CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NEWS STREAM

Al Qaeda Secrets?; Confirming bin Laden's Identity; Al Qaeda's Next Leader?

Aired May 3, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET

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


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Now, more details emerge on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, as we look inside the al Qaeda leader's final hiding place.

And we'll look at the impact of the terrorist leader's death and hear from Condoleezza Rice, as well as the man who unknowingly tweeted the assault on bin Laden's compound.

From rejoining in many parts of the world, to reflection, Osama bin Laden is dead but al Qaeda is not. And we will explore the terror network's future. And as the threat of retaliation looms, what is being done to keep you safe?

Now, over the next hour, we will also bring you more on the mission to kill bin Laden and show you reaction from around the world.

Now, right now, the U.S. is digging through all the data seized from bin Laden's compound. Intelligence officers hope to unlock more of al Qaeda's secrets.

Our Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from Abbottabad. That's the Pakistani city where Obama was found.

And Nick, what can you see there at the compound and what are you hearing about the raid itself?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The compound is pretty well sealed off. They're allowing journalists up to the gate.

I should just point out, in the background you're hearing the call to prayer here, so forgive the intrusion.

But what we are seeing at the compound itself is authorities sealing it off quite closely and letting the media up at the front gate. But you can inside see officials milling around, seemingly hoovering (ph) up what was left by the Americans over that 40-minute raid.

We've also seen images filmed inside today by a third party, which seems to show the chaos, frankly, on the floor that still remains, obviously the very violent part that ended bin Laden's life. It also shows, it seems, the quite domesticated circumstances there within, but it also seems to give a picture really that the Pakistani authorities don't appear to be churning methodically through what's left inside that building. So it isn't entirely clear what their purpose will be yet, or really what will become of that particular building in the future -- Kristie.

STOUT: Incredible pictures there inside bin Laden's mansion after his assassination.

Now, Nick, some U.S. officials believe that bin Laden must have had a support network there in Pakistan. In fact, the president, Asif Ali Zardari, he commented by hitting back at such criticism. Now, in an op-ed, he wrote this: "Some in the U.S. press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet, that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing."

Now, he calls those claims baseless speculation that does not reflect the facts, and says that Pakistan has as much as taken the war on terror as the U.S.

So let's go back to Nick Paton Walsh in Abbottabad.

Nick, this was a unilateral operation by the Americans on Pakistani soil. Bin Laden, living in plain view, not far from Islamabad.

So what impact does this event have on the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan?

WALSH: Well, I think it's important to point out that we're not talking about a unified Pakistani government having sympathies with militants. The American accusation is that we're talking really about small pockets of the intelligence community having historical, longstanding, to quote the top U.S. official in the military, ties with some militant networks.

So, yes, this is the reason why the Americans went for bin Laden without bringing the Pakistanis in the loop, because they were deeply concerned that some parts of their intelligence system may leak that information onwards. One Pakistani intelligence specialist saying to us that the helicopters that arrived around the trees just behind me over there would simply have arrived undetected. They didn't know they were coming at all, frankly, until they had begun to leave.

So the claim really is, yes, there is no trust between Pakistan and Washington on this particular issue, and that's longstanding over months in which Pakistan's demand of curtailing of U.S. drone strikes. And the U.S., as I say, accused Pakistani intelligence services of links to militant networks.

So, deep mistrust. And President Zardari's comments will be an attempt by the civilian administration to suggest that they have no trust (ph) with that. And as I say, Pakistan is as much a victim of terrorism as the United States has been -- Kristie.

STOUT: Nick Paton Walsh, joining us live from Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now, with the mission in Pakistan complete, U.S. forces transported bin Laden's body to a U.S. aircraft carrier. Now, U.S. officials say that the plan was always to bury the al Qaeda leader at sea given the difficulty in finding a country that would take him. And there were also concerns that his grave could become a shrine for other extremists or, on the flip side, a target for those seeking revenge.

U.S. officials say bin Laden was buried in the Arabian Sea and that Islamic rights were observed. And as required by Islamic law, he was laid to rest within 24 hours of death, and his body was washed and wrapped in a white sheet. And a military official read prepared remarks that were translated into Arabic.

And before Osama bin Laden was buried at sea, American forces used facial analysis and DNA sampling to confirm his identity.

Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joins us now from Atlanta to give us an idea of how that technology works.

