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THE SITUATION ROOM

National Christmas Tree Lighting; Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal; Huckabee Confronted

Aired December 3, 2009 - 17:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It happened last night near the Verizon Center, just nine blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Twenty-two- year-old Julia Corker stopped the car to help someone she thought need directions. She opened the door -- he opened the door, I should say, grabbed her, threw her to the ground and drove away. Senator Corker says his daughter remembered the car was equipped with the OnStar system. The device helped lead police straight to the suspects.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I thank that the couple that -- or the two people that were involved. I think they were sitting in a parking lot in -- in Maryland. And the -- the, you know, with OnStar, they were able to identify that they were actually not moving. And the police were able to come up and apprehend them. So it's pretty incredible. I'm certainly glad my daughter remembered we had that service.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: In fact, Senator Corker says he nearly canceled his account with OnStar, thinking it was simply a waste of money. It doesn't feel that way anymore. We're going to have a full report on this story later, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

And happening now, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

This time, they actually had an invitation, but the White House party crashers were no-shows at a House of Representatives hearing today, where someone took the fall for their state dinner intrusion.

The role of Pakistan in President Obama's new Afghan war strategy -- I'll talk about that and more in my exclusive interview with the president's national security adviser, General Jim Jones.

And a father's desperate five year battle to bring his young son home from Brazil. Now he says a resolution to this international abduction case could come within days.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

There's fresh fallout and growing controversy from the most notorious party crashing in recent Washington history. Today, the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on how a fame-seeking couple got into a White House state dinner uninvited and who's ultimately to blame.

Our homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, is here with more on what happened.

JEANNE MESERVE, HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was really interesting. This was the first time that the Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan, has made a public appearance since the state dinner security screw up. But a big part of the story today was who did not appear.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: (voice-over): This time, Tareq and Michaele Salahi were on the guest list, but didn't show up.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE:

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D-MI), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: I'm directing staff to prepare subpoenas for the Salahis. If the Salahis continue to rebuff this committee's oversight request, they could be subject to contempt of Congress.

MESERVE: Republican Peter King also wants to subpoena White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. The White House said she didn't appear to preserve separation of powers between the executive branch and Congress.

REP. PETER BLITZER (R), NEW YORK: I think it's wrong. I think it's stonewalling.

MESERVE: Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, the sole and star witness, revealed that three of his employees are on administrative leave while the investigation of the security breach continues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Violation and potential threat.

MESERVE: Members were alarmed that the security bubble around the president was so easily punctured. Sullivan said to his knowledge, it was the only time it has happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there a threat to the president or not a threat to the president?

MARK SULLIVAN, DIRECTOR, SECRET SERVICE: Sir, we -- we have countermeasures in place. And I am confident in telling you that there was no threat to the president.

MESERVE: Sullivan testified before the state dinner, the Secret Service and White House agreed that the social secretary would not have personnel at security checkpoints as usual, but nearby for consultation and the Secret Service failed to follow protocol and call them when the Salahis names did not appear on the guest list. Sullivan called that unacceptable and indefensible.

SULLIVAN: This is our fault and our fault alone. There's -- there's no other people to blame here.

MESERVE: But many members clearly felt the White House shared the blame.

REP. CHARLES DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: And we always expect the Secret Service to take a bullet for the president. We don't expect the Secret Service to take a bullet for the president's staff.

MESERVE: One reporter at the dinner says she told White House staff the Salahis were not on the guest list. Sullivan wouldn't comment, but made it clear that information did not make it to the Secret Service that night.

SULLIVAN: We were advised of it the -- the following day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And advised by whom, sir?

SULLIVAN: The Facebook.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

MESERVE: Some members also expressed concern about an e-mail in which Tareq Salahi listed who had declined invitations to the dinner and why. Members of Congress wanted to know how Salahi got his hands on this potentially sensitive information. Sullivan said at this point, he doesn't know -- Wolf.

BLITZER: There's still some unanswered questions here...

MESERVE: A lot.

BLITZER: ...when all is said and done.

Thanks very much, Jeanne.

Also on Capitol Hill today, Pentagon and administration officials were defending President Obama's new Afghan war strategy before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was joined by the Defense secretary, Robert Gates, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen. Senators from both sides of the aisle questioned the U.S. focus on Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Over the last days, I've heard a number of people saying that we are in Afghanistan today because that is the place from which we were attacked. Frankly, eight years later, that's simply not good enough.

