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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Sen. Dianne Feinstein; Anti-Islamic Film May Have Roots in Egypt; Is Middle East More Dangerous Now?; Did Ambassador Have Enough Security?
Aired September 13, 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, an arrest made in the savage attack that killed four Americans in Libya. Ahead, the latest on the information coming in from the chair of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein.
Also, enemy or ally? That's the question President Obama is forced to weigh in on right now as the outrage against United States escalates across Egypt, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Plus, a former U.S. navy seal being called an American hero. We're learning more about the four people who died working for their country.
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: Anti-American rage sweeping the Middle East and North Africa right now. At the center of the violence, Egypt's Tahrir Square where fiery flashes lit up the night sky. More than 200 people have reportedly been injured in a sea of tear gas, Molotov cocktails, and burned out cars. And the worst may yet come.
Our senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, is in Cairo. He's back there. He's joining us now. Ben, what's the very latest? The pictures, they seem so ominous.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think the pictures maybe a little more alarming than reality because what you have is maybe 300 or 400 very young protesters who don't seem to have any political affiliation who are basically trying to push toward the American embassy. The Egyptian security forces firing back with tear gas, throwing rocks trying to keep them away.
But at the moment, it's fairly static. The security forces were pushed back towards the embassy. Now, they've moved forward again. A lot of noise, a lot of dramatic pictures, but really, this is only happening in a very small area of Cairo, Wolf. If you go just two blocks up the street, it appears it's just another Thursday evening in Cairo -- Wolf.
BLITZER: But it's going to escalate as we get closer and closer to Friday prayer. That's only going to be in a few hours given the time difference between here on the east coast and the United States where you are. How close are these demonstrators to the U.S. embassy in Cairo?
WEDEMAN: Well, let me just take a peek here. They may be about 300 yards away from the embassy itself, between the embassy and the demonstrators are hundreds of Egyptian riot police, some armored vehicles as well. And, therefore, I don't think they're going to get much closer.
Of course, there is a lot of worry about what tomorrow could bring. Friday, the day of prayer. Now, the Muslim brotherhood, the largest and best organized Islamic group in the country has said that they will be holding demonstrations against that trailer that appeared on YouTube across the country.
But they stress those demonstrations will not be happening in Tahrir Square, will not be near the American embassy. They'll be at mosques away from this area but across the country. One official with the Muslim Brotherhood saying they're trying to divert that anger away from this part of town.
They sympathize with some of the sentiment of the demonstrators, however, they say they condemn any violence against diplomatic installations -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Ben Wedeman could be a long night for you and our entire team out there. Thanks very much.
Behind this vicious outrage, an anti-Muslim film made here right in the United States. It's gaining some traction out there on the internet. So, how do the protesters know about it? Let's go to CNN's Ian Lee.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the protests continue behind me. You also have people all around come here to watch what's going on. And talking to people, many of them have seen this video that Muslims find so offensive. And if they haven't seen the video, it only takes a description from a friend or social media to get their blood boiling.
This anger is expected to continue tomorrow as the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic organizations have called for mass demonstrations. Massive but peaceful demonstrations. Local imams are expected to give fiery sermons as this has punched the nerve (ph) in this region.
BLITZER: Ian Lee, thanks very much.
Turning now to the deadly siege in Libya that took the lives of four Americans, including United States ambassador. The Libyan prime minister is just giving CNN new information about the arrests in the attack. U.S. officials are also actively pursuing new intelligence information.
CNN's intelligence correspondent, Suzanne Kelly, is joining us with new information you're getting. What are you learning, Suzanne?
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Right, Wolf. Well, intelligence officials are narrowing down that list of suspects and sifting through new information that they say is helping them get a better picture of just who was behind this attack.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KELLY (voice-over): A promise of justice as behind the scenes, the U.S. intelligence community sifts through a steady stream of information that has come in the past 24 hours. As the investigation continued on the U.S. side, the Libyan prime minister telling CNN that at least one Libyan national had been arrested.
MUSTAFA ABUSHAGOUR, LIBYAN PRIME MINISTER: There's one who was arrested this morning and there's other -- I think other about three or four currently being pursued. There is suspicion that those people belong to some extremist group here.
