Return to Transcripts main page

CNN BREAKING NEWS

More Details Emerging About Gadhafi's Capture, Little About Actual Death; What's Next For Libya?; Word of Gadhafi Brandishing 'Golden Gun' at Time of Capture; Senator Marco Rubio Interview About Libyan Conflict; Earthquake Hits Texas Town; Questions Arise Over Oil Reserves in Libya

Aired October 20, 2011 - 15:00   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, hour two. Let's continue on in the breaking news here on this Thursday, the latest on the death of Moammar Gadhafi.

President Obama speaking within just this past hour from the Rose Garden. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, the government of Libya announced the death of Moammar Gadhafi. This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya, who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: No details from the president as to exactly how Gadhafi died. There are clearly many, many questions about that.

But I want you to take a look again this footage purportedly shot today in Gadhafi's home town of Sirte. It appears to show Gadhafi in custody and still alive up there against that truck. It is jumpy, it's hard to follow, I know, but we do see this man, purportedly Gadhafi, in this semi-upright position, clearly under duress, quite possibly mortally wounded.

The most detailed account we have thus far here at CNN, detailed, but again unconfirmed, is that Gadhafi was wounded and captured in his home town of Sirte and that his captors were determined to put him in a car, drive him to Misrata.

There are hospitals there, and that Gadhafi died in transport. As I cautioned, a lot of questions here as this story comes down.

Dan Rivers live for us now in the Libyan capital of Tripoli as night has fallen there, 9:00 your time.

Dan, I know we have been talking about your covering the battle for Sirte. To the best of your knowledge, what happened today, Dan? DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it appears that the rebels, or the revolutionary forces forced their way into the last district, district two that was being held by Gadhafi loyalists.

The line was broken effectively with a big push this morning. As that happened, it seems a convoy tried to flee from Sirte containing Colonel Gadhafi and other senior advisers. It made it to the west we understand along the coastal highway out of Sirte. But then there was a NATO airstrike at about 8:30. We're not sure if that hit the convoy but it certainly was aiming at vehicles in the area.

We're then getting a picture from various sources that Colonel Gadhafi had taken shelter out of his vehicle in a culvert underneath that highway. And it was there that he was cornered. We don't know exactly how, but clearly he was injured in the struggle.

Some sources suggesting he tried to run as they tried to stop him and he was shot, some reports in his leg. Some reports say he was also shot in the head. You could clearly see in the video footage that he was bloodied, but alive when the rebels took that video. We don't know what happened afterwards.

But we're being told that he died from his wounds. That's the story that we're being told by the NTC here anyway. We're waiting for more details about exactly what his autopsy will confirm. And then his body was taken to Misrata.

BALDWIN: Dan, let me just jump in, because I would be remiss not to point out the fireworks that we seen popping up over your shoulder and what sounds to be gunfire, presumably celebratory gunfire. Not at this moment, but I saw fireworks. I presume that there will be celebrations through the night, yes?

RIVER: Yes. Wild celebrations here. We have been down in Martyrs Square in the center of Tripoli just in the last hour. And there are hundreds of people there letting off fireworks. Some shooting their guns into the air, a lot of women and children out as well, actually.

You had some women carrying the pictures of their loved ones who either died at the hands of Gadhafi's regime or died in the battle to rid this country of Gadhafi's regime. So it is tinged with poignancy, as well as happiness.

But I think no one here underestimates what a hugely significant and historic day the 20th of October is in Libya.

BALDWIN: Dan, with regard to the happiness, my question then would be, does it matter to the Libyans who exactly killed Gadhafi? Because initially, there were reports that suggested NATO airstrikes injured, possibly killed him. Seemed to have been discounted. Is it better that Libyans themselves killed this man?

RIVER: I don't think it matters that much. The prime minister of the NTC here is very clearly saying that Gadhafi was not killed by a NATO airstrike. But they have been wrong with their information in the past, so we have to be cautious on that front. I don't think it really matters to the people out there tonight.

All they care about is that Gadhafi is dead. This war is effectively over, as far as we can see. And Sirte has fallen. That was the last stronghold of any loyalists loyal to Gadhafi.

The big question now is what happens next. Can all of these disparate groups and militias and tribes be united together to get through a democratic process to elect a government or is this going to descend into infighting and acrimony? That's the nightmare scenario that many people and analysts are worried about.

