Daniel Klaidman

Stories by Daniel Klaidman

  • 'The Only Weapon I Have Is Reason'

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has spent five months as an awkward partner in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's hawkish government. A Nobel Prize winner for his efforts to bring peace to the Mideast, Peres now has to defend Israel's sharpening response to Palestinian violence. He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Daniel Klaidman and Dan Ephron the day after Israeli helicopter gunships struck ferociously at the West Bank town of Nablus last week, killing several members of the militant Hamas group as well as two Palestinian children. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: Israel received a very stern rebuke from Washington for the Nablus strike that killed eight Palestinians. Your reaction?SHIMON PERES: We don't have a policy to kill or punish anybody. The only policy we do have is when we don't have choice in the domain of self-defense, and we have to defend our lives. Unfortunately two children were killed. It gave us much pain, because usually in that sort of operation measures are being take so no civilian...
  • A Prosecutor's Hardest Case

    As a preppie, a Princetonian and a University of Virginia law graduate, Robert Swan Mueller III would have been perfectly at ease in the clubby world of corporate law. But Mueller, who last week became George W. Bush's nominee to succeed Louis Freeh as FBI director, has spent most of his working life in the gritty and far less lucrative world of a federal prosecutor. When he went into private practice in the early '90s, a colleague recalls, he got a fraud case involving a major corporation. Mueller chose not to take the case because the firm, he thought, was guilty--a decision that would surprise many lawyers. Within a few months he returned to the trenches as a homicide prosecutor in Washington, D.C. "Bob had a hard time crossing the street," his friend says. "He loved putting criminals behind bars."Assuming he wins confirmation by the Senate this summer--and there is no reason to think he will not--Mueller will bring his experience and zeal to the complex task of rehabilitating a...
  • Tracking War Criminals

    Carla del Ponte has been chief prosecutor of The Hague tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda since 1999. Her determination, her record and her no-nonsense style have won her respect in Western capitals but caused run-ins with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica. In Washington for her first meeting with Bush administration officials last week, she talked about The Hague, war crimes and Slobodan Milosevic with NEWSWEEK's Roy Gutman and Daniel Klaidman. Excerpts: ...
  • Bin Laden's Poetry Of Terror

    It was a family affair. In the wilds of southern Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden was throwing a lavish wedding celebration for his son Mohammed. Relatives flew in from all over the world for last month's banquet. But when Bin Laden stood up to address his guests, it wasn't to toast the happy bride and groom. Instead, the accused terrorist mastermind broke into poetry, delivering an ode to the bombers of the USS Cole. Flanked by Afghan fighters and members of the ruling Taliban militia, Bin Laden belittled the U.S. destroyer as a ship of "arrogance and haughtiness... sailing to its doom." To shouts of Allahu akbar--"God is great"--Bin Laden spoke wistfully of the conspirators' "dinghy bobbing in the waves, disappearing and reappearing in view." ...
  • His Brother's Keeper

    On that last frenzied Friday of Bill Clinton's presidency, as he prepared a list of nearly 140 pardons, one name stood out. And it wasn't Marc Rich, who was not added by Clinton until early the next day. He first wanted to take care of his half brother, Roger, the sometime rock singer who was convicted in 1985 on cocaine charges. Standard procedure called for the FBI to conduct a criminal-background check on each candidate for pardon. But Roger Clinton was no ordinary candidate. White House counsel Beth Nolan made an unusual request that his check be handled at the top levels of the Justice Department. That way, the FBI wouldn't be involved. "They wanted this done outside the ordinary course of business," said one Justice official.Why did Clinton want the FBI out of the loop? Some close to the ex-president see it as a final chapter in his epic feud with Director Louis Freeh, whom Clinton loathes for his dogged pursuit of administration scandals. Clinton, some officials said,...
  • No Peace In The Streets

    The setting was unmistakably Egyptian: a conference hall framed by the sparkling Red Sea on one side, and the vast, dust-dry Sinai on the other. But inside the room, the scene had all the trappings of the American imperium. Standing at the center of the peace table at Sharm al-Sheikh was Bill Clinton, towering like a gray-clad wall between the two smaller, taut-faced antagonists, Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat. The president, his hair perfectly coifed even though he'd pulled yet another all-nighter for peace, exuded calm and command. He was flanked by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, European Union foreign-policy czar Javier Solana, and the host of the summit, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. All had sought a Mideast ceasefire separately, but this was clearly Clinton's show. After all, it was the U.S. president, noted Mubarak in giving him the stage, who was "the key sponsor of the peace process."If so, he's also the fall guy. Last week's announcement of a ceasefire was meant as a...
  • Declaration Delay?

