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THE SITUATION ROOM

White Supremacist Tied to Wisconsin Massacre; Interview With Mayor Steve Scaffidi; Defection From "The Killing And Terrorist Regime"

Aired August 6, 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 new sign the Syrian regime may be closer to collapse. The country's prime minister defects, flees the country, and denounces the government as terrorists.

Also, new developments in that shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left six worshipers dead. We're going to get the very latest from the town's mayor. He'll join us this hour.

And new details about the alleged gunman's ties to White supremacists. We now know he was no stranger to those who tracked hate groups.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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WOLF BLITZER, CNN: We're learning new details about that shooting rampage in the Sikh temple outside Milwaukee, and the gunman who killed six people before he was shot and killed by police. There's new information about ties to the White supremacist movement in the United States in a military career marked by misconduct.

Let's get the very latest from Steve Scaffidi. He's the mayor of Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He's joining us now on the phone right now. Mayor, thanks very much. Our deepest condolences to everyone who was killed, all the family members and their friends. But first of all, do you have any new clues as to who the shooter was, Wade Michael Page? What his possible motive could have been?

MAYOR STEVE SCAFFIDI, OAK CREEK, WISCONSIN: (Via telephone) I really don't have anything to offer as far as the shooter. I know we had a press conference this morning. The police identified some possible motives. But as this point, I don't have anything more on that.

BLITZER: And this other person that the police said they were looking at, a person of interest, they said this person has been located, interviewed, and cleared. Is that your information as well?

SCAFFIDI: That is correct. Someone identified him pretty shortly after the press conference and he was determined not to be a suspect. BLITZER: So, what do you think is going on here? Were there any indications whatsoever that the Sikh temple in the community was a target for a hate attack, if in fact, that is what occurred?

SCAFFIDI: There was no prior history of anyone's looking at the place or maybe suggesting a line (ph) that there was a possible attack. They've had a great record in the city. They've been a great community member, and it's really shocking that something like this, these parishoners, these temple members were attacked.

BLITZER: This individual, the suspect, Wade Michael Page, how long had he been in your community as far as the information that you have gathered?

SCAFFIDI: From my understanding, he is not from Oak Creek. He had lived for a very short time in one of our surrounding city a few miles from here, but he had not lived there long, and I don't think he's the native of this area.

BLITZER: Do you know anything about this group that he was associated with, this White supremacist rock group, if you will, anything along those lines?

SCAFFIDI: Only what was discussed at the press conference, that he may have been affiliated with some of these groups, and you know, giving the actions, it's not surprising.

BLITZER: The whole notion of what's going on -- the community, your community, must be in a state of shock right now, because all of the sudden, it comes out of the blue. As far as the weapon, alleged weapon in this case is concern, do we know for sure that it was purchased legally?

SCAFFIDI: I believe they spoke to that. I believe it was purchased legally. And, he did not have anything preventing him from buying a gun. So, as far as that, goes, he didn't obtain it illegally, as far as I understand.

BLITZER: Have you stepped up security in your community at other possible targets or do you think this was, you know, a single isolated incident?

SCAFFIDI: Well, we obviously hope that it's a single isolated incident, but we're always security conscious. We have 23 places of worship in our city, representing a lot of different faiths. And, it's something that we have to be sensitive to. That's part of the reason, you know, we have diversity in our city, but we're obviously conscious of that. We have a terrific police force, a great police chief, as demonstrated this afternoon and this morning, and then yesterday. We look out for our residents and our people that attend services, you know, we were quite taken aback. The city still relays on it, but we'll start to move forward.

BLITZER: We know at least two of the victims who were shot are in critical condition right now. Can you update us on their status? SCAFFIDI: I have not received an update other than the fact that they are in critical condition. I was at the hospital last night. I was not able to see any of the patients. Obviously, they were still -- some of them were undergoing surgeries. So, there hasn't been a medical update, but in my understanding, may be one some time this evening or tomorrow morning.

