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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  May 2, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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"hardball" with chris matthews begins right now. bin laden done. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. lead lging off tonight, the president who caught bin laden. the leadership of leadership over talk. barack obama. the cool hand directs the operation step by step. all this time the crazies were talking birth certificates. he was working. planning, leading, bringing america's strength and brains to the enemy hideaway. tonight, we see how it worked from the inside. we see how obama now looks from the outside. we weigh the impact in this country of what happened yesterday in pakistan. will this make the republicans look for someone who can do what obama can do? or will they keep on celebrating
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the clown show? will they stop enjoying their passion and go from cheering their buffoon parade to finding a real pick to put up against a proven master and commander? what about al qaeda? bin laden's gone. where's the head now? in hamburg? islamabad? where are they plotting against us? bob bear, former cia field officer and msnbc terrorism analyst. michael sheehan, former special forces officer himself. mike, i want to ask you, how did we get bin laden? let me go now with a picture of how this happened. as we understand it. here's how our elite special operations forces got the most wanted terrorist in the world. approximately 24 navy s.e.a.l.s repelled into bin laden's heavily guarded compound from two helicopters. in a nail biting moment, one of those choppers suffered a mechanical failure. the s.e.a.l.s, the blue dots on the screen, proceeded with their assault. bin laden, the yellow dot, used one of his wives as a human
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shield. she was killed. he fired on u.s. forces and was killed, himself, with a shot through the left eye toward the end of the fire fight. a backup helicopter arrived on site. u.s. commandos loaded bin laden's body onboard and blew up the crippled chopper before leaving. the entire raid took 40 minutes, some of that time was spent searching the compound for more intelligence. there were no u.s. casualties. and president obama monitored the entire operation in realtime from the situation room in the white house. again, mike, i want you to give us a sense of how it worked beyond what we just showed you. >> well, chris, this is a classic special forces hostage rescue type of operation, but this case, rather in rescuing hostage, you're actually taking down an enemy. it makes it a little bit easier. it normally entails a long-term helicopter flight landing in a difficult spot. that's the most difficult part of the operation to begin with. second, moving toward the target and going through a door, when
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you don't know what's on the other side of the door. could be innocent civilians, women and children, terrorists with weapons into your chest or a combination of the two. these operatives in this case, u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s are trained in infiltration into the target and clearing the target precisely, be able to clear roomsing take out enemy targets, protect civilians, gather intelligence and get out of there quickly and effectively. it went textbook operation. that's always not been the case in the past, chris. this is a big victory for the u.s. and u.s. special operations forces. a classic operation done perfectly. >> great, michael. let's go right now to bob. bob, do we have a sense of how much they were caught by surprise? were they confronted with gun play as they arrived? was this a shootout for the second they got there? did they get the jump on them? >> no, they come in quietly. they had no idea this was coming. once the flash grenades start flying, it's too late. you neutralize everybody in a building like this.
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there's nothing they can do. someone might pick up a gun and you shoot them. the word is right, michael's right. textbook. this is a brilliant operation. i've been part of ones that failed. in iran in 1979. it was an amazing thing. i just still can't believe it. >> michael, let me ask you about the thinking of the s.e.a.l.s as they went in there. what were they worried about that might have blown this whole operation? were they afraid there would be a lot more people in there? were they afraid bin laden would be hiding in a saferoom, a haven of some kind? was there anything that could have stopped this from succeeding? >> absolutely. they obviously had great preparation. a model was set up. they practiced this operation. they practiced it at night with their night vision devices, able to move stealthy quickly at night. they don't know, the intelligence is never perfect in an operation like this. they don't know. they're going after bin laden or some other high-valued target.
