuaded by the evidence, that there was enough intelligence to justify the decision to go to war in Iraq. 

LAHOOD:  Well, and that‘s why over 300 members of the House and the vast majority of the Senate, including Senator John Kerry voted for a resolution to allow the president to go in and invade and liberate Iraq, because we felt that the information that was presented to us—and I don‘t see many dissenters out there, Deborah, I really don‘t.  There‘s still an awful lot of support for the president‘s policy, including in part I think Senator Kerry. 

The problem is...

NORVILLE:  So do you think that it‘s Monday morning quarterbacking and these are people who are just upset and have an axe to grind.  Or do you think they‘re looking at the intelligence and genuinely questioning it? 

LAHOOD:  I think what it is, it‘s an effort by a whole group of people tied to the Democratic Party who want to elect John Kerry by trashing the president.  And this is a hot-button issue.  This is one of the defining issues in the campaign: the war in Iraq.  So they can put a documentary—this is “Fahrenheit 9/11,” reprised.  This is the sequel to it, Deborah.  There‘s no question about that. 

NORVILLE:  Let me let Mr. Greenwald respond.  And then we‘re going to get you in here, too, Cliff May. 

First of all, the financing, it‘s true, moveon.org had a role in financing the distribution of this film. 

GREENWALD:  Says it in big bold letters all across it.  I‘m thrilled that they partially give me the money.  They never looked at a frame of film.  They never told me what to say and they never interfered.  And come from Hollywood, where people interfere all the time, no. 1. 

NORVILLE:  Are you trying to shape the course of the election? 

GREENWALD:  No. 

NORVILLE:  Do you want people to vote Democrat come November 2? 

GREENWALD:  My personal feelings and the movie...

(CROSSTALK)

GREENWALD:  Let me finish.  Let me finish.  Excuse me.  We‘re not on Fox News, you cannot cut me off. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  Do you want people vote Democratic?  Is that your objective? 

GREENWALD:  No.  That is not your objective with the film.  In my heart...

LAHOOD:  Do you support John Kerry for president? 

GREENWALD:  Excuse me.  Could I finish please? 

LAHOOD:  Do you support John Kerry for president?

NORVILLE:  Hold on just a second.  We‘ll get there.

GREEWALD:  We‘re not on Fox News.  Cut it out.  Personally, I would like people to vote Democrat, that‘s not what the purpose of the film. 

As you notice, I never in the movie, say who you should vote for.  We never focus on that.  And there are Republicans in the film.  The only thing we talk about—and I‘m sorry that these gentlemen won‘t address the issue—let‘s talk about the reasons we were given to go to war, do they still believe and accept the reasons that the president gave us?  The 23 experts say those reasons were not valid. 

NORVILLE:  Let‘s bring Cliff May into the discussion.  Mr. May, you are a former reporter for the New York Times, have also served as a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.  So you have a variety of experiences behind you.  Are you persuaded that the intelligence presented before the war was as accurate as the administration intended it to be? 

CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES:  Deborah, this is what is important for people to understand wherever they come down politically, our intelligence has been substandard, the intelligence delivered to President Bush was substandard, the intelligence to president Clinton was substandard and it goes back a long way. 

Robert Baer, who is on this show now, has written some very good books.  In one of them, he talks about being an agent in the U.K.  And knowing very well in which mosques terrorists were being recruited.  He was prohibited from doing investigation in those mosques by CIA rules.  And Bob, I know you‘ll correct me if you think I‘m wrong. 

When you don‘t have good intelligence collection and you don‘t often have good analysis, you are left to all kinds of deduction.  For example, in 1998 when Saddam Hussein refused to allow the inspectors to do their job and they eventually had to leave, the deduction that was made by President Clinton, by Vice President Gore was that Saddam Hussein was restocking his arsenals of weapons of mass destruction. 

Keep in mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in the past, had the recipes and materials to make them in the future and he had used weapons of mass destruction.  Keep in mind that in 1991, we found out that his nuclear weapons program was further along than the CIA had estimated.  Keep in mind that when Libya gave up the weapons program, they were further along than the CIA estimated.  We need better intelligence than this, but we also need to stop blaming like this. 

