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THE SITUATION ROOM
IMF Chief May Be Freed on Bail; U.S. Slaps Syrian President with Sanctions; Risk of Holding bin Laden Hearings; Osama bin Laden's Replacement; Maria Shriver's Public Appearance; 'Strategy Session'
Aired May 18, 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, new grand jury evidence in the sexual assault case against the head of the International Monetary Fund. His alleged victim testifying behind closed doors. And now, her lawyer joins us live to talk about her shocking allegations. Stand by for this interview.
Plus, President Obama puts the financial squeeze on Syria's president and demands an end to the country's bloody crackdown on protesters. This hour, the new U.S. sanctions and the broader view on the Middle East that the president of the United States laid out tomorrow.
And new word from the Pentagon coming in on who might have known where Osama bin Laden was hiding. I'll ask the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Peter King, about his hearing next week into the death of bin Laden and what he hopes to learn.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: But let's begin with breaking news on the case involving the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique- Strauss Kahn.
Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst, is getting new details on what is going on.
Jeff is joining us on the phone.
What are you picking out -- Jeff?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it looks like the defense will go back to court tomorrow to ask for bail for their client, for DSK. They -- they think that they have a package that the court may accept -- may accept. There is no deal yet in the works.
But this is the main preoccupation of the defense, at this point, which is to get this man out of jail so he can start preparing his defense. They think it's bad for his health. They think it's -- it's unfair compared to comparably situated defendants.
And so there may be another court hearing in the case tomorrow.
BLITZER: And DSK is Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Right now, he's in Rikers Island and he's in a small jail, denied bail.
What would be the main argument, why they would give him bail if, potentially, he's what they call a flight risk, if he could give up a million dollars, let's say, if he were to be able to provide a million dollars in bail but could still leave the country, along the lines of Roman Polanski or someone like that?
TOOBIN: That's -- I mean that's the argument that kept him in prison. The argument that would get him out was that he would agree to such onering conditions -- onerous conditions, including electronic monitoring, in -- an ankle bracelet, including very restrictive conditions, not to leave an apartment, not to leave a hotel room, not to leave an office and an enormous amount of money plus the surrender of his passport. All conditions, the defense would argue, which would make his escape from the United States virtually impossible.
BLITZER: Because I believe, Jeffrey -- and you probably know this better than I do, his lawyers, including Benjamin Brafman, one of the best criminal defense attorneys in New York, didn't they make that case to the judge earlier in the week, that he would do all of these things and she rejected all of those de -- those -- those conditions?
TOOBIN: She did. But that initial appearance was so soon after his arrest, the defense hadn't had a chance to make the full presentation. They hadn't had a chance to talk to the people who do the ankle bracelets. They hadn't had a chance to collect the money, the deeds to homes, the kinds of things that people put up.
This will be a more comprehensive presentation. But there is no guarantee that it will succeed. He's still not a United States citizen. He's still a very wealthy man. Those are all arguments to keep him in jail.
But the defense thinks they -- they -- they want another bite at the apple here. And they think it is very important, both to their client and to their chances of winning, to get him out of jail as soon as possible.
BLITZER: All right, Jeffrey, I want you to hold on for a moment and listen.
I'm about to interview Jeffrey Shapiro.
He's the lawyer representing the woman who is at the center of this case right now.
Mr. Shapiro, can you hear me OK?
JEFFREY SHAPIRO, LAWYER FOR ALLEGED VICTIM: I sure can.
BLITZER: All right. Let me... SHAPIRO: Good evening.
BLITZER: -- let me get your immediate reaction to what Jeff Toobin just reported.
How do you feel about the possibility of Dominique Strauss-Kahn being released on bail?
SHAPIRO: Well, certainly from my client's standpoint, the idea that this man would somehow or another be on the streets and free, I'm sure it would cause her a great deal of concern. She's very concerned about her security. She's very concerned about what has happened and what this man is capable of. And the fact that he would be free, I'm sure, would be something that would -- she would be very alarmed about.
BLITZER: So you would -- you would go and argue against any -- I assume the prosecution in New York, give me your experience, Mr. Shapiro.
Would the prosecution argue against allowing him to be freed on bail?
SHAPIRO: Well, you know, in this particular situation, here's a man who was on a plane, on his way to France and would have gone and done that but for the intervention of the police, who got him off the plane and arrested him.
So I mean, in my view and my experience, if this man is not a flight risk, I'm not sure who is.
BLITZER: Well, let me bring Jeffrey -- Jeffrey Toobin back into this argument -- Jeffrey, what will be the other argument?
