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THE SITUATION ROOM
Moammar Gadhafi Killed in Libya; Libyan Ambassador to U.S. Ali Aujali Interviewed; Senator Lindsey Graham Interviewed about Libyan Revolution; Billions of Dollars of Libyan Assets at Stake; Pan Am Flight 103 Families Reaction to Moammar Gadhafi's Death; How Moammar Gadhafi Was Killed
Aired October 20, 2011 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, breaking news. The brutal death of a brutal dictator. Video appears to confirm Gadhafi was captured alive by Libyan revolutionary forces in or near his hometown of Sirte. We're piecing together varying accounts of how he later died. Reuters now reporting he was killed during a shootout between rebels and his supporters.
Libyans are celebrating his Gadhafi's demise after his 42-year reign of terror. At least one of Gadhafi's sons reportedly was killed as well.
President Obama says the Libyan people now have won their revolution and he's promising the NATO mission in Libya will end soon. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
His face instilled fear in the Libyan people for four decades. Now the image of Moammar Gadhafi's dead body is sparking celebrations in the streets of Libya. We want to warn you. We have new video coming into us from Al Jazeera that is very graphic. But it appears to prove that one of the world's longest serving dictators is indeed gone.
We're also getting reports of how Gadhafi died after he was captured wounded but alive. Reuters is quoting the Libyan interim prime minister, saying Gadhafi died from a bullet wound to his head during a shooting between rebel fighters and his reporters. Let's go straight to our senior International Correspondent Dan Rivers in Tripoli. Dan, you're learning new details on the drone strike, a U.S. drone strike only moments before Gadhafi died. Tell us what you learned.
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK, so we're building up a picture of a NATO airstrike before Gadhafi was captured on his convoy. NATO saying that Gadhafi they believe was not killed in the airstrike. Clearly, he's shown in that footage alive.
We're told that a predator drone was involved firing a hellfire missile in conjunction with jets as well. So what we appear to have is the NTC forces moving into district two, a big firefight breaking out. Gadhafi's convoy tries to escape along the road we think to the west. There is an airstrike. It appears Gadhafi takes cover in a drainage ditch underneath the road, and it's there that he is captured by NTC forces.
And that's when we pick up this video that we can show you, the graphic video that shows him being dragged out on the front of a pickup truck surrounded by NTC forces. At this point Gadhafi is bloody, he's injured, but he is alive at this point.
And then this is where our information sort of peters out. We know he ends up dead. We're not sure how he dies, whether he was beaten to death by the crowd, pistol whipped, or he was shot in the head as Reuters reporting.
Now, we talked to the chief pathologist here in Tripoli who is due to go and look at Gadhafi's body. He hasn't done that yet, and he is bemused by these reports coming out from the prime minister claiming that Gadhafi was shot through the head, because he hasn't had a chance to examine the body yet. So it may be a little premature to say that for certain that he was shot through the head.
Some other reports suggesting Gadhafi was shot by his own pistol, which would suggest he was basically executed by NTC forces. Other reports suggesting he was shot and killed in the crossfire as a gun battle broke out between NTC forces and remaining Gadhafi loyalists. All this we're hoping to try and clarify in the coming hours, Wolf.
But one thing is certain. They're pretty happy on the streets behind me, as you can hear with all that gunfire going on.
BLITZER: We're hearing the celebratory gunfire. It's now past 11:00 p.m. in Tripoli where you are throughout Libya. The people are celebrating. Is there know any sense of apprehension, not knowing what the future may bring?
RIVERS: Maybe a little bit, Wolf. But I think at the moment the overwhelming feeling is one of relief, of happiness, of reflection, thinking about the enormous historical nature of today and the 42 years that have passed. We had a good chance to talk to quite a lot of people in Martyr Square, as they call it now. It used to be Green Square. Here's the flavor of what they were telling me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very free and I feel that my birthday is today. I feel that I'm six hours old, really. Libya is free without him.
RIVERS: You feel like you've been reborn?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel reborn, really. I can't express my happiness, really.
RIVERS: Is there disappointment that Colonel Gadhafi will not be put on trial?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We prefer that we have got him alive. However, it is different maybe this is better for his supporters so they don't come out again. So at the end the devil is gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS: So people perhaps a little regretful that they can't hold him to account for the horrendous way that he treated people here and for the brutality meted out on the Libyan people. But as you can see here behind me, the overwhelming feeling is one of happiness and relief.
