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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  April 30, 2013 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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you are looking now at live footage of the finish line they're painting. they painted last night right near where the attacks were. two weeks and one day ago. we saw them paint it last night. it is usually painted the night the marathon ends but they had to wait until last night for obvious reasons. that's it for "the lead" today. i'm jake tapper. i now leave you in the able hands of mr. wolf blitzer who is currently in "the situation room." >> thanks very much. happening now, investigators discover at least one fingerprint among the bomb debris from the marathon attacks. it doesn't appear to belong to one of the two suspects. plus president obama renews his push to close the prison at guantanamo bay in cuba amid an alarming hunger strike involving more than half of its detainees. could you soon be seeing more nudity and profanity on your tv? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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>> the dramatic potentially revealing new twist in the hunt for clues behind the deadly boston marathon attacks. we're just learning investigators have discovered at least one fingerprint along with female dna among the bomb debris. our national correspondent susan candiotti is in boston and has been working the story for us. she has the latest details. what about this fingerprint, susan? what are you learning? >> hi, wolf. yes, tonight that is new information that we are learning about at least one fingerprint found on a piece of the bomb debris. those two bombs, pressure cooker bombs that were used at the killer boston marathon. we don't yet have word to whom that fingerprint belongs and still waiting for more information as well on that female dna that was also found on a part of the pressure cooker bomb. remember, authorities have been trying to pinpoint that
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information and at last check we have no word on whether a match has been made. the question remains, who made those pressure cooker bombs? where were they made? were they tested in the united states? and what kind of training? did they get the training here? did they get it overseas? it is suspected that the bomb maker could be the elder of the two brothers but of course no firm answers on that as yet. but of course we know that for a long time the suspect who was currently being held in the federal medical facility had been talking but still trying to work out whether he will continue to talk to investigators now that he's been read his rights. wolf? >> so they now have a fingerprint and they have dna -- that's a good start in this investigation i am sure. susan, thanks very much. president obama took the podium at a last-minute news conference today telling reporters all levels of law enforcement have handled this
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investigation in his words in an exemplary fashion. our crime and justice correspondent joe johns is taking a closer look at how federal officials are responding to the tragedy. he's got new information. joe? >> wolf, from a justice standpoint, this case is still really in its infancy but the director of national intelligence is already heading up an effort to try to determine whether any signals were missed that could have prevented the boston bombing. with the criminal investigation of the alleged boston bombers still in full swing including the search for possible accomplices, tuesday president obama defended the government's handling of tamerlan tsarnaev, who the fbi investigated back in 2011. the intelligence community is now doing a review to determine what might have been done better. >> the question then is, was there something that happened that triggered radicalization and actual -- an actual decision by the brother to engage in the
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attack the way -- the tragic attack we actually saw in boston? and are there things additionally that could have been done in that interim that might have prevented it? >> reporter: one issue, whether the case presented what one intelligence analyst called a signal to noise problem that so much information is now coming in about so many potential terrorists it's becoming increasingly hard to separate what's important from what's irrelevant. some of the most important information that came was from russian intelligence in 2011 warning about tamerlan tsarnaev, which sources described as vague, but the president said things are improving. >> the russians have been very cooperative with us since the boston bombing. >> and the president's assessment of the fbi's handling of this case so far is already getting just a little bit of pushback from some republicans on capitol hill, who are saying it's just too early to reach any conclusions when the investigation isn't even over,
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wolf. >> they've got a lot of work to do, no doubt about that. thanks very much. much more on the boston bombing investigation. i want to turn now to syria and what president obama has repeatedly said would be a game changer in the escalating civil war. the use of chemical weapons. the president reiterated that warning today, but this time with some more conditions so is he moving that so-called red line? our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is getting new information on what's going on behind the scenes over at the pentagon. what are you learning? >> reporter: well, we've all seen the talk game changer, red line. the president has avoided specifics about what all of that means, but questions now about how much longer he may be able to actually avoid spelling it out. cnn has learned the pentagon is intensifying planning for potential military action against syria's chemical weapons facilities since a march 19th attack in aleppo appeared to
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show bashir al assad's troops using chemical weapons against civilians. there was classified intelligence about as many as three separate attacks. >> the use of chemical weapons would be a game changer rncht president obama says if it's proven assad's troops attacked with chemical agents the threat has escalated. >> and that means there are some options we might not otherwise exercise that we would strongly consider. >> reporter: a senior u.s. official tells cnn defense secretary chuck hagel wants detailed military options he can hand to the president if action is ordered. >> i won't speculate on those options nor publicly discuss those options. >> reporter: u.s. military sources tell cnn one option may be war ships carrying cruz missiles on routine patrol off israel could strike syrian command-and-control sites and air defenses, clearing a path
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for precision air strikes against chemical sites. military action could involve thousands of u.s. troops, but sources say no u.s. ground troops. the senior official tells cnn two crisis points potentially could trigger a strike. if the chemical weapons fall into the hands of terrorists or if the regime collapses, and no one is controlling the weapons. but officials stress they need more information before deciding on a next step. neighboring israel, jordan, and turkey are all being consulted on the intensified planning effort. but the big problem? right now the u.s. says it doesn't know where all the chemical weapons are located. >> you have confidence we could secure it? >> not as i sit here today, simply because they've been moving it and the number of sites is quite numerous. >> reporter: now, pressure is growing from some republicans and democrats on the hill for
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the administration to arm the opposition, provide them weapons. sources in the administration are telling me that will not happen because there is still a great deal of concern about who really is making up the opposition right now. it could cause even bigger problems. but what these u.s. officials will also quietly tell you is that, yes. the cia has been helping train some of the rebels in neighboring countries. wolf? >> all right. barbara, thanks very much. we'll have more on this story later in "the situation room" as well. let's get back into the investigation into the boston terrorist bombings. not everyone agrees with the president about how this investigation has been handled. republican senator lindsay graham has said bonnett ston is example of the u.s. going backwards when it comes to intelligence gathering. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin asked the president about those comments at today's news conference. >> mr. graham is not right on this issue, although i'm sure it generated some headlines.