KELLY: CIA director, David Petraeus, briefed members of Congress Thursday afternoon. U.S. officials may not be ready to name a perpetrator, but the list of likely suspects isn't so long. One of the more organized groups being scrutinized by intelligence analyst, Ansar al-Sharia, led by a former Guantanamo detainee.
The Benghazi-based group is believed to have a membership that includes jihadist elements. The group released these pictures last month showing just how well-equipped they are. Even their fleet of vehicles bears their name. One group they've ruled out according to an intelligence source, al Qaeda core, based in Pakistan.
Counterterrorism experts say it's more likely the attack was carried out by al Qaeda sympathizers with no formal relationship to the core organization.
PHILIP MUDD, FORMER CIA OFFICIAL: That's going to be a relatively small sliver of people. When you look at people who believe that storming the U.S. embassy is OK, I'm going to tell you that slice of the pie is significant.
KELLY: And that's part of the reason say experts why nailing down the perpetrator is so tough. In Libya, groups are sometimes groups in name only with memberships and allegiances shifting rapidly.
KELLY (on-camera): Now, I've been told by several officials who are active in the U.S. intelligence community that there is simply no actionable intelligence that supports the notion that this was a pre- planned attack. No intercepted communications, no human intelligence that could have warned the U.S. that this was coming.
Those voices seem to be in the minority, though, at the moment, Wolf. But nonetheless, they highlight just how confusing sifting through the aftermath of an attack like this can be.
BLITZER: Just beginning this investigation for all practical purposes. Suzanne, thanks very much.
Joining us now, the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dianne Feinstein, of California. She just emerged from a meeting with the CIA director, Gen. David Petraeus. Suzanne just reported on it.
Senator, thanks very much for coming in. Let me get your thoughts. First of all, we're hearing some suggestions that in addition to the four Americans killed at the consulate in Benghazi, some others were injured, including seriously injured. What if anything can you tell us about that?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) INTELLIGENCE CHAIR: Yes, I just don't know, Wolf. What I can tell you is that our entire committee, all 15 of us, eight Democrats, seven Republicans, were present for a briefing by Director Petraeus that lasted a couple of hours. And it was a very good briefing.
What I would like to do, if I may, is simply thank on behalf of the committee, the Libyan government for their solidarity, for their denouncement of this event, and for taking the actions they have to vigorously investigate and arrest some people. I also want to thank the currently anonymous Libyan citizen who took Ambassador Stevens to the hospital.
He didn't survive, but to me, that was such a human and real act. And it just has a lot of credit with me. And I'm very grateful for the solidarity that Libya is showing.
BLITZER: Does it look like this was a carefully planned operation that was in the works for a while? What's the latest assessment on that?
FEINSTEIN: I can say that I've seen no evidence or no assessment that indicates it was. I can certainly say that. There was a protest. And it could well be that quickly some two dozen people took that as an opportunity to attack. They have attacked the Benghazi consulate before. I believe, it was on June 6th.
So, this is not a new thing. But I think one of the great lessons out of this is there are consulates in these very troubled nine Middle Eastern nations must be in very secure locations if we have them there at all.
BLITZER: The Libyan prime minister has told our Christiane Amanpour, senator, that at least one person, possibly more, have been arrested. Have you been briefed on who was arrested? Any affiliations they may have with any organizations?
FEINSTEIN: No. Once the news is ahead, but I'm very pleased to learn the same thing. People have been arrested. And I believe an investigation is going on in this country concerning the individual who did this very obnoxious, 12-minute preview of some very stupid movie and wrong-headed movie. And he may well not be who he has claimed to be either.
So, we're going to have to find out a lot about what happened. I would hope -- a big day is coming up tomorrow, it's Friday. It's a day of prayer in the Islamic world. And I would really hope that cool minds prevail. We now have 11 ongoing demonstrations in various countries and more expected.
And I think -- I hope that people who are very concerned as all the world is by this will understand that demonstrating, hurting innocent people, perhaps, some deaths resulting, please don't let it happen.
BLITZER: You've been praising the Libyan government. Obviously, it's a new government. They've got limited capabilities. What about the Egyptian government, did they do everything they should do to protect the U.S. embassy in Cairo?
FEINSTEIN: Well, not immediately as I understand it. But Mr. Morsi has put out a statement. I didn't see where he denounced the incident. I would really hope -- and this is in a sense a test that the Egyptians help see that our embassy is protected. I think this is very important just as we would protect the Egyptian embassy here.