    It was supposed to be a banner day for the PLO Flag Shop in Gaza City. Back in July a representative from Yasir Arafat's protocol office placed an impressive order: 20,000 shiny Palestinian flags and 50,000 Arafat T shirts. Officials planned to distribute the merchandise in time to celebrate Arafat's promised declaration of Palestinian statehood on Sept. 13. But owner Tareq Abu Dayyah was cautious. He remembered when Arafat last promised to proclaim a state, in May 1999. This time, declaration or no declaration, he wanted his money up front.Late last week the flags and shirts were still collecting dust in a Gaza warehouse. Palestinians, it seemed, would have to put their dream on hold once again. Some of Arafat's closest aides predicted that the Palestinian Central Council would vote overwhelmingly to put off the decision. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nabil Amr said that Arafat may even delay for another year. And officials braced for angry reaction from a frustrated public. "They...
  • Espionage, Anyone?

    In the halcyon days of the Mossad, even recruiting spies was a covert operation. Sometimes Israel's fabled secret service set up front companies to lure prospects. In an unmarked building on the outskirts of town, a lone recruiter would ask candidates if they were interested in a fulfilling career that included service to the country and exotic travel. The Mossad was not mentioned. Sometimes the agency ran "false flag" recruitments in which an agent would pose as an operative of another country. New recruits might never know they were gathering intelligence for Israel. The safest method was one Mossadniks called haver mevir haver, Hebrew for "a friend brings along a friend." Relying on Israel's small but powerful old-boy network, spies would discreetly recommend their relatives or closest friends for service. So Israeli spymasters were aghast when they learned of the Mossad's latest plan to find new recruits: last week the agency began running splashy ads in Israeli newspapers and...
  • Behind The Breakdown

    If deeds can be measured by decibel level, this was Yasir Arafat's greatest moment. As the Palestinian leader arrived home from Camp David last week, a sweaty crowd of about 4,000 cheered him in the sun-blasted square of Gaza City. "Our state--Jerusalem the capital," they chanted. Many hailed Arafat as a latter-day Saladin, the 12th-century Muslim conqueror of the holy city. Everyone knew the reason: Arafat, who never once shed his military fatigues in the relaxed ambience of Camp David, had stood firm on his demand that he be given full sovereignty over East Jerusalem. The diminutive leader smiled and waved, and the crowd surged forward so that his bodyguards had to lift him on their shoulders, like a rock star in a mosh pit, and carry him from his open jeep.Contrast that to the quiet arrival of Arafat's counterpart, Ehud Barak, the same day. The Israeli prime minister stepped off his plane from Washington wearing a bulletproof vest. He was greeted, too--with sympathetic hugs from...
  • The Price Of Peace

    Sitting amid the squalor of the Deheisha refugee camp, Naeem Abu Aker holds up a rusty key. It is, he says, the key to the house near Jerusalem that he fled in 1948--to the 2,000 acres his family lost and their fragrant, never-forgotten apple orchards. It is also the key to Abu Aker's outrage, an all-embracing passion that will brook no excuse or compromise, especially from Yasir Arafat. In the camp, his home for the 52 years since Israel's "War of Liberation," he and his fellow Palestinians live in grim, gray concrete houses piled messily on top of each other like building blocks. Sewage flows down narrow, trash-strewn paths. With 10,000 refugees living in an area of about one square kilometer, Deheisha has one of the highest population densities in the world. But last week Abu Aker was concentrating on events at another place half a world away. His mind's eye was trained, as if on the last wisp of a fading dream, on the bucolic mountain retreat where his fate was being decided:...
  • The Real Jerusalem

    The Center Of Three Great Religions Struggles To Make Peace With Itself. The Myths, Realities, And Future Of An Ancient City.
  • 'It's A Leap Into The Abyss'

