tv In the Arena CNN May 4, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
new york. hope to see you then. that's all for us tonight. "in the arena" right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com angry crowds in pakistan, demanding proof that osama bin laden is really dead. sfleets where he died, protesters are saying it's all an american lie. hard to believe. more in a moment. first, a look at what we're digging into on tonight's program. we're a nation of laws. but did we assassinate bin laden? settling a score or a violation of principles and conspiracy theories. is osama the next elvis? then -- s.e.a.l. team six.
>> sleep tight, sucker. >> no, not a chuck norris movie, the guys that shot bin laden. but e.d. hill has been digging and she says they may have had some help. stay tuned. now, a top story tonight. i will show you more video shot today. you see those people holding a banner written in erdu, but here's the translation. they're doubting osama bin laden is dead. let's go live to abbottabad, pakistan, where we're joined by cnn senior international correspondent nic robertson. tell me about the protests and who is leading them. >> reporter: well, it's lawyers here, amazingly enough, in this city, who are protesting. i spoke to the president of the bar association here today. he said 400 to 500 lawyers came out, protesting what they called an american attack on the compound. i asked him about this.
he said they don't believe that bin laden was living here, that they believe that this operation was to bolster president obama's chances for re-election next year and he doesn't believe his government as well that politicians here in pakistan are using this situation to further their own political advantages. so you have this sort of influential, intellectual group in this city, who are saying unless they get a photograph, they won't believe that bin laden's dead. they actually want more than a photograph. they want the people in pakistani government custody. the other family members. the wife. the daughter of bin laden. to be shown publicly. and to hear them say yes bin laden actually lived here. >> give us a sense -- you always see some of the tv footage, are these protests gaining traction? are the crowds growing? is this a growing movement day by day? >> this is what the government
is worried about, that for every lawyer you see on streets here there are others who are not protesting. there are others who are happy bin laden is dead. they don't want something like that on their doorstep. they know what he brings to this country. thousands of pakistanis have been killed over recent years because of taliban and al qaeda attacks here. and people want a better life. they want improved economies, improved security. i talkeded to a doctor here. he said, look, let's put this behind us. let's build a good relationship with the united states. they're funding a lot of our schools here. let's have more of that. let's use this to improve the lives of people in pakistan. yes, the government worries that there is the angry element that will gain traction but for all of those you see on the streets, there are plenty of others would just want a better life. >> what if anything has been heard from al qaeda? is there any voice? is there any formal response to members of al qaeda who are still there saying we're ready to fight or are they back on their heel, recognizing not only that their leader has been killed but also that the united
states now has a treasure trove of information about them? what, if anything, is the sense on street about al qaeda? >> well, we nole that these groups, these al qaeda followers like to chat on some sort of jihadist forums and there's mixed messages. some are saying if you've got an attack ready, do it now. others are saying no, we need to strike big, let's plan our attacks. others say, let's see what the americans are getting here. but interestingly, it seems to be that the jihadists are the ones accepting at the moment in some part that bin laden is dead. i spoke to radical islamist in london, a man you've interviewed on your show, elliott, ochoudry he told me he's planning a protest in london. he believes that bin laden is dead. eli eliot. >> all right, thanks so much, you're right, choudry is always planning a protest, seems to be the only thing he can do.
