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THE SITUATION ROOM

Koreas Clash; Breakthrough in AIDS Battle

Aired November 23, 2010 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: A bloody artillery barrage from North Korea leads the South to call for enormous retaliation. The Obama administration is voicing outrage, but with U.S. troops in harm's way, it is also urging restraint.

And a breakthrough in the battle against AIDS. A drug already used to fight HIV infections can lower the risk of getting the virus in the first place.

And mark your calenders. Prince William and his future princess have set a date for the royal wedding.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Breaking news and political headlines are straight ahead. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Suzanne Malveaux and you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Well, the sudden attack from North Korea was caught on camera. Now, dozens of shells fell on an island in the Yellow Sea, raising flames and pillars of smoke. Two South Korean troops were -- 15 others were wounded, along with three civilians. South Korean forces fired back. And as residents flee the stricken island, South Korea's president is calling for enormous retaliation.

The nuclear North is issuing warnings of its own, while the Obama administration with 28,000 troops in harm's way is caught between condemning the provocation and wondering what it can do about the situation.

Now, we have reporters covering every angle of the story.

I want to bring in our Stan Grant. He is in South Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm walking along here now with one of the people who have been evacuated from the island. As you can see, it is an elderly lady. Many of the people who have fled the island are older people, and they have been describing what they went through, most of them saying that they are shocked and they are saddened. Some have had to leave all of their possessions behind.

"I'm not dead," she says. "I'm not hurt, and I have come back alive." This is what confronted Ko Young Hae, the 86-year-old, seeing her home on Yeonpyeong Island under attack. Closed-circuit television captured shells raining down.

"I was on my own, all alone. A kind neighbor came and helped me get to the port. I didn't even get to say bye to him."

Buildings were on fire, smoke billowing into the air. North Korea launching the attack it says retaliating to South Korean military exercises. South Korea responding. F-16 fighter jets scrambling to the area, returning fire.

In Seoul, President Lee Myung-Bak calling key officials to an emergency meeting, calling for calm, but leaving Pyongyang in no doubt the South will hit back.

"The army, navy and air force," he says, "should unite and retaliate against this provocation with multiple firepower. I think enormous retaliation is necessary to make North Korea incapable of provoking us again."

Into the night, boats ferry more people to Incheon port, dazed and in shock still trying to take stock of what happened.

"I heard a boom sound and then a large bang. All the windows shattered and we ran to the bunkers. That is when I saw the smoke and fire."

Targeting civilians raises the deadly stakes here. There have been flash point before, but this was an attack on South Korean soil.

(on camera): North Korea is ratcheting up the rhetoric, calling the South Korean government a puppet group, saying that South Korea is carrying out war exercises, and warning that North Korea will respond with merciless military confrontation. A region already volatile is now on a knife edge.

Stan Grant, CNN, Incheon, South Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: There have been many provocations from the North over the years, but this may be the fiercest in decades.

Let's get a closer look. I want to go to CNN's Tom Foreman, who is at the data wall.

Tom, how can you describe this and lay this out for us?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's look at it as a battlefield, even though it's out in the water.

As Stan said, this is an area that's been in great turmoil for some time now. If we go around here and look at North and South Korea, China is over here. Here's the Yellow Sea. You will remember back in March, there was this incident where there was a ship that was sunk out here believed to be by a North Korean torpedo.

Well, now let's look at the island which is not that far over here. As we fly into that, we can talk about some of the details of this attack. This is where the attack happened. You can see a series of photographs of the attack itself. Some of these look very similar. The truth is they are different views of the extent of the attack.

And this is pretty extensive, because you are talking about a lot of rounds flying in. And when you look at that video, Suzanne, it is just riveting here, look, the explosion right there and then the fires that follow afterward.

Part of what is such a concern here to South Korea is that this area has been sort of disputed by the North, not by the international community. They say, look, this is in South Korean territory. But the North had been challenging on it. When they have held military drills in these waters, as they have with the United States, it has made North Korea very nervous.