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they're not sure who's there. they have a hope it's bin laden. it could be somebody else. that's what they're worried about. fortunately there weren't that many. they were able to approach is quickly and stealthily and take the initiative and gain complete control of that compound very quickly and to their job. it's a great operation, as bob said. our community, bob and i have been involved in this for 30 years. we've thad real setbacks at desert one during the carter administration. mogadishu. we tried to get p.o.w.s out of the camp. this is a classic operation. it all went well. president made the right call. he could have gone in a lot of different directions including shooting missiles at this thing. it was a risky operation. he made the right decision. it's a great day for our battle against al qaeda and boost to special operations and cia operatives that put this together. >> do you have different rules of engagement in this kind of a case, bob, people get in the way of a high-valued target like
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this, is it much for dangerous for somebody to get in the way of an operation like this? >> the orders are clear. shoot anybody who appears to resist that hasn't hit the ground. just shoot them. there is no choice. this happens so fast. they're talking about 40 minutes. we're talking about two minutes. it took the other 38 minutes to collect the intelligence. collect his corpse. which by the way was brilliant. we needed to get his body to check the dna. we needed to bury it at sea so it didn't become a martyr shrine. you know, as far as i can see, nothing went wrong with this. we still don't know how the pakistani military was neutralized. that's a big question. because they couldn't count on that base next to bin laden's house opening up fire and there's parts of this operation they're not talking about in the press. as they shouldn't. >> well, i find it fascinating that the -- let me go back to michael first. then you bob, quickly. before we hear from the president -- a clip from the president. how can the pakistanis live with this? they get up and realize we have captured the world's most wanted
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criminal in their country, basically a recent amount of distance from the main capital, not in the northwest territo territories. we did it and they deny they knew he was there or knew he was there and admit keeping his secret. it looks like a loss/loss for them either way, michael. >> this is a very complex relationship, chris, that pakistanis have tried to hedge bets in this part of the world for a long time. they're playing both sides of the deck here. and right now, they're in a very embarrassing situation. they did try to put a happy face on this and insinuate they were involved in it when actuality they showed up at the end. hopefully we can use this as a pooztive momentum forward. i can predict this is another step in very complicated, tricky relationship. one that's essential for us to be successful as we move forward. >> let's take a look at the president today. he paid tribute, of course. we knew he would. he did it well. to the special operations unit that got bin laden. let's listen to the president. >> reminded that we are
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fortunate to have americans who dedicate their lives to protecting ours. they volunteer. they train. they endure separation from their families. they take extraordinary risks so we can be safe. they get the job done. we may not always know their names. we may not always know their stories. but they are there every day on the front lines of freedom and we are truly blessed. >> okay. it's 2005. everybody in the world knows bin laden is probably in pakistan, across the border. the people of the community in which this compound existed saw a compound being built up with 12-foot-high walls or higher. they watched barbed wire being put up around it. they noticed it being built, not only being built but kept quiet with nobody coming in and out for years.
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are we to believe they didn't think bin laden was in there? this is ground zero where we expected him to be hiding. somebody's building a huge compound, spooky as hell. why in the world would we believe the neighbors and the local police who have to know what's going on in the locality didn't ever walk in that front door and say, what the hell's going on in here? >> chris, we have to assume the worst. somebody in pakistan in the military or isi knew bin laden was in there, was protecting him. there's no explanation, other explanation. it's a police state. foreigners don't move into a compound like that and the police don't know, period, especially in a military area like that. the question is, how far did it go up? talking about a captain or major brought into this? or does it go higher? it worries me. this isn't the northwest frontier province. i mean, by the border. the tribal area, where military can't go. it was a military academy. this is very bad news.
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>> do you agree, michael, the fact he's been sitting there living basically in civilization in a country we targeted as a probable retreat area gone to, his refuge, and there was he was. >> chris, there's no doubt about it. this is a tremendous embarrassment for the pakistani government and their army and intelligence service. the isi. there's just no excuse for this. bin laden was actually quite smart to kind of hide in the open by moving into a suburban town outside of the mountains there. living in virtual luxury. he made a mistake by having such a large compound with huge walls and wires which wouldn't prevent a unit like the u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s from getting in there. just made it a bigger target. and it just shows that clearly either complete du politictousness. either way, they have explaining to do to the world and u.s. government on how they allowed this to happen for so many years. >> you know what, justice is hard to find. i have to say, this guy died a lot better than the people he
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killed in the world trade center. you know, i'm tell you. this was quick. two minutes. he's lucky. anyway, thank you, michael sheehan, thank you, bob. great reporting, great inside information. what does the end of osama bin laden mean to the threat we face from al qaeda right now? what's left of the snake? we got the head. what's the rest of the snake like? we'll see. we're coming back. that's ahead. [ man ] i've seen beautiful things.
