Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

Families React to Death of U.S. Soldiers in Iraq; Al Qaeda's War on America

Aired June 20, 2006 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time. Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you tonight's top stories.
Happening now: shock, horror, anger and grief. Families react after the bodies of two missing American soldiers are found mutilated and booby-trapped. It's 3:00 a.m. in Iraq, where there's also a blood-chilling claim from al Qaeda.

America and al Qaeda -- stunning new revelations about the Bush administration's war on terror. It's 7:00 p.m. here in Washington, where I will speak with Ron Suskind, the author "The One Percent Doctrine."

And it's 7:00 p.m. in New York, where Angelina Jolie speaks out about her mission and motherhood, her first televised interview since having her baby, a CNN exclusive.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

It's a level of barbarism showing a thirst for blood -- the bodies of two American soldiers found booby-trapped in a field of bombs, so badly mutilated, the military can't I.D. their faces. The details are tough to hear, especially for their families.

Our Ed Lavandera is in Houston with more on this developing story.

What a horrible story it is, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been a long day here in Houston, Wolf, where the family of Kristian Menchaca got the call early this morning, as they started hearing the reports out of Iraq that two one of the -- one of the two missing soldiers in Iraq was indeed their loved one.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The details of Army Private 1st Class Kristian Menchaca's last moments alive are so horrifying that his family could not restrain their anger for his killers.

MARIO VASQUEZ, UNCLE OF PRIVATE 1ST CLASS KRISTIAN MENCHACA: Make them pay for what they did. You know, don't think that it's just two more soldiers. And don't negotiate anything. They didn't. They didn't negotiate it with my nephew. They didn't negotiate with Tucker. You know, make them pay.

LAVANDERA: Menchaca, Private 1st Class Thomas Tucker, and Specialist David Babineau were attacked by insurgents last Friday. Babineau was killed. Witnesses say Menchaca and Tucker were taken hostage. From the moment they disappeared, Menchaca's brother struggled to imagined what the young soldiers must be battling.

CESAR VASQUEZ, BROTHER OF PRIVATE 1ST CLASS KRISTIAN MENCHACA: I was mentally preparing myself, you know, for -- for bad news, but I never thought that he would actually get kidnapped. I mean, one thing is being killed. Another thing is getting taking by terrorists and getting tortured every day.

LAVANDERA: In Oregon, supportive neighbors in Thomas Tucker's hometown have put up ribbons and messages for his family. Tucker's parents released a statement saying they realized he gained a much larger family through this ordeal than he had when he left home to help free the Iraqi people and protect his country from the threat of terrorism.

Menchaca's family says they are focusing on helping Kristian's mother and young wife cope with the loss.

M. VASQUEZ: You pray for tranquillity in among yourself. And, you know, you have to accept reality, even though I didn't want to at the beginning. But you have to. And we pray.

LAVANDERA: Menchaca's uncle, Mario Vasquez, wants the killers hunted down and punished.

M. VASQUEZ: I hope they are still looking, you know? Used those 8,000 soldiers they were using to look for my nephew and Mr. Tucker, use that 8,000 soldiers to find who was responsible for this, and to -- and to hurt whoever gets in the way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: Kristian Menchaca's family says that after he would leave the Army, he had plans and dreams of becoming a Border Patrol agent. He leaves behind a grieving mother, an extended family here in Houston, in Brownsville, and in West Texas as well, as well as a wife that he married just a few weeks before he was deployed to Iraq -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Our deepest condolences to the families.

Ed, thank you very much for that.

Let's get some more now on what exactly happened.

We will turn to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.

The details are very, very grisly, specifically the allegation that the new supposed leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was directly responsible. What are you hearing, Jamie? JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the claim made on an Islamist Web site that traditionally broadcasts messages from the insurgency, the claim, that the replacement for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a man named as Abu al-Masri, personally killed these two soldiers.

That's the claim. The U.S. military is not verifying that. And they are not releasing many details about the deaths, except to say that the bodies suffered -- quote -- "severe trauma," and that DNA tests were needed to complete the final identification process, an indication the bodies were not identifiable by -- by -- in the way they were found.

They were found last night, just about dusk, along a road in Yusufiyah. But the bodies had been booby-trapped. And the route to the bodies had been lined with IEDs, explosive devices. And, so, the military had to wait sort of overnight before they could recover the bodies and send them back to the United States for their final identification -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jamie, as you know, this is an extremely dangerous area south of Baghdad, Yusufiyah, the Triangle of Death, as it's called.

These three soldiers, one soldier who was killed in the incident, the two that went missing, now dead, what were they doing at a checkpoint presumably in one of the most dangerous of areas of Iraq by themselves?