It is very important that we get through the next few days, that cooler, saner minds prevail, that we're able to do the due diligence on this 12-minute trailer. And I think, you know, it's such a farce. It's so stupid. And the man that produced it certainly made no contribution to art or literature, truth, or justice.
BLITZER: Do you still support, Senator Feinstein, giving the Egyptians more than a billion dollars a year in economic and military assistance?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I think our relationship with Egypt is very important. For me, because today, the Brotherhood has 50 percent of the parliament, the Salafis 25 percent, we have a Muslim Brotherhood president, it's important to me to see how Egypt goes. Whether this administration in Egypt is going to concentrate on the economic and just development of their country or on very right-wing Islamist ideology.
I don't know that yet, whether they're going to agree that Israel has a right to exist, that's very important to this country. That they favor a two-state solution. The one area where I think the government has shown really common sense is working on the problems in the Sinai and doing this in conjunction with Israel. I think that's one very hopeful sign.
So, I want to. I have helped Egypt in the past. I want to continue. But we need to see which way this government is going to go. And I think the statements of the government in the next few days also are going to indicate which way this government goes. And that's important for us here to listen to that.
BLITZER: And let's see what happens over the next few hours on the streets of Cairo not far from the U.S. embassy as well.
FEINSTEIN: That's exactly right.
BLITZER: All right. Senator, thanks very much for coming in.
FEINSTEIN: You're very welcome. Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, Egypt, enemy, ally? It's a critical question facing President Obama as outrage Egyptians protest against the United States. Up next, you're going to find out how the president is responding today.
Plus, the man who had breakfast with Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya on the day he died. He's speaking out in a new interview. Ahead, his warning for the ambassador during that very meeting.
BLITZER: Let's get right to Jack. He's got the "Cafferty File." He's looking at the crisis in the Middle East and the presidential race -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: All right, Wolf. Mitt Romney could have done himself in in the last 36 hours or so. At the very least, the Republican candidate for president likely badly damaged his chances of being elected by the way he reacted to the violence in Egypt and Libya.
Andrew Sullivan of the "Daily Beast" suggests that Romney's response to all of this makes him "unfit," Sullivan's word, for the responsibility of running the country. Sullivan lays out the reasons he thinks Romney ought to be disqualified from being president, including Romney's knee-jerk judgments based on ideology and not reality.
His inability to back down when he said something wrong, and his argument that President Obama sympathized with the murderers of America's ambassador to Libya. Criticizing America's commander in chief while U.S. interests are still under attack and Americans were dying comes off as amateurish and unpresidential and could be political suicide for Romney in the long run.
It is times like these when an unguarded comment can leave a lasting impression. Compare Romney's response to how the 1980 Republican candidates for president reacted to the Iran hostage crisis under President Carter.
As the Atlantic points out, when news broke that an effort to rescue the American hostages in Tehran had failed, Ronald Reagan said, quote, "This is the time for us as a nation and a people to stand united," unquote. And George H.W. Bush went even further saying he, quote, "unequivocally supported Carter" and that it was not a time to, quote, "try to go one-up politically."
Mitt Romney's been around long enough, he ought to know better.
The question is this, did Mitt Romney kill his chances of becoming president with his reaction to the violence in Egypt and Libya? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile. You can post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jack, thanks very much.
The movie that sparked the deadly protest across the Middle East is no doubt inflammatory. But is it fueling the violence or are extremists just using it as cover?
BLITZER: Since Tuesday's deadly assault in Libya, we're seeing protests breakout in a lot of countries in the region. You can see here in yellow all across North Africa, and indeed, in the Middle East throughout that whole region. Check out the crowds right now, by the way, outside the United States embassy in Egypt.
Only about 300 yards away or so we were told by Ben Wedeman, mostly in near Tahrir Square. As violent protests rage in Cairo and elsewhere, President Obama is using one word to issue what's regarded as a stern warning.
Our White House correspondent, Dan Lothian, is joining us now from Golden, Colorado. Dan, is the administration saying Egypt is an ally or not?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what they're saying it appears that they are not. And so, the question now is whether this represents a shift in the U.S. policy towards Egypt. As you know, Wolf, under the ousted former leader of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt was considered an ally.