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you know, i think that what we saw in boston was state, local, federal officials, every agency rallying around the city that had been attacked, identifying the perpetrators just hours after the scene had been examined. we now have one individual deceased, one in custody, charges have been brought. >> shortly after the news conference i spoke on the phone with senator graham and i asked him to respond. >> it's not so much about blaming people as lives. we've lost eight americans in seven months, four overseas, four at home, radical islam is on the march, and we need to up our game. clearly to me the systems did not work the way they're supposed to. i'm shocked that this happened
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after 9/11 where people no longer talked to each other. i thought we had gotten over that. >> let's dig a little deeper with our chief political analyst gloria borger. the president is walking a delicate line. he said the fbi has done a great job since the bombings making sure there were arrests and all of that but he says, yes, it is a good idea to have some sort of inquiry, look back to see -- >> sure. >> maybe things could have been done better. >> look, he is clearly trying to thread the needle here and protect his administration from the charges that you've just heard senator graham level, which was that they were effectively asleep at the switch. they didn't pay enough attention to a bright, red flag waved at them by of all people the russians. these aren't the british or the french who came to us with this inquiry. it was, after all, the russians. so the president goes out there and says that's not the case. in fact, the fbi did everything it could. it interviewed tamerlan. it interviewed his mother. they came up empty. he went out of his way not to criticize the russians, which law enforcement has done because
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they went back to the russians and didn't get further answers to questions that they were asking. but he also, in threading the needle, left the door open for some kind of self-examination, saying that there are protocols, they're going to look as they should to see if there are, quote, protocols and procedures that should be put in place in the wake of this. he said, look. this is hard stuff. what he also told us is there is one question he doesn't have the answer to, which is, what triggered this radicalization? we just don't know. >> and that's what part of the investigation. >> absolutely. >> are we going to see this political tension continue between some of the republicans on the hill and this administration? >> yes. and some of the tension i would argue is healthy tension because it's congress's job to oversee law enforcement, to oversee the executive branch. and that's what they're going to do. so we know that the homeland security committee in the senate for example is going to start
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having hearings on this. i think they ought to do that. what you have to be careful about is that this just doesn't turn into some kind of partisan witch hunt because people want to play politics with it. we really need to get the answers to a lot of these questions and hold people accountable if they should be held accountable. but the important thing is to fix the process if anything was wrong. nobody would argue we haven't come a long way since 9/11. we have come a long way since 9/11. the question is, whether we have further to go. so they ought to do it and, by the way, the administration with the director of national intelligence is going to have his own investigation into this. he ought to do that as well. >> there will be congressional investigations to be sure as well. >> there will be and there should be. >> part of the role of congress -- oversight. lessons learned and make sure we don't repeat the mistakes if there were mistakes. >> right. thanks very much. up next two high profile candidates go at it in south carolina. the democrat elizabeth colbert
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busch versus the former governor the republican mark sanford. and, yes, she went there regarding the 2009 affair that led to his gubernatorial resignation. plus, prisoners on a hunger strike at guantanamo bay. now the president may finally make good on his long-time promise. he's saying once again on this day after a long period of silence he wants to take action to shut down that prison at guantanamo bay for good. we went out and asked people a simple question:
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slammed her opponent for visiting his mistress back in 2009. >> you and i met on a number of occasions. you said you would support trade. you said you would support the dredging, all the things we needed and, in fact, you didn't tell the truth. you turned around and did the opposite. >> in the wake of that if it really bothered you why would you write a campaign check in support of my candidacy and run for governor? >> when we talk about fiscal spending and we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn't mean you take that money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose. >> she went there, governor sanford. >> i couldn't hear what she said. >> do you think president clinton should be condemned for the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life? you don't go through the experience i had back in 2009 without a greater level of humility. >> i want to be very clear, mark. nobody tells me what to do.
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>> except the people of south carolina's first district. >> i was in essence against ear marks before it was cool. >> this is not the end of our time as we know it. the sky is not falling, henny penny. as a matter of fact, our best days are ahead of us. >> whose voice will you carry to washington, d.c.? >> pretty feisty debate. cnn analyst and moderator of the debate last night, john is joining us right now. bottom line who do you think won? >> wolf, it was a fiery debate. i think elizabeth colbert busch won it on points. there was no knockout punch. the two candidates are evenly matched with colbert busch slightly ahead in the polls. she never had a full debate before. mark sanford has had 20 years of debates. she walked in well prepped, confident, with some real memorable one liners and more than held her own. she walked out feeling like a winner last night. >> because what he said about are you still holding it against president clinton for what happened with monica lewinsky
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all these years later, did she respond directly to how he came back on that issue? >> she did not, wolf. but this was one of the many surreal things about the debate. you know, you've got a democrat trying to reach out to the center quoting dick cheney to explain her support for marriage equality and the republican candidate mark sanford comparing himself to bill clinton. it was a wild ride last night. and a lot of serious issues beneath it. there's been so much focus on the personalities of the debate, the scandals of the past. but this, the constituents down in south carolina really wanted to hear about policy and they got a real, fierce fight on policy as well as personality last night. >> our cnn political reporter peter hamby is reporting rand paul the senator is going to endorse, work over the next several days, for governor sanford. nikki haley the current governor is supporting him as well. i assume that is going to help. what about the two of them down the road? is it going to help them? >> this could haunt them. remember, wolf, you'll recall the republican national campaign
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committee, the congressional committee, pulled its funneleding from the sanford campaign because he was seen as tainted and tarnished. but look. mark sanford's core argument is don't judge me by my scandals. judge me on my policies. he can say with some credibility he has been a consistent fighter for fiscal conservativism even before it was cool. going back to the republican revolution in 1994. that's the policies that rand paul is associating himself with and nikky haley to some level. this congressional district leads largely republican. >> there have been conflicting images on the polls. thanks very much. >> thanks, wolf. we heard it all throughout his campaign. the president vowing to shut down the prison at guantanamo bay in cuba. coming up, why the prisoners' hunger strike might actually make that promise a reality. what's going on? new information coming in. and it's one of the most brazen robberies at gun point you'll ever see. it's not the robber who's dangerously bold. dangerously bold. it's the would-be victim. groun, onions and peppers
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welcome news for home owners. lisa sylvester is monitoring that report and some of the other top stories in the situation room right now. >> it's always nice to report good news. home prices are bouncing back. a new report shows that in february they made the biggest gain since the height of the housing bubble. home prices in 20 major markets posted a 9% rise over the last year, the biggest 12-month jump in the index since may of 2006 just after home prices hit a record high. and if you've never heard of a dutch king before you're probably not alone.
