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THE SITUATION ROOM
CNN Interviews Benghazi Attack Suspect; Interview With Rep. Jason Chaffetz; Obama Gets Pushback On Capitol Hill; Interview With Rep. Peter King; Pakistan's Ex-President Likely to be Charged; Just How Safe are Energy Drinks?
Aired July 31, 2013 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now and first on CNN, we'll hear from a suspected terrorist who's blamed for Benghazi. Republican lawmakers want to know why the FBI can't find him and CNN can.
We're also following the latest name-calling among potential rivals for the 2016 Republican nomination.
And O.J. Simpson is granted parole.
But will he get out of jail any time soon?
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We begin with a story you'll see first right here on CNN. But it's already making huge waves here in Washington, where the first time, you're going to hear from a suspect in September's deadly attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, the attack that killed the United States ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans.
The man is not in jail. He's walking around freely. U.S. authorities haven't been able to catch up with him, but CNN's Arwa Damon did.
When that news hit Capitol Hill today, there was sharp reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: The news out today that CNN was able to go in and talk to one of the suspect terrorists, how come the military hasn't been able to get after them and capture or kill these people?
How come the FBI isn't doing this and yet CNN is?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: CNN's chief national correspondent, John King is standing with more on what's going on Capitol Hill, the reaction.
Our senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon, is in Cairo right now -- Arwa, I want to play part of your report about meeting this man in Benghazi. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. officials have often suggested that they would be interested in speaking to a man named Ahmed Abu Khattala about the events the night of the attack. He's really not that difficult to find.
(on camera): We met with Ahmed Abu Khattala in public, at the coffee shop of a well-known hotel here in Benghazi, for around two hours. He seemed to be confident, his demeanor most certainly not that of a man who believed that he was going to be detained or targeted any time soon. And he agreed to let us film audio, but not video, of our conversation.
(voice-over): Did anyone from the American or Libyan government get in touch with you?
AHMED ABU KHATTALA (through translator): Never.
DAMON: No American official or Libyan official tried to contact you?
KHATTALA: Even the investigative team did not try to contact me.
DAMON: You're talking about the FBI team?
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: Arwa is joining us now -- Arwa, you mentioned it wasn't very hard to find this guy.
Well, tell our viewers, how easy was it?
DAMON: Very easy, Wolf. This is, you saw on that report, is not a man who is in hiding. He showed up at the interview and he was being escorted by -- or part of his entourage were half a dozen members of one of the smaller Islamist units that are, in fact, part of the Libyan security forces.
Now, we were the first television outlet to sit down with him, but he has given interviews to print media in the past, as well.
He also says he has very close relations with commanders within the Libyan security forces, so they most certainly know how to get a hold of him.
And, Wolf, he said if the Americans reached out to him, he would be willing to, in fact, sit down with them, not be interrogated by them, he was quick to emphasize, but would be open to having a conversation similar to the one that we had -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And I know you sat down with him, what, for two hours or so.
What else did he tell you?
DAMON: Well, he was going through the details of what he witnessed that night. And he did get a bit agitated in some instances when we were pressing him for specific details, accusing us of wanting to interrogate him.
And he said he arrived on the scene after the attack took place, at the request of one of the Libyan commanders who was there, that he saw men carrying rocket propelled grenades, medium guns -- other types of weapons, but because of the intensity of the gunfire, he was forced to stay on the perimeter of the compound.
He claims that when he finally entered, he says for only a brief period of time, he did not see any buildings on fire. But he says that everyone had evacuated.
So his narrative is, at times, contradictory. It was a very long, rambling interview. But some intelligence experts, Wolf, say that the Americans are looking in the wrong direction when it comes to Abu Khattala, that they really need to broaden their horizons, look outside of the box when it comes to really hunting down who is responsible for that Benghazi attack.
But it still begs the question, here is a man who, if not directly involved in what took place, is, at the very least, a key witness.
Why has no one reached out to him yet?
BLITZER: Good question.
Let's dig on that.
Arwa Damon, one of our courageous journalists.
Thanks very much.
Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, John King -- John, as you know, there is a new new push now, what, 10 months or so after what occurred in Benghazi, to try to get some answers.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And here's part of that push. We obtained this letter overnight. This -- it was a draft. Now it has been sent officially to the new FBI director, James Comey.
