tv This Week With Christiane Amanpour ABC May 8, 2011 8:00am-9:00am PDT
this week, osama bin laden as we've never seen him before. a new window into how he lived and how he died. >> justice is done. the world is safer. >> but is it really? >> al qaeda was plotting to target -- >> the target was passenger trains. >> there is real concern about retaliation. >> we'll ask the president's national security adviser what's being done to keep americans safe. will clues from bin laden's compound thwart future attacks, or will al qaeda strike back? then tough questions for pakistan. did america's ally harbor the world's most notorious terrorist? our top correspondents covering the story all week bring the latest developments from pakistan to afghanistan to right here in the united states.
welcome to the program. this week, the whole world was transfixed by a single story. the headlines said it all. osama bin laden, the most notorious terrorist in history, shot and killed by american forces. the horror that he inflicted left an indelible mark on the american psyche, and behind me the twisted and now mangled antenna that once stood on the north tower of the world trade center here at the newseum for all to see and remember what happened there. president obama visited ground zero this week closing a chapter in american history. nearly ten years after the 9/11 attacks. this as the flood of information from the raid on bin laden's pakistan compound continues to pour in. and just yesterday, new tapes with extraordinary images of the terror mastermind seen as a
graying old man watching himself on television. that was one of five videos released by the pentagon, and now abc's martha raddatz here who's followed the story every step of the way. >> reporter: of the five videos released by the pentagon, this one is surely the most compelling. there sits the most wanted terrorist in the world covered in an old blanket with a very gray beard watching news clips of himself on television. he switches his satellite tv from channel to channel when an image pops up showing him with weapons, he motions to his camera operator to zoom in. what he is watching on the television matches a press conference we found in late january 2010. the other four tapes are all outtakes or messages to his followers. the audio has been removed by the u.s. because officials say it is jihadist propaganda. but notice the color of his beard. he clearly has been dying it.
this is 2004. similar clothes and background. this is the more recent tape. >> this is someone who realized that the image that he conveyed was the main value he had to his movement. it was part of his brand. >> reporter: but last sunday, the dye had faded. when he was shot dead by s.e.a.l.s, the beard was gray. the tapes are only a small part of the massive amounts of intelligence picked up by the s.e.a.l.s in the compound which intelligence analysts are calling the largest intelligence haul ever from a senior terrorist. >> abc's martha raddatz. and she'll join me with our other correspondents in our roundtable in just a moment. so is that new trove of information revealing fresh dangers for americans around the world? i put that question to the president's national security adviser, tom donilon. mr. donilon, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> firstly, the pictures that
have just come out. you've seen them. what do they tell us that we didn't know about osama bin laden? >> i think the principal thing to take away is that he was engaged not in just being a symbolic leader of al qaeda but he was involved in strategic and operational leadership, and let me say just a couple of things about it, number one, the information was recovered as part of the operation of sunday night in addition to taking out osama bin laden on sunday night our special forces who are trained in this area gathered up as much information as they could before they left the compound. >> how much? >> well, it's a very large cache. >> how would you describe it in terms of its largeness? >> i'd say two things about it. it's the single largest cache of information that we've gotten from a senior terrorist, number one, and, number two, the cia is describing to us as the size of a small college library. >> have you found any imminent threat, anything that should give concern right now that you're working to counter and neutralize? >> i don't have anything to tell you this morning, but as we develop those, obviously we'll go about the
notifications in the proper way. >> because, al qaeda has said, we accept that he's dead and we'll avenge that. is there any worry, any fear, any plan that you know of, and are you taking any specific measures to counter any threat? >> we thought about that a lot prior to the action and what i can tell you this and the president said it in his address to the nation sunday night, this is the most significant achievement we've had against al qaeda. at the end of last year we assessed and made public this assessment that the pressure in al qaeda had driven him to the point where they were as weak as they had been at any time since 2001. this is a really serious blow to them. it's a milestone on our way to strategic defeat. having said that, we need to remain vigilant and we will remain vigilant and we certainly had thought about that a lot prior to the actions that we took on sunday. >> let me ask you about the killing of osama bin laden. what was the nature of his resistance? >> he didn't surrender, right, and moved away from our forces, right, you know, and at that point he's a threat to our forces given the techniques that
