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U.S. Drones Over Libya; Justice Department Investigates Gas Prices

Aired April 21, 2011 - 18:00   ET



Happening now, breaking news. The Pentagon is expanding the U.S. arsenal against Libya, adding one of its most effective, but controversial weapons, the Predator drone.

Also, President Obama says he feels your pain at the pump and now his Justice Department is launching a new task force, but can it really do anything about the high price of gas?

And a dozen years after the Columbine massacre, a possible new bomb plot in Colorado. Are they linked? Investigators are searching for the man who may know.

Breaking news, political headlines and Jeanne Moos are straight ahead. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Candy Crowley. And you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We are following breaking news. New U.S. weaponry now being cleared for use against Moammar Gadhafi's forces. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says President Obama has signed off on the use of Predator drone aircraft in Libya.

Our CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is working this story for us.

Barbara, what can you tell us about how these Predator drones will be used?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, this was just approved in the last several days by President Obama when NATO made the request of the United States for these unmanned drones, which nonetheless are armed with missiles.

They will now fly against Gadhafi's military targets. They will fly against air defenses, troop formations on the ground of Gadhafi units, heavy armor. They will fly against a number of facilities trying to target them, trying to help protect Libyan civilians, because, of course, as we have seen for days now, the indiscriminate shelling of many cities in Libya, especially Misrata, Benghazi, other major population centers continues by Gadhafi forces.

NATO is trying to do everything it can to attack and basically take down Gadhafi's military capabilities, take down any of his ability to move his forces around, communicate with his forces in the field, his ability to launch coordinated attacks against the people of Libya. That's the goal here.

Have a listen to what the Pentagon had to say about why the Predator drone was picked.


GEN. JAMES E. CARTWRIGHT, JOINT CHIEFS VICE CHAIRMAN: What they will bring that is unique to the conflict is their ability to get down lower, therefore to be able to get better visibility on particularly targets now that have started to dig themselves in into defensive positions. They are uniquely suited for areas, urban areas, where you can get low collateral damage.


STARR: What he is talking about is going after dug-in Gadhafi targets in the field with precision. These drones can fly very low to the ground. Little risk of being shot down, but, of course, the advantage here is they are unmanned. So there is no risk of a U.S. pilot being shot down over Libya -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Barbara, you brought us the news yesterday about NATO. And after all this is not just a U.S. fight. This is a NATO fight. You brought us the news yesterday about the escalation of NATO's efforts. And I know you have some more details.

STARR: Well, very interesting, isn't it? These Predators in fact will fly under a NATO banner. The U.S. is devoting them to the NATO operation even as NATO continues to warn Libyan civilians to get out of the way over the next few days. So expect to see these Predators in the air. Expect to see a number of other NATO aircraft in the air. This, again, is the bottom line right now.

What they are trying to do is go after a target list that they have assembled. To a large extent, all indications are that target list centers around Gadhafi communications and command bunkers in the Tripoli region. So expect to see action against them. And it is a -- the whole goal here is to go after them but warn Libyan civilians to stay out of the way.

The last thing NATO wants is to hand Gadhafi any kind of propaganda victory by any unintended civilian casualties -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thank you.

American drones come only help Libyan rebel fighters who are outmanned, out-trained and outgunned by government forces.

CNN's Brian Todd looking at what it is the rebels have, but mostly what they don't have.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Candy. We can show you some of this. A picture tells the whole story. Look at this. A weapons expert tells me this guy is actually about to fire his shoulder-fired missile the wrong way. The end is supposed to be pointing towards his target. That's just one example. We are getting more information, more detail every day on the challenges facing this rebel force.

There are indications that some rebel units in Misrata, where the fighting is most intense, have risen to the challenge, taking out government sniper positions and making other advances. But in so many other places, the rebels seem completely overwhelmed.


TODD (voice-over): They use machine guns made decades ago for the Soviet army. Here is a rifle that is nicely decorated, but a weak counter to any modern military force.

Their weapons are missing parts, breaking down. They run out of ammo constantly. And they often take guns that are supposed to be mounted on tanks or helicopters and throw them onto pickup trucks. The rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi's forces are outgunned on every front.

The emir of Qatar has told CNN his country will provide weapons. The rebels who do have relatively updated arms often seem to have no clue how to use them.

