to say -- >> heard it here first. >> do an interview with us and let's talk. >> thank you. can't wait to watch. >> few hours away. >> thank you, everyone for watching. it's been great to have you with us. stay tuned because my colleague wolf blit zer will take the helm in -- now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. 1:00 p.m. here in washington 10:00 p.m. in islamabad, 2:00 a.m. in pyongyang, nouk. wherever you're watching from around the world thanks for joining us. we begin with the largest release of osama bin laden documents ever. the correspondence was confiscated by u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s. the night bin laden was killed. they paint a complex picture of the leader revealing the human side of bin laden and reminding us of his terrorist side. among the 103 documents just released there is extensive cooperation with other leaders of al qaeda and al kweed's
communications with terrorist groups around the muslim world. in sharp contrast in the letters he exchanged with his extended family there are surprisingly some heartfelt messages to his children and one of his several wives. and bin laden's digital library revealed he read everything from obama's war by bob woodward. let's delve into the documents joining us now, cnn's national security analyst peter bergen the author of "manhunts the ten-year search for bin laden from 9/11 to abbottbad." with us counter terrorism analyst, former cia counter terrorism official philip mudd and the former delta force commander retired lieutenant colonel james reese. peter, walk through -- went through all these documents, a lot of documents. what struck you the most? >> i think the most unexpected thing that you will find in the documents is the relationship
with his family. i mean we don't -- we think of bin laden as a sort of master terrorist. here he's sending these very loving messages to his wife who was then living in iran. his sons were sending him these very heartfelt letters that they hadn't seen him for a long time painting this more human picture of him. >> why did the u.s. intelligence community decided to release these documents now? >> as you know the intelligence community is a large bureaucracy and take a long time to get something together like this. they told me they've been working on this since october of last year to publicly declassify as much as possible. obviously stuff that's -- there's still stuff that would be of some operational use which they haven't released. >> they released the initial trove of documents a year after he was killed right? >> yeah. >> 17 document a year after he was killed 103 today. >> are there more? >> yes. we'll see other releases later this year. >> what are they waiting for? >> seven intelligence agencies
each have to sign off and say there's nothing here we're concerned about and the department of justice, so it's not -- it takes a while. >> phil let me read an excerpt from one of the documents just released and this is one of his letters to jihadist militants in north africa. you should ask them to avoid insisting on the formation of an islamic state at the time being, but to work on breaking the power of our main enemy by attacking the american embassies in the african countries, such as sierra leone, togo and mainly to attack the american oil companies. this is part of the strategy not only to go after the united states but to go after the economic power of the united states. >> you're seeing the insides of some of the debates within terrorist movements that have existed for years now. we see that with isis today. the revolution bin laden inspired was pretty simple. he would say in countries like egypt or algeria or iraq don't know cuss on the local target first, the local government. go after the head of the snake, that's washington that's new york that's tel aviv london.
go after what he would call the far enemy. in the past years, you see this in the letters, the groups that have grown up particularly isis are saying we don't believe the bin laden message. our goals is to stage a revolution at home and most of the fighting you see now isn't attacks against new york it's attacks against mosul and ramadi. >> more colonel reese, how much he hated the united states and hated the west. i'll put up another excerpt. iens would be exaggerating he writes if i declare what i'm about to write is maybe the most important thing i have written in my life. these pig eating invaders and loyal dogs are too scared to death to fight us face to face. you have a chance to stop the savageness and arrogance of america and its allies. yes, you. what do you make of that? >> well wolf you know it's -- we've been tracking that. people have been studying bin laden an the al qaeda piece. that is his rhetoric from day one.