thanks so much, we'll check back with you later on. why did president obama decide the world should not see a picture of a dead osama bin laden? he explained his reasons in an interview with cbs. take a listen. >> there's no doubt that we killed osama bin laden. it is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence, as a propaganda tool. you know, that's not who we are. >> propaganda tool or not, should the photos have been released? i want to welcome back to the show two voices from the islamic community. a columnist is joining me from washington. and a writer for the blog muslim matters. in albuquerque tonight. welcome. i want to start with hiba. you are a devout muslim, as i
think most people can see by your dress tonight. europe wearing a nikab. i just want folks to understand that. let me begin with you. should the photos of the dead osama bin laden be released to the world so there's absolutely no dispute that he has met his maker? >> thank you for having me on the show. i want to start out by saying, and i think we would both agree on this, osama bin laden and his ideology is an extremism that does not represent islam and does not represent the majority of peace-loving islams. with that being said, i think this issue is a little bit complicated because i think you have to weigh the pros and cons of releasing or not releasing. hindsight is 20/20. we unfortunately don't have that benefit. so i have to say that i do agree with our president, that i think that the negative outcome could actually outweigh the positive. i think that personally these are going to be gory and gruesome pictures which i have no desire to see, nor do i want
my children or other person's children to see all over the internet. what i'm really afraid of is these people that sympathize with bin laden to put up banners with pictures of his dead body and use that to rally more people around him. and i think that -- >> hibah, let me interrut for a moment so i can give mona a chance to jump in. argue the other side for a moment. if you were able to hear the prior segment, there seems to be a growing movement in pakistan that doubts, in fact, bin laden is dead. would not these photos resolve the issue and put to rest with finality and make it clear the leader of al qaeda is gone and finished? m mona, what do you think. >> i would have to say it represents a tiny majority of muslims. the majority of muslims i know detested osama bin laden and what he represented and the way he hijacked our religion and distorted everything that islam represents and what we're proud
of. there are some conspiracy theorys who will never be satisfied with any kind of proof. i have to add, i don't know how much of his face is left to prove that it really is him who is dead when pictures are released. but you have to remember, many people across the world distrust everything the u.s. administration says and unless there's some kind of proof presented, they will distrust it even more, especially because of the story of the raid itself is beginning to change already. i would have supported it, but remember we see gruesome pictures all the time. we're seeing horrendous pictures of what the gadhafi regime is doing to revolutionaries. because there's so much mistrust, the u.s. administration should release pictures. >> we need to do something tangible, something that is akin to what people ordinarily see on a tv show, to prove the case, you know, we're used to this what i call tv-level proof now. i used to be a prosecutor.
we're used to having crimes solved with something you can look at, touch, feel, smell. don't the folks in pakistan who may be skeptic, they may be irrational, but don't they need to see something indisputable? how do you respond? >> i think mona brings up many good points. i'm actually conflicted over this issue. but i don't think that picture of a man who has had multiple head wounds is going to be an undisputable fact. i think if the age of photo shop and airbrushing, it's not going to quell any conspiracy theories. if anything, i think it's just going to produce more, yet they'll have images in their hand to use for their recruitment. i think people are going to continue to believe what they believe. some people think he's been dead for a long timed. p. and they just show now to say it. i really think the harm outweighs the good in this. and i think our president knows the national security issues.
and if he weighed it and he thinks it could violate and harm our national security, than we need to trust him. >> she said she thought the ideology of osama bin laden itself was dead. it had run its course. it was no longer a persuasive argument to whatever generation may have listened to it. do you agree with that? do you think his ideology is now finished? >> absolutely, it has been for a while. i think bin laden's physical death came several years after his symbolic death. mostly because i think many muslims around the world realize that his realistic violence has done nothing but kill thousands of muslims around the world. make the lives of muslims around the world, especially in this country, hell, with profiling and the war on terror. between bin laden and george bush, muslim lives in many countries have been turned into hell. i also think with the increasing uprisings in revolutions across the middle east and north
africa, young people now, muslim and nonmuslim, have a new model for change that we canny abo br about change peacefully. we don't even need to consider this neo liftic violence. i think for a majority of muslims around the world, bin laden represented a terrible distortion of our religion and many people, many, many more than those you saw in the images from pakistan, are relieved he's dead. there's a big difference between celebrating and relief. most of us -- i have to add every single major islamic group in north americas that released a statement saying we are relieved bin laden is dead, good riddance, essentially. >> do you agree not only with that -- the notion that the ideology is dead but that what we are seeing in north africa, the middle east, the revolutions that have swept that reason are they an affirmative response to bin laden, saying no, we believe in freedom, tolerance, something other than the violence of bin laden? >> yes, i think that mona is exactly right. i do believe osama bin laden and his ideology have been long
