tv The Situation Room CNN August 6, 2013 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
campaign know how to rock up votes. they all claim to be fans of yes and 70s concept. hash tag zuck slogan. that's it for "the lead." i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." >> he may have been one of the most physically fit occupants of the oval office, but in a major surprise today, the former president george w. bush undergoes heart surgery for a blocked artery. were there warning signs? >> americans evacuated from yemen after deadly drone strikes on al qaeda militants, sparking growing concern about an al qaeda terror attack. i'll speak to the former director of the cia and nsa,
general michael hayden. and bill clinton survived a sex scandal while he was in the white house. does he have any advice from the mayoral candidate anthony weiner? we'll hear from the former president of the united states. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." in the white house the former president was always very healthy. but today a constituent was placed in an artery after a routine exam revealed a blockage. it was performed, quote, successfully without complication and that he is in high spirits, eager to resume his normal schedule. tom forman joins us with the latest details. >> reporter: wolf, with all the other news breaking in
washington today, this caught many people far off guard that the news that the former president had a heart health scare. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: in office and out, george w. bush has been regarded by many as the most fit president ever. he took up mountain biking at the suggestion of his doctors and even though he's had cuts and bruises along the way, he's been pedaling of since. he now hosts an annual ride honoring wounded soldier covering 60 miles at a stretch through the texas countryside. >> for me it's one of the most uplifting experiences i've had in my adult life, probably my whole life. >> reporter: it's not just cycling. the former president has enjoyed running, swimming, golfing, weight lifting and hard labor on his ranch. his annual physicals while in office found him in excellent health with, quote no, history of hypertension or diabetes and with low to very low coronary artery disease risk. >> thank you so much for inviting our rowdy friends to my
hanging. >> reporter: during the unveiling of his presidential portrait in may last year, he seemed healthy and happy as president obama jokingly saluted the fitness-minded white house mr. bush left behind. >> plus, you also have left me a really good tv sports package. >> reporter: yet at his physical this week in dallas, doctors found a blockage in an artery and today inserted a stent, a small, balloon-like device inserted into the narrow passage and expanded to push the blockage aside, leaving a mesh tube to keep the artery clear. presidents have main it and some sort of moderate fitness, during and after their term. clinton ran, too. president obama plays basketball and just a few years back, the first president bush jumped from an airplane. to put it simply, this is what we've come to expect from our
modern chief executives and with a little bit of luck after this procedure, if everything goes right, the former president bush will be back to his active lifestyle. >> let's go a little bit more information from dr. jonathan reiner, a cardiologist with the george washington university medical facility and with his long-time patient, former vice president dick cheney has a new book coming out soon entitled "heart." is that right? >> that's right. >> let's talk about the former president bush. he was always very active, jogging, biking and everything. this comes as a major surprise for someone who is his age. doesn't y don't you think? >> yes and now. coronary artery disease has been the most important in the united states in every year since 1900.
it kills more americans than any other disease in the united states. it's really not a surprise. >> he had no family history and his most recent checkups all showed -- at least the annual physical when he was in the white house heeshs h, he had lo low coronary disease artery risk. >> we don't know the exact parameters of all his risk factors. his level of fitness only tells us one piece of the puzzle. other important issues like his cholesterol, his blood pressure, his glucose, these are other indicators. >> you brought an example of what he had to endure today, the stent put into his artery. explain the procedure that he had to undergo. >> sure. this is a coronary stent, a model of one magnified about ten times. think of it as basically a metallic scaffold, which is put down on to a very senate balloon that can fit inside an artery a
few millimeters in diameter. when we maneuver if into an area of blocking and expand the balloon, the metallic cage expands and is embedded in the wall of the artery. this serves to keep it open and relieve any blockage present before the procedure. >> you go in either through the arm or through the leg, is that right? >> traditionally it's been done through the leg. more and more we do this through the arm. >> which is better? >> we do most of our procedures through the arm. it's been done in europe for many years. in our case many of our patients go home every day. >> if he wouldn't have had this procedure, what potentially could have happened? >> it's hard to know. we don't know exactly the details of his anatomy and what they found in angioography. we treat patients to revent a heart attack or to treat a heart
attack and prevent symptoms. to be fair to the doctors treating the president, we don't have granular data to understand why they did it. >> how long do those constituents ask in somebody's arteries? >> hopefully forever. >> you don't have to change them? >> we don't know the type of stent that the president received but for most patients, these stents will last forever and very few of them will renarrow. >> is pressure, stress, a factor that leads to heart disease? presidents are always under enormous pressure. >> i think there's a difference between a job with a lot of pressure or a lot of responsibility. it amazing to think of how many peeples in jobs you would think
have jobs that are a lot of responsibility are necessarily pressurized. >> the former vice president, he has major heart disease, as you well know better than anyone. how's he doing? first of all, i've seen him on tv not that long ago. he seems to be doing fine. >> he's terrific. he's enjoying his life and doing very well. >> at one point he was walking around literally with the machine. now he's had the heart transplant and doing just fine? >> that's right. >> that book you've written with him whaer him, what's that about? >> it's really about heart disease. it's seen through the eyes of patient who has seen every single medical advance that's been created. it's the story of heart disease seen through one extraordinary patient. >> that would be dick cheney. he has a much more serious heart
issue than the former president george w. bush. appreciate you coming in. >> my pleasure. >> u.s. drones target al qaeda militants. i'll discuss the threat with general michael hayden here in the situation room. and bill clinton's own sex scandal almost cost him the white house. does he have any advice for the would-be mayor of new york anthony weiner. ♪ [ male announcer ] it's a golden opportunity to discover a hybrid from the luxury car company that understands that one type of hybrid
global alert, closing down 19 diplomatic posts for the rest of this week. behind that concern, a message from al qaeda's leader to a top ally in yemen, ordering him to take action. let's bring in our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence with the very latest. what is the latest, chris? >> reporter: that message is telling u.s. officials that the terror group leaders have identified al qaeda in the arabian peninsula as the branch best equipped to attack american targets overseas. if you think of al qaeda as a company, the intercepted communication between its leaders is a revelation. its core al qaeda's ayman al zawahiri recognizing his best chance of an attack lays with an affiliate. wahayshi helped organize a complex attack involving car bombs, snipers and rpgs.
