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The Death of Bin Laden

Aired May 2, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: The man who did this is -- is dead. The man who killed 2,752 people at the World Trade Center, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The man who inspired deadly attacks in London, Madrid and around the world.

Osama bin Laden is gone. And the president of the United States summed it up in four words, was that Americans and people all around the world have waited almost 10 years to hear.


MORGAN: Victory in the war on terror is far from over. Tonight I'll talk to Rudy Giuliani, Tony Blair and a member of bin Laden's own family about what happens now.

This is a special edition of PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. Live from New York, President Obama and the first lady are hosting a group of congressional leaders tonight in the East Room of the White House. Just a few moments ago, he had this to say about the successful mission to take out Osama bin Laden.


OBAMA: Last night, as Americans learned that the United States had carried out an operation that resulted in the capture and death of Osama bin Laden, we --


OBAMA: You know, I think we experienced the same sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. We were reminded again that there was a pride in what this nation stands for and what we can achieve that runs far deeper than party, far deeper than politics.

I want to again recognize the heroes who carried out this incredibly dangerous mission, as well as all the military and counterterrorism professionals who made the mission possible.


MORGAN: That was the president a few moments ago. Now we're going to look at an extraordinary photograph. This was taken in the White House situation room as President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and members of the national security team listened of the news of the mission against bin Laden as it happened.

The real question now is what does the White House do next? And tonight, I'm joined by many of the people who may well have answers in Washington and around the world.

Rudy Giuliani, Tony Blair, Bob Woodward, Senator John Kerry, Senator Chuck Schumer and Carmen bin Laden, Osama bin Laden ex-sister- in-law, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, and President Bush's White House chief of staff Andy Card.

Nobody who was in New York City in September 11th, 2001 will ever forget the events of that tragic day. And who would forget Rudy Giuliani's leadership as the city reeled and Rudy joins me now.

When I heard this breaking news, you were one of the first people I thought of. I just was fascinated. Where were you, when did you hear, and what were you thinking?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I was at home, I was reading a book. And I saw a little banner on the television that the president was going to hold a -- the president was going to hold a news conference, or give a statement. And I thought to myself, well, there has to be something terrible on a Sunday night.

And then of course it developed within about 15 minutes that it was bin Laden -- or 20 minute, it was bin Laden. And I felt very relieved because I thought maybe there was some kind of a terrorist plot or -- I had no idea what the president would be announcing at 10:30 on a Sunday night.

MORGAN: I actually heard commentators suggesting that the war on terror would now end with his death.

GIULIANI: Wishful thinking.

MORGAN: I think that's a dangerous presumption, isn't it?

GIULIANI: Very dangerous. I mean -- and not something that our government is going to be fooled by. I don't think the mayor or the president or many of the people responsible, they understand this is the middle, not the end. Big step. A very, very big step in removing him, because he was a real symbol that organized people. But not the final step. And so we have to remember that. And things can be dangerous in the short term.

MORGAN: I was going to ask you -- I mean the key question, it seems to me, as we study the analysis of all this is how much safer are Americans in reality? I mean, probably the answer is no safer than they were yesterday.

GIULIANI: Actually, I think it's short term, there's more danger. Long term, there's a lot more safety. And who knows what short term means. But there are probably more risk -- there's more risk right now of their doing something than there was before he was captured.

But that always would happen. No matter when you captured them. If we captured him five years ago or five years from now.

MORGAN: Would you, as the mayor who was there on that fateful day, would you have preferred to see bin Laden brought to trial? Actually had him face his accusers?

GIULIANI: No, I think this worked out about as well as it could work out. I'm not sure that they had a choice. I mean, I think he open fired on them and the Navy SEALs aren't going to let you open fire on them.


GIULIANI: They're going to take you down if you do that. But this is probably a safer way for it to all happen. If he was brought back to the United States, if he had to go on trial, even if it was at Guantanamo or wherever it was, you'd have weeks and weeks of possible terrorist activity on his behalf and against him. So maybe -- although this wasn't designed to happen this way, maybe it worked out for the best.

MORGAN: When you walk around New York today, what reaction are you getting?

