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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Al Qaeda's Impact 9 Years Later; Wanted: Osama bin Laden; Deadly Inferno; Gas Pipeline Safety Concerns
Aired September 10, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us.
Tonight, nine years after the attacks, why is Osama bin Laden still out there? And why now do we seem more divided over and apprehensive about Islam than nine years ago?
Also a remarkable in-depth account inside the hunt for bin Laden; how active a hunt is it really? The answers may surprise you.
Plus we -- tonight we go one on one with Donald Trump. He says he's got a way out for the planners of that Islamic center near the World Trade Center site. His way out is a buyout. But they say they're not selling. So is he taking no for an answer? Well, stay tuned and hear it as only Trump can tell it.
And later that huge gas fire in California. Did warnings of a gas leak go unanswered? Tonight, hear from a man who watched his neighborhood explode, his neighbors die who says none of this had to happen.
We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest", with the two things that haven't changed in the nine years since the attacks in New York and Washington and the heroic sacrifice in the skies over Pennsylvania.
Nine years later, we still haven't caught or killed the top leaders of al Qaeda and nine years later, the president still has to remind Americans that we're at the war against Islamic extremism, not all of Islam.
Nine years ago, President Bush stood in the wreckage of the World Trade Center and said the people who knocked the buildings down would hear from America soon. He took care the very next week when it was known who had committed the attacks to keep the focus on them and their allies, not the religion they claim to speak for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, over the years that followed, President Bush made good on those words, visiting mosques, hosting Ramadan dinners, praising moderate Muslims all to draw the sharpest distinction between violent Islamic extremism and Islam itself.
Today at the White House with anti-Muslim sentiment growing with mosque from Lower Manhattan to rural California, drawing protests, with an extremist Florida preacher threatening to burn Korans and a rising percentage of Americans believing that Mr. Obama himself is a Muslim, today the president spoke out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the things that I most admired about President Bush was after 9/11, him being crystal clear about the fact that we were not at war with Islam. We are at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted Islam, had stolen its banner to carry out their outrageous acts.
And I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion; we're not going to be divided by ethnicity. We are all Americans. We stand together against those who would try to do us harm.
And that's what we've done over the last nine years. And we should take great pride in that. And I think it is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the American people to hang on to that thing that is best in us, a belief in religious tolerance, clarity about who our enemies are.
Our enemies are al Qaeda and their allies, who are trying to kill us, but have been -- have killed more Muslims than just about anybody on earth.
You know, we have to make sure that we don't start turning on each other. And I will do everything that I can as long as I am President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God. And we may call that God different names, but we remain one nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Nine years later, that reminder still is necessary. Nine years later, the real culprit is still at large.
Here is what President Bush said about Osama bin Laden back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: They used to put out there in the old west a wanted poster. It said "Wanted: dead or alive." All I want and America wants him brought to justice. That's what we want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's President Bush nine years ago.
And this is candidate Obama on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, in just a few moments, we're bringing you a gripping account of the hunt for bin Laden, then and now. "Up Close", inside on the battle ground itself, where troops cornered the al Qaeda leaders -- leaders, CNN cameras and correspondents were there for all of it. That's coming up in just a few minutes.
But right now the other thing that seems almost unchanged nine years later: the pain over Lower Manhattan. Tonight you see the twin beams of light marking where the towers stood. Two blocks north the fight over an Islamic center goes on, President Obama saying at his news conference today that anywhere you can build a church, synagogue, a Hindu temple, you should also be able to build a mosque.
As for that pastor, Terry Jones, who thought he somehow had cut some kind of a deal for moving the Islamic center and mosque in exchange for not burning Korans tomorrow, whether they actually thought that or just said that we don't know. Well, it seems he is heading to New York tonight. What for, we also have no idea.
Meantime, Donald Trump, who offered to buy the site if the mosque would relocate five blocks farther away, well, he says the offer still stands. And he's got the cash to back it up. We spoke by phone a short time ago about the mosque and Ground Zero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's the ninth anniversary of 9/11 tomorrow. The fact that there hasn't been a memorial built at Ground Zero, the fact that Ground Zero still -- it's a construction zone.
What do you make of that as a New Yorker?
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MAGNATE (via telephone): I think it's a disgrace that it's taken so long. And frankly, I know as you probably know, my idea wasn't to build the buildings that they have now it was to rebuild the World Trade Center one story taller and a lot stronger. But almost an identical version of the World Trade Center, I think it would have been fantastic.
