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THE SITUATION ROOM
Judge Revokes Zimmerman's Bond; Democrats Rally Against Wisconsin Governor; Jeb Bush Rejects Key Pledge on Taxes
Aired June 1, 2012 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And you're in the SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, a Florida judge revokes George Zimmerman's bond, leaving the man charged with murdering Trayvon Martin 48 hours to turn himself in.
Plus, a bombshell report reveals a secret White House campaign to increase cyber attacks against potential enemies abroad, but could the tables turn on the United States? We're looking at the dangers the country may face in an escalating global cyber war.
And a U.S. helicopter crew in Afghanistan risks their lives to save a marine with an active foot-long grenade embedded in his body.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
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BLITZER: But up first this hour, a dramatic and surprising twist in the case against the man charged with killing Trayvon Martin. The judge revoking his bond, ordering him to surrender within 48 hours. CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us now from Sanford, Florida, with the very latest. So, what happened today, Martin?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this started off as what was supposed to be a routine hearing of which you had members of the media, representative by lawyers and you have the defense in the state that run (ph) the courtroom. They were going to talk about what evidence would be released to the public.
However, just before that hearing, there was a motion file in the part of the state to revoke the bond for George Zimmerman and that quickly overshadowed events because the judge wielded, yes, bond would be revoked. Here's the point that the state, actually, two points the state was trying to make.
Number one, they said when George Zimmerman turned himself in originally, he had to turn in his passport, he did. Turns out he had two passports. He didn't turn in the second passport, and the state said that was a violation, but the real issue became money.
At the time of that first bond hearing, the family said they had no money, thereby, bond should be set low, but then it was revealed George Zimmerman had a number of websites that were generating a lot of cash, over $100,000.
And it was clear, the state say, from recordings they got of George Zimmerman on the phone to his wife when he was in jail that they were talking about that cash. Listen to the state attorney as he argued the point before the judge today.
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BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: The bottom line is, as the court noted, the court was misled by the actions of the defendant and his wife. And that's why we argue that his bond should be revoked, and the court made that finding also.
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SAVIDGE: Now, of course, the defense is arguing differently. They said, look, the family knew they had a fund, but they didn't really know it was their money. So, that's why they said they didn't have a lot of money. Meanwhile, Mark O'Mara now says that he's fine. He's going to turn himself in, and they hope to have a new bond hearing. Here's what he said shortly after the hearing.
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MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: You know, the revocation of bond, I hope, is temporary. I hope that they will give us a day in court to explain George's behavior and look at all of the circumstances even they had discovered this (INAUDIBLE) and determining what he's going to do about letting him back out on bond.
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SAVIDGE: Needles to say that the defense team was very surprised by the developments today. They did not expect that George Zimmerman would have to turn himself back in, Wolf.
BLITZER: Do we know, Martin, when or where Zimmerman will turn himself in?
SAVIDGE: Less than 48 hours, that was the order that came down specifically from the judge. It's believe it's going to have to be here in Seminole County. In other words, he's going to have to walk back in the same door that he was seen walking out of just a couple of weeks ago. So, that is the circumstance now.
Exactly how or where he is, no one really knows except for his attorney and his immediate family. I did ask Mark O'Mara how long will it take for him to return to Florida. He said it would take some time, but he knows the clock is ticking, and he's got less than two days.
BLITZER: Martin, thanks very much.
Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with our CNN legal analyst and "In Session" contributor in our sister network TruTV, Sunny Hostin. Sunny, does it sound to you like this is going to be temporary or sort of permanent that he's not going to be allowed out on bond?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's too soon to tell. I don't think there's any question that this judge will likely grant Mark O'Mara's request to have a full hearing on the merit.
But, Wolf, I have a copy of the motion to revoke bond that was filed by the government, and it makes some very serious allegations of sort of collusion between George Zimmerman and his wife, Shelly Zimmerman, in trying to make these misrepresentations to the court.
It is clear that the government pulled the jailhouse call records, and there are several conversations outlined in this motion, Wolf, that make it pretty clear, I think, that George Zimmerman knew that he had about $135,000 in a credit union account that he shared with his wife, that his wife also knew that there was about $135,000 in this joint credit union account.