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: This region is the epicenter of global Islamic extremism. And I acknowledge that there are federated terrorists globally. But this is the epicenter. It's the place from which we were attacked on 9/11, as has been discussed. And should we be hit again, it's the place from which I am convinced the planning, training, financing and leadership will emanate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Coming up, I'll have more of my exclusive interview with the president's national security adviser, General Jim Jones.

We'll talk about Pakistan's role in the new Afghan strategy and a lot more. Stand by for that.

Turning to Iraq right now, President Obama has ordered all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by the end of next August. But we're learning of a possible -- possible delay in Iraqi parliamentary elections that could totally complicate the U.S. military pullout plan.

From Baghdad, CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom explains.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the date for Iraq's national election is still up in the air. There are also concerns that the U.S. military withdrawal dates could be affected by any delay to the elections.

In a press conference earlier today, Iraqi Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi threatened to veto the election law for the second time if he didn't get his way. Al-Hashemi also said that if the law were passed in its current form, it would create divisions among Iraqis.

The law must be in place in order for the elections to happen.

Iraq's elections were originally scheduled to take place in mid- January, but the delay in the passage of the law regulating the vote will most likely push the date to February. Some politicians are now saying that the elections could even be delayed until March.

The U.S. military has said they'll keep the current troop levels at about 115,000 until 60 days after the elections once the new government is seated.

When asked last month if a delay in elections would cause a delay in the U.S. troop withdrawal schedule, General Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said he had flexibility in this matter and didn't have to make any decisions on a withdrawal until late spring. General Odierno also said that the U.S. troop withdrawal schedule isn't as important as getting a law -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Mohammed.

Thanks very much.

Mohammed Jamjoom reporting from Baghdad.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty right now.

He's reporting from New York.

You know, you think this Iraq situation has quieted down. Not so fast -- Jack. CAFFERTY: You're reading my mind. I'll bet you lunch at the restaurant of your choice that we don't make that deadline next August.

BLITZER: Yes, I'm not...

Do you want to bet?

BLITZER: I'm not going to bet, because I think I agree with you.

CAFFERTY: Yes. All right.

Here's another little deal on the -- that's on the table down in the nation's capital. The White House convened something it's calling a jobs summit today. Well, here's some stuff to think about.

Sixteen million Americans are out of work. A third of them have been unemployed for more than six months. There are currently six applicants competing for every available job. The government releases the November jobs report tomorrow morning at 8:30. Unemployment is expected to stay at 10.2 percent. The White House affair -- the jobs thing -- is a meeting with business leaders, academics and other experts to come up with ideas about creating jobs.

Well, guess what?

Ordinary Americans have some ideas on how to get people back to work and some of it's pretty simple stuff. A new "USA Today"/Gallup Poll shows 18 percent of those surveyed suggest the best way to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is not to send them overseas. Duh. Fourteen percent say lower taxes so businesses have money to hire people. Twelve percent say more help is need for small business. And 10 percent say create more infrastructure work.

Other ideas on the table include reducing government regulation, creating more green jobs, providing more stimulus money and buying American or raising taxes on imports.

Meanwhile, there are some glimmers of good news. The Labor Department reported this morning first time claims for unemployment fell last week to nearly a 15 month low. And an independent private job placement firm, Challenger Gray & Christmas, shows the pace of job losses has slowed to the lowest level in two years.

But the fact of the matter is jobs are a trailing indicator. They probably won't show any robust growth for a while -- maybe for a long time, despite other signs the economy is, in fact, recovering now. And many experts say a lot of those jobs that have been lost will never come back.

So here's the question -- what can be done to create jobs?

It's jobs, jobs, jobs.

Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and let's give those folks in Washington the benefit of our collective wisdom. They could use it. BLITZER: They certainly can. And the president is asking everybody to weigh in, because if you have a good idea, he says he's ready to hear it.

CAFFERTY: Why don't they know -- renegotiate these damn trade agreements that sent all these jobs to places like India and China and Mexico?

Why don't they start there?

