FTN - 7/15/01

face the nation logo, 2009

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation, Washington D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey on the case of the missing intern.

Chandra Levy has been missing over two months now, and last week Congressman Gary Condit took a private lie detector test and his attorney says he passed. Is that good enough for the D.C. police? What's the next step in the investigation? We'll ask Chief of Police Charles Ramsey.

Then we'll talk about the case with former U.S. Attorney Joe dDiGenova, former federal prosecutor David Schertler and former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary.

Gloria Borger is here, and I'll have a final word on campaign finance reform, but first, Chief Ramsey on Face the Nation.

And joining us here in the studio, Chief Charles Ramsey. Chief, thank you very much for coming.

Well, as you heard in the introduction there, we reported that last week Congressman Condit, who has been linked romantically with this missing woman, Chandra Levy, took a lie detector test. But as you know, he took it under the supervision of his own attorney. The attorney says he's clean. Is that good enough for you?

CHARLES RAMSEY, Washington, D.C. Police Chief: Well, it's not. I mean, first of all we don't know what questions were asked. It's unusual to have an examination like that given where the examiner doesn't even know the facts of the case. So I'm very interested in seeing the results and seeing the questions. But there is no opportunity for follow-up, and we certainly had no input into the questions that were asked.

SCHIEFFER: Well, in other words, you think under this condition, these conditions, that he could beat the lie box as they say?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, anybody could do that if you know what the questions are and certainly the questions that you already know you can pass.

So we have a lot of different angles that we're working in this particular case. We're interested in more than just whether or not there's a direct connection but also an indirect connection. And those are the things that we haven't had the opportunity to talk about.

SCHIEFFER: What questions would you ask?

RAMSEY: Well, you know, I'm not going to get into specific questions. But certainly through the relationship, could she have been exposed to someone else that we don't know about that we need to be talking about? That would be one of the areas I would be interested in. Certainly more information about the nature of the relationship. Hammering down, tying down rather, some of the time lines that we've talked about that he has made public. Those are some areas that I'm very interested in.


GLORIA BORGER, U.S. News & World Report: Are you still asking his lawyer for your own polygraph?

RAMSEY: I think that's a waste of time quite frankly. I mean, if they wanted us to be involved in that, then they would have let us know what thewere doing. I'm not surprised that they did one in advance, just to know whether or not he could pass it. But I am surprised that they're giving us that and saying that's the test and that's pretty much it.

BORGER: So you think that's not going to happen now?

RAMSEY: I mean, we'll ask, but I am not optimistic that we're going to make any progress. It was voluntary, he didn't have to submit to that. He doesn't have to submit to one from us. So we'll just have to move on.

BORGER: You have her computer. You have her cell phone records. We've all heard that there was a lot of activity on her computer that morning of her disappearance, sometime between 9:30 and 1:00, that she visited a lot of travel web sites. What can you tell us about that? Did she book a flight somewhere?

RAMSEY: No, we don't have anything that shows that she booked a flight. And we've checked flights, we've checked rail, we've checked all means of methods of transportation. And nothing that we've come up with yet.

But there was quite a bit of activity for about a three-hour period from 9:30 on, which is important for a couple of reasons: One, there was a call that came out early in the morning from an individual in the building of what she thought she heard some kind of scream. Now, we did dispatch someone to the scene, didn't find anything. But we do know that Ms. Levy was very active on her computer more than three hours after that particular call came in, so it doesn't really point to that being something that we need to be...

SCHIEFFER: Wait a minute, let me go back. You're saying that the police were called to her apartment on the day that she disappeared?

RAMSEY: Yes, there are some transcripts. And, of course, part of what we did was check all 911 tapes. And we did that early on in the investigation. And it is apparent that there was a call from a resident in the building about four hours prior to that activity that we talked about on the computer. So that's a vital piece of investigation.

SCHIEFFER: She heard a scream?

RAMSEY: Well, she heard what she thought was a scream. And we dispatched right away, and the officer didn't find anything. But now we know from computer records, and we've known for some time that from 9:30 to 1:00 - and this was like 4:30 in the morning, if my memory serves me correct - there was a great deal of activity on her computer.

