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Times Square Suspect Still Talking; Retracing Suspect's Steps; Oil Hits Louisiana's Barrier Islands; Oil Leak's Long Term Effects

Aired May 6, 2010 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The attorney general of the United States says Faisal Shahzad is still cooperating, but even as investigators connect the dots, some lawmakers are second-guessing the watch list system that almost let him get away.

And CNN now has exclusive pictures as oil from that leaking well hits Louisiana's barrier islands. Can a massive dome contain the flow? I'll speak this hour with the coast guard commandant, Admiral Thad Allen.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Faisal Shahzad is still talking and the attorney general, Eric Holder, said he is continuing to cooperate and he's providing valuable intelligence. A senior U.S. official said new leads show the suspect probably did get training in Pakistan. Now, a high-level U.S. team is in Pakistan, working closely with local authorities in grilling Shahzad's father. He's a retired Pakistani air force officer, a high- ranking officer, who has not been detained himself. Intelligence officials say four men suspected of ties to a Pakistani militant group are also being questioned right now. Faisal Shahzad went back to Pakistan last year and at one point allegedly met with senior Taliban officials. Retracing some of his steps, our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, he's in Karachi.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: April 17th, 2009, Faisal Shahzad becomes an American citizen. He has no known ties to terrorism. Only 2 1/2 months later, he returns to his homeland. When he left the United States, he came here, to Pakistan's port city Karachi, to this middle-class neighborhood. And within a week, according to senior Pakistani government officials, he met a man who took him to meet Taliban leaders. On these streets, a neighborhood near his wife's family, Pakistani police believe are some of the clues to Shahzad's radicalization. And a new threat facing the United States.

This is the mosque here where Faisal Shahzad is reported to have attended when he came to Karachi. And it's where also, we understand, at least one of the people detained by the authorities here was picked up.

And what about Faisal Shahzad? Did Faisal Shahzad come here to this? Did he come to Madrassa ever? Did he come to the mosque here? They tell us no one was picked up here. They also deny reports the mosque has ties to an outlawed radical Islamic group connected to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Does this -- does this mosque, though, have a history of a relationship with the Jaishe Mohammed in the past? It's just a school. They tell us we must be confused with the nearby mosque with the same name. Well, despite what they told us that there were two mosques by the same name, we've just run a few checks, and it's clear this is the right place. Shahzad did pray there. Turns out the man in question was picked up a few blocks away.

This is where the police tracked down the man who took Shahzad to meet the Taliban leaders. An amusement park in Karachi, and so far, all the detentions that have taken place have happened within a few miles of here. It's hundreds of miles to the Pakistani Taliban strongholds in the tribal border region, where officials tell CNN Shahzad was taken for his meeting. The Pakistani Taliban deny they trained Shahzad, but they do praise him, and following in the footsteps of al Qaeda, vow more attacks like his in the United States.


BLITZER: Joining us now from Karachi is Nic Robertson. Nic, I know you've been investigating the level of cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistani authorities right now. What are you learning?

ROBERTSON: Well, Wolf, what we are learning is coming from Pakistani intelligence sources, and they're telling us there is in effect sort of a joint investigation going on. U.S. investigators and Pakistani investigators, questioning today Shahzad's father, Alhak, he was questioned and now apparently he's been released. And now the joint investigations team are talking to the Jaishe Mohammed, the group that has ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda, so it does appear the cooperation is happening at quite an effective level at the moment, Wolf.

BLITZER: Do we know for sure, Nic, that his wife and children are somewhere in Pakistan right now? The wife was born in Colorado, a graduate of the University of Colorado. Have we confirmed that the family is in Pakistan?

ROBERTSON: Wolf, that's something we just can't get a straight answer on from officials here. We do know that his father-in-law is being held by the police at the moment, that's the father -- the mother -- the father of his wife obviously is being held, but no word on where exactly his wife is, so obviously some routes here in Pakistan for her family. And the area in Karachi that these arrests have happened around have been an area close to where her family lives, but, no, no firm answers from Pakistani officials on the whereabouts of his wife so far, Wolf.

BLITZER: Do the experts you're speaking to, believe the pattern of militancy that apparently developed in Faisal Shahzad, represent a new threat to the U.S. and to other westerners?

