Return to Transcripts main page


Moammar Gadhafi Under Pressure; NPR Executive Under Fire; Who Should U.S. Talk to in Libya?; Activist Targets NPR in Sting; Man Breaks into House, Calls 911

Aired March 8, 2011 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: a new mystery surrounding Moammar Gadhafi, under new pressure to leave the country he's ruled for four decades. Libya's leader shows up dramatically at a hotel in Tripoli, and then he leaves. And a lot of question marks remain out there. Libya's rebels are full of determination right now, but they are short on weapons. They're short on training -- why the civil war may not be an equal fight.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is inside Libya with a behind-the-scenes look at the opposition. Who are these men and women?

And conservative activists set up a sting operation and get what they wanted, an NPR executive caught on tape making some very controversial comments.

Breaking news, political headlines and Jeanne Moos all straight ahead. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

But let's begin with the breaking news right now: more mysterious behavior from Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. He's facing new pressure to leave his country, and it seemed for quite a while today that Gadhafi himself would answer questions about his future. But after showing up at a hotel where hundreds of journalists had gathered, the Libyan leader suddenly, mysteriously snuck out of a side door, leaving the journalists bewildered. He got into a BMW and slipped away.

While the U.S. government tries to figure out just who are the Libyan rebels and who it might want to talk with, CNN's Ben Wedeman has been inside Libya. He's been talking with these opposition forces over the past few weeks.

Ben reports from the strategic oil port city of Al Brega, about halfway between Benghazi to the east and Ras Lanuf to the west. He finds that the rebels are full of spirit, but they lack weapons and they lack training.

Let's go to Ben Wedeman.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Don't shoot unless given orders, don't move unless given orders," this anti-Gadhafi field commander tells his men over a megaphone.

Nearby, more shooting in the air. Somebody wasn't listening. Afterwards, all the fighters are told to write down the names of everyone in their individual groups. It helps to know who is on your side.

Slowly, fitfully, the opposition in the east is trying to turn a volunteer horde of would-be warriors into an effective fighting force. But it's rough going. Career soldiers like General Bashir Abdelzenni (ph), who joined in the opposition, spend much of their time trying to convince the men to fight not with just their hearts, but also with their heads.

The opposition's offensive west towards Surt and eventually Tripoli has ground to a halt. It is partly due to disorganization, but also partly a function of the government forces' superior weaponry, specifically, its ability to bomb at will.

These old anti-aircraft guns may make a lot of noise, but they rarely hit their targets. Without a much-discussed no-fly zone, opposition forces remain little more than sitting ducks. They have begun to move some of their heavy armor toward the front, but it's just a fraction of what the other side has.

Food is abundant, though, ironically, in this oil-rich country, fuel is becoming a problem. And while enthusiasm is not in short supply, battlefield experience is.

Medical student Yahya Ali has never fought before.

YAHYA ALI, MEDICAL STUDENT: There's nobody here have any experience, but have strength -- strong heart.

WEDEMAN: Oh, you have a strong heart?



ALI: I'm staying just for four hours.

WEDEMAN: Four hours?


WEDEMAN: Do you have any military experience? Were you in the army?


WEDEMAN: Where did you learn to use that thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, by myself.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Until now, the whole opposition effort appears to be a do-it-yourself operation. And it shows. The opposition forces are anarchic and lightly armed, their opponents well-armed and relatively disciplined. The result is an unequal fight and an uneasy stalemate.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Al Brega, Eastern Libya.


BLITZER: And our CNN International anchor Hala Gorani is joining us right now.

Hala, you know, we waited and waited and waited for several hours. The red carpet had been thrown out over at that hotel in Tripoli. Gadhafi showed up finally. He snuck into some area behind a curtain, supposedly spent some time with a Turkish journalist. But then he snuck out almost as quickly, got into a BMW and sped away. It sort of underscores the nature of Gadhafi and the mystery surrounding him.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's the latest Moammar Gadhafi song and dance, Wolf, with the turban, the shades, the fist pumps. I think we got a double fist pump.

