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THE SITUATION ROOM

Libyan Army to Leave Misrata?; Gas Prices Rising

Aired April 22, 2011 - 18:00   ET

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


CANDY CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: Bitter outrage among workers who rushed for the call of duty in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center. Many of them now being asked, what if you are a terrorist?

We want to bring in our Mary Snow -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, starting in July, thousands of people seeking medical help for 9/11-related illnesses will have their names checked against an FBI terrorist watch list. "The Huffington Post" first reported the changes.

They are part of the contentious 9/11 health bill signed in January. As one Ground Zero worker put it, "It's like pouring salt on an open wound."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): To say John Feal, an advocate for 9/11 responders and former Ground Zero worker, is angry would be an understatement. Here's why.

Under the new 9/11 health bill, responders and Ground Zero workers seeking benefits will receive a letter notifying them that the act also requires the World Trade Center program administrator to determine whether a World Trade Center responder or survivor is on the terrorist watch list prior to his or her enrollment or certification.

Feal, who lost part of his foot at Ground Zero and suffers other health problems, calls that insulting.

JOHN FEAL, FEALGOOD FOUNDATION: When you risked your life without wondering about your own health, and then get a letter in the mail asking if you're a terrorist, I mean, that's -- I mean, you're adding salt to an open wound that hasn't closed in nine-and-a-half years.

SNOW: That requirement to check names against a terror watch list was introduced by Congressman Cliff Stearns, a Republican from Florida. In a statement to CNN, he calls it a simple safeguard and says, "This protection is appropriate because under this legislation, workers, residents, students, passersby and anyone who was in the vicinity on 9/11 can join first responders and cleanup workers in submitting a claim for benefits."

Stearns also point outs there was no opposition to the amendment. We contacted New York Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who's been a fighter for 9/11 responders. In a statement she said, "Regrettably, this amendment, which I felt was unnecessary, was just one of the compromises we had to accept to get the 9/11 health bill passed."

But retired police officer James Ryder, who suffers 9/11-related health problems, says the idea of a terrorist trying to get these medical benefits confounds it.

JAMES RYDER, RETIRED POLICE OFFICER: To think that somebody would have done that and then stand -- or hang around to be illegally into this country and then hanging out to get compensation, knowing full well that they're going to get flagged somehow, somewhere, it just doesn't make any sense.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: And, Candy, the two Ground Zero responders we spoke with say they were aware that the amendment came up before the bill was passed, but they said they never thought it would come to fruition -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Our thanks to Mary Snow.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, it's been the scene of a brutal siege that's gone on for weeks and claimed dozens of lives, including two well-known photojournalists this week. Now a stunning announcement. Libya says it may pull its forces from Misrata. Also, soaring gas prices could take a toll on President Obama's reelection campaign. We will talk to an expert why prices in some parts of the U.S. are now nearing $5 a gallon.

Plus, those photo-enforced speed traps, it turns out pictures sometimes do lie. We will show you how one man fought back and won.

Breaking news and political headlines are straight ahead. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Candy Crowley. And you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Gas prices, unemployment, the national debt, all the things Americans like to see low are high right now. That apparently has many people feeling pessimistic about the direction in which the U.S. is moving, which is never good for a president seeking a second term.

CNN's Kate Bolduan is at -- live now at the White House for us.

Kate, what's the mood there? How are they reading all of these numbers.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, Candy, it's not just the weather here in Washington that seems to be gloomy at this point. There are some new polls out that are showing that Americans have some serious concerns about the track the country is on. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: President Obama wraps up a whirlwind trip West to energize supporters.

CROWD: Four more years!

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Actually, technically, it's about five-and-a-half. That's our goal.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BOLDUAN: And new poll numbers welcome him home suggesting he faces an uphill battle. Four national polls conducted this month show Americans are more pessimistic about the direction the country is headed. The most recent, a CBS News/"New York Times" survey out Thursday, indicates 70 percent of Americans say the country's on the wrong track. That's up six points from March and 12 points from February -- 57 percent of Americans polled say they disapprove of the president's handling of the economy.

A harsh reality check for Mr. Obama as he gears up for reelection.

PENNY LEE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There's this growing frustration that Washington continues to be broken. And that's something that the president is going to have to address.

BOLDUAN: Contributing to the negative outlook, stubbornly high unemployment, the contentious debate over the country's deficits and debt and soaring gas prices.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We have already gone up a dollar since last year. If they were to go up another dollar over the coming year that would be really bad news for President Obama.