ROBERTSON: If it's as he claims that he got training from the Pakistani Taliban, which the Pakistani Taliban are denying, but if he did get training from this other group, Jaishe Mohammed, who have close ties to the Taliban, you know, the way the groups have worked in the past is that they share the training camps. Let's not think about big training camps here, sometimes they can be quite small compounds, compounds around a single house. In a way it doesn't matter what the name of the group is, because they're almost sort of synonymous with each other or becoming that way in terms of their threat to the United States. They are threatening the United States. All of them have come into contact over various times with people coming to the United States looking for training, either al Qaeda, Jaishe Mohammed, Pakistani Taliban, all prepared to attack U.S. interests. So, in a way it doesn't matter what the name of the group is. But -- but the fact that there's this now very real possibility that these Pakistani groups, as well as al Qaeda, are training people ready to go back to the United States and perpetrate attacks, that means this problem is spreading, multiplying, growing and for Pakistani and U.S. supporters making it harder to spot and stop here in Pakistan, Wolf.

BLITZER: Nic Robertson on the ground for us in Karachi, Pakistan, Nic, be careful over there. We'll check with you down the road.

Even as investigators connect some important dots, there is some second-guessing by lawmakers about the chain of events that almost allowed Faisal Shahzad to slip out of the country. Our homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, has more on the story. What are you learning?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: New pictures reportedly of Faisal Shahzad today from the store where he allegedly bought components for his bomb.


MESERVE: The images show a man in blue jeans and a khaki jacket shopping for fireworks at the Phantom Fireworks store in Pennsylvania. He's identified by the store's owner as Faisal Shahzad. The owner says the FBI looked at the tape and said, that's our man. For a few minutes late this morning, it looked like another terror scare. Again an Emirates airliner preparing for takeoff at New York's JFK Airport was directed back to the terminal after two passengers' names hit on the no-fly list. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it underscored questions about how a real terror suspect, Faisal Shahzad, made it onto a plane despite being on the no-fly list and almost got away.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I think there is a lot of concern out there about why the suspect was not apprehended until the jet has pulled away from the gate.

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: Once again, the watch list seemed to be dysfunctional.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: Yes, we've been lucky, but luck is not an effective strategy for fighting the terrorist threat. MESERVE: Despite questions about how Shahzad bought a one-way ticket with cash at the last minute without getting flagged, some Democrats insist the system worked.

REP. IKE SKELTON (D), MISSOURI: We caught him. We caught him. He's going to be in the process of being prosecuted.

MESERVE: Attorney general, Eric Holder, pushed back on criticism that Shahzad, a terror suspect, should not have been read his Miranda rights.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN: The fact that you had to give Miranda warnings, which is required, did that in any way hinder your investigation?

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, it did not. As we have seen in prior investigations, the giving of Miranda warnings has not deterred people from talking to us, and Mr. Shahzad is, in fact, continuing to cooperate with us.


MESERVE: And because he is still talking, no court appearance has been scheduled, as the investigation presses forward in Pakistan and here in the U.S. -- Wolf?

BLITZER: A fascinating development, Jeanne, thank you very much.

Jack Cafferty's coming up with "The Cafferty File."

Also, we'll have much more on the investigation into the Times Square bomb plot. We're going to get special insight from the vice chairman of the Senate select committee on intelligence, Kip Bond, he's standing by to join us.

And we'll also have an exclusive underwater look at the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, as significant amounts of oil now hit land.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's here, and he's got "the Cafferty file." Jack?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they're known as the Bush tax cuts, but soon they will become part of President Obama's legacy, too. That's because Mr. Obama wants the tax cuts introduced in 2001 and 2003 to be extended indefinitely for most Americans. They're set to expire at the end of this year, which means that lawmakers will have to act before then if they're to be extended. The tax cuts lowered income and investment tax rates, increased the child credit, and reduced the real estate tax and inequalities for married taxpayers.