He doesn't have a criminal record, Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn -- Mr. Dominique-Strauss Kahn doesn't have a criminal record. I guess they would make that case.
TOOBIN: They would make the case that he doesn't have a criminal record, that he is not a threat to the community, given that he would be under such restrictive conditions and given the notoriety of the case, it would simply be impossible for him to flee the country. And the argument the defense would make is that bail is not supposed to be punishment, bail is simply supposed to be to protect the community and to make sure someone shows up for -- for court.
Both of those conditions would be satisfied, the defense would assert, thus, he should be released.
BLITZER: Mr. Shapiro, how is your client doing?
SHAPIRO: Well, you know something, I think she's doing remarkably considering what she's been through, starting with this attack. She's had not a moment of peace since then. She's not been able to go home. She's been separated from her daughter for a considerable period of time. She doesn't know what her future will be. She hasn't been able to get professional help of any sort. She's been subjected to the interrogation, but in cooperation, I will say, with the New York City Police Department and the district attorney's office.
She's had trouble sleeping, had to wear the same clothes for three days because she didn't have a change of clothes. But if someone could withstand all of that and keep their head held up high and operate, she's been able to do it. So extraordinary.
BLITZER: You went with her to the grand jury today. She testified. I know you couldn't go into the grand jury with her.
How did that -- based on what you heard, though, what can you share with us?
How did that go?
SHAPIRO: You know, I cannot comment on anything which took place within the grand jury. That solely is within the province of the prosecutor and the grand jury. And I have made a commitment to the district attorney that I would do nothing or say nothing which would, hopefully, in any way impair what they're doing.
So I would like to keep that commitment.
BLITZER: I understand.
Walk us through, though, what you can share with us.
She -- she goes into the room at the Sofitel Hotel thinking she's going to clean the room. Walk us through what happens next.
SHAPIRO: Well, look, I mean what's been reported in the press is -- and essentially, is she went into the room, thinking the room was unoccupied. This event took place. She was assaulted, sexually and physically.
She reported this to hotel security, who then contacted the New York City Police Department, who came to the hotel, interviewed my client. They examined the crime scene. And based upon their professional judgment, you know, of the trustworthiness of her and also what they saw, they caused this man to be arrested.
BLITZER: Did she immediately go to hotel security, her supervisors, and tell this story right after this event or did she wait?
SHAPIRO: No, she went there. I mean she thought that wasn't -- believed that that was her obligation to do that. I mean she was, you know, a very respectful and grateful employee of this hotel and believed it was her responsibility to make this report, which she did.
BLITZER: She made the report right away.
Now, in terms of the forensic evidence -- and I don't know how much of this you can share with us -- but is there bodily harm?
Were there bruises, any cuts, anything along those lines that would show that there was a struggle going on?
SHAPIRO: Again, all of the forensic evidence in this case has been gathered by the district attorney's office. It's within their control. They have it. And I can't comment on it with you, unfortunately, today.
BLITZER: She didn't share with you that she was hurt or anything, that he squeezed or hold -- held her down or -- SHAPIRO: I...
BLITZER: -- or...
--- I can't -- the point is, I can't disclose to you whatever she might have told me about that, because in some way, that might interview with what the district attorney is doing. And I -- and I don't wish to do that.
BLITZER: Because you know her lawyers, Benjamin Brafman, among others. They're among the best criminal defense lawyers not only in New York, but in the country. They might argue this was consensual -- his lawyers, I'm talking about. Not -- Excuse me, his lawyers, that this was consensual. And they'll say there was no physical evidence showing of coercion.
How do you deal with that?
SHAPIRO: Well, I'll tell you what, you know, when you're a victim of a sexual assault, you know, you really can't take the public stage, because you want to be protected, your identity wants to be protected. You would like to remain anonymous, which, unfortunately, has not so much happened here.
But some day, there will be a day in which she will able to walk into a courtroom and stand before a jury and tell the story of what took place to her on that day.
And I think when that day comes and the jury hears her story, it will be quite clear that there was no aspect whatsoever about this encounter which was in any way or could be construed in any way consensual.
BLITZER: What -- and what can you share with us about any surveillance cameras in the hotel, in the corridors, in the lobby, the door, that -- that might help us all appreciate what happened?
SHAPIRO: Again, you know, my -- my involvement in this case with this young woman has been to support her, to help her through this process, to answer her questions and try to help her figure out how she can put her life together from this point forward. So with respect to, again, evidence at the crime scene and what may or may not exist in terms of prosecuting this case, you know, it's not been my concern with her and it's not something that I would -- could comment on (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: So you can't comment, also...