BALDWIN: Dan Rivers for us from Tripoli. Dan, thank you so much.

And I want to bring in "TIME" magazine's deputy international editor, Bobby Ghosh, covered Gadhafi's regime for years and years. And as a former Baghdad bureau chief, he knows the Arab world very well. He's good enough to join me from New York.

And, Bobby, you saw the fireworks. I don't know if you were watching a moment ago. Fireworks over the Tripoli sky, 9:00 there, clearly jubilation in Libya? What is your reaction to the news today?

BOBBY GHOSH, DEPUTY INTERNATIONAL EDITOR, "TIME": Well, it does remind me of Baghdad the day Saddam Hussein was captured and also Baghdad the day that he was hung. There was the same celebratory atmosphere that went on for a couple of days.

People were quite happy and delighted to see the end of their tormenter, in very different ways, of course. Saddam got a trial, fair or not, had a very long trial. And people had time to, if you like, prepare for his death, whereas in Gadhafi's case it came suddenly.

I think Ben, who spoke just before me, was absolutely right. People won't care very much today whether it was a NATO strike or a Libyan bullet that killed him. But in the days and weeks ahead, questions will be asked about whether he could have been taken alive, whether he should have been put before a judge and a jury. But at the moment, that's not what anybody there is thinking about at all.

BALDWIN: To that point, though, I was watching an interview today between Wolf Blitzer and the NTC ambassador to the U.S. Wolf posed that question and he essentially answered that it was better that Gadhafi was killed vs. captured alive. Do you think a lot of Libyans would agree with that?

GHOSH: Well, I think a lot of Libyans would just viscerally agree with that.

I think the example we saw in Baghdad of Saddam Hussein's trial suggests that that is not a bad way to go either, because in the end, the fear that putting Saddam on the dock would give him an opportunity to grandstand, to try and make political points didn't turn out to be true. Saddam was exposed for exactly what he was and I suspect if Gadhafi had gotten a trial, that would have happened with him too.

But I think just viscerally a lot of Libyans would have liked this to be over quickly and now it has.

BALDWIN: The obvious next question, and we don't yet really know the answer, will everyone get along within Libya or will we see acrimony? My question for you, getting a dictator is certainly one triumph. But running an entire country, a country that does not know democracy, is the NTC up for it?

GHOSH: I think they are. They have been running the country. They have been running large parts of the country for nearly eight months now. They have been running most of the country for two months now. And a lot of people in the NTC have quite a lot of experience. Several of them have lived and worked abroad. They have the experience of democracy.

Democracy isn't nuclear science. It's not that hard for people, no matter what their experience level and their education level, to understand the basic tenets. Now, some of the processes of democracy are not easy to organize and run. And Libya will need help to do that. But the world is standing by. The French, the Canadians -- I beg your pardon, the British, and we heard today President Obama saying that the United States is standing by to help.

Lots of countries have come into democracy over the course of the past century that didn't have any such experience. They have done pretty well for themselves on the whole. I come from India. India had no experience with democracy and is now the biggest democracy in the world. I'm not too worried the Libyans will be able to take this and make it their own.

BALDWIN: The president acknowledging they will help, but he also said that it will be a long and winding road to full democracy today.

Bobby Ghosh, the "TIME" magazine deputy international editor, thank you so much.

And to his point, to our questions we continue to ask, what is next for Libya, we will talk to senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, who was actually the first Western journalist to enter the country, report from Libya on the ground during the war. We will get his perspective, plus a look at Moammar Gadhafi's colorful history coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: More on our breaking story here on CNN.

President Barack Obama looking back. He signed this executive order freezing Moammar Gadhafi's assets back February.

And I want to bring in our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman, who we don't often see in a coat and tie. He's normally in midst of things in the Middle East covering war, but today he is in New York. He was the first Western journalist to enter Libya after the war began.

Ben, I want to talk about the frozen assets in just a moment. But just because your knowledge, your breadth and depth of the region, I want to ask you about something you tweeted about a couple hours ago.

You say, despite the talk about a trial, it was clear Gadhafi would die by the sword.

Why do you say that?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I spent a lot of time with the rebels and I was in Misrata, for instance, when the International Criminal Court came out with its subpoena for Gadhafi and other senior figures in the regime.