BLITZER: Mayor, please give our best wishes to everyone in Oak Creek. We are hoping and praying for the very best. We'll stay in close touch with you. Thanks very much for joining us.

SCAFFIDI: Thank you.

BLITZER: We're going to have much more on the story coming up later this hour, including possible ties to White supremacist groups. So, I'll talk to a man who infiltrated some neo-Nazi organizations on behalf of the FBI. Standby for that.

Other news we're following, as civil war rages in Syria, there's been another high profile defection from the Syrian government. This time, it's the prime minister, himself, denouncing what he calls the killing and terrorist regime of, President Bashar al-Assad.

CNNs Barbara Starr is working the story for us from Amman, Jordan. Barbara, what do we know about the now former prime minister's whereabouts?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, very little, Wolf. the man has defected from the regime, Rihard Hijab, has defected from Assad's regime, but where is he? Here in Amman all day, there've been swirling rumors that he was either already in Jordan, coming to Jordan.

Oppositions appeared and said he come to this country. So, everybody was on watch looking for him. He never publicly materialized. The Jordanian government put out a statement saying that he was not here, not yet. There were other rumors he might be headed to the Persian Gulf to Qatar.

You know, all of this now is swirling around. Nothing is terribly sorted out yet. It's a bit of a mystery right now. We have seen other high profile defections where it takes several days for people to publicly circuit. This is very dangerous business until they get out, family members get out.

We've seen this before, and it's what everybody is going to be watching for in the coming couple of days. The question, of course, what is the significance of this defection? Is this now fundamentally a crack in the Assad regime? The U.S. certainly hopes so, Wolf.

BLITZER: And the whole issue of family members, we know that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, if someone does defect, especially a person of some status, if you will, they really retaliate and go after surviving family members back in Damascus or other communities in Syria. This is always something that weighs very heavily on the minds of those who might break with Bashar al-Assad. Do we know if his family did get out together with him or are they stuck back in Syria?

STARR: I have to tell you, Wolf, there are -- again (ph), to be very clear, we don't know the exact answers to any of this tonight here in Amman. A lot of rumors swirling around, and certainly, you can draw some conclusions that the uncertainty means people are watching and waiting to see exactly who surfaces, how many defectors may have come out.

Did they all come out with their family members? The point you just made about those who can't get out, those who were left behind were even seeing that when we talk to Syrian refugees here who come from small towns and villages. Just regular people who want to get out of the war zone.

They're very concerned about the relatives who've been left behind. They don't want to be identified many of them, even publicly when we speak to them. They don't want to be on TV, because they worry that their relatives back in Syria will, in fact, be the subject of that retaliation by the regime. It's very violent. It is very brutal -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. We've seen that happened time after time after time. Someone protests whether in London or Washington or any place else that if that person has relatives back in Syria, the regime goes after them in rather brutal ways. Barbara Starr is on the scene for us in Amman, Jordan tonight.

Meanwhile, fighting is certainly raging in Syria's largest, that's Aleppo, where sniper and artillery fighter can be heard. CNN's senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, is on the ground for us in Aleppo. He's joining us by phone right now. What are you seeing? Set the scene, Ben, for us.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well what we've seen within the last 10 to 15 minutes is a helicopter firing on to the area around Aleppo (INAUDIBLE) and what we've seen since we arrived here about 11 hours ago, Wolf, is very steady bombardment of one sort or another, whether from jets that we've seen dropping bombs on heavily populated areas that are controlled by the free Syrian army or tanks firing into the areas.

Now, many of these civilians have fled the parts of the city that is controlled by the free Syrian army, particularly, in areas like Saladin where we've seen most of the civilians lead. Today, we were in that area. He came under sniper fire. There were fairly steady tank fires coming into the area, but watch that group of two or threes, mostly adults, some teenagers came (INAUDIBLE)

I spoke to one man who had -- in his 70s with a briefcase and a jar of jams and sugar. He said he was leaving out of the area. He just could not take the constant fighting that was going on there. He was moving and his (ph) daughter in a part of town. In other parts of the city that are controlled by the free Syrian army are normal (ph.) We saw one on main street where there was riding around on bicycles. There was a bakery open. Barber shop was open. But all the while, we hear the steady shots of incoming artilleries and tank rounds. And of course, Wolf, people are terrified.

