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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Obama Visits Ground Zero; New Terror Warnings
Aired May 5, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone.
We're live from Ground Zero tonight with breaking news on two fronts tonight.
First, an alleged al Qaeda plan to mark the upcoming 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place right here, a plan for another attack on U.S. soil, a plan to derail trains, U.S. officials say. Also, breaking news that CIA officers and agents watched Osama bin Laden's for months from right nearby.
"The Washington Post" just in the last hour or so reporting the CIA had a secret safe house in Abbottabad where they monitored activity at the compound where bin Laden was eventually killed. We're going to more on that in a moment.
First, the breaking news of the alleged al Qaeda plan to target U.S. trains on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Homeland Security Department has issued an alert about rail security in the United States without any specific cities being mentioned.
A law enforcement source is telling us tonight news of the plan came from information that was gathered at the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, the video of which -- some of which you're seeing the aftermath, where computer files, and phones and documents were seized.
Joining me live here at Ground Zero is CNN national security analyst -- national security contributor, I should say, Fran Townsend -- Fran Townsend -- who is also a member of the CIA External Advisory Committee, and Washington homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve, and also Peter Bergen, who is going to be joining us in just a moment.
Jeanne, what have you learned about the details of this alleged plot?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is what I'm told, that in February of 2010, al Qaeda members discussed a plan to derail trains by putting obstacles on tracks.
A U.S. official says they made specific mention of doing so over valleys and on bridges. Presumably, that would be to maximize the potential for catastrophe. The notice does not mention any specific city or rail system, I'm told, but the plotters did discuss having the attacks coincide with a 10-year 9/11 anniversary in September. U.S. officials are going out of their way to say this was aspirational; it was not operational. There is no indication of any imminent threat. In the words of one official, it doesn't appear to be anything more than an idea on paper.
Also, I have asked whether higher-ups approved this. A U.S. official tells me there is no indication that this was blessed by Osama bin Laden or any other higher-ups in al Qaeda.
It's worth noting that terrorists have repeatedly struck rail systems in London and Madrid, for a couple of examples. They are open, they are hard to secure, so it's no real surprise that they continue to be discussed. Also, I should say that when news of Osama bin Laden's death was announced, many rail systems recognized the potential for retaliatory strikes, did increase security. Operators are well aware they're potential targets. In fact, the head of the TSA reiterated that point yesterday at a congressional hearing -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jeanne, you have also learned that there were specific cities and possible dates mentioned as possible targets for other plots not related to the rails, correct?
This has to do with the general material coming out of this compound in Pakistan, not the rail threat specifically. But I'm told that al Qaeda expressed a desire to hit some specific cities, notably New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, and also that they talked about hitting on specific dates, not just the September 11 anniversary, which was -- which was mentioned in connection with rail planning. But, in addition, they mentioned July 4, Christmas Day and, interestingly, the opening day of the United Nations -- Anderson.
COOPER: Fran, are you surprised? If these reports are true and did come from intelligence that was taken at this compound, are you surprised at how quickly they are able to assess some of what they found?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not, Anderson, because I -- they had planned, before they did the raids, they would bring the information back to an interagency task force. So they have got dozens of people working on this. They had the ability to break any encryption to download devices. And then they were going to triage it.
So, first and foremost, they were going to look for threats, ongoing plots. And they knew in advance they were going to release that as they came across it. And so this is what I suspect will be the first of many.
COOPER: You think we're going to be hearing a lot of these kind of details of plans or ideas that they had? Because this sounds more like an idea, not really something that they had worked out the details of.
TOWNSEND: That's right. But I think you will hear more of sort of ideas, plans. I mean, this one, they -- as Jeanne has reported, they didn't believe was operational, but they did have an interagency meeting and discuss whether or not it required raising the threat level. Because it wasn't -- it was only an idea, they didn't do that.
COOPER: Trains obviously are long rail lines, easy targets, relatively unprotected, train stations. The idea of derailing trains is one I hadn't really heard before from al Qaeda. I mean, we have seen it in insurgencies. We have seen it -- I remember Lawrence of Arabia derailed trains famously, a lot of Turkish trains.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes, they have had an interest in for instance the Long Island Railroad here in New York City.
They certainly had a sort of plan on -- to try and do something with that. Derailing is something we haven't heard from them. But, as Fran was saying, this is -- this is all the sort of stuff, the sort of blue sky that you kind of would expect that they would be thinking about. It doesn't sound that it rises to the -- to anything particularly serious.
It is interesting to me that the cities that they planned to target are the ones that, like the ones we're standing in. It's not...
COOPER: ... would expect.