we know, and our forces made an absolutely, absolutely appropriate judgment. >> let me ask you this, though, because it goes to the central part of the story, the success of this mission, you had to, you know, sort of correct some of the story lines at the beginning. you said that the president went down and had an "a" to zed conversation with the special forces. do you think in retrospect you would have done it differently? would you have done it differently and allowed that complete briefing of the people who had done it before giving out information? >> as you know from covering many of these events, initial reports can sometimes be inaccurate, right, and need to be corrected, and as soon as the information was refined and was corrected, the administration put that out. you know, when i looked at the picture the other day, the famous picture now of us in the situation room, i looked at it yesterday, i was -- i tried to reflect on it a little bit and my eyes went to the president, and we ask a tremendous amount of our presidents including these kind of decisions and this, you know, a week ago thursday evening he got his last briefing on this in
the situation room, and he got divided counsel, frankly. >> divided? >> absolutely. as you know -- >> dissension? >> divided counsel. people recommending -- >> dissension amongst the ranks? >> i wouldn't call it dissension. i would say it was a divided counsel and i served three presidents, as you know, and you watch this president take this in. he chaired five national security meetings in six weeks, take all that in and say i'm not going to make my decision now. i'll tell you my decision tomorrow, stand up, walk out of the situation room, go down that colonnade that you know so well by the rose garden to his residence and make that decision and this is what we ask of our president and i think in this case the president was well served by the process and we're well served by his decision. >> as you know, there are many in the republican party, many former bush administration officials, the attorney general of the bush administration wrote in "the wall street journal" that, quite frankly, it was the bush policies that led to this success, that the enhanced
interrogation methods were pretty much the thing that led to you all finding osama bin laden. and that president obama's decision to do away with enhanced interrogation will mean that it will be very difficult, if at all possible, to get these kinds of intelligence again. so do you think then that it's -- you should reinstate harsh interrogation? >> no, and, in fact, i can't really and won't, frankly, get into specific pieces of intelligence that led to the raid on abbottabad, but what i will say further though is this, is that no single piece of intelligence that was gathered many years ago or in the interim, no single piece of intelligence led to this success. it was hundreds of pieces of intelligence, and that's how these cases are put together, as you know over time, and it was across two administrations.
when president obama was told that our forces were safely back in afghanistan, the first person he called outside the white house was president bush. >> how badly is your relationship with pakistan damaged because of this? i mean, we've heard -- >> yeah, yeah. >> -- leon panetta and we've heard others say they were either incompetent or they were involved. we didn't tip them off because they would have tipped off the target. i mean, what are you going to do to restore and to fix this relationship? >> let me say two or three things -- >> actually first i want to understand, do you believe that elms of either the government or the military or the intelligence knew and harbored osama bin laden? >> let me address that directly. as i sit here with you, i don't have any information that would indicate foreknowledge by the political, military or intelligence leadership in pakistan, point one. point two, though, is the fact that osama bin laden was living and we now know operating in a
town 35 miles away from islamabad in what is essentially a military town of sorts with a military institution. >> their west point town. >> yes, so questions and these questions, as you know, are being raised quite aggressively in pakistan. >> well, what are you demanding of them now? >> they indicated and out of the core commanders' meeting that general kiani had this past thursday they've indicated that they need to do an investigation. >> will heads roll? >> well, that will be up to them with respect to their own -- >> can you deal with these very people you've had to deal with? >> well, let's go through that, yeah, i think on this issue, we need to work with them on a couple of things, first of all, we need to know how this happened, and they need to know how this happened because they weren't involved. right? they need to know how this happened. secondly, we need to work with them on assessing all the evidence out of that compound and all of the evidence associated with osama bin laden's presence there for six years. they have in their custody all the noncombatants from the compound including three wives of osama bin laden. we've asked for access obviously to those folks.
