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Jobs Numbers for July; Three Jet Near Accident; Replays of Interviews with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak; US Drought Continues; More Fighting in Aleppo

Aired August 4, 2012 - 18:00   ET



The raging battle for Syria's commercial stronghold hits a gruesome turning point, with rebels beating and executing prisoners. CNN is there.

Plus, a scary close call involving three planes over one airport. The mistake and how disaster was avoided.

And we'll tell you why officials in drought-stricken states may want to take a trip to Las Vegas.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Candy Crowley and you're in the SITUATION ROOM.

We begin with the state of unemployment in America, just three months before Election Day. Both Democrats and Republicans have something to seize on in the newest jobs report. Employers say they added 163,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in July. That's better than economists expected, and something for the Obama camp to hang its hat on.

But the Romney camp is pointing to this figure, the overall unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 8.3 percent, because American households report losing 195,000 jobs.

We want to bring in our White House correspondent, Dan Lothian. So sounds like kind of a wash, politically, Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It does. And, you know, what the president is trying to do is highlight the positive, as you pointed out. Yes, the unemployment rate did tick up to 8.3 percent, but what they're focused on is the fact that jobs were created, more jobs than expected. The experts out there, economists had expected that some 95,000 jobs would have been created last month, but as you pointed out, that number jumped to 163,000 jobs.

That's still not enough to essentially make up for all the jobs lost. But the president focusing on the gains that have been made, talking about how the over last 29 months, more than four million jobs have been created. More than a million, he said, so far this year. But the president also telling Americans that there's still a long way to go.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's acknowledge we've still got too many folks out there who are looking for work. We've got more work to do on their behalf. Not only to reclaim all the jobs that were lost during the recession, but also to reclaim the kind of financial security that too many Americans have felt was slipping away from them for too long.


LOTHIAN: Now, Mitt Romney out on the campaign trail, taking a much different view of these numbers, saying that what this shows is that the president's economic policies are simply not working with, and in these numbers, there's nothing to smile about.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One reason is you know what it's like to have tough times. People here in this community, in north Las Vegas, I understand here you declared a state of emergency here and declared in a disaster area, under state law and said, look, this economy has hurt American families, right here, and we need help. This is a place that's really struggle.

And of course, today, we just got a new number from the unemployment report, and it's another hammer blow to the struggling middle class families of America, because the president has not had policies that put American families back to work. I do. I'll put them in place and get America working again!


LOTHIAN: And that's right. You hear Mitt Romney saying that he has a plan that will not only create jobs, will certainly put people back to work.

But, you know, this is a really sort of difficult situation for the president, because unemployment is still above eight percent, going into the election year, or rather, the election. That is not good news for the president.

But, again, everyone tried to highlight, here at the White House, on the campaign for the president, trying to highlight the positives here, hoping that Americans will see that progress is being made. But then, also buying the president's message that it will not turn around quickly. There is not a quick fix, and that he deserves another four years - Candy.

CROWLEY: I figure we will find out on Election Day who's got the better message.

Thanks so much, Dan Lothian at the White House.


CROWLEY: We want to talk more about jobs and the presidential race with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

You know Gloria, I look at these numbers. I listened to the analysis, here's what I hear. Pretty much what I've heard for the past many months. The economy's creating jobs, but not enough jobs.


CROWLEY: Does anything change in the political dynamic?

BORGER: You know, as we've seen from recent polls, the American public, are sort of getting set on the fact they're pessimistic about the way the economy is going. And if you take a look at this chart, it is every interesting because it shows you that if you look at the job numbers, the job creation numbers for the past half year, go back to January, things were going pretty well.

And then look at that trend line, up until July. So you see that over the last seven months, things have been heading in the wrong direction. And the American public, it's beginning to kind of sink in, and that's really a problem for the president, because the public is so pessimistic.

CROWLEY: And let me ask you, when both of these politically, these guys, are both Mr. Fix-it, I'm going to fix it or I'm going to continue to fix it, depending on who you want. We look at the latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal" report, and here's what we see.

Here is the question. Who has good ideas on how to improve the economy? Romney, 43 percent. Obama, 36 percent. It seems like a key question, except that doesn't match what we see in the overall numbers.

BORGER: Right. Well, first of all, this is clearly Mitt Romney's strong suit, which is why you hear him talk about the economy over and over and over again. Because he's presenting himself as Mr. Fix-it.