yemen became an almost perfect breeding ground for al qaeda, its unemployment rate is almost 40%. >> in much of this territory there are no police stations for hundreds of miles around. >> reporter: al qaeda in the arabian peninsula was responsible for the underwear bomb that nearly exploded on an american jet over detroit. and dispatch bombs on a cargo plane bound for the u.s. three to four yemeni fighters were involved in the benghazi attack last year. the obama administration expanded the drone program in yemen. in 2011 drones killed and war -- anwar al awlaki.
there are far fewer strikes this year compared to 2012. >> the number of attacks is falling because they have in fact gotten to some of the top tier leadership, is what the administration would say. i think what we're seeing this week calls that into question. it's hard to assess. >> right now there are more than 100 troops on the ground in yemen, split between the marines helping to protect the embassy and special operation forces down south training the yemeni forces on counterterrorism. >> thanks, chris. so how serious is the threat. joining suss michael hayden, now a principal at a global security firm. the drone strikes in yemen, do you think they're directly related to this latest threat that the u.s. detected coming
from al zawahiri to a top al qaeda in yemen? >> it's hard to tell. we've had a campaign in yemen against senior al qaeda and arabian peninsula leadership. this could be part of that campaign. but you get a certain sense of increased urgency going on now as well so it could indeed be directly related to trying to stop this plot before it gets out of the block. >> and the increased urgency, the sense you're getting, is based on what? >> well, we've got a body of intelligence, not just one alleged communication between the leadership. it's clear there is a very powerful body of intelligence that goes back weeks focusing on al qaeda and the arabian peninsula and likely an attack in the arabian peninsula, yemen or elsewhere. >> an attack on, say, the u.s. embassy? >> we've been careful to say against western interests but clearly we're the number one enemy for al qaeda and the
arabian peninsula. and right now given what we're doing and your question about drone strikes, we're the number one target in that regard, too. >> when the u.s. sends in a military plane to get all americans out of yemen as quickly as possible, what does that say to you? >> it tells me we've lost our ability to protect our citizens while in the country. so therefore the decision is made get americans out of harm's way. i don't think anyone can argue with that. >> you can't rely on the host country to protect americans there. that's normally what you do. >> you do. but the yemeni government is week. it's fraction alfractionalized,a lot of elements that haven't settled after the war. it's a wise decision, just get americans out of harm's way. >> al qaeda supposedly has been ripped apart, there were affiliates in maghreb but if you
believe reports that the leader that took over for al qaeda, give them an order, you got to do this, what does that say? >> first of all, let's not jump too far down the path in terms of making conclusions. it's clear that al qaeda main and that's been badly decimated -- >> meaning the bin laden -- >> exactly. if they're going to give direct orders to fin, it would be aqrp. >> does he have that kind of clout, ayman al zawahiri, supposedly he's around the border of pakistan hiding out. is that your understanding? >> it is. what we're seeing here, wolf, is zawahiri is becoming more visible. he's making videotapes and audio tapes, moving into that number
one role that was vacated with the death of bin laden. >> how do you explain that? >> well, al qaeda is still in business. it's been decimated, certainly al qaeda prime. but their ability to conduct a major attack is still up reduced. but the areas from which al qaeda could conduct an attack, they've actually increased. yemen, somalia, libya, iraq, syria, algeria, mali, all these place nous have an collis now h presence. >> it's like they franchised these operations in all these places. >> exactly. >> within a matter of a few days over the past couple or three weeks, there were major prison breaks. more than a thousand prisoners, at abu ghraib in baghdad, in benghazi, pakistan, elsewhere. are these just coincidental or is there a coordinated al qaeda
effort under way right now to get a lot of these terrorists out of these prisons? >> i'm comfortable it's coincidental regard with to this current threat plotting. but to one another, i'm not so sure it's pure coincidence. this is an attempt by al qaeda in each of these places -- perhaps they don't have to synchronize it but they have common objectives and have been common instructions to get as many of their cohorts out of prison in order to strengthen and unfortunately these are al qaeda pros, not today, not in this attack, a stronger enemy with which we have to to deal. >> it's clear the iraqi government couldn't parole abu ghraib. hundreds of rear least.
12 hundred pr 1,2,200 prisoners escape from a prison in benghazi. what's going on? >> what you've got is al qaeda taking advantage of ungoverned areas, a tactic they've used for the existence of the organization. and unfortunately, after the arab awakening, we've got a lot more ungoverned areas out there. i'm afraid, although we're safer than we were, the damage of that attack are much reduced, we're not out of the woods yet. >> and al qaeda is building a huge presence in syria as well. let me ask you about edward snowden. he's now walking around as a free man in russia, he was in china. do you believe as the former cia director, the head of the organization, that the russians and/or chinese have everything he brought with him from the
nsa? >> i don't know that he brought everything with him from the nsa. i would lose all respect for the chinese ministry of state security and for russia's fsb if they have not already taken control of the information that he brought with them to those two locations. >> so if he had a laptop or two or three laptops or a cell phone or smartphone or ipad, everything on those devices have already -- you assume the russians and the chinese? >> and that's the operative word. i would make the assumption those two services are dedicated and talented enough that they would put their mind to this purpose and they would harvest what it was he brought with him. >> so the u.s. government has to assume the same thing. they just assume all that information is lost. >> i'm afraid we have to assume that these adversaries -- not enemies, that these adversaries can look deeply into the secrets -- >> and they can take this information from the laptop
without snowden even knowing. >> it probably would take longer? >> how long would it take? >> it depends on how much energy they put on it. i'll rest on the assumption i'd lose all respect for those two services if they hadn't done this. >> general hayden, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> coming up, senator john mccain is in egypt right now. he's using a word they still aren't using at the white house and we're looking into the reason why. and a zoo expert explains why a loose snake may have strangled two small boys in their sleep. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." ] we don't just certify our pre-owned vehicles. we inspect, analyze and recondition each one, until it's nothing short of a genuine certified pre-owned... mercedes-benz for the next new owner. ♪ hurry in to your authorized mercedes-benz dealer
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ever since egypt's military ousted president mohamed morsi last month, the obama administration has avoided calling it a coup. senator john mccain certainly has no problem with that word. >> the circumstances of the former government's president's removal were a coup, and we have said that we cannot expect egypt or any other country to abide by its laws if we do not abide by ours in the united states. >> at president obama's request, senators mccain and his colleague lindsay graham, they are in cairo right now meeting with leaders and they are speaking out. let's go live to the egyptian capital. you had a chance to speak with the senators. what did they say, reza?
