tv John King USA CNN May 3, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
that's it for me this hour. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." john king usa starts right now. thanks, wolf. good evening, everyone, including our viewers around the world this evening. tonight some major changes in the obama white house account of just how osama bin laden was killed. we are now told the al qaeda leader was not armed when he was fatally shot, first in the chest, then in the head. does that matter to you? and maybe this tonight a more important question, will it matter on the arab street? the white house is also backing away tonight from the initial account that a woman, perhaps one of bin laden's wives, was used as a human shield during the nearly 40-minute firefight. we've learned these important developments today. i'm told the cia was tasked with picking several photos of bin laden's corporation for release. and leon panetta just told our congressional producer ted barrett he believes the photos will ultimately be released although the white house says no final decision has been made.
and jessica yellin is told that the s.e.a.l.s left the compound with five computers, ten hard drives more than 100 dvds, cds and thumb drives. officials hope that includes valuable intelligence about al qaeda. and dana bash is told that cia director panetta responded bluntly when asked a short time ago in a classified capitol hill briefing for lawmakers this question, whether pakistan was aware bin laden was hiding within its borders. panetta said, quote, we're told either they're involved or incompetent. neither place is a good place to be. to the white house in a moment. but first, the bin laden compound in pakistan. nic robertson is in abbottabad and he walked the perimeter of that property today. >> reporter: he couldn't have been hiding in any more plain sight than this. around three sides of the compound a farmer's field, cabbages down here, potatoes back there, marijuana plants right up to the side of the compound, plain sight. the farmers were working these
fields and he was just over the wall. >> -- learning about the compound and the town where osama bin laden was living, as you say, in plain sight. nic, let's check and see if you can hear the conversation now. we're havinging a technical difficulty. we just showed the daylight hours now that night has fallen, give us a better sense of what you're learning about inside this compound and just how bin laden was living. >> reporter: very secretively. people we've talked to who live right next to his compound, one man whose house overlooked it just 50 yards away told me that when children's balls, their soccer balls went over the wall, the family would just give them money rather than let them into the compound which is normal in the area to get the balls back.
they would just give them money and say go buy another ball. the family had a reputation for being secret. they didn't leave the compound. there were late night visitors, suvs, very expensive luxury vehicles for this area. people thought that they were gold merchants, businessmen with a sort of shady background. but this is a place where people keep themselves to themselves. if you're not invited in to your neighbor's house, you don't ask questions. it is rude to look from the roof of your building into your neighbor's compound. this is an area where if you want to be left alone, you can be left alone. and that's what happened to bin laden here. everyone we talked to surprised that hes was found right here. >> nic, you and your crew had access today and took exclusive images. we've seen other medicine imag out. medicine bottles inside. a mess after the raid. what do we know about on the inside, how fancy and what type of equipment they might have had
on the inside. >> reporter: well, there were some medication that was found. it's not clear what that medication was. it's being called a million dollar compound or building. we haven't been able to nail that figure down with pakistanis who live around here. they're not aware of exactly how much it cost or even who the land was purchased from in the first place, but it does appear to be a cut above what you would find. the furniture inside, the beds look quite nice. you compare them with what we saw in some of the houses that we went through to get on to the roofs today. it's clearly a place where people had a little bit more money. the computer hard drives very, very interesting. all that software and hardware has been discovered there. of course, back in 2001, in kandahar where bin laden was living he had a stockpile library of videotapes that cnn was able to get at one point. he clearly is somebody who
stockpiles information about himself and what interests him. so perhaps that's what's going to be found here as well. >> you mentioned a neighborhood that's a cut above, a complex that's a cut above in that neighborhood less than a mile from the pakistani equivalent of west point. how is the government explaining that the u.s.' most wanted man, perhaps the world's most wanted man was livinging, perhaps for a couple of years right there? >> it is hard to understand exactly how it could happen. the neighbors, of course, one could see that they wouldn't know. but this is a building that's out of place in some context. there are questionable comings and goings late at night. it stands out for various reasons. it didn't have internet, didn't have a telephone connection. how could all of this been missed? the army base is 10, 15 minutes walk away.