    Chalk it up again to the inverted logic of the Middle East peace process. You could almost chart the likelihood of a peace summit by the escalation of rhetoric from Israeli and Palestinian officials. The harsher the rhetoric, the better the chance a summit would actually take place.There was even an odd symmetry to the behavior of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir arafat. Last week Arafat made a fiery speech vowing, among other things, that he would never give up Jerusalem. Barak, for his part, repeated the Israeli mantra that Jerusalem would remain the "undivided, eternal capital of Israel." Arafat's Palestinian Central Committee promised to declare a state by Septmber 13. Barak immediately threatened to annex parts of the West Bank and the Jordan River Valley to Israel. A Palestinian Authority minister, Imad al-Falouji, called on extremist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad to prepare for armed conflict with Israel. Shaul Mofaz, Israel's army chief of...
  • Queen Of Hearts

    It never occurred to Queen Rania not to visit Saudi Arabia with her husband, King Abdullah. The fresh-faced Jordanian royal, at 29 the youngest queen in the world, knew the kingdom to the south did not appreciate women mingling in affairs of state--women in Saudi Arabia aren't even allowed to drive. When she was made to wait in the plane on the Saudi tarmac while Abdullah was treated to a pomp-filled welcoming ceremony, the queen didn't complain. She had no intention of causing a scandal, or insulting anyone's traditions. But she wasn't about to sit alone with the kids back in Amman, either. "I didn't even think that it was not done," Rania told NEWSWEEK in a wide-ranging interview, over mint tea and cookies at one of the royal palaces. "It seemed natural to go."The "natural" course of action for an Arab woman these days--never mind an Arab queen--is often not the most accepted one. Rania's Saudi excursion, like much of what she does and says, left her kingdom divided. Conservative...
  • Jordan's Queen Of Hearts

    It never occurred to queen Rania not to visit Saudi Arabia with her husband, King Abdullah. The fresh-faced Jordanian royal, at 29 the youngest queen in the world, knew the harshly conservative kingdom did not appreciate women's mingling in affairs of state--that women in Saudi Arabia weren't even allowed to drive. When she was made to wait in the plane on the Saudi tarmac while Abdullah was treated to a pomp-filled welcoming ceremony, the queen didn't complain. She had no intention of causing a scandal, or insulting anyone's traditions. But she wasn't about to sit alone with the kids back in Amman, either. "I didn't even think that it was not done," Rania told NEWSWEEK in a wide-ranging interview, over mint tea and cookies at one of the royal palaces. "It seemed natural to go."The "natural" course of action for an Arab woman these days--never mind an Arab queen--is often not the most accepted one. Rania's Saudi excursion, like much of what she does and says, divided her kingdom....
  • 'We Are Not Refugees'

    Emil Manoud was tending his fruit trees on a warm spring day when his wife, Lara, came running. (The family's names have been changed to protect relatives who remain in Lebanon.) Tears were streaming down her face. "The Hizbullah are coming!" she cried. Like most of their neighbors in south Lebanon, the Manouds had lived in dread of the day when the Iranian-backed Shiite militia would take unchallenged control of the land north of the Israeli border. Last week that fear came true. The people of Marjeyon, the largely Christian town where the Manouds had spent their whole lives, began fleeing their homes. The local store soon sold out of suitcases.The Manouds' teenage daughter, Dina, stuffed a few prized possessions into a knapsack. Lara told her to pack only the bare necessities. The family would be coming home again any day, the mother promised. Dina, a senior in high school, knew better.The Manouds may never return. They are among roughly 4,000 Lebanese who abandoned the land of...
  • Something Rotten In Palestine

    For 17 days, Mahmoud Hamdouni sat in a dank Palestinian jail on trumped-up charges, brooding over the fortune he had hoped to make once peace came. Hamdouni had bought 30 acres of land in the desert outside the West Bank town of Jericho. He had built a gas station and planned a housing development. But his dream collided with the grim reality of Yasir Arafat's rule. Accused by Palestinian security services of treason two years ago, he was freed from jail only after he signed over his land to the Palestinian Authority, Arafat's government. Within months, a front company for the Authority had taken an undeclared 28 percent stake in a casino built on what had been Hamdouni's land. The glittering Oasis Casino, across the road from the dusty Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, now makes an estimated $15 million in monthly profits. Hamdouni, meanwhile, sits at home, chain-smoking Dunhills. "The Authority is like the 40 thieves and Arafat is Ali Baba," says Hamdouni. "We got rid of the Israeli...
  • Bingeing On Ecstasy