It's -- Moammar Gadhafi is always walking around wherever he goes with these theatrics. It's either in a hotel lobby or it's addressing supporters at Green Square or it's addressing his nation on state television in the ruins of the bombed house that the Americans bombed in 1986, where his adopted daughter died.

So there's always kind of this color surrounding him, which makes him an interesting act to watch unfold. But of course as you were saying, Wolf, just a few minutes ago, so much is at stake, that it's difficult to find any of this comical at this stage.

BLITZER: Yes. They make jokes about Gadhafi, but a lot of people are dying right now. He has got a conventional military. His air force, his grand forces, his tanks, they're killing a lot of people in Libya right now. And he seems to have a strong advantage in this war that is going on.

GORANI: Yes, and the question is, how long will the rebels be able to withstand this onslaught? Because the assaults are coming from the air, and the rebels, as Ben was reporting, may have anti-aircraft guns, but many of them don't know how to use them. Some are reporting that they have spent only a few hours training on them. I don't think it's possible for anybody to efficiently take down any kind of aircraft with just a few hours of training on a very sophisticated anti-aircraft gun.

So that's the question, is how long will the rebels be able the hold the eastern part of the country and whether or not the international community will step in.

BLITZER: A lot of us remember -- I think all of our viewers here in the United States and around the world, Hala, remember your riveting reporting from Egypt. You were there during the worst of times. The difference between Libya and Egypt right now, in Egypt, by and large, the Egyptian military refused to kill fellow Egyptians. In Libya, though, it's a very different story. The Libyan military is killing fellow Libyans right now.

You have studied this area for a long time. You speak Arabic. Tell our viewers, what's the difference between Libya and Egypt?

GORANI: Well, there are many differences. The most important one is how sort of the countries are organized.

Libya is not as evolved. It doesn't have a big middle class. It's a much smaller country in terms of population, not area, but population. It's much more tribal and clan-based. Egypt had institutions to build upon. It has a much larger middle class. And the army didn't take sides against the protesters.

In Libya, what we're seeing is an army that has seen some defections to the side of the opposition, but mainly controlled by Gadhafi forces, aerial bombardments of opposition strongholds in key oil- producing cities.

It's a very different scenario in Libya as the one we saw in Egypt. In Egypt, you will remember, of course, Wolf, the dictator was taken down in a matter of days. This could be a civil war situation that could go on for a long time.

BLITZER: Sad story, indeed. Hala, don't go too far away. Thanks very much.

Libya is certainly on Jack Cafferty's mind right now. Jack is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: When it comes to Libya, the United States is in a very tough spot, not as tough a spot as the Libyan people are in by any means, but difficult nonetheless.

We are, as you are well aware, mostly hated in that part of the world. And if we should rush to the aid of the Libyan rebels trying to overthrow Gadhafi, it would be played up on the Arab street as the United States once again interfering in a Muslim nation's internal affairs.

On the other hand, it's sort of in our national DNA to want to come to the aid of people who are struggling to gain their freedom. Somebody wrote me the other day that, if that's not what we're about, then what are we about? And of course they have all that oil. But that's a much more cynical view of what is going on.

People are laying down their lives, they're getting slaughtered in the process of trying to get out from under the yolk of arguably one of the world's most brutal dictators. We have the military wherewithal to make that struggle a lot easier for them, but so far we haven't done that.

Here's the question: When it comes to Libya, what's the right thing for the United States to do?

Go to Post a comment on my blog.

BLITZER: It's a tough one, Jack. I'm curious to hear what our viewers -- there are no simple answers here. I have heard both arguments.

If you read "The Wall Street Journal" today, as I did, there's a very smart article by Bret Stephens making the case for intervention, but an equally smart article by Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations making the case against.

You read one and you say, well, he makes good points. You read the other, you say, well, he makes pretty good points, too. I don't have any easy answers.

CAFFERTY: Well, while all of the discussions and arguments are going on, people are getting killed every hour long, all hour long, every day, all day long. And that's not going to change until Gadhafi decides to leave, which doesn't seem likely, or somebody goes in and gets him out.

BLITZER: Yes. I think you're right. All right, Jack, thank you.

Are Moammar Gadhafi's enemies necessarily, though, friends of United States? The Obama administration is scrambling right now to figure out which factions it should be reaching out to in Libya.

