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The Situation Room
Interview With Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; U.S. Soldiers' Bodies Found Mutilated in Iraq; Interview With Author Ron Suskind; Data Brokers Selling Personal Phone Records
Aired June 20, 2006 - 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: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time. Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you today's top stories.
Happening now, it's 1:00 a.m. in Iraq, where the U.S. military finds the bodies of two missing American soldiers, mutilated and booby-trapped -- from al Qaeda in Iraq, a gruesome claim; from the families of the fallen, grief and anger.
It's 6:00 a.m. in Pyongyang, as North Korea prepares to test a long-range missile. A massive U.S. military force watches closely. Should the U.S. step up the pressure? I will ask former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
And it's 5:00 p.m. here in Washington -- shocking new revelations about al Qaeda's war on America and the Bush administration's response. I will speak with Ron Suskind. He's the author of "The One Percent Doctrine."
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We begin with the search for two missing American soldiers in Iraq. And that search is over. There is evidence they were brutally killed, according to one claim, by the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq himself. Their bodies were mutilated and booby-trapped in an effort to cause more casualties.
Let's go live to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's a grim end to a search that started three days ago and ended last night.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): Military sources could not say how or exactly when Privates Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker died. But they suffered what was described as significant trauma, so much so that DNA tests will be required to make a final identification.
The bodies were found in early evening along a road in an isolated area near Yusufiyah, the same village where the soldiers were captured three nights earlier when they came under attack while guarding a bridge over a canal. Local Iraqis spotted the bodies and tipped the U.S. military, warning the remains could be booby-trapped.
The recovery took nearly 12 hours, because the bodies had, in fact, been rigged with explosives and the main route to the site lined with IEDs, in what the U.S. military says was a clear attempt to target the recovery team.
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY SPOKESMAN, COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ: We secured the area with a fairly large group of soldiers last night, so as to protect that and allow nobody either to enter or exit that location, and, then, at first dawn, brought in explosive ordnance and other assets and went in and recovered our -- what we believe to be our two American soldiers.
MCINTYRE: One IED exploded, but no one was hurt, says a military spokesperson. It was the same tactic used last April when insurgents posted this video, after claiming to have shot down an Apache helicopter, also in the vicinity of Yusufiyah. In that case, the U.S. military now says 19 IEDs had been planted near the wreckage, slowing recovery of the remains of two pilots for half-a-day.
A radical Islamist Web site that usually carries messages from the insurgency boasted that al Qaeda's new leader in Iraq, believed to be Egyptian Abu al-Masri, personally killed the soldiers. The posting said, in part, "We executed God's will and slaughtered the two crusader animals we had in captivity."
The U.S. military said it could not verify the claim.
MCINTYRE: And the U.S. military is disputing reports that the soldiers may have made a critical mistake by splitting up after they first came under attack. They say that didn't happen. But they can't explain why just three soldiers were left by themselves to guard a bridge in such a dangerous part of Iraq -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre, at the Pentagon, thank you.
For one soldier's family, grief is entangled with growing anger. An uncle of Private 1st Class Kristian Menchaca of Houston spoke with CNN today. He said Menchaca was a boy when he went into the military, but the Army turned him into a man. And his uncle hopes his nephew's killers will pay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO VASQUEZ, KRISTIAN MENCHACA'S UNCLE: And I wish they punish people that did -- does this kind of things right away, instead of taking forever and spending millions of dollars trying to figure out, you know, keeping them prisoners, and then trying to get truth out of them or what their plans.
I mean, I think, you capture them, make them pay for what they did. You know, don't think that it's just two more soldiers. And don't negotiate anything. They didn't. They didn't negotiate it with my nephew. They didn't negotiate with Tucker. You know, make them pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The uncle says he's sure his nephew did not give up without a fight.
As North Korea takes steps to test a long-range missile, there's a growing chorus of concern from world leaders. U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan is among the latest to register a protest. The United States and Japan have warned of sanctions, but the White House says it won't tip its hand on possible consequences for North Korea.
Now a massive American military exercise is under way in the Pacific, allowing the U.S. to keep a very close eye on any missile launch, and, if necessary, to respond as well.
Let's turn to our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, anticipation of a North Korean test launch of its Taepodong-2 ballistic missile indeed comes at a time when the U.S. military has three aircraft carriers, hundreds of aircraft, and other military assets out in the Pacific for what they say is a long-planned exercise, strictly coincidence that it's happening now, an exercise they say, though, is designed to test the U.S. military's ability to respond to a regional crisis.
