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U.S.-Pakistan Relations; Operation Geronimo; Bin Laden Photo Controversy

Aired May 4, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


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

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Islamabad hits back at Washington for reportedly suggesting Pakistani officials either helped hide Osama bin Laden or were incompetent.

Mending fences. Fatah and Hamas reconcile, but can this Palestinian partnership last?

Plus, a robot rolls into a building housing one of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors and transmits this tour of the damage.

"Complicated." That's how the White House repeatedly described America's relationship with Pakistan in the last few days. Now, since the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, the mutual distrust between the two countries has been clear from barbs traded by senior officials on both sides.

Now, the CIA director, Leon Panetta, he told U.S. lawmakers that Pakistan's role is troubling. Now, two sources in a closed-door briefing quote him as saying this: "Either they were involved or incompetent. Neither is a good place to be."

Now, that has certainly touched a nerve with Pakistan's intelligence agencies. Now, one official told CNN this: "Yes, we did fail to locate him. Yes, we are embarrassed. But that does not mean we are incompetent and straddling the fence."

Now, Pakistan has also described Leon Panetta's reported statement as "totally regrettable."

Now, for more on this intensifying war of words, Nick Paton Walsh is standing by in Abbottabad.

And Nick, we have heard the reaction from Islamabad, but how do Pakistani authorities explain themselves? Was the country harboring Osama bin Laden or was it completely in the dark?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) embarrassment about this particular incident, having not located him in the compound behind me, where he was for certainly a number of months. One senior Pakistani official I spoke to said, look, this statement by Leon Panetta, if that's what he said to those congressional officials, really is representative of not just a death to the trust, but total mistrust. And frankly, relations between Washington and Islamabad were already very bad before this incident.

This really marks I think (INAUDIBLE) U.S. is waiting inside Pakistan's territory. The whole operation, Pakistan not informed of it until it was over. It frankly seems to have pushed Pakistan into realizing that the U.S., when it comes down to it (INAUDIBLE) Pakistan.

STOUT: OK, Nick. Unfortunately, we're picking up a little bit of wind on your microphone. We're going to try to remedy that and get back to you as soon as we can.

Nick Paton Walsh, joining us live from Pakistan there.

Now, U.S. officials have issued a revised version of what happened during the nighttime raid that killed Osama bin Laden, including details of the resistance put up by the world's most notorious terrorist.

Now, this is how White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan described the situation on Monday.


JOHN BRENNAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: We were not going to give bin Laden or any of his cohorts the opportunity to carry out lethal fire on our forces. He was engaged and he was killed in the process. But if we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that.


STOUT: John Brennan there, saying Osama bin Laden was "engaged." Now, his remarks imply that bin Laden was armed and an active participant in the firefight, which would have given the Navy SEALs little choice but to shoot him. The White House refutes that.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There was concern that bin Laden would oppose the capture operation, and indeed he did resist. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did Osama bin Laden resist if he didn't have his hand on a gun? How was he resisting?

CARNEY: Yes. The information I have to you -- first of all, I think resistance does not require a firearm. But the information I gave you is what I can tell you.


STOUT: Now, one thing is certain. It was 40 minutes that will be remembered as one of the most important missions in U.S. military history. For the Navy SEALs involved, their training helped them map out each step in every second of the raid.

As Chris Lawrence reports, practice made perfect.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The team that killed Osama bin Laden had gone through thousands of scenarios for assaulting a compound just like this group of Navy SEALs on U.S. soil. But the team that went after bin Laden was special, part of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU.

STEW SMITH, FMR. NAVY SEAL: This SEAL team is the all-star of the SEAL teams.

LAWRENCE: Stew Smith is a former SEAL who says the men in that raid have at least five years as special operators.

SMITH: This SEAL team is based on combat experience. And all these guys probably have 100, 200 missions.

LAWRENCE: The CIA provided detailed satellite pictures of bin Laden's compound, enough to build a replica where the SEAL team practiced. A senior defense official says for a time they trained without knowing who their actual target was. But by Sunday, they knew the location of every gate and window in that compound, the exact height of the walls.