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i think the accomplishment that very brave personnel from the united states government were able to realize yesterday is a defining moment in the war against al qaeda, the war on terrorism, by decapitating the head of the snake known as al qaeda. it is going to have, i think, very important reverberations around the area. it may be a mortally wounded tiger that still has life in it. >> welcome back to "hardball." that's homeland security director john brennan of course saying we've cut off the head of the snake called al qaeda, but is al qaeda still a threat to the u.s.? bob kerry was a member of the 9/11 commission and navy s.e.a.l. in vietnam. the former chief of operations for the cia in europe. i want to ask you about this.
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i try to visualize, in america we have crime and organized crime. terrorists, organized terrorists. what's left of al qaeda? >> what's left of al qaeda is affiliate groups. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. and groups that are inspired by bin laden but not controlled by him. 9/11, the invasion of afghanistan really destroyed the path for the management infrastructure for al qaeda. these groups are dangerous and more dangerous because they're smaller, less and harder to find. >> can they pull off these, we're going up and doing something big, combination of hijacking and buildings and all? are they capable of the big operation? these groups that are still out there? are they just going to blow up whatever? >> don't want to discount them. really what they're looking at, there was an attack last saturday in a cafe where a lot of french tourists go to. that was done by al qaeda. >> did they blow up a cafe?
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>> cafe and killed 17 french tourists. >> that's what we're facing. >> they're trying to establish themselves in the new era in the middle east. >> last point -- ksm, khalid shaikh mohammed, was he the mastermind as you know it, he's called that, of 9/11? what's the role and connection between the mastermind and the guy we killed yesterday, bin laden? >> ksm, he was the ops planner. >> he figured it out. get planes, run them into the world trade center. >> he'd been in the united states. >> who came up with the idea of using airplanes? >> they've been looking at that since the mid '90s. they were going to crash a plane into cia headquarters in 1995. >> what do you worry about now with al qaeda not having that guy anymore? >> small groups attacking airplanes and individuals. it's just as bad, just as dangerous. >> the tsa, i travel a couple times a week. that stuff is really important. they're aiming at airplane --
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would like to get on a plane and blow it up. >> if they don't stop the terrorist, a lot of what they do discourages them. they can't get too far over into the crazy things. >> senator, great having you on. i respect so much your service to the country as a s.e.a.l. i just think about the training these guys go through. and you must have been thinking, having been through one of these kinds of incredible operations, what -- give me your perspective, generally as a senator, as a politician, president of a college. looking at this thing yesterday. >> well, i mean, i heard mike and bob talking earlier. it was a textbook operation. went perfectly. sometimes they run perfectly. sometimes they don't. produce the action that we had, you know, last night, i mean, you know, it takes 20, 25 years of training and preparation. the decision to create joint operation forces i think is a big part of it. an awful lot of work since 9/11 has been done to train and prepare people for this kind of operation. so it didn't just happen that
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president obama makes a decision to call these guys and say we want you to -- there's been an awful lot of work to bring to this day. quality of people coming in, teams are superb. they had great training prior to the op, itself. they had a great opportunity thanks to good intelligence to be able to run test operations against the building that they built as a prototype. so an awful lot of people had their hands in this thing to make it possible for these guys to be successful. chris, the thing you have to remember, both bob and mike were talking about it earlier. tomorrow they can go on another operation and call them up and ask them what went wrong. celebrating the heroism and their success, but on these kinds of operations oftentimes just the opposite happens. i think we need to give them an awful lot of credit and awful lot of credit goes to the professionals what collected the intelligence, did the work years and years to enable them to do this operation. i don't think anybody should suffer the illusion these guys
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can be called in every single time and bat 1,000. >> wow. that's smart. let me ask you about this -- it seems like just common sense. 9/11, don't want to forget it. thugs. 14 of the 19 guys who did this were basically thugs. kill the people in the plane. keep them away -- we're going to take over the cockpit, have smart guys here, going to fly the planes, enough training. there are two kinds of terrorists. the smart guys who may not go in the operation, right? then the guys willing to cut throats. tell me about that. how many guys are sitting in rooms right now drinking coffee thinking about how to kill us? >> there's an unlimited supply of people like that. thugs. >> unlimited. >> the smart guys are much more -- much rarer. also people who have been through the training, through some kind of training to show them how to build the bombs and organize themselves. >> the monkey bar stuff, they always show this stuff -- i always wonder, is that what we're afraid of? guys that can run along
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obstacles forces? i'm more afraid of a guy who has a master's degree from m.i.t. and knows how to build a bomb. >> another real danger, chris, is a group like hezbollah. >> you're laughing, bob. you had to do that to get into s.e.a.l.s, right? >>, well, no, take the guy who was the leader of the attack on september 11th, mohammed atta. if he had gone to the cafe in hamburg where he was planning this thing a couple years -- he had no military background. he was an unhappy student, from egypt. he shopped for the best flight schools by going on to the internet. if the vulnerabilities, in my view the vulnerabilities have been substantially reduced of 9/11. they're still plenty. there's an indication we have a tremendous amount of capability and the success that came out of it comes from that capability. now in my view, you have to focus on egypt, focus on tuni a tunisia, focus on building democratic regimes which is the number one enemy of al qaeda.