MATTHEW SCHROEDER, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: This individual is holding a SA-7 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile but he's pointing it the wrong way. He's pointing it at the ground.

TODD (on camera): So if and when he chose to fire it at that particular moment he would have taken out his buddies?

SCHROEDER: Well, no, because he doesn't have a launcher. And the missile itself won't allow him to fire at ground targets.

TODD (voice-over): Matt Schroeder and other analysts say one key reason for the dysfunction, the rebels can't seem to figure out who their commander is. In some cases, they have said General Abdul Fatah Younis, Gadhafi's former interior minister, is leading them. But they have also pointed to Colonel Khalifa Hiftar, an old war hero who defected to the U.S. and came back to fight.

SHASHANK JOSHI, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: That competition between them is causing a great deal of command difficulty and so it is not clear basically who is in charge. If that continues, you are going to see divided, ineffective leadership with no sense of strategic direction.

TODD: Analysts say that's already translated into an untrained, undisciplined, fragmented army that doesn't communicate on the battlefront. And those problems have other serious side effects.

(on camera): There is evidence the rebels have at least tolerated the presence of child soldiers in their ranks. Analysts say it is not widespread but at one point a CNN team encountered this 13- year-old boy named Mohammed carrying an AK-47. He said he was trained on how to use it by his uncle and that his mother was OK with him fighting.

(voice-over): Could the U.S. and its allies see their support of these rebels come back to bite them? The president of neighboring Chad has said al Qaeda operatives in North Africa have taken many of the rebels' surface-to-air missiles which al Qaeda's used to target civilian aircraft in the past.


TODD: But the Chadian president offered no concrete evidence that al Qaeda had actually taken those weapons and a U.S. official told CNN today there's no indication that stockpiles of rebel weapons have fallen into al Qaeda's hands. Still the official said the U.S. cannot rule out that some small arms from the Libyan war have been obtained by extremists -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Well, considering how many weapons were already in Libya, that's pretty ominous.

TODD: It is. Because Matt Schroeder, the weapons analyst, said that the U.S. government estimates that Gadhafi had 20,000 shoulder- fired surface-to-air missiles in his arsenal before all this even started. That's a massive number, especially for a country like Libya. Schroeder estimates that the numbers captured by rebel forces in the hundreds. You're talking about hundreds of those missiles in the hands of rebel forces that don't guard them very well. That's easy pickings for al Qaeda.

CROWLEY: And you can also understand from your report why the U.S. has been so reluctant to try to arm rebels.

TODD: Absolutely.


CROWLEY: We still don't know who they are. Brian Todd, thanks so much. Appreciate it.


CROWLEY: The bodies of two well-known photojournalists killed yesterday in fighting in Misrata have arrived in the rebel capital of Benghazi, the first stop in a long journey home.

CNN's Reza Sayah is there for us.

Reza, where will the remains of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros go next?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, presumably they will go back to their homelands. Chris Hondros is from the New York City area. Tim Hetherington is from the U.K. Presumably they will go there as soon as possible. I spoke with a U.S. government official within the past hour and he referred all questions to the U.S. State Department. And I think that's an indication of the U.S. government and the British government doing their best to keep this event, keep this process as private as possible, out of respect to the families of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros.

Usually, when you have aid ships coming into the port of Benghazi from Misrata, and we have seen a few, it is a raucous, emotional, sometimes loud event with people cheering God is great. Sometimes you have celebratory gunfire in honor of the injured.

Not the case tonight. This was a much more subdued and somber event. You had about 300 people waiting at the dock, holding up British and American flags, placards with messages of support for the families of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros.

Initially, the opposition had planned for some sort of memorial service for Hetherington and Hondros. But the U.S. and U.K. government respectively declined, Candy, again, another indication that they want to keep this as private as possible and get these remains to the families of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros as soon as possible.

CROWLEY: Reza, as you pointed out this was very from others who have fallen, the greeting that they have received or that the remains have received in Benghazi. What's the message here when these people gathered to kind of honor the return of the remains of these two photojournalists? What was their message?

SAYAH: Well, I think the message is a very genuine and sincere one. It is remarkable how these opposition officials, these opposition supporters were genuinely impacted by the loss of these two journalists.