And Sanjay, you are a certified medical examiner. How were they able to get a match so quickly?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, what's interesting here is that if you look at DNA of people all over the world, most of it's the same. And more than 99 percent of our DNA we actually share. So, when you're sequencing someone's DNA, that can be a tedious, long process.

In this sort of case, when you're trying to match someone, trying to figure out if they are, in fact, the person you think they are, or they're a relative of somebody who you have DNA from, that process can be much quicker. And here, you're focusing on the part of the DNA, a small fraction of a percentage of the DNA that's different from person to person.

You're looking at that and saying, is there some commonality between your existing samples and this unidentified sample? That process can take just a few hours.

Now, if you have the person's DNA that you're trying to identify, obviously that's the best source of DNA. If you don't have that, then relatives can be a good source. A child or a parent would be the best relative, because you're going to share a predictable amount of DNA. But also siblings, even half siblings, can be good sources of DNA, and the more you have of these relatives, the more confidence you have in actually establishing that match.

But, again, that whole process can take just a few hours, especially if you already have the DNA of these relatives.

STOUT: So all you need is a few hours if you had the DNA.

GUPTA: That's right.

STOUT: Sanjay, there have also been reports that they used facial recognition software to identify the body. What can you tell us about that?

GUPTA: This is really fascinating technology, Kristie. And it's in use in some places already around the world. For example, in airports, and as part of screening people in various locations.

What it is, you know, is basically looking at what are called the morphological points on someone place, things that you sort of notice but may not pay a lot of attention to, the exact width of someone's nose, for example, the distance between their eyebrows, the distance between the top of the eye to the top of the forehead, things like that. In an aggregate, all these various measurements, all these various points, which can be calculated very quickly, can give you a very high likelihood of actually matching somebody if you're unsure who they are. So, again, just looking at the face, comparing it to known pictures -- in this case, there were lots, obviously -- of bin Laden, known pictures of him, and doing that facial recognition analysis pretty quickly.

You know, from a medical examiner's standpoint, Kristie, I'll tell you, the first thing that people do is simply just doing a simple identification of the body, just saying that that's the person that we think it is, looking at their face, looking at their body, looking at characteristics like their height. And then, sort of layering in these other things like facial recognition and subsequent DNA for confirmation. But it's a real process here in terms of creating an I.D. like this.

STOUT: A fascinating use of technology medical know-how to confirm an identity.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joining us live from CNN Center.

Thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

STOUT: Now, let's remind you where Osama bin Laden ultimately met his end. Now, he was found living in this large compound right here. It's near Pakistan's prestigious military academy.

Now, the garrison town of Abbottabad is described as peaceful and quiet. And bin Laden's mansion was about eight times the size of nearby houses. Let's bring it up for you on the touch screen.

Now, it was surrounded by barbed wire fences about five meters high in some places. And it is believed that he lived here, at the top level of the house. Now, the terrace is more than two meters high, tall enough to block bin Laden from the street view.

Now, let's bring up some pictures from inside the compound, and you can clearly see blood stains on the floor, evidence of that 40-minute firefight that killed the world's most wanted terrorist.

Now, many questions remain about that raid on bin Laden's compound. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has been searching for answers. She joins us now live from Washington.

And Barbara, earlier I talked to Nic Robertson, in Abbottabad earlier. And he described the compound. He said he saw surprisingly little damage there.

So, Barbara, what was the scope of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, these were U.S. commandos, U.S. Navy SEALs, Special Operations Forces. And they were basically equipped with small arms. But make no mistake, we are talking very powerful automatic weapons that they went in with. So, the damage you're going to see is really going to be to the inside of the building, as that video showed.

And what they had to do on the 40 minutes they were on the ground was very significant -- get inside the compound, get past security, clear each and every room they could, and move throughout the building, eventually getting to that third floor where they believed Osama bin Laden was. And, indeed, he was there. That's where he met his fate, pretty much at the end of this 40-minute period.

U.S. officials have said he died in the firefight, he died resisting, that he did not surrender. But what is unclear, still, is whether he had a weapon in his hand at the time, whether he was reaching for a weapon, whether he even fired at the U.S. troops. Nonetheless, they are very adamant here in Washington, he was resisting, and the troops killed him with two shots, one to the head, one to the chest -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, this raid, it was a combination of military action and intelligence. So, how much of each was involved in this.