That seems like something they could do. It's like saying, well, we can pay for health care by cutting $500 billion out of Medicare. Well, then cut it. I mean, it's just -- this is all just conversation.

BLITZER: All right, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Pardon me.

BLITZER: Yes, no, no, no. So you're -- you're entitled.

Thank you.

David Goldman's son was taken from him five years ago and he's been fighting to get him back ever since.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GOLDMAN, BATTLING FOR CUSTODY OF HIS SON: I'm his dad. I raised him. I have my blood running through his veins. And that connection is there and it's real. And it's my God-given right to raise him and him to know me as his father.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Now, this international abduction case may be coming to a climax.

Stand by. David Goldman is here.

Also, our Special Investigations Unit confronts former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with some disturbing details about the man he let out of prison, who eventually became, allegedly, a cop killer -- or four cop killers. And Huckabee gets confrontational in return.

And we're standing by for the lighting of the White House Christmas tree. It happens every year. We're going to go there live when it happens.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Emotional testimony at a House hearing on international child abduction yesterday. Among those testifying, David Goldman. He's been fighting since 2004 to bring home his young son, Sean, who was only four years old when his Brazilian mother left Goldman without warning, taking the boy with her to Rio de Janeiro. While there, she divorced Goldman, remarried as the two waged a bitter custody battle.

Everything changed, however, when she died in childbirth last summer. Now, Sean is living with a man his mother married despite court rulings there in Goldman's favor.

And joining us now here in THE SITUATION ROOM, David Goldman, the father of Sean.

You've just come from testimony up on Capitol Hill.

What's the latest, first of all, in the case involving your son?

GOLDMAN: In Brazil, we have had a return ruling by a federal court in June. This family -- this -- this second abductor, as he is labeled by the federal courts in Brazil, has filed over 20 motions to try to obstruct and delay justice and -- and constant appeals and delays. We are waiting for a decision in the court of appeals in Brazil any day now to, hopefully, uphold that return ruling and reunite Sean and I back home here in America.

BLITZER: So you think that within a matter of a few days, you might be reunited with your son?

GOLDMAN: Well, that is what I've been told, that there is a chance for that ruling to come out any day. And, hopefully, it will uphold the first order, which I'm sure they'll still appeal it -- find a way to stall and delay until (INAUDIBLE)...

BLITZER: But there are higher courts they can appeal it to?

GOLDMAN: Yes.

BLITZER: So then it's unlikely that they would just abandon it and accept that court ruling. They would continue the appeal process.

GOLDMAN: It depends. I mean the judge can order -- or the three panel judges can order Sean's return, uphold the decision, let them appeal, but not stay the order. A judge -- a judiciary has power to do that.

BLITZER: And would that allow your son to come back to the United States?

GOLDMAN: Yes. Yes. And they can...

BLITZER: You could actually bring him to the United States?

GOLDMAN: Yes. Yes.

BLITZER: And that's obviously what you want.

GOLDMAN: That's what needs to have done. We're not asking for any favors. We're expecting the rule of law to be followed.

BLITZER: It's been five years since you've been separated from your son.

Are you speaking with him?

Do you see him?

GOLDMAN: No, not since June. These -- the abductors have seen how close we were and -- and our bond, they did not break. And when they saw this reunion, as also witnessed by our Congress, who were -- who were there, Congressman Smith and the Brazilian -- American embassy was in Brazil, as well as the abductors, witnessed how -- how our bond was still strong and the love was still there, they took my son upstairs and -- and tortured him.

BLITZER: When you say tortured, what do you mean?

GOLDMAN: They let -- give sleep deprivation, telling him that he cannot hug me, he cannot say he loves me, he cannot call me dad, that I have abandoned him. The closer that I get to him, the more they abuse him, psychologically.

BLITZER: This is...

GOLDMAN: This is also in the court records.

BLITZER: ...your late wife's family in -- in Brazil?

GOLDMAN: Yes.

BLITZER: That you say are doing these things to your son.

GOLDMAN: Oh, it's not that I say. It's in the court records in Brazil. It's recognized and stamped in the Brazilian court records.

BLITZER: The secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has spoken out on behalf of you and your son.

GOLDMAN: Yes.