And that's because over the past couple of months, these opposition figures and supporters have developed a very close relationship with international journalists and Western journalists. They really believe that this uprising may not have happened without the work of international journalists and Western journalists. So their message was we care for these losses.

And another message was that, without making it seem as if they are exploiting the situation, the message was to the world that there are people dying every day, much more Libyan people dying every day than Western journalists and they want to use this as an opportunity to draw attention to what they call atrocities taking place every day in places like Misrata.

CROWLEY: Reza Sayah tonight in Benghazi, thanks, as always, Reza.

Is there something more to soaring gas prices than simple supply and demand? President Obama's Justice Department is now investigating. Also, a bomb scare in Colorado on the anniversary of the Columbine massacre, copycat or coincidence? Plus, a murder witnessed by a Webcam. Now there has been an arrest.


CROWLEY: Jack Cafferty, just the guy to give a little advice to the federal government, has found some money they can take out of the budget.


Very deep inside that $38 billion 2011 budget bill, the one that was hastily passed by Congress before they rushed off on their spring break, and then hurried over the president to sign, deep inside that bill is a $3 billion provision for NASA to build a new rocket and space capsule, $3 billion for a spaceship. Lovely.

While lawmakers fought for six months over nickels and dimes for programs like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Planned Parenthood, and Pell Grants for college kids, billions had been set aside for a space rocket. So much for all that big talk about cutting spending.

But this is nothing new, according to Lawmakers from states where NASA, the space agency, and the corporations typically awarded these contracts operate have long pushed for the continuation of space programs, even when they aren't exactly popular, states like Alabama, Maryland, Texas, Utah.

Lawmakers from those states insist their support of projects like this one stems from the overall importance of the U.S. space program. And there is something to that argument. They say the value goes far beyond job creation in their own states.

But you have to wonder how much value a trip to the moon can really provide when the growing debt problem is threatening to take down the country. Plus, there is that old phrase been there, done that. Remember, we went to the moon. Oh, and those major U.S. companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the ones that stand to be awarded these big-time contracts to build this rocket and space capsule? They probably had a little something to do with all of this.

Boeing reportedly spent about $18 million on lobbying last year and its political action committee contributed more than $2.2 million in the last election cycle. Lockheed Martin spent $16 million on lobbyists and its political action committee donated more than $3.5 million in 2009 and 2010.

You want to know who really runs this country?

Here's the question. Should the U.S. space program be a priority during our budget crisis? Go to Post your comment on my blog.

Ain't it funny how Washington works, Candy? CROWLEY: It is. Why don't you just come down? We will put you around the bargaining table.


CAFFERTY: I would get beat up in a heartbeat.


CROWLEY: You would. Talk to you later.

CAFFERTY: All right.

CROWLEY: President Obama has just landed in Los Angeles where he will attend two fund-raisers tonight, inching a bit closer to his reelection campaign goal of raising $1 billion.

Republicans will have to match that and we expect independent groups to raise an additional billion, making 2012 a record-breaking $3 billion campaign.

CNN's Kate Bolduan is live at the White House for us with more on the president's left coast fund-raising.

Where is he in the march towards a billion?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's working hard. I think that's what we can say at this point, Candy.

He has a pretty packed schedule and you can say he is working very hard to try to reenergize some of that energy that he had and his supporters back in 2008. As you said it could be up to a $3 billion election. And when you are talking about campaign money, there is no better place for him to start than California.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): It is home to many of President Obama's biggest supporters in 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

CHRIS ROCK, ACTOR: I endorsed Barack Obama.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": It feels like something really big and bold has happened here.

BOLDUAN: But since then some in Hollywood seemed to have cooled towards the president, big-name supporters frustrated the change they voted for hasn't come fast enough.

MATT DAMON, ACTOR: I really think he misinterpreted his mandate. I think -- a friend of mine said to me the other day -- I thought it was a great line -- I no longer hope for audacity.

MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: One of the reasons he got there is because we were so tired of war. We didn't want another war.

BOLDUAN: Still, there are deep pockets out West and the president is trying to tap into that cash during a fund-raising blitz on what's often referred to as the left coast.



BOLDUAN: From San Francisco to Los Angeles, six fund-raisers in two days, tickets ranging from $25 to the maximum legal limit of $35,800. And with a record to defend this time around, the president has some explaining to do.

