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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 5, 2010 5:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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more than 150 killed. number three, willow creek, oregon, 1903. more than 200 people killed. number two, south dakota, 1972, 237 people were killed in that one. but the deadliest, the worst, number one, the ohio river flood of 1913. death toll -- 467 people were killed according to the u.s. geological survey. from the show about lists to the show about the situation. "the situation room" is hosted by none other than mr. wolf blitzer. and here he is. wolf, to you. rick, thank you. happening now, america's top terror interrogators are now grilling the times square bomb suspect and federal officials are scrambling to plug some dangerous holes in homeland security that could have let faisal shahzad slip through their fingers. in pakistan right now, people are being rounded up and
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questioned about the times square case and cnn has new information coming into "the situation room" about shahzad's alleged links to the taliban in pakistan. and a new weapon against the oil that's spewing into the gulf of mexico and threatening the coastline. will it work? we're watching as a giant containment zone has moved closer and closer toward the source of the spill. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin with breaking news on the times square bomb case. we're getting new information right now out of pakistan about faisal shahzad's alleged links to known terrorists. our homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve is standing by. but let's go to cnn's reza sayah. he's in islamabad where he's working this story. reza, tell our viewers what you're learning. >> reporter: yeah, wolf. very interesting and really
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conflicting developments here in pakistan. of course, for the past couple of days, we've heard a lot about the pakistani taliban. were they behind the attempted bombing in times square new york? well, today in a phone call to cnn, the spokesperson for the pakistani taliban told us that absolutely not, they were not involved in this attempted bombing. here's what tareq had to tell cnn. that we appreciate faisal shahzad, but he has no link with the tareq pakistan. he may have received training from other groups, but not the tariq taliban pakistan. there are other groups that can provide that type of training too. there's that spokesperson saying, we have no links with this young man. but here's where the mystery deepens. an intelligence source telling cnn, that indeed, during his last visit to pakistan, which was back in july of 2009, faisal shahzad did indeed meet with at least one pakistani senior
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taliban leader. so there, wolf, you have conflicting accounts. the spokesperson for the taliban saying, no, we don't have any links with this young man, but the intelligence source telling cnn there may be some links. >> there's a newspaper called "dawn" in pakistan, as you know, reza. it says it now has a photo of this individual as he came into pakistan, what, in 2009? >> reporter: yeah. this is a picture actually by "dawn" news that was released on wednesday and it shows. faisal shahzad arriving in karachi airport in july of 2009. and that's when our intelligence source tells us he met up with a man by the name of muhammad rehan. muhammad rehan, according to this intelligence source is linked with another bad militant group, jayshe muhammad. this intelligence source telling cnn the two then drove up to northwest pakistan, eventually ending up in the waziristan
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area, and that's where, according to this intelligence source, they met with at least one, maybe more, senior taliban leaders. by the way, muhammad rehan in custody, picked up in the karachi area by security forces. we can't verify independently this account by this intelligence source. but if it's accurate, it corroborates with some parts of what faisal shahzad is telling u.s. investigators. that he did spend some time in waziristan, the nerve center of the pakistani taliban, wolf. >> what are you learning about his family in pakistan? and do you know, specifically, whether his wife and two kids are in pakistan right now? >> reporter: yeah, no word where his wife and kids are. just like he did, they went back and forth between the u.s. and pakistan. most of his family is where he's from, northwest pakistan, the nosharera district, which is right next to peshawar. we've gone to his father's house, very interesting, his father a retired vice marshal
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for the air force. by all accounts, upstanding citizens. we've talked to friends and family members. all of them are shocked, wolf, at what this young man is being accused with. >> reza sayah's digging and digging in islamabad, throughout pakistan for us. we'll check back with you, reza. thanks very much. this hour also, the trail of the times square bomb suspect has led investigators to a northeastern pennsylvania store. a federal law enforcement official tells cnn that is where faisal shahzad bought fireworks used in the failed bomb attack. the president of that company, by the way, the phantom fireworks company, is quoted as saying that the m-88s that shahzad bought, in his words, wouldn't damage a watermelon. the federal government has now called in its top terrorist interrogators who focus on high-value suspects to help in the questioning of shahzad. let's bring in our homeland security correspondent, jeanne meserve. this case is revealing some apparent gaps in homeland
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security procedures, jeanne. >> that's right, wolf. but first a bit of new information here from a federal law enforcement official, who says at this point, there is no indication that shahzad had any associates here in the united states working with him to put together the times square plot. show, of course, that investigation is continuing. now, back to those holes. faisal shahzad was recently added to the no-fly list after investigators became aware of him on sunday night. and administration officials say a special notice about him had been sent out to the airlines. but under the rules in place at that time, emirate airlines had 24 hours to update its list. as a result, they were not aware of shahzad's addition and he made it on to that flight. to prevent a repeat, tsa today changed the rule. now airlines will be required to check the web board where no-fly information is posted within two hours of getting a special notice from tsa. wolf? >> jeanne, the fbi surveillance team lost him around the time he was going to the airport. there were, what, five, six
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hours he didn't know where he was. how did that happen? >> well, the exact period of time isn't clear at this point in time. i've heard something a little bit shorter than that, but we don't know definitively how long they lost him. law enforcement officials say it was a fast-moving investigation at that point. it involved multiple locations. in addition, they were taking pains not to tip him off to the fact that he was under surveillance. here's what new york's police commissioner had to say about it. >> i can't give you the specifics. i don't know why they lost surveillance on him, but this is not that unusual in surveillance matters. >> there were other traps set to catch him, and of course, one of them did. a little bit of detail about the arrest from law enforcement administration officials. shahzad was leaving the country because he had been spooked by news reports. when he was on the plane, about to be arrested by law enforcement, he said, i've been expecting you. are you the nypd or fbi? the agent then exposed his badge
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and said, cbp, customs and border protection. a little bit like a movie, wolf? >> yeah, got all the plot there of a movie, but unfortunately, this is all very, very true. jeanne is working the story for us as well. thank you. counterterrorism officials were asking questions about faisal shahzad six years ago. what were they looking for back then? coming up this hour, i'll be speaking with the chief of staff of the president's national security council, denis mcdonough. we'll talk about the investigation. stand by. we're also following other breaking news. a new attempt to try to cap the leaking oil well in the gulf of mexico. will a giant containment dome do the trick? brian todd got a firsthand look. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." to the seekers of things which are one of a kind. the authentic, the rare, the hard to define.
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right to jack for the cafferty file. >> welcome to our big city. wouldn't you always be here every day instead of washington? >> i love washington. >> this is the big apple. you can talk about things from here. we have satellites. >> we have got politicians. >> we can fraternize, we can commune. 60% of americans say arizona's tough new immigration law is either about right or doesn't go far enough. question is, is washington listening? does washington care? the answer is probably not and
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no. a new cbs/"new york times" poll shows 51% of those surveyed say the law is about right and 9% more say it doesn't go far enough. 36% think the controversial law, which gives police broad powers to detain people they think are in the country illegally goes too far. the new poll also shows broad majorities of americans say that illegal immigration is a very serious problem and that this country's immigration policies need a major overhaul. although people are divided on what the right solution to the problem is. even though most people think the arizona law will result in racial profiling and overburden local police forces, large majorities think it will reduce the number of illegal aliens in arizona. it will reduce illegal border crossings, and it will reduce crime. it's pretty clear what's going on here. the issue of illegal immigration has suddenly developed into a national crisis and the american people have had a belly full of the federal government's unwillingness to address it. despite all the rhetoric from
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our lawmakers, there is no legislation pending in congress on this issue. but more importantly, almost nine years after 9/11 and four days after some terrorist tried to blow up times square right here in new york city, the federal government refuses to secure this nation's borders. here's the question. what message does it send to washington that a majority 60% of americans support arizona's new immigration law? go to to post a comment on my blog. you know, if you'd move up here, we'd build you a big suite of offices, get you extra staff. you would love it here. >> i would love it. staying in washington, jack. don't go far away. it could be the best hope for stopping that massive spill spewing at least 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the gulf of mexico. and right now, a giant white containment dome is preparing to leave for the leak site, where for the first time ever, it will be deployed 5,000 feet beneath the water to try desperately to contain the mile-deep gusher.