Now, the military expects any tests by Pyongyang of that missile to be just that, a test, not a threat, not an attack, if you will, on the United States. But it's very interesting. What any test would do is give the military the ability to test its ballistic missile defense shield. They have spent about $11 billion on it. There are a number of satellites, radars, and other military assets that are very likely to be used to try and track any North Korean launch, to see how all of this U.S. military equipment really works.
If it was an attack, the U.S. military does have a very limited capability to try and shoot a missile down. There are a number of interceptor missiles, both in Alaska and in California, but the reality is, no one thinks this test, if it happens, will be anything more than a very strong political statement by Pyongyang that it's still committed to its weapons-development efforts -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon -- thank you, Barbara, for that.
At this hour, President Bush is in Vienna, Austria, for the European Union summit. He's likely -- he will likely square off with some of his counterparts when it comes to Iraq, and he will seek to boost support for a tough stance on Iran and now on North Korea as well.
Let's bring in our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. She's traveling with the president. She's joining us live in Vienna -- Suzanne. SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, one of the key issues, of course, front and center is going to be dealing with Iraq.
We heard from National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley aboard Air Force One traveling with the president, who said they do believe those bodies found today of those U.S. soldiers were those abducted about 48 hours ago. He says it is just the brutal nature, evil nature of this enemy.
And it really comes at a critical time for this administration. They have been trying to emphasize the progress, the positive inside of Iraq, and it really underscores the volatile situation on the ground there. But you're not going to hear disagreements. You're not going to hear the president and European leaders talk about what almost split the E.U. three years ago. That is the U.S. invasion in Iraq.
Instead, they're going to be talking about ways to move forward -- and one of them, President Bush putting pressure on these world leaders to come through, not about troops, but about cash, about money, $13 billion that has been pledged by allies. Some $3 billion, they have come through. They want to see the rest of that money.
And, of course, Wolf, the other member of the axis of evil -- we're talking about Iran in this situation -- President Bush wants to make it very clear that there's unity with this international body. It was the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany that brought forward that initial offer to Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions with incentives.
But it was also an E.U. representative that put it forward before the Iranian government. So, they say, look, if it's not these incentives, we're going to turn to U.N. Security Council sanctions -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux, traveling with the president in Vienna -- thank you, Suzanne.
Time now for Jack Cafferty and "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, there's a town in Pennsylvania that's taking matters into its own hands when it comes to illegal aliens.
Hazleton, PA's mayor, Lou Barletta says -- quote -- "Illegal immigrants are destroying the city. I don't want them here, period." And he's doing more than just talking about it. Barletta introduced a measure that would revoke the licenses of businesses that hire the illegals. It would impose $1,000 fines on landlords who rent to them. And it would make English Hazleton's official language.
The city council has tentatively approved all of this. The mayor says he had to act after an increase in violence in his city, including two illegal aliens who were charged with shooting and killing a man. As national federal laws against illegal immigration go unenforced and Congress debates and does nothing, other cities are considering similar measures in their own communities. Critics say such a crackdown is unnecessary. And some expect that Hazleton's new rules might be challenged in court.
Nevertheless, here's the question: Should towns and cities crack down on illegal aliens on their own? E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Are you surprised, Jack, that the House of Representatives is now going to hold hearings on immigration after passing legislation? The Senate passed legislation. They're supposed to reconcile the differences. But now the House has decided, the Republican leadership, that they need more hearings over the course of the summer.
CAFFERTY: It's just -- it boggles the mind, doesn't it? I mean, this is all about politics, and has absolutely nothing to do with illegal immigration or the welfare of the middle class in this country. It's all about which bunch of these whatever-they-ares can get reelected by pandering on this issue, I think.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty here in THE SITUATION ROOM -- thanks, Jack.
BLITZER: And if you want a sneak preview of Jack's questions, plus an early read on the day's political news and what's ahead in THE SITUATION ROOM, here's what you do. You sign up for our daily e-mail alert. Just go to CNN.com/SITUATIONROOM.
Up ahead: Did Osama bin Laden back President Bush in the last election? It's among many surprising allegations contained in a controversial new book by the author Ron Suskind. He will join us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Also, National Guard troops roll into New Orleans for the second time since Hurricane Katrina, but their mission now, very, very different. We will show you what they're doing.