And it says, in part -- this is from eight Republican lawmakers. One of them you're going to have a conversation with in a few minutes. He led this effort, Jason Chaffetz in the House, Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina in the Senate, led the effort. Eight Republicans in all signed it.
And they say this. It's pretty straightforward. "It's been more than 10 months since the attacks. We appear to be no closer to knowing who was responsible today than we were in the early weeks following the attack. This is simply unacceptable." The ambassador, Ambassador Stevens, is dead. Three other Americans dead.
And, Wolf, there's a great deal of frustration. And the Republicans are taking this public.
Democrats have pretty much labeled anything the Republicans say about Benghazi as all politics.
But on this point, if you talk to them privately, there is a great deal of frustration. You can go to the FBI Web site and you will see the photographs of five men at the scene, surveillance pictures of them at the U.S. mission in Benghazi. The FBI asking for information.
If you talk inside the administration, they will acknowledge, to Arwa's point, either incompetence or unwillingness to help on the behalf of the Libyan authorities. The FBI says it's frustrated this investigation. But there's also been a debate within the administration, if you can't build a case, enough evidence to indict them and bring them into federal court, why not use the military rules -- swoop in and seize the suspects as terrorists and try them under some other...
BLITZER: Why not?
KING: -- def -- well, the administration has said -- when you ask the question, why not? -- and the military, in the past, has laid plans for this. Our Barbara Starr has reported this. The military has plans to swoop in and get them.
The Justice Department says it wants to try to build the case. The Justice Department, as we know in other cases, prefers to do it through the federal court system.
But the frustration is mounting and you have these eight Republicans now taking their exasperation public.
BLITZER: And the Democrat -- a lot of Democrats saying this is just a political witch-hunt, if you will. But the commotion is going to continue.
KING: The commotion will continue. And there's been a key shift here by the Republicans. And this is part of a key shift. There -- it's a lot of Republicans who have talked about the talking points in the past, who at the State Department said what.
Some Republican fundraisers say there's been a cover-up involving the president and Hillary Clinton when it comes to Benghazi.
The leadership in the Republican Party and some of the more moderating forces, I will say, have urged Republicans to keep the focus on Benghazi. They think there are very legitimate questions, but to keep the focus on two things.
One, why were all the security warnings before the attack ignored?
Why were those Americans left in such an imperiled situation?
They believe that's a legitimate inquiry in which the American people, not just Republicans, the American people broadly support asking that.
And now here, as we approach the one year anniversary, the Republican leadership says it's a damn good question to press the administration on saying why has no one been brought to justice?
BLITZER: John King with his reporting.
Let's bring in one of the Republican lawmakers who signed that letter to the new FBI director.
Jason Chaffetz of Utah is a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, the Judiciary Committee, among other committees.
Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.
So what do you make of this?
Arwa Damon catches up with this suspected -- suspected terrorist pretty easily, but no one from the U.S. government, this guy says, has contacted him. No one from the Libyan authorities has contacted him.
What's going on?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: It's just totally inexcusable and so disappointing. Here we have four dead Americans, a clear terrorist attack, an administration that is not following through in capturing or -- or killing the people who committed this terrorist attack.
Remember, it was CNN -- I'll get -- hats off to CNN. CNN is the one that went in days after the attack and found the paperwork from the ambassador...
BLITZER: His diary.
CHAFFETZ: -- that took...
BLITZER: That was Chris Stephens' diary.
CHAFFETZ: Yes, the diary...
BLITZER: Arwa Damon, by the way, the same reporter...
BLITZER: -- who found this guy the other day, all of us -- she also found his diary.
CHAFFETZ: Yes. So CNN is able to go in, find the diary. CNN is able to go in eight, nine, 10 months after the fact and just very quickly be able to talk to this person. He's at least a witness, if not one of the key people. Ansar al-Sharia has great ties to al Qaeda. He's credited with being the leader of that organization.
And our people aren't even talking to him, let alone capturing him or killing him if it's appropriate?
I just don't understand. And there's a lot of frustration. The administration, the Obama administration has got to answer these questions. That's why we sent the letter to the new FBI director.
BLITZER: Well, would you support what John King was talking about, the snatch operation, to go in there, because, clearly, the Libyan authorities, if there are Libyan authorities in Benghazi, they haven't made any effort to talk to this guy.
CHAFFETZ: I want to have the same sort of intensity to capture or kill the terrorists as we did in Boston. In Boston, we had four people killed and lots of other people maimed and injured. The FBI was on top of it. There was a manhunt. We got those people really quick.