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today william alexander became the first one since the 1800s. his mother queen beatrix abdicated the throne after a 30-year reign. for only the second time in 50 years a temporary flame is being used at president john f. kennedy's grave site. the eternal flame is undergoing upgrades to make it more modern, energy efficient, and easier to maintain. it's expected to take about three weeks at which point the flame will be relit. the only other time a temporary flame was used was in 1963 when president kennedy was laid to rest. now you have got to check out this crazy video from new orleans. take a look here. man walking down the street when he is approached by another man with a shotgun trying to rob him. the victim acts quickly. you see there. yanking the gun away and chasing after him. our affiliate at wwl reports the robber returned to the scene in a car afterward and asked for the shotgun back in exchange for
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the victim's dropped cell phone. the victim? he refused. the police are now asking the public to help find the perpetrator. very dangerous thing. the victim takes the gun away and then the robber goes back and asks for the gun back. >> he's nuts. >> unbelievable. the things you hear, wolf. >> people do weird, weird things. all right. thanks, lisa. thanks very much. we've got important news we're following here in "the situation room." get this. more than half of the prisoners right now at the u.s. military base at guantanamo bay in cuba are on a hunger strike and president obama said he's now had enough. i'll speak with a reporter who got a first-hand account of the hunger strike at guantanamo bay. what's going on? stand by. the president is outraged by what's going on there at that prison camp. plus the fcc is tired of people complaining about indecency on network television. how this could mean more nudity on tv. stand by. at a dry cleaner,
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this just in. we're getting new information about the suspect in the case of the ricin-laced letters sent to president obama and other officials. cnn's john zarrella is standing by in mississippi right now. what are you learning, john? >> reporter: wolf, this is really a big piece of the puzzle we've been waiting for. the criminal complaint unsealed today by the federal government against james everett duschke nan this criminal complaint you recall that another man, paul kevin curtis, a self--avowed elvis impersonator, was the first man arrested and during the course of the questioning with curtis it came out from curtis and curtis's family members that there had been this long-standing contentious relationship, primarily in social media, e-mails, social
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postings, between the two men, between curtis and duschke so then the fbi continues to investigate further and they have a witness who tells them according to the criminal complaint that duschke told this witness several years ago on more than one occasion that duschke said he could, and i'll read it here, could manufacture a poison and place it in envelopes. well, the fbi also searched a tie kwan doe studio in tupelo that was owned by duschke and in the drain found in five different samples they took evidence, positively tested for ricin in those drains. here is a key paragraph out of the criminal complaint. i will read that to you. after departing the former business location, duhschke drove a short distance approximately 100 yards and was observed discarding several items through the window of the vehicle into the public garbage receptacle.
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after dutschke departed personnel from the jackson division of fbi and mississippi office of homeland security recovered the items. observed were a box for a black and decker smart grind coffee grinder, a box containing latex gloves, a dust mask, and an empty bucket of floor adhesive. this is quoting. based on my training and expertise i know a coffee bean grinder could be utilized in the process of extracting ricin from castor beans. further more latex gloves and dust mask could be utilized as personal protective equipment while the castor beans are being crushed to protect the producer from an accidental exposure. the items dutschke threw away were sent in for testing to a laboratory and initial presumptive tests on the dust mask he threw away was positive for the presence of ricin. a second preliminary test on the mask also positive for the presence of ricin. the final test also confirmed
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the presence of ricin. one final note, one of the highlights in this criminal complaint, dutschke according to the complaint ordered 50 castor beans off ebay in november of 2012 and then in december of 2012 he ordered another 50 castor beans off ebay. so this is the criminal complaint we've been waiting for that really outlines quite a bit of the evidence that the federal government now has against james everett dutschke. wolf? >> now we know why he has been indicted with this crime. thanks very much, john zarrella in mississippi. >> sure. >> let's turn now to the u.s. detention center at guantanamo bay in cuba. an alarming hunger strike under way right now. more than half of the inmates housed there are participating in this hunger strike and some of them even have to be administered liquid nutrition through a tube in place of food.
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whether or not the facility should be shut down has been a hot button issue here in washington for many years. the president vowed early on in his presidency to do that. so far that has not happened. today he strongly renewed that push. >> well, it is not a surprise to me we've got problems in guantanamo, which is why when i was campaigning in 2007 and 2008 and when i was elected in 2008 i said, we need to close guantanamo. i continued to believe we've got to close guantanamo. i think, well, you know, i think it is critical for us to understand that guantanamo is not necessary to keep america safe. it is expensive. it is inefficient. it hurts us in terms of our international standing. it lessens cooperation with our
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allies and counterterrorism efforts. it is a recruitment tool for extremists. it needs to be closed. >> joining us now the "new york times" washington correspondent charlie savage who has been reporting from guantanamo pretty powerful words from the president today, charlie. what's your response when you heard what the president had to say? >> well, he certainly was recommitting to his vow from 2009 to close the prison somehow. i was a little confused about what he meant by that, however. because his specific plan for doing so was to take the detainees who are there and bring them to a maximum security prison inside the united states where many of them would continue to be held without trial as war time prisoners. and so while that might solve some of the problems he listed with guantanamo like its expense and sort of public relations symbolism, it is not clear to me how that would address the problems now under way with the
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hunger strike among the dozens of detainees really over a hundred at this point who are refusing to eat because they've been held for over a decade without trial and have lost hope they'll ever go home alive. >> about those forced feedings getting nutrition into these hunger strikers the american medical association has been calling out the department of defense ethically. how difficult is this hunger strike in dealing with it? >> the defense department's position is detainees are allowed to hunger strike but not allowed to kill themselves, so if they grow dangerously malnourished or don't drink they have to be force fed. if they refuse to drink this ensure nutritional supplement they are strapped to a chair and a tube is run into their nose and down their throats and into their stomach and this nutritional supplement is poured into their stomach to keep them alive. we now know over 20 of them are receiving or at least approved to receive that procedure if they refuse to eat behind closed
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doors. president obama today was asked about it. are you going to keep force feeding detainees? he said he doesn't want these people to die. you're right that medical ethicists say that is a professional violation for a doctor to intervene with a prisoner in any kind of incarcerated setting who is of sound mind and is choosing not to eat or drink. this was a similar fight that the ama had with the bush administration during earlier rounds of hunger strikes in the last administration. now it's squaring under mr. obama. >> you spoke to a lot of folks at guantanamo bay and other experts. what could end the hunger strikes? what would satisfy the prisoners? >> well, we were told, when we were down there, several reporters recently, we spoke at length with a muslim cultural adviser to the military who's worked there since 2005, and his opinion from talking with the detainees and observing them over the years is that the source of the frustration is
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driving all of this is that transfers out of the prison have dried up. there's not been a low level prisoner transferred since 2011 who wasn't ordered released by a judge or some other judicial process. 86 have been long since designated for potential transfers, security conditions have been -- can be met but they remain stuck there more than three years later and president obama until recently had not talked about closing guantanamo any more and reassigned the ambassador whose job it was to negotiate transfers without replacing him and his sense was what they want to see to calm down and start complying with the rules again is someone leaving, which would give them hope that if they obey the rules and are quiet some day they, too, might be allowed to go home. obviously we're not talking about high level terrorists who are facing trial before a military commission for specific terrorist attacks. we're talking about the bulk of the detainees who have been deemed to be sort of part of al
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qaeda but on a foot soldier level and are not linked to anything in particular. >> charlie savage writes for the "new york times" just back from gitmo. thanks very much. >> thank you for having me. when we come back, president obama faces some tough questions about benghazi at today's news conference but doesn't seem to have the answers. we'll have a full report. you're going to see and hear from suspect number one, tamerlan tsarnaev, for the first time we'll hear his voice. that's just ahead coming up at the top of the hour. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, be brave, go to the doctor. ovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers. symptoms are not the same for everyone. i got sick...and then i got better.
