Alleged Liar Libby Leads Early Show Over Capture of Train-Bombing Terrorist

November 3rd, 2005 10:38 AM

It's not every day a major al Qaeda figure with a huge bounty on his head gets captured, so when that happens, you'd expect it to lead the news. But apparently not at CBS, where the Early Show led instead with President Bush's latest poll numbers and the Lewis "Scooter" Libby court appearance today.

First, the teasers from the opening credits tipped off the readers to which story the Early Show found more important:

Hannah Storm, co-host: "The Vice President's former chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby will be arraigned today in the CIA leak case. This as President Bush's approval rating hits an all-time low. We'll get the latest from the White House."

Harry Smith, co-host: "I'm Harry Smith. In the war on terror, one of America's most wanted men, a key al Qaeda leader with a $5 million bounty on his head has been captured in Pakistan. We'll have details."

Below are the Bill Plante and Mark Phillips stories on Libby and the al Qaeda capture respectively:

Julie Chen, @ 07:01 a.m. EST: "Good morning, you guys, and let's get right to our top story this morning: the CIA leak investigation. President Bush leaves for an economic summit in Argentina this morning as one of the White House's former top aides is arraigned in federal court. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has more. Good morning to you, Bill."

Bill Plante, at the White House: "Good morning to you, Julie. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby is expected to plead guilty in his appearance today before a federal judge and the White House hopes that that is the last it will hear of the leak investigation at least for a while."

Plante, in taped segment: "The Vice President's longtime chief of staff is charged with five felonies including lying about how he learned the identity of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. If convicted, libby faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $1.25 million in fines."

Scott McClellan, White House press secretary: "This is an ongoing investigation. We're not going to comment on it. "

Plante: The White House generally refuses to comment on the leak investigation because it's still underway but the national security advisor did when asked how the indictment would be seen overseas."

Stephen Hadley, national security adviser: "I worked with Scooter very closely. He served the President well, served the Vice President well, and I will miss him as a colleague and as a friend."

Plame: "Most Americans in the latest CBS News poll do believe that the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's name to reporters came from the administration, though a majority gives Libby the benefit of the doubt, saying they don't know enough. But the President's approval rating has hit an all-time low in the wake of the indictments, Hurricane Katrina, the Harriet Miers nomination and continuing casualties in Iraq. Among recent presidents, only Richard Nixon was lower at this point in a second term."

Ken Duberstein, former Reagan chief of staff: "Every two-term president since World War II has gone off track in the fifth or sixth year. Part of the solution is bringing in fresh blood."

Plante: Ken Duberstein has been there. He was part of the team that helped Ronald Reagan recover from the Iran-Contra scandal."

Duberstein: "They need to open up the windows and the doors of the Oval Office in the West Wing, and listening to disparate voices. "

Plante: "Well, so far all the White House will say is it gets lots of advice. But people close to the White House are beginning to wonder if presidential adviser Karl Rove should stay on. Julie?"

Chen: "Bill Plante outside the White House. Thank you, Bill."

Julie Chen @ 07:03 a.m. EST: "In the war on terror one of america's most wanted men has been arrested in Pakistan. He may have also had a hand in last year's deadly Madrid train bombings. CBS correspondent Mark Phillips is live in Islamabad with more. Mark."

Mark Phillips from Islamabad via satellite: "Good morning, Julie. Well, there's a lot that's still murky about this action but what seems clear is in a shootout up near the Afghan border the Pakistanis killed one suspected militant and arrested two others, one of whom may be very high up the U.S. Wanted List."

Phillips beginning his taped segment: "The man pakistani security officials are said to have attained was high enough up the al Qaeda food chain to have a $5 million price on his head. Mustafa Setmariam Nassar, a Syrian and Spanish national, is not only thought by U.S. intelligence to have trained militants in the use of poisons and chemicals at terrorist camps in Afghanistan, he's also thought to have been connected to the Madrid commuter train bombings that killed more than 190 people last year. And even in this video obtained by CBS News, threatened to bomb the London subway system. 'Imagine if you could put a bomb at a central london station,' he says on the tape.

Phillips again live on camera: "Despite the obvious preoccupation with earthquake relief here, the war on terror continues. In fact, the Pakistanis now say they've arrested more than 700 people. Julie?"