But in bag -- Benghazi, similar things -- four people dead, a mit -- an ambassador that was slain, a terrorist attack and then we seemed to get, well, it's just politics, this is just, you know, one of the Republicans' pretend scandals, a phony scandal.
That's so offensive to the fact that we have four dead Americans.
BLITZER: But isn't there a responsibility, Congressman, for the Libyan government to do something to find these killers of these four Americans?
After all, the United States spent well over a billion dollars with cruise missile strikes in Libya to get rid of Kadafi and put this new government in place.
CHAFFETZ: Look, after 40 plus years of Moammar Gadhafi, I blame and take responsibility for Americans. The president of the United States needs to look after Americans. of course we want the cooperation of the Libyans. But we've got to take care of business and take care of our people. They attacked us on our sovereign territory and we need to go after these people, because they very well could do it again. And there are embassies, we know, throughout Africa and other parts of the world, that aren't fortified to the degree that they need to be. And we want to make sure this never ever happens again.
You've got to get those terrorists off the war -- off the warpath and capture or kill these people.
BLITZER: So basically what I hear you saying is you don't think the Libyan government is competent right now to do anything?
Is that what you're saying?
CHAFFETZ: They've been struggling to form a government. And, of course we want to try to work with them. But there are consequences to what Susan Rice did on the Sunday morning talk shows. You listen to the people who have to deal with the consequences that we misled the world. We embarrassed the Libyan presidency. That was one of the key reasons, according to Gregory Hicks, why it took 18 days for FBI to even get there. And so there are consequences to that.
But the primary responsibility for looking out for the American people is the president of the United States, not some military official in the middle of Libya.
BLITZER: Here's what's really disturbing to me, on top of all of this, Congressman -- and we'll get your quick reaction.
The other day, in a major prison in Benghazi, 1,200 -- 1,200 prisoners, including a lot of really bad guys and terrorists, escaped and they are now free.
What's going on?
CHAFFETZ: That is -- that -- that can't be good. I read the accounts of this. Literally, 1,000 plus prisoners out there in Eastern Libya. It's a very difficult situation, to say the least. That's why the United States military, all the apparatus, every asset that we have has got to be focused on capturing or killing those people who killed Americans.
And I can't believe we even have to have this debate or trying to encourage the Obama administration to do this. This is a core responsibility of the president of the United States.
BLITZER: All right, so just one final question.
Would you send in U.S. Special Operations commandoes to find these guys and bring them out of there?
CHAFFETZ: Whatever it takes. We -- we should have done it the day after the attack, if possible. I mean, you know, you read about "The Wall Street Journal" had an interview with this. CNN is able to go in there.
But there seems to be no commitment that I can see -- and I'm asking the administration. If there is a commitment, show us. Demonstrate it to us. But we have got to bring these terrorists -- we have got to bring these terrorists to justice, just like we did in Boston.
And why would we settle for anything less in Benghazi?
BLITZER: Representative Chaffetz, thanks very much for joining us.
CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Up next, President Obama makes a rare visit to Capitol Hill, but leaves at least one of his fellow Democrats feeling a bit slighted. We'll explain.
And later, O.J. Simpson gets some good news from the Nevada Parole Board, but not everything he'd hoped for.
BLITZER: President Obama took his ideas for his so-called grand bargain on middle class jobs to Capitol Hill today, but the session didn't go as smoothly as everyone planned, and the president ended up getting a little bit of pushback on several fronts. Let's bring in our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin. She's watching the story. Jessica, what happened?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Obama was meeting with the Democrats, and Larry Summers came up. Now, Larry Summers is one of the most talked about and controversial people in Washington who isn't even in Washington. He's the president's -- one of the president's former chief economic advisors.
Now, he teaches at Harvard University, but the reason he's so talked about is because he's considered one of the leading candidates to be nominated to run the Federal Reserve. Making that choice is one of the most important economic decisions the president will make. And Larry Summers is a figure of some controversy, because some liberals, especially think he's too close to the banks and some of them blame him for making decisions they think helped lead to the financial crisis.