Plus, my interview with the former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger -- I will ask him about the growing missile crisis with North Korea, World Refugee Day, and more.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Zain Verjee's off today. Susan Hendricks is joining us from the CNN Center with a closer look at some other stories making news.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf. Thanks so much. Some rattled nerves, but no one hurt, luckily, in this emergency landing. The American Airlines MD-80 touched down safely at Chicago's O'Hare Airport without its front landing gear, which failed to deploy. The 131 passengers and five crew all got off safely. The plane was arriving from Los Angeles.
In New Orleans now, armed National Guard troops are once again patrolling the streets there. One hundred of them arrived today, one day after Louisiana's governor deployed them, at the request of Mayor Ray Nagin, following six killings in the city this weekend. Nagin wants to stop a resurgence of crime, which dropped in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Well, he's a former Bush administration official today convicted by a federal jury. David Safavian was convicted on four of five charges of lying and obstruction of justice. It is the first trial held in connection with the probe of disgraced former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Safavian was one of Abramoff's associates and a former chief of staff at the General Services Administration.
Looks like he's parting ways and parting shots. Dan Rather is leaving CBS News, but not without first speaking his mind. Rather says that, after 44 years working there, he won't sit around doing nothing until his contract ends in November. Rather says CBS offered him a new contract, but with no assignments. So, he says he will take his skills elsewhere -- Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Good luck to Dan Rather.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Susan, for that.
Coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, we will get back to our coverage of World Refugee Day. One refugee who went on to become secretary of state of the United States standing by to join us live right here in THE SITUATION ROOM -- that refugee, Henry Kissinger. We will talk about that, plus Iran, Iraq, North Korea, lots more.
Plus, a civilian plane heading for the Rose Bowl, did the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, think about shooting it down? It's one of the many surprising allegations in a controversial new book. Author Ron Suskind, he will join us.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Around the world, almost eight-and-a-half million people are refugees driven beyond the borders of their countries. Another six-and-a-half million are internally displaced within their own countries.
The United Nations has proclaimed this as World Refugee Day. And CNN has special coverage all day long. Joining us now is the former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He's in New York. He came to the United States in 1938, himself a refugee from Nazi Germany as a young boy, went on to study at Harvard, served in the U.S. military, and eventually became secretary of state.
Dr. Kissinger, thanks very much for coming in.
I want to talk about refugees in a moment, but an immediate crisis facing the United States -- if North Korea goes ahead and tests this intercontinental ballistic missile, what should the U.S. do?
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The basic problem in all these proliferation issues, and especially now with North Korea, is, there are six nations -- there's a six-nation conference taking place.
And it includes all the nations that are surrounding North Korea: China, Japan, Korea, the U.S., Russia. And they all agree that this country ought to be de-nuclearized. And I think the time has come where they have to take some sanctions or some measures to bring this to a point.
North Korea has a right to be made to feel secure, insofar as that can be done. But they should not be in a position where they can threaten the whole world by proliferating their weapons of mass destruction, as they have been trying to do, and doing to some extent, previously.
BLITZER: But can you make a deal with North Korea? The Clinton administration tried in '93. That didn't seem to work out so well.
KISSINGER: No. I don't think -- I think the thing to do is to make a deal with the -- with those -- with the countries participating in the Beijing conference, which includes North Korea, but to make the deal with China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, and then make it as a proposal, the way we have done with respect to Iran, to North Korea, because the present process is extremely time-wasting, where there's always one issue at a time.
And I think some package deal has to be put before the North Koreans.
BLITZER: Let's talk about refugees around the world. You speak with unique perspective. Is the United States, in your assessment, doing enough in these days to help refugees around the world?
KISSINGER: Well, of course, having been a refugee myself and knowing what the United States means to somebody who is looking for a haven, one's instinct is always that the United States does not -- has not done enough as long as there are refugees left to be taken care of.
But, on the other hand, the numbers you mentioned are of a magnitude that we cannot take care of all of them. As a general proposition, I would say that the American people and the American government should give great attention to the refugee problem, and support it to the maximum extent.
I myself belong to the International Rescue Committee, which deals with refuge -- with the refugee problem. And that and other organizations like this should be given the greatest possible support.
BLITZER: How is it possible, Dr. Kissinger, in this day and age, 60 years after the Holocaust, we see these atrocities, whether in Sudan or Congo, and only a few years ago in Rwanda and Burundi, where tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people are slaughtered in the most brutal way? How is this possible that, in this day and age, this is going on?