China has not always been very happy about it, but nonetheless that has been one of the concerns. How far are we talking about from this island? Want to show you this view right here. If we go up, you can see it is only about six miles from the closest part of North Korea to this, and if we go over to take a look at the North Korean side over here, we don't really know where the shots came from over here, but if they came from one of the nearest areas, you are talking about some artillery that was placed over here by North Korean troops, fired across that six miles and struck.

The response from South Korea, well, that is also worth bearing -- when we talk about the U.S. troops who are there, down here, this is where South Korea flew the airplanes out that made their strike against the North and there own artillery strikes. And this is where we do have indeed 28,500 troops deployed and more than 50 U.S. Navy vessels in the area -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, Tom, I noticed I guess those troops, they are not anywhere near where that attack took place, but you have so much video there. Where do we know where this is coming from? Is this coming from both sides? They seemed to have captured this quite well.

FOREMAN: The video of the actual attack, well, that is obviously from the island itself. When you look out here to the folks out here, you are talking about some folks who really had to deal with the attack on their own island, a big surprise attack there.

But I think part of what we are going to deal with here, Suzanne, continually is the sheer proximity of this. North Korea keeps saying the proximity itself in effect is a provocation, if you are doing anything out here.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and South Korea say, hey, we were doing drills out there. We told you before we started firing as part of the drills. You cannot call that a provocation. But, nonetheless, North Korea clearly has.

MALVEAUX: All right, Tom, thank you so much for the explanation.

I want to go to the White House. It says that President Obama is outraged at the North Korean bombardment. With tens of thousands as we saw in that map of U.S. troops in South Korea, the administration is acting carefully.

Now, I want to go to our CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry.

Ed, we know that the North Korean regime very unpredictable in terms of what it is going to do next. There is a power vacuum or a power transition that is taking place. How is the Obama administration reacting to this today?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, as you said, very carefully.

But I think also they want to make sure that they are projecting an image of being on top of this. You will remember from the 2008 campaign, that whole 3:00 a.m. phone call, the ad that Hillary Clinton ran in the primaries about who do you want answering that phone in the middle of the night.

Well, this morning, very early, it was President Barack Obama. He got a call about 3:55 a.m. from his national security adviser, Tom Donilon, to tell him about this provocation, about this crisis on the ground there. And then after that the president was briefed a few hours later in the morning. You see this official White House photo showing him getting this from both from Tom Donilon, Mr. Clapper, his director of national intelligence.

There have been a series of meetings here at the White House, the biggest one of all about 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The president, we are told by aides, dropped in near the end of it, after returning from Indiana, where he delivered an economic speech. This had Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, more than a dozen top officials.

That's because the focus now is on what is next, how do you calm South Korea down from sort of escalating the situation, how do you deal with North Korea, as you said, with the power vacuum there, the uncertainty about what they may do next, a lot of potential military options on the table, but also diplomatic options.

What this administration in part would like to see of course is to get those six-party talks going again -- they have been stalled for a long time -- and try to basically calm all of this down. And the president will take a big step forward in that process in a few hours, we're told. He is likely to make a call to the South Korean president, President Lee, who he met with just last week in Seoul, to try and get the whole situation tamped down, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Ed Henry -- thank you so much, Ed. Appreciate it.

Well, some passengers are upset by body scans and pat-downs at the airports this week. A U.S. official says that terror concerns have increased for the holiday period because of a tutorial on bombmaking in an al Qaeda magazine. I want to turn to our CNN homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve.

Jeanne, tell us about this magazine and the message that they are portraying.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, we are talking about "Inspire" magazine. Experts say it is being issued in English by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The most recent version of this came out just in the couple of days. In it, AQAP claimed credit for the recent cargo plot, and it detailed how to build those bombs. In addition, there is a quote here calling for additional attacks, many of them.

It reads in part, "It is more feasible to stage smaller attacks that involve less players and less time to launch and thus we may circumvent the security barriers America worked so hard to erect."

Now, obviously, "Inspire" magazine was not the thing that prompted the new security procedures at checkpoints, the pat-downs, the use of body imagers. Those things were rolled out before this issue of the magazine came out. Those things were designed specifically, officials say, to address the gap in security that was exposed last Christmas Day, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to bring down a plane with explosives sewn into his underwear.