    At 3 in the morning, Elon Daizada is hanging out in front of Allenby 58, one of Tel Aviv's hottest dance clubs. With his spiked yellow hair, black jeans and white patent-leather shoes, he's preening before a flamboyantly dressed bouncer, hoping to be admitted. Inside, the earsplitting thump of techno pop is shaking the foundations of the club, which is at the center of Israel's thriving rave culture. Tattooed, pierced--and in many cases fueled by the drug ecstasy--the clubbers writhe with abandon.Not long ago, Daizada was dodging Hizbullah guerrillas instead of fellow ravers. He finished serving his mandatory tour with the Israeli Army in southern Lebanon late last year, and is proud of his sacrifice. "I love this land like my own family," the 22-year-old says. "I would die for this country." But Daizada also reflects another powerful current among young Israelis: in an era of relative peace and prosperity, they are cutting loose--often by consuming drugs. Standing outside Allenby...
  • Breaking The Wagner Taboo

    Behind closed doors, the musicians of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra gather to indulge in a forbidden pleasure: playing the music of Richard Wagner. But they don't dare play it in public. The work of the German maestro is strictly taboo in Israel, where he remains one of the most potent symbols of anti-Semitism. For many Israelis, Wagner's music is inextricably linked with Hitler's Nazi regime, which took inspiration from his racist ideology and infused its pageantry with his compositions. Now the IPO's smaller rival, the Israel Symphony Orchestra, is seeking to break the taboo. It recently announced plans to play Wagner's "Siegfried Idyll" during an October performance in its home city of Rishon LeZiyyon, sparking a flurry of protest. "The whole idea of establishing this country was to have a haven where the sensitivities of Holocaust survivors would be respected," says Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "These people don't deserve to be...
  • A Rocket And A Hard Place

    Their mission used to be clear. In the Rotem outpost, a massive hilltop bunker on the outer edge of the strip of South Lebanon occupied by Israel, metal signs painted blue and white—the colors of the Israeli flag—exhort soldiers from almost every wall: "Protect the Northern Border of Israel." But these days, in the twilight of Israel's involvement in this troubled land, another mission has become paramount: stay alive. With just weeks before Israeli troops are set to begin withdrawing from Lebanon, the young soldiers of the Nahal Brigade are hunkered down in their grim cement fortress. Only one sentry stands guard in the dank, cramped observation post. To avoid risking other lives in the exposed bunker, a remote camera tracks the rocky hills down to the Mediterranean. "This is the scariest place," says Kobi Gelnik, a reticent 20-year-old who has been in Rotem for only three days. "Missiles fall here all the time." Two months ago a TOW anti-tank missile, fired with devastating...
  • Tracking Bin Laden

    The Kafkafa security prison sits high on a summit among the craggy hills of northern Jordan. It's visiting hour, and Khalil Deek is smiling broadly through an iron-mesh screen dividing prisoners from their families. "Thank you for taking an interest in the case," he says, fingering his bushy black beard. The "case" places Deek, a naturalized American citizen born in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, at the center of a conspiracy to attack American and Israeli tourists in Jordan last New Year's. With a wave of his hand, Deek dismisses the charges as "all this hocus-pocus." A devout Muslim, he says he had been living a quiet life in Anaheim, Calif., working as a computer technician and designing Islamic-culture Web sites when, in 1997, he traveled to the Pakistani-Afghan border. Not, he says, to join Al Jihad, but to preserve the writings of a revered Muslim cleric on CD-ROM. "America is a homeland to me," he says, "more than any other country."Evidence gathered by the FBI and Jordanian...
  • Questions About Cash

