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The Situation Room

Interview with Nasser Judeh; Last Line of Defense at Airports; Interview with Howard Kurtz; All is not "Lost"; Immigrant Students Plea for a Break

Aired January 08, 2010 - 17:00   ET


FERRE: Recently, the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, says the White House politely asked them to stop using the ad. But they say they don't plan to stop, telling CNN they're not selling anything, that the picture is a public service announcement, not an advertisement.

And Weatherproof says they'll take down the billboard within the next week or so. They have to find a replacement ad to go up in its place. Now, it might be a hard one to top, though. Advertising folks tell us that the ad may have been more successful than most other billboards out there because of the amount of publicity that it's generated -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A ton of publicity, I should say.

Ines, thank you.

And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, the suspect in the airliner bombing plot in court today to answer the charges against him. Meantime, the former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is here to answer some questions, as well. He says there were no domestic terror attacks under President Bush.

What did he mean by that?

Is he some -- somehow omitting 9/11?

It's going to be an opportunity for the mayor to respond. Lots of buzz out there on that front today.

Two young New York City men are arrested in connection with the cross-country terror case of Najibullah Zazi. He's accused of planning an attack on the most recent 9/11 anniversary. We have new information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.

And the U.S. and Jordan teaming up to press for new Middle East peace moves. But looming over the talks right here, a devastating blow to both countries carried out by a double agent. I'll speak about that with Jordan's foreign minister. He's now here in Washington.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


He's charged with trying to blow up a U.S. Passenger jet in midair. Today, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in a federal court in Michigan. Wearing shackles and still apparently suffering from burns he received during the flight, he pleaded not guilty to all those counts.

Reacting to the Christmas Day incident, the New York City's former mayor, Republican Rudy Giuliani, today made some jaw-dropping comments that were -- that there were no domestic terror attacks under President Bush.

And many are now asking what happened?

How could he have forgotten about 9/11?

Did he forget about 9/11?

Is that possible?

The former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is joining us now live from New York.

Mr. Mayor, thanks very much.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: Wolf, you want to know if I forget about September 11th?

BLITZER: I'm sure you didn't.


BLITZER: But you did say this on...


BLITZER: ..."Good Morning America." I'll play the little clip and then you'll explain what you had in mind.

GIULIANI: Yes. I know. This is so silly. But go ahead.


GIULIANI: What he should be doing is following the right things that Bush did. One of the right things he did was treat it was a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama.


BLITZER: All right. As you know, the blogosphere is going crazy with that, the comment, we had no domestic attacks under Bush.

All right, you remember at least one, don't you? GIULIANI: No, here -- here's what I usually say when I said that -- and I did not put that -- those words in. I said -- I usually say we had no domestic attacks, no major domestic attack under President Bush since September 11th. And the reason I say it is on September 11th and the days after September 11th, I received many briefings, many warnings, as the mayor of New York, that we were going to be attacked again, that we were going to be attacked frequently.

And I think many people are surprised, even those people who hate President Bush -- I think many people were surprised that we didn't have those major attacks and that at least some of the things that President Bush was warning was helping in making certain that we didn't have any kind of major terrorist attack.

I did omit the words "since September 11th." I apologize for that. I should have put it in. I do remember September 11th. In fact, Wolf, I remember it every single day and usually frequently during the day.

BLITZER: I know you do.

And then you said this, though, and it needs some clarification. "We've had one under Obama," meaning a terrorist attack.

What -- what specific -- which specifically are you...

GIULIANI: I would...

BLITZER: ...which attack are you referring to?

GIULIANI: I would consider the one -- well, I mean the -- the -- the attack on Christmas Day was an attempted attack. I was talking about Fort Hood. Fort Hood was clearly an Islamic terrorist attack. The man who was shooting off the guns and killing those people was yelling out ara -- Islamic phrases when he was doing it -- Allah Akbar and things like that. He was clearly under the influence of Islamic terrorism.

And I think one of the problems here is that the president defines the war on terror -- which he finally called the war on terror yesterday. But he defines it too narrowly, because he talks about it as a war on Al Qaeda.

Unfortunately, there's a lot more than al Qaeda that's at war with us. There are other Islamic terrorist groups, loosely aligned, and then there are -- there are people here in the United States that are influenced by Islamic terrorists who -- who attack us in the name of Islamic terrorism.

And I would say the one -- the Fort Hood attack was probably the clearest example of that, although, you know, there might be others that we just don't know about.

BLITZER: There -- there was at least one terror attack on U.S. Soil that happened after 9/11. I'm referring to the anthrax attacks in New York and in elsewhere. What that a terror attack, do you believe?

GIULIANI: Well, as far as I know, the FBI has never been able to figure out who did it and has never designated it as a terror attack. I mean, I lived through that. I -- there was...

BLITZER: But whoever was trying to do it was trying to terrorize a lot of people.

GIULIANI: Yes, but that was not done in the name -- as far as we know, that was not done in the name of Islamic terrorism any more than, you know, serial killers who...

BLITZER: Right. It could have been a domestic terror attack, too, and we don't know, as you correctly point out, who was responsible...

