tv The Situation Room CNN April 13, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
headquarters in atlanta. see you here in one hour. "the situation room" with mr. wolf blitzer begins in a few moments on cnn. new information about north korea's ability to launch a nuclear attack, even if kim jong-un threatens to test a missile at any moment. congress debates gun control. chris cuomo shows us what it is like to go through a federal background check. it is a process. tough it up. and the newest member of the cnn family, world renowned chef, anthony bourdain, joins us with a preview of his brand new show. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." north korea's warning war could
break out at any moment. now there may be new reason to fear that kim jong-un's threat of a nuclear attack are more serious than the world thought before. let's go to our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence. chris, does the u.s. still think north korea is going to test the missile? >> reporter: they think it is a matter of time at this point, although obviously they would prefer he not conduct that test. they have seen north korea move two missiles to the east coast, they have seen him raise the launcher and then lower it, but they're not sure if that means kim may be backing off his threat or if they're just testing out before firing. key thing to look for, tomorrow night, sunday night our time, it is already april 15th in korea. that's the birthday of north korea's founder. a lot of folks we talk to say they expect to see a test on or before that date. >> what about the new intelligence assessment coming
from the penalty gone that north korea may be further along now than we thought in terms of actually being able to put a nuclear war head on a missile? >> reporter: that's right. that was part of a bigger assessment that came from the defense intelligence agency. part of their job is to look at the missile capability of other nations. now what we've seen since that came out are all kinds of u.s. officials basically throwing water on it, putting it into context, putting restrictions on it, saying what they think is basically. they don't believe north korea today has the capability to launch a nuclear missile. they don't think they mastered all of the steps along the way, minimum tarizing the war head, matching a missile and having the accuracy to hit what they're aiming for. >> is there deep concern, chris, that the missile that they may test in coming days potentially
could be nuclear. >> they don't think so. officials i have spoken with would say that would be extremely provocative, something north korea hasn't done until this point. you have to remember, they only have a certain amount of material. you don't want to waste that necessarily on the untested missile. >> chris lawrence at the pentagon for us, thanks very much. we are watching it closely together with you. now to cnn's rare visit to the korean border, demilitarized zone or dmz is a buffer zone between the north and south. it was created at the end of the korean war, and it could be a front line in a new war if it were to erupt. >> reporter: there's near absolute silence in the most militarized border on the planet. south korean soldiers on the edge of a fight, staring down a sworn enemy that unblinkingly stares back, sometimes from bin
oculars from windows. >> the area here, they're divided in half. there's north korea. >> all cameras facing this way. >> rules are tight on this military guided press tour. don't linger, don't point. this is cold war, up close. >> we talk about tensions on the peninsula, this is about as tense as it gets. south korean soldiers are facing off with north korean soldiers right on the other side, feet away. the place we are going to enter is actually divided in half. shut down. this is so you don't get grabbed and pulled into north korea. only given a few minutes in here. >> this was technically south korea on this side.
to get to north korea, just on the other side of these microphone. the next stop is a lookout. you see there in that tower, that's north korea. you can see the north korean flag flying there. that village right underneath, that's propaganda village. >> they don't believe anyone lives here, it is all for show. one of the most lethal borders is a zone, uninhabitable, so untouched that endangered wildlife and plant species soar here. in contradiction of the world's edge, tourists can visit this lookout, final stop of our press tour where we meet american brothers. >> it is surreal knowing that a few hundred yards that way, there are people starving, being
tortured and so forth. you know, it is unreal. >> wondering what will be next. back in washington, lawmakers are piecing together intelligence from north korea, trying to figure out kim jong-un's next move. mike rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee joins us now. mr. chairman, thanks very much for coming in. >> wolf, great to be here. thanks for having me. >> do you have a good sense of what the north korean leader, kim jong-un, what his end game is? >> well, i'm not sure anybody has a good sense what his end game is. you know, when the flowers come out in north korea, every year, the rattling begins. it had a pattern with a
beginning and end. what we were seeing in his father, what we are seeing in the son is unpredictable pattern when it comes to aggressive behavior. everyone is on edge and concerned because he is ramped it up quicker and faster than his father ever did. and we're not sure he has a strategy to get out of it. >> is the u.s. and south korean allies, the japanese, are they still bracing for north korea to launch a missile or series of missiles within the next few hours or days? what is the latest assessment? >> any time somebody like this who has capabilities to launch a missile makes those threats, you have to take them seriously, so yes. i think u.s. forces are on posture to deal with that, same with the japanese, same with the south koreans. and the unpredictable part of this is you see a little bit of different behavior with the chinese. they have this on again, off again relationship with the
north koreans, but their biggest b benefactor. they're taking a different stance. you have the japanese on edge, u.s., south koreans, now the chinese taking a different posture. i look at that as a good sign to try to unwind this. >> are there any indications that kim jong-un and his top military leadership are seeking to tone things down or is it -- still seems to be ratcheting up tension? >> i think he sees there's an internal to north korea advantage for him to continue to do this, to try to solidify himself with his military base, and north korea is one of those countries that's an army with a country, not a country with an army. he needs to solidify that base so that he can continue to solidify his power across the country. i think he is feeling pretty embolden by all of the activities.