SHAPIRO: I can't.
BLITZER: -- on this other report that when she went in, she left a door open, which would be normal for someone going in to clean a room, as opposed to closing the door right away.
You've seen those reports?
SHAPIRO: I can't comment on that. I'm sorry. I can't do it.
BLITZER: Well, tell us a little bit more about this woman. She's from Guinea, an immigrant. She came here, what, several years ago. And she's described as a good Muslim.
Does she wear a head scarf?
BLITZER: What does that mean, a good Muslim?
SHAPIRO: Well, I don't know what anybody means by it. But what I -- what I -- what I think it means in her case and from my observation of her is this is woman who is an observant woman. She's strong. She came to this country from Guinea under, you know, adverse circumstances, had a lot of difficulty there, came here, essentially, under an asylum type arrangement with her young daughter. She's a single mother with limited education and lim -- virtually no opportunity for a professional career in her homeland.
She came here, found this job, was able to support both herself and her daughter, was very grateful to have this job, very grateful to be in a country in which there are laws and justice and freedom and hopes for a better life for her daughter, as I think anyone who comes to this country does.
And I have to tell you, I have great, great admiration for her, based upon the hours that I've spent and talked to her...
SHAPIRO: -- talking to her.
BLITZER: -- have you prepared her for what's in store over the coming weeks and months...
SHAPIRO: You know...
BLITZER: -- maybe years?
SHAPIRO: Boy, you know, here's the problem. You know, somebody who is the victim of a -- a physical assault and a rape needs lots of help in many different areas. And here's someone who hasn't even had the opportunity to begin that process, you know, to find any peace at all.
So all -- what I've tried to do is to tell her that what exists today is not what's going to exist tomorrow, that her life will be OK, that she will be able to come back to a life of normalcy, that she will be safe, that she is safe, that her daughter is safe and life will be OK for her again in the future.
BLITZER: I don't know if Jeffrey Toobin is still on the phone, but if he is, I'd love him to ask a question -- Jeffrey, if you have a question for Mr. Shapiro, go ahead.
TOOBIN: I'm sorry. I -- I was -- I was distracted. I did not -- I did not have a question.
I don't, I'm sorry.
BLITZER: You don't have a question. TOOBIN: I'm sorry.
BLITZER: All right. That's fine.
Jeffrey Shapiro is here, Jeffrey Toobin is here. We've got a lot of Jeffreys here.
SHAPIRO: Thank you.
BLITZER: Mr. Shapiro, is there anything else you want to tell our viewers that you think they need to know right now before I let you go?
SHAPIRO: Well, I would just say to you that, you know, I've heard from people around the world who support her. And, you know, there's been a lot of things stated out here of conspiracy theories and various other things and they're not true. This woman is telling the truth.
And -- and the most important thing to her, I believe, is to be vindicated in the fact that she is telling the truth about this story. She has no other agenda other than to tell the truth and to be able to live her life the way she did before this event took place.
BLITZER: And getting back to the breaking news that Jeffrey Toobin reported at the top of the hour, that his lawyers will ask for some sort of opportunity that he can be released from Rikers prison in New York and be released on bail, what I hear you saying, what I heard you saying is you think that would be a horrible mistake?
SHAPIRO: Listen, you know what, I -- I'm devoted to this woman and this client. And I want what she wants. And I want her to feel safe. And to any -- to the extent that his freedom would impair her feeling of safety and security, that would deeply concern me.
BLITZER: Well, explain that what -- I'm going to let you go in a second. But explain that, if he's out in New York -- let's say he's got an ankle bracelet and he's -- he's in New York, she would feel threatened by that? Is that what you're saying?
SHAPIRO: Well, look, you know, this is a woman who comes from a world in which safety is not -- is very difficult. It's not guaranteed. There are no -- the police are not necessarily your friend. This is the background that she comes from.
So the idea that this perpetrator, the person who attacked her is free and can -- and do what he wants to do, whether he flees the country doesn't mean that he can't do something, in her mind, at least, and based upon her experience in the world, that could cause her some harm.
BLITZER: Jeffrey Shapiro, thanks very much.
We'll continue our conversation in the days and weeks to come. Appreciate it very much.
SHAPIRO: You're welcome.
BLITZER: And please wish her -- wish her the best. Obviously, she's gone through a lot.
SHAPIRO: Thank you very much.
And thanks for letting me come here and tell at least part of her story.