KISSINGER: Well, it's a very good question.
But the ethnic hatreds are apparently so great, and the combination of ethnic hatreds and religious differences, and, in Rwanda, it was an ethnic problem. In Darfur, it's -- it's also partly an ethnic problem. It's hard to explain why this is -- how this can happen.
But it does seem to -- it is the case that, in many parts of the world, people are prepared to kill tens of thousands in order to make their ideology or their religion prevail. And there's no good explanation for it.
The question is whether, if one sees genocide going on -- you know, Wolf, I usually say we should put security first. But, when you see genocide of the magnitude of Darfur and Rwanda, then one really has to ask oneself whether the international community should not intervene to stop it, if necessary with military means.
BLITZER: Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, thanks for spending a few moments with us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And coming up tonight, Anderson Cooper's exclusive interview with United Nations goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie. She will talk about her firsthand experiences with refugees around the world -- "A.C. 360" tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
Coming up: It's referred to as the 1 percent doctrine, the slight chance of another catastrophic attack on the United States that should still be taken very seriously. Where did the 1 percent doctrine come from? I will ask the author of a new book by the same name, the journalist Ron Suskind.
And you may remember Osama bin Laden speaking out before the 2004 presidential election, only a day or two before. Why did he do it? Suskind thinks he knows.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back.
We told you yesterday here in THE SITUATION ROOM about an al Qaeda plot to disperse poison gas in New York's subway system. That's just one of the bombshells dropped in a new book entitled "The One Percent Doctrine."
CNN's Mary Snow is joining us from New York with our CNN "Security Watch" -- Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, almost five years after the attacks on September 11, this new book reveals new details of how some intelligence was gathered, what was done with it, and contrasts some of the accounts given by the administration.
SNOW: "The One Percent Doctrine" details pivotal moments inside the White House and among top government officials in the days leading up to the 9/11 attacks and the years that followed.
Some of the book's accounts are being questioned by current and former counterterrorism officials. Take the 2002 capture of Abu Zubaydah, considered a high-level member of al Qaeda. Author Ron Suskind quotes an FBI official who labeled Zubaydah insane, and claims the Bush administration overplayed the significance of the seizure.
That's something former acting CIA Director John McLaughlin disputes.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING CIA DIRECTOR: I totally disagree with the view that the capture of Abu Zubaydah was unimportant. Abu Zubaydah was woven through all of the intelligence prior to 9/11 that signaled a major attack was coming, and his capture yielded a great deal of important information.
SNOW: A number of officials say some of the information is accurate, such as a 2003 plot believed to be linked to al Qaeda to disperse cyanide in New York City's subway system. While officials in New York don't comment on intelligence information specifics, the book claims that a computer hard drive of New York City buildings and landmarks was discovered that contained what was described as a very professional casing effort of the city.
Another pivotal moment described in the book, an Oval Office meeting at which CIA Director George Tenet is quoted as saying it's a slam-dunk case. Tenet was referring to evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The book portrays this as more of a marketing meeting, rather than officials talking about known facts.
John McLaughlin was at that meeting and says he believes the event was overplayed.
MCLAUGHLIN: Too much importance has been placed on that phrase that George Tenet is said to have used. I did not see it as the pivotal moment in the Iraq drama that so many others portray it as.
SNOW: Now, an administration official also says that they can't comment about details contained in the book, saying it would be irresponsible to discuss intelligence matters -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Mary Snow in New York, thank you. And as we noted, "The One Percent Doctrine" goes from bombshell to bombshell in what's said to be a look deep inside America's pursuit of al Qaeda.
And joining us now is Ron Suskind. He's the author of the hot new book, "The One Percent Doctrine." Ron, thanks very much for coming in. Congratulations on the new book.
RON SUSKIND, AUTHOR, "THE ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE": Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: What was the most eye-popping piece of information that you learned in the course of your reporting, researching this book?
SUSKIND: The broadest part, the thing that covers the most, is this one percent doctrine. It explains everything. That's why it's the title of the book.
Let's set the scene. It's two months after 9/11. The vice president is being given harrowing intelligence. Pakistani nuclear scientists have been sitting with bin Laden and Zawahiri right before 9/11. Tenet and the CIA briefed him. NSC people are there.
