Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

How Bin Laden was Eliminated; Saving Cairo; The Gradeless School; After bin Laden's Death; Confessions of a Claustrophobic Fighter Pilot

Aired May 03, 2011 - 07:58   ET



It wasn't just Osama bin Laden body that was hauled out of that mansion in Pakistan on Sunday. U.S. officials say there was an unexpected bonus -- computer hard drives and other data that could reveal al Qaeda secrets.


Flames shot up from the Mississippi River last night. The Army Corps of Engineers blew up a levee in a desperate attempt to save an Illinois town upstream. But the threat of flood is still looming and more rain may be in the forecast.


The national average for a gallon of gas about to hit $4. It's already a lot higher in some places. But down the road, we could be seeing some relief. We will tell you when on this AMERICAN MORNING.

VELSHI: Good Tuesday morning. It is May the 3rd.

ROMANS: That's right. Right now at a remote location in Afghanistan, there's a lot of work is being done as we follow up on the killing of Osama bin Laden and the intelligence that was gathered there. American intelligence agents are examining computer hard drives, other documents that were seized from Osama bin Laden's compound on Sunday. It's not clear what's on them but Military officials are hoping they contain information that could help them cripple al Qaeda.

VELSHI: New information this morning about the courier who led the U.S. to Osama bin Laden's hideout. He has been identified. He's a Kuwaiti-born man named Sheikh Abu Ahmed.

A phone call he made last year to someone who was being monitored by American agents helped the U.S. locate bin Laden's mansion. And it was CIA detainees who first alerted U.S. officials about Ahmed right after 9/11.

CHETRY: We're also getting some new details this morning about the compound where bin Laden spent his final hours. U.S. troops encountered outer walls up to 18 feet high, topped with barbed wire. There were also two security gates at either side of that compound. And the third floor terrace where bin Laden slept had a seven-foot privacy wall surrounding it.

ROMANS: We're also finding out a lot more this morning about the early morning raid that ultimately ended bin Laden's life, in a search -- a 10-year search almost for him.

CHETRY: That's right. And Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon this morning. She's been getting new details by the minute.

What are your sources telling you this morning in terms of new information on what happened?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, they are still sorting out the exact details, but new information coming to light and new pictures.

Let's start by showing you a photograph of the U.S. military helicopter wreckage on the compound. This was the helicopter that suffered mechanical failure and they destroyed it, so the insurgents couldn't get to it. U.S. troops moved to other helicopters. Everybody got out safely.

This was a 40-minute surgical raid on this compound. They moved very quickly as they got there, fighting their way through it. They got, finally, to a top floor of the two-to-three-story building inside the compound. That's where they found Osama bin Laden and that's where they finally took the shot -- killed with two shots, actually, one to the head and one to the chest.

But this really, a classic Special Operations type mission, in and out with lightning speed. How did they really get to this compound?

Let's circle back to what you were saying. They knew there was a courier there. They thought the courier was tied to Osama bin Laden. But what on earth was a courier living at a $1 million mansion in Pakistan. That's when they began to look at it more closely.

They saw the 18-foot walls. They saw the security. They saw things happening at this compound that were not explainable compared to the rest of the neighborhood, the very size and scope of it.

And it was over the weeks and months since last year that they really honed in and began to decide and figure out and determine that this is where Osama bin Laden was.

VELSHI: Let's talk about this bounty, this reward, the $25 million, for turning bin Laden in or somehow providing information leading to his arrest. Who gets it?

STARR: Well, that's a program, of course, run by the U.S. government since 9/11. And it right now looks like nobody is going to get it. U.S. officials were saying yesterday they developed a lot of leads, a lot of intelligence from a variety of sources.

Yes, the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, several of them, offering some information that led to all of this. But, I mean, let's be real, no detainee at Guantanamo Bay is going to get $25 million from the U.S. government. So, it's unlikely anybody is going to get the reward money, at least at this point.

CHETRY: Very true. All right. Barbara Starr for us with new details -- thanks so much.

STARR: Sure.

ROMANS: Also new this morning, nearly two years later, investigators say they have now found the flight data recorders on board Air France Flight 447, during a fourth search for bodies and debris, several hundred miles off Brazil's northeastern coast. It could help unlock the mystery of what doom that flight. All 258 people onboard were killed.