Also, an anxious time for one of Washington's closest allies in the region. We're talking about Saudi Arabia. We're talking a closer look at what sets it apart from the unrest sweeping the region.

Plus, the hidden camera video that prompted a National Public Radio executive to resign. It's but the latest sting by a controversial activist.


BLITZER: Saudi Arabia's rulers may be feeling a little anxious as they look at the sweeping changes in the region all around them. They may also be feeling a little anxious about what to expect from the United States.

We asked CNN's Mary Snow to take a closer look into this part of the story.

The Saudis, the United States, it's a close relationship, a lot of oil involved as well, Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, Wolf, Saudi Arabia is being closely watched to see what happens later this week, since there is a call for protests, and authorities in recent days said all forms of demonstrations are banned.

Now, Saudi Arabia is not seen as vulnerable as neighboring countries, but there's still anxiety. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): This is what Saudi Arabia is trying to prevent. This was the scene Friday as protesters turned out in the eastern part of the country. Demonstrations over two days were small. But they were followed with a warning by Saudi Arabia's interior minister that security forces would take measures against anyone trying to break the law and cause disorder.

It comes ahead of a day of rage called for this Friday. And Saudi Arabia is worried, says Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who also served as adviser to three presidents on the Middle East.

BRUCE RIEDEL, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: For the Saudis, this is a new and very troubling world. Many of their oldest and closest friends, like the Tunisian president, Ben Ali, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, have been overthrown in the course of less than 100 days. And they're worried: Are there other friends in trouble and are they in trouble?

SNOW: But there are some big differences between Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries. For one, Riedel says, the Saudis are ruthless in suppressing any sign of protest at the start. And the monarchy uses oil money to try and quell unrest.

Just last month, the Saudis announced it was giving away billions in money to social programs. It came after King Abdullah returned home after spending months abroad for medical treatment.

But Rutgers Professor Toby Jones, who specializes in the Middle East, says Saudis want more political participation. He says they don't necessarily want to topple the monarchy, but send a message.

TOBY JONES, PROFESSOR, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: This is more a reminder that Saudis have -- over the last 20 years have made the case, the urgent case that reform is necessary. And it's necessary not only to address short-term economic and political problems, but also to ensure the stability and security of Saudi Arabia over the coming decades.

SNOW: And the Saudis may not just be worrying about neighboring countries, but the U.S. as well.

RIEDEL: From their eyes, we threw Hosni Mubarak under the bus. Now, in fact, the Egyptian people drove over Hosni Mubarak. But from the Saudi standpoint, we didn't do enough to keep him in power. And they're worried that we're not going to do enough to keep them in power.


SNOW: And Riedel adds while the Saudis are probably calculating they will be OK inside the kingdom, the worry is neighboring countries, particularly Bahrain -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Saudi Arabia also has got concerns with respect to oil and the prices that are going on right now. SNOW: Yes. Behind these surging oil prices, we have been having a lot of focus on Libya. But there has been an underlying fear that spread might -- that the unrest may spread to Saudi Arabia. Nobody knows that that would happen, but the fear has been there. And talking to some energy analysts, they're saying that there's a lot of nervousness about this week. And they're watching closely to see what happens on Friday, when these protests are called.

BLITZER: Yes. And the price of oil keeps going up and up and up for the time being. All right, thanks, Mary.

Friends and foes in Libya, for Washington, it's not always clear who is who. We're taking a closer look at what's going on behind the scenes as the U.S. tries to sort it all out.

And major fallout after a controversial activist targets NPR in an undercover sting.


BLITZER: We will have more on the breaking news on Libya coming up.


BLITZER: We will get back to our top story, Libya, right now -- dramatic developments. Who should the U.S. be talking to in Libya? The Obama administration has been trying to sort out that issue. We're learning that it's a very challenging task.

And some very controversial activists set up a sting operation and get what they wanted: an NPR executive caught on tape making some rather controversial comments.


BLITZER: Let's get back to our top story right now.

The Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, made a mysterious appearance today at a Tripoli hotel where journalists had gathered, expecting him to speak out. But Gadhafi left without speaking to all the journalists, leaving behind many questions about his personal future and the civil war that is now raging on several fronts in Libya.