back in the mid-2000s when we captured some of his messengers bringing in cds for zarqawi, same messaging, stop messing with the sunnis or shia focus on the americans. focus on the snake, go after them. it's the same rhetoric. doesn't surprise pe. >> and the reference peater to pig eating invaders muslims don't eat pork or pig, that was the reference there. >> yeah. but i -- i actually didn't see that quote when i was looking through it. that does -- it rings very true. >> yeah. let's -- here's a part of the personal side you're talking about in these letters. and here's another excerpt he writes to one of the wives. my beloved wife know that you do fill my heart with love. beautiful memories. and your long suffering of tense situations in order to apiece me and be kind to me and every time i thought of you, my eyes would tear for being away from you. i mean you read that and you think about bin laden, what he
was doing and all of a sudden he's a loving husband who gets emotional with one of his wives. >> yeah. you know he was a family man. he first got married when he was 17. he had five wives. one divorced him. and he tried to manage those relationships. >> showing pictures of that letter right now. this is all in arabic that have been translated. so, you know it wasn't totally surprising to me. i studied him a long time. but this very warm relationship with his wives and very warm relationship with his sons and daughters, is one of the things that these documents are really showing. >> what do you make of that some. >> one of the things as somebody inside the cia make of this is if you want to know one of the reasons it was difficult to get to him, his willingness to separate himself out from the organization, to the point where he could not have contact with wives, indicates why we had to go through such efforts over a decade to find the courier network to take him down. he wasn't on electronic media,
wasn't on a phone. he realized any movement any sort of communication with his family was a vulnerability. as soon as i saw that i said another indication of what he was tough to hunt down and kill. >> he had a lot of books there in his digital library, colonel reese. the bob woodward book we know that but a bunch of conpiror toal books, describings u.s. conspiracies out there. what do you make of that? >> well you know, wolf the one thing i took from that is and think about it there's part of it that's true. there was parts written in there about they were very concerned about the u.s. drones and our counter terrorism operations that went after them. and so if you take those facts that he knows and then, you know think about it if you're walking around and every time you're looking in the air think about a drone strike or special forces on top of you, you have to be turning around going who's telling them where i am. it causes a conspiracy theory. that had to be an uncomfortable number of years just being a
lonely guy in a cold place always worried and look over your back for the next strike. >> speaking of conspiracy theories let me wrap up this segment with both of you and get your thoughts. he lived, bin laden, in that abbottbad compound for six years. six years. no one knew no one in the pakistani government knew bin laden was hiding out for six years in this place? >> when i was reporting the book about the hunt for bin laden i found out he was hiding from people on the compound. forget about pakistani officials. there was a -- one of the wife of the couriers protecting him had no idea that osama bin laden was there he never left the second or third floor of the compound in a particular building. he was very careful, very, very careful. >> anything in these documents reinforce the seymour hersh article that came out last week about a big major conspiracy and that the u.s. over these past several years has been lying about what happened? >> i think what we're seeing here is quite the opposite. there's no indication that senior pakistani leadership was
involved in hiding him. no indication, for example, that the saudi government was doing something to enable him to stay hidp. i think what it does explain the narrative the white house has released is pretty close to the sfloouts do you agree, peter? >> completely. >> leave it on that note. don't go far away. much more to discuss about isis. it's on the move clearly, right now in syria and iraq caught in the crossfire, lots of civilians, tens of thousands of them fleeing the blood shed. a look at the terror group's battle plans and america's evolving strategy in the region. also today, another bombshell claim north korea alleging it notes how to miniaturize nuclear warheads. why some remain skeptical.