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the president faced tough questions about benghazi at today's news conference over at
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the white house, questions that he didn't seem to have all the answers for. our chief congressional correspondent dana bash is joining us with this part of the story. at one point the president said he needs to get some more information. >> that's right. there are few issues as you know that rile up the republican base more than questions about whether the obama administration engaged in a coverup about what happened around last fall's deadly attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. house republicans are investigating and they say the state department is effectively blocking officials there from testifying. the president as you said was asked about that today and appeared to be caught flat footed but we can explain. >> i'm not familiar with this notion that anybody has been blocked from testifying. >> reporter: the president may not be familiar but there's a high stakes tug of war going on between the state department and house republican oversight chairman darrell issa. at issue at least four employees, three at the state department and one at the cia apparently want to talk to congress about the
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administration's handling of the benghazi situation. much of the information is classified. the attorney for one of the employees says she cannot get answers from the state department on how to get clearance to see the classified information in order to advise her client. >> there is a clear obstruction to my client when my client can't give me all the information because the state department won't give me a process for being cleared. >> we are not aware of any employees who have requested clearance for private attorneys, security clearances for private attorneys in connection with benghazi. >> veteran lawyer victoria tonsing says her client is afraid to ask and shouldn't have to. >> i protect my client and i'm not going to let my client go to the people in the state department and expose himself or herself without my being able to be with that person. if i'm not cleared i can't be with them. it is a chicken or an egg and the state department is playing
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games with that language. >> for now she says she must protect her state department client's identity insisting there is already intimidation going on. >> as he or she felt threatened? >> well, if you're going to take away somebody's job or living, that's a threat. it's a kind of a threat. >> reporter: your client has been told their job or living has been -- will be taken away if they come forward and talk about whatever it is they feel they need to talk about? >> it's done in a more subtle way. they just put somebody in an office and say we just don't have an assignment for you. >> reporter: the state department denies anyone is being threatened. secretary of state john kerry said this before congress earlier this month. >> i do not want to spend the next year coming up here talking about benghazi. >> reporter: now he is reiterating a promise to help congress get answers. >> we have to demythologize this issue and depoliticize it. the american people deserve answers. >> the house oversight chairman darrell issa plans to hold public hearings in the next few
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weeks and is hoping for one or more of these employees who he calls whistle blowers to come and testify and toensing tells me her state department employee wants to testify but says that won't happen unless she as the lawyer can fully advise her client and of course she says that includes advise about classified information she just doesn't have access to. >> there are ways lawyers can get the classification -- classified background checks in order to represent these kinds of clients. >> that is exactly right. what she said to me today is that she just wants to know what the process is. she says she is relying on the house republican chairman darrell issa to get that information and he says that he has not gotten answers from several letters that he sent to the state department asking for the process. >> she is a former official in the justice department so i assume she would get that classification. thanks very much, dana, for that report. keep us up to speed. president obama gives a no nonsense news conference over at the white house. coming up the question though that made the president say and i'm quoting him now, maybe i should just go, just pack up and go home.
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. so far, the president hasn't had a whole lot of success in his second term when it comes to the issues of gun control, or comprehensive immigration reform, although he says he's optimistic that will happen. he has been trying, though, but listen to this exchange from today's news conference. >> do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this congress? >> if you put it that way, jonathan, maybe i should just pack up and go home. golly.
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i think it's a little -- as mark twain said, the rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point. i feel confident that the bipartisan work done on immigration reform will result in a bill that passes the senate, and passes the house and gets on my desk. >> let's talk about it in our strategy session. two cnn political analysts. does he still have enough juice, at least to get comprehensive immigration reform? because guns, not going to happen. >> i'm tickled at the question. the question should be directed at congress. you talk about the president with a majority job approval. the question should be, how come this congress is broken. how come they're not acting on things that the public overwhelmingly want to do. 90% want gun reform. the majority want immigration reform. all of these things are having a
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hard time in congress. the question should be, how come congress is broken and not acting. >> wonderful question. the answer is, we have a president, the president's supposed to lead. that's kind of his job. apparently he's not very good at that. certainly at this point. when you're asked at a press conference if you're a lame duck basically, you might as well quack, because the answer to the question is the question. he's lost his juice. a couple of reasons. one is republicans in congress are in safe districts, and they don't really fear or respect this president. two, the president ran a substanceless campaign. he built a marvelous machine to crank out young vote, black vote, young female vote. but it wasn't about an idea. so he has nothing to bring to congress. >> if you look at what his campaign was about, fundamental fairness, you know, tax fairness, overwhelmingly majority of people want that. when you look at the pathway of
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reform, the majority of the people want that. he won by 5 million votes. this is what the people want. they're not acting because they're -- you have a congress more worried about a primary than a general election. >> the gallup said 1% of the american people think that's america's biggest problem, he didn't campaign for anything except himself. what democrats are worried about, they're worried that obama's victories won't translate to the party, their personal. it's about him, not the democratic party or their ideas. >> expanding the middle class, infrastructure, jobs, you know, education, more pell grants, those aren't things that -- >> the president had a lot of issues he was running on. he had a pretty precise policy campaign. but the criticism he's facing, if 90% of the american people want expanded background checks, why can't he twist enough arms and get that through the senate?
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>> he doesn't have a magical wabd. i think it's a ridiculous question. he can't make congress do what the american people want to do. the question should be why isn't congress doing what the american people want them to do. i don't know, the districts are gerrymandering that they're no longer sort of the popular will of the people. the popular will of the people no longer rules congress. >> very quickly, we've got to go. >> this president, most people don't believe washington can do anything and solve many problems at all. even when we want to protect our kids from guns, washington can't do anything. this president isn't able to convince them, the one thing he's passed, obama care, is really beginning to fall apart before our eyes. why trust washington to fix anything. >> congress runs half of it. >> and they've given us the mess we've got today. >> we've got to leave it there. you guys, thanks. when we come back, a boxing documentary from a few years ago
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resurfacing right now. we hear the haunting voice of the alleged dead bomber, tamerlan tsarnaev. but first, you expect to see nudity, is that soon the norm on nudity, is that soon the norm on network television. enough of just covering upigner] my moderate to severe plaque psorias i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months, and keeps it clearer through 6 months. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events, including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders, and allergic reactions have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. you should not start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections,
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[ bleep ]. >> that was david ortiz dropping the "f" bomb on national television. the fcc may loosen the rules governing profanity on network tv. renee marsh is joining us now. renee, what's going on here? >> wolf, it all goes back to the supreme court, last year they said that the fcc essentially unfairly punished broadcasters for isolated moments of profanity, and sexual content. so after the supreme court made that ruling, the fcc said, well, maybe we'll think about possibly tweaking our rules. so they've opened this possibility up for public comment. the question the fcc is asking the public is should they pay less attention to the brief and
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unintentional moments, like you saw there, to the more deliberate moments of indecent comments. that would be make a shock jock that is deliberately being offensive and also being indecent for the sake of getting ratings. the fcc is now asking the public what we think, should they loosen the rules, should they not. >> what's been the reaction so far? >> as you can imagine, a lot of people not too happy about it. at last check, there were more than 90,000 comments on the fcc website. i asked them, you know, is that considered a lot when they open up the commenting board for something like this? and yes, they say that is considered a lot. when you go through those comments, it's really tough to find many people who say they think that this is a good idea when it comes to the fcc tweaking their rules. you know, you have groups like the parent televisions, the council who says this would open the door for network, and broadcast channels to allow
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really indecent content on. of course, that would be exposed to the children. so the debate continues. >> it certainly does. rene, thanks very much. happening now, president obama's response to a life-and-death question. could more have been done to prevent the boggs ton terror attacks? and we're learning that tamerlan tsarnaev and his wife got more welfare benefits from american taxpayers than we realized. and more coming in just last year. and growing fear that islamic terrorists are feeding off of syria's civil war right now. cnn is in damascus. we're capturing the bloody aftermath of a brand-new attack. i'm wolf blitzer. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. the world. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- president obama is rejecting any suggestion that his administration deserves blame for the boston marathon bombings. but he also acknowledged today that a review is under way of
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intelligence leading up to the attack to make sure nothing was missed. the president talked at length about the boston bombings during a morning news conference over at the white house, along with other great challenges weighing in on a second term. our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellin, was in the front row asking questions. jessica is joining us now with more. jessica? >> wolf, president obama came to the briefing room without an obvious agenda and announcement. and on a range of topics he asked for patience from the boston bombing to syria, he made clear he's moving at his timetable. >> hello, everybody. >> reporter: at his first press conference since the boston marathon bombing -- >> we're not going to stop living our lives because wamp twisted individuals tried to intimidate us. >> reporter: for the question of intelligence was missed leading up to the attacks, president obama defended law enforcement.