So, when he was in there meeting with Democrats today, some of the progressives apparently pushed him on why Larry Summers could even be considered for this job. And the president surprised people by actually talking about it. Here's what Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, told reporters about that discussion afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) MINORITY LEADER: The president did not bring up the subject of Larry Summers, someone else did, and he did make a -- I don't want to say a defense, but he just spoke -- what he thought about Larry Summers, recognizing that there are differing views in our caucus on the subject on how we go forward, but understanding that whoever the president chooses will be received with great respect by our caucus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: This was striking, Wolf, because it is very rare for the president to even address the question of anyone who could be considered for the Federal Reserve, and also, because whenever Larry Summers' name comes up, it always seems some feathers are ruffled -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly true. The president did have another tense moment inside that close door session with the fellow Democrat. Tell us about it.
YELLIN: Yes. This is a matter of some dispute, about whether the president was joking or not. So, a freshman Democrat from New York named Sean Patrick Maloney asked the president about a jobs program in his district, and according to Dana Bash and Lisa Dejardin (ph) up on the hill, he said to the president, Mr. President, I should probably be asking this of your staff, but, and the president shot back and said, yes, you should be asking my staff.
Now, some people in the room found that testy and rude. The president's staff here, Jay Carney, from the briefing said to me, no, no, the president was just joking. He meant it in a lighthearted way, you know? Objectively, that does sound a little bit, I don't know, smart-alecky.
But, anyway, the bottom line is, this is a Democrat in a tough re- election race, and he can get a lot of mileage out of telling his voters that he brought up an issue with the president and the White House says they will look into the issue. So, if it helps his election, I guess, it's good for the president and it's good for Democrats, Wolf.
BLITZER: They should just have cameras in there and let reporters watch what's going on because you have so many people. They try to keep it closed door. You know that everything is going to get out anyhow. Just open it up, let there be some transparency, let the American public see what the president is saying to his fellow Democratic -- Democrats and move on from there.
YELLIN: Let's take it a step further. We should wire the White House.
BLITZER: A meeting like this should be open to the American people.
YELLIN: Yes, you're right.
BLITZER: They shouldn't be doing, you know, a private meeting with three or four people, that's one thing. But a meeting like this with scores of individuals inside, you open it up and you let the American people see what's going on. Just my --
YELLIN: I'll upload it. I'll tell you what they say.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Coming up, the latest round in the Republican civil war. Potential presidential candidates calling a popular senator an isolationist who, quote, "hasn't shown much intelligence."
And next, a parole board's surprising decision to a request by O.J. Simpson. Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: O.J. Simpson back in the news today. The former NFL star has been granted parole on some charges related to his 2008 armed robbery convictions, but it does not mean he's about to become a free man. CNN's Ted Rowlands is following the story for us. Ted, why was he granted parole? TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was granted parole because of good behavior, Wolf. He went in front of the parole board last week and he talked to the members of the parole board and pled his case and they bought it. He said that he's one of those prisoners that listens to others. He hasn't had any infractions.
So, after listening to him, they granted him parole, but as you said, it does not mean he's out of prison, because when he was sentenced, he was sentenced to serve -- his sentences -- not concurrently, but consecutively, needing one after another. So, yes he's done with his robbery now. Now, he steps up to his next one, which has commissioned a robbery with the gun charge.
That's one year. When he's done with that one even if his paroled early, he starts serving another one. The bottom line is, best case scenario for Simpson on this track is four more years in prison even if he gets paroles at the earliest level for each of the charges he served.
BLITZER: But there is another opportunity he has to be out within a matter of a few weeks if this motion for a new trial is granted.
ROWLANDS: Yes. And this is where O.J. Simpson and his lawyers are really betting that he's going to win, they're hoping. And they think they have a very good case. If you remember in the spring, there was a weeklong hearing in Las Vegas where they argued that he should get a new trial. If he gets a new trial, he'll be out.
He'll be out on parole right away -- or on bail right away, while they figure out if they're going to re-try him. And he's already done five years. If you think back, when this first started, prosecutors only wanted him to do three to five years, and at one point, even offered him a deal of two years. So, if he gets to do trial, he'll be a free man. That decision should come within the next few weeks.
BLITZER: We'll have more on this story in our next hour as well. All right. Thanks very much for that, Ted Rowlands reporting.
When we come back, we're going to hear from a potential presidential candidate who says Senator Rand Paul, in his words, is an isolationist, representative of the isolationist wing of the GOP.
Plus, real-life horror stories about what could happen to you in the airport security line.
BLITZER: Happening now --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER (voice-over): Two high-profile Republicans and potential 2016 candidates unleash a bitter war of words. How one of them is now proposing to end the feud?