Then there's this, despite the $12 trillion national debt, President Obama isn't calling on Congress to pay for the cost of extending these tax cuts. We're talking about spending more than $2 trillion on his predecessor's tax policy, but the president does want to raise taxes on the rich, or the well-off. He's proposing letting the tax cuts expire for couples who make more than $250,000 a year or individuals who make more than $200,000. Critics say that increasing taxes on the rich will hurt small business, will hurt job growth, and will hurt the stock market. But Democrats say the plan is fair because middle-class Americans are struggling more than the wealthy. So, their solution is to take from the well-off and give to the not- as-well-off, you know, redistribute the wealth.

Meanwhile it's not clear when Congress will take up this issue, but it could happen before their summer recess so they can go home and brag to their constituents about what they've done ahead of the midterm elections. The hard truth, though, is this -- extending those tax cuts without paying for them, perhaps by, say, cutting government spending, that's just irresponsible.

Here's the question: What should President Obama do about the Bush tax cuts which are due to expire at the end of the year? Go to, post a comment on my blog.

BLITZER: All right, Jack, thank you.

Oil from the gushing gulf oil well has now hit the barrier islands off Louisiana St. Bernard Parish, that grim development comes as workers, some 50 miles offshore, prepare to lower a massive containment dome over the well. Let's talk about this with the coast guard commandant, Admiral Thad Allen, who is joining us now. Admiral, are we seeing any improvement in the conditions right now, or is it getting worse?

ADM. THAD ALLEN, COMMANDANT, U.S. COAST GUARD: Wolf, we're kind of in a static position right now. You know, we've had oil come ashore in the Chandeleur Islands but the massive part of this slick has pretty much stayed in one area but it's expanded. If there's a positive thing to say about this, it's the nonevent that's been generated by the better weather we've had. None the less side, we still have the releases coming off the bottom and moving to do what we can, including the staging today of a cofferdam that we'll place over the largest leak sometime over the weekend to see if we can collect the oil and pipe it to the surface.

BLITZER: Is it your estimate that the gushing is still coming at, what, 5,000 barrels a day, 10,000 barrels a day? Is it going up or down? What's the estimate right now?

ALLEN: We're using a working estimate of 5,000 barrels a day, but I've been careful since the event started not to lock in on a specific estimate, because all we know is what we see with the ROVs at the bottom of the ocean and when it hits the surface there's still some in the water column. Ultimately we'll have to reconcile what we've been burn off with in situ burning and dispersants from the air and mechanical skimming but the calculus of what was spilled and how much is out there will take some development. But the working assumption is 5,000 barrels a today.

BLITZER: The remote ROVs are the remotely operated vehicles that you're using down there, is that right?

ALLEN: That's correct. And one of the challenging thing about this response is we're working in an area with no human access and we've never had a spill of this significance and this complexity at this depth where everything we did had to be done through remotely operated vehicles.

BLITZER: What's your assessment, can the four-story containment dome that it's being called, once it's lowered over the gushing well, can it contain the situation?

ALLEN: Well, I think it's a very encouraging development, but I think we've learned throughout the event as it's progressed and things have changed, we shouldn't bank that this will be a final solution or we'll be ultimately completely successful. We're looking at something while it's been successful in 200 or 300 feet of water following hurricanes Katrina and Rita has never been done at this depth and there are a number of technical difficulties associated with it that will have to be overcome.

BLITZER: When will we know whether or not it has succeeded?

ALLEN: Well, they plan to put it down sometime later this weekend, but one of the problems we have is we're bringing warm oil product which is also mixed with natural gas and water up from 18,000 feet and as it passes through the seafloor it's surrounded by water that's in the low 30 degrees. There's a chance that the gas could actually form into ice crystals in the pipe, so they're actually creating a Jacket around the drill pipe and pumping surface at 78 degrees down to keep it warm to preclude that from happening. But basically these are techniques that have never been tried at this depth before.

BLITZER: What I hear you saying it's still a very, very iffy situation as it's unfolding right now. BP, I know you've met with some of the top executives of British Petroleum. Are they doing everything they need to do right now to help you?

ALLEN: BP is working very, very hard at this. There are a number of engineering solutions that they are working on. They continue to work on. This is not the only thing that's being attempted. We're also looking at the application of dispersants at the leak sites on the ocean floor to disperse the oil before it gets to the water column. As you know the relief well, they've started drilling that and have made progress over the last several days. No one single solution short of capping this well is going to be successful, and our guidance to British Petroleum is leave no stone unturned, and they are turning over all the stones.