they took additional materials. we talked to them first about the materials we had. we need access to that, but i would be remiss if i didn't make another point. more people have died, right, more terrorists have died -- have died and been captured, excuse me, on pakistan soil than anyplace else in the world. they've been an essential partner of ours against the al qaeda and taliban. that can't be dismissed. we need to assess this, christiane, in a cool and calm way, and my job as national security adviser is to do this in a way that advances our interests. >> if today the president had to make that decision to go after zawahiri in pakistan, would you tell the pakistanis? >> well, we'd have to look at the specifics of the operation. this wasn't really a matter of trusting or not trusting but operational security. >> would you do this again, go in without telling them? >> it would depend on the operation, right. it would depend on the risk
assessments, right. we do many, many joint operations with the pakistanis. this was a singular operation, a very unique operation, indeed, the most important military operation that we've undertaken in a long, long time. >> i have to ask you a final question. >> of course. >> you talked about the death of osama bin laden. >> yes. >> as a huge milestone on your mission to defeat al qaeda. >> yes. >> your afghanistan policy is about defeating al qaeda. >> yes. >> does this mean that you will withdraw more troops? >> well, what it means is this -- >> because people are saying that now. >> yeah, i understand. it is a -- it's an important milestone toward strategic defeat, and it's an important step towards achieving our goal, and the president has laid out quite clearly and worked with our allies on this that we'll begin withdrawal in july. >> more than you had expected. >> we haven't made those determinations yet. it's the absolute honest answer. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> o. thank you. >> thank you. and you can mind find more of
that interview with tom donilon, the national security adviser, online including about the way forward in libya. but right now as we've been saying, america's alliance with pakistan has never been before so severely tested, and so we're going to ask directly now the pakistani ambassador to the united states, husain haqqani. thank you so much for joining us. you heard what national security adviser donilon said. you have no evidence that anybody in your camp knew, but i want to know do you categorically deny that any member of the government, the military or the intelligence had any notion or was harboring osama bin laden? >> if any member of the pakistani government, the pakistani military or the pakistani intelligence service knew where osama bin laden was, we would have taken action. osama bin laden's presence in pakistan was not to pakistan's advantage. now, you know pakistan well, christiane. you were there immediately after 9/11. we still have many jihadi has beens from the 1980s who are still alive and well and kicking and some of them could have been helping them, but they are not
in the state or government of pakistan today. >> right, but let's call a spade a spade. osama bin laden, number one terrorist in the world, including against pakistan, was hiding in your west point town. there are barriers, there are checks, foreigners just can't go there just willy-nilly. i know that for a fact and so do others. khalid shaikh mohammed, ksm, was found in a similar town in rawalpindi a few years ago. how can this happen without the tacit knowledge or without some kind of involvement? >> let me proffer another explanation. >> that's the question. >> it's a state, a country with lots of people, it's a very difficult country in the sense of its capacity to deal with the problems. as the national security adviser said, a lot more people have been arrested in pakistan including al qaeda people than in any other country. so pakistan did not have a policy of protecting these
people, however, the united states spent much more money in iraq than it did in afghanistan, and then it spent much more money in afghanistan than it did in pakistan. so were there cracks through which things fell through? absolutely, and we'll investigate that and we'll get to the bottom of it. >> all right. you've said it is time for pakistan to wake up. is there going to be a credible investigation that leads to some heads rolling? the national security adviser said that the chief of the military, general kiani, was holding an investigation. tell me where that investigation stands. >> general kiani, of course, as you know, is an honorable soldier who is very different from those in pakistan who in the past have used their military position to try and make coups, the coupmakers have different world views than general kiani. 's and other soldiers, professional soldiers are as concerned about this as you and i and, therefore, there is an investigation ongoing. it is premature for me to reveal the details of it, but that investigation will lead wherever it will lead.
>> will heads roll? >> and heads will roll once the investigation is completed, and if those heads are rolled on account of incompetence, we will share that information with you and if god forbid someone's complicity is involved, there will be zero tolerance for that. president obama himself said the government of the united states is very clear that the president, the prime minister, the chief were certainly not amongst the people accused. >> let me ask you this then. you've heard and know that you have access and in custody the three wives of osama bin laden, the noncombatants found there, children included and a lot of material. are you interrogating them? what are they telling you? >> we are learning things about the lives that they were leading. obviously it's not really easy to interrogate small children -- >> the wives. >> and certainly the wives also. for example, we understand one of the wives never left the same floor of osama bin laden because they were paranoid about physical movement. they didn't go outdoors.
they didn't have fresh air, so to speak, so all these people are, of course, being interrogated. questions being asked. pakistan wants to put to rest any, any misgivings the world has about our role. be clear, we have been victims of terrorism, and we will see this through and we will share our intelligence with everyone that we have to share this intelligence with. >> precisely, therefore, will you give them, you talk about sharing intelligence, will you give the united states access to them as mr. donilon just asked for and they want? will they have access to the wives and the material? >> let me say this, christiane, this is a moment for me to be very diplomatic. what we do, mr. donilon will know, and you will have him on your show again in the near future. >> so that's a yes. >> he will tell you the role of pakistan. let's be honest. pakistan has a complexity in its society. we have people -- if you do political opinion surveys, there are people who have sympathy with the cause of osama bin laden. those of us who do not, we are targets ourselves, so we have to deal with that complex ground reality in pakistan. it's not easy for us.