But you have a Democratic elections recently, member of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president, and there've been concerns among U.S. officials that Egypt is still trying to find its way. So, now, you have these protests. And yesterday, during an interview with Telemundo, President Obama was asked whether this new regime was still considered an ally, and here's how the president answered that question.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you consider the current Egyptian regime an ally of the United States?
OBAMA: I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy. They are a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LOTHIAN: The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, and other administration officials were pushing back a bit saying that the president was correct in using legal and diplomatic terms. He said that word ally is, quote, "a legal term of art," but, Wolf, I'll tell you, a lot of people having questions about the president using that again saying whether there's some kind of a shift in U.S. policy.
Jay Carney saying that there is no shift and no change expected in the more than a billion dollars in aid that the U.S. gives to Egypt, Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, there seems to be a little disconnect going on right now between The White House and the state department, because the state department is making it clear that Egypt still is what's regarded as a major non-NATO ally. Victoria Nuland answering questions over at the state department today. She's the spokeswoman for the state department.
Question to her, "you're saying the administration of the state department still regard Egypt as a major non-NATO ally and it is still a recipient of the privileges all of that entails?" And she answered with one word, "yes." So, as far as the state department is concerned, Egypt under this new government, this Muslim Brotherhood- led government, is still regarded as a major non-NATO ally of the United States.
So, there are major military privileges that go along with that. So, I guess, the White House and the state department are going to have to coordinate whether or not Egypt is an ally or not. The state department saying yes, the White House saying what the president said. Obviously, the president is the president.
What he says holds true. It was a little weird, though, to see the state department in effect saying something different than what we heard from the president. What else is the president doing out there, Dan?
LOTHIAN: Well, you know, the president campaigning. And one of the questions that we're being asked earlier yesterday before the president came to his first stop in Las Vegas was whether or not he would go forward with the trip because he was dealing with the death of four Americans. The president pushed back his trip just a bit as he made those comments on the violence in the region from the White House but still going forward with his trip.
What you saw though was a president trying to do a delicate balance between doing his sort of official business and also campaigning. So, at that stop yesterday in Las Vegas, the president toning down his remarks, not criticizing Mitt Romney directly by name, also off the top of his remarks he talked about the violence in the Mideast region.
The president also doing the same off the top of his remarks here in Colorado. An administration official telling me that the president is able to deal with both, to still go out there and campaign, but also stay in touch, get briefings from his national security adviser, also make calls as he did from Colorado yesterday to the leaders of Libya and also Egypt, able to be president but also campaign at the same time, Wolf.
BLITZER: Good point. Dan Lothian traveling with the president. Thank you.
Meanwhile, outrage is spreading over that movie trailer depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, a ruthless killer, a child molester, but who actually made the movie? We're checking into that. We're taking a closer look.
BLITZER: In city after city across the Muslim and Arab world, protesters are venting anti-American fury over a crude anti-Islamic film. It was made in the United States but it may be rooted in a long simmering religious conflict inside Egypt.
Brian Todd is here. He's been looking into this part of the story for us.
So what are you finding out?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, that conflict is between more hardline Islamists in Egypt and members of the Coptic Church, the largest Christian church in the Middle East. There are suggestions that Cops were involved in the making of this movie. There is no connection directly between the church itself and the film. But the mere implications have been very provocative.
TODD (voice-over): At the genesis of all this violence, a poorly made film called "Innocence of Muslims," a movie depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a violent buffoon. A movie which may also reflect growing tensions between Islam and the Coptic Church, the largest Christian church in the Middle East.
U.S. federal officials believe the man who made the film is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula who was convicted three years ago for bank fraud. A production staffer who worked on the movie says the filmmaker also went by the name Abenob Nakuola Bassely and said he believed he was a Coptic Christian. The staffer says the filmmaker told him he'd been in Alexandria, Egypt, where the Coptic Church is based, raising money for the film.
The suggestion that Cops were involved in the movie inflamed Egyptian media.
ERIC TRAGER, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Islamist use of this idea that Cops were behind it was apparently effective in drumming up support for those attacks.