GIULIANI: People are very happy. Today it's a little more -- it's a little more subdued. It isn't like the great elation of last night, but I was down at St. Paul's earlier today because I spent so much time there. And I talked to a lot of people down there, and one man gave me a flag with the names of all the people who died on September 11th here, in Washington and in Shanksville. People -- there's a sense of -- I think of relief and satisfaction.

MORGAN: I mean when I saw the scenes at the White House last night and then at Ground Zero as well, later, I sort of understood that America has not had much to celebrate recently in terms of these conflicts. You know both Afghanistan and Iraq have been very tough hard going.


MORGAN: There's been a massive financial recession. I got a sense of just people wanting to celebrate something.

GIULIANI: I had a good feeling and a bad feeling. The bad feeling was, you know, I hope they don't think it's over because it isn't. The good feeling was, they still remember. I mean it was really very, very heart warming to see so many people just spontaneously go out on the street in Washington and New York.

It means that -- and a lot of young people. And it means they still remember and they still have -- they still have an understanding of what happened on September 11th.

MORGAN: How do you think overall history will judge him and America's relationship with him?

GIULIANI: I think he's going to be viewed as one of the great monsters of history. I mean maybe the numbers aren't as great as a Hitler or a Stalin or -- but the viciousness and the horror of his attacks are just as bad. I think he's one of the -- he's one of the great monsters of history.

And I thought the president made a very tough choice. I mean there was more of a chance that something could go wrong with this operation than something go right with it. There would have been politically safer ways to do it. Just bomb the house. But then conspiracy theories would go crazy saying, you know, you never got him. So I think the president took a lot of risk here in the right way. And they --


MORGAN: I think whatever side you are on the political fence, that was a gutsy move by the president.

GIULIANI: Yes. I have great admiration today for the president for what he did and for President Bush. I think the two presidents looked good. And for Tony Blair.

MORGAN: Well, you're certainly committed, too, Rudy. And I think that I understand your mixed emotions about it, but I -- it's a pretty good day.

GIULIANI: Yes, it is a good day. Thank God.

MORGAN: For America and for New York City.

GIULIANI: Thank God.

MORGAN: Thanks. Good to see you.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was the key ally for President George W. Bush in the war on terror. He's currently the Middle East Quartet representative and he joins me now.

Mr. Blair, when did you hear the news that bin Laden was dead?

TONY BLAIR, MIDDLE EAST QUARTET REPRESENTATIVE: I heard it in the very early hours of the morning. And you know, obviously it was just an extraordinary thing to hear after such a long time. And it's a tremendous achievement.

My sincere gratitude to President Obama, to the American people who engaged in the operation and, of course, the fight against terrorism still goes on, but I think today also, it's a time to remember the people that died and the families that still mourn them.

MORGAN: Did you ever think this day would come?

BLAIR: Well, you know, I think I -- when I first thought about it, I was sure it would happen. And then as time went on, you know, you began to wonder whether it would. But I think what this shows, in a sense, a really important thing that comes out of it is people knowing that however long it takes and however difficult, however challenging, however many on obstacles there are in the way, that our determination to pursue people who engage in the slaughter of innocent people, deliberate slaughter of innocent people, will be brought eventually.

MORGAN: I'd like, if you can, to put your head into the White House yesterday morning it was when Obama took that decision. You' been in that same position several times as British prime minister, sending troops into a very dangerous situation like that where anything can happen.

Just talk me through the mindset when you do that.

BLAIR: It's probably one of the toughest parts of leadership because it's a decision in the end that you've got to take. I mean, at that point, the seat of the decision maker is a pretty lonely one. And there will, of course, have been an immense amount of work, preparation done. There'll have been, you know, over the course of the previous months a lot of meetings and so on.

But then you come to the point which is whether you're prepared to authorize the operation or not. And then you got to take all the advice you can, as sure as you can, but right at the very end, as I know, haven taken some of these decisions, it's a very, very tough moment. And you hope and pray you got it right, which in this case, President Obama did.

MORGAN: Tell me, you're in Jerusalem now . I was there a few weeks ago. And the fascinating thing about being there was it suddenly didn't seem like the only story in town in the Middle East.

And as you see the events unfolding in Afghanistan and all over the Middle East now, clearly, you're in a great position to assess this. But in order of priority, what should we be prioritizing now? Because bin Laden was found in Pakistan. Other al Qaeda leaders may well be lurking there, too.