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bp announced this morning that it's capped the smallest to have the three leaks at the well, a step it says will make it easier to stop the remaining two leaks. our brian todd got a firsthand look at that containment dome before it left the shore. >> reporter: wolf, we've got special access to the construction of a pollution containment chamber. this is the dome that we've been talking about for the last several days. it may be one of the most tangible hopes of containing this leaking well. we've got special access to it and we're going to take you close up and show you exactly how this thing is going to work. it looks like a huge, rusty box, but after so much futilitfutilis might be the device that stops the massive oil flow in the gulf. 40 feet high and weighing nearly 100 tons, the pollution containment chamber is already ready to be lowered on top of the leaking wellhead from the destroyed rig. they've been working on this device for about a week now and
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they're cutting it to specs. we can't go up to the top where those guys are welding because of the dangers and hazards here, but this is how it's going to work. these two openings are going to be lowered on top of the leaking well. the leaking end of it will come out that window right there. there's another part of the well that's jutting out that will come out that opening right over there. this will be lowered and those flaps there in the middle will be sitting on the ocean floor to prevent this from sinking any further. the idea is for this plant down, clamp, and then channel the oil to waiting surface containers. this is what they call the top hat, the cap to the dome. it's going to be placed on top of it, essentially acting as the top of the funnel that's going to siphon the oil to the top of the surface. risers are attached to the other side, almost like a straw going to the surface to a ship that will carry the oil out. smaller versions of this have been successful before. officials say this dome may be able to capture as much as 85% of the oil spewing from those
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pipes. is this the last best hope to contain this spill? >> i don't believe that's the case. if for some reason this did not work, there are a lot of brilliant minds working for bp right now. i'm sure there are multiple efforts going on parallel to ours. >> reporter: but at the moment, those other efforts either aren't working or won't be ready as quickly. they're also building a smaller version of the pollution containment chamber. you see the construction of that going on right there. that's not going to be ready as quickly as the larger one. now, as for that larger one, they hope to lower that on to the leaking well within one weak. wolf? >> brian todd on the scene for us. thank you, brian. we're going to continue to watch as this ship moves closer and closer to the site of that leak. we'll be all over this story. this note, by the way. the obama administration now says it supports increasing the amount in damages the companies responsible for oil spills would have to pay. when asked about pending congressional legislation that would raise the damage limit, the white house press secretary,
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robert gibbs, said the administration would back the move. but he wouldn't provide a specific ceiling figure. current law limits liability on damages to only $75 million. gibbs added that bp will be responsible for all damages from the spill. what was faisal shahzad's motive for allegedly attempting to explode that suv in times square here in new york? i'll ask a top national security official in the obama administration. stand by for that. also, what's causing such havoc on the streets of greece? so far it's left three people dead. we're going to athens. and he spent almost 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. now he's free. that story, coming up. ( tires screeching ) there's never been a better time...
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alina cho is monitoring some of the other important stories incoming to "the situation room" right now. alina, thanks for doing this. >> thanks for having me, wolf. good to be here, as always. in the news this hour, three
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people have died following massive riots in greece today. tens of thousands of people took to the streets in a nationwide strike. they're protesting new taxes and spending cuts required for the country to get an imf and european union bailout package that's worth more than $100 billion. greece is now facing a may 19th due date on debt it says it cannot pay without help. on the eve of a highly contentious election in the uk, many brits are getting ready for the possibility of no outright winner among the three main candidates. now, polls are suggesting that tomorrow's voting will end up in what's known as a hung parliament. should that happen, the sitting prime minister, gordon brown, will get the first crack at forming a government through a coalition. but mr. brown is unpopular and he may not get the support that he needs. "you're free." those are the words one ohio man has been waiting to hear after spending almost 30 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. 52-year-old raymond towler is his name. he was released today after dna evidence proved that he did not
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rape an 11-year-old girl back in 1981. and a judge said he can sue over the ordeal. towler was serving a life sentence. and retiring supreme court justice john paul stevens is weighing in on the confirmation process that will likely impact his successor. stevens says it's unfortunate the senators are trying to pin down judicial nominees on their views during nomination. now, he says talking about cases already decided is one thing, but speculating about issues that could come before the court is something entirely different. but, wolf, somehow, i think that questioning will continue. >> and by all accounts, we're hearing that the president's going to nominate someone within only a few days. so that will be a huge story as well. >> i'm sure there'll be lots of contentious debate. >> we'll have lots of coverage. alina, thanks very much. don't go far away. we'll get back to the breaking news in a moment. we'll have a closer look at the times square bombing suspect. there's new information coming into "the situation room" right now about his alleged links to
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the pakistan taliban and how the terror training camps work. also, what could have been his motive. i'll speak about that with the chief of staff of the president's national security council, denis mcdonough is over at the white house. we'll ask him what the interrogators are getting from this suspect. and later, more on the store where shahzad bought a key piece of his botched bomb. ♪ ♪ a day once dawned ♪ ♪ and it was beautiful ♪ so, look, see the sights ♪ that you learned ♪ from the morning
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you're in "the situation room." happening now, we're getting new details that are emerging about the store where the suspect faisal shahzad allegedly bought fireworks used in his terror plot. we're going to take you there. stand by for new information. and could the fact that shahzad was able to purchase a firearm lead to new gun control legislation? there is a new and heated debate underway in washington right now. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the new york police commissioner told lawmakers the times square bomb suspect began planning some two months ago around the time he bought a gun. one of the most important questions still unanswered is this -- why? and joining us now, denis mcdonough, he's the chief of staff over at the national security council. he's joining us from the white house. denis, thanks very much for coming in. f >> thanks for having me, wolf,
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it's very good to be with you. >> what can you tell us about faisal shahzad's motive in apparently going to times square and allegedly wanting to blow people up? >> you know, wolf, beyond what the attorney general said yesterday, which it's clear that this was an effort to kill and maim americans, we don't really have anything additionally. i don't have anything additionally to give you right now on motive. >> well, maybe you don't have anything to give me, but do you guys, inside, do you know what his motive was, without releasing the details to us, publicly? >> well, we're trying to get to the bottom of it, wolf. we're obviously continuing to get very important and helpful information in this case. we're obviously peeling back the onion on this to make sure that we can gather additional information, both about what was a motivation for him, but as importantly, what this tells us about what other threats might be out there. so we're taking a very proactive stance on that. we're getting additional
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information. and we're going to continue to take the fight to those who would do harm to americans. >> there's one report that he wanted revenge for the u.s. drone attacks in pakistan. is that something that's on your radar screen? >> you know, wolf, i don't have anything on that. what i do know is that we are taking the fight to the extremists in this vitally important region. you saw the president, right out of the box here, dedicate additional resources to afghanistan early last year. late last year, we dramatically increased those assets, as we take the fight to the taliban to stop their momentum, to ensure that they can't use afghanistan or pakistan for the kinds of attacks that we saw on 9/11. we learned our lesson in that effort. we're not going to let it happen again. >> was he part of the pakistani taliban or some other foreign terror group? >> not ready to come no any conclusions on that. that's one of the motives, to come back to your first questions. we're digging at that and working very aggressively,