BLITZER: We're learning more and more details about the death of Gadhafi at the same time. All right, we'll check back with you. Thanks very, very much. Let's go over to the Pentagon right now where Correspondent Chris Lawrence is standing by. We seem to be getting a picture of how he died. Chris, what are learning from your sources in the Pentagon and elsewhere about what happens next?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I think one of the things that the Pentagon and entire Obama administration is very concerned with is what happens to these weapons, the weapons that are out there that were in Libya's arsenal.
First off, you've got about 10 tons of the mustard gas. This is a particularly virulent chemical agent that can cause severe blistering on the skin. It can cause blistering in the respiratory system. Now, those sites are believed to be secured. The State Department has a team of about 14 people that are embedded with a team of NTC officials guarding these sites.
I was also talking to a senior official who said we're keeping constant Ariel surveillance of these areas as well. The chief of staff is getting daily updates that yes, these chemical weapon right now are still secure.
Now, you've got the problems also of these thousands of shoulder fired missiles. Although the State Department has been to a lot of sites, hundreds have been disabled, right now there are still thousands of these that have gone missing. And the Obama administration has been up front in saying terrorists have already expressed interests in obtaining some of these.
Now, look, they're old. By most military standards, these are not something that could go against a modern military arsenal. But they're very small. They only weigh about 30 pounds. They're about four feet long. They're extremely easy to conceal and there is a real danger these could be used against a civilian airplane or helicopter since they can reach up to 10,000 feet in the air.
BLITZER: Any expectation, Chris, of U.S. military support, U.S. military assistance to Libya right now in the aftermath of Gadhafi's death?
RIVERS: Well, what we believe is going to happen is once the U.N. Security Council passes its new resolution that supersedes the old one, that's going to sort of shape the new guidance for NATO, and NATO's going to have to come up with a plan for how to help, how military support will happen from this point forward. British officials say it could take the form of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance assets being handed over to help the Libyan government, securing not only land borders but its territorial waters and airspace, but also help with training to help build up the Libyan army.
BLITZER: Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon, thanks very much.
Let's dig a little bit deeper right now. Libya's ambassador to the United States Ali Aujali is joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for coming in.
ALI AUJALI, LIBYAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Thank you for inviting me.
BLITZER: Just give us the basics based on what you're hearing from your government in Tripoli right now. We know Gadhafi is dead. No doubt about that. We know his son Mutassim is dead. Is that correct?
AUJALI: That's correct.
BLITZER: What about his other son Said al Islam?
AUJALI: There was a report, but I could not confirmed it.
BLITZER: So he still may be alive?
AUJALI: Yes, but I think shortly they will get him if he's still around.
BLITZER: You and I have spoken about the burial. Have you heard where they're going to bury him, a secret location, public location, at sea?
AUJALI: Maybe the latest I hear that maybe he will be buried unknown to the people maybe.
BLITZER: Because they don't want people to --
AUJALI: They don't want people to make a big issue out of it.
BLITZER: Because according to Islamic tradition, he has to be buried within 24 hours?
AUJALI: The important thing is you have to be buried. Sooner is better.
BLITZER: The sooner --
AUJALI: The prime minister is going to Misrata tonight to declare liberation of Libya --
BLITZER: Here's the prime minister and the chairman. So they're going to go to Misrata and do what?
AUJALI: And declare the liberation of Libya from Gadhafi and end of the fighting.
BLITZER: And that's it? AUJALI: And that's it.
BLITZER: Walk us through, because we're getting all these conflicting reports how Gadhafi was killed. Based on all the information you're getting. I know you're thousands of miles away from Sirte where he was killed, what do you know? What can you tell our viewers how Gadhafi was killed.
AUJALI: Yes, but the telephone make it shorter distance. Yes, Gadhafi was killed in exchange of fire when they find out where is he.
BLITZER: Where was he at the time? I know he's in Sirte, but in a hole, a building? Was he in a convoy?
AUJALI: He was in a hole. And he described the Libyan people as the rats now, but the rats just came out from the ground when they get close to him. And he was killed in the exchange of fire.
BLITZER: Take a look at that picture over there on the screen. Was that the hole where he was hiding?
AUJALI: That's exactly what they mentioned.
BLITZER: He was hiding in there. So, what happened? They corner him? He crawled out of the hole. Then what happened?
AUJALI: Then exchange of fire when he came was between him and the revolutionaries.
BLITZER: So, he had a so-called golden gun in his hand. Is that right?
AUJALI: You see the gun that was shown?
BLITZER: Yes. And he had it in his hand?