the fact that they sunk a ship in 2010, did some artillery fire earlier than that, killed south koreans with no response i think makes him feel embolden to continue ratcheting this up until some common sense or at least external pressure kicks in to have him ratcheting down. i think he's going to continue to do this. i even believe, wolf, he may even be looking for a minor skirmish as they have in the past in order to thump his chest, show he is this new military commander and defender of the people of north korea. >> because if he were to do now what he did in 2010, a torpedo, south korean war ship, killing 46 sailors, bomb an island with south koreans in 2010, there was no retaliation from south korea or the united states. i suspect the new president of south korea would retaliate this time, maybe the u.s. would as well. >> i can't speak to the u.s.'s intentions there. he will tell you that park, new
leader in south korea, made it clear she will not tolerate that. and they have to stand up to what is this very belligerent behavior. he is 28 years old, untested. we don't have the same predictable profile we had for his father. so there's a lot of great reasons why you need to stand up, not let them get away with threatening nuclear exchange with the united states, threatening war with the south koreans, ratcheting up almost on a daily basis what some new -- telling south koreans they should prepare for war, having the consulates evacuated in north korea because they're preparing for war, all of that is a ratchet up. i think you would find park would be very aggressive about responding to any military action or any skirmish that might happen. it would be in proportion, i believe, but there would be a reaction. >> i think she would respond in proportion. how good is u.s. intelligence on what's going on in north korea?
>> never as good as you want it to be when you're chairman of the intelligence committee, i can tell you that. we have a little room to go. we have some good indications, but we're a long way from having that comfort level about fully understanding across the board about not only with military intentions but with leadership intentions. again, our intelligence folks are doing great work, under tough circumstances. we continue to try to improve that posture. >> does it make sense to send a high level emissary to pyongyang? >> i am not sure. you don't want to reward bad behavior, especially saber rattling at the level he is doing now. so i'd be cautious about that. i would like to see china shut down the southern border with north korea and shut off luxury goods and the black market for fuel. that would he have a huge and immediate impact on the regime in north korea. if we could get them to do that,
i think we could then start negotiations on how they unravel it because that pressure would be so immediate and so real and it would be felt as i said almost immediately. >> chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers. congressman, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. when we come back, 25 minutes, that's all it took for chris cuomo to undergo a background check and purchase a gun. we're going to take you inside the process just ahead. also coming up, my interview with ban ki-moon, u.s. secretary general delivers a direct, powerful message from here in "the situation room" to north korea's kim jong-un. and he speaks in korean. ( bell rings ) they remind me so much of my grandkids.
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there was a bipartisan break through deal in the senate this week on expanded background checks for gun purchases. whether it becomes law, though, is another story. didn't you ever wonder, though, what it is like to go through the existing federal background check when purchasing a gun? cnn's chris cuomo got firsthand experience doing just that. >> chris. >> mike. >> what can i do for you. >> looking for home protection shotgun. >> bring you down through the shotgun section.