TODD: Analyst Eric Trager and a Coptic Church official tell us there's no connection between the Coptic Church itself and the movie. But the film was promoted by a man who identifies himself as a Coptic Christian. Egyptian born, anti-Islam activist, Morris Sadek. In an interview with the Middle East Media Research Institute last year, Sadek said this.
MORRIS SADEK, COPTIC CHRISTIAN ACTIVIST (Through Translator): Every Muslim knows that he's one of Egypt's occupiers.
TODD: CNN has tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to reach Mora Sadek.
(On camera): An official with the Coptic Church here in the U.S. told us the church strongly condemns this film. The church issued a statement calling the movie abusive and part of a malicious campaign to divide people.
As for Morris Sadek, the Coptic official said the church has no connection to him and certainly doesn't sanction what he says.
(Voice-over): Egypt's Coptic Church is roughly 2,000 years old. Coptic Christians make up almost 10 percent of Egypt's population and there's a long history of animosity between them and radical Muslim groups. The bombing of a Christian church in Alexandria last year killed at least 21 people, another two dozen Coptic Christians and their supporters were killed last fall in clashes with the Egyptian army.
(On camera): How far back does this tension go and what's the reason for it?
TRAGER: The reason for the tension is, I think, really due to the violence that Cops have experienced both under the previous regime and since that regime collapsed. And I think that that has really fueled the mistrust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Trager says it's estimated about 100,000 Cops have tried to leave Egypt since the revolution last year. The main tension, Wolf, being between the Cops and the members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is more hardline Islamist faction in Egypt. Of course that group is now the ruling party in Egypt.
BLITZER: Yes, it is. What more can you tell us about this filmmaker?
TODD: Well, that staffer who worked on the film told us that he is married with two children. He says that this filmmaker has had several aliases and we've been going through his aliases now for two days. He was arrested -- he was convicted in 2009 for bank fraud. And we're told the FBI has contacted him because of possible threats against him. But we're also told he's not under investigation right now.
BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much.
Brian Todd working this story. Less than two years ago we watched as these kinds of protests spread across North Africa and the Middle East. Protesters fighting to overthrow dictators and regimes. Fast forward to today. We're seeing these same countries erupt in violent anti-American protests.
Let's bring in Bobby Ghosh, he's an editor at large for our sister publication "TIME" magazine. He wrote this week's new cover story, "The Agents of Outrage."
It's an excellent article, Bobby. Thanks very much. And let me read a line from your article. "The Arab Spring replaced the harsh order of hated dictators with a flowering of neophyte democracies. But these governments with weak mandates, ever-shifting loyalties and poor security forces have made the region a more chaotic and unstable place, a place more susceptible than ever to rogue provocateurs fomenting violent upheavals usually in the name of faith."
I guess the bottom line question, Bobby, did the Arab Spring make that whole region even more dangerous than it used to be?
BOBBY GHOSH, TIME EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I think the evidence is now in, Wolf, that at least in the short-term it certainly has. These dictatorships in the old days could be relied upon to crack down on any kind of protest with maximum brute force. Democratic governments as we know cannot do that. If they expect to be re-elected. And the other problem is that the new governments don't, I think, have full control over the security apparatus, which is divided in loyalty between the old regime and the new one and was not especially good in the first instance.
So these are -- these are new problems for the Middle East. And I suspect that for some years to come before there is a sort of democratic culture that emerges. For some years to come there are going to be incidents like the one we've seen this week where things very quickly spiral out of hand. The political leadership don't know how to deal with it. The security apparatus are completely overwhelmed and lives, American, foreign, or even Egyptian, are put in harm's way.
BLITZER: As we look at these live pictures coming in from Cairo right now not far from the U.S. embassy, Bobby, here's the question. The so-called film or trailer that's out there on the Internet, this anti-Islamic film, is that the excuse for what's going on? Or do you feel it really did trigger these protests?
GHOSH: It's only the start of a chain. Look, it's not a simple matter of somebody putting a video on YouTube and the street in the Arab world erupting. There are provocative things said about Islam and the prophet online every day, every hour of every day. You don't see riots breaking out every day.
There are a set of people working behind the scenes sometimes at cross purposes. Sometimes people who don't really necessarily have the same agenda who crank up this hatred. So you have a filmmaker in California, you have an extremist pastor in Florida, you have a Coptic American-Egyptian in Washington, D.C. They bring this thing to the attention of the Arab world.