But in addition to those events, there was the recent cargo plot. There is the grave concern over terrorism in Europe. All of that has contributed. Now "Inspire" magazine just another something in the pot raising officials' concerns as we enter this holiday period -- back to you.

MALVEAUX: All right, thank you, Jeanne.

Well, limiting the size and scope of government. Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File."

Jack, what do you have?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The Tea Party movement may just be getting started.

After a year of rallies and protests and a strong showing in the midterm elections, the Tea Party is getting significant support from the public.

A new "USA Today"/Gallup Poll shows that Americans are split as to whether they want Tea Party-backed members of Congress or President Obama to take the lead in setting policy.

Do you know the folks at the White House have to love this.

The poll shows 28 percent Mr. Obama should have the most influence on government policy in the next year, but 27 percent want the Tea Party to set the course. The traditional parties, Republicans and Democrats, they trail behind, 23 Republicans, and only 16 percent want the Democrats to have anything to do with where we're going.

Experts say the nation's divided mood guarantees there will be gridlock. That's because government follows public opinion, and public opinion is all over the place about who ought to be in charge.

Meanwhile, there's another sign that the Tea Party could have some real staying power. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that many Tea Parties around the country are now focusing their energies and agenda of limited government and fiscal prudence on local governments.

Although most of these local Tea Party leaders say they will still be watching Congress, they think that in order to reduce spending, they have to launch a ground level attack. Seems like a smart move. All politics after all is local, right?

And if people like the change the Tea Party can make in their communities, well, there is an incentive to vote for them in 2012. Who knows. Maybe they will even get a candidate on the presidential ballot.

Anyway, here is the question this hour: Is the Tea Party here to stay?

Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, thank you, Jack.

Well, there is a new twist in a closely watched and controversial Senate race. It is now in court, with Tea Party-backed Republican Joe Miller filing a lawsuit to block Lisa Murkowski write-in win in Alaska. Miller is standing by live to join us live.

Also, Sarah Palin on tour for her new book. We will show you what is inside, including a somewhat surprising passage on abortion.

And we are digging into reports about a fake Taliban leader. Did an impostor really dupe Afghan and U.S. officials?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: The last undecided contest from the midterm elections is now up to a state judge in Alaska.

Tea Party-backed Republican Joe Miller sued the state over the way the ballots are counted for his Republican rival, write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent senator.

Joe Miller joins us now from Anchorage, Alaska.

Joe Miller, thank you so much for being here with us.

I first want to point out this is...

JOE MILLER (R), ALASKA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me.

MALVEAUX: Sure -- a ballot that you provided us. And our viewers can see it on the screen, where it certainly looks -- appears as if someone voted for you there, and then crossed it out in blue ink and said, "Changed my mind," wrote in the name Lisa Murkowski.

This is one of those ballots that you are clearly contesting as not being accurate or fair or viable. I want to show the audience, however, the big picture here. Let's look at the big picture.

If you look at vote totals now, you've got Murkowski in the lead by more than 10,000 ballots. You have contested more than 8,000 ballots. Now, even if you won every one of those ballots that you contested, she would still be ahead by 2,000 ballots. You would still lose the race.

So tell us, what is the point of the suit?

MILLER: Well, nobody really knows as to the total number of votes between Senator Murkowski and I.

And the reason why there has been an ever-changing standard applied not only by the Division of Elections when it first started the count. Now, my view, the standard that they used is a standard they have never used before in state history. In fact, it is a different standard than even Senator Murkowski expected throughout the campaign. It's a different standard than the Division of Elections argued before the Alaska Supreme Court should actually be applied at the time they were trying to get write-in lists at each one of the precincts in Alaska.

So at the time the count started, different standards applied then as were applied later on during the count.

(CROSSTALK)

MALVEAUX: I'm sorry.

Do you think the bottom line is, is that you could still win?

MILLER: Oh, there's certainly a possibility of it. Nobody really knows what the count is. And that really is the problem.