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>> there's been an ordered review prior to the attack. a senior member of the armed services committee has said that benghazi and boston are both examples of the u.s. going backwards on national security. is he right? and did our intelligence miss something? >> no, mr. braham is not right on this issue. although i'm sure it generated some headlines. based on what i've seen so far, the fbi performed its duties, department of homeland security did what it was supposed to be do. >> reporter: the russians wouldn't help the fbi with much information before the attack. the president says they're helping now. >> the russians have been very cooperative with us since the boston bombing. you know, obviously old habits die hard.
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>> reporter: on the thorny question of syria, chemical weapons and the red line, the president repeated -- >> the use of chemical weapons would be a game changer. >> reporter: but he insisted -- >> what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of syria, but we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them. >> reporter: adding, even if he gets proof the red line has been crossed, he has yet to decide how the u.s. will respond. >> by game-changer, i mean we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us. obviously there are options that are available to me that are on the shelf right now, that we have not deployed. >> reporter: this press conference fell on the 100th day of president obama's second term. though his agenda is moving through congress very slowly at best, the president added yet another item to the list. >> i continue to believe we've
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got to close guantanamo. it's easy to demagogue the issue. that's what happened the first time this came up. i'll go back at it, because i think it's important. >> wolf, you'll recall president obama signed an executive order to close guantanamo bay two days after he came into office, in his first term. of course, guantanamo bay is still open. and so he is recommitting to his campaign promise in 2008 and to reverse that failure of his first term on closing guantanamo bay. on the larger question about the boston marathon attack, and whether there were intelligence failures, i called some administration sources to see why the president wouldn't get more specific about whether he thinks intelligence was missed, and i'm told basically, big picture, nobody here wants to make any judgments until the dni, the director of national intelligence's full report is in, wolf. >> jessica yellin at the white house. thanks very much.
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this just coming into "the situation room." tamerlan tsarnaev's family appears to be taking steps to burying him, nearly two weeks after his death. let's go immediately to brian todd. he's new information. he's joining us from boston. brian, what's going on? >> wolf, we just got word from the islamic society of boston, the mosque where the two brothers attended in cambridge. the society sent us an e-mail saying the society was contacted by the uncle of the two suspects to arrange for the funeral of tamerlan tsarnaev. the statement says they have put the family in contact with the funeral home, that handled such matters for the islamic community of boston. and that the details of the funeral rights are still not quite certain at this time. now, in a separate conversation, i clarified some of that with a spokesperson for the islamic society of boston.
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she said that essentially they are -- it's not clear if people from that mosque, if officials from that mosque are going to be presiding over tamerlan tsarnaev's funeral. they are for now putting the family in touch with the funeral home, for arranging for things like the cleaning of the body, i think it's the al marma islamic services group in boston. again, not clear if a top imam of the mosque, or any mosque in this area will preside over the funeral here in boston. that's not clear either. this person at the mosque in cambridge said a top imam there probably would not do it, because they don't want to give the appearance of condoning the bombing. so a layperson would probably do the funeral if it is finalized that that mosque where the two brothers attended is going to be the one to handle that funeral. that's what we know about the funeral rights for tamerlan tsarnaev. getting insight into a recent group of setbacks. a group of setbacks that may
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have sent tamerlan tsarnaev down a dark path. in a boxing documentary by "entertainment tonight," we hear tamerlan tsarnaev speak. eddie bishop remembers that swagger. he recalls a extremely confident tamerlan at a 2009 golden globes boxing tournament in massachusetts. what was your first impression of him when you saw him? >> flashy guy. you know, he had cowboy boots on, leather pants. >> reporter: a swagger that soon turned sour. bishop, who worked with another fighter, echoes the comments of other trainers who observed tamerlan in the ring of the great puncher, enough raw talent to have a shot at the olympic team. but -- >> i noticed he was lacking a key element. >> reporter: tamerlan tsarnaev, a golden gloves champion, went to the national championships in salt lake city in 2009, but fell
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short of the title. the next year, the rules changed. >> you have to be a citizen, a legal citizen of the united states to box in the national golden globes in the national tournament. the golden gloves decided they would not allow. >> reporter: that killed his olympic boxing dreams. in an interview with "entertainment tonight," tamerlan's former coach john allen said this. >> he felt that it was done on purpose, so that the guy that he beat could go to the olympic trials. >> do you think that this roadblock on his boxing career set him on the path to the bombings? >> absolutely. >> reporter: tamerlan tsarnaev they said had other problems. tensions simmered with several members of the family living in a ram shackle apartment in cambridge. tamerlan was arrested in 2009 for slapping his girlfriend. and there were financial problems. times were often tough enough
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for the family while they lived here in cambridge that they needed welfare. state officials tell us the tsarnaevs got public assistance on and off for ten years. tamerlan's wife and child got state and federal welfare throughout much of 2012, including the six months when he was in russia. in all, a series of setbacks that friends say simply built up over time. >> one of the sources of this could have been some kind of dissatisfaction of the bad, slow transition to coming to another country from a different one, as a teenager. that's never easy. >> failures that may have defined tamerlan tsarnaev eve life in the years leading up to the bombings. as many observers told us, those are similar setbacks by many other immigrants and they don't turn to violence. >> brian, thanks very much. good report. meanwhile, other new developments in thes boston bombing investigation. a law enforcement source says at
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least one fingerprint has been discovered in the bomb debris. we're told it hasn't been matched to anyone yet, so it probably wasn't left by one of the suspects. federal investigators appear to have spent the morning with tamerlan tsarnaev's widow, katherine russell, at her lawyer's office in rhode island. yesterday agents entered her parents' home. authorities are looking into a possible link between tamerlan tsarnaev and a canadian boxer who became an islamic extremist and died a violent death in russia. the man's father is now speaking out. paula newton has been digging into this story in canada. she's now in boston with more. what are you finding out, paula? >> well, wolf, it wouldn't surprise anyone to learn that these two men did have a connection. the problem is right now, wolf, no one knows what kind of a connection they had, and there's no proof. take a listen. it couldn't have been easy. tipping off russian authorities about his own son and his link to extremists.