BLITZER: All right. Well, we'll continue. Maybe we'll get more of the story in the days to come.
BLITZER: Jeffrey Shapiro...
BLITZER: We -- I should point out we invited Benjamin Brafman and his attorneys to come on our show. They declined our invitation, at least for now. We hope they will reconsider. They have an invitation to join us, obviously, at any time.
We're going to have much more on this story coming up later here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We'll go to Paris. Jim Bittermann is getting reaction on -- from the French, what the French media, French government officials are saying. You're going to be fascinated about this cultural divide -- how people in France view this case as opposed to so many people here in the United States. Much more on this coming up.
Also, President Obama is giving Syria new reasons to ease up on protesters.
But will it be enough to stop the bloodshed?
And Maria Shriver tries to show the world she's not falling apart after learning about her husband's secret. The scandal over Arnold Schwarzenegger's child out of wedlock is playing out very publicly.
BLITZER: Quality education and quality teachers are on Jack Cafferty's mind.
He's here with The Cafferty File -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, THE CAFFERTY FILE: Teacher tenure -- that's the union backed safety net that protects school teachers from being fired.
Can we roll the prompter up here?
There we go. After a certain number of years of service, is coming under fire in states from New York to Tennessee to Illinois. Tenure provides experienced teachers job security in a tight labor market, at a time when cash-strapped states and municipalities are trying to make cuts everywhere they can.
Critics say the policy can harm students more than it protects the teachers, because new teachers with fresh ideas often lose their jobs, while older teachers, some of whom are just going through the motions until their pensions kick in, can't be touched. That's because when the district announces lay-offs, the last in/first out union rule generally takes over. That means the least experienced teachers with fewer years of service must lose their jobs before older, more senior teachers do -- in many cases, no matter how well they do or don't do their jobs or how well their students perform.
But change is coming. States like Arizona, Georgia, Colorado and Utah have all passed bills to end the last in/first out layoff policies in the past year.
Now, a handful of other states are trying to make changes to tenure as well.
Supporters are up in arms. They say tenure is an important policy that attracts talent to a profession that offers relatively low starting pay.
So here's the question -- should tenure for teachers be done away with?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog.
BLITZER: Thanks, Jack.
President Obama only hours away from addressing the violence and the threats to peace and democracy in the Middle East. As he prepares for a major policy speech tomorrow, he's putting new pressure on Syria by slapping Syria's president and other top officials with some tough sanctions today.
Let's bring in our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, who's working this story for us. Tough sanctions, but I guess the question is, will it make much of a difference?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: You know, in a way, it won't, you know, technically, because what they're doing is they're sanctioning the property or the assets of Assad and six other senior officials in Syria now.
But, actually, they don't have a lot of property. So, in that sense, it's not big.
But it's very big in terms of naming him and naming these officials and really saying this is it, you know, we no longer trust your -- your promises that you're going to reform and so now we're going to -- we're going to name you.
BLITZER: A lot of people are asking, though, especially a lot of Syrians, what's taking the president so long.
DOUGHERTY: You know, talking to U.S. officials and also international officials, they have been given a promise by -- by Assad that he would reform, that he would change. He's been saying it literally for weeks.
But all you had to do was look at what's going on the ground. And it was very clear that he was not. I mean, the repression, the violence against those demonstrators was getting much stronger. And so they basically said that, you know, the proof is there, we don't believe that is he going to change.
BLITZER: Why isn't the president, Jill, doing what so many members of Congress and others want him to do, namely, what he did toward Gadhafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt, simply say that Bashar al-Assad must go?
DOUGHERTY: You know, Syria is a very complex country. And they have been really, you know, fine-tuning this.
And the worry was what would come next?
And nobody really knows what will come next. So that -- that was a great concern.
So what they're doing is they are going right up to the edge and saying -- in fact, the phrase was "lead a political transition or leave." But they're not at that point where they are saying, you must step down.
And, Wolf, of course, they're going to say the people of Syria have to decide to do it. But -- but they also are just calibrating this to the nth degree. But they really don't believe anything is going to change.
BLITZER: But -- but the president hasn't even recalled the U.S. ambassador from Damascus, which normally they do even if there's a lot less violence than what's going on in Damascus right now.
DOUGHERTY: Sometimes. Right. But we talked with two State Department officials who say that they have no plans to do that. And sometimes it is useful to have the ambassador there so you can tell him to go over, talk to those senior officials -- you still have communication -- and deliver those tough messages.
BLITZER: Tomorrow's big speech -- is the president going to have more on Syria or is this it?