BRENNAN: They operated according to that, and they didn't know when they got there exactly what some of the internal features of it would be.

LAWRENCE: The defense official says by the time the SEALs ran out of the house with bin Laden's body, they could probably count the exact number of steps to the helicopter outside.

Special operator training is brutal --


LAWRENCE: -- at least six months of sheer hell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, Johnson. Buck (ph) just passed you up.

LAWRENCE: Bit the men that took down bin Laden don't necessarily look like linebackers.

SMITH: They have a great deal of muscle. Just not everybody is massive. You know, you don't have to be, you know, 6'5", 250 pounds to be a SEAL.

LAWRENCE: Two teams were supposed to fast-rope down from the Black Hawks, but one helicopter had mechanical problems and had to land hard, put one team directly on the ground. There was a contingency plan, and the SEALs scrambled out to continue their mission.

SMITH: And there's a reason why they brought two helicopters. Because in the SEAL teams, we say two is one; one is none. And, you know, they knew what to do even in the event of a downed helicopter.

LAWRENCE (on camera): An official told me that the White House left the actual selection of the team up to the military. And the question they asked themselves was, how much force do we need? He says this special SEAL team was selected because it best fit the mission, not because it's necessarily better than, say, Delta Force. He says a 12-man Green Beret alpha team might have been too small to assault a compound this size, whereas he knew they didn't need an entire battalion of Army Rangers. He said the special SEAL team was the best combination of size and capability.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.


STOUT: Now, Osama bin Laden may have been the world's most wanted terrorist, but he wasn't the only one found hiding out in Abbottabad. In January of this year, expected terrorist Umar Patek was arrested in that same Pakistani city. Now, Patek, said to be the deputy commander of al Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah, is accused of helping carry out the 2002 Bali bombings in which 200 people died. And questions are now being raised about whether he was in Abbottabad to meet bin Laden.

Let's go back to our Nick Paton Walsh, who is there.

And Nick, has Abbottabad been long been known as a base for al Qaeda and its affiliates?

WALSH: Not really, to be honest. No.

I mean, Umar Patek's arrest here, we don't know if the dots can really be joined as yet. I mean, yes, it's an enormous coincidence, the roundabout time that there seems to have been a kind of pique in U.S. interests in the compound behind me, that's when Umar Patek was arrested in this town.

Yes, it doesn't -- hasn't in public here at all been known as being a kind of nexus for al Qaeda traffic moving through it, of course. Otherwise, bin Laden would surely not have decided to hide himself here. But there is this enormous coincidence of the Umar Patek arrest. And people are certainly wondering whether or not there was some kind of connection.

But frankly, I should also say a senior Pakistani intelligence official I've spoken to has said, look, bin Laden was not going out meeting militants here. They were not coming to see him, because that would have been absolutely disastrous in terms of keeping his profile low here, keeping himself discreet.

So I would have been surprised had Patek came here to meet bin Laden, or there had been some kind of exchange between them, simply because of that. But, yes, there is this enormous coincidence of (INAUDIBLE) -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Nick, while you're in Abbottabad, we wanted to find out more about the location. The city has long been a refuge for wealthy Pakistanis and is, in fact, a tourist destination. We found an entry for it on the "Lonely Planet" travel guide which describes it as having a "vibrant bazaar." Now, the guide even recommends eight hotels and six restaurants there, gives directions to get there from Islamabad and the Swat Valley.

And Nick, just how unusual is it that Osama bin Laden picked this city to hide in? And to what extent does the bin Laden hideout stand out?

WALSH: I think, really, if you listen to the stereotypical vision of where everybody thought bin Laden was going to be hiding, it was a cave somewhere in the hills, or it was a lonely hut in the middle of a dusty Pakistani plane, or something like that. To be in a big city like this, to be in a place where there's a large military presence, literally just over there, significant numbers of barracks and bases and military academies, that is not what people expect. And that gives you a degree of, I would suspect, cover to a certain extent. You would not really want to hide right under your supposed enemy's nose.