>> we hear very diplomatic words from you, but we hear rather a lot of bluster from pakistan in fact. general kiani, even the head of the isi said this must never happen again. if the americans try it again we'll take action. they're not being as conciliatory as you. if the united states had to go in again and do it, would that be fine by you? >> first of all, let's understand this. >> to get zawahiri? >> these are are two separate questions. one is are we comforted by osama bin laden being taken out? we certainly are. our president said that, general kiani said that. nobody said that we didn't want osama bin laden taken out. what we are offended by is the violation of our sovereignty. now we've heard the american explanation, but at the same time put yourself in the position of a pakistani leader who has to go -- same people turn around and say, you can't protect this country from american helicopters coming in. america has a selling job to do
in pakistan too. convince more pakistanis that you are more of our ally and, therefore, they will be less offended. >> right now america and you need to convince the american taxpayer that billions of dollars still need to go to pakistan as they've been. >> absolutely, and we are working on it. both sides are engaged. the fact remains that in future we want to make sure that we continue with joint operations. as far as high-value targets are concerned, the americans are sharing with us what they think is the way forward. we are giving our opinions. but, look, christiane, complaining and harping about pakistan has been around for as long as the pakistani and u.s. alliance have been around. there have been demonstrations in pakistan for a long time. there have been objections in congress for a long time, but we are allies and partners who need each other, and so let's be fair, people like me sitting quietly with people like tom donilon are the ones who are going to find a way forward, not the people screaming on television either in pakistan or on the late night shows here.
>> we'll keep tracking it, ambassador haqqani, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. >> pleasure talking to you. and up next, is the united states bracing for al qaeda's revenge? we'll get the latest information from our team of abc news correspondents. in 1968, as whaling continued worldwide, the first recordings of humpback songs were released. public reaction led to international bans, and whale populations began to recover. at pacific life, the whale symbolizes what is possible when people stop and think about the future. help protect your future, with pacific life. the power to help you succeed. ♪
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the white house on tuesday revealed that osama bin laden was not armed when navy s.e.a.l.s found him but they say he did resist them. hey, white house, armed, unarmed, not resisting, holding a bunny, we're totally cool with you shooting bin laden. >> "saturday night live" echoing public opinion on the story this week. a story that's far from over. president obama, of course, has ruled out releasing photographic proof of bin laden's death, but one key constituency seems to need no convincing. al qaeda acknowledges their leader is no more and vows revenge on americans so joining me to assess the threat and take stock of this incredible week the abc correspondents who have been covering this story. senior white house correspondent jake tapper, chief foreign correspondent martha raddatz and justice correspondent pierre thomas. thank you all. what a week it has been. i want to go to you first because everybody is worried about the so-called
treasure trove and what it might be telling us. we tried to get from donilon and from haqqani what exactly is out there. is there anything out there that we should be worried about right now? >> there is no specific imminent threat that they found, but i can tell you what they're most concerned about. right now the most immediate threat they are worried about are so-called lone wolves, people typically radicalized on the internet sympathizing with al qaeda, those are the people who might show up at a mall and start shooting. that's the first level of threat. the second level of threat is al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and in yemen, if you will. they're led by the radical clear irk anwar al awlaki and the peer is that that group wants to get on the scoreboard. they tried to attack with the christmas underwear bombing and followed it up nine months later with the parcel bomb attack out of yemen, as well, so the concern is they will try to do something very quickly. the third level of threat is al qaeda central but right now they think that those leaders are running for cover literally. >> so, martha, awlaki in yemen. there was a missile strike this week.
are they actually trying to get him and do they know where he is? >> i think there is not a link between the intelligence they gathered in pakistan from bin laden's compound and the strike on awlaki. >> too soon. >> too soon. i think you just can't get it that fast. they had troves of this to go through. so i don't think that had anything to do with it but it shows you how aggressive they are being in yemen now. they increased the number of drones and armed the number of drones. that was a military drone strike. they just missed him. so as much as they would like to get on the map right now, i'm sure awlaki is completely running scared. >> and, jake, the white house, this has been a massive success for president obama for american intelligence. what is the next thing on their agenda? what are they thinking about right now in terms of what they found, of what they need to do going forward? >> well, first of all, there is cooperation with the pakistani government and the message despite anger, legitimate anger on some levels and disbelief that how could the pakistanis not have known about this, the
