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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  November 14, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EST

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happening now -- >> if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. >> a furious president obama accuses republican senators of trying to ruin the reputation of his united nations ambassador susan rice. much more cautious comments from the president about the david petraeus scandal and the fbi's investigation. we're covering all the angles of his first news conference since the election. and israel retaliates for rocket
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attacks with deadly strikes and extremist targets. now hamas is warning that the gates of hell have been opened. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." eight days after his re-election, president obama faced reporters in the midst of an unfolding scandal and with a potential economic crisis holding over his head. but he only got riled up when he responded to republican criticism of his united nations ambassador susan rice. more on that coming up. standby. but first, the president's careful responses about the investigation of this former cia chief david petraeus and on negotiations to avoid what's called the fiscal cliff.
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our white house correspondent jessica yellin was over at the east strip of the white house. you had a chance to speak to the president and ask him about that looming fiscal cliff. >> reporter: hi, wolf. that's right, i did. i asked the president why anyone should believe that he won't cave off of his position that he will not extend bush tax cuts for the wealthiest since he did just that in 2010. he said that he made his case explicitly clear during the last election. and that the majority of americans agree with his position on this. listen to what the president said. >> i think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate. and the majority of voters agreed with me. by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me. so we've got a clear majority of the american people who recognize if we're going to be serious about deficit reduction, we've got to do it in a balanced way. the only question now is, are we going to hold the middle class hostage in order to go ahead let that happen.
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>> reporter: wolf, he is one of the few presidents to win re-election running on any sort of a tax increase. one area where he seemed to offer specifics at one point but then perhaps contradicted himself on the question of whether or not he believes loopholes are enough just closing loopholes. at one point he suggested that simply closing loopholes for the very wealthiest does not do the budget math to help reduce the deficit. and that would suggest that he thinks that you also have to increase the rates on the wealthiest americans. at another point, he seemed to leave that an open question. so perhaps there is room for negotiation on that point when he meets with leaders this friday, wolf. >> yeah. i think there will be a lot of negotiations going on. we also heard, jessica, from the president about the petraeus scandal whether or not he believes he was informed appropriately. he wasn't even told until basically the whole thing was over with. tell our viewers what he said. >> reporter: well, wolf, he had words of praise for general
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petraeus personally, for his long and accomplished career, and he wouldn't pass judgment on the general or on what he called his personal situation. the president also avoided essentially answering questions about why he wasn't told sooner. he said that the fbi has a protocol and that protocol was followed. he wouldn't reveal whether he was shocked or disgusted or horrified to learn the news. he just didn't get emotional on the topic. and he wouldn't go there when prodded. the bottom line on this is the president used every opportunity he could to say that there is an ongoing investigation and deferred this topic to the fbi and the department of defenses inspector generals. those are the two areas the doj and d.o.g. is ongoing. this is the first time the president has been asked about these issues. but as more details come out,
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i'm certain it won't be the last. >> certainly won't be the last. jessica, thanks very much. new information coming in on the entire petraeus investigation. but right now let's go to the angry political fight that's unfolding between the president and republican senators john mccain and lindsay graham. it began to escalate earlier this morning when the senators vowed to stand in the way of the president if -- if he goes ahead and nominates the united nations ambassador susan rice to replace hillary clinton secretary of state. mccain and graham are scathing of rice's early remarks about the deadly attack on the u.s. diplomats in benghazi, libya. >> this is about the role she played around four dead americans when it seems to be that the story coming out of the administration. and she's the point person, is so disconnected to reality. i don't trust her. and the reason i don't trust her is because i think she knew better. and if she didn't know better, she shouldn't be the voice of
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america. somebody has got to start paying a price around this place. >> let's see what happens here. but we will do whatever's necessary to block the nomination that's within our power as far as susan rice is concerned. >> all right. listen to the president's very, very angry response to senators mccain and graham during that white house news conference. >> she made an appearance at the request of the white house in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. and i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi and was
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simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and besmirch her reputation is outrageous. >> let's bring in our senior congressional correspondent dana bash. dana, senators mccain and graham are now firing back at what we just heard the president say. >> that's right. in fact, senator mccain did so on the senate floor. he was going to the senate floor already, wolf, to formally introduce a resolution for a special or select committee for congress to investigate all of the unanswered questions relating to the attack in libya. but he made a point while he was on the floor, again continuing in a very angry tone as we've seen from all of these men to respond to that comment from the president. >> he said not to "pick on his ambassador to the united states to "pick on him."
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that statement is really remarkable in that if the president thinks that we are picking on people, he really does not have any idea of how serious this issue is. i'm a united states senator. senator from new hampshire is, we have our obligations, we have our duties representing the people that sent us here. and we're not picking on anybody. and i doubt if the families of these brave americans who were murdered would believe that we are "picking on anyone" that when we are trying to find out the facts, the american people deserve to know the facts. >> now, that was john mccain on the senate floor maybe about an hour after the president spoke. but minutes after the president was done, lindsey graham also released a statement quite unlike anything i've actually
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seen before, wolf. i'll read you part of it. he said "mr. president, don't think for one minute i don't hold you ultimately responsible for benghazi. i think you failed as commander in chief before, during and after the attack. he went onto say given what i know now i have no intention of promoting anyone who is up to their eyeballs in the benghazi debacle." there of course he's talking about the potential for the president to nominate the current ambassador to the u.n. susan rice to be secretary of state. look, i mean, there is no question there is deep seeded animosity between these two camps leading -- going back to 2008 when the president and john mccain were running against each other. but it's escalated to a whole new level now. and, yes, it is true that john mccain and others are going after this saying they want questions. but there's a lot of politics going on on both sides of this. >> if he decides to go ahead and nominate susan rice to be the next secretary of state, dana, what are the chances that she will be confirmed by the united states senate? >> i think it's actually too
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early to answer that question, honestly. clearly the democrats do have a substantial majority, but not a 60-vote majority needed to break a filibuster. they would need at least a handful of republicans to vote with them to confirm susan rice if she is in fact nominated to be secretary of state. and given the way that this has become so politically polarized led by the president's former opponent john mccain, it is too early to tell whether or not that would actually happen. but jessica mentioned this on the air before, you got to wonder whether or not even if the president wasn't planning on nominating susan rice before whether he just wants to do it now to show he's not going to back down to these two republican men john mccain and lindsey graham. >> if he doesn't nominate her, it will look to some at least like he has blinked. >> exactly. >> dana, thanks very much. the president's news conference is certainly giving all of us a taste of his political strategy in the weeks and months ahead as he deals with all sorts of major challenges including the petraeus scandal. let's bring in our chief
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political analyst gloria borger. gloria, the first question to the president in the news conference today on the petraeus scandal whether should have been told about it, wasn't told about it, listen to his carefully phrased answer. >> i have no evidence at this point from what i've seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security. the fbi has its own protocols in terms of how they proceed. and i'm going to let director muller and others examine those protocols and make some statements to the public generally. >> very cautious in his comments. >> well, he had to be, wolf. notice the caveats. this was a completely caveated statement. i have no evidence at this point, which means of course that there is an ongoing investigation, that he wasn't about to comment on. but he also made a point that i think is very valid.
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a lot of people are talking about it. he said "one of the challenges here is we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations." so he says there are protocols. if this is an ongoing criminal investigation, should it go up the chain of command to the president of the united states if it's not a matter of national security? ironically, if it had been a clear cut matter of national security, then it would have gone up the chain overcommand. so far we know that the director of national intelligence james clapper was informed about it late in the game i would have to say. what we don't know for example is did the white house counsel know about this? was the white house counsel already informed but decided not to tell the president? we just don't know the answers to these questions. i assume they're going to come out when the fbi is questioned and the justice department is questioned by the intelligence committees. >> i assume they will as well. >> right. >> in the meantime the other big issue the fiscal cliff. the president's gotten leverage now that he's been re-elected by the electoral college pretty
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decisively. >> he sounded like a man who had a lot more leverage than he did before the election. and obviously he got re-elected. well, one thing he said that was interesting to me is he was kind of calling the republican bluff here, wolf. he said, okay, let's just all get together and do something that everybody agrees we should do, which is extend the tax cuts for the middle class. as you recall, republicans don't want to do that because then they lose their leverage when it comes to the tax cuts for the wealthy, what you do about those. and the president is sort of saying, okay, everybody wants those extended. you sawed results of the election, you read the exit polls, we need to do that first. so he's kind of trying to put the republicans in a spot saying, okay, rational people, reasonable people, we all know we need to do that. and then as a second part of the process, let's take a look at those larger issues. and he didn't draw a line in the sand, wolf, about that top rate.
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he has said he wants to raise it to the rate of the clinton years, 39.6%. but we didn't hear any number out of him today. >> we saw a different president of the united states today than we used to see. >> i do. i think we saw somebody who's clearly feeling like i've got the upper hand here. take a listen to this. >> i'm more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms. we are very cautious about that. on the other hand, i didn't get re-elected just to bask in re-election. i got elected to do work on behalf of american families. >> he's very clear, very confident. he's got enough work on his plate. he's got the fiscal cliff. he's got immigration reform. probably even tax reform. i think that's enough to get him started, what do you think? >> a major national security issue as well.
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>> and those are the unexpected things that pop up in a second term. >> right. he never has to worry about getting re-elected, but he has to worry about his legacy down the road. >> absolutely. >> gloria, thank you. there are more questions now merging about jill kelley, one of the key figures in the scandal involving general petraeus and john allen. the socialite's claim she deserves diplomatic protection. >> i'm an honorary consul general, so i have involability so they should not be able to cross my property. le thing. and you really don't want to pay more than you have to. only citi price rewind automatically searches for the lowest price. and if it finds one, you get refunded the difference. just use your citi card and register your purchase online. have a super sparkly day! ok. [ male announcer ] now all you need is a magic carriage. citi price rewind. buy now. save later.
