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THE SITUATION ROOM

No Release of bin Laden Body Photos; Interview With House Homeland Committee Chair Rep. Peter King; Did Waterboarding Help Catch bin Laden?; Left Behind in Bin Laden's Compound; Bin Laden's Escape Plan?; No Release of Osama bin Laden Photos; U.S. Demands Answers From Pakistan; Afghans Mourn Osama bin Laden's Death

Aired May 4, 2011 - 17:30   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Brooke, thanks very much.

Happening now, President Obama says he won't trot out -- trot out photos of Osama bin Laden's body like a trophy. This hour, the decision not to release the gruesome images, the push-back behind-the- scenes. I'll talk to the House Homeland Security chairman, Peter King.

Also, the Al Qaeda leader may have thought he could escape -- escape a raid on his compound. We have new details about bin Laden's final seconds and what he had sewn into his clothing.

And Muslim prayers for bin Laden and burning rage at the United States. Many Americans are rethinking U.S. ties with Pakistan and Afghanistan and asking whether a decade of war has been worth it.

Stand by as CNN takes on those tough questions in depth.

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

In the end, President Obama decided that showing the world graphic proof that Osama bin Laden is dead would do more harm than good. His decision to keep the photos secret was announced just a little while ago.

The White House says skeptics and conspiracy theorists should know there is no doubt that the Al Qaeda leader will never walk on this earth again.

Our White House correspondent, Dan Lothian, was in the Briefing Room for the announcement.

Tell our viewers how it went down -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, Wolf, as you know, the White House had been involved in these secret behind the scenes discussions as to whether or not those photos should be released back and forth, some thinking that they should be released, others not. But the president, we are told by aides, was very firm in his opinion that they should not be released and that the majority of those advisers around him agreed with that. The reason being is that this White House was very comfortable with all the evidence that they had and they felt that by releasing these photos, it would not be in the national security interests of this country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LOTHIAN: Jay Carney was reading from a transcript of an interview that the president did with "60 Minutes" today where the president also compared, essentially, releasing these photos to spiking a football in celebration.

The bottom line here, though, is the White House believes that even if they had released these photos, that the doubters out there would not be convinced -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You know, Dan, it's interesting, the CIA chief, Leon Panetta, only yesterday, thought they would almost certainly be released, these photos.

What happened overnight?

LOTHIAN: That's right. It's unclear if he even changed his mind about his opinion. He seemed to be one pushing for these photos to be released.

But what White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said is that the president heard all kinds of opinions. He doesn't want to surround himself with those who simply will agree with him. He, again, was very firm in his decision, but listening to others who obviously didn't feel the same way.

BLITZER: Dan Lothian at the White House.

There is mixed reaction in Congress to the president's decision not to release the bin Laden photos.

And joining us now, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Peter King of New York.

Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.

REP. PETER KING (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Is President Obama right in not releasing the death photos of bin Laden?

KING: You know, I have not seen the photo. I've spoken to people who have and they say that it's not that gruesome. And I think to put down the conspiracy theories, it would probably would have been better to release it.

But I will defer to the president. I'm not going to oppose his decision. He is a lot more in front of them than I would. And he has to take a lot more into account. Again, I think it was a close call, because I do know there were people in the administration who thought it should be released. But only the president has everything in front of him. And he has to factor in, you know, for this result in uprisings or attacks upon Americans.

Again, I -- I think, there is a concern that conspiracy theorists will say we're hiding something. But again, I am not going to oppose the decision. I -- I will support the president on it.

BLITZER: The -- the administration -- the Obama administration now says bin Laden was unarmed, did not fire a weapon when he was killed.

Do you believe there was ever any intention to bring him back to the United States, to Guantanamo Bay, to a court in the United States, to ever bring him back alive?

KING: Yes, my -- my understanding is that I -- and I believe them -- is that the intention was to bring him back alive if at all possible, but not to put American forces at any kind of risk. And there certainly was -- there were weapons in the room. This was happening very, very quickly. You know, those SEALs, on the spot, had to make a very, very quick decision.

No, but I have no reason to doubt that the orders from the president to bring him back alive if possible. But I also respect the president in saying that these troops should not put themselves at any type of risk.

I have -- from all that I've seen -- and I've gotten pretty extensive briefings on it -- I have no reason to question any part of the attack whatsoever.