AUJALI: I can't confirm this, Wolf. I really don't know about this exact details. The main question to me this morning when I hear the news that I call Libya, what happened to Gadhafi? They told me he was killed. Are you sure? They said, yes. Can I make this statement? They said yes. Then I called Benghazi again and the same statement came out. For the little people, the main issue is the Gadhafi era is over. That's the main issue.
BLITZER: So, when he crawled out of that hole, was he resisting? Was he firing a weapon?
AUJALI: I really don't have more details than what I have told you about, how did he act. But it looks like no resistance from himself, but came from the bodyguards accompanying him. But from him, he was not shooting.
BLITZER: And the Prime Minister Mahmoud Jabril says he has a forensic report saying that Gadhafi actually died from a bullet to the head.
AUJALI: That's what I do understand, too, yes. BLITZER: And somebody --
AUJALI: Of course -- it looked --
BLITZER: Was it in a battle?
AUJALI: If he's in the hands of the revolutionists, he will not be executed. The Libyan people first demand they want Gadhafi alive. They want to ask him about his criminals against the Libyan people.
BLITZER: They wanted a trial.
AUJALI: They wanted a trial. That's what the Libyan people really want. Unfortunately, that doesn't -- they end up Gadhafi doesn't come the way they like it.
BLITZER: We've heard reports all day there was a NATO airstrike on a convoy leaving Sirte, a lot of car leaving Sirte, and there is some suspicion that Gadhafi and his loyalists were in that convoy. French planes bombed the convoy. A U.S. predator drone bombed that convoy. Was Gadhafi, as far as you know, Mr. Ambassador, in that convoy?
AUJALI: He was not killed by NATO. That's for sure. But the NATO strike part of that convoy, that's true. But Gadhafi was confronted by the Libyan revolutionary. Even the NATO, they made this correct of the information was been published for the last few hours.
BLITZER: But Gadhafi himself was in that convoy even though he wasn't killed by any of the NATO equipped --
AUJALI: I really cannot confirm if he was not convoy or hiding in the sewage where the incident taking place. This, all this small details maybe we be able to get them later on, but at this moment, people, they're celebrating the end of the era of Gadhafi.
BLITZER: So, what do you do next? What happens now? Walk us through the process in Libya because from the U.S., from NATO's perspective, they're hoping that there will be a transition to democracy, elections, freedom. Are you upbeat about that?
AUJALI: Of course. What did the Libyans died for? For freedom, for elections, for democracy. And what the NATO and the United States help Libya for? They helped the Libyans to achieve all these things. We want a democratic country, Libyan participation in the process of development of reconciliation. That's what we want.
BLITZER: So, what happens now? NATO's getting ready to end this operation as we've known it in the next few days. Is that good or bad?
AUJALI: Look, Wolf, we need the support of friends not time of war. We need the support of them in the time of peace.
BLITZER: Tell us what you want the United States and NATO allies and Arab allies who came to your help, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, didn't they come to you aid? AUJALI: Let us talk about the United States first. What we need now from the United States is to help to treat our injured.
BLITZER: To treat your injured people, because Senator McCain has said that the U.S. should send over one of these huge hospital ships, the USS Comfort, the USS Mercy.
AUJALI: Yes. Maybe it will take about three weeks to arrive, but at the same time --
BLITZER: Has your government made a formal request for one of these huge us Navy hospital ships to come over there?
AUJALI: This has been discussed during the senator visit, Senator McCain's visit, and during Secretary Clinton's visit.
BLITZER: She was there yesterday.
AUJALI: Yes. And then they can also often be the hospitals for patients.
BLITZER: Have they agreed? Has the Obama administration --
AUJALI: I think I'm very optimistic. Today, I have no time to conduct, to go and speak to the government, to the State Department, but I'm going to do as soon as possible.
This is number one, help the injured, stay with the Libyan. You have to support the Libyan to stand up on their feet and to practice their democracy and to evolve more democratic institution in the Libyan process. And we want all to have our people to be trained. We are big country with a small population. We want more professional people. Then all this is a very important issue. The Europeans, they can do that. The Americans, they can do that. And the Arab countries, they are doing that.
BLITZER: So, the most important thing the United States can do right now is send over a hospital ship to treat the injured in Libya and also make U.S. and European hospitals --
BLITZER: -- open to treat -- you don't have enough hospitals and doctors and nurses in Libya. What about anything else you want the United States to do?