BERGEN: It's not Des Moines. It's not Sioux City. It's not Anywhereville, USA. These guys want to attack Washington, New York or L.A., because the people they're trying to influence have never heard of Sioux City or Des Moines. They have heard of New York, and they understand it's an iconic target. And they keep coming back to the same targets that we have seen here in New York City, Najibullah Zazi trying to blow up a bomb in the Manhattan subway in '09, Faisal Shahzad in Times Square in -- last year.
So, these guys are very predictable and it's not a surprise. Fran -- none of us are surprised by what the target set is.
COOPER: Right. Probably not another surprise to hear this other breaking story tonight first reported by "The Washington Post," that -- and being reported by "The Washington Post" -- that the CIA had a safe house in Abbottabad where they actually had eyes on the compound.
They didn't actually see bin Laden, but that they were watching the house for many months.
TOWNSEND: You know, Anderson, I can tell you from my time in government, whether it was Iraq or Afghanistan, that is exactly what their forward operating base is.
It's very dangerous for the CIA officers, because they basically have to embed themselves and not draw attention to themselves. In this case, not surprising that they were there, but Abbottabad is a place, because there's military training, there are foreign people coming in. There are military families. There's lots of movement.
He picked a -- while, from one perspective, he picked a good city in which to hide, it was also a bad city because it was not unusual to see outsiders in there.
COOPER: Right. And, also, Jeanne, it would be completely part of traditional operational procedures that the CIA would also have Pakistani nationals working for them as agents who would also help in the observation.
MESERVE: But we don't know if that's the case at this point in time. There's a lot of question about Pakistan, exactly what they knew, what role they played. So it's unclear whether they had any Pakistani nationals playing that role here.
COOPER: And, Peter, the fact that even with folks on the ground watching this compound, that they weren't able to identify bin Laden does say something about bin Laden's -- you know, his operational security, I mean, his sense of protecting himself.
BERGEN: Right. And I think, in fairness to the Pakistanis, they have come in for a lot of criticism, but if we didn't know that he was there until the SEALs went in the door, why is it that the Pakistanis should know?
Right now, there isn't, in my view, evidence that's compelling to suggest the Pakistanis did know. This is a guy who didn't move in six years. He wasn't popping out for groceries. He was really staying in one place, which is what the intelligence community thought was his likely modus operandi, and no one really knew where he was, as far as I can tell, except the people in that compound.
Peter Bergen, appreciate it. Fran Townsend, Jeanne Meserve, thanks very much.
We will continue to follow that story throughout the evening.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper.
Coming up tonight, there's a lot of stuff to talk about today -- the latest on the raid on the compound. We have got this video taken the night of the raid showing the compound and the wreckage of a U.S. helicopter in flames. That was the helicopter that SEALs said they blew up after it -- after it had a hard landing. White House -- also, we're getting some new contradictions to the White House official version of events. That -- we will have details on that next. Also, President Obama visiting here earlier today, Ground Zero, an emotional day for a lot of families. We will show you how the president honored 9/11 families and firefighters today and police officers and Port Authority officials as well.
I also spoke today with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and I asked her about President Obama's decision not to release photos of bin Laden's dead body. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There's just something about those photos. I remember when the photos of Saddam Hussein were released a bit prematurely by the Iraqis. And it probably wasn't as well handled as it might have been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We're live tonight from Ground Zero.
Tomorrow, President Obama will meet with members of the U.S. Navy SEAL team who were involved in what we now know was code named Operation Neptune Spear, the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
The president's going to travel to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to meet privately with the team members. Today, President Obama was right here laying a wreath at Ground Zero and meeting with 9/11 survivors and victims' families.
Earlier in the day, the president visited with firefighters at Engine 54, Battalion 9, which lost 15 men in the 9/11 attacks, the men of Engine 54 collectively leaving behind 28 children, 28 kids who have spent the last nearly 10 years without a dad.
His visit to New York came on a day with brand-new revelations about the mission that killed Osama bin Laden and there's breaking news tonight that CIA officers and agents watched bin Laden's compound for months from a safe house in Abbottabad. That's according to "The Washington Post," not a real shocking revelation, but an interesting one nevertheless.
"The Post" says the surveillance and all the intelligence gathering for the mission was so vast, the CIA went to Congress to get tens of millions of dollars reallocated to pay for it. Meanwhile, there are brand-new details we have received today about the raid itself. Here's now what we know.
COOPER (voice-over): New video from the night of the assault on bin Laden's compound taken by a neighbor shows his three-story house in flames, also visible, burning pieces of the downed top-secret helicopter scattered hundreds of yards away from the compound after the SEAL team blew it up. CNN has also learned the official military name of the assault, Operation Neptune Spear, as well as new details about how it unfolded. Only one of the five people killed inside the compound was armed, bin Laden's trusted courier. Navy SEALs quickly killed the courier and an unknown woman who was caught in the crossfire.