BOLDUAN: Trying to reassure voters he's on top of it, President Obama announced Thursday a new task force to investigate cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that could impact prices at the pump.

OBAMA: We're going to make sure that nobody's taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain.

BOLDUAN: A silver lining for the president, polls show Republicans and Congress aren't faring any better.

GERGEN: At a moment of great vulnerability on the president's part, there's nobody in the current Republican field who's exciting people, who's exciting the voters.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Underscoring the challenge ahead for President Obama, a CNN poll of polls, an average of national polls out this week, shows that President Obama's approval rating is down seven points from January and at an event last night, Candy, the president seemed to downplay the significance of any one particular poll, no surprise there, but he did say and acknowledged that gas prices seemed to be weighing heavily on Americans right now.

CROWLEY: I think he has captured the mood and one of the reasons he's out there saying I understand what a hardship this is, I think is that the president's options are so limited in trying to bring down the price of gasoline. So, it's a problem.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks so much, Kate Bolduan, at the White House.

And the president's problems could be an opportunity for Republicans, which is why we're bringing in CNN's senior analyst Gloria Borger.

An opportunity and a vulnerability. If you're a Republican at this point, you're thinking about running for president, what do you go after?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, let's say if you're in Congress, because you do have a bully pulpit there, what Republicans are going to be doing as soon as they come back from their Easter break is talk about drilling. They're going to be talking -- yes -- they're going to be talking about expanding offshore drilling.

And they will say this is what the president needs to do, this would help us get gasoline prices down, this would help us with energy independence. So you're going to see Congress doing that. And clearly though we all know, Candy, there's not much that Congress or the president or any Republican presidential candidate can do right now about oil and gas prices. They can talk about it, blame each other for it, but not much.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: But they're certainly trying.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: You and I were talking about something you just got on your BlackBerry.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Oh, right. Right here, from the White House blog, from Eric Holder, a post, protecting consumers at the pump, the oil and gas price fraud working group. So anything you want to know about what they're doing to prevent fraud on the part of oil companies, here it is, on my BlackBerry. I will send to it you.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: OK.

How much of a disadvantage is it that we don't know who the Republican candidate is going to be?

BORGER: Well, it is because there's no spokesman for the Republican Party. You have got Barack Obama out there. He gets to spend the next 18 months talking to independent voters, who are going to determine the outcome of this election, and to get his base together, gather them around him. He has disappointed his base as you know in the past.

And Republicans have to argue with each other, so they're going to be forming a circular firing squad. They're going to be talking to largely Republicans about issues that Republicans are really interested in. And they have to be careful because they need to include independent voters in that conversation if they're going to attract them in the general election.

So it does help the president. Also, there's no front-runner right now. The "New York Times"' poll shows that most Republicans don't even know who their candidates are. And only a couple of them have better -- have more favorable ratings than unfavorable ratings, so they don't like their candidates.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: If they have ratings at all, it's amazing, because so many of the people don't even know.

BORGER: Right, even know who they are. They know who Donald Trump is and then Sarah Palin and then the rest.

CROWLEY: Right. Right.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: So Republicans in the next election, what do they hope the issue will be?

BORGER: I think they hope it's going to be on their terrain. Their terrain right now, they believe would be unemployment, if unemployment stays high, it would be the economy, it would be things like gasoline prices, it would be issues like the deficit and the soaring debt, because they have a plan, and Obama has a plan. And, you know, that's going to be a real debate.

But, in the end, what these things are always about -- you and I have covered this for a long time -- is about who can lead and what you think of Barack Obama as a leader and what you think of candidate X as a leader. So it will come down to that as it always does.

CROWLEY: Senior analyst Gloria Borger, thanks so much.

BORGER: Sure.

CROWLEY: We want to get more on these soaring gas prices with Patrick DeHaan. He's the senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com.

Mr. DeHaan, we see these gas prices skyrocketing out of control. Today, I pulled up to a station in the District and paid $4.72 a gallon. People assume this is because of what's going in the Middle East and the uncertainty. Is that what it is?

PATRICK DEHAAN, GASBUDDY.COM: Well, you know, that's what a lot of it is.

And before I even step into that, can you imagine that there's another station in Florida charging almost a dollar more than what you paid at $4.79? It's just outrageous. And so there's a station in Florida at $5.79.