marginized in the muslim and arab world, and i think here in the united states, we give him much more importance than over there. and i think it's ironic his death comes at a time when the muslim countries are showing peaceful pro democracy movements comi coming about. i hope the victims of 9/11 and all of us who were traumatized by what happened on 9/11 can finally get closure, and move on to something new, something where we'll all join the human family, we build bridges, we learn to know each other, and we go based on tolerance and knowledge, instead of fear and this black and white us versus them. >> mona, how did you respond to the -- the joy that was, expressed in the streets? the sort of flag waving, the cheer, the adulation down at ground zero sunday night when it was announced bin laden was dead? did that bother you? is that an affirmation of all we believe and hear? >> i went to ground zero because i wanted to spay respect to the
thousands who lo s lost their l at ground zero and other places, shanksville, pennsylvania, d.c., but other places in the war on terror around the world. i said a prayer there at ground zero for everyone who's lost their lives. what i found really dismayed me. it was basically a frat boy party that was a parity of team america. you know, people were cursing, using curse words before osama bin laden's name. i don't care about im, good riddance to him, but it was like the super bowl. they were nt chaing ole, ole, at a place that is supposed to be hallowed ground. muslims were told, you cannot build the islamic community center two blocks away because this is hallowed ground, yet they're on hallowed ground with these young people, you know, chanting, and using these awful words, in a place where we should be paying respect. so i was really dismayed. america is better than this. it doesn't have to be this kind
of triumphantalistriumphantalis. pakistan, iraq and other countries have suffered both from bin laden and george bush's war on terror which i hope president obama ends because it's time to close guantanamo and time to stop committing the injustices that we should be better than. because we must not descend to the levels -- >> mona -- >> can i jump in? >> before you do so, mona, you raised a host of issues there, that maybe we can revisit another day. hibah, respond how you reacted to what you saw at ground zero, either by being there, more likely given that you're in albuquerque, to watching it on tv. >> i have to say that when 9/11 happened, when i saw these scenes of muslims celebrating in the street, it was so horrific to me and it was completely distasteful. and i think like mona said, americans are better than this. we need to take a higher moral ground. we need to not celebrate death in this way and instead show
details to the president, they weren't running the show. the military was not running it. why was that so important? who was? >> let me tell you, a guy who created s.e.a.l. team six, probably the toughest guy in the world, he probably eats nails for breakfast. coming up, did u.s. forces violate international law when they killed an unarmed bin laden? a debate on american assassination when we return. st: uld switching to geico reallyavyou 15% or more on car insurance? host: is the pen mightier than the sword?
ninja 2: ow vogeico. 15 minutes uld save you 15% or more on car insurance. new information from pakistan about what u.s. officials found in osama bin laden's compound. bin laden cass carrying 500 euros. not sure that would have gotten him very far. and he also had two phone numbers sewn into his clothing. no doubt, those numbers have
been called by now. in addition, there were about five cell phones and five guns including pistols and ak-47s. here with more about the location of the compound, tom foreman at the data wall in our d.c. bureau. >> it's interesting to look at these new images. we made a big fuss about the notion that islamabad is down here, only about 45 minutes away from abbottabad. the truth is we're finding out a lot more about how other people were even closer. this is where the compound is over here. over here, is where the military academy -- where in 2008, our own troops were busy training pakistanis to handle problems in the rest of their country with various terrorist cells groups who were opposing them there. to the compound is only about 750 yards. so we had troops on the ground
within a few football field, of being where osama bin laden was believed to be at the time. if we move into this, i want you to take a look at this area right here, these are road blocks that have been identified by the goi analysts. they've looked at these photographs. we don't really know how long these have been here. whether or not this had anything to do with stopping people from coming into the compound up here. obviously, that's one of the concerns. now, here's the part i want you to look at. here's the compound up here. you can see the latest image. you can look right down here. that dark spot that appears right there, that is the downed helicopter that we've heard so much about. we know it was some type of blackhawk helicopter. there's been a lot of attention from intelligence sources that have looked at this. people around the world who pay attention to this. they've noticed some unusual things. i want you to come in very close. this picture, look at the tail rotor on this. you don't have to see a whole
lot of helicopters to recognize this looks somewhat different than what we've seen before. what that has intelligence folks around the world thinking as our own barbara starr reported, is maybe these were some type of stealth helicopters. because one of the big questions is why do the pakistanis not see these coming in to launch this raid? that's one of the big questions that is being asked. sorting through how they came in, hit this compound and got out the way they did. in any event, eliot, these inne pictures really helping day by day to paint a bigger more complex picture of what actually went on inside this house. >> fascinating stuff. amazing. i got to tell you -- the beginning of your little talk to us here, when you said it was 750 yards on the map between the military school, the pakistani military school and the compound, that was unbelievable.