From that point on, a U.S. official said, there were no shots fired at U.S. troops. This new information sharply contradicts the official version of events the White House issued on Tuesday. This is what they said then.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation.
COOPER: We now know that's not the case. After killing the courier and the unknown woman, the Navy SEALs then moved into the main three-story building where bin Laden and his family lived. They killed the courier's brother on the first floor and began moving up the staircase, which was barricaded with obstacles.
Bin Laden's son rushed at them in the stairwell and was killed. Both the courier's brother and bin Laden's son were unarmed. According to ABC News, one of the first doors the SEALs tried to open turned out to be a false one, with only a brick wall behind it.
This led the SEALs to suspect the house may have been full of lethal booby traps. The SEALs, according to "The New York Times," had a bomb-sniffing dog with them. The SEAL team made their way to the third floor, where bin Laden was hiding out with a wife and several young children. A U.S. official says bin Laden was moving, possibly toward a weapon in the room, when he was shot first in the chest, then in the head.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: There were arms directly near the door and my understanding is, he was right there and going to get those arms. So, you know, you really can't take a chance.
COOPER: Also new, according to ABC News, bin Laden had not one, but three wives living with him in the compound. It's believed one of them was this woman, a 29-year-old Yemeni who was left behind after Monday's raid and is now in Pakistani custody.
This image from Pakistan's Geo TV taken from a passport found in the compound -- diplomat sources tell CNN this is -- quote -- "almost certainly one of bin Laden's wives." She told Pakistani authorities she lived in the Abbottabad compound with eight of bin Laden's children and five others for five years, never once venturing outside its walls. It's unclear how long bin Laden himself lived in the compound.
The BBC reports bin Laden's family lived a comfortable life behind the walls with domestic helpers, including two maids who were present during the raid. The BBC also reports they received daily newspaper and milk deliveries, along with two goats per week.
The residents of the compound remain in Pakistani custody, Pakistan today admitting shortcomings in their intelligence operations and said an investigation would be launched.
SALMAN BASHIR, PAKISTANI FOREIGN SECRETARY: To infer that elements of the ISI or of the government were actually providing cover to Osama bin Laden is absolutely wrong.
COOPER: A U.S. official also tells CNN no medical equipment was found at the compound that would suggest bin Laden was in poor health before he died or had been receiving dialysis, as has long been rumored.
Authorities say he was not given an autopsy before his burial at sea.
COOPER: And joining me live here at Ground Zero is chief national correspondent John King, anchor of "JOHN KING, USA," and senior White House correspondent Ed Henry.
It is interesting, Ed. Every day, it's sort of a morphing version of events, understandably, you could say, because of the fog of war and the difficulty of kind of understanding of what goes on. And yet that can't be a good thing for the White House.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It can't be, because it goes beyond Jay Carney. It was in your piece. It was the president on Sunday night in the East Room when he first presented this narrative to the entire world who said, it was a firefight, it was intense, et cetera.
That painted a picture that suggested it was justified to go in and kill bin Laden, no matter what, because there was this huge firefight, the Navy SEALs could have lost their lives. Now, if there was really only a couple of shots at the beginning with the courier and nothing else, it really wasn't a firefight, and maybe it -- and I stress maybe -- it sounds less justified.
But I still think, at the end of the day, when you have Republicans like Lindsey Graham on Capitol Hill saying the Navy SEALs were justified to kill bin Laden, he had blood on his hands, he had nearly 3,000 people he was responsible, killed here and at the Pentagon, so, at the end of the day, if the -- if the Navy SEALs had not killed him and somehow bin Laden had gotten away, this administration would have had a much, much bigger problem.
COOPER: Or killed Navy SEALs with a suicide vest.
COOPER: Given what we have seen in Iraq, given the kind of tactics we have seen in Afghanistan, there's no way to know, if you have somebody running at you or running from you, what is going on.
JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING, USA": There is no reason at all to back away from what happened.
KING: The SEALs should be proud of their mission. You have to assume bin Laden is dangerous. The only people who could use -- under that scenario, you know, is al Qaeda sympathizers.
The problem for the administration is presenting such a muscular version early on, because they do open themselves up to some criticism and perhaps undermine -- they get the SEALs involved in this. All they had to say was, bin Laden is dead. The SEALs performed as heroes.
So, I think there will be a post-action: How did that happen? Was it political people around the president trying to give a more robust account than the information, or...
COOPER: Which, frankly has happened before in the last administration with Jessica Lynch, I mean, and then the Pat Tillman...
KING: Right. And the story changed several times with Pat Tillman to make it sound more heroic.
COOPER: Right. Right. They flat-out lied about Pat Tillman, right?
KING: That's right. It was friendly-fire and they wouldn't admit it.
The -- the safest thing to do, if you have any experience around these military matters, is know the early information you're getting, that some of it is going to be wrong.