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across our government, working with our liaison partners to make sure we get to the bottom of just that. >> have you been able to confirm that he did train in pakistan with some of these terror groups? >> not going to get into any of those details right now, wolf, but those are the kind of questions we're asking. those go to motive and those are the kind of things that, obviously, in the case they'll be looking at. but those go to the kind of information and intelligence we'd want to get in an incident like this. we'd want to get it from a suspect, from an alleged terrorist and get it out into the field so we could use it. those are the kind of innovations that we're undertaking over the course of these 15 months in office, and those are the kind of innovations that we're taking advantage of as we undertake what is a very aggressive fight against extremists worldwide. >> is he cooperating still, right now, as we speak? >> you know, i've just come from a series of other meetings, wolf, so i can't speak to exactly right now, so i do know that our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, drawing on all the resources of the federal government,
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including those new resources that we've put in place and put together over the course of the last couple of months are taking advantage of new leads and new opportunities as a result of everything they've been able to undertake. as it goes to right at this specific moment, i'm just not in a position to answer that. >> all right. let me read to you a sentence or two that was in a "new york times" report today. and i'm going to read it as is. george la monica bought his two-bedroom condominium in norwalk, connecticut, from mr. shahzad for $261,000 in may of 2004. a few weeks after he moved in, mr. la monica said investigators from the national joint terrorism task force interviewed him, asking for details of the transaction and information about mr. shahzad. it struck mr. lamonica as unusual, but he said detectives told him they were simply checking everything out. has he, faisal shahzad, been on the radar of the joint terrorism
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task force going back to 2004? >> you know, wolf, i saw the report this morning. obviously, robert got some questions about it this afternoon. i don't have anything more than what you've just read. but what i will say is this. when this explosion went off, when this fire started in times square on saturday night, new york nypd, the fbi, the national joint terrorism task force, the new york joint terrorism task force went to work on this case. and i think we're all very proud of the work that they did. in just 53 hours, they cracked this case and found this fella. and we're going to, obviously, take every appropriate step as it related to him and his alleged conduct, but we're also going to use the information that we're getting out of this to make sure that we stop other would-be terrorists. so as it relates to "the new york times" report of this morning, i don't have anything more on that, wolf. but i will tell you this.
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our professional law enforcement, intelligence, military professionals, when they get information, they act on it. and the country should know that in this instance, it was exactly that way. >> we're told that the law enforcement lost him for a few hours as he made his way from connecticut to jfk where he was boarding that flight on emirates air to dubai with continuing service to islamabad. what happened? how come law enforcement lost him during that period? >> well, i'll tell you, wolf. we had a lot of resources on this case. we obviously bailed in redundancy across a range of opportunities and a range of efforts, and that's exactly what we did in this case. so we had federal, state law enforcement. we had custom and border patrol working closely with the fbi. and it was because of that redundancy that we were able to make sure that we apprehended him and got him. so i don't have anything specifically on the question you just asked as it relates to that surveillance, but i do know that in this instance, this
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redundancy was a very important effort and that layered effort really paid off in this instance. >> he was on the no-fly list as of about 12:30 p.m. that day, but he still managed at 7:30, 8:00 at night to buy a ticket and get on this plane that was going to go to dubai. what happened? what was the problem there? >> been a very important innovation overnight here, wolf, which is that one of the things when we're working with international carriers, they didn't necessarily have to immediately check the no-fly list for updates. what we've put in place is now a effort that says, two hours after updates have been added to the list that foreign carriers, as well as domestic carriers, will have to check that list. let's make one thing clear here, wolf, that we're not just relying on the carriers. in this instance, the heroes over at customs and border patrol and at many of the watch list support groups we have throughout the government saw
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that this fella was on a manifest and they took care of that situation very aggressively. and i think we're all very proud of them for that. >> denis mcdonough, the chief of staff at the national security council, denis, thanks very much for coming in. >> great to be with you, wolf. i appreciate the opportunity. >> the failed bomb attack in times square could have, could have an impact on the november election. we're watching the story. more coming up. also, is there a link between u.s. drone attacks in pakistan and the terror threat here in the united states? and you're about to see for yourself what happens when an 18-wheeler loaded with fuel explodes. 100% natural nuts and granola in bite sized clusters. it's a little bit of nature... a little bit better. and nature approves. granola nut clusters from nature valley. [ male announcer ] competition... it pushes us to work harder. to be better. to win. but sometimes even rivals realize
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the failed times square bombing driving home for a lot of americans the terror threat that's still very much exists out there. and that could have serious implications in the november midterm elections. let's bring in our senior political analyst, gloria borger and david gergen. as far as looking ahead, david, to november, give us your initial gut reaction, how this terror plot is going to play out in the months to come leading up to the midterms. >> the only thing we're sure of, wolf, is if we had failed to catch this guy, if he had gotten away on that plane, it would have come back to haunt the democrats. but, i mean, apprehended him within 53 hours, as they did, i think most of the country is very pleased. gives credit to the administration and especially local law enforcement officers.
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and, you know, things have been well done. my sense of it is, it's not likely to play much of a role in elections, unless it takes an unexpected turn. this is the kind of incident when you're successful from the administration's standpoint, unfortunately, you know, people don't have great memories. they do have memories of what goes on with jobs and spending and deficits and the like. >> you know, it's interesting, wolf. it's almost like health care reform in a way. if the president had not been successful in health care reform, it would have been a real problem for him. but even though he succeeded, you don't get a lot of credit for it. and so, you know, that's kind of where the democrats are right now. if the president had made a huge mistake in this situation, if this hadn't been handled well, he would have had a real downside risk. but is there an upside for this, necessarily? probably not. >> let's talk about a little bit -- go ahead. >> i want to say one thing, briefly. there's a difference between this and health care, in that i think there is still a backlash out there about the passage of
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the health care bill. whereas, i don't see any significant negative, i think it's likely -- >> the only one negative that could be, david, is the debate on the mirandizing this guy could continue and there will be questions raised about whether we should have mirandized him, whether we did it too soon, you know, all those questions come back that were asked with abdulmutallab, for example, at christmas. >> david, faisal shahzad is a naturalized u.s. citizen. and joe lieberman, the democratic -- independent democratic senator from connecticut, as he likes to call himself, said this yesterday, and it's causing a stir. let me read it to you. "i think it's time for us to look at whether we want to amend that law to apply to american citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, whether they should not also be deprived automatically of their citizenship and therefore be deprived of rights that come with that citizenship when they are apprehended and charged with
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a terrorist act." the criticism of lieberman is that he's convicting naturalized american citizens before the court actually convicts someone. when you're just charged, you're supposedly innocent until proven guilty. >> wolf, i thought in reading that, he was applying it to all citizens, in effect, and trying to enlarge the law that's on the books now, that if you join a foreign army, you're stripped of your american citizenship, in order to make it easier to avoid the mirandaization of suspects. but i'm sure i'm in league with a lot of other americans. this fella, shahzad, took the oath to become an american citizen, pledged loyalty to the united states in april of 2009. less than two months later, he was on an airplane on his way, eventually, to pakistan, apparently for terrorist training. i have no sympathy for him keeping his citizenship. i don't care whether he's mirandized or not. the guy violated the terms of
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his oath -- >> david, let me interrupt. should he be stripped of his citizensh citizenship were before convicted, even while standing trial? >> i think he should be stripped of his citizenship, once convicted. but beyond that, i think the country -- and this was a good case for us, because the guy was seen before the miranda rights were applied. but what if we get the next guy who isn't cooperative and then we read him his miranda rights and we really don't understand what's going on? in that situation, i think the u.s. government ought to have a lot of latitude before it applies to miranda rights to some naturalized citizen. >> you know, you understand the theory of this and what joe lieberman is getting at and i agree with david on that. i think the question is the constitutional issues here. are naturalized citizens different from american-born citizens? when, in the process, would you be able to deprive him of his citizenship, if, as you point out, wolf, he's not convicted?
