tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 28, 2011 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT
>> yes, sir, that did happen. >> what did she tell you? >> that she sent dominic into the woods off of suburban because she had a psychic tip that she wanted to follow up on. >> okay, so what do you think? >> another example that this is a secret keeping, lying, dysfunctional family with alliances ever shifting. a divided family. that's what we saw in the courtroom today, brooke. >> and it continues. we'll talk about it tomorrow. >> thank you very much. the taliban opening fire against afghan security forces that it will have to fill the void when u.s. troops leave. stand by for new details just coming in. on the shootout, it's still going on. plus, massive protests against
tax hikes and budget cuts exploding in to violence. the greek capital of athens, under a cloud of tear gas and public anger before a vote aimed at preventing a financial meltdown. the danger to the united states economy very real right now based on what's happening in greece. and the 2012 campaign heating up in oou aye with visits by president obama and sarah palin. are either of them being honest about the politics behind their trip? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." all right, let's get right to the breaking news. an attack right in the heart of kabul. a dangerous reminder as the u.s. troops start drawing down. they hold a news conference on the military transition.
a western rjournalist on the scene in afghanistan. tell us what you can from your vantage point. tell our viewers the latest information, please. >> right now i'm seeing a number of nato suvs enter the grounds of te tells. looks like there's about half a dozen. a number of afghan national army armored personnel carriers arrived on the scene and the afghan soldiers stormed the compound. now i'm at the base of the hotel. there's a small hill that goes down to the road. that's where i am. so i can't actually see what type of battle is happening. i can hear small arms fire. but right now, things seem to be a little more calm. i haven't heard gun fire in about 10 to 15 minutes.
>> are there u.s. military personnel specifically that have arrived at the scene to back up the afghan security forces? i know you say there are isaf, international security forces there. do you know if they're from other countries outside of the united states and nato? or from the united states? >> at the moment, i'm not entirely sure. there were three u.s. soldiers i did see distinctly who entered the compound to assist. i'm not sure what role they were playing. the isaf suvs i saw enter, i was unable to tell which country the troops were. >> how long ago did this attack, the suicide attack by the taliban fighters, how long ago did it actually start? >> from what i understand, it
started between 9:30 and 10:00 at night. it's extremely rare during the daylight hours or right before dawn. so this is one of the first times that i know of that they staged a nighttime attack particularly in the capital. >> so the standoff still continues unresolved, is that what i'm hearing? >> yes, definitely. yes, it's been going on for three or four hours. >> what are you learning? >> well, all indications are that this was a commando style attack on the intercontinental hotel in kabul. this is the type of attack we've seen a lot recently, not just in afghanistan, but this entire region. we saw it in mum buy here in
25008 and 2009. militants attacking the headquarters. it's a spiel of attack, instead of a suicide attack that's deadly and brief. you have very well trained militants engaging in security forces. it's a type of attack designed to last long and attract attention. militants are in control or in position of power. we have learned that the taliban have indeed claimed responsibility for this attack in kabul. the taliban spokesperson saying several suicide attackers launched this attack about 10:00 p.m. kabul time. roughly four hours ago. it's not clear how many suicide attackers were involved in the attack. we should note that today and tomorrow, scheduled in kabul, a set of meetings between u.s. officials, afghan officials, pakistani officials with a subject, transition of power from international security
forces to afghan security forces in kabul. we understand the pakistani envoy to pakistan and afghanistan, and a taliban spoiksperson was aware these meetings were taking place, wolf. so clearly, a well planned, well coordinated attack by the taliban, sending a message to the west, to afghan officials, u.s. officials that indeed they are in control and still capable of launching attacks, targeting a very sensitive locations in kabul. >> just to clarify, mark grossman took over for the late richard holbrooke when passed. are
you saying ambassador grossman is now in islamabad or kabul or on the way to kabul? a. >> we understand that mark grossman is in kabul and he's in
part of these talks about the transition of power from international forces to afghan forces. that's going to start in july with a drawdown of u.s. troops and is going to take place within the next 2 1/2 years. the talks started today with afghan, u.s. and pakistani officials. they were scheduled to resume tomorrow. it's not clear -- we haven't verified where they were taking place tomorrow but a series of talks did take place in kabul today. i will have you stand by and check on how he's doing. mark grossman in kabul right now for these talks. i want to bring in tom foreman at the data wall for us. set
the scene for us where this is and what's going on. >> as we fly into this hotel here, you can see the big part of kabul here, the hotel is up in this area, sort of set apart
from most things. what do we know about this hotel. we know it's a three-star hotel. 200 rooms. a lot of people there at 10:00. open in 1969, it was the nation's first international luxulu luxury hotel. it's no longer connected by because to the intercontinental chain that so many of us might visit in other places. we can't tell a whole lot right now about the actual attack. but you can see it sort of on a raised knoll here. the big question, of course, will be where did the attack come from? these are the main roads that come around it. not a whole lot from people who
come down around this road. many different security issues are in question. it's a kbig hotel with a lot of people that time of night wolf? >> thanks very much. i want to bring in nick roberts. you've been to kabul onka several occasions. tell us your experiences at the intercontinental in kabul. >> security has been tight for several years, wolf. there's a highway that passes close to the hotel. there's a ridge overlooking a ridge.
that road has a checkpoint. there's another much tough er checkpoint towards that 100-meter stretch of road. there's a small circle, cars pull up. if they were able to get in with suicide bombers through security checkpoints, that will be very surprising. the ground b close to the hotel is quite possible. it's possible to come in through the service entrance below the hotel. tt ground floor, the restaurants off their book shop area before they sit down. long hall with rooms on either side.