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>> you know, i keep thinking i about this, the kid, who's 20 years old now, a terrorist, thug, brainpower behind it. ten years ago was a 10-year-old kid. 9/11 was ten years ago. kill the reason why they want to be terrorists. >> the big issue in the middle east, after 9/11, bin laden represented against the poor people. >> who hated their parents. >> these people are in demonstrations against the dictator -- >> they're demonstrating against dictators that we supported. they were putting them in prison, jail, creating the discontempt we've been facing. now is the time for us to -- forces that believe, in fact, they can govern themselves and create their own opportunity. >> overthrow mubarak and gadhafi to put -- >> i love your politics. bob kerry, thank you, sir. >> you're welcome. >> feels like the '60s.
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i feel great. thank you for coming on the show. thank you for your service, again, sir. and you, tyler. thank you so much. up next, let's get into the politics of this thing. it's fascinating. a commander in chief being commander in chief. tough guy to take on. it's a long way to the election. you have to think, killing bin laden the way we did is to cleanly, so well done makes this guy hard to beat. are the republicans going to get serious and stop doing their clown show and start looking for somebody who could be commander in chief of this country and take him on?
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the cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that america can do
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whatever we set our mind to. >> back back to "hardball." that was of course president obama last night announcing u.s. forces had killed osama bin laden. late today, we got pictures of the -- these are amazing pictures. in the situation room. there he is with national security adviser. what a picture to be with the president there. and there's the president and his national security team. there's hillary clinton. the secretary of state, obviously, with her face covers there. getting an update on the mission -- look at the faces. this is in realtime watching the action. the surprise news showed confidence by the president, many of us think and his team. what's the impact politically? does this news reshape the 2012 outlook we've been covering all these days on "hardball"? john harris, politico's editor in chief. i wanted two heavyweights on tonight. i mean it, gentlemen. i want to have a sense of this. we see our presidents through different windows and sometimes through the window of how much gas cost or the latest scandal or whatever else. here we see the president as
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operational. a president leading an operation. in a way we've rarely seen one before where he's calling the shots month by month then we get the replay. what's your sense, john harris, how this will shape how the republicans are thinking about mo moving ahead to focus on what president they want rather than what kind of a show they want this year? >> oh, republicans have been relying heavily to date on showmanship, as you put it. on flamboyant issues like the birther issue and a lot of the attention has been going to more flamboyant characters. i think what this is going to mark a pivot point and the republicans, if they want to be seen as having a serious chance of beating president obama are going to have to establish themselves first and foremost as serious people. i don't think there's any debate that's going to take place. president obama whether you like him or don't like him is seen as a serious presidential contender. and it's going to be hard for republicans to run on
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showmanship. >> so i'm asking that question again to you, major, which is the question, i'll frame it this way. okay, he's competent. we have a competent guy to run against him who shares our values. we have to have that competent match now. seems to me that's the change. that's my thought. >> competence makes a difference. when bush ran for re-election in 2004, the country was very focused on security. and his calling card was there's been no attacks, i'm chasing the bad guys. in 2012, president obama will run on confidence and will have bin laden killed on his sheet on something's done on national security. look at "the new york times"/cbs poll of this month, jobs, economy and the deficit. 4% identified combined, iraq, afghanistan, war and terrorism in general. the question for president obama, as this great event plays out, is how much is the country going to be focused on national