Should we be making more effort there now than perhaps we have been in the last few months?

BLAIR: Well, I think the -- the problem is, Piers, that this is an issue all over this region and beyond. So sometimes, you know, you might worry about Afghanistan or Pakistan or even Iraq or there's Lebanon, or you could look at Somalia.

You know, you can look at what has happened in Gaza recently and the issue out here in Jerusalem. The trouble is that there's two separate things working at the moment on this region. One is people who are -- tend to be open minded in their attitude, they want democracy, they want the types of freedoms that we've got.

And then you've got this other group who are extreme and based on a perversion of Islam, want to wage a kind of holy war. So you saw that almost in the reaction to the killing of bin Laden today. The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, said it was good news. The Hamas leadership came out and said they condemned the killing of what they called a holy warrior. So, you know, right throughout this region, you've got this divide in place. And I think -- you know, you're absolutely right. I think we've got to -- even with this news, which is a great achievement, we've got to keep our minds focused on this wider issue, which is to do with how does this region turn out? Which group of people win? How do we support the modernizing, moderate, sensible elements within it.

MORGAN: You worked closely with President Bush over the years. And, you know, after 9/11, I remember you coming out here and clearly being very moved by what happened to New York City that day.

Have you spoken to President Bush since the news of bin Laden's death?

BLAIR: We've been in touch actually together, yes. And you know, for me, it was a very simple thing. The attack happened in America. There were predominantly American citizens who died, but actually Britain lost more civilians in the 9/11 attack in a single act of terrorism than any other atrocity perpetrated against Britain, even during the course of the Irish terrorism.

So, you know, for us, it was also a very important moment. And the thing about it was this. This is what clarified it for me at the time of 9/11 attack. I regarded it not just as an attack on America, but an attack on a way of life that America represents and leads but we share, which is a belief in freedom and democracy, and also a belief that people of different races and faiths and cultures can come together and co-exist peacefully together.

And the whole purpose of this attack and the attacks that have followed subsequently in which, by the way, many, many Muslims have died, the purpose of those attacks by bin laden and by al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is to destroy the possibility of that peaceful co-existence.

So there's a sense today of, you know, achievement and a sense also that this is some mark by which we have indicated our complete determination to root these people out. But I don't think we should be under any illusion either. This battle, this struggle still goes on.

MORGAN: Tony Blair, thank you very much.

BLAIR: Thank you, Piers. Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, how will history view the hunt for bin Laden? I'll talk to a man who knows how decisions are made inside the White House.



OBAMA: And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has at times frayed, yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.


MORGAN: The death of Osama bin Laden will rewrite the book on the Obama administration. And my next guest is just the man for that job.

Bob Woodward made his name when he uncovered the secrets of the Nixon White House. His latest book is "Obama's Wars," and Bob Woodward joins me now.

Bob Woodward, is this a spectacular triumph for Barack Obama?

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "OBAMA'S WARS": It seems to be, because you see his caution. For eight months they were watching this compound. And lots of presidents, I think, their tendency would have been oh well, we need to move in there.

This enabled them to get a higher degree of certainty that it was bin Laden indeed who was in there, and at the same time, they had eight months where they could conduct a massive exploitation of the intelligence, what was going on in there, w was in contact and so forth.

And then in the end, everyone now says there was not -- it wasn't clear for sure that bin Laden was there. So it took a kind of nerve on the part of the leader to say OK, we're going to go do it anyway.

MORGAN: And also from a military point of view, I mean, a pretty sensational operation. Three helicopters zooming in with 25 Navy SEALs, not quite sure what they're going to be confronted by. A huge firefight develops involving bin Laden, apparently also his wife and various other members of his entourage. And they get away with his dead body and no casualties on American forces' end.

I mean it's about as good as it gets, isn't it, for a covert operation?

WOODWARD: It is. And some of the earlier exploits like in the Iranian hostage fiasco, it was a mess and people were killed and it didn't succeed. This is the kind of operation that they practiced, where they've tombed themselves over the last six years. OK, we have to do this right. We have to know how to work together so it all looks good on, at least, first blush.

MORGAN: But --

WOODWARD: The problem is --

MORGAN: Right.

WOODWARD: You know, what's the other side? What are the bin Laden acolytes and members of al Qaeda going to do in response?