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so there are all kinds of constitutional questions that have to be answered about this. obviously, we have no sympathy for somebody who admits to a crime. >> we've got to leave it there, guys. we'll continue this conversation, though, later. good points. claims the thwarted terror attack could be linked to pakistan. we're getting new information into "the situation room." our tom foreman has a closer look at how the u.s. is now combatting terrorists in that country. and could the senate be one step closer to passing financial reform?
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we'll get back to the breaking news on the times square terror plot momentarily. but alina cho is back. she's got some other important stories we're following right now. alina? >> that's right, wolf. we want you to check out these big, black clouds of smoke over san antonio, texas. they came from a refinery where an 18-wheeler was willing loaded with fuel and then it exploded. residents within about a mile were evacuated from the area. officials say some workers were hurt. aeg refining company is trying to account for all the 100 workers who were on the job when it happened. there is word that north korean leader kim jong-il is in beijing for secret talks. he's reportedly trying to get additional economic aid from the
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chinese. now, that's in exchange for restarting international nuclear negotiations sponsored by china. north korea quit the talks about a year ago and then conducted a nuclear test that led to tighter u.n. sanctions. and it's been slow going for financial reform, but there is new evidence that the legislation is moving forward, inch by inch. top senators on the banking committee released details of a bipartisan deal on how to unwind those big financial firms considered too big to fail. democrats are officially dropping a proposed tax on banks for a fund designed to help take down failing banks. i know the big question, wolf, that we all have is, when will we see this in final form. and hopefully it will come soon. we all want to know the details. >> usually works slower, then faster. thanks very much, alina. a veteran lawmaker of a key committee is now calling it quits. what does david obey's retirement mean for fellow democrats and for republicans? mary matalin and donna brazile are standing by for our strategy session.
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and jack cafferty is asking, what message does it send to washington that a majority of americans support arizona's new immigration law? jack will be back in a moment with your e-mail. and on the trail of the times square bombing suspect. we have new clues from a fireworks store no pennsylvania. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so i can join the fun at my family barbeque. (announcer) for people with copd, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both, great news. advair helps significantly improve lung function. while nothing can reverse copd, advair is different from most other medications because it contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help you breathe better. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking advair. i'm glad you came, grandma.
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let's get to our strategy session. joining us, our cnn political contributors, democratic strategist donna brazile and republican strategist, mary matalin.
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guys, i want you to listen to what the homeland security secretary janet napolitano told our nic robertson last december. listen to this little clip. listen to this little clip -- >> there are young americans who have gone through a process and breaking away from, you know, the community in which they were brought up, traveling to pakistan, maybe afghanistan, going to a camp, learning how to conduct military-type operations and then coming home. and, like i said, if we don't have any other information about them, they're free to travel. i mean, they're american citizens, but it is something about which you need to be situationally aware in case they go from becoming radicalized in thought to becoming violent in action. >> how do you -- >> it's sort of chilling, donna, to hear that, knowing what we now know about faisal shahzad. >> well, wolf, i think it's a
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reminder, once again, that we face an enemy that is hell-bent on destroying this country, that will exploit any divisions within this country, and that is radicalizing certain youth in this country. so, i think this is, again, a reminder that we all have to, especially as we continue to fight al qaeda and the taliban and others who are trying to hurt american interests, that we have to stick together as one country and try to combat these cases of terrorism with everybody working together. >> mary, when you heard janet napolitano, this was back in december, say what she said, what did you think? >> just to pick up on donna's point, this is not a dumb enemy. this is a very smart enemy, and they keep adjusting and changing and morphing into something that can continue to terrorize us. we seem to be okay on the after-the-fact apprehension, but we haven't improved and we need
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to improve with these cells in the homegrown terrorists on the -- on the precapturing, on this warting in the first instance. you know, we're going to have another big round of fights now about personal liberties and civil liberties versus personal security. and most americans are going to come down on the side, and rightly so, of personal security. >> we'll have plenty of time to discuss this. i want to get into a little politics while i have both of you. donna, first to you, david obey, the powerful chairman of the appropriations committee, he's been there a long time. suddenly today he announces he's going to retire. listen to what he says -- >> there's a time to stay and a time to go, and this is my time to go. frankly, i hate to do it. there is so much that needs to be done, but even more frankly, i am bone tired. >> he was in a tough re-election campaign. how big of a blow is this to the democrats, donna? >> well, as you know, wolf, 20
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republicans have announced retirement, some of them are moving on, looking for other positions, and 17 democrats. look, chairman obey has been one of the tireless fighters for the middle-class, representing the seventh district of wisconsin. he's been a champion of health care and education. i hate to see him go, because he's really one of the true believers on the progressive side. but i think democrats will retain this seat. president obama carried this seat. john kerry, al gore. it leans democratic. we have a real good bench of state lawmakers who i believe can step up to the plate. but i don't think anybody can replace david obey. he's one of a kind. >> mary, what does it say to you? >> it says that the trajectory that began almost a year ago of independents moving away from democrats in the electoral terrain becoming better for republicans continues. obey's stepping down in combination with the radically reduced democratic turnout last night is just more of what we've been seeing for the year. there's a double-digit advantage
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to republicans on intensity, on enthusiasm, on party identification, the generic ballot is closing, and the -- the passing health care was supposed to be a big boon to incentivize and mobilize the democratic base, not happening. no bounce, no coattails. >> well, we face a tough -- >> all right. >> -- a real significant hit, mary, but do you know what, democrats, they'll pick up the interest as we get closer to the fall election. >> we'll leave it on that note, guys. donna and mary, as usual, thank you. >> thank you. jack cafferty is reading your e-mail right now, but he'll be back in just a moment with "the cafferty file." and the inner workings of those terror training camps in pakistan. we're investigating alleged links to the times square bomb suspect. ♪ [ woman ] nine iron, it's almost tee-time. time for new zyrtec® liquid gels. they work fast. so i can get relief from the pollen that used to make me sneeze, my eyes water. with new zyrtec® liquid gels, i get allergy relief at liquid speed. that's the fast, powerful relief of zyrtec®, now in a liquid gel.