AUJALI: Well, I think they're being great job. I'm grateful to President Obama and grateful to the Congress and to the people and to you. You put the cause of Libya to the media in the best way I ever seen in my life, and you support and CNN and the other channels, of course.
That's what, we want to support to help the Libyans to go through the process. And we want also some experts to help us to get rid of this kind of missiles which Gadhafi took them. We don't know where they are. BLITZER: The shoulder fired missiles. There are thousands of them that are --
AUJALI: After the end of Gadhafi we will not see people fighting for him anymore. Gadhafi is over. The ones fighting with the Gadhafi --
BLITZER: -- on the black market and get in the hands of terrorists.
AUJALI: They will have -- they have no place to sell them in Libya.
BLITZER: In Libya, but the concern is they could get out of Libya.
AUJALI: No, I think the border now are tight with Africa, Egypt, Tunisia. I think smuggling these weapons now, especially after Gadhafi's era is over, I think will be very difficult.
BLITZER: Ali Aujali, thanks very much for coming in.
AUJALI: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
BLITZER: Ali Aujali is Libya's ambassador to the United States.
President Obama says the U.S. and its alleys helped stop Moammar Gadhafi and his forces in their tracks. Does the president deserve credit for ending the Gadhafi regime? I'll ask a leading Senate Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham. He's standing by live on Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Faced with the potential of mass atrocities and a call for help from the Libyan people, the United States and our friends and allies stopped Gadhafi's forces in their tracks. A coalition that included the United States, NATO, and Arab nations persevered through the summer to protect Libyan civilians. And meanwhile the courageous Libyan people thought for their own future and broke the back of the regime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The president of the United States at the White House today. Let's talk about what's going on with the Republican senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham. He's a key member of Senate armed services committee. He's been to Libya several times, including last month, also many years ago met with Moammar Gadhafi.
So, let's talk a little bit about the president first and foremost. Are you ready to say job well done, mission accomplished, Mr. President, thank you for your good work?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I want to thank the administration for jumping on board when they did. But I think it's fair criticism to say if we had imposed a no fly zone early on we wouldn't have wait to Misrata when the whole city was under siege and a lot of people were about to be massacred. I'm glad we intervened before it got worse in Misrata.
I'm very disappointed we took American air power off the table at a time it could have ended the war.
But having said all of that, I'm glad Gadhafi is dead and a new day dawns and this president. And this Congress and this world will be judged by what happens next more than what happened in the past.
BLITZER: Let's talk about what Libya needs. You heard the Libyan ambassador appeal to the United States. I know he did it to you when you were there with Senator McCain not that long ago, to Secretary Clinton yesterday to send over one of these huge us Navy hospital ships to help with the wounded, with the injured in Libya and to open up U.S. military hospitals and other hospitals in Europe.
You've raised this issue with the Obama administration. Is the U.S. going to do it?
GRAHAM: I hope so. They're sitting on -- we're sitting on $34 billion of frozen Libyan assets that can be used to reimburse us. The French and the Germans already have signed agreements with the Libyans to provide medical treatment. We have two naval hospitals. One could be sent to Libya to provide some acute care. Opening up a military base in Germany to the wounded in Libya not only would be the right thing to do, it would solidify our relationship for decades to come. We have urged the administration to do this, and they're taking it very seriously.
BLITZER: That's not cheap. But you say is that the Libyans who have exported a lot of oil potentially, they're going to reimburse the U.S. for all of this plus everything it costs to liberate Libya from Gadhafi?
GRAHAM: I don't know if they're going to reimburse us for everything. The cost to liberate is about $1 billion. But they've said they would be willing to reimburse for medical treatment or infrastructure support we provide.
This is a big deal for the world, not just Libya and the United States. If we can get the Libyan oil production back up and running, that's more supply for us at home come from now a friendly nation. So, it's in our national security economic interest to help the Libyan people get back on their feet and to make sure a vacuum is not created in Libya on the security front and governance front like Afghanistan and Iraq.
BLITZER: Would you support the U.S., the U.N., the NATO allies doing in Syria, what it has just done in Libya?
GRAHAM: You know, that's a really good question. I support the idea of isolating Assad and letting the world know that his time is up. We don't have the support against Syria like we did with Libya. The Arab League is talking about kicking him out. But when it comes to Assad and ending his terror, I hope we will be as bold as in the past and if you could stop Assad or take him out and replace him, that's a big blow to Iran, because he's one of Iran's more reliable allies. But I don't think we need military action at this point.