. to syria where isis mill tants have taken control of parts of a pal mirap. the fear isis forces will destroy the treasures in pal mira as they have done in other areas. in iraq some isis forces have moved east from ramadi as they try to capture other areas protected by iraqi troops. also more fallout from the loss of ramadi by those iraqi troops. the obama administration says weapons stored in the city are now most likely in the hands of isis forces. the fall of ramadi in iraq is being called a, quote setback by u.s. officials by the loss of the capital of anbar province could have a major affect on the fight against isis. bring back phil mudd our counter terrorism analyst and retired colonel general james reese. phil the u.s. and the iraqi governments, they both claim
that this can be restored they can arm some of the sunni groups if you will in anbar and eventually retake ramadi. your analysis if? >> i think they can. let's look at isis first. there's a setback for themselves as they take more territory and that is at some point in time this year next year they're going to have to govern this territory. they keep taking territory without the ability to maintain control over the population provide schools, for example so the military is lost in the short term. will isis be able to govern in the long term? i think not. on the flip side, though i think the government has a huge vulnerability here. they're talking about working with sunni tribes. what's the story we have out of ramadi? the government military doesn't have the ability to fight so they bring in shia mill shah. if you're a sunni tribesman in ra plaidedy watching a shia militia coming in what are you saying? you're saying the government is still not a solution for a unified iraq. that's a problem for baghdad. >> u.s. officials are saying
colonel reese, that these isis forces that took ra plaidedy also wound upp capturing lots of u.s. equipment, some sophisticated and lethal and know how to use it because a lot of isis forces are former baathist iraqi military officers who worked for saddam hussein. how big of a problem is this? >> wolf it is a problem, but i do not see it like some others we're talking with see it that way. i'm spending a lot of time on the ground. it is a setback. yes, the weapons they -- they're able to grab can be used back against them. here's what's not being told. when that assault on the city on ramadi took out, isis also went after seven other targets around that area. six of those seven targets were defended by the iraqi security forces. they did a real good job of doing that. but we concentrate on the one piece here. the other piece i'm very
concerned about, though, is when you've got ramadi, it also breaks up your lines of communication and your supply lines back out to the west where you have other iraqi forces and haditha and the u.s. forces that are training sunnis out there at al anbar. it's a give and take right now. >> you know washington phil. here's a press release that office of the press secretary of the white house put out. read out of president obama's meeting with the national security council on isil or isis and the situation in iraq. they give a statement of how the president convened his top national security advisers. 25 25 top national security advisers from the intelligence community, the director of national intelligence the cia, you used to work at the cia, from the pentagon john kerry, secretary of state, the vice president, jeh johnson, the secretary of homeland security all of the top national security advisors to the president, including the head of the u.s. military central command, they bring him in via a secure
satellite capability the ambassador in iraq i see a document like this and i say to myself these guys are in trouble that the president has to convene an emergency meeting like this in his white house situation room to discuss what's going on with isil and iraq after the fall of ramadi? >> i tell you, as having been on the inside here's the problem as i see it. we're talking about whether the white house strategy works. people on different sides of the aisle have different perspectives. if you step back and take a 30,000 foot view we have decided we are not going to put major forces back on the ground to fight on the front lines. beyond that step everythings else is on the fringes. want to change strategies provide more weapons, forward deploy spotters for the iraqi military provide weapons to the cureds the problem if you're in the decision making position is simple the egg is broken. there is one group that can put the egg back together. that's the iraqi government. counterinsurgency theory if the
government can't do it the away team that's the united states can't substitute for them and you can't get around that fact. >> colonel reese if you had been in the meeting in the white house situation room with the president and he asked you, give me some advice colonel reese, you're the head of the delta force, give me advice what is the united states need to do now to defeat isis in iraq? you would say? >> i would say that we have to be able to put a limitd amount of special forces teams integrated with the iraqi forces that we train, get them into the field and allow them to continue to coach, teach, and mentor those forces to be a combat enabler in the battlefield. >> and if he said to you then colonel, how many americans will come home in body bags? you would say? >> i couldn't tell him that. but i would tell him that there's a high possibility it's going to happen but if you want to stop isis here to stop them and their spread trends nationally across the middle
east and come into the homeland this is something we have to commit to do. >> thanks very much for joining us. phil mudd thanks to you as well. up next there are renewed calls for u.s. boots on the ground in iraq. i'll speak live with the republican congressman peter king of new york. we'll get his anti-isis strategy. stay with us.