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>> no friends, no father, no mother, only this is room. that's it. i don't know what's happened. >> reporter: william went from being a russian immigrant in canada trying to fit in, an aspiring boxer, a college student, to an active islamic militant in dagestan. in july of last year, he was killed in a shootout with russian security forces, and just days after that, tamerlan tsarnaev left dagestan in a hurry and flew from russia to the u.s. at issue now, did the pair know each other? did they meet in dagestan? could his friend have offered any material or inspirational help in carrying out the boston bombings? the father said he didn't hear from his son after he left canada to join militants in dagestan. >> i don't know. northwest culture, usa is enemy.
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somebody change his mind in canada. tamerlan, i think same problem. somebody changed his mind. >> reporter: russian media have reported there were at least a few online communications between the two. while the fbi tells cnn they are investigating a possible link, one canadian government source tells cnn, russia has so far offered no proof of that link and says the investigation remains in the hands of russian security services. you know, wolf, we have to keep a mind here when we listened to president obama say earlier today, that in 2011 they saw no proof of extremist, tsarnaev went back to russia in 2012, the very same time that plotnakov was immersed in the militancy
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and later killed. it wouldn't surprise them if they had a connection. they're trying to find what influence there was, if any. >> paula newton reporting from boston. thanks very much. we're getting new information on why north korea's kim jong-un may have backed off after weeks of threatening the u.s., south korea, japan. what role did the obama administration play in this. stand by. and syrians under attack, and angry. why some are blaming the united states. if there was a pill
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weeks of saber rattling by north korea, including threats of a nuclear attack, have suddenly and mysteriously ended. but it's too soon to tell if it's because of pressure, pressure from china, diplomacy, or necessity, for that matter.
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foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty is joining us with a closer look. what's the best evidence, best information you're getting, jill? >> wolf, john kerry thinks that kim jong-un believes he can get away with whatever he wants, because he simply doesn't believe that china will crack down on him. now, kerry hopes that that's not true anymore. but even he can't be sure. the strong holds of our enemies will be turned into a sea of flames. after threatening to unleash nuclear war, why has north korea's young leader and its generals gone silent. the u.s. and south korea just ended their massive two-month joint military exercises that infuriated the north. experts say that might have helped. another possible reason? >> china and the united states must, together, take steps in order to achieve the goal of the
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a denuclearize the korean peninsula. >> reporter: john kerry's lobbying trip to beijing earlier this month, pressing china's new leaders to use leverage to get the north to cool it. >> and today we agreed to bear down very quickly with great specificity on exactly how we will accomplish this goal. >> reporter: korea watchers believe transfers of money from north korean entities in china back to pyongyang have been curtailed, and shipments across the border have slowed. but at least on the surface, no public signs that china has turned up the heat on kim jong-un. >> in terms of sort of deescalating the rhetoric, that's a good thing of the the broader policy goals are still in place. >> reporter: but another possible reason for pyongyang's silence, says one korean expert, lies in the agricultural fields of north korea. >> in the past, there have been cooling off periods that align with the time when manual labor is needed in north korea.
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and the biggest pool of organized pool of labor in north korea is the military. so right now we're seeing reports of soldiers who are going off for the planting season. >> reporter: park says other soldiers are needed to work in mining and manufacturing. some of the largest state trading companies are allied with the north korean military. the longer they stayed away, the less money they made. earlier this month, the north said it might return to talks on its nuclear program if the u.s. and south korea would end their military exercises. lift u.n. sanctions, and stop criticizing kim jong-un. and kerry wants china to do more, obviously, and is using american leverage. he's telling beijing that if the north continues to threaten, then the u.s. would have to continue with a major military presence in the region, in asia, and that's china doesn't want. wolf? >> i had been told, jill, that the u.s./south korean military
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exercises, month-long exercises, which are now over with, that in recent weeks the u.s. curtailed some of the drills that really irritated the north koreans extensively, and that may have been a factor in convincing the north koreans, kim jong-un to hold back. have you heard that as well? >> not specifically, but i have heard there were certain things they did not do. and that would jive with what i was hearing, wolf. so that makes sense. i mean, they were calculating it, and trying to show a force without overplaying their hand. >> jill dougherty, we're going to continue to watch what happens. it's still a very, very dangerous and volatile situation on the korean peninsula. coming up, a plane carrying the vice president of the united states crippled and stranded. you're going to find out what happened. plus, we're taking you inside the boston bombing suspects' defense team. or good decisions? ones i've made. ones we've all made.
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this just coming into "the situation room." major decision on a controversial birth control pill. lisa sylvester is monitoring that, and some of the day's other top stories. >> this is certainly going to have a reaction. we have just learned that the food and drug administration has approved a plan to allow the maker of plan b one step to market the pill without a prescription to females 15 years and older. the fda said customers will be required to show i.d. when purchasing the emergency contraceptive. in other news, vice president biden's visit to arizona last friday turned out to be a one-way trip for his
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plane. debris was sucked into the engines when it landed in flagstaff, forcing biden to take a different plane home. an air force spokesman said the plane was still being worked on today. according to a representative, catherine seat a jones has checked into a facility for bipolar disorder. she suffers from bipolar 2. the rep said zeta jones is managing her illness. she's married, of course, to actor michael douglas. yahoo's ceo marisa meier is tinkering with public policy. her new changes will probably be more popular. she is doubling paid maternity leave from 8 to 16 weeks, and new dads can take 8 weeks paid leave. she took two weeks off when her baby was born last year. but you know what, they got a
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lot of heat over the whole work/life balance. a lot of people saying not a friendly policy for parents. we'll see the reaction here, wolf. >> we'll watch it together. lisa, thank you. up next, the game-changer in syria's civil war. when will president obama decide if his so-called red line has been crossed. after an outpouring praise for jason collins to reveal he's gay, wait until you hear his former nba coach's response. i'm telling you right now, the girl back at home would absolutely not have taken a zip line in the jungle. i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours.