And everybody loved that idea. Instead they're building a different look. And I just don't know why they're doing it. They could have built it ten stories or 20 stories taller but at least as tall and stronger. And everybody loved the idea of doing it --
COOPER: Why has it taken so long? TRUMP: Because there's a lot of incompetence involved, a lot of incompetence, gross incompetence. Years ago I took over the Waldman Skating Rink and it was sitting in Central Park for seven years, nobody could get it built. They were working but nobody could get it built.
And I built it in three months and I built it for a fraction of the cost. And this is just the same thing, except it's a larger version.
COOPER: So Mr. Trump, what exactly did you hope to achieve by putting in an offer on this property?
TRUMP: Well Anderson, if you had been in New York and maybe you are in New York and you see what's going on in terms of what is happening with people, the hatred, the -- the whole situation is just ready to blow up. And it's only going to get worse.
And I read an article in one of the newspapers yesterday that they were putting a price tag of $18 million or $19 million on this building that they want to convert to a mosque. And I said what's this all about? I thought they wanted to build a mosque. Now I found out this man that has it, the developer, is a low- level real estate guy without very much money and not enough money to build the mosque, as we understand it. And I called him and I offered him the money that he paid for the facility, which is $4.8 million, plus a 25 percent profit, plus costs and lots of other things.
And this would solve a very, very nasty problem. And he could go take the money, build it someplace else, but a little bit further away than this particular site. And he was telling me what a great deal he made. He was telling me that the people were stupid that sold it to him for that low amount and that it's worth $18 million or $20 million or that he had offers for $18 million or $20 million.
And I said, "How is that possible?" You bought it less than a year ago. How do you have offers for $18 million or $20 million when you bought it for $4.8 million? He said they were stupid. They made a mistake.
Well, I know a lot of real estate people and I also actually happen to know the people that own the building. They're not stupid people.
So, I believe that he is using this building as a way to sell it for a lot of money and he's using religion as a way to get the price. And I don't like it.
COOPER: You think he basically is holding out and hoping that maybe -- what, the city or somebody will pay him a huge amount of money, more than the property is worth, just to move away?
TRUMP: Well Anderson, you see how poorly the state of New York is run. And we happen to have a great mayor. But if you look at the state of New York, he's probably hoping somebody from the state, like the governor, gives him a check for $20 million. And boy, that's a nice little profit when you can quadruple your money in a very short period of time.
So the people that sold it got $4.8 million and he thinks it's worth $20 million. And you know, if he were saying, look, I want the mosque -- because I'm a big believer in freedom of religion, Anderson -- but I want the mosque. It has to be -- it has nothing to do with money. He is not talking about values, and the great deal he made. And he talked about that to me. That would be one thing.
But he was telling me about, you know, how it's such a great deal and how he did this and that. And then I read stories about him. He's a low-level real estate guy who, in my opinion, is using religion and the whole thing of a mosque in order to go out and make a big, fat profit. And I will be willing to bet that at some point this will be sold, possibly not to me. Probably not to me, but sold.
COOPER: You don't think the mosque will actually be built at this site?
TRUMP: I don't think so, no. And I see the -- I have major buildings in downtown Manhattan. And I was there yesterday and I see the level of animosity and all of the problems going on down there. It's unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it.
And, you know, I actually told him and said, if you would agree to do this, you would create such goodwill -- because right now it's nothing but ill will -- you would create such goodwill, you would be a hero. You would be great.
TRUMP: It would be great for everybody. But I don't think he's going to. Because I don't think that's the kind of guy he is.
COOPER: Sir, "The New York Post" quotes a lawyer for Hashim el Zanadi (ph), who I assume is the guy you've talked to, the man that you made the offer to. He says that he found your letter, that there was a letter that -- that was out in the press, that he found your letter that was addressed to him, quote, "somewhat laughable and that it looks like it was written by a publicist and he goes on to say -- that he's actually see -- the lawyer says that El Zanadi saw it as an insult.
TRUMP: Well, I actually wrote the letter myself, and I sent the letter to him but I spoke to him probably even prior to getting the letter -- not him but one of the representatives. He is one of the investors, the man you just mentioned.
And I thought it was a great idea. I thought -- now had I not seen the articles in the newspaper, Anderson, about how valuable, what a great deal he made -- and, actually, that man, El Zanadi said give me $18 million or $20 million and I'm gone, or something to that effect.