If people were to vote on that single issue alone, that would be really good for Mitt Romney. But there are other factors here that people take into consideration when they vote for a president.

Number one, who's more likable? Number two, who is somebody who understands their problems? Who is somebody who cares about the middle class? And by all of those measures, the president does a lot better.

And that's why you see the president trying to dismantle and disqualify Mitt Romney on the economic issue because they know they do better along all those other measures. But this is the one area they have to take him down on. And they have to say, you know, he's really not qualified. He really was not a job creator when he was over at Bain. He was a job killer.

And that's -- Romney has to counter that. But he also has to show the rest of himself to the American public. That's what conventions are about. Where he says, there's another part of me, you can like me, I really do care about the middle class. Those are the points he really has to kind of focus on right now.

CROWLEY: So when we say, it's all about the economy, we mean, it's all about the economy and a couple of other things.

BORGER: And a couple of other things. I mean, people vote their pocketbook, but they also vote at other things. They also look at other things.

CROWLEY: Rick Perry told CNN that he doesn't think whoever Mitt Romney picks as vice president will dramatically change the equation. Do you agree?

BORGER: Yes. I think that's probably right. I think we saw Sarah Palin was sort of the big game changer, if you will. And even she didn't end up changing the equation, McCain did not win.

I think that Mitt Romney's choices are kind of solid, and what he makes look at is somebody who can bring him a state. And then it would change the equation if you had Rob Portman of Ohio or Marco Rubio of Florida. If either of those men could deliver a state, that might be a game changer, but I'm not so sure --

CROWLEY: That's key, if they could.

BORGER: If they could. And that's really a big "If." So in the end, I think that Mitt Romney is going to end up going with somebody he believes has the experience and whom he's comfortable with. And they're going to make a sort of anti-Palin choice.

And I think they probably agree with the vice president, the former vice president, that Sarah Palin was a mistake. And so maybe they'll pick someone like Tim Pawlenty, who can't deliver a state, but who's run for president before and Mitt Romney's quite comfortable with.

CROWLEY: Chief political analyst, I bet we'll talk about this again.

BORGER: You think?

CROWLEY: Thank you so much, Gloria. Good to see you.

You may not know it, but Ann Romney has a horse competing in the Olympics. She says her horse's performance in this week's dressage competition, quote, "thrilled me to death."

But as Tom Foreman reports, it's all thrilling comedians than Democrats intent on scoring political points.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dressage is one of the oldest sports in modern Olympics, going back a century with origins in the training of military horses. It is considered one of the most technically demanding equestrian sports. Horse and rider must perform a series of complicated, precise maneuvers, which, much like gymnastics, are rated by judges.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: Pretty good therapy.

FOREMAN: Ann Romney's involvement with dressage began when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 14 years ago. She turned to the riding as therapy to build muscle and fight the disease.

ANN ROMNEY: The thought of getting on a horse was so exciting to me, that I forced myself out of bed and came out here, and I could trot maybe once around the arena and I would be finished and exhausted, but I'd feel great.

FOREMAN: She's also good at it, repeatedly winning high honors in competitions. Her candidate husband acknowledged her deep commitment to the sport on NBC's "today" show.

MITT ROMNEY: My sons gave me a box and said if you wear this, mom will pay more attention to you. I opened it. It was a rubber of horse mat.

FOREMAN: Still, a great dressage horse easily costs six figures, so the money, the obscure nature of the sport, and the attire has made Mitt Romney's connection to it a natural for comedy.

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: No surprise the liberal critics call dressage elitist, just because the uniform makes you look like Lady Mary Souter from "Downtown Abbey."


FOREMAN: And that has played perfectly into Democratic attacks on Romney as a rich elitist, out of touch with normal Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Romney spend $77,000 a year on my upkeep, and after Mitt Romney repeals health care and ships your job overseas, I dare say your life will not be as nearly as pampered as mine. After all, you're not one of his horses.


FOREMAN: In any event, Ann Romney's horse, Rafalca, didn't do that well at the Olympics, but put on a decent showing. The Europeans are great at dressage. We have not been quite so strong in this country. A decent showing, we didn't do that great. We'll have to see how now it does politically.

CROWLEY: Right. If he gets the horse losing somehow comes into the conversation. Back to this ad, it's great to me that people will be struck one of two ways. Either, a, he pays $77,000 a year for a horse, and therefore it adds to that he doesn't get me, or, b, that is really stupid.