OBAMA: There are times when I have felt the same way that you do. This is a big complicated, messy democracy. Change is not simple. Everybody likes change in the abstract, but change in the concrete is hard.


OBAMA: It is tough.


BOLDUAN: In the quest for a potentially billion dollar campaign, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics says it is no surprise and no coincidence President Obama is starting in the Golden State.

DAVE LEVINTHAL, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: From a cash standpoint, California is his treasury. It is where he got about one- fifth of all of his money in the 2008 presidential election.

BOLDUAN: And that could be important now more than ever, as donors from Wall Street and the health care industry angry over new regulations may be feeling a little less generous this cycle.

LEVINTHAL: Industries are very fickle. If you are not doing their bidding, if they're not doing what you want them to do, then, you know, they can -- they can really make it your life politically speaking very interesting as a politician.


BOLDUAN: Now, President Obama still has three fund-raising events yet this evening, two smaller dinners with some top-dollar donors and then a much larger rally with mostly younger supporters. Organizers, Candy, say that they expect some 3,000 people to attend that event.

CROWLEY: Kate, I had to laugh this afternoon when I looked up at our flipper, the thing that changes at the bottom of our screen, and it said singing women interrupt President Obama. So, you have a few more details for us? BOLDUAN: It was pretty interesting when we were reading the reports from the pool traveling with the president. I guess it's a fund-raiser with a little side order of protest.

Apparently, a woman in pretty small fund-raising event, about 200 people, she stood up and started singing in protest. She was singing in protest of the detention of Bradley Manning, that Army private who is suspected of leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks.

Her table joined in, in the protest. The president let her finish the song. She was led out. And we are told the president picked up right where he left, saying exactly that: Where was I? And later his spokeswoman, Candy, said to the media traveling with him that he came out of the event joking, saying, I think the quote was, you don't get that every day.

CROWLEY: No, you don't.

Just another thing, Kate, that tells us why it is not easy to run for president.

Nonetheless, why is it so complicated to announce a run for president? We will take a look at the process most contenders go through before they are even called a candidate.

And a riot in Australia. We will show you the violence and tell you about a controversial political issue it's reviving.



CROWLEY: And our breaking news is coming out of Tripoli this evening.

We want to go directly to Fred Pleitgen, our correspondent in Tripoli.

Fred, what's going on?


Well, there appears to be airstrikes going on here in Tripoli tonight. We have heard about three major explosions that we believe came sort of from the outskirts of Tripoli. And what you have been seeing yesterday, as well and it seems to us tonight as well, is that NATO is attacking the infrastructure that Moammar Gadhafi has here around the Tripoli area.

NATO has been saying that it has been attacking the command-and- control infrastructure, things like command-and-control bunkers, also the headquarters of some of the Gadhafi brigades here in Tripoli, as well as things like ammunition dumps and telecommunications installations.

So, what they want to do here, when they strike around the Tripoli area, is they want to take out all of the stuff that Gadhafi is using to supply and to communicate with his troops on the front lines in Misrata as well as in the east of Libya. It seems as though that's going on right now as well.

And I know that you have been talking about the use of drones that the U.S. apparently has started here in Libya as well. It seems to us that the strikes that took place in Tripoli tonight were not by drones, because we did hear and are hearing jets fly overhead -- Candy.

CROWLEY: So when you are listening, and what you have listened, does this seem heavier than normal? I know that they have staged attacks around Tripoli before. Does this seem like more than you have heard before?

PLEITGEN: Well, it seems about the same, maybe a little heavier. But it seems about the same as we have seen over the past couple of days. And certainly it seems as though these explosions they happened in a very short period of time. They were very loud, obviously. And sort of a thumping noise. And so it is something that we have seen before.

But it does appear to us as though the intensity of the attacks on Tripoli has increased over the past couple of days. It is not something that is specific to tonight. But we have seen in the past couple of days NATO step up its attacks on the command-and-control infrastructure here around Tripoli and also on ammunition dumps.

So, in total, yes, it seems to us that the attacks are increasing. The one tonight has not been a lot bigger than the ones in the past were, but it does seem to us as though NATO is applying more pressure to Gadhafi's forces here in Tripoli than they have been over the past couple of weeks.

CROWLEY: Fred Pleitgen in Tripoli for us tonight, thank you.