there's absolutely no way i would take any bet, any odds, the intelligence service in pakistan knew they was there. they had to, they're part of it, game over, this is not even a dispute. it's just incredible. >> this area, i'll tell you this also, eliot, the military people aren't here confined to this area. there's a lot of movement all throughout this area so that's why i think a lot of people were saying that. there's a golf course not far from here. so the truth is you got a lot of people moving around here. that's one of the reasons people keep looking at it. just the geography alone in saying you didn't know, how is that possible? >> thank you. as i said the other day, you put up an 18-foot wall with barbed wire on top of it, immediately people are saying, what's on the other side? that is not how you guarantee anonymity. thank you. americans are celebrating the killing of osama bin laden but what was the operation's legal authority under u.s. and international law? attorney general eric holder thinks he had it. here's what he told the senate judiciary committee today. >> let me make something clear.
the operation in which osama bin laden was killed was lawful. he was the head of al qaeda. an organization that had conducted the attacks of september 11th. he admitted his involvement as you indicate, he said he would not be taken alive. the operation against bin laden was just fewed as an act of national self-defense. >> but does that settle the issue? joining me now, the solicitor general under the bill clinton administration. thought to be one of most brilliant constitutional lawyers out there. also, senior analyst david gergen. you've been there in the oval office as the sensitive decisions were being made. assassination is illegal under u.s. law. so how do we justify going in with all these troops and killing osama bin laden? >> well, first of all, assassination has been prohibited by a presidential executive order. a president can amend an
executive order at anytime. but this is not an assassination because it's conducted as part of an operation, a military combat, and as a matter of u.s. law, the authorization for the use of military force, enacted after 9/11, which gives the president the authority to use force that he deems reasonable to go against those that were behind 9/11, clearly applies to bin laden. so there's no question about its lawfulness under u.s. law. under international law, bin laden is an enemy combatant. and one of the points of war is you can kill enemy combatants. now, if they surrendered and cease being a combatant, then you have to take them into custody. but you have no obligation to make it easy for someone to surrender. even the more restrictive view of -- eliot, that some european nations hold, that you have to take steps that will not compromise your mission, in order to take someone into custody, rather than kill them when they're an enemy combatant,
that standard is easily met here. this is in the middle of the night. they meet armed resistance. they don't know if the pakistani military's going to be closing in, going to impede their departure. every second counts. it would compromise the mission to do anything other than use lethal force against bin laden and get him out as quickly as possible. so even under restricted view, it's clearly lawful. >> i'll speak for the entire supreme court. you win that argument 9-0. so far, you're way ahead. how about the drone attacks? does it get a little tougher? we're sending drones into pakistan and there the targets are not nearly so well identified. we're dealing with people much lower down, either in al qaeda or taliban. not so clear they're in these senior positions. is there any question there we're pushing the u.s. prohibition on assassination? >> i don't think so. i -- you are entitled -- the assassination ban is about targeting governmental leaders for political objective. we are going against a command
and control structure in pakistan and in afghanistan of people who have made no hesitation to say they are wanting to plot activity against the united states. there's a policy judgment to be made about how much you want to risk the loss of life of civilians or noncombatants. how careful you ought to be. those are decisions about the lawfulness, not the use of, military force. >> david gergen's been right at the center of those operational decisions in the oval office with multiple presidents when these decisions are made. first, does the president when he's determining what to do here, do you consider the legality or do you just say we're going to get osama bin laden, we'll worry about the legal mess after, call the lawyers in once we're done? >> sure, clinton, first thing he would have said is call walter dellinger, ask him, he's the guy that will know. that's the right answer. walter, solicitor general, wonderful constitutional
scholar. eliot, you've been a heavyweight in the law as well. i'm not going to argue that. but a president would normally do that, yes. but the president would also ask -- a moral question, is it right, in effect. i think the answer comes to the same place. this is the man who declared war on the united states. he was a combatant. he said that he would never be taken alive. he gave indications he would have explosions on him. in the middle of the night, it seems to be morally justified, rooted in some sense of natural law, that you could take him out. i think it would be a pretty open and shut case. just as we did with admiral moto during the second world war after he was the mastermind on the attack of pearl harbor. >> move to libya. i don't want to move across the geographic world too quickly but move to libya where we bombed libya and gadhafi in 1986 i