KING: So, be minimalistic. They say they wanted to be as open as possible. In doing so, they created this part of the questioning that will go on for some time.
COOPER: For the president's trip to Ground Zero, how does the White House think it went? How do they feel about the day?
HENRY: They think it went great. And listen to the fire chief of New York City, who came out after lunch with the president and said he connected with the firefighters. Why does that matter?
This White House is frankly annoyed at people always saying he doesn't emote well, he didn't connect with people after the oil spill. Here was his chance to connect.
And I judge it based on a 10-year-old boy I met, Chris Cannizzaro. And I thought about it because my own son is 10 years old. I met him just steps away outside the firehouse here. And he lost his father on 9/11.
COOPER: You tweeted this picture. HENRY: And I tweeted this picture. He had a necklace around his neck. That is what stopped me. And there was a picture of his dad from Staten Island, firefighter killed on 9/11.
And since we're coming up on the 10th anniversary, I realized he probably only knew his dad for a couple of months. He was just a baby. And he's now 10 years old. He's in fifth grade.
And I said, what are you going to tell your fellow fifth-graders? And he said: "What I remember more than anything is I fist-bumped the president. I'm going to tell my classmates."
HENRY: That's a small gesture, but he said, "He remembered my dad, and I will never forget that." And it put chills through me.
You and I were here together watching all of this happen. (AUDIO GAP)
KING: I think the president and the White House team made the right call, not saying anything publicly here, the pep talk to the firemen, the talk there that this is for all of America, it's not for me, that it proves that, any administration, that we will follow up, if something happens and it carries over to the next administration, we will follow up, that was the right message to the first-responders.
No words spoken here, although I am told when he was down there in that group with some family members and politicians, Democrats and Republicans, I was told by somebody who was down there with him, the president said, this proves that we're all one American family.
COOPER: The Republican governor of New Jersey was there, Governor Christie. The Democratic governor of New York was here, Andrew Cuomo.
But former Mayor Giuliani spent pretty much the entire visit with the president going from stop to stop with him.
KING: You live here. For the people of New York and New Jersey who suffered the most, it's not Democrat or Republican. It's not urban or suburban. It's not New York or New Jersey.
COOPER: This is hallowed ground.
KING: It's a community.
COOPER: To even talk politics is...
KING: Yes. Right. This is community. These are the generations who serve as police officers and firefighters. They're the people who worked in these buildings. It has nothing to do with the color of their skin, where they come from or where they live. This was an attack on all of them.
And so it was good for the country, good for the president, good for the political system to set all that aside for a day and just reflect, reflect.
COOPER: And I think one of those firefighters is going to get to public his cookbook now, because everyone was raving about his eggplant...
HENRY: Eggplant Parmesan.
HENRY: I grew up in New York. That's big in New York. So, if you can do that, that or chicken Parmesan, you're set.
COOPER: Yes, exactly.
Tomorrow, the president goes to Fort Campbell. Do we know the order of events, what it's going to be?
HENRY: Well, he's going to get a chance to meet some of these Navy SEALs. Now, their identities are still kept private and secret from us, because they're still going to be on future missions.
And that gives himself a chance to really connect with them. But I think there's a broader message we're going to hear, because these are a lot of troops who wind up in Iraq, Afghanistan.
And I saw a button when I walking here through the streets of Manhattan this morning. Somebody was selling it on the side of streets with T-shirts that said, "Obama got Osama" and things like that. It said, "Mission Accomplished 5/1/11."
That was the night (AUDIO GAP) and I immediately realized (INAUDIBLE) going to be mission not accomplished. That's a loaded phrase in American politics because of what President Bush said early on in the war in Iraq. We still have 100,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan. This was a huge victory in the war on terror, even though this administration doesn't use that phrase.
It's still the war on terror in some way. And it's a huge victory, getting bin Laden, but this is far from over. The threat is still there. And we still have 100,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan. And he's got a big decision in July about how many of them to bring home. He has said it's going to be a turning point. Can he really bring a lot home or is the mission still struggling? We will see. COOPER: We're going to have a lot more tonight later on in the program, showing you kind of the sights and sounds from today here at Ground Zero and the other stops that President Obama made.
John King, thank you very much, Ed Henry, a long day for both of you.
New information tonight also about the iconic photo of President Obama and top officials in the White House Situation Room, this photo, being updated on the mission to kill bin Laden. There's been a lot of attention on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's expression, her hand covering her mouth.
Well, today, Clinton was asked what she was thinking at that moment. It seems the picture may not necessarily tell the story that -- that it looks like it was telling. Here's what she said about that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Those were the -- 38 of the most intense minutes. I have no idea what any of us were looking at, at that particular millisecond, when the picture was taken.