BLITZER: I want to play this little clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MARCH 4)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Mr. Goldman has, under every known law of international adoption followed the rules. He's come in. He's made a claim, which is certainly a paramount claim, as the biological father with, you know, every right to have custody of his son.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Is the U.S. government, in your opinion, doing everything it can to reunite you with your son?

GOLDMAN: They need to do more.

BLITZER: What else do they need to do? GOLDMAN: We need to not mention it once -- I am very grateful for our secretary to talk about it and bring it up with her counterpart and our president to bring it up with the President Lula.

However, when we get promises and assurances that there will be action and -- and their judiciary which is a govern judiciary from a sovereign nation -- will follow the rule of law and six months later we still do not have a resolution, we need to do more.

BLITZER: What -- what does the United States need to do?

GOLDMAN: We need to hold these countries accountable.

BLITZER: Give me an example.

What do you want them to do?

GOLDMAN: OK. We just gave Brazil $2 billion in oil funding to research oil off their coast. We have visas we issue. We have favored trade nations. The actual abductors can be sanctioned. There -- they could have properties being frozen and assets being frozen, possible extradition.

We have returned children to Brazil. America has returned children to Brazil since my son's abduction. And since my son's abduction, there are now 65 other children taken to Brazil, held in contra -- in treaty violation. To this date, Brazil has never returned one child to America via a judicial order.

BLITZER: So you want the United States to impose sanctions on -- on Brazil until they return your son and others?

GOLDMAN: Well, and you know it takes time. Today was the first day, the first step of a hearing. The next step will be in -- in a committee that will accept legislation.

I'm hopeful that -- that Brazil will, before this even gets out of committee to vote, my son will be home and Brazil will follow the rule of law and -- and recognize the reciprocity of this treaty. They were new to it when we signed on with them. I know Germany took over five years before they returned their first child. And with open dialogue, with diplomatic relations and communications, they get it. They return children.

I am hoping, as -- as ungodly painful that -- that this is, that my son will come home before we even have to get to the actual accountability process. But these countries that do not return our children need to be held accountable.

BLITZER: And Sean is how old right now?

GOLDMAN: He is nine.

BLITZER: And -- and so you basically lost contact with him when he was four?

GOLDMAN: A little over four, yes.

BLITZER: Are you afraid, though, with each year that you're going to be growing further and further apart?

GOLDMAN: I was afraid of that until I saw him in February and then in June. And the love and the bond was -- was what I dared not hope for. It was -- it was wonderful. And he wants it. And I raised him for essentially over four years. And I also have learned that those are the primary years of the connection of -- of a child and the parent. And that is where the strongest bond is. And I see that.

He's withheld -- he's being held by a man who's not even related to him, who -- who, in the eyes of Brazil, was married to his mother for 10 months before she passed away.

I mean how can -- what kind of connection can he have with this guy?

I'm his dad. I raised him. I have my blood running through his veins. And that connection is there and it's real. And it's my God- given right to raise him and him to know me as his father.

BLITZER: David Goldman, good luck.

GOLDMAN: Thank you.

BLITZER: A store owner who showed mercy to a would-be robber gets an unexpected show of thanks -- details of the letter that brought him to tears.

Plus, a wedding uproar -- a groom is attacked by another woman. We're going to show you why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Fredricka Whitfield is monitoring some other important stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Fred, what's going on?

WHITFIELD: Hello again, Wolf.

Hello, everyone.

A suicide bomber attacks a Somali college graduation ceremony in Mogadishu. And you see right there, caught on tape. It was chaos following that, as you see on this amateur video here. The male bomber, dressed as a woman, killed 19 people, including cabinet ministers, journalists, doctors and medical students. Analysts say it shows the fragile hold the government has in that country.

American coed, Amanda Knox, took the stand today again in Italy, telling jurors that she's not an assassin. Knox and her ex-boyfriend are on trial in the sexually violent death of her roommate. If convicted, both could receive life sentences. The jury is expected to begin deliberating tomorrow. And here's something you certainly don't see every day at every wedding. The groom professes his love for his bride to be, then gets attacked by women who say he's actually already married to their relative. It happened as a dozen and a half couples were set to get hitched in Peru. The accused groom left the room. The other couples went on to wedded bliss -- so, Wolf, exactly the opposite of the weddings that you or I attend.