the anbar province. secretary of state john kerry expected a relatively quick retaking of the city in the days ahead. his words. while a statement from the pentagon said isis appears to have the upper hand at least for now. joining us from capitol hill is new york republican congressman peter king. chairman of the house subcommittee on counter terrorism and intelligence. representative king thank very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> earlier this week lindsey graham the senator from south carolina and a likely presidential candidate, by the way, told me that the u.s. has to increase the number of ground troops in iraq right now. right now there are about 3,000. he would like to see 10,000 u.s. ground troops in iraq to deal with isis and earlier this morning on cnn's "new day" the former new york governor george pataki said this. >> i would not be adverse to putting american boots on the ground to destroy their training centers and planning centers. >> scary territory with the american people. >> i know you have your two sons
who served but americans are very shy about being on the ground in a war they believe is not theirs. >> absolutely. rightly so. it is our war. send in troops destroy their training centers, destroy their recruitment centers, destroy the area where they are looking to plan to attack us here and get out. leave a little note behind. you come back, so will we. >> your reaction, congressman? >> i think lindsey graham is generally on target wolf. the exact amount we can discuss the fact is we do have to avoid to have troops there, one to be spotters on the ground for the air attacks to be more effective than now. we need trainers special operations working embedded with the iraqi forces for training purposes a and to guide them and to help coordinate the iraqi army with the kurds. so no there's definitely a need for ground troops. now president obama will not talk about 100,000 or 30,000. we're not talking about america
being involved or leading a land war. we're talking about american troops on the ground for the purpose of training carrying out special operations missions what they did in syria, and to provide targets so that the air attacks can be much more effective than they have been until now. >> do you agree with your former governor george pataki likely to announce he will be a republican presidential candidate? >> george was an outstanding governor and i would wish him well if he runs for president. i don't know if our troops can take out training centers per se because i think isis is more dispersed than that. this isn't like with in vietnam where you had these big targets which could have been attacked or even, you know large elements like the iraqi army. isis is more dispersed so obviously if there are targets we have available, then we should certainly try to take them out. i think probably the more important use of ground troops would be to embed them with the iraqi army and also you know, for training purposes and also to coordinate their activities
and also to be spotters for air attacks. >> the u.s., as you know, spent a decade arming an training and financing the iraqi military. they is built up a huge force, several hundred thousand iraqi military personnel. the u.s. then pulls out, president obama said the u.s. should pull out, president obama implemented that withdraw. the u.s. basically left iraq but as soon as the u.s. did, the iraqi military for all practical purposes collapsed in mosul, now collapsed in ramadi collapsing elsewhere. if the u.s. were to spend another decade training them why do you thinks the outcome would be any different the next time the u.s. pulled out? >> yeah. several answers to that. one, even though president bush did have that timeline it was clear that he expected and wanted troops to stay there longer. that was something that had to be done as a political reality for maliki at the time. president obama should have fought harder with the iraqis to have a permanent ground force of -- between 10 and 20,000.
once we left i hate to use this term but the iraqis lost their adult supervision and that's when maliki was inserting his favorites in there, knocking out the more qualified commanders on the ground. he totally politicized the army. if you go back to 2008/2009, the iraqi army was a reasonably good force, but after that once the u.s. was gone and maliki took over total control of the army a at that stage the army began to fall apart. so when the crunch time came with isis most of them just disbanned, threw down their weapons, ran, morale was lost. so i don't think we could ever fill them up to the extent that we did during the period up to 2008. i think that we can certainly make them a better fighting force and again, by using our best trainers best special operations forces to be in there with them it can serve a real purpose. other than that listen this is our war, to the extent that this
is going to definitely involve the united states, isis will use iraq as a base of operations to destabilize the middle east and our allies and ultimately as a launching a pad for attacks on the united states. >> when are you going to announce whether or not you're running for the republican presidential nomination? >> wolf i am again, looking at it. i've been to new hampshire. i've lost count. i'm in contact with people in new hampshire and around the country. but listen i will have to decide in the next four to six weeks and, you know, there's several candidates out there, i think are qualified. i think i would be the best qualified but i have to see if the financing will be there, what openings but it's not ruling it out. >> the fact that your governor george pataki is going to run, that would not deter you? >> that wouldn't deter me. george and i are good friends but if i decided to run i would run anyway. george will be an effective candidate. >> which way are you leaning?