And a lot of people think it still may be Libya. Well, that certainly did impact prices a few weeks ago, but now we're focused more on supply and we're very close to summer driving season, and that's typically when gasoline demand is at its highest. And so with the loss in gasoline inventories that the Department of Energy has referenced in its weekly report, all of a sudden we're worried about gasoline supply that now stands 7.5 percent below where they were just one year ago.

CROWLEY: So, what is causing -- there's a couple of things going on here. The unrest causes people to worry about what the future price of gasoline is about, so their oil, and so gasoline prices go up.

Who makes the decision to make those prices go up? Why can I pass this station in the morning and it's one thing and I pass in the evening and it's five cents higher and it's still the same gas?

DEHAAN: Yes. Well, essentially prices are set by the free market. You have open outcry in New York and Chicago, people essentially bidding on contracts, pieces of paper, for oil.

And so when you have a lot of market buyers, a lot of people looking to buy and not so many people looking to sell, well, prices have a tendency to go up. So whatever the reason you pick, Middle East, supply dropping, basically there's a lot of people that want oil. And a lot of people are just holding on to where they are in oil. And that drives prices up.

And that's a lot of what we have been saying. And of course the big ugly S-word. That's speculator. A lot of speculators pouring in the money. A lot of analysts saying, hey, six bucks, and you have your average Joe might just jump in the market based on what these analysts are saying. And that also drives speculation. When people put money into the market, it pushes up oil prices.

CROWLEY: And when is it going to come down?

DEHAAN: Let's hope it's in May, and that's typically when prices peak. A lot of refineries come out of maintenance in the month of May. Right now they're busy getting ready for the summer driving season. We're getting rid of winter spec gasoline and we're looking toward summer spec gasoline. So, refineries taking this time of year to do maintenance.

When they come out of maintenance, supply will build and hopefully prices will come down around Memorial Day or shortly thereafter.

CROWLEY: And there's no guarantee that they won't go back up. If you look into next year, I hear so many people talking about the booming population and the booming desire for energy in China and in India, and I have had people say, $5 a gallon easily and over next year. What do you think?

DEHAAN: Well, Candy, that is a huge concern. Chinese demand continues to increase, almost double digits now -- 15 years ago, the Chinese weren't on the radar. Now they're half of what the U.S. consumes.

And so that is certainly a key impact. Even if U.S. demand does fall, the Chinese seem to be there to pick up the slack. And so not only that, but countries like India, if the economy continues to improve here, if the dollar continues to weaken like it has, that's also going to push oil prices up. So over the course of years, we will eventually find out that prices are slowly ramping up and there's very little we can do to rein the prices in.

CROWLEY: Certainly not in the short-term. Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy.com, thank you so much for your expertise.

DEHAAN: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: After weeks of all-out assault, are Gadhafi's forces retreating from the crucial city of Misrata? Details of a surprise announcement by Libya's foreign minister.

Also U.S. drones in Pakistan, the source of rising tension and conflicting stories. One source says the U.S. has abandoned a key air base.

Plus, a possible bomb plot on the Columbine anniversary. Now there's new information about this man and what investigators think he may know.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: A big development or potentially anyway in the Libyan conflict. Just in the last couple of hours, we have learned that Moammar Gadhafi's forces may be preparing to withdraw from Misrata.

We want to go to CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in Tripoli.

Fred, you were there when the Libyan foreign minister brought this up. What precisely did he say?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he said that the Libyan army was going to withdraw from the area around Misrata and was going to let the local tribes in and around Misrata deal with the situation. He said that the Libyan army had been approached by these tribes and that they had allegedly said that the Libyan army clearly was not capable of dealing with the situation. And, therefore, the Libyan tribes apparently want to negotiate with the rebels. And if they don't come to a negotiation, the Libyan deputy foreign minister said then they will fight against the rebels.

Now, it's still very much unclear whether or not any of this is going to happen. It comes at a very interesting time, this announcement. It comes on a day where the rebels say that they have essentially ousted Moammar Gadhafi's forces from downtown Misrata, especially the snipers that were out there. So it's unclear whether or not the Libyan army is actually really withdrawing from Misrata or is having to withdraw from Misrata because they have been kicked out by the rebels. That's something that remains unclear. And we're waiting to hear from the rebels as well as they what they say what's essentially going on, this meeting with the tribe that is allegedly going to happen -- Canada.

CROWLEY: So we will put tell the emphasis on potential development in Libya about Misrata.