BLITZER: Do. You believe that high elements of the Pakistani military, the intelligence service, the government, knew bin Laden was hiding out in that compound in Abbottabad?

KING: Wolf, I have to believe that somebody in the Pakistani government, someone in the intelligence agency, someone had to be facilitating this. Whether or not the government officially knew about it, that I can't say. I think it's too early to tell. But just, you know, the rules of probability that you could have a facility such as that, located so close to an ISI headquarters, to the leading military academy in the country, in an area where that structure was so out of proportion to everything else, I think we have to assume that someone knew. And it's really -- right now, the burden is on the Pakistanis to prove that they were not complicit.

BLITZER: Are they cooperating in terms of allowing the U.S. access to the interrogation of individuals who were picked up at that compound and now are in their custody? KING: I know we've requested it. I don't know exactly how much cooperation we're getting. And I really don't want to go any further than that.

BLITZER: On the sensitive issue on whether the enhanced interrogation techniques played any role in leading to the death of bin Laden, I interviewed the president's deputy national security adviser, Denis McDonough, yesterday. And he says the answer is absolutely no -- no role whatsoever.

Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENIS MCDONOUGH, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: This whole idea about somehow whether EITs played into that, I think, is just not consistent with the facts, and, also, a little bit of a sideshow, as far as I'm concerned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: EIT, the -- it means enhanced interrogation techniques. Some call it torture. Others cite the waterboarding.

You believe that they did play a role. Explain.

KING: I -- I know they did. I've spoken to people who were involved. I -- everyone I've spoken to who is in position to know has confirmed that the enhanced interrogation did lead to significant information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and from al-Libi. And they were the two first major steps on this long road to getting bin Laden.

Now, a lot happened between then and now. But the initial information, the key information and what started this entire process of looking for the couriers came from enhanced interrogations. And I can tell you, I have not spoken to anyone who was involved in it, anyone in the CIA today, who is denying that -- either then or now is denying it -- that I've spoken to. And I've gotten, I believe, very good information from very significant sources.

BLITZER: Because what our own Gloria Borger has reported and has learned is that the initial tip about the nickname of the so-called courier that eventually led to the -- the detection of where he was hiding bin Laden and his -- and his death, that came from another detainee, not necessarily Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or al-Libi. It came from someone else. And it's unclear whether that other detainee was subject to the enhanced interrogation techniques.

KING: Well, I'm -- I'm talking about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and I'm talking about al-Libi and the information they got from them. Now, in some cases, Khalid Sheikh --

BLITZER: Well, let me interrupt for a second --

KING: -- yes --

BLITZER: -- Congressman --

KING: -- sure.

BLITZER: If I may, because what she is learning, Gloria, is that the -- they both tried to lie about the nickname -- about the name of this courier. They tried to dissemble. They tried to get the U.S. authorities to move in a different direction. That was seen as an ah- ha moment, to a certain degree, because they were lying and the U.S. knew they were lying.

KING: Right. But here's the point, Wolf. They were not talking at all until they went through the enhanced interrogations. If they had not had the enhanced interrogation techniques, they would not have said anything.

So then when -- after they were broken, if you will, and they began to talk, they lied. But the fact that they lied, they would not have been not talking at all if they had not gone through the intent -- enhanced interrogations.

So if there had not been the intent -- enhanced interrogation techniques, which including waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, they would not have testified at all, they would not have spoken at all, they would not have been put in a position where they had to lie. And that's the significance.

If they remained silent, there would have been absolutely no information at all.

So clearly -- and I can tell you, this from talking to people at the highest levels -- they said that they would not have gotten the information with the enhanced interrogation techniques of those two individuals.

BLITZER: Congressman Peter King of New York, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

Thanks very much. KING: Wolf, thank you.

BLITZER: Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger, who's been doing some excellent reporting on all of this and got a new column at CNN.com.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

BLITZER: And you've written about it extensively, as well.

Is it clear that the initial detainee who told the U.S. about this courier and provided the nickname of the courier, was this detainee the subject of enhanced interrogation techniques?

BORGER: It's my understanding that -- and the way this was put to me is that the first person who put this courier on the table was not subject to waterboarding. But --

BLITZER: Well, but -- BORGER: -- but you --

BLITZER: -- it's one thing to be subject to waterboarding --

BORGER: Right. Right.