STARR: Well, you know, intelligence is what got them there, really, at the end of the day. They were tracking a courier for many weeks and months since last year, a courier that they knew was working for Osama bin Laden. And they tracked him to this compound, and wondering why a courier would live in a million-dollar mansion with such elaborate security and so many very particular features, like 18-foot walls, multiple layers of security.

They're not telling us all of the intelligence they had, but they are saying as they continued to gather intelligence, to them it became very clear that this was the most likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden, really hiding in plain sight, as you pointed out. It was circumstantial, to some extent. It's not like they have the smoking guy, the photo of him standing in the middle of the compound.

They didn't have that, but they had the intelligence that they believed was credible enough. They took it President Obama, and it was on Friday that the president authorized the mission as a go-ahead.

STOUT: And Barbara, to confirm, this was a unilateral mission. No input, no cooperation at all from the government of Pakistan?

STARR: Oh, absolutely correct. According to U.S. officials, they notified no other government of this mission or their intention to engage in it. They didn't want to do anything they said to compromise the mission.

But, of course, because basically they went into Pakistani air space, that's one of the reasons they stayed such a brief period of time on the ground. They didn't want to tip off the Pakistanis. They knew eventually they'd be seen. The helicopters are large and noisy, but they wanted to get in and out as fast as they could so the Pakistanis would not engage them -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Barbara. Thank you very much for those key details on the raid.

Barbara Starr, joining us live from the Pentagon.

Now, with al Qaeda's top leader out of the picture, the question now turns to who might fill his shoes. And we'll look at some of the possibilities.

And New Zealand is picking up the pieces after this tornado ripped through the suburbs of its biggest city.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, with Osama bin Laden gone for good, who is going to lead al Qaeda? There are many names being bandied around at the moment, but one stands out -- Ayman al-Zawahiri. Now, up until now, he's been the terror networks number two. He was one of the original founding members. Some actually believe that he was the operational brains behind the September 11th attacks in the U.S. But an expert says that al-Zawahiri is not popular with colleagues and lacks charisma.

Brian Todd examines the other contenders.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With al Qaeda decapitated, experts believe this is now a terror network in crisis.

(on camera): What kind of a hole is al Qaeda in right now as far as leadership is concerned?

PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Well, I think they have been in a hole for some time. They have suffered a lot of operational setbacks because of things like Predator strikes. Their operational leadership is decimated. Now, their ideological leadership and the spokesman is gone.

TODD (voice-over): Philip Mudd, former CIA officer and counterterror official, says Osama bin Laden is irreplaceable. Mudd and other experts say, with so many jihadists having looked to bin Laden for operational direction, for inspirational command, filling his void will be a disjointed, messy undertaking.

(on camera): There are at least two obvious replacements, Ayman al- Zawahiri, bin Laden's longtime deputy, a legendary al Qaeda leader who has also been on the run since September 11, and Anwar al-Awlaki, the American- born cleric who is a key leader in one of the network's most dangerous branches, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Experts say both are capable, but they also have drawbacks that bin Laden didn't have. (voice-over): Al-Zawahiri has the strategic background to lead the network, but analysts say he lacks bin Laden's charisma and:

MUDD: He's viewed as a very polarizing figure, someone who is not easy to deal with, not a good manager.

TODD: Al-Awlaki is seen as a master recruiter, an Internet sensation who inspired the Christmas Day airline plot and the attempted cargo bombing last year. His Achilles' heel?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Anwar al-Awlaki is not a fighter. He's a cleric. He's a speaker and not a fighter. And al Qaeda over the years have wanted to be led by a fighter.

TODD: Credentials bin Laden had from his years battling the Soviets in Afghanistan. But other dangerous figures could surface, including Saif al- Adel, who one analyst calls al Qaeda's chief of staff, believed to have played a key role in the 1998 African embassy bombings; Abu Yahya al-Libi, once a battlefield commander in Afghanistan who rose to prominence for escaping from Bagram Air Base; and Ilyas Kashmiri, a well-connected bin Laden favorite, mastermind of a serious plot last year to target Europe. But experts say it will take a Herculean effort for any of them to really manage this network like Osama bin Laden did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't have anybody now who's going to have the star power, the brand name of bin Laden. And it's not good to have six people trying to fill in his shoes.

TODD: Analysts say if no leader steps to the fore immediately, it doesn't make al Qaeda less dangerous. At least in the short term, they say, look for the threats to spike as the network seeks to avenge bin Laden.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, Condoleezza Rice helped frame the war on terror after 9/11. She served as national security adviser and secretary of state under President George W. Bush.

