Title: Daybook Interview with Daniel Klaidman
Date: November 29, 1997
Source: C-SPAN.org. Saturday Washington Journal.


    Interview Begins

      Unabomber Trial

      Phone calls


We will talk with Dan Klaidman. Investigative correspondent for Newsweek. For day book segment.

Then during our newspaper roundtable. Dan Pink. Contributing Editor for Fast Company and. End appendant journalist. Kevin Pritchett.

Finally in our feature this morning, we'll meet two young people. Caitlin. Flatters. A volunteer for Operation Christmas Child. And Josh. Christman. Contributor for a childrens express to talk about children. Volunteering for and reporting on the needy.

Interview Begins

On the cover of The Washington Times this morning. Emblematic of the season. The sad his workshop.

Kris Kringle a British. Supermarket chain. Call Asda. Had to class headquarters in Leeds. Yesterday.

This photograph in The Washington Times this morning. On the cover of The Baltimore Sun this morning. People were taking shopping carts and running down the aisle. Philadelphia Inquirer this Shoppers lined up by dawn's early light.

This is all regarding the official opening of the Christmas shopping season. But as we mentioned a little earlier Dan Klaidman joins us this morning to talk about what's in the newspapers this morning. Good morning to you sir.

Morning J.J.

Thanks for being here.

Thanks for having me.

One of the things that you've covered. Quite often lately. Has been the experiences of Attorney General Janet Reno and. The campaign finance. Situation. There is an article in The New York Times this morning and it's titled experience. Sours A Once the. Enthusiastic Reno. On applying the independent counsel law. Written by Steve in the back and he began when Janet Reno became attorney general she championed the end appendant counsel law. As a way to assure the impartiality of investigations into top administration officials today more than a reason why.

Dan: Well I think Steve's piece is right on target. You know Janet Reno came in and enthusiastic supporter of the independent counsel law and. She has since being attorney general has appointed. Several independent counsel and has not been very satisfied with a number of them and this is I think her reluctance to appoint an independent counsel and the campaign finance investigation is a reflection of. This evolution in thinking on Janet Reno's part. There's been a couple of independent counsel. In particular who I think. Have. Been disillusioning. To Janet Reno. I think the case that has most concern Janet Reno and. Illustrated some of the problems. Of the independent counsel statute. It involves. Secretary the former Housing Secretary Cisneros. And Reese's narrows. That was a case that involved whether SUSTEREN Was law had to F.B.I. investigators a very simple question. It's gone on for years now. Cost millions of dollars and. Has not. Produced. And he convictions or and a resolution to this issue yet. Only two. Prosecutors sought by Ms Reno have actually completed their work as. The button continues in his piece. The first is still unidentified. Still on it defied counsel who do. Declined to prosecute Sago the former head of the president's Corporation for National Service. The other and Daniel Pearson. Referred his inquiry back to the Justice Department Of course he was investigating former commerce secretary the late Ron Brown. As this process continues. She has another announcement coming up on Tuesday what do you expect to hear. Well the word. Is that Janet Reno while she has not made up her mind yet. Is that she is not going to call for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate. Telephone fundraising telephone calls made by Vice President Gore and possibly Bill Clinton. That's what. Local. That's what the. Career prosecutors in the just apartment advised or the expectation is that she will follow their advice. Then collaborative Newsweek has written a piece in the upcoming issue that and.

December first issue of Newsweek.

Called Pieces of the puzzle. And there's a picture of the president with an Indonesian businessman who is this person.