BLITZER: It's another thing, sleep deprivation or other --

BORGER: Well, there are other ways.

BLITZER: -- other techniques.

BORGER: There are other ways. And there are all kinds of techniques you can use short of waterboarding. Some people consider that torture.

So it's interesting, because, Wolf, we're having the same old political argument. It is, as the CIA director, Leon Panetta, said, always going to be an open question about what caused what to happen. We know there were thousands of pieces of this puzzle that were put together. We do know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, and al-Libi, very high up in Al Qaeda, we know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was -- was waterboarded 183 times and he lied and that the lie was, as my source in intelligence put it, the lie was alerting to them.

And the reason it was, was because of the whole mass of information they received from other detainees.

Now, Peter King says -- you know, his argument is that nobody would talk at all if it weren't for waterboarding. Well, my sources say that is not the case, that, of course, there are other ways to get people to talk.

BLITZER: And the White House -- you heard Denis McDonough yesterday say flatly that this notion that enhanced interrogation techniques --

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: -- led to -- to all of this, he says, is not a fact.

BORGER: No, exactly, is not a fact. And so -- but, again, we have to understand, because we cover politics, that people come at this from different political vantage points. You hear people from the Bush administration wanting to make the case very strongly that -- that this information would not have been gleaned if it weren't for these techniques. And people from this administration are obviously saying that is not the case.

BLITZER: I want all of our viewers to go to CNN.com --

BORGER: Thank you.

BLITZER: -- and read Gloria's excellent column on CNN.com so you can learn more about this sensitive subject. Thanks, Gloria.

BORGER: Sure.

BLITZER: Thanks for the reporting.

BORGER: Sure.

BLITZER: We're getting more reaction to the decision not to release the photos of bin Laden's body. We're going to take you to the city in Pakistan where the Al Qaeda leader hid and died.

Is there any doubt there he's dead?

Also, there's new evidence bin Laden may have had some kind of plan if he were captured. We're looking at the phone numbers he was carrying.

And what bin Laden's young daughter saw the day he was killed -- and where is she now?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The operation that netted bin Laden is on Jack Cafferty's mind. Jack is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If the U.S. Navy SEALs had taken Osama bin Laden alive, there would not be an ongoing debate about releasing those pictures. Hindsight is always 20/20, but reasonable people may disagree on whether or not it might have been a good idea to bring this guy back alive.

Depending on which account of the mission you believe, it sounds like it might have been possible. At first we were told he had a gun, he resisted, used his wife as a shield. And the impression was that the Navy SEALs had no choice but to kill him.

But then the story changed, he didn't use his wife as a shield, he wasn't armed, but he did resist. One account even said he looked like he was reaching for a gun.

You could also engage in a hypothetical discussion about whether shooting and killing an unarmed man is a good idea, even if it was Osama bin Laden. In his case, I have to think that it was a great idea.

Returning him as a prisoner would have presented monumental security issues, and putting him on trial would have cost this country a great deal financially, emotionally, psychologically.

Throwing his body in the sea was also a good idea. No gravesite that comes to a shrine for his demented following.

But for purposes of our discussion here, here's the question: Should the United States have tried to take Osama bin Laden alive?

Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on my blog.

BLITZER: Good question, Jack. Thank you.

President Obama's decision not to release photos of bin Laden's body also resonating in Abbottabad, Pakistan where he was killed. Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, is there.

Nic, I know it was late in the evening when the news broke that the president was not going to be releasing these photos, but people you're speaking to on the street of this Pakistani city, did they want to see an actual picture?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They do, and part of the reason, Wolf, comes from the fact that they don't believe that the events happened as the intelligence services, as the government here, as the United States government has outlined.

They say that all of it, bin Laden's killing here, has been a fabrication to boost President Obama's popularity ahead of elections, to boost the standing of politicians in this country.

I talked to the period of time of the bar association here who headed a protest earlier in the day, and he said 400 to 500 lawyers in the city took to the street to protest the attack on bin Laden's compound. And he says he doesn't believe that bin Laden was ever here. He thinks the whole thing is a put-up job and the thing that would make him believe, he says, is the photograph.