Rice spoke with my colleague Zain Verjee about bin Laden's death.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: What was your personal reaction when you learned that Osama bin Laden was killed?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, it was for gratifying, because for our country, this brings an important chapter to a close. And it shows that the United States can, with patience and persistence, do something like this.

As President Bush said back on September 20th, before on the Congress in 2001, when he said, "We will not tire, we will not falter, we will fail," he meant the United States of America. And it shows that we can be persistent.

VERJEE: Why do you think he chose to be so close to Islamabad and in the military's back yard?

RICE: Well, I was surprised. I though, like most people, that he was probably hiding someplace in the northwest frontier between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I don't know why he chose to move where he did. But I think for the Pakistanis, it raises some very difficult questions, questions that they want to know the answers to, because, after all, they suffered a great deal at the hands of terrorists as well. And I'm certain that it's caused some internal look at how they're operating in Pakistan.

VERJEE: Do you think photographs of his death should be released as proof to the public?

RICE: Well, that's something the administration will have to decide. They'll have to weigh all of the factors there. I don't think that there is really any doubt that he is dead.

The DNA match -- I'm certain that they made certain. And so it isn't an issue of a need for confirmation, but if the administration believes that that would help worldwide, then they should do it.

VERJEE: Why couldn't the Bush administration capture or kill Osama bin Laden after a nearly eight-year hunt?

RICE: These things take time. And the policies that President Bush put in place, including the rounding up of people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and al-Libi and others, the cooperation that our intelligence forces and our military were able to show, extraordinary integration. These are all policies that have been in place now for a number of years, but Osama bin Laden was determined not to be found.

I remember when we learned of the courier and that there might be a link through him to this courier. It then took a painstaking effort to put together all the pieces, to further identify them, to find a time when you could do this, to plan the operation. But this shows that across presidencies, the United States is able to use its long reach to take down those who would harm us.

VERJEE: There are so many questions today about whether or not the U.S. can trust Pakistan in fighting terrorism. If you could speak to President Zardari today, what would you say?

RICE: Well, Pakistan is an important partner in counterterrorism cooperation, and we've had very important cooperation from them. We caught Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for instance, in Pakistan, and they were helpful.

But, as I said, this is not just what the United States needs to know. It's what Pakistan needs to know. And President Zardari and his team need to understand how better how Osama bin Laden could hide in plain sight in that kind of compound without the knowledge of high-ranking officials. It's an important question for Pakistan.

VERJEE: It's a huge embarrassment too, though, isn't it?

RICE: Well, it's not a good thing for Pakistan. It's not a good thing for us. But I'm a veteran of government service, I know that very unusual things can happen. And so I don't want to jump to any conclusions about what might have happened in Pakistan.

That's why you step back and that's why you look at all the factors. But it does mean that the Pakistanis need to understand better what happened here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Condoleezza Rice there.

Now, let's look at a few other stories in the news now.

In Syria, authorities have told protesters who committed what the government calls unlawful acts to turn themselves in within 12 days or face the consequences. The ultimatum comes as activists plan fresh anti- government demonstrations after dozens were killed over the weekend. All part of the latest crackdown by security forces. A Syrian human rights group says 1,000 people have been arrested or gone missing in the city of Daraa and elsewhere since last Saturday, and that the civilian death toll now stands at around 550 people.

Now, the cockpit voice recorder has been recovered from the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. Now, 288 passengers and crew were killed. It is the second flight data recorder to be brought to the surface by robotic submarines since Sunday. Investigators hope the data from both recorders will reveal why the A-330 plane en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed four hours into the flight.

Now, a deadly tornado barrels through the suburbs of New Zealand's largest city. Now, it is the latest in a string of disasters to hit the country, and we will track the twister's movements.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Now, this tornado ripped through the outskirts of New Zealand's largest city on Tuesday, killing one person and injuring dozens more. Now, the twister left a trail of destruction across Auckland's suburbs.

New Zealand weather forecasters say it packed winds of 200 kilometers an hour, with the eye of the storm measuring more than 10 meters across.

(WEATHER REPORT)

STOUT: Now, we are continuing to cover the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death. U.S. President Barack Obama has been called gutsy for authorizing the mission, and its success may define his time in office so far.