When you hear that question -- "Does anyone object?" -- usually you can hear crickets. It's completely silent. The total opposite there.

BLITZER: Not there.

WHITFIELD: (INAUDIBLE).

BLITZER: A little -- a little tough. A tough place. The tough crowd.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Fred, for that.

We've heard about the president's new Afghanistan strategy, but what about the threat from insurgents inside Pakistan?

More of my exclusive interview with the president's national security adviser, General James Jones. That's coming up.

And CNN tracks down the former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, and asks him about commuting the sentence of the man suspected of killing four police officers. You're going to want to hear what he had to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: President Obama getting ready to light the 86th national Christmas tree.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ...spread a message that has endured for more than 2,000 years, that no matter who we are or where we are from, we are each called to love one another as brother and sister. While this story may be a Christian one, its lesson is universal. It speaks to the hope we share as a people and it represents a tradition that we celebrate as a country -- the tradition that has come to represent more than any one holiday or religion, but a season of brotherhood and generosity to our fellow citizens.

It's that spirit of unity that we must remember as we light the national Christmas tree -- a tree that will shine its light far beyond our city and our shores to every American around the world.

And that's why tonight our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women who will be spending this holiday far away from home -- the mothers and fathers, the sons and daughters of our military, who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. We will be thinking of you and praying for you during this holiday season.

And let's also remember our neighbors who are struggling here at home, those who've lost a job or a home, a friend or a loved one, because even though it's easy to focus on receiving at this time of year, it's often in the simple act of giving that we find the greatest happiness.

So on behalf of Michelle and Malia and Sasha and my mother-in- law, Mama Robinson, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. May you go out with joy and be led forth in peace.

And now to the serious business of pressing the button and lighting this beautiful tree. So, guys, come up here. I need some assistance. I'm technologically challenged. I might not get this right. We're going to do a countdown starting from five. Everybody got to help me out here. Five, four, three, two, one. It worked.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: An annual tradition in Washington, D.C. this is the 86th national Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This is the first one for President Obama. Always a nice, nice touch during this holiday season.

Let's get back to other important news that we're following, including what's going on in Pakistan right now. Pakistan says it needs more information before it can back President Obama's new strategy in the war in Afghanistan. After talks with the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Pakistan's Prime Minister Gilani is insisting Osama Bin Laden is not and was not in Pakistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYED YOUSAF RAZA GILANI, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: Pakistan is fighting a war on terrorism. And we have a good intelligence and defense cooperation with the United States. And if there is any credible information that can be shared with Pakistan, I doubt the information which you are giving is correct. Because I don't think that Osama Bin Laden is in Pakistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: I asked the president's national security adviser, retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Jones, about what he thinks about the threats facing the U.S. from Pakistan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Let's talk about Pakistan. I know you've been there several times. How worried are you about the security, safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal?

GEN. JAMES JONES, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, we have worked for many years with the Pakistani military. And we have plenty of assurances that they have good control of their arsenal. Having said that, they live in -- Pakistan is a region where insurgent groups have been allowed to develop. And those groups have clearly indicated, especially al Qaeda, that they will do anything to get control of a nuclear weapon. And, unfortunately, if they ever did that, they would have no compunction against using it. So this is a very active topic. It's something that Admiral Mullen and General Gilani talk about. It's something at every level of national security we spend a lot of time on.

BLITZER: Is this a really remote prospect or potentially likely that al Qaeda or some other terrorist group could get their hands on a nuclear weapon?

JONES: I think it's more remote now, because we've brought a lot of attention to it over the last few years. It's certainly something that keeps everybody awake at night.

BLITZER: What's your basic message to Pakistan? When you meet with the leadership of Pakistan, whether the president, the prime minister, the military or intelligence community, what do you say to them? You've been pretty blunt recently.

JONES: We have. Friends can talk direct. Our discussions with them have been direct. It's basically to say the strategic interests of the United States are very much tied to the south Asia region. And very specifically, with Pakistan. And so we have an option. We have a choice, really, right now to take this relationship and expand it in a positive way so the people of Pakistan can have better lives, so we can get rid of these insurgent safe havens that are destabilizing their country and also neighboring countries and get on with a more normal relationship based on trade, economics, good relations. And we can be of enormous help to Pakistan in dealing with their neighborhood as well. So it's an offer to be very positive over a long period of time. But it's going to have to start, unfortunately, with some very strong action. And we have complimented them for what they have done in the swat valley, in South Waziristan. We want to see that action continue throughout the safe havens.