So I see this and I'm saying to myself, well, wait a minute, the people that owned the building are smart. They sold it for $4.8. They're not people that would sell it for $4.8 if it's worth $18 million. So I figured I would give them a 25 percent profit, which is pretty good in less than a year, I mean, if it were a flat real estate market and other things and get this burden off the country, off the city and let everybody go back to normal and everybody be happy.
I just don't see him, the man I spoke to, as that kind of a guy. I've watched him. I've seen him interviewed, I believe, and I don't see him as a hard line guy and I don't see that happening.
COOPER: Do you think this controversy is going to go on for a long time or do you think this thing will get resolved somewhat later?
TRUMP: Oh I don't think -- I don't think you've seen the worst of it. It's going to get worse and worse. And I really think it's going to be very hard to get it built. I think construction workers are going to stop it. I think a lot of people are going to try to stop it.
And I thought, my idea could be a way that in every way everybody benefits, except me. Because I don't even like the location, if you want to know the truth, I don't like, it's probably the worst location I would have. So I'm not a fan, I put it in my letter. I said I'm making you this offer despite the fact that I don't even like the building or the location but I'm doing it in order to create peace.
So frankly, I think it's going to get worse and maybe far worse before it gets better, Anderson.
COOPER: He has rejected but is your offer still on the table?
COOPER: Donald Trump --
TRUMP: And I told him 24-hour closing, immediate, immediate closing.
COOPER: You've got the cash?
TRUMP: I definitely do.
COOPER: Donald Trump, I appreciate your time. Thanks sir.
TRUMP: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: He definitely has the cash. You can see a lot more of Donald Trump Monday night when he sits down with Larry King; that's "LARRY KING LIVE" Monday at 9:00 Eastern Time.
Let us know what you think. Join the live chat under way right now at AC360.com.
And up next tonight: the hunt for Osama bin Laden from the beginning long before the 9/11 attacks, the moment in the mountains of Tora Bora he slipped away. We'll take you in depth and "Up Close", a special report we've been working on.
Also later tonight: were warnings ignored long before the deadly gas plant explosion that tore apart San Bruno, California? We're "Keeping Them Honest."
COOPER: President Bush vowed to get him. President Obama campaigned on it. While he's dramatically ramped up drone attacks, targeting the Taliban and al Qaeda, they've yet to claim al Qaeda's leader or his lieutenant. The president spoke about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Bin Laden has gone deep underground, even Zawahiri, who is more often out there, has been much more cautious. But we have the best minds, the best intelligence officers, the best Special Forces who are thinking about this day and night. And they will continue to think about it day and night as long as I'm president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Bin Laden, in fact, has plagued three presidents now, Clinton, Bush and Obama.
Tonight, we prepared a special in-depth report, some of the players in the manhunt and the reporting of it, chapter by chapter, battle by battle in their own words. Take a look.
OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): We declared jihad against the U.S. government.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: At the time it wasn't very clear how serious he was about this war. But when he blew up two U.S. embassies in Africa and then blew up the USS Cole, it was pretty obvious that he was serious about it, not only serious about it, but that he had capabilities.
GARY BERNTSEN, AUTHOR, "HUMAN INTELLIGENCE, COUNTERTERRORISM AND NATIONAL LEADERSHIP: A PRACTICAL GUIDE": Bin Laden's first large attacks on us were the East Africa attacks, multiple bombings at the same time. At that point, we realized that bin Laden had sort of entered the big leagues.
BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must find those responsible for these evil acts.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Within a few weeks, President Bill Clinton launched a cruise missile attack into Afghanistan at al Qaeda training camps. Bin Laden apparently got away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole tower just came down. BERGEN: The Bush administration generally had no idea about the scale of the al Qaeda threat, until they were evacuating their offices on the morning of September 11, 2001.
BUSH: Osama bin Laden is a prime suspect. And the people who house him, encourage him, provide food, comfort or money are on notice.
ROBERTSON: On September the 11th, I was in Kabul.
Just heard an impact perhaps a few miles away.
It was very clear to me that this was a terrorist attack of some kind, and that probably bin Laden was behind it, and that, pretty quickly, attention was going to focus on where we were in Kabul in Afghanistan.
BUSH: On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
ROBERTSON: We were the first journalists to get into Kandahar after Kandahar fell. And, within a day, local Afghans were bringing us some of the things they were finding in that training camp.