I want to move on to something that our Barbara Starr is reporting about an escalation in attacks by NATO forces. Tell us what you're seeing or hearing on the ground in Tripoli.

PLEITGEN: Well, we are indeed hearing more airstrikes here around the Tripoli area than we have in the past couple of days and that certainly also is reflected when you look at the sheets that NATO is putting us.

You have eight airstrikes on ammunition dumps here in the Tripoli area alone, also a bunch of strikes in the Sirte area, which is very close to Moammar Gadhafi and also has a lot of his telecommunications, as well as command infrastructure there, a lot of strikes there as well.

And then you have strikes in the Misrata area and those seem to be more sort of close air support missions that the coalition is flying there, where they're looking for artillery pieces or tanks that have been firing at civilian areas and then they take those out.

And the question here is also, if you go back to the statement from the Libyan deputy foreign minister, whether or not the pressure, the increased pressure that NATO is putting on Gadhafi's army there in Misrata has also possibly led the Libyan army to make this move, if in fact it happens. We really have to note that it is very much unclear whether or not the Libyan army does in fact plan to withdraw from Misrata, Candy.

CROWLEY: Fred Pleitgen watching all the developments in Libya for us, thanks so much.

Republican Senator John McCain caught just about everyone by surprise today showing up in the Libyan rebel capital of Benghazi. He met with opposition leaders and called for the U.S. to do more to help them oust Moammar Gadhafi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Had President Obama and our allies not acted, history would have remembered Benghazi in the same breath as Srebrenica, a scene of mass atrocities and a source of international shame.

Instead, Benghazi today is a source of hope, and I have come here to ask our Libyan partners what more we can do to help them win their freedom.

After my meetings today, I am convinced that the following steps are more essential than ever.

First, I would encourage every nation, especially the United States, to recognize the Transitional National Council as the legitimate voice of the Libyan people. They have earned this right.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty joins us live with more.

Jill, there are some nations that have recognized the rebels as the legitimate government in Libya. Why hasn't the U.S.?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, for weeks here at the State Department, the mantra has been, well, we simply don't know enough about who these rebels are.

And now officials say they actually do know quite a bit, but they are not ready at this point to grant formal recognition.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Fresh from seeing wounded rebels at a hospital in their de facto capital, Benghazi, Republican Senator John McCain urges the U.S. do everything it can to help them.

MCCAIN: They want to be recognized, as the French and the Italians have recognized them.

DOUGHERTY: France, Italy and Qatar have officially recognized the Transitional National Council as a legitimate representative of the Libyan people, even though the rebels control only the eastern part of the country.

But the Obama administration is holding off, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton puts it, buying time, buying space, hoping the ragtag band of rebels can unite and strengthen to defeat forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are going to stay with it and see how the opposition is able to take advantage of the opportunities that they are being provided.

DOUGHERTY: Clinton has sized up the opposition leader, Mahmoud Jibril, in two face-to-face meetings. The State Department says so far they're hearing the right things.

CLINTON: These are mostly businesspeople, students, lawyers, doctors, professors, who have very bravely moved to defend their communities and to call for an end to the regime in Libya.

DOUGHERTY: But administration initials say formal recognition could alienate other Libyans who currently are not members of the TNC. They argue Washington should wait until Gadhafi is gone and there are new elections.

Recognition also, they say, would be an admission the country is split down the middle in the midst of a civil war. U.S. Special Representative Chris Stevens seen here in 2008 in Tripoli is on the ground talking with the rebels, assessing what they need for the fight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY: But few in this administration really believe that aid alone is enough to win this war, at least any time soon.

And, yesterday, I asked Secretary Clinton about this. She is urging patience. And her hope seems to be that a dynamic will be put in place and that ultimately will lead to the victory for the opposition and the defeat, of course, of Moammar Gadhafi and that he will ultimately leave the country. At least that's the hope, Candy.

CROWLEY: Well, obviously something we will keep watching in the days ahead. Our Jill Dougherty at the State Department, thanks.

Diplomatic fallout over suspected U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, even as a new strike is reported today. We will give you the latest.

And later:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times have you been caught by that camera?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About eight or nine times, and it's been very frustrates, because I feel like I'm just going to work and coming back, and it's $40, $40, $40.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: We will tell you how one driver is beating speeding tickets that are based on pictures from a remote camera. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CROWLEY: This just in to CNN: a White House statement on events happening now in Syria, as we reported earlier, one of the bloodiest days in the Syrian uprising that we have seen since all the Middle East turmoil began.