message being conveyed is, look, we're sure that you're as surprised as we are, so let's work together. >> is that a deliberate measure to get them on -- >> absolutely, absolutely so that they work together. let's work together so that we can for once and all defeat al qaeda and that is the approach being taken. >> i mean, we've heard ambassador haqqani talk about that, and everybody is saying that they have suffered so many deaths, as well. but, you know, for years it seems they've been speaking out of both sides of their mouth. >> absolutely. >> so what can the administration do to end this? to stop this? >> try to convince behind the scenes the pakistanis that they have to stop this. but there is very little sense in doing it in a public way so that the pakistanis feel like they have to. i mean, just remember all the diplomacy behind the scenes going on when the cia contractor ray davis was imprisoned. there was a big difference between what is said publicly and what is said privately and what is said privately right now is different than the public
message, but the idea is, we need to do this together. now is the time to stop double dealing. >> and we really need them more than ever. as much as you can tell them what to do and we've been telling them over and over, you've got to do more, you've got to do more, it is still a fine line. the pakistanis are embarrassed right now. they're embarrassed that they found bin laden right under their noses, but we need them. we need them to -- but we also need them in pakistan. this is not over. we need the intelligence, whatever they provided in the past, they have to keep doing that. >> but, christiane, this is so complicated. i had a senior official talk about the fact that there's evidence that's going to come out of a trial, a federal trial in chicago that will show or suggest strongly that the pakistani intelligence, the isi, had a role in the mumbai attack, so there are going to be serious questions raised about how much can we really trust them. >> and not just that the isi had a role in the mumbai attack, but the isi was behind the mumbai attack, specifically the idea of targeting westerners and targeting the rabbi that was
killed there in the center was an american rabbi and the idea that the isi was behind that and this is the david headley case. this will be very important. >> two things to point out, the times square bombing originated, pakistan. the attack that they were planning on the united states 2009, september 14th around the anniversary of 9/11 also originated in pakistan. >> so tell me, pierre, about the -- you were talking about the lone wolf but also about what seems to have come out that osama bin laden was very interested in not just financial and other warfare against the united states but class warfare, racial tensions stirring that up, as well. >> i spoke to officials friday who were just stunned at the level of expertise and thoughtfulness that bin laden and al qaeda put into how to break down the american society. not just to kill people, they talked about ways in which to recruit minorities to do some of these attacks, the notion to get americans thinking about each other, looking at each other in
strange ways, so that was part of the plan, as well. >> and, martha, let's go back to those pictures. unbelievable pictures. >> incredible, incredibly compelling watching this old man sit there huddled in that old blanket watching himself on television. >> it really beggars belief that he was so intimately involved as we're now being told. why -- do you know what they might have -- the audio they might have silenced? do you have any reporting on what that audio that his last message was going to say? >> i think his audio on all those were generally the same as they've always been, it's a jihadist message. it's attack america. america is bad. so that was generally the same. i think what's extraordinary and we talked about this a little earlier in the piece about dying his beard. how important his image was to him. i mean, that little den you saw there was a command and control center. he was involved strategically, tactically, operationally. that's new information. i mean, you remember president bush saying, oh, we don't even worry about him anymore.
i mean for years and years and years they thought he was hiding in a cave, really not running this organization, and he clearly was. >> one official called it the head coach. >> the head coach, indeed. >> a really nasty coach. >> what was the most startling, revealing bit of the story all week? what was the most significant? >> i was just surprised as a white house correspondent. this has been going on since august. august is when they first got the tip-off and then from august until sunday it is amazing that this secret was kept. and this is -- it's not just the obama white house but every white house leaks, every administration leaks. our lives -- >> the fbi director did not even know. >> our livelihoods depend on it. i don't mean to bad mouth leaks but it is amazing how closely held the secret was. the fbi director didn't know about it. there are a lot of senior officials in afghanistan including general petraeus did not know. >> till just before, right? >> till just before. i mean they just wanted that
close hold because the more people you tell, the more people -- >> if i could say one other point because you asked the ambassador about this. the reason why the u.s. did not tell the pakistanis about this mission is the same reason why the u.s. doesn't tell the pakistanis before predator drone attacks because they will tip off the bad guys. it was u.s. policy to alert the pakistani government before a drone attack. that changed in the bush administration. that changed because they couldn't trust them anymore. >> yeah, trust and operational security are the same thing. >> the most extraordinary thing for you? >> how little security bin laden had around himself and just one little detail. my favorite detail of the week was that the s.e.a.l.s didn't have a tape measure with them and osama bin laden is 6'4", so one of the s.e.a.l.s had to lie down next to him to try to figure out -- >> president obama apparently said we spent $60 billion on a helicopter and we couldn't buy a tape measure. last word? >> two thing, one, a young person said the notion that
osama bin laden was chilling out in the burbs of pakistan was just amazing. i think the other thing that struck me was this notion of the students coming out and celebrating outside of the white house. it was a reminder of how 9/11 put a dagger in the heart of this country, that a lot of people thought that retribution was deserved and when they got it they expressed it. >> and how we'd all benghazi living with this for so long. jake, martha, pierre, thank you very much, indeed. and up next, condoleezza rice with a stern message for pakistan. with a stern message for pakistan.