the gunman looking for werners. last year, attacking in the north of the country, being used by an aid organization, suicide bombers that breach the walls and go in with gunmen, attacking a u.n. guest house. the serena hotel, the biggest and luxurious hotel in kabul, the same tactics, using suicide bombers through the tough perimeter security and sending gunmen inside, again, killing werners because they were targeting them. perhaps most startling of all, this is the second largest coordinated suicide bombing of the taliban in the capital in
the last couple of weeks. >> we're getting new images coming in from kabul. we'll share that with viewers. president obama expressed hope there could be reconciliation talks with all the different groups in afghanistan. he specifically said the taliban claiming credit for this assault on the intercontinental hotel in kabul. we'll have much more on this story coming in. i want to get right away to a volatile threat of the financial stability of the united states and indeed the world. >> as you can see, there's an awful lot of fighting going on between protesters and we're
being forced out of the way. a fire burning in the building. >> that was the chaos on the streets. thousands of riot police conducting thousands of prote protesters hours before the greek parliament voting on tax cuts. they warn other europeans could be sucked into the crisis and that could plunge the united states into a second recession. richard richard quest is standing by.
the people on the streets are much fewer, but the hard core are now out here going full throttle. the police will return fire wf skun grenades. and then tear gas will waft across the square. that's what it's been like for the past couple of hours. it is ughry,flasty. what's interesting, just go two or three blocks in either direction and suddenly it's back to normal life for most people. >> richard, explain to our viewers here in the united states if, and still a huge if, if the greek economic situation were to completely collapse, i
understand the enormous affect it would have on the economic -- on the rest of europe, but why would it potentially cause so much economic distress in the united states? >> indirectly, that's how the cause would happen. it is classically the ripple effects that would take place. contagion is the word to keep in your mind. once you get into ireland, portugal, italy and spain, once you get there, the risk to the u.s. markets who has the debt, who has the credit dpe fault swaps, it's a ripple effect. this is a nasty small fight. if it gets any wider then it
drags in the you're zone. before long, the u.s. is enmeshed as well. >> we stay on top of this as well. richard, be acareful over there. syria makes a new move to appear more open while it's criticized for its crackdown on anti-government protests. we're going to tell you what cnn and members of the united states congress are finding out on the ground in damascus right now. and is president obama trying to reclaim some of his iowa mojo? we're seeing how sarah palin is stealing some of his thunder. [ waves crashing ]
>> a new denial today by the syrian government that it's attacking peaceful protesters. a top adviser insisting to cnn that security forces only are targeting what she called armed groups. witnesses tell a different story of a brutal crackdown that's killed more than 1,100 civilians. cnn is the only u.s. television network live inside syria right now. we caught up by the way with a prominent american and a fact-finding mission there. that would be democratic congressman, anti-war advocate dennis kucinich of ohio.
>> do you think there's a point at which he will reach that point of no return? i know you're open to the idea of discussions. >> i really think that's up to the syrian people. it's not up to the u.s., not fran france. >> i read criticism of your visit here from the u.s. press saying you legitimate sized this government. how do you respond to that criticism with this visit? >> i met with the opposition. i heard what they had to say. i met with the government, i heard what they had to say. i think it's really important that people were involved in making policy hear from both sides. >> did you meet with people on the streets -- >> oob i met with people actively involved in the opposition. the comments that i made came from them.
>> he met with president bashar al-assad, is that right? >> he did. i met with him before his visit was publicized. you can imagine what a surprise it was to run into him and his wife elizabeth. i asked for an interview and he said he would be available the next day. he described his meeting with president asad. he talked about the violence in the country, that was his biggest concern. and what i found surprising as well is that he talked about the violence coming from security forces, potentially. that investigations needed to be conducted to determine that. but also investigations need to look into the possibility of a third party. it's surprising. it's pretty much a narrative of the syrian government that armed gangs are responsible for some
of the violence. but this is something that he said, an investigation would have to determine, wolf. >> i want to bring into this conversation, the professor from the school of advanced international studies here in washington. i want you to assess what's going on. but what do you think of this new -- what i would call a charm offensive by the regime in damascus, inviting hala gorani and other journalists coming in. what do you think? >> this is a scandal. remember jesse jackson used to go on these missions. i think this is not very helpful. cue sin nichl doesnkucinich is y cynical way. i think for the syrian regime you have the ruler's brother for oppression, and then you have
the professor of english literature for the pr. the pr offensive is on, and i think i'm worried to be honest with you. i think you're now beginning to hear from both washington and paris, such hinge things as well, this is helpful. that syria is opening up. it's helpful that bashar has allowed 200 people to meet in a damascus hotel. i think we have to be on guard against this effort by the syrian regime. >> hala, i wonder if you have a question you want to ask. >> yes. what i think is interesting fuad is this is a charm offensive, definitely an attempt to control the message, but you have opponents of the regime who are willing, you have hussein, michelle kilo, these are prominent opponents who spent years in jail. and they're saying they're at least willing to try to work within the frame work of this authoritarian regime. my question is, do you think that they're being naive?
>> well, i think that's a tough one. one wouldn't want to second guess people like this, and you are on the scene. you have always been my guide to whether it's egypt or libya. so i won't -- i mean, i think we have to be on guard against second guessing people who have been involved in this uneven struggle, if you will, with the syrian tyranny. but there is a split, there's no doubt. a split between the internal opposition that's in syria under the rule of this regime, and the external opposition that's called into question the wisdom of dealing with bashar. and i think this is the hope of bashar. hope for the split between an internal .osituation willing to bargain and external opposition that's somehow committed to the idea that this regime has to be brought down. >> in fairness, congressman cue sin itch, you know, he is a united states congressman. he's very active in the peace movement. if hi feels h he can go over there, have a meeting with the
president of syria, speak to him fwr a few hours, something the united states ambassador in damascus obviously can't do, and maybe talk some sense into bashar al-assad, wouldn't that be helpful? >> to be onnest, i don't think dennis ckucinich can talk any sense into al-assad. they will not explain that dennis kucinich is a marginal member of congress. with all due respect. sometimes i think foreign policy is too serious to be left to members of congress. it sounds anti-democratic in spirit you can't send amateur congressmen coming in and looking around for a day or two for a few hours and then coming and pronouncing on very complicated matters. >> when you spoke with dennis kucinich, did he say he was coming from washington with a message from anyone from the u.s. government, the obama administration? or did he just say he was there on his own.