Cheney says something fascinating. He says for these low probability high impact type of events we need to think about them in a different way. Then as the briefing goes on, he stops the proceedings and says, "Here it is. If there's even a one percent chance that WMDs have been given to terrorists, we need to treat it as a certainty. Not in our analysis but in our response."
Those two things are fascinating. He separates...
BLITZER: And that jumped out at you right away. You write -- on page 163 you write, "A key feature of the Cheney doctrine was to quietly liberate action from such accepted standards of proof, and it was effective. Suspicion, both inside America and abroad, became the threshold for action."
Understandable after 9/11, right?
SUSKIND: It will be debated. The point is here it is. Here's the real secret to the playbook. Talk it out. Is this what we want for America? We see both sides here. And the fact is, making suspicion the guiding principle of the world's most powerful nation creates enormous backlash.
For instance, as somebody says, you know, 99 innocent men are worth arresting so that one guilty man is captured, reversing the normal equation. All of the excesses essentially are justified under this principle. Yet what other one is there? This is the debate that's the real debate about the war on terror, and of course it's in this book.
BLITZER: The relationship that you describe between the president and the vice president is pretty dramatic. And going back to the early days when Cheney clearly had a lot more experience in national security matters. But you write this: "In the spring of 2002 Bush asked Cheney to pull back a little at big meetings to give the president more room to move, to take charge. Bush asked -- Bush asked Cheney not to offer him advice in crowded rooms. Do that privately."
Talk about that.
SUSKIND: Well, you know what, the fact is I'm sympathetic to both parties here. Bush is one of the least experienced presidents to come into office. Cheney, the most experienced vice president. They had to work out how they're going to work together.
Fascinating, what happens after 9/11. There's a change. Because what you see there is Cheney really is embracing the broad, sweeping doctrinaire thinking. What are the big strategies? He essentially creates an architecture, a platform, where Bush can be Bush, a man of action and still be effective as president. That's the relationship. Cheney essentially sets the framework, Bush acts within it.
BLITZER: But you suggest, though, that Bush didn't want Cheney to upstage him...
BLITZER: ... and embarrass him at meetings where he might be more knowledgeable on these subjects.
SUSKIND: Precisely. That's part of what they tried to work out. And it's a very difficult balance. But you see them clearly here, more clearly than I think that -- than we've seen them up to now.
BLITZER: There's an interesting exchange also involving the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. You write this: "'Don't worry. If this gets out of control and they're flying over the Rose Bowl, I'll shoot them down,' Rumsfeld volunteered in a burst of machismo. Bush looked hard at him. 'Don, your son or daughter is on that plane,' he said. 'That's the criteria we'll use as to whether to shoot down that plane'."
They're talking about the possibility that planes were coming in...
SUSKIND: From Indonesia.
BLITZER: From Indonesia that could go after a big crowd at the Rose Bowl.
SUSKIND: This is a new piece of intelligence, a real live threat that they faced in the fall of 2003. You see an example here, as there are many in the book, of Bush being very forceful. There are folks in the White House who say yeah, that's our guy. Yet at the same time that improvisational impulse energy creates its own set of dilemmas, and the book shows that.
BLITZER: Well, in that episode that you describe was the president irritated with Rumsfeld?
SUSKIND: Absolutely. And look, throughout the book you're going to hear George Bush's voice engaged in the war on terror, as well as the vice president's. People can debate whether they like that or not.
BLITZER: And did Osama bin Laden support the re-election of President Bush? Did the United States deliberately bomb the offices of the Arab television network Al Jazeera? More of my interview with Ron Suskind. That's coming up next.
Also coming up right after this quick break, this hour, if illegal immigrants increased the crime where you live and the federal government won't act, should your city crack down? Jack Cafferty has your e-mail.
And in our 7 p.m. Eastern hour, a very, very messy professional divorce. Dan Rather and CBS News. One side says no hard feelings while the other says if you don't want me someone else will. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Let's get right back to our "CNN Security Watch", my interview with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind. He's the author of the new book, "The One Percent Doctrine."
BLITZER: Let's talk about the CIA conclusion that you report that Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, wanted President Bush re-elected in 2004. You write this: "What the CIA had learned over nearly a decade is that bin Laden speaks only for strategic reasons and those reasons are debated with often startling depths inside the organization's leadership. Today's conclusion: bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the president's re-election."
Why would Osama bin Laden want President Bush re-elected?