GIULIANI: That's right. So you're -- so...

BLITZER: ...for that anthrax attack.

GIULIANI: you can't -- you can't describe something as a terrorist attack if it hasn't been investigated and there's no -- no proof. And the best thinking on the part of the FBI is that it wasn't involved with Islamic terrorism.

But, again, that's pretty -- we're on pretty shaky grounds there because they've never been able to solve that.

BLITZER: And you -- you don't have any inside information on who was responsible?

Who do you believe was responsible -- because I know it happened in New York. We remembered what happened...

GIULIANI: Gee, Wolf, it not only happened, there was -- there was anthrax found in the office right next to mine. There was attack on city hall as well as on the major networks and Governor Pataki's office. I mean, I as directly involved in that.

At the time -- at the time, I thought it was probably all connected to -- to the terrorism that was attacking us. In retrospect, it seems to me, from what I know of it, that it wasn't. But, again, that's unresolved and it was be irresponsible to come to a conclusion about it.

BLITZER: So at -- at this point, given what you're -- what you're saying in terms of terror attacks since 9/11, there have been no -- no terror attacks since 9/11 under President Bush, but one terror attack, Fort Hood, under President Obama...

GIULIANI: Islamic...

BLITZER: ...President Obama. Islamic terror attacks...

GIULIANI: Islamic terror attacks. BLITZER: Is that what you're saying, zero to one, in effect?

GIULIANI: Correct. And the o -- the only reason I point that out is that the -- the president himself has finally now come to the conclusion that he can say war on terror. I wish he would also describe it as Islamic terrorism so that we clearly define our enemy. And I wish he would follow through on our being at war with -- with Islamic terrorism.

For example, what's going on right now in Detroit is a perfect example of the administration not recognizing we're at war. If we were at war, this man would be in a military tribunal.

BLITZER: All right...

GIULIANI: In fact, we would still be questioning him. The administration cut his question off after 30 hours. I think one of the spokespersons for the administration -- maybe it was Gibbs, maybe someone else -- said that they were actually getting actionable intelligence from him.

Well, why in God's name would you cut up an interview when you're getting actionable intelligence from a man who was just about ready to blow up an airplane when you don't have to?

You could be questioning this guy for three weeks, four weeks, five weeks, which is usually what you have to do with one of these people to really get at the truth and to really get all the information out of them about possible other attacks.

BLITZER: Because you -- yes, I was going to say...

GIULIANI: ...the president described it...

BLITZER: ...just to be precise on this war on terror phrase, because it's a sensitive issue, I know sensitive with you -- what I heard him say yesterday, that the U.S. Is in a war against al Qaeda. I didn't specifically hear him say...


BLITZER: ...the U.S. It at war against terrorism.

GIULIANI: He did. He described it as a war against al Qaeda, which is much too narrow a way to describe it, because a lot more than al Qaeda is at war with us. There are many terrorist groups that are not connected to al Qaeda or are loosely connected to it that believe they're at war with us. Then we have individuals who are inspired by Islamic terrorism to attack us.

Abdulmutallab, who was arraigned today, wasn't even charged, I don't believe, with terrorism. But most importantly, he was -- they -- they prematurely interrupted his being interviewed in order to try him in a civilian court. If we are at war with al Qaeda and this guy apparently seems to have been influenced by al Qaeda, why would we try him as if he committed a domestic crime? BLITZER: All right, well, you know the...

GIULIANI: It doesn't make sense to me.

BLITZER: But there -- so you basically would agree that the Bush administration, in going after Richard Reed, the shoe bomber, in a civilian court, they made a blunder at that time, as well, because basically the same procedures they used against Richard Reed, they're using against Abdulmutallab right now.

GIULIANI: I don't -- I don't believe the Bush administration made all the right decisions. I don't think they do. I'll give you another example. I think the Bush administration made mistakes by returning people to Yemen. The -- the Obama administration would be well advised not to follow that precedent. I mean, returning people to Yemen, I believe it's something like one out of five people that we've sent from Guantanamo has returned to terrorist acts.

Whatever your position was on Guantanamo before, fact -- history now tells us that's terribly a irresponsible...

BLITZER: All right...

GIULIANI: ...thing to do. But the Obama administration seems to want to send these people, instead of to Yemen, to Illinois. Now, that doesn't make sense either. Maybe he's wrong about Guantanamo and he should reverse himself on it.

BLITZER: All right. We'll -- we'll talk about that. We have a lot more to pick up.

And Mr. -- Mr. Mayor, if you have a few moments, stick around.


BLITZER: We'll take a quick break and continue our conversation with the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.

Also, revealing interviews with the family of that Jordanian double agent accused of that suicide bombing that killed seven CIA officers.

Was he working for Jordanian intelligence at the time?

The foreign minister of Jordan is here in Washington right now.

He'll also be in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Stand by for that interview.

Also, an alleged terror plot stretching from Denver to New York. Now two new arrests in the case. Details of the latest twist.

And the world's tallest building proves too tempting to resist for two daredevils -- their heart-stopping leap all caught on tape.