it doesn't have a line of sight over the house. but the isi said, look, are we embarrassed that we missed this? yes, we are. does this mean we are incompetent or not trying? no. they're very touchy about it. but government really wants to move on quickly. they don't want a lot of attention drawn to this. there could be a backlash. but it does seem to be raising huge questions not only externally but also internally, how could they have missed this? it does make the country and the intelligence and security services look very bad, john. >> nic robertson on the ground live for us tonight near the bin laden compound. we'll keep in touch. the white house blames the fog of war for conflicting accounts of how the raid went down. but t northeast was that bin laden was not armed when he was shot and killed. john brennan says he was armed and may have fired a few shots. ed henry is here with more. let's start with that, the
discrepancies in the account. the white house says fog of war. are they confident now that they have a consistent, clear, factual account of what happened or are they worried they're still mixed up on a few things? >> they believe they have most of us. but they add the caveat that they are right now in the process of interviewing these navy s.e.a.l.s. they say, look, accounts change. all these s.e.a.l.s were under extremely high pressure situation and if you're in one room or a different floor, you may have seen something different than others. they're trying to compare all of these accounts. the bottom line is why is this important? beyond the credibility of the administration, why it's also important is if bin laden did not have a weapon, as the white house now says he did not, the question is were they justified in killing bin laden or should they have captured him and maybe gotten more intelligence out of him? a bottom line is that some intelligence officials are saying, look, as soon as bin laden, even if he didn't have a weapon, the fact that he did not put up his hands and surrender, the navy s.e.a.l.s could not
risk that he might get away again and continue to be on the lam and terrorizing people. there's a sense here within the administration that this is someone that, you know, i asked one official, for example, would it have been more valuable to capture him instead of kill him? this official said, look, we think it's pretty valuable having bin laden where he is now, which is dead. and by the way, we've gotten a lot of intelligence anyway. those hard drives you mentioned. they think they've got the best of both worlds. that bin laden is now dead, he's no longer a terrorist threat and they've got a lot of intelligence anyway. >> i'm going to explore this a bit deeper in a minute can but let's get the latest information. leon panetta in an interview recorded said, yes, a photo will be ultimately released but we're not quite so sure. >> we're not. bob gates was here behind closed doors in the oval office with the president and vice president earlier today. they're still going through this. there are some people that feel strongly in the interests of
transparency, get it out there. it will be be on wikileaks or somewhere so why not let the u.s. government control its release and do it that way? others are saying these photos are gruesome. they show him after he was hit in the head and there's blood, it's gruesome and this is not the kind of thing that maybe should be on the front pages of america's newspapers. so i think there's a lot of back and forth about this right now, because they have not decided that issue. and the fact that if you put it out there, it may inflame the muslim world. something when you've got u.s. military bases and others on a high state of alert right now, do you really want to inflame the muslim world, john? >> let's reinforce the point that ed was making. the debate goes on at the white house on whether to release the photos. some say you have to release it because of the conspiracy theories. the taliban saying prove it. we don't believe that sheikh bin laden is dead. here's the deputy national security director at the white
house, deputy national security adviser saying one of the fears is if you release these photos and they are gruesome it could put americans overseas and military personnel at risk. >> we're not going to add to the p public record anything that risks our troops, puts at risks our diplomats or even private americans overseas. >> now, the white house did release this photo yesterday. take a look at it. it has generated international attention because of the urgent and the nervous expressions on the face of the obama war cabinet as it received live updates sunday on the pakistan raid. what are they watching? look at this. here is a previously released situation room photograph showing, if you look down at the end there, monitors to the end and to the left and the right all available to the president and his team. we're told in this case most of the live information was coming from the cia, which we know was among the first customers for these, the perceptive pixel multitouch screens we at cnn
have used since 2008. what were they watching? it could have been something just like this. this is a cnn simulation, but we do know a bit about the technology available to the cia and the white house. this is from the iraq war. this is a drone flying overhead of an operation down below. you can see the outline of the streets, the outlines of the houses and the compounds and people walking in the streets. you would obviously have a map up showing everything in the situation room what are we talking about in the world? audio levels coming in from the radio transmissions, from the troops on the ground, from the helicopters overhead, from the jets overhead, perhaps from a military base as well. here is your model of the bin laden compound right here. the xs would show people just where are the helicopters, where are the u.s. assets as this played out? as the situation is playing out, perhaps you're watching this and something up here catches your attention. you bring that up maybe up on to a bigger feed. this is a helmet cam feed.