BLITZER: I know you always worry about contingency plans, assuming, and we hope it succeeds, if the containment plan fails, what's plan "b"?

ALLEN: We'll have to look at the oil coming ashore and the oil out there, no matter what happens, because we have oil on the water. And the oil has already started to contaminate the Chandeleur Islands to the east of the Louisiana coastline. We're working close with the state and local governments especially the parish presidents in Louisiana. I directed our coast guard commanders to work with them to understand the requirements and what is most important to protect and to direct British Petroleum and the other contractors involved to provide them these resources. We've been working this issue extremely hard since we met with the president in Venice last Saturday.

BLITZER: Thad Allen is the commandant of the coast guard. Good luck to you and everyone else involved in this operation, Commandant. We appreciate what you're doing.

ALLEN: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll also stay on top of this story. We're about to get an exclusive underwater look at the gulf oil spill. Our Brooke Baldwin is on the front line as the crude washes up on some of the region's most sensitive wetlands.

And we're also tracking the money trail in the Times Square bomb plot. Where did the suspect get the cash for the bomb car and his plane ticket?


BLITZER: Let's get some more now on the oil disaster in the gulf. The worst fears are coming true in Louisiana right now, where oil from that sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico is now washing up on some of those delicate islands off Louisiana in potentially disastrous amounts. Let's go to the scene. CNN's Brooke Baldwin is joining us with more. Brooke, explain what you're seeing and feeling, smelling, touching.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I will do all of that. I'm touching, well, not too closely, but this is the oil, Wolf, it's this kind of pinkish-orange goo. We took an eight-hour boat ride out to the beautiful barrier islands, the Chandeleur Islands earlier today. It's essentially this perpendicular island chain to the gulf coast, essentially we found this oil, 25 miles that way.


BALDWIN: Take a look at what we found in the water. This is the oil, this massive orange sheen is the oil. We're 25 miles south of the gulf coast, let's take a closer look. And, see, what it looks like. It is all over this side of the Chandeleur Islands. This kind of orange, almost goo. Captain George Pelaez is good enough to drive us out here to check out the oil, and we just came upon this. When you see this, what do you think?

GEORGE PELAEZ, CHARTER BOAT CAPTAIN: It's a little discouraging now, because right now we are at a very popular fishing location. We finished the Chandeleur chain and we're already in the oil and we're on this side of the island and we'll keep on going south.

BALDWIN: As you take a look at some of the oil here in the water, we've noticed it at least 18 inches deep. I've seen some fish already swimming through it, so to get a better glimpse as to what it really looks like under there, let's take a look with our underwater camera. One of the biggest concerns here with this oil spill, of course, is the wildlife, and now we have a front-row seat to what these experts are talking about. This is New Harbor Island. There are hundreds of pelicans here. This is nesting season, the pelicans, their babies, and you can see here, just about ten feet from that shore, the authorities have put out this protective booming to do precisely that, try to protect this habitat.

Today we have perfect conditions, but here's one of the criticisms. This is a close look at the booms. The booms are supposed to keep all of this oil from going anywhere close to these eco habitats in the islands. The massive criticism is that the wind on any other day is worse, it could easily go over the boom, another worry is because some of this oil is so broken up, underneath, these booms are only about this thick. It could go right on under.

PELAEZ: And what I see from these booms, anything above a 15- knot wind, it's over. I mean, it's -- it's -- it's not going to serve its purpose. When do you go back to work --

BALDWIN: You don't know.

PELAEZ: That's it. We don't know. And right now what I'm seeing out there, it's going to be later than sooner.


BALDWIN: And keep in mind, Wolf, that that charter boat captain has already told me he's lost $21,000 in lost business just in the last week. Briefly in terms of the containment, the cleanup effort, we know now that that containment dome has reached the leak location, but it will still take a couple of days, that process of putting it on top of the leak, siphoning out the oil and I just heard the coast guard official tell you in that interview, it really is unknown. This has never been done before, BP doing this kind of operation at this department, Wolf.