>> well, they came here to deliver a clear message and some of those messages were controversial. first off, senators restating the position of the u.s. congress that this was indeed a coup, what happened last month, the overthrow of mr. morsi. of course that's not going to sit well with supporters of this military-backed interim government. but their overarching message was a positive one. they said they don't want to dwell on the past, they want to look to the future and they want to support egypt, but the only way they can support egypt if this is a viable, peaceful democracy and the only way that's going to happen if the two sides stop fighting and hammer out a solution that includes the brotherhood. we talked to senator mccain about the prospects of that happening. >> we made it clear to general assisi that we are here to
promote a dialogue of free and fair elections. general assisi said to us that he was committed to that process and so we are, i think, guardedly optimistic that he wants the same thing. but guardedly only. >> reporter: so the message from senator mccain is clear. he wants these two sides to reconcile, to sit down and talk and end the fighting, but if you heard him correctly, he said he's guardedly optimistic, wolf, and that suggests that he has doubts that these two sides in this conflict are going to heed his message. >> well, the muslim brotherhood, they would have to agree to it as well. and there's no indication, at least based on what i can tell, that they're willing to reconcile with the military and the new political leadership in cairo. >> reporter: wolf, this type of
diplomacy happens behind closed doors. it's very difficult to figure out what these two senators accomplished and this a classic standoff here in egypt where you have these two sides digging in and you can easily see how each side views any concession made to the other side as defeat. so the key moving forward is what's going to give? is either side going to back down in hopes that there's going to be some reconciliation to avoid what has been a very, very violent conflict, wolf. >> reza sayah in cairo for us, thank you. >> jessica yellin has been looking into this. they sent mccain to cairo. does the white house feel pressure to change its position on calling this a coup? >> reporter: wolf, according to the white house officials i'm talking to and administration officials, no, they don't.
mccain and graham, those two senators, called it a coup from the start. so the administration simply is not surprised that they did it again. sources tell me those two senators are not pressuring administration officials to follow their lead and there's no growing chorus calling for the president to do so. then why is it that the administration has avoided calling it a coup in general? well, doing that could alienate the administration from egypt's military leadership and from the millions who have supported them in the streets. also by law, if it's a coup, the u.s. would have to cut off u.s. aid to egypt are more than $1.3 billion annually. that is spent in the u.s. and could have ripple effects in our economy, not to mention destabilizing shocks across egypt and the middle east. now, there have been exception. the u.s. called the power shift in honduras a coup and continued aid but that's a very different example and not in a searing spotlight like egypt is. >> secretary of state john kerry
said what the military did was restore democracy, i'm paraphrasing a bit, in egypt, clearly very different than a coup. i know you're in phoenix. the president just delivered a speech there on housing. what was the headline? >> he outlined a plan to wind down the mortgage giants fannie may and freddie mac, which you'll recall needed a massive government bailout and they back most homeowners in this nation. the president's plan to help revive the housing market and help homeowners fell very short. now that the market is coming back, he can start looking at these kinds of proposals. from here he is headed to "the tonight show" with jay leno where he could take questions on diplomatic security, benghazi, egypt, maybe even how he celebrated his birthday this past weekend.
>> i expect all those questions could come up. thank you very much, jessica yellin, traveling with the president. >> coming up, two boys strangled to death in an apartment by a giant snake. and we also have new details on that rough landing, nose gear collapse at new york's laguardia airport. what federal investigators are now saying. "we work directly with manufacturers," "eliminating costly markups," "and buy directly from local farmers in every region of the country." "when you see our low prices, remember the wheels turning behind the scenes, delivering for millions of americans, everyday. "dedication: that's the real walmart" ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs
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now. at least 30 people are dead, 100 wounded after a series of bombings across baghdad. police say at least six neighborhoods were hit and most explosions took place in shiite areas. july was the deadliest month in iraq since 2007. more than a thousand iraqis died in terror attacks in july alone. >> authorities say a 25 th person has dade from injuries suffered from tornado outbreaks in moore, oklahoma. a woman who suffered what doctors call blunt force trauma to the head passed away on thursday. >> the pilot who had the nose wheel collapse was attempting only his second landing at laguardia airport. national transportation safety board says both pilots were experienced and there were no malfunctions on the plane.