The president in a statement calling it outrageous use of violence to quell protests, must come to an end right now. And he says, "Instead of listening to their own people, President Assad is blaming outsiders, while seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria's citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by his Iranian allies. We call on President Assad to change course now and heed the calls of his own people."

A very important statement in the president bringing in what they all thought was true to begin with, that Iran is meddling here. An ally of Syria, it does not want to see the Syrian president fall. So the president tying Syria to Iran quite publicly now, as the violence there escalates.

We will have more, of course, on all of this as developments warrant.

(NEWS BREAK)

CROWLEY: They may be more controversial than they are effective. American drones being used in Pakistan, now Libya, but what is the benefit?

Also, new developments in a suspected copycat bomb plot timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Columbine massacre.

Plus, a man caught on camera speeding, or was he? He fought his tickets and may have exposed a flaw in those photo-enforced speed traps.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: A suspected U.S. drone fired five missiles in Pakistan today, reportedly killing 25 people, eight of them civilians, according to Pakistani officials.

The U.S. State Department says no civilians were killed. The strike comes as tension mounts between both countries over a small air base used for the drone program.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is covering the story for us from Kabul.

Nick, what's -- what's going on?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you know, the whole way that America runs its drones campaign in Pakistan is shrouded in secrecy and only -- the U.S. really only acknowledging privately the existence of bases in Pakistan where the drones are refueled and serviced.

But we've heard from one senior Pakistani intelligence official today who said one of those key bases in the south of the country, in Baluchistan called Samsi (ph) Air Base. That has been vacated, he says, by -- of American personnel. Now, he wouldn't say when this happened or how this happened, whether they left on our own accord or were asked to leave by Pakistan. But this piece of news comes at a time, really, of very strained relations between Washington and Islamabad.

On the American side, we're hearing from one U.S. official this is not the case, there has been no American departure. But also confusingly, an American official in Pakistan has told me, quote, "There are no U.S. forces at that air base," so make of that what you will. But really, this comes, as you say, on the day of that U.S. air strike and further claims of civilian casualties in the tribal areas -- Candy.

CROWLEY: What does this mean, you know, overall for the U.S. drone efforts in and around Pakistan?

WALSH: In short, they'll go on. Really, we saw today this base closure, if it happened, hasn't really had an impact. Pakistani officials say, frankly, that the U.S. campaign here has now become autonomous and sort of unilateral, not needing Pakistani help. And one U.S. official we've spoken to said the strikes will carry on, really, regardless of what Pakistan does, was actually the phrase used.

And I think this is really more about the end game looming here in Afghanistan. Pakistan is trying to remind the United States of the key role it wants to play in any lasting sentiment or peace with the insurgency here in this area. And only really when we see that can American troops begin to start to come home -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Nick Paton Walsh in Afghanistan for us tonight. Thank you very much.

We want to get more with CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen. His new book is called "The Longest War." And columnist David Ignatius of "The Washington Post."

I want to talk about the drones, but I first want to talk about this White House statement on Syria, primarily because there have been complaints the White House hasn't been tough enough on Syria, because they're so -- they're not really sure whether they want Assad to go or not because of the fear of an Iranian, Saudi Arabian kind of proxy war there. What do you know about this?

DAVID IGNATIUS, COLUMNIST, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, today's statement used strong language, the president called the Syrian behavior outrageous, given that there were scores believed killed today in Syria. That's really the least the White House could have done.

An interesting aspect of the statement is that the president said that the Syrians in their campaign of repression are turning to Iran for help. What he meant by that, I'm told by White House officials, is that the Iranians have been supplying tear gas, riot batons, other security gear; in other words, specific material to help suppress these demonstrations.

CROWLEY: And why do that now? I mean, calling out the Iranians, essentially, saying we know what you're doing, because I doubt it's going to make the Iranians stop. So what is the...

IGNATIUS: I think the president is saying to the Arab world, the Iranians are allied against the revolution that is sweeping across these Sunni Arab countries. And I think he's trying to play that card of change, and he's saying the Iranians all, they claim to be for change are, in fact, trying to help Syria suppress it.

CROWLEY: Let me move on with you, Peter, to talk about the drones. There are the drones with -- you know, that can fire weapons. There are drones that are much smaller and can fly over and spy.