Now it's unlikely that these lawyers are people that are then likely to threaten the United States national security, so why convince them with a photograph? But it's perhaps the wider community and the wider sentiment. These are educated intellectuals here and they don't believe what they are being told. So it does raise a question for many people here about credibility, Wolf.

BLITZER: What about the people who were taken from the compound alive? Pakistani intelligence, I'm sure, is debriefing them or questioning them, holding them. What are you learning about these interrogations?

ROBERTSON: Well, it's a very, very fascinating details that absolutely is beginning to emerge. Without those photographs, the Pakistani authorities hold the key cards now to telling the world what actually happened in that building, and what they have already told us is fascinating. That one of bin Laden's daughters, 12 to 13 years old, saw her father being killed by the Navy SEALs. That's what Pakistani intelligence is saying from their debrief, from their interview with her following taking her into custody.

They have two other women as well, one of them bin Laden's wife. It appears she has been shot in the leg, a 29-year-old woman of Yemeni dissent. Clearly Pakistani authorities going to question her and the other woman as well.

There are eight or nine children, they are being cared for. They will be repatriated to their countries of origin, according to the government, but it would seem likely as well that the 's going to be talking to those children about what they saw.

So the government here is going to, perhaps, be able fill in the blanks and even have a defining amount of information to be able to provide in the final analysis about what the world knows about what took place here, Wolf.

BLITZER: Do we know, Nic, if U.S. officials are playing any role? Are they are allowed in on these interrogations?

ROBERTSON: It would seem incredibly unlikely for several reasons. One of the principle reasons, the United States CIA's relationship with a Pakistani equivalent, the intelligence services here, the ISI, is at one of its lowest ebbs.

And typically, the relationship over the years has been sort of fraught to the point that the Pakistani intelligence services -- and it's not just the United States that has had this experience with the ISI, British intelligence, Saudi intelligence, all had the same intelligence -- the Pakistanis like to do the interrogations themselves, like to do it all themselves. They may take a few questions and pass them on and they might pass on some, perhaps all of the answers that they are getting.

But this, in this area right now, this is something that they are very likely to hold close to themselves.

BLITZER: I'm sure you're right, Nic. Thank you very much, we'll check back with you.

They may potentially, potentially have been bin Laden's lifeline. Just ahead, two telephone numbers could help investigators uncover other al Qaeda operatives.

And not everyone is cheering bin Laden's death. We're taking you to Afghanistan where one person is calling it, and I'm quoting this person, "a sad day."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The White House says the U.S. Navy SEALs who raided bin Laden's compound had the authority to kill him unless, unless he offered to surrender. CNN has new details to suggest bin Laden may have thought he could get away, if and when he was finally tracked down.

Lisa Sylvester is joining us now. She's looking into this part of the story.

And you're coming up, I should say, with some fascinating details.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.

You know, Osama bin Laden and those closest to him, they made sure that they covered their tracks. They had high privacy walls, they even made a point of burning their trash. But bin Laden also seems to have had a contingency plan, cash and contacts on him at all times.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER (voice-over): Sewn into Osama bin Laden's clothing, we're told, was 500 euros, roughly the equivalent of $745 in cash. He also had two telephone numbers on him. This, according to a congressional source who attended to classified briefing. Clearly signs that he was prepared to make a quick getaway.

It might not seem like a lot of cash, but former CIA operations officer and current Heritage senior fellow Peter Brookes says it would have been enough to use for bribes and transportation.

PETER BROOKES, FORMER ASST. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: In that part of the world, that's a significant amount of money. It's very interesting that it was euros and not dollars. But foreign currencies can be traded for much more off and on the black market. But that amount of money, between $750 and a thousand dollars probably would have gone very far.

SYLVESTER: Bin Laden was able to avoid capture for almost 10 years. Representative Luis Gutierrez, who is on the House Intelligence Committee, says bin Laden kept an extraordinarily low profile. He didn't have a lot of security at the compound and he may have been counting on key Pakistani sources to tip him off if U.S. forces were closing in.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: So if he was expecting someone in the intelligence services, which could be -- you could figure he must have had some friends there to inform him. Guess what, since we didn't tell them, they couldn't tell him. We did it the right thing, we did the smart thing. We got Osama bin Laden.

SYLVESTER: The two phone numbers also allegedly sewn into bin Laden's clothing could now be valuable clues, along with a treasure trove of other information found at the compound, computers, hard drives, and documents.