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so how could what happened to general david petraeus affect you? jack cafferty's following this part of the story in the cafferty file. jack. >> the -- wolf, the petraeus sex scandal raises serious questions about privacy that could affect every american who goes online. that would be all of us, i guess. a lesson for everyone, what starts as a government search
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for crime on the web can turn into an invasion of the private lives of american citizens. don't think it couldn't happen to you. in this case what started out as an investigation into alleged harassing e-mails from one woman to another wound up exposing an extramarital affair and ultimately bringing down the director of the cia. one electronic privacy expert told "new york times" that cyber investigations can rapidly become open ended because there is such a huge amount of information available. and it's so easy to search. "if the cia director can get caught, it's pretty much open season on everyone else." the aclu questions what surveillance powers the fbi used to look into the private lives of generals petraeus and allen. we still don't know, but it could include methods like subpoenas and search warrants. then there's this, google acknowledges it passed information to authorities in response to 93% of government
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requests in the second half of 2011. it's a tricky balance here. national security experts warn a major cyber attack could bring the country to its knees. but does that mean that americans have to give up all rights to their privacy? some are especially concerned about the national security agency. that would be the same bunch of folks who conducted warrantless wiretapping on americans after the 9/11 attacks. remember the patriot act? here's the question, in light of the petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private? go to, post a comment on my blog. or go to our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. here's a hint, no. >> that's a pretty good hint, jack. thanks very much. there's certainly very little that's private right now for the tampa socialite jill kelley. she's a link between the david petraeus scandal and the investigation scandal of general john allen. her background and connection to
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two of america's top generals is under enormous scrutiny. questions are emerging about jill kelley's finances, the charity she was running. you've been looking into this. you're investigating. what are you learning? >> reporter: well, wolf, it's another confusing layer to this story when you're trying to paint the picture of just who jill kelley is and the circles she ran around here. we've taken a closer look at the finances swirling around here here in recent years after her and her husband moved down here to the tampa area. we've learned through court records that the home that she has in this upscale neighborhood of tampa on a bay shore boulevard overlooking the beautiful bay has been in foreclosure since 2010 as well as another investment property in downtown tampa that they've had foreclosure issues as well. and there's almost ten lawsuits involving the kelleys finances including from credit card companies that say that they are owed more than $300,000 from the couple. what all of this may or may not
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have to do with the story surrounding the general's scandal is up in the air. but it's just another one of these confusing layers to this already very confusing story. wolf. >> what about jill kelley's thinking that she was entitled to some sort of diplomatic protection? >> reporter: oh, yeah. we got a hold of this 911 phone call that apparently she made after her name had started surfacing and reporters were going to her house looking for comment. she called 911 operator. listen to what she told them. >> i'm an honorary consul general, so i have invie yolability, so they should not be able to cross my property. i don't know if you want to get diplomatic attention involved as well. this is kind of like it'sin viable. >> no problem. i'll let the officer know. >> thank you. >> reporter: again, another kind of bizarre twist. she had this honorary consul
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title given to her from the south korean government. she's been very involved in charity work here in the tampa area for many years and she moved down here. of course any kind of official privilege like that would not have been anything that she would have qualified for according to various people we've spoken to today, wolf. >> so much bizarre going on here. we'll have more on this including the fact that both general petraeus and general allen wrote separate letters to a judge urging that judge to allow jill kelley's twin sister to have custody of a son. how they got involved in a custody battle is way, way up in the air right now. lots of questions on that front as well. much more on this story coming up. but there's other major news we're following right now. serious news in the middle east. israel responding to rocket fire with air strikes, naval shelling killing a top extremist leader in gaza. why hamas is now warning that the "gates of hell are now
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lisa sylvester's monitoring some of the top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa, the world's biggest automakers, two huge recalls. what's going on? >> that's right, wolf. toyota is recalling more than 2.5 million prius and corolla problems for problems with the steering shafts. last month toyota had a recall largest by automakers in years. and gm is recalling certain buick and chevy compacts, the driver side air bags might not deploy and some cadillac sedans may have faulty head restraints. and the man who accused kevin
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clash of having a sexual relationship with him while he was under age is now taking it all back. the young man now in his 20s withdrew the charges just one day after making them. clash took a leave of absence from sesame street in light of the allegations. sesame street has not indicated how soon the voice of the beloved red muppet may return to work. a lot of people were shocked by that, but it all turns out it wasn't true. he said it all along. sesame street stood by him. he took a short leave of absence. a lot of people are waiting for elmo to get back to work. >> hope he gets back soon. >> same here, wolf. israel firing in response to fire. extremists warning of a new escalation. and president obama in a feud with republican senators.
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with his u.n. ambassador under fire, president obama drew
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a line in the sand today telling reporters that anyone who doesn't trust susan rice's handling of the benghazi attack should go after him, not her. republican senators are doing just that. here to talk about this dust up is the former u.n. ambassador bill richardson. he served during the clinton administration. governor, ambassador, i don't know what to call you anymore. thanks for coming in. >> nice to be with you, wolf. >> i'm going to play this clip, senator mccain, a man you know quite well, and the president arguing over susan rice. >> we will do whatever's necessary to block the nomination that's within our power as far as susan rice is concern. >> if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. and i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi and was simply making a presentation
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based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. >> pretty extraordinary you see a president get into a fight like this with senators mccain and lindsey graham. >> this is really unfortunate especially since it's only a few days after the election. we thought that bipartisanship was coming back especially in foreign policy. i know susan rice. i've known her a long time. she's honorable, experienced, dedicated. and i got those intelligence briefs in the morning whenever we were dealing with the crisis. >> when you were u.n. ambassador? >> when i was u.n. ambassador. you act and say what your intelligence briefing said at the time. but then those intelligence briefings change because there's an ongoing investigation of what happened in benghazi. >> she went on the five sunday talk shows five days or so after the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi that killed the u.s. ambassador and three other
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americans. and what she said was not accurate. but she insists she was just repeating what she had been briefed by the intelligence community. >> that's the information she had. and i think just apart from that, wolf, a president should have the right to nominate who he wants for secretary of state. >> but the senate has the right to confirm or reject, right? >> i know. but the candidates if it's senator kerry, susan rice, ambassador rice, two excellent candidates, i mean, i don't think there's been a situation where a secretary of state candidate has ever been blocked. so this is unprecedented. >> you hope it will go ahead and nominate her? >> i don't know. i don't know. but i think things should cool down. i think it's important that senator mccain is the key figure in foreign policy in the senate. the president's commander in chief, i think they need to work at a little among themselves. >> they might need you to negotiate a deal or whatever. let's move on.
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a very serious development today in israel and gaza. the israelis go in with air strikes kill the hamas military commander and others. it seems to be escalating big time. some people are afraid of it all-out war. what's going on here? >> well, this is a very serious escalation. what is going on is my sense that hamas is saying to the plo, to the palestinian people, we are the leaders. we are the ones with the rockets, with the arms. we know the palestinians are going to the u.n. to get statehood. we think we give you a better deal. that's very dangerous. secondly, it puts the whole egyptian/israeli peace deal very, very dicey. that really worries me. and then lastly -- >> because this new government. >> this new government and the fact no one seems to be controlling hamas. and then the whole palestinian, the whole sanai peninsula, i think it's very dangerous. >> where does iran fit into this? >> iran's a big player.
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they control hamas. they're right now agitating. they're agitating probably egypt. >> lebanon presumably? >> yeah. yeah. >> what concerns me as somebody who's covered this story for a long time, if tensions heat up with hamas and gaza, heat up with hezbollah from lebanon and iran working on its nuclear program, look what's happening israel's neighbor in the north, syria, there's potential there are for huge explosion. >> yeah. there's a powder keg potential. there's another reason why this administration has leverage, strength now that the president won should push once again for an israeli/palestinian agreement. >> with the palestinian authority. >> with the plo, two-state solution. push that. get the israeli supportive. but right now i can understand what israel's doing, defending itself. >> two years ago almost to the day you went to north korea. i went with you. spent six days in pyongyang. since then there's a new leader,
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kim jong-un, the young man now the leader of north korea. you studied this closely. i'm curious, do you see significant changes yet positive changes, negative changes? what do you see in north korea? >> i see positive changes. i think this young man is different than his father, his grandfather. he's reaching out to his people. it's still an oppressive regime. he's somebody that studied in switzerland and europe so maybe knows western ways. he has a leadership style that seems to be more open, more positive. i've got a hunch that this guy we may want to do business with him. it may make sense to reach out. now, in the past our hands have been shut down when we try to do that. but i wouldn't dismiss this guy. and i think it makes sense to try to revive the six-party talks. i think he might be open to a deal to get rid of his nuclear weapons. they desperately need food. their people are enormously
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poor. they need technology. i'd give this guy a little opening. >> all right. we'll see what happens. ambassador, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> bill richardson, former governor of new mexico. want to go right to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's getting new information on paula broadwell. what are you learning, barbara? >> wolf, some really stunning new information. cnn has learned from two u.s. officials that paula broadwell's security clearance has been suspended. she is a serving reservist, if you will, with the u.s. army, a military intelligence analyst. as such, she would at least have a secret level security clearance. we are now told that security clearance suspended pending the outcome of several investigations. we went to the army to ask them for an official response. they will not say anything except the following. and let me read it to you.
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"appropriate actions with regard to this officer's clearance and access have been taken." the statement goes onto say "the army has been cooperating with federal law enforcement authorities in this matter. and those actions are ongoing." wolf, you will recall a couple of days ago the fbi went to broadwell's home. we all saw the video of fbi agents taking away boxes of material, computers. the discussion centering around what kind of classified information she might have had in her home. when someone with a security clearance has classified information in their home, there are two critical questions afoot. do they have reason to have it? is it a need-to-know basis? does it relate to their professional work with the military for that security clearance? and are they appropriately protecting that information? they must have authority to take it out of a military base.
