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Panetta Faces Afghan Outrage; Alcohol Probed in Afghan Massacre; President Obama Welcomes David Cameron to the White House; Obamas Welcome British Prime Minister, Wife to White House; Military Therapist Face Dilemma; Deliberations to Begin in Rutgers' Trial

Aired March 14, 2012 - 09:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to all of you. I'm Carol Costello. Just ahead in the NEWSROOM this morning, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Afghanistan trying to tamp down a nation's outrage over a U.S. soldier's alleged shooting spree. Within hours militants respond with deadly explosions.

Happening right now, the White House is welcoming Britain's David Cameron. After a night of March Madness the prime minister and the president will get down to business.

And right now a judge is giving final instructions to jurors in the trial of a former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi. He's charged with spying on and intimidating his gay roommate who later killed himself.




COSTELLO: Rick Santorum hits a double win in the Deep South. He wins the Alabama and Mississippi primaries. So we look ahead to the next contest and track the money game.

And parts of Boston still without power after a transformer fire triggers a major blackout. The fire started last night in a garage in the Back Bay area of the city. Thick black smoke poured into the streets forcing officials to close roads and subways. At the peak of the blackout more than 20,000 homes and businesses lost power.

We begin in depth this morning, though, in Afghanistan where Leon Panetta is on the ground and on a mission. The defense secretary is trying to diffuse the outrage over the weekend slaughter of 16 civilians, most of them women and children. A U.S. soldier, as you know, is being held as investigators continue to search for answers.

Today militants responded with a couple of deadly bombings. In one incident a motorcycle bomb exploded in Kandahar, the capital of the province where that massacre took place. One person died. At least eight people were killed in the Helmand Province. That's one of the areas Panetta is visiting during his two-day mission.

We're covering all angles of this developing story. Sara Sidner is in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon.

Sara, we want to begin with you. How close were these attacks to the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta? Was he ever in any danger?

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. They were quite far away from where he was in Camp Bastion in Helmand Province. This happened in -- we're talking about 100 kilometers or so away. So quite a distance away. However, these types of roadside bombs have been used many times against ISAF soldiers going to and from different parts of the country. So of course that's going to put things more on a high alert for anyone visiting, although they are already on high security alert right now because of what has happened on Sunday with the massacre allegedly by a U.S. soldier.

I want to talk to you a little bit about what Mr. Panetta has been saying as he's been visiting the country. He talked to U.S. and U.K. troops there and really trying to reassure them that really the mission right now is a transitional one. Their job to help train Afghan soldiers so that the Afghan soldiers can take over their country and to control the country themselves as the time for U.S. and NATO troops is coming for them to leave in 2014.

Let me let you hear what he said about the situation in Helmand which by the way has been a province that had used to have a very strong Taliban presence.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: This area was a Taliban stronghold once upon a time, and now a great deal of progress has been made in terms of Afghan security and Afghan governance in this area.


SIDNER: Now this area you heard him say there that there has been progress. He also talked to a tribal leader there who thanked Mr. Panetta saying that things had gotten better but, again, we're now hearing this roadside blast. This was also the scene just last week about seven days ago where six U.K. soldiers went missing after a blast and they are presumed dead -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Sara Sidner reporting live from Kabul, Afghanistan.

In the meantime investigators in Afghanistan want to know whether alcohol played a role in the weekend rampage.

CNN's Barbara Starr was first to report this latest twist in the investigation. She's working her sources at the Pentagon this morning.

So, Barbara, I guess my first question would be, are they allowed to drink in a combat outpost?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Let's be very clear about that, Carol. There is something called general order number one, no alcohol in the war zone. That is banned. No alcohol consumption by U.S. troops when they served in Iraq or in Afghanistan. So this is clearly illegal.

Senior U.S. sources are telling us that investigators found evidence of alcohol in the area where this man lived on base and there is indication of alcohol involvement. Those are the words we're hearing, in the incident. No one is saying yet whether the staff sergeant had been found specifically to have been drinking alcohol at the time, but alcohol involved is what we are hearing.