BLITZER: We're back with the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.

Mr. Mayor, let's talk a little politics while I have you.

Michael Steele, the embattled chairman of the Republican National Committee, he's -- he's under a lot of pressure from some Republicans in Congress who don't like some of the things he's saying.

Have you -- have you been following this controversy?

GIULIANI: Probably not as closely as -- as I should. But Michael is a good friend of mine and he's someone I support, you know, very strongly.

BLITZER: Yes, he was basically criticized for suggesting the Republicans probably are not going to retake the House of Representatives in November and some Republicans on the Hill saying he shouldn't say that, it hurts fundraising, it hurts morale, stuff like that.

GIULIANI: Well, maybe he's just trying to set expectations in some way. There's no way to know if the Republican Party is going to take the House and the Senate by the end of the year. Honestly, there's no way to know how President Obama is going to perform.

President Obama, yesterday, had a somewhat different message on terrorism. If he follows through with it and he conducts this war -- however you want to -- however you want to describe it -- in a more intense way, I mean that -- that will make a big difference. If he doesn't, that will make a big difference. The economy could go in any direction. It's hard to know right now how things are going to turn out.

BLITZER: But a lot of Republicans in my home state of New York are upset -- disappointed you decided you're -- you don't want to go back into politics, whether running for governor or senator.

Are your days as a politician now over?

GIULIANI: Oh, I don't know if my days are over. There are a lot -- there are some people that would like them -- like it to be over, other people that wouldn't. But I haven't decided whether my days are over. I -- I made a decision just for this year. It's really because of my commitments to my law firm and my security consulting business that have gotten much more intense right now. So it just wasn't the right time. I just didn't have the time to put together a campaign. Maybe in the future I will.

BLITZER: We'll be watching if that happens, Mr. Mayor.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

BLITZER: Good luck no matter what you try to do.

Thanks very much for coming in.

GIULIANI: Thank you, Wolf.

Always a good job.

Thank you.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.

GIULIANI: Thank you, Wolf.

Always a good job.

Thank you.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much. The former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.

A mother and a widow now speaking out about the man accused of killing seven CIA operatives, insisting the suicide bomber could not have been a double agent. We have new information.

Stick around.


BLITZER: Fredricka Whitfield is monitoring some other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Fred, what's going on?

WHITFIELD: WHITFIELD: Hello again, Wolf.

Hello, everyone.

A bus carrying Togo's national score team was sprayed with machine gunfire near the border of war torn Angola and the Republic Congo. Two players and the bus driver were wounded. An armed wind of a separatist group claims responsibility. The team was traveling to Angola to play in the Africa Cup of Nations, the continent's highest profile soccer event.

And a man who flashed a fake badge to get into the Department of Homeland Security last weekend could be a serial impostor. Authorities in Massachusetts say Frederick Nickerson pretended to be a state police officer last year to get into a U2 concert. At HHS, he got as far as the outer office of Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who wasn't there, by the way. A spokeswoman calls it "a troubling incident," adding the man is on a list of people barred from the building.

And two base-jumping daredevils took a flying leap from the world's tallest building in Dubai today. The feat set a new record for the highest base jump from a manmade structure. Whoo -- look at that right there -- 2,020 feet. The tower just opened for business on Monday, as you know. Both men did land safely -- oh, Wolf, I know you are a daredevil at heart.


WHITFIELD: Is this something you would try?

BLITZER: No, not even -- that's crazy.

WHITFIELD: Not even close?

Maybe 500 feet?


WHITFIELD: A thousand?

BLITZER: Not interested. Not interested. I don't even know if I want to go to the top of that building but that's...


BLITZER: ...another matter.

WHITFIELD: Whoo, it's scary just looking at it.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Thrilling, though.

BLITZER: All right. We'll check back with Fred shortly.

Meanwhile, a double agent who led a double life -- we're learning more about the suicide bomber who killed eight people at a U.S. spy base in Afghanistan last week -- seven of those individuals CIA operatives.

Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, has been speaking with the -- with members of the bomber's family in Jordan.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Behind the open door is a mother in mourning -- struggling with the accusation her son was leading a double life -- a double agent CIA killer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had a phobia, a social phobia. He never liked to go to picnics, parties.

ROBERTSON: With the help of a translator, we're piecing together his life.

(on camera): He was a loner?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From day one he was a loner. (INAUDIBLE) a party he would not attend.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi was also gifted. He was smart, got a government scholarship to study medicine in Turkey, married there, brought his wife back to Jordan and began a promising medical career at Jordan's prestigious University Hospital.

Within a year, he moved here, to a U.N. clinic in one of the capital's poorer neighborhoods.

(on camera): What has some hospital officials here guessing is why he moved here to this clinic. It's in a Palestinian refugee camp. He was doing well in his classes. He was doing well as a doctor. Coming here is not something a successful doctor would do.

(voice-over): He was helping Palestinians and blogging about the United States -- angry with their support for Israel. That led Al Balawi to being questioned by Jordan's intelligence services. He became their informant, working as a doctor in Pakistan's volatile tribal areas (AUDIO GAP).