BLITZER: Senator Graham, thanks very much for coming in.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
BLITZER: Up next, some of the families, they're reacting, emotional reaction to Moammar Gadhafi's death, not only being felt in Libya. It's also been felt here in the United States. Families of Pan Am 103 victims are reacting on this day. Their story, much more of the breaking news. That's coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
BLITZER: You can see the Libyans, they're celebrating today the death of Gadhafi. These pictures came in a little bit earlier, but those celebrations are continuing now on the streets of Tripoli and elsewhere, lots to celebrate from the Libyan perspective. Gadhafi, dead. One of the sons Mutassim, dead. We don't know about Saif al Islam, the other son. He's still unclear what happened to him.
Brian Todd is working a very important part of this story, the money, some $37 billion that the United States has frozen Libyan assets here in the United States. Brian, what's going to happen to all this money?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you mentioned, Wolf, right now the U.S. Treasury Department has $37 billion worth of funds that were accessible to Moammar Gadhafi and his regime frozen in the United States. They have already released about $700 million of that to Libya's National Transitional Council with the U.N.'s approval. It's important to note the U.S. is holding this money, but does not control it. It has to release the funds back to the Libyan government when that government requests it and the U.N. approves it. And a Treasury spokeswoman says they are working with Libya's Transitional Council and the State Department to do just that. But $37 billion of Gadhafi's assets frozen right now in the United States, Wolf.
BLITZER: Tracking all that money, Gadhafi's money elsewhere, though, is a lot more difficult, isn't it, Brian?
TODD: That's right. Getting an accurate account of it is near impossible. Analysts estimate the Gadhafi regime had as much as $150 billion in assets available to it around the world. We know where some of it is.
From one financial statement obtained by the state-owned Libyan Investment Authority, the anti-corruption watchdog group Global Witness got that statement this summer. Global Witness says Gadhafi and his family have strong connections with that government investment group.
Now, according to that financial statement, the Libyan Investment Authority had nearly $20 billion in deposits in major banks all over the world, including Goldman Sachs, HSBC, British Arab Commercial Bank, and Sahara Bank. The LIA had investments around the world, according to Global Witness, of at least $64 billion, and we're going to show you where.
First, to Italy, Libya's largest trading partner. The Libyan Investment Authority had a 2.6 percent stake in UniCredit. That is Italy's largest bank. It had a two percent stake in Finmeccanica, the Italian defense contractor.
Take you further north to Germany, where according to the statement obtained by Global Witness, the Libyan Investment Authority owned part of the chemical giant BASF, and had a $531 million stake in the huge electronics company Siemans.
Now, in Finland, the statement says the Libyans had a significant investment in the electronics giant Nokia, which many of us have Nokia cell phones all over the world. In the United States, multiple investments in huge firms. General Electric, Caterpillar, Halliburton, Exxon Mobil and Citigroup, Wolf, now a tall task for the new Libyan government to track some of that money, try to control some of that. It will not be easy and it will not be a short process.
BLITZER: And on top of all of that, Brian, the Libyans are sitting on massive oil wealth, aren't they?
TODD: They certainly are. Libya's got the 10th largest oil reserves in the world. Before the civil war, Libya was exporting about 1.6 million barrels of oil a day. That's been heavily disrupted. Only about 350,000 barrels a day are exported right now.
One estimate we saw that, after the fighting stopped, it would take three to four weeks to get production, up to 400,000 to 500,000 barrels of oil a day, but Libya's got that capability. Once they get their act together, get their government functioning again, they could be a major oil producer -- Wolf.
BLITZER: A major oil producer. They've got a lot of wealth, and they are obviously more than capable of reimbursing not only U.S. taxpayers, but NATO countries as well, for whatever it costs to liberate Libya from Gadhafi's rule. A billion, two billion, if you take a look at all those numbers you just mentioned, Brian, it would be easy for the Libyans to do that if they make that decision.
Thanks, Brian Todd. Good report.
The death of Gadhafi certainly is being praised around the world, but for the families of those killed in the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing, the moment is bittersweet.
Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti is following this part of the story.
Susan, how are the families reacting?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, tonight, relief for many victims' families seeking justice. Since the bomb took down Pan Am 103, the most Americans killed in a terror attack outside the U.S. before 9/11.
Like the day his brother J.P. died in 1988, today is a day Brian Flynn will never forget.
CANDIOTTI: When you heard the news, what did you think?
BRIAN FLYNN, VICTIM'S BROTHER: I was thrilled. I didn't expect to have that reaction.
