FTN - 7/29/01

face the nation logo, 2009

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and the latest on the missing intern from D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey.

Secretary of State Colin Powell just finished the Bush administration's highest-level talks to date with Chinese officials. Did he make any headway on a missile defense system or on human rights? Can the United States do anything about the latest violence in the Middle East? All of these are questions for the national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice.

Then we'll turn to the case of the missing intern and talk with D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey and with two reporters who've been covering the story, Tom Squitieri of USA Today and Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee.

Gloria Borger'll be here, and I'll have a final word on role models. But, first, Condoleezza Rice on Face the Nation.

ANNOUNCER: Face the Nation, with Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer. And now from CBS News in Washington, Bob Schieffer.

SCHIEFFER: Good morning, again. And we welcome now the national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, her first appearance on Face the Nation.

Ms. Rice, let's start right with it. You are just back from Moscow. Secretary of State Powell has been in China. Do you feel you have made any headway in convincing either of the leaders of these two countries about America's case for building an anti-missile defense system?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, National Security Adviser: I think we are making progress, particularly with the Russians, who are, after all, our partners in the ABM Treaty. And we've made the case to the Russians that it's time to move beyond the treaty to something that's more appropriate to the post-Cold War era.

And missile defense is a part of a larger framework that the president is presenting, with the lower offensive numbers, with non-proliferation efforts. And we're going to begin now on a very intensive set of discussions with the Russians about how to get this done.

I think we're quite a long way from where we were in January, if you look at the statement that President Putin and President Bush put out out of Genoa. It clearly talked about a framework in which we would talk about both offense and defense. That's a step forward.

With China, it's very clear that we do need to intensify our consultations with the Chinese, largely because of the EP-3 incident. At about the time that we were going out for broader consultations, we didn't engage the Chinese at the level we would have liked to have. So I think we will begin to do that now.

SCHIEFFER: When you say the EP-3, you mean the spy plane incident?

RICE: That's right, that's right.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this. You say that you plan to replace the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. What will we do? Will we formally withdraw from the treaty? And what will you put n its place?

RICE: Well, we're open as to form right now. We do know that we need to do something else. This treaty is very restrictive. We cannot test properly under the constraints of this treaty, and we really do believe that it is the wrong basis for a cooperative U.S.-Russian relationship, since it was a treaty based on the hostility of the Soviet Union and the United States.

But we're open as to form. We will talk with our allies. We will talk with the Congress. We will talk with the Russians about how to do this.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask one other question, because I want to clear up something. One of the things that you said during your news conference after your meeting with President Putin, you said, we are not prepared now to get involved in, quote, "the kind of tortured arms control talks that occurred in the past over numbers of strategic weapons."

Are you saying now that the number of weapons in the arsenals no longer matters?

RICE: Not at all. The president has made clear, President Bush, that he wants to reduce the number of American offensive arms. And President Putin has said that he wants to reduce Russian arms.

But what we don't need is to count every warhead and to try to match our arsenals exactly. We don't need to cross every "t" and dot every "i" in the way that we did in negotiations that took 11, 12 years. It's a different era. We can have different kinds of discussions about this.

SCHIEFFER: Well, can I just ask you why?

RICE: Because we are not locked now in a relationship in which the only thing that we and the Soviet Union had in common was to keep from annihilating one another. This is a different relationship with Russia. The process by which we get to security forces that do in fact secure us ought to be a different process.

GLORIA BORGER, U.S. News & World Report: So you say you're open to form on this. Tell us, if you got your wish, what form would it be then, if you're not counting every missile, OK?

RICE: Well, I think that we really believe that the United States and Russia ought to talk together about what we each believe is necessary to secure us. We may not need to have exactly the same number of offensive warheads. We may not have exactly the same profile of what kinds of missile defenses we may wish to deploy.

The arms control treaties of the 1970s and 1980s came out of a peculiar, abnormal relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. It really is the case that almost everything else was a zero-sum game. We had very little with which to cooperate with the Soviet Union.

That is not true with Russia. Russia is not a strategic adversary of the United States. We're not enemies. So the process can look different. We're cooperating in the Balkans. We're cooperating on Nagorno-Karabakh. That would have been absolutely inconceivable with the Soviet Union. So I thinwe're looking to a different kind of security relationship.

BORGER: Let's talk about China for a moment. The United States believes that the Chinese are still selling missiles to countries like Pakistan. You've tried to tell them to stop, that they're in violation of some treaties. How are we going to hold them accountable for these sales?

RICE: The first step is to get into a forum where we can actually talk about the violations that we see. And Secretary Powell managed to re-establish with the Chinese the need for expert-level talks, so that we can actually discuss the cases, discuss the problems that we see.