MARCO VINCENZINO, GLOBAL STRATEGIES: Extremely important and it might not just be the leaders within the al Qaeda organization within Pakistan or parts of Afghanistan. There's a strong possibility that it can be to some other franchises, places -- maybe places in Yemen and north Africa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: Now, the fact that Osama bin Laden had this cash on hand suggests that he thought he would have had some time to get away, he had a plan and that he would have been receiving some outside help.

Representative Gutierrez says the U.S. government should now press the Pakistani government to try to root out any individuals who might be secretly working with the al Qaeda network, Wolf.

BLITZER: And the clock is ticking because this information can move very, very quickly and some of the bad guys out there can take steps to prevent them being captured or go ahead with some sort of terror plot.

Lisa, thanks very much.

Let's dig a little bit deeper now on the cash and the contacts, the other evidence found on bin Laden's body. We're joined by CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank.

What does this say to you, that he had 500 euros or about $750 stashed in his clothing?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: It sounds like, Wolf, this is enough cash, perhaps, to get to a second safe house. And it shows that bin Laden wanted to carry on living, to carry on providing strategic direction to the al Qaeda organization.

BLITZER: These two phone numbers that he had sewn into his clothing, I'm sure whoever is the recipient of that number, they probably disappeared because they are scared out of their minds right now, but what does that say to you?

CRUICKSHANK: It's unclear who do these phone numbers belong to. Are they fellow members of al Qaeda? Are they people within Pakistan, a support network over there, Wolf? And this, of course, brings up the whole question of Pakistan's involvement in all of this.

BLITZER: Well, what does it say to you, Pakistan's involvement or lack of involvement? Were they, as Leon Panetta has said, incompetent or were they part of the problem?

CRUICKSHANK: Well I was on the phone just recently with the former head of German intelligence and he said to me that from his perspective, it was almost impossible that elements of the ISI did not know where bin Laden was, given he was killed in a settled area of Pakistan.

And this former director of German intelligence also said to me that he thought that probably the head of the ISI would also have know where bin Laden was. This is, obviously, some startling analysis here, Wolf.

BLITZER: If in fact that is true, where does that leave the U.S. right now and European allies and others? Pakistan, remember, they have a nuclear arsenal, probably at least a hundred nuclear bombs. What do you do? You walk away from Pakistan, you forget about this? What do you do?

CRUICKSHANK: That leaves the United States really between a rock and a hard place, because it's obviously and key alliance in terms of counterterrorism. Westerners are still going to the tribal areas of Pakistan, they're training with al Qaeda and they're trying to launch attacks back in the West.

We saw just last week a plot broken up by al Qaeda against Germany. We saw the Pakistani Taliban in the last two days threatening to have revenge for bin Laden's death by launching an attack in the United States.

So there's a still big terrorism problem coming out of Pakistan and the United States really needs the cooperation of the Pakistanis. So it's very, very difficult navigating this, Wolf.

BLITZER: Will the Pakistani intelligence services allow the U.S. either to have access to those who have been detained and are being interrogated, individuals who were at the bin Laden compound? Will they provide the information to the U.S.? Can the U.S. trust any information the Pakistanis may provide?

These are tough questions, Paul.

CRUICKSHANK: These are very tough questions. And this former director of German intelligence said that relations between his agency and the ISI, really, they broke down a lot. They were very, very frustrated with the cooperation they were getting from the ISI. And I think for the Americans, the feelings in private behind closed doors are much the same right now, Wolf.

BLITZER: Paul Cruickshank, thanks very much.

The war on terror which led to the killing of bin Laden has been a massive campaign of global resources for the United States. Bin Laden was located 3,493 days after the war in Afghanistan began back in October, 2001.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost the United States $1.3 trillion and counting. Some estimate, by the way, it's much larger than that. Certainly as far as the overall impact on the U.S. economy, at least double. Some say triple.

It involved help from 60 countries, although the United States certainly carried almost all -- most of the burden, I should say. More than 7,200 U.S. and coalition troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some members of Congress think the president made a mistake today by refusing to release photos of Osama bin Laden's body. It's a source of heated discussion right now.