We had not only a difference in standards applied, but we also have a difference in the way ballots are counted. The Joe Miller voters were counted by a machine count, the Lisa Murkowski votes counted by a hand count.

And the reason why that is important is that there are hundreds of ballots that the machines don't count. In other words, for one defect or another, they get thrown into a pile that is not actually tabulated by the mechanics of it. And so it is important that we have a look at the votes according to the standard that Alaska has always followed, as well as through a hand count. And that is what this is about.

And the federal...

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: Go ahead.

MALVEAUX: OK. Granted, that is what this is about. But how do you respond to the Alaska Republican Party, which has called on you to concede, and most of all of Alaska's major newspapers, who have also called on you to concede?

And fellow Republican Fred Thompson, this on his radio -- had this to say.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

FRED THOMPSON, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Joe Miller ought to give it up and live to fight another day. Show a little class. All those people around you who had big plans based upon your success are going to have the back off now. Don't let them take you through this court system forever, trying to have you hang on by your fingernails.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: How do you respond? Is this more about you or your party?

MILLER: Well, no, this is a question about whether or not the rule of law is going to be applied or not.

And the question is, are we a nation of laws, or are we a nation where some bureaucrat, at the heat of the moment, can make up basically the rules by which ballots are counted? This very clearly is a black and white situation where during the election one standard applied. Once the election was over, a different standard applied.

And I think I -- I think Alaskans deserve to have a clear process, one that they can rely on in the future, and one that is not gamed at the end. And so this is not about winning or losing at this point, even though we don't know where that count is. This is about making sure that the law the legislature passed in Alaska is applied fairly and is not applied really basically according to the whims of some bureaucrat that makes a decision on these ballots like the one that you displayed at the beginning here.

MALVEAUX: And Sarah Palin, she backed you. Obviously, she made a name of you. Have you talked to her since? Is she backing your continuing this fight?

MILLER: And, certainly, she has donated to the count fund, to the legal defense fund. There are many people still behind us, both at a state and national level.

But, again, this is about making sure that we are a nation of laws, not a nation where we decide that, you know, because circumstances have changed, we are going to apply some different standard. This is a case where right now where less than 1 percent of the uncontested ballots separate Murkowski and I. So it is by no means this wide expanse that the media is trying to portray. And I have got to tell you that, amongst our supporters in Alaska, they absolutely are dedicated to this concept that we make sure the law is fairly applied in an objective way, not with these subjective-type tendencies that we saw earlier.

MALVEAUX: OK. We are going to have to leave it at that.

Joe Miller, we will see how this plays out in court.

Thank you so much for joining us.

(CROSSTALK)

MALVEAUX: Crowds are lining up to see Sarah Palin on tour right now for her new book, but are there any clues inside about a possible run for the White House?

Plus, a priest accused of sexual abuse shocks even police with what he allegedly did while he was free on bail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Well, it is a research breakthrough in preventing the spread of HIV. We are going to hear from the nation's point man on AIDS research, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

And secret peace talks in Afghanistan with a fake Taliban leader. Who did he fool?

Plus, Sarah Palin is drawing crowds as she promotes her new book, but is she also promoting herself for the presidency?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Well, people have been camping out in Phoenix waiting for Sarah Palin. She is promoting her new book, but may also be promoting herself as a future presidential candidate.

Our Brian Todd has been reading between the lines.

Brian, you did not have to camp out. I understand an intern grabbed that for you.

(CROSSTALK)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have special access...

(LAUGHTER)

TODD: ... and got a hardcover copy of the book this time, not like last time. MALVEAUX: What do we know about this? Tell us...

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: Well, Suzanne, the unveiling of this Sarah Palin book brings pretty much what most of us expected, all sorts of speculation on what this might lead to, but also a frenzy at every stop.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): They are not in line to see Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift. This crowd in Phoenix awaits another kind of star. Some have been here more than 12 hours to catch the author the new book "America by Heart."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really like who she is as a person. I've been watching her show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's for small government. She's for taking back America, which we need in this country.