FOREMAN: This is one of those ads that I think accomplishes nothing because the people who already dislike him, will get further down the road for disliking him for those things, and the people who don't may just likely say, why are the Democrats picking on this horse that a woman used for therapy? That just seems unseemly. I don't see how this wins anybody over on either side. Probably not good for the Romneys, probably not good for the Democrats to go after him on it. I have a feeling everybody should let the horse go back to the barn and call it done.

CROWLEY: Everybody should let go around.

Tom Foreman, thank you.

The raging battle for Syria's stronghold hits a gruesome turning point. Rebels beat and execute their prisoners, all on camera.

Also ahead, a CNN exclusive, Israeli president Shimon Peres tells Wolf Blitzer what he thinks of meeting Mitt Romney and much more.

And officials scram to believe explain why three airliners came way too close for comfort.


CROWLEY: Another week of mass bloodshed sweeping Syria, where a surging opposition movement is taking off across the country. And the battle for Aleppo, Syria's most important commercial city, rages on.

CNN's Ivan Watson was there. And we want to warn you about what you are about to see. It is graphic and disturbing.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The battle for Aleppo is turning uglier and more vicious by the day, with both sides apparently oblivious to the laws of war.

On Monday, rebels and government security forces clashed around the Babel police station in eastern Aleppo. Rebels told CNN they were then attacked by members of the Beti clan, a pro-government militia. At least 11 rebel fighters were killed.

The next day, their comrades went looking for revenge, capturing several members of the Beti family. The rebels filmed and distributed video of their fighters kicking and beating two men.


WATSON: The cameraman identifies one of them as a man he calls Zano Beti. We next see Beti bloody and almost naked in a room full of prisoners.

These are the Beti Shibahs, says a voice off camera. They attacked the people of Aleppo and killed 11 free Syrian army members. One by one, the captives mumble their names to the camera.

The next rebel video shows Zano Beti and several other prisoners being led outside.

Don't shoot, nobody shoot, someone says, but that's not enough to stop what can only be described as a summary execution.


WATSON: Intense gunfire continues for almost a minute. An official with the Tawheed brigade, a large rebel group that operates in northern Syria, claimed responsibility for these extra judicial killings.

In a phone call with CNN, he said the executions were carried out in retaliation for the rebels killed by the Beti clan.

We conducted an investigation, judged them guilty, and then took them outside and carried out the execution at approximately 12:00 noon on Tuesday, said the spokesman who only asked to be called Abu Ahmed.

For the last 17 months, international organizations have denounced the Syrian government for committing atrocities against unarmed civilians. The free Syrian army has often promised that its men will fight by the rules of war and treat prisoners humanely.

But this week's rebel killings in Aleppo suggest the start of a bloody cycle of revenge.

Ivan Watson, CNN, reporting from northern Syria.


CROWLEY: Joining me now on the phone, our Ivan Watson.

You know, Ivan, the first thing that occurs to me is, we cannot exactly expect that at this point in this war, that there would be a Geneva convention sort of agreement as to how to treat prisoners. How is it seen in Aleppo? Is it seen as harshly as it looks to us, as we look at those pictures?

WATSON (via phone): You know, some residents I've talked to, some inhabitants here in the north of the country have said, we think that the rebels are trying to send a message to these Shibah militias, you know, that they're not invincible. That we can come hunt them down and kill them.

We got mixed responses from some of the rebel commanders that we know. Of course, a spokesman for this Tawheed brigade that has claimed responsibility for the execution said, well, we investigated these guys and we judged them and decided they should be executed. He was completely unapologetic about that.

Another commander we talked to said, I would prefer it if there was a court of law we could judge these guys in, but we didn't have one. So this appears to be accepted by the handful of people I've talked to, and perhaps that's because of the incredible loss of life and suffering that they've seen, inflicted by Syrian security forces over the last 17 months.

CROWLEY: Sure. And in some ways, this was reminiscing to me of what we saw in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, where we literally saw him kind of beaten to death by enraged folks after he was toppled.

But let me ask you, if you have any sense of how widespread this is. Do you think it's confined to this the one place that you saw, or do you think there are prisoners in other cities or even in Aleppo?

WATSON: I don't have any conclusive evidence that there have been other extrajudicial killings like this. But when you talk to the rebels who are carrying out the fighting, and if they have a pair of boots that they've confiscated from an army soldier after a battle or a flak jacket, and you ask them, well, what happened to the guy who used to wear that helmet, inevitably, they'll say, he's dead.