We, of course, will get back to Fred with any other breaking news. And, again, there seem to be attacks in and around Tripoli at this point, staged, we believe, by NATO forces.

We are paying near record prices for gas. And now the Justice Department is checking to see if we are actually being gouged. Also, a potentially devastating explosive device found near Columbine on the 12-year anniversary of the high school massacre.


CROWLEY: A month ago, people were already complaining about the high price of gas and now it is even more expensive, up 30 cents in the last 30 days, to a national average of $3.84 a gallon.

Now the Obama administration is investigating to make sure you are not being gouged. President Obama says he feels your pain.


OBAMA: Everybody right now is dealing with $4 a gallon at the pump.

Now, I admit Secret Service doesn't let me fill up my own tank now. But I remember, before I was president, the last time gas prices went up this high. It's tough. If you're somebody who's got to drive 20 miles, 30 miles to a job, maybe you don't have the money to buy a new car that gets better gas mileage, so you have that old beater. It's, you know, eight miles a gallon. You know. I've been there. It hurts.

Because you know every time you go to work, a big chunk of your paycheck is being eaten up. And you might already be having trouble making ends meet at the end of month.

Last month, I asked my attorney general to look into any cases of price gouging. So we can make sure nobody is being taken advantage of at the pump. Today, I'm going to go a step further. The attorney general is putting together a team whose job it is to root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices. And that includes the role of traders and speculators. We're going to make sure nobody is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain.


CROWLEY: This raises some serious questions, and our CNN legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, is here to answer them.

Jeff, I know you, at one point worked in the Justice Department, so let me put this to you. Wasn't there already a team that's supposed to -- I mean, it's illegal, right, to gouge? It's illegal to be manipulating the market. Weren't they already looking into this?

JEFF TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's -- it's illegal, but the Justice Department picks and chooses which kinds of cases it wants to focus on. There -- and that's a real difference. If the Justice Department is going to really look at energy pricing, that is -- that is a choice they can make. They can look at child pornography. They can look at insider trading. I mean, they make choices about what to investigate.

The problem with a price-gouging investigation is those are some of the most complicated and longest lasting investigations that don't necessarily pay off. Gouging, which is a term we use just -- you know, colloquially, is not a crime in and of itself. It has to be some sort of fraud or antitrust violation. And those kind of cases are very hard to make.

CROWLEY: So you know -- when you hear -- when you're a political person and you hear task force or commission, you think, "Uh-oh, problem and the president wants to look as though he's doing something." What -- in effect do these task force just take it within the Justice Department? Do they tend to come up with things?

TOOBIN: They do. Eventually. And not many, many of them. Some of them. But when the Justice Department, you know, says, "Look, I want 100 FBI agents. I want 50 prosecutors on child pornography," you're going to get child pornography prosecutions.

If you put 100 FBI agents and 50 prosecutors on energy investigations, you probably will get some cases. Maybe in 2012. Maybe in 2013. Because by the time you subpoena the documents, by the time you get cooperating witnesses, it is going to take months and months.

Now, I think in a political sense, sure. There is a bit of theater in this. But also, it's meant to have a deterrent effect. If you are an energy trader, if you are someone who is thinking about raising prices, you're going to see the president's speech, and you're going to think, "Well, maybe, you know, I better be careful about this." That's the best result that you can get from task force like this, which is a deterrent effect. If you want to worry about prosecutions, it can take a very long time.

CROWLEY: Our legal analyst Jeff Toobin. Thanks very much.

TOOBIN: OK, Candy.

CROWLEY: Authorities in Littleton, Colorado, are asking for help in locating a man who may be linked to a possible bomb plot. And they say the plot may have ties to the 1999 Columbine school shooting. Our homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, is following the story.

Jeanne, what can you tell about what you're learning?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, the big question is was it a copycat or a coincidence? Investigators in Colorado still just don't know.


MESERVE (voice-over): Twelve years to the day after the horrific attack on Columbine High School, someone appears to have tried to bomb a shopping center just a short distance away.

SHERIFF TED MINK, JEFFERSON COUNTY, COLORADO: We're concerned about the date, the times and things of that nature. But we don't have anything solid that would indicate there's any link at all other than -- than, certainly, circumstances.

MESERVE: At the mall police found propane tanks and a pipe bomb, the kind of weaponry used by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris in their assault.