we're simulating this. night vision equipment here. this would be something like what played out in the bin laden compound. going in, kicking in a door, you see their helmets there, going through a compound like that. this is from the iraq war. perhaps during the operation, you want to see a closer look at what the compound itself looks like, you can bring in that video here. this is cnn video today of the bin laden compound. watching this play out. at the cia they have available to them all these live feeds. some coming in from the helmet cam, some coming in from the helicopter, some coming in perhaps as we said from a drone overled that looks like this, a running clock, how long have the troops been on the ground. we were told the goal was 30 minutes. they stayed about 38 minutes. what time is it in the region? all that available to you here. we are well aware at the cia they don't have just one of these, they have many of these. even as you're watching this playing out here alt one point tracking all of the assets, land
drones, maybe you have additional questions as well, you can get help. you use your google earth technology like this. trust me, the military uses a lot of basic technology we have as well but they can also enhance it. suppose they want to see a live satellite feed from an eye in the sky of the town where the compound is playing out, they can zoom right in. once they see the town, maybe they're watching for something happening here or they want to get a close are look at the compound itself. use their technology, zoom straight in. here's the bin laden compound. remember, they would have it, the military, the sophistication to have a live feed of this during the operation. because they knew where they were going to go, they also have the opportunity to enhance everything on the ground here and label it to get a sense of the operation as they go. and you bring this up right here, make that work a little bit. there you go. this is the actually 3-d model built by the cia, this is a diagram, on which they used to build the 3-d model. from those satellite images they
built this model so the s.e.a.l.s could train not knowing when they were training who their target was. so they have all this technology available to them. they can feed it from the cia to the white house easily. again, aerial assets, ground assets, a way to track all this plays out in the situation room. we're told they did not have a live feed of the actual shooting of bin laden, but they did have the radio transmissions as all this played out. this is remarkable technology. trust me, theirs is even a little more fanser thcy than ou. a navy s.e.a.l. joins us. what he would do if bin laden came into view. and the cia briefs on the raid. [ thunder rumbles ]
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grossly incompetent. dana bash has more. let's start right there with the cia director. he was very critical of pakistan. what other enlightening things did he share with congress? >> reporter: let's start there. first of all, in terms of pakistan, from the perspective of congress we're hearing loudly from members in congress from both parties how frustrated they are with pakistan. that's the first question he got in this briefing. his response on pakistan was, quote, either they were involved or incompetent. neither place is a good place to be. as you said, very, very tough. beyond that, lots of questions from members of congress. this is a classified briefing, so this is from sources who were willing to give us a little information. but mostly to give members of congress a tick tock of specific information on exactly how this mission went down. they got some nuggets that wasn't told the press but just to hear from his lips how this went down.
>> now in the ballpark of $20 billion to u.s. aid to pakistan. will there be a move from congress to cut that money? >> there already is. we're hearing from democrats and republicans. they say, look, pakistan, even if they were -- regardless of what they did or didn't know, we know that they didn't help get bin laden and he was just a mile away from a military installation. and so what members of congress are saying is that they believe that they should withhold money now and that would -- from their perspective hopefully force pakistan to give them some answers. we're hearing that if a lot of rank and file. some senior members are saying let's hold off, let's not rush to judgment. as you well know, they say the relationship with pakistan is dwig quite complex and they're worried about making pakistan and enemy right now. >> in closing on the sense of the photos, what do members of
congress think? do they think it would be to put the photos out or is that too risky. >> there as split. the senior members of the intelligence committees say they believe it's too risky. it could create martyrdom and they believe it is simply the wrong thing to do. the dna is out there and that that should be enough. however, there are some members of congress, especially those from new york, who are saying, you know what? they do believe it's important to get out there. you mentioned leon panetta, he told our ted barrett walking out of these meetings that he does believe these photos should be released. he believes it's important to know they have it and that's why they should be released. >> every american had ra stake in the hunt for bin laden, but it is fair to say for some it was more personal. for the families of those who worked at the pentagon or at the world trade center. democratic senator chuck schumer of new york is live with us from
capitol hill. let me start with where we left off with dana bash. in your view, should the photos be released? >> there are good arguments on both sides on this one. obviously, if you release the photos, it helps establish that he's gone. there is the issue of martyrdom and what the photos would look like. so on this -- look, the administration has handled this so, so well. i'd leave it up to them. >> did you learn anything in the briefing today? i know you can't share classified secrets. >> no, i can't. i can tell you in general, the exquisiteness with which the training was done, and the raid was carried out was just incredible. you marvel at how good our military is and how good our -- these sort of unsung hero, the cia. and leon panetta, now, in full disclosure, he was my roommate for 11 years when we were in the house. what a guy.