>> seems simple. but there's more to it than you might think. every purchase from a licensed dealer requires a federal background check. >> are you under indictment, no, convicted of a felony, no. >> 20 personal questions including mental health history, requiring government confirmation. add potential state and city laws, thousands across the country. and it could feel like an obstacle course. >> background check for the rifle. if you live in a city, rifle shotgun, and pistol, a pistol license. >> this pale in comparison to the pain the nation felt december 14 in newtown, connecticut, the most vulnerable victimized by dangerous weapons in the wrong sick hands. cnn's latest poll shows people want it to stop. calls to do something resulting in demands for expanded background checks. despite the fact that it wouldn't have stopped the newtown shooter. >> we know the background checks can work, but the problem is
loopholes in the current law let so many people avoid background checks all together. >> gun control advocates want all gun sales, not just those by dealers, subject to background checks. >> this background check law we're talking about is enforcing the law. >> colin goddard works for the brady center to prevent gun violence. he is a victim shot four times at virginia tech six years ago. >> how are you supposed to know if someone has a felony record or restraining order, dangerous mental illness without a background check. supposed to look at them really hard? >> gun rights advocates fear checking all sales could lead to a national gun registry and maybe confiscation. the larger concern, making it hard to buy a gun lawfully may not stop massacres. before owning this store, mike was a police officer for 11 years.
>> in your experience as a cop, did that hold true. >> in 11 years, never had a legal pistol licensee use a firearm in a crime. >> gun control advocates say 2 million denied guns is proof of effectiveness. >> most of those people turns out were not on prohibited lists, most were false positive, name looked like somebody else, there were records in there that were incomplete. first thing you have to do is take the system you have and get it fixed and make it work. >> mike says the big issue isn't the law but enforcement. >> somebody comes in, hell bent on buying a gun, we let them fill out the form, and they fail. and then in a perfect world, alcohol, tobacco, firearms will go arrest that person. >> that's the catch. >> current laws would make this safe the safest in the union if they were enforced. >> in my case. >> this transaction is a proceed. >> the system worked. after 25 minutes of completing forms and waiting for approval, i had my shotgun. >> thank you very much.
>> chris cuomo, cnn. a former north korean spy finds a new life in the united states. coming up, she tells us why she's convinced the war with north korea is coming. plus, after years of denial, a stunning admission about deadly drone strikes. please. and regisn what's this? uhh, it's my geico insurance id card, sir. it's digital, uh, pretty cool right? maybe. you know why i pulled you over today? because i'm a pig driving a convertible? tail light's out.. fix it. digital insurance id cards. just a click away with the geico mobile app. [ male announcer ] that's why there's ocuvite to help replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin to help protect your eye health. ocuvite.
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reform. they'll announce their plan next week. let's talk about all of this with our chief political analyst, gloria borger. gloria, success, is it guaranteed on the issue of guns and immigration? >> nothing is guaranteed in washington, wolf, and of course, it depends how you define success here. it seems to me that the senate at least is moving toward some kind of compromise on guns, a smaller measure than of course the president wanted, but lots of people believe anything you get on gun control is major movement because there hasn't been any movement on that issue on that in the last decade or so. on immigration, i would have to say that i am pretty optimistic that they can get something because it is in everyone's self interest to get something done on immigration reform. republicans know it, you have senator marco rubio of florida out there promoting a compromise version of immigration reform, republicans understand, they lost hispanic voters 3 to 1 in
the last election, and democrats want to get this done, too. funny thing how things happen in washington, you get it done. >> the house may be more difficult, especially when it comes to background checks as far as gun purchases are concerned. >> and also on immigration. there are lots of republicans, particularly in the house, who are saying you know what, we have to make sure the borders are secure before we do anything on immigration. they're going to take a lot of convincing that in fact you're going to be able to secure the borders before you even establish a path to citizenship, no matter how long that task is. >> the president released his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. you wrote a column on cnn.com. you said this is not a strategy hatched by a bunch of poll eeannas at the white house. it is borne of necessity, bred with understanding of a public that has just about had it with
washington. >> the president is trying to look like the grownup in the room, which is why he put a budget on the table that does something he said he was going to do when he was trying to cut that deal with house speaker, which is touch entitlement, touch social security, touch medicare. it angered some of his base and republicans said it wasn't enough because his budget also contains revenue increases, but at least now the president who is after all meeting with republicans, dining with republicans, a new president we're seeing, he can also say you know what, i put entitlements on the table, even though a small amount. you could say look, i am trying, i have done it, so if it fails, he inoculates him. >> once he meets with a group of
republicans, we will see what he does. >> to try to get majorities in the senate to peel off enough republicans in the house to work with democrats to actually try and get something done. i think he is starting with the senate. i think the house is a lot more difficult. he is hoping one chamber will affect the other. who knows. >> eric cantor for dinner, that would be significant. gloria, thanks so much. still ahead, setting the record straight about u.s. drone strikes in pakistan. they're admitting he allowed some controversial strikes. up next, united nations secretary general ban ki-moon delivers direct appeal to the north korean leader, kim jong-un.