believe it was. then thereafter we moved to diplomatic recognition. we tried to bring him into the orbit of the world, of the league of nations, not literally the league but those who abid by international law. now we're back to bombing his headquarters in tripoli again, killing parts of -- members of his family. does this make sense to you, either operationally, morally or legally? >> i think this is a lot more problematic. we went in on the basis of the u.s. mandate, the u.n. mandate, and that was about defensive action. it's a very strange argument that that would include trying to take out gadhafi but it does seem to be -- gadhafi is in a very different case. i'd be interested in hearing walter's view. very different case. >> excuse me, i'm sorry, david. walter, i'm leaving the toughest question for you. you justify the u.s. government's participation through fanato in the bombing o gadhafi's family, arguably
targeting gadhafi himself. is that within the constraints of the u.n. resolution or u.s. law as you understand it? >> well, david is correct, that libya's a more problematic case. but if there is authority to use lethal force against gadhafi's troops on the ground in order to protect civilians in ben ghazi, then it clearly is within lawful authority to go after the command and control center in gadhafi's compound. now, as a matter of policy, you want to minimize civilian damage and it's worth noting, as david does on the moral calculus, about bin laden, that the president chose the more difficult option. instead of dropping a 2-ton bomb, he chose a more difficult option, in part, to avoid the loss of unnecessary life. so we've had that moral calculus. i think libya's a more complicated case. if you can go after the troops, you can go after the canommande
>> if he were in a house somewhere and not in a command and control center, that would be a -- very difficult to justify. >> as a matter of policy. as long as he's the effective commander, and we have every reason to believe he was. there certainly has been no retirement party, you know, for bin laden by al qaeda. so we have every reason to believe he's still in command and control. no matter where he is, i think you can go after him. as a matter of policy and humaneness, you may want to minimize collateral damage, loss of life to civilians, and they did that in this case. >> the raids quite properly, in fact, president obama had a choice, he could have dropped a big bomb on bin laden's house. instead, minimized the loss of life. one of the other reasons to go in as we did, a bomb would have destroyed everybody without any proof that bin laden, in fact, was dead. now the raging debate, should the president release photos to eliminate any possible doubt bin laden is dead, what do you think? >> i think it's very hard to call. one thing we've learned, he's
extremely judicious. he must have weighed this very carefully. i trust his judgment at the end of the day. if he thought that this actually would be a threat to u.s. national security, you'd find riots around the world. it would make him more of a martyr. i would have -- i think he -- and it came down that way, i would support that. you know, the other interesting part of this, eliot, it's true in pakistan, there's some -- you know, people are protesting he's not dead and that sort of thing, even though, as the protest, taking him out, but the truth is, most of the world thinks he's dead, so i don't think the president had a great weight on his shoulders to make that case. and i think that -- and i think that led him to make the decision, okay, in this case why release this and get -- have people rally and the gruesome pictures and everything else. >> all right, walter dellinger, david gergen, thank you for being here. up next, e.d. hill talks to a man who pioneered the kind of special ops unit that took down bin laden. america.
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the team that took out osama bin laden is an elite military unit operating under the cia. it was a clean, fast operation. no u.s. casualties. this unique unit of high-end warriors stems directly from the original special operations unit called s.e.a.l. team six. the man who created that team joins us now. it is great to talk to you. >> good to be here on a day like this. >> you chose six because -- not because there were six units but you wanted people -- >> well, we still playing the iron curtain world so i thought about those things. >> you got to hand pick the people in this unit. how did you do it? what did you look for? what do they look for now? >> initial and most important thing to me at that time, which
is, you know, early 1980, was combat experience. we were just getting rid of retirement of our vietnam veterans. so what i first needed, those who had been in combat, with a bullet going by their ear with their name on it, was about. the second thing i looked at was trade skills. because we were going to be counterterrori counterterrorists. do hostage situations. so i wanted to have people who knew how to be electrician, knew how to do air conditioning. so i could implement my people to repair something and could see the terrorists and do the count for me, what kind of weapons, what was their state of mind. versus counting on somebody that didn't know anything about the operations that were going to unfold as soon as i got the green light. >> now, i know that it has -- it's sort of moved on. i'm not sure how much you can tell us about how that has changed. but from s.e.a.l. team six, i believe you then developed something that they call the red cell.