That conflict pits poorly armed, poorly trained rebels against Libya's military and Gadhafi loyalists.


BLITZER: And joining us now from eastern Libya, our own Ben Wedeman.

Ben, if you listen to Gadhafi and his forces, they are insisting they're making ground in Zawiyah and that they're on the offensive. What are you hearing from the opposition, those who are fighting Gadhafi and his troops?

WEDEMAN: What we're hearing and what we're seeing is that certainly they have managed to stop this advance by the opposition forces in this town of about Bin Jawad, which is to the west of Ras Lanuf, that important refinery town that the rebels were able to take over.

We have heard that they have a concentration of tanks, surface-to- surface missiles. There are helicopters and there are airstrikes in the area. It does appear, at least in central Libya, that the Libyan government has made a clear decision that they're not going to allow the rebels to advance any further.

And what we're seeing is all the weaknesses of the opposition really coming to the surface: a lack of organization, a lack of training it. It worked fine in sort of a brief period, but now that they have really come up against the resistance, we're seeing that that sort of enthusiasm, that spirit is starting to be tempered a bit by the realization that the Libyan army outguns them. They have far more firepower. They have complete control of the sky.

And that really comes to this other issue that we're hearing more and more from the Libyans in a very, almost angry way is why has the West, whether it's the United States or the European powers or Britain, not imposed ad no-fly zone? Because the no-fly -- a no-fly zone would allow the opposition to operate more freely.

As it is, in this open desert terrain, where the fight is really over this one road between Benghazi and Tripoli, the opposition forces, Wolf, are sitting ducks.

BLITZER: Yes, it's hard to fight a conventional military, a conventional army if you don't have any of that training, any of that support.

And so what I hear you saying is they're desperately appealing to the United States and the international community for help right now. Is that what I'm hearing?

WEDEMAN: Yes. They're asking for a very specific help. They want a no-fly zone. What they don't want is for the United States, for instance, to come in, and start striking Libyan targets.

What they don't want is boots on the ground. That is something that some Libyans have said that, if that happens, they will make up with Gadhafi and fight any foreign invaders. It's a very sensitive topic here.

But they want to somehow be assured that they won't be completely exposed to the airpower of Moammar Gadhafi and his forces, which is -- I mean, we have seen it with our own eyes. These planes fly right over your head. They're bombing on the sides of the road around Ras Lanuf. They have killed civilians already. They have been trying to knock out opposition targets.

And there's nowhere to hide in this desert terrain. It's just one this black strip of tarmac, which makes it very easy for the targets to see who is on the road and to knock them out. It's a very precarious situation, in which the opposition is beginning to sort of realize that this is no longer a game, as one young man told us, that all these young men who have flocked to the front don't -- are starting to realize that it's deadly serious out there and the price is very high.

So, what they want is a no-fly zone, but they don't want too much foreign involvement -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Understood. All right, Ben, we will stay in close touch with you -- Ben Wedeman on the ground for us in Eastern Libya.


BLITZER: The Obama administration has taken a cautious approach toward the Libya crisis, gradually ratcheting up its condemnations of Gadhafi and his regime.

But, even as Libyan opposition members dismissed rumors of an exit deal for Gadhafi, there was some tough talk today from the U.S., suggesting Gadhafi can run, but cannot hide from international justice.

Listen to what the State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, said.


P.J. CROWLEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Look, we want to see Gadhafi leave. We're not his travel booker. There's nothing preventing Mr. Gadhafi from leaving his tent, climbing in an airplane, and leaving Libya so his people can have a better tomorrow than they have today. There's nothing preventing him from doing that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In theory, if he comes to you and you sit by...

CROWLEY: Again, it's not for us to choose, you know, his final destination.

We are going to hold him accountable. There is a commission of inquiry under the ICC. So, you know, my favorite booking would be a trip to the Hague.


BLITZER: The ICC, the International Criminal Court in the Hague, in the Netherlands. That's where the U.S. would like to see Gadhafi wind up.

Here's another question. Who should the United States be talking to in Libya right now? The Obama administration has been trying to sort all of that out, but this is not an easy task by any means. Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence.