Ultimately, if China is transferring weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them to countries that are not responsible, or to countries that are security risks, I think that we're not going to have the kind of U.S.-China relationship that everybody would like to have.

We have a stake in the tremendous transformation that is going on in the Chinese economy. That's why we want to have trade with China, why we want them in the WTO. But we also have a tremendous stake in China playing a responsible part in international politics.

BORGER: But isn't it true that there's not a lot you can actually do?

RICE: I think that for China, which is trying to realize its potential in the international system, a good relationship with the United States is crucial to doing that. And there will not be the full development of the potential in U.S.-China relations if China continues to behave in this way.

No one needs to spell out what means one might take under certain circumstances. The Chinese understand that we have very serious concerns about proliferation. I think that's why they've agreed to begin expert-level talks.

I think we can do this in a cooperative way, because China should also have no interest in having the spread of these technologies into unstable places. I think we have a basis for a good discussion here, and we ought to get about it.

SCHIEFFER: Ms. Rice, the New York Times in an editorial this morning, makes the point that the United States just seems to be either withdrawing or showing no interest in any number of treaties that have been negotiated in recent years: the Kyoto Treaty, the ABM Treaty, watering down the U.N. agreement to resolve illegal trafficking in drugs, the non-proliferation treaty.

Are you concerned that this is going to leave the United States looking as if it is somehow contemptuous of the work that has gone before? And that we're somehow sort of an isolationist country now that's willing to go it alone no matter what the other countries of the world think?

RICE: You will not find a more internationalist administration than this administration. We've been engaged with our partners in the Western Hemisphere. We're engaged with the Europeans in the Balkans. We're engaged with the Russians in trying tcome to a new framework for security which is much needed in the world.

But if internationalism somehow becomes defined is as signing on to bad treaties just to say that you've signed a treaty, that's not going to be sustainable with the American people. The president of the United States was not elected to sign treaties that are not in America's interest, that are not going to deal with the problems with which they purport to deal.

And so what we would like to do is to, on these very important problems - and we share concerns about all of these problems - is to put forth new ideas, to work with our allies and friends on things that both will support U.S. interests and that can deal with the problem.

Some of these treaties were not even supported by the Clinton administration. It was a rather peculiar thing to sign the treaty on the international criminal court. But to say forthrightly, you could never submit it to Congress because it would not be ratified.

The Bush administration has taken a different tact, which is that we are going to be honest with our allies about which treaties are in our interests and are dealing with the problems with which they purport to deal. And those that are not, we are not prepared to be party to.

SCHIEFFER: But do you worry that perhaps we're creating the impression that we simply want to go it alone?

RICE: I think if you are in these meetings with President Bush and his counterparts around the world, they understand that we believe that we can be a good partner for our allies and friends. And indeed, even with the Russians, where we're trying to forge a new relationship, we're talking about things that are really important to our interests and to Russian national interest.

This is going to be an engaged, internationalist administration, but it will not be an administration that signs on to treaties that are not in America's interest.

SCHIEFFER: Quick, final one, Gloria.

BORGER: Very quickly, did Colin Powell pledge to the Chinese that the United States is not going to share missile defense with Taiwan?

RICE: Colin Powell had a general discussion with the Chinese of the same kind that we've had with numerous states around the world, explaining the concept, talking about why we need to move forward, and saying that we did not see this as a threat to China.

Anyone who does not wish to blackmail the United States should not see missile defense as a threat to them. And we believe that the Chinese do not want to blackmail us; therefore, they should not see this as a threat.

We will intensify our discussions. But President Bush has made very clear that our commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act remain unchanged. In fact, he takes them very seriously even as we look for a very good relationship with China.

BORGER: So, is that a yes or a no?

RICE: With China, I think we have been very clea. We have obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act to help Taiwan defend itself. Much depends on what the Chinese do in the region. China must adopt a strategy in the region that is not threatening to the interests of the United States or to other states in the region.

SCHIEFFER: Condoleezza Rice, thank you so much for joining us.

RICE: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: When we come back, we're going to turn to that other story, the missing intern, in just a minute.


SCHIEFFER: And we turn now to that story that just won't go away, the story of the missing intern Chandra Levy. Joining us this morning, the District of Columbia Chief of Police Charles Ramsey.

Thank you very much for joining us this morning.

CHARLES RAMSEY, D.C. Police Chief: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Chief, are you satisfied that Gary Condit has an alibi on the day that Chandra Levy supposedly disappeared, and I guess that's the day when there was so much traffic on her personal computer?