But it was very clear speaking to fighters, speaking to ordinary Libyans that given the depth of hatred for Moammar Gadhafi, given the bitterness over 42 years of mismanagement of that otherwise wealthy country, that as soon as those fighters who have no real military training or discipline got their hands on Gadhafi alive, it was pretty clear they were going to kill him.

BALDWIN: The frozen assets, Ben, what happens next?

WEDEMAN: Well, of course, now the United States has to release them in some form or another, as well as those countries in Europe that are holding frozen Libyan assets. And certainly the country is in desperate need of that money.

A lot of the roads in Libya were never in good condition. Even before the war, Libyans would always complain to you that the quality of education, health care, and so on was not good, that never did the government make adequate investment in that infrastructure. So they want the money and they want it quickly.

However, it must be said that the Libyan, the National Transitional Council has been pretty good at getting the country running again. It is not like Iraq, which took a very long time to get back on its feet again, if it is on its feet at the moment.

Libya was pretty quick already at getting the oil flowing again. And if you go to Benghazi in Tripoli, life looks pretty normal except on a day like this -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So you having covered certainly Iraq and now Libya, just sort of final question. What are some of the positives, some of the advances with regard to the situation in Libya that can perhaps create a positive endgame, democracy?

WEDEMAN: Libya certainly of all the revolutions that have taken place so far in the Arab world is best placed. It has a relatively small population of about 6.5 million, relatively well-educated population, inhabiting a wonderful bit of coastline on the Mediterranean and, of course, the biggest oil reserves in Africa.

So certainly everything in that respect is pointing in the direction of a positive future for Libya. The politics a bit murky at the moment. But if were a Libyan today, I would be optimistic.

BALDWIN: Optimistic, but murky, it's a good word to use. Ben Wedeman, nice to see you. Thank you so much.

And just want to remind everyone and show some video of you. As we mentioned, he was the first Western journalist to enter the country after the uprising. And he and his photographer were the first TV crew to get to the initial rebel stronghold, that being Benghazi. I want you to listen to Ben describing the reaction they received.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEDEMAN: We are the first television crew to get to this city. And we were just overwhelmed by the welcome here. People were throwing candy inside the car, clapping, shaking our hands, telling us, you're welcome, thank you for coming here -- an incredible experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: One man who knows a lot about the political strife and conflict that has riddled Libya for decades is Ahmed Almegaryaf. He is the son of Libyan political activist Izzat Almegaryaf. His father was jailed by Gadhafi's regime in the '90s, has not been heard from since.

And, Ahmed, you say you came here when you were 5, itty-bitty, with your uncle to attend school, correct?

AHMED ALMEGARYAF, SON OF JAILED LIBYAN POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Correct.

BALDWIN: Correct.

First just beginning the news today, Gadhafi's death, did you believe it when you read it or saw it?

ALMEGARYAF: No. I was online looking for videos, pictures, something to confirm it. And it took a little bit. When I got here into the studio, that's when I actually had seen some videos and it brought goose bumps and chills and smiles to my face.

BALDWIN: And smiles to your face. Your mother is in Libya right now. She's in Benghazi.

ALMEGARYAF: Correct. Correct, her and my older brother.

BALDWIN: Just visiting.

ALMEGARYAF: Yes, visiting and trying to get some information regarding my father's disappearance.

BALDWIN: First, your mother and your brother, have they said anything? Have you been on the phone with them the last couple of hours? ALMEGARYAF: No. I tried to get a hold of them. Unfortunately I was unable to. I'm assuming they're out celebrating with every other Libyan.

BALDWIN: Everyone else.

Explain to me your father. He was an activist.

ALMEGARYAF: Correct.

BALDWIN: And why is he in a prison in Libya?

ALMEGARYAF: He was a threat to Gadhafi, of course. What he did was, he was part of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. And he did a lot of traveling, did a lot of these things basically to promote democracy for Libya. And he was a threat to Gadhafi.

So he was kidnapped by the Egyptian security secret service and handed over to the Libyan secret service and imprisoned in the Abu Salim prison there. And 1993 to '95, we were smuggled -- a few letters from my father were smuggled to us.

BALDWIN: Wow. Do you have memories of your father at all?

ALMEGARYAF: Yes, I do have slight memories of my father.