Chris, what are you hearing?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, one U.S. official tells us that the opposition is still tiptoeing around what it wants to be, which makes it difficult for U.S. leaders to determine who to support and what kind of support to give them. On the other hand, you've got other people who are saying the Obama administration has to decide now to get off the fence.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): You could call it talking to the enemy. Except outside Muammar Gadhafi himself, U.S. officials aren't sure who the enemy is. Or for that matter, their friends.

CROWLEY: We have a number of options available to us. But as a practical matter, you know, as of this moment, we could not arm anyone within Libya today.

LAWRENCE: Some want to keep pressing Gadhafi's family to defect.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think we should reach out to any Libyan, but particularly his inner circle, to come over to our side.

Senior U.S. officials have reached out to the current head of intelligence, Abdullah al-Sanoussi. And on Friday, Libya's foreign minister called the State Department himself.

CROWLEY: They just talked about, you know, the situation in Libya from the point of view of the Gadhafi region.

LAWRENCE: But before Musa Kusa was foreign minister, he was head of intelligence.

DAVID SCHENKER, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: This is the man who was in charge of Libyan assassinations of Libyan dissidents abroad, in Europe, for years. This is not a man who seems prone to moderation or to parting with the wave of Gadhafi.

LAWRENCE: On the other side stands the National Transitional Council, formed by anti-Gadhafi rebels. The U.S. ambassador to Libya has held meetings in Rome and Cairo that included them and other opposition members.

CROWLEY: Eventually, you know, within Libya a formal opposition will emerge.

LAWRENCE: But analyst David Schenker says U.S. officials can't just wait until rebels establish formal political leadership.

SCHENKER: This to me is really, in many ways, an excuse not to get involved.

LAWRENCE: But opposition leaders say they heard the U.S. may send a delegation to Libya to see the situation on the ground for themselves.

ABDEL HAFEZ GHOGA, TRANSITIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL SPOKESMAN: The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was quite supportive to us. The fact that they have labeled this regime as illegitimate.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LAWRENCE: Now a senior U.S. official confirms that the U.S. is considering sending a delegation to meet with opposition leader, but if it did so, it would only be able to talk about humanitarian aid.

Another official says again that the opposition is still tiptoeing around what it ultimately wants to be and its ultimate goals. And he says there's no real urgent need to try to arm them, because a lot of the military officers who are defecting are bringing plenty of weapons with them -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Chris Lawrence, what a story. All right. Thanks very, very much.

We're not going to leave Libya. We're getting more information coming in, as well. Stand by for that.

Also, some other intriguing news we're following. A controversial conservative activist turns his hidden camera on NPR, National Public Radio. The fallout costs one NPR executive his job. We've got the video for you. Stand by.


BLITZER: President Obama has taken some heat for his approach to the Libyan crisis. Let's talk about that and more with our senior political analysts, Gloria Borger and David Gergen.

It's not easy when you're president of the United States. You've served four presidents, David. And there's no easy answers here, but the bottom line is folks are dying in Libya right now.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there's no easy answer. And one has to be sympathetic with the president, who's caught between these conflicting and very, very tough choices.

But at the same time, you can't stay there just tottering very long as president. People do expect you to decide what is it you're trying to do. What's your goal? What's your vision? I think he's got to show his hand. Gloria has been reporting on a ministerial meting in Brussels this Thursday, defense ministers. I think he's got to show his hand there.

BLITZER: At the NATO meeting. Here's what you write, an excellent column...


BLITZER: ... Gloria, on Among other things you say by now his nature, referring to the president, is clear: "a deep temperamental caution served with a side order of prudence."

BORGER: Yes, he is. And we knew that when we elected him. And I think that's absolutely fine in lots of instances. What you need to know is when you have a cautious president and he says, "Hold on," you have to know where he's going to take you and what he intends to do. Because you can't expect the American public to sit around and say, "OK, I trust you to solve the entitlement problem. I'm not sure how you're going to get there. But I kind of trust you to do it."

People, when they're being led, like to know where they're being led. And then maybe they'll leave the details up to you.