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jack cafferty is here once again with "the cafferty file." >> there are actually two questions this hour. the first question is -- to what do we owe the honor of your presence here in gotham? why are you here? >> because our big boss, phil
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kent, head of turner broadcasting -- >> whoa. >> -- he's being honored tonight at a big dinner, the museum of the moving image. >> you're a guest. >> i'm a guest at the dinner and he's being honored. he's a great guy. >> i've worked here ten years and i don't think i've ever met him. >> you should meet him. >> we travel in different circles. >> thank you, phil, for all the work you do for cnn. >> you can express my thanks when you see him. >> you can say it. here's the question -- the other question. what message does it send to washington that the majority of americans support arizona's new immigration law? greg writes, in my opinion the majority of americans supporting the new immigration law in arizona sends no message to washington. i seem to remember a majority of americans didn't want the recent health care bill passed either, but it did anyway. it appears that our opinion is no longer relevant. dave writes, most americans probably supported the internment of japanese immigrants during world war ii. so what? just because it's popular
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doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. but in washington, the message, enforce the law. if we have federal laws on the books to deal with people in the country illegally and those laws are ignored then the states should have rights to enact countermeasures to protect their own borders. i must be in the minority but i don't agree with such a one-sided bill. there are two laws being broken when illegal immigrants enter the u.s. and work. the first being their illegally entry and the second being illegally hired by u.s. businesses. where's the anger and discontent from businesses that profit from this and don't employ american citizens? betsy writes, we live in tucson, arizona, and back this law because we cannot be safe on the interstate between tucson and the mexican border with illegal aliens being smalled day and night at high speeds often going in the wrong way. plus, we can't feel safe in our nearby national park called organ pipe where there are stashes of marijuana and drug
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smugglers, too. and brian writes from utah, if you cross the border from north korea illegally, you could get 12 years hard labor. if you cross the border with afghanistan illegally, you might be shot. when you cross the american border illegally, you get a job, a driver's license, free health care, free education, freedom of speech, and americans spend billions of dollars so you can read the document in your native language. what's wrong with this picture? if you want to read more on this, we got a lot of mail, go to my blog, wolf? >> jack cafferty, thank you. and to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now -- breaking news, an alleged meeting in the mountains of pakistan. a senior pakistani official links the times square bomb plot suspect to the taliban. also, as that massive oil slick moves closer to the shore, there's a bold move under way to cap the leaking oil well. it's ingenious, but can it work? and rioters hurling rocks at firebombs on the streets of
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athens. those protests against greece's painful belt tightening have now turned deadly. i'm wolf blitzer. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. the world. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- there's breaking news this hour about the times square bomb suspect. a senior pakistani official tells cnn that in july, 2009, the suspect, faisal shahzad, met with one or more senior taliban leaders. the source says the contact occurred in pakistan's rugged border region. let's go straight to our homeland security correspondent, jeanne me soy. jeanne, what do we know? >> wolf, a photograph from don news of faisal shahzad, as he went through immigration in karachi, pakistan, on july 3rd of 2009, that trip, it turns out, is significant. a senior pakistani official tells cnn that a few days later,
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on july 7th, shahzad was diven to pe shar war by mohammed rehan, at some point this official says they headed to the war zeer stan region where shahzad is believed to have spent a period of time. according to this official they met with one or more senior taliban leaders while there. in addition rehan is believed to have strong links to the militant group jaishl mohammed which is close to both the pakistan taliban and al qaeda. rehan by the way has been detained in karachi. at this point u.s. officials are still saying they are investigating shahzad's overseas links. they are not saying they have established any. meanwhile, a federal law enforcement official says there is no indication that shahzad had any associates here in the united states. working with him to put together the times square plot. so, of course, the investigation is continuing, wolf. >> jeanne, how did they come up with shahzad's name? >> this is interesting. this from an administration
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official. he came back in this country, shahzad, from pakistan, in february. and he met customs and border protection criteria for secondary. not that he was on a watch list, but that he pinged on a couple of categories that made him a candidate for an additional look. so, they took a look and filed a report which is a pro forma thing to do with the fbi and other intelligence agencies. included on that report passenger information including telephone numbers. so, then, we have this weekend. they're investigating this bomb left in times square. they come up with a card transaction, and in connection with that they come up with a telephone number, and they don't have any name associated with the phone, so they start doing a run not only of that number but all the numbers that have called that phone or that phone has called to, and in the course of that, they get a match with a number that was on the cbp report, and that a senior administration official tells me is how they came up with shahzad's name. >> and, jeanne, i take it you've
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confirmed that shahzad is being interrogated by this elite interrogation unit? >> members by that unit. he's not being interrogated by the h.i.g., the high value interrogation group, but i am told that senior members are there to assist with the interrogation, wolf. >> jeanne, thanks for that. we're learning more about the activities of the suspects leading up to the explosives-packed suv was found in times square. that includes the purchase of fireworks and alleged components of the bomb. our national correspondent, susan candiotti, has been working this part of the story for us. susan, what have you learned? >> wolf, today we went to a town in pennsylvania, and we talked to the owner of phantom fireworks. we also spoke with a young store clerk who was as surprised as anyone that he apparently sold a few fireworks to someone who turned out to be an accused terrorist. >> i remember him coming in just
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an unremarkable customer, you know? he didn't pose as any kind of threat or didn't raise any flags. just seemed like an average person, and he said, high, how are you? he gave me his i.d. and processed his information and he went about his business. >> lee bought about $100 worth of rockets and a tube that sprays color sparks into the air, silver salutes they're called and some green safety fuse. they say faisal shahzad is on the store surveillance cameras and they turned over that video to the fbi. but just like bomb experts, the company's officials are scratching their heads over faisal shahzad would have used fireworks. as he claims to have told fbi agents to make a bomb. >> there really is nothing that we sell that would make any kind of an impact. the only thing remotely connected would be a fuse, but our fuse, the safety fuse, burns so slowly that it would not be
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very effective. so, honestly, i think this fella was just barking up the wrong tree when he thought these firecrackers would do something. >> and investigators say that shahzad attached the fireworks next to propane tanks and gas cans in a failed effort to light his contraption. experts say if it had worked, it might have created a fireball and could have killed bystanders, but not powerful enough to take down an entire building. the store says it did call the fbi when it saw what happened in times square to offer help, and then on television yesterday, it noticed the fbi found some of its fireworks, saw some of them on television, its own fireworks, when it saw them outside the suspect's connecticut home. court papers say that shahzad also called the store the sunday before the attempted bombing, but the store didn't remember anything about that. so, in other words, as this store owner said, you know, wolf, that he was apparently barking up the wrong tree if he
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thought that he could use fireworks to pull off powerful bomb like he tried to do as he is accused of doing. >> all right, we're learning more by the minute. susan, thanks very much. here's the timeline leading up to the actual arrest. by 11:00 a.m. investigators identify faisal shahzad as the owner of the nissan pathfinder as their suspect. 90 minutes later his name is added to a no-fly list. at 3:00 p.m. he's spotted leaving a store near his connecticut home. police plan to arrest shahzad, but lose track of him for several hours. at 6:30 p.m. shahzad heads to jfk airport. on the way he phones in a reservation for an emirates airlines flight to islamabad with a stopover in dubai. at 7:35 p.m., he pays cash, cash, for his one-way ticket. emirates officials are unaware he was on a no-fly list because they had not checked for any updates during the day.
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at about 10:30 p.m. eastern shahzad boards emirates flight 202. at 10:40 a customs agent spots the suspect's name on the flight manifest. at 11:02 the door to the flight 2 202 is shut. by 11:45 p.m. the door is opened, and when investigators approach his seat, faisal shahzad says, and i'm quoting now, i was expecting you, are you nypd or fbi? taken from the plane, shahzad is interrogated, and at about midnight admits he tried to detonate a bomb in times square. we've been hearing from passengers on that emirates flight. once it finally landed in dubai. this passenger describes what happened when the flight was held up at jfk airport. listen to this -- >> would not answer questions, that he was polite about it, but i can say it was very well organized. the entire terminal was evacuated before we were taken from the plane.
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a thorough search of our bags that we had on board as well as checked-in luggage, and then it took approximately six hours for us to get out. >> passengers finally figured out what was going on after they evacuated the plane at jfk and w. cnn in the airport. when the suspect was shown on screen, one passenger said, he recognized faisal shahzad from the airliner. we just heard about a possible connection between the times square suspect and the taliban in pakistan. in court documents, they say faisal shahzad had admitted attending a terrorist training camp in pakistan. let's go to our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence. chris, were there -- where are these training camps, first of all? and who runs them? >> well, wolf, that's the thing, you know, today's cams are often mobile. they don't stay in one place very long. several groups run them, but we're starting to weed out those that had no connection with shahzad.