So, again, something that we're looking at. We're looking at all aspects of this thing. But that computer activity, a significant amount happened afterwards.

BORGER: So you're saying Chandra was in her apartment at the time somebody called 911 reporting to have heard a scream. Does that lead you to believe that that was completely unrelated to Chandra?

RAMSEY: Well, we're certainly looking for every link we can and anything, whether she was in her apartment at that time or wasn't in he apartment or whatever. But from the e-mail message she sent her mother, from the surfing of the web, for lack of a better word to describe the other activity that was taking place, there's nothing that would be suspicious in nature that would lead us to believe that, you know, she had been attacked or there was some problem or whatever. It could just be coincidence, but certainly it is something that our investigators have looked at.

SCHIEFFER: Now, Chief, my understanding is that one of those web sites that she may have contacted at that time was Mapquest. Why, if she was going to go on an airplane, would she be checking into Mapquest? And does that raise any possibilities?

RAMSEY: Well, those are all questions that we need to have answered. And certainly the inquiries she was making over the Internet are leads that we are following and have followed already. Again, we had this information pretty early on in the investigation, and we've already explored a lot of things there, and we're going back over a lot of that information.

SCHIEFFER: Now, we all assumed in the beginning that when we talked about she was leaving, she was going back home. Have you run across anything that leads you to believe that she might have been going someplace else? Is there any suggestion in there that it might have been some international travel that she was contemplating?

RAMSEY: Well, she visited quite a few sites inquiring about a few cities. I'm not going to get into the specifics around that. But, again, you know, it's not unusual for people to get on the web and look at a variety of things. She was going to go home. It could have been some plans she had after she got home. We just don't know the answer to that. The one person that could answer it we haven't been able to find, and that's Chandra herself.

BORGER: There are also cell phone records, obviously. There are reports that there are multiple phone calls to Gary Condit the day before she disappeared or the day she disappeared. Can you tell us anything about that?

RAMSEY: Well, I can't get into the specifics about those kinds of things. We do have cell phone records. We've got bank records. We've got a variety of records that indicate a lot of things, but we just can't talk specifically about that sort of thing.

SCHIEFFER: But can you tell us whether or not she did contact the congressman there in those days, in those hours in question?

RAMSEY: The congressman himself has said that they've had some contact. So, I mean, that's something he has said and his attorney has said.

But again, we're looking at things way beyond the congressman. We're not just focusing on him. This isn't a one-dimensional investigation here, a lot of possibilities here and a lot of people we're talking to.

SCHIEFFER: Have you given lie detector tests to anyone in this case?

RAMSEY: Well, I'm aware tat that has come out. Let's just say that that's a tool that we take advantage of. It's something that we commonly ask if people would be willing to do. We aren't shy about doing that sort of thing. And I can't speak specifically as to whether or not we have. However, it is something that we commonly do.

SCHIEFFER: But you're not going to tell me today yes or no?

RAMSEY: Well, I can't tell you that because there is some information that we will not make public. But we have asked several people, and I'll leave it at that.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I take it that you still want to talk to Gary Condit some more.

RAMSEY: Well, of course, it's a possibility. Of course, our detectives are the ones that are spearheading this. We kind of re-group and see where we're at. We need to certainly take a look at this polygraph and find out what questions were asked, have our experts take a look and read it. And that may generate some more interest and questions.

BORGER: Chief, there are some who have posited theories that perhaps there is a serial killer in this Dupont Circle neighborhood here in Washington. Do you give that much credence?

RAMSEY: Well, it's certainly a possibility that we have looked into, but I've not seen anything that would indicate that.

The three cases, in particular, that one of which, of course, includes Chandra Levy, that have been used are the young woman from '98 that left the barbecue and was walking home. That looked more like a crime of opportunity. We did recover the remains and the instrument that was used to kill her. Joyce Chiang, the missing INS lawyer, whose body was recovered some three months or so later in the Potomac. But again, we've not really seen the connection there, although we're looking at it.

And then, of course, now with Chandra, the mysterious thing about that is we've found absolutely nothing. At least with the other two we had something there. But this is unusual in that we've just not found anything.

