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THE SITUATION ROOM

"Pakistan's Army is Sleeping"; Escalating Turmoil Sweeps Middle East; Teaching Bin Laden's Message; Failed Terror Plots Revealed; Rape Victims Blast Peace Corps; Unique Stealth Copter Technology Left Behind in Pakistan Will Likely End Up in Chinese Hands; Newt Gingrich Announces His Candidacy on Twitter

Aired May 14, 2011 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: The bin Laden raid captured on camera. We now know that U.S. Navy SEALS were recording the mission and possibly, possibly the moment when the Al Qaeda leader was killed.

Also this hour, fresh blood is spilled in brutal crackdowns on anti- government protesters in the Middle East. We'll talk about the threats and challenges in the region as President Obama prepares to deliver a major speech on the Middle East this coming week.

Newt Gingrich brings a lot of personal baggage into the Republican presidential race. We're looking at the newly announced candidate's past, charges of hypocrisy, and where he fits into the growing field of contenders.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Two weeks after the death of Osama bin Laden we've learned U.S. Navy SEALS who stormed the compound and killed him had cameras on their helmets. While we've been showing you an animated version of what likely happened that night, U.S. officials now are studying actual digital recordings of the raid. Our Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence is here in THE SITUATION ROOM to talk about this.

What do we know about these recordings, Chris?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The first thing, Wolf, a military official is telling us that it's hazy. It's extremely dark. So don't go in there expecting to see movie quality here. But what it does do is it puts you in the shoes of the actual SEALS, as they were going through this assault.

He says basically when you look at this video, it's basically going to be a training tool for the SEALS to be able to go in, and actually put themselves back in that moment and see what they did right and what they did wrong. Any actual video of Osama bin Laden would have been very quick. Because, again, every time their head moves, the camera moves. He says the video is very shaky and hazy.

BLITZER: We also are now learning that U.S. officials, authorities have had access to the wives, the surviving wives of bin Laden. What do we know about that?

LAWRENCE: True, access, but not the kind they wanted, Wolf. U.S. officials wanted to interview these three women separately so they could see if there were discrepancies in their stories. They got all three together, with Pakistani officials in the room. Only one of the wives, the oldest spoke for all three. They say right now it was a hostile interview, the women were not forthcoming. Overall, right now it looks like they don't know much, haven't got much from it. The Pakistanis are saying they'll still get another chance to talk to them again.

BLITZER: We also are learning some fascinating new details about the way bin Laden communicated from that compound in Pakistan with his supporters.

LAWRENCE: Without getting picked up? How, with no e-mail access? What he did was he would type out directives and communication. Then he would dump that on a thumb drive and give to his courier. Many times this courier would take it outside to what they call a cut-out. Cut out, because this other man, the third party would be cut out of the loop. He didn't know he was getting something from bin Laden. That man would download it, send off the e-mail. When they wanted to get information back to Osama bin Laden, they would just reverse the process all the way back.

But, Wolf, we're also hearing that because of this extensive support network, and this ability to stay connected, that Osama bin Laden may have gotten a little bit complacent. When you look at it, he stayed in that compound for five years. It looks like he had no escape plan when the SEALS got there. And no way to destroy all that material that he had when they were in there. And, of course, we now know there were only three adult men in the compound along with bin Laden.

BLITZER: Must have gotten cocky, I should say, after all those years. Chris Lawrence, thanks very much.

While the raid yielded a trove of terror material, it also may have inadvertently leaked some of America's top military technology. This is a very sensitive part of the story. CNN's Brian Todd is working this part of the story for us.

Brian, what's going on here?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're learning some incredible new detail tonight on those stealth helicopters used in the bin Laden raid. There are new concerns that some of that technology may soon fall into the hands of the Chinese, if it hasn't already.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice over): In their haste to get out with the body of Osama bin Laden, Navy SEALS detonate their disabled helicopter. But one crucial part of the chopper is left behind, largely intact. The tail rotor assembly, left outside the compound's wall where it crashed. Pakistani troops were seen hauling it away. Now serious concerns that America's chief technological rival will learn some key secrets from the wreckage.

PETE HOEKSTRA, FMR. CONGRESSMAN: We ought to assume that the Chinese are going to get this technology. They are going to get it all.

TODD: Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who was the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is certain the Pakistanis will share the technology from that tail section with their chose allies, the Chinese.