Can you explain to me why Admiral Mullen would be in Pakistan and saying, "Look, we know the secret service is actually on the side of the Taliban, and we know that they're aiding them," and now we're talking about giving Pakistan some of our equipment, some small drones?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The drones that we're talking about giving Pakistan are surveillance drones. They're not armed. Eventually, the monopoly of the United States enjoyed in armed drones, other countries, of course, are looking to do this.

But you know, as we know, Pakistani-U.S. relations are probably at their lowest part they've been in years for all sorts of reasons, including the drone campaign. The Pakistanis feel very strongly that we're using too many drone strikes. We're not killing enough militant leaders. They have told us, and they've told me repeatedly what they would like is for the drone campaign to be ratcheted back, for it to be targeted at high-value targets only and not this, you know -- as you know, President Obama has quadrupled the number of drone strikes compared to President Bush during his eight years. So it's a very -- it's a very sensitive issues. Pakistan very anti-American country. The drones being sort of exhibit one of this -- in their sort of dockets against us.

CROWLEY: But let me ask you about the smaller drones that they went, just the surveillance drones. What's the -- what will they use them for? What's the advantage of having them?

BERGEN: You know, I mean, even Pakistan has its own not particularly good drones domestically that they make. So these are, you know, American raven drones, and essentially for surveillance. So the Pakistani government, I mean, it is an attempt to kind of bridge back this relationship which has been pretty damaged because of the events of the recent months, the CIA contracted killing two Pakistanis in the streets of Lahore created a great deal of tension between the two countries.

CROWLEY: We've heard a lot from U.S. sources that, in fact, they think the drone attack into Pakistan have been very successful. We see again today that there is a difference of opinion over who exactly was killed. Have they been successful? IGNATIUS: Well, this is -- they're being used to target a very inaccessible area, the tribal areas in particular north of Waziristan or Pakistan, either can't or won't go in on the ground with its own troops. So, you know, it's compared to what? They have been an offensive weapon.

I think the concern is on the Pakistani side and also on the U.S., is that they're being overused. This is a weapons technology that can become addictive. It's an answer to problems, you know, as we've seen in Libya. If you decide...

CROWLEY: You've written about how you think it's a bad idea for these armed drones from the U.S. to be used over Libya, why?

IGNATIUS: Candy, I think that the drones are, in the Muslim world, a symbol of U.S. remote power. They operate at 10,000 feet. They're seen as an assassination weapon.

To bring those into a theater in between Egypt and Tunisia, the scenes of these two revolutions for democracy that are the most hopeful events I've seen in 30 years of covering that part of the world, I think is risky. I think it risks changing the narrative from one of the U.S. trying to support rebels and democracy to the U.S. using these weapons that people really resent.

CROWLEY: Peter, I'm totally out of time, but you were nodding. Do you agree with that, that there's some danger?

BERGEN: You know, also drones are more discriminatory than F-16 strikes. And so if the object -- if the object of the exercise in Libya is to protect civilians, drones may, in fact -- will do a better job. So I don't totally share David's point of view.

CROWLEY: Peter Bergen, David Ignatius, thank you so much. Experts both.

One man's quest to challenge traffic tickets based on those speed cameras.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clue that there's every single day issuing false allegations against people that can't defend themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: We'll tell you about how he's getting those citations thrown out in court.

And new information on a possible plot to set off a bomb at a shopping mall in Colorado on the anniversary of the Columbine school massacre. We'll give you the latest details.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CROWLEY: As many of us know all too well, a growing number of cities and towns are using surveillance cameras to bust speeders, but are they reliable cameras? Our Brian Todd has the story of a man in one town who's found a way to beat the rap.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Candy, so many of us have been nailed by these speed cameras, and when we get the bad news later on in the mail, we often feel like we have no defense for it. Well, one local businessman here in Maryland has taken on this very camera, and he says he's won in court.

(voice-over) They're out in plain view but have nailed countless drivers like Michael Mead.

(on camera) How many times have you been caught by that camera?

MICHAEL MEAD, MOTORIST: About eight or nine times, and it's been very frustrating, because I feel like I'm just going to court and coming back and it's $40, $40, $40.

TODD: These cameras along Indian Head Highway are helping the town of Forest Heights, Maryland, rake in an estimated $2.9 million in revenues this year from speeding tickets, about half the town's projected budget.

Will Foreman says some of that revenue is from bogus tickets.

WILL FOREMAN, FIGHTING SPEEDING TICKETS: I don't think they have a clue that they're every single day issuing false allegations against people that can't defend themselves.