And whether or not that happened in the battle itself or immediately afterwards, after somebody had been taken captive, I don't know, but it's going to be a real concern. The fact is that the international community, the international human rights groups have been condemning the Damascus regime for unspeakable atrocities committed against unarmed civilians for the better part of 17 months. Now many of those civilians are armed and many of them want revenge.

CROWLEY: Moving forward, what does this bode for the battlefield and for international acceptance of the community -- of the rebel community?

WATSON: Well, there are deep concerns already from some governments about the makeup of the rebels. There's been a lot of talk about infiltration of al-Qaeda and Jihadists. And if you see extrajudicial killings taking place, that will only amplify those concerns.

The rebels are very conscious of their image. They want to present a positive face to the outside world. And the rebel brigades I've seen, nearly everyone we've met, they have media officers, guys whose jobs are just to follow the fighters and film and get that video online.

And in this case, of these killings, in eastern Aleppo on Tuesday, those guys were doing their jobs. There was an element of transparency there. It's just -- it revealed a very ugly side of the conflict.

CROWLEY: That it did.

Ivan Watson reporting for us, from northern Syria tonight. Thanks, Ivan.

WATSON: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: The critical bond between the United States and Israel, center stage this week after Mitt Romney's big visit. Ahead, our own Wolf Blitzer sits downs with Israeli president Shimon Peres for an exclusive interview.

And while much of the country is struggling to cope with the devastating drought, we'll take you to Las Vegas where they've been fighting the battle for more than a decade.


CROWLEY: The critical bond between the United States and Israel, front and center this week, with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, including a stop in Jerusalem as part of his overseas trip.

Wolf Blitzer sat down not only with Mitt Romney while he was there, but he also spoke exclusively with Israel's president, Shimon Peres.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANCHOR: In a word or two, how is the state of U.S./Israeli relations, as you and I meet right now?

SHIMON PERES, PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL: Basically, profound and right. The time of elections usually enjoys bipartisan support. I think we were lucky by having it and it will remain the same way.

BLITZER: Would you say the relationship today is as good as it's ever been, not as good, strained? How would you describe it?

PERES: I think generally, as good as it could have been, as it should have been. You know I've learned from my boss who is been real, that you have to charge a dozen in the right way, which is on his record. Not what it is say, not what he did right, but what they did. When I look at the record of President Obama, concerning the major issue of security, I think it's a highly satisfactory record from his later point of view.

BLITZER: Because his supporters, back in Washington, say U.S./Israeli military-to-military, intelligence-to-intelligence cooperation is stronger now than it's ever been. Are they right?

PERES: Yes. And because security is becoming our major concern. With the weapons in the Middle East, with the new in the Middle East, there are many dangers and many menaces, and security is really the top issue in our existence. And there the president is true to his words, what he pledged, he did.

BLITZER: Is there any issue that is a source of real problem now between the U.S. and Israel?

PERES: In the press, the emphasis is very much the Iranian story. But on that, too, there is a basic agreement, which says, let's try and stop the development of the nuclear weapon, first of all by nonmilitary means, namely, economic sanctions, political pressure. But telling the Iranians, look, if it won't fly, there are other options on the table. There may be differences on timing or appreciation, well, it may happen, but basically there is an agreement.


CROWLEY: Next, living with less water. Residents of Las Vegas have learned how to do it out of necessity. There are drought lessons to be learned for the rest of America.

Plus, livestock producers are especially hard hit and they're not going to get any immediate help from Congress. Our in depth drought coverage is next.


CROWLEY: An area roughly the size of Alabama was added to the list of U.S. counties in drought. This dry spell is all-too familiar to people in Las Vegas. They've been plagued by drought for years.

Casey Wian is there.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Why not build an oasis in the Mojave Desert with water-gobbling hotel casinos, lush green golf courses, surrounded by a sea of thirsty homes. What could go wrong? Try a drought lasting a dozen years and counting.

PAT MULROY, SOUTHERN NEVADA WATER AUTHORITY: We thought Mother Nature could never get us.

WIAN: The most visible example of the 12 years' drought on southern Nevada is Lake Mead, which supplies 97 percent of the region's water. It's down 100 feet. By volume, that's less than half full.

Southern Nevada water czar Pat Mulroy has become a fierce conservationist deciding over dramatic reduction in water use.