And the question many Americans are asking, did Pakistani officials know about bin Laden's hideout? Did they help him in any way? The latest thinking on whether Pakistan was involved or incompetent. Much more on this part of the story coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

President Obama's decision not to release photos of bin Laden's body, certainly sparking a fierce political debate up on Capitol Hill.

Our senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash is joining us now with more on this part of the story.

Some lawmakers not very happy at all, Dana, with the president's decision. DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, that's right. Some lawmakers are not happy in the least. And it's very interesting. This has not been a partisan debate.

You have Republicans and Democrats on both sides of this issue. But one person who's not happy is Lindsey Graham, a Senator who, of course, is a Republican, a senior Senator on the Armed Services Committee.

He said that -- put out a statement saying, "I know bin Laden is dead, but the best way to protect and defend our interests overseas is to prove that fact to the rest of the world." And he went on to say, "I'm afraid the decision made today by President Obama will unnecessarily prolong this debate."

And listen to what Congressman Duncan Hunter said. He is somebody who is not just in Congress, but he served a tour in Afghanistan and Iraq. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: I think the American people deserve to see him. I think that you have somebody like Osama, who murdered thousands of Americans, I think the American people deserve to see his body and get some closure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now, those are the people who oppose this decision.

But, Wolf, as I've said, there is a real split here. And we have talked to a number of senators, of House members, Democrats and Republicans, who have said that they believe it is the right thing not to release these for a number of reasons.

Listen to what Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, also on the Armed Services Committee, said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: I think that a doubter is going to doubt a picture as much as they doubt DNA evidence and every other verification that we have given. And so I don't see any point in the macabre picture that must certainly be there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: And so, again, I've talked to Republicans who disagree with the president on a lot of things today, as well as Democrats. But I think most interesting, coming from Republicans, who say that they believe the president made the right decision, the correct decision in not releasing these, because of the macabre nature of them, perhaps, but also because of the fact that they are worried about martyrdom and they're worried about inciting other violence.

BLITZER: Now, there is some debate going on whether the administration, the Obama administration, actually showed the picture of bin Laden's body to certain members of Congress in the House or the Senate. Some say they saw the picture, but it may not have been the real picture. Right?

BASH: This is very, very confusing, Wolf. We've been asking members of Congress all day if they have seen these pictures.

First of all, we should say that we've been told multiple times that in official briefings here on Capitol Hill, no photos were shown of Osama bin Laden. But we now know that one senator, at least, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, he thought he saw a photograph of Osama bin Laden's dead body, but now he is saying that he did not see it, that, effectively, he was duped. It was not an authentic picture.

Another senator, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, she told us in the hallway that she was shown a photograph electronically, effectively an electronic device, from one of her colleagues on the Armed Services Committee, and she described what she saw, the fact that it was clearly Osama bin Laden, who had been shot, said that she felt comfortable releasing that. She wasn't sure if it was authentic. We're going back to her to see if now -- that now that Scott Brown said that it was not authentic, if she thinks the same thing.

The most perplexing, Wolf, is from Saxby Chambliss. We've been reporting today that Saxby Chambliss told our Ted Barrett and other reporters earlier today that he has seen a photograph.

There's a quote here. He described it. He said, "It was what you would expect from somebody who's been shot in the head. It's not pretty."

We've been trying to get more information from his office, and this afternoon his press secretary said that he didn't actually see a photograph, and that he said when he sees the photos, he can make an informed judgment about the potential damage that they may do. Very confusing, particularly in the case of Chambliss, because he is obviously somebody who is a senior senator on a couple of key committees.

So we're trying to get to the bottom of what exactly happened with him.

BLITZER: Yes. I suspect that there is a photo circulating on the Internet. That's clearly some sort of made up photo that people are having some fun with. And maybe the senators and the members of Congress saw that, and they thought it was original, but now it's clearly a fake. So that's why they were confused.

Dana, thanks very much.

I will point out to our viewers, in the end, what may convince some of the doubters the most is when the number two, now the number one al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, when he releases some sort of audio or video statement praising bin Laden, calling him a martyr, and that saying that, unfortunately, from his perspective, bin Laden is dead. Maybe that, more than anything else, will convince the doubters out there that bin Laden is in fact dead.