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>> reporter: a defense official says one man supervises more than half the terrorist training camps in pakistan, and it was allegedly his voice that praised the times square suspect. but his organization now tells cnn they appreciate the effort but didn't train him. quote, the action of faisal shahzad was very good, but he has no link with tariq taliban. he might have received training from other militant groups. a senior administration official said shahzad was not trained as well as someone who could carry out a major attack. he left his truck in a no-parking zone and it was not packed with the explosive-grade fertilizer used in other terrorist bombings. >> if the knowledge were better, he would have been able to assemble the devices and build a fairly sophisticated, funking device. >> reporter: pakistan's terrorist training camps have evolved from al qaeda's large,
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elaborate camps. these aren't the sprawling compounds that we saw before 9/11, right? >> no, no. these are much smaller. those are easy to target by drone strikes. >> reporter: analyst jeff dressler said terrorists adapted to the strikes by making their cams more mobile. >> a lot of these training camps where they're, you know, learn you suicide bombing and skills, are small compounds, houses, apartments. >> reporter: look at the red dots of this map of pakistan. these are the known locations of terrorist camps early last year, but a record number of u.s. drone strikes started hitting the area. those attacks and pakistan's military offensive, shut some camps down, but where you see the green dots, moved them north. terrorism analyst jeff dressler says al qaeda is now getting local militant groups to join its global fight. jaish-e-mohammed exclusively focus their attacks inside pakistan. >> they voiced their concern or desire to focus on western
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targets in conjunction with al qaeda. that's a troubling development that is really just happened over the past few years. >> and the logical connection is groups like jaish-e-mohammed using people with u.s. passports that can easily get back into the country. the u.s. ambassador to pakistan called it a nightmare scenario and that was before times square. now, officials say, they don't believe there are a lot of people like this, but they admit, they're not sure, and they're working with the pakistani government to try to identify and locate them. wolf? >> chris lawrence on the -- on the story for us, thank you. there are several key terror detainees with links to pakistan. khalid shaikh mohammed is the professed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. he was born there kuwait and carried a pakistani passport and was captured in pakistan seven years ago. he's being held at guantanamo bay. ramzi bin aled she is the yemeni accused with coordinating the 9/11 attack, he's also in
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guantanamo bay right now. ramzi yousef was the mastermind of the 1993 world trade center bombing. he was arrested in pakistan two years later, brought to the united states, he was convicted first for an airline bombing and then for the new york attack. he's serving life without parole. we're going to have a lot more on the breaking news coming up, but there's other stories we're monitoring as well, including four stories of steel and concrete. it's the best hope right now for minimizing the disaster in the gulf of mexico. we're going to show you how this giant containment camp works. plus, we have new details of a massive recall of children's over-the-counter medicine. what government inspectors found inside the manufacturing plant. stand by for that. nts fill your household, purina tidy cats scoop helps neutralize odors in multiple cat homes... keeping your house smelling like it should. purina tidy cats scoop. keep your home smelling like home.
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t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment objectives, risks, fees, expenses, and other information to read and consider carefully before investing. let's go right to jack for "the cafferty file." that would be you. >> thank you. thousands of people working to contain the massive oil spill in the gulf of mexico. there are serious questions now about future u.s. policy when it comes to offshore drilling. fishermen, national guard troops, volunteers, the oil company, bp, which is responsible for the leak, they're all battling this oil spill with everything they can get their hands on, but there are growing concerns now that if this oil reaches the shore, it will kill wildlife and damage the jobs of thousands of people in louisiana, mississippi, alabama, and florida, and the effects will be felt in those areas for years. remember the "exxon valdez" in new offshore drilling has been banned in most u.s. waters since
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the early 1980s, but just a few weeks ago, timing's everything, president obama announced plans to expand offshore oil drilling because of our country's energy and economic needs. he said the federal government would start leasing some areas off the coasts of virginia, alaska, and potentially florida to the oil companies. well, suddenly, that doesn't seem like such a good idea. the white house now says president obama's offshore plans are not set in stone, and the group of democratic senators says any new plans for offshore drilling are dead on arrival. even some republicans are changing their tune. florida governor, charlie crist, who was previously supportive of offshore drilling now said it's, quote, got to be tabled for sure, unquote. and calf governor, arnold schwarzenegger, has withdrawn his support for a plan that would have expanded offshore drill off the coast of california. here's the question, what should u.s. policy come when it comes to offshore oil drilling? go to post a comment on my blog. when these things happen, they're potentially disastrous
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and are -- the effects are felt for a very long time. "exxon valdez." but when you look at over the years, the number of wells, the amount of oil we've pumped out of the ground, these things don't come along very often. >> look what three-mile island did for nuclear reactors for 30 years. >> stopped it dead in its tracks and we still haven't gotten it started again. >> jack, thank you. all eyes and hopes are on a giant concrete and steel dome designed to cap the leak from a sunken rig that's spewing some 200,000 gallons of crude each day. cnn's brooke baldwin is on the coast watching it all unfold for us. brooke, what is this containment dome? how does it work? >> reporter: wolf, think of this containment dome as a big, massive, metal, concrete funnel. and the best way i can sort of explain it is by demonstrating. imagine you have a funnel just like this, this funnel, this concrete dome, is being taken right now from what i'm hearing it's just now exiting port buchon in louisiana and entering
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the big waters here on the gulf. it will continue for about 50 miles offshore to the leak location, and then what will happen is they'll take a system of piping, so, like, a straw, for example. they'll put the piping inside of this containment dome and then with a ship up above, they'll be able to siphon or essentially suck up what may be 85% of this oil that's leaking. what's key here is that bp has never performed an operation at this depth of water, 5,000 feet under, but this is a first for them. so, keep in mind they did cap one well this morning, but, of course, that means the volume of the gush has not changed. it is still spilling 210,000 gallons every day. wolf? >> we're hearing the oil is still two miles from shoir, bre it could hit in 72 hours. talk about what you're hearing from experts about wildlife and the ecosystem in that whole area. >> reporter: right, it's devastating. you just heard jack talk about it.
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and what's interesting there are all kinds of species, 400 different species of wildlife around here. and when i lanted yesterday i was up in a helicopter taking a look at the barrier islands off of mississippi, because what i didn't realize this area off the coast is the most populous area for dolphins in the entire u.s., so a huge concern is for dolphins here and they're well-being, in addition to that the national wildlife foundation, they have found two oil-covered birds, one of which is a brown pelican which just got off the endangered species list, they've also found a loggerhead turtle about 65 miles out, gasping for air near some of this oil sheen, so, wolf, just because the water looks like this here along the shores of the mississippi in louisiana, according to some of these wildlife experts, it doesn't mean that the water out there is very harmful, wolf? >> we're going to stay in close touch with you, brooke. thank you. we're also standing by right now for some new comments from
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the president about immigration reform. we're going to get you those comments in a few moments. stand by. he's speaking out about immigration reform. also, a new plume of ash bringing new travel trouble to europe. airports are closed. stranding tens of thousands of people. plus, we now know why parents are being advised to throw out some of the most common over-the-counter medicines for children.