    When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak stormed into office last May, it was after running a Bill Clinton-style campaign, complete with Washington spinmeisters and punchy sound bites. But it turns out Barak's party also took a seamier page from the Clinton political playbook: the no-holds-barred pursuit of campaign cash. Barak is embroiled in a multimillion-dollar campaign-finance scandal that has tarnished his image as Israel's straight-shooting soldier-politician and could lead to criminal charges against some of his top aides.For Barak, whose integrity was a major selling point during the campaign, the scandal couldn't come at a worse time. His ambitious peace agenda depends largely on his ability to maintain the trust of the Israeli electorate, as he pursues simultaneous negotiations with the Syrians and the Palestinians. But that trust has been eroded by a series of alarming allegations--involving foreign contributors, dead donors and some of Clinton's own political benefactors-...
  • The Plot Thickens

    When Yussef Karroum drove his Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon across the border at Blaine, Wash., last Thursday at 9 a.m., he told Customs officials that he was entering the United States "to get gasoline, milk and cheese." Suspicious of the reply, Customs officers directed the 34-year-old Moroccan with a Canadian passport toward inspectors who punched his particulars into the immigration-service computer. First, law-enforcement officials say, the computer flashed a warning that Karroum should be considered "armed and dangerous." Investigators subsequently learned that Karroum's name was in the database because he was a suspected associate of Ahmed Ressam--the man arrested by Customs in December while trying to cross into Washington state with a cache of bomb-making materials.Were terrorists launching another plot? Bomb-sniffing dogs (named Leon and Hilda) were brought to the car, as well as a device that can identify traces of explosives. The ma-chine identified nitroglycerin...
  • The Noisy Season

    Two years ago Yoav Tsur got a bullet in the mail from Israeli extremists. "You dirty traitor," said the note that came with it. "We'll get you." But they haven't yet. Tsur, who first settled in the Golan Heights 21 years ago, still campaigns to give the captured territory back to Syria for a fair peace. He's motivated, in part, by another bullet: Tsur was at a Tel Aviv peace rally in 1995 when a Jewish right-wing fanatic assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. "That's when I promised myself I wouldn't be quiet anymore," says Tsur, 45, who runs a wind-turbine farm on the Golan. "We won't leave the streets to the rightists. We're not going to be quiet anymore."It's the noisy season again in Israel. At a mass demonstration in Tel Aviv last week more than 100,000 people protested any peace deal that would relinquish the Golan Heights to Syria. Activists have plastered on Israeli cars tens of thousands of stickers that read the people are with the Golan. And political banners hang...
  • Americans On Alert

    The car, a rented Chrysler 300, was the last in line to come off the boat from Victoria, British Columbia, at the ferry terminal in Port Angeles, Wash. When a U.S. Customs inspector started asking some routine questions, the driver appeared nervous. Lying on the car seat was an itinerary, the Customs inspector noticed, showing that the driver was traveling from Vancouver to Seattle. That seemed odd: the man was taking a very roundabout route through a remote port town. The inspector, Diana Dean, asked the man to step out of the car. When he refused, she called for backup help and looked in the trunk of the car. Nothing there but a knapsack. But in the wheel well she found the ingredients, it appeared, of several bombs. "We have a problem here, sir," she said.A big problem. The full dimensions may not be understood until the new millennium arrives, but the Dec. 14 incident at the border increased concerns among U.S. intelligence officials that terrorists are planning to strike around...
  • A Separate Peace?

    Each morning in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Arab workers pass through the Israeli checkpoint on their way to jobs in Jerusalem. At first it seems a picture of efficiency, as soldiers carefully scrutinize their entry and work permits. But along either side of the militarized checkpoint hundreds of illegal Palestinian laborers stroll through olive groves--in plain sight of Israeli soldiers--on their way to low-wage positions in Israel. Indeed, of the 120,000 Palestinian workers who enter Israel every day, more than half are illegal. For Israeli employers, the workers are a source of cheap, dependable labor. For Hassan Tamari, who makes the short trek each day, the economics are equally simple: "There are few jobs in Bethlehem," he says. "I can make 130 shekels in Israel and only 80 in Bethlehem."If Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has his way, tens of thousands of workers like Tamari won't earn any shekels in Israel. As part of a broader policy of "separation," Barak wants to...
  • Unsettling Israel