And, that when she represented to the court, that this was an indigent family, and that she had no knowledge of any funds that that would have been untrue, that would have been a lie. And the judge was pretty clear that he didn't believe that she was telling the truth, and that by omission, George Zimmerman also misrepresented to the court.
BLITZER: Do we know? Do we have a sense, and you're an expert in this area, on how this incident, these dramatic developments that are playing out today, the impact it will have on the defense's case, the credibility, shall we say, of George Zimmerman?
HOSTIN: Well, this is significant, Wolf. I mean, bottom line, this is a self-defense case, and George Zimmerman's word, his credibility is very important as to what happened that evening. We know Trayvon Martin can't tell his side of the story because he is no longer with us. And so, his credibility is so very important, and now, you have a judge finding that he made misrepresentations to the court.
And I suspect that this is something that could come up, that would be allowed to be used in court at the stand your ground hearing, and that is very, very important, again, because the government is going to try to show that George Zimmerman confronted, pursued Trayvon Martin.
And George Zimmerman has said no, that Trayvon Martin attacked him. So, his credibility is everything, and at this point, his credibility really has taken quite a hit.
BLITZER: Sunny Hostin, thanks very much.
HOSTIN: Thank you.
BLITZER: All right. Let's turn now to some breaking news. We're following a tornado warning that has just been issued for Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas. Let's go to our severe weather expert, Chad Myers, for the very latest -- Chad. CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The center of circulation, Wolf, will be very close to (INAUDIBLE) and Maryland. So, just on the southeast outskirts of Southeast D.C., coming heading over toward Forestville, and eventually, over 495, maybe a little bit south of New Carrolton, and then, maybe even up toward Bouie (ph).
And this is the area here that we're most worried about. Here's Washington, D.C. proper right here. Here's Northern Virginia. Another cell is coming in to Washington, D.C. as well and they just put a tornado warning on this cell. Now, this is moving into Northern Virginia, not quite to the D.C. area, but if you notice and will probably kind of hard from that angle, there's the new tornado warning and there is the southeastern tip of the beltway right there.
So, just now inside the beltway in the Northern Virginia area, and that could, as it continues to rotate, roll into Washington, D.C. in the next, I would say 45 minutes to an hour. These storms have not been moving very fast, maybe only 30 miles per hour. So, time to take cover but no time to go chase.
These storms are not chasable. We don't need pictures from you. I want you to be very, very careful in your houses and your homes today. Even some of the damage we'd been seeing, just power lines down and trees down, breaking windows, those broken windows can cut you if you're anywhere near that. Center part of the house is always the strongest part of the house, Wolf.
BLITZER: Good advice. We'll stay on top of the story. Thanks, Chad, very much.
We're also following new information on a possible cyber war waged by the United States. Coming up, a closer look at what happens if potential enemies turn the tables, though, on the United States. Stand by for that.
And the former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, rejecting a key pledge from the man leading his party's charge against raising taxes. Grover Norquist is here to respond to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.
BLITZER: The former president, Bill Clinton, is defending Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney's, record as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital speaking to film producer, Harvey Weinstein who was a guest host on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" last night. Bill Clinton said Romney had done, quote, "good work," and then, he went on to say Romney's career qualifies him for the presidency.
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BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing essential functions in the office, a man who's been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualifications threshold. But they have dramatically different proposals, and it's my opinion, anyway, that the Obama proposals and the Obama record is far better for the American economy in most Americans than those of Governor Romney's laid out.
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BLITZER: I'm joined now by CNN's John King, the anchor of "John King USA." John, you and I both covered the Clinton White House for many years, what do you make of what the former president said here on CNN last night?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you know Governor Clinton and President Clinton. You covered him in both roles, and that was right there -- that's his DNA. Number one, he believes campaigns are about the future. So, (inaudible) it is wrong to look in the rearview mirror, to spend too much time.
I'm not saying that anytime, but too much time worrying about Bain Capital, even worrying about the Massachusetts record of Mitt Romney. You heard what he said, what are your proposals to fix the economy now? what are your proposal for America tomorrow? Remember his inauguration theme song, "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow."