he is just an incredible guy and our nation is lucky to have him in positions of importance. >> that lucky guy, you say leon panetta, who has a tough job. i'm sure he feels lucky some days and other days not so. this came up in the briefing with congress, quote, it was decided that any effort to work with the pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. they might alert the targets. senator, they're supposed to be a partner in the war on terrorism or whatever we want to call it tonight. if the cia is afraid to tell the pakistanis about an operation like this, could you call them a partner? >> well, they're half a partner. the problem with pakistan, the country, the military, the isi, their intelligence services, they're divided. we have some very good allies and very good friends in pakistan and in the pakistani government and army. we also have some people who are anti-american and sympathizers with the taliban and perhaps even al qaeda. and that's why it's such a
difficult situation. hopefully the killing of bin laden will strengthen those who are on our side and weaken those who are against. but it's not a secret that the military in pakistan and the isi are sort of filled with people who are not reliable in security. most of them believe that pakistan's greatest enemy is india. they're fighting a war that's 40 years too old. they should realize that the terrorists in northwest afghanistan, the taliban are their greatest enemy and the enemy to a growing and prosperous and free pakistan. but they're stuck in the past. it's a lot easier to hate india than deal with these new problems. >> are they just stuck in the past or could you make the case that their head is stuck in the sand. it is said about hamid karzai that he just doesn't get it. he likes to blame others. this op-ed in "the washington post" today. some in the u.s. press have
suggested that pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism or worse. yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we were pursuing. such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn't reflect fact. am i the problem, senator, or is president cz president zardari the problem? >> the pakistanis they protect the haqqani network, they truck around with a lot of unsavory people. but in that part of the world, that's not unusual. the problem is they don't see the greatest threat to pakistan are the rebels, the taliban and that's pretty objective. so these people, i guess, you're right, john, their heads are in the sand. this is a prediction. the greatest foreign policy problem america will have in the next decade is goinging to be pakistan. it is nuclear, it is poor, it is ethnically divided and it has
never had a coherent policy or even a very strong leader. >> senator, you are in new york when president george w. bush went to ground zero in the days after 9/11. it was a very emotional moment. you remember him standing on the pile of the rubble and saying, i hear you and we will get them. you were right there with the president. the current president of the united states is going to go up on thursday to see some 9/11 families. what would you like to hear him say, president obama say? >> well, look, i was ten feet away from george bush when he piled on the rubble, and i can tell you, there was some speculation that, oh, this was staged. it was as spontaneous as it comes and that's what gives it its huge power. there was the smell of death in the air, we were all shocked and here is george bush addressing the country and the people who had all suffered and at that point were probably just not certain where their loved ones were and felt certain they might be alive. i'd love to hear president obama.
i'm so glad he's going to new york. i believe i'll be going up there as well. i'd just like him to talk to the families about what has done and talk to america about this war on terror and how we're getting better and better and better at conducting it. we're safer and safer and safer, but we can't let up. and i think -- i mean, he was eloquent on tv sunday night. and i think we'll hear the same eloquence on thursday. >> we're watching live pictures of ground zero as we end this conversation. in closing, you gave great credit to leon panetta and i hope all of america gives credit to leon panny etta and the men women of the cia. they started to follow this track of couriers back in the bush administration. do they deserve some of the credit? >> absolutely. both presidents get credit. even though the orders were given by barack obama, he had nerves of steel and did the right thing, the beginnings of what happened were laid by
george bush, and he deserves a heck of a lot of credit, too. i think the two of them, if they talkeden t eed on the phone on , they would share the credit with one another. >> time to have generosity of spirit. senator schumer, thank you. five computers, ten hard drives and dozens of disks and hard drives. what could be found from the intelligence in the bin laden compound. snaef s.e.a.l.s went to isolation. they're not told in a child gets sick or if some major event occurs. what is else important to their training? ♪ got brass in pocket... ♪ gonna use my, my, my, imagination. ♪ the new blackberry playbook. ♪ cos i'm gonna make you see
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most of us just can't imagine what it's like to jump out of a helicopter in the middle of the night and hunt down a high value target. for ten years former navy s.e.a.l. john mcguire did just that. he joins us now to talk about this high stakes operation that led to the death of osama bin laden. thank you for being here. one of the new details today is the white house is saying that bin laden was not armed that the commandos went upstairs to the third floor, wife charged one of the attackers, she was shot in the leg, then bin laden was shot in the chest and the head. will that prove controversial now? what are the rule of engagement? >> each case is different. i do know this mission had to be different. there were no hostages. that makes it more complicated. you don't know. the guy could grab a weapon and