Plus, the hunt for bin Laden started in Afghanistan. What does his death mean for the country? We'll give you a live report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the death of Osama bin Laden is a huge moment in the war against terrorism. The U.S. hunted him for nearly a decade. Barack Obama took over the mission when he became president. And as Candy Crowley tells us, it is the defining moment of his term.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ten years and more than 7,000 miles from New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon, U.S. Navy SEALS raided a mansion complex in Abbottabad, Pakistan delivering the moment.

OBAMA: After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

CROWLEY: It was breathtaking, and the moment of Barack Obama's presidency so far.

Criticized as naive and timid in foreign policy, President Obama was steely in the crunch, approving a risky U.S. only mission inside a sovereign country. Imagine if it had all gone wrong. Instead, we are told it all went right.

OBAMA: A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.

CROWLEY: This will help him politically, because it helps Americans psychologically. Their moment is his and vice versa. Jim DeLowry (ph) lost a brother-in-law and cousin on 9/11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It helps. It's not going to bring them back, but it helps.

CROWLEY: Bob Lynch just got back from duty in Afghanistan.

BOB LYNCH, RECENTLY RETURNED FROM AFGHANISTAN: I was awestruck. I was relieved. This portion that started so long ago is over.

CROWD: USA! USA! USA!

CROWLEY: It was though 10 years of grief, anger and frustration were given some relief, a moment that produced a rock concert atmosphere near Ground Zero in New York City, Pennsylvania, and outside the White House gates.

However heinous the person, there is something dystonic, uncomfortable about celebrating a death. It was a mixed moment for the mother of a fallen fireman.

SALLY REGENHARD, SON KILLED ON 9/11: It's good to see an evil person receive justice, but it's very bitter to realize that so many good people met a brutal and needless death at the hands of this monster.

CROWLEY: Osama bin Laden brought us to a place where we are told to report suspicious activities at airports, train stations, even malls. He sparked the global battle against the unknown and the unthinkable in a struggle with no boundaries. And for a decade, the U.S. has lived with two wars that defied the standard definition of victory. So perhaps this is a celebration of clarity in a world where there is little. Our guys killed a bad guy.

Winston Churchill once said of a key battle victory, now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning. Whatever it is or will become, this is a moment to take notice.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: As you saw, the successful mission has swelled American pride and patriotism. President Obama is urging the country's lawmakers to seize the moment and stand together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Tonight, it is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Now President Obama will be in New York on Thursday to meet families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. He'll also visit the World Trade Center site widely known as Ground Zero.

Jason Carroll joins me live from there. And Jason, tell us about the stories you've heard and what you're seeing there today.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, just a few hours ago, Kristie, I spoke to a man by the name of Lee Iopi (ph). He lost his son, Jonathan, on 9/11. His son Jonathan was a firefighter. When I spoke to him and asked him how he was doing he said he's still trying to process everything that's happening. He said when he heard about what happened with Osama bin Laden, he immediately started crying.

And certainly, Kristie, there were some tears out here last night, but last night there were also some celebrations as well down here at Ground Zero. For the second night in a row, there were folks out here who were celebrating. We saw a parade of bagpipers as they made their way down Liberty Street and stopped by what was a fire station. And played Amazing Grace. Also, many of the families of the victims were out here yesterday as well.

Kristie, I want you to listen to what two women have to say. Both of them lost their sons on 9/11 as well. Both of their sons were firefighters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REGENHARD: It is indeed better late than never. I hope that Mr. bin Laden had to experience the same type of brutal and prolonged death that nearly 3,000 people had to endure in the World Trade Center on 9/11. He will not live to inspire any more terrorists as a living person. And I must thank the United States military and the present administration and all those who assisted our country in apprehending Osama bin Laden.

ROSEMARY CAIN, SON KILLED ON 9/11: He was a coward. Osama bin Laden was a coward the way he attacked innocent civilians was a cowardly act, and the way he was hiding out in caves in the years since was a cowardly lifestyle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: President Obama will be down here on Thursday to visit with some of the families of the victims. And when I spoke to Lee Iopi (ph) this morning he hopes he'll be able to meet with the president. If he does, what he tells me, Kristie, is he hopes he can bring him down here to the site of the World Trade Center. What he wants to do is he wants to bring him to where the memorial is being built. Apparently there is a flowering pear tree there. He says he wants to show the president the tree. And he says that tree to him is a symbol of hope and a symbol of renewal -- Kristie.

STOUT: What an incredible symbol to behold in person. Jason Carroll joining us live from Ground Zero. Thank you very much for that update.