MORGAN: Well, that's the key question, isn't it? Because it's a very moot point whether American should feel safer today than they did yesterday.

WOODWARD: I don't think there's any safety in this situation. I think if you look at that team that got bin Laden -- you know, maybe they partied for a couple of hour, but now they have to look at what about Dr. Zawahiri, the number two in al Qaeda who presumably will take over now. Somebody who's not apparently as charismatic as bin Laden was, but somebody who would roll up his sleeves and get into the operation.

So people are on extra care, alert, in this country and around the world. If they got Dr. Zawahiri, that would be -- I mean not equivalent to bin Laden but over the years, they've been able to get the number three, so you have number one, number two, number three.

Lots of other operatives and leaders. You have a decapitation of al Qaeda, or at least it would seem to be, and you know what's the al Qaeda recruit at the training camp going to think? He's playing for a losing team and that may change some minds.

MORGAN: Did you believe that the death of bin Laden vindicates the policy in relation to Afghanistan?

WOODWARD: Probably does not. Earlier you were asking about Pakistan. And in my book, I quote President Obama, the secret meetings, saying the real poison is in Pakistan. Al Qaeda leadership, Taliban leadership. And 18 months ago, the president's secret orders included a directive to the CIA to step up these covert operations, not just these drone attacks, but get boots on the ground, do something to eliminate these sanctuaries.

And if you think about it, the sanction -- the absurdity of fighting this very large war in Afghanistan, fighting people who then go across the border into Pakistan and have an R&R weekend, training, you know, get more weapons and so forth.

And there are pictures that the intelligence people have of the fighters coming back across the border into Afghanistan, you know, just whooping it up, ready, prepared, tanned, rested to kill American soldiers.

MORGAN: But tell me, obviously it's been a massive fixation of President Bush in the last period of his administration. President Obama made it one of his clear objectives to get bin Laden. They've now done this. That is clearly a good thing, bin Laden has been killed, and there's been some vindication now of the policy in relation to him.

But in terms of a wider policy, are you saying that we should now be focused specifically on Pakistan? I mean if that's the case, should we speed up the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and get where the action seems to be?

WOODWARD: Well, that's the question in the next couple of months that President Obama is going to face. I suspect some dramatic pullback is not going to take place if you study him. When you try to look at presidents, you're driving at that question, who is this person? And Barack Obama is somebody who takes the center lane almost always. Very, very cautious.

When the military wanted 30,000 -- 40,000 troops for Afghanistan and the alternative, the Biden alternative was 20,000, Obama decided on 30,000, right down the middle. So I think we're not going to see lots of movements in Afghanistan.

It will be something symbolic. But what's going on in Pakistan now, you know, this is the powder keg of the region and to a certain extent, the world. They have all these nuclear weapons. It is a very unstable political situation there.

What's going to happen? And can we apply the pressure so they will do some of the things against the al Qaeda leadership so we don't have to?

MORGAN: Bob Woodward, thank you very much indeed.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming up, Senator John Kerry on how the death of Osama bin Laden changes the equation in the war on terror.


MORGAN: Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, says the death of Osama bin Laden proves the United States will hunt down terrorists no matter how long it takes.

The senator joins me now.

Senator, a pretty good day for President Obama, isn't it?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It's a very good day for our country, but it's also a terrific day for the president who made a very gutsy, very tough presidential decision, and it worked out, and I think the country and the world are better off because of it.

MORGAN: I mean, obviously, it's been nearly 10 years since 9/11. And many will be wondering why has it taken so long to get bin Laden? What do you think the honest answer is?

KERRY: Well, the honest answer is that it's very, very difficult. I mean, the western part of Pakistan is unfriendly territory, even to Pakistanis. It's unruled in a way, or ruled by very local tribes, local personalities, different networks, and it's exceedingly difficult for anybody to move around in there and get information.

It's really been our drones that have had the most impact on al Qaeda in that part of the world, which I think is probably why Osama bin Laden went to where he did, to get away from those drones and from our ability to be able to work some operations there. MORGAN: It does seem extraordinary that he could be in a relatively large house in this compound, pretty near to Islamabad, and no one at the high level in Pakistan's government seemed to know anything about his presence there.