now a cnn exclusive. the u.s. secretary general making a direct appeal to north korea's kim jong-un in his native language. it happened during my interview in "the situation room" with ban ki-moon. listen to this. >> they're watching you in pyongyang right now on cnn international. if you have a chance to speak directly right now to kim jong-un, you can make a statement, make a request from him, what would you say to him? >> i would strongly ask him to first of all refrain from taking any such provocative measures, which is clearly in violation against the security council resolution and against the community. i would strongly urge him to enhance the living standard of his own people when they're suffering from economic
difficulty. >> one final question, secretary general. look at that camera, right over there. speak to kim jong-un in korean. [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> secretary general, thank you so much for coming in. let's hope this crisis with north korea eases. >> thank you very much. she once worked for the north korean regime, this spy defected, is living in the
united states, and speaking out. >> reporter: as sabers rattle on the korean peninsula, one woman has a sense of foreboding from a half world away. she has a perspective few can comprehend. not only a north korean defector, she once worked in the country's feared intelligence service, a spy whose mission was to catch drug dealers. she knows what the regime is capable of and said this about the current crisis. >>translator: i believe that the war will break and i believe that by 99% because when you think about this, the psychology of the people, they're not thinking i need to survive, you all die, it is not that. you're going to diane i'm going to die as well. that's what they're thinking. >> reporter: another north korean agent says she thinks kim jong-un is using prove indications to compensate for
his youth and inexperience. >> he is struggling to gain complete control over the military and win their loyalty. >> reporter: she was convicted of blowing up an airliner in 1997 she was captured alive when she didn't bite her cyanide pill all the way through. she was sentenced, then pardon td. >> they're using the nuclear program to keep people in line and push south korea and the united states for concessions. >> reporter: speaking to former spies that defected is almost unreal. she defected in 2000. occupies her days in ways you wouldn't expect. she makes a living this way, playing concerts on a string instrument played with bamboo sticks. she's politically active and says that comes with a price. residing in northern virginia, she's engaged in the protest against the regime. in new york in 2010, protesting the sinking of a south korean
war ship, says two north korean agents threatened to kill her. when i asked if she fears for her life. >> i do feel it is unsafe. i feel it is not safe. however, actually i don't regret what i do because i feel that it is what i have to do, because what they're doing is definitely wrong. and although i have to look around and fear for my life, everybody has to die. >> reporter: despite intimidation, she vows to continue protesting, always with a keen sense of what happened before. her first husband who was a north korean army officer was executed she says after her defection. brian todd, cnn. >> when i was there, i saw how poor the country is. yet kim jong-un has the cash to test sophisticated weapons and threaten the world. where is the money come from. chris lawrence is looking at north korea's illegal profits.