BALDWIN: And now that essentially the regime, it's done, do you know if your father is still in prison? Is he alive?

ALMEGARYAF: We're hoping. The last place that he could be is Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown, possibly in some of the underground prisons. But that's our last place to look. And, if not, then hopefully he's a martyr as well as the others.

BALDWIN: So he could be in Sirte?

ALMEGARYAF: Could be, possibly.

BALDWIN: Underground. Could be walking the streets. We just don't know. How can you get that information? Are you working on that?

ALMEGARYAF: My brother is currently over there. We have a lot of my family over there. They're constantly on the quest to find out more information regarding my father's case and so far, nothing. They have heard a few rumors here and there, but nothing--

BALDWIN: Nothing definitive.

ALMEGARYAF: Nothing, not yet.

BALDWIN: Well, you know the Libyan people and the question that keeps being bounced around is will they be able to instill this true sense of democracy and move forward in a solid, strong way? Do you have faith they can do that?

ALMEGARYAF: Definitely. They were able to bring Gadhafi down after 42 years. No one ever expected that. I never thought it would occur in my lifetime.

BALDWIN: You didn't?

ALMEGARYAF: No, never. I'm pretty sure democracy will come to Libya pretty soon and we will all get to enjoy it.

BALDWIN: Ahmed, thank you so much.

ALMEGARYAF: Thank you so much for having me.

BALDWIN: Let us know when you find your dad.

ALMEGARYAF: Will do. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Deal.

Coming up, a look back at Moammar Gadhafi's fall. Plus, we're going to live to Washington for some reaction from Capitol Hill. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Back to our breaking news and the death of Moammar Gadhafi. We are now learning just a few more details with regard to his death. And we can now tell you, according to some of these reports, that he was brandishing a golden gun at the time. Here is video of a golden gun according to reports.

These are a number of the NTC fighters all wanting to touch it, it appears. Maybe we can re-rack that and you can see it once again.

But also according to these reports -- and again, this is just sort of coming in, in drips and drabs, that Gadhafi was killed by a young Libyan man. We have his name, Mohammed al-Bibi. And again he was reportedly heaving Gadhafi -- holding this golden gun when he was captured.

Now I want to go to Capitol Hill and go to congressional Kate Bolduan with some reaction from the Hill today, reaction of course to Gadhafi's death.

Kate, what are you hearing?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Brooke.

Probably not surprising to any of our viewers. Democrats and Republicans on both sides of the aisle. Everyone really applauding this conclusion, if you will, the death of Moammar Gadhafi. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham summing up probably what many lawmakers are feeling, saying -- quote -- "The mad dog of the Middle East is dead and the Libyan people can breathe a sigh of relief. "

Generally speaking, lawmakers seem to be describing this as a victory first for the Libyan people, also a victory for democracy as Democratic efforts across the world and also a victory for U.S. involvement in this conflict. But there are still some lawmakers that are critical that the Obama administration did not act quickly or decisively enough to bring this conflict to an end sooner.

Republican Senator from Florida Marco Rubio, he is one of those critics who was also actually just visiting Libya at the end of last month. Listen here to what Senator Rubio had to say this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: My point is if the U.S. had gotten involved early, aggressively and decisively, today would have happened months ago. Libya would not be as destroyed. It wouldn't cost as much money to rebuild them. There wouldn't be as many people dead or injured and there wouldn't be as many injured or rockets missing.

So, look, it great that it turned out well, but there are consequences. Sometimes you don't just have to do the right thing. You have to do the right thing at the right time. And I think this administration failed to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Now, another big question, of course, is where do things go from here?

It seems both Democrats and Republicans agree even at this early stage that there does need to be some U.S. involvement, some role for the United States in assisting the Libyan people in this post-Gadhafi era to move toward a more stable, toward a more democratic political system.

We want to you listen here to Senator Chris Coons. He's also the chair -- this is noteworthy -- of the African Affairs Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee. Listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: I think our engagement in Libya which takes a different turn today can and should remain one that is scaled appropriate to the needs of the Libyan people to now quickly transition to a stable democracy to rejoining sort of the community of nations and to dealing with some of the humanitarian, civilian infrastructure needs that they face immediately right in front of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Immediately, though, Brooke, it seems that no one is yet coming out to say exactly what kind of assistance or what kind of role the United States should play and also then of course what kind of role the U.S. Congress should play in providing that assistance. Of course, that will be a big topic of discussion in the days ahead.