And you have a television host in Egypt who's well-known for inflammatory comment who picks up on this and then magnifies it. And then you have political groups, you have religious groups and you have armed militias on the ground who then take that in Egypt and in Libya and run with it.
So this is organized. This is not spontaneous. This is not random. There's a sequence of events that leads to four Americans being killed in Libya. And it's not accidental.
BLITZER: Not accidental indeed. All right, Bobby, excellent article. The cover story in the new issue of "TIME" magazine entitled "The Agents of Outrage." Bobby Ghosh from "TIME" magazine.
So this the United States ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, he was obviously murdered in Libya. Did he have enough security? One Libyan politician actually warned the ambassador about that on the very day that he died. We have details straight ahead.
BLITZER: One person is under arrest, more are being pursued in the death of the United States ambassador to Libya. Questions still remain, though, about the security around the U.S. consulate in Benghazi at the time of the attack.
Vivienne Walt writes for our sister publication "TIME" magazine. She interviewed a Libyan politician who had breakfast with Ambassador Chris Stevens the day he died.
Vivienne is joining us.
Vivienne, I understand he warned the ambassador -- this is what you're writing. He warned the ambassador that they -- that he was in deep potential security danger. What did you hear?
VIVIENNE WALT, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, Wolf, Fathi Baja, one of Libya's -- probably one of Libya's most prominent, most-respected politicians, had been having breakfast with Chris Stevens in the consulate canteen and he said he was truly alarmed by the lack of security.
Then he said listen, Chris, you're the most powerful country in the world, you've got less security than all other countries, even the Jordanians, the Moroccans, have far more guards and that you really have to bring Americans here to protect the consulate because the Libyans simply don't have the training, they don't have the equipment, and they simply can't get the job done.
BLITZER: Well, what kind of security did he have -- inside that consulate? What was there?
WALT: Well, there are two versions of the story. Fathi Baja said that what he saw was four Libyan guards out front fairly relaxed. Each of them with (INAUDIBLE) of rifle over his back. Very low key security. There was a feeling not at all, a kind of a feeling being on alert. And let's not forget this is 9/11.
The U.S. officials that have spoken to reporters have said that they had plenty of security and that they had reviewed the security procedures before 9/11 as a routine matter before the anniversary of the attacks and that they did not find any inadequacies or any holes in the system. So clearly there's a very wide divergence. But you know the accounts that Fathi Baja gives is one of an eyewitness on the ground the morning of the attack.
BLITZER: You also report that the two of them had a discussion about a suggestion that the Libyan government what was actually providing some cover for extremists? What was that about?
WALT: Well, this was not a new discussion in fact. They had been having this kind of discussion over the past several months. And when I was in Libya a few months ago, I heard that the same discussion was going on between, among others, western diplomats and people like Libyan politicians like this one in which they argued, look, you have all these armed militia running around the countries, hugely well- equipped with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, rockets, et cetera.
And they've been given salaries by the government, that there -- there's a sector plea being given free reign in a lot of localities simply as a way to fill the security gap even though these local militia really didn't have any loyalties to the capital and had very little sentiment towards the new democracy. And in fact many of them had hostility against the new -- the new democracy.
BLITZER: What were Mr. Baja's final words to Ambassador Stevens?
WALT: I'm not sure exactly what his -- what his final words were. But he did say, you know, people love Americans. They admire the American way of life here in Benghazi. Obviously, people feel an enormous sense of gratitude for the Western intervention last year, but that there are plenty of extremists and that we just have to put an end to these people.
BLITZER: Vivienne Walt, thanks very much for your reporting. Appreciate it.
WALT: You're welcome.
BLITZER: And in our next hour we're going back to Tahrir Square in Cairo for a live report on those Egyptian protests we've been seeing against the United States.
BLITZER: Get right to Jack Cafferty for "The Cafferty File." Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Question this hour, did Mitt Romney kill his chances of becoming president with his reaction to the violence in Egypt and Libya?
Got lots and lots of mail. Ted in Bloomington, Indiana. "Mitt had his 3:00 a.m. phone call and he failed miserably. But then he's never shown any personal interest in foreign policy except where to keep his offshore money."