Now the fight against terrorism, it goes on despite the death of Osama bin Laden. Mohammed Jamjoom has been looking at the impact of his death on the ground in Afghanistan. He joins me live from the capital of Kabul.

And Mohammed, what is the impact of his death on the fight against terror, the fight against the Taliban there?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, this is the key question here right now. We're seeing right now is that the government here in Afghanistan more and more government officials, and including the president, are saying that what happened yesterday, the fact that Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan really bolsters the credibility of the Afghanistan government. That they had been saying for so long that he is not here.

Now earlier today, there was a security briefing at the parliament here. The defense minister told the senate that there would be good improvements in Afghanistan security in the long-term, not in the short-term. He also said now it's the time to target the terrorist bases that are outside Afghanistan.

So really a mood among government officials here to highlight that there are, yes, international forces here. There is an ongoing war against terrorism, but really people should be focusing their resources more outside Afghanistan than inside Afghanistan.

That being said, however, everybody acknowledges that the Taliban here is still a threat. And to that end, the Afghanistan Taliban has issued a statement in the past few days saying that they are stepping up their operations, that they have a more widespread campaign that began on May 1st. And they intend to occupy and be in more provinces against Afghanistan. And they believe that their threat is bigger than ever and that they are a stronger group than ever -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now U.S. troops plan to withdraw from Afghanistan in July. The clock is ticking. But that withdrawal depends on the situation on the ground. So will the killing of Osama bin Laden bring about more violence and postpone that U.S. troop withdrawal? What will happen next?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, there is a growing concern here among regular citizens that we've been speaking with that if this hastens the U.S. troop withdrawal that Afghanistan could be in the same kind of a quandary it found itself in back when the Soviets withdrew. What would happen next?

People acknowledge that there is a threat from terrorism here. There's a threat from the Taliban. There's also a threat from al Qaeda, although analysts say the threat from al Qaeda is a lot less than the threat from the Taliban and that it's much smaller, more -- the operational group of al Qaeda here is much smaller and less of a threat.

That having been said, people do acknowledge that this is something that needs to be dealt with. Whether the government is saying that more resources need to be made in the war against terror outside Afghanistan or not, there is a problem here. And the concern is that if this hastens the withdrawal of troops, especially U.S. forces, what's going to happen next? Whether or not Osama bin Laden was killed, that doesn't quite impact the threat of Afghanistan Taliban.

There is a war on terror that's going on. Nobody quite knows what's going to happen next. Will al Qaeda break up into a smaller groups? Will it still be as effective, as emboldened? Who is going to step up for leadership? All these questions very much concerning people here in the region -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now you have covered al Qaeda in Yemen very closely, that's the terror group behind the failed Christmas Day bombing in Detroit. Now how will the death of Osama bin Laden affect that al Qaeda affiliate?

JAMJOOM: Well, in Yemen al Qaeda there is much more dangerous. Al Qaeda in Yemen has been recognized to be the key al Qaeda group in the Middle East, that they use Yemen as their regional hub. What you've seen there is President Ali Abdullah Saleh really pointing out the fact that he believes that al Qaeda is a threat, because his political leadership is in peril because he's so embattled right now and so many people wanting him to step aside he's been trying to play up the threat of al Qaeda.

But he doesn't really need to play it up that much. The allies of Yemen, the U.S. included and Saudi Arabia and the GCC states all know that al Qaeda is a huge threat in Yemen. Al Qaeda has tried to launch a spectacular attacks from its base in Yemen against the U.S., against Saudi Arabia, against other countries in the region. They are a very viable threat. They are a resurgent group. They've learned from the mistakes of other al Qaeda groups in the Middle East. They've used that to their effect.

Now they haven't been as operational in recent months. They haven't really played a part in the political turmoil that's ongoing in Yemen. But everybody is concerned that if the president there has to step aside and if there is no effective leadership after him who is going to step in and fill in those shoes, who is going to be an ally with the west in their fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula. And that really scares everybody. And that's one of the reasons Yemen has become such a focus of the protest movement that's going on there and people are so concerned about who would step in to fill any kind of political void -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Mohammed Jamjoom joining us live from Kabul. Thank you very much for your analysis there.