>> reporter: when it comes to selling technology, the launch pad is kim jong-un's showroom. in the missile test, doubles as a marketing tool. >> telling other countries, look what you could have also for a price. >> reporter: libya and iran, willing clients. former u.s. intelligence official says sanctions have cut into sales. kim is profiting off illegal weapons, but brings in 20 to $100 million less than his father. >> how important is money to kim jong-un? >> money is key. he has to keep the elite happy. >> reporter: north korea has its own version of the 1%. kim needs that money stream to keep them on his side. fortunately for kim, north korea has legal goods and a willing trade partner right next door. >> who is kim's link to china? >> he is part of the family. he elevated his uncle to number
two. he oversees some of the state run trading companies which mine reserves like coal and iron ore. he uses connections to sell those minerals to china, and profits come back to kim. >> this is a man who cut the deal with china, has a lot of credibility with the chinese. >> reporter: thanks to kim's uncle, trade with china is booming, from one billion a few years ago to five billion now. >> accounted for the weapons and minerals. how else is he getting money? >> getting money from illicit transactions. >> reporter: officials say they're exporting meth, knockoffs of cigarettes and pharmaceutical drugs, even counterfeiting good old ben franklin. a u.s. official tells us the illicit stuff is still pretty small scale, but the north gets more from tourism and foreign investment from south korea and china. in a country where residents don't pay taxes, and the country
is not connected to the international trading market, the official says basically it is minerals and weapons that are the cash cow, keeping kim in power. chris lawrence, cnn, washington. >> we will of course stay completely on top of this story, this crisis with north korea here in "the situation room" and on cnn. still ahead this hour, parts unknown, the world renowned chef anthony bourdain, he is here with a preview of his brand new show. ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, llllet's get ready to bundlllllle... [ holding final syllable ] oh, yeah, sorry! let's get ready to bundle and save. now, that's progressive. oh, i think i broke my spleen!
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the rugged border area. after years of denial, pakistan's former president now admitting he did, in fact, allow some of the controversial cia strikes. cnn senior international correspondent nic robertson has the story from islambad. >> reporter: the aftermath of a deadly drone strike in pakistan. images like these soured u.s., pakistan relations almost a decade. no pakistani official has ever acknowledged sanctioning u.s. drone strikes, until now. what you're saying here, on occasion there were agreements? >> no, only on very few occasions where it was absolutely isolated and had no chance of collateral damage. >> reporter: they were bitterly
against them. he admits there was a secret deal. >> when discussed at the intelligence level to strike and if at all, there was no time for our own military to do it, then and that was very, very -- maybe two or three times only. >> reporter: back then, al qaeda and taliban fleeing u.s. forces in afghanistan set up camp over the border in pakistan's tribal region. america and pakistan had a common enemy, and a common strategy, kill militants when they could. >> the target, we could delay the action, i mean, these ups and downs kept going. it is a very fluid situation, a vicious enemy, and fluid situation, mountains, inaccessible areas. >> reporter: by the time he was forced from office in 2008,
musharraf says he sanctioned only a couple of strikes. the vast majority came under the civilian government that followed him. since 2003, there have been more than 350 drone strikes in pakistan, mostly in the semi autonomous border region close to afghanistan. there are no precise figures how many people have been killed, but estimates range upwards of 1900, and of those, more than several hundred are believed to have been civilians. most pakistanis detest the drone program for the loss of life and because it violates pakistan sovereignty. ministers here routinely condemn them. >> what i can say today, the world power, world super power is having its way without any consequence. >> reporter: a diplomatic cable found by wikileaks talks about
between ambassador and malek. he suggested we hold off alleged predator attacks. said i don't care if they do it as long as they get the right people, wii protest in national assembly, then ignore it. when militant muhammad was killed in 2004, the pakistani army said it killed him in a rocket attack, except it didn't. >> nick muhammad, killed by a drone or u.s. drone? >> i think he was killed by u.s. drone, yes. but there was no agreement, every time we did object. >> reporter: objections that were frequent, loud, public, but not always sincere.
nic robertson, cnn, islambad, pakistan. >> that doubled the risk musharraf took when he returned last month after years of self imposed exile. also shedding light on drone strikes, new book by mark mazzetti of "the new york times." in the way of the knife. the war fought by cia and special forces. he is here with me now. excellent book. thanks very much for coming in. how much of a risk do you think musharraf takes by acknowledging he was in at least on some of the cia drone strikes in pakistan? >> yeah, it's amazing, not only a physical risk but a political risk because he wants to be president and as nic said, drone strikes are still wildly unpopular. for him to say there were secret arrangements was quite surprising to me.