KERRY: That's a very legitimate question. Did they or didn't they? Those are questions that are obviously going to be asked. I think it's important for us to try to focus on how do you go forward here as constructively as possible to advance the relationship's interests on both sides.

The Pakistanis have an interest in obviously not having their insurgency grow, and also in not having the United States create situations like we had with the Raymond Davis situation, where we make our presence even more difficult for them.

We have an interest, obviously, in being able to complete our mission, reduce the attacks out of Pakistan on our troops in Afghanistan, and hopefully in getting the Pakistanis to help us with the reconciliation and re repatriation process with the Taliban.

So we have mutual interests here. We have to recognize that, not push each other further apart.

In addition, I would just point out quickly, Piers, that our ability to be able to have gotten Osama bin Laden came back because we were able to track the fact that they were burning their garbage. We learned that. We learned they didn't have Internet. We learned they didn't have phone hook-ups.

We began to observe that suspicious pattern of behavior ourselves. And the reason we were able to observe it is because the Pakistanis were allowing us to have those kinds of personnel on the ground who were doing that.

In addition, they have allowed us to run a pretty aggressive drone campaign against al Qaeda in the western part of their country that has also wound up with significant civilian casualties.

So, you know, we've got to recognize that each of us have had a difficult set of choices here. It doesn't excuse the world's number one criminal being harbored if, indeed, he was. But before we leap to conclusions, we need to ask those questions and pursue that thoughtfully.

MORGAN: Finally, Senator Kerry, in relation to the war in Afghanistan, clearly the objective was to go after al Qaeda and bin Laden in particular. Now that he has been eliminated and al Qaeda's presence in Afghanistan seems to be massively lower than it was, is this the signal for the end of the war in Afghanistan?

KERRY: It's a signal for the beginning of a transition, I think. And the question is, what is the exact nature of that transition and how far does it go? We are actually, by happenstance, mere coincidence with this particular event, starting a series of hearings that will go over the next several weeks in the Foreign Relations Committee, looking at Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A lot of people have to stop and make a slightly different calculation today than they were making before this news was announced yesterday.

MORGAN: But whichever way you look at it, senator, a very good day to be an American. And great to see the back of one of the worst terrorists in history.

KERRY: No question. No question.

MORGAN: Senator, thank you very much.

KERRY: Thank you.

MORGAN: Senator Chuck Schumer likens the death of Osama bin Laden to a Gettysburg or a Saratoga, and calls it a turning point in the war on terror. The New York senior senator joins me now.

Senator, tell me exactly what went through your mind the moment you heard that bin Laden had been killed?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Well, I felt pretty good about it. And I immediately thought of the families. So many of them had told me over the years that it just galled them that they had lost loved ones and bin Laden was still alive.

And of course, the hole in their hearts will never heal, but at least some justice has been done and they have some degree of solace.

MORGAN: I mean, in terms of justice, I absolutely agree with you. And last night, when I heard the news, I landed from London, been at the royal wedding, got to New York and heard this incredible news. Like everyone, I was exhilarated.

And then reality sets in because I heard some commentators say this is the end of the war on terror, which struck me as a pretty fatuous thing to say because it clearly isn't, is it?

SCHUMER: No, as I said, I believe it's the Saratoga or the Gettysburg. A turning point, but not the end. It's a significant turning point, because while bin Laden was in part a symbol, it was a symbol with reality.

Thousands of young men and young women were recruited by him saying a few more terrorist incidents against the west and the whole society will collapse. Well, obviously he's dead and we're here. I think it's a real body blow, particularly not only to al Qaeda but to other terrorist groups.

I think there's going to be a turn on the war on terror. We're going to have to be far more mindful of the lone wolves, the individuals like the Times Square bomber, the Christmas Day bomber. Because we've done a very, very good job, our intelligence, our military, at going after the groups, for the reason we listen in on almost anything they say. The house that bin Laden lived in had no electronics, and for good reason -- survival. So these individuals, these lone wolves, they don't communicate with many other people. And we're going to have to figure out ways to deal with them.

So far so good. I don't think, Piers, it's an accident that, we praise God, haven't had a terrorist incident in the United States. We are getting better and better and better about this.

MORGAN: Senator, tell me about the lapel pin you're wearing.