>> he said he was there on his own. he said he did not speak for the obama administration. this was a fact-finding mission. he hadn't written his report yet, but what i found interesting is that he said he met with members of the opposition, but here in syria, members of the opposition often times, those who haven't been vetted by the government or authorized to gather in the way that the opposition members that gathered in the damascus hotel did, don't come forward. they still are very much afraid for their own safety. they say they want to talk but they're too afraid. in two days there's no way dennis kucinich would have been able to meet generally with every member of the opposition in syria. >> thanks very much from coming in. >> thank you. >> unfortunately the story is
obviously not going away. >> i want to get back to the news out of afghanistan. just ahead, the very latest on the deadly suicide bombings at the intercontinental hotel in kabul. plus, political rivals, are they president obama and sarah palin? they are both in iowa on this same day. is that just a coincidence? we're digging deeper.
kabul's intercontinental hotel where they fought tuesday with afghan security forces as well as members of nato forces in afghanistan as well. you see some of the first images coming in. tracer fire from atop the roof of the intercontinental hotel in kabul. among the attacker, we're told, several suicide bombers, bombers were responsible for the 10:00 p.m. attack local time on the hotel, according to a taliban spokesman. the hotel, as you can imagine, popular with international guests including americans who visit kabul. initial reports indicate that multiple suicide bombers, mostly wearing explosive vests carried out the attack. a u.s. military official said none were at the hotel at the time. we have just been told that the president of the united states, president obama has been briefed. he's in iowa, been briefed by his national security said traveling with the president.
campaign watchers are having a field day, especially since sarah palin will be in iowa tonight. new fuel for speculation that she could potentially jump into the republican presidential race. several candidates are or about to go to iowa. >> is there really any such thing as a nonpolitical visit when a politician goes to iowa? this is the first in the nation voting state of caucuses. whenever a politician goes there, they are courting voters
in one way or another. this was the president's spring board to the nomination. when he are upset expectations and won there, it gave him the energy to defeat then senator hillary clinton last time around. this is the first time he's been there this year, but the fifth time since his inauguration. he went and toured an alcoa factory. this is his success story. they laid off factory workers before sdsh during the recession and rehired them now. his campaign team and the white house say no, no, this was not about politics, this was about talking to workers. but, you know, you've got to assume a little bit differently. this is what the president said today. >> i know you haven't seen a lot of politics around recently. some tells me you may see a few more before february is over. but iowa, you andcy, we go a long way back. and those of you coming over from the illinois side, we go even longer back.
and we'll make history for years to come. >> it's relevant, because not only is this an important state in general, but this is a state the president has to win if he wants to win reelection. he won it not just in the nominating contest but in the general last time around. it's expected to be a battleground state. they have an unusually low unemployment rate right now. lower than the rest of the nation so that could give them a leg up, but he's got to really court those voters. >> he made the point, he was on the border between iowa and illinois. he carried iowa four years ago in the 2008 general election. by a nice little margin, but he needs to carry iowa once again. so this time, it could spill over into the illinois market as well since he's right on the border. >> sarah palin isn't saying she's running for president or not, but her daughter bristol
said her mother made a decision, she just isn't telling it's a big cliffhanger. she's there for the premier of a documentary about sarah palin called the undefeated. it's going to be playing only in south carolina and new hampshire and iowa. >> and tonight in iowa. >> just by coincidence. early voting states. a new 30e8 has her favorability at 58%. that's a great number for her. but her unfavorable rating is at 37%, pretty high. so, you know, it cuts bhoet ways for sarah palin. if she gets in, obviously tons of media attention will go her way, but her negatives are something she would really have to fight to keep down. >> we want to congratulate you, today is a big day you were named our chief white house correspondent. congratulations. i try to take a little personal credit because the high point of your journalistic career, 2008, november when the president of the united states, you were in chicago, i was in new york at the cnn legislation.
i believe you were beamed in. >> you got it. you were the first journalist ever beamed in by hologram into our headquarters. there you were. you were in chicago. very cool. will i am was the second person beamed into cnn elections center. >> i look forward doing this job for you, wolf. >> all downhill ever since. >> congratulations and good luck. stand by for more on the breaking news. we're following a suicide attack under way in a hotel in afghanistan. plus, iran is launching a new reason to worry about its nuclear ambitions we'll tell you what we know. and a close call aboard the international space station. this past year alone there was a 93% increase in cyber attacks.