Peter in Philadelphia, "The left sees this as a rash politically motivated reaction that highlights Romney's questionable decision- making skills. And the right spins it as a sign of strength and hard talk and contrast to a weak president. I don't see it changing anything as it just reinforces what both sides have been saying all along."
Joann in Cottonwood, Arizona, writes, "Mitt Romney quickly brought it to the attention of the people around the world that the U.S.' foreign policy is weak and inadequate. To not have proper protection at the U.S. embassies on 9/11 is a pathetic lack of leadership. There were plenty of warnings."
Wesley writes, "I certainly hope so, his remarks were ill- considered and inappropriate given the circumstances. We've had more than enough of shoot-from-the-lip presidents. We desperately need a thoughtful president like Mr. Obama in this complex world that we have to deal with."
Mark writes, "You mean like Obama a overreacting to the story that brought us the beer summit or, quote, 'if I had a son he'd look like Trayvon Martin'? Cafferty, you're a fool."
Sheryl on Facebook, "Romney may have done us all a big favor by showing us just how inept he is before it was too late. Accusing the president of sympathizing with the terrorists who killed our diplomats? This man has no shame and no class."
And Barry writes, "You bet you."
You want to read more about this, go to the blog, CNN.com/caffertyfile, or to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jack.
A former Navy SEAL being called an American hero. Up next, we're learning more about the four Americans killed in Libya.
BLITZER: We can now put a name and a face with a third -- a third of those four Americans killed in Libya and his family is calling him an American hero.
Let's bring in Lisa Sylvester. She's got details -- Lisa.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Wolf. Well, we know the U.S. ambassador to Libya killed. A State Department officer killed, and we now do know the identity of a third victim, Glen Doherty. Doherty's family released this three-page summary about his life but it is just so hard to sum up in just three pages. Doherty joined the Navy SEALs when he was 25. His team responded to the USS Cole attack. He served two tours in the 2003 Gulf war. And he was many things. He was a tri-athlete, an avid skier, a good friend and brother, and he, like the other victims, had an intense love for his country.
SYLVESTER (voice-over): The three victims who have been identified were not based at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Sean Smith, a husband and father of two, worked off The Hague and was on a short-term duty as information manager and officer in Libya. Ambassador Chris Stevens was based in Tripoli.
The most recently identified victim was Glen Doherty, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, a U.S. security officer who lived in (INAUDIBLE), California, but grew up outside of Boston.
From different areas. At the consulate. On assignment. They leave behind grieving hearts.
Kate Quigley is Doherty's sister.
KATE QUIGLEY, GLEN DOHERTY'S SISTER: Glen lived his life to the fullest. He was my brother but if you ask his friends he was their brother as well. We ask for privacy during this time as we grieve for our friend, my brother, our brother, our son and our American hero.
SYLVESTER: As a Navy SEAL, Doherty was a trained sniper and medical corpsman. He stayed active working for California fitness company called SEAL Fit. He's seen here in this video having fun in a friendly competition.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Doherty, Winchester, Massachusetts, right? A long way from home. How old are you?
GLEN DOHERTY, FORMER NAVY SEAL KILLED IN LIBYAN ATTACK: Forty- one and a half.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty-one and a half. OK.
DOHERTY: That's right.
SYLVESTER: Doherty was just 42 when he died.
Ambassador Stevens leaves three younger siblings. Tom Stevens is his brother.
TOM STEVENS, AMBASSADOR CHRIS STEVENS' BROTHER: He was doing what he always did, which was representing the United States in an exceptional manner. He was my big brother. So all the things that typically as a little brother, all that guidance, just being best friends, that's what I'll miss the most.
SYLVESTER: Sean Smith, an Air Force veteran, worked at the State Department for 10 years. At the time of the attack, he was online playing the game "Eve" under his handle as "Vile Rat" and posted this message online. Tributes are pouring in. A friend of Smith's saying, quote, "He had no desire for fame or recognition. He simply saw things that needed to be fixed and said about trying to fix them. His loss is all the more tragic because it was caused by forces he detested. Those of hatred, intolerance and ignorance."
The same could be said for all the victims.
SYLVESTER: Very, very sad, Wolf. And there was a fourth American killed. We are still waiting for that person's name to be released pending notification of relatives -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Our deepest condolences to all these families. Lisa, thank you.
Happening now, anti-American protests explode across the Middle East.