SCHUMER: Yes. Well, you know, I visited with Senator Clinton the site on 9/12. There was death in the air, the actual smell of death. And so many moving things, particularly hundreds of people lined up, Piers, with signs they were holding: "have you seen my sister," and a picture? "Have you seen my father."

In those early days, we didn't know if people were just missing or dead in the rubble. And I was touched by it. And I wept home that night and I called for Americans to wear the flag. Millions did. I put this flag on. I've worn it every day since 9/11 and, God willing, I'll wear it every day for the rest of my life.

I tell you one thing, I couldn't be prouder of wearing this flag than today.

MORGAN: Senator Schumer, thank you very much indeed.

SCHUMER: Thanks, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming up, one of Osama bin Laden's relatives on what it was like inside the family.


MORGAN: My next guest knows Osama bin Laden as few people in the west ever could. She's his former sister-in-law. Joining me now is Carmen bin Laden.

Carmen, thank you for joining me. You were married to one of Osama bin Laden's brothers, Yeslav bin Laden (ph). What's been your reaction to the death of Osama?

CARMEN BIN LADEN, EX-WIFE OF OSAMA BIN LADEN'S BROTHER: Well, this morning I -- it was -- I relived everything; 9/11 came to my mind. I remembered everything that happened. And I was thinking of the family of the victims and the one who lost so many loved one and all those innocent people who have died on 9/11.

And I felt as though they could at last have a sense of justice.

MORGAN: You're one of the few people in the world to have the name bin Laden. Many other family members have renounced their name. Why did you keep the name? And how difficult has it been for you to be a bin Laden? BIN LADEN: Well, I have not heard that any of the family has renounced their name. But I realized very early on for myself and my daughter, especially for my daughter, that there was no escape from that name. And as I said earlier, you know, we -- our heart and our values are very western.

But it has been quite difficult to carry that name. And changing it, they would just -- people would just say oh, well, you know, they were bin Laden and they changed their name. I thought it would be much better to explain where we stand, where our true feelings and our values are.

And I was sure that the American people would understand our situation, which they did. And I am really grateful for all their support. Despite all of their suffering, they have been very supportive of my daughter and I. I will always be grateful for that.

MORGAN: You met Osama bin Laden several times. What was your memory of him? What kind of man was he when you met him?

BIN LADEN: Very religious man. He was always very religious. And when I was living in Saudi Arabia, he had started going to Afghanistan against the Soviet. I knew he was very religious, but I -- at that time in the early '80s, I never thought that he would come and take so many lives, innocent lives.

MORGAN: In relation to the other members of the bin Laden family, how close have they remained, to your knowledge? Do you think they will be in mourning today, or will there be members that are happy that he's now dead?

BIN LADEN: My understanding of the Saudi society is that I'm sure they are mourning because for them it's their brother. And it's my perception. And I am sure of -- that it must be difficult time for them, and they consider him as a brother.

MORGAN: Who do you think was --

BIN LADEN: Osama has his son who lives in Saudi Arabia, some of them that work with their uncle and their cousins. And his mother is there. And, you know, the wife of the late Mohammed bin Laden. They are very close knit emotionally together.

MORGAN: Who do you think may have been helping him financially over the last few years, because clearly somebody was?

BIN LADEN: Well, I think that -- my understanding of the Saudi law, you can not disinherit a person who is a good Muslim. And I have never heard anybody from the Saudi say that he was not a good Muslim.

MORGAN: I mean, knowing the family as you did a few years ago, what is the general feeling amongst the rest of the bin Ladens about why Osama went the way that he did? .

BIN LADEN: Well, I think after 9/11, they realized the harm he had done and they had to distance themselves from him. But I think my analysis of the Saudi society is that blood is thicker than anything. And I am sure that they still consider him as part of the family and part of the bin Ladens.

MORGAN: Carmen bin Laden, thank you very much for your time. I'm sure it's a difficult day for you and indeed for his family.

BIN LADEN: No, I am really grateful to be able to share this moment with the American people. And I am really -- it's a relief for -- to be able to -- to know that they will have an important -- at least have some kind of closure.

And my heart goes to America and my daughter, as it has been for the last ten years. And I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this moment with you.

MORGAN: Well, thank you.

BIN LADEN: And America.

MORGAN: Thank you for saying what you just said. I appreciate it.

When we come back, a Bush administration insider who was at the president's side as the war on terror began.