MCINTYRE: That's the big question now, and it's one that the military is asking itself, and one that a military official confirmed to CNN is being looked into.

You know, there were -- there were reports initially that maybe there had been a diversionary attack. Now they believe that the -- the three soldiers were essentially there by themselves, as you said, in a very dangerous and vulnerable position. That's going to be part of the investigation.

BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre, at the Pentagon, thanks very much.

And we're just getting this story in from the Associated Press, dateline San Francisco. Two California soldiers shot to death in Iraq in 2004 were actually, according to the AP, murdered by Iraqi civil defense officers patrolling with the soldiers.

The deaths of Army Specialist Patrick McCaffrey, 34 years old, and Lieutenant Andre Tyson, 1st Lieutenant Andre Tyson, 33 years old, were originally attributed to an ambush during a patrol near Balad in Iraq on June 22, 2004. But the AP has now learned that the Army's Criminal Investigation Division concluded, there was foul play.

After probing the circumstances of the death of these two soldiers for several months, the investigators have found that one or more of the Iraqis attached to the American soldiers on patrol fired at them. We're going to continue to watch this story, get more information as it becomes available -- a very, very disturbing story related to what's going on in Iraq.

Meanwhile, President Bush is in Vienna, Austria. He's set to meet with European leaders who have disagreed with him on Iraq and are now siding with him against Iran and its nuclear program.

Let's go to our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. She's traveling with the president in Vienna.

Suzanne, what's the latest?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, of course, a full plate for the president, but, clearly, Iraq is going to take center stage, and this bad news that we heard today, U.S. officials saying they do believe those bodies found of those U.S. soldiers were those missing the last 48 hours or so, really at a critical time for this administration.

They have been trying to push forward a good, positive image, an image, a message of progress in Iraq. And this only underscores, really, the volatility of the region, but President Bush and other world leaders essentially saying, do not expect that we're going to talk about the disagreements that almost split up the European Union three years ago, that is, the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Rather, they want to move forward here. And part of that moving forward is President Bush not asking for troops this time around, but asking for cash, some $13 billion that was pledged by the allies; $3 billion has been paid up. President Bush is going to be pushing those allies to contribute, at least to pay up what they have pledged, what they have committed.

And, then, also, turning the corner here, another member of the so-called axis of evil, Iran, President Bush wants to make it very clear this is a united international community when it comes to the strategy of trying to get Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, putting forward that plan of incentives, and, if those incentives do not work, turning it over for sanctions for the U.N. Security Council -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A full agenda for Suzanne Mal -- for the president.

Suzanne Malveaux, thank you very much -- Suzanne joining us from Vienna. She will be covering the president's trip to Europe.

Jack Cafferty is joining us from New York with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, go figure. The Pentagon says being gay is a mental disorder. This is 30 years after the rest of the civilized world, including experts in the medical community, decided en masse that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

In a section on defects, a Pentagon document lists homosexuality right alongside mental retardation and personality disorders. A Pentagon spokesman says the policy document is under review. But critics say that this shows the military's failing policies when it comes to gays. Don't ask/don't tell is the current Pentagon policy.

The military's not allowed to ask if you're gay. But if you come out and tell them you are, then they can kick you out. It's very mature, sort of like, let's pretend they don't exist.

Here's the question: Should the Pentagon classify homosexuality as a mental disorder? E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty, thank you very much.

And coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM: inside the war on terror. Who did Osama bin Laden allegedly favor in the 2004 U.S. presidential election? There's new information.

Plus, military muscle-flexing -- the U.S. begins war games in the Pacific, just as concerns over North Korea heighten.

And a CNN exclusive: Angelina Jolie, in her first televised interview since having her baby, she speaks out on refugees in Africa, shares new details as well about giving birth in Africa. Anderson Cooper will join us live this hour. He has the interview.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back.

North Korea is not tipping its hand, but still seems poised to test-fire a long-range intercontinental missile capable of reaching the United States. The White House says it won't tip its hand on possible consequences for the North Koreans, but a massive American military exercise right now is under way in the Pacific, giving the U.S. some options.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has the story -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, anticipation of a North Korean test of its Taepodong-2 ballistic missile comes at a time when the United States military has three aircraft carriers and dozens of aircraft out in the Pacific Ocean on what they say is a routine exercise, testing the U.S. military's ability to respond to a regional crisis.

Officials say this exercise was long planned and that it's strictly routine, a coincidence. But the U.S. military expects any test by Pyongyang to be just that, a test, not an attack. And this North Korean test, if it happens, may actually provide the U.S. military with another opportunity, an opportunity to test its own $11 billion missile defense shield.

There are a number of satellites and radars in place, ready to go, that could track a North Korean launch. And, then, if it were an attack in the real world, which nobody thinks it is, then the U.S. could use 11 interceptor missiles it has in place to try and shoot down that North Korean missile.