GERGEN: Yes. And, Wolf, I think also Americans wanted a more prudent president after George W. Bush.

BORGER: Exactly.

GERGEN: He was accused of being reckless, going into Iraq without quite knowing what he was doing. Certain no weapons of mass destruction were there. So people appreciate this.

But there is such a thing as excessive caution. And I think to some extent, when the president committed himself early on in the situation in Libya and said, "Gadhafi must go," he put his credibility on the line on that issue.

And now people are saying, "OK, you said he had to go." It looks like he's strengthening his hand.

BLITZER: When we hear the State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, say we want him to wind up in the International Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague, that's a pretty tough statement.

BORGER: It is a tough statement. And I think in many ways, when I talk to people in the administration, I kind of wish that this were like Egypt. Egypt was...

GERGEN: So do they.

BORGER: That's what I'm saying. They wish it was Egypt, because it was a little easier to handle.

BLITZER: It was easier for them.

BORGER: Right. You knew who the protestors were. They were unarmed. They were peacefully demonstrating. You had a relationship with the leader, Mubarak. You knew that he wasn't crazy. Right? You don't know that in this case. There are so many more unknowns in this case, yet the president did go out and say he has to leave.

And now we're sort of just waiting. We're in this limbo.

GERGEN: In retrospect, don't you think -- I mean, given the fact -- we've talked about this before -- that intelligence, U.S. intelligence is not very good on the ground.

Don't you think, having watched Tunisia and the people toppling over the leader, and then watching Egypt doing that, they sort of assumed that the people would topple Gadhafi. And they really didn't have a plan if that didn't happen. And now they've been scrambling. BLITZER: Yes. And I'm not so sure they did have necessarily great intelligence on what's going on in Libya right now. But it's clear that Gadhafi and his troops that are loyal to him, they're ready to do what the militaries in Tunisia and Egypt refuse to do, basically, which is kill fellow citizens.

BORGER: And I think that will obviously be the deciding factor.

Look, the one thing that's motivating all of this is the president's firm belief that we should not be going this alone, that we cannot make this look like a United States-inspired event in Libya or Egypt or anywhere else, that that's the last thing in the world we would do. In fact, we would help Gadhafi if we did that. And the president believes that the best revolutions are the ones that are home grown.

And so I see that happening in the way he's proceeding here. He seems to be waiting. If Gadhafi had left today, and were still going to be tried in the International Criminal Court, Barack Obama would look like a hero. Right?

BLITZER: All right, guys. We're going to leave it right there. I will say this, though, David.


BLITZER: I know we'll continue this conversation tomorrow. If Gadhafi, let's say six months from now has the last laugh, it does sort of underline U.S., European, U.N. weakness in a dangerous situation like this. And that's one thing I know, based on my own reporting, the president is very worried about.

GERGEN: He should be.

BLITZER: Yes, they're all looking closely at that. Guys, thanks very much.

Other news we're following including a hidden camera, again. It recorded some controversial remarks by an NPR executive. The activist behind it also rather controversial.


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

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is: "When it comes to Libya, what's the right thing for the United States to do?"

Kent writes from Newcastle, Indiana, "I sympathize greatly with the Libyan people trying to gain their freedom, but I strongly feel we have to learn that we cannot direct a destiny of every country in turmoil. I think we should let them solve their own problems unless a strong majority in the United Nations supports intervention. The U.S. should not carry the burden of these efforts alone."

Meredith in New York says, "The U.S. should definitely maintain a humanitarian effort, but we need to keep our troops out. It's not our fight. And by stepping in, we take the news away from the Libyan people, and suddenly it becomes our story."

David writes, "I'm afraid history will be critical of our inaction. No, we shouldn't send troops. However, we should supply small arms, a no-fly zone, food and medical supplies. If we believe in freedom of the people, we should help the people and make a better name for ourselves in that part of the world."

Lamar writes, "Help them. We help everybody else. Why not them?"

Frank says, "The right thing is to create and enforce a no-fly zone in Libya. It can be done quickly and effectively with our forces that are already in the area. It effectively evens the field. It will quicken Gadhafi's departure as the military will have more defections as they see their major advantage go away. The key for us in the Muslim world is to immediately withdraw the strategy when the fight is over. Stay offshore, off the holy land, and leave when it's done."