SCHIEFFER: Let me go back to just one thing. From listening to you here, do I understand that the lie detector results from the test that was administered under the supervision of Mr. Condit's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, that you have not yet received those results?

RAMSEY: Well, I haven't personally seen them. Now, whether or not they came late Friday or Saturday or what have you, I quite frankly don't know, I don't believe so. I think that's a piece of information I would have gotten by now. But hopefully we'll get them Monday and be able to have our folks look at them.

BORGER: Billy Martin says, the family's attorney, says that the procedure that Chandra Levy used to use when meeting Congressman Condit was to leave her apartment without any ID, that this is a procedure that he apparently told her to use.

And of course, the mystery that everybody is thinking about is that she happened to have let her apartment this time with only her keys. And so, I guess the question is here, why do you believe someone would leave her apartment with just her keys?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, again, you know, we're in a position where the only person who can really answer that is her. However, I do know that if someone is leaving for what they believe to be a short period of time for whatever reason, they just grab their keys, lock the door and figuring they're going to be back right away.

We don't know whether or not she had any money in her pocket. If she was going to the store just to buy a few items and she could have just used whatever cash she had available to her. That in and of itself doesn't necessarily tell us anything, but it's certainly something that we're looking at. It's just one more dimension in this particular case.

SCHIEFFER: Do you have anything to suggest that maybe she was lured from the apartment? I mean, could she have received a phone call that said there's a package for you at the desk, or could you come downstairs, I'm in my car or something of that nature?

RAMSEY: Anything's possible, and we're certainly looking into all those kinds of things. But one thing we do know is she's a pretty cautious woman and just wasn't one to just throw her a door open to anybody if there was a knock at the door and things like that. I mean, it just doesn't fit that it would be a stranger or something like that.

SCHIEFFER: Now, you made a very extensive search of the apartment the other night. A lot of this went to the forensic labs. Have you gotten any results back from that?

RAMSEY: We haven't gotten the results back. We sent all of our material to the FBI here in the District. We don't have our own labs, so we actually account for about 20 percent of the total workload of the FBI. So we sent everything there. We've yet to get anything back in terms of any forensic analysis.

SCHIEFFER: Do you have any physical evidence that you've come upon yet that would be relevant to this case that you can tell us about?

RAMSEY: Don't know until we get the analysis back. We don't know what we have, but we're certainly grateful we had an opportunity to search the apartment.

BORGER: After two months of this investigation, do you believe you are any closer to finding Chandra Levy than you were at the outset?

RAMSEY: Well, we've got more information than we had at the outset. But we certainly can't answer the question of what happened to Chandra Levy, and that's the one question we need to have answered.

SCHIEFFER: Chief, I want to thank you very much for coming this morning.

I also want to put up on the screen now the hotline and the tipline that if anyone has any information about the whereabouts of this young woman or anything else that you think would be relevant to solving this case, if you'll call the number on the screen there, te D.C. police will get right on the case.

Chief, thank you so much for coming.

When we come back, we're going to talk more about this case with a panel of legal experts in just a minute.


SCHIEFFER: And with us now from Fenwick Island, Delaware, as we continue this discussion, former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova. Here in our studio, former prosecutor David Schertler and former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary.

Gentlemen, thank you all.

Mr. McCrary, I want to start with you. For 25 years over at the FBI, you were the person who kind of drew up the profile about who the most likely suspects would be. So who fits the profile in this case?

GREGG McCRARY, Former FBI Profiler: The problem is, we don't have a crime or a crime scene to evaluate, and that's really critical in developing a profile.

With that situation, what you have to do is just start with the probabilities and work out. And what we know, assuming that perhaps a crime has occurred, she's a victim of violence, you start with the victim and work out. And think of it in terms of concentric circles, starting with the people closest to her, especially those with an intimate relationship, are the most likely people to be involved in violence, and then work out. As you can eliminate those, then keep working out until the farthestmost rung is the stranger approach or a random act of violence or a serial killer.

And that's what the police need to do, and it appears to be what they are doing. And that's the correct way to approach it.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think they're on the right track now?

McCRARY: Yes. These are very difficult cases, and don't underestimate the sort of the daunting task that investigators are facing, because, like I say, it isn't a crime.