But officials emphasize that they really believe this is a political statement by Pyongyang, a test to show the world that it has the capability to launch this long-range ballistic missile that could potentially reach the United States.

So, everyone will be watching very closely. There may by some effort to use some of the U.S. technology to track the North Korean launch, but no effort, officials say, to shoot down what will be a North Korean test -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Barbara Starr, the stakes, clearly, are enormous. Thanks very much.

Let's take a quick look at some other news making headlines right now.

Some rattled nerves, but no one hurt in this emergency landing -- the American Airlines MD-80 touched down safely at Chicago's O'Hare Airport without its front landing gear, which failed to deploy. The 131 passengers and five crew all got out safely. The plane was arriving from Los Angeles.

In New Orleans today, armed National Guard troops are once again patrolling the streets. One hundred of them arrived today, one day after Louisiana's governor deployed them, at the request of the mayor, Ray Nagin, following six killings in the city this weekend. Nagin wants to stop a resurgence of crime, which dropped in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

And he's a former Bush administration official. Today, he's a convicted felon. A grand jury convicted him -- a federal jury him, that is. David Safavian was convicted on four or five charges of lying and obstruction of justice.

It's the first trial held in connection with the probe of the disgraced former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Safavian was one of Abramoff's associates and a former chief of staff at the General Services Administration.

Still to come tonight in THE SITUATION ROOM: the book of bombshells. I will interview the author, Ron Suskind, who sheds some dramatic new light on the war on terror, including who Osama bin Laden actually wanted to be president in 2004.

Plus, bye-bye, Dan Rather. CBS sends off its longtime anchor with a cold shoulder. Jeanne Moos has our story.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back.

Dan Rather and CBS News are parting ways, this time for good.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has more on this rather sad goodbye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dan Rather got started back when things were black and white.

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS: The evacuation should be hastened.

MOOS: Now it's Rather who has been evacuated, blown away by his own network.

JIM LEHRER, HOST, "THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER": I think it's outrageous. I think a man deserves better than this.

MOOS: He did get a long, flowery press release, saying, "Of all the famous names associated with CBS News, the biggest and brightest on the marquee are Murrow, Cronkite, and Rather."

But Rather released his own statement: "They have not lived up to their obligation to allow me to do substantive work there. And, as for their offers of a future, with only an office, but no assignments, it just isn't in me to sit around doing nothing, so I will do the work I love elsewhere."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he was treated rather shabbily.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was very ungracious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not fair. It's not fair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Dalai Lama would have done it differently.

MOOS: One thing Rather would have done differently was that since discredited report on President Bush's military record

RATHER: I'm sorry.

MOOS: He spent 44 years at CBS, covering the Vietnam War as a younger man.

RATHER: They have opened up on the tank now.

MOOS: Choking up over 9/11 as an older man, with weird events along the way, like the time he was attacked by an assailant saying, "Kenneth, what's the frequency?" a line immortalized in an REM song.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MICHAEL STIPE, REM (singing): What's the frequency, Kenneth?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MOOS: Rather's alleged barber blamed the news media for beaming signals into his head.

This was Rather's last newscast.

RATHER: Courage.

MOOS (on camera): And talk about rather sad -- the former anchorman told "The New York Times" that he went to see a certain movie five times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK")

DAVID STRATHAIRN, ACTOR: Good night, and good luck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS (voice-over): Edward R. Murrow on the screen, Rather alone in the audience. Remember when Connie Chung and Rather co-anchored for two years, then split up? No matter how chilly Dan Rather's final send-off was, at least it didn't rival Connie's swan song from her just-canceled talk show.

CONNIE CHUNG, TALK SHOW HOST (singing): Thanks for the memories. We came to do a show for very little dough. By little, I mean I could make more working on skid row.

MOOS: Rather's career may have hit the skids at CBS, but he didn't leave upside down on a piano.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Let's wish Dan Rather only the success, a great journalist. We wish him the best in his days ahead, wherever he winds up, whatever news organization he works for.

If Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could be any color, what would that be? This was one of the hundreds of questions put to the governor by a California resident -- a lot of California residents, that is -- in an unprecedented live Webcast.

Let's bring in our Internet reporter, Jacki Schechner -- Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, let's take a listen to the answer to that question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: ... socialism and all those things. But I like the color red, because it is fire.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHECHNER: If you didn't hear that, he said he liked the color red, because it's fire.

This is one of hundred of questions that Governor Schwarzenegger answered today. He addressed everything from gay marriage, to why there aren't enough game wardens in California, to what it's like to commute to and from Sacramento.