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security, terrorism, as it regards the 2012 election, as posed to the economy, budget and the deficit? >> well said. let's take a look at the president again today on a further briefing for the country. here he is. let's listen. >> today we are reminded that as a nation, there's nothing we can't do when we put our shoulders to the wheel, when we work together, when we remember the sense of unity that defines us as americans. >> okay. let's talk politics. back during the last election, not too long ago, 2008, here's president obama in a presidential debate with john mccain. let's listen to what he said about, well, you'll see. let's listen. >> if we have osama bin laden in our sights and the pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then i think that we have to act. and we will take them out. we will kill bin laden, we will crush al qaeda. that has to be our biggest
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national security priority. >> bin laden done that. as i said at the beginning of the show, john harris. i tell you, that's a pretty good commercial right there. i would guess if he can get this back in the cross hairs as an issue next year. your thoughts, john harris? >> this is a very authentic mission accomplished moment. not detracti ining at all from major's point we saw again and again. we saw it when president george h.w. sought re-election and the victory in the iraq war didn't do much to help hill. it's true the issues that are most salient might not relate to national security next year. nonetheless, it is a powerful mission accomplished moment that i think radiates, as you say, an impression of competence, effectiveness, command, well beyond the specific issue that's going to help president obama in all sorts of different ways. >> last thought, major. how does he show competence about gas prices? get them down. >> that's right. there are only so many things.
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it shows a continuum of competence. look at what president obama said during the campaign, not just about bin laden but about the afghanistan campaign in general. i'm going to fight it hard, think about it new and prosecute that war more aggressly than the current president which he has done. and now in afghanistan he has some progress and in pakistan went on his own and got the result everyone in the country wanted to see. secondly, chris, i think it's enormously important what we saw last night. young people around the country, in washington, of course, and new york city coming to the streets to celebrate. young people who vote and whose lives have been defined by the war on terror and all the things that it's inflicted upon us, not only psychically but operationally. i believe in one element of the youth vote and energizing the obama campaign for 2012, this will have enormous impact. these kids remember what it's like to grow up with bin laden as sort of the biggest monster in their world. he's now gone. the war on terror feels more effectively fought under obama than it may have to them under
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president bush. that will have residual effect. >> great analysis. i hadn't thought of it that way. thank you. you're a great guy. up next, osama bin laden's compound was just 35 miles from islamabad, less than two miles from pakistan's west point. how did the pakistanis not know it was there? and can we really trust the fact that when they tell us they didn't? >> right takes it high. it's an odd feeling in the ballpark right now to be perfectly honest with you. some of the crowd chanting usa, usa, obviously aware of the news. abc news is reporting osama bin laden has been killed. other people probably -- >> usa! usa! but i did pick up your dry cleaning and had your shoes shined. well, i made you a reservation at the sushi place around the corner. well, in that case,
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i'm sue herera with your cnbc market wrap. stocks finished slightly lower in a surprisingly volatile session. dow jones industrial average slipping 3 points. s&p 500 down 2. the nasdaq breaking an eight-day winning streak with a 9-point decline. there was an initial bounce on word of bin laden's death. strong earnings and a couple major accusation. humana delivered a 22% jump in first quarter profits. chrysler reported its first quarterly profit since emerging from bankruptcy nearly two years ago. and two big energy names, chesapeake and adarco posting losses due to hedging-related costs. a busy m&a monday. arch coal is buying
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international coal group for $3.4 billion in cash. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. and now back to "hardball." welcome balk to "hardball." one of the most incredible aspects of the bin laden story, he's been hiding in a million dollar compound, not in a cave, it was in a town just 35 miles outside of islamabad, the capital. right by the pakistani military academy. that country's west point. right there next to it. the pakistani government is saying it knew nothing about bin laden's whereabouts, it does seem peculiar he was able to hide in a mansion so near the capital. are they telling the truth over there in that capital that they knew nothing? richard engel, nbc's chief foreign correspondent in benghazi tonight. roger cressey, former white house counterterrorism official