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alina cho's here. she's monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what sels going on? >> hey, wolf. the factory where children's versions of tylenol, motrin, zyrtec and benadryl is shut down. the food and drug administration said it found bacteria in the facility had is owned by a subsidiary of johnson & johnson, a voluntary recall was issued for the products, butt a health official said a serious problem is remote. a new ash plume from the volcano in iceland has shut down
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more than a dozen airports in ireland and scotland. stranding about 30,000 passengers. london's hubs so far are unaffected. officials apparently are now using more precise safety rules for closures. they're hoping to avoid last month's widespread airline chaos. and nashville's mayor said the damage from days of flooding in his city could top $1 billion, and officials at the inundated opryland complex say it will be at least three months before it reopens. flash floods and storms in the region are blamed for 29 deaths in 3 states. 52 counties in tennessee alone are seeking federal emergency aid. wolf, back to you. >> alina, thanks very much. we'll check back with you shortly. we'll get back to the breaking news on the times square bomb suspect. we'll also get in to what's being called push-button war, how u.s. drone are hunting down taliban and al qaeda insurgents in the rugged mountains of pakistan's border region. did he train there?
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stand by. we have new information. and brutal cutbacks are called -- are called for in greece, in a desperate effort to save the nation from bankruptcy, but they've been met now with violent and deadly protests.
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during the spring event, qualified lessees, now get a 27-month, low mileage lease on this malibu ls for around $199 a month. call for details. see your local chevy dealer. let's get back to our top story, the breaking news we're following. a senior pakistani official tells cnn that the times square bomb suspect, faisal shahzad, met with one or more taliban
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leaders in the mountains of pakistan back in july, 2009. that rugged border area known as waziristan, has been a key target for missile-firing u.s. drones. cnn's tom foreman has been looking in to that. tom? >> wolf, predator drones have become a major component in our military operations over in pakistan. let's look at the system first, and i call it a system instead of simply a weapon, because it's not just about this thing that's flying through the air. it's about intelligence on the ground. it's about satellite images. it's about picking targets. this thing, however, whether you're talking about the preside for or the reaper, is capable of flying hundreds of miles, circling for hours and hours, waiting until it is called on to strike, all while being commanded by someone who may be thousands of miles away. it is an excellent way to deliver a weapon to a target without directly endangering american troops. this is what it does. they fire hell-fire missiles depending on their payload, they
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may carry two or more, and they can often obliterate their targets when they strike like this. where have they been used? well, primarily, if we move in here, you can see that the function -- the primary targets have been here. south waziristan, north waziristan, these are hotbeds for both al qaeda in pakistan and for the taliban in pakistan, many of whom have crossed over from afghanistan here. in 2004, we didn't know what to make of this. there was only one strike we were aware of. it was down here near this airfield somewhere. we didn't know for sure what this was going to add up to. in 2005, we saw a few more in the general area. as you can see them spread out through here. in 2006, we added a few more beyond that. 2007, still just a few more. but then tagt there was a change in policy. they said, let's no longer just go after high-value targets like leaders. let's start hitting training camps. let's start hitting groups of fighters who are opposed to us. and look what happened to the numbers. many more in 2008.
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even more in 2009. and by 2010, a great many more. this is happening because, wolf, there's a belief in the military that this is highly effective, a way to get into these mountainous regions that are very hard to get at otherwise and to strike with impunitimpun wolf? >> tom foreman, thank you. let's discuss this and more with veteran terrorism analyst and rand corporation senior adviser brian jenkins, along with our national security contributor, fran townsend. she was the homeland security adviser to president bush, also worked at the justice department during the clinton administration. fran, first to you, the drone attacks, i assume they're effective, but do they breed more terrorists as a result of these attacks? >> you know, wolf, we hear about the increasing number of predator shots and i think the thing people don't really appreciate is the specificity, the targeting of, of these weapons. it really is incredible. the ability of the intelligence and military communities to put this munitions on target without
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collateral damage. frankly, wolf, i think now we can -- we can fairly say that there's more collateral damage that's the result of traditional military operations than drone attacks. these drone attacks it's a little bit of a misnomer to say they don't require -- or they don't put troops at risk. because the fact is you need human sources and intelligence operatives, all sorts of people on the ground, as well as signal intelligence to gather the information to put them accurately where you want them. >> brian, you've just writing a fascinating piece and i've been reading your stuff for many, many years on what makes someone radicalized, what makes someone who is maybe a little bit angry all of a sudden become a terrorist? what's the bottom line in this process? >> well, it's -- it's a multi-phase process that can take place over months, even years. it often begins with -- with personal crisis, personal crisis that just paired with -- with self-recruitment to terrorist violence. at some point that leads to a
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questioning and a quest, the kinds of questions, what am i doing here? why am i here? leads to a quest for answers, a finding of an ideology that resonates, that turns complaint into political cause, and ultimately transform in -- transforms into a commitment to violence. >> because in this particular case, brian, this was an educated individual, this suspect, an mba from the university of bridgeport, a b.a.? he wasn't some poor, ignorant suicide bomber, if you will. it was -- it was someone who came from a fairly affluent background, in pakistan. >> that's not uncommon, in fact, if we look at the backgrounds of the -- the 9/11 hijackers, many of them came from university environments. they came from families that were middle-class or upper middle-class. so, the idea that a terrorist is
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going to necessarily come from the bottom sectors of society is simply not true. now, among those who have been radicalized or self-radicalized in this country, there are immigrants and entry-level jobs. there are people who have criminal backgrounds who radicalize in prison. but about 17%, 18% of those who have been arrested for terrorist activities in this country have university educations, many of them advanced degrees. >> interesting. fran, i know you've been checking with your sources, and you have good ones, what have you heard about a possible specific motive other than just, let's say, hatred of america? >> you know, the two things that seem to continue is the ties to the pakistani taliban over the drone attacks, frankly, in the tribal areas. the other one is the south park. you know, this car was parked by the viacom building, viacom is the parent that runs the southcom series and southcom had
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apologized for a particular episode that was -- might have been taken as disparaging to the prophet muhammad, and so both of those have continued to be looked at by federal authorities. >> what, brian, is the most important thing you think the federal government needs to do right now to tighten up security in the aftermath of what's gone down over these past few days? >> i don't think it's so much a matter of tightening up physical security. we're talking about public places, and we can erect security perimeters around public places and terrorists will move to other public places. i think the lesson here is, number one, the importance of domestic intelligence collection if we're going to have more and more terrorists attacks that are not centrally directed from abroad, but, rather, are conceptualized and planned by homegrown terrorists, then we're going to have to have the intelligence in place to pick those up. thus far we have been largely successful, only three out of all of these conspiracies and plots and attempts to carry out attacks here by -- by jihadists,
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only three have come up to the point where they've been able to do something, including the failed times square attempt. the other two were lone gunmen, in other words, individuals acting alone. they were able to avoid attention. the minute they get into a conspiracy, try to acquire weapons or do something more dramatic in terms of acquiring explosives as opposed to buying some gasoline or propane, they are picked up by the authorities. >> yeah. there's obviously an element, a tremendous element, of skill and professionalism, but there's always a little bit of luck that needs -- needs to be seen as well. brian jenkins, fran townsend, guys, thanks very much. should people on the federal terror watch list have the right to buy guns? the issue taking center stage on capitol hill in the wake of the times square bomb plot. stand by for that. and how much would you pay for this painting? we'll have details of a record-setting auction. (announcer) feeling back pain?