MULROY: This water community cut its water use by one third and added 400,000 people. They know they live in the driest spot in the United States. They know water will forever be one of their great challenges. And they've really made some changes.

WIAN: This is a Las Vegas housing development built before the drought. Green grass, all around. Here's a newer development. Nothing but desert landscaping.

Water officials have spent nearly $200 million paying homeowners to remove existing lawns. For golf courses or residents, there are fines for wasting water. And the more you use, the more expensive it gets. But with lake immediate shrinking, conservation isn't enough.

Before the drought, this construction site you see behind me would have been underwater. Lake mead off in the distance has lost so much water that the two existing intake pipes that supply southern Nevada are in danger of becoming inoperable, so authorities have decided to build an $800 million third intake 600 feet below the ground.

Blasting into the bottom of the lake and building a tunnel stretching three miles is a massive project, scheduled to be complete in 2014. Who's paying for it?

MULROY: Citizens. We just went through a rather contentious rate increase, as you can well imagine, in this economy. WIAN: The third intake is insurance against an even longer drought. And if it's not enough, there are controversial plans for a 300-mile pipeline to tap underwater reservoirs from as far away as Utah.

How secure is the future water supply for Nevada?

MULROY: It's very secure, because we have anticipated the worse. We plan for the worst and hope for the best.

WIAN: Mulroy says with climate change and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, communities elsewhere in the United States that are less accustomed to drought need to prepare.

MULROY: Don't ever think it can't happen to you.


CROWLEY: Now, this drought is not just hitting grain farmers, livestock producers are also hard hit by the drought, but they're not going to get any hit from congress, at least not anytime soon.

Senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, continues our coverage.

Dana, lawmakers left town and no aid for these livestock producers.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Candy. These halls are empty, nobody's here anymore. And the house did act on something small, but they decided it was better for them, politically, they say, to think long-term, not short-term.


BASH (voice-over): A hard-hit hog farm in Iowa. Livestock producers are devastated by drought, but they're not getting the federal aid most farmers are. Livestock is not covered by key government programs. Why? Because of an accounting trick to save money in the farm bill four years ago. Congress eliminated federal aid for livestock in 2012, this year. And oops, it turned out to be the biggest drought in half a century.

STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: They expired because they were playing a gimmick to keep the costs of the last farm bill down. It turned around and really hit them in the behind.

BASH: So now in a mad dash to act before leaving for summer break, the house took up a $383 million bill to restore four expired programs, for livestock, certain trees, honeybees, and farm-raised fish.

REP. KRISTI NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: But we can't gamble with people's lives and business here.

Freshman Republican Kristi Nome, a rancher and farmer herself, argues the aid now is crucial.

NOEM: Our livestock eyes take as just much risk as any other farmers rancher out there and they need to have some kind of protection in situations like these.

BASH: But in the Senate, Democrats refused to pass drought relief before leaving town. Why? Their knuckle negotiating.

Democrats like agriculture chairwoman, Debbie Stabenow worry a short- term fix will undermine their long-term five-year farm bill, which includes disaster relief and reforms for farm programs.

And the optics of Congress leaving town with the worst drought in half a century, and not doing something. Not so good?

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: The optics is in this building. If we get out in the real world, that's not what we're hearing from farmers and ranchers. Farmers and ranchers want us to get our job done. They want a five-year farm bill. They want us to address disaster assistance. I intend to do both.

BASH: So, why not pass that five-year farm bill? A candid house speaker admitted he didn't have the votes.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The house is pretty well divided, and frankly, I haven't seen 218 votes in the middle to pass a farm bill.

BASH: Still, Republicans came to power, promising reform, not fast fixes, like this drought bill. Democrats had a field day.

REP. JARED POLIS (D), COLORADO: Want to hand it out to whoever comes to town and begs for it, go right ahead and, you know, I have some rooftop terrace restaurant owners in my district, give them while you're at it. That is not a solution.

BASH: And dispute Noem's plea for help from a ranchers' perspective.

NOEM: There is no safety net for livestock producers.

BASH: Stabenow insists congressional in action in their month-long recess won't make a difference.

STABENOW: At this point, 30 days only make a difference for those who are trying to play politics.


BASH: Now, the reason senate Democrats feel comfortable saying that is because they have big groups like the cattle ranchers' association to back them up.

And Candy, when it comes to Debbie Stabenow and particulars speaking on politics, she is not only the agricultural chair woman, she is the senator up for re-election in three months. Safe to say, if she thought it was politically dire for them to act before they left, she would have done so - Candy.