TODD: The timing of Sarah Palin's book release, the early primary state itinerary of her publicity tour fuel speculation that this isn't so much a literary work as a grand announcement. Susan Page of "USA Today" wrote a review of "America by Heart."

(on camera) What does she get into this book that makes you think, OK, this is a launching pad for a presidential bid?

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": Well, here are the things that make it helpful for her if she decides to run for president. No. 1, she cultivates support among Tea Party Republicans are going to be important in this process. Defense against accusations of racism, for instance. The second thing is she does is she bashes the likely opponent, the Democratic -- likely Democratic opponent of President Obama.

TODD (voice-over): Boy, does she. Palin broadsides the president for what she perceives as a cynical view of his own country. Quote, "This president's projection of American exceptionalism has translated into a stark lack of faith in the American people, and she says he's gone on a, quote, global apology tour.

She's also not hesitant to go after the first lady, referring to Michelle Obama's controversial 2008 comment about being proud of her country for the first time.

Quote, "I guess this shouldn't surprise us since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church, listening to his rants against America and white people." We got no response from the White House to that.

Analysts say Palin's willingness to engage will help her if she runs, but it has to be backed with substance.

(on camera) What's her main challenge? Convincing people that she's got the foreign policy chops? The economic chops?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She needs to convince people that she has the chops, both. Not just economic reform but intellectual chops. In other words, you can blame it on the media. She will. You can blame it on a lot of different factors, but the truth of the matter is that there needs to be a reboot of Sarah Palin 2.0, if you will.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: And you're now looking at live pictures of the bookstore in Phoenix where they're anticipating Sarah Palin's arrival there for her signing and presentation of her new book. This is the first stop on this tour. As we mentioned a lot of red states along the way, a lot of early primary states and a lot of speculation on this book.

Now, regarding David Brody's comment on Sarah Palin 2.0 and a rebooting, this book may also be a start toward that. Palin does not shy away from the substantive issues like health care and energy reform. She quotes Plato. She quotes de Tocqueville, Emily Dickinson, and she also weaves in references to movies like "The 40- Year-Old Virgin." I have yet to find that page, but I know it's interesting.

MALVEAUX: Interesting reading, I'm sure. I understand that there is a section about her 00 the stance she takes on abortion that may surprise some folks. What did we learn about that?

TODD: That's right. She writes that, you know, when she went through having a Down Syndrome baby, when she went through her daughter's experience getting pregnant as a teenager, that did not change her stance against abortion, but it did change her perspective.

And I'll read a quote. "I understand much better why a woman might be tempted to take what seems like the easy way out and change the circumstances. I understand what goes through her mind, even if for a brief moment, a split second, because I've been there, but she then quickly comes back to her core beliefs and says again this didn't change her perspective.

The quote right after this is choosing life may not be the easiest path, but it's always the right path. But very interesting how she does kind of go through what played out in her mind when she got pregnant, when her daughter got pregnant.

MALVEAUX: Well, it sounds like an interesting read. Let me know when you're finished.

TODD: I will. I'll hand it right over.

MALVEAUX: All right. Don't earmark it too much, though.

TODD: All right.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thanks.

It is potentially one of the biggest breakthroughs in HIV and AIDS research in years. Researchers were able to reduce the risk of infection in high-risk groups by as much as 73 percent. Dr. Anthony Fauci is here to explain just how. He's the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Fauci, thank you for joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM here. First of all, you normally don't really make a big deal about something unless it really is a big deal. How is this report different? What is this breakthrough? Tell us.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Well, this is a very important addition to our armamentarium of prevention modalities. In the prevention of HIV, it's never going to be unidimensional. It's going to be a combination of things: proper use of condoms, consistent use of condoms, decreasing the number of sexual partners, and women, like a recent study showed, perhaps topical vaginal microbicides.

This one here, using a drug that is generally used widely for the treatment of people who are HIV infected, to use that drug in individuals who are at high risk to see if you can prevent infection is a very, very important advance in our armamentarium now, another tool that we can use. The results were really quite striking, and you mentioned that in people who took the pill for more than 90 percent of the days that they were supposed to, the decrease in risk of HIV infection, compared to the people who took a placebo pill, was about 73 percent, which is really quite striking and highly significant.