DOUGHERTY: We believe that he will. Officials are indicating that he will and -- and the tone is going to be a lot harder.
BLITZER: Jill, thanks very much.
Stay with CNN for live coverage of President Obama's major speech on the Middle East and the future of U.S. policy in the region. Our coverage will air at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, 8:30 a.m. Pacific, right here on CNN.
I'll be anchoring our coverage tomorrow morning.
A Congressional hearing on Osama bin Laden's death could reveal more U.S. military secrets. I'll ask the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Peter King, if he's worried about helping terrorists.
And the politics of torture -- likely presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, is on damage control right now after second-guessing his fellow Republican, John McCain.
BLITZER: Another post-mortem today on Osama bin Laden. Pentagon officials told reporters they have not found any evidence that senior Pakistani officials knew that bin Laden was hiding in their country. The House Homeland Security Committee is preparing to hold its own investigation on bin Laden's death, what led up to it, what it means.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, though, is warning that all the publicity that's going on right now makes the U.S. military a little bit more at risk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: We have, from my perspective, gotten to a point where we are -- are close to jeopardizing this precious capability that we have. And we can't afford to do that. This fight isn't over, first of all.
Secondly, when you now extend that to concern with individuals in the military and their families, from my perspective, it is time to stop talking. And we have talked far too much about this. We need to move on. It's a story that, if we don't stop talking, it will never end and it needs to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And joining us now from Long Island, Congressman Peter King.
He's the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.
REP. PETER KING (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN:
Thank you, Wolf.
Thank you very much.
BLITZER: All right. You've heard what Admiral Mullen has to say, that all this talk is -- is hurting.
So the question to you is, why have you decided to hold yet more hearings now before your committee on this killing of bin Laden?
KING: Well, the purpose of the hearing is not so much to discuss bin Laden's killing, but what the threats are to the US. And I think it's important for the American people to realize that even though bin Laden is dead, that there's still real threats to the US.
We're not going into anything about the operation against bin Laden or anything about these Special Forces -- the Special Operations units or anything like that.
But I think it's important for us to realize, domestically, what threats we face. So that's what this is about, it's about what threats the homeland faces as a result of bin Laden's death.
To me, that's an obligation that I have, as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. I think too many people believe, among the general public, that with bin Laden dead, somehow, you know, the threat has now been diminished. And it hasn't.
BLITZER: Do you believe that national security has been compromised by all the discussion, all the talk, all the details that have been released over the past couple of weeks?
KING: Wolf, I believe it's been compromised as far as talking about the actual operation itself. Like, for instance, I don't even know why we disclosed that it was Navy SEALs that were involved. I don't know why we gave any of the details as to how the helicopters landed, how they got out, you know what -- what the details were, how we got information on bin Laden to begin with.
I don't think we should have been giving any of those details out. It should have been described as a successful mission carried out by Special Operations forces. I wouldn't have gone into the disclosure of the intelligence we obtained unless, for some reason, the CIA wants to put out certain parts of was a precaution.
But to be going into all the detail we did, to me, it's -- it's wrong.
And I think the main problem is focusing so much on the SEALs and Delta team -- I mean SEALs Team Six. To me, none of this should have been made public.
BLITZER: What -- what do we know -- what do you know, I guess -- you're the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee -- about this new interim leader of al Qaeda, Saif al-Adel, this guy who has apparently been named to take over for bin Laden? Is he a real problem?
KING: Well, we know he's been active for many years. He's an Egyptian. And I'm not certain he's going to be strongly in command. I think this was an attempt by the Egyptians to take control of al Qaeda.
But many of the elements within al Qaeda do not want Egyptians running it. They think it should be somebody who basically is from Saudi Arabia, more toward traditional Islam, what they see as traditional Islam.
So, Bin Laden, one unique ability he had, was all of the different factions together, the Saudis, the Egyptians, I don't know if Saif al-Adel is in a position to do that. So I think this is a bit of a power play by the Egyptians.
They don't feel Zawahiri is able to do it. I don't think anyone has even heard from him since bin Laden was killed. But, no, he's very, very formidable. He had a long record fighting against the Soviets. So he's formidable as an individual leader. Whether or not he can actually hold al Qaeda together, I'm not so sure.
BLITZER: Looking ahead to your hearings, based on what you know right now, the information gleaned from the compound where bin Laden was killed, is there an active threat, terror threat, to the U.S. homeland right now that we need to know about?
KING: No, I'm not aware of any particular threat. And just let me make it clear, this hearing is not to bring out specific instances of threats.