>> right now my heart says i want to run, but i have to listen to my mind. i'm sort of 50/50. how about this you will be the first to know. >> all right. that's good to know. thanks very much congressman. good luck to you. i appreciate. always good have you here on cnn. >> thank you. >> still ahead, the new threat from north korea. the country making a stunning new claim about arming missiles with nuclear warheads. how real is that threat and is the u.s. really within striking distance. stay with us.
with xfinity from comcast you can manage your account anytime, anywhere on any device. just sign into my account to pay bills manage service appointments and find answers to your questions. you can even check your connection status on your phone. now it's easier than ever to manage your account. get started at xfinity.com/myaccount an oil slick now covers four miles of california's central coastline. the cause, a pipeline leak in all, some 21,000 gallons of crude oil made its way into the ocean along part of the santa barbara county coast. cnn's paul vercammen is joining us now from one of those beaches with the latest. looks pretty bad. how did the spill happen paul?
the pipeline is on land. give us the background. >> well what happened wolf this pipeline which is that way, which is on shore, you often hear about oil spills going from offshore to on in this case it came down went into a culvert, and it emitted all this oil, this gooey thick mess here on refugio state beach. you know this area well. this is below reagan ranch of your days of covering the western white house. a pristine area one that is unspoiled and the concern, of course is are the animals here the fish the shore birds. look over my shoulder here in the background dozens of workers in white protective gear now trying to clean this up. it's backbreaking work. they are literally scraping oil off rocks. they're raking it together in tarballs putting it in plastic bags. this is an important weekend coming up in this county which
relies heavily on tourism. this beach would have been visited by thousands of visitors peach who would be onshore fishing kayaking hiking all in this area refugio beach shut down and another nearby beach also threatened by this spill, we can tell you that out at sea, there's about seven ships right now. they're using booms to contain the spill. they're skimming and collecting by whatever means possible. the coast guard taking the lead on all of this some heavy work to be done here wolf for sure. >> do they know how this happened? what caused that spill? >> no they don't. that's disputed in a couple different ways. i just had someone with santa barbara's environmental defense center an attorney tell me she does not believe for a minute that this was an inactive pipeline. she says it was active. so that's something that also is going to be investigated as they try to solve what caused this
spill on this pristine stretch of california coast. >> i hope they figure out what happened and they clean it up and make sure it remains pristine. that's so important. you're right. it is a beautiful area around there, santa barbara as well. paul vercammen reporting live. appreciate it. still ahead, a different story we're covering. north korea. it now says it is one step closer to developing nuclear warheads. we have details. that's coming up next.
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nouk is makerth korea is making disturbing claims. if the claims are true they could represent a major step toward development of a nuclear missile in north korea. north korea's military says it does have the capability to miniaturize nuclear weapons. that's a necessary step toward fitting a nuclear device on a missile. a spokesman for the u.s. national security council is casting doubt on the north korea claim. the spokesman saying we do not think they have that capacity. north korea has also canceled a visit by the united nations secretary general ban ki-moon scheduled to tour a joint industrial complex on the north koreaen side of the frontier with south korea. so what did north korea's nuclear claims mean for the region and the united states? victor cha holds the chair at the strategic and international studies here in washington. that's a think tank. he's also a professor at georgetown university.