Plus, a scathing new report finds TSA employees stealing from luggage and sleeping on the job, and that may not even be the worst of it.
And are energy drinks hurting your children? Congress is stepping in as far as the marketing of those products are concerned.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER (on-camera): Let's get to the increasingly nasty fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party right now. Some potential presidential candidates are throwing around some pretty sharp words. Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, has been listening to those words. Jim, what are you hearing?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it has been nasty, but it may be easing up, Wolf, with the recent debates over drones and NSA surveillance, a new poll shows Rand Paul has suddenly become one of the most popular leaders among Republicans.
So, it shouldn't come as any surprise that Chris Christie is trying to take him down a notch. But there's much more going on in this feud than gamenship (ph).
ACOSTA (voice-over): They could be the first shots fired in the battle for 2016. A war of words that began last week when New Jersey governor Chris Christie slammed Kentucky senator Rand Paul for his criticism of government surveillance.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: -- this strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now, and making big headlines, I think is a very dangerous thought.
ACOSTA: Senator Rand Paul, for example?
CHRISTIE: Listen, you can name any number of people. He's one of them.
ACOSTA: The back-and-forth continued onto THE SITUATION ROOM.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: And attacking me isn't helping the party. He's hurting the party.
ACOSTA: Paul has accused Christie of harming national security by hoarding federal relief money for Hurricane Sandy victims. Christie has called on Paul to cut pork barrel spending in Kentucky.
CHRISTIE: But I doubt he would action because most Washington politicians only care about bringing home the bacon so that they can get reelected.
PAUL: This is the king of bacon talking about bacon?
ACOSTA: Beyond the jabs, some Republicans it's Paul's noninterventionist views on foreign policy that are setting the stage for a fight for the heart and soul of their party.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: This is the anti-war, left-wing Democrats of the 1960s that nominated George McGovern and destroyed their party for almost 20 years.
ACOSTA; According to a new Pew Research Center poll, Paul is popular among Republicans. Fifty-five percent of GOP voters view him favorably. Only 19 percent unfavorably. Contrast that with Christie. 47 percent see him in a positive light, 30 percent don't.
Both men have an opportunity as Republicans don't have a clear leader. Ten percent say it's House speaker John Boehner. The rest register in the single digits, with a whopping 56 percent saying nobody or they don't know.
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think we're going to end up with a Republican primary that looks a lot like a cage match. If I was asked who the leader of the Republican Party is right now, I couldn't give you the name of that person.
ACOSTA: Paul appears determined to carry on much of his father Ron Paul's libertarian legacy. The senator just introduced an amendment to cut foreign aid to Egypt.
PAUL: Yet no one questions sending billions of your dollars to Egypt.
ACOSTA: But that amendment lost, a reminder that the GOP is not quite ready to follow his lead.
ACOSTA: As for his fight with Chris Christie, Paul told a New Hampshire radio station he's ready to ratchet down the rhetoric, saying it's not good for the party. But Christie's office had no response, Wolf. And earlier this afternoon, Rand Paul on a different TV network proposed that the two have a beer. We're waiting to find out what Chris Christie has to say about that. He has a radio interview that he'll be doing tonight, so we'll hear from the governor then.
BLITZER: We'll see what happens. I'm not holding my breath. All right. Thanks very much.
ACOSTA: Could be another beer summit.
BLITZER: Maybe a beer summit. Thanks very much, Jim Acosta.
BLITZER: And Representative Peter King of New York is joining us right now. He's the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Thanks very much for coming in, Congressman.
There's a little war of words going on between Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and you as well. And he was irritated by some of your most recent comments when I spoke with Senator Paul yesterday, and this is what he had to say about you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, what I would say, you know, it's a similar wing of the party, if not the same of the wing of the party. It's the tax-and-spend liberal wing of the Republican party. They're all for blowing up stuff, they're all for getting involved in wars, but they're not too conserved with -- concerned with fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, he was referring to you and Governor Christie, and I wanted to get your response.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Yes, surely, Wolf.
First of all, I don't believe Senator Paul knows what he's talking about. For instance, he was talking yesterday about how he voted against Sandy relief because it was filled with pork such as money for the Alaskan fisheries. That wasn't even in the bill. That was taken out of the bill long before it even arrived in the House of Representatives. So the bill he voted against did not have any of that pork. There was no pork. Every dollar was accounted for.