HOEKSTRA: They'll reverse engineer it. They'll have the latest technology at minimal cost.

TODD: Contacted by CNN, a senior Pakistani intelligence official denied a report that China approached Pakistan fro access to the wreckage and said Pakistan would not make it available to the Chinese. Aviation experts say they've never seen this kind of stealth helicopter in operation before. They believe it's a modified Black Hawk, with a key component covering the rotor blades.

(On camera): This disk is key to making this such a unique stealth aircraft, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This disk is unique to this helicopter. What you see here is a device that has two purposes. One, to reduce the noise from the rotor blades, but secondly, also, to reduce the possibility of it reflecting radar waves back to a missile attack that might be able to go after the helicopter.

TODD: Experts say the sound suppression technology makes some distinguishable differences. We'll show you examples. First, what a standard Black Hawk helicopter sounds like. This has a rhythmic kind of whoosh-whoosh sound.

(HELICOPTER SOUND)

TODD: Now we'll show you what a stealth helicopter sounds like from an earlier test program. Experts say this sounds a lot more vague.

(MUFFLED HELICOPTER SOUND)

TODD: You may not be able to tell whether this is another vehicle entirely or a helicopter. You may not be able to tell whether the helicopter is moving towards you or moving away.

(Voice over): Experts say the small wings, called stabilizers are also unique to this chopper. They're usually at a hard right angle. These are angled off, analysts say, to avoid radar detection. The Chinese have a huge interest in this technology. They're developing a stealth fighter jet called the J-20 which they've already test flown.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Contacted by CNN, a Chinese official in Washington said he had no information on whether his government has tried to get access to the tail section of that helicopter. U.S. officials clearly worried about that at this point. BLITZER: You're also learning, Brian, new details about when the Navy SEAL helicopter crashed into the wall at the compound.

TODD: That's right. A senior Pakistani intelligence official has told CNN that when that helicopter crash landed, local Pakistani military units initially thought that it was one of their own assets that had crashed. They called all the local Pakistani military bases to see what happened. It wasn't until sometime later that they were able to confirm the presence of a foreign aircraft inside Pakistan. By that time, who knows, the SEALS could have been long gone.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, good reporting. Thank you.

He is now an official presidential candidate, but will so-called family values conservatives buy Newt Gingrich's explanation for his past affairs and divorces.

Plus, the head of Pakistan's interior ministry speaks to CNN. See how he answers some tough questions, like whether he is responsible for failing to find Osama bin Laden.

And how does the death of Osama bin Laden change the U.S. standing in the Islamic world? I'll ask a journalist and author who has written extensively about the region. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Just days after Newt Gingrich announced his presidential campaign, the Republican is taking a familiar next step, he's heading to Iowa. The former House speaker is scheduled to visit 17 towns and cities in that state, the state that holds the first presidential contest of 2012. He'll be taking a good deal of personal baggage with him.

Our Joe Johns has been looking at Gingrich's controversial private life.

What are you coming up with? Because there's a lot of baggage that all of our viewers are familiar with.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely true, Wolf. Political insiders we've talked to says the former speaker has plenty of obstacles in front of him in the run for the Republican nomination. This is only one of them. The question here is whether with his complex marital history he can win the trust of conservatives and evangelical voters, especially women, who say family values matter a lot.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NEWT GINGRICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.

JOHNS (voice over): Newt Gingrich's private life has been messy. He is his third marriage, he has had two divorces. He's also had affairs. He admits one of those affairs was going on right around the time he, as speaker of the House, was helping impeach then-president Bill Clinton for lying about cheating on his wife with Monica Lewinsky.

At the time Gingrich and others accused Clinton of trying to hide the truth.

GINGRICH: The most systematic, deliberate obstruction of justice, cover-up in an effort to avoid the truth, we have ever seen in American history.

JOHNS: Now the former speaker wants Clinton's old job and Gingrich is seemingly an open book. He's confessed his cheating, endured a series of excruciating interviews about his private life and spent long hours talking to conservatives, especially in places like Iowa about how and why he's a different man. He's talked about it on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

GINGRICH: There's no question that at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard, and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.

JOHNS: He even brags now about how great this third marriage is with his current wife Callista, who has been married to for about a decade. He even became a Catholic for her. But conservatives like Rich Land, of the influential Southern Baptist Convention, say the skeletons in Gingrich's closet have not been cleared out.

RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: There is an implacable wall of opposition among evangelical women. A large percentage of the men are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and say, OK, he's changed. We believe in forgiveness and redemption. The women say, well, we may forgive him, we believe in redemption, but we don't trust him.

JOHNS: Rich Galen who worked for Gingrich for years says the big challenge would come in a place like South Carolina, one of the very first primary states, where committed evangelicals and other social conservatives have seen plenty of political scandal and don't like it a bit.

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: If he wins or loses an important state like, let's say, South Carolina by a very little bit, then I think you can say, well, if it hadn't been for that, he would have won.

JOHNS: Land says Gingrich needs to give a big speech early on to try to put the issue to rest.

LAND: He's got to imagine that the person he's talking to is an evangelical woman who is sitting across from him, and he's going to have to convince her that he's truly sorry.

JOHNS: Tough crowd, tough hill to climb for a former speaker of the House with a messy record in marriage. (END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: Rich Galen doesn't think the New Gingrich candidacy will rise or fall on his personal life, but it could be a factor. And some of those other factors include his management style and the question of whether he can actually stay on message. So there's a lot out there.

BLITZER: A big problem for him. Joe, stand by. Gloria Borger, our senior political analyst is here as well.

How does he do that? How does he overcome not only the personal stuff but some would argue, you know, the gaffs, if you will? He speaks a lot. Some of the stuff he says is very intelligent, some not so much.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Everybody you talk to about Newt Gingrich-and you know this-say that he is undisciplined. The problem with Gingrich is he has an awful lot of ideas, and some of them are even good, right? But he tends to talk about all of them.

I spoke with somebody who used to work with him who said, you know, his problem is that he surrounds himself with people who let him say whatever he wants to say. He needs people around him who can say, you know, Newt, you shouldn't talk about that, you shouldn't talk about that. Here is the message of our campaign and you need to stick with it. There's a real concern that he just won't be able to do that.

JOHNS: He also gets bored a little bit, some people say. He gets bored with saying the same thing over and over again. You know, the typical stump speech. He wants to sort of fancy it up a little bit, or try something out, and if you try something out that doesn't work, it's a headline a lot of times.

BLITZER: Because it is always the videotape. It is not going to go away any time soon.

Let's talk about Ron Paul. Because he made his big announcement on Friday as well.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: Is he in this to win it, or to spread is ideology. To get his message out there more forcefully?

BORGER: Every candidate will tell you they're in it to win it, right? As Hillary Clinton once famously said. I think with Ron Paul, he's got a lot more traction this time around than he did last time around. He's somebody conservatives are interested in, very aligned with the Tea Party. In the end I think Ron Paul's ideas are too radical for the Republican Party, which is he doesn't think we should have gone after Osama bin Laden. He doesn't think we should have Social Security. Put those two things together, it's not exactly a winning platform.

JOHNS: It's a completely different playing field right now for Ron Paul.

BORGER: Right.

JOHNS: Because four years ago there were all these supporters of him, who were saying hey, there's a media blackout, nobody is putting Ron Paul on. Nobody is talking about him. Now the airwaves are saturated with Ron Paul and people know exactly what he stands for. It's a completely different test for him. And interesting to see how it turns out.

BLITZER: And Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who some think is the front-runner right now.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: He has to deal with the specific issue involving health care.

BORGER: Health care, and it is the fact that so-called Obama-care, which is what Republicans call it, was in many ways, based on the kind of health care reform that Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts when he was governor. And most specifically, the part of that health care reform was the mandate, which said that everybody in the state has to buy health care insurance. And that's the big problem Republicans have with Obama's health care reform. So it is a very, very big heavyweight around his neck.

JOHNS: We were talking about newt Gingrich's negatives. He has a few too, Romney does, when you think about it. Not one of these, a lot of analysts say, will kill him, but they'll affect him. There may be a few people who are concerned about the fact he's a Mormon. There may be a few people who are concerned about the issue of flip-flopping, which he's been accused of. You put that together with health care, he has to over come those challenges, too.

BORGER: But he can raise money. We know that Mitt Romney can raise money. We know that he's got a great team surrounding him. Don't underestimate the fact that he's been through it once before, which always gives you a leg up. And also Republicans are very hierarchical. They tend to nominate the candidate who is next in line. Lots of folks think Romney is next in line.