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they must have authority to have it in their home. and they must protect it. we know that these are the key questions, the critical questions being asked. we also now know her security clearance has been suspended, wolf. >> that could just be the start if she did in fact violate these procedures to protect national security secrets, she could be in deep potential criminal trouble as well. we have much more on this part of the story coming up at the top of the hour. barbara starr breaking that news for us here in "the situation room." we'll take a quick break and continue our analysis of what the president of the united states said today at that first news conference since his re-election. . next. next. i guess -- oh, you always ask that question except to mitch mcconnell. ♪
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let's get right to our strategy session. joining us the democratic pollster for the obama campaign cornell bellsher and ana navarro. this is a reporter asking nancy pelosi a question. she made it clear today she wants to remain the democratic leader in the house. >> you, mr. hoyer, all over 70, is your decision to stay onto prohibit younger leadership from moving forward? >> so you're suggesting everybody at the moment step aside? you don't realize that's quite offensive i guess. >> let me start with you, cornell. are you surprised she wants to stay on as minority leader?
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>> no. i'm not at all. she's been a fantastic leader. she was a fantastic speaker moving through historic things throughout the house without her strong leadership probably would not have gotten done. the house democrats picked up last check eight or nine seats, wolf. and in the end tally we actually got more people voting for house democrats than republicans. and we probably could have taken back the house if the seats weren't so dog gone gerrymander. i don't think it's a surprise she's staying in there. she's a strong leader. she should stay in there. i think the question is a little offensive. frankly, a lot of old men are in power in this country all across this country. and they don't seem to get asked these same sort of questions. >> you know, a lot of republicans, ana correct me if i'm wrong, probably happy she's going to be the democratic leader because they see her as a useful target in trying to score points. >> there's few more useful targets for fund raising appeals for republicans than nancy pelosi. she's become a lightning rod to the republican side.
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so she's very useful. wolf, i get where she's coming from. no woman i don't care who she is likes to be asked her age, and the older you get the less you like it. keep in mind the guy who made this question is luke russert, he's a young man, also on msnbc, not exactly a conservative network. and i think it is a legitimate question because people who are young tend to look at congressional leadership and wonder who's representing me. >> i know luke. he's an excellent young reporter indeed. knew his father, tim russert, very, very well, the late tim russert, a great journalist in his own right. let's move on and talk a little about mitt romney. i thought the president was pretty gracious today in saying really nice things about mitt romney. in fact, we got a little clip. >> my hope is before the end of the year though we have a chance to sit down and talk. there are certain aspects of governor romney's record and his
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ideas that i think could be very helpful. and, well, to give you one example, i do think he did a terrific job running the olympics. what i want to do is to get ideas from him and see if there's some ways we can potentially work together. >> ana, i think they can work together. not necessarily right away. but i could easily see a day when the president and mitt romney they get together on some major projects. >> yeah, mitt romney sitting somewhere right now wondering why didn't he say that two weeks ago. but look, i think it's a very gracious gesture. it would be symbolic bipartisanship, but i'm not sure his priorities shouldn't be smoking the peace pipe with lindsey graham and john mccain who are in the senate and can help with the legislative agenda. i'm not sure what base mitt romney represents right now within the republican party. but it would be a wonderful gesture. and i think it's the right thing and the right tone for the president to set. >> cornell, why are you smiling? >> because i'm stunned.
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i don't know what base mitt romney represents in the republican party. he was your nominee. he was the guy at the top of your ticket. what base he represents. look, the president, he did the right thing by reaching out to mitt romney. and he did the right thing by the way he opened his press conference talking about a letter from a gentleman who didn't vote for him but he understands he's got to work for that gentleman who didn't vote for him just the way he worked for the people who in fact voted for him. it was a great noble gesture, but that's the sort of leadership we need to sort of move this country forward. can't just be about your base. it has to be about the people who also worked gebs you got to be able to reach across the aisle and work with those people. i think it was a fantastic gesture by the president. >> all right, guys. leave it on that note. fantastic gesture, love to leave it on that. thanks very much. warren buffett has been millions by being ahead of the curve. so what does he think of a looming fiscal cliff? in an interview he tells our poppy harlow how a crisis can be avoided. standby. one.
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now to a cnn exclusive. warren buffett has weathered plenty of economic storms over the last few years. but the fiscal cliff is a new one. poppy harlow spoke with the oracle of omaha to see if he could shed anymore light on what might happen. poppy, what does warren buffett say about this potential financial economic crisis? >> reporter: well, you know, wolf, his position on it really actually surprised me. he's far less alarmist than most when it comes to the fiscal cliff. you know, just before the election warren buffett said he thinks there's a fairly good chance that we could fall over that fiscal cliff. and he -- now that we do have a
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new congress and we know what the makeup of congress is going to be, who the next president is going to be, i asked him does that change his assessment. here's his take. >> i don't know whether we'll go over it. it really depends very much, you know, on the republicans in congress. it doesn't take the whole group in congress to avoid that. i mean, if 25 republicans decide that they'll put country above party and sign up for something that makes sense, we don't need to go over the fiscal cliff. >> that's interesting. you say it really depends on the republicans in congress. what about the president? he's taking a very hard line going into these negotiations starting on friday asking off the bat for $1.6 trillion in tax increases. what is the likelihood of the united states falling into a recession if we go over the cliff? >> i don't think that's going to happen. i think that if we go past january 1st, i don't know whether it will be january 10th or february 1st, but we are not
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going to permanently cripple ourselves because 535 people can't get along. >> even if we go over for two months, does that dip this economy back into recession? >> i don't think so. >> reporter: interesting take there, wolf. he told me he wants the president to take a very hard line going into these discussions which will begin on friday. few other bits of news for you. when it comes to taxes, taxing the rich corporate taxes, he told me he believes that the wealthy in this country should pay significantly more taxes that 30% capital gains tax double where we are now wouldn't be too high, 50% plus personal income tax wouldn't be too high. also he made an endorsement already for the next president in 2016. it's a woman. he thinks it should be hillary clinton telling me he does not think there is any more qualified candidate out there. already talking about 2016, wolf. >> never too early as far as that is concerned. thanks very much, poppy, for
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that. we all knew paula broadwell had extraordinary access to david petraeus. but we're now learning more about how and why she was able to look at top secret documents. what's going on? we'll have more. that's coming up. so what do you think? basic.
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at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. jack's back with the cafferty file. jack. >> the question this hour, wolf, in light of the petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private? ed in california, nope. since the inception of homeland security, we have no privacy. e-mails and all social media's recorded and scrutinized by homeland security. if you want privacy, talk in person, not electronically. these generals should have known better, especially petraeus.
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pete in georgia writes, the internet is a wide open global cesspool with zero security or privacy. the average person can't control their urges or impulses to fully accept the fact that the internet is the largest spider web ever devised. george bush and dick cheney eliminated our rights to privacy and any need to warrants. brad, the camel's act nose under the tent. see which party provided the most votes to pass it. anyone who thinks what he or she posts online will remain private just doesn't see the world as it is. and martha writes this, probably not. but looks like delving into someone else's e-mail can have unforeseen consequences. basically a cat spat between two silly broads fighting over one guy that morphed into a scenario involving the fbi, cia, the justice department and the administration.
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monica, eat your heart out. you want to read more about this, go to the blog, or through our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. wolf. jack, thank you. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, president obama makes his first detailed remarks on the former cia director, david petraeus and the extramarital affair that brought him down. also, new details of the other general now ensnarled in a scandal, a source describing general john allen's e-mails to a married woman as "very embarrassing." and middle east tension exploding right now with fierce fighting between the israelis and the palestinians in gaza. hamas warning that israel has "opened the gates of hell." we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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president obama certainly would have preferred to focus more on the economy, the looming fiscal cliff in his first post-election news conference today, instead he had to address the sex scandal that toppled his hand-picked cia director and former general david petraeus. the president said he's withholding judgment while the investigation unfolds and said there's no evidence of a security breach. >> i have no evidence at this point from what i've seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have -- had negative impact on our national security. obviously there's an ongoing investigation. i don't want to comment on the specifics of the investigation. i want to emphasize that from my
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perspective at least he has provided this country an extraordinary service. we are safer because of the work that dave petraeus has done. and my main hope right now is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career. and there are also new developments only in the last few minutes surrounding petraeus' former mistress, his by videographer, paula broadwell, and her security clearances. suzanne kelly and barbara starr both working the story for us. barbara, let's start with you. what are you hearing? >> cnn has confirmed that paula broadwell's security clearance has been suspended. two u.s. officials have confirmed this to cnn saying suspended until the investigation are done at least.
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our own colleague, fran townsend reporting classified material was found on at least a broadwell computer. now, we went to the army and asked about this officially because of course paula broadwell is a lieutenant colonel in the army reserve specializing in military intelligence. the army will only say "appropriate actions with regard to this officer's clearance and access have been taken. the army has been cooperating with federal law enforcement authorities in this matter. and those actions are ongoing." you don't have to read too far between the lines, wolf. her security clearance suspended, she has got to now answer the question, what classified information did she have? what authority did she have to have it? and if she had it in her home, was she protecting it in accordance with federal law? it doesn't get more serious than this, wolf. >> certainly doesn't. standby for a moment. suzanne kelly is with us as well. you're getting new information,
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suzanne, what the fbi apparently found on some of those computers. >> right. and the measures that have to be in place for safeguarding that material. we know from a law enforcement source that paula broadwell was in possession of classified material. we also know the fbi investigation is still officially open. so what are investigators looking for? and just how high reaching did broadwell's security clearance go? just when many thought the investigation had come to an end, fbi agents spent five hours hauling boxes and computers from broadwell's north carolina home monday night taking a closer look at what classified materials she had. military officials tell cnn's barbara starr that as an intelligence officer in the military reserves broadwell would have had secret or even top secret clearance. but that clearance would have been for information pertaining to whatever her job was. she told an audience in aspen, colorado, this summer that she had to follow strict rules in order to keep her security clearance and her unprecedented access to general david petraeus. >> i felt like i was almost held
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to a higher level of accountability because i could lose my clearance. >> reporter: some say she wasn't careful enough. they're calling for an investigation. >> this person who was associated with general petraeus said at some gathering that there was two or three libyans being held in the safehouse. now, the cia has said that that's just patently false. all these things are flying around. and we don't know. that's why we need the investigation. >> reporter: mccain's referring to comments like this one that broadwell made at the university of denver last month. >> now, i don't know if a lot of you have heard this, but the cia annex had actually taken a couple libyan militia members prisoner and they think the attack on the consulate was try to get these prisoners back. that's still being vetted. >> reporter: and were protocols followed? >> classified information by its nature is the type of information that can cause significant damage to the united
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states if it is compromised. >> reporter: but when petraeus granted broadwell access including on trips to afghanistan, her access to classified information becomes murkier especially in meetings with the sboord nants. >> it's impolice it they speak in front of her. i think this is a complicated investigation both for the fbi and justice department. >> this is certainly not over for broadwell. as barbara starr reported, her security clearance has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. wolf, i've reached out to broadwell several times. we talked over the summer in aspen about her starting a second book now about general petraeus and how that book was really meant to be his legacy. it's very possible that a lot of the information she had was in regards to that book as well. >> wow. all right. thanks, suzanne. we're also learning new information of e-mails from general john allen to another woman jill kelley. back to barbara. what are you finding out? >> john allen, wolf, still under
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investigation. a new characterization of the e-mails he may have sent to jill kelley now known as the other-other woman. nic patton-walsh reporting he got information in the spring from the handle potentially threatening e-mail that allen saw he forwarded to jill kelley and that is somewhat of what set all of this off. what are in those allen e-mails? officials are telling us it's embarrassing. that john allen, the commander of the war in afghanistan would be very embarrassed if his wife saw those e-mails. the problem may be here the investigators, everybody's got a different interpretation of what's embarrassing, what's over the line, were they just a little inappropriate or did they cross the line? that's the question, wolf. >> lots of questions on that front as well. meanwhile, his nomination to become the supreme ally commander in europe, the nato top commander, that is on hold. barbara, thank you. meanwhile, amidst all of
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this israel is striking gaza with deadly force killing a hamas military leader. the exploding tension has the united states right now very concerned. we're going to jerusalem. and woman power in the united states congress. we have details of who the parties are putting in charge. let's say you want to get ahead in your career. how do you get from here... to here? at university of phoenix we're moving career planning forward so you can start figuring that out sooner. ln fact, by thinking about where want your education to lead, while you're still in school, you might find the best route... leads somewhere you weren't even looking. let's get to work. bp has paid overthe people of bp twenty-threeitment to the gulf. billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america.
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a controversial petition to the white house. jack cafferty's here with the cafferty file. jack. >> wolf, texas governor rick perry does not support a petition for the lone star state to sus cede from the union. a lot of people do. an online petition to ask texas to withdraw from the united states following president obama's re-election has more than 100,000 signatures. it appears on a section of the white house website called we the people and cites economic difficulties due to the federal government's inability to cut spending. supporters suggest that sus session would protect texans
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standard of living and resecure their rights and liberties. the leader of the movement tells politico that mr. obama's re-election is what he called a cat liezing moment for his group's efforts to leave the united states. he insists "this is not a reaction to person but policy." and what they see is a federal government disconnected from its constituents. really? so far no response from the white house. even though the number of signatures far surpasses the 25,000 needed for a white house response. for his part, governor perry says he believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it although he says he shares the frustrations a lot of americans have with the federal government. texas is america's second biggest state in both area and population. it was its own nation for ten years before joining the union in 1845. and texas isn't alone here either. a number of other states have also gathered more than 25,000 signatures on secession
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petitions including louisiana, north carolina and florida. here's the question. should texas be allowed to secede from the union? go to, post a comment on my blog. or go to our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. wolf. jack, thank you. hope they don't. i like texas. i like them part of the united states of america. that would be bad if they seceded from the union. >> well, it's not going to happen. but it's an interesting idea. >> i know. thank you, jack. republicans largely lost the female vote to democrats in last week's election. and that may have been on the minds of some republican house leaders. right now the house -- in the house the minority leader -- the majority leader i should say is eric canter, he's announcing his party's leadership including the re-election of a woman representative kathy mcmorris-rogers to a powerful position. kate bolduan has been working the story for us has details. what's going on here? >> kathy actually has a more powerful position this time
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around. she is now the conference chair of the republican conference. that's the fourth ranking leadership position in the house republican leadership with john boehner, eric canter and kevin mccarthy ahead of her. that's big news for house republicans. also big news on the democratic side of the house today after much, much speculation, nancy pelosi announced she'll stay on for another two years as a top democrat in the house. but that wasn't the only message she was sending today. despite losing the gavel to republicans in 2010 and failing to win it back last week, nancy pelosi says she's staying. >> i have made a decision to submit my name to my colleagues to once again serve as the house democratic leader. >> reporter: flanked by dozens of her democratic female colleagues, pelosi clearly relished the chance to draw a stark contrast with house republicans. >> i'm so proud to stand here with you, my sisters.
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this is girls morning out. we must have the further empo r empowerment of women. this statement of the strength of women in the congress of the united states. >> reporter: the next congress will have a record 78 women serving in the house. 58 of them democrats, only 20 republicans. >> for some people in the general public, the thought of four men at that table was not an appealing sight. however excellent they might all be. >> reporter: with women playing a major if not decisive role in this election, republicans know they have work to do. >> this election was a wakeup call. we've now lost the presidency twice. we've got to understand that the demographics are changing. women are increasingly important. we have a branding issue. we can no longer look like, sound like, be the party of angry, old white men. we've got to diversify. >> reporter: symbolism isn't everything, but a picture can sure send a strong message.
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>> a picture is worth a thousand words. that's what they say. i said then and i say now that this picture before you is worth millions of votes. >> enjoying herself there for sure. republicans do point out that with the promotion of kathy mcmorris-rogers they are gaining more women in top leadership ranks in the house. republicans also point out that they too are happy with nancy pelosi's continued leadership of the democratic caucus. not because she's a woman but saying she's solely responsible for relegating democrats to as they put it prolonged minority status. and just a reminder, if you need another reminder in terms of top con gregs gnat leadership, house, senate, at large, wolf, largely all the players remain the very same as the lineup was pre-election. so status quo election, status quo leadership. >> senate leadership, house leadership basically the same. >> yep. big players. >> executive branch has the same leadership as well. that would be the president of
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the united states. >> that would be absolutely right. >> we're going to continue what's going on. let's hope they can work together a little better. >> no kidding. >> thank you. senate democrats are adding to their strength. the independent senator-elect from maine, former governor angus king will caucus with the democrats. harry reid reassured him his independence would be respected. he also says he's open to working with republicans. so effectively 55 democrats in the next senate, 45 republicans. the popular video chat service skype forced to shut down a critical feature after hackers uncover a security hole. we have details of that. that's just ahead. anncr: some politicians seem to think medicare and...
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lisa sylvester's monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa, anti-austerity strikes hitting parts of europe. what's going on? >> that's right, wolf. violent protests over spending cuts meant to bail governments out of debt are sweeping the european landscape. angry workers took to the streets in spain where a general strike has shut down airports, factories and schools. austerity measures have caused walkouts in portugal, france, italy, belgium and greece. and the closing bell punctuated a rough day on wall street. concerns piling up over a fiscal cliff and turmoil in the middle east forced u.s. stocks to drop more than 1%. the dow fell 185 points while the nasdaq shed 37 points. the s&p 500 was down 19 points on the day. and skype was forced to disable its password reset option today after it discovered a huge security hole allowed almost anyone to hack into other people's accounts. although it popped up on a russian site months ago, a tech news blog confirmed hackers were
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essentially changing users passwords and then locking them out. skype says it's making updates to fix the flaw. and of all the beautiful duets in history, here's one for the book. madonna going gangnam style with korean pop star psy. take a look at this. apparently the material girl affluent sensation to fly into new york for the appearance. all galloped along to the hit and then to her song. >> let's listen a little bit. ♪ >> i love that. that's a great combination. it's nice that madonna thought of bringing him in there. i'm not sure if i'm ready quite yet to do my public debut of gangnam style. >> i spoke to someone who was at madison square garden for the concert. and this was clearly a total surprise.
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the folks went crazy when the two of them did their little -- two songs they did. there she is, madonna. >> oh, i can believe it. he in his own right is just hugely popular. you talk about the internet sensation. >> wow, look at her go. >> now we're going to have this song playing in our heads for the next couple of hours, wolf. >> i love this. all right. as much as i'd like to, we've got to leave it there. big fan. investigators tracing the e-mails behind the petraeus scandal. just ahead we have details on new privacy concerns, serious ones, that are being raised. plus, a powerful military chief taken out in a string of deadly israeli attacks. up next, the israeli ambassador to the united states is here. he'll respond to charges from hamas has opened up the gates of hell. baked in a ketchup glaze with savory gravy and mashed russet potatoes. what makes stouffer's meatloaf best of all? that moment you enjoy it at home.
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[ all ] 3% on gas! no hoops to jump through. i earn more cash back on the things i buy most. [ woman in pet store ] it's as easy as... [ all ] one! -two. -[ all ] three! [ male announcer ] the bankamericard cash rewards credit card. apply online or at a bank of america near you. [ male announcer ] the bankamericard cash rewards credit card. when we got married. i had three kids. and she became the full time mother of three. it was soccer, and ballet, and cheerleading, and baseball. those years were crazy. so, as we go into this next phase, you know, a big part of it for us is that there isn't anything on the schedule.
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dramatic video we're just
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getting in here in "the situation room" from the israeli military showing a deadly air strike taking out the head of hamas's military wing commander in gaza. the attack which killed nine people and wounded 35 others was the first in a broader israeli assault on targets in the region. several other strikes have occurred as well. all this in reaction to hundreds of rockets coming into southern israel from gaza. let's turn to our senior international correspondesara s. are we seeing the beginning of a new war? >> reporter: it is what it is looking like right now, wolf. a lot of concern on both sides especially civilians living in southern israel and those living in gaza. we are seeing a definite ratcheting up of tensions between israel and gaza. let me give you the very latest that we're hearing right now. so far in gaza there have been at least 30 air strikes, 84 people injured, several of those injured children we know that
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eight people have been killed, two of those young children. but we should talk about the leader of hamas' military wing because he wasn't just the leader of hamas' military wing but also a symbolic member of hamas, one of the founders of hamas. we are expecting a huge reaction from hamas. they have said and i'm basically quoting here "israel has opened the gates of hell. our occupying forces have opened the gates of hell." we are seeing the reaction now. more rockets coming into israel. since saturday more than 130 rockets have come into israel. some of those blasted away by the iron dome, but some of those have landed injuring about a dozen israelis. we also know that there are four soldiers who have been injured, two of them severely. that happened just a couple of days ago. this is a real tension that's ratcheted up. we also know that egypt has removed its ambassador to israel. and we're getting that
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information just as we speak. there are a lot of rumors right now but we talked directly to the military spokeswoman who told us that israel is considering whether or not it will perform a ground war in gaza. right now they are holding off, but they are bringing reservists in just to be prepared in case they think that a ground war is necessary. for now we're hearing that there are continued air strikes. and there is some action from the mediterranean just off of gaza where israeli warships are shooting into gaza. we are also hearing from the militants inside gaza saying they have also targeted the israe israeli naval ships anchored. a lot of action and expected to be more overnight. >> a situation unfolding right now. sara sidner, we'll stay in close touch with you. let's dig in deeper. right now joining us israeli
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ambassador michael oren. ambassador, thanks for coming in. is there not only going to be air strikes from naval vessels in the mediterranean but is israel going in on the ground to gaza? >> good to be with you, wolf, as always. israel's action called pillar of defense as you heard days in which hundreds of rockets have been fired by gaza, by terrorists of gaza at a million israeli civilians in the southern part of the country. that would be the equivalent of 40 million american who is have to huddle in bomb shelters or be no more than 15 seconds run from some bomb shelters. that's how much time you have to get to that bomb shelter when these shells start coming in on you. now over the course even since 2009 the last time we operated in gaza, there have been over 2,500 rockets fired at our citizens in the south. israel had exercised immense restraint, i would say superhuman restraint before this, but no israeli government
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can permit a situation where a million of its citizens are in these bomb shelters and subjected to these shellings daily. >> but this targeted assassination or killing of the hamas military commander, you knew that was going to generate a response. >> well, this military commander is responsible for the deaths of dozens of israelis. he's the one who planned and carried out the kidnapping and two soldiers killed in that operation as well. we've tried to arrange cease fires through egyptian mediation. the terrorists have broken all of those cease fires. iran is basically an outpost of iran, all these organizations are directly or indirectly receiving aid from iran. and so this is a situation which was completely unacceptable for israel as it would be for any country in the world. and israel will take all the measures necessary to defend its citizens. >> how much coordination or warning did you give the u.s.,
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the united states government, about what was going on? >> we've been closely coordinating and communicating with the united states government. prime minister netanyahu spoke with vice president biden today as well as with president obama about an hour ago. and prime minister netanyahu expressed his deep appreciation for the president's unequivocal support for israel's right to defend itself. >> so there's no issue, the u.s. is not saying stop this, don't do this, they're not worried. what's the u.s. reaction? >> the u.s. reaction is complete understanding of our situation and support for our right to defend our citizens from terrorist attacks. >> how worried are you that this what effectively is now emerging as a war in the south could lead to a war in the north with hezbollah based in lebanon as well? >> first, we don't want any war in the south. israel does not want a war. >> but if you go in on the ground and go into gaza to do whatever you want to do, that effectively is going to be a war. >> well, we're not there yet. we are preparing for any
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eventuali eventuality, that is true. >> you're pulling reservists? >> we're making all preparations to defend the civilians of the south. we're saying stop it. you cannot shoot with immunity at our citizens. if they internalize that message and stop shooting, there will be no further escalation. >> we did get a statement from lieutenant colonel of the israeli military saying there are some reserve units that are preparing but nothing more than that at this point. that's the statement we got. where do you see iran playing in over this, if you see iran's hand at all? >> we see iran -- iran is the direct support of organizations like islamic jihad which fire rockets, carry out terrorist attacks. hamas also receive support from iran. so these are iranian proxies. all of gaza is an iranian outpost. >> so you think iran is instigating this right now for whatever reason?
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>> we have no hard core evidence whether iran is trying to divert attention from the support of the assad regime and the massacre of the syrian opposition or derail from the nuclear program but has no peace between its neighbors. iran states openly that their goal is to destroy the state of israel. >> you have a peace treaty signed in 1979 with egypt still in effect. but now we're hearing the egyptians have recalled its ambassador from israel. is that true? >> we've heard that is true. it's been the cornerstone of our regional security outlook. it's vital to our security, egypt's security, vital to security of the region. it's a paramount to the u.s. as well. we hope the egyptians will play a constructive role in this current chapter in our struggle against terrorism in gaza as they've played a constructive role in the past. >> how worried are you that the
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entire egyptian peace treaty as a result of this and others will collapse? >> we hope egyptians will continue to play the constructive role. they recently appointed a new ambassador to israel. and, again, we have hopes for the continuation of that treaty. >> we did get a statement from the state department deputy spokesperson and i'll read a little to you. we strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from israel. we regret the injury caused by the ensuing violence. there's no justification for the violence that hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing on the people. we call all those responsible to stop the cowardly acts immediately. we support israel's right to defend itself and we encourage israel to take every effort to avoid civilian injuries. there have been with civilian injuries. >> with an nn, any of these terrorist organizations, they perpetrate a double war crime.
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they shoot at our civilians to kill our civilians and they use their own civilians as a human shield. they want their own civilians to get killed. we are trying our utmost to avoid inflicting civilian casualties, but they place their rockets in the middle of schools, in the middle of mosques, playgrounds, even houses, we have pictures of rockets in houses where the roof opens and the rocket shoots up. they actually want civilian casualty. i know of one particular air strike today called off at the last minute because the pilot saw there were children playing in the vicinity. we're doing our best. but at the end of the day this is an enemy that wants its own civilians killed. >> one final question, the president was asked about iran and its nuclear program at the news conference today and the possibility of direct u.s./iranian talks, face-to-face meetings between the u.s. and iran. listen to what he said. >> i will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue between iran and not just us but the
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international community to see if we can get this thing resolved. i can't promise that iran will walk through the door that they need to walk through. but that would be very much the preferable option. >> you have a problem with direct u.s./iranian talks on its nuclear program? >> in the past we've said that the iranians have used talks as a means not actually of reaching an agreement but of spinning out time so they can keep their centrifuges spinning. but we're in, again, close consultation with the obama administration about ways of preventing iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities. that conversation is very intimate, very close and continuous. >> does that mean you don't have a problem or you do have a problem? >> i want to say we're talking about it very closely. >> i'll leave it at that. >> thank you. >> mr. ambassador, thanks very much for coming in. an fbi probe explodes into a scandal that takes down the cia director. we're learning new details of how that investigation unfolded and the privacy concerns it's now raising. ♪
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anyone who sends and receive e-mail should be concerned about the investigation that toppled the cia director general david petraeus. it's raising very serious concerns about privacy. and now we're learning new information about how it all unfolded. cnn's brian todd has been working this part of the story for us. brian, what are you finding out? >> new details from sources, wolf, on the path of this investigation. how investigators started with harassing e-mails from paula broadwell to jill kelley traced them and found correspondence involving america's top general in afghanistan.
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e-mails between jill kelley and marine general john allen were according to sources flirtatious. the sources did not provide details, but many of the e-mails may have been innocuous in nature according to a u.s. official. that's still the subject of a pentagon investigation. how did it get to that point after starting out as a complaint from kelley about harassing e-mails from someone else? the fbi isn't commenting on its investigation. but cnn has new information from tom fuentes who spoke to sources with knowledge of the probe. he says after kelley complained to an fbi agent about the harassing e-mails, agents from the bureau's cyber crime unit got a subpoena and got the internet service provider to give them information on who owned the account of the sender. >> what's the internet address they are being transmitted by. >> reporter: that likely would have been more than one internet address. news reports say paula broadwell, now known as the person sending harassing e-mails
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to kelley believed to send them from various places. depending on where the computer was plugged in, the sender would have different ip addresses. an expert on internet monitoring explains what the fbi likely did next. >> so what they did is they determined that she logged into this e-mail account from hotels around the country. and so they contacted the hotels and got the guest lists, the names of people who were staying at the hotels on those various nights and compared the list of guests over a few nights at these different hotels and looked for common names and hers was the only one on that list. >> reporter: he says once they found broadwell, agents got a search warrant from a u.s. federal judge to read the content of her e-mails. >> during the course of that they see a flood of other e-mail to an anonymous from an anonymous person. so they get that person's record. that's where they identify that it's director petraeus on the other end of those e-mails with her. >> reporter: he says in that process the agent also would have gotten permission to read
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jill kelley's e-mails leading them to john allen. the fbi likely didn't violate privacy rules. >> our laws are out of whack with the reality we use technology today, the laws haven't been updated edupdated fitting from these out of date laws. >> the fbi adhere to all privacy guidelines and this investigation was overseen from the start by top fbi officials in the bureau's tampa office and by u.s. attorneys, wolf. >> the u.s. government is doing more and more of this kind of shall we say interference or eavesdropping or whatever? >> it's incredible. doing more of it and the volume is surprising. the fbi of course got a subpoena and approached google for the information about paula broadwell's e-mail account. according to google and various news reports, that was one of 7,969 similar requests that google received from the u.s. government just in the first half of 2012. nearly 8,000 requests just to this one internet service provider, google, from the u.s.
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government for similar information just in the first half of this year. of course google's not the only ip provider. other companies must have gotten similar requests too. that tells you the volume of the information that the government sometimes goes after here. >> put it out there, somebody potentially could be watching and listening and do all that. thanks very much. one of the key players in the general david petraeus sex scandal is now telling her side of the story for the first time. we have new information that's coming up. ho's back. again? it's embarrassing it's embarrassing! we can see you carl. we can totally see you. come on you're better than this...all that prowling around. yeah, you're the king of the jungle. have you thought about going vegan carl? hahaha!! you know folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. how happy are they jimmy? happier than antelope with night-vision goggles. nice! get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. cool. you found it. wow. nice place. yeah. [ chuckles ] the family thinks i'm out shipping these.
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we're getting new information about jill kelley, the woman who triggered the investigation that ultimately exposed the sex scandal involving cia director david petraeus. cnn's joe johns has been working
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details for us. what are you hearing new about jill kelley? >> wolf, it's the most comprehensive account we've gotten so far from the perspective of a source close to jill kelley, the woman whose been described by some as a socialite from tampa, described by others as a whistleblower. you remember jill kelley also suspected of exchanging what some military sources said were inappropriate e-mails of her own with general john allen, the top nato commander in afghanistan. well, this source says jill kelley has been mischaracterized. this source pushed back strongly against claims suggesting the e-mails between kelley and allen were sexually explicit. depending on your lifestyles "it says you might decide that some of them are inappropriate, but that's all in the eye of the beholder." the source said they are not as far as i can tell overtly sexual." we've also heard a lot about an fbi agent involved in this case who allegedly sent a shirtless picture of himself to jill
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kelley, the source downplayed that part of the story big-time asserting any photos sent were not sexual in nature. on the other hand, the source said that very same fbi agent told mrs. kelley that he was contacting members of congress about this controversy. the source members of congress about this controversy. they also flushed out the timeline on the scandal points out that the first e-mail started this thing rolling happened in mid-may. the e-mail went from broadwell to general allen, and allen forwarded it to july kelly. the source says broadwell used at least four different e-mail handles that were difficult for investigators to trace. some of the e-mails were also clearly to kelley's husband, essentially asking him if he knew what his wife was up to, the information being that kelley had been behaving
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inappropriately. by october, a source said it was clear that to kelley, they were sending the e-mails to her husband. >> jack is back with the cafferty file, jack. >> the burning question of the hour, should texas will allowed to succeed from the union. they have 100,000 signatures on a petition down there petitioning the obama administration to drop out of these united states. they say texico is a good idea. it would offer an appealing immigration alternative, and the population of the very rich and they're very poor gardeners. texas can be responsible of their own highways, education, security, medicare, defense,
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etc. michelle on facebook, i live in texas, these people who want to do this are nuts, i would move. >> we would welcome this, we don't need the feds down here. >> round up all of the people that want to do this should be put together. the problem will be building a fence big enough to keep them from getting out. doug in massachusetts says i think it would be great if texas could become an independent country. they could all dress like roy rogers and dale evans, have they're own oil wells, launch their own trip to mars, go for it, texas. if you want to read more, go to or through the facebook page.
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>> thank you, i hope texas does not. >> me too. it's been four weeks since super storm sandy, and parts of the city are still crippled. >> doesn't feel like new york. >> we're going to the heart of the disaster zone next. [ woman ] it's 32 minutes to go time,
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and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received
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here is this hour's hot shots. a boy looks at the eclipse in australia. and in po land, look at this, people walk out of a warped building inspired by drawings
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from a polish illustrators. these are some of the hot shot pictures coming in from around the world. president obama heads to new york city tomorrow to visit some of those areas hardest hit, and he could get an ear full from very angry resident that's are still struggling to get back on their feet. our mary snow has details. >> wolf, this is all that's left of a popular boardwalk here. some describe it as looking like a war zone. many here and near by are still in the dark. pamela shapiro has been cleaning up since water gushed into her home, and now she just craves to be able to turn on the lights. >> i feel let down, we did
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everything that we were asked to do, and still that we don't have power is mind boggling. >> the basement ruined had just been redone after damage from hurricane irene last year. and a promise restored power was mixed because of a snaf few with her electricians evaluation. >> i said i wish i was young again and my parents were here to take care of me. just to make it better for half an hour. that's it, i just didn't want to be an adult for half an hour. >> she considers herself lucky. not far from her, there are families that can't live in their homes. the house that this family bought three years ago is now destroyed, and now he is waiting for help to rebuild. >> it's frustrating and i'm getting angrier every day.
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you know? that's how i feel. >> to be clear, there are visible signs of help everywhere you go from the military to utility trucks from other parts of the country arriving on the scene. volunteers have fanned out and are bringing relief. but with manhattan visible, some are in disbelief. >> it doesn't feel like new york, i feel like we're in a third world country right now. >> despite co >> reporter: and they say without volunteers from around the country showing up at the doors, they would not be as far in their clean up. and new jersey residents could be facing a tax hike. towns devastated by the storm may have to raise taxes to finance rebuilding efforts, new jersey has not yet released it's storm damage estimates, but governor christie says he hopes
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to have a figure by the end of the week. and happening now, a furious president obama tells republican critics of his u.n. ambassador to go after him, not her. i will talk to one of the senators taking a hardline against susan rice. plus, we'll get a glimpse in the secret briefing on the general petraeus scandal. he was in the room and he is standing by to join us live. i'm wolf blitzer, and you're in "the situation room." we saw a few different sides to president obama in his first news conference since his reelection. he was down right furious in responding to republican
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criticism of susan rice. but he was relative ri restrained when he talked about two big clouds over his administration right now. the david petraeus scandal and the fiscal cliff. jessica yellin was in the east room for the president's news conference, tell our viewers what unfolded. >> it was a relaxed, confident president obama who showed up today, but talk of his second term agenda was quickly overtaken by talk of cia controversies, tax negotiations, and the fierce defense of one of his own. >> reporter: out of the gate, he was asked about the scandal involving david petraeus. >> he had an extraordinary career. he served his country with great distinction. >> he said he has seen no evidence petraeus' actions compromised national security and would not fault the fbi for failing to tell him they've been
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investigating his intelligence chief for months. >> they have their own protoc s protocols. >> had we been told, then you would sitting here asking a question about why were you interfering in a criminal information. >> reporter: and the president defended susan rice, after republican senators take issue with the comments that rice made on the sunday morning shows on the assault on the u.s. compound in benghazi. >> if senator mccain, senator graham, and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. and i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador? who had nothing to do with benghazi? and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she received -- and to do that to her reputation?
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it's outrageous. >> the president refused to say if she might be nominated to be the next secretary of state, but amidvows to block her, he said -- >> if i think she would be the best person to serve america, in the capacity of the state department, thenly nominate her. >> reporter: and on the fiscal cliff, the president insisted that he will not back off his stance, the deal must include a tax increase for the wealthiest americans. more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me. >> wolf, i followed up on that ke about the fiscal cliff asking if the president would back a proposal that would raise taxes on the wealthy by closing their deductions instead of raising rates. he said it's hard to see how the
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math would add up, but he is open to fresh creative ideas. maybe a lot of ideas will be on the table when he meets with leader this is friday. >> he says he wants a compromise. thanks jessica yellin. we heard the president's angry response to susan rice's critic, now let's hear from some of the republicans hammering away on susan rice for early comments about the benghazi attack. i'm concerned about the fact that she went on sunday shows and said this was the product of a spontaneous uprising. >> we will do whatever necessary to block the nomination that's within our power as far as susan rice is concerned. >> how could we, where we are right now, be able to place our trust in her. >> i don't trust her, and the reason i don't trust her is because i think she knew better, and if she did she should not
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britney brittany the voice of america. >> we're being joined by senator kelly ayotte. thank you for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> why go after susan rice instead of the secretary of state or the president of the united states. >> we're not going after one person, we just want questions answered. what i said, wolf, is that if she is nominated to serve as secretary of state, which has been mentioned, that her nomination should be held until she answers the questions understanding that why did five days after this attack on our concentrate late, did she go on every major news network and actually make what we now know to be misstatements and misrepresentations about what occurred there. we also know the state department, within hours, sent to the white house information that a terrorist group -- they sent e-mails letting them know who claimed responsibility. so there was contradictory information available at the
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time. and these are questions that need to be answered an an important role of the secretary of state is to brief congress and the american people. that's what i said and that's the questions i want her to answer. why would you go on every major news network and misrepresent what occurred. she should have, at a minimum, asked these questions, and we now know there was other information that contradicted what she said. >> what she says and what the president said today is basically just before her appearance on those five talk shows, several days after the attack in benghazi, she was briefed by the u.s. intelligence community, and she was basically relaying what she was told by the intelligence community only later did the intelligence community revise it's own assessment of what happened, so if she was simply saying what she was told, there was a blunder by the director of national intelligence, but not
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necessarily by ambassador rice. >> but let's be clear, what the president said too is she went on every major show, you don't get on without affirmatively putting yourself out there to do that. on behalf of the administration, they had already received an e-mail saying a terrorist group claimed responsibility. there was already contradictory information was available. she had a duty to ask those questions, and ask why am guying on the shows verses someone with direct responsibility. especially if we place our crust in her to serve as secretary of state. i also think all of these questions go back toy we should have a select compete in the senate that crosses all of the committees of jurisdiction. we know there is an armed services component, an intelligence component, and a homeland security, and we should one committee get to the bottom of it, the democrats are in
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charge of the senate, and we need to get to the bottom of it and not have a stove pipe investigation. >> you know your remember colleague, susan collins, the member of the senate homeland security commission, she said this today. >> i don't see the benefit or the need for a select committee, our homeland security committee as government wide jurisdiction, and a history of producing comprehensive bipartisan reports. >> so why do you disagree with her? >> first of all, we also know the military component, is it the best military in the world could not respond when an attack occurred over seven hours. that's the armed services committee. we have seen several committees going forward. it's already happening in a stove pipe fashion, so i
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certainly have great respect for senator collins, but i believe that making sure that we have all of the information considered by one group, so we don't miss anything, we take lessons learned, and implement recommendations. >> i assume you're on the same page with senator gram, that if susan rice is nominated to be secretary of state, you will vote against her confirmation? >> what i said is that i will hold her nomination until she answers questions, and then i will reassess what were answers are on those questions. so i have serious concerns about where we are right now and trusting what she has to say, but i'm willing to listen to what she has to say. >> fair enough, a different nuance from what we heard from senator mccain and senator graham who said they would do everything in their power to block her confirmation. thank you, senator, thank you
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for coming in. kate baldwin is joining us now with another important story from capitol hill. leadership elections, republicans and democrats in congress announce their party leaders for the next session, and guess what, it's pretty much status quo. lawmakers taking cues from the voters. house republicans just revealed they're top majority leaders will remain the same. you can see there. and the top democrats are also expected to stay the same. they're pushing off their formal elections until after thanksgiving. you see there, former speaker turn minority leader, nancy pelosi. >> noin order to reignite the american dream, build ladders of opportunity for those who want to work hard, may by the rules, take responsibility, to have them have sides like small
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business, entrepreneurship, and a strong and thriving middle class, we have work to do. i made a decision to submit my name to my colleagues to once again serve as the house democratic leader. in the senate majority, democrats are not making any changes, and republicans made some minor tweaks, really just one, with the texas senator taking the number two leadership shot, filling the slot that is being vacated by john kyle. i know you will say it, wolf, no time for celebrating, time to get to work. >> yeah, a lot of work to do, the country needs a deal right now to avert this fiscal cliff. the top members of the house intelligence committee trying to get answers about the fbi investigation into david petraeus, and the affair that prompted him to resign.
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members of congress are tieing to unravel the david petraeus scandal. >> and acting cia director mike morell briefed congress today. we're joined by congressman dutch ruppersberger. >> i think there is a lot of information out there that has not been factually correct. >> we want to correct the record, if there is something incorrect, we want to fix it. >> there were a lot of issues clarified today. we met with the chairman of the
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intelligence committee and the director of the fbi and his deputies. >> so give us an example. >> i'm not going to give you an example, a lot of it is classified information. we felt very secure when the meeting was over, there were a lot of kwis unanswered, issues out there, and we wanted an exact time line. >> here is what the president said today, his words were very precise, and you tell me if there is anything you know that would alter it. >> sure, go ahead. >> i have no evidence at this point from what i have seen that classified information was disclosed, that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security. >> it's an ongoing investigation, until that investigation is complete,ly not
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comment. >> we know that paula broadwell's security clearances were removed today apparently as a result of the fbi finding classified documents on a computer on an unauthorized location. >>s if that's the case, her clearance should have been revoked. >> do you have the same concerns going in as you did regarding questions of national security? >> that's our focus on the intelligence committee. this as a criminal investigation about a cyber threat using the internet. that is a criminal investigation, and by the way, in criminal investigations, the fbi does not go to the white house. the reason is we don't want to have a political situation with the fbi like with nixon and watergate. and then things evolved. and the situation went forward. our role on the intelligence committee is to make sure that if if deals with national security that we should be notified of this.
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>> and they didn't tell you anything? >> well, we were briefed today. >> you were briefed today, but over these many months of this investigation, i believe, the chairman and the ranking member of the house and senate intelligence committee should have been alerted. >> if it's a national security issue, i agree with you, but remember what i just said, this began as a criminal investigation involving a cyber threat. and that is where the investigation started. the investigation evolved. information comes out, and as you see in this investigation, it is completely evolved to other situations, and the investigation is not over and the fbi has a lot more work to do. >> you have really just returned from traveling overseas, so this is the first time that everyone is really hearing your reaction as the ranking member as the house intelligence committee to this really astonishing scandal that really is still unfolding, what is your initial reaction? was your initial reaction to
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hearing general petraeus resign? >> first i was shocked. he is a tremendous individual. he has done a lot for his country, and he is the head of the cia. i think the cia, in what they do, they're the best in the world. they protect our country. what has happened now, and the fact that he has resigned, you have mike morell, who i have a lot of respect for, and he is qualified and competent, and he will do the job that needs to be done, which is continuing to focus on the mission of the cia, protect our national security, get human information, work with other agencies, and deal with any issue out there involving national security. >> do you think mike morell as acting director now should become the formal director. >> would you support him? >> i don't have any problem at all. this is the second time, the only other person in the united states that has been the acts director more than one time.
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he has the respect of men and women all over the world. a lot oaf people are not as focused on this as they are on their mission. >> i know we're out of time, but real quick, the house intelligence committee is having a closed hearing tomorrow as well regarding the benghazi attack, specifically david petraeus, what more are you learning tomorrow that you could not have heard today? >> well chairman rogers and i heard a lot today. our job is to gain information. there, again, are a lot of unanswered questions, and tomorrow, our committee will hear the timeline, exactly what occurred, thousand occurred, how the cia reacted to it. these things need to be cleared up and we need to get to the cot m. the public needs to hear the facts, four people were killed, and we can't allow that to happen again. we have the role on the intelligence committee, how the cia reacted, and there's other issues that they be looking at.
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>> yes, some people want a select committee to look at the whole thing. >> we do oversee all of the intelligence including the military intelligence. the senate compete with senator feinstein, and mike rogers and i in the house, and we work very closely together and we will be communicating in the next few days. >> will you joint hearings? >> no, but if it's necessary, we need to get the facts, that's the issue, let's see what we get first, and then we'll do what it takes to get to the bottom of all of these issues. >> thank you. an isreali air strike kills a leader, rockets and missiles are flying back and forth and we have details of a deteriorating situation. what's next?
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israel retaliates with extremist attacks. kate baldwin has more. really dramatic video, wolf, from the israeli military showing one of those strikes. the strikes killed several other people. here is cnn's senior correspondent sara sidner. >> 84 have been injured, many children, eight have been killed, two of those young children. we should talk about the leader of hamas's military wing. he was also a symbolic member of hamas, one of the founders of hamas, we're expecting a huge reaction from hah mos, and i'm
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quoting here, we'll open the gates of held, israel has opened the gates of hell. >> michael orrin told wolf that benjamin netanyahu recently spoke to president obama about this. and fema will bring in contractors to fix up homes enough so residents can live in there while longer term fixes wait. they are eligible for a maximum of about $32,000 in funds. it's amazing, wolf, how bad it still is. new details emerging in the scandal engulfing general david
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. eric cantor is now speaking publicly for the first time about the david petraeus scandal. >> and cantor was told about the investigation of petraeus before president obama. listen to him explain how he got word of the investigation late last month. >> all i'm going to say is i received information from a individual that i had not met before, did not know. the information that was sent to me sounded as if there was a potential for a national security vulnerability. i had no way of corroborating the story that i was told, and felt that the best thing to do at the time was not to politicize it, but to put national security first. >> let's talk a little more about the petraeus
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investigation, we have a former aide to general petraeus, and fran townsend who served on the cia external advisory committee, and tom quintas. i understand you just spoke with general petraeus. what can you share with our viewers? >> i wanted to make sure that he was kept in the loop about what's going on. he's not following the media fire storm surrounding this. you can imagine that he wants to maintain a distance. i just wanted to make sure that he knew what i was saying and double-check they was on the mark and he confirmed that i was, and he also did share that he had offered, today, through his chief of staff, to testify before congress because he did not like the conspiracies going
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around that he had something to hide on benghazi. so i think his offer to testify crossed with the congress's request for him to testify, but he looks forward to that. >> when will he do that do you think? >> i don't know the date, that will be up to the congress. >> is he holding up okay? i'm sure he and his family are going through hell right now, but tell us how they're all doing. >> well, he describe it's as putting one foot in front of the other and repeating the process. it's going to be a long road of healing for them. he understands that, and he's focusing on it. >> please tell them we wish the entire family that they get through this in one piece, we hope they do. and more on this investigation, tom. you have been making calls, doing reporting, do you think it's coming to an end? the big question remains that as everyone looks into this, there is a sex scandal element, but
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there's a lot of national security questions, do you think there will be charges against petraeus or broadwell here? >> i'm not sure about broadwell, but in the case of petraeus, that investigation had already been winding down and the fbi was satisfied he had not violated a federal law and would not be prosecuted and that he had not committed a breach of national security in disseminating documents to anyone. that was in the process of winding down around the time of the election. but in the case of broadwell, they still have the idea of the nature of the messages to kel y kelley, and now the added concern of how much classified material she did have in his possession improperly stored. >> that's a big concern, right? >> absolutely. it's one thing to have a security clearance, that doesn't mean, even though you have a
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clearance, doesn't mean you're entitled to that information as a journalist. when she was in afghanistan, she was there as a journalist. so whatever information she had access to there was not in connection with her reservist duties, and what they found at home, there is no indicate. you have to show you're entitled and have the authority to retain classified information and you're protecting it appropriately. >> is there anything you want to say about this whole national security issue and the relationship between paula broadwell and general petraeus, sharing national security secrets, anything along those lines, have you questions general petraeus about that? >> i did, and he indicated that he did not pass any classified documents to paula. if she got them they were through other sources. and you know, he was convinced that this affair was a private matter. he had obviously violated his marital vows, and that's a significant matter, and he
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realizes that it was a severe and morally reprehensible action, but he violated no laws, it was a private matter, and he indicates again the source of the classified information was not him. >> and that affair is over with i take it, right? >> yes, they broke it off about four months ago. they have been in contact since then, but mostly in a professional sense. >> take a look at this statement we got from counsel to general john allen. he intends to fully cooperate and directed his staff to do the same to the extent there are questions about certain communications by general allen, he shares in the desire to share in those as completely and quickly as possible. why do you think things go in terms of that part of the
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investigation? >> i understand that he is looking, and he wants that to happen quickly, he wants to get that behind him. he wants that resolved. his nomination has been put on hold right now. the problem for general allen, lots has come out that it wasn't an affair, but there are explicit e-mail. it could not be crime, per se, not a violation of the ucmj, the uniform code of military unjustice. but it could be conduct inappropriate for a military serviceman. everybody stand by, we have a lot more to discuss including the decisions by both of these generals to write letters to a judge to get involved in a child custody case involving the sister of one of the women at the center of all of this.
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we're back with our panel, talking about new developments in the david petraeus scandal. i know you're close with general petraeus, can you explain why he, as the cia director, could get involved as general allen did and write a letter to a judge involved in a child custody case involving jill kelley's sister in tampa. jill kelley, one of the women at the heart of this scandal, the one who caused this investigation to unfold. >> i can't speak to that specific letter, but i can tell you in general, general officers
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write letters all the time for people who want to go to graduate school, trying to get into think tanks like the counsel on formal relations. i know we wrote letters for general petraeus for officers for a variety of reasons and civilians. he always approves the letters. it's not unusual, the only unusual thing is this is a custody battle. >> the sister of jill kelley, the judge denied the child custody, didn't think it would be best for the child to be in her custody, i found it pretty extraordinary they you have two generals weighing in on a child custody case. how much were they involved and know what was in the child's
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best interest. >> applying for graduate school is something entirely different. in the civilian part of the government, there are real ethics constants on whether or not you can write such letters when you hold a senior position. >> that's a powerful situation, the director of the cia, the nato commander in afghanistan writing to a judge about a child custody case. >> right, and that letter should not go out in any kind of official letterhead, or signed director or cia. if it's signed by his position in the government, or head of the cia, or general, it's inappropriate. >> you think this element of it is just an added side show? just another strange element? or will this play into the continued investigation into how this is all unfolding? >> i don't think it will play in. i think the investigation is in the end game. they're reviewing the documents they seized, the fbi is reviewing the documents they
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seized. they're trying to wrap it up. in the end, let's remember the fbi will take this case and what they found and present it to the u.s. attorney. in the end, it will be the justice department -- >> to me and some other folks, and i assume with hindsight, it does to you and a lot of other people close to you, what was he thinking. why would pe let golfed or do this, was it appropriate for him to weigh in on a case like this? >> you know, i can't speak for him, he does know the kelley's very well, and if he knew jill's sister well enough to think that she would make a good mother to her child, then i can see him writing a letter on her behalf, but you're right it should be as a private citizen and not in an official capacity. >> we were talking about this fbi investigation, and the
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inspector general investigating what's going on with general john allen, how long do you think the fbi investigation is nearing it's end game. how long will the inspector general be looking into this. >> my understanding is they have expedited this and they're trying to get through this as quickly as they can. when i asked this afternoon the seen your fbi official, lounge do you think it will take to wrap up, they said a matter of days. i understand that the number of e-mails in the general john allen case that are of consider, are not the original 20,000 or 30,000 documents. >> and the inspector general does not work for the department of defense or the pentagon. the ig's office works for the congress. the pentagon will not be able to accelerate this, they're under separate orders. >> do you think the president should have accepted general petraeus' resignation?
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>> i think another option would have been to give him a leave of absence to get his family life in order, and then to offer to have him come back, maybe in january, and resume his duties as director of the central intelligence agency. i can't fault him, but it was just another way to go if he wanted to keep him in the public service. >> thank you for copping in, tom, thanks to you as well. business leaders bring a dire warning to the white house, we have details of their meeting about the fiscal cliff today. ln clinical depression. drug and alcohol abuse is up. and those dealing with grief don't have access to the professional help they need. when you see these issues, do you want to walk away or step up? with a degree in the field of counseling or psychology from capella university, you'll have the knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others.
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erin burnett is going out
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front tonight with someone who knows jill kelley personally. >> yes, and has known her for a long time. he is the publisher of "tampa bay magazine." he knows her well and i think his view of her is different than what some have heard, but we'll ask what kind of woman she really is, why she was so close to all of these military officers. and we'll be talking about the fbi investigation and if the president really answered the question today when he put the blame on the fbi, and he said he was frustrated that he was not told for six months. and the war of words, wolf, which was so interesting to watch between the president and lindsey graham and others today about susan rice. all of that at the top of the hour and more. >> we'll look forward to it. they lead some of the nation's
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largest companies, and they're very, very worried. >> ceo's representing a whose who. >> lisa silvester is here in the situation room. you had we hear a lot about thi thing called the fiscal cliff, but what exactly is it? unless congress acts by the end of the year, your paycheck will likely be smaller. your tax bill, probably higher and government services could be cut. the nation's largest business leaders are now worried that that could push the u.s. into recession. >> their message, simple enough. don't go there. some of the nation's top ceos urging washington to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. the ceos of ge, pepsico, honeywell and ibm meeting with president obama. >> i think you'll start to see the president exercise more leadership here, be more out front on everything, getting
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across that point of how we need to work together. it requires taxes, also entitlement reform, cuts and we can't forget to invest in the country. >> if congress fails to act, starting january 1st, we could go over the fiscal cliff. automatic spending cuts will kick in, reducing federal spending by $1.2 trillion over ten years. everything from defense to education to food safety to environment programs all impacted. the bush era tax cuts will expire with a hike in tax rates for all brackets. 26 million more taxpayers will be hit with the amt. the payroll tax holiday expires and the federal unemployment benefits extension will also expire. the nonpartisan congressional budget office says that would cause the economy to contract and push unemployment over 9%. david cody, one of those that took part in the meeting, says if a compromise can't be reached, it could send a very
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bad message to the markets. >> you could have a recession far greater than forecasted because now you get to this crisis of confidence that says my god, those guys can't govern at all anymore. the most fiscally responsible big nation in the world just can't govern itself, so what hope do you have? >> if congress does not act, growth will stall. jobs will be lost and our nation's credit will be hurt. >> the business round table, a lobbying group of the country's leading ceos, began running print and web spots to pressure republicans to set aside their differences. both sides want to raise revenue. democrats by letting tax cuts expire. democra republicans by cutting spending. and the message they delivered to the white house today was they want to extend all the expiring tax provisions through next year to give congress more time to come up with a plan and
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they want to put a stop to the mandatory cuts scheduled to go through at year's end. the last thing they want to see a another recession and erin burnett will have more on this very important story. >> what you're hearing, these ceos just get through the crisis now and then seriously take up the issue next year. >> that's right. they say don't go off the cliff. they don't want to see the economy derailed. we're just seeing the economy come back. but they predict if we go over a fiscal cliff, if there's a hike in unemployment to 9.1%. nobody wants to see that. so they said come up with a solution before the year's end and then come up with a comprehensive plan. >> what i'm hearing from democrats on the hill, extending all those tax cuts, not what they're looking to do right now. >> a battle in the meantime, you see wall street over the last several days since the election. the numbers are going down, down, down. every day, losing, the dow jones, the s&p. >> he's being called the human
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green lights dance d in the sky in minnesota this morning. the aurora borealis are caused by a geomagnetic storm. of course we knew that. this is a sped up version, but beautiful none the less. >> some people just have no sense of direction. jeanne moos shows us what happen when good samaritans come to the rescue of one confused business man! man versus escalator. he wants to go down.
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the escalator going up. you know what's -- >> evidence by his dishevelled look. he was evidently drunk. trying to go down the wrong way. >> there he was, lurnlging like frankenstein. it was 11:30 at night. the asian business man didn't seem to understand english. no one tried harder to set the man straight than this redhead. >> this is dangerous. go this way. she physically grabbed the guy and tried to yank him, but hi couldn't be deterred. online posters call him the human hamster. hamster man. then the comparison, even a hamster takes a break sometimes. not this guy. the redhead kept trying to come to his rescue.
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excuse me. i can't, i can't. i can't go on there. >> must have seemed like an endless commute, stuck on what that old robert hazard song called the -- ♪ this is hard enough to do sober. if someone hadn't pushed the stop button, he might still be on that escalator. they tapped him. tried to get his attention from the sides. finally -- >> press the stop button. >> a young man did press the stop button and grab bed the business man. >> the weird thing about this chap was the minute that we pressed the stop button. he had an opportunity to walk down the steps, turned down and walked the other way. >> the escalator ride of his life is over and he may never know he took it until he sees this video. ♪ >> neither up nor down in this case. jeanne moos, cnn.


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