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as we heard from tom donilon, george w. bush was the first person outside the white house to be informed of osama bin laden's death. the former president was invited but declined to attend thursday's ceremony at ground zero. but his closest aides were breathing a very public sigh of relief this week. i spoke with former secretary of state condoleezza rice about this milestone and about
america's newly forged relationship with pakistan. pakistan, did they just mess up? are they just completely unreliable? clueless. >> well, i have to say that the biggest surprise in this for me -- i was not surprised that we got him. i knew we would eventually get him. i was surprised where we found him. the idea that he could be in a suburb essentially of islamabad is quite remarkable. and so pakistan has some very hard questions to answer, and this isn't a time for bluster from pakistan. >> you say you were surprised that he was found in that suburb, and even last year, leon panetta told abc, the director of the cia, that he thought that bin laden was in a cave. this cave of mythology became conventional wisdom. >> yes, yes. >> did you really think that? >> yes. >> that he was in this cave? >> yes, we really did or in a tribal area. remember, the tribal areas are not just caves. there are villages in the tribal
areas, and so there was some sense that he might be protected within one of the villages, which were fairly hard to get to and fiercely protective of their sovereignty, and so i think the cave was a bit of a metaphor for where he was. >> who is it who is responsible for not knowing that osama bin laden is hiding right there in a military base just about. >> well, i think it is entirely possible and i think probable that high-ranking people didn't know. but if this happens in your country, you have an obligation to find out and to do a thorough investigation and to punish anybody who might have been responsible. that would be a very important message. i remember going to pakistan shortly after the mumbai bombings, and i remember saying to the chief of staff, to the prime minister, to the president, what happened in mumbai had to have had support of the sophisticated apparatus of pakistani military and intelligence.
it had to have, and so don't hide behind the fact that you don't know or you don't believe it. that's the kind of conversation that i think needs to take place with pakistan right now. >> you can find more of that interview with condoleezza rice at abcnews.com. and so what does the future hold for america and pakistan? joining me to tackle that one, our powerhouse roundtable, abc's george will, liz cheney, the former deputy assistant secretary of state and co-founder of the group keep america safe, tom ricks who writes the best defense blog for "foreign policy" and lawrence wright of "the new yorker" who tracked the rise of osama bin laden and al qaeda in his book "the looming tower." thank you all for joining us. clearly the story of the week, bin laden is dead and pakistan is in the hot seat. around the table who is shocked and horrified to think that pakistan is saying it didn't know and who really believes that pakistan didn't know? >> neither in this case. pakistan we knew going in is a
house divided against itself, and as americans know, a house divided itself must become one thing or another eventually. and the question is, how is there -- is there close to a tipping point? is it more healthy than unhealthy? that's a question we have to answer, but the stakes are enormous. we're in afghanistan only because of pakistan. if it weren't next door to pakistan, we wouldn't be there. >> liz? >> well, i think that it is surprising that he was 35 miles from islamabad. i think it's unclear whether anybody in the pakistani government was supporting him, was helping him. we've had some administration officials suggest it's impossible that bin laden could have been there for this long without some kind of a support network. but i do think it's very important as we hold pakistan accountable, as we push them hard for the names of anybody in the isi who may have been in contact with bin laden that we not forget, you know, george's point about the stakes, that we cannot afford to walk away. we walked away once at the end of the 1980s and we saw what happened. we cannot afford for afghanistan
to become a safe haven. we can't afford for pakistan to become a safe haven with over 100 nuclear weapons, 170 muslims, i think it's very important that we deal with this relationship in a very well-advised way going forward and not jump to the conclusion that we got to walk away. >> tom, you have a different point of view on this. >> i do and i'm actually surprised to find myself to the right of liz cheney. >> literally. >> a nice place to be. >> actually i think we're going to have to see a major change in u.s./pakistan relations. this game of charlie brown and the football that we played with them for decades, i think the jig is up. i don't think the american people will stand for it, and i think the elites in washington, the administration, congress, and liz cheney i think are behind the mood of the american people or trailing the mood of the american people. i don't think congress is going to stand for giving $4 billion a year to a country that is acting like an enemy. >> lawrence, i think you feel somewhat similar but to play devil's advocate, doesn't pakistan kind of have the u.s.