CROWLEY: You're absolutely right. Thanks so much, our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. It's been 40 years since the massacre at the Munich Olympics. Now Israel's defense minister talks to Wolf Blitzer about the operation that avenged the deaths of Israelis.


CROWLEY: Israel's defense minister says the recent terror attack on a bus in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists will be avenged. Ehud Barak talked about it in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem.


BLITZER: What evidence can you share with us that you believe that Iran and Hezbollah were directly responsible for the murder of those Israeli tourists in Bulgaria?

EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: We have a confident without any doubt about the responsibility of Hezbollah to the actual execution of this operation, operation, planning, and execution. And we know that Hezbollah is acting under Iranian inspiration, and we know from previous cases, just read the Indian press today, it became clear that behind the attack on our diplomats in New Delhi, there were Iranians, active players on the ground. The same applies to the terror event in Thailand and to the other one in Georgia. All occurred within several weeks.

BLITZER: But you have direct, hard evidence about Bulgaria?

BARAK: Yes. We have direct, hard evidence. I'm confident we shared it with your intelligence and Brits and a few others. So, I have no doubt -- of course, for obvious reasons, we cannot share the exact evidence.

BLITZER: So what are you going to do about that? Are you going to retaliate?

BARAK: We will find a way to settle the account with those who executed, ordered, and sent those orders.

BLITZER: Because I speak to someone, and your history is well known, somebody who has settled accounts in the past.

BARAK: Yes, we did it 40 years ago --

BLITZER: For you personally.

BARAK: Yes, we settled accounts with the Munich. We are now celebrating the 40th anniversary of this. It was at a time the prime minister, she ordered Mossad and the IDF to find a way to settle the account with every individual that was part of it. And we did it most.

BLITZER: What can you tell our viewers? Because we're watching the Olympic games in London right now. We're talking about 40 years ago in Munich, Israeli athletes were killed. And Goldamayer was the prime minister, you were there in the military, and what did she say to you?

BARAK: She told us, you have to sit down together with Mossad and find a way, and try to plan operation. And we just start to planned opposition with a lot and Mossad executed most of them.

I led personally, these guys and young woman, into Beirut, into the apartments of three of the leading terrorists, and we killed them in their homes. And it was part of a world campaign that basically we are proud of our capacity as a nation not to sit idle and see our people being slaughtered by terrorists.

I think that the British, then and now, are extremely good in security, and I don't believe that anyone will dare to re-attempt to such an event in London.

BLITZER: So basically, when you say "settle accounts," the way Israel settled accounts for the murder of the Israeli athletes in Munich, you can see settling accounts to the murder of these Israeli tourists in Bulgaria?

BARAK: Unfortunately, we have too many accounts to settle with different terrorists and we did it in a different way each time. But we have a long memory. You should have a long memory, in order to survive and be able to settle accounts with those who killed, indiscriminately, your people.


CROWLEY: Next up, an alarming close call. Three planes get dangerously close to the each other at Washington's Reagan national airport. Details, just ahead.

And why rap artist Snoop Dogg is changing his name.


CROWLEY: Federal authorities say a full investigation is under way into a dangerous mistake over Reagan national airport here in the Washington area. A plane coming in for a landing got alarmingly close to two other jets taking off.

Our Brian Todd is here to explain exactly what happened, if they even know at this point.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're still investigating, Candy. It was a pretty disturbing situation that played out and played out in the skies right over where candy and I are standing in the nation's capitol.

A miscommunication between two air traffic control centers led to a close call involving three passenger jets.


TODD (voice-over): A typically busy summer afternoon at Reagan national airport. Several inbound planes are lined up to land, flying south to north over the Potomac River, but an approaching storm causes the wind to shift.

At that point a regional air traffic control center miles away from here makes the call to switch directions to route planes to take off and land this way from north to south, at this end, the opposite end of the same runway.

But there's a miscommunication. The Reagan control tower clears two planes for takeoff in the wrong direction, right toward the incoming jet. The outbound planes taking off one after the other are both off the ground, heading toward the approaching plane, when the controller realizes the mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 3329, turn south heading 180.

TODD: The controller orders the incoming plane to veer right. The pilot does that but is confused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE PILOT: We were cleared at the river back there. What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 3329 stand by. We're trying to figure this out, too.