VELSHI: The Midwest preparing for the worst. Major flood warnings are in effect.

You can see all the areas in the nation's midsection that are in flood danger zones. Those are the areas in purple or red. Heavy rains have caused the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers to swell. They are expected to crest later on this week.

CHETRY: And they are trying to come up with solutions. I mean, it's very hard to fight Mother Nature.


CHETRY: But one of them was this controversial decision to blow up a levee or risk the possible demise of a small town in Illinois. Here's a look.


ROMANS: Stunning video of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sparking a serious of explosions at a Mississippi River levee last night -- the water reaching a records-breaking 20 feet above flood stage and threatening to wipe out Cairo, Illinois.

Officials predict the levee breach will send some of that water flowing into Missouri farmland.

VELSHI: And that's the tradeoff, that's the issue. Something is going to flood to save a town from flooding, that town is Cairo, Illinois. Rob Marciano is there for us this morning.

Good morning, Rob.


You know, it's not just this town really. It's a series of towns up and down the Ohio and Mississippi waterways. It's feeling the pressure from all the rain that we've seen and certainly the tremendous snow pack that we had this past winter. Some of that snow melt is still working its way through the river system.

In some areas in the past month, 15 to 20 inches of rainfall in this region. That's much, much more than they usually get. You can imagine two to three times as much.

So, the river systems are stretched. We are in Cairo right now, along Highway 51. This is one of the main routes that comes into town.

And the National Guard has come out here and they have completely sandbagged it because of fears of the Mississippi River where it meets up with the Ohio River, to actually breach this area and flood the town itself. And where there's not water coming in from the rivers, there is so much pressure on the levee system that water has been bubbling up from underneath across this town.

Now, what's happening yesterday, and they were really scrambling. And that's when they made the decision. You know, we've got to blow this levee and relieve some of pressure. How much pressure do they relieve? About 20 percent of it, and all of that water has flowed, or a lot of it has flowed into this flood plain which is farmland, yes, but naturally, it's a flood plan.

And it's a part of the longer-term plan for the Army Corps of Engineers, when we get rainfall like this, to pop a hole in these levees and relief some the pressure. Farmers are not happy about that, obviously. But folks who live in this town, folks who like up river, folks who live downriver, are certainly happy about that, because the river levels have dropped immediately once they did that.

First explosion last night or you saw a series of explosions. Another one is happening about right now if it hasn't happened already. And then later on this morning, they'll pop another hole a little bit farther to the south to relieve some more of that pressure.

So, you know, we've done an extraordinary amount of engineering here across our river systems, especially in the midsection of the country. And, you know, when Mother Nature dumps a bunch of rain into that system, it doesn't always hold very well. So, we've got to come up with extreme measures to try to alleviate some of that pressure. It doesn't make everybody happy. But it's the best we can do in this kind of situation -- guys.

ROMANS: Yes. And what somebody does 100 miles up river can totally affect what happens to you. And you just hope that you're just above where you need to be.

VELSHI: Yes, right.

ROMANS: I mean, that's just the life on a river.

OK, Rob Marciano, thanks.

CHETRY: Well, we at least have some good news in all of these terrible weather stories that we have been talking about. The six missing Boy Scouts and two troop leaders have been found safe in a national forest in Arkansas. Their campsite was actually spotted by a National Guard helicopter. They went up within the last half hour, found them right away.

The scout troop from Louisiana was camping this weekend. They were said to have been trapped as well by rising floodwaters. They apparently got above them, but couldn't then get back to their encampment. Also, cell service was said to be spotty. A lot of families are very relieved this morning.

VELSHI: They haven't been, as far s we know, not fully rescued yet. They have been identified and they're located and they are safe.

ROMANS: Six scouts, two leaders and at least, hopefully, they saw the National Guard helicopter, too. So, they know that help is on the way eventually.

VELSHI: At least they should be prepared for this.

ROMANS: Do you get a badge for this?

CHETRY: They deserve one, special badge.

VELSHI: All right. We are continuing our coverage of what we are supposed to think about the identification and killing of Osama bin Laden. We're going to be speaking to a former secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who has very different thoughts on how these interrogations should take place than the current administration. Which one works? And which administration gets more credit for this?