I had been dreaming about this for more than 20 years, but it was always within the sense that you don't want to be the vengeful one that thinks I want my brother's murder killed. But in a way, you do.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Flynn's big brother J.P. was coming home for Christmas after studying abroad when a bomb killed 270 people over Lockerbie, Scotland.
(on camera): To you and to the other families, what did Gadhafi represent?
FLYNN: He was an unrepentant murder of these innocent kids coming home for Christmas. So he did represent the essence of evil to us.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): We showed him video of Gadhafi's body for the first time.
FLYNN: It's too bad they couldn't kill him more than once.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): On a personal front, what are your reflections on this day about your brother?
FLYNN: I remember promising my brother that I wouldn't let it go unanswered, that I would do what I could to get him. I definitely believe that I've honored him and fulfilled my promise by doing what I could.
CANDIOTTI: You know, I look at his picture over your shoulder --
FLYNN: It's where it usually was, so it makes sense. He's a classic big brother. And today, I feel as if hopefully, he's proud.
CANDIOTTI: And Brian Flynn says he wants to apologize to the Libyan people, saying he wishes the U.S. had done more sooner to bring down Gadhafi's regime -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Any reaction from him to how the president of the United States has behaved over all these months?
CANDIOTTI: Yes. He actually said that he thinks the Obama administration has shown extreme courage in doing what it has done with NATO despite very difficult political and diplomatic circumstances. BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Susan Candiotti.
We're also learning new details of how Gadhafi died today. A reporter from our sister publication, "TIME" magazine, just interviewed Libya's new prime minister. She's standing by live in Tripoli with the latest.
BLITZER: Let's go back to Tripoli right now. "TIME" magazine's Vivienne Walt is standing by. She's been reporting from Libya this week. "TIME" magazine, our sister publication.
What's going on right now based on what you've seen and heard, Vivienne? I know you had a chance to sit down with the new prime minister.
I did, indeed, Mahmoud Jibril. And actually, probably the outgoing prime minister. He tells me he is quitting pretty imminently.
He detailed what he knows from the coroners in Misrata about how Gadhafi was killed. Now, this is the official version, of course, and we're likely to hear a lot of other versions. But Jibril claims that Gadhafi did not resist when he was being arrested. He was shot accidentally, and that, then, the rebel fighters tried to carry him to an ambulance that was standing nearby, a truck, where there was a kind of mobile medical facility, and that, then, a big gunfight broke out between the rebel fighters and some of Gadhafi's loyalists, in which Gadhafi was killed.
So, here you have a picture of the rebel fighters who were trying to capture Gadhafi alive. This somewhat contradicts a lot of the feeling that we get in the footage that has come out, and also some of the earlier reports that suggests that, essentially, he was killed when he was captured.
BLITZER: What I don't understand, Vivienne, he's saying, what, that Gadhafi was captured alive, taken into custody, but then accidentally killed? I don't understand what he means by that.
WALT: Well, apparently, he was captured, wounded, they were trying to carry him to an ambulance, when a firefight broke out between some of the rebel fighters and some of the remaining loyalists of Gadhafi. And it was in that gunfight, in the crossfire, that one of the bullets hit Gadhafi in the head and killed him. He cannot say from which side.
So it's a very confusing picture, and I think probably we will get a few more accurate details in the next 24 hours or so.
Some other interesting details that came out of my conversation with Jibril was that they did not want Gadhafi's body to be brought back to the capital. He thought that the atmosphere was way too tense, there was much too much anger, and people were way too much on edge for Gadhafi's body to be brought back here, and that it was decided very hurriedly that he should be buried in Misrata, which he tells me will happen sometime probably tomorrow.
So, clearly, you know, this was something that happened very suddenly. We're getting a whole lot of information, a lot of it contradictory, and it's coming out somewhat sporadically from different sources. And I think it will take a little while for the picture to be pieced together.
BLITZER: It could take a long time to piece it together based on all the contradictory information coming out.
One final question, Vivienne. Did he say that the body would be buried at a secret location, or at a public location where people could visit that gravesite?
WALT: Well, he had discounted the idea that anybody would want to visit Gadhafi's gravesite, and -- but he did say that negotiations were ongoing. And, in fact, I just spoke to somebody in Misrata from the NTC a few minutes ago, and it appears that there still are ongoing negotiations with some of the religious leaders there about where and how to bury Gadhafi's body. But it does seem fairly certain that it will be buried in Misrata. Where and at what time, it seems they still don't know that.