TODD: Foreman says drivers from his auto supply shop have racked up about 40 speeding tickets over the past year. He says he's gotten five of them thrown out by three different judges. All five have been from this camera station.

(on camera) If you were driving at that speed...

(voice-over) In each case he's found his citation online and digitally superimposed the two pictures taken of the vehicle.

FOREMAN: And then we can take a tape measure and stand in the...

TODD: The pictures are taken about a third of a second apart from a stationary camera. Foreman superimposes them and creates a single photo with both images of the same car on it. He measures the distance traveled in the elapsed time between the two images.

FOREMAN: But when you show them that...

TODD (on camera): Right.

FOREMAN: ... that is effective. It shows that's indeed where the second -- the position of the vehicle in the second photograph. This is the position of the vehicle in the first photograph. That's how they relate to one another.

TODD (voice-over): In the cases he's won, Foreman says he's proven that the vehicle couldn't have gone the distance measured at the speed the citation says. And he says the judges have expressed enough doubt to toss the tickets.

When he took us to the scene, Foreman said he's complained to the local mayor and police chiefs these cameras are inaccurate, but he says they've done nothing about it.

(on camera) Neither the mayor nor the police chief of Forest Heights could go on camera with us, but the mayor said over the phone that the cameras at this location are calibrated correctly and calibrated every day. And she says they put this camera station here because of two pedestrian deaths along this road.

(voice-over) Contacted by CNN, a spokesman for the manufacturers of the cameras, Optotraffic, e-mailed us saying the cameras are not intended to measure speed. They're just to confirm the car was there. He says the speed is measured by the sensor that is between 3 1/2 and five car lengths before the spot where the pictures are taken, and he says that sensor is accurate.

Will Foreman says he's no crusader and he's not trying to beat the system, but he says since word has gotten around that he's gotten his tickets thrown out, other local residents have come to him and asked him to help them fight their citations, and he's done whatever he could to help -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Sounds like he might have a side business, thanks to our Brian Todd.

Police in Colorado are releasing new information on the man they say may have been planning a bombing near the site of the 1999 Columbine school shooting.

And, Donald Trump speaks out about his net worth. So how much money does he have?

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CROWLEY: New details just in about a disturbing incident involving a southwest airlines plane and a small private plane over Florida last month. The National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot of the smaller plane was not responding to radio calls, so the controller asked the pilot of the Southwest jet to fly alongside the small plane and check on the occupants.

The NTSB says the planes came within a 10th of a mile of each other. Three miles is the normal limit. They were only about 100 feet apart in altitude. Turns out the pilot of the smaller plane was fine and both planes landed safely, but the controller and the Southwest pilot have been suspended pending an investigation.

Has Donald Trump exaggerated his net worth? He is responding to an investigation by CNN "IN THE ARENA." Here's a piece of an interview with Eliot Spitzer that airs tonight.

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ELIOT SPITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Here's a question I have for you: what is your net worth? Why don't you tell us right now?

DONALD TRUMP, REAL-ESTATE MOGUL: I will save it, but I will tell you this...

SPITZER: You're going to save the number? You're going to save...

TRUMP: Excuse me, Eliot. Excuse me. My network, according "Forbes" is $2.7 billion.

SPITZER: Right.

TRUMP: I will tell you this. It is substantially in excess of that. When I say substantially, much, much more. They don't have access to my books. They don't have access to my records. In all fairness, I think "Forbes" is a great magazine, but they don't have access to the kind of things that you need.

SPITZER: We -- we agreed that you were the private company...

TRUMP: Eliot...

SPITZER: ... it's private. No question about that.

TRUMP: Right, I'm private. You're private, too, so nobody knows how much you're worth.

SPITZER: That is correct.

TRUMP: Or your father, who's a great person and a great man.

SPITZER: Thank you for saying that.

TRUMP: They don't know what he's worth.

SPITZER: You're right.

TRUMP: And it will be very hard to determine what he's worth. Well, I'm the same thing. But if I run for office, you're going to know what I'm worth, because you're going to know where the banks are, how much I have in each bank, and you're going to know exactly what I'm worth. So, you know, stay tuned.

SPITZER: Can I ask you one last question on this?

TRUMP: Excuse me. Forbes has me down at 2.7.

SPITZER: Right.