ROMANS: That's right. And from one story of information to another story of information. Sony and your information, by the way, hacked a second time. If you weren't involved in the first 77 million people hacked, there's 27.5 million more. We'll tell you about that.

CHETRY: And we are taking an in-depth look at education in America. There's a grade school where there are no grades in Colorado. No third grade, no fourth, no fifth. Not actual report card grades, but actually no grades that the children are in.

Students are grouped according to levels and they are allowed to advance whenever they are ready. So, does that work?

VELSHI: That's interesting.

CHETRY: Deb Feyerick takes a look.

Nine minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Twelve minutes past the hour right now.

In the wake of the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, there are some important questions that remain. First: Can we trust Pakistan to be a reliable ally in the war on terrorism?

VELSHI: And now that the head of al Qaeda is out of the picture, does this change the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

ROMANS: Good -- very good questions, all of them. Joining us by phone from Washington this morning, a man who spent years trying to take out Osama bin Laden, former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

Welcome to the program. Thank you for being here, sir.


ROMANS: First of all, your initial reaction to the news of the past 36 hours. For 10 years, 9 1/2 years, we have been hunting him. This is a man who spawned the war on terror. Are Americans safer today now that he's gone?

RUMSFELD: Well, it's a good day for America that he is gone, that's for sure. There is no question. But leadership that al Qaeda tends to be replaced, and I expect there will be someone who will step up, whether he'll have the same success -- if you want the use the word -- that OBL has had is an open question.

VELSHI: Well, you know, we spoke to counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, a little while ago. And he conceded, as have others in the Obama administration, that they got some of this information unwillingly. That appears to be code it was coerced out of people. What does it say to you?

RUMSFELD: Well, I remember back when people were saying that at Guantanamo Bay, we were keeping low-level people who shouldn't have been there as detainees because they were people who were drivers or chauffeurs or couriers or bodyguards. And they weren't the senior level people in every case.

Of course, it's those very individuals who are the ones who know the patterns and habits and locations of the senior people. And it's a good thing that the interrogation -- that the people were held, that there were interrogations, and that that information was patched together over a period of time.

CHETRY: Bottom line: is this justification for techniques that have met a lot of controversy, like waterboarding, enhanced interrogations, stressed positions -- things that during the Bush administration happened on some of these detainees?

RUMSFELD: Well, the CIA waterboarded and I have read something like three people. The information they got, according to former CIA director, Mike Hayden, who had no role in those interrogations, was enormously valuable.

VELSHI: Let me ask you this. During -- while you were defense secretary, the Bush administration had both said that -- has said that at one point that capturing Osama bin Laden was the most important thing to do in the fight against terrorism. And then subsequently, we started to hear that it wasn't all that important.

Which one is it? Is this the biggest thing that is that we've achieved in the fight against terrorism, or is it not really that important?

RUMSFELD: Well, I think that's a false construct.

VELSHI: What part is a false construct?

RUMSFELD: Just a minute and I will answer your question.

VELSHI: Go ahead.

RUMSFELD: The important thing to do is to protect the American people. That is critical. And to do that, obviously, capturing or killing the head of al Qaeda was enormously important. But the reason it was important was to protect the American people, and if one looks back over close to a decade now, there has not been a major successful attack on America for close to a decade.

So, obviously, it was highly successful. I think to say that it was important and that it wasn't important is simply just not correct. It has always been important.

CHETRY: Well, this is the quote, Secretary Rumsfeld, from President Bush in 2003. "I'm truly not that concerned about him." This is when he was asked about Bin Laden. "It's not that important. It's not our priority." He also then went on to not really mention him during the hour-long convention except in speech that year.

RUMSFELD: Well, there was a question as to the desire ability of hyping OBL and making him bigger than he was. And so, some people decided that, apparently, that it was not useful to keep talking about him, because it gave him more cache and improved his fundraising, improved his recruiting.

CHETRY: So, my guess is that was the result of a conscious decision. There's no question that President Bush had all of us focusing on how to capture or kill Bin Laden. The CIA had a unit working on it. The Pentagon has a unit working on it. There's FBI had a unit working on it, and we were working together to try to achieve that goal.