But at some point, he became a double agent -- turning on his U.S. and Jordanian handlers, killing seven CIA operatives and a Jordanian intelligence officer in Afghanistan.

The woman perhaps best placed to know if he was a double agent is his wife.

DEFNE BAYRAK, WIFE OF ALLEGED BOMBER (through translator): I am now seeing the possibility of my husband being an agent because my husband was an enemy of America.

ROBERTSON: She is speaking out and what she says implies her husband had only one real master -- Al Qaeda.

BAYRAK (through translator): In fact, I'm proud of my husband. He accomplished a very big operation in such a war.

ROBERTSON: And that's leaving Jordan's intelligence services with a lot of explaining to do. According to some sources familiar with their operations, they missed or ignored several red flags, putting so much faith in Al Balawi's alleged claims to be so close to Al Qaeda's leaders, after such a short time in Pakistan, and trusting a source who, in his own blogs, described himself as an ideological extremist.

But it appears he may have been leading more than one double life -- only days before the attack, lying to his wife about his true intentions.

BAYRAK (through translator): My husband was always saying he was going to come to Turkey. That's why we came here. We were at belief that my husband was going to come here and work as a consultant.

ROBERTSON: And lying to his mother, telling her in March he had passed an exam and was going to the United States to continue his studies. Now she doesn't know whom to believe and is worried about saying too much.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Amman, Jordan. (END VIDEO TAPE)

BLITZER: Jordan and the U.S. are teaming up for some Middle East peace hopes at the same time, but both are reeling from this blow carried out by a double agent.

Coming up, I'll speak with Jordan's foreign minister. He's here in Washington. He's in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, as frigid weather grips much of the country, some retailers and manufacturers are actually destroying clothes and throwing them away.

Why aren't they donating the clothes to the poor and the homeless?

This is a story that's sparking outrage right now. We're digging deeper.

Speculation is swirling about a dramatic reshuffle over at NBC that could see Jay Leno return to "The Tonight Show."

But what about the man who replaced him, Conan O'Brien?

And another potential TV rivalry pitting President Obama against ABC's mega hit "Lost."

Will the show lose out to the State of the Union speech?

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


The U.S. and Jordan teamed up today, urging the Israelis and the Palestinians to take new steps toward peace. But looming over these talks, the attack on a base in Afghanistan carried out by a double agent. It was a devastating blow to both American and Jordanian intelligence.

And joining us now, the foreign minister of Jordan, Nasser Judeh.

Welcome to Washington.


BLITZER: I know you've been meeting with the secretary of State, George Mitchell. And we're going to get to the peace process in a few moments.

But let me pick your brain on this Jordanian doctor who blew himself up -- a suicide bomber -- at the CIA base in Afghanistan, killing seven CIA officers, as well as a Jordanian intelligence officer, as well.

What -- what can you tell us about this?

JUDEH: Well, clearly, I'm not an intelligence officer and I don't comment on intelligence operations. But I would certainly tell you that this is a -- a war on terrorism that Jordan is at the forefront of. And this has been the case for many, many years. Actually, for the past few decades, Jordan was victimized by -- by terror and terrorist groups since as far back as the '60s and the '70s. And we've done everything that we could do...

BLITZER: So you're with the U.S. when it comes to fighting this kind of terror?

JUDEH: We are with all our allies, but most importantly, we're there to protect our own national interests and our citizens and our country from the scourge of terror and terrorism.

So this is a global war on terrorism. We're very much at the forefront of this and we cooperate with our allies. You know, information is one thing -- sharing information when it comes to intelligence is -- is something that makes...


JUDEH: ...this war much more effective.

BLITZER: Because Jordan has been the victim of these kinds of attacks over the years, as well.

But let's talk a little bit about this doctor, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a physician.

How did this happen?

Was he -- was he a double agent?

Was he a triple agent?

The reports that we're getting is he was brought to the CIA by Jordanian intelligence.

JUDEH: I'm not in a position to comment on operational procedures or on details. Suffice it to say that we are in this together. And we've seen the reports, just as you have seen the reports of how he was recruited. And he -- I must say that, my information -- from what I am aware of -- is that there has been valuable information that was given, not just by people like this character, but by many others in this intelligence -- ongoing intelligence operation.

BLITZER: Was he providing valuable information to Jordan?

JUDEH: I have been led to believe that, yes, he has been providing (INAUDIBLE)... BLITZER: Because the reports we're getting is that supposedly he was trying to help Jordan -- and the U.S., for that matter -- find the -- the number two operative in Al Qaeda in Pakistan, Ayman Al Zawahiri.

JUDEH: I really -- and I'm not avoiding your question, Wolf, but I really am not aware of the operational details and I don't get involved with that. I was asked a question today when giving the press a briefing after my meeting with Secretary Clinton. And I said neither of us here, the Secretary and myself, are intelligence officials.

Suffice it to say, once again, that this is an ongoing war on -- on terror. And don't forget -- and we must not forget that Jordan was a target of terrorists many times, not least of all the latest incident that took place in 2005, when three hotels were attacked in Jordan...