There was a group of passports. And you could see details of Arabs coming to Afghanistan just before September 11. So, it was very clear that bin Laden was sort of strengthening his forces on the ground; that he expected there was going to be a need to fight.
BERNTSEN: Was the person primarily directed with the responsibility of hunting down bin Laden and members of al Qaeda that fled from Kabul after we seized the city.
BERGEN: He made his way from there to Tora Bora; he knew this place like the back of his hand. This was an ideal place to do a last stand against the United States and its Northern Alliance allies, because it's mountainous and very dug-in caves. And, then, also there was multiple ways to flee into Pakistan.
BERNTSEN: There were multiple times we knew his exact location during the fight. We did drop a BLU-82 -- that's a very large non- nuclear device -- at that area. He had just moved.
BERGEN: By my calculation, there were more journalists at Tora Bora than there were American soldiers.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We were able just to listen in on their conversations and listen to al Qaeda fighters talking among themselves.
Over an Eastern Alliance radio, I spoke with an unnamed member of al Qaeda in Arabic.
I started off just trying to open a discussion with niceties. (through translator): We are press. We want to know your opinion. We heard the opinion of the other side. We also want to know your opinion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are well and good.
WEDEMEN: They insisted that they would fight to the end, that their enemies would die a violent death. But, at the same time, what was clear was, they were under constant bombardment by the heaviest possible munitions, and that their morale was under stress.
BERGEN: A number of people who have been in communication with al Qaeda members say that he was wounded at the battle of Tora Bora in his left side.
But Bin Laden is pretty downbeat. He -- he looks terrible. He's got a lot of white in his beard. This guy has barely survived being killed at the battle of Tora Bora. And that tape reflects it.
BERNTSEN: Bin Laden was praying with his men on the radio, apologizing for them -- having led them into this trap. And he was pretty shocked.
BERGEN: The CIA officials on the ground, including Gary Berntsen, were asking for a battalion of rangers to come in and try and encircle and capture or kill bin Laden.
BERNTSEN: They decided not to do that. They were overly concerned, and they were very concerned with casualties. You know, every loss for an American family is devastating. But, at that point, we needed to close the deal. We needed to finish this off, and we didn't.
BERGEN: I think bin Laden slipped into Pakistan on December 14, 2001.
Bin Laden wrote a will as he was exiting Tora Bora, probably quite heavily wounded. And, in the will, he essentially said to his kids: Don't join al Qaeda. The road has been too hard. Don't follow me.
I think he felt that, you know, this thing was over. But, you know, it turned out that it wasn't.
BERNTSEN: Sadly, later, we would, you know, ratchet up the number of forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and take significant losses.
BIN LADEN (through translator): The blessed attacks against the head of the snake, the United States --
BERNTSEN: The most accurate intelligence is what we had back in 2001. After he crossed into Pakistan, the coverage was very, very poor. It remains poor.
BERGEN: We've had videotapes of bin Laden since then. And he looks tanned and rested by comparison. His beard is dyed black. He looks fine.
ROBERTSON: These tapes or cassettes can be passed off from courier to courier to courier. One courier doesn't know where the other got it from. They could have come from anywhere.
BERGEN: He's clearly got access to radio news, maybe the Internet, books, and he seems quite comfortable. We're spending, I think, around $75 billion a year on our intelligence.
And our intelligence hasn't answered some really basic questions, like: Where is Osama bin Laden? Where is his number two, Ayman al- Zawahiri? Where is Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban?
And we still don't know these questions almost a decade after 9/11. It's really pretty astonishing.
ROBERTSON: Al Qaeda is effectively in a better position now to continue a low-level fight than it was 10 years ago.
BERGEN: And bin Laden has sketched out the general principles about how al Qaeda will operate and how organizations allied to al Qaeda will operate.
In 2008, he said, we're going to respond to the Danish cartoons, the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that a lot of Muslims found offensive. And then, three months after that, an al Qaeda member in Pakistan blew up a bomb outside the Danish Embassy killing six people.
So, not only does he provide strategic direction, but, sometimes, he actually enters into the arena of saying, here is some tactical directive, and then people act on it.
OBAMA: My preference, obviously, would be to capture or kill him.
BIN LADEN (through translator): Obama and his administration put new seeds of hatred and revenge against America.