ROMANS: So, Mr. Secretary, (INAUDIBLE) does this change our mission in Afghanistan? Do you see the, you know, the threats are changing really every day. Now, Osama Bin Laden is gone, we have new threats in the region, as well. Does it change what's happening in Afghanistan in your mind?

RUMSFELD: I doubt it. I think OBL will be replaced by a successor. And if we capture and kill the successor, that individual will be replaced. The people are determined. They're vicious. They are capable of raising money and recruiting people and training them to go out and kill innocent men, women, and children.

CHETRY: Pakistan, quickly, are they our ally in the war on terror this compound multi -- or a million dollar compound right in the heart of a city?

RUMSFELD: Well, you look at how long it takes to find the people on the FBI's most wanted list. It takes years and years, sometimes, but there's no question that the Pakistan has been our ally. It's a Muslim country. They have nuclear weapons. Musharraf stepped up and cooperated with us. Now, are there people within the Pakistani Intel who are cooperating with the Taliban? I don't doubt that for a minute. I believe so.

And I think that the government knows it, but they tried to kill Musharraf three or four times. So, it isn't this or that. It isn't black or white. Are they an ally or not? I mean, we have been able to cooperate with them now for close to a decade. We've used their faces. We've used over flight rights. We've used the ground transportation routes to supply Afghanistan, which is, of course, a landlocked country.

And now, there's no question but that for years, the Pakistani government formally dealt with the Taliban. They were one of only three countries in the world that had diplomatic relations with them. And there's also no question, but today, some people in the Intel undoubtedly still cooperate with the Taliban and even possibly the al Qaeda, although, much less so.

Does that mean they're not an ally? Does that mean that the government is against the United States or harming the United States? No, I don't think so. Furthermore, the fact -- in a city, instead of a cave up in the mountains, that OBL was found. It seems to me is not surprising when people have hidden in plain sight on many occasions.

VELSHI: Donald Rumsfeld, good to talk to you. Thanks very much for calling in to us this morning.

RUMSFELD: Thank you.

VELSHI: And you get some interesting insights on the Bush administration's handling of Bin Laden and al Qaeda. Donald Rumsfeld's new book is called "Known and Unknown."

CHETRY: What we do know is that Bin Laden is dead, but is al Qaeda still alive and well? Now, what? Well, we're going to be joined by Congressman Mike Rogers and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, both of them on House Intelligence Committee. How safe are we moving forward?

ROMANS: Also, heavy, heavy rain pushing rivers even higher, and the system that's causing all of the flooding is moving to the northeast. Jacqui Jeras is going to tell you where you live and whether flooding is on your way.

VELSHI: Twenty minutes after the hour.

ROMANS: You all remember your first or second grade teachers, right? Hello, Mrs. Morrage (ph).



ROMANS: Students at a growing number of schools across the U.S. may never remember third or fourth grade.

VELSHI: I was fascinated by this story, because it's not -- because the teachers aren't memorable, it's because there are no grades.

ROMANS: There's no third or fourth grade.

VELSHI: There's no third or fourth grade.

CHETRY: Does that work and how does it work? Deb Feyerick takes a look right now in this morning's education in America report.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have a good day, guys. See you.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just outside Denver, Colorado, something interesting is happening at Hodgkins Elementary School.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're working on measuring using a string.

FEYERICK: Kids discovering a different way of learning.

Victor Perez (ph) and Dulce Garcia (ph) are both 11 years old. Ask them what grade they're in, you won't get a traditional answer.


FEYERICK: And you are?


FEYERICK: And what about reading?


FEYERICK: And you are?


FEYERICK: At Hodgkins, there are no grade levels. In fact, there are no grades period. Kids are grouped based on what they know, not how old they are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're talking about main ideas and facts from a non-fiction book.

FEYERICK: Jennifer Gregg's literacy class is made of kids ages 8-10 with four different reading levels.

JENNIFER GREGG, LITERACY TEACHER: It's so individualized. We're filling in their gaps so that they can move on.

FEYERICK: It's known as standard-based learning modeled on the belief every child learns in their own way.

SARAH GOULD, PRINCIPAL, HODGKINS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Every student in every class is learning at exactly the spot that they're supposed to.

FEYERICK: Principal, Sarah Gould, helped put this system in place two years ago.

GOULD: For the first time, every child is getting exactly what they need, when they need it, and how they need it.