That is Bill Clinton's DNA when it comes to politics, look forward. Also, remember where he came from as the Arkansas governor, was one of the founders of the Democratic leadership council, challenge the Democratic Party. He said it was too much about taxes and spending, too cozy with the unions, too hostile to business.
But you hear him talking about Mitt Romney's sterling business career. That's the old Bill Clinton telling the Democrats don't beat up on big business. It is business that actually creates jobs. If you go back and look at his speeches, Wolf, throughout the 1990s since governor and then when he became president, he said he was going to be a new and different Democrat. And if you talk to people, he talks too privately.
One of his worries, he may clearly support President Obama, but one of his worries is that under the Obama administration, including what the Congressional leadership, the party has started to drift too far back to the left. He's worried about that.
BLITZER: Yes. All of us remember the 1996 re-election campaign when he engaged in what some of his strategists called triangulation, trying to get a position sort of between the far left and the far right, triangulating himself in the center. Is that what's sort of going on right now?
KING: That is part of it, but look, I think Bill Clinton fundamentally thinks it is a bad idea, especially when you're trying to create jobs, to trash the people, to criticize the people who create the jobs. You heard him say in the part you didn't play, but in that exchange with Harvey Weinstein, and remember, this is a friend of his conducting the interview. If Bill Clinton didn't want to go there, he would have told Harvey Weinstein not to go there. he said, let's not call this bad work, it's good work. He was talking about Bain Capital. He was talking about venture capital. He was talking about people who go out and try to create jobs, and he said, yes, sometimes they fail.
Bill Clinton spent a lot of time in the 1990s trying to convince the Democratic Party to stop trashing business. And I know, Wolf, personally, from friends of the former president, he thinks sometimes it's an unfair wrap, but he thinks President Obama could and should do a lot more to change the perception and the feeling in the business community with his administration as anti-business.
BLITZER: All right. You know, a lot of our viewers will remember changing, switching gears a little bit, to my contentious interview with Donald Trump earlier this week. He's doubling down on his assertion that the president was not born in the United States, that the documents, the birth certificates probably are forgeries in all of this.
But Mitt Romney today was on CNBC, and he made it clear he totally disagrees with Donald Trump. Listen to this.
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MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's no question that the president was born in the United States of America. I don't go around telling all my supporters what they should think or what they should say, but he knows what I believe about this.
I believe the real issues in this campaign and the issues that America cares about are not issues of the president's personality or matters of that nature, but instead the issue is the president in a position to lead America and to get us out of these economic doldrums and put families back to work.
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BLITZER: He says flatly, John, there's no question that the president was born in The United States of America. Sounds like he's slapping one of his big supporters a bit there, Donald Trump.
KING: He was making clear he profoundly disagrees with Mr. Trump. My bigger question is, what are they saying in private? I think it would be more helpful for the governor to say any of these conversations about this are not only distracting, they're hurtful. And that would be stronger than saying simply I disagree with him, and I'm going to disagree from time to time with some of my supporters.
But, as you know, from your contentious interview with the Donald there, and you and I have both interviewed him in the past as well, it's hard for anybody to tell Donald Trump what to say or what not to say. And so, perhaps, Governor Romney understands he's unlikely to control the Donald's message in the future.
But there are a lot of people -- there are some people in the Romney campaign who say this won't hurt at all, but Donald Trump does this to get attention, Wolf. A lot of other people do it for darker, sadder, and frankly, pathetic reasons. And, that's one of the reasons it would be better for the country if the birther conversation just stop.
BLITZER: Yes. John is going to have a lot more coming up for our North American viewers at the top of the hour. John, thanks very much.
This quick note, by the way. I'll be interviewing the former president, Bill Clinton, Thursday, this coming Thursday in Chicago at the Clinton Global Initiative Conference. We're going to bring that to you next Thursday right here in the SITUATION ROOM.
Bill Clinton attended a big democratic rally in Wisconsin today as well, and it included a congresswoman singing in a way you've probably never seen before. Stand by for that.