His office says he loves to do these kinds of things, because the questions that reporters ask are not necessarily the same questions that the people have. They plan to do more of these in the future. And, and as far as they can tell, he's not only the first California governor to do one of these Webcasts, but the first governor that they know to ever do one of these things -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jacki, thank you very much.

Just ahead, what do you -- what do you get when you rat out the mastermind of the 9/11 plot? It's just one of the shocking antidotes -- anecdotes, that is, the author Ron Suskind reveals, as he takes us inside al Qaeda and the Bush White House.

And Angelina Jolie, Anderson Cooper, one-on-one -- on this World Refugee Day, Anderson will join us for a firsthand account of that interview and more.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're getting more on that disturbing report that we brought you to just a little while ago about two American soldiers who had believed to have died in Iraq a couple years back by an ambush, disturbing report now suggesting Iraqi soldiers on patrol with them actually killed those two soldiers.

Let's bring in our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.

You have been working this story, Jamie. What are you finding out?

MCINTYRE: Well, yes, confirming that report first by the Associated Press.

In fact, that is the finding of Army investigators -- the families of these two soldiers, Army Specialist Patrick McCaffrey and 1st Lieutenant Andre Tyson, both being notified that the investigation by Army criminal investigators has now concluded that the soldiers died when the -- when Iraqis shot them, Iraqis who were on patrol with them.

The initial press release stated that the soldiers had died in an attack from enemy forces when they were ambushed. But the Army investigation just completed found that they were killed by the Iraqi soldiers on patrol with them. The Army was planning to announce this tomorrow, after briefing both of the families involved.

But, after the Associated Press reported it tonight, an Army official confirmed it to CNN. He also noted that the -- this in no way reflects on the service of these two soldiers, and that the Army continues to have confidence in the Iraqi forces as -- and they say that they are continuing to see an evolution of a stronger Iraqi army -- Wolf. BLITZER: Jamie, thank you very much for that -- Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon.

An al Qaeda plot to spread poison gas in New York's subway system may have been just for starters. You're about to hear more bombshells from the war on terror contained in a new book, "The One Percent Doctrine," by Ron Suskind. I will speak with him shortly.

But let's go to CNN's Mary Snow in New York. She has our CNN "Security Watch" for us -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, almost five years after the attacks on September 11, this new book reveals new details of how some intelligence was gathered, what was done with it, and contrasts some of the accounts given by the administration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): "The One Percent Doctrine" details pivotal moments inside the White House and among top government officials in the days leading up to the 9/11 attacks and the years that followed.

Some of the book's accounts are being questioned by current and former counterterrorism officials. Take the 2002 capture of Abu Zubaydah, considered a high-level member of al Qaeda. Author Ron Suskind quotes an FBI official who labeled Zubaydah insane, and claims the Bush administration overplayed the significance of the seizure.

That's something former acting CIA Director John McLaughlin disputes.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING CIA DIRECTOR: I totally disagree with the view that the capture of Abu Zubaydah was unimportant. Abu Zubaydah was woven through all of the intelligence prior to 9/11 that signaled a major attack was coming, and his capture yielded a great deal of important information.

SNOW: A number of officials say some of the information is accurate, such as a 2003 plot believed to be linked to al Qaeda to disperse cyanide in New York City's subway system. While officials in New York don't comment on intelligence information specifics, the book claims that a computer hard drive of New York City buildings and landmarks was discovered that contained what was described as a very professional casing effort of the city.

Another pivotal moment described in the book, an Oval Office meeting at which CIA Director George Tenet is quoted as saying it's a slam-dunk case. Tenet was referring to evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The book portrays this as more of a marketing meeting, rather than officials talking about known facts.

John McLaughlin was at that meeting, and says he believes the event was overplayed.

MCLAUGHLIN: Too much importance has been placed on that phrase that George Tenet is said to have used. I did not see it as the pivotal moment in the Iraq drama that so many others portray it as.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: An administration official says they can't comment About details contained in the book, saying it would be irresponsible to discuss intelligence matters -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary reporting for us -- Mary, thank you very much.

And, as we noted, "The One Percent Doctrine" goes from bombshell to bombshell in what's said to be a look deep inside America's pursuit of al Qaeda.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And joining us now is Ron Suskind. He's the author of the hot new book "The One Percent Doctrine."

Ron, thanks very much for coming in. And congratulations on the new book.

RON SUSKIND, AUTHOR, "THE ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE": Hey, thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: What was the most eye-popping piece of information that you learned in the course of your reporting, researching this book?

SUSKIND: The broadest part, the thing that covers the most, is this one percent doctrine. It explains everything. That's why it's the title of the book.

Let's set the scene. It's two months after 9/11. The vice president is being given harrowing intelligence. Pakistani nuclear scientists have been sitting with bin Laden and Zawahiri right before 9/11. Tenet and the CIA briefed him. NSC people are there.