get a team guy pretty quick. >> take us through -- i know obviously it's a very different than any you were in. but you're rushing in, full of adrenaline, there is a firefight going on. what goes through your head. anything moves you're suspicious. >> what goes through your led is get the job done and protect your teammates. whether we win or lose means whether we live or die. things can turn on a dime. maybe he had something in his hand or something near him that was a weapon. >> when you've watched the coverage about this and you see the compound, a building with three story, some guards, smaller buildings. we understand there were mock-ups built on two coasts, guys training for a while. >> they basically rehearse to the t. we might spent four days, five days on something that takes ten mins to do. we look at every contingency, what if the helicopter break, for example, what if the radio goes down or what. we know every angle where every bullet is going to go. >> when you get off the helicopter and you know that one is having a problem. and you know there's backups but
you might not get a ride out. what happens then? >> we pretty much know the plan if the helicopter goes down. we look at every contingency whether helicopters, equipment, we're prepared for that. you can't let that change your plan. you got to say, okay, have you heard of murphy's law? murphy's law states anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the most important moment. >> as you've seen about this coverage, what jumps out to you most? >> what goes through my mind is closure. you think about the families affected. a lot of lives have been destroyed because of this man's terror. obviously you're not going to get your loved one back. but even on your show, i've seen people come in and talk about how, you know, it's been nine years. we have the best military. how come you catch can't a 6-foot-something terrorist. i don't think we'll hear that any more. we sent a message to america that if you mess with americans, whether you make $20,000 a year or a million a year, you're
valuable. it might take us some time but we're going to get you. you know that will deter future attacks, at least i hope so. >> what happens in the training? they build a mock-up of the site. do they have fake engagements the test it out or just practice runs to learn where the staircases are, where the windows are. >> you try to think it through. like a chess game. this could happen or this could happen and you try to train for every possibility. so that when something comes up, it's like clockwork. s.e.a.l.s are very tight. we know by the sound of your foot on the ground who you are on our team. at night the silhouette, i mean, we know each other. we know that every mission you're going to step off your left foot first or your right foot first because of all that practice. >> i don't think they use the term any more but describe to people who might not understand what st-6 is. >> steel team 6 is something we don't talk about. they're the most seasoned s.e.a.l.s. >> when you look at the mock-ups what you've seen, the coverage, some video coverage of this
compound, anything stand out about the challenge of it, getting in a helicopter or out of a leahelicopter or pretty ba? >> i takes the best to do that. but this went on for so long and no one knew he was there. but i wasn't there, so it's hard to discuss that. >> if you're in that final brief and they tell you after your training your target is osama bin laden, what would have gone through your head if that were you? >> it's on. it's great, an honor, an honor to do such a great service for our country. >> how old are these guys? >> these guys are seasoned s.e.a.l.s. very good at what they do, very proud of them. probably 30, 35. >> 30, 35? >> yes. >> if you were on a mission and you ran up those stairs and you're looking across the room and you were certain the guy across the room was osama bin laden, would you hesitate? >> that's not the way we're trained to get the job done. so you can count on us. >> get it done. do you think there was any possibility of him coming out of there alive? >> i think so.
our guys are the most professional -- we call ourselves quiet professions. you run into a s.e.a.l. and you say, i can't believe that guy is a s.e.a.l. it is not about how we look, we follow orders. if there's a threat, we'll protect our teammates. >> will we ever know the names of the guys that do this? >> looking a the history of things like this, you never know. i would think so. >> you think so? >> i think so. >> john mcguire thank you for your time. >> thank you for your time. an explosion rocks afghanistan's capital city today. could it be retaliation for bin laden's death? the healing poweh just got more powerful. introducing precise pain relieving heat patch. it blocks pain signals for deep relief precisely where you need it most. precise. only from the makers of tylenol.
welcome back. if you're just joining us, here taps latest news. in a costly gamble today the army corps of engineers started blowing holes sending water over land rather than risking flooding. loud explosions and jets flying overhead in tripoli, libya. the united nations says more than 40,000 libyan civilians fled to tunisia just this month. amnesty international says it has firsthand reports of detainees in syria being tortured after last weekend's crackdown on anti-government protests. an explosion rocked afghanistan's capital city.