MORGAN: Joining me now on the phone is Tom Ridge, the first secretary of Homeland Security, and Andy Card, President George W. Bush's chief of staff, who first alerted the president that a plane had struck the Twin Towers.

Maybe start with you, actually, Andy. We all remember the remarkable footage of you approaching the president and informing him about the attack on the Twin Towers. When you first heard that bin Laden was dead, what was your reaction?

ANDY CARD, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIE OF STAFF: First of all, I was grateful for the resolute that George W. Bush brought for the effort. First of all, he protected America. His second quest was to get Osama bin Laden. He accomplished the first during his two terms. He didn't accomplish the second.

So I was grateful that we had a president that also could make a tough decision and did bring Osama bin Laden to justice. And that was President Obama. And it was a very, very great day for America. And I know President Bush thought it was a great day.

I was extremely happy. I was pleased that it happened the way that it did. We -- a lot of credit goes to the intelligence community, the military. The SEALS did a great job of practicing and executing and bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.

So it was kind of a closure, but I do appreciate you have Tom Ridge on, because the world is still a dangerous place, and America has to be fled with vigilance and, you know, on alert the whole time because bad things could happen again.

We need a president who's strong. And I'm glad that President Obama demonstrated that he was going to stand up to the world and show them that if they do this again to America, there will be a case where you're brought to justice.

MORGAN: Tom Ridge, let me bring you in here. Obviously you're one of the best people to talk about this. This is quite a dangerous situation we're in now, isn't it? The threat of possibly bin Laden being seen as some kind of martyr must surely exist. Al Qaeda hasn't gone away.

How do you see the next few months playing out now that we've actually seen the back of him?

TOM RIDGE, FMR. DIRECTOR OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, I think I join Andy and probably every American saying it's been a gratifying 24 hours. But I also think it's been a very sobering time. I think we must remind ourselves that we made good on the promise.

President Bush said we would get him dead or alive, and President Obama took that cause on. But we've terminated, eliminated bin Laden, but that flawed ideology, that notion of killing innocents to advance the cause of radical Islam persists today.

And as we know for a fact, we have been and will continue to be in the cross hairs of al Qaeda. And we know they have new sanctuaries. We know they'll -- new leaders will emerge. They change their tactics.

And frankly there's -- we also know there's a new wave and a new profile of terrorists. And we take a look at what's transpired in the United States over the past several months in Ft. Hood and in Detroit and in New York City, the home grown terrorists.

So I think Andy is absolutely correct. It's a gratifying time, sobering one. We killed bin Laden, but that belief system that attracts a small group of people within the Islamic faith continues and it spreads.

It's in Yemen. It's in Somalia. I suspect people in Kenya and Tanzania with al Shabaab are worried. Remember they -- al Qaeda has destroyed an embassy and took a couple of hundred lives.

So vigilance -- ever vigilance for the next generation or two will be required.

MORGAN: Andy Card, one of the most notable aspects of the reaction today has been the way that all parties have come together. And there's been almost universal praise for the president. It's been a very good day, I would say, for America in that regard. There's been -- lots of bipartisan nonsense has gone on in the last --

CARD: Two things happened over the course of the last few days. Number one, the British all rallied together and were very proud to be British for the wedding. And it was a great thing. They were waving their British flags and they're proud to be British.

The United States yesterday broke into spontaneous cheers of USA, USA, USA. There was no GOP, GOP, GOP or Democrat, Democrat, Democrat. We were all Americans, just like the Brits were all Brits.

And we've demonstrated that yes, there are times that we can come together for what is good. And this was a time to come together to celebrate and we brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

I hope that President Obama keeps the programs in place that President Bush had the courage to put there that allowed for the foundation to be built so that President Obama could bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

The intelligence community did a great job, but they had tools that President Bush gave them. The work that was done to get the information out of the people in Guantanamo made a big difference.

So we have to keep those tools in place.

MORGAN: Andy Card, Tom Ridge, thank you both very much. When we come back, we'll go live to Ground Zero.


MORGAN: Thursday night, President Obama will come here to New York to visit Ground Zero and meet with some 9/11 families. Anderson Cooper has been at Ground Zero most of the day.

Anderson, how would you describe the mood? Because last night it was one of total jubilation. Today seems to be more reflective.