We don't have any forensic evidence. We just don't have much to go on at all. So these are difficult cases. But they're certainly approaching it in the correct manner.

SCHIEFFER: Joe diGenova, you're a former U.S. attorney. Do you believe this polygraph that was given to Mr. Condit clears him, as his lawyer says it does? Because this morning Chief Ramsey seemed to suggest he has a lot more questions to ask.

JOSEPH diGENOVA: Oh, I don't think the polygraph clears Congressman Condit in the eyes of the police or the public.

The polygraph is a useful tool. It's not infallible. And when it's given by your own attorney with the questions being prepared, there can be some prejudice introduced into the polygraph.

And I think the police quite properly wanted to do their own, and it seems almost impossible to me that Mr. Lowell would ever agree to have the congressman take a polygraph done by the police, because its results would be unpredictable.

SCHIEFFER: Well, that was a part that surprised me in the beginning. I have heard of very few defense lawyers that offer their client up for a polygraph test.

diGENOVA: That's right.

SCHIEFFER: And you had to wonder what was going on there. Now, do you think the fact that he's done it in this way raises suspicions about Mr. Condit, rather than clears him?

diGENOVA: Well, I don't think there's any question that, as a public relations gimmick, it probably has backfired. Because the way to successfully have a public relations and a factual success would have been to have the police give the polygraph and to have them say that it showed no deception.

Because of the manner in which this was done - and I understand that the police had no idea it was happening and were in fact led to believe that they were going to do it - it has a quality of deception in and of itself done about it which, I think, taints the effort and goes along with the same thing that's happened from the beginning with the congressman, which is he himself has personally never said anything about this. And that is, for him, the worst possible situation.

BORGER: Mr. Schertler, if Gary Condit were your client right now, what would you advise him to do?

DAVID SCHERTLER, Former Federal Prosecutor: Well, that's a tough position, that's a tough question to ask. And the problem that you have with Gary Condit is, representing a high-profile public figure, a politician like this often contradicts what you would normally be doing representing an ordinary criminal defendant.

In an ordinary criminal case, what you advise your client is, don't cooperate with police interviews, don't give them consent to search your apartment, don't give them DNA, don't take a polygraph test.

But when you're worried about the political future of your client, what Abbe Lowell is doing is presenting the aura of a client who's being cooperative with law enforcement authorities. And I think Abbe Lowell is in a tough position, and he is trying to kind of walk a thin line.

He would be criticized if Gary Condit took a polygraph test by the police and was found to be deceptive. Everybody would be asking, why would Abbe Lowell agree to such a thing? So what Abbe Lowell does is have his own polygraph examiner test Gary Condit, say he passed the test and that should be it. And I think that's the problem that Abbe Lowell faces in representing Gary Condit.

SCHIEFFER: What do you make - we heard something new this morning, because we heard the chief reveal, and I think probably for the first time, that on the day that she disappeared, the police were called to that apartment, someone there reported hearing a scream. I mean, a scream is a scream, but what do you make of that, Dave?

SCHERTLER: Well, that would certainly be something that you'd want to look at closely if you were the police investigators and try to figure out what the caller heard, what the caller reported when she was interviewed by the police and whether there was any other suspicious activity going on in the apartmenbuilding during the night.

But the problem is, I think, from the chief's perspective, is that long after that report was made, you still have her being active on her computer, which would seem to indicate that the scream is nothing.

BORGER: Mr. McCrary, do you think, given all your experience as an FBI profiler, that Gary Condit is behaving like an innocent man here?

McCRARY: Well, he's...

BORGER: Or a scared man?

McCRARY: He's behaving like a scared man, that's for sure.

He can either be ruled in or ruled out as a suspect in this thing. And although the police have gone to great lengths to say he's not a suspect - many of us are not a suspect but police are not coming to many of us or your viewers asking to search our residences or ask us to take a polygraph exam.

He certainly has to be ruled out and eliminated. And, as I indicated earlier, you start with the people closest to the victim and work their way out. So they've got to work to get themselves to the point they're convinced that he's not involved in this.

But as the chief said earlier, they're looking at many, many other dynamics and many other suspects as well, or potential suspects in the case. And that's the way it should be.