This will raise questions, Carol. These guys live in very close quarters. If there was, indeed, alcohol found in the barracks, as they say, who knew about it? Was it known that there was alcohol there? How did it come to be there? Who got it? Who brought it in? Investigators clearly will be looking at the question, did any of the other soldiers who lived near him or work with him have any indication that something might go terribly wrong here?

The other piece of news we're learning is there is imagery. You know these bases have surveillance cameras and we've now confirmed that there are images of him, both going out alone, coming back alone, and an image of when he came back, he was found -- this image shows him lying in a field nearby and then getting up and coming back to the base area where he was apprehended without incident by U.S. security personnel we are told.

COSTELLO: Barbara Starr reporting for us from the Pentagon this morning.

A soldier from the same army base as that suspect in the Afghan killings is in jail. Prosecutors in Tacoma, Washington, say Lieutenant Colonel Robert Underwood wanted to hire a hit-man to kill his estranged wife and his boss at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He also allegedly to blow up the state state capitol. He's pleaded not guilty.

Underwood is going through a nasty divorce and custody battle. He returned in December from one year in Afghanistan. Military officials said Underwood does not have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Military therapists help soldiers cope with the psychological trauma of war but they're also under pressure to keep soldiers in the war theater. It's such dilemma that one psychologist made a documentary about it. We'll talk to her in just about 20 minutes.

And it is a busy morning at the White House. The White House is welcoming British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha. Cameron and President Obama took in a March Madness last night in Dayton, Ohio. Today it's back to business and brass tacks. The two leaders expected to talk about the upcoming NATO and G-8 summits in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Iran, and the global economy.

You're looking actually at live pictures of the opening ceremonies on the South Lawn of the White House. You see Joe Biden and his wife Jill greeting the British prime minister and his wife.

And then the two national anthems will play, of course one from the U.K., the other from the United States. And then I think in just about an hour the president and the prime minister will make some remarks to the press.

Before we get to all of that, though, let's head to Washington and talk to Brianna Keilar. She is there on the South Lawn of the White House.

Describe the scene for us.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Carol. Well, what you're witnessing right now is very much the formality of the day. This welcome for this official visit by Prime Minister David Cameron. Yesterday it was more informal as the prime minister and the president took in an NCAA basketball game in Ohio. And today it's all about the pomp and circumstance.

The prime minister will be receiving really quite the red carpet treatment as you can already see. There will be a 19-gun salute. You can probably hear the military band playing. And there will be a number of very formal meetings today. A one-on-one meeting with President Obama and then an expanded one with a number of other U.S. officials and British officials.

And then of course it will all culminate this evening with a state dinner here on the South Lawn as well.

COSTELLO: Tell us about the importance of Britain's role in Afghanistan because I'm sure the two men will be talking about that at their official meetings later today.

KEILAR: Yes. No doubt this is going to be a major topic and it comes as there's been a report recently in "The New York Times" about the drawdown of U.S. troops beyond what we're going to be seeing this summer, which is the drawdown of 33,000 surge troops. There are still remains 68,000 troops -- U.S. troops in Afghanistan and there's some talk from this report about an accelerated drawdown.

The U.S. is sort of rebuffing officially the suggestion of this report, but this is certainly something that Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama will be discussing as they're big allies when it comes to Afghanistan. There is something that Prime Minister Cameron actually talked to reporters about as he made the trip here to the U.S. He talked about how -- sort of the reality of the situation on the ground.

He said there's an appetite for an end, for the drawdown, and the troops must leave. But he said that troops will be leaving Afghanistan as a, quote -- without, quote, "being a perfect democracy," and he acknowledged there was a huge developmental problem when the troops leave in 2014 -- Carol.

COSTELLO: And tell us, Brianna, why the president thought it was so important to have this official visit, to have a state dinner for the prime minister and his wife tonight.

KEILAR: You know one of the suggestions that certainly we've heard this coming from the British press has been that there may have been on the part of the U.S. a lack of really -- I don't want to say acknowledging but sort of continuing the special relationship, the so- called, quote, "special relationship" with the U.K., that it may have been perhaps neglected a little bit.

Last year President Obama made the trip to Britain. It was considered very much a success. But this appears by observers to be very much, with all of the pomp and circumstance, just the degree of the formality and how much red carpet treatment the prime minister is getting to be showing that that special relationship is very important, especially as troop withdrawals about Afghanistan are continued.

Now you talk to the White House officially, Carol. They rebuff any suggestion that there's been any neglect of that special relationship. And they say that all of these things that you're seeing, the welcome of the prime minister and his delegation, are getting is just an indication of how important that alliance between the U.S. and Britain is.

COSTELLO: Of course yesterday, last night, the president invited the prime minister aboard Air Force One. They flew to Dayton, Ohio, to watch a basketball game. You know part of the NCAA tournament. The president said he wanted to bring the prime minister to Dayton, Ohio, to show him what real America looked like. You can see them.

We're showing pictures now, Brianna, of them in casual clothes. A little bit later on in the game both men ate a hotdog and they drank a soda, not beer.


I don't know if beer is allowed in there anyway. Who knows at the University of Dayton. I doubt it. But why was this important? Because there are already some criticism that a large amount of taxpayer dollars were spent in taking the prime minister via Air Force One to the University of Dayton for this basketball game.

KEILAR: Yes, and of course, it can't really estate you that Ohio is a key swing state. And remember Mitt Romney won the Ohio primary there last week. So Ohio has very much been in the political spotlight recently. I think one of the biggest things, and if you look at what the British press reported about this, one of the most significant things they talked about was this trip on Air Force One.

This is a privilege that a lot of foreign leaders don't get, and it was quite a visual demonstration certainly by the -- on the part of the White House of just how important they consider this visit to be. You saw Prime Minister Cameron heading out Marine One with President Obama from the White House and then going on Air Force One to this game.

I think one of the things President Obama talked about was when foreign leaders come to the U.S., they frequently go to the coast. And he said that he wanted to take the prime minister inland because he said that's sort of where things really are and that's really America. COSTELLO: And explain to us, tonight there will be this elaborate state dinner. A lot of celebrities will be there, including Roy McElroy who's a golfer, right, from -- yes, I think he's Irish, right? He's from Ireland. So it kind of fits that he would be there with the prime minister of Great Britain. But the state dinner is quite the elaborate affair. Explain to us what that will look like.

KEILAR: Yes, this is very much an elaborate affair. It's a beautiful event, actually. I mean we'll be getting some pictures of that. We will see tonight when you hear comments from President Obama and from the prime minister, they will come in the form of toasts. And we will be privy to see a little bit of the welcoming at the top of the event. And then after that there will be a portion of the event that is going to be private.

But this is something very similar to what you would see, Carol, when, for instance, the queen came to visit. In fact, a lot of what we're seeing today is very much analogous to that with the exception of the fact the prime minister gets only a 19-gun salute instead of a 21-gun salute.


COSTELLO: OK, Brianna, we'll let you get back to reporting. I'm going to get back to you a little later. Thank you for filling us in. It's been fascinating and what a beautiful image of Washington, D.C., today.

A new turn in the Republican race for the president. Rick Santorum, as you know, wins two Deep South primaries, so what's next for Newt Gingrich?

And we will follow the money trail in this presidential race. That's coming your way next.

Also, we have more details this morning on a flight attendant's rant. Now we've got the 911 calls. You can hear what the passengers said as this happened. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: And you're looking at a live shot of the South Lawn of the White House where we're expecting Prime Minister Cameron and his wife Samantha to show up at any time. Also President Obama. Joe Biden is already there. We saw him with his wife Jill.

This is the official visit of the British prime minister. We're expecting some remarks from the president and the prime minister a little later this morning when they begin speaking. Of course, when they arrive, we're going to show you the picture, because isn't that a beautiful image?

We're going to get back to that in just a bit.


SANTORUM: We did it again.


COSTELLO: He sure did. Rick Santorum surprise in the South. He wins the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, leaving Mitt Romney to battle Newt Gingrich for second place.

Here's the latest CNN estimate of the delegate count: Romney with 489 to 234 lead over Santorum. Gingrich has 139 delegates. Ron Paul has 66.

We're going to get back to that in just a second. I knew the president and first lady would show up as I was getting to another story. There they are. I don't see the British prime minister and his wife yet. But hey will shortly join the president.

And then the national anthem from both countries will play. And then, we believe there will be some remarks. As you can see, they're having the -- I guess it's a 19-gun salute, right, instead of a 21-gun salute. That will greet the prime minister as he rolls up or walks out of the White House. I don't know exactly where he's coming from.

Brianna Keilar is on the South Lawn of the White House.

And they're running a little behind, Brianna?

I heard the music over Brianna's phone, but I don't hear Brianna.

Brianna, are you there? OK. We've lost Brianna. We will get -- we will try to get Brianna and get back to the South Lawn of the White House when the president begins speaking.

Let's continue on with presidential politics now. Newt Gingrich is expecting renewed calls for him to drop out of the race, but he says he's staying put.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to tell you a second what will become a challenge is we'll have three or four days of news media. And they'll all say, why doesn't Newt Gingrich quit? These are the people who said last June I was dead. They recycle this every six weeks.

And the biggest challenge will be raising money because we came in second which is as much as we wanted and we will have gotten delegates --


COSTELLO: So, let's bring in our political director, Mark Preston. Good morning.


COSTELLO: So, Newt Gingrich -- I mean, let's face it, he suffered two big defeats, right? Because he was expecting to win in those states, but he didn't, and he still says he's staying in the race.

PRESTON: He still says he's staying in the race. In fact, he put the expectations on himself to win in Mississippi and Alabama. His whole campaign has been really based upon the sudden strategy winning Georgia, perhaps winning Tennessee, maybe a win in Oklahoma and win in Alabama and Mississippi.

Well, he only won in Georgia. So, that Southern strategy has kind of fallen apart.

COSTELLO: OK. Stay with me.

We're going back to the South Lawn of the White House because the British prime minister and his wife, Samantha, has arrived. We can see them exchanging kisses with the president and the first lady.

So, does this spectacle, Mark, help the president in his re- election bid? I'm going to be really cynical here.

PRESTON: Yes. I mean, certainly. Look, Great Britain is number one ally, our biggest ally. We have so much invested with them with the war in Afghanistan, Iraq -- quite frankly, every police action, you know, around the world. So when you see a connection like this, it certainly doesn't hurt, especially when it comes to big issues like foreign policy.

COSTELLO: Well, and it was interesting that the president decided to take the prime minister to Ohio, a battleground state to watch a basketball game last night.

PRESTON: Yes, it worked out real well, didn't it, for the first date, that President Obama needs to win if he's going to win re- election.

COSTELLO: And President Obama was, you know, walking through the stands, shaking people's hands, the poor British prime minister was standing off to the side, just sort of looking on because, of course, not many people recognize him by face just yet, because he's fairly new in office, right?

PRESTON: Yes. And he probably would have been more comfortable at a rugby match, right, or cricket game or something like that, or a football match as they call soccer over there.

But it was very interesting. It was interesting he agreed to go with Mr. Obama to Ohio, in some ways perhaps helping him on this, you know, quote-unquote, "re-election tour".

COSTELLO: Oh, I'm sure he just needed help filling out his bracket. He said Mr. Obama was going to help him do that.

I think we have Brianna Keilar. She's live on the South Lawn on the White House watching this spectacle.

Take us there, Brianna. Tell us what's happening.

KEILAR (via telephone): Right now, Carol, we're watching Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama -- bear with me just a moment for the national anthem.

ANNOUNCER: Followed by the national anthem of the United States.




COSTELLO: All right. We're watching President Obama and the prime minister shaking hands with the lucky people who got to attend this event -- this historic even vent on the South Lawn of the White House.

Brianna Keilar is there too.

Brianna, do we know who these kids are?

KEILAR: No, we don't know who these kids are actually. You can see President Obama and the prime minister working the rope line. No doubt, this is -- it appears to be a class or a group that's been invited here to the South Lawn along with a number of other people. In fact, I believe there are, according to the White House, there were supposed to be thousands of people here.

It's hard to tell looking at the crowd but there's a very large crowd, including some that you can't see behind some of the members of the military that you just saw the president and the prime minister review as part of reviewing of the troops. So, a lot of people crowded on the South Lawn.

It's really quite a beautiful scene, I will say, Carol. There are some things that I think maybe you couldn't even see on TV. From my vantage point I was able to watch the 19-gun salute that was actually going off far past the White House, almost down closer to the Washington Monument before President Obama and the prime minister reviewed the troops.

But this is an event that is full of pomp and circumstance. I think it really stands in contrast to the informal nature of what we saw President Obama and the prime minister do yesterday as they went to a basketball game.

COSTELLO: There are a number of dignitaries there. I mean, I happen to see Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden is there.

Who else is on tap?

KEILAR: Yes, there is as well Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. We see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a number of other top U.S. officials and their counterparts from the British government. We'll be seeing today President Obama and the prime minister having that formal one-on-one, what we call a bilateral meeting.

And we'll have a shot of that from the cameras a little later to show you. They will make some remarks. But there's also an expanded meeting among a number of top U.S. officials that we will not be granted access, camera access to.

So this isn't necessarily just about President Obama and the prime minister meeting. Of course, Carol, I think it's important to remind people that there's very much an open line of communication between Britain and the U.S. President Obama and the prime minister can get on the phone any time and talk about a number of issues that are so important to them -- be it Iran, be it Syria, be it Afghanistan. But this is really a visit about really sort of cementing the relations of the U.S. and Britain at a very crucial time when it comes to their shared foreign policy interests.

I think also you talked earlier about what does it mean for President Obama in an election year? Pardon me as I lower my voice a little bit. And I think that certainly something that you can't really escape your notice is that as Republicans are slugging it out on the campaign trail, and the primaries are coming to a conclusion for them, there's a different object that you're getting from the White House, which is no doubt happy about that. The president is welcoming a foreign leader, an ally, and really serving the role that's very much presidential and sort of elevates his stature, Carol.

COSTELLO: Mark Preston is here too. You wonder when this dinner was scheduled. It certainly came at an opportune time with the president looking very presidential.

PRESTON: Looking very presidential. And you know, we talked a lot about how the Republican candidates have been critical of the president on the economy. They've been very critical of him on foreign policy as well. You know, what they've done in some ways effectively is tied the economic crisis to his foreign policy positions and questioned him on Afghanistan and his commitment to Afghanistan.

So, yes, this certainly helps him. The picture is amazing right now. If you are an American voter and you're watching this, you feel very patriotic and what-have-you. That certainly doesn't hurt Mr. Obama at this point.

COSTELLO: You can just hear the criticisms that -- I mean, I'm sure we'll hear that it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to get on Air Force One, fly the prime minister to the battleground state of Ohio to watch the basketball game with the premise that you just want to show the prime minister a slice of real Americana.

PRESTON: And real Americana -- I mean, quite frankly, they could have gotten in a car and drove down to Virginia just 20 miles away and had dinner and seen a little bit of real Americana.

You know, obviously, the NCAA, you and I are big fans of that. And that's a big of Americana. It only happens once a year. But, yes, Republicans are going to be critical of that, no question about that.

But even taking that one step further, sidelining foreign policy, they will be critical of President Obama for flying around on Air Force One as he campaigns through November. It happens every four years.

COSTELLO: I know, Brianna Keilar, you did an investigative report about how much it costs to fly Air Force One around the country.

KEILAR: Yes, that's right, Carol. It costs, and we reported this months ago, $200,000 per operational hour to operate Air Force One. It's quite a lot of money. And when you'll see President Obama catch a lot of guff for that is particularly when he's traveling for campaign events, for fundraising, which is obviously essential politics being what they are, but this is something obviously in tough economic times opens him up to some criticism.

Now, there's also the added expense of traveling for him in addition to what I mentioned on Air Force One, Secret Service protection, and the costs are exorbitant. But there's obviously no way he could be going to these places without Secret Service protection and without sort of the infrastructure that he takes along with him because it's essentially a traveling White House wherever he goes.

COSTELLO: Right. And, you know, in fairness, the Republican candidates, I think all of them have Secret Service protection now, which also costs the taxpayers money.

KEILAR: Yes. This is something -- I think there's sort of a double edged sword, because what you see for candidates is this is obviously sort of a criticism --

COSTELLO: I'm going to interrupt you, Brianna, because we're going to listen to what they're saying in the podium.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- the United States and the United Kingdom is steeped in tradition. And last night as president, I shared with the prime minister a uniquely American tradition of bracketology -- March Madness. He's learned to appreciate one of our great national pastimes. His team has told me he has decided to install a hoop at 10 Downing Street.

Today, we carry on another tradition, an official visit for one of our closest friends and our dearest allies.

Prime Minister Cameron, Mrs. Cameron, members of the British delegation, on behalf of the American people, it is my great honor to welcome you to the United States.


OBAMA: David, Samantha, on behalf of Michelle and myself, we welcome you to the White House.

And, Samantha, just let me say that we are delighted that you've made America your first official foreign trip.


OBAMA: It's now been 200 years since the British came here to the White House under somewhat different circumstances. They made quite an impression. They really lit up the place. But we moved on.

And today, like so many presidents and prime ministers before us, we meet to reaffirm one of the greatest alliances the world has ever known. This visit is also an opportunity to reciprocate the extraordinary and gracious hospitality shown to us by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth, by David and Samantha, and by the British people during our visit to London last year.

And we are proud that this visit comes as her majesty begins her diamond jubilee, celebrating 60 extraordinary years on the British throne.


OBAMA: It is remarkable to consider, down the decades we've seen nations rise and fall, wars fought, and peace defended, a city divided, a wall come down, countries in prison behind an Iron Curtain then liberated. We've seen the demise of a Cold War and the rise of new threats, the transition from an Industrial Revolution to an Information Age where new technologies empower our citizens and our adversaries like never before.

Our world has been transformed over and over, and it will be again yet through the grand sweep of history, through all its twists and turns, there is one constant, the rock solid alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom.


OBAMA: And the reason is simple. We stand together, and we work together, and we bleed together, and we build together in good times and in bad because when we do, our nations are more secure, our people are prosperous, the world is a safer, better, more just place.

Our alliance is essential. It is indispensable to the security, the prosperity that we seek not only for our own citizens but for people around the world. That is why as president, I've made strengthening this alliance and our alliances around the world one of my highest foreign policy priorities.

And because we have, I can stand here today and say with pride and with confidence, I believe with David's agreement, that the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is the strongest that it has ever been.


OBAMA: And so, in the sunlight of this beautiful morning, with children from both nations in attendance -- we reaffirm the enduring values of which our alliance is forever rooted. We believe that every person who's willing to work hard, if they play by the rules deserve a fair shot, deserve a chance to succeed.

So in these tough economic times, we stand united in our determination to create the jobs that put our people back to work, and expanding trade that is both free and fair, and in fighting for a global economy where every nation plays by the same rules.

We believe that our citizens should be able to live free from fear. So like generations before us, we stand united in the defense of our countries and against those who would terrorize our people, or endanger the globe with the world's most dangerous weapons.

We believe in the universal rights of all people, so we stand united in our support for those who seek to choose their leaders and forge their future, including the brave citizens of the Middle East and North Africa who deserve the same God-given rights and freedoms as people everywhere.

And we believe in the inherent dignity of every human being so we will stand united in advancing the developments that lift people and nations out of poverty, the new crops that feed a village, the care that saves a mother in childbirth, the vaccine that allows a child to live a long and healthy life.

This is what we believe. This is who we are. This is what we do together, what we achieve together every single day.

And this is the alliance that we renew today, guided by the interests we share grounded in the values that we cherish, not just for our time but for all time.

Finally, I would just note that while this is not the first official visit of my presidency, it is one of the few where I have not had to pause for translation. We Americans and Brits speak the same language most of the time, so let me just say -- David, we are chuffed to bits that you are here. I'm looking forward to a great matter. I'm confident that together, we're going to keep the relationship between our two great nations absolutely top notch.

David, Samantha, the warmest of welcomes from Michelle and myself but more importantly from the American people. We are honored to have you here.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: President Obama, First Lady, Mr. Vice President, members of both cabinets, guests of honor, ladies and gentlemen -- thank you for such an incredibly --

COSTELLO: You just heard the president's remarks. We're going to monitor David Cameron's remarks. We'll bring them to you later on in the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

But I kind of wanted to debrief after the president's speech. He talked a lot about the strong alliance between Great Britain and the United States. He talked a lot about freedom that other nations deserve, you know, from their leaders.

So, Brianna, how did the speech strike you? It didn't seem to really, I don't know, really resonate somehow.

KEILAR: You know what struck me is you can hear sort of what is clearly going to be the president's campaign message and he's already been taking it out on the road for the last few months. This idea of a fair shot at a chance to succeed, this idea of fairness -- which is going to be the umbrella message over his campaign.

You heard that even come out as he addressed the crowd on the South Lawn. He said, you know, everyone deserves a fair shot to succeed. And he talked about, every nation playing by the same rules, which is a bit of a twist on what we hear him talking about. All people here in the U.S. playing by the same rules, whether they're the wealthy or they're low income Americans.

So I think no doubt this is in a way there's some political overtones here, as this ties into his campaign message. And certainly as we mentioned before, Carol, this is the image that you're seeing of President Obama. This is the image of the president welcoming a foreign dignitary.

This is sort of the -- these are the optics that, for instance, Republican candidates cannot have. This is something that sets President Obama apart from them and sort of --

COSTELLO: I would think Mark Preston is here with me too that that message of fairness would also resonate in Great Britain where they've suffered through some of the same economic problems, and income inequality, should I say, as Americans are experiencing.

PRESTON: Yes. You know, Carol, when you talk about global economy and how policies that the United States and Great Britain are trying to put in place to put people back to work. So, President Obama in making that speech really was sending a message to voters all across the country. It's not just about the United States right now, the global economy. Everybody is hurting right now and it's going to take an alliance and alliances with countries such as Great Britain to try to turn this around. It can't just happen here in the United States although the United States has to be the leader.

COSTELLO: Mark Preston, Brianna Keilar, thanks so much for taking us through that historical event, which is not over.

We're going to take a short break. We'll be back with much more on CNN NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: In Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrives on a mission both critical and daunting. He'll try to diffuse the outrage over the weekend massacre allegedly carried out by a U.S. soldier. Panetta is meeting with Afghan government officials and tribal leaders.

In the meantime, the soldier suspected of the killings remains in U.S. custody as investigators try to answer critical questions about what happened. One question that will certainly come up, did military psychologists miss the warning signs? It turns out those therapists are under intense pressure not to send soldiers home.

One psychologist went to Afghanistan to make a documentary about that. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the unique challenges to being a mental health provider in the military has to do with a question I think probably all of us ask our self at some point, should I have sent this soldier back to their unit or should I have worked harder to get them evacuated from the theater? We have these competing missions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are there to not take people out of the game but to keep them in the game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not here to send your soldiers home. We're a force multiplier.


COSTELLO: Jan Haaken made that film. She joins us live now from Portland, Oregon. Welcome.


COSTELLO: That's the first time I've heard something about that and in a way it's kind of disturbing. So that puts psychologists or counselors who are counseling these troubled soldiers in a bad spot, doesn't it?

HAAKEN: Well, the military has invested quite heavily, particularly during the extended deployments -- repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and sending whole units of therapists to war zones to prevent and treat psychiatric casualties.

And most people think this is a good thing and the military is I think justifiably proud of how -- how many efforts they've made on this front. But as a psychologist, I was interested in following the story through the Mindzone documentary to get a sense of is this a good thing or not; is it the interest of soldiers to treat psychiatric casualties in war zones or is this an abuse of psychology?

COSTELLO: Well, we know the suspect have several -- several tours in Iraq. We know he suffered head trauma, yet he was cleared of become a sniper and he's -- and he was returned for active duty. So some counsel or psychologist had to decide that he was ok to continue to serve.

And as you look at the situation right now, what kind of pressures was that psychologist perhaps feeling as he's treating this particular soldier? HAAKEN: Well, in going into the documentary, we followed the deployment of a -- of a combat stress unit to Afghanistan in the preparation for the deployment. There is quite a bit of recognition of these conflicting missions. And in many ways, it's an impossible task they're assigned to both prevent psychiatric casualties and recommend soldiers to be Medevaced who are showing signs that they are in a crisis.

On the other hand, their mission is to maintain the fighting forces. As we moved to Afghanistan and follow their deployment, the pressures are -- and immense in getting soldiers back in the fight and the -- this management of these two conflicting missions is quite intense when you -- when you get into the war zone itself.

So these psychologists, these therapists, have an enormous job. And I think we all bear some responsibility for the -- the tasks they've been assigned and how in many ways, impossible it is.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much for joining us. You can find what the documentary on line. It hasn't aired yet. Where can you find your documentary, Jan?

HAAKEN: Oh. It's called "Mindzone: Therapists Behind the Front Lines." We just -- we've just finished the edit and folks can go to our Web site, to find out about when it's being released. It's kind of the untold story about the emotional impacts of war through the eyes of caregivers.

COSTELLO: And the trailer I mean, I'm going to watch it, it's fascinating. Jan Haaken, thanks to you. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

HAAKEN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: It was a story -- you're welcome.

It was a story that helped spark a national debate on cyber bullying, but was bullying to blame for the suicide of a Rutgers student? The jury is about to decide. That's coming your way next.


COSTELLO: This morning a judge is instructing the jury in the case of a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's intimate encounter. That student, Dharun Ravi, is accused of secretly watching the encounter with a female student. She struck a plea deal with prosecutors and testified during the trial. The roommate, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

The story helped set up a national debate on bullying and cyber- bullying. The most serious of the accusations against Ravi are for intimidating Tyler Clementi before his death. If convicted on all counts, it could land him up to ten years in prison.

Midwin Charles is a criminal defense attorney. She joins us live. Welcome.


COSTELLO: I think I'm exhausted from that official visit from the prime minister, but we thank you for being here.

Dharun Ravi turned down a deal from prosecutors that would have let him avoid jail time in exchange for counseling and community service. He said he didn't want to accept that deal. So was that a smart move?

CHARLES: You know what; it depends on how the jury is going to come out. I'm hoping for him that it was a smart move and that he, you know -- and I'm guessing at least that's what his defense attorney is hoping, that he will be acquitted of all charges.

I think given the climate in which we are now, with respect to -- as you said, this national debate on cyber bullying and bias intimidation against gays, I'm not sure that things will bode well for him, particularly given the evidence that we've heard thus far. It can go either way.

COSTELLO: Well, prosecutors have they proven his intent to intimidate? Because that's what they needed to do, right?

CHARLES: At least with respect -- yes, with respect to the bias intimidation charge. I think that prosecutors have done a very good job of proving their case with respect to invasion of privacy. Right.

I mean I understand that Dharun Ravi lived in that room and he did have some sort of proprietary interest of what occurred in the room. But nonetheless, he knew that Tyler Clementi would be in the room alone with someone else. And by remotely controlling that camera from Molly Wei's room, he clearly invaded his privacy, and he practically conceded to the fact that he saw -- he and Molly Wei saw what was occurring in that room.

So I think the invasion of privacy charge --

COSTELLO: Yes. Invasion of privacy and intimidation are two different things.

CHARLES: They are.

COSTELLO: And some of the emails presented in court, Ravi basically apologizes to Clementi so it sort of muddies the water here. Will the jury be out for a long time, do you think?

CHARLES: I think they might be. There is a lot of information to cover, you've had several witnesses come on the stand, but the one thing that they've all said in common, that I think is interesting, is that Dharun Ravi did not dislike gays -- that he's never showed any malice towards gay people. So I think that that's something the jury is going to consider while they're out deliberating.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much for being with us this morning. Hopefully you'll join us tomorrow.

CHARLES: Sure, you're welcome.