ROBERTSON: Bin Laden's ideology now spreads to North Africa. It spreads to Yemen. It spreads to Somalia, across much of the Middle East. And the way that much of the Muslim world has viewed the events after 9/11 has turned some of them against the United States and against the West.
BERGEN: Obviously, the global Jihadi movement is not going to just collapse if bin Laden is captured or killed, but it would be a very big deal if he was found.
I think it would be the end of al Qaeda as an organization. Al Qaeda was his idea. He has been a rather effective leader of al Qaeda and the global jihad movement, not just the organization, but other people are inspired by al Qaeda's ideas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are your future plans?
BIN LADEN (through translator): You will see them and hear about them in the media, God willing.
COOPER: Incredibly chilling.
Up next, Gary Berntsen, who you saw briefly in the report, will join us, also joining us is Robin Wright and Bobby Ghosh.
Also ahead: Could the gas-fueled fire that killed four people near San Francisco have been averted? You'll meet a man who witnessed the blast who says the answer is yes.
And later: Why is Sarah Palin teed off at Arnold Schwarzenegger? Was it something he said? You bet you. We'll tell you what has her fired up tonight -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: Before the break, we showed you an in-depth, pretty remarkable look inside the hunt for Osama bin Laden, what happened, what didn't happen, what went down and what went wrong.
Now a closer look at the why and -- and what's next.
Gary Berntsen is the -- is with us. You saw him in our report before the break. He's a former CIA officer and author of the book "Jawbreaker". We should also point out he's a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate here in New York. Also with us tonight, Robin Wright, she's a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, a veteran global correspondent and highly acclaimed author; and "Time" magazine deputy international editor Bobby Ghosh, principal author of the recent "Time" cover story "Is America Islamaphobic?"
Gary, you were there in Tora Bora. You tried to get more support. That support wasn't granted. He got away. Why do you think the United States still has not been able to get this guy?
GARY BERNTSEN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Well, of course, if you look on the Pakistani side of the border there, on the Afghan-Pak corridor, there are 28 million Pashtuns in that area. They have an honor code, Pashtun-wali (ph). Mel Masti (ph) is the part where you ask for sanctuary. He could find that sanctuary.
But so many years later, I mean it's even conceivable now he could have moved himself to Yemen, to be among his own people. Nine years is a very, very long time. He could be in Pakistan. He could also be someplace else after all these years.
COOPER: Robin, there are those who say, look, it's nine years later, Osama bin Laden is not as important as he once was and it doesn't really matter whether or not he is caught. Do you buy that?
ROBIN WRIGHT, SR. FELLOW, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE: I think he is less important than he was before. He was a charismatic figure at one point but al Qaeda will continue to operate without him. We have to remember, al Qaeda is also -- at least his version of al Qaeda is quite a small organization and that's the thing that's so striking.
In many ways it's an advantage. It's small, it's sleek. We have tens of thousands of troops were sophisticated armory and satellite intelligence, tanks and so forth in pursuit of him, the Taliban and others in the region. And he is relying on tribal networks, clan affiliations. And that, in some ways for his purposes, is more effective. He can hide out and not be found.
COOPER: Bobby, do you think it's possible he is in Yemen?
BOBBY GHOSH, DEPUTY INTERNATIONAL EDITOR, "TIME" MAGAZINE: I've never heard of all the intelligence officials that I've spoken with have always suggested he is most likely in Pakistan. I suppose it's conceivable. But if he'd moved outside of that area, my suspicion is that the intelligence community would have picked up some signals.
COOPER: In terms, Bobby, of what he is actually doing, how much is he actually planning attacks or is he just trying to survive? Do we know anything really about what his life is?
GHOSH: It's hard to be certain. As -- in that previous segment, as I think Peter Bergen pointed out, he called for attacks against Danish interests and a couple of months later there was an attack in Pakistan against the Danish embassy there.
So, he has influence over attacks. The suspicion is that he doesn't actually plan and execute them. But then again, he never really did that in any meaningful way. He was substantially the titular head. He provided inspiration. He provided the philosophy, if we can call it that, and he provided money. He was never really the executive -- he didn't have an executive role.
Aman al Zawahiri had some of that --
GHOSH: And then there were others below him who would do that.
BERNTSEN: Anderson, yes, one of the things that's happened over the years in a lot of the debriefings of people that have been captured, there's a number of senior al Qaeda capturees have complained that he abandoned them, that he hasn't provided leadership over the last three years, that he has been separated from them and essentially they recognize that he's concerned more with his own skin than leading the movement.