over a barrel? it does have all those nuclear snoof weapons, it does and remain instrumental to what's happening in afghanistan, how can u.s. extricate itself from afghanistan without pakistan? >> it is kind of nuclear extortion is something we're going to have to deal with for the rest of our history, and we're already seeing in north korea that's our relationship now in pakistan. well, keep in mind our fear that they're going to sell these nuclear secrets to our worst enemies has already happened. they sold it to north korea, pakistan and libya -- iran. they opened up negotiations with al qaeda in 1998. so the things that we're worried about have already -- our money isn't protecting us in our special relationship with pakistan, hasn't provided any immunity from that kind of behavior. >> what do they need to do? we asked ambassador haqqani. we asked national security adviser donilon. what actually do they need to do that will satisfy the united states and that will create a real change in behavior? >> you know, we saw in the
immediate aftermath of 9/11 when the u.s. government really gave them a choice and said to them, look, you need to decide where you're going to line up here and i think that it's important that the pakistanis understand the message that the american people are demanding to know that now. nobody is happy with the fact that bin laden was captured, was killed inside pakistan. but i think that those things that larry and that tom mention as concerns will be more of a concern if we simply walk away. if you have an extremist government, for example, take over in pakistan and they actually control that arsenal of nuclear weapons, that's clearly not in america's interest, so we've got to stay engaged. >> let's talk about afghanistan. even before this death, some two-thirds of the american people were no longer supporting the war in afghanistan. as you've heard so many people are saying now, you've decapitated the snake, it's time to get out of afghanistan. how long do you think that will last or will that grow, those calls to reduce in afghanistan?
>> well, it's our longest war now, it's ten years old, longest in our national history. do the arithmetic. there are 140,000 coalition forces there. there are at the top estimate about 100 al qaeda fighters there. that's 1,400 soldiers at a million dollars per a year, $1.4 billion per al qaeda fighter. the arithmetic doesn't make sense. the point is we're not in there about al qaeda. we say we are but we're not. we're there because we think in some sense this is crucial to the stability of pakistan about which we wouldn't care half as much as we do if they didn't have nuclear weapons so it all comes back to that. >> so what, you've been a lot to afghanistan. how does one get out of there and does the death of bin laden significantly affect at all there? >> as a matter of fact, i used to be in the ski patrol in afghanistan when i lived there. i think what you can do is go the way that vice president biden has been talking about for a long time, which is go from a conventional -- 140,000 troops down to a much smaller footprint
of about 20,000 special operators and support troops. if you do that, you remove the ability of pakistan to extort from us because they stand on our supply line. you can't supply 140,000 troops by air. you can supply 20,000 by air and through central asia. >> and, lawrence, we've been talking a lot about trying to get our heads around how devastated is al qaeda by the death of osama bin laden. is it still a force? >> it's still a force but it's a mortal moment. it was already in trouble. it had divided leadership. it was under -- in hiding obviously, but the inside al qaeda, there's going to be a struggle because ayman al zawahiri, the number two, and the guy who is likely to be the successor is a very polarizing figure and anti-charismatic. doesn't have any of the mystique that bin laden had. there are all these affiliates, though, that will continue to run under the al qaeda flag, but basically most of them have nationalist agendas, not
international as al qaeda central had. and i suspect you'll see a lot of centrifugal force pulling those organizations away. >> we'll take that up in the next bit of our roundtable. and up next, what is al qaeda without osama bin laden? our roundtable tackles the new threat and whether waterboarding should return to the american playbook. merican playbook. [ wind howling ] [ technician ] are you busy? management just sent over these new technical manuals. they need you to translate them into portuguese. by tomorrow. [ male announcer ] ducati knows it's better for xerox to manage their global publications. so they can focus on building amazing bikes. with xerox, you're ready for real business.
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the reason i'm calling is to tell you we killed -- >> tonight i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. good job, national security team. >> thank you. >> yeah, i'm proud of you. you guys did a great job. >> images released by the white house behind the scenes as the president and his top aides react to the death of osama bin laden. up next, i'll ask our roundtable whether his death gives new life to the argument over harsh interrogation of terror suspects.