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i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." for the second day in a row, a massive and deadly car bombing in the heart of syria's capital of damascus, raising fear the country's 2-year-old civil war is entering a new and more bloody and deadly phase. frederick plykin is in damascus and shows us what happened. >> reporter: the wounded were still being evacuated when we arrived at the scene, just minutes after a car bomb ripped through this area at a government building. >> i saw several bags full of parts of human beings here. >> reporter: a crater marks the spot where the bomb was detonated. apparently hidden in a mini bus. the security forces here are very nervous, obviously, after the blast. if you look at the building, you
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can see how bad the damage is. the windows are blown out, the security fence has been blown away and there is a lot of carnage right here in front of the old interior ministry building. it's the second major bombing in just two days in damascus, as the civil war in syria drags on and bashar al assad continues power. >> they are killing our people. even the west knows they are terrorists. why they are providing them with weapons. >> reporter: the u.s. said it provides only nonlethal aid to the opposition, and aside from political talk, others are simply shocked at what is happening to their country. they are all our children, she says, and it is sad. we are all syrians killing each other. if anything, the increased
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bombings appear to be strengthening the resolve of bashar al assad supporters. god, syria, bashar and nothing else, these men chant at the blast site, where the emergency workers are still busy picking up the remains of those being killed. >> let's bring in fred now, joining us from damascus. fred, it looks like the situation is going from bad to worse. it's been a while since you were there. are they really giving you a chance to go out and see anything independently? >> well, certainly we don't have a government minder with us, but we can go out independently. you're right, the situation here in da mastic certainly is deteriorating. the last time i was here was in early february. what you had at the time was you had a lot of shelling going on by the government. you had jet fighters in the air, for the better part of the day. you don't have as much of that right now, but what you have is
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the massive car bomb attacks. you have those two in the past couple of days. there was one a week and a half before that. it's certainly something causing a lot of fear here in the syrian capital. the sense i get is people here are feeling that the war is getting closer and closer to home. and some people i'm speaking to are saying they're getting ready to pack their bags and get out of here. >> so many people are. we'll check back with you tomorrow, fred. let's dig deeper into syria right now. and president obama's policies toward syria. we're joined by a former senior adviser to the obama administration, the author of an important brand-new book, entitled "the dispensable nation, the foreign policy in retreat." vali, thanks very much. this so-called red line that the president has drawn, that they used chemical weapons against their own people. here's what the president said
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today. listen to this. >> we've got to do everything we can to investigate, and establish with some certainty what exactly has happened in syria, what is happening in syria. we will use all the assets and resources that we have at our disposal. we'll work with the neighboring countries to establish a clear baseline of facts. and we've also called on the united nations to investigate. >> so what do you make of this, vali? >> the president is very deliberate in thinking about whether or not he's going to punish the assad regime for using chemical weapons. there's a lot on the line. if it's proved the chemical weapons were used, the united states would have to act militarily to punish the regime. if it doesn't do that, its credibility is at stake. it's important what the president didn't say. he did not show a road map as to how the united states would get involved diplomatically, in terms of a no-fly zone,
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economically, to address the myriad of problems that are arising in syria from the spread of al qaeda influence, extremism, humanitarian crisis. he only said the united states would get involved if it is to punish the regime for use of chemical weapons. >> no one believes the u.s. will get involved with boots on the ground. do you think what the u.s. did in libya, air strikes, would be leel lis tick? >> they could use cruise missiles or targeted bombing of a site to punish the regime for this use of chemical weapons and deter future use. actually getting involved in finishing this very dangerous conflict requires reviving diplomacy, addressing the humanitarian issue, requires talking to their neighborhood about how do we help the opposition, in order to change
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the tide of the war. it requires much more american leadership than we are seeing. it doesn't require boots on the ground, not now. >> you served in the state department. you advised richard holbrook on afghanistan and pakistan. in your new book, you tell powerful stories about tension between the state department and the pentagon on the one hand and young aides in the white house. give us just a headline what you have there. >> well, in the context of what we are seeing, what richard holbrook would have stood for, is the president would handle syria the way president clinton handled bosnia. which is to empower america's diplomats to take leadership, to get the world community together, to create a diplomatic as well as a military path for breaking this conflict and ending it. whereas what we are seeing is you have a structure that is trying to make sure that the president does not take any decisive actions on syria, and to ensure we stay out of this conflict. the consequence is that the conflict is snowballing,
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becoming more difficult to solve. many in the state department have favored from the very beginning, including secretary clinton, and general petraeus of the cia, that the united states should have gotten involved earlier on to prevent this from becoming the horrendous conflict it has become. >> "the dispensable nation." a powerful, powerful book. vali nas r is the dean of the johns hopkins university school of advanced international studies. my excellent alma mater. thanks very much for coming in. congratulations on the new book. >> good to be with you. up next, the bombing suspect, dzhokhar tsarnaev's expert legal team, a who's who of defense attorneys. flex in... as soon as i met fiona and i was describing the problem we were having with our rear brakes, she immediately triaged the situation, knew exactly what was wrong with it, the car was diagnosed properly, it was fixed correctly
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abelieve it's time to allow marriage forme to gay and lesbian couples. here's why. our daughter, emma. a gay couple in my ministry. my sister-in-law. my brother, octavio. a business partner. our moms. my son. my sister irene, a police officer. my brother keyan. my neighbor. our godson. it's time to give gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry. it's time for marriage.