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>> hi there, wolf. the fbi and department of homeland security are urging local law enforcement to remain vigilant but say there's no specific evidence an attack is being planned. the intelligence bulletin notes as recently as last year, al qaeda was interested in striking u.s. targets on symbolic dates like july 4, but also warns the death of osama bin laden could prompt lone assailants to attack at those time. iran is successfully test firing 14 missiles in a second day of war games code named the great prophet six. this is following the announcement that company built its first ballistic silos. it's fuelling international concern that they're trying to develop international weapons. they say they have a right to peaceful nuclear technology. and a near miss for crew members on the international space station who were forced to climb sboof soyuz capsules to avoid mysterious debris tumbling
towards the spacecraft. they sounded an all-clear about 40 minutes later. the nature of the debris is still being investigated. >> that's pretty scary. >> they're fine now. >> hate that space junk. many members of congress insist they want to cut costs big time. james whitey bulger update when we come back. host: could switching to geico really save you
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astrazeneca may be able to help. >> james whitey bulger was back in court today. there were some surprises. what happened, deb? >> he was a lot more subdued in court today. there weren't wisecracks about wanting his $800,000 back. that was money that was seized when the fbi raided his apartment. two things happened today. one, prosecutors moved to drop the original indictment. that's the one that whitey bulger was tipped off to, the one that caused him to blee from boston. instead they want to try him on later more serious charges including murder. his temporary attorney accused prosecutors of forum shopping. that is trying to get a more favorable judge to hear this case. also today, bulger's lawyer asked the judge to tell
prosecutors to stop leaks by federal law enforcement agents, saying that bulger would be hard pressed to get a fair trial that prosecutors are going to answer that. there was information that bulger was traveling to las vegas where he was gamble and he went to tijuana, mexico, via san diego in order to pick up medication. as for a lawyer? well, still don't know about that. a decision has to be made whether he'll get a court appointed lawyer or whether he'll have to foot the bill himself. right now, two prominent boston lawyers were in the courtroom but they didn't say what their intentions were. wolf? >> i know you're working on a special documentary that will air here in july, but you had a chance to speak with the fbi agent who first put whitey bulger on the fbi's most wanted list? >> that's right. and what's so interesting, this was a special agent in charge of the boston office. he came in after bulger already disappeared. he was the one trying to clean
up the office, especially because there were so many charge of corruption. when i asked him what he thinks is going to happen, he thinks that braps whitey bulger could plead. he says the reason he thinks this is because bulger's one soft spot is his family. his brother. he may not want to drag the bulger name through the mud any more than it's already been dragged. also, he could have information that could certainly shed even more light on the fbi and how involved they were with the irish mafia. >> thanks very much. just ahead, why some members of congress are driving some high-priced luxury cars at your expen expense. plus, a nebraska nuclear plant in crisis mode. inside the desperate efforts to keep rising floodwaters away. here at quicken loans, we take special pride in servicing clients that serve our country. my name is marjorie reyes. i'm a chief warrant officer. i am very grateful and appreciative
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michelle bachmann this morning was asked about some of the misstatements, false statements she's made over the past several weeks and months. i want you to listen to her response. >> you know, i think people just need to know what a person's background is. and i'm introducing myself now to the american people so that they can know that i have a strong academic, scholarly background. >> she's been highlights that background. she is doing remarkably well. she's right up there in iowa with mitt romney. she's resonating with a lot of people. you have to acknowledge that. >> i do acknowledge it and it makes sense. they're attacked to kind of the most conservative candidates.
michelle bachmann gives the far right of the heaparty their rea meat. the question is, how far she goes past there. and, goes past there and it's odd that in the same conversation where she talks about her graduate degrees, she doesn't seem to know when slavery was a polished in the united states. she makes mistake when is she talks too much. >> all politicians make mistakes from time to time. >> they do, wolf. she is a serious candidate. if i'm tim paw lendy, i wond wrer she came from. she has a tax degree and went to william and mary. she plenty smart and understands where the right wing is coming from.
she speaks loutly and they love it. all politicians make mistakes barack obama made a mistake last week and george w. bush made a mistake. the question is, can she be credible to enough voters going beyond iowa and that's an open question. >> is she held to a different standard because she is a woman? >> i guess the answer is obviously yes. i don't think chris wallace would have asked a man if he was a flake. i think that the fact that she is constantly compared to sarah palin as opposed to other men in the race clearly would demonstrate that. i think the issue for her is she is a high flying rhetorical politician in part because she
was not in a position of power to execute. she was just more trying to create a movement and now i think going forward, it's not that she is not smart or well-educated, does she have the discipline to reign in her rhetoric and know what she's talking about. >> she has a great staff including ed rollin who is worked for mike huckabee. >> our former colleague at cnn. she has good taste. >> a great pollster. since she brought in the highly trained republican strategists, she has been much more disciplined and much more focused. i assume you will agree >> she has been. no question. she has this long history of saying incendiary things. the problem is you can't run away from things you said in the past that became famous.
she was the bombshell person and letting bombshells all over the place on cable news, to be president you need to build a reputation as a work horse and not a show horse. that will catch up to her. >> we will leave it there. thanks very much. we will get back to the breaking news we are following in afghanistan. the latest on the deadly attack under way right now at the hotel in kabul. the president, president obama has been briefed on the situation and we will hear from an eyewitness on the scene. stay with us. you are in "the situation room." what's this option? that's new.
personal pricing now on brakes. tell us what you want to pay. we do our best to make that work. deal! my money. my choice. my meineke. a programming note tomorrow and thursday, i will be in chicago and intrusion at city hall with rahm emmanuel. i be at the initiative to interview the former president, bill clinton. the global initiative will be dealing with global economic issues. rahm e mallual in chicago. all that was coming in "the situation room."
meanwhile, a lot of sparring in congress over ways to reduce the nation's debt. our members willing to walk the walk and give up the posh cars and it turns out taxpayers and you and me and all of us were footing the bill for lawmakers. let's bring back lisa sylvester. what's going on here, lisa. >> they are given an office allowance. that allows them to purchase paper clips to bottled water for the office. they are allowed to lease cars at taxpayer expense and many of them take full advantage of this perk. lexus, cadillac and highlander. who wouldn't want a nice vehicle to drive. dozens of law makers leased victims by you, the taxpayers. it's all legal. they allow them to lease a