NORVILLE:  Does a film like this serve the cause of making it better? 

MAY:  No, this doesn‘t.  This film, I do think, is propagandistic.  I think it‘s taking kernels of truth and then distorting in a vendetta against President Bush, just as this producer has a vendetta against Fox News.  That doesn‘t help people to understand the problem, or how we go about solve it.  And it‘s a serious problem at a time when we are fighting a war against terrorists, who seek to destroy us. 

NORVILLE:  Congressman, is there an effort afoot—you‘ve seen the recommendations from the 9/11 commission, you‘ve seen all the discussions that have gone on.  Is there a movement afoot on Capitol Hill right now, to do something to enable the agents in the field to get better intelligence so that it goes up the chain more expeditiously and it gets accurately to the people who really need to be able to process this? 

LAHOOD:  Well, I think there is, Deborah, and that‘s why the hearings have been going on.  And that‘s why the president has come out in support of the so-called intelligence czar.  That‘s why there will be a bill before Congress this fall in September, late September, to try and create an opportunity to implement the 9/11 recommendations, many of which are very, very significant and important recommendation that I think Congress is really going to try to follow through on. 

NORVILLE:  I think that‘s something I‘m seeing heads bob up and down across the board.  We‘ll take a break on that affirmative note.  We‘ll be back in a moment. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  We‘re back now talking about the new documentary called “Uncovered: The War On Iraq.”  There‘s a clip in the movie where one of the claims is that the administration has just simply gotten too involved with CIA information and with the CIA in general.  Here‘s a glimpse of the movie. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAER:  The whole purpose of the CIA was to leave the people out at Langley.  That‘s why they‘re not in Washington, they‘re in Northern Virginia away from the White House, away from Congress.  Leave them alone.  Ask them what they think, but don‘t tell them to rethink their positions. 

Because then you come up with nonsense like we saw. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Congressman is, there a concern on Capitol Hill that there‘s too much crossover between the administration and what goes on in Langley? 

LAHOOD:  Well, look, the CIA is there to provide the very best information that can be provided to the president and his team so that decisions can be made about where people are in the world that want to hurt Americans, hurt our American system or go after our embassies.  That‘s what the CIA is about, to collect information and provide it to provide it to the highest officials including those of us that serve on the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee and to the president and his team.  That‘s the purpose of the CIA.

NORVILLE:  But Bob Baer, your point in making that in the movie was what? 

BAER:  The point is the CIA‘s politicized.  It is truly, truly broken.  Congress looked into the CIA in the 1970‘s and it got a little too deep into its operation and was blamed for wrecking the CIA.  The Church/Pike (ph) committees. 

Congress has not had enough oversight to take a look at this intelligence, and I think that‘s what has to change.  We have to...

LAHOOD:  You know Deborah, the criticism in the report—Deborah, the criticism in the 9/11 commission is that Congress has too much oversight, that there are far too many committees.  You can‘t have it both ways here. 

NORVILLE:  What do you think, Ray McGovern, ought to be done? 

MCGOVERN:  You can have too many committees with not enough oversight. 

NORVILLE:  What do you think the answer is? 

MCGOVERN:  Well, the answer is to depoliticize the process...

LAHOOD:  Well, you don‘t depoliticize about it by putting a documentary out. 

MCGOVERN:  May I continue, Congressman?  What is really necessary is to take a couple of steps back and get perspective on this.  And I made the point before that the decision—Congressman LaHood is part right, that the CIA is there to inform decisions, OK?  But the decision to make war in Iraq had nothing to do with the intelligence, it had everything to do with oil and Israel. 

MAY:  That is such nonsense and that exposes your whole agenda here. 

MCGOVERN:  May I please continue. 

MAY:  Please do, but I want to respond to that kind of nonsense. 

NORVILLE:  I will come to you, Cliff. 