BALDWIN: Well, perhaps I will ask Senator Rubio himself. He will be on the show in a matter of minutes here, Republican senator from Florida.

Kate Bolduan, thank you so much live from the Hill. And now to this. The man who ruled Libya with this iron grip for 42 years was ousted by his own people in this uprising that turned into a bloody civil war, a war, of course, that led to his death just some hours ago.

Want to take a look back on how Libya got to where it is today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN (voice-over): The first signs on February 16 that the Arab spring had spread to Libya, a violent crackdown on demonstrators protesting the arrest of a human rights activist. And within days, clashes had erupted across the country.

And as images of the violence made their way on to the Internet, the Gadhafi family used state TV to dismiss reports that they were losing control.

SAIF AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, SON OF MOAMMAR GADHAFI (through translator): Today, Tripoli is quiet. Yesterday, Tripoli was quiet. Schools are open. Banks are open. People are out normally. Life is normal here.

BALDWIN: The Western world saw it differently.

OBAMA: It is U.S. policy that Gadhafi needs to go.

BALDWIN: By the end of February, sanctions were imposed and Colonel Gadhafi's assets frozen.

The first attacks on Libya came on March 19th. French, British, and American forces fired more than 110 missiles at Libyan military assets.

Days later, NATO took over the mission and on April 30th launched a missile that killed Gadhafi's youngest son and three of his grandchildren. The Libyan leaders' base of support began to crumble amid political defections and increasing international support for the rebels' transitional council.

By late June the international criminal court had issued a warrant for the arrest of Gadhafi for crimes against humanity.

Remaining defiant on August 15th, Gadhafi made a speech urging Libyans to fight opposition forces.

MOAMMAR GADHAFI, FORMER LIBYAN LEADER (on camera): The end of colonization is soon. The end of the rats is also soon.

BALDWIN: But the rebels advanced on Tripoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today Tripoli, not Gadhafi.

BALDWIN: And a week later, stormed his compound to find it abandoned. The capital had fallen but the battle was not yet won. Throughout September, government fighters advanced on Gadhafi's remaining three strongholds, finally the deposed leader's home town of Sirte. The regime that had ruled Libya for 42 years barely put up a fight, and through it all Libya's ousted leader remained out of sight and his family members on the run.

This week marking the end game for one of the world's most enduring dictators as the last of Gadhafi's loyalists were overthrown and the man who ruled Libya for 42 years met his demise. This graphic cell phone video emerged allegedly showing the former Libyan dictator bloodied and lifeless. Celebrations erupted from Sirte to Tripoli on the news.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: And coming up next, we have some inside information into the inner workings of the Gadhafi government, I should say the Gadhafi regime, from former Libyan lobbyists.

But first, the suspects you see here allegedly imprisoned several other people including the niece of the woman in the middle, their story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We're not going to go too far from the breaking story today, the developments in Libya that 42-year dictator Moammar Gadhafi has been shot and killed, but I want to bring you some other stories. If it is interesting and happening, you're about to see it -- rapid fire.

Let's go to that story out of Ohio. New information about a crazy scene outside of Zanesville, Ohio, where dozens of exotic animals were on the loose. First off, this is some of the home video, a bear running loose. We have now learned six of the animals, a grizzly, two monkeys, three leopards were spared. They are quarantined right now. But officers shot 42 lions, tigers, wolves, and more. I want to you listen to one man's call about what he saw from the highway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there's a lion on Mount Perry Road. There is a big horse farm on the right. I drove out and I walked out and it was standing there in front of the street light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got one of those lions that are missing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The suspect accused of locking four mentally disabled people in a basement in Philadelphia may have had even more victim. Police in Philadelphia say these three suspects you see here imprisoned seven other people, including the niece of the woman there in the middle. The niece is being treated for, quote, "horrific injuries." Also, a fourth suspect was charged yesterday, and officials say punishment will be harsh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES RAMSEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: When we talk about that kind of cruelty to somebody over and over and over again, there is no penalty, and I repeat, no penalty that is too harsh for the people that did this, absolutely no penalty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: A man taking part in the protest in Greece has died. Hospital officials tell CNN he died of cardiac arrest. This news comes during day two now of those protests, thousands of people in the streets here in Greece ahead of these austerity measures to combat the country's massive debt that will include job loss. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades into the crowds to break some of these people up.