Secondly, he never visited New York or New Jersey. He never saw the devastation at all, and then he talks about us wanting to start wars. Like somehow people enjoy war? And he talks about wanting to bomb everything? Is that what he thinks our military does?
Wolf, what this reminds me of, someone like Senator Paul and others in that isolationist wing - now, the Republicans had this debate back in the 1930s when you had the isolationist and the Charles Lindbergs that said we should appease Hitler. And the Democrats had it in the 1960s when the anti-war movement blamed America first. And in both cases, it hurt the party for years. Each party was hurt for years.
I'm afraid that's what Senator Paul is going to do with us. He wants to retreat from the world, he wants to isolate ourselves, go back to a fortress America. And when he talks about Governor Christie and me and others who fought hard to get the aid that we needed -- this was a natural disaster and yet every dollar was accounted for. He just perpetuates this big lie, talking about pork and somehow trying to demean Governor Christie when he fought so hard for the state or me because I fought so hard for mine - when he had every dollar accounted for and will be accounted for.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about what he would like to do. He would like to reduce foreign aid, for example. Stop the aid to Egypt, stop the aid to Pakistan, and use that money domestically for better purposes. He says that would be smart. What do you say?
KING: Well, first, one has nothing to do with the other. Aid to Egypt has nothing to do with aid to Long Island or New Jersey. They're two separate issues, and he should know the difference between Egypt and Long Island and New York. But as far as (INAUDIBLE) aid to Egypt, Senator Paul claims to be a great friend of Israel. But yesterday the ambassador to Israel, Ambassador Oren, said that continuing American aid to Egypt is essential to maintain the peace process and to maintain the Egyptian/Israeli peace agreement that was negotiated under President Carter over 30 years ago.
So, it's very easy to say cut this, cut that. You can have an intelligent debate about it. But so far, he hasn't shown very much intelligence.
BLITZER: He says a lot of the NSA's surveillance program, which you support, in his word is "unconstitutional." You want to respond to Senator Paul on that front?
KING: Yes, surely. First of all, the NSA program has been upheld by the courts. It does not violate the Fourth Amendment. It has stopped over 50 attacks. They cannot give one example of one abuse over the last 12 years since the program went into effect. So, it's been extremely productive, extremely beneficial to the country, and it does protect civil liberties and civil rights.
I just point out, again, it's a FISA-related program, it's was a FISA -related program that uncovered an al Qaeda cell in Senator Paul's own state of Kentucky, which apparently was going to attack either Fort Campbell or Fort Knox.
So, he just makes these charges about spying and snooping. Again, he makes America the enemy. That again reminds me of years ago when we had the - again, the always blame America first Democrats, and we saw what happened to them until Bill Clinton came along. For 20 years, they were a losing party.
BLITZER: I know ha he's thinking of running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. I suspect you are, as well. Maybe Governor Christie, is, as well.
There is a -- there is a -- a real division among Republicans over the heart and soul of the Republican Party right now, isn't there?
KING: Wolf, there is. And I think it's a debate -- it's a debate we have to have. There are certain things more important than party. And that's standing for real principle.
And the principles -- the so-called principles of Senator Paul and Senator Cruz, that's an isolationist trend which will damage our country tremendously. It sets one region of the country against another, the way he tried to do with the Sandy aid.
And what Governor Christie and I -- what we believe in, we realize al Qaeda is the enemy. We realize that there's a terrorist movement out there to kill us and we have to maintain our security and we're not going to pander and stoke up fears of paranoia the way he's been doing by talking about spying and snooping, which was only in his mind.
BLITZER: One final question. Do you still stand by what you said -- I believe I'm quoting you when you said he represents "a fringe element of the Republican Party"? Is that what you said? KING: Yes. This is a fringe. This is an isolationist wing of the party, which I thought that we rejected with Charles Lindbergh back in the late 1930s and early '40s.
BLITZER: Congressman Peter King, thanks very much for joining us.
KING: Thank you.
BLITZER: And just ahead, some TSA employees allegedly sleeping on the job. And that may not even be the worst of it.
And serious charges for Pakistan's former president, related to the assassination of a former rival. This is a story I've been following from the very start.
BLITZER: TSA workers have been caught sleeping on the job, stealing money from luggage, and even skipping critical security protocols. All this according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, which finds that employee misconduct at the Transportation Security Administration is now on the rise. CNN's Rene Marsh has been following the story for us. Some serious allegations of misconduct, Rene. What are they finding out?