Cheney says something fascinating. He says for these low probability high impact type of events we need to think about them in a different way. Then as the briefing goes on, he stops the proceedings and says, "Here it is. If there's even a one percent chance that WMDs have been given to terrorists, we need to treat it as a certainty. Not in our analysis but in our response."

Those two things are fascinating. He separates...

BLITZER: And that jumped out at you right away. You write -- on page 163 you write, "A key feature of the Cheney doctrine was to quietly liberate action from such accepted standards of proof, and it was effective. Suspicion, both inside America and abroad, became the threshold for action."

Understandable after 9/11, right?

SUSKIND: It will be debated. The point is here it is. Here's the real secret to the playbook. Talk it out. Is this what we want for America? We see both sides here. And the fact is, making suspicion the guiding principle of the world's most powerful nation creates enormous backlash.

For instance, as somebody says, you know, 99 innocent men are worth arresting so that one guilty man is captured, reversing the normal equation. All of the excesses essentially are justified under this principle. Yet what other one is there? This is the debate that's the real debate about the war on terror, and of course it's in this book.

BLITZER: The relationship that you describe between the president and the vice president is pretty dramatic. And going back to the early days when Cheney clearly had a lot more experience in national security matters. But you write this: "In the spring of 2002 Bush asked Cheney to pull back a little at big meetings to give the president more room to move, to take charge. Bush asked -- Bush asked Cheney not to offer him advice in crowded rooms. Do that privately."

Talk about that.

SUSKIND: Well, you know what, the fact is I'm sympathetic to both parties here. Bush is one of the least experienced presidents to come into office. Cheney, the most experienced vice president. They had to work out how they're going to work together.

Fascinating, what happens after 9/11. There's a change. Because what you see there is Cheney really is embracing the broad, sweeping doctrinaire thinking. What are the big strategies? He essentially creates an architecture, a platform, where Bush can be Bush, a man of action and still be effective as president. That's the relationship. Cheney essentially sets the framework, Bush acts within it.

BLITZER: But you suggest, though, that Bush didn't want Cheney to upstage him...

SUSKIND: Absolutely.

BLITZER: ... and embarrass him at meetings where he might be more knowledgeable on these subjects.

SUSKIND: Precisely. That's part of what they tried to work out. And it's a very difficult balance. But you see them clearly here, more clearly than I think that -- than we've seen them up to now.

BLITZER: There's an interesting exchange also involving the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. You write this: "'Don't worry. If this gets out of control and they're flying over the Rose Bowl, I'll shoot them down,' Rumsfeld volunteered in a burst of machismo. Bush looked hard at him. 'Don, your son or daughter is on that plane,' he said. 'That's the criteria we'll use as to whether to shoot down that plane'."

They're talking about the possibility that planes were coming in...

SUSKIND: From Indonesia.

BLITZER: From Indonesia that could go after a big crowd at the Rose Bowl.

SUSKIND: This is a new piece of intelligence, a real live threat that they faced in the fall of 2003. You see an example here, as there are many in the book, of Bush being very forceful. There are folks in the White House who say yeah, that's our guy. Yet at the same time that improvisational impulse energy creates its own set of dilemmas, and the book shows that.

BLITZER: Well, in that episode that you describe was the president irritated with Rumsfeld?

SUSKIND: Absolutely. And look, throughout the book you're going to hear George Bush's voice engaged in the war on terror, as well as the vice president's. People can debate whether they like that or not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And when we come back, Ron Suskind answers this question -- who did Osama bin Laden want to be president when he spoke out just before the 2004 election?

Also, details of a so-called witness protection program for an al Qaeda turncoat. And she's perhaps the most sought-after actress right now, and she'll be right here. Angelina Jolie talking about World Refugee Day, her work on behalf of those less fortunate and the birth of her baby, Angelina Jolie and Anderson Cooper. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's get right back to our CNN security watch and my interview with the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind, the author of the new book "The One Percent Doctrine."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Let's talk about the CIA conclusion that you report that Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, wanted President Bush re-elected in 2004. You write this: "What the CIA had learned over nearly a decade is that bin Laden speaks only for strategic reasons and those reasons are debated with often startling depths inside the organization's leadership. Today's conclusion: bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the president's re-election."

Why would Osama bin Laden want President Bush re-elected?

SUSKIND: The debate in the CIA on that Friday and through the weekend right before the election is one that essentially points out these -- these factors. Often leaders, for instance, the Soviets, liked Nixon. They liked his predictability. They knew their opponent.

In other cases it was bin Laden and Bush are kind of a match set. Bush has provided an enormous value in terms of recruitment in the Arab world. Bin Laden essentially is in a pitched dialogue -- in history in years later, we'll look back on this, Wolf, and say essentially it's these two characters...