the plane came in nose-wheel first. >> new developments in the da t deaths of two canadian boys by a loose python. the snake was being kept in the upstairs apartment where the boys were, not in the reptile store downstairs. the boys, ages 4 and 6, were sleeping when the snake strangled them. >> translator: the snake apparently slithered through a hole in the ceiling, allowing it to escape into the ventilation shaft and once the snake was at the height of the living room, apparently a pipe broke and the snake fell into the living room. >> the same news conference the boy's uncle described their last day which included a trip to a friend's farm. >> the two families,
jean-claude's family, went to jean-claude's family farm. there they played with lamas and goats and horses and played in the h the hay loft. >> an expert from a zoo said that visit to the farm may have been an important clue. >> the boys were playing with different animals and it is possible that as the snake was meandering through the house, if the boys didn't wash, snakes have an incredible sense of smell, with their jacobson's organ, they ever use their tongue. it's possible the snake moved towards the boys because they smelled like prey. >> president clinton is making
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regrets, failing to act back in 1994 when he was in the white house when it came to the genocide that unfolded there. >> reporter: you have spoke of the impact of not intervening at the right time has had on you. how much has that informed your engagement with the continent? >> i'll never forget, i went to a little village outside kigali where the government was giving land to people, only if they agreed to share it with the opposite ethnic group. and i saw these women holding hands and one woman, her husband was on trial at the tribunal for
war crimes. i wanted to be a part of that. that's a precious commodity and i thought we ought to maximize it. >> reporter: and this is your ninth trip to africa? >> since i left office. >> reporter: what keeps you coming back? >> i like it. i like the people, i like this enduring sense of roots, community, obligation to family, obligation to village, obligation to nation. i like all these bright young people that believe they can make a huge difference. just give me a little thing and i will move the world. >> she also asked the former president about the new york city mayoral race where anthony weiner is now caught up in another sexting scandal. >> reporter: i appreciate it's awkward because you have a personal connection to both anthony weiner and his wife, and
you officiated at his wedding. has this been difficult for you to watch? >> not because it was a political campaign because neither hillary nor i was ever involved in the political campaign. they understood that from the beginning. there are too many people running for mayor who have been my supporters, supported her for president, one was once her campaign manager. but there are literally five people in that race, including one of the republican candidates, who are personal friends of ours. so we are 100 miles from that race and everyone understands that we're not going to be involved as long as our personal friends and people to whom we feel obligations are involved. so the feelings i have are all personal and since they are, i shouldn't talk about them. >> let's bring in our chief political analyst gloria borger.
measured words from the former president as always. what did you think? >> i think he was telling the truth. i think this is about bill and hillary clinton and their friends and their supporters, people who have supported them in the past. as he mentioned, bill deblazio is running against anthony weiner ran hillary clinton's senate campaign. from the very outset, as you know, wolf, they haven't endorsed anybody in this race and they put it out there that they've got a lot of friends who are running against anthony weiner, so as he put it, they are a hundred miles from this race, they will remain a hundred miles from this race and i think we have to take him at his word. as for his personal feelings, just like chuck schumer, he's keeping them to himself. >> how important is a bill clinton endorsement nowadays? >> i think a bill clinton endorsement of anybody in the democratic party is huge. just ask president barack obama how much bill clinton helped him at the democratic national convention. when you talk to people over at the campaign committees, they
will tell that you bill clinton is one of the most popular people out on the campaign trail. wolf, his popularity right now is at 66%. when he left office, it was 57%. that's high but 66% is out of the stratosphere. >> and another politician with a heart issue? >> that's right. as you were talking about at the beginning of the show, george w. had a stent put in yesterday. as you know, bill clinton's had a couple of heart episodes, had quadruple bypass himself in 2010. so he reached out. the two men have not connected according to mark preston, our political director, but as soon as they do, mark preston will be right on top of it. >> good for you, gloria. coming up, how a huge change here in washington may affect the news you see and here no
matter where you live. stand by. right at the top of the hour, a man who recently spoke with cnn now facing criminal charges for the september 11th attack in benghazi. liktonight? ♪ [ male announcer ] it's a golden opportunity to see how lexus effortlessly connects you to where you're going. ♪ come to the golden opportunity sales event and experience the connectivity of lexus enform, available on all lexus models, including the es and rx. ♪ this is the pursuit of perfection. like carpools... polly wants to know if we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] ...office space. yes, we're loving this communal seating. it's great. [ male announcer ] the best thing to share? a data plan. at&t mobile share for business. one bucket of data for everyone on the plan, unlimited talk and text on smart phones. now, everyone's in the spirit of sharing. hey, can i borrow your boat this weekend? no.
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that people in this city have a thought of self-importance. but not only signals an era for washington but potentially a change in how every american receives the news. >> reporter: watergate brought down to president. >> got to get something on paper. >> translator: but it made a newspaper. a triumph not just for reporters bob woodward and carl bernstein but also the family that owned "the washington post" led by kathryn graham. now that legacy rests in the hands of one billionaire. amazon founder jeff bezos. a deal that gives an all-new meaning to the term -- >> just follow the money. >> reporter: wall street journal bought by rupert murdoch and the
boston globe snatched up by the super wealthy. and perhaps the chicago times which could land in the hands of charles and david koch. >> i think what people are forgetting when we're talking about billionaires taking over the media, that's not exactly new. >> reporter: william randolph hurst of the hurst newspaper empire came from a family that made its fortune in mining. "citizen kane" loosely based on. >> i expect to lose a million dollars this year and next year. i'll have to close this place in 60 years. >> reporter: something bezos has in common. >> bezos can spend an enormous amount of money on "the washington post" without really taking too much of a dent in his own private fortune.
so he has the leeway to make major experiments. >> everybody knows that newspapers have to change. >> reporter: the post chairman donald graham insists the commitment to journalism won't change. >> we will become a place that does its traditional job, maintains its traditional values but tries things and hope a lot will succeed. >> reporter: a sentiment echoed by bezos in a letter to employees that reads the values of the post do not need changing. we will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads. >> most newspapers today are terribly undernourished in terms of funding. there's been an unwillingness to invest in investigateive reporters. and a private owner with the wealth that jeff bezos has can make a huge difference.
>> reporter: cnn political contributor david gergen who worked for the nixon white house and came to know graham and bradley says bezos can afford to make mistax. but mthe stakes are still high. >> had it not been for kay, there would have been no watergate story. >> reporter: after the downfall of a president, it's just not washington without the post. it will no longer be a publicly traded company. it's now a privately held firm. how long staff stays in depends on bezos. >> i read the paper every day. we'll see what happens. thanks very much. ahead, the first criminal charges for the attack that killed an american in benghazi nearly a year ago. and the latest on the manhunt for a convicted killer
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saving time by booking an appointment online, even smarter. online scheduling. available now at meineke.com. happening now, the first criminal charges in the deadly attack on the u.s. compound in benghazi, libya. one suspect has been walking around freely, but cnn managed to track him down. plus the defendant in the fort hood massacre declaring he is the shooter. why isn't he facing terrorism charges as he court-martial begins? and the frantic search for two missing children in california. they may be in the clutches of a man suspected of murdering their mother. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
been almost a year since the slaughter at the u.s. diplomatic compound in benghazi, libya. since then there's been a lot of political finger pointing that followed. now for the first time federal authorities are officially accusing someone for being responsible for that attack that killed the united states ambassador chris stevens and three other americans. this is the story we broke first right here on cnn. we've now learned that criminal charges have been filed. they are under seal against several suspects including akmad hatallah. he's been walking around. spoke with him recently. why don't you listen first of all to some of the report you filed on your interview.