and it is continued, progressing, adapting to the type of enemy and warfare we face. ways going on now? how do they create these teams now? >> well, they still do it basically the same way. to go to the development group, which is a new name of the current s.e.a.l. team six, they still draw their men from the other s.e.a.l. teams. and what really helps out there is -- it's an all volunteer force. they have to go to -- volunteer for s.e.a.l. training or buds. only 23% make it through buds. then they operate in a normal team, two, three, four years. and go to s.e.a.l. team six as i knew it. and they go through a green team which is a screening process. and they can have as high as a 50% loss or cut on the applicants there. so you really have the final filter factor. frankly, all the s.e.a.l. teams today, in fact, all special
warfare in all the services, are over -- deployed and -- s.e.a.l. group right now is at the 13, 17 deployments between iraq and iran so you're talking about a mature fighter that's been around, highly trained, and with the best equipment in the world. >> they aren't operating under the military, they're operating under title 50 which i understand is the cia or other government agencies. what's the difference? why do they need to operate under, you know, whatever other government agency? and how does that change the rules of engagement or warfare? >> i think on the rules of engagement it doesn't really change it. each specific mission, they write a set of rules of engagement. the advantage of doing it under title 50 and being a mixed joint task force in the form of -- other than government, you don't have to worry about overflight
rights. you don't worry about -- >> you're not official -- you're not as official so you get to -- >> that's right, you are not representing a nation against nation. a warrior doing a job assigned to him. it's a formality more than a practicality i think. >> thank you so much for being here. >> thanks for having me in. >> coming up, on the top ten list of conspiracy theories, here's a new one, bin laden is still alive. we will bring in our favorite psychiatrist to take on this craziness next. part of my job as a diabetes educator
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behind this story? my guest, dr. gail saltz, psychologist, author, all-around rational person. are there two groups of doubters? the rational doubters who say show us more evidence? and the irrational doubters who will always see conspiracy? >> i would say given the fact that right now, if bin laden were alive and showed himself, nothing would be more humiliating to the united states. there's not a logical reason to doubt. so therefore, i think we're talking about people who either have a streak of great paranoia, and people who are doubters, in other words, obsessional kind of people. who need 100% proof. why, by the way, a picture or video would not be. >> a picture 100 years ago -- >> exactly, but today, of course, it wouldn't -- absolutely not suffice.
i think the reason is the doubting is a defense mechanism. it is a way to say many things. some of the things are these people are not like me. therefore, i don't identify with them. >> these people being -- >> well, it would be, we don't think obama's correct because he's not like me. that might be an american. it might be people in pakistan saying those americans are not like me so i don't think they're correct. and therefore i don't believe it. >> this is a fascinating notion. lets folks in pakistan sympathetic to osama bin laden, to al qaeda, don't want to admit that their ideology has taken this hit, somehow they will pretend it's not a reality? >> correct, and i think there's an implication, which may be or may be not real, that they let us down or they failed their job by having him be in their midst and we, therefore, came in and did the job better, and that's a very unacceptable and
distressing thought. so you have to defend against that as well. >> those who were -- perhaps the pakistan intelligence agencies, they clearly failed -- >> yes, but the pakistani people, they own that, that's their intelligence, their government, their military was down the road. would would feel that way as well. we didn't make the cut but you came in and invaded and took him? >> now, is there any rational demonstration of evidence that could persuade the crazies? are they beyond the pale? they believe ufos come down every night, we never really went to the moon? >> i think there's a big difference between ufos are coming down at night and doubting something that has bigger kernels of potential truth. a man who's been hiding for ten years, why did it take us so long? i don't think this is as far out as, boy, you're really crazy. however, i do think paranoia always comes out of seeds and kernels of truths.
there's always a kernel of truth to the paranoia. >> just because you're paraknowed, doesn't mean they're not out to get you. so that kernel justifies for them their rational world? >> right, absolutely. you can see that in people who have really elaborate paranoid fantasies or some people will look and say, this isn't so elaborate, right, other people said, we got him, he must be dead by now, all of these things add to that feeling of it's rational that there's conspiracy. but i am saying i think the doubters -- they're really a minority, if we think about it, nothing will prove to them, nothing is going to prove to them this is true. >> i take it from all of this you agree with the president, releasing the photos would have been a vain act in terms of being persuasive? therefore not releasing was the wiser approach? >> absolutely. i don't think any of these foot yos would have made a difference to convincing people. i do believe it could absolutely ignite people.
for the next generation, for the children of our country, i think it would have created tremendous -- we're not thinking about the greater victims here. people who are suffering and are going to be made anxious. i think this would increase that. >> we now have a treasure trove of information about al qaeda. all the stuff we took out of that compound. those who are still members of al qaeda, do they now live in absolute fear? does that paranoia for them force them to act differently? >> well, once there's a reality, absolutely. on the other hand, let me say that a lot of people knew they were being hunted anyway and there's a denial of that. a feeling of no matter what, i will be able to overcome that. or how much he really goes into denial mode again and says, you know what, i'm smarter than that. >> fascinating stuff. thank you for being here.