And a marine with a live grenade inside his body. This is a truly amazing way. We're going to report on how his fellow troops saved his life.
BLITZER: The partisan atmosphere in Wisconsin is heating up once again just ahead of next week's vote on whether to recall the governor. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM as well. Lisa, what's the latest.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Former president, Bill Clinton, is urging Democrats to turn out to vote against Republican governor, Scott Walker, in a recall election Tuesday. Mr. Clinton joined other Democrats speaking at a rally in Milwaukee today. And the anti-Walker sentiment was strong.
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GWEN MOORE, (D) WISCONSIN STATE HOUSE: Great Scott Skywalker, you got to go, baby. Hit the road, Scott and don't you come back, no more.
MOORE: (SINGING) hit the road, Scott, and don't you come back no more. What you say now?
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SYLVESTER: Well, she certainly looked like she was having a lot of fun. Walker and GOP allies voted last year to limit raises for most public employees and move the bar unions from deducting dues from workers' paychecks. He says the moves were needed to rein in the state's deficit.
And amounts of international manhunt is underway for the suspect in a grizzly killing in Montreal. Canadian police say the self- professed porn star killed and dismembered his victim and posted a video of the crime on the internet. They say he later fled the country. The victim is being identified as a 33-year-old exchange student from China.
And the enduring comic book hero, Green Lantern, is being re- launched as an openly-gay character. D.C. Comics is confirming that the change will be revealed in a new issue of the Green Lantern series coming out next week. Green Lantern would be the highest profile openly-gay character today -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much for that. Lisa, appreciate it.
Jeb Bush breaking with Mitt Romney on a no new taxes pledge. I'll ask a very influential tax reform advocate if they -- if that should disqualify the former Florida governor from being considered as Romney's potential running mate.
Also, we'll have much more on the prospect of an escalating cyber war with America's enemies. Could the tables be turned, though, on the United States?
BLITZER: The former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, is being mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, but speaking in Washington today, the former governor distanced himself from the candidate on one critical issue namely taxes.
Romney is committed to a no-tax pledge put forward by the influential tax reform advocate, Grover Norquist. Former Florida governor says he doesn't support signing that pledge.
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JEB BUSH, (R) FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I ran for office three times. The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor. I don't believe to have your principles and convictions to people. I respect Grover's political involvement. He has every right to do it, but I never signed any pledge.
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BLITZER: Let's talk about that with Grover Norquist. He's the president of the group, Americans for Tax Reform. He's joining us right now. His new book, by the way, is called "Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now To Regain Our Future." What do you think of what the former Florida governor named Jeb Bush had to say today, Grover?
GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: He kind of stepped in it a little bit. Before he did that, he actually said something useful and that when he was asked what if we could get rid of some deductions and credits, and he said that would be fine as long as you cut tax rates dollar for dollar, so it's not a tax increase. Now, that is almost verbatim, the tax player protection pledge, but then, he went on to kind of insult Governor Romney because Governor Romney has made a written commitment to the American people and said, when I get to Washington, I'm not going to raise taxes. The problem is too much spending.
We're going to reform government. We're not going to spend less. We're going to have less debt. We're not going to raise taxes. So, when I go and see a problem in Washington like Obama's overspending, I'm not going to raise taxes, I'm going to reduce spending. And unfortunately, what Jeb Bush said was that that was outsourcing his principles.
In point of fact, what Governor Romney and most Republicans have done is signed a pledge not to me. That's what Harry Reid, the head of the Democrats in the Senate likes to say, but the pledge is to the American people. It's on our website, ATR.org. Everybody can see it. It's on most candidates' websites so you can see that they made that commitment to the American people.
BLITZER: So --
NORQUIST: Jeb Bush really misspoke and insulted Romney and shouldn't have.
BLITZER: So, from your perspective, does this disqualify Jeb Bush as being Romney's running mate?
NORQUIST: No believe look Jeb Bush hasn't run for office for 10 years. He's not used to Washington politics. He should have known that the number one thing Democrats are interested in, Van Hollen (ph) is the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It doesn't like the taxpayer protection pledge because it is how Republican candidates and a couple of Democrats make a written commitment to the American people that they won't raise taxes.