vehicle for official business and there is no limit on how much they can spend. so spend they do. taxpayers for common sense investigated >> had a cadillac and one had a van that converted to run on vegetable oil it. runs the gambit. >> bernice johnson pate $17,000 at the end of last year to lease a lexus for her term. keep in mind this is a lease for two years. that's not even to buy the car we called the office looking for answers >> sorry there justification for having a $17,000 lease? >> her staff said the lease on the vehicle in question was on the list of low green house gas vehicles and approved by the
house of representatives. leasing made more sense because it is more cost-effective than reimbursing for private cars. there is no way leasing a high end vehicle is cheaper than reimbursing for mileage. >> you take 100,000 miles to make the difference a year. no way you can drive that much. unless she is driving across country all day long. >> it's not just democrats. republicans are on the list of those riding on the taxpayer's dime. tom price repeatedly said spending is out of control. he spent $23,000. >> all you have to do is look at the picture. >> to lease a highlander for two years at taxpayer expense on the last day of his last year. any money left in the allowance reverts back to the treasury. >> use it or lose it. if he doesn't spend the money it
disappears on the 3rd of january. >> our cnn producer went to price's district office in georgia, but they had no comment. with the talk of cutting the debt, the groups say it's time to look again. >> it's something that need to be looked into. as their constituents are having to tighten their belt, lawmakers do as well. >> the senate doesn't have anything like this. it used to be this was kept in paper form and it is now available online for anyone to read although the electronic records are not as detailed as the paper documents used to be. >> good report. thanks very much. >> you are in "the situation room." a deadly unfolding attack on a luxury hotel in the afghan
capital. suicide bombs and grenades. new details coming in. also a power plant. we will go there live inside. we want to welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news. political headlines and jeannie moos all straight ahead. you are in "the situation roo.". >> a brazen attack involving suicide bombers, snipers and rocket-propelled grenades. multiple explosions and at least 10 have been killed. the taliban claiming responsibility. cnn is monitoring developments from neighboring pakistan for us and what's the latest you are
hearing about the situation? we understand it's ongoing. >> at least two are resisting and all indications are this this was a well-coordinated and well-organized attack. at one point, witnesses say these heavily armed militants were on top of this hotel locked in a fierce firefight with skurs forces down below and tracer fire and grenades lighting up the night time sky and making for a dramatic scene in the capital of afghanistan the latest from afghan police is that six suicide bombers atta attacked this hotel and one of the attackers detonated his suicide and three attackers were killed. still registing and they could be in the roof area of the hotel. the target of the
intercontinental hotel, one of the biggest in kabul. hot telefrequented by diplomats and journalists indeed they have claimed responsibility for this attack. u.s. officials say there is no indication that any u.s. citizens were in the hotel, but one citizen who was in kabul today was mark gressman, the envoy to pakistan and afghanistan. subject the transition of power from international forces. two afghan forces and telling cnn the taliban was aware the talks were taking place in kabul. that is why they launched the attacks today >> we were told he succeeded richard holbrooke as the envoy. he now left kabul and on his way
elsewhere we assume back here to the united states we don't know for sure. there have been numerous suicide attacks over several years, but it comes at a time when the taliban supposedly were being accorded by the u.s. and nato allies and the afghan regime of hamid karzai to bring them into negotiations. this would be a pretty bold statement on the part of the taliban and no desire for these reconciliation talks. >> this was certainly a suicide mission, but a commander-style attack. that's important to note. this is a type of attack we have seen a lot recently in the region. it's different from a suicide attack in that it's designed to last long. it's designed to get the
attention and create the impression that the taliban is in control. it raises a lot of questions. there has been a lot of talk in the wake of the announcement by the obama administration and the drawdown of the troops will begin next month. there is a lot of positive talk that there will be a successful transition eventually from international forces to afghan forces by 2014, but this is certainly a reminder that afghanistan is still a huge dilemma and things perhaps will not be as ez as possible. this is a clear indication that some elements don't want reconciliation and want to take the fight to international forces >> only last week in his speech, president obama reached out and hoped they would participate when you call them reconciliation talks. this is the response and president obama doesn't sound encouraging at all. on the scene as he always is. let's dig deeper for more area
of kabul where this is unfolding. >> let's take a look at the general territory. if you move into afghanistan, kabul is the big city and the hotel in question is a bit off to the side. it's not in the middle of the government. this is where it is. a-star hotel and open in 1989. this was the nation's first international luxury hotel. what do we know about the attack? there things worth bearing in mind we talk about it being a multiple story hotel isolated out. if you look at the shots we had so far, there indications of gunfire being exchanged and the top floor or the roof area. the tracer shot in here. beyond that, the big question is who was in the n this hotel at this time of night? you talk about it being in the evening and a lot of people are hunkered down for the night.
the hotel could have been full. that's kabul university and we know in terms it of getting to it, there issues to some degree. only one major road comes income to it. the only attacks on the hotel or counter attacks have to be a bit over open land over the smaller roads and open territory. one thing that is always worth wearing in mind, look how far away this is. about two miles away. this is indeed a bold attack on what would be seen by many as a very bright target if you wanted to make a statement. you to to see the final analysis. >> still ongoing as we speak. thank you. we are told that president obama has been briefed on the situation in kabul right now. let's bring in our white house correspondent. what are they saying, brianna? >> reporter: the president was briefed as he runned from iowa.
we don't have an official reaction from the white house, but this attack coming less than a week after the president announced his plan for bringing home u.s. troops and starting to bring home troops from afghanistan and when he made that announcement to bring 33,000 u.s. troops home by september of 2012. he pointed to progress in three different areas. in two of them, they are of import when you are talking about this attack in afghanistan. one pointed to progress in terms of stopping the momentum that will taliban experienced and the other was progress in starting to train afghan security forces so they could be in charge of security in afghanistan. an attack like this is say jolt of reality. it calls into question how much progress has been made on those fronts. some say the president talking about congress. there critic who is say he is
not bringing home troops fast enough, but as we know, there is also others who say this announcement of the beginning of the drawdown could hurt the progress that has been made. they will point it an attack like this as evidence of that. >> as we take a look at the situation, are they saying anything about the president's reaching out to the taliban in his speech when he ex-processed hope that he described hamid karzai's government and various groups in afghanistan including the taliban? some of the critics from the minute he said that suggested he was naive in thinking he could work out a peace deal with the taliban. >> reporter: the white house indicated certainly that that was an uncivry part of the process, but an important one. right now they are trying to get a handle on the details of this evolving situation. that really is a question that will be pressing the white house on in the coming day.