FEYERICK: No one moves to the next level without testing at the equivalent of a "C" or higher.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 100? You guys all got 100.

FEYERICK: And unlike traditional schools, kids move up any time they're ready.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many of you have gone up a level this year? Wow.

FEYERICK: The entire school district has been on an academic watch list because of below average standardized test scores. Mother and school board president, Vicky Marshall, helped convince parents they needed to try this and make it work.

VICKY MARSHALL, SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT: The biggest concerns were around how were you going to assign a grade point average.

FEYERICK: The changing course is not easy. Educators estimate it takes three to five years for standardized test scores to go up. So far, 300 schools nationwide have tried it. Half couldn't stick with it. Wendy Batino who helps implement this model says without strong leadership and community support, it won't work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is really hard. Superintendents last what, two, two and a half years on average. It's really hard to lead systemic change when you have that much turnover.

FEYERICK: And those state test scores here haven't gone up. Principal Gould is still on board. Why? She says discipline problems dropped 76 percent since the change, and students now are more motivated than ever.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Westminster, Colorado.


CHETRY: It has sparked a nice sort of debate between all of us about whether it should be up to the local school districts --

ROMANS: Right. Should schools be able to find out what works and try new things, because frankly, you got failing models around the country, but Ali thinks -- VELSHI: I think we have studied education far long enough for this country. We apply what works and fixes system that way. Not everybody trying something new -

ROMANS: Then, why do so many districts have so much trouble?

VELSHI: Because everybody can do it differently. That's the problem. We have districts that work and plans that work, and we got everybody else saying, don't shackle me. Don't make me do it a certain way. I know my district and my school better, and we have 90 percent of students not achieving their potential.

ROMANS: And we're spending twice per student today what we were in the 1970s, and grades -- and nothing has gotten better.

CHETRY: I think that we're going to be looking toward innovation, different things that work in some areas. We learn more --

VELSHI: But we got to be able to fly across the board. The problem is you have isolated incidents where schools do things at work and most students never get the benefit --

ROMANS: People care about schools. They care about news about the schools because it's a very personal experience.

VELSHI: And we have a special on it.

CHETRY: That's right. It called "Don't Fail Me." Yes, that's right. "Don't Fail Me: Education in America." A Soledad O'Brien special report taking a look at our public education system and how it may impact the financial future of America. It premieres Sunday May 15th, 8:00 p.m. eastern only on CNN.

VELSHI: I'm going to watch that.

ROMANS: All right. Twenty-seven minutes past the hour.


VELSHI: Here are your top stories this morning. American intelligence agents are examining computer hard drives and other documents seized from Osama bin Laden's compound on Sunday. Military officials are hoping they contain information that could help them cripple Al Qaeda.

The White House says President Obama will head to the World Trade Center on Thursday to meet with victims, families of the 9/11 victims. Many of them saying the news of Osama bin Laden's death brought some relief, but they're still struggling to find closure.

And a National Guard helicopter has just located six missing Louisiana boy scouts and the troop leader. The troop was stranded by rising floodwaters Sunday during a weekend camping trip.

(WEATHER BREAK) CHETRY: Computer hackers reportedly hit Sony a second time now, getting information on an additional 24.5 million user accounts. That's on top of a PlayStation network security breach in which personal data and credit card numbers were stolen from an estimated 77 million.

VELSHI: And it is actually an older one they have admitted to.

ROMANS: A privacy organization once told me that your personal information resides in maybe 1,000 different places.

CHETRY: You can be smart. Being smart means changing your pad words and making sure you keep your credit card and banking information separate. A lot of people have the same one for everything.

ROMANS: You don't need that much information to steal your identity, especially if they have your birth date. You need a credit card with a credit limit to go to the gas limit.

CARMEN WONG ULRICH, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Don't use your debit card at the gas station because They will take all your money. The national average for gas prices is going to hit about $4 this week. They jumped over three cents. The chief analyst of the oil price information service tells us we are hitting $4 a gallon nationally this week, 12 states and Washington, D.C. already there. Connecticut, Michigan, Rhode Island, for example. Another 11 states are closing in on $4, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Nevada as well.