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and nbc news terrorism analyst. richard engel, i go to you first because of your service for this network and the world. i have to ask you, does anybody in pakistan believe they didn't know he was there? because this is an insult to their isi, as well as a question. >> reporter: we were told that no senior ranking military officials knew, and we heard that from washington sources. so by that implication, it seems that some junior members, low ranking military officers, did know that osama bin laden was in this military or was in this compound in this military community. how could he exist in a walled compound, a compound that didn't take out the trash? they burned it. it had no telephone lines. just down the street from west point, their equivalent of west point, in an area full of retired generals. somebody knew. according to sources, no one senior, but certainly some junior members of the pakistani
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military. >> let's think like spooks thinks, like cia agents in any country. isi people. looking for somebody who's on the lamm, hiding from somebody. look for a guy who lives in a walled mansion. look for a guy who lives in barbed wire, never comes out, never sees him. doesn't it look exactly like a guy who's on the run? >> it could be a guy who's very important. in a country where you're not conditioned, you're not trained to ask questions, it could be the equivalent of a high value target of a different variety. mid-level officials can say, someone is in here of consequence, it may not have been known it was bin laden. >> wouldn't the local prefect know, who runs the police station where i live, wouldn't that person know who lives in the gigantic house? >> if the prefect gets $25,000 for somebody and says, don't have ask questions, we have somebody here of importance,
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he'll keep his mouth shut. >> let's look at this statement right now. the pakistani government put out a statement saying, quote, we can't believe this or not, i'm not sure we do. bin laden's death illustrates the resolve of the international community including pakistan to fight and eliminate terrorism. it constitutes a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world. pakistan played a significant role in efforts to eliminate terrorism. we've had extremely effective intelligence sharing arrangements with several intelligence agencies including that of the u.s. we'll continue to support international efforts against terrorism. that's rather bland, richard. is it believable? >> reporter: it depends how far back you want to go. there's recent reporting from our good friend, bob windrum, over there in new york that says one of the main sources of information a person interrogated at guantanamo bay was khalid shaikh mohammed. that he was one of two gitmo detainees who gave up this intelligence to interrogators, gave the name of the courier
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that was trusted by bin laden to -- and that was it was following this courier that ultimately led to his capture. well, khalid shaikh mohammed wouldn't have been captured without help from the pakistanis. if you go back to a historic relationship, the pakistani role has been very significant. >> it's interesting. let's try to figure this out. the united states goes into a country that is not our country. it's their country. yet we're able to track somebody within their country. that they can't track. how's that work? >> well, it works because you have a country like pakistan where everyone is not sharing the information across all levels. number one. number two, we have possession of information and capablabili s capabilitieses they don't. the statement pakistan released is factually accurate but doesn't tell the whole story. their government is schizophrenic and has been for years when it comes to the issue of al qaeda.
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they' this is a classic example of we the united states believing if we shared information we run the risk of blows the operation. speaks to how confident the president was in doing this operation, chris, but also how risky. he was willing to blow up our relationship with pakistan if this went south for this shot at bin laden. >> i think he had to as president. we showed the clip of him during the debate promising, most americans believe. let me get to the larger question of your region. we were on four fronts over there shooting predators into pakistan, fighting in afghanistan, fighting in iraq and fighting where you are right now in libya. is it sense being at the battle front this is going to reduce the urge of americans to even be in that region and battle regalia, fighting at this point, now that we got the reason we went over there, we got him. >> absolutely. and you look at the last decade. there have been two major ground wars, and i think you could even call them three ground wars. afghanistan happened twice.