Now bin Laden's death has been the big headline around the world, but before media got word of the al Qaeda leader's fate and U.S. raid on his Pakistan compound, there was one man broadcasting it all, although he didn't know it at the time. We'll explain next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Osama bin Laden was on the run for years and the plan to kill him was months in the making. Ed Henry takes a look at the behind the scenes planning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind the front page headlines about Osama bin Laden from around the world is a dramatic story that secretly began heating up in the summer.

OBAMA: Last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden.

HENRY: But when CNN pressed him about bin Laden just a few weeks after that intelligence came in at a news conference on September 10th, 2010 the president didn't let on the U.S. was closing in on the worlds most wanted terrorist.

You haven't captured him and you don't seem to know where he is.

OBAMA: Well, Ed, I think capturing or killing bin Laden and Zawahiri would be extremely important to our national security. We have the best minds, the best intelligence officers, the best special forces who are thinking about this day and night. And they will continue to think about it day and night as long as I'm president.

HENRY: The president kept that poker face right up until this weekend, even as the effort to bring bin Laden to justice was intensifying in private.

JOHN BRENNAN, CHIEF COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: It was clearly very tense, a lot of people holding their breath.

HENRY: Friday, 8:20 am, the president quietly decided there was enough intelligence to move forward with the operation to get bin Laden. The authorization came just minutes before he left the White House for Alabama where the president toured damage from the devastating tornadoes that killed some 300 people in the south.

On Friday afternoon, the president toured Cape Canaveral. And then in the evening, delivered a commencement speech in Miami without ever letting on what was developing halfway around the world.

Ditto for Saturday night just after 8:00 pm, the president and First Lady attended the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner in Washington. And in retrospect, one of comedian Seth Meyer's jokes seemed to strike a chord.

SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: People think bin Laden is hiding in the Hindu Kush, but did you know that every day from 4:00 to 5:00 he hosts a show on CSPAN?

HENRY: Then, Sunday morning, the president heads to Andrews Air Force Base for a routine round of golf, except for some reason he decides to only play 9 holes and is seen heading back to the Oval Office in his golf shoes at 2:04 pm.

Officials now confirm, the president immediately went to the situation room to review final preps where he and a handful of aids nervously kept up with the firefight in Pakistan in real time.

BRENNAN: It was probably one of the most anxiety filled periods of time I think in the lives of the people who were assembled here yesterday. The minutes passed like days. And the president was very concerned about the security of our personnel.

HENRY: And a senior official says there were two dramatic moments on Sunday afternoon in the White House situation room. First of all, when the president and his top aides heard the code Geronimo EKIA as in Geronimo, code for din Laden, enemy killed in action.

Then there was a great debate around a conference table about whether or not it really was bin Laden. And then as they went through the various tools: facial recognition, reports on the ground, there was a big debate. Everyone wanted to be cautious. Is this really bin Laden? Make sure of that before they told the world.

We're told, finally, it was the president who made the call by simply saying we got him.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And while U.S. forces may have been able to sneak up Osama bin Laden, there was at least one man who heard them coming. Sohaib Athar, Pakistani IT consultant lives near bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad knowingly tweeted about the U.S. raid as it was happening.

Now here's one of his first tweets, quote, "helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1:00 am is a rare event."

And then he goes on to say this, "a huge window shaking bang here. And I hope it is not the start of something nasty."

Now as the Twitter sphere gradually pieced together the significance of his tweets, his followers quickly soared from under 800 to more than 92,000.

Earlier I asked him how it all started.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SOHAIB ATHAR, IT CONSULTANT: Actually I work at night, so I'm awake until 6:00 or 7:00 am. So I was actually working at 1:00 am. And I heard the helicopter hovering above Abbottabad. And for a while it was OK, but after five or six minutes, I got (inaudible) the helicopter was just hanging there still in the air in Abbottabad at 1:00 am is a pretty rare event, so something must be happening.

So (inaudible) about it. And after a few minutes of helicopter (inaudible) and then there was this loud explosion. And (inaudible) something vicious is going on.

STOUT: Did you ever think -- or hear through the grape vine before that event early in the morning -- did you ever hear that Osama bin Laden was in your town living not far from you in Abbottabad, Pakistan?

ATHAR: Of course not. We people did not expect (inaudible)...

STOUT: So it came as an utter surprise to you. And I wanted to find out, how did you first hear of the death of Osama bin Laden?

ATHAR: Actually after tweeting about the helicopter and the explosion, I got in touch with a friends over Facebook chat (inaudible) they were living around 8 or 9 kilometers away from me. So I said to myself there must be a real big explosion, a really awful explosion (inaudible).