BLITZER: Wow. All right, let's hope the people get reimbursed by BP for their financial losses. Brooke is doing an excellent job at the scene.

As investigators connect the dots, could the Times Square suspect be part of a larger conspiracy here in the United States? I'll speak with Republican Senator, Kip Bond, he's the vice chairman of the intelligence committee.

And Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York wants Arizona to hold off on implementing its new immigration law. What is he offering in return?


BLITZER: Let's get back to one of our top stories. A senior U.S. official now says there are new leads that show that the Times Square bomb suspect, Faisal Shahzad, did likely get training in Pakistan. U.S. investigators there have questioned men suspected of ties to a Pakistani militant group, and they're continuing to connect the dots here in the United States.

The attorney general, Eric Holder, says the suspect is still cooperating.

Let's talk about this with Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri.

He's the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Senator Bond, thanks very much for coming in.

SEN. KIT BOND (R), MISSOURI: Always a pleasure, Wolf.

Good to talk with you.

BLITZER: How big of a deal is this Faisal Shahzad, based on the briefings that you've had with top law enforcement, intelligence officials in the administration?

BOND: Regrettably, we have had almost no information from the intelligence community. I had a brief 10 minute conversation on Tuesday. We have tried to follow up and ask questions about what you in the media are saying. And we have been told by the intelligence community the Department of Justice has ordered them not to share information with the Intelligence Committee.

Unbelievable. Unheard of.

BLITZER: But usually, they -- they don't share with the whole Committee the most -- some of the more sensitive information, but they would share in a classified briefing in a secure room. They would share information with the chairman, Dianne Feinstein, and the ranking member, the vice chairman, that would be you.

Is that right?

BOND: Well, normally, they say -- they will brief the entire Committee. The -- and we..

BLITZER: But sometimes, if it's really..

BOND: -- Chairman Feinstein..

BLITZER: -- sensitive, they only tell the chairman and the vice chairman.

BOND: The -- the sensitive things, which are limited to the gang of four or gang of eight briefing, do not have -- do not deal with things like this. The -- these are very special programs that are limited in access. This is not a special program. This is an investigation of a -- an attempted terrorist attack. And that kind of information has always been made available to the full committee and the cleared staff. And we've been told today -- I -- I've tried to ask Intelligence Committee leaders about it, and we -- we've not gotten any answers. Our staff has told -- is told you -- you cannot -- we've been told by the Department of Justice you can't share it with the Intelligence Committee.

That is, I think, unacceptable. It's politicizing the entire process and very regrettable that the Department of Justice has taken that view. They have done many bad things in intelligence. This one is, I think -- violates all responsibility that they have to share information with Congress.

BLITZER: Well, it -- it raises the suspicion in my mind that maybe there are other suspects who are at large, other parts of this conspiracy, if there is a conspiracy, that are still unfolding. For operational reasons, they want to keep this information as -- as limited as possible so as maybe they can apprehend others and get more information.

BOND: To my knowledge, no information shared with the Intelligence Committee has been leaked. The leaks have come from the executive branch. The somebody -- you were talking to some high official who's talked about what you just told us -- something that you learned about -- that's going on in Pakistan. That has not been told to us. But they -- but somebody from the executive branch apparently has felt free to share it with the news media.

BLITZER: So, obviously, you're upset about this.

As far as you know..

BOND: Indeed.

BLITZER: -- has Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Committee, has -- has she gotten -- been restricted in what she's getting, as well?

BOND: I haven't talked to her recently. She said she got a -- a classified briefing on Sunday. I have not gotten any classified briefing. And it was a representative of the Committee today that asked for information and was told the Committee was not to be briefed.

BLITZER: Well, based on what you know, which obviously is limited, from what -- from what I'm hearing, you can't tell me if he was part of the Pakistani Taliban, per se?

BOND: That is correct. I have read about it and I have heard about it but I have not been able to identify the intelligence sources who will tell me what the basis of their judgment is, how -- how reliable it is and whether it's something we can act on.

BLITZER: All right. For -- forget about the fact that you're not being briefed. I assume you will be at some point. Forget about that. But in general, how do you think the Obama administration is doing as far as this Times Square bomb suspect, the whole case is concerned?