We're going to have experts on, people close to you, people like Peter Bergen, people like Fran Townsend, people like Lee Hamilton, and they're going to talk in the overall policy sense of what the death of bin Laden means, how that affects al Qaeda, and how we believe al Qaeda is -- or at least I believe -- does want to make an attack on the U.S.
If I -- right now, my best estimate is that the attack will come from forces that are already within the U.S., whether it's a lone wolf or whether it's an operative that's here. I don't believe al Qaeda is capable of carrying out an attack from overseas.
But I can tell you, we're not going to be giving any intelligence, nothing about any projected attack. And to be honest with you, I'm not aware of any particular information that we've gotten about an attack that's due or is being scheduled or planned. But I can tell you, there's going to be no -- if I do between now and next Wednesday get any details at all, they are not going to be brought out at a public hearing. I can assure you that.
BLITZER: One point that Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates repeatedly made today at their news conference is they kept saying there is no evidence of "high level" Pakistani knowledge that bin Laden was in that compound. They stressed "high level," which raised, in my mind, well, maybe lower-level Pakistanis may have known bin Laden was hiding out there.
What's your assessment?
KING: Wolf, I believe someone, more than a low level, had to know. I think the fact that, for instance, bin Laden had so little security in that compound, and there is no escape route, as far as I understand -- he had several people with AK-47s and that was it, and he seemed very complacent there. To me, he must have had some reason to believe that he was being protected on the outside.
So, again, I think it there could be a definition here as to how high you have to go to be considered high up. But I would think that people in Pakistani intelligence and/or Pakistani military had to have knowledge of this.
I just can't believe he would be able to live there for almost six years, right in the heart of a populated area, right near a Pakistani military base, right among so many retired intelligence and military officials, without somebody being in on it. So, again, I think it could be a question of definition here.
Maybe it's not the top two or three people at the top, but it might be the eighth or ninth person. I don't know. But just things in that country especially, it's hard for me to believe that with the intelligence being as good as it is -- and listen, I wish they would spend more time going after bin Laden than they did after the CIA.
BLITZER: Hey, Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.
KING: Wolf, thank you.
BLITZER: A reprieve for four journalists retained in Libya. We're going to tell you what happened next.
And the head of the International Monetary Fund, jailed on sexual assault charges, could get bail. We're going to keep you updated on the breaking news that we reported at the top of the hour. Jeffrey Toobin is standing by.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. .
BLITZER: Good news. Four journalists, including two Americans, who were detained in Libya for more than a month are now free.
CNN's Lisa Sylvester has more on this news.
You reported on one of those journalists, James Foley. We're happy that all of them are out right now.
SYLVESTER: Yes. His family, in fact, Wolf, they are thrilled.
Well, the four journalists, they were escorted into a hotel in Tripoli. And they had been held for 42 days.
The group includes Americans Clare Morgana Gillis, who freelances for "The Atlantic"; James Foley, a journalist for "GlobalPost"; a Spanish photographer; and a fourth journalist from the U.K.
Foley and Gillis were captured in Brega by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi while they were covering the war, and during their time in detention, they were allowed to talk to their families only once by television. We recently sat down with Michael Foley. He's James Foley's brother. This was prior to his release, and he describes the conditions they were living in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FOLEY, JAMES FOLEY'S BROTHER: He said he was being treated very well, he was being fed. Didn't have much room to move around, as you can imagine, but he seemed well.
And more to the point, his voice sounded strong, which really a mother can gauge. So that was the most telling piece, really.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SYLVESTER: Now, according to Libya's government spokesperson, they were originally going to be jailed for a year, but a judge decided to release them after they paid a fine.
And I spoke briefly to the families of Clare Gillis and James Foley this afternoon. They are holding off on doing interviews until they are out of the country, until they have returned home safely -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Do we know where they are right now?
SYLVESTER: Well, they were taken immediately to that hotel, but they weren't expected to stay there very long. What the families were telling us -- and James Foley also had a chance to speak to his editor at "GlobalPost" -- he said he's overwhelmed by all of this support, but he wanted to get home, and if everything goes as planned, that should be within the next day or so, fingers crossed here.
BLITZER: Let's hope. A month in captivity. Thanks very much for that. Lisa, thanks for doing that report last week on James Foley. Stand by for Maria Shriver's surprise. A very public TV appearance, even as she copes with a scandal that helped break up her marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
BLITZER: Arnold Schwarzenegger's camp is describing the former governor as upset and apologetic in the midst of the scandal that helped tear apart his marriage. A source close to him tells CNN that Schwarzenegger realizes the terrible mistake he made by fathering a child out of wedlock a decades or so ago.