>> reporter: u.s. officials have often suggested they would be interested in speaking to a man named ahmed abu khatallah about the events. he's not that difficult to find. we met with him in public at the coffee shop of a well known hotel here for around two hours. he seemed to be confident. his demeanor not that of a man who believed that he was going to be detained or targeted any time soon. and he agreed to let us film audio but not video of our conversation. [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> joining us from cairo right now. so arwa, he's been criminalally charged by the u.s. justice department. what was he like when you spent an hour or two with him in libya? >> reporter: well, wolf, first of all he also said that he would, in fact, be willing to sit down with the americans as long as it was a conversation similar to the one that we had had and not an interrogation. he was fairly relaxed. he showed up with around half a dozen members of an islamist unit, a militia part of the security forces. the libyan authorities, he said he has a fairly close relationship with a number of senior commanders amongst the libyan security forces. he was altering between being relaxed at times, though, getting a bit aggravated with our questions. especially when we were pressing him on specific details about what happened the night of the attack. he most certainly does not deny
being there, but he says that he arrived on scene after one of the libyan commanders who was close by called him up and asked him for assistance. because apparently this commander's men were somehow caught up in that attack. he says when he initially arrived there, he saw men carrying propelled grenades and various weapons. but because of the intensity of the fire fight, he wasn't able to enter the compound. >> he may be watching us right now on cnn international. you got to know him a little bit. if he hears -- if he's hearing right now that he is now criminally charged by the u.s. justice department with the killings in benghazi of the u.s. ambassador and three other americans, what is your sense? how's he likely to respond to that? because for all purposes there is no real libyan government in benghazi right now. there's a lot of just plain people on the loose including a
bunch of terrorists. >> reporter: look, wolf. it's an incredibly sensitive situation. and we flat out asked him. we said there's allegations against you that you were perhaps involved in the attack, that you may have been the master mind of the attack. he and two of the other militia men burst out laughing. they found that concept to be ludicrous. it is highly unlikely that he would be willing to be brought in, be detained. that's not to say, though, that he would not necessarily be open to a conversation like he said that he was. and you know, wolf, when you speak to some of the other analysts, people have been following these groups inside libya closely. it's unlikely ahmed was directly responsible for what took place that night. they believe the u.s. needs to begin looking outside the box, beyond individuals whom they would perhaps deem to be the usual suspects. when it comes to really tracking down who was responsible.
one analyst who we spoke to said he believed that this was an attack that was planned by al qaeda and twere now fighting in syria. >> unfortunately the u.s. government can't count on libya doing much to arrest this guy or any of the other suspects who have now been criminally charged. arwa damon, thanks very much for that. all of this is a subject of a cnn special investigation by erin burnett called the truth about benghazi. it airs later tonight here on cnn. erin is joining us from new york. excellent work, erin. i know you spoke to the mother of one of the americans who was killed in benghazi. what did she tell you? >> you know, it was amazing. we had a chance to speak with the families. and for me, i remember that night. it was 7:00 eastern when we first got news that an american had been killed in benghazi. and we had just gone on the air.
we had that breaking news. and at that moment it's a disembodied thing. we've covered it day in and day out for the past nearly a year. but talking to those families you understand how emotional and crucial it is to get answers. most of them were apolitical. but one of them the mother of shawn smith, pat smith is angry and does feel it's political. and she blames someone very specifically. here's pat smith. >> it's hillary's legacy over there. if not -- i had told her personally nose to nose, please tell me what happened. and she promised me she would get back to me. she did not get back to me. she did not get back to anybody else in america. and she's hiding everything that she can. >> that was the anger and frustration she feels. but what amazed me from talking to the other family members who lost their children, who lost their siblings is just they just
want answers. and they don't want this to be political. it seems obvious we need more answers. it also seems obvious this shouldn't be about the finger pointing and blame game going on in washington. i want to let all your viewers know, people can go to our blog because these families have foundations, ways to try to help to make sure this doesn't happen again. i hope people will go to those foundation websites and learn more about the families. >> you've spent a lot of time on this story. you put together a great team for tonight's special. what's the biggest takeaway you take from this documentary? >> reporte >> one of the things that amazed me the most, could this be prevented? the answer to that question is yes. we'll talk to one of the men who briefed chris stevens on security. his takeaway, the americans knew there were all these groups out there. didn't know which was which and didn't know what they were capable of. and as a result misevaluated the risk. this could have been prevented.
the british, the u.n., the red cross all left benghazi. no one ever recommended the american dos so. it didn't have to happen. and then on the or end, could we -- you're talking to arwa about charges being filed now almost one year later. where are you going to get the forensic evidence? how can you take them to trial and put them in jail? will someone be brought to justice. this could have happened much more quickly. and among our conclusions is that the administration was focused foremost on re-election. it's a painful truth, but it appears to be the case. and the republicans wanted to get the credit about what really happened. but they just wanted revenge on the administration opposed to answers about what happened. there's a lot of black eyes to go around, but this was something that could have been prevented and we could make sure doesn't happen again. >> we're going to look for it to seeing your report later tonight. thanks very much. and to our viewers out
there, don't miss tonight's documentary "the truth about benghazi" a special investigation. it airs at 10:00 p.m. eastern later tonight only here on cnn. up next, inside the court-martial of the army psychiatrist charged in the fort hood massacre. his statements as he defends himself. and new details about the horrifying deaths of two boys attacked by a python on the loose. ♪ nothing says, "i'm happy to see you too," like a milk-bone biscuit. ♪ say it with milk-bone.