DAVID CULLEN, AUTHOR, "COLUMBINE": It's very similar. In Columbine, most people don't realize but it was intended primarily as a bombing with some shooting involved. And there were several large propane bombs involved. They also had about 100 pipe bombs.

MESERVE: Investigators have released surveillance camera images of a man seen in the mall just minutes before a fire was discovered. That may have been part of an attempt to detonate the explosives. Authorities want to find him. They want to talk to him. Authorities say if the device found Wednesday had exploded, it could have been devastating. And the horror would have been amplified by the date: the grim anniversary of the Columbine assault that left 15 people dead.


MESERVE: Most of the current students at Columbine are too young to remember the attack. But David Cullen, the author of the book "Columbine," says the staff, the parents, the community, the survivors always struggle at this time of year. For them, he says, this feels like an attack on a funeral, heaping pain on top of pain.

Fortunately, Candy, they have a lot of clues here that they're working with.

CROWLEY: So they -- they are on it and moving in on it?

MESERVE: Yes. I mean -- this didn't detonate right there. They have a lot to aid this investigation. Plus that photograph. Those photographs from the surveillance cameras.

CROWLEY: Jeanne Meserve, thanks.

Is Big Brother watching you, or is that just your smart phone? We'll tell you how easy it is for someone inform find out where you are and where you've been.

And we all know presidential campaign has become longer and longer over the years. But now even the process of announcing a run is getting drawn out.



CROWLEY: The governor of Texas has an unusual request for residents of his state. Deborah Feyerick is monitoring that and some of the other stop stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, Texas Governor Rick Perry is asking Texans to pray for an end to a drought and the wildfires in the state. He's officially declared three days of prayer for rain beginning tomorrow. In a news release he urges Texans to, quote, "humbly ask God for help."

Wildfires have killed two firefighters and scorched at least a million acres in his state.

Police in Toronto have arrested a man in connection with the death of an exchange student who was attacked in her home as a friend watched via Web cam from China. Authorities say that the 23-year-old victim let the suspect into her home after he asked to use her phone. The friend says he witnessed the struggle online before the link was cut off. Ten hours later, police discovered the body. The suspect has been charged with first-degree murder. And riot is reviving debate over immigration policies in Australia. Rioters in a detention facility for asylum seekers in Sydney torched nine buildings overnight. A handful of detained immigrants reportedly remain on rooftops at the facility as police worked to gain control.

And Haiti has a new president. The country's electoral council officially declared Michel Martelly the winner. Martelly gained fame as a flamboyant singer and performer known as Sweet Micky. He received nearly 68 percent of the vote in a runoff election. Martelly says restarting the economy after last year's devastating earthquake will, of course, be his top priority -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Seems like there might not be any other priority in Haiti right now at this moment, for sure.

FEYERICK: Absolutely.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Deb.

There's a new Republican presidential hopeful. Former New Mexico governor, Gary Johnson, announced his White House run today. He's a Republican who supports gay marriage, legalizing marijuana and some abortion rights.

But while Johnson has actually declared his candidacy, the rest of the GOP field isn't quite ready to commit. CNN's Lisa Sylvester has more on that.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Several GOP contenders have formed presidential exploratory committees, allowing them to start raising money, hiring strategists and consultants, basically putting together a campaign structure. And depending on how they set up the committee, some of them technically are already running for president.

Then there are others who are truly holding back, not ready to officially throw their name in the ring.

(voice-over) It used to be simple.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I proudly announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.

SYLVESTER: Today candidates are much more coy.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We are today establishing a Web site, We will look at this very seriously. And we will very methodically lay out the framework of what we will do next.

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER SENATOR: I'm going to set up a committee, a testing the waters committee. And it's called Rick Santorum Exploratory Committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: True tax fighter, Governor Tim Pawlenty.

SYLVESTER: When CNN's Piers Morgan asked former Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty, who has an exploratory committee, whether he might be willing to take the No. 2 spot on a GOP ticket, he seemed clear on what his intentions are.

TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: I'm running for president. I'm not putting my head in the ring, rhetorically or ultimately, for vice president. So I'm focused on running for president.

SYLVESTER: Moments later, though, he said he's still exploring.