It's a very powerful way to have credibility in committing not to raise taxes. It's very important that the Democrats break that because what they want is Republican fingerprints on a tax increase that would pay for Obama's bigger government rather than the Republican strategy which is to stop Obama's overspending and not raise taxes. The Ryan plan brings the budget into balance. The Republican plan that Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has put together and that the Republicans have twice now voted for in the House of Representatives that brings the budget into balance without a tax increase. We don't need a tax increase, so we need spending restraint.
BLITZER: So from your perspective, someone like -- let's say like Rob Portman (ph), the Republican senator from Ohio who has signed your pledge, would he be more acceptable as a running mate than Jeb Bush.
NORQUIST: Well Portman would certainly be a very strong vice presidential candidate. He has both taken the pledge and kept it as a congressman and a senator. He knows that pledge is to the people of Ohio. Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana has kept the pledge, taken the pledge and kept it as governor of Louisiana in very difficult, economic times.
He's had a lot of reform as a result. I think Rubio of Florida who is looking as a possible vice presidential candidate has both taken the pledge as a state legislator, as a senator and kept it. The modern Republican Party, almost all of the elected officials there have committed in writing to the American people that they're not going raise your taxes. They will reform government.
BLITZER: Grover Norquist thanks very much. I think we just heard three potential candidates that you like, Rob Portman (ph), Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio as possible vice presidential running mates. I suspect there are some other names out there as well --
NORQUIST: I don't want to get in trouble --
BLITZER: We'll leave it there for now.
NORQUIST: Yes. OK.
BLITZER: Yes, I don't think Jeb Bush necessarily is your top choice, but that's just my guess. We can discuss this a little bit more down the road. Thank you.
NORQUIST: Thank you.
BLITZER: Let's go back to the tornado warning in the D.C. area right now. Chad Myers has some new information just coming in -- tornadoes in the nation's capital, what's the latest.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Well the storm that just moved over Suitland (ph) and then south of New Carrollton (ph) has now a new tornado warning on it for the city of Buoy (ph), Maryland, so there's D.C. proper (ph) right there. Here's northern Virginia. This storm went across the Beltway now, not that far from Glendale and it is still rotating and I wanted to get back on, Wolf, because we'll show you the green and the red.
The green going one way and the red going the other way right through there. Glendale, just to your southeast is the main rotation and the next stop would be Buoy (ph), Maryland. If you're in this area I'd say within five or 10 miles either way. You need to be taking cover now. That is a significant storm there, not that far from Buoy (ph), Maryland.
Here's (INAUDIBLE) our affiliates WBAL. They've had damage reported. They've had damage on their pictures there near Hampstead (ph) to the west of Baltimore. This is a BWIDCA (ph), almost all the way down to Richmond, Virginia event and just a little bit earlier, Wolf, I had a tornado on the ground about one-half mile north of Elizabeth City (ph), North Carolina, so this is Carolinas, this is mid Atlantic, all the way up possibly even into Pennsylvania. I did have a tornado warning for a while in New York and Lancaster (ph). That has now expired, but these storms aren't going to quit until well after sunset -- Wolf. BLITZER: We'll stay on top of it together with you. Thanks very much, Chad. Appreciate it, very much. Ominous pictures coming in from the D.C., Maryland, area.
Alarming concerns the tables could be turned on the United States in a new age of cyber warfare, just ahead, a closer look at where the country is at risk and what potential enemies abroad are capable of.
And the unimaginable battle to save a U.S. Marine on the front lines with a live foot-long grenade embedded in his body.
BLITZER: Turning now to what could be an escalating cyber war here in the United States and abroad. David Sanger reporting in "The New York Times" today that President Obama has secretly ordered a wave of sophisticated attacks against nuclear computer systems in Iran. He did so according to David Sanger shortly after taking office. Our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence is working the story for us. He's joining us now with some details. What are you hearing, Chris?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf we know that President Obama dramatically increased the use of drones once he took office and now you've got this report from "The Times". We spoke with a former U.S. official who said one of the hits that the U.S. was involved has always been that lawyers were said to be a part of this team and the U.S. is about the only country that would use lawyers to that extent in this type of mission. The lawyers would try to make sure that the attack fit the laws of armed conflict and would try to minimize any collateral damage.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): The computer virus that nearly crippled Iran's nuclear program was a game changer, a weapon that pushed cyber war from espionage to sabotage.