BLITZER: I remember it.

JUDEH: ...and we lost many civilians. So we are targets of these terrorists. And we will do everything that we can to prevent these terrorists from carrying out their plans. And we don't wait for terrorists to implement their plans. We try to uproot them before they implement their plans.

BLITZER: All right, I want...

JUDEH: And this is...

BLITZER: I want to...

JUDEH: This is important...

BLITZER: ...move on...

JUDEH: continue working with our allies on this.

BLITZER: I want to move on, but just to nail down this one point. At one point you did believe this individual, this position, was providing good intelligence?

JUDEH: This is a report that we're seeing all over, but again I'm not in a position to comment on that. All I can say is that we cooperate with our allies, we pursue our own national interests. I think Jordan has been very, very effective, and the success stories that we've seen over many years in terms of the effective way that intelligence operations were handled to pursue terrorists where they are.

BLITZER: And as far as U.S./Jordanian relations are concerned, has it had a negative impact, this incident, at all? I mean...


JUDEH: No negative impact whatsoever. BLITZER: ... you indicate you've met with the Secretary of State, everything is back as normal?

JUDEH: As I said, we've got to look at the track record and we've seen many success stories and we've seen many effective ways of dealing with terror and terrorism and pursuing terrorists. Let's look at how Zarqawi was pursued, for example. And there was another...

BLITZER: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the head of al Qaeda in Iraq. Originally from Jordan.

JUDEH: And Karbuli, who was arrested by Jordanian intelligence officers in Iraq itself because he was planning to attack in Jordan again.

BLITZER: All right. Let's talk about the overall war on terror. Thomas Freidman writes in the "New York Times" this wee. He says this, "No laws or walls we put up will ever be sufficient to protect us unless the Arab and Muslim societies from whence these suicide bombers emerge erect political, religious and moral restraints, as well as starting by shaming suicide bombers and naming their actions murder, not martyrdom."

Do you agree with him on that?

JUDEH: Of course I agree with him. Anybody who targets civilians and kills innocent people and perpetrates terror and terrorism is certainly not a martyr. I mean I think we have many fatwas, and fatwa, I think, is a common word for everybody.

BLITZER: It's a religious order.

JUDEH: Yes. We've had many fatwas by religious figures around the Muslim world that targeting innocent civilians is certainly nothing that qualifies anybody to become a martyr.

BLITZER: So why do so many people...

JUDEH: It is murder.

BLITZER: ... in the Muslim or the Arab world for that matter call these suicide bombers martyrs?

JUDEH: I'm not in a position to comment on what people say. Well, our position in Jordan is very, very clear, and people who target innocent citizens, who kill and murder children, are murderers. And we've always maintained that.

I don't think you can look at everybody with the same yardstick. I mean there are people who have their own views. You don't necessarily have to agree with them. We certainly don't agree with that. But I think what we do in Jordan is -- in terms of action rather than words.

Look at the Amman message, for example, that His Majesty King Abdullah II initiated a few years ago which explains the true spirit of Islam and which explains that dialogue and civil relations between people is what should govern relations between nations, and cultures and civilization, not violence.

BLITZER: Based on what you heard from the secretary of state, from George Mitchell, the special U.S./Middle East envoy, while here in Washington, is this Israeli/Palestinian peace process going to get started once again anytime soon?

JUDEH: I'll get to that in three seconds, if I may, but let me just go back to Afghanistan and the war on terror. You know that Jordan is present in Afghanistan and has been present right from the beginning. We have humanitarian operations there, we have logistical operations, and of course we have operations that target terror and terrorism, because we have been a target of that, and we like to prevent that.

And our presence in Afghanistan will not only continue, but it will be enhanced and increased. And this is, again, as a collective effort with all the countries that are fighting terror and terrorism, but also to pursue our own national interests and to protect our citizens and our land.

BLITZER: Jordan has been a very good ally of the U.S. when it comes...

JUDEH: And that commitment not only stays but it's going to be increased and in different ways and we'll see that. But coming back to the peace process, I'm encouraged by what I heard today from...

BLITZER: Encouraged by what?

JUDEH: Encouraged by the continued commitment that I see from President Obama's administration, from the president himself, from the secretary of state, from Senator Mitchell. We've had many ups and downs, but this is the story of the Middle East conflict.

We've had many ups and downs over many years. We have to make sure that 2010 is the year that sees re-launch of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis in a comprehensive context.

The Arab-Israeli conflict was referred to by President Obama when he first walked into the oval office as a conflict that needs to be resolved in the context of U.S. national interests.

Perhaps this is the first time that we've heard it put that way. And President Obama expressed a sense of urgency at the time. He engaged from day one. We've seen, again, difficulties on the ground.

BLITZER: So you see no reduction in the U.S. determination to try to help out.

JUDEH: On the contrary, I see a renewed determination. The most important thing right now is to get Palestinians and Israelis, and by extension, Syrians and Israelis and Lebanese and Israelis, to sit together and try to resolve this conflict. The Arab/Israeli conflict perhaps is also the root cause of many other symptoms around the world that can be dealt with much more effectively if this Arab-Israeli conflict is sorted out.