I'm somewhat sheepishly concerned that it was my preventing one of my early spring allergic coughs. So, it may have no great meaning whatsoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, we will see.
Coming up: Fake photos of a dead Osama bin Laden are flooding Web site. You have probably seen some of the fake photos online. You won't believe what some of them show.
Plus, I asked former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice whether she thinks the real photos should be released. We will tell you what she said.
Also ahead, what one of bin Laden's wives is reportedly telling Pakistani authorities about her life in the al Qaeda leader's hideout. It's really fascinating stuff.
We will tell you ahead.
COOPER: More now on the breaking news.
"The Washington Post" reporting that CIA officers and agents watched Osama bin Laden's compound for months from a secret safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Bin Laden was killed at the compound obviously, along with three -- three other men and one woman. It's not clear exactly how many people were living in the compound. According to ABC News, not one, but three of bin Laden's wives were removed from the hideout and are now in Pakistani custody. They're apparently being questioned by Pakistani authorities. But so far, the U.S. has not been allowed to actually talk to them.
Today, though, we heard of some of what the youngest wife has allegedly told Pakistani officials.
I want to show you the passport which appears to be hers, though the name isn't an exact match. It was found inside the compound.
Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us live from Abbottabad with the details.
Nic, fascinating new information. Yesterday, we heard from bin Laden's daughter through Pakistani officials. Today, we're hearing now from his wife. What has she allegedly been telling Pakistani authorities?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's perhaps one of the most fascinating and troubling details of all of this.
She says that she's been living in this compound for five years, which means bin Laden has been in there for five years. So, rather than this -- this picture of him running between different safe houses in the border area, the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, he's actually been spending five whole years under the noses of authorities here, but clearly being able to spend that time focusing on al Qaeda, planning attacks, plotting whatever with different -- different groups that support al Qaeda who knows where, but this is a man who clearly been -- sat in one place with one aim, terrorizing the world, Anderson.
COOPER: At this point, American authorities, as far as we know, have not gotten access to the wife or the daughter to question them. Will Pakistani officials allow U.S. access? Do we know?
ROBERTSON: We don't know for sure, but it seems very, very unlikely.
Past practices, Pakistani authorities, and the ISI in particular, don't like to let any other intelligence agency, the U.S., British, Saudi, get their hands on anyone that the ISI and Pakistani intelligence authorities are actually interrogating. The best that they can perhaps hope for is to pass a couple of questions and get those questions asked. But the Pakistan's ISI are very, very secretive.
And add to that the relationship between the ISI and the CIA are at the lowest they've been for a long time -- it seems very unlikely, Anderson.
COOPER: Nic, what do you make of this "Washington Post" report this evening that CIA had basically a safe house, at least one, watching to allow them to monitor this compound. Is the compound -- the bin Laden compound, I mean, is it in an area where there were a lot of houses around it?
ROBERTSON: There are, and from what we understand from the neighbors, that they didn't know bin Laden was living there. So, it gives the impression that perhaps another group of people that blend in here in Pakistan could be living close in a house that's observing, and not drawing too much attention to themselves. It seemed to be a neighborhood where people can get away with that. So, it does seem to be possible.
Add to that, that we know that this operation they've been under -- been watched for a long time, and we know that the night of the operation was chosen carefully. There was little visibility because the moon was at its lowest. So, there was very little moonlight and the concerns were, if they didn't strike then, perhaps some of the people who were known to be in the house might disperse, might not be there on another night.
So, it does really speak to that very close observation. How precisely close on the ground, we don't know at the moment, Anderson.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, thank you very much.
Clearly, the U.S. raid deep inside Pakistan has deepened tensions. Pakistan's armed forces acknowledged intelligence shortcomings. That's the word they used, shortcomings on their part, but also one that the raid has jeopardized is cooperation with the American forces. They basically said don't do it again.
Meantime, Pakistan's foreign secretary said any suggestion that the intelligence service or government were covering for Osama bin Laden was, quote, "absolutely wrong."
CNN world affairs analyst and editor-in-large for "TIME" magazine, Fareed Zakaria joins me now. He's also host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS."
The Pakistani army broke its silence today. And among other things, they said that if something else like this happens, that they would have to reassess their relations and cooperation. Is that an idle threat, do you think?
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": It's not an idle threat, but I think it's not a serious threat, by which I mean, the Pakistani military at this point has a lifeline, which is the aid that Washington provides them.
COOPER: Huge amounts of money.
ZAKARIA: Huge amounts of money, a lot of training, lots of supplies, you know, aircraft, things like that. Also, we give a huge amount of money to the civilian government.
And most importantly, they realize it doesn't serve their purposes to turn their back on the United States. What's that going to mean? The United States will forge a deeper relationship with India, forge a deeper relationship with Afghanistan.