    Tamar Goldes lives in a shipping container on a rocky cliff in the West Bank. She and a handful of other Jewish settlers claimed this remote outpost, Ahuzat Shalhevet, two months ago. From her simple home, Goldes has a commanding view of three Arab villages in the valley below. A lone Israeli Army sentry sits nearby, engrossed in a Russian sci-fi novel, his M-16 resting on his lap. Goldes, who is six months pregnant, says she feels a "sacred duty" to settle this craggy, desolate bit of earth. "All places in the land of Israel are holy places--but especially the places inhabited by Arabs," she says.That defiant attitude has long been the hallmark of the Israeli settler movement. But these days, it belongs to a shrinking minority. Last week settlers began an unprecedented voluntary evacuation from a few new outposts deemed illegal in the West Bank; more are scheduled for this week. The exodus is the result of a bold deal concocted by Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who persuaded settler...
  • Facing More Fire At The Fbi

    FBI director Louis Freeh is about to be embarrassed again by his own troops. On Capitol Hill, the FBI is already under fire for mishandling the investigation of Chinese espionage at the nuclear lab at Los Alamos, N.M. For years, the FBI's spycatchers focused on a single suspect, the Taiwanese-born scientist Wen Ho Lee. Criticized at congressional hearings for casting too narrow a net, senior FBI officials doggedly insisted that the investigation was on course and blamed the Justice Department for failing to grant the bureau a license to wiretap. But NEWSWEEK has learned that bureau officials failed to disclose persistent misgivings by their own gumshoes. As far back as December 1998, the FBI's field office in Albuquerque, N.M., raised concerns that the investigation was superficial and failed to look at other suspects outside of Los Alamos. Though Freeh was getting briefed on the case every day, he was never told of these qualms, which appeared in a half-dozen memos. Now that the...
  • A Fire That Won't Die

    Among the many oddities surrounding the 1993 conflagration at Waco, Texas, there is the mystery of page 49. The story goes like this: after the disastrous siege that ended in the deaths of David Koresh and some 80 of his Branch Davidian followers, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered up an exhaustive investigation. She had directed that nothing pyrotechnic be used in the standoff, and now she wanted to be assured that her orders had been followed. Justice Department lawyers interviewed scores of FBI agents and reviewed thousands of documents. Buried somewhere among them, on the 49th and final page of a dry FBI crime-lab report, was a small reference to a "fired U.S. military 40mm shell casing" used to disperse tear gas. To anyone who understands weaponry, it should have been a bright red flag: unlike plastic "ferret rounds" of tear gas that are often used to break up unruly crowds, military shells burn when released. They can start fires--precisely what Reno had prohibited.But when...
  • The Nuclear Spy Case Suffers A Meltdown

    Warren Rudman had finally heard enough. Earlier this year, President Clinton asked the former Republican senator to review how the administration handled the case of Wen Ho Lee, the Los Alamos scientist suspected of leaking nuclear secrets to China. Rudman quickly concluded that the case against Lee was precariously thin. The FBI has turned up scant evidence that the Taiwanese-born physicist gave nuclear-weapons designs to Beijing. Instead, agents are now focusing on Lee's admission that he transferred nuclear codes onto his unsecure office computer. In a report highly critical of the investigation, Rudman questioned why agents had zeroed in on Lee while ignoring dozens of other possible leakers.That's not the only question about the case against Lee. In particular, it stands out when compared to another government investigation into the misuse of classified material. In December 1996, the CIA discovered that retired CIA director John Deutch had routinely taken his work home,...
  • The Handyman And His 'Voices'

    In the end--after months of frustration and false leads--the Yosemite murder case broke open on a tiny piece of luck. On the evening of July 21, when naturalist Joie Armstrong was attacked by a knife-wielding psychopath at her home, a U.S. Park Service firefighter noticed a blue-and-white 1979 International Scout parked near her house. When Armstrong's decapitated body was discovered the next day, the firefighter's report triggered a BOLO--cop slang for "be on the lookout"--and led police to Cary Stayner, 37, a shy motel handyman. Stayner was sunbathing in the nude and smoking a joint near the Merced River when a ranger and a sheriff's deputy approached. No, he told them calmly, he hadn't been around Armstrong's house the night before. Not sure what they had, the cops cited him for the reefer and let him go.Overnight, investigators discovered that Stayner's tires matched tracks near Armstrong's house, making him an instant suspect. He made an attempt to run but didn't get far....