Now, it's really an interesting map at The states with the highest gas prices aren't the states where folks are spending most of the household budgets on gas. A lot has to do with car ownership as well as average incomes. In Montana, gas is low. It gobbles up almost 13 percent of residents' incomes. In Illinois, gas is more than 50 cents higher than Montana, but locals spend only seven percent, half of that of their income on gas. It is real interesting to see how it hits different people's budgets.

But there is one place that is a little happy. Detroit is saying that auto sales are going to go up as folks look to buy more fuel- efficient vehicles.

VELSHI: That makes sense.

CHETRY: People always make the point, in Europe, gas prices are way higher. Their fuel efficiency is completely different. The cars are much smaller.

ROMANS: They don't really sell here but now they are bringing a lot of models, including the Mercedes 1 over here.

CHETRY: Carmen knows so much about cars.

ROMANS: I love that.

CHETRY: Thanks, Carmen.

ROMANS: Bin laden, this story is so fascinating. He is dead. But is Al Qaeda still alive and well? What happens now? Congressman Mike Rogers and Loretta Sanchez will join us to talk about what Congress does next.

VELSHI: And for this whole show, we have been acting you how much impact bin Laden's death is going to have on president Obama's reelection bid, which as you know is more than a year away. We'll read some of your responses when we come back. It's 27 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: Now that Osama bin Laden is out of the picture, a lot of people are wondering how our strategy in Afghanistan might change and whether we need to take a closer look at our relationship with Pakistan.

CHETRY: Joining us live this morning from Washington to discuss this and where we go from here, chairman of the House select intelligence committee Republican Mike Rogers. He was briefed on bin Laden's compound back in January. And also Democrat Rebecca Sanchez, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. Welcome to both of you this morning.

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you and good morning.

REP. MIKE ROGERS, (R) MICHIGAN: Thanks for having us here.

CHETRY: Congressman Rogers, in your mind, does the death of bin Laden change our world view? So much was killing or capturing him in the wake of 9/11. That's taken care of.

ROGERS: We still have Zawahiri, the number two. We have a strong Al Qaeda network striving to survive and grow in different parts of the world. Yemen, Somalia and other places. It was very important we took out an inspirational and operating leader. That is surely a blow to the organization. But we are nowhere close to being done.

ROMANS: Congresswoman Sanchez, what does this do, if anything, to change our mission in Afghanistan? Obviously, it began as a hunt for Osama bin Laden. Does it change anything on the war on terror and where we go from here in Afghanistan?

SANCHEZ: First of all, it's a great day that we have gotten Osama bin Laden. And we have to really thank all of our services who have been working so hard on this.

And does it change what we do in Afghanistan? It certainly points out that Al Qaeda and other groups like it who are loosely affiliated exist all over the world. They exist in smaller pieces. They sometimes work together. It is hard to go after them. Intelligence is incredibly important, as far as the information we need to go after these people, our special forces and our military.

And that's one of have the reasons why I think we are trying to change our military away from a conventional type army where we might have 120, 140,000 troops in Afghanistan. We are looking for a few people.

So if anything, this way of getting Osama bin Laden points to the fact that war is symmetrical, more about these special forces and less for conventional armies. Not completely. We really need to think about pulling those types of troops and that type of situation in Afghanistan back and using different types of tactics to get to where we need to be.

CHETRY: It is interesting, Congressman Rogers, because there have been questioning percolating out there among the military analysts and others about whether this fuels the notion we should be continuing with a counterterrorism strategy over a nation-building strategy. What's your take?

ROGERS: You have to remember, every country is going to be different. And one successful operation like this doesn't mean we should throw out everything in order to reconfigure. I don't think that's what the congresswoman was saying at all.

But right now, you have the Taliban, which is very different from Al Qaeda. However, the Taliban is what allowed Al Qaeda to finance and train and gave them safe haven. It is trying to make a comeback in Afghanistan. This spring is incredibly important.

And we are going to need the 101th airborne division and the 82nd airborne division and the marines to beat back what a counter attack by the Taliban this spring. This could be the big moment, I think, in Afghanistan the next few months. We are ready to go. Our soldiers are the best in the world. But that's a little bit of a different strategy.

So I think you have to use all the strategies all at the same time and we just have to understand how complicated it is. Yemen keeps me up at night. We don't want Afghanistan to come back as a safe haven. They are trying to plan and develop operations against the United States. It is complicated and big. We have to have it all.