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gene, thanks very much for joining us. a lot of us wonder why didn't the military put federal terrorism charges against major hasan? >> well, there may be a technical reason for that, wolf. the uniform code of military justice permits court-martial to try other crimes and offenses. only if they're non-capital. and dr. hasan would have been subject to a capital charge under the federal -- the terrorist provisions of the federal criminal code. so i think that's the explanation for that. but the real question, if i may, is why wasn't this case tried in federal court at all? in a way, it's a rerun of the issues that have emerged with respect to the guantanamo bay.
>> wounding another 31 others. then got these charges. they're seeking the death penalty. clearly they're going after him. i raise the issue of terrorism because since he wasn't accused of terrorism, even though he was screaming out akbar during the course of the killings, he said he was inspired by anwar al awalaki. and he's accused of murder and terrorism doesn't come into play. >> it's a peculiarimpeculiarity things like terrorism -- that we would call terrorism or things like war crimes don't get prosecuted under those titles. they're prosecuted as for example murder. so there's a bind. now, my understanding is that members of congress are on the case as far as the question of benefits and eligibility for
purple hearts and so forth. my assumption is the congress should fix that. >> it's prize surprising the military didn't do that initially. the other surprising thing is he's still collecting had his salary as a major in the united states military. he's already collected since the shooting spree about $300,000. and more will be collected until he's convicted. what's up with that? >> right. that's a great question. and people really should be scratching their heads about it. the fact is as a commissioned officer, dr. hasan is entitled to be paid his paid allowances just like any other g.i. he can't be treated as ineligible for paying allowances because he hasn't been convicted of anything else. however, i have to say and here's a curveball.
i think this will raise a number of questions, so get ready. i think the president could have simply fired dr. hasan and that would have cut off his pay. the only problem with doing that would have been that there wouldn't have been military jurisdiction and dr. hasan at that point could have been tried in federal district court for a terrorism charge. you have to assume that this was a case that really should be tried in an army court-martial. but the president did to my understanding have the power to simply fire dr. hasan, dismiss him as a commissioned officer. >> we'll check that with the white house and make sure you got the right information. it is shocking. he's getting $300,000, but the victims, the families who suffered, those who were killed and injured, they're not getting special compensation because of the peculiarity of the law.
hold on for a minute, because our correspondent at fort hood texas right now, he's joining us on the phone. give us a little update at what happened today. >> reporter: well, we had had planned to come to you live from the grounds here of fort hood a few hundred yards away from where the trial is going on. but we were forced inside a building here because we are prohibited from seeing major hasan come and go from the courthouse. he is escorted out of the building and into a helicopter and flown to a nearby county jail where he is being held throughout the course of these proceedings. but we are not allowed to watch any of that. so every time major hasan comes and goes from fort hood, we are forced inside of a building and wait for the helicopters to land or take off. but the testimony has wrapped up here the first day.
major hasan quickly from the get go of this trial made it clear that this will not be a trial about whether or not he's guilty or innocent. he is waging his own war here at this point. major hasan saying that i am the shooter. the evidence will show that. but clearly major hasan wants to make a larger philosophical point about justifying why he killed 13 soldiers and injured 30 others. >> we'll stay in close touch with you. ed, thanks. and gene, thanks to you as well. a lot of other questions we'll continue to explore. up next, americans evacuated because of a terror threat. now new details about what the intelligence community is doing to track down the possible attackers. and a huge scare for r & b singer usher. his 5-year-old son stuck at the bottom of a pool. we have the dramatic 911 call. [ male announcer ] these days, a small business can save by sharing.
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americans evacuated u.s. drone strikes reported. al qaeda operatives on the move. it's all been happening in yemen today. the country at the center of a growing fear that a terror attack may be imminent. barbara starr is following all the developments for us. what is the u.s. intelligence community doing to try to track down possible attackers? >> reporter: well, this is now a 24/7 hunt. it begins, of course, working with yemeni intelligence services and the yemeni government to see what they know. they have already posted a list of the 25 most wanted al qaeda members in their country. the cia and the rest of the u.s.
intelligence community is looking at a number of things we now know looking for clues. let me tick through some of them for you. of course, they are increasing surveillance by drones and satellites overhead. looking for any possible unusual activity, any targets. if they find them we are told they will go after them. they are also scouring the intercepts we have heard about. communication intercepts by the national security agency looking for any unusual communications patterns. and they're even looking at websites and chart rooms used by jihad groups to see if there are any known members of al qaeda in yemen that may be posting messages about all of this. even it's got ton the point that we're told they're looking at financial transactions, family members of known jihad members. looking at any pattern of activity they can find. >> what do we know about the american evacuees taken out of
yemen today? >> reporter: well, these were members of the u.s. embassy that were brought out by a u.s. military aircraft that then landed in germany. this was a chance to reduce the u.s. footprint even further. we're told no new intelligence about the threat, but a growing sense that they just want to reduce any u.s. footprint, the number of u.s. people in yemen and of course the state department telling american civilians get out of yemen. get out now. >> all right. thanks very much. up next, the children are missing and the man suspected of killing their mother may have abducted them. we're following the manhunt in california. and a scare for usher involving his son in a swimming pool. we have the 911 call. "and one of the most efficient trucking networks," "with safe, experienced drivers." "we work directly with manufacturers," "eliminating costly markups,"
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happening now. a woman found dead in her burned out home. her husband is suspected of murder and kids are missing. manhunt underway. two boys killed by a python. how it happened. and iran may have found a new way to build a nuclear bomb. israel's former defense minister tells me what he does. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." a massive search is going on in southern california right now for two missing children. they may have been abducted by