What is like to the president. His name is Ted Shon. He is an Indonesian businessman as you said. Raised in an ethnically Chinese Indonesian family and. He has been a large contributor to the Democrats as well as Republicans. Many of us in the press have been trying to establish. Or find advent of the so-called China connection the idea that the Chinese government. Was intent attempting to subvert the American political process through. Illegal political contributions. This is the only case that I know of so far. Where the Justice Department has sought. Edible evidence that the Chinese were actually. Plotting to do this. He has close ties to the Chinese government in particular the consulate in Los Angeles and. He has fled the country. The F.B.I. would like to talk to him they have not so far. He's given a lot of money to. Both Democratic and Republican candidates some of that money has been returned. Although he's given two hundred fifty thousand dollars to the D.N.C. which has not been returned. If you want to join in the conversation this morning with Dan Klaidman of Newsweek you can pick an article. Out of your newspaper today. And give us a call. The phone numbers. If you are listening. Via radio today. Two zero two six two four eleven eleven. If you're a Democrat Republicans two zero two six two four eleven fifteen. For those of other political persuasions two zero two seven three seven six seven three for. If you'd like to fax. Please feel free to do so just keep your faxes legible. And we remind you we do have a thirty day rule if you've called once in thirty days please limit your calls to that month. And you may begin again. After the month has expired. Mr Clyde when in this particular article that you and Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball. Got together to write. There's a piece in here called Where did the money go. And there are several names mentioned Matt Fung Daniel long Don Fowler and Haley Barbour two Democrats two Republicans. Money. Involved but the same person involved in the money between the two parties That's right. And one of the interesting aspects of this particular case. Is Ted Shawn was giving money to. Relatively obscure. Political politicians. People like Matt. On the state treasurer in California some people may ask. Well if the Chinese which really trying to influence American politics. Why would they have someone like Ted Chan give money to a state politician in California. Well the answer appears. To be and there is intelligence backing this saw that the Chinese government was taking the long view that they were hoping to cultivate state. And even local politicians people who they considered to be commerce people they thought that eventually. Would be prominent on the national political stage. And so. They gave money. For example or at least it is alleged that they gave money to Matt fon. That fall on the state treasurer in California actually is a very influential. Politician from the Chinese perspective. California has the seventh what would be the seventh largest economy in the world. Tremendous amount of trade with Asia. He is now. Challenging. Barbara Boxer for that Senate seat in California. So it may make sense to cultivate a politician like Matt Fox. I should say. There is no evidence that math. Was aware that this money. May have come from the Chinese government. He were turned it immediately. Although the F.B.I. is still interested in talking to him and investigating his involvement in this. Will continue with more on this particular article called Pieces of the puzzle but first a phone call from Boston. On the Democratic line Good morning Boston you get the Boston Globe there. What's in your paper today. These are not a poll in the paper in the business section are retired. He has workers who are protesting because he is cutting back on their life insurance. I just basically think that that's pretty tough if you work at all of the years and get to a company and they lead you to believe that they're going to do certain things for you. And it. Interesting enough it. Is that they use about fifty percent of their. Worth to pay this for their premium. Then it appeared to me that they got these people holiday the. Live and they old him something especially if they made a deal. When they retire.

OK thank you very much caller.

Unabomber Trial

You have done some other work as well lately. And this. Regards the case now in the courts. In California. I believe. And this is the Unabomber case and. Wonder if you would tell us what your thoughts are so far on.

What's what's been going on with the proceedings there. Well. They are in the process of jury selection. Which takes a long time. Two principal reasons. One. This is a case that got tremendous media saturation. And so they need to try to find jurors who still have an open mind have who's whose views on this case have not been tainted by media coverage. But the more important issue for both prosecutors and defense lawyers. In this case. Is whether prospective jurors. Can consider the death penalty. And either wouldn't say well we couldn't impose a death penalty because we don't support capital punishment or. We believe that someone who's committed these heinous crimes. Has to get the death penalty. So there's an elaborate process going on right now. To try to find jurors who on the one hand. From the perspective the defense lawyers. Would not impose the the death penalty press perspective the prosecutors. Would want to impose the death penalty. But in questioning. Would would not say that. That they have a closed mind on the subject.

The drama in this case is going to be. I believe the death penalty phase. In the Unabomber trial that is to say. Not. The the actual factual case. But after there is a conviction and I believe there probably will be a conviction in this case because the evidence is so overwhelming. There is then a death penalty phase where the prosecution will try to convince the jurors to impose the death penalty the defense will try to impose. Will try to convince them not to. That is what. All of this is about right now. And that the real drama. I believe is going to be the role of the brother David Kaczynski.