The Syrian government forces are preparing to enter the city and are preparing to try and crush the uprising that's been going on here now here in Aleppo for several weeks. So, the atmosphere is very tense. The civilian population is very much traumatized by this constant bombardment -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ben, what's the reaction there to this latest deflection by the prime minister of Syria? Do they think it's only a matter of time before the entire regime collapses?

WEDEMAN: Certain people were encouraged by the news that the prime minister had reportedly defected, but they had much more immediate concerns. The fighters are confident that despite the fact that in terms of fire power, in terms of ammunition, they're severely outdone by the government forces.

They feel that they control as much as 50 percents of the city. I'm not sure that that is totally accurate. And in fact, given that they don't have anything like the firepower of the government, big government forces have decided to come in, and this is very much that people are expecting be (ph) far from equal fight (INAUDIBLE) -- wolf.

BLITZER: Ben Wedeman, be careful over there. Ben Wedeman is in Aleppo, Syria for us.

We'll check back with you. We're also getting new information here in the SITUATION ROOM about the ex-girlfriend of the suspect in that Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. She's now helping investigators. We'll have more on this hour's top story. That's coming up.

And after two mass shootings in a matter of weeks, the White House is facing sharp criticism from gun control advocates.

Plus, the head of the Republican National Committee calls the Senate majority leader, and I'm quoting him now, "a dirty liar" as the fight over Mitt Romney's taxes gets even uglier.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's get to Jack Cafferty. He's got the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Wolf, Congress has taken a five-week vacation. They work so hard. The fact is, Congress has accomplished next to nothing. But, they think they deserve a five-week break. Millions of Americans unemployed, the average worker only gets about 13 paid days off for a whole year.

These clowns think they deserve yet another vacation. It's disgraceful. Meanwhile, the country's problems, which they left behind, are serious and many and growing. Runaway debt, nearing $16 trillion. They have done nothing about the automatic spending cuts, including hundreds of billions in defense cuts that are set to kick in early next year.

The Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year. The payroll tax cut is set to expire as well. The state taxes will rise dramatically as will capital gains taxes. It is call the fiscal cliff for a reason. Unaddressed, these changes will be painful and dramatic. Congress has done nothing. They're on vacation.

They've also failed to address the issues of food stamps and farm subsidies as American farmers grapple with the worst drought in decades. And still on the table, must-passed spending bills to keep the government running, a cyber security bill, and the post office bill as the U.S. Postal Service faces default. Congress on vacation.

This Congress is one of the least productive in recent history. You can thank a toxic hyperpartisan atmosphere and election year politicking. It's unlikely any of these things are going to be addressed until after the election is over. The American people deserve better than this, but we won't get it if we keep voting the same people into office over and over and over.

So, here's a thought, on November 6th, think outcumbent. Here's the question. Why would Congress take a five-week vacation with all of the problems facing the country? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile and post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page.

BLITZER: You know, Jack, many of them have to go on fact finding missions to Europe or South America. These are important trips that they're going to be doing, the citizens work on. You understand what's going on.

CAFFERTY: I do and who pays for those trips, Wolf?

BLITZER: Those are (INAUDIBLE). The taxpayers -- it's a very important trips they're going to be --

(LAUGHTER)

CAFFERTY: I got your fact finding right here.

BLITZER: You understand --

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack Cafferty. He gives us this assessment frequently. We appreciate it. Jack, thanks very much.

Congress may be on vacation, but the political firestorm ignited by the Democratic Senate majority leader over Mitt Romney's taxes is still very much alive. And today, Republican outrage is stretching far beyond Harry Reid.