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iraq is making news again, and it's not good news. deadly violence between sunni and shiite muslims, skyrocketing. nearly 200 people killed just in the last week. our senior international correspondent arwa damon is back on the ground in baghdad for us. she's been there many, many times over recent years. arwa, how bad is the situation in iraq right now? >> reporter: it's as bad, if not worse than it has been in years, wolf. many iraqis are understandably incredibly fearful that the country is moving down a path that is going to see the type of violence that transpired here,
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back when the attacks were at their worst. 2005 to 2008. although for many iraqis, these tit for tat attacks, the surge in violence comes as no surprise. we've been seeing a steady increase in attacks ever since the u.s. military withdrew. those have certainly intensified, especially over the last week. but the tensions that exist between the sunni and shia population, those have also been intensifying, in part aggravated by the actions of the predominantly shia government led by prime minister nuri al maliki. we've been seeing demonstrations in iraq's primarily sunni areas. and right now, especially when we look at what's happening over recent times, many people are warning that iraq really is at a crossroads at this stage, wolf. >> for this, the united states went to war? i guess a lot of people are wondering, the u.s. lost thousands of troops, many came home injured, spending $1
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trillion, something like that, and the situation there is as chaotic and brutal as ever, is that what i'm hearing? >> pretty much in a nutshell, yes. iraq most certainly has not by any stretch of the imagination turned into a thriving democracy. and of course, the situation here is only being further aggravated by what is happening in neighboring syria. not only does iraq have its own set of challenges to deal with when it comes to appeasing the sectian tech shons that exist, what's happening here and in syria is a part of the greater power struggle between the shia and shia communities. >> and how long the u.s. winds up staying in afghanistan, the same kind of disaster is going to be there as well. arwa, we'll stay in close touch with you. arwa damon is back in baghdad for us. one of the most famous terror suspects in the world,
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now being defended by some of the best criminal defense attorneys in the united states. cnn's jake tapper is in boston. he takes us inside the brand-new legal team, and the challenges they face. >> wolf, what do the unabomber, zacarias moussaoui and the 1996 olympics bomber have in common? well, dzhokhar tsarnaev's new attorneys represented all three of them. when dzhokhar tsarnaev has his day in court, he'll be defended by some of the best lawyers in the business. only two weeks after he and his brother allegedly set off the bombs that took three lives, and severely maimed so many others, the court has appointed a defense team with client rosters that read like a worst of the worst list. meet miriam conrad, one of the country's best respected defenders. conrad has defended notorious clients for more than two decades. this isn't even conrad's first
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terrorism case. she assisted in the defense of the shoe bomber who tried to blow up a passenger plane in 2001 with explosives packed in his sneakers. reid was sentenced to life in prison. she recently defended a muslim-american radicalized who plotted the fly remote controlled airplanes packed with explosives into the pentagon and sufficient capital. he was sentenced to 17 years in prison, after pleading guilty. >> miriam is committed to the case of having no chance to winning, just as committed as she is to the cases that she could possibly win. she's really hard working. and cares a whole lot about her clients. and really a determined, tenacious lawyer. >> an attorney who also defended richard reid worked with conrad in the public defender's office. >> miriam is extremely well regarded by the judges in boston, as well as by the
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attorneys in the u.s. attorney's office, the prosecutors. she has an excellent reputation. and combined with her own intellect, and natural talents, she's a very effective attorney. >> she will have her work cut out for her. dzhokhar tsarnaev is charged with detonating a weapon of mass destruction. if convicted, he could face the death penalty. and for that reason, prominent defense attorney judy clark has also joined the team. death penalty cases are her specialty. clark defended the unabomber ted could zin ski, and jared loughner who went on a shooting rampage in tucson, arizona, critically wounding gabrielle giffords. >> the primary goal that miriam
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is going to have is saving her client's life. and the first step towards doing that, is making a connection with the client. establishing a rapport so he trusts her, so that she can get the information that she needs from him. and so that ultimately, he respects and listens to her legal advice. >> legal experts say the strategy right now for tsarnaev's defense attorneys is to slow the process down. the nation is angry right now. they want to slow things down, so that they can work their magic in the coming months when the nation's not paying as much attention. wolf? >> jake, thanks very much. jake tapper in boston. when we come back, for the first time, the nba player jason collins now talking about making history. stand by. r not the projects will be done in a timely fashion and within budget. angie's list members can tell you which provider is the best in town.
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at least for now, jason collins is probably the most talked about athlete in the united states and he's talking about decision to become the first male athlete to come out as gay. >> long before jason collins came out on the cover of sports illustrated, there had been a debate about how ready athletes were for a gay teammate. turns out much more so. in an interview on good morning america, collins marvelled at the positive response, which
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also included a phone call from the president. >> just try to live an honest, genuine life and next thing you know, you have the president calling you. >> what did he say? zwl he was incredibly supportive, was proud of me, so that this not only affected my life, but others going forward. >> president obama also praised collins at a news conference. >> this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly. and everybody's part of a family. and we judge people on the basis of their character. and their performance. and not their sexual orientation. >> collins even earned a spot in ellen's opening monologue. >> when he came out of the closet, he had to duck. >> collins did see some minor backlash on his twitter page and within the media itself. notably from an e srspn basketb
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analyst. >> i'm a christian. i don't agree with homosexuality, i think it's a sin. >> they issued this statement -- quote, we respect that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction of today's news. espn is fully dedicated to diversity and welcomes jason collins' announcement. and he's sure ooel eventually hear from more people who disapprove. the most important approval he earned this week was his own. >> i hope every player makes a decision that leads to his or her happiness. i know that i am now the happiest i have ever been in my life. >> collins by the way played with the boston celtics earlier this season. today, the celtics head coach told reporters about the phone call he received from collins just a couple of days ago. >> when he called me to tell me,
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you know, you could tell he wanted to tell me, i told him -- what you're about to tell me and that's how i feel, i honestly feel that way. i could care less. who cares? i mean -- it just -- this is not a fakctor to me and i know it i a factor to a lot of people. i just have never understood why anyone cares about what someone else does. they tell me he was -- when i told him -- let's move forward. i jokingly said i wish you could give me more rebounds because that's all i care about, really. >> collins by the way ended the season with the washington wizards. the president of the wizards issued a strong statement of
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applause for collins. by the way, right now is a free act. we'll see which team signs him up. he's 34 years old, a graduate of stanford. coming up, severe storms in houston and a severe attack of the hiccups. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] this is a reason to look twice. this is a stunning work of technology. the 2013 lexus es and the first-ever es hybrid. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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getting the hiccups on live tv. not a good thing. >> talk about high pressure. there's never a good time for hiccups, but this was a bad one. >> couple of thunderstorms -- >> when khou's david paul started his forecast for the houston area, he hope d it was just a passing hiccup. >> really, it's highway 60 -- >> but the contractions continued. >> excuse me, i have the hiccups of course. >> he told us he had been having them all day. >> some redevelopment of thunderstorms right in here. >> it was the most helpless feeling i have ever had on live tv. that was a mess. >> sure, other meteorologists have suffered a single hiccup. >> close to 60, that's fair --
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excuse me. that's what dr. pepper does to you. >> we've seen talent sneeze on air. >> but you know what? excuse me. >> we've even seen an australian weather man pass out. when the weather, 8gs and a stunt plane, but this was no stunt. >> had some rain showers developing as well. >> we need a hiccup trapper. in a forecast that lasted about three minutes, we counteded a total of 14 hiccups. and seven excuse mes. >> excuse me. excuse me. >> david did try one last ditch trick. >> i slowed down and thought i'm going to try to speak slowly and swallow, at least street flooding, so i'm monitoring this evening. so far, so good. here's the big picture. >> even a drink of water didn't help. >> thank you. >> but at least he's getting praised for soldiering through and maintaining his dignity.
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all those hiccups -- nothing to sneeze at. >> there we go. >> wow, that's a first. >> all i've heard today is hey, it's a hiccupping weather man. >> forecasting a 70% chance of scattered hiccups. >> here's your extended forecast. excuse me. >> new york. >> erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. >> "outfront" next, we have new developments in the investigation of the boston bombings. "outfront" tonight, authorities have found a new and important clue. one specific clue on the bombs. plus, tonight, you'll hear the voice of tamerlan tsarnaev, what one of his boxing coaches told us today. and tamerlan's widow spent three hours at her lawyer's office today. we are learn iing right now abo that meeting.