there's been so many denials from the pakistani government about the role they have played. to their -- in their defense, the cia in 2008, the last months of the bush administration took this war unilateral, said we're no longer going to consult you in advance of each drone strike. >> do you know how many alleged terrorists, suspected terrorists, militants were killed by the united states in these drone strikes? >> the estimates are varied. estimates of around 3,000 killed in tribal areas. how many militants, how many civilian, hard to differentiate. it is certainly true they have had an effect in killing off senior al qaeda leaders in tribal areas, but was also seen, there has been further reporting, the bar has been lowered. they're not just striking al qaeda, they're striking
pakistani, taliban, it is the war in afghanistan waged from the other side of the border. >> targeted killings by the cia intensify in the obama administration as opposed to bush administration, right? >> that's right. they started to ramp up in the last few months of the bush administration. then in 2009 and especially in 2010, the obama administration dramatically escalated them, not only in pakistan, you started seeing strikes in yemen as well. they sort of reopened the war, this other front in yemen. you see them in parts of africa. this is one of the really defining legacies of the obama administration so far. >> the theory is kill the people, don't arrest them, bring them to trial, too complicated. just kill them. >> it is complicated. there's reasons the administration pursued a kill versus capture strategy. if you look at the last four years, you could probably count on one hand the senior people
who have been captured and brought to trial. >> if you capture them, you cancan interrogate them. if you kill them, you can't. >> they took a lot of heat for interrogation. you at least get intelligence. at the same time, there were different calculations of risk. if someone is in a tribal area of pakistan, where pakistani cops and troops could go in and arrest someone. these are things that the administration is wrestling with. >> the president's personal role authorizing targeted killings, what is it? >> the president, when he came in wanted to at least have the authority to sign off on strikes souds pakistan. they already had authority. they were signed on by the cia director, you talk about yemen,
somalia, brought to the white house by the counter terrorism adviser for president obama, now as we know, cia director. >> he wants the pentagon to take over the responsibility, move it out of the cia? >> he's hinted he wants to move some of the paramilitary functions out of the cia to the pentagon. there are reports there are proposals floated to do that. i personally believe the cia will not give it up entirely, that they will take key aspects of the drone war, this is something that probably takes months or even years as opposed to a short period of time. >> the book entitled "the way of the knife." the subtitle, the cia, a secret army and a war at the ends of the earth. mark, thanks for coming in. >> thank you for having me. stay here, meet the newest member of the cnn family, the world renowned chef, anthony bourdain is here in "the situation room." he will preview his brand new show which debuts sunday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern. lost a few months back. hi. i got a call today that you guys found my suitcase.
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he's a world renowned chef, a be best selling author and now the newest member of the cnn family. good news here in the situation room. anthony bourdain yoining us now. to any thanks so much for coming into the "the situation room." it's a risky business but you're willing to do it. >> i'm very excited about coming over to cnn and taking silly chances is part of the excitement. >> for those of us who have been
watching you for years or other channels, tell us what you new show on cnn is going to be like. what is going to be different about it? well i'll continue to travel the worlded on my stomach meaning that's the way i get in, the way i look at the world from the perspective of somebody who spent a lot of time cooking and eating but now the world has become a much bigger place, i can go to mean march, i can go to the con go, libya, in areas that would have been impossible with another network. we can tight, or focus to tell stories from one person's point of view or expand that to another picture. i can continue to be enjoyably schizophrenic from week to week. i think the variety and scope of the stories we tell you're going the see some big changes. >> so con go, libya, mean mean
march where else are you head ed. >> we shot a show in spain. we'll be doing food sen trick shows in france. we did a show in l.a. i'm very proud of, maybe the most overphotographed place in earth, we're treating l.a. as if no one exists in l.a. but korean americans. >> we're looking forward to the new show. it premeers sunday night, 9 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. anthony bourdain, a huge talent and we're thrilled you're joining our cnn family. thanks so much. >> thank you. from china to kro asia to new orleans, some fascinating pictures. stay right here.
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