ROMANS: And big dollar signs attached to all of this. Just last week Congress appropriated more, authorized more funds that will likely go to Pakistan, some $20 billion in funding and different kind of aids since the war on terror began as within its own borders it tries to hunt down extremists.

Yet, here was Osama bin Laden so close to the capital, so close to a military training facility. It raises a lot of question in American's minds about just what kind of an ally Pakistan is.

I would like you both to sort of respond to that. And as the U.S. goes forward, you have to authorize more of our money in this fight. Does it give you pause? I will start with you, Congresswoman.

SANCHEZ: Well, there is certainly the whole idea, and I believe all of us here, that Pakistan is incredibly important. We cannot -- it is a country that is changing itself. It is a country that is having problems and many of them as the types that we see in Egypt or Tunisia. I mean we're seeing a real change going on.

And so there are bad people in Pakistan, there are good people at all levels. And what we need to do is find these good people, help those good people to spread the type of secular democracy I hope that most of us want to see in almost every nation in the world. And to work with those that we can, and -- but to also ask those hard questions, why was it so difficult?

Remember, we also have a lot of people on the most-wanted list for the FBI within the United States that have been on there for ten or 20 years and we haven't been able to find them within our country. So we really have to think about who is really with us and who is not. And -- and -- and as with anything else, it's a very complicated issue.

And you can't just say oh, it's a bad country or it's with us or it's not with us. You have to really say, who can we trust and who can we work with and when we can't, we'll go it our own if that's what we need to do.


ROMANS: Congressman really quickly --

SANCHEZ: To get criminal like Osama bin Laden.

ROMANS: But Congressman, you say that every single day you see intelligence that shows that people are planning attacks against us. You know, is that, do you think we are safer today now that Osama bin Laden is -- is gone?

ROGERS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, again, remember this is somebody who not only plans operations. And one thing we learned by the way through this raid is that he was still involved in operational planning. Some believe that he was kind of away from it and -- and not engaged. Not true, clearly.

But he was also an inspirational leader. So he inspired people to do bad things and conduct operations. So when you take that -- that out of the equation, it had a serious blow to al Qaeda.

ROMANS: Right.

ROGERS: And we shouldn't underestimate the power of this.


ROMANS: Quick -- ROGERS: And I too -- I just want to agree quickly on Pakistan. They also sent troops into the tribal areas at our request; took thousands and thousands of casualties trying to fight Taliban and al Qaeda elements. So yes there are some concerns about their ISI being penetrated, their intelligence services being penetrated, but at the same time, it's -- we -- we've got to have them.

It's a very funny relationship. We need to continue try to improve their standing amongst themselves so that we can get to a better place.

CHETRY: Got you.

Just quick yes or no question from both of you. Should the administration release these bin Laden's photos?

SANCHEZ: I don't think it's necessary.

ROGERS: Yes, I -- I would be very careful. We don't want to inflame places where we have troops trying to do good things --

CHETRY: Got you.

ROGERS: -- on behalf of the United States national interest.

CHETRY: Well, Congressman Mike Rogers and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez both on the House Select Intelligence and House Homeland Security Committee. Great to get your take this morning. Thanks for joining us.

SANCHEZ: Thank you, thank you.

ROGERS: Thanks for having us.

ROMANS: Its 47 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: A lot going on this morning. Here's is what you need to know to start your day.

U.S. officials say intelligence agents are examining computers, hard drives and documents that were seized Sunday morning from bin Laden's compound. They are looking for information about other al Qaeda plots and operatives.

A spectacular site on the Mississippi River, overnight the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew up a strained levee, the river swollen with record-breaking levels of water threatening to wipe out towns upstream including Cairo, Illinois. The breach -- breached levee send water flowing now into Missouri farm lands.

A National Guard helicopter has rescued six missing Boy Scouts and their two troop leaders in a national forest in Arkansas; everyone reportedly ok. The Louisiana troop was stranded by rising floodwaters on Sunday during their weekend camping trip. Markets open in 45 minutes. Right now, the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 futures are all down slightly. Investors are waiting numbers on auto sales and factory orders.

You're caught up on the day's headlines. AMERICAN MORNING is back right after this break.