JAMES LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: What I've heard is that it would take days of air strikes, repeated air strikes to do the kind of damage that Stuxnet did.
LAWRENCE: Analyst Jim Lewis says a "New York Times" report that sites administration sources confirms what cyber --
LAWRENCE: -- inserted the computer bug into Iran's nuclear facility at "The Times". Even before the bug was detected things were clearly amiss. A former official at the International Atomic Energy Agency says in 2010 people from other nations suddenly started come to the IAEA with unusual questions. How are the Iranian centrifuges performing? The official says you expect maybe 10 percent of centrifuges to fail, but the IAEA was detecting thousands of unusual failures (INAUDIBLE). Cyber experts say it wouldn't surprise anyone to know that U.S. and Israel were involved.
LEWIS: You would rather see a covert program remain a secret and the decision to make it public is an interesting one.
LAWRENCE: The article cites current administration officials, but the White House claims this was not an authorized leak like the recent decision to graphically detail the U.S. drone program. An Obama administration official says cyber war information is classified for a reason and publicizing it would pose a threat to national security. A former U.S. officials says Russia and China are capable of launching a cyber attack right now, with Iran and North Korea trying to develop the ability. He says publicizing the Stuxnet plan will affect U.S. negotiations with other countries on establishing rule for cyber war.
LEWIS: They're not surprised by this, but it's moved the negotiating terrain into a different place.
LAWRENCE: (INAUDIBLE) one glitch Stuxnet got out and went out over the Internet all over the world, but the official we spoke with says he's not that worried about some of the technology being compromised because this mission involved human agents. It involved getting materials shipped into Iran, international shipping. It also involved Israel's extensive knowledge of the target, so there was a lot of engineering and human espionage not just the virus itself that went into making this so successful -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And in this lengthy article by David Sanger and "The New York Times" told it's an excellent article based on coming from his new book that's coming out next week. He's going to be joining us, by the way, in THE SITUATION ROOM. It talks about there's credibly close collaboration between the U.S. and the Israelis on this Stuxnet cyber warfare strategy against Iran. It goes into amazing details, this collaboration between the U.S. and Israel and the cyber warfare. What are you hearing from your vantage point?
LAWRENCE: Well it's sort of -- it -- that something that sort of dovetails into what David wrote in there, but what I'm hearing from a former U.S. official was that Israel may have been more in the lead, so to speak, not as relegated to second partner status as was described. That they had a much more robust role in some of the development and we know that Israel's extensive knowledge of the engineering behind some of Iran's computers there at their nuclear facility that made the Stuxnet virus so effective. Without that knowledge the virus would not have been able to do what it did.
BLITZER: Interesting stuff, this cyber warfare story only just beginning. Thanks very much. So what would happen if the tables though were turned on the United States in this new age of cyber warfare? Our Brian Todd is joining us now with this part of the story. Brian what are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, U.S. officials say it's not a matter of if, but when America's adversaries launch significant cyber attacks. We looked at where the vulnerabilities are and how attacks could unfold.
TODD (voice-over): A U.S. adversary now with its own cyber warfare unit. A top Iranian military official said Iran will fight our enemies with abundant power in cyberspace and Internet warfare.
(on camera): If Iran retaliates for any massive cyber attack the U.S. might engage in, what could the Iranians do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know that's good set of questions. Unfortunately all of our critical infrastructures we've grown very dependent upon cyber technology and cyber means.
TODD (voice-over): Frank Cilliuffo (ph), former White House homeland official who recently testified before Congress on cyber threats says it's not just Iran developing the capability for a massive cyber attack on the U.S. China has got it he says along with Russia. North Korea could later. The damage they could inflict?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the ability to disrupt communications, to take down electric power, the ability to interfere with potable water and water supply.