SUSKIND: The debate in the CIA on that Friday and through the weekend right before the election is one that essentially points out these -- these factors. Often leaders, for instance, the Soviets, liked Nixon. They liked his predictability. They knew their opponent.
In other cases it was bin Laden and Bush are kind of a match set. Bush has provided an enormous value in terms of recruitment in the Arab world. Bin Laden essentially is in a pitched dialogue -- in history in years later, we'll look back on this, Wolf, and say essentially it's these two characters...
BLITZER: You're saying the CIA formally concluded that bin Laden wanted Bush re-elected. SUSKIND: Well, look -- absolutely true. And that day at the meeting John McLaughlin says, well, you know, bin Laden certainly did Bush a big favor today. And the analysis flowed essentially along those lines.
The question, the key question, is what it is it about America's war on terror that is such that bin Laden would want it to continue and Bush to continue conducting it? That's the bigger question that was not examined by the CIA, because many of these people there were soon to be pushed out.
BLITZER: There's controversy emerging right now about your reporting involving Abu Zubaydah. Remind our viewers who he was.
SUSKIND: Abu Zubaydah is the first major capture of the war on terror. He's picked up in Pakistan in March of 2003. And of course, at this point we hadn't gotten bin Laden or Zawahiri or any of the major players. There was great need by the administration to say we got somebody.
And of course, when we got Zubaydah they trumpeted it far and wide. He is an operational chief. He's the No. 3. Meanwhile, inside of FBI and CIA they were looking at the real evidence of the capture, including a diary that Zubaydah had written across 10 years, where essentially he presents himself as three different characters with all sorts of little crazy details about life and who's eating what and who's saying what.
Zubaydah, according to analysts in both CIA and FBI, is insane, is schizophrenic, is certifiably split personality. And more than that, he is largely the travel agent. That's why he kept popping up on signal intelligence. He's moving people around. He's paying bills...
BLITZER: There are former intelligence -- high-ranking intelligence analysts out there, because we've spoken to some, who say that, you know what, he did provide some useful information and still provides some useful information.
SUSKIND: I show in the book exactly the useful information he provided, and at the same time I show that essentially what happened is we tortured an insane man and jumped screaming at every word he uttered, most of them which were nonsense.
BLITZER: One of the other explosive charges you have in the book is that the U.S. deliberately bombed the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul to make a point. You write this: "On November 13, a hectic day when Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance and there were celebrations in the streets of the city, a U.S. missile obliterated Al Jazeera's office. Inside the CIA and White House there was satisfaction that a message had been sent to Al Jazeera."
Are you suggesting that someone in the U.S. government made a deliberate decision to take out the Al Jazeera office in Kabul?
SUSKIND: My sources are clear that that was done on purpose, precisely to send a message to Al Jazeera, and essentially a message was sent.
BLITZER: That somebody said you know what, we're going to go ahead and bomb this...
SUSKIND: There was great anger at Al Jazeera at this point. We were pulling our hair out. We thought they were a mouthpiece for bin Laden. And we acted.
BLITZER: Who made that decision?
SUSKIND: I can't go to the specific moment the decision was made and whose voice it was in. But what's clear, because -- I didn't put it in the book because there are sourcing issues there. You don't put everything you know in a book like this. But I'll tell you emphatically it was a deliberate act by the U.S.
BLITZER: You also have this fascinating detail on the al Qaeda No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, that someone believed they killed him, and they brought his head to Washington.
BLITZER: On page 152, you write, "'So if it turns out to be Zawahiri's head, I hope you'll bring it here,' Bush said at one meeting, half in jest." It turned out not to be his head.
SUSKIND: Right. Look, the president is deeply engaged day to day in the operational issues of this war on terror. Some people will say God bless him, thank you, keep doing it. But he is involved in the granular details, including the specifics of operations.
In this case he's joking obviously. But that head turns out not to be Zawahiri. But through that summer, Wolf, they move up and down on swells of expectation. Maybe it is. And if it is, what does it mean for our strategy? This is the problem when an entire campaign, a war is based largely on a threshold of suspicion, not evidence.
BLITZER: One of the other fascinating details you have is on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, one of the top al Qaeda operatives, the informant who provided information, you write, you say, "The informant is now living in America, somewhere in America, with $25 million in the bank and benefits such as cradle-to-grave insurance and private school tuition for his children and his relatives and their children."
Any idea who this guy is?