RAMSEY: Well, what we're in the process of doing now is verifying all the information that we've gotten to date not only from the Congressman but from others that we've spoken with to make sure that we can account for everyone's activities on that day.

SCHIEFFER: Did she in fact talk to somebody, perhaps Condit's wife, on that day?

RAMSEY: We have nothing that will confirm that. I'm aware of that story floating around, but unfortunately there has been a lot of information floating around that we simply have no knowledge of.

SCHIEFFER: And, Chief, let me ask you this because this is a question that so many people have asked me. Are you satisfied that the computer traffic on her computer that day, how do you know it was her? Could it have been someone else?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, obviously it could be, but we doubt it because of the nature of the traffic. We've been able to go back not just that date but a couple of months, and what we found is a regular pattern of sites that she visited and things of that nature. So there's no reason for us to believe that there was anyone other than her on the computer that morning.

SCHIEFFER: There's a tremendous amount of manpower that you've been devoting to this case. My understanding is you may cut back some of that in the coming week, is that so?

RAMSEY: Well, what it is we've got some of our recruits from the academy helping with the search of Rock Creek Park. They should complete that by the end of this week. They'll be going back to the academy to resume their training. As far as the investigators go, the two lead detectives from our Second District are the ones that have been involved and are working with the FBI task force. They'll continue on this case.

SCHIEFFER: Now, do you plan to cut back the other personnel that are working on the case, or will you ontinue at the same level you are now?

RAMSEY: Well, actually, other personnel have been used on an as-needed basis for canvassing and things of that nature. As long as we have leads to pursue, we'll continue to pursue it. But certainly there is a perception that we're using far more resources than we have been using, and in fact that's begun to raise a lot of criticism in some communities that we're ignoring other cases. But that's simply not true.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you bring up "as leads develop." Let me ask you candidly, do you have any leads now? Because, to many, it appears you've run out of leads.

RAMSEY: Well, we've got leads that continue to come in through e-mail, phone calls and so forth. Unfortunately, they haven't really led us anywhere. Some have been fruitful but not very many. So we're no closer in finding out what happened to Chandra Levy today than we were when we first started this investigation. But there's a lot of information and material that we do have that we're combing through.

SCHIEFFER: All last week there were news stories involving various aides in Congressman Condit's office. In one case we were told that an aide had advised one of his former female companions not to talk about it. Have those aides been cooperative with your police officers?

RAMSEY: Well, first of all, we can't confirm any of that kind of information. We've spoken with staffers. There may be a need to speak again with certain individuals, not just staffers but other people that we've been looking at who have nothing to do with the congressman. And that's just part of the investigation.

Again, our job is to gather information then verify it, and then we'll determine whether or not people have been completely truthful with us.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you clearly were not satisfied with the lie detector test that his lawyer says was administered to Congressman Condit. Would you still like for the congressman to take a lie detector test?

RAMSEY: Well, if that's an issue - if that's something that adds value to this investigation, certainly we'll take a look at that. But we need to go through what we learned during a fourth interview now and then see where we go from there. I'm not aware of any immediate plans to move forward with a polygraph examination, however.

SCHIEFFER: Now, his brother, who at one time had been charged with something or other and was arrested, do you have any indication or any plan to talk to him about this case?

RAMSEY: No. Again, you know, obviously the timing is everything, and certainly his problems have been given a lot of attention and publicity. However, we have absolutely no indication at all that he had anything to do with the disappearance of Chandra Levy. We have nothing right now that really points toward anyone having anything to do with her disappearance.

SCHIEFFER: Do you still consier this a missing persons case? Are you anywhere close to calling this a criminal investigation?

RAMSEY: The only thing we know we have is a missing person, and we're going to continue to conduct this investigation accordingly. However, there's not much more we could do even if we did have it classified as a criminal investigation. But we need facts, we need evidence, we need something before we move in that direction.

SCHIEFFER: Chief Ramsey, thank you very much for talking to us this morning.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: And we're joined now by two reporters who have been covering the case, Tom Squitieri of USA Today and Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee.

Michael, criminal elements, investigation, all of that beside the point, it is appearing now that the career of Gary Condit as far as a politician, in my view, is pretty much over.

MICHAEL DOYLE, Modesto Bee: Well, I'm not sure that's the case, and we certainly don't know that that's the case in the congressman's own mind. I think we have to look at what's happening in Washington and what's happening in Sacramento. In Washington there are at least five members who called for his resignation and a chief ally, Charlie Stenholm, who has denounced his actions.

In Sacramento, the Democrats are now redistricting. And what happens in those two places and in Mr. Condit's district will be shaping over the next month or so, I would say, his future.

So, I don't think we could say that his future is over.