Let's bring in senior Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She's here in THE SITUATION ROOM watching the story. It's pretty amazing, the language that's being hurled back and forth.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is really amazing. And you know, we reported last week here in the SITUATION ROOM that Harry Reid's goal in making these unsubstantiated claims is to keep Romney's tax returns in the headlines. And Republicans I talked to today who were involved in strategy admitted that they're in a Catch-22.

They know they're taking the Democrats fate, but these Republicans also feel like they can't let Reid's questionable claims go unanswered.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: It's getting increasingly hostile and personal.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I think he's lying about his statement knowing something about Romney. So, this is what's wrong --

BASH: Republicans trying to turn the tables on Harry Reid for accusing Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes for ten years with no proof.

REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn't filed a single page of tax returns himself.

BASH: In a news conference back in Nevada, Reid refused to reveal his source. Someone he has said is an investor at Bain Capital, Romney's former firm.

SEN. HARRY REID, (D) MAJORITY LEADER: This whole issue is not about me. Mitt Romney is the first presidential candidate since his dad ran not to release his income tax returns. This whole controversy would end very quickly if he would release his income tax returns like everybody else has done.

BASH: Reid's chief of staff, David Krone, tells CNN he knows who the source is but won't tell. "I know who this person is, and if I thought this person was not credible, I would say something to Senator Reid. I would try to shut it down. This person is credible," Krone told CNN.

The Democratic leader in the House is spanning the flames, too, telling the "Huffington Post," Harry Reid made a statement that is true. As for Republicans, they're now hitting Democrats where it could hurt both, the president's credibility, accusing Obama's campaign of orchestrating Reid's controversial political attack, pointing the finger at Obama advisor, David Axelrod.

A spokesman for the Republican Party noted to CNN Reid first accused Romney of not paying his taxes last Tuesday, hours after Axelrod visited Senate Democrats. RNC spokesman, Sean Spicer, telling CNN, "You've got to wonder if the so-called source is Axelrod, himself. Hours after meeting with Axelrod, Reid comes out and makes baseless accusations." In an e-mail, Axelrod called that completely false. Instead, he never had any such discussion. Instead of pointing fingers in every direction, they can put the whole matter to rest by simply observing the standard George Romney and a generation of candidates have set by releasing the returns, Axelrod told CNN.

REID: The word is out that he hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years.

BASH: Democratic sources tell CNN Reid, himself, initiated the attack on Romney, but the sources also admit the Obama campaign is not asking Reid to stop.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH (on-camera): Now, this is an important election about big issues, primarily, relentless unemployment and frustration with the Obama administration about the sluggish economy. Democrats I talked to readily admit that is exactly why Reid went after Romney on his tax returns to change the subject.

And as long as Romney refuses to release his tax returns, Democrats have a subject to change to. And Wolf, one footnote, "The Huffington Post" put up on their website some proof, perhaps, that the Republicans' accusation about Axelrod isn't true. That he was not the source because he was not on the Hill before Harry Reid talked to the "Huffington Post." That happened days before.

BLITZER: The quick question though is if Harry Reid quotes an investor at Bain Capital, one of his colleagues. How would this investor know what his personal -- Romney's personal income rate is every single year? I mean, that raised questions in my mind.

BASH: Absolutely. I have asked that question so many times, Wolf, of Reid's top aides, and the answer is, we're not going to tell you, but it is a source who has the ability to know and is a credible source and has the wherewithal to have that information.

BLITZER: And we do know, too, that Romney, himself, said he paid a lot of taxes over all of those years. There was no year he didn't pay any taxes. That's what Romney says on the record. And McCain campaign people from 2008 when Romney was being vetted as a vice presidential running mate, they say he paid taxes as well.

BASH: McCain himself, actually, told our Ted Barrett a couple of weeks ago that he personally saw 20 plus years of Romney's tax returns and he didn't see any problem. Of course, the Democrats respond if he can give John McCain his tax returns when he was being vetted to be the vice presidential running mate, why can't he release it to the public?

BLITZER: That's another story. Thanks very much.