So, Ayman al-Zawahiri, let's listen and wait to see if some sort of video or audiotape is released. I expect it will be, and probably relatively soon.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are pressing Pakistan to explain how they missed the fact that bin Laden was hiding in plain sight. We're going to tell you what they are learning and why there is total mistrust between the two countries.

And the future is now. We're going to take you inside the president's command center as he and his team watched the bin Laden raid in what White House officials call real time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation has been at war now for nearly 10 years. Tour after tour, year after year, you have done your duty. You've met every challenge from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan. You've risked everything, and you've carried in your hearts the memory of fallen heroes who gave everything.

You've earned your place among the greatest generation of Americans. And we saw that again this past weekend, when thanks to the courage and precision of our forces, the terrorists who started this war and who took so many innocent lives learned that America does not forget. America will ensure that justice is done.

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BLITZER: The president of the United States on the south lawn of the White House earlier in the day. The ceremony, honoring some of the wounded warriors of the United States.

Escalating tensions between the United States and Pakistan as the demand for answers intensifies in the wake of bin Laden's death.

Our foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty is here with more of the details on what's going on.

It's a very complex relationship, Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It is, Wolf. And, you know, it's ironic that a huge success in the war on terror is tearing apart two key allies, the United States and Pakistan.

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DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Top Pakistani officials from the government and the military have told U.S. diplomats in meetings this week they're surprised Osama bin Laden was living in this fortress compound in their country, U.S. sources tell CNN. So far, American officials say they are taking the Pakistanis at their word, but a former Pakistani military spokesman says someone must have been shielding bin Laden.

MURAD KHAN, FMR. PAKISTAN ARMED FORCES SPOKESMAN: The (INAUDIBLE) from somebody within the society, he -- lived there for a long time. But as with regard to support from the government, I don't buy that point.

DOUGHERTY: U.S. officials sell CNN they are pressing the Pakistanis. Who built the compound where bin Laden was living? Who owned it? What kind of security was in place?

The CIA and other agencies are analyzing data from computers and hard drives that Navy SEALs removed from the compound. So far they say, however, there is no compelling evidence the government protected bin Laden.

JOHN BRENNAN, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We are looking right now at how he was able to hold out there for so long and whether or not there was any type of support system within Pakistan that allowed him to stay there.

DOUGHERTY: Sources tell CNN that CIA chief Leon Panetta told Congress Pakistan was either involved or incompetent. "Either way, it's troubling," he said. And that comment is infuriating some in the Pakistani intelligence service. A senior Pakistani official tells CNN Panetta's comments are regrettable and there now is "total mistrust" between the two countries.

DENIS MCDONOUGH, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: And so all we're going to do is continue to push to try to make sure that we're cooperating with them, collaborating with them as closely as we can, but doing so in such a way as to be -- make sure that we're all accountable, including Pakistanis being accountable, for the outcome of that effort.

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DOUGHERTY: And Panetta's comments could come out to haunt him as he looks for more cooperation with Islamabad in his new job, as we know, secretary of defense -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's going to be a huge, huge issue. Thanks very much, Jill, for that.

We're just learning, by the way, new details on what exactly went down when Navy SEALs first confronted bin Laden in that compound in Pakistan.

Plus, one of bin Laden's alleged wives and a daughter, just some of those believed to have been left behind in the raid. We're going to tell you where they are now and what's going on.

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BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is back with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: Should the United States have tried to take Osama bin Laden alive?

George in Pennsylvania, " In a perfect world, yes. But as things are now, this outcome is probably for the best. At least we're certain he won't be plotting another attack from some jail cell."

Dan in California writes, "Alive? Are you kidding? And do what with him?"

"He would be a hideously expensive rallying point for the murderous losers who follow him. We have a trove of data from the raid. We don't have to debrief him personally. Did he try to take any of the thousands killed in his name alive?"

Greg in Arkansas writes, "The SEALs didn't know if he had a suicide vest on or if he was planning to blow everyone up. Therefore, a head shot would have been my choice, too."

"I served in Afghanistan and Vietnam. The Monday morning quarterbacks make me sick. Unless you're in a position where you actually have to decide to pull the trigger, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the fact that a three ring circus of a trial has been avoided."

Anthony in New Jersey writes, "Can you imagine the cost of a show trial affording Osama all the rights and the fury of his followers and the fringe escalating every single day? It would have turned into a circus we cannot afford."