COOPER: That's interesting.
And Robin, I've heard -- I've read that Secretary of State Clinton has actually told Pakistani officials that she believes that some of them know where he is and, if they wanted to, could basically drop a dime on him. Is that true?
WRIGHT: I think there's always been a problem in Pakistan. There are those who would like to get rid of him because he and -- he has cost them an enormous amount. And his allies, the Taliban of Pakistan have also become the Pakistani government's biggest problem.
But the fact is there are those within the Pakistani military, particularly intelligence service, that have longstanding alliances with bin Laden and find for kind of regional, strategic reasons that that kind of alliance is worth keeping. He is an ace in the hole for them.
COOPER: Gary, I saw you wanted to get in here?
BERNTSEN: Yes. I'm not sure that they know where bin Laden is. But the Pakistanis need to capture and give us Mullah Omar. That's what they really need to do.
COOPER: And you have no doubt that they know where he is?
BERNTSEN: I'm certain they could do that. Oh, they could do that. They need to do that. We should attach aid to that. I wouldn't give them any more assistance until they capture and turn the Mullah Omar over for us.
COOPER: It's interesting Bobby because I've been hearing that for years now. I was in Afghanistan a year ago or even when I was there two years ago and remember having intelligence officials saying in off-camera briefings, we know this guy is in the area around Quetta. There's intercepts. We know this to be true.
Yet the Pakistanis continue to say that's absolutely not true.
GHOSH: That's the biggest problem both in the search for bin Laden and, of course, with Mullah Omar is that the best American intelligence, the best American drone technology and the best American intention and efforts are not enough if our partner in this fight, Pakistan, isn't going that distance with us.
And there's been plenty of anecdotal evidence and as you pointed out, plenty of officials will say this off the record that the Pakistanis are not helping in the search at all. For Mullah Omar and much more for Osama bin Laden and Aman al-Zawahiri.
COOPER: All right. It's fascinating. We appreciate all your time tonight; Bobby Ghosh, Robin Wright, Gary Berntsen as well. Thank you very much.
Coming up next in the program: The gas line explosion in California that left four dead, 50 injured and a neighborhood in ruins. Could it have been avoided? We're going to talk to a resident of the neighborhood who has a stunning allegation.
Also find out how Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has -- well, he's kind of poked fun at Sarah Palin today and how she shot back at him on Twitter today, coming up.
COOPER: Following a number of other stories tonight, Brianna Keilar joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Anderson.
A new tool on hand to help free the trapped miners in Chile; an oil drilling platform is now at the rescue site. It will join two other drills already being used to reach the 33 miners who have been trapped for more than a month now. They may not be freed until December.
And Iran has canceled its planned release of Sarah Shourd, one of the three American hikers it has detained for more than a year. An official said that Shourd's release was not approved by Iran's judiciary.
And scientists say that a massive chunk of ice broke off the Peterman Glacier in Greenland last month. It's now broken in two, they say, and satellite images show that the floating island of ice was about four times the size of Manhattan. The split with the Peterman Glacier was the largest break-off in more than a century, Anderson.
COOPER: Wow. Amazing pictures. Brianna thanks very much.
Just ahead, devastation in California: the latest on the deadly pipeline explosion that leveled a neighborhood. Could the same thing happen in the community where you live? We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.
Also ahead, why Sarah Palin took a swipe at Arnold Schwarzenegger and why he kind of started it.
COOPER: Well, tonight the people of San Bruno, California, want to know what caused a natural gas line to rupture and explode, igniting giant fireballs that tore through one neighborhood. The fire was fully contained by this afternoon, but the hard facts of how it devastated one community are stunning.
At least four people died. More than 50 were injured, including some with severe burns. More than three dozen homes were completely destroyed. Seven more were damaged, as many as 170 houses overall affected in some way.
California's lieutenant governor toured the devastation today and remarked that it looked like a bomb went off. San Bruno's mayor said that a lot of the residents are simply in shock at what happened. A federal investigation is already under way tonight and the operator of the gas line, Pacific Gas and Electric, has promised full accountability.
Tonight though, we're keeping them honest. Some residents of San Bruno said they smelled gas in the area for several weeks. One of them is Tim Gutierrez; he joins us tonight.