PAWLENTY: We'll have a final or full announcement on that in the coming weeks here. Won't be too much longer. But everything is headed in that direction, Piers.

SYLVESTER: Late-night host Stephen Colbert couldn't help but weigh in.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE COLBERT REPORT": You want to wait important for that perfect journalist to share it with. Not just give it up to the first guy who asks.

SYLVESTER: Most political insiders have no doubt that Mitt Romney will be running. He has been courting fund-raisers for months. Some experts even consider him the early front-runner, but he only took his first formal step recently.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: I am announcing my exploratory committee for the presidency of the United States. It's time that we put America back on a course of greatness with a growing economy, good jobs, and fiscal discipline in Washington.

SYLVESTER: The king of exploring may be the Donald.

DONALD TRUMP, REAL-ESTATE MOGUL: So I am going to form a presidential exploratory committee. I might as well announce that on your show. Everyone else does.

I wish I didn't have to do it. I would prefer not doing it. But I love this country. And if you ask me what are the odds, I'll let you know sometime prior to June. But I will tell you I am giving it serious, serious thought.

SYLVESTER (on camera): Some people who tested the waters in the past decided not to run. Trump, Evan Bayh and the late Paul Wellstone formed exploratory committees but later decided against getting in. But these days, most of those who end up forming those committees do end up in the race -- Candy.


CROWLEY: Thanks so much. Lisa Sylvester. Well, where have you been lately? Your smart phone knows. And smart people can easily find out. Why are these phones tracking our every move?


CROWLEY: Your smart phone is smarter than you think. Many of keep track of where you've been, and we were surprised to find out how easy it is for someone else to access that information. CNN's Ted Rowlands is in Los Angeles with details -- Ted.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Candy, anybody using an iPhone or a 3G-enabled iPad is affected here. Basically, what happens is everywhere you go the tracked. And it's fairly easy to find out where you've been.

This is an application that we loaded using the data from my iPhone. And you can see where I've been over the past year.

(voice-over) You can easily see where someone has been and when they were there. The application to launch the map is available for free online. The information is also automatically transferred to any computer synced through iTunes.

PETE WARDEN, FOUNDER, DATA SCIENCE TOOLKIT: Anybody else who has access to that machine is able to look through all of the locations that you've been through for the last year. So if you have a jealous spouse or a private investigator, or your machine gets stolen, you're giving people access to a lot of information that you didn't even realize was being collected.

ROWLANDS: The discovery was made public by data researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden.

ALASDAIR ALLAN, SENIOR RESEARCHER, UNIVERSITY OF EXETER: We started poking through the iPhone's -- the iPhone backup on my laptop and we stumbled across the file.

ROWLANDS: The information is gathered through cell phone towers and wi-fi hotspots, not GPS, so you can't stop it by turning off the GPS. The data isn't transmitted anywhere. So why is it being collected?

ALLAN: I just thought it was presumably accidental. I mean, I don't think there's any maliciousness here. I don't think there -- there's no conspiracy; there's no government conspiracy. It's just someone left it running.

ROWLANDS: Apple has made no public comment on the tissue. Minnesota Senator Al Franken has sent a letter to Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, demanding answers as to why people are being tracked.

You can block the information on a computer through an iTunes setting. Just check the encryption box on the menu. There's no way to block it on an iPhone or a 3G iPad.

(on camera) Bottom line, Candy, if you're going somewhere you shouldn't or you don't want people who have access to your iPhone to see where you've been, leave your phone at home -- Candy.


CROWLEY: And even if just think it's nobody's business, thanks so much.

Should the U.S. space program be a priority during a budget crisis? Jack Cafferty is standing by with your e-mail.

And coming up at the top of the hour on "JOHN KING USA," the parents of missing American journalist James Foley, who's been held by Gadhafi loyalists since April 5.


CROWLEY: Senator John Ensign, a Republican from Nevada, has announced that he will resign the Senate tomorrow. For the past couple of years, Ensign has been embroiled in a sex and money scandal, frankly, out of his office. He admitted to having an affair with one of his staffers. He admitted that his parents, in fact, made payments to a staffer and her husband, although he said not with any kind of campaign money or office money. Nonetheless, it has dogged him for years.

In his statement saying that he is going to resign tomorrow, Senator Ensign said, "While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule or standard of conduct with -- conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigations, depositions, drawn-out proceedings and especially public hearings. For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great."