BOND: Number one, for the second time, we were lucky. Both of the -- both Abdulmutallab and Faisal Shahzad..

BLITZER: Abdulmutallab being the Christmas Day..

BOND: The Christmas Day bomber..

BLITZER: -- underwear bomber.

BOND: -- had -- had bombs on them. They were incompetent and didn't set them off. And both times, concerned citizens moved in, in the first case to throw blankets on him on the airplane; in the second case, to identify the smoke coming out of the vehicle. The law enforcement efforts were very good. They -- they tracked down Shahzad. And the -- one of the biggest mistakes that the Department of Justice, which is now running intelligence, has made in both cases, they Mirandized him. They told him -- they told both of them they didn't have to talk and they were -- they were entitled to a lawyer..

BLITZER: But Eric Holder says this guy..

BOND: -- the..

BLITZER: -- is talking.

BOND: That -- they're fortunate, because most -- most suspects, when you tell them that, will stop talking. OK, he's lucky.

Well, why won't he share what he's saying with us?

That is, I think, anybody in the intelligence community will tell you, when you get a suspect who knows how the terror ring operates, if he's part of a ring, you want to get from him what he knows and not give him the Miranda warning, which is only necessary, even for American citizens, if you want to use their words against them in a trial.

And both of these fellows, on Christmas Day and New York in Times Square, have enough evidence that you could convict them. You don't need to Mirandize them. You don't need to give them that warning and potentially shut them up and certainly give them a lawyer who will tell them to be quiet.

BLITZER: Kit Bond is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Senator Bond, thanks very much for coming in.

BOND: Wolf, thank you.

BLITZER: We'll check back with you down the road. A powerful senator asks Arizona to put its controversial new immigration law on hold. We're going to have details of why he says the state should wait to implement the law.

Plus, a record plunge and a massive amount of confusion on Wall Street -- we're learning what caused the stock crisis today.


BLITZER: The senior senator from New York is asking Arizona's governor to delay implementing the state's controversial new law cracking down on illegal immigrants. Democrat Chuck Schumer is also asking for time for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Let's talk about that and more with our own John King.

He's the host of "JOHN KING USA," which comes up right at the top of the hour.

Do you think Chuck Schumer is going to have an impact on the Arizona governor?

JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING USA": Probably not. But it is an interesting move on his part. Number one, he is reflecting the anger, the concern of Democrats -- the pro-immigration reform Latino community. They don't like the Arizona law. Chuck Schumer, who helped write the outline of a new Democratic Senate proposal, essentially saying this -- Governor Brewer, give us one year. Give Washington one year to act. You say, in passing this law, that the federal government has failed. Chuck Schumer says his in letter, I agree with you. He says he disagrees with the Arizona law, but he agrees with her on that premise. Give us some time. Let us prove to you that you don't need your law.

He also says, though, Wolf, at the end of the letter, which is a political gesture by Senator Schumer, and, by the way, could you call Senator McCain and Senator Kyl -- the two Republican senators from Arizona -- and convince them to work with us Democrats in Washington?

So it's a bit of a political move on Senator Schumer's part, but it does show you the one thing that what -- the opponents and the proponents of the Arizona law do agree on one thing, that it became about of a political climate of Washington failing to do more about the border.

BLITZER: On the one hand, some of the recent poll shows there's support around the country for the new immigration law in Arizona. On the other hand, there's pressure mounting. The other day, top officials at Major League Baseball confirmed to me they're under a lot of pressure to move next -- not this summer, but next summer's Major League All Star game from Phoenix to another state because of this.

KING: A great amount of pressure. You saw the Phoenix Suns last night wearing "Los Suns" jerseys in the league. Their owner wanted to make a statement that he opposes this law. And just today, major labor unions and La Raza, the Latino civil rights group, announcing they will boycott Arizona. They don't want anyone to meet there, anyone to hold conventions there.

So the question is, does the economic pressure on the state force any kind of a change?

The governor took the rare step of writing on the blog, saying, look, this is not my fault.

Washington has not acted. And she said because Washington has not acted, using sports mentality, that her state and the border with Mexico has like a -- has a bad defense -- like a porous defense at a basketball game.

So the political debate will continue.