So, while the relationship is very troubled, it's not like Pakistan has those many cards to play.
COOPER: I don't understand how it's possible that the U.S. conducted this raid, which went on for some 38 minutes, very close to a military college, had helicopters circling, hovering, crashing, one helicopter crashing, and Pakistani military did not respond. I guess the question is, is it possible that someone within Pakistan was informed of this raid and essentially that the U.S. is saying no one was informed to give them -- to give them cover so that they're not complicit in it?
ZAKARIA: My gut, Anderson, is that they didn't tell them -- and I'll tell you why. In 1998, when Bill Clinton wanted to fire missiles on bin Laden, you remember the missiles hit empty tents. The 9/11 Commission report tells you why those tents were empty. It was because the Pakistani military had tipped of a group that tipped off bin Laden.
So, the U.S. government has long experience that tells them do not tell the Pakistanis if you want this to (INAUDIBLE). It's possible the answer to the puzzle that you're raising, which is real, it's possible that as the operation began, they told the Pakistani military, look, there's something going on, here's what's going on, it's going on in Abbottabad. Don't worry, you know, we're on top of that, or something like that.
COOPER: Because for them not to respond in 38 minutes -- I mean, at the very least, they need to look at their own security if that's the case.
ZAKARIA: Right. The Pakistani military is in this dilemma in general in this operation. It has to explain either where it's highly duplicitous or highly incompetent. Either they've known everything and are covering for bin Laden, or they are so incompetent.
COOPER: Although I think back to the special that you did on HBO of the Mumbai attacks. And just from recollection of it, the -- in Mumbai, the authorities, you know, basically held back and didn't really respond for quite -- for a long, long time, until a Special Operations group was able to fly in.
ZAKARIA: I think a lot of what goes on here is, you know, when we talk about the Pakistani military, it's probably not General Kayani and General Pasha, the heads of the military and ISI, I don't know that they know anything. But there's a logistical supply chain here that allowed bin Laden to survive and thrive and build this huge compound. Elements of the Pakistani military are involved in that, and I think the higher-ups probably have a kind of don't ask, don't tell policy.
COOPER: I mean, he had two maids working in his house. We know understand he had two maids working in the house. They would get two goats delivered every week. They would have deliveries. People talk in a town. I just don't understand how world couldn't have spread that, you know, there's something weird going on in this compound in Abbottabad.
ZAKARIA: Well, in a particularly weird place because it has no telephone lines into it but it's eight times larger than every other one. No. I think that the Pakistani military is going to be exposed even within Pakistan as being more duplicitous than they would like. You know, there's a private line. There's a line to the Americans. There's a private line.
COOPER: So, does something need to change in our relationship with Pakistan or does something -- does Pakistan just need to change itself?
ZAKARIA: Yes, it's the biggest strategic dilemma we face, because the United States tried to excommunicate Pakistan, to kind of say, we're going to have no dealings with them. In the 1990s we did that for a bunch of different reasons. Well, the military got more radical. It got more isolated and it went into the arms of the jihadists.
Now, we're trying to hug and embrace them and it isn't working perfectly either. Probably this strategy of maintaining some contact with them is the better one. But the ultimate test is: does Pakistan want to become a modern society? Because all this dealings with militant groups, all this attempt to gain strategic depth in Afghanistan, it's meaningless. What they should be trying to do is raise the living standards of Pakistanis. Next door, India is growing almost 10 percent a year.
COOPER: Do you think this changes the war in Afghanistan at all, the killing of bin Laden?
ZAKARIA: I think it changes it because I do believe it demoralizes and dispirits al Qaeda even further. I think this was a very personality based organization. People had to swear personal allegiance to bin Laden.
But ultimately, the only thing that will change the war in Afghanistan is that the Pakistanis decide that they are really not going to allow safe havens. As long as you have a cross border safe haven -- you look at the history of civil wars, it is very difficult to end a civil war when people can cross the border and go into a safe haven.
COOPER: Does where bin Laden was living, it's of an indication of the drone attacks? Because there's an argument being made that as the drone attacks increased, you know, even under the Bush administration, but particularly under the Obama administration, one reason he would have been in Abbottabad is it's not an area where there are going to be drone attacks because it's close to the this military college.
ZAKARIA: I think it indicates the drone attacks. I think it actually indicates even more broadly the counterterrorism strategy, this idea that, you know, we can keep al Qaeda on the run, decapitates its leadership, track its leaders, follow its funds, spoil its plots, and you don't need to occupy vast quantities of Afghanistan , you don't need to sit in occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You know, this is a much more cost effective strategy. It's also something the military does well. You tell the military to take Afghanistan, the third poorest country in the world, and turn into a functioning liberal democracy with a capitalist market economy, that's a pretty tough thing for Marines to do or the Army to do.