VELSHI: I love the way that guy on the inside of the control room always knows to open the door when our cameraman heads over to it.

All right. Some people say the best way to overcome your fears is to face them head on. You're about to meet a man who is living proof, he's an Air Force fighter pilot who suffered from claustrophobia. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story in this morning's "Human Factor."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Steaming engines, mind-numbing speeds of over 1,500 miles an hour. This was Lieutenant Colonel Rob Waldo Walton's daily ride. He had what many would consider one of the coolest jobs in the world.

LT. COL. ROB WALDO WALTON, U.S. AIR FORCE: It's an amazing jet F-16.

GUPTA: But an innocent diving trip would change everything.

WALTON: Three years into my 11-year flying career, I almost died in a scuba diving accident in the Caribbean.

GUPTA: Thirty feet under water, Rob's scuba mask broke. Physically, he was fine but mentally, he was shaken to the core. He developed severe claustrophobia.

WALTON: So if you can imagine barely being able to move, with this helmet and mask on and gloves, you're head two inches from the top of that canopy you're like in a little coffin, enough for a -- for a guy with claustrophobia, you really feel -- you feel panicky. For every single mission I flew I had to deal with this fear of having a panic attack.

GUPTA: But a panic attack while going Mac 2 could be devastating.

WALTON: When you're strapped into a jet, you just can't say, pause, I have to just get out and deal with this. When I'm on combat missions, when there was a job to do and wing that needed me there was no abort option for me.

GUPTA: Ultimately, Rob says, it was planning, family and faith that helped him overcome his fears. I would simulate the environment that I would be in on the ground before the flight. I would say, ok, I may have a panic attack here. How am I going to deal with it? I would look down on my checklist and I'd see a picture of my niece and nephew and it reminded me of what I love. And then I said I have to get home for them.

GUPTA: Now, after 56 combat missions over Iraq and Serbia, Waldo says he has kicked claustrophobia for good.

WALTON: I think about all the challenge and that personal growth I had because I took a risk to fly that plane. I didn't want to look back on my life and say if I only had courage to take action I could have flown the coolest jet in the world which, in my opinion, is the Lockheed Martin F-16.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": According to the CIA, Osama bin Laden was living in a house that no Internet access -- yes -- which explains why there were so many of those bin Laden sightings at the Islamabad Kinko's.


CHETRY: Just a short hour's drive away.

VELSHI: That was good.

CHETRY: Well, taking out bin Laden, of course, was a big win for President Obama. But some are asking, does this seal his victory for the 2012 action or not so fast.

VELSHI: We had a lot of response to it.

ROMANS: We really did get a lot response. Some response about Pakistan trying to switch the subject to this is all about Pakistan, this is not really about the President.

But here's one, "President Obama has demonstrated clearly the toughness to command his office and balance awesome obstacles and opportunities." That's from Eyes i-winks (ph) on Twitter

Velshi: We have one that says from MWDT-73 says, "There's no way Obama is getting credit for OBL, Osama bin Laden; credit goes to our U.S. military who's worked the last 10 years for this."

CHETRY: And also Eric Yu writes, "A feather in his cap but definitely not the deciding factor when it comes to President Barack Obama."

You may remember Bush 41 had about an 87 percent approval rating, I believe, after Desert Storm, after that successful operation and then he went on to lose the election because of the economy.

VELSHI: This has happened to a lot of presidents where something that at the time seems like the biggest accomplishment may or may not serve them well in the election.

CHETRY: In the election, right.

ROMANS: But it certainly has the chattering classes and the Twitterers chatting about what it all means.

VELSHI: I had one person say, why are you even asking that question? I did hear a lot of people talking about it.

ROMANS: I did too, I really did too. The past week in particular, so many things happening. The tornadoes down south and the President was there, how he handled that. Also the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, very relaxed and funny at a time when he knew this mission was --

CHETRY: Oh, and quite a poker face because they were making -- Seth Meyers was making bin Laden jokes.


VELSHI: bin Laden jokes. That's right. Where is he.

ROMANS: All right. That's going to wrap it up for us today.

CHETRY: Yes. We'll see you back here bright and early tomorrow morning but we're going to hand things over right now to Carol Costello. "CNN NEWSROOM" starts now. Good morning Carol.

ROMANS: Hi, Carol.