Senator Ensign goes on to say that, while the FBI, there was no official investigation from outside, the Senate Ethics Committee was continuing to look into it, and he just simply did not want to go through it.

Once again, Senator Ensign, John Ensign, a Republican from Nevada, resigning tomorrow.

Time now to check back with our Jack Cafferty -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: A world-class worm. They're better off without him.

The question this hour: "Should the U.S. space program be a priority during the budget crisis?" Deep in that $38 billion spending bill, there's a $3 billion allocation to build a heavy-lift rocket and space capsule to go back to the moon.

Lisa in California says, "Yes, space programs should be a priority. Money spent on it isn't spent in space. It's spent here on the ground and results in technologies that we can all use here at home. The benefits of NASA's research aren't always obvious upfront but in retrospect, you can use a ton of useful technologies with origins in NASA's basic research. This is seed corn for U.S. technological competitiveness. We need to invest in it."

Larry in Texas: "No, it ought to be cut. But what do I know? I wouldn't send $25 million we don't have to the Libyan rebels either, but we are."

James in North Carolina: "Forget about the U.S. space program. Let's concentrate on the space between our ears and the space between what the government's spending and what we have in the bank. I think our problems are a little closer to home than outer space."

Laurie in Pennsylvania: "Our money would be better spent coming up with an affordable alternative to oil."

Cliff in New York writes, "Until NASA can show the advantage of manned flights over one-way space probes and satellites, most preferably with House Republican leadership as cargo, there are much bigger budget priorities here on earth."

Don in Massachusetts: "We need to keep moving forward with the space program. It may save our lives one day when our planet can't support us any more. The way we're going, that day doesn't seem to be too far away."

And Greg writes this: "Keeping the U.S. space program a priority during a national budget crisis is sort of like me making my bass vote a priority if I was having a budget crisis in my home. It all depends on who gets to vote on what gets cut. Health care and food for the kids or a weekend on the lake. It's easy to guess which way my wife and children would vote."

If you want to read more on this, go to the blog: It has been a delight working with you yet again, Ms. Crowley.

CROWLEY: Back at you. Thanks so much, Jack.

Championship trophies. Jeanne Moos' take is next.


CROWLEY: Every athlete aspires to a championship trophy. Here's Jeanne Moos' take.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice captain of Madrid's soccer team didn't get thrown under the bus. Even though he did drop the team's trophy under the bus, the one he was clutching so proudly just moments before, only to let it slip during the victory parade. And then the bus ran over it. Rescuers ran to retrieve the King's Cup. It was rushed inside the bus, but the owner of the shop that made the trophy called it practically a complete wreck.

The player who dropped it, Sergio Ramos, tweeted a joke. "It didn't fall. It jumped off when it saw so many Madrid fans."

(on camera) Now, the guy is a soccer player. He probably would have been better off holding the cup with his feet, but he's not the only butter fingers when it comes to dropping a trophy.

(voice-over) Little did the captain of the Spokane Chiefs know he was kissing the Memorial Cup good-bye. Seconds later, as he tried to share the glory. Their look said it all. Holy puck. The captain tried to fix the Canadian Hockey League trophy, but that didn't work. So might as well make do with two.

As the captain said later, "We can drink from the cup a little easier."

Often, the culprit is a loose lid. For instance, when Chris Chelios won the Norris Award for Top Defensive Player in the NHL.

CHRIS CHELIOS, NORRIS AWARD WINNER: Coming from Larry means a lot to me. Maybe it doesn't mean a lot to me.

MOOS: When Maria Sharapova won the U.S. Open in 2006, the lid from her trophy bounced off her like a spiked serve.

And when Carmelo Vajegas (ph) won the PGA tour, the replica putter was fine, but the miniature golf club on the trophy...

CARMELO VAJEGAS (ph), PGA TOUR WINNER: Whoops, it broke.

MOOS: Whoops, it broke, and despite his best efforts, he couldn't fix it.

The jinxed trophy syndrome even strikes champion bowlers. Pete Webber told "Sports Illustrated" that when his eagle shattered, people came up and grabbed pieces to take home.

Victory is sweet. Sometimes your cup runneth over, and other times your cup gets run over.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CROWLEY: That does it for me. I'm Candy Crowley in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.