JJ: Before you go there. Let me just tell our audience about a piece this is the New York Times op ed section today by Paul Robinson who's a professor of law at Northwestern University this piece called brotherly intervention intervention rather. Last Saturday David Kaczynski served notice that he would challenge the prosecutor's decision to seek the death penalty for his brother. Theodore Kaczynski the man suspected of being the Unabomber who carried out a string of bombings beginning in seventy eight. David Kaczynski he goes on to say made a painful decision for our for textured. Although the F.B.I. may have eventually called his brother risker could help help not just save time possibly lives. He goes on to say as well. Do prosecutors over to him not to seek the death penalty. I think not criminal justice is a matter. Not of personal accommodation but of. Studio principles. Good deeds by one cannot reduce another's guilt and. The deserved punishment. If a jury agrees that Kaczynski is indeed so mentally disturbed. As to not be responsible under the law then justice will be served by his acquittal. Your thoughts?

Daniel: Well I think it's a very interesting piece. And Mischel thoughts on this case was that because of the. The role that David Kaczynski played. Helping the F.B.I. to find. Ted Kaczynski the alleged you know bomber. That there would be a law enforcement. Precedent set here. That that to the F.B.I. the Justice Department. Would not want to send the. That if a member of an alleged criminals. Family. Helps law enforcement. To capture the alleged criminal that they wouldn't want to then. In some way punish the relative who helped. Because that might be a disincentive in the future. For people to do the same thing and. If you put yourself in the shoes of. David Kaczynski. Had he not. Turned his brother in then he would have probably. Spared his life. And that is a and. If Ted Kaczynski. Does get the death penalty is convicted and gets the death penalty that's a terrible burden for the brother. It is in some ways his responsibility. On the other hand I think the point that the. Fessor makes in this piece is excellent. This is not an issue of. A personal accommodation as he said but rather societal principles. And sometimes you have to recognize that yes this is a tragedy for. David Kaczynski. But there are larger issues. At the involved here.

Phone calls

JJ: Back to the phones Dallas Texas. On the Democratic line you get the Dallas Morning News.

Good morning. What's in your paper today. Good morning. I'm reading. In the viewpoint. And a column by Frank Rich. In titled boy. But why does. Which good Baptists. You know. For a very long time I have I've been just. Standoffish towards this whole thing of gays and lesbians. I have friends who are gays and lesbians. But this frothing. Of the gay and lesbian lifestyle. Has finally started to get into my craw. And to have them boast that they stood up to the people who really if you listen to what they were saying. You have to read. Other things other than the the. The mainstream media. To get what they were really saying is they want to get this right they were against what Disney is doing. You know we all fight to try to keep our children I have five children. On the straight now to make a life as easy as possible. To encourage people and we're not talking about acceptance. We're talking about encouragement. To encourage people to accept gay and lesbian ism. As an alternative lifestyle is not. It's not so. If you. If you live the style as it's intended. It will kill you. I mean. It will be able to maim you. It will get you could become a serial killer for God's sake. And. I don't. I personally. I have now become just a little bit irritated and. This is the kind of thing. And it and this is why. He's going on sixty Minutes. I just know he's going on sixty Minutes and said he shoved it in the eye of the dampest. I'm not a Baptist. And I keep hearing that the. Catholics have. Have not changed their attitude towards homosexuals. They have not. They just said a lot of the children they've always said love the children. Thank you very much color.

The next call comes from Austin Texas you get the American Statesman in Austin Texas what's in your paper today. Yeah I'm reading in an article about our public access T.V. stations. And it's a business of. The specifically about these. These two gentlemen who. I prefer to get all my news through. And it says they're conspiracy theorists. And I would I would like to. If you're an investigative journalist. I would like to know why you don't ever investigate these things that I you know. These are these are my favorite news stories. They they say. Control of national parks turned over to the U.N. in parentheses and. The government blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City and. There's a lot of. I watch a tape of. Footage. That's played our public access all the time. Of them pulling away from the building because they found two other bombs and. And this story disappeared twelve hours after the bombing and. I would just like to know why you don't cover that sort of thing.

Can I ask you a question before you go caller?


This program that you watch. You say you watch a program on public access. What program is this what is it called?

It's called it's. Alex Jones It's called exposing corruption. Alex Jones and. Alex Jones is this is is this is news operation or is this is network or. How does it know it's a public act that show he's just a guy who's only twenty three years old he started a lot of he's a radical libertarian I guess you'd think. And this is someone from Austin Texas. Yes yes.