SUSKIND: Let me say emphatically, I don't know who he is, I don't know where he lives. Everything I know is in the book. Having said that, he's a demonstration model that I think the U.S. government's not displeased of having out there at this moment as to what you and Al Jazeera -- rather and al Qaeda can hope for if you give us information. You can have a life like this guy. That's the message of this particular incident.
BLITZER: But what you're suggesting, though, is this is one of the most elaborate witness protection plans in the history of the United States.
SUSKIND: I think they're breaking new ground here. And they say, even in the book one of the CIA people says, "Look, think of the cost of the war on terror. Think of $25 million. Think of the value of getting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. It's worth it."
BLITZER: Ron Suskind is the author of "The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemy Since 9/11." Ron, thanks for coming in.
SUSKIND: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: We're waiting for a response from the Pentagon to what Suskind describes as a deliberate bombing of Al Jazeera's Kabul office. In the meantime, though, we're getting lots of other reaction about the book from other quarters.
Let's bring in our national security correspondent, David Ensor. I know you've been doing a lot of checking on some of more explosive charges in this book.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN ANALYST: Right, Wolf. I've talked to former U.S. intelligence officials, and they are happy that the book gives considerable credit to the CIA for being fast off the mark after al Qaeda after 9/11. But there's criticism from some of them, too. They are pointing to what they think are errors in the book.
For example, Mr. Suskind writes that the U.S. identified one of the men of July 7 in London, one of the suicide bombers, Mohammed Saddiq Khan, two years before that attack in London and put him on a no-fly list to keep him out of this country.
In fact the British newspaper "The Guardian" has reported and present and former officials also say to me today that the Mohammed Khan put on the American no-fly list was a different person. So now scandal concerning communication between the U.S. and Britain.
Now I did speak to Mr. Suskind a moment ago, and he said his sources stand by their story that it was Mohammed Saddiq Khan. So there's a difference there, difficult to resolve.
On the bombing that you mentioned earlier of Al Jazeera, all I can tell you is that I've talked to several former very senior CIA officials, and they say none of them heard anything about a plan to bomb Al Jazeera, and none of them ever were aware that the U.S. government had done that deliberately.
BLITZER: But if it was a military operation, would the CIA necessarily have known?
ENSOR: Not necessarily.
BLITZER: We'll see what else comes up. I suspect this book is going to generate a lot of excitement. Thanks very much. David Ensor reporting for us.
And stay tuned to CIA day and night for the most reliable news about your security.
Lou Dobbs is getting ready for his program that begins right at the top of the hour.
Lou, what are you working on?
LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Thank you, Wolf.
Coming up at 6 p.m. Eastern here on CNN, we'll have the latest for you on what happened to two of our soldiers who were captured and brutally killed by insurgency in Iraq. We'll be live at the Pentagon with that report.
We'll also be reporting on plans by Republican leaders in the House to hold hearings on illegal immigration and border security, hearings that could kill the Senate's pro-amnesty immigration legislation. We'll have a live report from Capitol Hill.
Among my guests tonight, Senator John Corning, one of the most outspoken opponents of amnesty for illegal aliens but also a supporter of what is called comprehensive immigration reform. We'll see how the senator squares that up.
Also tonight, our nation's public school system has failed an entire generation of Americans. The author of a disturbing new study of high school dropout rates that are soaring in this country is our guest here tonight, Michael Swanson. We hope you'll be with us as we discuss this critically important issue.
That's at the top of the hour here on CNN. Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Thanks, Lou, very much.
Up ahead here on THE SITUATION ROOM, taking matters into their own hands. Should cities deal with illegal immigrants if the federal government won't? Jack Cafferty going through your e-mail.
And in our 7 p.m. Eastern hour, Angelina Jolie, Anderson Cooper. On this World Refugee Day, Anderson will join us for a firsthand account of his one-on-one interview with her. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Now for an update on a story you first heard about here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We told you about a growing number of online data brokers who sell your phone records to anyone for the asking. We're learning some law enforcement agencies, two are taking advantage of such services in lieu of getting a subpoena or a warrant.
Let's bring in our Internet reporter, Jacki Schechner -- Jacki.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, we have in the past shown you how easy it is to buy somebody's cell phone records online. We purchased our producer's records from this now defunct company for about $100.
Well, starting tomorrow the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is going to be inviting some data brokers to D.C. to testify about what they get, how they good it, and who's buying it. They expect many of these to take the fifth, by the way.