TRUMP: I won't give you the exact number, because I don't want to do that, Eliot, because I don't want to hurt my news conference, OK, if we have one, which I think we very well might.

SPITZER: But here's the deal.

TRUMP: I want to surprise a lot of people. But the number of 2.7 is very, very low relative to what my real net worth is.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: To see the full interview, tune in tonight to "IN THE ARENA." That's at 8 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

New information on the suspected planned bombing at a crowded Colorado shopping mall. Wait until you see who the bomber may have been targeting.

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CROWLEY: New information released today on the man authorities are searching for in connection with a possible plot to set off a bomb in a crowded shopping mall in Littleton, Colorado. Many there believe it may have been timed to coincide with the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine school massacre.

CNN's Ted Rowlands is there covering this for us -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Candy, today the FBI released some more photos, and they upgraded the classification of this individual that they want to talk to, to a suspect rather than a person of interest.

Later tonight, they're planning to release another video of this person. To this point, they just plain don't know who he is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Linda Sanders was at the Southwest Plaza Mall during Wednesday's bomb scare. Her husband Dave was killed in the Columbine shooting massacre 12 years ago. He was the lone teacher who died along with 12 students.

LINDA SANDERS, WIFE OF COLUMBINE VICTIM: It scared me. We were in there. We were inside there.

ROWLANDS: The mall, which is about two miles from Columbine High School, was crowded with kids from Columbine, because there were no school on the 12th anniversary of the shooting.

Liz Sanders thinks there's a connection.

SANDERS: I'm sorry, but it sounds like they want to harm students of Columbine, because they're not -- they're not at the school.

ROWLANDS: The pipe bomb and propane canisters were left near the food court on an electrical panel shelf. Marshall Wood, who works in the mall, first noticed a fire, then saw the propane canisters. MARSHALL WOOD, COLORADO BOMB SCARE WITNESS: And I saw one of these, maybe two, sitting on the panel itself. And, you know, there were flames around it. I couldn't tell if they were coming from this or not.

ROWLANDS: Investigators continue to look for this man, who they now say is a suspect. He was near the food court moments before the fire. While the motive of the planned attack hasn't been connected to Columbine, people here, including Linda Sanders, think sadly, it is.

SANDERS: Just because time has gone by, we need to hype up the security around this date. Or around the date of any of our tragedies, because there's copycats out there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROWLANDS: And the FBI has shipped all the bomb-making materials that they found here at the mall to their -- to the FBI crime lab in Virginia. Safe to say, Candy, people here are very concerned, and they're hoping that the FBI can solve this sooner than later.

CROWLEY: I can see why they would be very concerned as well as across the nation. That was an awful moment, no matter how long ago it was. Thanks very much, Ted Rowlands, appreciate it.

The politics of soaring gas prices, the latest at the top of the hour on JOHN KING USA.

And years before the royal wedding, a royal breakup. What drove William and Kate apart and then back together again?

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CROWLEY: It was a long road to the altar for Prince William and Kate Middleton. In 2007, many thought this day, their wedding day, wouldn't come. The couple broke up after six years of dating.

From her new documentary, "The Women Who Would Be Queen," Soledad O'Brien gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the split.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: January 2007, Kate's 25th birthday.

CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON, BIOGRAPHER: The inquest into Diana's death is raging. Headlines every day about the circumstances leading to Diana's death. There's this party for Kate at Bouji's (ph), their favorite nightclub. They come out, and all of a sudden they're descended on by hundreds of paparazzi.

And this huge response of bodyguards that shoved into the Land Rovers. They speed away, but it was a moment in which it became quite obvious that it was just history repeating itself.

O'BRIEN: Lawyers for William, the palace and the Middletons lashed out. Two newspapers responded and stopped publishing paparazzi photos. But the pressure on William and Kate was still mounting.

According to biographer Christopher Anderson, everything came to a head on Valentine's Day 2007.

ANDERSON: She thought she would be getting that proposal. Instead he gave her a Van Cleef (ph) and Arpels (ph) enamel compact. They started to quarrel bitterly. She really demanded that he commit, as they say. And William wasn't ready for it. He went to his father, Prince Charles. Prince Charles said, "You can't keep stringing this girl along. If you're not ready to ask her to marry you, break it off." And unfortunately, he listened to his father's advice.

O'BRIEN: A father, perhaps trying to prevent history from repeating itself.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Catch the full documentary Sunday night, 8 p.m. Eastern.

That does it for me. I'm Candy Crowley in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.