Mr Clyde, I think the caller asked you if if and when you were going to investigate this.

You have a test regarding Waco.

Well look I think we have a very healthy and vigorous. Press and investigative press the caller made. Disagree. I think if there was credible evidence to suggest that the federal government had a role in blowing up the building in Oklahoma City. I think that the evidence would come out. If for no other reason then that be a hell of a story if it were true I think anyone would like to to to get that story. I think there's no. Credible evidence to to to support those claims.

On the Republican line Wichita Kansas Good morning you've got the Wichita Eagle there what's in your paper today in sun. Specter to come up empty in Iraq. U.N. team and found nothing in it don't. You wonder what the. Commentator there. Thought about what's going to happen there and then I have the second point I'll get off the phone. A lady about three called to go called in and out of elimination no longer. In truth the type of THANK YOU article would write on the something you want to talk about curious. When you do that if you ask if you call your colleagues or your. Well I will address that. Thank you. You're welcome Mr Gladwin any comments on his question. The second question about Sears. Yeah. Well. Frankly I don't know a lot about what's going on at Sears right now I know that from time to time. Large corporations. Have to downsize have to tighten up. The Their budgets and that's tough. That's the system that we have it's capitalism. It can be very tough on. On workers. And I think. That's one reason we have unions in this. country I don't know how strong the unions are at Sears. But.

I would urge workers to to go to their unions and to do whatever they can to deal with these situations but that's the system we have to answer your question for your caller we don't particularly try to skip over or ignore anyone's articles what we do give you an opportunity to do is if there is an article in your favor that you'd like to have some discussion on from the guest on the set we offer you the opportunity to bring it out if it is a prerequisite for getting on this particular segment of the. program However if. One of the callers brings out an article. Dealing with the subject that our guest has no expertise or no has not done any coverage on there really isn't much of an opportunity for any clarification or really. To do anything with that particular article. So. That usually is why. We'll move on.

Next phone call for Myers Florida. The Republican lying to get the news press there. Good morning Fort Myers. Yes and a very very good morning to you. When we talk about headlines in our local newspapers the Fort Myers News Press. A particular article that I see on off from page one is place. Carry on crackdown. Now. Now my problem is that when I look at headlines today. And we look at banner headlines. We only seem to have the controversy. That really is not there you know. The world crackdown is used that there's a change taking place. Not a crackdown. Why is it today that our editorial gurus. Think they have the power to change. The meat of the story really is why we doing that nationally it's getting beyond a joke. And it is misleading. The only thing I personally think and I just might comment then I'll get your answer if I may. Is that. It seems that I headlines without substance self storage. Well I have say I'm sympathetic to the caller's comment. And I think you might find a lot of reporters. Would be very often when a reader. Complains about a story that. That I write or other reporters right. They'll look at the headline and. The headline is not necessarily always. Reflective of what the content of the story is. You have to understand that that headline writers. And it's not a an easy job to write a short headline. For a story that is more complicated and subtle. You know if you only have a line or two. To explain a story. You have to be clear you have to make sure that the reader knows what the story. Generally is about. And you want to draw the reader into the story and sometimes there's a kind of a. Gap between what's in the headline and what's actually in the story. But I find that frustrating as well. And I actually in my job I try to find out what the headline is going to be before the magazine goes to press. And try to exert whatever little influence I have in the process. Speaking of that influence. How much does an investigative reporter like yourself have when it comes to the work that you've done the work to you in. Colleagues may have done like. Isikoff and those involved this case. With regards to the pieces of the puzzle. And then maybe a headline comes out that. You don't particularly agree with. Well. That's why we. Fortunately at Newsweek. Care we get the. Copy of the story before it actually goes to print with the headline with the subhead. And we only know what the captions are in the pictures. Those those kinds of things are really important because the substance of the story can be entirely accurate. But if there's a caption or a headline. That is wrong I mean that's going to affect the way the viewer. Or the reader sees the story and that's problematic so.

I'm pretty careful about that other phone call. Kensington Maryland you've got. Time magazine there today good morning.