SCHIEFFER: Does anybody here think this young woman could still be alive? Joe diGenova?

diGENOVA: No, I think that's highly unlikely, Bob. Of course there is always the possibility that she has voluntarily absented herself for some reason, but all the indications are that she was a happy individual. The latest conversations with her before she disappeared indicated that she was fine. Everything indicates foul play, and I think there is no reason to believe she as alive. Obviously we all hope that she is.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Schertler, where should the police go now? It appears to me they've just sort of run out of leads.

SCHERTLER: That's the problem, Bob. They have run out of leads. Obviously they're doing what we would call investigative steps of last resort. They're trying to search abandoned buildings. They're trying to redo interviews with people they've already interviewed and run criminal checks.

The problem is that they don't know what direction to go in. And really what we have found in cases like this, the way they get solved is the people who are involved with Chandra Levy's disappearance, if they talk to other people and that word eventually filters back to police. That will give the police a solid lead and a solid direction to go in their investigation.

(UNKNOWN): By the way, Bob, let me just say that is precisely why when the congressman did not cooperate during the early weeks of this investigation, his failure to be forthcoming was a major setback, because someone as close to her as he was is precisely the type of person that police want to talk to. And by not being candid with them about the nature of the relationshp and other things that might have helped them reach out, he hindered this investigation very seriously.

SCHIEFFER: And you say that in the sense that whether he had anything or nothing to do with this?

(UNKNOWN): Correct. It doesn't mean he had anything to do with it. But when you are that close to someone and have that type of relationship with her, you are precisely the type of person that the police want to speak to.

BORGER: Well, is there an obstruction-of-justice issue here? Let me ask Mr. McCray.

McCRARY: Well, there potentially could be, and that's what's being evaluated, I'm sure.

The other issue - and let me talk from an investigative perspective here. For example, Ms. Smith, the airline attendant who has come forward, she has reported that the congressman told her that she could sign this affidavit because this case will likely never come to trial. Well, that gets my attention.

(UNKNOWN): Exactly.

MCCRARY: A case that would never come to trial? That certainly suggests that he has some knowledge that a crime may have been committed. And that's what's going to peak the interests of investigators and want to make them pursue that further.

UNKNOWN): I would disagree, respectfully, with Greg on that. I don't think his telling Anne Marie Smith not to talk about their relationship necessarily implies that he had anything to do with the crime.

Frankly, I personally don't think that he had anything to do with the crime. When you look at that question, what you have to ask yourself is, well, how would he have done it? I mean, he has an apartment in Adams Morgan. She lives in the central business district in Washington. He would have killed her in the apartment. He would have then tried to take the body and put it someplace. How could he have done all those things without there being some evidence?

At the same time we have some information that his wife was in town for that period of time. It just seems to me that when you look at the whole picture, it's inconceivable that Congressman Condit was really involved in foul play.

McCRARY: Again, I don't know that he would be, but his behavior is what piques the interests of investigators, that's for sure.

SCHIEFFER: Well, it's a mystery. Gentlemen, I want to thank all of you for being with us this morning.

I'll be back in a minute with a final word.


SCHIEFFER: And finally today, on a totally different subject, have I not seen this movie before? Campaign finance reform, which would have cut off those unlimited back-door contributions called soft money, got derailed again last week.

Neither party wants public credit for killing it. It's better politics to blame the other party, which both parties are doing. Republican leaders have never liked these reforms, and Democratic support began to melt when it looked as if the reformmight actually become law.

Now by killing reform with parliamentary tactics on a procedural vote in the House last week, they have the best of all worlds. The money will keep rolling in, and they can blame the other side.

And they finally got even with John McCain, who has made enemies in both parties by pushing reform for so long.

But here's the irony: McCain has been saying all along he has no plans for run for president as a third-party independent candidate. But doesn't this give him the perfect excuse? The script writes itself. Both parties are so beholden to the big money interests, it will take someone else to clean up the mess and on and on and on.

Now, I have no idea what McCain will do, but could you make the case that the only person who came out of this stronger politically than he went in is McCain because it gives him that issue to run on. I'm not sure that's what opponents of campaign finance reform had in mind.

That's it for us. We'll see you next week right here on Face the Nation.

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