BLITZER: The interesting thing about Mitt Romney, though, is he's not saying he made a mistake in Massachusetts.

BORGER: Right.

JOHNS: No.

BLITZER: When he passed what they call Romney-care. He's defending it saying it's different than what President Obama passed federally.

JOHNS: He absolutely can't, because if he does go back on it, suddenly he's going to be accused of being a flip-flopper. He has to stay with the program and still distinguish himself from President Obama, and hope that people get the distinction. A lot of people say that whenever you're explaining in politics, you're losing. BORGER: If Newt Gingrich's problem is discipline, Mitt Romney's problem is authenticity. That's why he had to stick with health care reform. But in the end, they all know it's not going to be a plus on his resume for Republicans.

BLITZER: I loved your column at CNN.com this week about Newt Gingrich and some of these other candidates.

BORGER: Thanks.

BLITZER: The new way of how they announce their candidacy for president by Tweeting.

BORGER: I'm not in favor of that, could you tell? I think we need some speeches and talk about issues, and not just say "read my Tweet."

JOHNS: Cat's out of the bag.

BLITZER: Thanks guys.

Young people being taught bin Laden's message of terror. Just ahead, a rare look inside one Islamic school in Afghanistan.

Plus, Pakistan's army uncomfortably the spotlight in the wake of bin Laden's death. Why there's now growing embarrassment in the town where he was living.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Pakistani officials are angrily denying that anyone in their government helped protect Osama bin Laden, calling the idea absurd. The Obama administration says it's taking Pakistan's concerns seriously, but it won't back down from tough questions about who may have helped bin Laden. CNN's Reza Sayah has been asking lots of questions in the capital of Islamabad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, how is it possible that Osama bin Laden managed to hideout here in Pakistan for all these years? Who is to blame? And did he have any help here? These are some of the questions we put to Pakistan's interior minister.

REHMAN MALIK, INTERIOR MINISTER, PAKISTAN: Honestly speaking we did not know. Had we known, do you think he would be living there?

SAYAH: I'd like to know, how you didn't know? This was a man who was living in a fortress. You have intelligence agents swarming all over the country. How did they not know?

MALIK: 9/11 happened in New York with all the maximum and the best available intelligence tools, and the American parties could not make out 9/11 culprits and they were still taking training in the institutions there. So sometimes the intelligence failures there.

SAYAH: Who is to blame for this intelligence failure? Is it partly you? After all, you are responsible for the internal security of this country?

MALIK: Being the minister of interior, yes. I will not say total failure, I say part failure. And this happens in the history of the intelligence. Sometimes they're successful.

SAYAH: In your investigation, have you found any evidence that bin Laden had a support network here in Pakistan?

MALIK: There is no such thing at all. Even an iota of doubt in my mind.

SAYAH: You categorically deny-

MALIK: Categorically deny it.

SAYAH: -that he had a support network here?

MALIK: No support network from the official sources.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAYAH: But certainly a lot of questions remain about where this relationship is headed, Wolf.

BLITZER: Reza Sayah, thank you.

How will the death of bin Laden impact popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa? Regional expert and journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of "The Atlantic" weighs in on that question.

Also, horrific crimes committed against Peace Corps volunteers serving around the world. The victims tell why they feel completely betrayed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Two weeks since bin Laden's death there's intensifying outrage at Pakistan, not only around the world, but also its own backyard, in the military town he was living for years. Here is CNN'S Nick Peyton Walsh.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PEYTON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Don't sound your horn, the joke goes here, the army is sleeping. It's a popular text message sent around the military town that didn't know the world's most wanted man was living nearby.

BILAL SADIQUE, BUSINESSMAN: They're sleeping. I don't know their activities. What is the responsibility of these people?

WALSH: Anger now at the army who are uncomfortably in the spotlight.

(On camera): The military don't like being filmed at the best of times, especially now, partly I think due to an embarrassment that bin Laden was found here in the middle of this garrison town. The army liked to see themselves as the backbone of this often crumbling society; they are where the money and power is. Many here in Abbottabad are furious with the military that they let the bin Laden incident happen at all.

(voice over): Even if you are among the locals who don't believe bin Laden was ever here there's still reason to bate the army, the bits left behind of the American helicopter, that the army's radars apparently didn't see as they flew into the heart of a town considered Pakistan's West Point.

Another text message doing the rounds has the Pakistani radar for sale. It doesn't protect American helicopters, it jokes, but can get satellite TV.