the man suspected of murdering their mother. paul, what are the police saying about the suspect? >> reporter: well, right now we can tell you this is not just a california search. this is a nationwide search for james dimaggio. it has been expanded with federal martials and the fbi joining in. detectives now releasing new photos of dimaggio. showing him clean shaven and more recent. this is important because they want him identified. they want him to either surrender himself or they're hoping someone else will spot him. as you pointed out, wolf, this all started with a fire on sunday night. and when firefighters responded, inside they found two bodies. that of 44-year-old christina anderson. said to be a close platonic friend of dimaggio's and also
the remains of a child. one law enforcement telling me that these remains are not inconsistent with those of an 8-year-old. they have not found, so far, the daughter. she is 16-year-old hannah. she is said to be 5'7" tall, 115 pounds. and an amber alert in california has been issued throughout the state. now that this is a nationwide search, what they are looking for is the suspect's car. a blue versa. and it has california plates. the suspicion here, he murdered his close friend. it is said he knew this family for a long time. the children since at least childhood. and they are looking throughout the area and throughout the west right now for james dimaggio. >> san diego county sheriff's office has released this picture that we're showing our viewers right now. this amber alert that was sent out overnight, how is that
impacting the search? >> reporter: so many people received it. they want everyone in the state knowing dimaggio or if they see this vehicle. it's impacting on a nationwide level. >> because it's been sent out to almost everyone's cell phone, is that right? >> reporter: exactly right. in fact, a lot of people were alarmed when they received it. but they're testing this. and many people did receive this. be on the lookout for, and got this with the description and license plate number. >> let's hope they find this guy quickly. thank you very much paul vercammen. spraying with gun fire killing three people. he didn't enter a plea. he had been battling the township officials over a
derelict property charge. witnesses say he yelled they stole my land as he opened fire. new details coming out about the bizarre deaths of two brothers in canada strangled in their sleep by an escaped python. a snake we now know was being kept illegally. nick moore is joining us from the scene right now of ctv. what's the latest information you're picking up? >> caller: wolf, people in this community continue to be in disbelief about what has happened here. the death of two young children would be difficult enough for anyone to comprehend, but for the horrific way these brothers died is for many too much to handle. a new in campbellton only bringing more pain, disbelief and shock. they were killed as they slept at a friend's house sunday night. the python was kept in the floor to ceiling enclosure in the
apartment. at some point during the night it escaped in the enclosure, made its way to the living room and fell through. when police arrived early monday morning, they found the two boys strangled. the python has since been destroyed. this type of snake illegal to have in new brunswick. >> in canada, especially something like that, i don't know what to say. there's many weird things can happen in the world. i don't know. >> reporter: police have been securing the apartment and store ever since they made that terrible discovery early monday morning. our major crimes is now investigating. joanne was inside the shop with her adult daughter two weeks ago. >> to me, kids shouldn't be in there. it should be people 19 and over. >> reporter: the owner of the store who also owns the apartment where the boys died told ctv news he's had the snake for more than a decade and it was rarely handled.
the city now looking at changing their own bylaws when it comes to exotic animals. >> the two deaths must not go invain. >> i didn't know what was going on until i came outside and spoke to a neighbor or someone snooping around the tape lines. they told me. that's when i got in shock. i was frightened. i didn't know what to do. so i came back home and left for the night. >> reporter: along with grief, anger too. many people refusing to go on camera but saying this store should never have been allowed to operate. >> there's funerals to be organized here by the families. and i think that's where we're going to start really to see some anger. >> reporter: a fund raiser is now being organized to help the mother of these young boys with the cost of funerals. >> she's got some good peoples and a good family that will certainly help her. the community is going to rally. >> reporter: a community still coming to terms with the unthinkable. the family now asking for privacy.
and wolf, police say this continues to be a police investigation. and that charges are still possible here. >> all right. we'll continue to watch with you nick moore of ctv reporting. meanwhile, a bad scare for the singer usher. his 5-year-old son was swimming when he got stuck in the pool drain. it happened at the music star's atlanta home yesterday. usher himself was not there. the boy's aunt frantically called 911. >> my nephew was in the pool. and he -- he went. i couldn't get him. i couldn't -- i couldn't get him. i tried to get him. and they got him out now doing cpr. he's five years old. >> okay. stay with me. >> huh? >> is he breathing? >> is he breathing? is he breathing? he's breathing. yes, ma'am. >> two men who were installing sound equipment at the home were the ones who pulled usher's son out of the pool.
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the story for us. what's going on? >> you've heard about banks too big too fail. others too big to jail. this lawsuit shows there are some that are just not too big to sue. the department of justice announced it's going after bank of america with some of the biggest complaints about the financial crisis that nearly tanked the economy between 2007 and 2008. doj says america's second largest bank lied about the riskiness of $850 million in shares of home loans that are sold to investors. the bank made false statements about how carefully it checked out. this is a civil suit so no one is going to jail. but if bank of america is found liable, it will get hit by millions of dollars of fines. >> what does bank of america have to say about this? >> we have talked to them. they deny defrauding anybody. they say these were not subprime loans which are the main focal point of the financial crisis. they say these were prime mortgages sold to sophisticated
investors who had ample access to the underlying data. and lawrence grayson at bank of america told cnn we're not responsible for the housing market collapse that caused mortgage loans to collapse at unprecedented race. >> has the justice department done this before? >> they have. they've sued swiss and jpmorgan chase. bank of america knew this was coming. >> i guess this process is just beginning. >> absolutely. >> thanks for that report. up next, would israel attack iran's nuclear program without the united states support or involvement? i'll ask the former israeli defense minister about that and progress towards building a nuclear bomb. coca-cola is partnering with local businesses and the seaside heights business improvement district to restore the historic boardwalk, welcoming beach lovers back with a refreshed and revitalized
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iran's new president said today he's ready for serious talks with the west about his country's nuclear program. but there are also reports iran is trying a new method in its efforts to build a nuclear bomb, a huge concern for the united states and its allies. especially israel. and joining us now, the former defense minister of israel ehud barack. thank you for coming in. how close is iran right now to developing a nuclear bomb through weapons grade plutonium opposed to uranium. >> they plan to operate a heavy water and nuclear react tore produce plutonium somewhere next