The Sikh temple shooter suspected ties to a White supremacy movement, fuelling concerns about the dangers of extremist groups in the United States. Ahead, I'll speak with someone who infiltrated some of these groups for the FBI. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A change of plea for the alleged gunman in last year's deadly Tucson shooting massacre. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. What's going on, Lisa?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, attorneys for Jared Lee Loughner are now expected to enter a guilty plea at tomorrow's court hearing if a federal judge determines he is competent to stand trial and order from the court indicating the plan change of plea was released today. Six people were killed in the January 2011 attack and 13 were injured. Among them, then Arizona congresswoman, Gabriel Giffords.

And OK, fair warning here, spoiler alert. Cyprus has made history at the summer games in London, winning its first Olympic medal ever. The country took silver in a sailing competition today. Cyprus sent athletes to every Olympic games but has never before secured a medal. So, congratulations to them.

And Southwest Airlines is doing damage control after a promotional glitch that repeatedly charged some customers' credit cards. Those participating in the offer were expected to get a special half of deal. Instead, some reported getting duplicate itineraries or duplicate charges. Southwest has apologized for the inconvenience and says it is now working around the clock to reverse the transactions -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Lisa, thank you.

Meanwhile, new information is coming out right now about the personal life of the suspect in that Wisconsin temple shooting. We're learning that investigators have just questioned his ex-girlfriend.

Also, we're digging deeper into his alleged ties to hate groups. We'll talk to an expert who infiltrated neo-Nazi organizations for the FBI.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's get some more on our top story now. The Sikh Temple massacre outside Milwaukee that left six victims dead and three in critical condition. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is getting new information about the suspect's former girlfriend. Deb, what have you learned?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what we can tell you is speaking to a federal law enforcement official investigators were able to find and interview an ex-girlfriend. Now the two recently broke up. Apparently she told authorities that Page gave no indication he was planning anything like the temple shooting. FBI agents also have been interviewing relative and friends across the country from North Carolina to Colorado. They're trying to piece together the life of a man who terrorized this community.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FEYERICK (voice-over): The reading of the Sikh holy book was nearly over when the shooting started.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) heard shots. Can you confirm that?

FEYERICK: People inside the temple ran to hide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So she just kept saying they're out there, they're out they're out there, they're out there.

FEYERICK: Calls poured into 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need an ambulance. I do not see a shooter anywhere and I am on the (INAUDIBLE) behind me.

KANGWARDEEP SINGH KALEKA, NEPHEW OF VICTIM: The gunman basically came into the parking lot shooting -- shot people who were standing out in front, entered the temple, and opened fire.

FEYERICK: Community members say the temple president was shot trying to tackle the gunman. A priest and six worshipers among the six dead. Witnesses say the gunman went to the kitchen and may have turned up the gas before exiting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gunman or the people that are doing this ran into the kitchen and tried to blow it up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man with a gun in the parking lot, white t- shirt.

(SOUNDS)

FEYERICK: One of the first police officers to arrive was ambushed while helping a victim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 20-year veteran was ambushed, shot multiple times.

CHIEF JOHN EDWARDS, OAK CREEK, WISCONSIN POLICE: The officer was shot eight to nine times at very close range with a handgun.

FEYERICK: The shooters then taking aim at another officer who returned fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have subject down. (INAUDIBLE) down. I need an ambulance --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have one officer shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our officer did engage that individual, and that individual is deceased.

FEYERICK: SWAT teams and tactical (ph) units from around the Oak Creek area converged, carefully searching the temple building, not knowing whether more shooters were inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) pray for the people inside. (INAUDIBLE) small kids (INAUDIBLE).