Tim where were you when the blast took place? What did you see? TIM GUTIERREZ, SAN BRUNO RESIDENT: Actually, I was working in my garage. And what it sounded like to me was basically -- we're used to the planes coming low up on top of the hill. To me, it sounded like two motors idling low for like -- I mean it started shaking the roof of the house.
Next thing you know, my radio went out. There was pure silence for a second and then it was a boom, boom. It shook the whole house, basically opened up the side of my door to my garage. When I looked toward my backyard, I could see the incredible flames, which I really thought was a jetliner going down.
COOPER: You thought a plane had crashed?
GUTIERREZ: That is correct. That is correct. We really did think -- the whole neighborhood did.
COOPER: You said it smelled like gas in your neighborhood for several weeks before the blast. When did you first notice the smell? Do you know where it was coming from?
GUTIERREZ: Yes, I noticed it around three weeks ago just previous to the stop sign before Sequoia, every day after work on my motorcycle at the sewer, you could smell that distinct smell of rotten egg smell. And I had smelled it for a good three weeks on an everyday basis.
COOPER: And did you ever call the gas company, PG&E, to report the odor? Or do you know of anyone else in the neighborhood who did?
GUTIERREZ: Personally, no, I didn't. But there was other people that did call.
COOPER: How do you know that?
GUTIERREZ: From what -- these neighbors I've never seen from other blocks, but apparently from what last night they were saying. That's how I heard that.
COOPER: OK. And you said that when PG&E came out, they told you to shut the door, to go inside. Did they try to identify where the smell was coming from? This was obviously before the blast. I mean, you saw PG&E coming out in the -- they came to investigate?
Gutierrez: That is correct. That was around a good maybe week and a half ago. I was working in my garage. Around three PG&E trucks rolled up pretty quick, directed me to shut my garage, to shut the windows and go inside, that they're investigating a gas leak, gas smell.
So, I did what I was supposed to do, went in, locked it -- you know shut the doors and turned off my pilots, watched TV for quite a while. And after a little bit, maybe a good hour, hour and a half, maybe almost two hours, I opened up the front door to see where they're at, and nobody -- what's going on? Everybody was gone. No knock on the door. That it was a-OK, it's clear, nothing like that.
COOPER: And you never heard anything else about it until, obviously, the explosion?
GUTIERREZ: Yes which was a sad thing.
COOPER: Yes. Tim, I appreciate you coming on and talking about it. I can't imagine the things you've seen in the last 24 hours. Thanks for being with us.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you much. You have a good day.
COOPER: All right. I wish the best to you, to your neighbors and your community.
It's highly unlikely, you know, that any of us ever really gives serious consideration to the network of gas pipelines buried under our streets and towns across the country. I've never really thought about it.
The network, however, once you look into it, is enormous. There are 217,000 miles of interstate pipeline and thousands of miles more inside each individual state. So "Keeping Them Honest" it's natural to ask the question, how vulnerable is the network?
Tom Foreman is looking at that for us tonight -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, you know you're right. Most of us have no idea if these things are anywhere near us. But this horrific accident in San Bruno has sent ripples through communities all over, because it underscores that this network of natural gas pipelines is unbelievably vast.
There are more than 3 million lines out here in California alone, feeding into homes and many, many more across the whole nation, as you can see in this map here.
And despite reassurances from the industry that it is safe, analysts say, "Keeping Them Honest", it's like the rest of our infrastructure. Many parts of it are aging.
Furthermore, during the building boom of the past decade or so, some proponents of greater pipeline safety say that there have been concerns raised about how rapidly it has expanded, with questions about possibly shoddy workmanship all along the way, Anderson.
COOPER: So I mean have we seen any incidents of that, any serious spikes in the number of reported problems?
FOREMAN: No, and this is one of the reassuring parts. We haven't seen that.
Last year, federal authorities say there were 265 significant incidents, 14 deaths related to pipeline problems, 63 injuries and $152 million in property damage. That's not wildly different from what we've seen over the past 20 years.
But this is one of those matters where the critics suggest it may be just a matter of time before we start seeing more serious problems like what we just saw out in California, Anderson.
COOPER: But just -- if the number of incidents isn't moving up, why do they think that? Why do they think they're going to see more serious problems?
FOREMAN: It's a very fair question. And of course, many people in the industry say, "Look, there's no evidence of it."