>> tharchgs, brianna. we are getting in a statement from the state department on what's going on right now. the breaking news we are following at the intercontinental hotel in kabul. according to the state department, the u.s. strongly don dems the attack on the hotel in kabul which once again demonstrates the terrorist's disregard for human life. the statements as we extend condolences to the victims of this attack and express support for the afghan security forces who are working to secure the site. we are looking at the latest images from around the hotel. all chief of mission personal that means the embassy personal in kbl the second largest in the world are accounted for. they continue to follow-up on the situation. the state department saying that ambassador grossman and the
envoy for afghanistan and pakistan departed kabul earlier in the day and they are en route back to washington. we will continue to follow the breaking news this hour. stand by we will hear from eyewitnesss who say or at least one of them said she was almost knocked to the ground by the force of an explosion at the intercontinental hotel. we will have the latest on a nebraska power plant threatened by floodwaters. brian todd is there on the scene and managed to get inside. we will have a live report. >> a big night for sarah palin in iowa. her daughter said the former governor has made her decision about whether to run for president of the united states. ♪
a raging wildfire inching closer and closer to the los alamos laboratory here in the united states. stray stress the fire is not burning on the grounds of the lab, but local authorities say they can't promise it will stay that way. los alamos is one of the pop national security research facilities. the lab's director said any hazardous materials are safe and secure. it was closed for a second day today as a precaution. meanwhile in nebraska, authors are keeping a close watch on a nuclear power plant. it'sed by two feet of water and no chance of a disaster like the we have in japan, but people are deeply concerned. live from the nuclear reactor facility with the latest.
what's going on as of today, brian? >> reporter: >> wolf, officials say no radio activity has been release and they're confident there won't be any. the flooding from the river behind me brought an unprecedented threat. >> you are looking at the plant manager in crisis mode. tim is scouring every inch of this place, looking for where the next breech might occur. >> we're monitor on an hourly base to ensure the conditions don't get worse. >> at the flooded plant, that's a big job. for weeks, the floodwaters engulfed this facility. when we get in, we see where they had a recent emergency. this is what got punctured leading to more of the problems. letting more of the flood waters in. crucial le close to the reactor >> we are toll the believes are
secure and there is no threat to public safety. confidence can turn with a shift of the current. maintaining almostal power. this is a keen area right here. this is a transform they're helps to power the pulls that cool the reactors and the spent fuel rods they are pumping floodwaters out to maintain it. look how close the waters are getting officials say they have back ups if they knockout the transformers f. they don't work, this could be affected through closed circuit cameras, you sao see the areas where they are kept. if they overheat, could a catastrophic event a half worlda away be repaided? >> they think it's another fukushima. >> it is not another fukushima. the main difference is the flooding that occurred at fukushima. this was a predicted event from the corps of engineers.
the flood waters are outside the plant. there is no water inside the plant. >> reporter: but there is no question the flooding has brought huge setbacks. this plant was supposed to be back up and running after going off line in april for refueling and officials say the floodwaters are not expected to receipt until late august. this may not be completely operational until about thep. >> brian is on the scene as he always is. an eyewitness to the taliban attack on a luxury hotel we are following the breaking news we hear firsthand her description. she is standing by to join us live. a crew caught up in violence speaks protest in greece. the latest on the riots rocking athens right now. ♪
at least 10 people have been killed and the taliban claims credit for what's going on. it's still ongoing. two of the terrorist who is went in are still at large and now in the middle of the night working this and we am stay on top of the story and go back there live. we are standing by to speak to an eyewitness on the scene. much more on the breaking news coming up. other news we are following, lisa sylvester is monitoring the top stories including the white house fighting back against criticism of what's going on in libya. what are they saying? >> this is interesting. >> the 1973 war powers mission because they are limited in scope and means exposure in troops. they give 60 days to get approval for sending american forces to war.
not surprisingly, many disagree. republican senator said the decision to intervene betrayed a fundamental failure of leadership. if you can't beat them, hire them. facebook put a hack or the e-mail. famous as the 21-year-old who broke the code. he was also one of the first people to successfully unlock the iphone. facebook won't say what will be working on at the social media company. workers can cash their paychecks with confidence. the auto maker said they can't afford to pay factory workers after securing a financing deal. an investment deal will buy a site for almost $40 million. last week they said they had not run out of money and now they will be paid, but won't be building cars until other financing deals are completed. >> the catholic church takes a
step into the 21st century. pope benedict xvi announced a new website for news from the vatican. it coincides with the ordination as a priest. he admit that is the twitter post was prepared for him, but the pope clicked it to send it. i know you do your own sending and writing. >> pontiff tweets f. he hits the button, she tweeting. good for him. i have an important note for all of the viewers here in the united states. tomorrow i will be anchoring "the situation room" from chicago. we have the former british prime minister tony blair who will be joining me as the new mayor of chicago. on thursday with former president clinton who is hosting the global initiative in chicago, all that coming up
tomorrow and thursday. special guests here in "the situation room". >> in the afghan capital, what she saw live in kabul. passions flair over the government's plans to slash the muj et. she got caught up in the streets of athens it was lugly. when a politician visits iowa, we often say those of us who cover politics, it's no accident. there was plenty of buzz when the president and one of his old adversaries found them in the hawk eye state on the same day. [ female announcer ] now at red lobster
u.s. officials telling cnn at least 10 people are confirmed dead in a massive coordinated attack on the intercontinental hotel in kabul that entereded suicide bombings and small arms. they report rocket-propelled grenades and the taliban claiming responsibility. hot teleis frequented by travelers and we are told that there no americans among the casualties as far as we know right now. in addition to the explosions, witnesses reported gunfire and forces confirm they are providing what they call limited assistance. u.s. soldiers are on the scene we are told. although the hotel carries the intercontinental name, it is not part of the worldwide group since the 1979 soviet invasion of afghanistan. listen to this eyewitness account from a western journalist, aaron cunningham who
was there. >> there several snipers on the roof who are firing at afghan security forces. back up has been coming pretty steadily since i got here about a half hour ago. just about five minutes ago, there were rpgs launched from the roof of the hotel towards the area of the vice president's house, the first vice president. everyone is pretty nervous. a lot of people fleeing the scene. i'm about 500 meters from the door of the hotel, but security forces won't allow us to go further. we are continuing to hear small arms fire right now >> there were two that was successive and the third that was unsure what exactly it was. the security forces that were in contact don't know the blast was
so large it almost knocked myself and my colleague off of our feet. >> live have a skype from kabul, as far as you know, are we still hearing gunfire, explosions? what do we know? >> yes. absolutely. when i left the scene about twenlt minutes ago, things had calmed down significantly. the afghan national army arrived as well. there was a small round of gunfire and that was it. now i hear a number of explosions that were very loud. i'm far from the hotel now, but i'm back home and i hear helicopters and getting reports that helicopters are firing on insurgents on the roof >> what are time is it now in kabul? it's getting ready for daybreak, is that right? >> yes. it's 3:00 a.m.