BLITZER: Vivienne Walt from our sister publication, "TIME" magazine, in Tripoli.
Thanks, Vivienne, very much.
Gadhafi certainly was called a lot of names during his four decades in power. Stand by. You're going to hear one famous presidential slam.
And we'll also get reaction to Gadhafi's death from the current vice president, Joe Biden.
BLITZER: Let's get some analysis now on what's going on, the breaking news we're following, that Gadhafi is dead.
Fouad Ajami is joining us. He's a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
This notion, Fouad, of burying him in Misrata, maybe at a secret location, in accordance with Islamic traditions, what do you think about that?
FOUAD AJAMI, SR. FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, Wolf, I think they'll do it right. They'll do it the proper way. They will do it for their own self-dignity and for their own customs and their own tradition.
I like the fact by the way, Wolf, that you brought up the families of Pan Am 103, because they, too, have a claim on this murderer, and they, too, are due justice. And sometimes, people caught up in these moral dilemmas put you to shame with their eloquence. The man who said -- the brother of one of the victims said it's too bad Gadhafi could only be killed once. And indeed, it is too bad that he could only be killed once.
BLITZER: What should happen to the Gadhafi loyalists? And there are thousands of them presumably all over the country, not just in his hometown of Sirte.
AJAMI: Well, I think I like a term -- I know it's controversial term, but I love it personally. We call them dead-enders. That's the famous expression of Don Rumsfeld about some of the remnants of the Ba'ath Party. These are dead-enders.
I think the Gadhafi era is over. The four decades of tyranny is over. The four decades of mercenaries is over.
And I don't think Gadhafi really had these loyal people. It's not Bashar al-Assad, for example, in Syria, who maybe should say a word or two. It's not like Bashar having a (INAUDIBLE). This is just a man who had the money and the treasure of the state, who terrified people, who paid off the people who supported him. I don't think there will be much of a kind of after the regime, if you will.
BLITZER: We have some pictures from Gadhafi's personal family photo album. I want to show some of these pictures. And as we do, tell us from the perspective of history, how momentous today is.
AJAMI: Well, look, I think -- I mean, Wolf, this is amazing. It's just a great moment in the life of the Libyan people.
They have endured one of the worst strains in human history. They've endured a plunderer. They've endured a murderer. They've endured someone who actually lived by his own code.
It was four decades of Halloween, if you will. He dressed the way he wanted. He lived the way he wanted.
He violated the customs of his people. He had female bodyguards. He went to Italy and brought -- had people secure for him, bring him 500 escort girls to -- supposedly to convert them to Islam.
When you go back and look at this reign, of this reign abuse of four decades, we wonder how it even went so long and how it went so far.
BLITZER: You mentioned Bashar al-Assad, the leader of Syria. I assume he's watching what's happening in Libya on this day.
What do you think he's drawing from this experience?
AJAMI: Well, I think that's a wonderful question. It's very important that we remember that.
There was a Syrian cartoonist who got in trouble because he drew a cartoon of Gadhafi driving a jeep and Bashar al-Assad hitching a ride, and getting a ride with Moammar Gadhafi. Today, there was a man who posted a simple message on Al Jazeera, on their block, who said -- basically said, "Congratulations to the people of Libya. May the same thing happen here for the people of Syria."
BLITZER: I'm sure they're watching it very, very closely.
Fouad, thanks very, very much.
AJAMI: Thank you, as always, Wolf.
BLITZER: Fouad Ajami, the great Middle East professor.
Stand by to hear what Vice President Joe Biden is now saying about the death of Gadhafi, the future of the Middle East. He's given an exclusive interview to our own Candy Crowley.
BLITZER: The vice president, Joe Biden, gave an exclusive interview to our own Candy Crowley today, and they spoke, among other things, about the killing of Moammar Gadhafi.
Candy is joining us now live from Concord, New Hampshire.
What did he have to say, Candy?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, Vice President Biden was Senator Biden prior to this, a big name on the Foreign Relations Committee. He had met a lot of leaders. One of them was Moammar Gadhafi, a guy he says the U.S. and Libya is glad to see gone from the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is one bad guy, one really tough guy. And he, for 40 years, had his folks under his thumb. And he's dead, and it's going to give the people of Libya their first chance in four decades to actually put together their own government and have a little bit of freedom, a little bit of opportunity.
CROWLEY: You mentioned in a previous stop about the template of bringing in international -- an international coalition and how this works so beautifully.