We know what we want. We want a Palestinian state that is independent, viable, contiguous, and we want a safe and secure Israel. And his majesty the king refers to this as the 57-state solution.

Everyone wins, Wolf. You have the Palestinians who get their state, the Israelis who get their security. Syrians and Lebanese will get their occupied territory back. And you have normal relations between Israel and 57 Arab and Muslim countries, and you get a region that will be full of opportunity and hope for the future.

So we cannot give up. I think there's fresh ideas that were discussed today. I know that the secretary is meeting with other Arab officials and probably will be discussing this with Israelis as well.

We need to get a conducive environment in place that will enable negotiations to be launched and that will enable an end-game to be set. We have to refocus on the end-game and not keep talking about how to talk. Rather than that, we should be talking about what to talk about.

BLITZER: Well, good luck. Jordan has a reliable partner and certainly can be of great help to both the Israelis and the Palestinians in moving forward.

JUDEH: And of course there are complicated issues, when you talk about final state issues, refugees, Jerusalem, border security, water...

BLITZER: Mitchell says it can be done in two years once the talks start. Do you agree?

JUDEH: Well, if we build on everything that has been achieved before, I mean, if you look at what happened in 2000, and the discussions that were taking placing with our ambassador all through 2008, you cannot start from square one. You've got to start on -- and build on what happened from before.

And if you do that, then I think time is quite conducive.

BLITZER: Foreign Minister, good luck.

JUDEH: Thank you very much, sir.

BLITZER: The president of the United States is now calling for the next generation of screening technology. Some of it is already in the works. We're going to show you tomorrow's high-tech scanners, today.


BLITZER: The last line of defense for aviation security may be at those airport checkpoints. And the president wants those areas to be equipped with a very, very latest technology.

Brian Todd has been taking a closer look at what we can expect down the road. Some of that technology already exists. It's pretty dramatic.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, and we can expect more innovation in the weeks and months ahead, Wolf, at airports in the United States. We've all seen what they've already got. The metal detectors, the body scanners that can reveal every contour, those puffer machines that never really caught on.

But President Obama wants to step up the technology and fast. And the agencies tasked with that say they're up to the job.


TODD (voice-over): When President Obama said this.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To develop and deploy the next generation of screening technologies.

TODD: This is what he meant. You're looking at what one Homeland Security official calls around electronic dog's nose. It's a trace sensor device, one of the technologies being developed by the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security to protect passengers from terrorists.

The trace center can sniff explosive traces on a person's hands, possibly near a body cavity. It can smell minute odors even from sealed containers.

SUSAN HALLOWELL, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY LABORATORY: There's enough vapor coming from around that sealed bottle to use detection devices to find it.

TODD: Another device called a MagViz is just for luggage. It's low-strength MRI machine that can tell which liquids might be explosives. Harmless liquids get green dots. A potential liquid explosive gets a red one.

A Homeland Security official says they're also looking at thermal imaging technology that can distinguish between the temperatures of skin and foreign objects. As we reported last spring, the Pentagon's developing this to interrogate prisoners for signs of stress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Brian, tell me how you look working for your boss.

TODD (on camera): I love it. It's the most fulfilling professional experience I've ever had. Uh-oh, it looks like I'm spiking.

(Voice-over): There is some skepticism. Homeland Security expert Randy Larsen says he's all for research and development but...

(On camera): What are the big drawbacks to some of these things in development right now, some of these technologies?

COL. RANDY LARSEN, (RET.), INSTITUTE OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, some things work really well in the laboratory in a very controlled environment when two or three people are going through a system in an hour.

At an airport where we got a million people going through, we have 2,000 screening lanes just in U.S. airports. Actually it's about 2,200 screening lanes. So we have to buy a lot of , and they're very expensive.


TODD: In response to that, one Homeland Security official says cost is a huge component they're factoring in here. He says that MagViz machine, for instant, is not too far away from being deployable, but he says MRI technology is expensive right now.

He says you can't place that in every airport at the moment and they're figuring out ways to do that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Are folks concerned, though, by showing and talking about all this new technology they could by tipping off terrorists out there, what to expect?

TODD: I asked a Homeland Security official about that, he gave me the same line that Secretary Napolitano gave yesterday. Security now is a multi-layered approach. No technology stands on its own. He says they're really not giving us the finite detail of how they're using this technology and exactly where it'll be based. So key details, they're not revealing.

BLITZER: And redundancy, just making sure...

TODD: That's right. A lot of layers.

BLITZER: A lot of layers out there. That's what's key. Thanks very much.

TODD: That's right.

BLITZER: New video of the balloon boy incident from a second camera that was rolling at that homemade balloon floated away. And is NBC about to shuffle the deck again? New speculation that Jay Leno could wind up back on "The Tonight Show." So what would happen to Conan O'Brien?

Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: There's new video out right now, that notorious balloon boy incident. It turns out there was a second camera filming as the homemade balloon floated away from the Heene family's Colorado backyard with the family apparently fearing their son Falcon was inside. At least that's what we all thought at the time. Law enforcement later determined that the entire thing was a publicity stunt. The father Richard Heene starts a 90-day sentence on Monday in connection with that case.

Take a look at this new video provided to us by the Heene family.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Falcon was in that ship. He was in the ship, Dad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dad, he was in the ship, Dad.

RICHARD HEENE, FATHER: What are you talking about? I told you to tie down (EXPLETIVE DELETED) tethers.


R. HEENE: I told you to tie the tethers down.

M. HEENE: I did do that.

R. HEENE: No, you know what? You never listen (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to what I say. No. The whole (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dad, Falcon is in the ship.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dad, Falcon's in there.

R. HEENE: Where?


R. HEENE: I thought he was just here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's in there.

R. HEENE: What!

M. HEENE: What!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in there. I saw him crawl in.

R. HEENE: No, he's not.


R. HEENE: You just wait here. Falcon? Falcon? M. HEENE: No way.


BLITZER: All right. Heene is now insisting the entire incident was not a hoax. So why did he plead guilty? He explains it all in an exclusive interview tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE" 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific.

If you're interested in the case, you might want to watch.

Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" which airs every Sunday morning. He's here with more.

Let's -- I want to talk about Jay Leno in a second, but what do you make of this latest development?

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN'S RELIABLE SOURCES: Wolf, I am not buying it. The whole video looked very staged to me. And you don't get to go this. You don't get to go in a court of law and say yes, I pleaded guilty, it was a hoax, I was lying, and then go on Larry King, as we saw from the advanced clip, but -- I was really, really -- I was just doing that for the show. I was just doing that to please the judge.

I think the judge should haul that guy back into court and make him explain what he's going to say to Larry.

BLITZER: He actually said, I was doing it to protect my wife, who was a resident here in the United States, could have been deported back to Japan if didn't plead guilty. That's the argument he was making.

KURTZ: Then he lied to the court.

BLITZER: We'll talk about that a little bit. Let's talk about these two guys behind you. Take a look over there. You see Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, what are you hearing? What exactly is going on?

KURTZ: There is no doubt at this point, Wolf, that NBC is throwing in the towel, admitting that this whole Jay Leno at 10:00 experiment has been a colossal failure. The ratings haven't been good. The show hasn't been very good. Jay hasn't been at his best.

He is going back to 11:30 to try to win back his old audience. This guy was number one for 17 years before they came up with a brilliant idea of putting him in primetime. The only lingering question now is what happens to Conan O'Brien.

BLITZER: Because there was a story in "New York Times" saying he would have a half-hour "Tonight" show from 11:35 to 12:05. And then Conan O'Brien would take over and go from 12:05 to 1:05 or whatever. Is that what you're hearing?

KURTZ: If Conan O'Brien agrees to that -- and look, this is kind of humiliating for Conan. He waited five years to take over "The Tonight Show." That's when the announcement was first made by NBC. He's had just a few months, his ratings have not been good. He's drawing some of the younger viewers, but he's getting beaten, beaten by David Letterman. Beaten by ABC's "Nightline."

He could agree to do the 12:00 midnight to 1:00 shift, or he could say, you know what? I'm going to walk out of here and go to another network and NBC would be obligated to pay him many millions of dollars and then Jay could have the whole hour.

BLITZER: Here are the questions that I just -- maybe I don't know what NBC was thinking at the time. Why take...

KURTZ: Neither does anybody else.

BLITZER: Why take someone who's number one for so many years at 11:35 and move him to 10:00 p.m.?

KURTZ: They took something that wasn't broke and they tried to fix it, and they created a huge mess. The reason, I guess, made sense in a certain kind of way. They didn't want to lose Conan. And if they lose Conan, they couldn't promise Conan "The Tonight Show" eventually, he would walk and maybe compete against Jay at 11:30.

Also, NBC had no hits at 10:00. Jeff Zucker, the chief executive, came up with this idea. The "Jay Leno Show" is cheap to produce. You get a studio audience. You tell a bunch of jokes. You bring in some movie stars. Much cheaper than doing a crime drama or a sitcom.

So if this had worked it would have saved a lot of money for the network. But it didn't work. It's a huge mess and NBC is not doing a damage control very well, either.

BLITZER: And why -- what's your understanding why Conan has not done better at 11:35 against David Letterman?

KURTZ: You know, Wolf, TV audiences are very set in their habits. And what we're -- the goofy skits that work for Conan O'Brien at 12:30 in the morning was a kind of a shock to a lot of the traditional "Tonight" show viewers who liked Jay just fine at 11:30, and so he is down to about 2.5 million viewers in the ratings and...

BLITZER: He's lost 2.5 million?

KURTZ: He only has 2.5 million. He's lost almost half of what Leno had. He's gone from number one to number three. I'd feel sorry for the guy except that how this turns out he's going to make many millions.

BLITZER: So he's not even doing as well as "Nightline" right now, Conan? Is that right?