"The New York Times" has now identified the mother of Schwarzenegger's child as Mildred Patricia Baena, a former housekeeper for the family. This photo is from her MySpace page.
Meantime, Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, is trying to show the world that she is not a victim. She found a very high-profile way to do that, appearing on one of the last episodes of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Here's CNN's Kareen Wynter.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, talk about surprises, Oprah's farewell bash was all about paying tribute to this iconic legend. But believe it or not, the talk show queen was actually upstaged -- that's right, upstaged -- by one of her dearest friends, Maria Shriver.
Of course, we're talking about the former first lady of California. She was front and center at Oprah's star-studded affair Tuesday night at Chicago's United Center.
Now, jaws dropped when Shriver walked out on stage. Just imagine, this is a woman who is in the midst of a scandalous split with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who just admitted to fathering a child with another woman. Based on Shriver's appearance, though, you would never guess that she's struggling with a major personal crisis here.
She was grinning ear to ear. She looked gorgeous in a navy sequence gown. Her hair and makeup were just flawless. She was really the picture of poise, the picture of perfection on stage, as she joined Oprah's long list of all-star guests who came out to honor her.
Now, Shriver, when she had the stage, she spoke briefly. She thanked Oprah for her years of friendship. She thanked Oprah for teaching her the truth. At that point, Oprah chimed in and said, "Here's to the truth," and boy did that draw a huge reaction from the crowd.
They stood to their feet. They really, really embraced her, knowing, acknowledging what she is going through right now with her private battle.
Now, Oprah's final show airs next Wednesday, and she's keeping that under wraps. But she's reportedly producing that show. It's a big mystery right now, but we all can't wait. We're going to be tuning in to see how she wraps up her TV legacy -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Kareen. Thank you.
Kareen Wynter reporting for us.
We're going to have more on how Maria Shriver, Arnold Schwarzenegger, their children, how all of them are dealing with the scandal surrounding the former governor's infidelity. That's coming up in our next hour right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And a potential Republican presidential candidate raising eyebrows for criticizing Senator John McCain's position against torture. Rick Santorum's controversial comments after the break.
BLITZER: All right. Let's get right to our "Strategy Session."
Joining us right now, Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons. He's with The Raben Group right here in Washington. And our CNN political contributor, the Republican strategist, Mary Matalin.
I don't know if something is going around amongst some of these Republican presidential candidates, but they seem to be slipping a little bit. Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, now wants to get the Republican presidential nod. He said this about John McCain. He said, "John McCain doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they're broken they become cooperative."
So he is questioning whether John McCain, who opposes torture, really understands torture. He apologized, sort of, today, saying he didn't mean to question McCain's military service as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
But what's going on here, Mary?
MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, obviously what John McCain -- the torture he suffered at the hands of the Vietcong 40 years ago bears no resemblance to the United States intelligence community's efforts to get intelligence today. It's limited, it's effective. We know that. Everybody from Leon Panetta on down said it.
It contributed to the capture and killing of UBL. So he was making that distinction. He certainly wasn't attacking John McCain.
But what's going on -- and Jamal has been there, you have been there, Wolf -- these guys are out there doing one-on-one retail politicking in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and South Carolina. And you know what the voters are like there. You're talk to each of them individually four times and they will set the field right.
BLITZER: But this notion that Rick Santorum is telling John McCain he doesn't understand interrogation techniques, I mean, that's sort of ridiculous when you think of it. John McCain is very forceful. He's been very consistent saying torture, these enhanced interrogation techniques, waterboarding, whatever they were doing to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the United States should not do it. They should abide by the U.S. Army's field manual in terms of interrogation.
So, for Santorum to lecture McCain on this, that sounds sort of ridiculous, I would assume, Jamal.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It does sound ridiculous.
I will give John McCain a lot more credit on this topic than Rick Santorum. And I think Santorum actually today tried to clean it up a little bit.
And the tough thing for all these candidates is, it's hard to run for president. It's hard to stand in the glare.
We saw Newt Gingrich have this problem this week. I remember I worked for a guy named Wesley Clark in 2003. And in 2003, he had a little trouble getting out of the gate about contradictory statements about his stance on the war in Iraq.
The good news is, it's a long time between today and Election Day, so they've got time to recover. But the scrutiny is just so intense, and they can't slip up like this and hope to be president.
BLITZER: What does it say that so many Republicans out there, Mary, don't like the field as it exists right now, the potential Republican candidates, and they are literally begging Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, to throw his hat in the ring?