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there was the initial push into afghanistan then the push into iraq then the push back into afghanistan. at the end of the day, it really wasn't any of these things that got bin laden. it wasn't the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops. it was a small group, 12 to 15 cia agents and special operations forces that went in. sure, they wouldn't have driven out the taliban out of afghanistan. they wouldn't have driven osama bin laden into hiding. had that initial push gone in. i think this might be proving a new model. that occupying states and nation building doesn't necessarily work for counterterrorism. >> what a statement. thank you is much, roger cressey. thank you, richard engel. always. up next, reaction from family members who lost loved ones in those 9/11 attacks. let's go back to the scene of the crime. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] capri sun 100% juice,
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before speaking to the country late last night president obama called his predecessor, former president george w. bush to tell him of the news u.s. forces killed bin laden. bush released a statement congratulating president obama and calling the news a mementos achievement and a victory for america. and former vice president dick cheney generally a vocal critic of obama's foreign policy had this to say. >> it's also a good day for the administration. president obama, his national security team, acted on the intelligence when it came in and they deserve a lot of credit, too. >> good for him. ♪
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on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al qaeda's terror, justice has been done. >> back to "hardball." what a statement that was. nearly 3,000 innocents lost their lives in that horrific attack of september 11th. with us tonight, jimmy, former president of the new york firefighters union. jimmy's son, michael, was a firefighter killed that day trying to save lives in the north tower of the world trade center. also with us, patricia riley, chairwoman of the trade center united family group. she lost her sister, la raorrain the south tower. let me start with patricia. this is your moment. what do you feel, what do you think? >> i'm very, very grateful to the military, to the navy s.e.a.l.s, to the president for not forgetting and for ensuring
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that our for not forgetting and ensuring that all the innocent people who were by instruction of osama bin laden that we finally got justice, and i'm very grateful to them for that, very happy. i'm really most happy knows that the last thing he thought was the americans came to get me for what i did to them. i feel gratitude for them. >> i never heard it put that way. jimmy, thanks for putting it on. i can't imagine losing a son. i can't imagine it. your thoughts tonight, sir? >> very happy, chris, that he was killed. i can't give so many thanks, so many people supported us, but i feel a burden has been lifted off our shoulders.
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i got the call from congressman before 10:00 last night, he was killed and to put the television on. my whole attitude, whole life changed. ten years of waiting for this moment, and it changed so many lives, changed my life, i think of all the poor people that were killed. i think of that day i was there, and every day i pray for -- i just pray for everything that changed the world that day. it's an honor for our military and our president. i was very proud of the president last night. >> patricia, what was your sister doing that morning? whenever there's an execution or whatever like this, i always try to remind myself it's all because of what this person did.
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the execution, whether it's lethal injection or because of a fire fight with the good guys, it's all because of what you did. it ain't anybody else's fault but you. you committed every violent act the day you did what you did. what was it like for your sister? she worked on the 101st floor, right? >> she does. she was an administrative assistant for a ymt on consultants. i spoke with her this morning. when i first spoke, she said she sways safe, secure, she wanted me to let my mother know she was okay. i felt such a sigh of relief that it had passed us by, but unfortunately moments later i heard on the radio that a second plane had hit, and i knew my sister was gone. osama bin laden didn't value her life. he didn't value of lives of the people who were in those buildings or on that plane today.
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for that we don't have to value his life. for that i'm glad he's gotten, we finally have justice, and looking forward to when khalid shaikh mohammed gets his justice as well. >> tell me about jimmy. what was he doing that day? >> he had just got off. it was an election day, he was going to help his cousin in a city council race. he was relieved, the box came in, he got in a rig, went down there, proceeded to do what he was told, made it up to the 40th floor, searched each floor. every floor is an acre, and they searched each floor going up looking for people, stragglers. when you south tower went down, they didn't realize it final think they were told by someone to get out. 4th made it down to the lobby.
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>> thank you. >> and i think the 10 -- the force of the -- i just envision in my mind, you could hear the 110 stories coming down floor by floor, and you could hear the sound, and they were trying to get out of there. they were all rushing, and they didn't make it and they found his remains january 25th, 57 feet down, just envision the force of that building coming down and pile driving him down 57 feet. in a matter of seconds, but i was proud of the firefighters, proud of what they did that day. many lives were saved because of improvements made after 1993 in that building, and in '93 it was 99 elevators we didn't know where people were for 24 hours. there would have been more people killed except for the firefighters that day. i hope the world doesn't forget
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what they did that day. >> you're helping. >> and it brings tears to my eyes to think about it. >> it does to everyone. take care of yourselves. >> i thank mr. boyle for his son's sacrifice and the firefighters. >> patricia, we have -- >> thank you, guys. >> thank you all. thank you for coming on tonight. a big night for the country. when we return, let me finish with what we have learned about our commander in chief yesterday. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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we want our presidents to be everything, the common sense toughness of harry truman, the military temperament of ike, the more you pay attention the more you learn you can't get all. you grow up and realize not all kinds of greatness comes from even a great man. so we look at our leader tonight, president obama. less than a week ago he was showing us his birth certificate. what of this man who kept cool through all this clatter and nonsense, knowing he had other work to do. the grownups. i've said on a couple occasions i've been down the table from the president in briefings, listening him to explain issues that he should be th