And prosecutors in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, are expected to wrap up the case today. Just yesterday an anesthesiologist testified that Jackson most likely died because his tongue blocked the back of his throat. He also said he could have saved Jackson's life if he had done, quote, "a simple chin lift when he saw the pop star had stopped breathing."

A 4.6 magnitude earthquake has hit outside San Antonio, Texas. This is town of Campellton, Texas. The U.S. Geological Survey says it is the largest quake to hit the area since 1993. The earthquake was just over two miles deep and caused the brief evacuation of the federal building in downtown San Antonio.

And stay right here, more of our breaking story of Moammar Gadhafi after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: I want to get you caught up here with regard to the breaking story today, the death of Moammar Gadhafi. This is President Obama speaking just about 90 minutes ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today the government of Libya announced the death of Moammar Gadhafi. This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: No details from the president as to exactly how Gadhafi died. There are clearly a lot of questions about that. But again, I want to look at this footage. Purportedly shot today in Gadhafi's home town of Sirte. It appears to show Gadhafi in custody, still alive. I know it's jumpy and hard to follow, but take a look. This man up against this truck purportedly Gadhafi, semi-upright position, under duress, quite possibly mortally wounded.

I want to bring in Randa Fahmy Hudome, former lobbyist for the Libyan government in Washington. She also served as associate deputy energy secretary under President George W. Bush. And Randa, first I have to ask your reaction to today's stunning news.

RANDA FAHMY HUDOME, FORMER LIBYAN GOVERNMENT LOBBYIST: Brooke, it was certainly stunning as I woke up this morning and heard the news. I thought it was only a matter of time, certainly, as the rebel forces were closing in to Colonel Gadhafi's compound. But it was certain lay pleasant surprise this morning, certainly for the people of Libya who are now free to live independent and move forward for their future.

BALDWIN: I know that you worked with the Bush administration to try to normalize relations, right, between the U.S. and Libya under this regime. What was that like working with them?

HUDOME: It was historic, certainly, Brooke. During the post 9/11 format, we had a Bush administration policy that was to rid rogue nations of weapons of mass destruction, first starting with Iraq and then moving on to Libya. So it certainly was an interesting experiment, if you will, in foreign policy in that Libya was the first country to be removed from the terrorism list by virtue of diplomacy. And it was the Bush administration diplomats, many of them who worked very hard in removing Libya from that list and moving that country forward and taking those weapons of mass destruction out of Gadhafi's hands.

That being said, we were left certainly with the same old regime to work with, and that became a difficult prospect for the Obama administration who inherited the Bush administration policies on Libya.

BALDWIN: I understand you work directly with Saif al Islam Gadhafi. Is that correct?

HUDOME: Yes.

BALDWIN: I heard him described -- I think it was our own Fareed Zakaria that described him as cerebral and a playboy. What was he like?

HUDOME: Certainly he was in the forefront of the reform movement in Libya. When I worked with him in 2004 through 2007, he was very much dedicated to a reform Libya, a Libya that would have a constitution and have democratic elections.

And he was very much in the forefront of negotiating with members in the U.S. government about reforming the ways of Libya and moving Libya forward. So he oftentimes battled with his father on some of these policies. But, unfortunately, when Libya's Arab renaissance or Arab awakening took place recently, Saif decided that he no longer wanted to move forward on the reform agenda and stayed with his father.

BALDWIN: So who was calling the shots? There have been questions Gadhafi's leadership. Was it his son or was it Moammar Gadhafi?

HUDOME: I'm sure it was the leader, Moammar Gadhafi himself. He also has called the shots certainly. He had a number of sons, and I understand many of them have since died certainly in the war. But it always has been and his close circle of advisers.

But what's certainly interesting is many of the people who are serving now in the transitional council high worked with who were at one time Gadhafi loyalists were brave enough to defect and went to the other side. And they knew what Gadhafi was going and what his next moves were because they worked with him closely in the government and the regime.

BALDWIN: Sure. Randa, help us just put this in a broader perspective. When you bring up the Arab spring, we've been reporting on multiple countries for months and months, how will today's news, how will Gadhafi's death impact the Arab world and perhaps specifically, Syria?