a police station we understand some kind of rocket attack. what more do we know? >> reporter: well, john, when the explosion was first heard, there were reports that possibly the u.s. embassy in kabul had been attacked. we found out that that wasn't the case. but a marine that was posted at the u.s. embassy here in kabul told us in fact there may have been a rocket attack directed at a police station about two miles southwest of the embassy here. one of the reasons fears were so heightened is because people are concerned there could be a retaliatory strike because of the killing of osama bin laden against western targets in afghanistan, especially here in the capital. as of now, not a lot of details coming from police here in kabul as to what exactly happened. if this police station was hit, that has not yet been confirmed. we also heard there was an attack, possibly a land mine buried next to a residential compound somewhere close to the house of the current mayor of kabul, again not a lot of
details at this point. but security going to be heightened here in the capital of afghanistan in the coming days because people are concerned about retaliatory strikes. >> you're there at a fascinating moment. let's start with this one. any reaction yet from the afghan government which for years has tried to say bin laden's not here. we think he's on the pakistan side. any sense of vindication? >> reporter: oh, absolutely, john. the last couple of days you've seen the afghanistan government really saying that they are vindicated right now. they're using this, the death of osama bin laden, especially the fact that he was found and killed in pakistan as a way to bolster the credibility of their government. we've heard from the president, hamid karzai, from the interior minister, the defense minister, members of parliament all saying we told you he wasn't here. now we know that the real terror problem isn't in our backyard but in the backyard of neighboring countries. many of them saying we believe this will enhance the security
situation here if not in the short term in the long term, but they're all saying, look, the terrorist problem in this part of the world is not in afghanistan. that having been said, many people still very concerned about the taliban and the taliban here has started a new offensive. they're saying they're going to be in more provinces, they're emboldened, they're more of a threat and they'll continue to fight on. >> mohammed jamjoon in kabul tonight. we have seen the pakistani government was caught off guard by the secret mission. tensions in u.s./pakistan relations. what might the value be of the computer, the hard drives and all those difbs taken from the bin laden compound? [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible.
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did the bin laden trail turn warm in part because of the information gleaned from the controversial bush interrogation tactics? with us two of the smartest analysts in the business. john mclaughlin and tony cordesman who is part of the group that helped general stanley mcchrystal help establish the new strategy. i want to start with the revision today in the account from the white house that bin laden was not armed when he was shot. i want your sense of whether that will matter in the arab world. i want you first, though, to listen to leon panetta telling cbs that he thought there was a slight possibility, slight possibility bin laden could be taken alive. >> i think we always assume from the begin tlag the likelihood
was that he was going to be killed. per chance he were to be captured, i think the approach was to take him quickly to bagram, transfer him to a ship off shore and then have the principals at the white house decide what steps to be taken. >> two questions there. number one, easier to deal with, it sounds coarse to say it that way, easier to have him dead, than to hold him, how you would try him. >> you also have to move him at night with a helicopter crashed over a wall, somehow find a way to get him into a helicopter, do so without knowing who will intervene, when they're intervene and to do this, you also have to walk in to the equivalent of a shooting room and act as if you have 20/20 foresight before you even begin to think of seizing him. >> john, you know the business well. how well -- what's left of al qaeda, how will other anti-american whether islamist
radicals or someone else, play and propagandize the fact that bin laden was not armed. >> that will play big in their propaganda. i'm sure they've got plans on the shelf for various retaliatory operations. i'm sure that u.s. intelligence and our law enforcement are on heightened alert now anticipating that here and overseas. >> back in your days at the cia were you aware of a specific playbook that if bin laden was captured or killed we'll do this? >> no, i don't think there's such a playbook. they have plans that they develop over a long period of time, put on the shelf, take off the shelf when they're ready to go. we have a problem with the affiliates in places like yemen, of course, who at this point may be the most dangerous elements to worry about. >> you agree with that? it's a 40-year-old american-born terrorist al awlaki. is he now the bigger face, the singular face of global terrorism? >> if we look for a singular face, we're going to delude ourselves. we know that he has a network, a
group a network, a group of at least seven to eight people around him. many of them are young, relatively, experienced fighters. there are also, as john points out, separate, almost isolated groups, the one in yemen, for example, is not one face. it's a group of people. you have the remnants of al qaeda in iraq. you have groups in algeria, which have allied themselves to al qaeda, but have no prior ties. you have scattered groups throughout areas in europe and down in the issahara, below the actual desert. so to talk about this as if there's one face and one man is going to be the figure that dominate this is simply unreal. >> one of the big questions now is when the trail finally turned warm after so many years of frustration with bin laden, it was in the bush administration, when they started to track these couriers, and one of the questions now is did that information about the couriers, about where to find them, did
some of that come through the use of these enhanced interrogation tactics, which are controversial? i want you to listen to leion panetta, the current cia director, with nbc news, i believe, talking about perhaps, perhaps some clues did come that way. >> i think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees, but i'm also saying that, you know, the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches, i think, is always going to be an open question. >> the debate continues. the obama administration has stopped using many, if not all, of those techniques. but is it a vindication for those technique techniques? >> i think you need to be very careful which enhanced techniques. there are a lot that don't come close to torture. and which witness. the kinds of training, the rules set down at places like ft.