ZAKARIA: It's very hard to do. But if you ask them to do this, and, you know, they understand this. It's good intelligence, good police work, good military work. It's a much more doable strategy.
So, I hope the lesson that President Obama will take is in a couple of months when that deadline begins, to start drawing down to a more manageable force in Afghanistan, we begin to do it.
COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, appreciate it as always. Thank you very much.
Up next, photos that claim to show Osama bin Laden's body -- they're all over the Internet. You've probably seen some of them. They're fake, of course, and they're turning up in cyberspace. Even some politicians are seeing them and believing them.
We're going to show you a few of them and show you actually where the original photos came from. And you might be surprised.
Also, my conversation with Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state. I asked her if she ever felt that bin Laden would get away for good.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh, no, I always thought we would get him. I didn't know when. And I remember when we killed a terrorist, Abu Nidal, and, you know, that was some 20 years after. And so, I thought, well, we'll stay after this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I also asked her two other things. One, would she want to be in the White House Situation Room when they were watching the raid? And also, does she agree with the Obama administration's decision not to release the picture of a dead bin Laden?
Her answers to both those questions, coming up.
COOPER: The debate over President Obama's decision not to release photographs of Osama bin Laden's body is intensifying. In the meantime, fake photos are all over Web sites online and we can be sure more will follow. And some politicians, U.S. politicians, have seen these photos and thought they were real.
One of the photos appears to show bin Laden with a head would being carried by a Navy SEAL. This is the fake photo that's circulating online. "The New York Times" reports it was posted on a Web site, Liveleak.com. But it is fake.
Take a good look. Bin Laden's face was superimposed on a frame from the movie "Black Hawk Down." It shows the same American soldier, wearing the same American flag patch holding an injured colleague.
Now, take a look at the fake photo. "The Times" also reports that a caption along with the composite said the Liveleak could not confirm its authenticity and that the Web site later issued a retraction.
We're going to show you another sequence of photos -- the first one was a fake one of Osama bin Laden. This one actually, though, is pretty graphic, and I just want to warn you, it may be disturbing for some young viewers. It's going to be on the screen for about 20 or 30 seconds. So, I just want to give you a chance to, you know, just close your eyes for about 20 or 30 seconds if you don't want to see it.
Here's the faked photo. It shows a progression into a final fake. The one on the right shows what appears to be bin Laden's severely wounded face, but it's a composite of the first two. The photo of the man in the middle apparently has been on the Internet for two years. We try, we can't identify who the man is, nobody seems to know who he is.
But notice the white spot on his shoulder -- I'm not sure if you can see that -- and the area behind his head. Those same spots can be seen on the fake bin Laden photo to the right and the wound suffered by the man on the middle photo which superimposed on bin Laden's face. Now, "The Times" says the faked bin Laden photo on the far right of the screen was broadcast on Pakistani TV and posted on the Web site of some British newspapers. We're no longer showing the photo.
Earlier today, I spoke to Condoleezza Rice, who is George W. Bush's secretary of state. And I asked her about President Obama's decision to withhold the photos. She also talks about her reaction to bin Laden's death, if she's been in touch with the former president and the controversy over how the U.S. got information out of a suspected terrorist.
Rice didn't see President Obama's visit to Ground Zero since she was travelling. But she said she was glad he was there.
Here's our conversation.
COOPER: You said in 2004, you said, "I look forward to the day somebody gives me the phone call on Osama bin Laden that they gave me on Saddam Hussein. I'll never forget that morning and I really look forward to that day." What was the moment like for you when you heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed?
RICE: Well, it was tremendously gratifying. I was really proud of our country for staying with it, the perseverance, the patients they took, remarking at how our military does what it does --and really for the intelligence agencies, the intelligence folks who have been following these leads for a long time, putting the picture together. We're very hard on our intelligence agencies and they've had some rough times, but this was a real victory for them.
COOPER: It's got to be so strange working in the epicenter of this, to work, you know -- to try to get this guy for years as you did. Was it strange to see it on television?
RICE: No, it was great to see it on television. Look, when you leave office, you leave office. And I'm happily out of Washington, D.C. But it really is gratifying if you were a part of the effort to put a lot of this together.
You know, I remember sitting in the Congress in September 20th when President Bush said, "We will not tire, we will no falter, we will not fail." And he meant the United States of America.
And he put in place, President Bush, many of the policies, under a lot of pressure and criticism, that have ultimately led us to this day. And President Obama and his team deserve great credit for the skill and, frankly, the brave decisions that they took along the way.
COOPER: Have you called President Bush?
RICE: Oh, I've talked to President Bush.
RICE: Yes. Yes. We've talked. And he too is gratified. We just sit and talk a lot about the people and remember the day actually that Mike Hayden came in to say that they knew now about this courier, and they were following the leads. He had a brother, and it all comes flooding back. But it took a long time to put it all together.