i just heard the call to prayer. this has been going on for quite sometime. five to six hours now >> you saw nato troops joining the afghan security forces. we spoke about an hour or so ago and you saw american soldiers on the scene helping. set the scene for us. >> yes, i did see an american -- what i was told were american special forces who arrived on the scene in sport utility vehicles coordinating with afghan forces. there were three of them and they got into the car and went towards the hotel. after that i saw a number of nato cars arrive at the scene and go up as well. i only distinctly saw three u.s. troops. >> what does it say? you have been there for a while. what does it say that the taliban is claiming
responsibility for this coordinated attack on this hotel. >> right. i think the taliban is sending a serious message to not only the afghan government and the united states, but also to the people of kabul that they are here to stay. they have not been weakened by the surge. can carry out spectacular and coordinated attacks in the afghan capital and especially since there will be a conference tomorrow on the security transition. they know where to attack and when to attack it. this is going to make a lot of people pause and think about how they should move forward fighting the insurgency and negotiating with the taliban. >> even as we are speaking, we get this bulletin in from reuters reporting that nato helicopters have fired on and killed three of the tap ban attackers at the hotel in kabul
on the roof top according to a coalition spokesman. the loud explosions you may have just heard may have been the attack nato helicopters going in and attacking the roof top where the fighters may have been holding out. we don't than for sure, but that's what reuters seems to be reporting right now. anything else you can tell us? was there an attack that there was a warning sign? >> i'm not sure about this attack specifically or if there were warning signs that they would target the hotel, but the taliban made clear it launched the spring and summer offensive against nato troops and the government here. it has in the past couple of weeks as well as since the beginning of the year coordinated and carried out coordinated attacks against
ministries and other hotels and malls in kabul. i think it was only a matter of time before something like this really unfolded the way it has and that they carried out such a sophisticated attack. >> as far as we know, the latest information we are getting, at least 10 people are confirmed dead. is that the information you have as well or are you getting updated information? >> that's the information i have. i don't know however if they're internationals or afghans or both. right now it's 10 dead is the number i am assuming. >> we will stay in close touch in kabul reporting via skype. let's bring in our analyst and you have been there many times have you been to the intercontinental hotel? >> they are visited fairly fe
frequently. this hotel from the pictures is high up on a hill. >> isolated. >> very isolated. >> it's not the hotel that attracts the westerners. this is a five-star hotel. this was subject of quite a complex operation where they went room to room. they were killed by the people a few years back. this hotel is heavily fortified. >> this hotel as well. >> good security, but the taliban at this point is a tough nut to crack. they ark tracted more afghans and it's a mix of internationals. the hotel downtown, mostly westerners are staying there. this is part of a patent of the
taliban attacking western targets in kabul. it's a big signal as president karzai talked about transitioning. >> he has been reaching out hoping to start negotiations. we heard president obama in a statement saying he wants reconciliation talks including in the taliban, somewhere criticizing him, thinking he was naive for saying that. if this is the response from the taliban, it's a pretty dramatic response. >> indeed. i think it's very much located in the desire to respond to the government and that they will take control of seven areas in afghanist afghanistan. kabul is an area where the services have most of the control. it's their way of signalling they won't have control and won't get control. they have a lesson from the mumbai attacks. the attacks where people who know they are going on a suicide operation and the longest
possible to attract media coverage and one of the lessons of 2008 and they studied that. >> barbara star is getting new information on what's going on. >> what do you hear with the sources? >> the spokes men in kabul, they just now confirming to cnn that two nato helicopters essentially did move in in the last minutes and fired on the roof of the hotel, killing as many as three of the insurgent government that had gone to the roof of the hotel. two helicopters firing on the roof of the hotel. we are told by the military spokesman at least 20 afghan forces moved in from street level and have been working their way up the hotel to go after the insurgents that may still be inside.
this is quite extraordinary for the helicopters to be called in to launch an air strike in the middle of downtown kabul. it's a populated area and that shows how much you want to get the situation resolved as we have been saying. kabul is an area that is supposed to be under afghan security control. they provide the so-called ring of steel security around the city. the fact that this security was penetrated is not unprecedented. it is quite serious and that is why the troops have now moved in. wolf? >> i want you to stand by. barbara. this is a powerful statement that the taliban is making. i want to reiterate coming on the heels of president obama's announcement about the surge withdrawal over the next year or so. if this is the response from the taliban, it suggest this is this war is about to lite up. >> that's what the taliban wants. they are finding it hard to
seize control of large chunks of territory in the south. they have been anticipating they would move into assassinations and these spectacular attacks on landmarks in kabul. unfortunately that happened. >> peter, thanks very much. you have the paper back edition of the bestseller about what's going on. 10 years. the longest u.s. war. that is just out and recommended highly. we will stay on top of the breaking news. as soon as more comes in, we will go back to kabul. other news we are following including politics and candidates flocking to iowa. they are trying to win over voters. a visit by sarah palin stoking speculation about her potential presidential ambitions.
a lot of excitement in pella. >> it is a lot of excitement. sarah palin is here and arrived a half hour, 45 minutes ago or longer. came to see a screening of this film, the undefeated. she has seen a rough cut of the film. she came in and made those statements before the crowd. there was speculation of whether or not she would run, but nothing said so far. patriotic scene inside. organ music and patriotic songs and the star spangled banner and pledge of allegiance and so on. then they started watching the movie which is a restation of sarah palin's life in, laska.