BLITZER: I assume you saw the article "New York Times" in the saying you, the Obama administration is going to escalate operations in Pakistan, whether ground operations or increasing CIA activity or whatever. I know this is very sensitive stuff. And you don't like to talk about it. But do you want to react to that article?

JONES: I would simply say that it is correct that we are trying to develop the kind of trust and confidence between us and the Pakistani government that allows them the opportunity to clean up their own backyard, so to speak. We would be very helpful to them in that regard. It's a relationship that has the potential of going on for many years. The message that the president has sent is very clear in a couple of respects. One is that regardless of the July 2011 date, we're not leaving. We're not leaving the area simply because we're transitioning. Doesn't mean we're leaving. We have interest in this region. We need a safe, stable Afghanistan. But we need a secure Pakistan. And we're going to be working very hard to make sure that happens.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: We're going to have more of the interview coming up. The exclusive interview with the national security adviser, James Jones also talks about Iran. Is Iran building a nuclear bomb? Stand by.

Also, we'll have more on Drew Griffin. He's actually caught up with the former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to talk about that controversial decision to grant clemency to an alleged cop killer.

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: Now, if you think that 108-year sentence is an appropriate sentence for a 16-year-old for the crimes he committed, then you should run for governor of Arkansas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: More now of my exclusive interview with the president's national security adviser, retried Marine Corp Commandant General James Jones. He warns of what he calls unfortunate consequences for Iran if that country continues its nuclear defiance.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Do you believe that Iran is building a nuclear bomb?

JONES: The evidence suggests that Iran has not convinced the world that it does not have the intention to acquire a nuclear weapon and/or to weaponize that capability.

BLITZER: Is the answer, yes, you believe they are building one?

JONES: So I think absent clear statements to the contrary and evidence to the contrary, which the international community has patiently laid offers on the table for them to be able to explain and to prove, what they say they're doing versus what they're actually doing, but in the absence of such proof, we have no choice but to increasingly conclude, unfortunately, as time just keeps running out, that we might have to take -- we might have to take other measures.

BLITZER: What does that mean, other measures?

JONES: Other measures that would change Iranian behavior with regard to their nuclear programs. There has been for the last several months an offer put through on the -- by the IAEA to transfer the enriched uranium, which is their request --

BLITZER: They rejected that and said they're going to build ten more uranium enrichment plants.

JONES: This was their idea. We proposed several ways in which this could be done. At every turn this far they've come up with ideas to delay, to stall.

BLITZER: Are they just buying time?

JONES: Eventually that's what you have to conclude.

BLITZER: Will the U.S. try to impose stiff sanctions working with the international community?

JONES: The president has been clear he's willing to give Iran to the end of the year to show their true colors.

BLITZER: That's a month from now.

JONES: That's a month from now.

BLITZER: And then what?

JONES: In the meantime we have also taken measures to discuss with friends and allies including the Russians, the Chinese, all the Europeans, Persian Gulf nations, what might be in the -- the course of action if, in fact, we conclude that they are not serious about this. So we'll let -- we'll let the next month run out. And we'll see what happens. But it's not going to be -- there will be unfortunate consequences if they don't take advantage of this very reasonable offer to show exactly what it is they mean to do.

BLITZER: Let's talk briefly about the Israeli/Palestinian situation. Before you joined the Obama administration you were actively working to try to do something. The president came in, he asked the Israelis to do something, the Palestinians to do something, the Arab countries, Saudis to do something. Basically everybody said, no so fast. They're not ready to do it. Was this a mistake looking back early on, asking these countries to do something only to have them reject it, which sort of underscores U.S. impotence in that issue?

JONES: I don't think it was a mistake. I think that the -- the president's motives were very clear that he wants to do whatever he can to help create the two-state solution that everybody's talked about, that everybody's agreed to. I think everybody who's worked on this problem knows what the end state looks like. What's hard to find agreement on is how you get there, what paths you have to walk on.

BLITZER: Can't even get the negotiations.