COOPER: When did you realize that the courier or a courier was going to be key to getting to bin Laden?
RICE: I think it was around 2007 that we got a fuller picture. You know, there was some tidbits of information that were coming out, but we got a fuller picture of it around that time.
COOPER: It's also revived a debate about what your administration called enhanced interrogation techniques, what critics said was flat-out torture. Do you think those techniques made a difference? Do you think they actually worked?
RICE: Well, I think there's no doubt that the information that was gleaned from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and al-Libi and others contributed to this day. And so, look, I know that there is a lot of controversy around these issues. But the controversy that I would have been worried about is if people have said, well, you know, you didn't do everything you could do. And President Bush at the time said, "I want to do everything that I can that is within the law and that is necessary."
COOPER: Is it your understanding, though, that those techniques in particular, though, actually --
RICE: I have not gone deeply enough into precisely how this came about. But it's pretty obvious that picking up these field generals, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah and others, and getting them to reveal information about how al Qaeda operated, about plot lines, we focus today on Osama bin Laden. But in many ways, the really important information that was gleaned from taking, if you will, rumble (ph) off the battlefield in Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was information about plot lines that were developing, how these operations would unfold.
And so, yes, I think the entire infrastructure that was put in place in 2001 and 2002, including, as we've just talked, the ability of our intelligence and military to work together. What we see now is the evolution of that, the maturity of that, and some real victories in the war on terror.
COOPER: There's also been a debate about the photos, whether or not they should be released. The administration has made a decision not to release them. Do you think that's the right call?
RICE: I think the administration had to make this call based on all of the factors that they were juggling. But, I think on balance, I would not have released the photos. First of all, they can be pretty gruesome and they would likely incite. And so --
COOPER: You think they would incite people?
RICE: I think so. There's just something about those photos. I remember when the photos of Saddam Hussein were released a bit prematurity by the Iraqis. And it probably wasn't as well handled as it might have been.
And so, this is a delicate matter. We need to be able to move on now. And I suspect they made the right call there.
COOPER: Was there ever a moment over the years -- you know, there were a time -- I remember an article in "The Washington Post" I think in 2003 and 2004, saying that the trail had gone stone cold -- was there ever a time where you felt we may not get this guy?
RICE: Oh, no, I always felt we would get him. I didn't know when. And I remember when we killed a terrorist, Abu Nidal, and you know what, that was some 20 years after. And so, I thought, we'll stay after this.
I'm really glad we were able to get him before the 10th anniversary of September 11th.
COOPER: We're going to have more with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tomorrow night, including her thoughts on Pakistan and whether she would still refer to them as the full partner on the war on terror. Also, whether or not she would have liked bin Laden to have been captured alive.
Coming up next, never forget. See how the victims of 9/11 were remembered today. It was a really wonderful day here at Ground Zero and the plans to honor their memories here at Ground Zero in the future.
COOPER: Well, here at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, the past, present and future are slowly beginning to come together. We saw today in the faces of teenagers who were just toddlers when their parents were killed on 9/11. Of course, the past is always present here, because the memories are still so very raw for so many.
The memorial that will honor the lives lost on that terrible day is still a work in progress, still holes in the ground, the construction zone, but it is moving forward. And I want to show you what it will look like when it's done. The foot prints of the Twin Towers will become waterfalls in a park setting, a place to think about the past and all those who never came home on that day.
The wreath-laying here today at Ground Zero was another step forward, while looking back and never forgetting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president was nice enough to come to our firehouse today, Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, to share lunch with the firefighters. It was a wonderful gesture based on the news we all got Sunday night about Osama bin Laden's death.
JOE CERAVOLO, N.Y. FIREFIGHTER: We just wanted to tell him, we thank him for what he did on Sunday, and all the troops and all. We want to let them know that we're with them, you know, every step of the day and saying God bless them.
MONICA KEY, LOST HUSBAND ON 9/11: This day is to honor our loved ones. The sun is out, my husband is here in spirit, and very proud that I'm here to be able to show it off and tell him about my husband, Michael, that I lost that day. And I'll never forget, and we'll never forget what happened here.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day, almost 10 years ago. Obviously, you can't bring back your friends that were lost. And I know that each and every one of you not only grieve for them, but have also over the last 10 years, dealt with the families, their children, trying to give them comfort, trying to give them support.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All of us remember what happened on 9/11 over at the Pentagon. There's a memorial service that's about to take place there, as well.
TOM VENDITTO, N.Y. FIRE DEPARTMENT: As firefighters, we're mostly concerned that people remember the sacrifice that we have made, our brothers have made, and remember their families who endured today with their losses every day.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
COOPER: A day of remembrance. Breaking news at the top of the hour, we'll be right back.