TODD: U.S. federal agencies are spending some $10 billion a year on cyber security. They've developed some defenses against cyber attack and carried out mock attacks on power plants, for example. In a classified test codenamed "aurora", government hackers launched a simulated attack on a generator and got it to self destruct.
TODD: Cilliuffo (ph) says there's also the possibility of a huge malware (ph) attack on the U.S. to collect information like the one recently dubbed flame discovered by Cass Persky Lab (ph), a Russian cyber security firm which targeted countries like Iran and Egypt.
(on camera): Cass Persky (ph) says the initial entry point of flame is unknown, but it's deployed through a series of targeted attacks. Once a computer or a system is infected, then the virus deploys a series of sophisticated hacks. I'm joined by Mischel Kwon (ph). She's the former director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team for the Department of Homeland Security. Say I'm the person inflicting the virus. This is the command and control server, Michelle. Once your computer is infected, I can basically monitor everything you're doing, right?
MISCHEL KWON, MISCHEL KWON ASSOCIATES: Yes. Yes. You can. What's interesting about this is that you can scrape your screen so it can take a screen shot of what you're doing. It can also monitor the web traffic, where you visit. It can also -- if you're using Skype, it can capture your Skype conversations. It can turn the microphone on and capture audio.
TODD (voice-over): And Kwan (ph) says it can capture your key strokes.
(END VIDEOTAPE) TODD: Frank Cilliuffo (ph) says it's important to realize that while the Stuxnet attack was very targeted and discriminate, if Iran retaliates for that, its attack will not be discriminate. He says the Iranians will hit wherever they have the greatest impact and that means power grids, banks, water supplies could be targeted in the U.S. -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, even Iran's proxies are a potential cyber threat to the United States right now, aren't they?
TODD: Absolutely. Frank Cilliuffo (ph) says Hezbollah and Lebanon has sophisticated hackers, eavesdropping capability. They could launch a cyber attacks on the U.S. on Iran's behalf and it may not be traceable back to Iran. That's another potential weapon that Tehran has in cyberspace.
BLITZER: Cyber warfare, yes, only just beginning, I suspect. Thank you.
Up next a U.S. Marine with a live grenade inside his body and the amazing way his fellow troops saved his life.
BLITZER: Turning now to an amazing rescue effort on the front lines of the war in Afghanistan. U.S. helicopter crew members risking their lives to save a fellow service member with a live grenade lodged in his body. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is joining us now with these unbelievable details -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You know Wolf over 10 years of war we have seen so many stories of courage and valor on the battlefield. I want you to meet some men who risked it all to save a Marine they did not know.
STARR (voice-over): An Army crew well practiced in medavacing (ph) wounded troops off the battlefield in Afghanistan, but soon these four men would have to make a decision few can imagine.
SPEC. MARK EDENS, U.S. ARMY FLIGHT MEDIC: Each of us on the aircraft had to agree to take this patient on.
CAPT. KEVIN DOO, U.S. ARMY MEDAVAC PILOT: There was quite a bit of alarm amongst the crew at the time, as you can imagine.
STARR: That's because their patient, 20-year-old Marine Corps Lance Corporal Wendell Perez (ph), had a foot-long rocket propelled grenade embedded in his left side. It could have exploded at any moment. Perez (ph) needed to be flown to the nearest medical unit some 65 miles away.
DOO: Well if the RPG exploded, you know especially (INAUDIBLE) they were working on the patient directly over them. The shrapnel alone would have been devastating, and about 18 inches behind where the patient is lying is over 300 (ph) gallons of jet aviation fuel and it would have been catastrophic.
STARR: When the helo (ph) landed Navy trauma nurse Lieutenant Commander James Gennari (ph) ordered his staff to stay away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I decided that I was going to go, because, quite frankly, I am not going to ask somebody to do what I'm not going to do. It is just not going to happen.
STARR: The young Marine was still fully conscious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took him by the hand and he said, where is everybody and I said well you have an RPG in your leg and everybody is staying away from you. I promise you I will not leave you until that thing is out of your leg. And he said, cool.