>> we like that per day. >> the governor of the state of alaska for the state. the founders decided we needed a ceo. >> all decisions must go through the ceo. >> they wanted the ability to go where the blame lays. >> she was the ceo of 25,000 employees. >> she was sitting at the desk and wasn't afraid to use the powers. >> the first few days were insane. we worked like dogs. >> i'm like -- 53y so the thing on everybody's mind, why make a movie about sarah palin if she is not running for president or is this a way to clear the way
for her to run. i talked to her producer of the movie and he wanted to tell the story of sarah palin who has not been told. that's what he is trying to do, wolf. he also admits freely he is as he calls himself, a right wing film producer. this is a very complimentary story about her. >> i haven't seen the film, but it's called undefeat and she was defeated as a vice presidential candidate. undefeated. what does that mean? >> right. i asked the producer of the movie about that. he said what it has to do with is about her spirit. her spirit is undefeated. let's listen to the sound byte he gave me on that issue. >> we the will not have $25
million. we have to get earned media. the place is in iowa and south carolina. all this media is focused and there is no story to tell. we will give them a story. i think you see that's where we are going. that's to build awareness. >> no one that that was the right sound byte, but the point was look. she has certainly been defeated as everyone knows. when she ran against barack obama and joe biden. her spirit is undefeat and that's what she stands for regardless of whether she gets into the upcoming presidential race. >> reporting for us live from pella, iowa. thanks very much. let's go deeper in iowa. our chief analyst is here.
give us perspective. how important are the iowa caucuses that will be held in early february of next year. how important are they in the race for the republican nomination? >> they are important in theory because this is the place where the first votes are cast. as a predictor of what's going to happen in the campaign, not so much. in 2000, george w. bush won and went on to win the nomination and the presidency. in 2008, it was, remember, mike huckabee who won in iowa. john mccain who was a lot more moderate then decide he was not going to compete in iowa and as a result he came in fourth and went on to win the nomination. fast forward that now to the situation, for example, the front-runner mitt romney finds himself in. they said they are kind of hanging back because the
situation in iowa is changing so rapidly. do they want to have a loss like last time around? romney spent a lot of money and won the straw poll and didn't win in the caucus and placed second to huckabee. they are hanging back. it's not a real predictor of who is going to get the nomination. >> for michelle bachman, warks was tailor made. >> hometown. >> born in waterloo, iowa. >> she talks about it a lot. when you look at conit wensy of the caucuses that are very conservative, it is made for her. the register did a poll. let me give you issues. these voters who are participate are opposed to civil unions, opposed raising the debt ceiling
and not interested in mandates for health care and want spending cuts and tax cuts. that sounds an awful lot like michelle back min, tea party candidate and not john huntsman, moderate republican. >> i know what she is saying publicly, but why is she showing up in new hampshire when romney is there and iowa the day after michelle bachman makes her announcement. is she trying to ride publicity to make money and sell books and promote her movie? >> in these two effects you mentioned, he is the political equivalent of a wedding crasher. she has to go there because she wants the lime light back. talking to the other campaigns, they are careful to say we love sarah palin and we respect sarah palin. even michelle bachman is doing it. mitt romney said new hampshire
is a big state. it's clear she doesn't want to leave the lime light. as much as she complains about the press chasing her, she still very happy to have that happen. >> selling a new book now. i think it's. >> bristol said she know fist her mom will run. >> they made millions and millions more they want. that's my guess right now. nothing wrong that. >> you are a smart guy. >> ousterity is a dirty word in greece. fueling angry mo pro tests and they got a taste that was frustration when he took to the streets of athens. bl here at quicken loans,
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as you can see, there is quite a lot of fighting now going on between protestors -- we are being forced out of the way because it's really kicking off around that corner. a fire burning in the building. then a demonstrator kicked our cameraman to the floor. camera kicked also. both survived, bandaged to the knee. the camera rolling as tear gas pushed crowds back and demonstrators sought shelter in neighboring streets. >> the country's about to collap collapse. i don't know. if they say yes, i promise all the greeks will go out on the streets and, i don't know, it will be chaos. >> unnecessary use of violence
from the police. that keeps us like a chain. we won't leave. >> reporter: on the mega phones they are asking police to clear the square so they have the chance to demonstrate, their right to demonstrate, these austerity measures debated in the parliament right now. traitors is this democracy, this woman asks, people who feel their politicians failed them. >> we'll stay on top of that story. for our north american viewers, "john king usa" is coming up with the afghan hotel attack. first, making a splash? times square. i spend long hours with her checking her heart rate, administering her medication, and just making her comfortable. one night britta told me about a tradition in denmark, "when a person dies," she said, "someone must open the window so the soul can depart."
being discovered in new york isn't easy. one aspiring rapper took a shortcut. as jeannie moos tells us, it didn't lead to fame but bellevue. >> reporter: it doesn't take much to shut down the crossroads to the world. a guy on a pole? what is he doing up there? >> sitting up there acting like an idiot. >> reporter: hiss pole dance
caused police to close seventh avenue in the heart of times square. what did you see him doing up there, anything? >> he was rapping. >> reporter: rapping after being avekted from viacom's mtv trying to hand out cds. police surrounded the light pole and inflated an air bag in case 34-year-old raymond velasquez of brooklyn fell or jumped. some in the crowd jokingly yelled -- >> jump! >> reporter: for almost two hours, police tried to talk him down even as he talked on his cell. >> he's on the phone. >> reporter: witnesses downloaded video of the times square poll guy to youtube. when he lifted his shirt. and while his times square poll performance was unaudible, you can hear him rapping under the jaime c.i. joe, coney island joe. his pole performance wasn't his first public disruption. he posted grainy video of
himself crashing the cbs "early show" as they were tossing to some snowstorm. >> there you go. >> reporter: not astronauty as refusing to come down from a pole. >> i think he was a moron. he went up there to make a show and cost new york city so much money. >> reporter: this harkens back to the 1920s when pole sitting was a fad. the last time something like this happened in new york city, it was two nearly naked people, one a transexual, another a gay guy who refused to climb down. >> what do you make of this? >> it's earth day. >> reporter: by nightfall they came down from their perch and so did the rapper. he was transported to bellevue for evaluation. all clear. the show's over. do you know what the show was?