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pretty serious stuff here, Wolf. So TSA officers, they screen some 1.8 million travelers every day at 450 airports across the country. So when this new report found bad behavior within the agency is up 26 percent, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill have lots of questions and concerns.
Today's hearing lasted about two hours. One of the main questions: what will the TSA do about the misconduct? Well, there are four things the TSA is working on improving as a result of the report, including better recordkeeping when it comes to who is behaving badly, what punishment they face and what is the outcome of the investigation.
Now, the TSA is also working on more consistency so the process of dealing with misconduct is the same essentially at any airport that you go to.
BLITZER: So how are they responding, the TSA? What are they saying in their defense, in the face of what is described as thousands of cases of misconduct on the job?
MARSH: That's right. So they had their chance to respond at this hearing today. The TSA both and the union for the screeners, they maintained that when you consider their 56,000-member workforce, the number of employees behaving badly is a really small amount. Here's how the TSA responded to the criticsim such today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JEFF DUNCAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If integrity is truly a core value, then TSA, it's time to prove it. Stop with the napping, the stealing, the tardiness, and the disrespect and earn Americans' trust and confidence.
JOHN HALINSKI, TSA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR: Every single time we have one knucklehead who decides he's going to do something bad, it tarnishes the image of our organization. But at the same time, sir, let me point out the fact that last year, over 10 of our TSOs saved people's lives, either in the airport through CPR, by helping accident victims, by pulling people from burning cars, by talking down a pilot in a general aviation aircraft. You never hear those stories, sir. You very, very rarely hear them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARSH: All right, so the TSA there defending their employees. The TSA say they have been and will continue to randomly conduct integrity tests on employees. And integrity tests are just what they sound like. Investigators posing as travelers. They leave something behind, their laptop or money on purpose to see if an agent will pocket it or do the right thing. It's one way they're going about weeding out those bad apples.
BLITZER: All right. Good report. Thanks very much for that, Rene Marsh.
Coming up, serious charges for the former president of Pakistan, tied to the assassination of a rival.
And brand-new information about a secret tool used to collect vast amounts of Internet data from millions of people.
BLITZER: Pakistan's former president, Pervez Mursharraf, will likely be indicted next week in connection with the death of a former rival, Benazir Bhutto. This according to Musharraf's lawyer. He's expected to be charged for his alleged failure as Pakistan's president to provide adequate security for Bhutto upon her return to Pakistan.
I've been covering this story from the very start.
BLITZER (voice-over): Just before the late Pakistani former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, returned to Pakistan in 2007, she joined me in THE SITUATION ROOM where I warned her of the dangers she faced.
(On camera): Yes. Your family has a history, unfortunately a tragic history, of assassination.
BENAZIR BHUTTO, FORMER PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: I know the past has been tragic, but I'm an optimist by nature. I put my faith in the people of Pakistan. I put my faith in the people of Pakistan. I put my faith in God. I feel that what I am doing is for a good cause, for a right cause, and to free Pakistan from extremists and militants and to build regional security. I know the dangers are there, but I'm prepared to take those risks.
BLITZER: Your father was killed in a political assassination.
BHUTTO: My father was killed. It was a very terrible moment in my life. But I also learned from him that one has to stand up for the principles they believe in and I'm standing up for the principle of democracy, I'm standing up for moderation, and I'm standing up for hope for all the people in Pakistan who today are poor and miserable and really quite desperate.
BLITZER (voice-over): After the interview, she flew back to Pakistan and forwarded a confidential e-mail to me saying that I could make it public only if something happened to her.
She was killed in December 2007. I then released her e-mail, which read, quote, "Nothing will, God willing, happen. Just wanted you to know that if it does, in addition to the names of my letter to Musharraf of October 16th, I would hold Musharraf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows, or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all side, could happen without him."
Flash forward to this year, when the former Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf, came to THE SITUATION ROOM, just before his return to Pakistan. He strongly denied any role in Bhutto's assassination. He insisted his government had provided her with adequate security, but she was reckless.
(On camera): You're familiar with that note --
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: Yes.
BLITZER: -- she left behind blaming you in effect for her assassination. And I'd like you to respond to that. Because you're about to do what she did.
MUSHARRAF: Well, yes, but I'm not going to blame anyone. I think this is very unfair to blame the president of a country to provide security to her. But however, I know that total security was provided to her. Now the security, if you analyze it or you compare it with some American system of expertise that one has here, to what Pakistan, there were ample force provided, special forces provided to her.