MATALIN: Jamal's point about scrutiny is absolutely right. The scrutiny is as intense as it is because everybody on both sides understands there is a weak incumbent.
Barack Obama has -- is being beat by a generic Republican, and particularly amongst Independents. He's something up, like, six.
The zeitgeist of the country is high anxiety. People think they are going to be worse off next year than they were last year. And they are worse of today. He -- there are people who are solidly -- there are 10 times more -- or, excuse me -- 10 points more people say --
BLITZER: But let's get back to the question, Mary. What does it say that so many Republicans are unhappy with the current candidates? They are begging not only Mitch Daniels, but Rick Perry, so many others like Jeb Bush, even, Chris Christie? People who have said they are not interested in running, they are begging them to run.
MATALIN: What they are saying is -- and I'm sorry I did get far afield there -- this is a weak incumbent. He can be beat. They want to get going.
But the unenthusiasm as the field is coming together is not unusual. That happened in -- and Jamal will remember this. Nobody was enthusiastic early on in the Democratic parties of '08 and '04. The enthusiasm grows as the race unfolds.
And believe me, there will be plenty of enthusiasm for the ultimate nominee. But Republicans want to get going, they want to get started. But this is a dynamic cycle.
BLITZER: All right.
Jamal, you think the president is a weak candidate right now?
SIMMONS: You know, I'm not so sure he's that weak. Just in the last few weeks, we have already seen him really take on Donald Trump, and he kind of helped dispatch Donald Trump from the race.
And then we saw, with the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, him make a really strong stance on national security. That will make it very tough for the Republicans to mount a national security argument against this president.
Right now you're starting to see even in some of these states where the governors' poll ratings are starting to fall down in Wisconsin and in Ohio. And just in Florida, yesterday, we saw a mayor's race in Jacksonville -- it's a small race, but Jacksonville hasn't had a Democratic mayor in 20 years. And Alvin Brown, who's the Democrat, is now about 600 votes ahead in that race as they're counting all those votes up.
So I think this is a big deal. And the last thing I will say on this is there is going to be -- it's amazing that Mitch Daniels, the former budget director of the Bush administration, is the person everyone is pining for. He is not exactly Mr. Excitement.
But like I said, all of these guys -- you have got to want to run, and keep trying to draft people into this race. The one thing I know has to be true for someone to win the White House, they have got to want to be in the White House more than then want anything else that they're doing.
BLITZER: All right. We've got to leave it there. Mitch Daniels is a very, very smart guy. I've known him for many years.
BLITZER: All right. Thanks, Mary. Thanks, Jamal.
Let's get more on the breaking news you saw right at the top of the hour. The IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, possibly could be out on bail as early as tomorrow. We are getting new information. Stand by.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Jack is joining us once again with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: Should tenure for school teachers be done away with?
B.J. writes from Illinois, "Yes, it should. It should be like other unions, a seniority-based system that protects you some but not totally."
Bob in Florida, "Yes, Jack. Nowhere else can you be guaranteed employment regardless of your performance."
"We have increased spending on education every year for the last 40 years, and our ratings in science and math keep falling. We have reduced class size, we made everything so politically correct, and our students just get dumber. Maybe we ought to fire all the teachers and start over."
Larry writes, "I'm a retired teacher. I feel that doing away with tenure is not a good idea. It could then be used to get rid of older, more expensive teachers in favor of lower-paid entering teachers to help balance the budget, and experience would count for nothing."
"It leaves the door open for local dirty politics, too. I have seen both of these instances in my 38 years in the classroom."
Donald in New Mexico, "I don't think anybody should earn a permanent position based on their performance during a short period of time when they are working hard just to get to the point where they are given tenure. Short-term contracts of five years or less might work."
Lou writes, "The best and the worst teachers I ever had were the ones who had been there forever. The best ones use their experience to teach even the dimmest kids because they had seen it all and they knew what worked. The worst ones use their experience to keep a job despite giving up on the process a long time ago."
Rick writes, "With the entire country singling out teachers to be scapegoats for the problems in education, perhaps it's time for those in the profession to re-evaluate whether they should continue to teach at all. This is largely an issue of the inability of government to run anything efficiently and cost-effectively. Teachers being at the bottom of the food chain get the grief while the superintendents and principals take home the cash."
And Ed writes for Maryland, "No, but they ought to give tenure to journalists. That way you can say what you really want to say without losing your job."
If you want to read more on this, go to my blog, CNN.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jack, thank you.