MCGOVERN:  Let me explain here.  We had 9/11 and before 9/11, both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were clear in saying Saddam Hussein has no weapons of mass destruction.  9/12, the president is trying to get Richard Clarke to blame it on Iraq.  On March 2, the president ducks his head into a room where Condoleezza Rice is talking with senators and using an F word saying, and he says, we‘re going to take him out, F Saddam.  We‘re going to take him out.  In June, Richard Haas, the head of policy planning, wants to talk to the president and is told by Condoleezza Rice, don‘t waste your breath.  The decision has been made. 

NORVILLE:  Let me stop you there, because we are limited in time. 

Cliff May, please.

MAY:  A couple of things.  George Tenet was CIA director under both President Clinton and Bush, as you know.  We know from Bob Woodward‘s book that when President Bush said to George Tenet, do you think that these stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction still exist, George Tenet, the head of the CIA said, Mr. President, it is a slam dunk.  He repeated that, a slam dunk. 

Now, we do have a broken system, but not for the reasons Mr. Mcgovern says.  The fact that we have a broken system should be obvious from 9/11.  Here was the most catastrophic attack in American history.  Throughout the 1990‘s, al Qaeda was preparing for it.  They trained 20,000 terrorists in Afghanistan.  Did the CIA know about it?  What did the CIA recommend we do about it?  Could the CIA really not foresee that a plane would be used to knock down buildings when planes have been used to deliver bombs against Americans in...

(CROSSTALK)

MAY:  20 years ago?

NORVILLE:  Well, that‘s sort of off the message of this.  And we‘ve heard that and we know that it‘s yet another ball that got dropped. 

MAY:  The CIA is broken in a lot of ways.  And one of the things is that what the CIA needs to be doing is not what Mr. Mcgovern is doing, which is spouting policy and conspiracy theories.  The CIA needs to collect intelligence, needs to evaluate that intelligence and give it to policy makers to make policy. 

But too many people like Mr. Mcgovern, they have their own agenda, they want to make the policies themselves, they don‘t want people like President Bush to do it and they want to blame everybody but themselves for the failures of the CIA throughout the 1990‘s and before. 

NORVILLE:  Last word goes to our filmmaker.

GREENWALD:  Twenty-three people I interviewed, 450 years experience with the government, weapons inspectors, Pentagon, foreign service and CIA, to a man and a woman, they agreed that the information was distorted and the information was misused.  And that‘s a debate we need to have and I‘d I love to have it with these gentlemen after they‘ve seen the movie at another time. 

NORVILLE:  All right.  The movies called “Uncovered.”  I‘m going to let that be the last word, sir.  We are totally out of time.  But I‘ll end it with a quote from Mark Twain, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and the government when it deserves it.”  We‘ll be back.

Thanks to Robert Greewald, Ray McGovern, Bob Baer, Cliff May and Congressman Ray LaHood.

When we come back, we‘ll be picking up the pieces, or at least watch some other people do it in Punta Gorda, Florida as much needed help goes from across the country down to folks down south.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  This week‘s American moment is about good samaritans from Kentucky who came to aid of victims from Hurricane Charley.  While a number of towns in Florida are continuing to pick up the pieces, and folks are trying to get their lives back in order, how is this for being a helping hand?  30 volunteers from the Kentucky Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Team paid their own way, traveled down to Florida to bring food and help to clean up from the storm. 

The team from Kentucky is one of a number of Baptist teams around the country that are on standby to lend a helping hand in situations like this.  And this team makes up this week‘s American Moment.

Send your ideas and comments to us at norville@MSNBC.com.  We‘ve got some emails posted on our Web page.  That address is Norville.MSNBC.com.  Which is also where you can sign up for our newsletter. 

That‘s our programs for tonight.  Thanks for watching.  I‘m Deborah Norville. 

Coming up tomorrow night, Suzanne Somers.  She‘s gone from playing a ditzy blond in “Three‘s Company” to becoming a very successful entrepreneur, running her own business.  She talks with me about her life, her career and what she says is her newest challenge, menopause.  Suzanne Somers tomorrow night. 

Coming up next, Joe Scarborough and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”  We‘ll see you tomorrow. 

END   

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