JONES: Well, that's right. So while there have been moments of frustration and ups and downs, we still want to be very helpful. The president is going to play a very strong leadership role in this. We are undeterred. But you have to -- you have to go -- you have to get what you can when you can get it. There has to be a timing. When it's good for one side to agree to negotiate, it doesn't seem to be good for the other side. But ultimately there'll be that moment in time when it'll come together.

BLITZER: Ultimately is a long time, potentially. But you think this could go on without negotiations for more months?

JONES: No. I think that eventually there'll be negotiations. There has to be. I think it's just a question of finding the right -- the right moment for both sides to come together. And I think the president is going to exert great leadership to make sure that that happens. And, by the way, a lot of our allies and friends in Europe and the Arab world have pledged their support as well. So it's a question of timing.

BLITZER: We're out of time. I got to ask you this question. I'm going to play a sound bite from the president when he was speaking to correspondents here in Washington a few months ago. He spoke about where you are right now. I'm going to play this clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And happening now, Wolf Blitzer is here. He's the only man, the only other man in America with his own situation room. People assume that mine is cooler. But this is not the case. As hard as we've tried, we have not been able to generate the bandwidth necessary to turn Larry Summers into a hologram.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: You spent a lot of time in your situation room. There it is, if you look back there you see yourself and the vice president and the president, Secretary Gates. Your situation room. And now you're in our situation room. Which one is cooler?

JONES: Physically, this is a lot cooler. I mean, you keep the temperature down here.

BLITZER: Forget about the temperature. You like our situation room?

JONES: It's a -- it's a very pleasant surrounding. But I think we did a good job in ours.

BLITZER: You've improved yours?

JONES: I'm comfortable there as well.

BLITZER: You like your situation room better?

JONES: I wouldn't say better. But I like it.

BLITZER: We hope you'll visit us more often here in our situation room and that you'll invite us to come to your situation room as well.

JONES: I'll pass that on to the president.

BLITZER: Thank you.

JONES: All right. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: A split second act of human kindness helps a man reform his ways. We have some extraordinary information about an extraordinary story that you will see right here in our SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Let's get right back to Jack Cafferty for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Question this hour is what can be done to create jobs?

Steve in Virginia: "Best start would be to restore law and order. 8 million jobs could be returned to law-abiding citizens and immigrants by making e-verify mandatory and mandatorily cross checking the social security and IRS data bases when employers hire. We could curtail insourcing of millions of jobs by requiring employers to prove they can't find qualified Americans before issuing visas. The next best step would be to restore the source of our previous prosperity, our manufacturing base and our fair trade practices."

Cruise writes: "Tax all those patriotic souls that sent their jobs overseas and use that new revenue to invest in companies that keep their jobs here at home. I want to see labels everywhere that say "made in America."

Tom in Pennsylvania writes: "Just one thought, Jack. How about a national bond fund that creates jobs to place electricity and cable lines underground and repairs and replace old water and sewage systems."

W. in Nebraska writes: "How about we quit spending money in pits like Iraq and Afghanistan and use it to rebuild our infrastructure? I read a story about a $70 million water treatment plant in Iraq that's barely running because they don't know how to maintain it. As backward as Iraq is, Afghanistan is 10 timed worse. Imagine the work that could be created here with the money that we have was wasted in Iraq and the money we will waste in Afghanistan."

Jasper writes: "The amount of people out of jobs in this country is equal to the amount of people that are legally in this country, it's a no brainer."

And Paul in Vermont says: "While I don't agree with everything you say, tonight it sounds like you're on my side. I own a company that employees at very fair wages and better than fits 50 plus Vermonters. The economy has taken a bite out of our business. The government should give all middle class folks and yes even upper class folks more of their money back by lowering taxes. The more they have to spend, the more they spend and that translates into jobs. Putting money in at the top by bailing out auto companies for example does not benefit folks who need to buy cars."

If you didn't see your email here, check my blog. You'll find it at CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Jack, thank you.

CNN's Special Investigation Unit has uncovered some disturbing new information about a young man who was let out of prison by then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee back in the year 2000. Maurice Clemmons was shot and killed by police in Seattle on Tuesday only two days after he allegedly gunned down four police officers in a coffee shop. CNN's Special Investigations Correspondent Drew Griffin traveled to Jacksonville, Florida where he caught up with Governor Huckabee. He had this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE: I read the entire file.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Was it just this few pieces of paper?