Kensington Maryland Good morning. Yes good morning and want to ask Mr Clyde meant to comment on this article in Time. Obviously his competitor. And it has to do with the increasing awareness. That a lot of our work in American collection. Or. During the war. Looted from. Jews by the Nazis. And there is a federal government. Angle to this as well because it's recently been revealed that the National Gallery of Art Exhibit did. Looted art. Back in one thousand nine hundred ninety. And I guess the question is in terms of the coverage of this issue. There seems to be some strong belief here within the Beltway. That the Washington Post is not. Covering this issue and. Did not pick up the A.P. story that ran across the country last. week Partly because Katharine Graham was once a fundraiser for the National Gallery of Art. And of course Newsweek also is known by the Graham family. Do you think. We do that. Just that they might be some kind of. I don't know or some reason that Newsweek. Or The Washington Post. Would go easy on this story. No I suspect there isn't a I think a tie in. I'm sure Katharine Graham has raised a lot of money for a lot of philanthropic causes I actually have to say I did not see that story. As so. So it's hard for me to answer your question. I just generally familiar with the issue. As to why the Washington Post hasn't covered it. I don't know I says suspect they will. At least cover the. The story generally it's a very compelling one a very interesting one. And an important story and. The Washington Post and Newsweek. And a lot of other. Me and this country have to devote a lot of. Column inches. As we say to the story of. Swiss bank accounts. That. That contained. Money from. From Holocaust victims of the Holocaust and. This isn't a story that's been very aggressively. Investigated by by Newsweek. And by the Washington Post and will continue to do so and I'm sure that's the case with the story about.

Looted art as well. Then Gladwyn was born in New York City and he got to be a in history from Georgetown University and has worked for the Legal Times in the American Lawyer magazine. Magazine reporting from eastern Europe and Italy and. As well he's been a senior reporter for the legal and his stories during his tenure as a senior reporter including Clinton's legal defense or President Clinton's legal defense and the secretary a secret Justice Department report on Ruby Ridge she joined Newsweek. At their Washington bureau in February of ninety six and in this post he covers investigative and legal stories the Supreme Court and related. White House stories in the story that he has written most recently is called Where did the money go. Pieces of the puzzle. Is the topic the title Where did the money go is a small part of it. When you look at the names involved man thong. Dr Daniel Wang Haley Barbour and Don Fowler. And look at the continuing process involving the investigation of campaign finance.

What kind of fall out of D.C. for these names. Well it's hard to say. There's already been fallout from that who I talked about earlier. He has had to give back. One hundred thousand dollars. That contributed to his campaign. For a state politician enormous amount of money. Checkley for someone who's running. Again for office he's challenging. Barbara Boxer. In the Senate. For. Haley Barbour the. Fifty thousand dollars contribution from Ted Shaw for the National Policy Fowhich was the Republicans controversial. Sort of think tank. That was seated with the Republican National Committee. The publicity. The negative publicity associated with that contribution. Has hurt the Republicans and it hurt the Republicans in their efforts to tar the Democrats for taking. Dirty money if you will. It's one of the reasons why some people think the Republicans were not able to score a lot of political points. During the campaign finance hearings for. Don Fowler. This is only one small incident. He was very heavily criticized for for his handling of campaign contributions when he was head of the D.N.C..

But this didn't help. On the other line Jacksonville Florida Times Union is your paper what's in your paper today. Think about you know the Navy. Just feeling to score anything on the dollars that they're spending .

And and drug addiction. OK.

Your thoughts today or question or comment that the British are about ten fifteen years ago. That sensible abandon the Paul how about policy. Made drug addiction a medical problem rather than a legal problem and their violent crime rate has dropped eighty percent there diction rate has dropped fifteen percent. And this is gets no publicity in our country whatsoever except for one story on sixty Minutes a few years ago. Do you think is the format for dealing with this problem in America. As you mention the British and other countries have changed their perspective.