KURTZ: This has been a boon for "Nightline" and for those of us who care about news. "Nightline" doing about four million, neck and neck with Letterman and a lot of people were willing to write "Nightline" off after Koppel left. A comeback for "Nightline," a comedown for Conan, and a big mess for NBC which is trying to figure out how it can hold to these two highly paid comedy stars. They have to heal this self-inflicted wound.

BLITZER: And the notion on the Comcast, the cable operator, is buying NBC Universal. How does this play into any of all this if at all?

KURTZ: Well, I'm sure Jeff Zucker who would like to run NBC after Comcast takes over is thinking about he's got a lot of explaining to do. How did he preside over this mess which, as you say, they took the guy who was number one? It looks like a really -- it looks like something that's wasn't very well thought out. But, of course, Comcast won't be taking over for a while.

BLITZER: I'm sure you'll be talking about this Sunday morning on "RELIABLE SOURCES "as well.

KURTZ: That's on my list.

BLITZER: Yes, you've got a lot of good stuff to talk about this week. Howard Kurtz, thanks very much.

Fans of the hit TV show are worried right now. Will ABC's "Lost" lose out to the president's State of the Union Address.


BLITZER: The president's annual State of the Union Address is traditionally on a Tuesday night at the end of January or the beginning of February and has had some fans of the ABC cult drama "Lost" simply terrified.

Our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton is here.

Abbi, we still don't know when the State of the Union will be delivered this year, do we?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Right. It could be January 26th, but the mere threat that the State of the Union could be happening on Tuesday, February 2nd, has had fans of "Lost" in a frenzy online, because of the long-scheduled premier date for the final season that is Tuesday, February 2nd.

And the fans of this hit drama have been getting organized online to try and prevent the State of the Union happening on that day. On Facebook, you've got 4,000 fans joining a group called Americans against the State of the Union on the same night as "Lost," pretty catchy title there.

On twitter, there's been an uprising of all these fans. People posting that Obama would not have made it this far on the island using the hash tag "No State of the Union" February 2nd. But they are not -- all is not lost, sorry I had to say, this -- would you believe made it today to the White House briefing. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't foresee a scenario in which the millions of people that hope to finally get some conclusion in "Lost" are preempted by the president.


GIBBS: You can quote a senior administration official.


TATTON: You heard there, Wolf, that Gibbs didn't give a date there, so we don't know exactly when it's going to b but on twitter, they're certainly saying that "Lost" fans one, and government zero.

BLITZER: Yes, that's probably true. They would like an extra week or two to make sure health care reform is passed, that's why it's still up in the air.

TATTON: Probably not what they're thinking about exactly but right.

BLITZER: Not the "Lost" fans necessarily. But that's what the White House is thinking.

All right, thanks very much. I think he indicated pretty strongly, those "Lost" fans are not going to have to worry.

TATTON: They should be OK.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much.

A day in court for the man accused of trying to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas day. Details of his plea and what happens next.


BLITZER: The hot button issue of illegal immigration is heading to the New Jersey legislature as lawmakers take up a measure that could impact the lives of thousands of young people.

CNN's Mary Snow explains.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, lawmakers in New Jersey are considering a bill that would lower college tuition costs and would affect undocumented immigrants living in the state. And the measure has sparked heated debate.


SNOW (voice-over): For these two women in their 20s, being in Bergen Community College they say represents part of the American dream. The school has a "don't ask" policy when it comes to immigration status. These students don't want to be identified. One is from Colombia, the other from Ecuador. They had lived in the United States illegally since coming here as children. Their hopes are resting on a proposed law that would allow them to pay in-state tuition fees which could cut their college costs in half.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are so many obstacles, and if they could open up this one channel, we'll do the rest. That is all we ask.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could not get my certification.

SNOW: Students who are illegal immigrants made personal pleas to New Jersey lawmakers this week urging them to pass the bill allowing them to get in-state tuition rates. To be eligible they would be required to pledge to take steps to legalize their immigration status.

(On camera): Did they sway you at all?


SNOW (voice-over): Sam Thompson is a Republican state lawmaker who said these students shouldn't be rewarded.

THOMPSON: I do not believe that people who jumped ahead of the line by coming illegally should then be entitled after a certain number of years to all of the benefits that American citizen or a legal immigrant is entitled to in this country.

SNOW: Ten states already have a law similar to the one New Jersey is trying to pass. Democrats are counting on momentum in the final days of Governor Jon Corzine's administration since incoming Republican governor-elect Chris Christie opposes the measure.

GORDON JOHNSON (D), NEW JERSEY STATE ASSEMBLY: This is lame duck, but the governor feels that it's important to him, and the governor is in office now. He supports it.

SNOW: The politics are personal for this student who asked not to be named. She calls this an education bill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the next step for me, and it's the determining factor of whether I can or can't continue pursuing my dreams.

SNOW: Dreams or not, Sam Thompson is drawing a line.

THOMPSON: It simply serves as more incentive for more people to come into our country illegally.


SNOW: While it's impossible to know how many students in New Jersey are illegal immigrants, sponsors of the bill estimate there may be around 28,000 undocumented high school students currently in New Jersey. Wolf?