obama administration officials acknowledged this week that, yes, techniques like waterboarding did, in fact, yield fruitful information in the hunt for osama bin laden. still, they question whether that same information could have been obtained through other means. this week's events have reignited this heated debate, so what do you think, should they come back again, these harsh interrogation techniques because even leon panetta said some of these suspects had been interrogated that way. >> i never thought we would live in a country and debate whether we should endorse terror as an official policy. was information obtained through torture? probably, yeah. could it have been obtained from more professional methods that intelligence officials recommended? almost certainly, yes. we could have gotten it sooner
and better. also what we know is that the use of torture became the prime recruiting tool for al qaeda and for insurgents in iraq and so directly resulted in the death of american troops. >> liz, does this reignite this debate as to whether these enhanced interrogation techniques work and should be brought back? >> i think it does. i think the fact that you've clearly have the current cia director saying that part of the intelligence came from enhanced interrogation, it's important to remember, you know, chip burlingame, who was the pilot on flight 77 that flew into the pentagon, he himself was subjected to these techniques when he went through training. these are not torture. these are techniques that we know work. that debate is over. it worked. it got the intelligence. it wasn't torture. it was legal. seems to me the key question now is we've got this trove of intelligence, what looks to have been perhaps the biggest trove we've ever been able to get ahold of. if that leads us to other al qaeda operatives, it's not clear to me that we have any way to effectively interrogate them. we don't have enhanced interrogation anymore. we read people their miranda
rights, we are not detaining people at guantanamo anymore. we're not detaining people in secret prison sites. it's not clear to me what the administration will be able to do to get this information. >> george, what do you think it says about that policy and what does this death of bin laden, what they seem to have found right now, say about what he was planning, what al qaeda was planning? >> well, with regard to enhanced interrogation, it's an unanswerable question, could we have got it another way, perhaps, yes, we don't know. we know that we got it in part using enhanced interrogation. so going forward, that's another matter. what it tells us about al qaeda, al qaeda had this vaulting ambition, a caliphate from indonesia to spain. now, with the waves of modernity sweeping the middle east, there sits this old man with a tv remote, and "the new york times" reported early on that one of the notebooks, handwritten in his handwriting, i gather, his project was to derail an american train on a bridge,
perhaps coinciding with the state of the union address, you don't build a caliphate derailing american trains. it's a pathetic ambition. >> so are they kind of pathetic? i know everybody is worried. people want to know whether there are any real threats to american interests and other interests out there. was osama bin laden really, really the mastermind still as the narrative is telling us right now, organizing, operating? >> it's very hard to imagine that in that compound where you see how pathetic it was and how carefully controlled the entry was to have it as a nerve center. it seems to -- it stretches the imagination. i think the fact is al qaeda hasn't been able to operate very well for the last eight years and bin laden has probably not been an influence. i think that really the organization has been running more or less without him and not running very well. >> let's talk about george's point.
you know, the modernity that is sweeping the islamic world, is that the death of bin ladenism? is that what we're looking at is killing his dream basically? >> i think i was struck as george was. if you think about the incredible information revolution and the fact that you've got, you know, young people standing in tahrir square holding up a smartphone saying this is my weapon juxtaposed with bin laden sitting with a little teeny television set with wires coming out of it, looks like 1970s technology, what's happening across the arab world i think does begin to signal the end of al qaeda's aspirations. i think it's too soon to say that they've been diminished as a threat. certainly al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, awlaki are still threats, still attempting to attack the united states but the middle east and the arab world seem to be moving on and bin laden's death certainly is part of that. >> tom, what do you think about where the real people are going? are they rightfully recruiting as everybody feared before?
>> no, i think lawrence's sense that they are an organization with a past is correct. i was struck recently at a poll done in yemen. al qaeda was more popular among older people, 30s, 40s, 50s than it was with people in their teens and 20s. >> that is the remarkable thing. all these countries where pew took a poll, osama bin laden and al qaeda's popularity has been plummeting. last question to you because you've been very critical of president obama and you suggested he's not been up to the task. would you take that back now? >> i still have big concerns about some of his policies, but i certainly think that america is safer. the world is safer when the message is if you kill 3,000 americans, the navy s.e.a.l.s are going to put a bullet in your head, so i would give president obama credit for making that tough decision. >> on that note thank you all very much. up next the toll this one man has taken on the united states and the world. sorrow and sacrifice by the numbers when "this week" continues.
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we'll always remember where we were on that terrible day nearly ten years ago and newspapers around this country and around the world told the story. but the real impact lies not in the headlines but in the numbers. 2,976 people were killed on 9/11. since then, twice as many american troops have died fighting the wars on terror. 6,002 servicemen and women. this week, the pentagon released the names of five soldiers killed in iraq and afghanistan. and, of course, thousands of
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[ male announcer ] ge technologies help doctors detect cancer early so they can save more lives. bringing better health to more people. ♪ today is mother's day and as i stand before the twisted antenna of the twin towers, i'm struck by what children have told me about that terrible morning, children who are visiting this exhibit. they spoke of their mothers, some standing strong, others dissolving into tears on that day on 9/11. children as young as 5 with such vivid memories still. i also think of the mothers who were killed that day and in all the wars that have followed and those that have been left behind to raise families on their own, our thoughts are with all of them today. that's it for our program. for all of us here at "this week," thank you for watching and see you next week. watching and see you next week. po
in the news, a pakistani official says his country did not protect osama bin laden before he was killed last week. striking nurses at children's hospital in oakland plan to hold a mother's day brunch along with their picket signs. join us [ male announcer ] using frontline plus shows your pet you care... by unleashing a complete killing force against fleas and ticks. and not just adult fleas. what makes frontline plus complete the flea life cycle -- is that it breaks killing adults, eggs, and larvae. and it keeps killing fleas and ticks all month long. that's why it's the #1 choice of vets for their pets, and yours. unleash a complete killing force in every dose of frontline plus.