"I remember the great sardonic smile on his face the days following 9/11. I only wish I could have seen the fear on his face as he was confronted by the angels of death, the Navy SEALs. He was wanted dead, but by no means alive. It works for me."

Jim writes, "The answer is no. A chance for too much rhetoric about him, he doesn't deserve it. Also, the pictures should not be shown, the soldiers involved not identified, and the details of the mission should not be disclosed."

"The people involved were given a job to do. They accomplished it. It's time to move on."

And Harold in Anchorage writes, "I don't know. Should the FBI have asked Bonnie & Clyde to surrender? Should they have waited until John Dillinger got his gun ready? Please."

"This isn't Hollywood, it's the real world. If a soldier already at risk would have risked himself further for such theatrics, then he wasn't trained right."

If you want to read more on this -- we have got a lot of mail -- go to my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile.

BLITZER: All right, Jack. Don't go too far away. We'll be right back to you. Americans are weighing in. Is bin Laden in hell? Your answer to our poll, that's coming up.

And new satellite images, we're just getting them in of bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, and what they tell us about the raid that killed him.

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BLITZER: More on bin Laden in a moment. But here is a look at some of today's "Hot Shots."

In Misrata, in Libya, African migrants line up to board a ship leaving the Gadhafi-controlled city.

In Berlin, a member of a bomb disposal squad checks a suspicious package under a bench.

In Singapore, the sun sets as people attend an election rally.

And in Budapest, Hungary, a man takes a ball from the hand of an advanced robot at a technology exhibition.

"Hot Shots," pictures coming in from around the world.

A generation of Americans grew up seeing bin Laden as the face of pure evil, the Adolf Hitler perhaps of the 21st century. So this figure may not surprise you. Our new CNN poll shows 61 percent of Americans believe the al Qaeda leader is in hell right now.

The reaction to bin Laden's death is a lot more complicated in other parts of the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan. CNN is looking at the global impact of bin Laden's death in depth.

CNN's Stan Grant is in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

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STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the crowded streets of Kabul you won't find people cheering the death of Osama bin Laden. Many may not have liked him, but his killing has not won the United States too many friends either.

(on camera): How did you feel when you heard the news?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not happy.

GRANT: You're not happy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not happy.

GRANT (voice-over): This man tells us the al Qaeda leader's death is a sad day for Islam. And after a decade of American and foreign troops in Afghanistan, there's little gratitude. In fact, just the opposite. "Why should Americans come and run my country?" this woman says. "I don't go to other countries. I can run my country."

Don't think the Taliban are pariahs here either.

(on camera): Walking amongst these people here today and talking to them, you really don't get an overwhelmingly negative reaction when you mention the Taliban. Some here can even imagine a future where the Taliban returns as the government.

(voice-over): It all poses the question, why exactly should U.S. troops stay here? There's already a planned troop drawdown beginning in July this year, but bin Laden's death has prompted calls among Afghans and back in the U.S. that it's time to end a war that's cost billions of dollars and taken more than 1,500 American lives, as well as the deaths of thousands of Afghans.

ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, OPPOSITION LEADER: Yes, Osama bin Laden, our enemy, is dead while we're there.

GRANT: But Abdullah Abdullah, who ran against Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan's last presidential election, says a hasty American pullout would only encourage terrorists and raise the threat of another attack on the U.S. itself.

ABDULLAH: Don't desert us, because this will, first and foremost, look at it from your interests.

GRANT: There are some Afghans celebrating bin Laden's demise like Ahmed Zia Massoud. His brother was assassinated. It's widely accepted bin Laden gave the order.

Ahmed Shah Massoud's image still has pride of place in Kabul. The anniversary of his death is a national holiday, hailed as a freedom fighter who stood up to the Taliban.

AHMED ZIA MASSOUD, BROTHER WAS KILLED: That image of my brother has been taken by American soldiers.

GRANT: Ahmed Zia Massoud says it's up to the Afghan people to finish the job.

MASSOUD: And it is very important that we should crash down the structure and organization of al Qaeda.

GRANT: The people of Kabul can't escape the reminders of war -- a scarred landscape, shattered buildings, bullet-riddled walls, shelled halls. It is itself a living history, a history America is now so much a part of.

Stan Grant, CNN, Kabul.

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