One of the companies that will be there is PDJ Investigations. And their attorney tells me that they have given personal information to federal law enforcement officials in the past at no charge. They also say they've handed over boxes of documents to the committee to help them figure out how this process actually happens.
On Thursday the committee's going to focus on law enforcement officials, and part of the concern is found in this GAO report from about a month ago. The report says that government agencies spent about $30 million last year with information resellers buying personal information, Wolf. We're going to keep an eye on this for you.
BLITZER: All right. Keep doing that, Jacki. Thanks very much.
Let's go up to New York once again. Jack Cafferty's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: Wolf, the mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, is cracking down on illegal aliens. He's introduced a measure that will revoke the license of businesses that hire the illegals and will impose $1,000 fines on landlords who rent to them. Plus it would make English the city's official language, and the city council is expected to pass it.
The question is should towns and cities crack down on illegal aliens on their own?
Robert writes from New York, "This country was founded on local control and state's rights, and it seems to be something that we've forgotten. The only way we can take back control of our country is from the bottom up. Since no one in Washington is listening. And if they are, they just don't seem to give a damn."
Jim in Sarasota: "Crack down hard. The key word here is illegal, illegal, illegal. If the feds don't want to do it, they should get out of the way."
Steve in Pennsauken, New Jersey: "As a Latino myself I would say absolutely not. There are more legal Latinos in the U.S. than illegals. What assurance is there that they aren't going to be knocking down legal Americans' doors because their last name is Lopez?
Charles writes from Hazelton, Pennsylvania, the town in question: "our mayor is finally doing the right thing against the illegal immigrants. We're not against the legal immigrant who wants to come to town, work hard, help the community, pay taxes and learn English. However, someone has to come to our aid and help us against the illegal immigrant who just wants to takes from us and gives us nothing but problems in return." Paul in Minneola, Texas: "Bravo to the mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania. Sure do wish the mayors in the state of Texas had the nerve to do the same thing."
And Steven in New Windsor, Maryland, writes, "It's about time somebody did something" -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Did you get a lot of e-mail on this?
CAFFERTY: Lots of e-mail. And not -- not much that's sympathetic to the plight of illegals. People feeling very frustrated that the federal government doesn't even make an attempt to enforce the laws that are already on the books. They're busy debating some mishegas that is never going to pass anyway when we have perfectly adequate laws in place to deal with an issue that's spun out of control, and people are frustrated and angry with that.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty, see you in an hour back here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Up next, what does the future hold for debate over same-sex marriage? We'll look at what could happen with this controversial issue. Stay with us.
BLITZER: It's a hot-button issue here in the United States right now, but what does the future hold for the debate over same-sex marriage? CNN's Miles O'Brien has our welcome to the future report -- Miles.
MILES O'BRIEN, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Wolf, even though the Senate did not vote to change the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, the issue is still alive and well all across the country.
This November voters in seven states will decide whether they would like to define marriage as solely between a man and a woman.
(voice-over) Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute, a sexual orientation think tank, studies gay marriage outside the U.S.
LEE BADGETT, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, WILLIAMS INSTITUTE: Now we're starting to see the more conservative countries, Germany, France, Spain let same-sex couples marry. Italy, Ireland. I mean, countries that are very tied to the Catholic Church are considering this. The change has been very rapid in the last five years.
O'BRIEN: Badgett says same-sex unions abroad have limited effects on society. Birth rates and marriage statistics remain unchanged. But in the U.S. There is still strong opposition to the idea of same-sex marriage.
BADGETT: The public opinion polls still show that the people are reluctant to endorse full marriage rights. They're much more likely to say yes, you know, we think a gay couple should have civil unions before marriage.
The process of change is hard to predict, but I do think that there will be a tipping point where things will start changing very rapidly.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Of course, on the other side of this issue they would predict things might tip the other way. And even though the Senate fell short of the two thirds majority needed to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, many states will be weighing in with their own legislation defining marriage as between a man and a woman -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Miles O'Brien, thanks very much. Miles O'Brien reporting.
We're here in THE SITUATION ROOM weekday afternoons 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern, back in one hour at 7 p.m. Eastern. Among other things, Jeanne Moos will say good-bye to Dan Rather. He says good-bye to CBS News today.
In the meantime, let's go up to New York, Lou Dobbs standing by. Hi, Lou.
DOBBS: Hi, Wolf. Thank you.
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