Bin Laden's compound has been called a palace by U.S. officials. Some locals did regard it as being slightly more extravagant than those things around it. But the explanation they gave themselves was, well, this is simply a wealthy Pakistani man who lives there with extra security because he's just concerned about some of the volatility, some of the lawlessness that you get in this part of the world.

We did speak to one neighbor who said that he had seen once a day a particularly heavily blacked-out SUV arrive and then leave, but there are lots of similar witness reports from neighbors at the moment painting a picture. We can't verify, frankly, all of them. But certainly the main thing I think we're hearing from people here is that this was not a compound which was attracting huge amounts of interest, and you really wouldn't have expected that, frankly, given the length they seem to have taken to keep bin Laden out of sight, to keep him concealed -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes. And that was how he was able to hide in plain view.

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

Thank you.

Well, controversy continues over whether or not to release graphic images of Osama bin Laden taken after his death. And while Washington wrestles with the big decision, some members of the U.S. Congress are weighing in.


SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Unless al Qaeda acknowledged that bin Laden was dead, it was important for the United States to release the picture of his body to confirm that he is dead.



SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I just don't see a need to do it. The DNA has been positive. People may still doubt that. Therefore, there may be cause -- I don't know -- to release a photo, which I understand is very graphic.


STOUT: Now, CIA director Leon Panetta says he thinks a photo of bin Laden's body will eventually be made public, but he adds, "It is up to the White House to make the final call."

Brianna Keilar joins us now live from outside the White House in Washington.

Brianna, this is a tough decision. Will they release the photos?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House is still in the process of trying to figure that out. We heard from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney yesterday, Kristie. He said it's not a roiling debate, there isn't intense disagreement over this. It's a discussion, he said, about whether it's appropriate.

And you heard the CIA director, Panetta, saying that he thinks it's important that these photos are put out there. Everyone is aware that the U.S. has them, and they should be point out there.

But as this point -- as of yesterday, we could report it seemed consensus was growing that they should be released. But a final decision, we're still awaiting that.

STOUT: And Brianna, I understand that there are three sets of photographs. What more detail can you tell us?

KEILAR: A lot of detail, actually. A senior official telling us that, yes, there are three sets of photographs. One of them -- one set of photographs is of a dead Osama bin Laden taken in a hangar in Afghanistan after that operation in Pakistan.

Apparently, according to this official, there is a clear visual of his face, but it's very gruesome, that there's actually a massive open head wound across both of bin Laden's eyes. So this is something that, for instance, would not be appropriate to have on the front of newspapers. It would just be so gruesome. There are also other photos that include the raid on the compound, and then some photos of Osama bin Laden's burial at sea -- Kristie.

STOUT: And the debate on whether to release the photos, that's been under way among U.S. policymakers, including Senator Dianne Feinstein. What are the arguments they're making for and against the release?

KEILAR: Right now you have Democrats and Republicans who are making -- you know, some of them aren't even necessarily weighing in, they're not even taking a position. But you have some people who are saying, you know, you have to consider that we need some visual proof. We have these photos, we should put them out there. And then you have other folks who are saying we need to be very measured in this, because this could incite violence.

You've heard from White House officials who have said they are concerned for the safety of Americans overseas if these photos were to be put out there. And so they kind of see the importance on both sides of this, and that's why they're trying to work out these sensitivities, if they can do this in a way that isn't going to be "inflammatory." That's a word we heard coming out of the White House a lot yesterday -- Kristie.

STOUT: Brianna Keilar, joining us live from the White House.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, up next, from Washington to New York, the U.S. president is set to visit Ground Zero for a special meeting with victims' families.

And through the eyes of a robot. We'll have the latest on Japan's efforts to clean up its nuclear crisis.

And three's a crowd. Israel warns Fatah there is no room in the peace process for Hamas.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, for nearly 10 years, people have been visiting New York's Ground Zero to remember those who died in the 9/11 attacks. But on Monday, it became a site of celebration.

Fionnuala Sweeney joins us now from the memorial site -- Fionnuala.