MALVEAUX: So, do you think that high-risk people should start taking these pills right away? And can they -- can they take these pills right away? Are they available to the public?

FAUCI: Well, first of all, we don't make any recommendation right now, because this is a study that literally just was published today. We need to get the appropriate bodies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA community groups, community physicians to examine all of the information, put it in context, and determine whether or not at this point in time it would be appropriate to make a recommendation or a guideline. That very likely will not happen for weeks to months.

But in answer to your specific question, these drugs are available on the market right now. They're being widely prescribed for people who are HIV infected. And in fact, we know as a fact that some physicians are prescribing them off label for some of their patients who are not infected, but who would like to get an extra degree of protection. That's not recommended at this time, but people are certainly doing that.

MALVEAUX: What do they cost? Are they expensive?

FAUCI: Well, if you look at the retail cost in a pharmacy like, for example, here in the Washington, D.C., area if you just get a prescription and go into the pharmacy, this drug costs about $1,000 a month if you take it every day. So you're talking about anywhere between 12,000 and $13,000 a year. If you look at other ways of getting it, like at the NIH pharmacy, it costs us $5,000 a year, and there are some generic versions of it available in other countries at a much, much lower cost.

MALVEAUX: Is this something insurance covers?

FAUCI: Right now not -- it's not an indication for use of prevention, but that's the reason why various agencies of the federal government, the CDC, the FDA, HIRSA (ph), CMS and all of those who determine what is eligible for being reimbursement. They're going to have to look at this and determine, A, would it be recommended, and if so, would it be paid for? So these are the things that are going on literally right now and will be -- with the topic of considerable discussion over the next several months.

MALVEAUX: OK. Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you so much. We really hope that this is something that is truly groundbreaking and really appreciate your time.

FAUCI: You're quite welcome.

MALVEAUX: A Taliban leader who wasn't who he claimed to be. We're digging into reports that an imposter may have fooled both Afghan and U.S. officials.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Secret peace talks with the Taliban. For Afghan officials it may have seemed very encouraging, but now there's word that the Taliban negotiator was actually an imposter. Our CNN Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence, has those details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president of Afghanistan was fooled by a fake Taliban leader, according to NATO officials quoted in "The New York Times."

President Hamid Karzai says that's foreign propaganda.

HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN (through translator): I haven't met him, and he hasn't been to Afghanistan.

LAWRENCE: The "Times" says from the start, American officials were skeptical that the man the Afghans were holding secret talks with was really the Taliban's No. 2 man. But they couldn't be sure.

CARL FORSBERG, INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR: It's very revealing that nobody had ever actually met with or seen Mullah Mansour before.

TODD: This summer, analyst Carl Forsberg was invited to Afghanistan by General Petraeus himself. Forsberg says if "The Times'" account was there, it took months, three meetings, before an Afghan emerged who had actually met the real Mullah Mansour and could tell this one was likely phony.

FORSBERG: We don't know who they are. We don't know what their interests are.

TODD: Not too long ago, the U.S. military argued that it was way too soon to talk to the Taliban. They needed to be knocked down and weakened. Then all of a sudden, top officials started touting potential breakthroughs.

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, U.S. COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN: There have been very senior Taliban leaders who have reached out to the Afghan government at the highest levels.

TODD: So who was this alleged fraud? A NATO official tells CNN it's not clear if this man is an imposter or not. Could be a simple man out for money or a planted Taliban agent. Intrigue aside, it shows reconciling with the real Taliban is easier said than done.

FORSBERG: That's a possibility that might yield something two years down the road, but it's no silver bullet, and to give that impression would be a mistake for senior coalition leaders.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: American diplomats quoted by the "Times" say they also gave a lot of money to the man they thought was Mansour. A defense official says the military did not pay him.

Officials in Kabul tell us they're still looking into it but admit there have been Taliban outreach efforts that did not play out well -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Hard to believe. Thank you, Chris.

Well, mark your calendars. Prince William and his future princess have set the date and the place for the royal wedding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)