And she survived, I mean, she went to that public gathering. She addressed that public gathering for one and a half, two hours. And she then walked away. She waved to the crowds. And got into the car. For two, two and a half hours, she was totally safe and secure.
BLITZER: So you feel confident that you gave her the security she needed.
BLITZER (voice-over): As I had done with Bhutto, I asked him if he was worried about getting killed once back in Pakistan.
(On camera): You must be scared to go back. You haven't been back there in, what, three, four years.
MUSHARRAF: Again, we are taking doomsday scenario. We are taking the worst. I don't think worst will happen. Now if I have somebody trying to kill me, yes, indeed, I have to take security measures which I will.
BLITZER (voice-over): Now Musharraf is expected to be indicted next week in connection with Bhutto's death. We tried to connect with him on the phone but could not. His spokesman says that charges are, quote, "false, fabricated, and fictitious."
BLITZER: And we'll stay on top of the story. Next week we'll see if the charge -- charges against Musharraf are actually leveled.
Up next, are energy drink companies marketing to children? Congress now stepping in to try to find out.
Plus, a young man left for days without food or water, forgotten in a tiny cell. Right here in the United States. Now the final chapter in this real-life horror story coming up.
But first, singer Katherine McPhee is fighting to end all malaria deaths within two years. Here's how she's impacting her world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHERINE, MCPHEE, SINGER: Hi, I'm Katherine McPhee, and we can make an impact on malaria. Through personal connections in West Africa, I had the opportunity to build a preschool. The school master, a wonderful woman there. She came down with malaria. I had gotten together with Malaria No More, saying I would love to get to Africa and see what we could do for her and for all the people that she works so hard to help.
Every minute a child dies from malaria. It's something that doesn't need to happen. Something that's curable. Preventable. It's nothing that would ever happen in the United States. But it's something that really is devastating to the their lives and there's so much to be done that you can feel overwhelmed with, like, what can I actually do.
The truth of it is a $10 net can save lives. That's why we're working so hard with Malaria No More to end malaria deaths by 2015.
Join the movement, "Impact Your World."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You've seen the commercials, Red Bull gives you wings. And another one, when you've got that 2:30 feeling, have a five-hour energy. But just how safe are energy drinks? And are some of the commercials being marketed to kids?
That was the subject of a Senate hearing here in Washington today which CNN's Athena Jones watched. Athena is here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
So explain what was going on.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, the argument here is that these energy drink companies are sponsoring things like fantastical flying machines and concerts, sports teams, young athletes and extreme athletes. And you'll remember Felix Baumgartner, his space jump, Red Bull sponsored that.
These are all things that appeal to children but there are real concerns about these drinks' safety. And on the label of these drinks, it is says not recommended for children. So the American Medical Association has now called for a ban on marketing energy drinks to anyone under 18 because of the large amounts of caffeine in them that they say can lead to heart and other health problems.
And just to be clear here, we're talking about drinks like this one. This is Rock Star. This has 160 milligrams for a can this size. Now that's about 50 percent more than an ordinary soft drink. But it's less than half of what's in a Starbucks pick of the day, same size cup of coffee. So that's what we're talking about here.
Now before the hearing we had chance to speak to one of the witnesses, Dr. William Spencer. He talked about his concern. Let's listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. WILLIAM SPENCER, SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK LEGISLATOR: I really see our children being at risk. I see that they are being targeted by this seductive message. And I think that as I witness as a physician, the health impact and the increasing emergency room visits, that's what got me concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Now Dr. Spencer wants these drinks classified as a drug and wants Congress to stop companies from marketing to children. But the company who testified today, they say their drinks are safe and that they don't market to children.
Let's listen to what Monster Energy Drinks CEO said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODNEY SACKS, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, MONSTER BEVERAGE CORPORATION: Monster is and has always been committed to insuring that all of the ingredients in its energy drinks, including caffeine, are safe and in regulatory compliance for their intended use.
(END VIDEO CLIP) JONES: And I should add one more thing, Wolf, Red Bull's vice president said today -- a series of promises she made today, one of them is that Red Bull is not going to be buying advertising for any audiences that have 35 percent or more of people under 18. So that's where we stand today. An interesting conversation to see and it's going to continue.
BLITZER: It certainly will, Athena Jones, thanks for that report.