BLITZER: You're saying the CIA formally concluded that bin Laden wanted Bush re-elected.

SUSKIND: Well, look -- absolutely true. And that day at the meeting John McLaughlin says, well, you know, bin Laden certainly did Bush a big favor today. And the analysis flowed essentially along those lines.

The question, the key question, is what it is it about America's war on terror that is such that bin Laden would want it to continue and Bush to continue conducting it? That's the bigger question that was not examined by the CIA, because many of these people there were soon to be pushed out.

BLITZER: There's controversy emerging right now about your reporting involving Abu Zubaydah. Remind our viewers who he was.

SUSKIND: Abu Zubaydah is the first major capture of the war on terror. He's picked up in Pakistan in March of 2003. And of course, at this point we hadn't gotten bin Laden or Zawahiri or any of the major players. There was great need by the administration to say we got somebody.

And of course, when we got Zubaydah they trumpeted it far and wide. He is an operational chief. He's the No. 3. Meanwhile, inside of FBI and CIA they were looking at the real evidence of the capture, including a diary that Zubaydah had written across 10 years, where essentially he presents himself as three different characters with all sorts of little crazy details about life and who's eating what and who's saying what.

Zubaydah, according to analysts in both CIA and FBI, is insane, is schizophrenic, is certifiably split personality. And more than that, he is largely the travel agent. That's why he kept popping up on signal intelligence. He's moving people around. He's paying bills...

BLITZER: There are former intelligence -- high-ranking intelligence analysts out there, because we've spoken to some, who say that, you know what, he did provide some useful information and still provides some useful information.

SUSKIND: I show in the book exactly the useful information he provided, and at the same time I show that essentially what happened is we tortured an insane man and jumped screaming at every word he uttered, most of them which were nonsense.

BLITZER: One of the other explosive charges you have in the book is that the U.S. deliberately bombed the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul to make a point. You write this: "On November 13, a hectic day when Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance and there were celebrations in the streets of the city, a U.S. missile obliterated Al Jazeera's office. Inside the CIA and White House there was satisfaction that a message had been sent to Al Jazeera."

Are you suggesting that someone in the U.S. government made a deliberate decision to take out the Al Jazeera office in Kabul?

SUSKIND: My sources are clear that that was done on purpose, precisely to send a message to Al Jazeera, and essentially a message was sent.

BLITZER: That somebody said you know what, we're going to go ahead and bomb this...

SUSKIND: There was great anger at Al Jazeera at this point. We were pulling our hair out. We thought they were a mouthpiece for bin Laden. And we acted.

BLITZER: Who made that decision?

SUSKIND: I can't go to the specific moment the decision was made and whose voice it was in. But what's clear, because -- I didn't put it in the book because there are sourcing issues there. You don't put everything you know in a book like this. But I'll tell you emphatically it was a deliberate act by the U.S.

BLITZER: You also have this fascinating detail on the al Qaeda No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, that someone believed they killed him, and they brought his head to Washington.

SUSKIND: Right.

BLITZER: On page 152, you write, "'So if it turns out to be Zawahiri's head, I hope you'll bring it here,' Bush said at one meeting, half in jest." It turned out not to be his head.

SUSKIND: Right. Look, the president is deeply engaged day to day in the operational issues of this war on terror. Some people will say God bless him, thank you, keep doing it. But he is involved in the granular details, including the specifics of operations.

In this case he's joking obviously. But that head turns out not to be Zawahiri. But through that summer, Wolf, they move up and down on swells of expectation. Maybe it is. And if it is, what does it mean for our strategy? This is the problem when an entire campaign, a war is based largely on a threshold of suspicion, not evidence.

BLITZER: One of the other fascinating details you have is on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, one of the top al Qaeda operatives, the informant who provided information, you write, you say, "The informant is now living in America, somewhere in America, with $25 million in the bank and benefits such as cradle-to-grave insurance and private school tuition for his children and his relatives and their children."

Any idea who this guy is?

SUSKIND: Let me say emphatically, I don't know who he is, I don't know where he lives. Everything I know is in the book. Having said that, he's a demonstration model that I think the U.S. government's not displeased of having out there at this moment as to what you and Al Jazeera -- rather and al Qaeda can hope for if you give us information. You can have a life like this guy. That's the message of this particular incident.

BLITZER: But what you're suggesting, though, is this is one of the most elaborate witness protection plans in the history of the United States.

SUSKIND: I think they're breaking new ground here. And they say, even in the book one of the CIA people says, "Look, think of the cost of the war on terror. Think of $25 million. Think of the value of getting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. It's worth it."