FEYERICK: Police recovered a single handgun, belonging to the lone suspect. The wounded were taken to a local trauma center. Relatives and friends, many who had been on their way to pray waited for word. Authorities searched the gunman's home not far from the temple, looking for evidence. Looking for a motive. Leaving a community wondering why.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: And Wolf, police on scene apparently did issue some command to the alleged shooter to drop his weapon before the officer in the words of authority put him down -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick reporting for us. Thank you. Let's dig a little bit deeper right now into the alleged gunman. Drew Griffin of CNN Special Investigations Unit is joining us. Drew, the suspect was certainly no stranger to the various organizations out there that track hate groups, white supremacy groups in the United States, was he?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Not at all, Wolf. He was almost a celebrity in the white-hate music scene, this white supremacist music scene and that's when these various groups like the ADL (ph) and the Southern Poverty Law Center began tracking him. Twelve years ago is when he turned up on the Southern Poverty Law Center's radar screen as he got involved in some of the bigger bands in the white supremacist movement. Take a listen to what Mark Potok, the director there describes as this kind of scene that this guy has been in over the last dozen years or so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK POTOK, SENIOR FELLOW, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: This is an incredibly violent scene. The Neo-Nazi music scene is really a subculture of very extreme violence. You know, he existed in a world of skin head concerts, in which people are routinely beat up, sometimes killed often merely for looking at someone's girlfriend the wrong way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: We have no record, Wolf, that this suspect has any kind of a violent past. We do know that he had a DUI offense back in Colorado and some kind of a criminal mischief back in Texas. But the music scene is very important to these white supremacist Neo-Nazi kind of groups because that's where they recruit youth. They try to get them to come to these concerts, kind of like punk rock concerts with this very hate-filled message. It's a recruiting tool for this movement.

BLITZER: And have you heard any of the lyrics, any of the words that are supposedly sung at these concerts by these supremacy punk groups? Because this is all new to me. I didn't even know they were out there.

GRIFFIN: You know the lyrics are all based on their view of the world and very bizarre. They're trying to you know purify the white race. They're obsessed with the fact that the white Caucasian Christian race is somehow getting liquidated by Jews, blacks, Muslims, the typical things you would think that are -- hate-filled groups would write about. Quite frankly, Wolf, I'll be honest with you. I've tried to listen to this guy's band's music, and it's so mumbled and loud I can't really make out the lyrics. And I can't find any lyrics printed, but this is what Page, the suspect, Page said in an interview back in 2010 with his record label about his lyrics.

He said "the topics vary from sociological issues, religion, and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to" His big song was called "Self Destruct", but as far as the lyrics you know they're offensive. They're violent, and they just preach this kind of white supremist (ph) Neo-Nazi movement stuff, which you know he's been described as a frustrated Neo-Nazi. Every Neo-Nazi I've ever met and unfortunately I've met quite a few, are frustrated, Wolf, because the movement doesn't go anywhere. It's just this small group of people with a very loud message of hate.

BLITZER: It certainly is. All right, Drew, thanks very, very much. Here's a question. How dangerous are these hate groups? Could we see more attacks like the one in Wisconsin? Up next my interview with someone who has infiltrated extremist groups for the FBI.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Investors are looking into the alleged ties between the suspect in the Sikh Temple massacre in Wisconsin and various white supremacist groups. Let's did a little big deeper right now with David Gletty. He infiltrated hate groups for the FBI, wrote a powerful book about his experience called "Undercover Nazi: The FBI Infiltration of Extremist Groups in America". David, thanks very much for joining us. When you heard about this over the past 24 hours having penetrated various white extremist groups, what went through your mind when you heard about this case in Wisconsin?

DAVID GLETTY, INFILTRATED HATE GROUPS FOR FBI: Honestly, Wolf, I just thought the same things I always think that it's unfortunate that this happens, but I know for a fact because myself and my partner worked undercover infiltrating these types of groups, I know they're out there. I try not to alarm the public too much, but it's something that really needs to be taken a hold of now because more and more we see facts coming out that this is happening more often and more often and it's not going to stop anytime soon, so there are measures that have to be taken now to stop it.

BLITZER: Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, he said this and I'll put it up -- well actually I'll play it for you. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POTOK: He existed in a world of skin head concerts in which people are routinely beat up, sometimes killed, often merely for looking at someone's girlfriend the wrong way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Is that what you saw when you were inside some of these groups?