Dennis in California: "If we don't stand for freedom, then why have so many Americans died in Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the Middle East? Is our government's decision to fight for freedom based on oil, money or principle?"

And Jeremiah writes, "I think the biggest problem in the country is that America thinks about the problems of other countries before our own. What will it take for the ruling powers in our own country to put the U.S. first? This nation has enough problems already that we need to deal with now."

If you want to read more on this -- got quite a lot of e-mail -- go to the blog:

BLITZER: All right, Jack. Thank you. Jack Cafferty with "The Cafferty File."

A hidden camera records some controversial remarks by an NPR executive. The activist behind it also controversial. We'll have the story next.


BLITZER: Controversial remarks captured in a sting targeting National Public Radio, and the people behind the hidden camera are no strangers to the controversy either. Let's bring in Brian Todd. He's been looking into this story for us.

What's this one, Brian, all about?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a sting by a controversial activist and conservative filmmaker named James O'Keefe. NPR has taken recent hits for firing analyst Juan Williams for his comments on Muslims and for taking money from billionaire left-leaning philanthropist George Soros. Now the radio network is doing damage control again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TODD (voice-over): You're looking at a sting operation, a setup by people who know how to do it. NPR Foundation executive Ron Schiller thinks he's meeting with a potential donor, but he's actually being pumped. Here are clips of what he's caught saying about Republicans and the Tea Party.

RON SCHILLER, NPR FOUNDATION EXECUTIVE: The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved with people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian -- and I wouldn't even call it Christians, this weird evangelical -- kind of move.

TODD: In the edited video, an actor posing as a Muslim Foundation executive is heard prompting Schiller for his views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The radical, most Islamophobic Tea Party people?

r. SCHILLER: And not just Islamophobic but really xenophobic -- I mean, basically, they are -- they are -- they believe in sort of white, middle-America, gun-toting -- I mean, it's scary.

TODD: This meeting was set up by a group headed by conservative activist and filmmaker James O'Keefe. I spoke with O'Keefe via Skype.

(on camera) Why NPR?

JAMES O'KEEFE, ACTIVIST/FILMMAKER: My colleague, Sean Adalay (ph), who posed as one of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood, was pretty with what happened with Juan Williams, and he suggested looking into NPR after that incident back in -- back in the fall.

My other colleague, Simon Templar, came up with the idea to have a sort of Muslim angle, since Juan Williams was fired due to his comments. So we decided to see if there was some type of greater truth or hidden truth amongst these reporters and journalists and executives.

TODD: O'Keefe and his operatives went to great lengths for this sting, even setting up a fake Web site for the Muslim Education Action Center. Then the operatives posing as wealth Muslim donors set up a meeting at this D.C. restaurant and set up a hidden camera inside.

(voice-over) I spoke with NPR president and CEO Vivian Schiller, who's not related to Ron Schiller, over the phone.

V. SCHILLER: The comments of Ron Schiller are an affront to this organization and are contrary to everything we stand for as a news organization. We stand for diversity of opinion, and tolerance and open mindedness. And I -- his comments did not reflect those values.

TODD: As head of the NPR fundraising arm, Ron Schiller is not involved in NPR's news operations, and his views are not aired on NPR.

CNN's separate efforts to watch Ron Schiller were not successful. NPR says he's on administrative leave. Schiller had announced last week he was leaving NPR for a new job. Schiller did not flinch when the supposed Muslim Foundation leader said that Jews control the media and that the fictitious Muslim group was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. But NPR said it rejected a $5 million check they offered.

Critics have long lambasted NPR as slanting liberal. Last year NPR was criticized by conservatives for taking a grant of more than a million dollars from George Soros, the billionaire who supported left- leaning causes, and for firing analyst Juan Williams after he confessed on FOX News that he's uncomfortable when he sees Muslim- garbed passengers on a plane.

The House Republican budget passed last month would eliminate funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 2013.

PAUL FARHI, "WASHINGTON POST": NPR has -- is part of the public broadcasting establishment that is attempting to preserve the relatively small amount that it gets from the federal government. It doesn't need another P.R. headache like this.