It seems that the weather is rather inclement today, so it's not exactly a good day for any U.S. president or any dignitaries to visit, never mind the people who are trying to go to work here just after 8:00 in the morning. And maybe the White House knew something about the weather, because as we know, President Barack Obama is scheduled to be here tomorrow, Thursday, visiting Ground Zero, in his first trip since informing the nation of bin Laden's death three days ago.

Now, White House officials say the president will spend the day meeting families of victims who died in the September 11th attacks. Well, one man who will be noticeably absent from Thursday's event is the former U.S. president, George W. Bush. His spokesman says he was invited to join Mr. Obama during his visit to Ground Zero, but instead declined.

In a statement, the spokesman said the former president appreciated the invitation but wishes to remain largely out of the spotlight. He does, however, "continue to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror."

Well, earlier, I spoke to two 9/11 attack survivors. I asked them how they've been coping in the years following that fateful day.


LESLIE HASKIN, 9/11 SURVIVOR: I'm still getting over it. A year later, I found myself going from one of the highest paid executives for Kemper Insurance Company to being homeless with my 12-year-old son. I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was unable to speak, I was committed to a psychiatric hospital.

The bills mounted. I couldn't pay the hospital, the medical, or anything. And I lost my home, I lost my job. I lost everything.

SWEENEY: And how did you recover from that?

HASKIN: Like I said, it's been a tough journey. And I'm still recovering. I've had some medical issues, some surgeries, because -- just being in the building for so long. Registered with the 9/11 Health Registry, and just trying to pull myself back together.

It's been my faith in God and a good, strong support system and good friends who know that there is in fact something bigger than what happened on September 11th.

SWEENEY: And may I ask, what does the death of Osama bin Laden do for you? Does it bring some closure -- that's the word of the moment -- or does it do something else?

HASKIN: Honestly, I'm still a little bit numb. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what's happening, because right now it's just bringing up all those things, all those memories, the smells, the sound, everything that happened on 9/11.

Closure is a difficult thing. Closure means that it's complete, it's over. And we know that Osama bin Laden, he's just really the face of it all, as my son was saying today. There are other people out there.

There's thousands who died that die and thousands more who died in pursuit of him. And so I salute the president and I salute the armed services, who have fought so diligently to find him and to free us of him.

SWEENEY: I mean, you've both written books now, and I know from talking to you before we came on air, you're still obviously dealing with this. The books -- what did writing the books do for you?

GEORGE BACHMANN, RETIRED 9/11 FIREFIGHTER: Yes, it was therapeutic for me. But just to comment about Osama bin Laden, we have to continue to be vigilant. And I believe the long-term effects are it will galvanize this country. And kudos on President Obama, God bless him.

And the Navy SEALs -- my stepfather was chief (INAUDIBLE) in the Navy, and I'm a Vietnam veteran with two Purple Hearts. So this was sweet revenge, being a survivor of 9/11. And I believe, again, it will galvanize this country.


SWEENEY: George Bachmann there talking about the need to be vigilant.

You may hear the sirens in the background, Kristie. But, essentially, already, security operations in place for President Obama's visit tomorrow. Already, camera crews have been moved from certain parts of Ground Zero to make way for the cavalcade. So we will be anticipating heightened security over the next 24 hours, ahead of his visit.

Back to you.

STOUT: All right.

Fionnuala Sweeney, joining us live from Ground Zero.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, up next, a remote-controlled robot reveals the severely damaged interior of Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Stay tuned for a tour of the reactor number one building.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now, TEPCO, the company that operates Japan's severely damaged nuclear power plant, has released this video from inside the building that houses reactor number one. Remote-controlled robots have been assessing the damage inside the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Radiation has leaked into the air, soil and ocean since the plant was crippled by the massive quake and tsunami. And TEPCO says its first analysis of seabed soil since the March disaster has revealed radioactive materials up to 1,000 times the normal level.

Now, more answers are expected today as the International Criminal Court investigates possible war crimes committed by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's government. Now, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Campo has said he has gathered strong evidence and plans to issue arrest warrants soon. He's do to brief the United Nations Security Council in New York today.

Now, international calls for Moammar Gadhafi to step down are growing as the Libyan leader's military assault on rebel forces intensifies. And now an unlikely voice has joined the chorus for him to go -- Libya's longtime ally, Turkey.