HUDOME: Well, it is interesting. It is now being called the Arab awakening, not the Arab spring anymore. I think that is sort of the political correct term, now. And I think it is a good term. My colleagues in the Arab world like that term very much.

What this means for the Arab awakening each dictator is going by the wayside in a variety of ways from Tunisia to Egypt and now Libya. But in Libya's case, this was a case in which NATO forces, an international military force, assisted the Libyan people and the fighters in overthrow their dictator.

It may happen in Syria as well. The Syrian regime and Bashar al Assad has to realize that his time is limited and the people do want him to leave and then the next step might be a case where there will be international intervention of a military sort. And as we saw today, this is what the ending portends, which is certainly the death of a dictator rather than deposing the dictator or in the case of Egypt, the dictator going on trial.

BALDWIN: We've heard from the Obama administration essentially saying with regard to Bashar al Assad that he has lost his legitimacy now to rule. Randa Fahmy Hudome, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

HUDOME: You're welcome. Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: And Africa, the biggest oil reserves are in Libya. So what happens to them now? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: I want to talk Libya and oil right. Now let's go to CNNmoney.com's Poppy Harlow live for us in New York. And Poppy, what will today's news, what will Gadhafi's death mean for Libyan oil?

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: A very good question, and the reason everyone is asking that question, why they care, is because let's take a look at a map of Africa and it will tell you the answer.

When you look at Libya, it is not about the oil they produce. They only produce about two percent of the world's crude. It's about the reserves that they sit on. Libya sits atop the single most oil reserves in the entire, in the entirety of Africa. So that's critical, what hasn't been tapped in Libya.

And in terms of the production, let's take a look. This is a nation that exported about 1.6 million barrels of crude a day. That was before the conflict in Libya. Then it fell to zero. They weren't exporting any. Today it is back to about 350,000 barrels of crude a day, so nowhere near where they were.

The big question is who controls the oil? It was controlled by Gadhafi and his regime. And then during conflict, it was controlled some would say by rebels. Others would say they didn't know who was controlling it, still controlled by Libya itself. There is not private companies within it as there is in the United States who control the oil.

So the question is, what is the political situation going to be like in Libya? Who will control that oil? You've got a lot of different political fractions. And the point is who will get the money from that oil, Brooke? That's the very, very big question. Obviously, not Gadhafi and his regime anymore.

BALDWIN: But there is a lot of uncertainty, until you look at big company that's want to come in and tap the oil in Libya, get it back on the global market. They're going to be very hesitant to do that if they don't see political stability. So one report from an analyst I read said even by 2014 they do not know if that -- all that production can come back online.

HARLOW: That's a good point because we keep asking what's next. And that's just another example of why stability is so key in this nation in Africa. Poppy Harlow, thank you very much. You can read about the story. Just go to CNNmoney.com.

And while Libyans are dancing in the streets, we saw fireworks over Tripoli not too long ago now that this 42-year despot is dead, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is speaking out about the Obama administration's role in this whole revolution. The Florida senator is good enough to join me live right after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Senator Marco Rubio of Florida visited Libya last month with Republican delegation that included Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. And Senator Rubio, good enough to join me live from Capitol Hill. Senator, we were just talking in the break. You said it's been a couple of weeks since you were on the ground for mere hours in Libya. So obviously first question out of the gate, stunning news today. What's your reaction?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: Well, it's an opportunity for the next chapter in the Libyan story to begin, and that's the ability now to rebuild their country, a free and prosperous Libya. It's not going to be easy. There are a lot of roadblocks along the way and things to overcome. But I think they have the spirit to do it, and hopefully we can be a little helpful to that. I know other countries want to be helpful to that. And so we wish them the best and we'll see how we can cooperate with them on it. BALDWIN: And senator, it's amazing to think back. It was February when this whole rebellion and the war began, and now here we are, eight months later. Gadhafi is dead after he overthrew of his government. I know as recent as this morning, you've been quite critical of the administration, this president, how all of this and our involvement has been handled. What has the president, what has he gotten wrong here?

RUBIO: First of all, what I've been critical of is not that he made the wrong decision but that he took too long to make it. I think it's important to remember, today's a great day. We shouldn't be looking backward. We should look forward.