One senior community leader voiced his anger at an army that he claims normally does America's bidding. Something the army denies.

BABA HAIDAR ZAMAN, SENIOR TOWN ELDER: There are three centers of army in the surrounding area and the academy from where all personnel are trained, within this limit, the house has been found and, as they say, the person has been killed. It doesn't seem logical. It doesn't work.

WALSH (On camera): Should the Pakistani army be embarrassed?

ZAMAN: It is the incompetency and the sheer negligence, is lying on the part of the army, right? If it is proved, then our Pakistan army must have protected its boundary, and the operation made by the Americanss itself, it is against the interest of the Pakistani nation.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): this saying Osama town, painted over, as is this, Bin Laden's name. Over what they knew and how ready they were when the helicopters flying over Abbottabad weren't Pakistani, but American. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Abbottabad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The death of Osama Bin Laden is resonating across the Middle East and North Africa, amidst the huge wave of political turmoil that's already been sweeping the region.

Let's talk about that now with Jeffrey Goldberg. He's the national correspondent for "The Atlantic," author of the book "Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror." He's reported extensively from the region. Jeffrey, thanks for coming in.

How does the Bin Laden death affect what we've been calling this Arab awakening or this Arab spring, the whole political turmoil that's been moving over these last several months?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG, THE ATLANTIC: I'll give you the optimistic view. First, which is that it's a great thing because just as Arabs in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere were revolting peacefully against their leadership, you have the death of Osama Bin Laden who had argued all the while that only violence would achieve the ends that these people wanted. So you have a kind of one-two punch against al Qaeda. On the one hand, Arabs are revolting peacefully, not like what he wanted and he's gone. On the other hand, in places like Pakistan and beyond, in the greater Middle East, you have more resentment of America in some radical quarters.

You have a situation, and we always forget this when we talk about al Qaeda. You have the situation where you have people who are self- radicalizing, who are attached to Bin Laden's ideas, but not his organization.

BLITZER: Inspired by it.

GOLDBERG: Inspired by it and so the next time there's a terror attack, I'm afraid some people are going to be surprised and they shouldn't be.

BLITZER: I assume though you would agree with me that the president's credibility throughout the region has been enhanced as a result of the death of Bin Laden?

GOLDBERG: Look, there's nothing like a strong act of leadership to enhance your status. And let's remember and be very careful about this. Most Arabs hate Bin Laden. Most Muslims hate Bin Laden. He's empathetical to what they stand for.

So, yes, he has this opportunity and he's going to speak to the Arab world next week, he's giving an address. And he's going to talk about his vision of a nonviolent future and a democratic future. So he's trying to play off this and trying to capitalize on it.

BLITZER: It will be interesting to see what the president says new in this coming speech in the Middle East that he didn't say the last time he gave a major speech on the Middle East.

But if you're Moammar Gadhafi right now in Libya and you see how decisive President Obama was in going after Bin Laden and killing him, you've got to be really nervous about your own well-being.

GOLDBERG: You know, you've got to be nervous, but on the other hand, Gadhafi is a survivor. I mean, he's proven over the past couple of months that he can hang in there.

BLITZER: Bin Laden was a survivor, too.

GOLDBERG: Bin Laden was survivor too, but unlike the Bin Laden case. You know, when we went into Libya, we went with in with kind of ill defined goals.

We always knew that President Bush and President Obama were seeking to kill Osama Bin Laden. It was a clean, understandable mission. In Libya, it's still a little murky.

And you know, the president at a certain point in the future is going to have to go to Congress and ask for more money for this operation. It's not a very popular operation. I think Gadhafi probably thinks he can and look, he is somewhat of a delusional figure. But he might think that he can outlast Obama's interest in this.

BLITZER: Yes, because even Robert Gates the outgoing secretary of defense now says the U.S. has already spent $750 million for the Tomahawk Cruise missiles, the other expenses related to Libya and Gadhafi, that's a lot of money.

GOLDBERG: The problem for the president though is that if we go into another - in a few months into an election season, I'd hate to bring it down to electoral politics, but if we move into that direction and Gadhafi is still in place, it doesn't look for the White House.

It doesn't look great for France or Britain either, that this one semi-looney dictator in a North African desert country can sort of withstand the pressure of all of NATO.

BLITZER: Arguably the U.S. interest and what's happening in Syria right now is much greater than what's happening in Libya.