The question, when it comes to the boycotts, is do they rise to the point that there's so much economic pressure?

Arizona went through this a few years back -- a few years back about the Martin Luther King Holiday. The question is, does it reach the level that the state blinks or does Washington do something to make the state say, we don't need this anymore?

BLITZER: Yes. And we -- we had a great time in Phoenix a couple of years ago...

KING: We sure did.

BLITZER: -- at the NBA All Star Week.

KING: Absolutely.

BLITZER: They did a great job. Let's see what happens. You're going to have a lot more on this and a lot of other news coming up at the top of the hour.

KING: You bet we will.

BLITZER: All right, John.

See you then.

A shocking and terrifying plunge on Wall Street today -- why did the Dow drop nearly 1,000 points in a half an hour before a partial rebound?

Stand by.

And exit polls show a likely winner in Britain's election, but could the final result be a stalemate?

Stay with us.


BLITZER: It was really a stunning and sickening plunge on Wall Street today. Get this, in the span of half an hour, the Dow Jones average dropped almost 1000 points. It was the Dow's largest loss ever during the course of a trading day, even though it rebounded to close down 348 points.

The Dow and all the other major indices finished down more than 3 percent. There were some apparent technical glitches, one of which caused blue chip Procter & Gamble's stock to briefly plunge 37 percent before recovering. But the underlying problem with the market all week has been the growing fear that debt problems in nearly bankrupt Greece could spread and halt the world's economic recovery. Those fears have been fed by images of rioting in Greece in reaction to some very severe, tough belt tightening measures.

Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Lisa, what else is going on?


Well, exit polls in Britain show a hung parliament is likely for the first time in more than three decades. The Conservative Party came on top in today's voting, but it appears more than a dozen seats short of the number needed to form a government. The Labour Party came in second and the Liberal Democrats a distant third, according to the exit polls. Official results aren't expected until tomorrow.

NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor has been charged with rape and patronizing a prostitute. The alleged victim -- a 16-year-old runaway girl. His lawyer says Taylor did not rape or even have consensual sex with anyone and that he is devastated by the charges. Bail was set at $75,000. And for more information, be sure and watch LARRY KING LIVE tonight. Taylor's wife will be among Larry's guests.

The U.S. State Department is extending its travel warning for Mexico to a third month, citing ongoing drug violence. It's also extending a temporary leave for the family of U.S. consulate employees in six Northern Mexican cities. Almost 23,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico since December, 2006.

Two French television journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan in December are said to be alive and in good condition. France's interior minister said he received that report during a visit to Afghanistan. He says he believes the journalists are being held in the mountains east of Kabul and that France is exploring all of the options to get them released -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Lisa, thank you.

I want to just let our viewers know that we have some more information on the oil spill that is going forward in the Gulf of Mexico. They're trying to come up with some really creative remedies to help clean up the oil along the Gulf Coast right now. We've got a couple of them we want to share with you. An environmental group called Matter of Trust is collecting hair clippings to be stuffed in nylon stockings that will be used to make booms to absorb the oil. The group, which has used this method in the past, has received hundreds of thousands of pounds of hair, along with stockings from all 50 states.

And in Walton County, Florida -- look at this, officials are planning on spraying hay into the water. They say it will clump together with the oil, making it easier to remove. If the oil reaches the coast, they're planning on spreading hay along the shore to try to capture the oil.

Jack Cafferty is coming up next with his e-mail, The Cafferty File.

Also, sour grapes for Apple -- it's facing a backlash from Ellen DeGeneres, Jon Stewart and more. CNN's Jeanne Moos will have a Moost Unusual look.


BLITZER: Let's check back with Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour, what should President Obama do about the Bush tax cuts that are due to expire at the end of the year?

It's -- it's a problem.

Eric writes: "If he extends them, they become the Obama tax cuts and he loses any chance to attack them. And politically, he becomes known as a flip-flopper. If he lets them lapse, the economy suffers, but his base is happy and he is consistent with the campaign. Politics trumps economics and everybody loses. He won't renew them."

Sue writes: "Let them expire ASAP. Deficits and tax cuts for the wealthy are mutually exclusive. Hey, where are all those jobs created by the Bush tax cuts? The only thing most of us gained from the Bush tax cuts was the Bush recession."