TODD: The three planes, all U.S. airways, regional flights, all avoid each other and land safely. That close call has America's top transportation officials on the defensive, calling a rare news conference to address just one incident, brushing back on one media report that called this a near collision between three planes.

MICHAEL HUERTA, FAA ADMINISTRATOR: Planes were on different headings and at different altitudes, so they would not have collided.

TODD: And, they say, none of the plane's cockpit alarms which warn of collision went off, but they do say this --

RAY LAHOOD, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: There was a loss of separation.

TODD: That means all three planes were too close, falling below standards of safety for altitude and distance. We pressed officials, what happened between the regional control center called tracon and the Reagan national control tower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Was it the error of tracon in relaying the order to Reagan national?

LAHOOD: We're going to find that out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Or was it a combination of both, did both miscommunicate?

LAHOOD: There was definitely -- look, there was a miscommunication. We've admitted that.

TODD: The transportation secretary promises a thorough investigation, with interviews of everyone involved. One of those people, the controller at Reagan, is, for the moment, drawing praise for her response during difficult maneuvers.

WILLIAM VOSS, FORMER AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: I have to tell you, this is one of the toughest things you can do as an air traffic controller or as a manager is try to negotiate one of these changes during these busy arrival times.


TODD: Another issue here, transportation secretary Ray LaHood says officials learned about this incident from a reporter, not from the air traffic controllers. He says that's a problem and they're investigating - Candy.

CROWLEY: You may have just answered my question. I don't know Secretary LaHood to at least publicly be a testy man, but he certainly seemed to be that way in the news conference.

TODD: Throughout he was testy, he was combative, he was some say defensive, he was irritated. You got the sense they were upset with these initial media reports that said these planes were on a collision course. They wanted to basically get people off that notion immediately. They were eager to do that. He got very irritated.

But there was something about this whole thing, it's unusual for them to call a news conference with the transportation secretary and the FAA administrator, over one airline incident, there's some consternation behind the scenes here over this incident that we don't know yet, maybe it will come out in the coming weeks.

CROWLEY: None too pleased to hear from reporters.

TODD: Not really, no.

CROWLEY: Thanks so much, Brian Todd. Appreciate it.

Next rap artist Snoop Dogg is changing his name.


CROWLEY: Finally, on the culture front, rap artist Snoop Dogg announced he's changing his else. Who else but Jeannie Moos reports.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): After all of these years of dog --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome Snoop Dogg.



MOOS: Suddenly we're faced with lion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snoop Lion. Give it up for Snoop Lion. SNOOP LION, REGGAE ARTIST: I could never become Snoop Lion if I was never Snoop Dogg.

MOOS: Did you hear the news? Snoop Dogg has changed his name to Snoop Lion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snoop Lion. I don't know. I like the old Snoop Dogg.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think it's a dumb idea.

MOOS: But Snoop has been reincarnated which also happens to be the name of a film about his spiritual journey. He went to Jamaica, at a Rastafarian in temple, a high priest, suggested he's a lion, not a dog. Now --

SNOOP LION: I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion.

MOOS: Instead of rap he's doing reggae. But is the switch to Snoop Lion permanent? As the Web site holy molly put it, "he better not be lion to us."

SNOOP LION: Snoop Lion is the elevation of Snoop Dogg.

MOOS: We haven't had to adjust to such a jarring name change since puff daddy went to P. Diddy then, diddle with the P.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enough is enough with the P getting in the way, you know, just call me Diddy.

MOOS: Online called Snoop the artist formerly known as dog. The nickname came from his mom because he reminded her of snoopy with his long shaped face. True, the name got a bad rap from former senator Allen Simpson.

ALLEN SIMPSON, FORMER SENATOR: The snoopy, snoopy poop dog.

MOOS: Somehow that wouldn't work with lion, those snoops applies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, snoop, snoop-a-loop.

MOOS: And there is this downside to the name change, pity the poor fans stuck with merchandise like the Snoop Dogg floor mat or walking around wearing Snoop Dogg slippers. Some made pretend to shrug off this earth-shaking change.

He's changed his name to snoop lion. I kid you not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sounds cool when said by Snoop Dogg. Number ten --


MOOS: But will Yo still sounds cool if said by Snoop Lion? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, anything with lion, I'm a Leo.

MOOS: And the lion kingdom the news probably merits something between a yawn and a roar.

Jeanne moos, CNN.

What's your message to snoop lion?


MOOS: New York.


CROWLEY: That does it for me.

I'm Candy Crowley in the SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.