year. later in 2014. it doesn't mean that they will be immediately capable of producing weapons based on plutonium. they are much closer on the enrich uranium path to a nuclear weapon. which probably if they decide to do as fast as they can, it would end up about try to hide what they are doing president it might take two years o or a bit more. we don't know yet the decision to build weapons and all agreed upon or accepted. >> is it true it would be easier for israel to destroy the plutonium reactor opposed to the uranium reactor? >> it's easier for all to destroy a plutonium reactor because it's basically an installation, very big one over
the ground. and extremely vulnerable. as you know, at least one had been destroyed by us in iraq 30 years ago. some rumors about another one. >> the report on israel radio quoting a high israeli official expressing doubt the obama administration would do anything significant to stop them if it came down to that. how do you stand on that? >> i hope -- when we talked about the need to prevent, all options are on the table. we mean it. we expect of course the administration and all others who say to mean it. and now we had elected as the independent of the nuclear issue. it's probably something positive. but in regard to the nuclear issue, it might draw the attention. people might assume that he's
motivated in alternatives. and the alternative or the option to talk to him should be exhausted before you turn to any physical steps against this program. so people might be dragged out of the real issue which is to prevent iran turning nuclear. >> he had a news conference today, the new president of iran hassan rourhani. >> we are prepared seriously and without wasting time to enter negotiations with the other side which are serious and substantive. >> so what do you think? is this new president of iran more moderate than ahmadinejad? >> he's less colorful than al qaeda -- ahmadinejad. but doesn't mean he's less of
this group. in regard to the nuclear program, they are all on the same page. they're trying to find the most effective way to defy and defeat the whole world. so i think the real issue -- i cannot in the way of someone wants to talk to them or try to talk to them. but any contact with them, any negotiation with the new limits in a way that will make sure that the strategic clarity of the need to block iran from turning nuclear will be kept in mind so that long before starting 2014, iranians should know, probably behind closed doors. no need to embarrass them in public. they should know that either they are serious about putting an end to the nuclear military
program or else. >> the form he defense minister of israel, the former prime minister of israel as well. thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> the former defense minister also told me, he thinks that there should be what he described as a no-fly zone overseer i can't, given the humanitarian crisis that's going on as a result of the civil war there. he also told me, he thinks the obama administration should strengthen the relationship that currently has with the new interim leadership of egypt. speaking of egypt, senator john mccain is in cairo right now saying what the white house won't say. that the ouster of the country's morsi was a coup. mccain and lindsey graham are both in cairo with president obama's blessing trying to break the political stalemate and end the violence that has rocked the country since morsi was removed by the egyptian military. >> i remember walking through
tahrir square just weeks after mubarak had left power. we said we shared the democratic aspirations and criticisms of the morsi government that led millions of egyptians into the streets on june 30th. we've also said that the circumstances of the former government, the president's removal, were a coup. >> i ask you to give me a definition of political coup. >> i'm not here to go through the dictionary. if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. >> referring to a coup. by law, by the way, more than $1 billion in u.s. military aid to egypt would have to be cut off if the u.s., if the president of the united states formally tea chairs that morsi's ouster was in fact a coup. so far the white house has not said that. another couple. stories we're watching in the situation room. day one of jury deliberations
has now ended in the trial of the boston mobster james whitey bulger. he is accused of killings and extortion and money laundering. he was arrested in 2011 in santa monica, california, where he was living under an alias with his girlfriend after 16 years on the run. jurors deliberated for six hours today. they'll resume tomorrow morning. and the former new york governor elliot spitzer's spent on, at least one of them in the race for comptroller has been arrested. she is a former madam. she was caught selling prescription pills. she was a key player in the scandal that forced spitzer to step down in 2008. [ male announcer ] these days, a small business can save by sharing. like carpools... polly wants to know if we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] ...office space.
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hot shots. check them out in colorado. a spectacular sunset follows a storm. in montana, a quiet day on the lake. in canada, a duck is pictured near a pond. and in south africa, food is prepared to feed the needy on a religious holiday. hot shots, pictures coming in from our cnn i-reporters around the world. maybe money can't buy happiness but dryness is a different story. here's cnn's jeanie moos. when you're wet or sweaty, this is how most folks mop up. when you don't have a hanky handy, show me the money. that's a 50 euro note this guy has deployed to take care of
excess liquidity. the equivalent of around $66. there he was in the background of an interview taking place at a horse race in ireland. talk about money needing laundered. who wants this on their face? a 2002 study showed it has pathogens. >> i haven't cried like that since titanic. >> when woody harrellson uses cash to wipe away tears. the guy who used a euro note to mop up rain drops could have left his cash in his pocket if he had supporters like mitt romney did. during the last presidential campaign, this restaurant owner came to mitt's rescue whether or not mitt wanted rescue. >> i can't let our next president look all sweaty like this in a photograph. >> the restaurant owner then tried to wipe off a piece of napkin that he left on mitt's lower lip. but this time, mitt kept a stiff upper lip and did it himself.
president george w. bush had his own moment he probably preferred to be wiped from memory. >> top ten george w. bush moments. >> during a xhirgs break on david letterman show, president bush used the sweater of a show stopper to clean his eyeglasses. if that rubs you the wrong way, this may rub you the right way. this deer kept rubbing his hold a teenager sitting on a beach in british columbia as his mom shot the video. experts say the deer is probably either trying to rub fur off the base of his antler's or leaving his scent that come out of his forehead. some thought that's not all he's leaving. >> deer rubbing against a young boy. >> that was an upsetting piece of video. >> it's probably hygienic. >> enough to make rub your eyes in disbelief. >> it's not hurting, is it? >> that might hurt. >> cnn, new york.
>> a swiss study showed a flu virus can survive as long as 17 days on a paper bill. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next. breaking news. the justice department has filed criminal charges in the deadly attack on benghazi. plus, manhunt in california. a murder suspect on the run tonight. it is believed he has two children with him. and the gop has threatened cnn. the man who made those threats, reince priebus, head of the republican committee is "outfront" tonight. let's go "outfront." >> good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront," i want to begin with breaking news. the justice department has