thanks for joining us. how credible is this claim by north korea it can miniaturize nuclear weapons. >> wolf we never know for certain what north korea is actually doing when it makes these statements but i don't think we can completely discount them. in the past we've always tended to underestimate north korean capabilities and what we've seen in the last few months is a statement by the nor rad commander that they have a rogue mobile icbm long-range ballistic missile. on may 8th they launched a submarine based ballistic missile and now this claim of mip tourization. so they're clearly moving in the direction of trying to create a modern nuclear arsenal and we can't just sort of blow this off and say, oh, they're just making it up. >> what do you make of the decision from ban ki-moon, the u.n. secretary general to cancel that previously scheduled visit. >> it's interesting. i think there was, to me looks like there was an effort by the u.n. as well as the south korean
government to engage north korea. secretary general ban going to the complex with the joint north/south economic complex first time he's offered to do that and the north koreaens announcing humanitarian assistances this morning. for them to pull the plug at the last minute is another signal from the north koreans they're not interested in dealing with anybody right now. >> as you know there is a delegation of about 30 women from the u.s. and other countries, peace activists, in pyongyang, right now, even as we speak. gloria steinhem among the women there, getting ready for this march across the dmz, the demilitarized zone showing our viewers the pictures of the delegation of the women arriving in pyongyang. hope to speak to some of them later today in "the situation room." what do you think of the idea the women are trying to improve the swagt by showing some sort of peace march across the dmz
from north into south korea approved by both governments? >> well you know, i think there have been many grass roots efforts to try to reduce tensions on the peninsula and this is certainly a very prominent one by a prominent individual. if it has some sort of positive effect that would be great. my only concern is this is happening in the context of rapidly escalating north korean nuclear arsenal as well as, you know really horrible human rights abuses and human rights violations taking place in the country that were made clear by this recent u.n. report. so, you know i hope that they're successful in reducing tensions. a i'm not confident that's going to be the end result of this trip. >> victor cha, from georgetown university and csis, thanks for joining us. >> thanks, wolf jo still ahead, congress calls for a deposition for a close friend and adviser for hillary clinton. who is sydney blumenthal and his
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. all right. take a look at this. live pictures coming from the u.s. senate floor. you see kentucky for rand paul, he's speaking a republican presidential candidate. right now, he has started, just tweeted he's starting his filibuster against any renewal of the u.s. patriot act. the senate is debating renewal of the controversial law enacted after 9/11. senator paul said he will try to stop the vote in order to end
spying he says on american citizens by the national security agency. the surveillance program that's been in effect now since 9/11. he wants to see it go away so he's filibustering as he promised he would do and he has just started. we'll see how long this continues. other news we're following, advances by isis in iraq have some republican presidential hopefuls pushing for a more forceful u.s. response and some of those contenders are even calling for what's called boot on the ground. the former new york governor george pataki says the u.s. should deploy troops for a limited mission. senator lindsey graham former senator rick santorum they say they would send 10,000 u.s. troops to iraq. there are about 3,000 there right now. congressman peter king you heard him, ohio governor john kasich they also say ground troops are necessary to defeat isis in iraq. our chief political analyst gloria borger joining us. does this put more pressure on other republican presidential
hopefuls to be more hawkish right now? >> right. because that's where the republican party is right now. we've seen this grow since we've seen the isis beheadings and other atrocities so if you look at the polling, 60% of the republicans right now support some form of ground presence to combat isis. now, that's difficult when you get into the general election because more than 75% of the american public believes that the war in iraq was a mistake, but right now, these republican candidates are worried more about appealing to their base than they are about the rest of the country. somebody like rand paul whom you were just talking about, has a little bit more of a problem because he's seen as much more noninterventionist. >> he says don't intervene unless the u.s. directly is in jeopardy and if you do get a war resolution passed by the united states senate. >> that's right. so, you know he -- it was easy for him to answer the question that jeb bush had a lot of
trouble answering because what rand paul said is the war in iraq was a mistake, i wouldn't have done it sort of end of question. that's why you saw all the other candidates especially jeb bush kind of figure out a way to try and tip toe around it. >> let's talk about hillary clinton the democratic candidate. one of her friends sidney blumenthal all of a sudden in the news once again. those of us who have covered the clintons for years, sydney blumenthal no stranger obviously. here's what she said yesterday about the exchanges she had with sidney blumenthal while she was secretary of state. >> he's been a friend of mine for a long time. he sent me unsew his litted e-mails which i passed on in some instances and i see that that's just part of the give and take. when you're in the public eye and official position you have to work to make sure you're not caught in a bubble and only hear from a certain small group of people and i'm going to keep talking to my old friends,