TODD: For O'Keefe, NPR is not his first target. Past undercover sting videos of his embarrassed liberal groups like Planned Parenthood and ACORN.

He's accused of creatively editing out parts of his sting interviews. But O'Keefe says the unedited NPR video is posted on his Web site.

O'Keefe pleaded guilty last year after being caught trying to access the phone system of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Last summer he even tried to embarrass a former CNN correspondent on a boat set up with sex toys and hidden cameras, according to a 13-page planning document. A former O'Keefe associate warned CNN at the last minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said because on the boat, he's going to be there, dressed up, and he's going to have strawberries and champagne waiting for you. And he was going to hit on you the whole time.

TODD (on camera): What do you say to those who say this was sleazy? That you set these people up in an underhanded way? That it's not journalism?

O'KEEFE: Well, it doesn't matter what you call it. People have been doing this type of thing for decades: "60 Minutes." ABC's "Primetime Live" used to do, frankly, far sleazier things when they went into supermarkets, and they got jobs at supermarkets and they set up private citizens. What we're doing is exposing public officials funded by taxpayer money.


TODD: Ron Schiller reportedly was leaving NPR to take a position with the Aspen Institute, a think tank. We made repeated attempts to see if the institute had any comments on this incident and if they planned to go ahead with hiring Ron Schiller. We got no response, Wolf.

BLITZER: Schiller, Ron Schiller, he also makes a rather controversial comment about NPR's funding.

TODD: That's right. On the tape he is -- you can hear him clearly saying, "We would be better off in the long run without federal funding."

NPR issued a statement late today saying that that assertion does not reflect reality. Their statement says the elimination of federal funding would significantly damage public radio, public broadcasting as a whole. They're dialing back on a lot of what Ron Schiller said.

BLITZER: Interesting stuff. All right, Brian, thanks very much. We'll continue to follow this story.

When we come back, an intruder calls 911 inside the house he's breaking into.


BLITZER: He broke the law, then turned himself in. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the story of two 911 calls from the same Portland, Oregon, house. One from an intruder.


TIMOTHY CHAPEK, ALLEGED HOME INTRUDER: I just broke into a house, and the owners came home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You broke into a house?


MOOS: And one from the owner.

HILARY MACKENZIE, HOMEOWNER: I have an intruder from my house.

MOOS (on camera): Imagine you come home from the grocery store, walk in your house, and some guy is in your shower.

MACKENZIE: Why are you in my house taking a shower?

CHAPEK: I'm sorry.

MACKENZIE: Who are you?

CHAPEK: My name is Timothy Chapek.

MOOS (voice-over): This Timothy Chapek. Owner Hilary MacKenzie was talking to him through a closed door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And the guy is white, black, Hispanic or Asian? MACKENZIE: I have no idea. He was in the bathroom.

MOOS: The intruder dialed 911, apparently scared of the homeowner.

CHAPEK: I think they have guns.

MOOS: The owner was not armed; nor was she intimidated.

MACKENZIE: Why are you in my house?

CHAPEK: I broke in. I was kidnapped.

MOOS: The police report described Chapek as seeming to have mental issues, saying he'd been kidnapped by Mexicans.

When the homeowner told the intruder she was going to call the police...

CHAPEK: I've already called them. They're on the phone right now.

MOOS: Now this wasn't the first time someone has called the police to report themself. Drunk drivers have done it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody is really drunk driving down Granton Road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you behind them? Or...




MOOS: But it's even more bizarre when the intruder "am" the one calling police from your bathroom, and then you call 911 from outside on your porch.

MACKENZIE: He says he's in there. And I said, "Who the hell are you?"


MOOS (on camera): The suspect told police he was just taking a shower. His hair was wet, the bathroom steamy. Nothing seemed to be missing.

(voice-over) Chapek was charged with trespassing and released on $2,500 bail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he sound like he was high or drunk?

MACKENZIE: Well, he's obviously nuts.

MOOS: Some people sing in the shower. Some people call 911.

As police arrived, tensions dipped.

MACKENZIE: Come on up. The party's right here.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: That's it for me. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.