BIDEN: It's a template in the following sense -- that when in fact there is a cause that the Arab world can unite on and the West wants their help, and we don't have to --
BIDEN: Yes, it may be, but we don't have to do it ourselves is the point. It is that the NATO alliance worked like it was designed to do, burden sharing.
The total cost to us was $2 billion. No American lives lost. We carry the burden a lot of other places where NATO is, the primary burden, like in Afghanistan. And so this was real burden sharing.
That's the model.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Wolf, one of the things the vice president said this administration obviously is very concerned about, and he said we are watching it very, very closely, is the rounding up of all those shoulder-to-air missiles. As you know, there are hundreds of them, many of them unaccounted for. Just one of them could bring down an airliner if you -- if there is one terrorist on the black market with somebody in Libya who got a hold of one of these things, he could get some cash and do some big damage with it. The vice president said it is something the administration is concerned about and is watching very, very carefully -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Did he mention any countries when you asked him about where the Libyan experience could be replicated?
CROWLEY: Well, I asked him specifically about Syria, saying, you couldn't get the Arab League and other countries in that region to agree to do the same kind of NATO fly-over sort of thing that happened, and he kind of brushed it off and said, "Well, but it's a template." And you heard me say, "It's a very narrow one, it seems to me."
But it's certainly something I just think politically, Wolf, that you will be hearing about this in subtle ways. You know, the administration has kind of wanted to be hands-off on the Libyan thing, saying we've taken a back seat, NATO's taken the front seat, we're not committing troops to the ground, and neither were any of the other NATO forces. But they do see this as a way to push back against the complaint about President Obama, that he hasn't shown leadership, because they think in foreign policy, they have a story to sell.
Now, you and I know that so far, the economy is the story everyone's paying attention to. But nonetheless, they think in the leadership angle, that this is a place they want to go. So I think you will be hearing more of the sorts of things that you heard Vice President Biden say, which is, hey, look, we put together a coalition, just what we said we could do, and look at the result here.
BLITZER: Candy's interview with the vice president, Sunday morning on "STATE OF THE UNION," 9:00 a.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
Candy, thanks very much.
A day that captured the world's attention. Our own Jeanne Moos is next.
BLITZER: The reign of a brutal dictator comes to an end. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a closer look at how it all unfolded.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Death came in increments. The first reports had Gadhafi alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Colonel Gadhafi has been captured, wounded in both legs.
MOOS: But within an hour, a cell phone video freeze frame had surfaced.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a graphic image.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is quite gruesome.
MOOS: And that was followed by the video itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Moammar Gadhafi --
MOOS: And finally, Gadhafi was resurrected with video of him once again still alive, but just barely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see them pushing him and shoving him before they appear to finish him off.
MOOS: Less than three hours after the first sketchy reports of Gadhafi's capture --
BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: Gadhafi is dead.
BLITZER: Moammar Gadhafi is dead.
MOOS: Or, as ABC's Christiane Amanpour called him --
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, "THIS WEEK WITH CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR": The global villain.
MOOS (on camera): On talk shows, audiences seemed conflicted. Is the death of a bad guy something to clap about?
REGIS PHILBIN, "REGIS & KELLY": Moammar Gadhafi died of wounds suffered on Thursday --
KELLY RIPA, "REGIS & KELLY": Oh, my gosh.
PHILBIN: -- after an eight-month uprising.
PHILBIN: You heard the applause.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, "THE VIEW": Moammar Gadhafi has been killed. They say --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we supposed to be sad?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you sad?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I won't miss him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What goes around comes around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow!
MOOS: That guy sounded just like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she was handed a BlackBerry with the news while doing interviews in Afghanistan.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Wow.
MOOS: As soon as Gadhafi had been permanently silenced, out came the memorable interview moments.
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC: We read that you are mad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was the strangest head of state I've ever met.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More on that in just a moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you figure gets first crack at the costumes?
MOOS: On the day of an eccentric dictator's death, it figures someone would dig up an odd old clip, a one-season sitcom called "Second Chance" that aired in 1987 and was set in the future, 2011. Gadhafi had just arrived at St. Peters Gate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SECOND CHANCE")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are sentenced to spend eternity wired as a human bomb. Every two minutes you will blow up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too late for that now.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "SECOND CHANCE")
MOOS: Of all of the oddball video moments Gadhafi left us, one of the oddest was Gadhafi preparing for a speech, trying to decide whether to appear with his coat buttoned or unbuttoned. Now that he's gone, maybe we can stop asking, how can a dictator like that look at himself in a mirror?
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.