GOLDBERG: Well, Libya is easy in the sense that there are no huge national security concerns or national security ramifications to this. In Syria, there are an enormous number of ramifications, including the fact that some of America's allies in the region are not so happy about seeing Bashar Assad fall, the president of Syria.

Saudi Arabia is not happy about it. Israel is even. Israel is even ambivalent about it because though he's an enemy of Israel he's been a stable enemy. And they're not sure what comes next. That's it.

I think the Obama administration is shocked as everyone is by the number of deaths at the hands of Syrian security forces and I think they're moving closer to saying that this guy is not a viable leader for Syria anymore.

BLITZER: Although I do sense with official statements and unofficial statements I've been hearing from Israeli leaders, they're increasingly looking at - you know, get rid of Bashar al Assad.

He's so aligned with Hezbollah. He's so aligned with Hamas and so aligned with Iran, no matter what happens after Bashar al Assad, probably would be better for Israel.

GOLDBERG: No, no, there's a huge argument going on, as there is in Washington about what comes after this guy. When I was interviewing Hillary Clinton a few weeks ago, I asked her would you be sad to see Bashar al Assad disappear?

And she said it depends on what comes next. I think this is still the worry, but I think there's a growing recognition that this guy is no good for manifold reasons.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Goldberg, thanks for coming in.

GOLDBERG: Thank you. BLITZER: A rare look inside a closed world. A strict Islamic school poisoning young minds against the United States.

Plus, terror plots revealed including one targeting the Brooklyn Bridge.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Al Qaeda is vowing that Osama Bin Laden will not die in vain. CNN's Stan Grant shows us where young people in Afghanistan are being taught Bin Laden's message.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here boys pray early and pray hard. This is a rare look inside a closed world, a strict Islamic school in a poor Kabul neighborhood. Outside the day is just dawning, but these students, some as young as 6, are already locked in a trans-like rhythm. Over and over, they recite the Koran.

There is no God, but Allah, they chant. But there's another lesson in here, a fierce lesson of faith. These boys' minds are poisoned against the United States.

Do they like the U.S.? No, they say. Should lead Afghanistan? Yes, they say. We want our country to be peaceful. They are the devils.

The Americans are making the Taliban and Afghans fight each other, this boy says, and then they watch. When they see us fighting, Americans are happy. It's a message they get straight from their teacher, the imam himself.

IMAM, OMER-E FAROOQ MOSQUE (through translation): God says, we can never be friends with unbelievers. What do they know about our religion? We can never be friends.

GRANT: It's a chilling reminder that despite 10 years in this country, and hundreds of troops killed battling militants, the U.S. has failed to win the hearts and minds of so many.

In fact, young hearts are hardened here, raised on anti-western propaganda. Here the words of slain al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden live on.

We can never be friends. Americans are doing suicide attacks and blame Osama Bin Laden, he says.

(on camera): For these boys, this is the only world they know. For many of them, it might be the only world they will ever know. They aren't learning about math and science here. They're not learning about the world. They're learning only about one thing, God, Islam.

IMAM: A child like is a tree. It will give fruit when children come to see, I'll train them the right way.

GRANT: That way is the way of strict Sharia law. Girls are banned from the school. They told me women should be behind doors at home. To go outside without a veil they say is filthy.

They would fight for Islam. Indeed authorities fear they were being trained to do just that. This year, weapons, explosive devices even suicide bombers jackets were uncovered.

The previous imam is now in prison linked to a Pakistani Taliban network. The mosque is under constant scrutiny even at the new imam denies any plans the boys were being taught to fight.

These boys standby the old imam as well. To them, it is an American conspiracy. What they say often sounds fanciful. What matters is they believe it.

They kidnap movers and take them far away, he says. I've seen on television, Americans putting needles into the chest of people and pulling out the other side that's what they are doing to movers.

Like children, the world over, these boys like to play the toy guns, but war here is no game. The enemy is the United States and they believe God is on their side. Stan Grant, CNN, Kabul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Amazing developments going on over there. Ten years into the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan. Thousands of lives lost, nearly a trillion dollars spent and that's what's going right now. We're watching the story.