GLETTY: That's absolutely true. Some of that and more. Some really horrible things that violence fuels these people. Like I said they have the mindset of a pit bull. In one moment they're like a mother pit bull licking their little puppies and then 10 seconds later they're just off the wall doing something crazy. Their minds snaps, but they love this. They thrive, the ones that commit this violence, they thrive on this, and most of them really feel that it's the government pushing them towards this --

BLITZER: I didn't know that that there -- as I was saying I didn't know there were these Neo-Nazi kind of punk rock groups out there that are designed to sort of bring in outsiders, get them involved, and get involved in these extremist groups. How important is the music part of all of this?

GLETTY: The music, as you've heard from some other professionals, the music is a very creative tool and a very important tool for bringing in the youth. They bring in these kids that are on the outskirts of society that feel rejected by society. They're not loved at home. So they fall in with these groups, and they start to feel like they're friends. They feel like they love them. Then they get these younger kids to do their bidding. They brainwash them into believing that hate is the way to go and following them is the only way to go, and that there are other races of people that are against the white people.

And they have to fight for that. As you know, they call it the racial holy war, rohawa (ph) and they take this stuff serious. And I've seen it. I've been in the belly of the beast. And I know how bad these guys want to cause problems to American society. Because they believe that the America that they grew up in is dead, and it's not coming back. And the most violent ones will carry out acts of domestic terrorism and violence here now and in the future.

BLITZER: Are there warning signs out there that someone can go from just being an extremist, if you will, free speech to the extreme as opposed to someone actually going out and starting to shoot people?

GLETTY: Well, from what I know, from experience and fact is that these people, they al have, like the lone dog, you're not going to infiltrate a lone dog, a person that operates by themselves and they don't talk a lot to other people and they don't share their plans. But there are other groups that share their plans with three or four people, and there are signs to look out for. I know it's hard to track people because of the privacy acts and the rights we have, but they do a lot of -- they do a lot more of Internet research. They do, do active surveillance. I guarantee it this guy Mr. Page did surveillance on his soft target before he attacked them. They want to know the layout. They do a lot of Google research, maps, Google satellite or Google Earth is a very creative tool these people use. They use the weapons laws very creatively to get through and get the type of weapons that they need. But ultimately, they -- the ones that go out and actually do the act and cross the line are ones that feel like their backs are against the wall and they have no other recourse except for to go out and push their extreme beliefs on people and kill people when they feel necessary. And unfortunately that's what has happened here.

And there are some steps that can be taken, like psychological tests for persons that want to become gun owners and stuff like that. Especially ones that have a past history, like in the military, we hear this guy might have had a history. That should have been checked out. But as you know, we can't go pointing fingers at this point. There are steps --

BLITZER: And is it your assumption as it is apparently law enforcement of Wisconsin, local state, federal that this individual may have acted alone or was part of a broader conspiracy?

GLETTY: That's hard to say, but just from what I've seen and what I've heard that I believe he's a lone wolf. Usually if there's more than one person involved, then at that point, you're most likely going to have an operative like myself or a criminal informant infiltrate your group, and they're going to prevent this from happening. So many times it goes unheard of in the media, but so many times things like this get nipped in the bud, and people go to prison for conspiracy because persons like myself, trained professionals and others are able to infiltrate these people because we get paid to go in into these groups, no matter what types of groups they are, anti-government militias or white power groups, or you know Spanish hate groups or black hate groups, whatever. The more people you involve in your plan, the more chance you are going to have an operative or a -- you know an infiltrator in there or an informant --

BLITZER: David Gletty -- David, we've got to leave it right there, but thanks very much for joining us. David infiltrated these extremist groups on behalf of the FBI and wrote a book about it entitled "Undercover Nazi". David thanks very much.

GLETTY: Thank you, Wolf --

BLITZER: Straight ahead the massacre puts new gun control pressure on President Obama. Stand by for that.