And (inaudible) near the area about the helicopter going down and the (inaudible) helicopter and there was some technical difficulty and all of that.

So after confirming that it was not a bomb, but it was a helicopter, I logged out for a few hours. And then I (inaudible) that I heard about Osama bin Laden.

STOUT: And how did you hear about that? Was that on Twitter or on TV?

ATHAR: Yeah, it was on Twitter. I actually don't watch TV much, actually not at all. I don't own a TV set back home. I don't have a cable connection. I mean, I get on my news on the internet. And it's been like that for the last 20 years at least. So heard about it on Twitter.

STOUT: So you now have tens of thousands of Twitter followers. What do you plan to do with that following and with your account?

ATHAR: I don't exactly plan to do anything. I mean, I am who I am. And if they want to follow me and listen about what I have to say, then I can probably try to use it to create a more positive image for my country, but besides that I don't really want to monetize it (inaudible).

STOUT: Now you've been contacted by the world's media, just wondering have you been contacted by Twitter?

ATHAR: Not yet. I have been (inaudible) sending me a message telling me that probably increase my (inaudible) or something like that, but nobody has contacted me yet.

STOUT: Sohaib Athar, the man who unknowingly live tweeted the operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

Now up next here on NEWS STREAM, they have met four times in just a few weeks, Barcelona can knock their big rivals Real Madrid out of the Champion's League tonight. And Pedro Pinto has a preview.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Spain's biggest football rivals clash later today with a place in the Champion's League final at stake. Pedro Pinto has the preview from Barcelona.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Smiles all around in Barcelona's squad as Eric Abidal returned to full fitness after recovering from a tumor in his liver. It was a silver lining in what has been a black cloud hanging over the final classico of the season.

Barcelona's players were accused by Real Madrid of play acting and exhibiting a lack of fair play in the first leg match at the Santiago Bernabeu. The allegations followed a controversial press conference from Jose Mourinho in which he insinuated the Catalans were being helped by referees.

Barca have been disappointed by their rival's conduct, but just want to focus on Tuesday's contest.

PEP GUARDIOLA, BARCELONA MANAGER: Try to forget it. Try to focus on the - - on one we did -- what we did in the first game in the semi-final. What do we make in the -- we make (inaudible) things to correct. And we try to prepare the second game tomorrow to finish everything.

PINTO: So let's focus our attention on the game. Barcelona have a 2-nil lead in this tie. They could sit back and protect that advantage, however, that is not going to happen. Using defensive tactics is not part of the team's DNA.

XAVI, BARCELONA MIDFIELDER (through translator): We just don't know how to play like that. We always attack. We like to have the ball. We are happy with that style. We are an offensive team. Plus our fans wouldn't have it any other way.

PINTO: When it comes to playing style, Real's defensive approach in the last three matches against Barcelona has been criticized. What has Mourinho prepared for the battle at the Camp Nou? No one knows. And he didn't have to say. The Portuguese manager is suspended for the second leg and elected not to address the media on Monday.

AITOR KARANKA, REAL MADRID ASSISTANT MANAGER (through translator): Look, if there is someone who is struggling with the fact that he can't be part of this game then it is the manager. I can tell you that if we manage to make the final we will dedicate this win to him and celebrate it with him. He deserves it.

KARIM BENZIMA, REAL MADRID STRIKER (through translator): This is a huge game for all of us. Barcelona is a great team, but I can tell you we will attack and we will try to score goals here. We have to try.

PINTO: There is no doubt about it, the odds are stacked against Real Madrid for Tuesday night's game. In order to have a chance of advancing to the final they need to beat Barcelona here by at least 2 clear goals, something they've only managed to do twice in the last three decades.

Pedro Pinto, CNN, at the Camp Nou in Barcelona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now before we go I want to show you how one publication is handling the death of Osama bin Laden. Now this is the cover of Time magazine's upcoming special issue. On that red X you see there is reserved for the deaths of the world's most notorious figures and has only been used three other times.

U.S. President Obama declared bin Laden's death just before midnight on May 1st in Washington. Now exactly 66 years earlier, Germany announced the death of Adolf Hitler.

Now this is the magazine's cover from 1945. Now coincidentally neither the Nazi leader nor the al Qaeda founder actually died on May 1. Hitler killed himself the day before, while the U.S. raid in Pakistan took place on May 2nd local time.

And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

END