We're also learning some chilling new details about terror plots that never came to progression. Our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence is back with us, with the new details on this part of the story. What are you finding out here, Chris?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Wikileaks documents are really revealing to us that in all those years that Osama Bin Laden was sort of on the run, al Qaeda never stopped planning attacks, and some of them came very, very close to succeeding.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Secret documents released by Wikileaks show good help was hard to find, even for al Qaeda. The 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the shoe bomber to shave his beard and detonate his bomb in the airplane bathroom. He didn't shave, drawing attention and tried to light the bomb in his seat. The mission failed and Mohammed called Reid irresponsible.

Anything about this look threatening? Women and kid's clothes? But they were a key to a plot in 2003. Saif Paracha owned a textile business and told Khalid Sheikh Mohammed mix explosives and chemical agents in with legitimate children clothes because American port authorities won't open those shipping containers. Homeland Security officials say the revelation led to beefed up port security.

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: I'm glad the American people are starting to learn more about just to how many of these we were facing and have to deal with.

LAWRENCE: Like this man who planned to marry four women and have 48 kids just to build his own Jihad army.

TOWNSEND: As ridiculous as some of these sounds, you realize you have to step back and you need technical experts to explain to you is this possible.

LAWRENCE: Al Qaeda planned to use special blow torches to cut the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge and might have succeeded if they got into the security room where those cables are anchored.

RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: If you got into that room, you would be able to, in my judgment, cut those cables and not be seen by the public, not be seen by traffic passing on the bridge. So, yes, it would have been feasible to do it and still potentially feasible.

LAWRENCE: But they abandoned the plan because the weather was too hot, meaning too much security. In the middle of 2002, the intel community got a tip there could be a plot on the bridge from the Godzilla movie, which they interpreted to be the Brooklyn Bridge.

KELLY: That's when we devoted police resources to the bridge.

LAWRENCE: The NYPD put scuba drivers and patrol boats in the river and put police cars on the bridge itself.

KELLY: There's a lot of observations and alarms on the bridge, cameras focused on the bridge, police officers are still there. The theory of cutting the cables is still a valid one.

LAWRENCE: Al Qaeda's inspiration could come from a simple conversation. Documents show how talk of what jet fuel did to the Twin Towers sparked another plot to blow up gas stations. They were actively recruiting two or three African-American Muslim converts who would break into the huge fuel tanks underneath the pumps and plant an explosive inside.

TOWNSEND: In those debriefings, we were hearing from our allies that had become a goal and objective of al Qaeda to recruit non-Arab males to make sure that they could get past any sort of screening protocols we may have.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: Yes, plan after plan. Now, these Wikileaks, the documents from that, also reveal that in its zeal to try to stop some of these attacks, the U.S. government also sent plenty of innocent man to Guantanamo, Wolf, like a 70-year-old senile man from Afghanistan.

They found out when they looked at him, he was diagnosed with dementia, had absolutely no contact with terrorists whatsoever. They couldn't explain a reason why he had been sent to Guantanamo Bay.

BLITZER: All right, Chris, good reporting. Again, thanks very much.

Rape victims blasting the U.S. Peace Corps up on Capitol Hill. They say the organization made their plight even worse.

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BLITZER: The Peace Corps is known for exporting American altruism and volunteerism around the world on humanitarian projects. But on Capitol Hill rape victims portrayed a very different Peace Corps, one that was indifferent even hostile to their plights.

CNN's congressional correspondent Kate Bolduan is joining us from Capitol Hill right now. This is truly, Kate, I must say a shocking story.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A shocking and disturbing story, Wolf. You said it. The Peace Corps is all about promoting just that, peace and friendship around the world.

But in a congressional hearing, this organization was painted as more concerned about its own reputation than its own volunteers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Karestan Koenen was working for the Peace Corp in Niger in 1991 when her nightmare unfolded.

KARESTAN KOENEN, RAPE SURVIVOR: At some point my sister left to get something at the store and after she left he raped me. And when he left he said he was going to -- he was going to go back and bring his friends.

BOLDUAN: But Koenen says her experience after that, seeking help from the Peace Corps, was worse than the assault itself.

KOENEN: I trusted the Peace Corps. I believed in the Peace Corps. I believed they would take care of me and they didn't.

BOLDUAN: Koenen isn't alone. Between 2000 and 2009, more than 1,000 volunteers reported sexual assault in countries around the world.

JESSICA SMOCHEK, FORMER PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER: Men dragged me into an abandoned courtyard and the violence began. They started by raping me and they forced other objects inside of my body.