STARR: This video shows the amazing effort, Gennari (ph) wearing the helmet was joined by explosives expert Army Staff Sergeant Benjamin Summerfield (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the staff sergeant came around to the right side of the patient, leaned over a little bit, he grabbed a hold of the fins (ph) and he gave a big tug and got about halfway through or halfway out.
STARR: Watch Summerfield (ph) keep tugging finally getting the live round out of the young Marine.
STARR: And three days later the young Marine, Lance Corporal Perez (ph) turned 21 years old. That was back in January. This video now just emerging and we are told that Lance Corporal Perez (ph) since January still recovering in a military hospital here in the Washington, D.C. area -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What a story, though. He is still alive. Thank God for that and thank God the other troops are all alive as well. Appreciate it, Barbara. Stay on top of this and let us know how he is doing --
BLITZER: Appreciate it.
Football or the forest, up next a desperate effort underway on the Virginia Tech campus to save some of the oldest trees in U.S. history.
BLITZER: On the campus of Virginia Tech University, a push to beef up the school's star-studded football team has turned into a desperate effort to save the trees. And these aren't just any trees. Here is CNN's Brianna Keilar.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a case of football versus the forest. When Virginia Tech looked at a wooded areas a place to build an athletic facility, a forestry professor at the school tested some of the trees there and made a startling discovery, extremely rare, Virgin Forest (ph) right in the middle of campus.
KEILAR (voice-over): If trees could talk, the stories these woods could tell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What has this tree been around for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got the moon walk. We've got World War II, World War I.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The tree was around for the American Revolution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, in fact the tree was probably 10 to 12 inches in diameter at the American Revolution, so they could have sat under the tree at that time. It would have had a lot of shade.
KEILAR: The stadium woods are located on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Forestry Professor John Sieler (ph) has found trees older than 300 years here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In an urban environment, this is probably the single largest collection of old white oaks in an old growth forest anywhere in the eastern U.S.
KEILAR: It is now in danger. Virginia Tech's Athletic Department wants to build an indoor practice facility for football, baseball and other sports on four of these 11 wooded acres.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That pink flag right there that represents the wall of the building.
KEILAR: Eight-time conference champs and eyeing a national title, the Hokies (ph) $40 million football program is looking to attract the nation's best high school recruits.
JOHN RANDOLPH, URBAN PLANNING PROFESSOR: An indoor practice facility is kind of a key part of that element. A lot of the big schools are adding them and we've had this project in the works for a decade.
KEILAR: Urban Planning Professor John Randolph is trying to find a solution. He chairs a committee that is considering alternate locations for the facility where a parking lot or tennis courts currently stand. Until that committee issues its recommendation in June, Professor Sieler (ph) and a grassroots organization of Blacksburg residents and Virginia Tech students are publicizing the cost locally and on the Internet.
(on camera): (INAUDIBLE) so you have people from Washington State, New York --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's Vashon (ph), New York, Knoxville, California, Oklahoma. It is all over the United States now.
KEILAR (voice-over): Virginia Tech is feeling the pressure.
(on camera): When you say people like prod you, is it on both sides of the equation or is it mostly people who are saying, keep those trees there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep the trees.
KEILAR (voice-over): As it decides what happens to this forest that has survived so much.
KEILAR: One alternate proposal under consideration would take out a smaller portion of the woods but a few of the old trees would still be cut down. And one activist we spoke with said supporters are prepared to live in the trees to prevent that -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brianna Keilar thanks very much. Before we go, on this day, 32 years ago, Ted Turner launched CNN and changed the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening. I'm David Walker (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I'm Lois Hart (ph). Now here is the news. President Carter has arrived in Fort Wind (ph), Indiana for a brief visit with civil rights leader Vernon Jordan (ph). Jordan (ph) is in serious --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right that was our first broadcast 30 years -- 32 years ago today. At the time, a lot of people thought Ted Turner was crazy, but today there are so many 24/7 cable news channels all across the United States, all over the world in dozens of languages. We want to thank Ted Turner, happy birthday CNN.
And thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.