We want to talk about the role the U.S. played as far as a lesson for the future. Here's what we need to remember. There was a point early in this conflict where the U.S. would have gotten involved and done what we've done so aggressively, this conflict would have ended a lot sooner, a lot less people killed, a lot less damage to the infrastructure of the country. You wouldn't have 30 some odd militias that are now armed that you hope will disarm and join the effort. You wouldn't have thousands of young men that have been maimed and injured that instead of entering the workforce now have to go through physical rehabilitation before they can do that.

It would have made it a lot easier. You wouldn't have thousands of shoulder fired rockets that are missing. It wouldn't have been as chaotic. The fact this incident was prolonged, that it took so long to bring this to a conclusion is going to have some lasting effects and some lasting impacts. So we think it's great that this has happened. It's a time to look forward. If we want lessons from this, the lessons are that sometimes making the right decision also has to be made at the right time and scale. I think this president failed to do that.

BALDWIN: If it's an issue of timing, we, U.S., NATO, should have gotten in earlier, then do you think that the U.S./NATO should be involved and for how long in this transition process?

RUBIO: First of all, we should be involved in the transition process to the extent the Libyan people want us to be involved. Ultimately it's their country. And let's remember they didn't ask us for a ground invasion. They asked for a no fly zone so they could finish the job. Had that been provided earlier in this conflict, this conflict would have been, this day would have come a long, long time ago.

Now, moving forward, I think what they'll tell you they need most is medical assistance. They have a lot of people injured, a lot of young men who are the backbone of their workforce who need rehabilitation. Some need prosthetics. And they're willing to pay for this. In essence they've got frozen assets they're willing to use to pay us and other countries. So they're asking for medical assistance. And I was encouraged that Secretary Clinton traveled there yesterday and heard the same message and seems willing to offer that.

BALDWIN: I don't know if you've seen the video of Secretary Clinton reacting. It's quite a piece of video when she was handed that BlackBerry this morning. Senator Marco Rubio, I look forward to having you back on and talking to you once again. I really, really appreciate you coming on live from Capitol Hill this day. Thank you.

RUBIO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We are getting more of course on the death, the breaking story of Moammar Gadhafi. I have Jim Clancy, who has talked to this man three separate times. What was that like? Also, more news on the death itself. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: All right, I've got some breaking news with regard to Gadhafi's death today. This is from a senior NATO official telling our Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence it's believed Gadhafi survived a combined strike on his convoy and died after being captured by rebels outside of Sirte. A DOD official tells Barbara Starr also of the Pentagon the convoy was hit around Sirte this morning by a combination of French jets and a predator drone firing a hellfire missile. That DOD official however has been unable to say if Gadhafi was in fact in that convoy. That just down from a senior NATO official.

Back now to this story, to our veteran correspondent, Jim Clancy, who I want to bring back into this conversation. You interviewed Moammar Gadhafi three times. In a word, how do you describe the man?

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fated certainly today is how I remember him, because it was inevitable. Once they got their hands on him, he was a dead man. I want to show you a clip from an interview I did. Take note of this. He's in a wheelchair with head lamps and turn signals on it. He hadn't told us he was injured. So I asked him, what happened? Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GADHAFI (via translator): Thank you very much for your questioning or your asking. And it is a very simple matter. I was exercising and I fell down. I broke my leg, and now my health is improving. I use the chair to move around. Let's go back to the most important issue -- all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: He wanted to change the subject immediately. You know why? My sources told me --

BALDWIN: He didn't just fall.

CLANCY: No. Unless it was horseshoes and hand grenades he had been playing. Somebody through a hand grenade into a crowd and wounded him badly in both legs. He was hated. More than 40,000 Libyans have died in this conflict alone.

BALDWIN: But not just Libya. CLANCY: Not just Libya. West Africa, he trained troops in Sierra Leone, 50,000 dead, 10,000 horribly maimed, arms chopped off, legged chopped off, hands cut off. And 150,000 people died in Liberia, a conflict for which Charles Taylor, who was trained by Gadhafi, is now on trial in the Hague for. This man had a horrible effect on the entire region, and was never held accountable. In fact his war crimes were absolved by the west not with holy water, but with crude oil.

BALDWIN: The end of a man. Wolf Blitzer has much more on this breaking story. "THE SITUATION ROOM" starts right now.