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BLITZER: Angry calls for gun control are getting louder in the wake of what's now the second deadly shooting massacre in less than three weeks here in the United States. The pressure is certainly on President Obama to respond. CNN's White House correspondent Dan Lothian reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Faced with another tragic act of violence, this time in Wisconsin, President Obama is under pressure to do something.

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think all of us recognize that these kinds of terrible tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul searching and to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence.

LOTHIAN: But he's delivered similar remarks before. Most recently at the National Urban League Convention in New Orleans in the wake of the Colorado massacre.

OBAMA: We should leave no stone unturned and recognize that we have no greater mission as a country than keeping our young people safe.

LOTHIAN: Stopping gun violence has been an elusive target but Mayor Michael Bloomberg a loud voice on the issue says there's been a deafening silence from the president and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney on gun control.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: The two presidential candidates cannot continue avoiding an issue that is one of the most serious threats we face as a nation and for our security.

LOTHIAN: Pressed repeatedly on the president's plans, White House spokesman Jay Carney blamed Congress for not doing enough to keep some weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them and repeated the president would support any new ban on assault weapons while safeguarding Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The question as the president discussed in New Orleans is not one of a specific high profile incident alone, and the unfortunate reality is that while these terrible incidents get a lot of headlines, there is violence in America every day.

LOTHIAN: But Bloomberg and the group "Mayors against Illegal Guns" are calling for details, not only from the president but Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, POLITICAL AD: Our leaders gave us a moment of silence then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, POLITICAL AD: But they haven't given us a plan.

LOTHIAN: The group released this new TV ad featuring survivors of the Tucson shootings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, POLITICAL AD: We demand a plan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, POLITICAL AD: Because 48,000 Americans will be murdered with guns during the next president's term.

LOTHIAN (on camera): Have you seen this ad? Any reaction to it?

CARNEY: I haven't.

LOTHIAN (voice-over): As the White House, Congress and other politicians debate the issue, some argue the public's attention is focused in the wrong direction.

DICK ARMEY, FREEDOMWORKS CHAIRMAN: My own view is, let's get tough on criminals, have tough penalties for the illegal use of weaponry or any other illegal or activity that's an assailment against another person.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LOTHIAN: Now, the president said today that he wants to bring together a group of law enforcement officials, community and faith leaders, as well as elected officials to try and figure out how progress can be made on this issue of gun violence, but unclear whether this is something that will happen in the next few weeks or months -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Dan Lothian at the White House, thank you. And this note in our new 6:00 p.m. Eastern hour, "Terror at a Sikh Temple". Survivors of the shooting massacre recount the horror of the attack.

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BLITZER: Jack is back with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is why would Congress take a five-week vacation with all the problems facing this country?

Bonnie in New Jersey, "what difference does it make? They're on vacation when they're at work. Can we do like the sports team owners and do a lockout when they come back?"

Laura writes "because we as Americans let them, by voting them back in over and over and over again."

Susan in Ohio "maybe they just need a break from that gruesome three- day work week. The pressures of the job and all that. What a joke they are. But the polls show that not many of us are laughing."

Kevin in California "because they're back meeting with their constituents and updating them on all the things that Congress has accomplished. Yes, yes, that's the ticket."

Debbie on Facebook, "we need to fire them. Who else gets to go on vacation with work left incomplete? The rest of us would be fired on the spot."

David in Missouri says "because the Congress could care less about the American people. It's all about me, me, me and using the hard-working people's money to fund the good ole boy system in waste beyond human imagination. How do you think a person making $169,000 a year becomes a multi, multi millionaire times 10."

Ron in Florida says "they read the schedule. They haven't worried about the country for 3.5 years."

Bob in Ohio writes "they deserve a vacation. It's got to be exhausting work naming post offices session after session with no end in sight."

If you want to read more about this, go to the blog or CNN.com/CaffertyFile or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf, it's almost 6:00. You're on again.

BLITZER: I certainly am, Jack. Thank you.

CAFFERTY: You got it.