Kent in New Jersey says: "Obama needs to raise the top tax rate to 90 percent, like we had during the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations. We have a $65 trillion debt, when you count Medicare and Social Security IOUs. It's time for Obama to declare a fiscal emergency. What's happening in Greece is a joke compared to what's in store for America.

Mark writes: "The tax breaks should not have been done in the first place. It was done by Bush to satisfy his neo-con cronies. I have to admit, even though I am an Obama supporter, my opinion of him might be altered if he supports continuing them."

Janelle in Kansas: "Even if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, the people they affect will have much more discretionary income left over than most Americans. I think it will be fair to let the rest of us catch up a little." Angie in California: "Here's an idea. Take the tax cuts away from companies who hire non-citizens and give them to companies who hire only U.S. citizens. Take the tax cuts away from companies who took jobs out of the U.S. and give tax cuts to companies who bring jobs to the U.S. That ought to help a lot right there."

And Vera says: "What's wrong, Jack, are you afraid you might have to pay a little more in taxes?"

If you want to read more on the subject, go to my blog at -- Wolf.

BLITZER: See you tomorrow, Jack.

Thank you.

President Obama's dramatic increase in drone attacks -- could that have inspired the Times Square bomb plot?

A lot more coming up at the top of the hour on "JOHN KING USA" on that.

Also, backlash over the iPad -- why some people are now saying Apple has gone bad.


BLITZER: Here's a look at some "Hot Shots" coming in from the A.P.

At the White Sands missile range in New Mexico, the new Orion Capsule is catapulted into the air on a practice launch.

At the Vatican, Swiss Guards stand at attention during an annual celebration.

In South Africa, a bicycle rider -- look at this -- performs tricks outside a soccer stadium.

And in Beijing, a young girl plays with a Chinese flag.

"Hot Shots" -- pictures worth a thousand words.

The iPad is the apple many an eye. But others say Apple itself is acting rotten.

CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a Moost Unusual look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Ellen DeGeneres poked fun at the iPhone by poking her fingers at the finicky touch screen in a spoof commercial...



MOOS: -- it was like poking Apple in the eye.


DEGENERES: You know who didn't think it was funny?


MOOS: Ellen pretended to struggle to send a message to her partner.


DEGENERES: Oh, my fingers are so much thicker than I remembered.

Everybody at Apple -- Steve Jobs, Mr. Macintosh, the...


DEGENERES: -- I apologize.


MOOS: Apple wouldn't comment to CNN on the brouhaha.

(on camera): The question is, is Apple acting rotten?

(voice-over): Jon Stewart seems to think so.


JON STEWART, HOST: Apple, you guys are the rebels, man, the underdogs. People believed in you. But now, are you becoming the man?


MOOS: The man because police raided a tech blogger's home after he paid 5,000 bucks for the next model iPhone to someone who found it left behind in a bar.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The officers bashed in his front door while he was at dinner.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MOOS: Jon Stewart called them appholes, even though he says he loves their products. Folks love doing parodies using the lower case I, for instance the iCoffin.

When a vibrator called the iGasm was introduced a few years back, it had Apple moaning with a cease and desist letter. Comedians can usually get away with making fun of iProducts.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: It's the iPhone Nano. IPhone Nano.


LETTERMAN: I understand it's also a breath mint.


MOOS: And bloggers enjoy torturing products like the iPad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Answer my questions.

MOOS: One guy gave it a cigarette and a blindfold, then shot it. It's been waterboarded, turned into a skateboard...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, is it still working?


MOOS: And even worse, shoved into a blender.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'll press the iBlend. Button.

MOOS: IPad puree. Pee Wee Herman used it as a tray.


MOOS: Letterman licked it. Yet even those who tease it, profess to love it.


DEGENERES: I love it. I love my iPad. I love my iPod. I love iHop. If you have anything to...



MOOS: At least Apple hasn't gone after iHop. Confusing iHop with iPod would be like comparing apples to oranges.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Remember, you can always follow what's going on here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

I'm on Twitter. You can get my Tweets, wolfblitzercnn -- all one word.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.