HUCKABEE: No, it was a file this thick.

GRIFFIN: Did it tell you all the violations he had in prison, the fact that he tried to slip a weapon into court?

HUCKABEE: I looked at the file, every bit of it. Here was a case where a guy had been given 108 years, if you think that a 108- year sentence is an appropriate sentence for a 16-year-old, you should be governor of Arkansas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Drew Griffin is joining us now with more on this story. You spoke with him on the record and he says he did read the entire record on Maurice Clemmons.

GRIFFIN: It's hard to believe that anybody could read that record and still cut this guy the break that he needed to become eligible for parole. Maurice Clemmons was not 16 when he was sentenced to that big sentence, he was 18 years old. He had committed felonies at 16, 17 and 18. At that final trial, he threatened a judge, he tried to grab a pistol from the guard. And when he goes into prison, when we look at his prison record back in Arkansas just a few days ago, violation after violation while he's being held behind bars, Wolf, including, assault, battery, theft, drug possession, at one point it even says he had possession of a firearm.

BLITZER: Governor Huckabee says he only grants a small percentage of those eligible for clemency. How many clemency options did he go forward with?

GRIFFIN: He was in office for ten years. During that ten-year time, he either pardoned or commuted the sentence of 1,033 inmates, that includes murders and armed robbers. 1,000 over ten years may not seem like a lot. But it dwarfs in comparison the total number of pardons and clemencies for the three governors that preceded him. He was releasing people at an unprecedented rate while he was in office and he was criticized soundly for that in the prosecuting community at the time.

BLITZER: Yes I suspect this story is not going to go away. Drew, good work, thank you. Drew Griffin reporting.

The White House coming under some sharp criticism for trying to keep a social secretary over at the White House from testifying about those White House party crashers. Details of some new developments just coming in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: An update and a surprise twist on a story we first brought you back in June. It involved an attempted robbery that turned out very differently than anyone would have imagined. Let's go to CNN's Mary Snow in New York.

What's the latest on this story, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, as you know, it was an unusual story from the start and as you're about to hear, the latest chapter involves a thank you note from the would-be robber to the man he almost robbed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): We first brought you Mohammad Sohail's story in June, when he showed mercy to a would be robber who came into his story demanding money, the ordeal all captured by surveillance cameras. Sohail grabbed a rifle and said the man began crying saying he needed to feed his family. Sohail gave him $40, a loaf of bread and made him promise never to rob again. Six months later the 46- year-old Sohail says that promise was returned in a way he never imagined. He recently received a letter with $50 inside and no return address.

MOHAMMAD SOHAIL, CONVENIENCE STORE OWNER: I thought, what is that? And when I read the letter, it's the same person, you know, the guy who come and tried to rob my store.

SNOW: He read it for us.

SOHAIL: Now, I have a good job, making good money, staying out of trouble and taking care of my family. You give me $40 and a loaf of bread. Here is the $50 thank you for sparing my life. Because of that, you changed my life.

SNOW: Did you cry when you got that letter?

SOHAIL: Absolutely, because all the time I'm thinking my mom. My mom say, help anybody if anybody need help.

SNOW: The letter is signed, your Muslim brother. And the writer states he's now a true Muslim. During the aborted robbery, the man told Sohail that he wanted to be a Muslim just like him and Sohail recited an Islamic prayer and told him he was converted. While the man's life may have changed, things are also different for this Pakistani immigrant. At a store in New York, he displays letters he's received from across the country.

Mr. Sohail, no person's ever moved my spirit the way you did. Signed an admirer. Sohail says he's received a couple of hundred dollars and now offers free bagels, rolls and coffee for several hours during the day and he vows to help others.

Would you one day like to meet with this anonymous mystery man.

SOHAIL: I want to see him. If he hears me, he's listening to me, this person, come to my store.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Now, Wolf, while Sohail says all is forgiven in his eyes, the Suffolk County police say there's still an open investigation as they have yet to find the mystery man -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Mary Snow, good story, thank you.

Happening now, President Obama says when it comes to the grim unemployment rate, hope isn't enough and the jobs summit isn't enough either. What if anything came out of today's event over at the White House?