wichuka have created very effective techniques. they're not what any of us would want to go through, but they don't involve waterboarding or more extreme versions. i would have to defer to john, though. >> the one thing i would say here, first, i would like to know more about the specific details of who provided what and what they provided. but by and large, the interrogation program that the cia ran was very effective and did produce accurate information. and i suspect this is the latest indication of that. >> what would you do with pakistan right now? leon panetta tonight saying they're either complicit or completely incompetent. >> i think we may be overstating that. there are certain elements that are complicit. and i think privately, pakistanis will say that. but we are trapped in a way. we can't ignore this country. we can't let it fall apart. it isn't just a matter of our troops in afghanistan, having an outcome of that war that's successful. that's the fact that pakistan
itself is strategically far more important than afghanistan. and before we rush out, we also need to understand a lot more about the cover story bin laden was using. because some of the things he did, like using two pakistani families as a cover, in an area where there were many other families who had been dislocated and had sort of covert or quiet identities, that's only beginning to be apparent. and we might give pakistan at least a few days' grace. >> a few days' grace. >> john, let me ask you lastly in closing, what do you know from your days at the cia about osama bin laden, the recordkeeper, if you will. they took some hard drives, cds, dvds, thumb drives. did he just keep news clippings and video clippings of his attacks around the world, or is this a guy that you think is keeping active, present-day files that will be valuable? >> i'll be very surprised if this isn't a gold mine for us. thinking back to the last operation i was involved in in
which we captured the computer of ahmed ghailani, one of the plottings in the african embassy bombings. on that computer, we found casing reports for major financial institutes in new york city, something we made available to everyone and helped prevent attacks there. so i think we'll probably find reports of potential plotting, something about funding, we may learn something about whatever relationship he did or didn't have with pakistan. we'll learn about key aides. >> maybe where they are? >> maybe where they are. so this is the sort of thing that people will be going through in incredible detail in the next few days. >> john and tony, appreciate your insights. let's stay in touch. when we come back, if you've seen this picture, you've probably seen this picture right here. what is the president and his team looking at in the situation room? we'll give you a sense, next. [ woman speaking chinese ] thank you.
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a map of the region there. many of you have visited cnn.com, maybe the white house website to look at this photo. we're going to show it to you. it's sunday in the situation room at the white house. the president of the united states, the vice president holding rosary beads. you see secretary clinton with her hand over her face, secretary gates, other members of the obama war council. what are they watching? you can see what the other end of the situation room looks like. a number of monitors there, you see them on the far walls, on the side walls as well. we were told on sunday much of the information was coming from the cia and we know full well
that the cia, like us at cnn, own several of these, perceptive pixel, multi-touch boards. and what the cia does in live operations it often has a monitor set up like this. this is a cnn simulation, but it looks something like this. this is from iraq war, a drone flying overhead in an operation, sending you live aerial pictures. you see the outlines of buildings, people walking in the streets right here. the cia would have had live aerial images during the raid at the bin laden compound. another thing they might have wa wanted from the scene, you watch these men going into a compound, you see this on their heads, most of this is night vision on the helmets. some of these gentleman would be packing cameras as they went in as well, often live feeds coming back. they also would have here a model, probably 3-d, of the compound as it played out there. this, the type of technology available at the cia and they can feed it through to the white house as these highly sensitive operations unfold. it is fascinating stuff. we'll see you back he