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here's a question that's been bugging me, didn't osama have any neighbors? that's basically what i asked this person, who is a national hero in pakistan for his stardom on the cricket field and now he's a prominent politician who lives near osama's old neighborhood. does it strike you as absolutely impossible, given the size of this house, given the cost of this house and the walls surrounding it, isn't it almost impossible that people didn't have curiosity about who lived there? >> you know, in the cities, anyone could live anywhere. i mean, probably if he was hiding very well -- god alone
knows. frankly, i have no idea. >> let me interrupt you for a moment. where i come from and we're a nation of $300 million people, a lot of big city, somebody builds a house that big, everybody knows who's behind it. people gossip. they're curious. you can't keep secrets. i don't care who you are or how much money you have. it is absolutely impossible for me to believe that everybody in that town didn't know who was there. >> i'm afraid this is not true. i mean, in pakistan, there are populations -- we have the highest population growth rate. the one thing that is happening is new areas coming up, buildings. where i live in -- outside islamabad, every day, new houses coming up. god only knows who lives in one p which houses. i don't know who lives in the neighboring houses. they're all coming up. >> all right, always a pleasure to chat with you, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> all right, maybe everybody didn't know, but it certainly is impossible to me their security
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two hot button issues have been dominating the chatter in washington all day. in fact, also this tv show tonight. they are, should the president have released those photos of bin laden? and did torture enhanced interrogation they call it to be polite, lead to the discovery of bin laden? we go to gloria borger, the most connected political reporter in washington, who's been checking all her sources behind the big walls of the white house. thanks for joining us tonight.
let's start with the photos. here's one where the white house wasn't speaking with one voice. >> it's kind of interesting. according to my sources inside the administration, there was always a sense the president himself was really leaning towards not releasing these photographs. and the most interesting piece of information i got was this was always going to be a decision that he made in concert with his national security team. in particular, his secretary of defense, his secretary of state. as a republican said to me who served in a previous administration, he said, when your secretary of defense says to you, do not release these photographs because it could put our men and women at risk, it's the right decision not to release the photographs. and a senior administration official told me last night, he said, look, there's no doubt osama bin laden is dead. we've got the dna, he said,
we've got the facials, we've got the wife's identification, we've got his measurements. so if this is for some shock value, why would we do it? the doubters are never going to believe it one way or another. >> for secretary of defense, the trump argument, the one that is going to supersede all others, is it's going to put our men and women in the field at risk. here's the curious thing. the person would was disagreeing with that, the current head of the cia who's about to become the secretary of defense, seems to get out there and say, it's going to become public, why not just do it now, that seems a little dissident to me. >> i think the key word in listening very carefully in all these situations, as you know, eliot, you have to parse words here, that it's ultimately going to be released, right? so i don't think this precludes the possibility that somewhat
down the road as part of the historical record, that this picture or pictures is infeed going to be released. but at this particular moment, i think the sense inside the white house was that it would inflame an already inflamed situation, and there really isn't any need to do it now because they've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt osama bin laden is, in fact, dead. >> let's switch topics. it seems as though two different narratives of the history are being written. one to justify the use of enhanced interrogation. the other line of argument, the history being written, is that had nothing to do with our finding out where he was. which of these is a better history? which is more persuasive tom you? >> the more persuasive argument -- first of all, i think -- let me state that it's ultimately something we cannot prove because we don't have access to all the documents. so we don't need exactly who was
tortured when. here is what i know from my sources who are very familiar with this operation. what i know is khalid shaikh mohammed who was water boarded 183 times, when asked about the important courier who led ultimately the cia to osama bin laden, when asked about this courier, he lied. ksm absolutely lied. and the reason -- the lie was alerting to the cia, because they knew from other detainees would have not been water boarded that, in fact, this courier was a protegee of khalid shaikh mohammed and other high-level al qaeda operatives. so it was the lie that led to them -- but he didn't tell them the truth. so what does that prove to you about the waterboarding? >> i ca guarantee you both sides are going to have a good or reasonable argument to justify their view of the