BLITZER: Ron Suskind is the author of "The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemy Since 9/11." Ron, thanks for coming in.

SUSKIND: Thank you, Wolf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: We're still awaiting a response from the Pentagon to what Suskind describes as the deliberate bombing of Al Jazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan. Meantime, we're getting reaction to the book from other quarters. Let's bring in our national security correspondent, David Ensor. You've been doing some checking, some fact-checking. What are you picking up?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I talked to several present and former U.S. intelligence officials. They are pleased that the book, in their view, gives considerable credit to the CIA for being fast off the mark going after al Qaeda post-9/11.

But there is criticism from them, too. They say there are some errors in the book, besides the debated issue over how useful al Qaeda former leader Abu Zubaydah has been in captivity.

For example, Mr. Suskind writes that the U.S. identified one of the men on July 7th in London, one of the suicide bombers, Muhammad Sidique Khan, two years before that attack and put him onto a no-fly list to keep him out of this country. But the British newspaper "The Guardian" reports today, and present and former U.S. officials also tell me that the Muhammad Khan put on the American no-fly list was a different person. So no scandal there concerning communication between the U.S. and Britain.

Now, Mr. Suskind tells me he has checked with his sources on this. He stands by his reporting, that they say Muhammad Sidique Khan, the suicide bomber, was on a U.S. no-fly list.

As for the bombing of Al Jazeera in Kabul, I've spoken to several former senior CIA officials, all of whom say if Al Jazeera was targeted on purpose, that's the first they've heard it -- Wolf.

BLITZER: David Ensor, reporting for us. Thanks, David, very much. I suspect we'll continue this conversation on this book in the days ahead.

And stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

Up ahead, Anderson Cooper on his exclusive interview with Angelina Jolie. On this World Refugee Day, she's speaking out about her global mission and about motherhood. We'll get a preview from Anderson. He's up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The bottom line at the markets today: A mixed day with the Dow up, the Nasdaq down, the S&P virtually unchanged.

Today, CNN covers World Refugee Day with reports from around the world. As part of our coverage, CNN's Anderson Cooper exclusively sat down with the actress Angelina Jolie. Jolie is the goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and she's witnessed their plight firsthand around the world.

Anderson is joining us now live from New York with a preview. She is so passionate on this -- on this issue, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: She really is, Wolf. I mean, a lot of celebrities have causes and things, but this is a woman who has traveled to some 20 countries, who says she donates about a third of her income to refugees and other causes around the world. She does remarkable work for the UNHCR, just trying to raise awareness. And I mean, she has met repeatedly and spends a great deal of time often away from the cameras with refugees, trying to see with her own eyes what the problems are, what the needs are, and what possible solutions are. One of the things that she's a big proponent of is education and trying to guarantee at least basic education to all children throughout the world.

Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS/GOODWILL AMBASSADOR: And you start to think, how do you deal with traffic? How do you deal with civil wars? How do you deal with any -- and you start to realize it's all that so many of these people -- and it happens in countries where people are vulnerable and desperate, and don't have the resources, and don't have any options for any other kind of life, and probably don't have an education.

So you start to realize, like this is where we need to invest our money. Which we all kind of know that. We need people not fighting over resources. We need them all to have enough. We need there to be basic education for everybody, so -- because there are proven statistics of how that changes your life, how your chances of getting AIDS, your chances of everything. You know, as a woman or as a man, even, getting, you know, the child soldiers, just your chances of having a more solid life.

COOPER: Education is key.

JOLIE: If you're educated. And, you know, so for that and then just basic resources that people need to survive, like food and shelter. There would be less violence. There would be less of all the things going on.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And I think the thing you're going to be really surprised about when you see this full interview tonight at 10:00 Eastern is just the degree to which her passion and her commitment to causes around the world is reflected in the family, Wolf, that she's been building with Brad Pitt.

BLITZER: And she made a point of going to Africa to have her baby. You spoke about that with her.

COOPER: Yes, we did. We talked about -- you know, I asked her about why Namibia, why have the baby in a small clinic in this African country. And she talked about, you know, the reasons behind it, and also the -- some of the fears she had as a mother, as any mother would have, in those final minutes, you know, and what it was like in the operating room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What was it like actually giving birth? I mean, you had two children through adoption. What was it like?

JOLIE: Well, we ended up -- she was in breach, so I ended up having a cesarean, so it was very quick. It was and ...

COOPER: Brad was in the operating room.

JOLIE: He was in the operating room, yes, yes. And we had amazing doctors and everybody was so lovely. And, you know, you're just -- because you are there for the birth, which I wasn't for my first two kids, you're just suddenly terrified that they are not going to take a first breath.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And, of course, baby Shiloh was born healthy and happy and is back here in the United States. That interview took place just four days after they returned from Namibia, and you'll see it tonight, Wolf.