What do you think is our plan for dealing with us. I think actually we have sort of gradually. Are gradually moving away from the supply side. Approach to dealing with the drug problem and. We're beginning to I think deal with the demand side of the equation. I think that the. The drug czar. Barry McCaffrey. Believes. And he comes out. He's a former general. Of a military background who in fact led the interdiction fight in Latin America. Against Drugs. And I think that. He believes that. Spending the kind of money that we've spent in the past on interdiction. Is a problem. He talks about the the frontlines in the battle of. Against Drugs being in the churches in the schools in the communities and the parents. Education and prevention rather than just a law enforcement approach. That's tough for politicians because they don't want to be tarred as being soft on. On crime. And. But I do think that there has been a gradual sort of evolution. Movement toward that. Approach. And I hope it continues because while law enforcement. Clearly is important. And I am not for legalization of drugs. Generally I think that we need to change our thinking. On the Republican line Attleboro Massachusetts you've got the Attleboro son there. Good morning. What's in your paper. It's not I'm sure. Already sick. In it then he simply take it. And it stating how many years of the police. Think you know we're out. Lateral. Every time they go in and make a blast it's always arresting more or more policemen and. I really wonder why. If the investigative reporter is so. They're always talking how well. The Clinton administration has handled the Haitian problem. And only two or three days ago. It was only on once on C.-SPAN. You know on C.N.N.. They showed both. Interfering with. More Haitians coming over five hundred of them. And nothing is being said on the news how would they doing. The UN is not doing anything over they are not poor men or over there but for the. The Haitians are not doing anything but it does. It's terrible. I can't understand why these. Investigative report is coming out and saying well look it's going away. We shouldn't been there in the first place. Let's get out of here. OK thank you if you ever cover that. No. Although I do know a little bit about training. Police in countries like Haiti. One of the. More difficult things that. Our Justice Department does. In conjunction with the State Department. Is to try to try to train. Foreign police organizations like the police and. In Haiti. When you're talking about a country that has no democratic traditions and. Has never had a. A police force that. That has been trained in civil liberties in democratic policing. It's a tremendous challenge. It's very important. But it's very difficult and. I think that the U.S. government has. Has had some problems in that regard. Around the world. This is something that F.B.I. Director Louis Freeh has put a great deal of emphasis on particularly in Eastern Europe. And the former Soviet Union. Democratic policing training some of these former police states. To how to how to. How to do that. One last call for the segment from Louisville Kentucky on the Democratic line Good morning you get the Courier Journal there what's in your paper. Good morning. I had last call it's kind of interesting it's sort of. Relates directly to what I'm reading about this story in Denver it's a black woman assaulted in Denver. It's in the first section third day each. Latest in a series of race based crimes. I don't know if they have if I can call in I couldn't pronounce his last name no matter how hard I tried. Kleinman. Like that there's just call after call.. And And the two points of view that I want to to believe that. Rice isms over why don't we just get on with our lives what do you talk about international relations with African primarily African countries or internally and. I don't see how people can take their point of view and. It just seems like that it's. I know that inflames people but it's almost like how cultures that have had a history of a really traumatic bad experience trying to deny it and say what didn't happen already. It happened then it's no problem now. Germany. The some of the countries Switzerland. And in our own country we do that why we can't just say it's an issue. And we'll be an issue and. I would start. You know. Over time dealing with it. Thank you very much color. And Mr Clyde and before you go. The subject that you have covered quite a bit of this campaign finance again. And I want to ask you before you go as you look back historically over the fact that. Ever since the earliest beginnings of Washington as a city and the wholesale Washington the Willard Hotel. Have been there they have. History will tell you been teeming with people who come to town specifically for that reason looking for jobs and looking for influence from. Back to the earliest days of the eighteen hundreds. This kind of thing apparently. Seems to in some people's minds. Still be going on at least as far as money goes. What do you what do you think the logical end of this is. Well it's hard to say. I mean you know this is a free society in which people have tremendous freedoms. Thank God. To to lobby.

To to push their. Whatever their particular agendas are. Money. Has always been part of that system. It's I think more part of it now that it. Than it was in the past perhaps but. There are many people including. The Supreme Court at least in the past believe that. Contributing money to political campaigns is. Equivalent to making a speech and. So it isn't and. It's an important First Amendment issue I think ultimately there will be. Campaign finance reform. Some sort but it's hard to say. What form that will take. Dan Kleinman of news we thank you for being with us this morning. Thanks for having me. And we'll see some more sights and sounds from the union stations model entitle a Norwegian holiday and we'll be right back.