What they're saying is this is just like what we have seen in the mining and the oil industries, Anderson. Fundamentally, they're saying, there are just not enough inspectors out there. They say the Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration is under-funded. So, most of the inspections are left up to the states, which, in turn, often rely on -- guess what -- we've heard this refrain before. They rely on the companies themselves to keep track of potential problems. The very thing that gentleman was describing there.
They're the ones who go out and look and say, "Is anything wrong here?" The head of this agency, however, says she inherited years of neglect and problems. She's promised to fix them.
There will be, I think, Anderson, as this goes on, the investigation into all of what happened out there, a lot more questions though about what precisely they're doing to fix them and how that will trickle down to the places where we all live, Anderson, because as we saw, those pipelines are running past us all.
COOPER: It's just one of those things you just don't think about. Tom, appreciate it. Thanks very much, Tom.
Up next, the Twitter smack down, Sarah Palin versus Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. See what sparked the war of words.
And tonight's shot, a stunt on "The Amazing Race." All seems according to plan but not for long. See the video that's gone viral. What it's like to get whacked in the head with a watermelon, that's what you're going to see.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: All right. A lot happening tonight. Brianna Keilar joins us again with the "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Hi, there, Anderson.
Well, work to permanently seal off BP's doomed oil well in the Gulf of Mexico will resume this weekend, actually earlier than expected. And they've come up with a way to speed up the so-called bottom kill procedure by reinforcing the well so it can withstand higher pressure.
And an Army paratrooper who risked his life to save fellow soldiers will become the first living service member to receive the Medal of Honor for service in Afghanistan or Iraq. Staff Sergeant Salvatore Genta. He's of Hiawatha, Iowa. He's being honored for extraordinary bravery in battling Taliban fighters nearly three years ago.
And President Obama acknowledged today that bouncing back from the recession has been painfully slow. The president called on Senate Republicans to stop holding up a bill that he says will help small businesses expand and hire new workers.
And check this out. Sarah Palin shooting back at California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after he poked fun at her on Twitter -- you may have heard about this.
Schwarzenegger was flying over Alaska on his way to Asia, and he posted a photo of himself looking out the plane window. And he wrote, quote, "looking everywhere but can't see Russia from here."
Well, later Palin tweeted a response, saying "Arnold should have landed. I could have explained our multi-billion-dollar state surplus and U.S. security efforts. She then asks, what's he been up to. Obviously California with some pretty serious economic woes and she sort of fought back there. What do you say? I think you say touche to something like that.
COOPER: Yes. Brianna, I don't know if you've seen this video. I've become sort of obsessed with it. It's gone viral. It's a clip from the upcoming season of "The Amazing Race", which I actually don't watch at all and I'm told it's very good.
But in this, I guess, contestants are supposed to launch watermelons in giant slingshots and knock over a target. That's the idea, didn't go quite as expected. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right in the kisser. Show that knight who's boss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That is so traumatic.
COOPER: Yes. She was OK, apparently, but -- yes. And I guess they had to continue playing the silly game they were playing, but I was wondering what it looked like to be hit in the head by a watermelon at high speed. And now I know.
Let's watch it again. Shall we? Let's.
KEILAR: I sort of knew what was coming. COOPER: It's Friday night.
KEILAR: Oh, my goodness. Goodness gracious.
COOPER: Yes. It's hard -- I literally have seen this probably 60 times now. Oh. Every time.
KEILAR: That's horrible.
COOPER: Yes. No. Horrible, terrible. And yet I keep watching it.
KEILAR: I have a watermelon at home, and I was thinking that maybe, you know, I could get up to some tomfoolery, but not if that's what's going to happen.
COOPER: Yes. Do not try this at home. Do not build a giant slingshot, put a watermelon in it. And don't try this at home.
Boom goes the watermelon. Yes. Ouch. She's fine, though. Apparently, she's absolutely fine. And yes. And you know what? She actually is -- she and her sister, I think, are on QVC or Home Shopping, one of those home shopping shows. I think they are presenters on that.
KEILAR: I do watch the show, but I haven't watched this season.
KEILAR: That's some pretty crazy stuff. I may have to tune in.
COOPER: I don't feel I need to watch it. I can just watch this. I don't feel I need to watch it. The show itself makes me very stressed out. It's not a relaxing experience. It bothers me.
But I'm just going to watch this on a loop all weekend long.
KEILAR: Well, that's what we're doing right now. I mean, you just love it.
COOPER: Yes. Brianna, hope you have a great weekend.
Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts now.
I'll see you Monday. Have a great weekend.