BLITZER: We certainly will, Anderson. Good work. Thanks very much.

And let me just remind our viewers, CNN exclusive, Angelina Jolie, her mission and motherhood, that's on a special "ANDERSON COOPER" tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, two-hour "A.C. 360," that's coming up later tonight.

Despite extensive scientific and medical evidence to the contrary, a Pentagon memo still calls -- classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder. The document was just uncovered by the University of California researchers and posted online. Our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton has the latest -- Abbi.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, here's that Department of Defense instruction dated 1996 and at the end of it, certain mental disorders underneath, homosexuality, along with mental retardation.

Mental health experts dispute this classification. The American Psychiatric Association has written a letter to the Pentagon, urging it be changed, and pointing out that that association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973.

Some members of Congress, members of the House Armed Services Committee, have also written to the Pentagon urging this be changed. They haven't received a response yet. That letter's just been sent.

A Pentagon spokesman tells CNN the document is under review. This group, the Service Members Legal Defense Network, which is an advocacy group for gay service members says also that this classification should be changed. They believe it will be, because this document is not consistent with other Department of Defense regulations -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Abbi, thank you very much.

So what do you think of this story? Jack Cafferty has been taking your e-mail on it. We're getting a ton of it. Jack's going to be back when we come back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Coming up in a few minutes at the top of the hour, "PAULA ZAHN NOW." she'll have the powerful reaction from two families of the missing soldiers killed in Iraq. That's coming up in a few minutes.

It's a hot-button issue here in the United States right now, but what does the future hold for the debate over same-sex marriage? CNN's Miles O'Brien has our "Welcome to the Future" report -- Miles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, even though the Senate did not vote to change the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, the issue is still alive and well all across the country.

This November voters in seven states will decide whether they would like to define marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

(voice-over) Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute, a sexual orientation think tank, studies gay marriage outside the U.S.

LEE BADGETT, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, WILLIAMS INSTITUTE: Now we're starting to see the more conservative countries, Germany, France, Spain, let same-sex couples marry -- Italy, Ireland. I mean, countries that are very tied to the Catholic Church are considering this. The change has been very rapid in the last five years.

O'BRIEN: Badgett says same-sex unions abroad have limited effects on society. Birth rates and marriage statistics remain unchanged. But in the U.S. there is still strong opposition to the idea of same-sex marriage.

BADGETT: The public opinion polls still show that the people are reluctant to endorse full marriage rights. They're much more likely to say yes, you know, we think a gay couple should have civil unions before marriage.

The process of change is hard to predict, but I do think that there will be a tipping point where things will start changing very rapidly.

O'BRIEN (on camera): Of course, on the other side of this issue they would predict things might tip the other way. And even though the Senate fell short of the two thirds majority needed to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, many states will be weighing in with their own legislation defining marriage as between a man and a woman -- Wolf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Miles O'Brien, thank you very much for that.

From Miles, let's go to New York, again. Jack's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: A Pentagon document lists being gay alongside mental retardation and personality disorder. A spokesman says that document is under review. Critics say it shows the military's failing policies when it comes to dealing with gays.

The question is, should the Pentagon classify homosexuality as a mental disorder?

Scott writes from Atlanta, "As a gay teenager, it's very offensive and quite upsetting to me to know that the Department of Defense is so blind. But what is more bewildering is the fact that at a time when military recruitment is down, they're pushing potential soldiers away."

Steven in Portsmouth, Ohio: "Yes, of course, homosexuality should be classified as a mental disorder, for that's what it is. It's removal from the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" in the 1970s was a move precipitated by political pressure placed on the American Psychiatric Association, not my any new scientific or psychiatric evidence on the nature of homosexuality."

Jack in Pittsburgh: "Jack, I'm gay, a veteran of combat in Vietnam. I can tell you from personal experience most of the heterosexuals in the Army were much more mentally ill than I could ever have hoped to be."

Dan in Peachtree City, Georgia: "Cafferty, you're the one that has the mental disorder. Gay soldiers, by virtue of their unnatural and potential security risk behaviors, have had a free ride ever since Clinton decided on the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. By implying the U.S. military is somehow out of line by putting this behavior in the disorder category, you're part of a very large problem. Gays don't belong in the military."

Nick writes from Minot, North Dakota, "If they really want to deal with mental disorders, they'd better get a classification for Texas Swagger."

And Tim on Bartow, Florida: "If we gays are now considered mentally defective, when do I start getting my monthly check? Oh, and I want a parking sticker, too" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I'll see you tomorrow here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Jack, thanks very much.

And that's all the time we have. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "PAULA ZAHN NOW" getting ready to start right now -- Paula.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines