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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Former Secretary of State Colin Powell; U.S. and Allies Train for Middle East Conflict; Special Hollywood Access for bin Laden Film; Man Rescues Woman in New York Subway; Interview with Hamid Karzai.
Aired May 26, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Stand by for my exclusive interview with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, at the close of the NATO summit. I'll ask him whether he owes the United States an apology and why he's refusing to allow an American congressman into his country.
Also, former secretary of state Colin Powell reveals his support for same-sex marriage and his biggest disappointment with President Obama in our in-depth interview.
And allegations that the Obama administration may have disclosed secret information about the raid on Osama bin Laden to Hollywood filmmakers.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: At the NATO summit this week, allied leaders signed off on President Obama's timetable to end the war in Afghanistan by 2014.
I was in Chicago to report on the summit and I sat down with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, to talk at length about the war, the terror threat in his country, his relations with the United States and his deep suspicions about the leaders of Pakistan and their relationship with Osama bin Laden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So one historic footnote, do you believe they were protecting bin Laden in Abbottabad?
HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: Well, he was killed in Abbottabad. Now whether he had official protection is something I can't tell.
BLITZER: What do you think?
KARZAI: Really difficult to say one way or other, but where he was, how could he have been without some knowledge of him there? BLITZER: That's what a lot of people suspect. All right. Let's talk about U.S.-Afghan relations. Right now you've had some successful, I think, meetings with the President of the United States.
But a lot of Americans, as you know -- and you look at American public opinion polls -- they're concerned that they want the U.S. out of Afghanistan, about 70 percent say it's time for the U.S. to come home, the U.S. is spending to keep 90,000 troops, $2 billion a week in Afghanistan, $100 billion a year. Why is this money well spent?
KARZAI: We have already agreed on a process of transition to Afghan authority whereby Afghanistan will be looking after itself and after its security and the defense of the country almost entirely by 2014, and that's also the time that the American forces and other forces will withdraw from Afghanistan.
That transition and the eventual withdrawal in 2014 of the U.S. forces and other NATO forces from Afghanistan is good for Afghanistan and good for our allied countries.
Today we discussed that. We have finalized plans. So 2014 will be a year in which the United States will not be spending as much money in Afghanistan as it is spending today. It will save money and we will be providing security ourselves.
BLITZER: But for another two and a half years until the end of 2014, there will be thousands of American troops in Afghanistan.
KARZAI: Yes, yes.
BLITZER: And that will be expensive.
KARZAI: It will be expensive, like it was in the past 10 years, but this is a commitment that the world community has made to the war on terror, to the security of the United States, to the security of the world also to the security of Afghanistan.
BLITZER: Are you satisfied with this withdrawal schedule or is it too fast from your perspective?
KARZAI: No, we are satisfied.
BLITZER: Are you ready to take over all of Afghanistan by the end of 2014?
KARZAI: Absolutely. We have already worked out the plan to have in six months' time 75 percent of the country taken over with regard to security by Afghan security forces.
BLITZER: You know, the new president of France, President Hollande, he wants all French troops out by the end of this year.
KARZAI: And we support that.
BLITZER: You're ready for that?
KARZAI: Absolutely. Not only ready for it. We support it. It's a good move.
BLITZER: The chairman of the U.S. House and Senate intelligence committees, they recently were in Afghanistan, they came back, Dianne Feinstein, Mike Rogers.
BLITZER: They said the Taliban is stronger now than it was a year ago.
KARZAI: Well, I don't like to contradict Senator Feinstein but if that suggests that the Taliban will come and take over Afghanistan, no. Afghanistan has moved far enough not to be reversible to those days of the Taliban --
BLITZER: They had a major show of strength in April when they launched that attack in Kabul.
KARZAI: That's a terrorist attack.
BLITZER: That's the Taliban.
KARZAI: But that's not a show of strength. That's a terrorist attack.
BLITZER: So is the Taliban --
KARZAI: (Inaudible) --
BLITZER: -- stronger now than it was a year ago?
KARZAI: To put it in answers yes or no, you would not project the real scene in Afghanistan. Let me put it this way, that the Taliban may have the ability to launch attacks, to explode IEDs, to send suicide bombers, but for them to come and take over the country and take it backwards, no.
Afghanistan has moved forward and Afghanistan will defend itself and the progress that we have achieved, the Afghan people will not allow it to be put back or reversed.
BLITZER: Are you ready to bring the Taliban into your government, to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban?
KARZAI: Absolutely. We have been working on the peace deal for a long time now and with quite a heavy dedication and perseverance. We will continue the peace process with the Taliban, and with the government of Pakistan, with our allies as well. This is something that the Afghan people want and it is something that we have as an obligation towards the Afghan people to do.
BLITZER: But do you really believe the Taliban will ever accept equality for women, women's rights, education for girls in Afghanistan? Do you believe the Taliban would accept that? KARZAI: Well, well, well -- see, we have to divide the Taliban into categories. Those Taliban who are Afghans who have been forced out of their homes by circumstances or by events beyond their control, they are ready to come back to their own country and participate in the social life --
BLITZER: And let girls into school?
KARZAI: Absolutely. And they have not said to us so far -- we've been talking to them -- that they have a condition of girls not going to school or of the constitution not being democratic. No, that has not been said. But those who are part of Al Qaeda, part of terrorist networks with those elements or such elements, we are not talking.
BLITZER: Where does the leader, the former leader, who is now in exile someplace, Mullah Mohammed Omar, are you ready to work with him?
KARZAI: If he wants to have peace in Afghanistan, if he renounces violence, and if he accepts the Afghan constitution and embraces the Afghan people as his brothers and sisters and will be in respect of their lives, most welcome to have peace with us.
BLITZER: So even Mullah Mohammed Omar, who was in total alliance with Al Qaeda and bin Laden before 9/11, if he were to pop up someplace and your troops were to find him, let's say, would they arrest him, would they kill him? Or would you negotiate a deal with him?
KARZAI: Well, we are talking of peace. We are not talking of arrests or of killing.
BLITZER: Even Mullah Mohammed Omar?
KARZAI: We'll not talk of that. We are talking of peace for Afghanistan. We are talking for stability and security for Afghanistan and we would give all those Afghans -- let me repeat, all those Afghans, whether Taliban or other groups, who are not part of Al Qaeda, who are not part of any terrorist network, who are not inimical to their own country and people, they are welcome.
But if they are part of those categories of terrorists that I just mentioned, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And much more of my exclusive interview with the president of Afghanistan just ahead, among other things, I challenge him on why he's banning a United States congressman from entering his country.
Also, the former secretary of state Colin Powell making news right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, revealing his support for same-sex marriage.
And more than 100 girls poisoned in Afghanistan, supposedly just for going to school.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: The Afghan president Hamid Karzai is defending his decision to ban a United States congressman from entering his country. I pressed President Karzai about that in our exclusive interview and we also spoke about the concerns many U.S. lawmakers have about what happens after American troops leave Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you met with him recently. He just came back. He said one of the biggest issues is going to be after 2014, after all U.S. NATO troops are out. He told the "National Journal," he said, "The basic issue will be, do our troops have the immunities they need to operate? You don't want them subject to Afghan law."
Will U.S. troops who are helping you after 2014 be subject to Afghan law?
KARZAI: This is I know a very important issue for the United States, but this is also a very important issue for the Afghan people. If a U.S. soldier, like the one who went into a village and killed 17 people, including a pregnant woman with her baby, killing like that do you think is immutable? Can you give immunity to someone like that?
But if there is an accident along the way and if it is not intentional and by way of a mishap, that's a different issue. So this is a difficult issue. I (inaudible) the U.S. position on this. But I hope the United States, its Congress, its government, will also understand the Afghan position and the Afghan view on violations of this nature.
BLITZER: Tell you, the U.S. military won't stay in Afghanistan to help you if they're subject to Afghan law.
KARZAI: Well, we will talk to them about all these issues and we'll put across the Afghan sensitivities and reasons for that and I'm sure we'll also hear the U.S. side as to what it is they are seeking. We will try our best to reach a compromise where Afghanistan's lives and laws are respected, where also the United States finds it easy to work in Afghanistan.
BLITZER: There's a 10-year strategic partnership agreement --
BLITZER: -- from 2015 to 2024 --
BLITZER: -- and this is going to be a sensitive issue. But I hear you saying there is no agreement yet.
KARZAI: There is no agreement on this yet.
BLITZER: On this sensitive subject?
KARZAI: This will -- this is going to be discussed in the security agreement.
BLITZER: Here's what's very alarming. American troops, they go into the ministry of interior in Kabul and Afghan troops assassinate them in the back of their heads, wearing Afghan military uniforms. And this is happening. It's happened on several occasions.
KARZAI: Well, these are -- these are --
BLITZER: This is something that shocks Americans because they're there to help you.
KARZAI: Yes, these are incidents. You have them within the U.S. troops as well. That is something that can happen anywhere. It happens in Afghanistan, it can happen in the United States or elsewhere.
BLITZER: Should you apologize for this to the American people, to the American government?
KARZAI: These are incidents, and as far as the Afghans are concerned, if something wrong is committed by an Afghan and we feel that that is wrong and has negatively affected our U.S. allies, definitely. But in the same vein, we would also expect that the United States would apologize for mistakes that are made in Afghanistan --
BLITZER: The U.S. has apologized.
KARZAI: -- for civilian casualties, for the killing of the innocent in Afghanistan. So reciprocity is very important, that shows respect for both sides.
BLITZER: I was shocked recently when I heard that you denied permission to an American congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a subcommittee chairman. He was with a congressional delegation, about to fly from Dubai into Kabul and you said you're not going to let this democratically elected congressman into your country. Why?
KARZAI: A democratically elected congressman of the United States of America should not be talking of an ethnic divide in Afghanistan, should be not interfering in Afghanistan's internal affairs, should not be asking the Afghan people to have a federal (ph) structure as against what the Afghan constitution has asked for, should not be speaking disrespectfully about the Afghan people or the various ethnic groups in Afghanistan. If an Afghan did that from Afghanistan, how would you react to him in America?
BLITZER: So you're not going to let him back into your country, Dana Rohrabacher?
KARZAI: Definitely not.
KARZAI: Till he changes his stand, till he shows respect to the Afghan people, to our way of life and to our constitution. No foreigner has a place asking another people, another country to change their constitution.
BLITZER: Even after all that America has done for Afghanistan?
KARZAI: But that doesn't give you the right to play with our lives.
BLITZER: And you think he's that dangerous to you?
KARZAI: Not dangerous. It's a matter of principle. International relations are based on certain principles. We are not America. We are Afghanistan.
BLITZER: But there is a concept known as freedom of speech.
KARZAI: The freedom of speech is good, we respect that, but the freedom of speech with regard to other countries is another issue. He has freedom of speech within the United States and we have freedom of speech within Afghanistan, but if an Afghan member of parliament stood up and said the United States should be divided into five different regions, would you accept that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The Afghan president Hamid Karzai in my interview in Chicago at the end of the NATO summit. I later asked Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to respond to President Karzai's charge that he had been disrespectful of the Afghan people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, (inaudible) but if I thought that I was being inadvertently disrespectful to the Afghan people, I would apologize, but I obviously have a deep felt respect for the people of Afghanistan and their courage and their principled behavior. They are tough people who are actually a model of courage in this world. So I respect them.
It's Karzai I don't respect. So I don't think I owe an apology to the people of Afghanistan. Of course, Karzai is a corrupt and incompetent leader and I certainly owe no apology for trying to get Afghanistan to do investigative work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: As you can see, no love lost between Karzai and Rohrabacher.
More than 100 girls, meanwhile, poisoned in Afghanistan. Is it just for going to school? Ahead, we have shocking details of the Taliban's alleged attack.
And thousands of U.S. and allied forces training near Syria right now for a potential full-fledged war. CNN is there with exclusive access to their mission. Stay with us.
BLITZER: You just heard the Afghan president Hamid Karzai say he's ready to make peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan. But look at this, dozens of school girls and three of their teachers came under attack this week in northern Afghanistan, presumably for simply going to class. Officials there say they were poisoned. CNN correspondent Nick Paton Walsh has the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To Afghanistan's most extreme conservatives like the Taliban, girls going to school is so offensive they'll do anything to stop it, including poison schoolgirls.
This morning, students went into class at the Bibi Hegera (ph) girls' school in northern Takhar province and noticed a powerful smell. They began to fall ill. In panic, 125 girls were rushed to hospital. There, headaches and dizziness set in, forcing the girls requiring longer treatment.
DR. HABIBULLAH ROSTAQI, HOSPITAL DIRECTOR (through translator): A number of girls aged from 15 to 18 were brought from a school to a hospital today. Generally, they are not in critical condition. We are looking after them, but let's see what happens later. We understand so far from the situation that they are mostly traumatized.
WALSH (voice-over): Amid the distress here, a growing fear that even in the once-peaceful north, hardliners can strike at will. Police have sent blood samples from the poisoned girls to Kabul for analysis to work out what the poison is, but they already know who to blame.
KHALILULLAH ASEER, SPOKESMAN, TAKHAR POLICE (through translator): Actually, the Afghan people know that the terrorists and the Taliban are doing these things to threaten girls and stop them from going to school. That's something we and the people believe.
Now we are implementing democracy in Afghanistan. We want girls to be educated, but the government's enemies don't want this.
WALSH (voice-over): This has happened elsewhere before and in this province only a few months ago, fear, a powerful weapon but not powerful enough yet to stop these girls from wanting to learn -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kabul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The Joint Chiefs chairman Colin Powell held the line against gays serving openly in the United States military. But in a stunning turnaround, he now says he has no problem at all with gay marriage. My interview with General Powell, that's coming up.
Plus a New York dad saves a woman being from being killed by a subway train. What made the episode even more stressful for the hero.
And did the Obama administration give Hollywood information about the killing of Osama bin Laden that was kept from the American public?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Colin Powell making news right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, revealing apparently for the first time that he supports same-sex marriage. The former secretary of state has a new book out. It's called, "It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership." I talked to him about that and a wide range of topics, including domestic politics and the presidential race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I interviewed Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, not long ago, and he told me this about Russia. Listen to this.
FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are very unfortunate developments and if he's planning on doing more and suggest to Russia that he has things he's willing to do with them, he's not willing to tell the American people, this is to Russia, that this is without question our number one geopolitical foe, they fight every cause for the world's worst actors, the idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.
BLITZER: He says Russia is America's number one geopolitical foe. And I pressed him on that. He stuck by it. Do you agree with Romney that Russia is America's number one geopolitical foe?
GEN. COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: No, I don't. And I've said it on several occasions, to include earlier today, that I don't think that's the case. Russia has cooperated with us in some areas. They were with us when we did the first Gulf War, you'll recall those days, my good friend, Wolf, when we were together doing that.
And on what basis would you consider them a geostrategic foe? Foe means enemy. Now will we have differences of opinion with the Russian? Yes. Will they get mad at us from time to time, we get mad at them? That's part of normal diplomatic relations.
But it's a country half the size of the old Soviet Union, it's a country that is trying to fix its economy and bring wealth to its people. And so there are areas of cooperation more so than areas of tension.
And when Governor Romney said that, it was right after the president had a conversation with the leadership of the Russian Federation, and he said, you know, After the election, I'll have more room to maneuver. I don't find that all that shocking.
And Mr. Romney, I think, took it to an extreme, painting them as a foe. I don't think they're a foe. I don't think they've been a foe since the end of the cold war.
BLITZER: What do you think of some of these national security foreign policy advisers who surround Mitt Romney right now?
POWELL: Well, you know, ultimately, it's Mr. Romney who has responsibility for what he says. And I know most of the people around him, worked with some of them, some have worked for me, some of them are a little more extreme than I am on certain issues. I'm in the moderate view.
And so I think what Mr. Romney has to do is be very careful with these kinds of statements, to make sure he's thought it through. Now, if he's thought it through and really examined it and not just got a talking point for someone, then you have to take him at his word. It's what he means.
BLITZER: Even though you're a Republican, you endorsed President Obama four years ago. But right now, you still haven't endorsed him again. You're neutral right now. Why is that?
POWELL: Well, I don't have any obligation to endorse anybody at this point. I'm on a book tour. And so I am in no hurry. I'm not a political figure. I'm somebody who sometimes people pay attention to what I say. And so I don't see that there's any urgency in my making a statement.
I'm a voter, and what I'm doing is examining not only the two candidates that have emerged, but also the positions they hold, the platforms they will present, what kind of government they're liable to have or put in place, what their implications of their policies might be, say, with respect to the Supreme Court or taxes or how we fix our fiscal problems. So I don't feel any -- that I'm under any obligation to make a statement at this time.
BLITZER: What's the biggest disappointment you've had over the past three-and-a-half years?
POWELL: I wish that President Obama had been able to close Guantanamo right away and not asked the Congress for permission. We still are caught up with these trials in Guantanamo that I think would have been handled in civilian courts with the proper authority. And for those individuals who could not be tried, then have the Congress tell us how we handle these on a long-term basis. So I think that was a disappointment, and it's as much a disappointment with the Congress as with the president.
I wish that we had gotten the unemployment rate down and I wish that the economy was growing a little bit more than it is now. And that's not just solely the responsibility of a president, it's the responsibility of a Congress that passes all of these bills that spend money, and it's also the responsibility of the business.
It's the business community that creates jobs. The government puts in place policies that keep it honest and keep it straight but don't constrain the business community.
And I don't think we've got the right relationship between our legislators, our president, and the business community. So I think the president has to work more on that, and frankly, I think that's what he'll be judged on in this election.
BLITZER: I remember you were chairman of the Joint Chiefs when you installed the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the U.S. military that prevented gays from serving openly. I know you changed your attitudes over these years. But what about gay marriage? Are you with the president in supporting gay marriage?
POWELL: I have no problem with it. And it was the Congress that imposed "Don't ask, don't tell." It was certainly my position and my recommendation to get us out of an even worse outcome that could have occurred, as you'll recall.
But as I've thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is and they raise children. And so I don't see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married under the laws of their state or the laws of the country, however that turns out. It seems to be the laws of the state.
There may be religious objections to it, and I respect the fact that many denominations have different points of view with respect to gay marriage, and they can hold that in the sanctity of their place of religion and not bless them or solemnize them.
But in terms of the legal matter of creating a contract between two people that's called marriage and allowing them to live together with the protection of law seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country.
And so I support the president's decision. And I think most Americans increasingly understand that times have changed, just like they changed between gays in the military and when I was able to support removing that barrier to service.
And so I hope everybody will just carefully look at this, and I understand the religious objections to it, but at the same time, we are a country that is open to diversity and change. And my experience with many of my gay and lesbian friends is that they form unions as strong as any other unions I've seen and raise children that are good, strong children and are either heterosexual or homosexual, lesbian, depending on themselves, not because their parents happen to be.
BLITZER: You've written a really powerful book -- I read it last night -- "It Worked For Me In Life and Leadership" with a lot of excellent advice for people young, middle-aged, old. And the stories you tell are really powerful.
But one section jumped out at me, page 217 when you write this, General Powell. You write this, "February 5, 2003, the day of the speech, is as burned into my memory as my own birthday. The event will earn a prominent paragraph in my obituary."
You're referring to the day you testified before the United Nations Security Council saying there were, in fact, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It led to the war in Iraq, as you well remember.
Here is what you told the world on that day. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And in the book, you go through an explanation of how you got it wrong, how the U.S. intelligence community got it wrong. Was that the biggest intelligence blunder of your professional career?
POWELL: Of my professional career, yes, one of the biggest, if not the biggest. And the reason I wrote that couple of sentences was because I get asked about this every single day and I get accused almost every single day of having invented the intelligence.
But I didn't invent the intelligence. That intelligence information -- and you saw the CIA director sitting right behind me while I made this presentation. That intelligence information was in a National Intelligence Estimate that was given to the Congress four months before my speech and caused the Congress to vote overwhelmingly for the president to go to war, if he found it necessary.
Our allies believed it. Our commanders believed it. The CIA believed it. The intelligence community believed it. And when it started to unravel, it was troubling to me because my presentation was the most vivid one, the most dramatic one, the one that's most remembered.
But it wasn't anything that was made up by me. It was what the intelligence community believed. And months later, the intelligence community still stood behind the judgments they made at that time.
Should they have known that some of those judgments were incorrect? That's the rhetorical question I ask in that chapter of the book.
BLITZER: Former secretary of state Colin Powell speaking with me earlier in the week.
Our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, is here. He's not re- endorsing the president, at least not yet. He did four years ago, as we know. My instincts telling me between the lines, I suspect he will.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I suspect he will, too, particularly since he kind of jabbed Mitt Romney about foreign policy a bit and the question of Russia, whether it was our number one enemy out there.
I think that Colin Powell may have wanted the president to do more to reduce the deficit. He's always been kind of a fiscal conservative, and you could sort of see where the reticence comes from. But in the end, I think he'll probably come down on the fact that he believes Barack Obama has been kind of a muscular president on foreign policy.
BLITZER: And he also believes the president is right in now supporting same-sex marriage, and Romney -- presumably, Colin Powell believes this -- is way wrong on this. When I asked him the question about same-sex marriage, I wasn't sure what he was going to say. He didn't really speak out about it, even though, you know, he did have a position years ago about "Don't ask, don't tell"...
BORGER: "Don't ask, don't tell."
BLITZER: ... in the military. But same-sex marriage -- all of a sudden, he went into this robust defense of same-sex marriage, like, he feels very comfortable with the president on this issue.
BORGER: Right. And so I think -- when you look back on Colin Powell's career, yes, he endorsed "Don't ask, don't tell," but he's always been culturally I think a little bit to the left of conservatives within his own party. And he's been very strong on defense, very strong on foreign policy, conservative fiscally.
So I -- it doesn't surprise me, in a way, that he would have moved towards gay marriage, which is where the president is right now. But I think that -- and so on the cultural side, I think he and Romney might have some real differences. And I think that's one of the reasons, in the end, why Colin Powell never ran for the presidency himself...
BORGER: ... because he didn't feel that there was that fit for him in the Republican Party.
BLITZER: A lot of people wanted him to.
BORGER: They did.
BLITZER: And potentially, if he had...
BORGER: They did.
BLITZER: ... decided and his wife, Alma, (INAUDIBLE) decided, he might have been the first African-American president of the United States. But that's...
BORGER: That's right. History.
BLITZER: ... you know, something historians can discuss down the road. Gloria, thanks very much.
BLITZER: In the Middle East right now, thousands of U.S. and allied forces training for a nightmare scenario. We have an inside look that you will see only here on CNN.
And a hero feels extra pressure as he races to save a woman from the subway tracks and his kids are watching in horror.
BLITZER: In the Middle East, thousands of U.S. and allied forces are training for a nightmare scenario, the region exploding in a full- fledged war. Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, got exclusive access to the mission in Jordan. That's right next door to one of the most dangerous powderkegs, Syria.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you've seen the carrot of diplomacy being used to encourage regimes like Syria and Iran to join the world community. Here in Jordan, we are getting a look at the military stick that might be used by a coalition, if it comes to that.
(voice-over): Elite Jordanian troops train to assault a compound. U.S. special operations forces practice a night raid. They can take down an enemy target in two minutes.
Nineteen countries have sent 12,000 troops here to Jordan. Commanders say it's all about training. But there are worries unrest in neighboring Syria or tensions over Iran's nuclear program could spark a conflict.
Troops here believe the next time they go to war, they will go together.
MAJ. GEN. KEN TOVO, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS, CENTRAL COMMAND: The number one takeaway from this exercise is we are creating partnerships and friendships.
STARR: Troops train for what they may face on a moment's notice.
TOVO: Aiding refugees in a refugee camp, attacking terrorists, their safe houses, releasing hostages.
STARR: Meet U.S. Army Captain Rory. We can't tell you his full name, we can't show you his face because Rory still runs a 12-man commando team. But here, he says...
CAPTAIN RORY, U.S. ARMY: The training has been eye-opening.
STARR: If war was to come here, Navy SEAL Captain Todd Tinsly might be a key player. He already runs a military task force watching the Persian Gulf for trouble from Iran. He says working together isn't just talk.
CAPTAIN TODD TINSLY, U.S. NAVY SEAL: If we got called up to do a contingency, I think you would see something similar to what we're doing right now.
STARR (on camera): This military exercise is being watched throughout the Middle East just in case military training becomes a military reality -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Barbara Starr on the scene for us in Jordan. Thank you.
Here's a question. Did the Obama administration give Hollywood secret information about the killing of Osama bin Laden?
And a New York dad saves a woman from being killed by a subway train. Why the rescue was especially nerve-wracking for this hero.
BLITZER: Did the Obama administration grant Hollywood access to information about the killing of Osama bin Laden that was held from the public? The question is stirring new backlash here in Washington after the release of some new information.
Let's bring in our own Brian Todd. He's got details. What's going on here, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, newly released documents show top Pentagon officials making promises of inside access to the filmmakers. It's not clear if the filmmakers actually got all of the access they were promised, but one key Republican lawmaker calls it a potentially dangerous collaboration between Hollywood and Washington.
TODD (voice-over): It's just weeks after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Two Hollywood filmmakers are in Washington to get details on the operation for their upcoming movie. According to a newly released document, a meeting between the filmmakers and top Pentagon officials brings promises of great access that critics now say could compromise national security.
A transcript of the meeting last July quotes Michael Vickers, undersecretary of defense, talking to Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and a screenwriter. They can't speak to the top commanders of the raid, Vickers tells them, but they'll make a guy available who was involved from the beginning as a planner, a SEAL Team 6 operator and commander.
Right below that, the name of the special ops planner is mentioned, but is redacted in the documents. The screenwriter's response, "That's dynamite."
TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT, JUDICIAL WATCH: And he can basically give you everything you would want or get from Admiral Olson or Admiral McRaven.
TODD: Tom Fitton heads the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. They filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding the transcript of that Pentagon meeting and other documents. Fitton says that promise from Vickers wasn't all the filmmakers got.
FITTON: This access is unusual. They were given access to the vault at the CIA, which is their equivalent of the Situation Room.
TODD: Other conservatives are outraged. Republican Congressman Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, calls it a potentially dangerous collaboration between the filmmakers, the CIA, the Pentagon and the White House.
REP. PETER KING (R), HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE. CHAIRMAN: This is too sensitive for the average person to even know about. Did Kathryn Bigelow have a security clearance? Was she cleared to go in there?
TODD: A Pentagon spokesman tells CNN the filmmakers got no access to classified information from the Defense Department on the bin Laden raid. White House officials have said they didn't give Bigelow and the screenwriter any information on the operation that journalists didn't get.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We provided the same information to everybody, and none of it was classified.
TODD: The CIA says national security is always paramount whenever it engages with Hollywood, and the vault in question was empty at the time of the filmmaker's visit.
CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend says it's always difficult balancing security with the pull from Hollywood and journalists.
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: It's not just American citizens who you're trying to be transparent with and share information with, but your enemies are also watching.
TODD: We contacted representatives for director Kathryn Bigelow and that screenwriter. They would not comment on the specifics of what they got from officials in Washington. But a spokesman for Sony Pictures said the film is about the decade-long pursuit of bin Laden, that it's been in the works for many years, and that it integrates the efforts not only of the Obama administration, but also of the Bush and Clinton administrations.
It is not clear whether the filmmakers ever met with that special operations planner, Wolf.
BLITZER: Interesting. There also, though, have been some accusations that the timing of the release of this film...
BLITZER: ... could be -- could coincide with something to help President Obama's reelection campaign.
TODD: Yes. Congressman Peter King and others have complained that they were putting this out there around the time of October, maybe September, to benefit the Obama campaign for the fall election. For whatever reason, that has now been postponed. The release is now set for December of this year, after the November election. We're told from a defense source with knowledge of this that it's got a working title called "Zero Dark 30." Pretty cool title, but...
BLITZER: We'll see if it's a major motion picture. There's also some accusations heavy lobbying influence on this whole project? TODD: That's right. Congressman King and some others have complained that this Democratic-leaning lobbying group, the Glover Park Group, very powerful entity here in Washington, was a key player in arranging contacts, arranging meetings with -- between the filmmakers and some key officials. We called the Glover Park Group, and they declined to comment for this story.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much for that report.
A father of three turns into a subway hero, just ahead. He tells us how he saved a woman's life from an oncoming train.
And an historic launch that could change the future of space flight.
BLITZER: Here's a look at this hour's "Hot Shots." In Macedonia, a 42-foot statue of Philip II is raised onto its platform.
In Iraq, a man steers his donkey cart through the haze of a dust storm on a Baghdad street.
In Florida, the SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft launches from its pad at Cape Canaveral.
And in England, look at this, a 2-year-old elephant uses its trunk to cool off on a hot day.
"Hot Shots," pictures coming in from around the world.
A New York dad is being called a hero for single-handedly saving a woman from being killed by a subway train. He had to act in an instant. And to make things even more stressful, his children were there and they were watching.
Our Mary Snow spoke with him.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, roughly five million people ride New York City subways every day and it's uneventful. But for one Manhattan father taking his kids to a festival, he walked into a situation he never expected.
(voice-over): For the Wetzel family, riding the subways comes with a warning. Greg Wetzel says he always tells his three children to stay far away from the platform edge. But on Saturday, he abandoned his own advice.
GREG WETZEL, RESCUED WOMAN ON SUBWAY TRACK: As we approached this area, about 20 feet, I see a woman lying on the tracks there. And you know, I had the three little ones, and I had to make a decision at that point.
SNOW (voice-over): To make that decision, Greg looked to see when the next train was due to barrel through. (on camera): When you looked up at the clock, it said two minutes?
WETZEL: That's when it said two minutes.
SNOW (voice-over): The woman was unconscious. With his kids watching, Greg jumped in to move her away from the deadly third rail and towards the platform.
WETZEL: Regardless of how much you weigh, again, dead weight of a human being is heavy, unusually so. You'd be surprised.
SNOW (on camera): Did she respond at all?
WETZEL: No, not at all.
SNOW (voice-over): With time at a minimum, he raced to come up with a plan B, getting her to the gap between the tracks.
WETZEL: I felt that if I could at least then maneuver her maybe in that area, and then -- and then jump out, worst case scenario, the train would roll over her. But certainly, the way she was laying, she was right across the tracks.
SNOW (voice-over): Greg managed to get the unconscious woman close enough to the platform for bystanders to lift her out. Paramedics took her to a local hospital. EMS says she was apparently intoxicated when she fell and didn't provide her name.
Days later, her sneakers still mark the spot where she was rescued. As for the Wetzels, they're hoping all those warnings to their kids will stick with them.
(on camera): Did you think it was that dangerous before?
ETHAN WETZEL, GREG'S SON: No, but now I know it's really dangerous.
SNOW: These arrival times that were put in in recent years are really there for convenience. But in this case, they could (ph) be (ph) a life saver (ph) -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Mary Snow, true story, a real hero.
That does it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.