SCHIEFFER: But, isn't all of this scrutiny on his office and the operations in his office, aren't there a lot of things now coming to light that might otherwise have not come to light?

DOYLE: I think that is one byproduct, that when one thread is pulled, other threads start coming out. And there is a certain unraveling. And we reported yesterday about charges related to campaign spending not done by any Condit employee, but it was a byproduct of the search into Chandra Levy. And certainly there have been other stories about the congressman's raising questions about the behavior. And so, that is one threat to his political career if those stories will be continuing.

BORGER: Tom, you've been looking into the FBI profiling of Chandra Levy. This is something they do when they try to get into her mind, what mindset she was in when she disappeared. What has the FBI learned about Chandra Levy?

TOM SQUITIERI, USA Today: Well, clearly, what they have learned is that the woman who came here last fall is not the woman who disappeared in April or May. That a security-conscious person, obsessed with security, somehow that lowered her threshold in what she had to do every day, whether she was really caring about security.

For example, Gloria, you know, missing interns may not tell tales, but former mistresses and angry relatives do. And from these people, the relatives of Chandra Lvy and the other women who have alleged similar relationships with Congressman Gary Condit, the law enforcement authorities are able to paint a pattern of this sort of cult-like mentality that Chandra Levy may have been caught up in.

BORGER: What do you mean by that?

SQUITIERI: Well, we have reported and others have about the rules that Congressman Condit imposed on her behavior, both entering the apartment, who not to talk to. And one of the key ones is you withdraw from your relatives, for the most part, and your friends. If you look at comments by Chandra Levy's friends, they were concerned about her not opening up to them like she used to when she came to Washington. That's a sign of withdrawal, and that means you're not always on your game.

SCHIEFFER: This is kind of interesting to me, you're comparing this to some kind of cult. Because in a sense - and I would ask what you think about this, Mike - you also see some of that sort of developing in this office, where you have these loyal aides. It now turns out that the aides are dating some of the same women that Congressman Condit is dating. What about that, Mike?

DOYLE: Well, "cult" is a term for it. Another term is loyalty. And the congressman actually has had, in some respects, an awfully loyal staff. Six of his 16 employees now have been with him for more than a decade. Some of them are now being questioned, or about to be, by investigators.

So as to whether it's a cult, maybe one way to look at it. Another is simply these are people who have worked with the congressman a long time and trust him.

SCHIEFFER: Are Democrats or Republicans, is there any movement out there in the district now of people going to run against him?

DOYLE: Right now there is a city councilman, Bill Conrad, who ran against him in 1996 and was thrashed soundly. There's a state senator, Dick Monteith, who has so far said that he would run if there were an open seat. But Republicans are holding their fire right now, waiting to see what unfolds.

BORGER: Tom, hasn't this loyalty question really led to now questions about obstruction-of-justice charges against some of these loyal aides?

SQUITIERI: Absolutely. I mean, what's being looked at in the aftermath, as Mike said, is whether these aides lied about Congressman Condit's behavior and where he was at certain times. For example, denying that he had a relationship with Chandra Levy, perhaps driving him for this drop-off over in Virginia of this watch case.

That is the peripheral - as Mike said, the other threads are being pulled now, but the loyalty - when you are loyal to somebody and do actions that may be improper, they're still improper whatever your reason for doing them.

SCHIEFFER: Gentlemen, we have to stop here. Remembering what the chief said again today, they are no nearer now to finding Chandra Levy than they were in the first miutes of the case.

Thanks so much to both of you.

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


SCHIEFFER: Finally today, I was looking at what's playing at the movies, and it made me wonder, are people getting tired of people?

Think about it, the summer's first big hit was "Dr. Doolittle Two," an add-on to the old story about a doctor who can talk to animals, at least the ones who speak English.

Next came "Cats and Dogs" about a conspiracy of cats who were trying to take over the world, only to be foiled by a secret army of dogs.

Then "Jurassic Park Three," yet another chapter in that story about dinosaurs, opened last week.

And now, what must be the fourth or fifth version of "Planet of the Apes," which features, this time, Charlton Heston as an old monkey with mixed feelings about guns, and also includes the first interspecies kiss on the lips between a human and an ape played by Helena Bonham Carter. Hey, I'd kiss an ape if she were Helena Bonham Carter.

Anyhow, I have no idea what has caused this trend, but in this age when our sports heroes are so spoiled, our elected officials fail to inspire, and the corporate code for advancement is driven only by the bottom line, it is good that we can look to animals as our role models. They are today's rarity - loving, loyalty, hardworking and almost never duplicitous.

And for the record, I have always admired beagles.

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

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