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want to go right to alina cho. she's getting some new information on this times square bomb suspect. he went to pakistan. he came back. what are you learning? >> that's right, wolf, he came back in february and we're getting this from an administration official who tells our jeanne meserve when faisal shahzad came back into the united states in february after allegedly doing five months of training in pakistan,
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under customs and border protection criteria, he actually qualified for secondary screening. now, customs agents went through usual protocol, did that screening. sent out a report to the fbi and intelligence agencies, and that report included his passenger information, airline ticket information, and key in this report was phone numbers associated with this travel. now, that is why authorities were able to track him down. here is the story, the way it played out. last weekend when the fbi turned up a phone number in connection with that car transaction, the buying of that nissan pathfinder, they ran the phone number and this report came up from back in february when he underwent that secondary screening. what is unclear at this point is why he qualified for the additional screening. >> this basically explains how they -- that phone number that they had linked him -- >> that's absolutely right. >> -- linked him, the fbi, the law enforcement of the nypd got
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on his trail. amazing how nowadays a number from months earlier could be used like that. >> that's absolutely right. they ran the phone number from february and that's how they linked him, because at the time when they got the phone number, wolf, there was no name associated it. they ran it and his name came up and that's how they found it. >> one of those prepaid cell phones. >> that's absolutely right that he allegedly had bought. we do want on bring you other news first of all coming out of greece. three people are dead after massive riots in greece. tens of thousands of people took to the streets in a nationwide strike. they are protesting new taxes and spending cuts required for the country to get an imf and european union bailout package worth more than $140 billion. now greece right now is facing a may 19th due date on debt that it says it cannot pay without that help. the date and time are set for the final flight of the space shuttle "atlantis" nasa said it will lift off a week from friday at 2:20 in the afternoon carry a crew of six
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and supplies to the international space station. there are two more shuttle missions planned before the program ends. and you are looking at the world's most expensive painting. take a good look. that's a picasco, it sold at auction for nearly $106.5 million to a so far unidentified buyer. it's title "nude, green leaves and bust," and it portrays picas picasso's mysteriis mistress in when it was painted. the previous record was a painting called "walking man." >> $100 million here, $100 million there. >> a beautiful paint. >> better be. thank you. we're getting new comments in from the president of the united states about immigration reform. what he wants this year. we're going to play the tape for you coming up next.'re staying at this resort for free? how?
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all right. this just coming in, president obama now pushing immigration reform. he's actually setting a little bit of a timeline. listen to this -- >> we need bipartisan support,
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but it can be done, and it needs to be done. so, i was pleased to see a strong proposal for comprehensive reform presented in the senate last week, and i was pleased that it was based on a bipartisan framework. i want to begin work this year, and i want democrats and republicans to work with me, because we've got to stay true to who we are, a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. >> all right. let's talk about it with cnn's john king. he's the host of "john king, usa," which starts right at the top of the hour immediately after "the situation room." key words, i heard there, john, is i want to begin work this year. not he wants to complete work this year. >> wolf, that is a huge and critical distinction that is going to disappoint many of his latino guests at the cinco de mayo celebration at the white house where the president delivered those remarks and it will complicate the work of immigration reformed a v ed advo
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have a steep hill. they told them if you want us to do it this year in the senate, you have to find two, three, four, five republicans who will vote with us. and they might need five or six republicans because not all democrats, wolf, want to address this issue this year. so by saying i want to begin this year as opposed to a very different, i want to pass legislation this year, the president has changed the dynamics of the debate again. last week he disappointed many of his democratic allies by saying he wasn't sure there was an appetite in the congress to do it this year. he has essentially acknowledging the lack of appetite right there, trying to tell these latino representatives at the white house whom he promised, wolf, to do this in his first year in office. we're three months into his second year in office and the president said he wants to begin the task. they support his goals, but they are going to be very disappointed in that very loose, noncommittal timeline from the president. and very quickly, john, can we jump to the conclusion that he does want to complete or pass an energy bill this year based on what we just heard as far as immigration reform being kicked
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down the road. >> it's a fascinating question. we don't have the question tonight. but certainly lindsey graham, republican of south carolina, has promised to work with democrats on an energy bill if immigration was taken off the legislative calendar this year, so it could be an opening on this issue. we'll have to see how it all plays out. >> we'll see you at the top of the hour, "john king, usa" coming up, thank you. jack cafferty is coming up in "the situation room" with your e-mails. and then the story behind this teetotaling toast. the former first lady, laura bush, tells us about her husband's decision to quit drinking.
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recently a whole new kind of cloud came to st. cloud, minnesota.
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right back to jack for the cafferty file. >> big story the last several days. couple weeks now, the question what should u.s. policy be when it comes to offshore oil drilling. >> ryan writes it's an unfortunate disaster. i'm concerned about the people, environment and the economic impact. however we're in a world of shrinking energy resources. we need to get oil and be safer. sarah says what should our policy be? no new offshore drilling period. plus the imposition of new and very stringent standards for the continuing operation of all existing wells. bob, first thing, jack, safety. this oil rig company didn't have a $500,000 remote shutoff safety device attached to the rig. this is a remote that is required in almost every other country in the world. because of the oil lobby, the u.s. government didn't require
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this safety device. unless the government gets serious about safety and the effects on the environment, we should not allow any drilling offshore. marie says it's like canceling airline tickets because an airplane crashed. offshore drilling should be allowed under strict security rules and oil companies should not be allowed to get around them. >> gabe writes so far a half dozen birds and maybe a dolphin versus a track record of tens of thousands of successful wells. you have to have a sense of balance which the extreme environmentists do not appear to have. no matter what you do, eventually bad things will happen. >> karen says oil is not working for us anymore on so many levels, politically, economically, environmentally. we are way overdue for sustainable clean energy to bring our country back to what our founding fathers envisioned, freedom and independence. if you want to read more on this, go to my blog,
6:53 pm file and check it out or you can go to this dinner at the museum of the moving image and sit with wolf and have a turkey sandwich. >> speaking of turkey, listen to this tease. when it comes to wild turkey, he went cold turkey. laura bush gives new details about when her husband quit drinking. jeanne moos will take a most unusual look.
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here's a look at some hot shots coming in from our friends at the associated president. in afghanistan, ufc germane looks over a fog covered valley. in india, they perform rituals on the banks of the river. in the outskirts of moscow, russian enthusiasts ride horses during a world war ii reenactment.
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at an ocean beach, an animal specialist pulls a baby sea lion from under a police car. it will be taken to seaworld before being released into the wild. hot shots. former president, george w. bush's last drink, the former first lady is telling us all. >> reporter: remember when all of us used to watch george bush with an eagle eye, to see if this former drinker would let the champagne glass touch his lips, wondering what was in the bottle. >> nonalcohol beer. >> reporter: now laura bush has spilled the beam. the jim beam. she was promoting her book. >> drinking was a very accepted part of our social life. >> you said the three bs. >> he liked to drink beer,
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bourbon and b and b. >> reporter: what's in a b and b? that makes four bs, beer, brandy and bourbon. in the movie, george bush was portrayed drinking bottles, cans, shots. dancing on the bar. crashing the car. fighting with george bush senior. they got one part right, about how george bush stopped drinking. laura bush told oprah they had gone with friends to celebrate their 40th birthdays in colorado springs. >> we had the wild drunken weekend. it was no different than any other weekend. >> same toast over and over. >> happy birthday, dear george. >> good morning.
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>> then george just woke up and knew he wanted to quit and he stopped and he was able to stop. >> are you all right there? >> i can't go on like this. >> through. >> through what? >> drinking. >> reporter: george bush goes cold turkey on wild turkey. >> reporter: laura bush said she never delivered an ultimatum. it's either jim beam or me. >> reporter: i joked george quit the next day because he got the bar bill. george bush may have stopped, but the jokes didn't. >> there are rumors that george bush is drinking again. >> i thank the leaders. i call them on the phone. >> reporter: taking shots at a guy, no longer drinking shots. >> strat jazzing. >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> remember, you can always follow what's going on in "the situatioom


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