CAROL CLARK, FORMER PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER: For the next 15 hours, he raped and beat me. For a long time I prayed to live, and after that I prayed to die.

BOLDUAN: These women all say the Peace Corps blamed them, the victims for the attacks. That's why they came to Capitol Hill, demanding change in how the agency protects volunteers and handles complaints of serious crimes, including murder, which happened to 24-year-old Kate Puzey.

LOIS PUZEY, DAUGHTER MURDERED: In the future, there will be another volunteer like my Kate who wants do the right thing. Honor Kate's sacrifice by doing the right thing now so that future volunteers can serve safely. REPRESENTATIVE JEAN SCHMIDT (R), OHIO: I have never been so incensed and so enraged at an agency.

BOLDUAN: Lawmakers outraged by the testimony had tough questions for the director of the Peace Corps, who apologized and promised he's already making changes.

AARON WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR, PEACE CORPS: There's no need for one of our volunteers to feel unsafe in a situation. We have to listen to the volunteers.

REPRESENTATIVE ANN MARIE BUERKLE (R), NEW YORK: And so can you tell us what changes have been made? Because we heard from our panel this morning that when they expressed their concerns to their superiors, they were ignored.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think first of all, that we have established a policy of listening to volunteers.

BOLDUAN: Listening to women like Karestan Koenen who say they'll be quiet no more.

(on camera): Do you have any confidence that the Peace Corps will make these changes after so long?

KOENEN: I have confidence in Congress to pass legislation that will mandate these changes in the Peace Corps. I don't have confidence the Peace Corps is able or willing to make the changes on their own.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Now it may surprise you, but the women testifying say they still support the Peace Corps and its mission, Wolf. The director of the Peace Corps, Aaron Williams, he said in that hearing that some of the changes that they're already putting into place are more training for staff on this exact issue and also more support for victims.

BLITZER: What a story. All right, Kate, thanks very much for bringing it to us.

Suiting up for the Cannes Film Festival, that and much more coming up in hot shots.

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BLITZER: Here's a look at hot shots. In Greece, riot police patrol the streets after releasing tear gas during violent demonstrations. In Jerusalem, a World War II veteran dances during a celebration marking the victory over Nazi Germany.

In France, a man wears a space suit during the Cannes Film Festival. And in India, check it out. A young jaguar is seen by the public at the zoo for the very first time. Hot shots, pictures coming in from around the world.

The raid on Bin Laden's compound is a Godsend for comedians. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three wives in one hideout? To some westerners it sounds like the setup to a joke.

DAVID LETTERMAN: He'd been living in the compound couped up with all of his wives for five years. When the Navy SEALs came in, he said just shoot me.

MOOS: The closest most Americans come to multiple wives is HBO's series "Big Love."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's my night. Get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry. I just wanted to kiss Bill good night.

MOOS: The night he was shot, Osama Bin Laden was with his youngest wife, the 29-year-old. Pictures of the other wives are scarce. They tend to be represented by faceless veils.

Just call him Osama Bin married, a total of at least five times. When one of the stars of the hit show "Desperate Housewives" was on "The View" --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe they should give a part two, one of Bin Laden's wife. Talk about a desperate housewives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The real housewives of Osama Bin Laden.

MOOS (on camera): Bin Laden maybe gone, but comedians cling to him like a security blanket. When it comes to mocking Osama Bin Laden's latest videos, we discovered great comedians think alike.

LETTERMAN: And he appears to be watching videos of himself on TV. Wait a minute, that's me. Can I see that shot of me watching this footage over the weekend? Son of a --

MOOS (voice-over): And everyone jumped on the news that bin laden was dyeing his beard black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was using just for maniacs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He used this stuff to dye -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And three boxes of the just for mad men.

MOOS: There's even a website called what's Osama Bin watching? Let's you put in the address of any Youtube video so that Osama is watching, say, the keyboard cat or even the royal wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To join together this man and this woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's crying.

MOOS: There's something satisfying about watching the world's most wanted terrorist wrapped in a blankey watching Tina fey on SNL.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just hope that tonight the lame stream media won't twist my words by repeating them verbatim.

MOOS: The terrorist gets Trumped -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Osama, boom, you're fired.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Thanks, Jeanne. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATON ROOM. Join us weekdays from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern, every Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN and at this time every weekend on CNN International. The news continues next on CNN.