Ivan Watson reports from Istanbul.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi has just lost another key international ally. Just last year, he was personally awarding a human rights award to the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But on Tuesday, the Turkish prime minister came out and said that Gadhafi must now listen to the will of the Libyan people, that Libya is no longer the property of any one man or one family.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Moammar Gadhafi has to take this historical step for Libya's future, territorial integrity, peace, and stability. Under the current conditions, the most appropriate way is for him to hand over the power and administration to the true owner of power. That is, to the Libyan people.

WATSON: Gadhafi is not just losing a key trading partner. Turkey is also a member of the NATO military alliance, and it had criticized NATO's bombing campaign of Gadhafi's security forces.

Now Turkey's embassy in Tripoli has been shuttered; its diplomats evacuated. Turkey had previously tried to set up a roadmap, a negotiation process, between the rebels in the east of Libya and the Gadhafi regime. But the rebels thought that Turkey was too close to Gadhafi. They actually pelted the Turkish consulate in Benghazi, the rebel-held city, with stones and rejected a Turkish ship from landing at their port. That was a big embarrassment for the Turkish government ahead of elections planned in June.

Another potential consequence here, Turkey has been playing a mediating role between Gadhafi's government and Western government in helping to negotiate the release of Western journalists captured by Gadhafi's security forces. That, a vital line of communication, has now been severed. Gadhafi is finding himself more isolated than ever.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Istanbul.


STOUT: Now, Osama bin Laden is gone, but questions remain. And some are asking what, if anything, the Pakistani government might have known about his whereabouts.

And what could the tension mean for the U.S.-led war on terror? We'll get some perspective from Fareed Zakaria just ahead.

Plus, a reconciliation pact is signed by Palestinian rivals. We'll see what impact it could have on the Mideast peace process.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

Islamabad is hitting out at the United States for reportedly suggesting Pakistani officials either helped to hide Osama bin Laden or were incompetent. A senior intelligence official in Pakistan says comments reportedly made by the CIA are regrettable and indicate total mistrust.

Now rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a new reconciliation agreement in Cairo a short time ago. On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian Authority to pull out of the unity deal saying it will jeopardize the peace process. The two factions have agreed to set up a new caretaker government and hold fresh elections next year.

Nine workers remain trapped in a mine in northern Mexico after an explosion on Tuesday. Five workers were killed. Now the miners were working 60 meters underground when the blast happened. High levels of toxic methane gas briefly delayed rescue teams from entering the mine shaft.

Now let's return to our top story now, the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden and the impact it's having on Pakistan's relationship with the United States. Fareed Zakaria takes a closer look.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's part of a pattern which is that over the last 10 years what we have noticed is that Pakistan does not go after those terrorists who engage in terrorism against the United States, against the West, against Indians, but rather reserve their firepower to go after those terrorists who kill Pakistanis. So this is one more piece of that puzzle.

The Pakistani military does seem committed to fight terrorists, but they seem very reluctant to expand that definition to include all terrorists, to include terrorists such as al Qaeda whose principle target is not Pakistanis, but whose principle target is Americans, westerners, Indians perhaps, and the fact that Osama bin Laden could build a million dollar essentially fortified compound eight times larger than any house in the neighborhood without anybody in the Pakistani military alerting the United States or western counter terrorism officials is frankly extraordinarily suspicious.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Fareed do you imply that at some level the Pakistanis had to be complicit with al Qaeda and bin Laden being there. So how far up the political ladder do you think that goes?

ZAKARIA: That's the billion dollar question, Becky. I think that clearly you could not have created the kind of hideout headquarters that bin Laden did without some degree of knowledge of some elements of the Pakistani military. I do not this was a centralized decision. I don't think General Kayani, the head of the Pakistani military know about it. I don't think there was official sanction for this, but my point is.

But my point is that there is enough ambivalence within the Pakistani military and are enough mixed signals sent from every quarter including the very top that obviously some element within the Pakistani military, perhaps at the level of colonels, perhaps at the level of even generals thought it was OK to probably not really look into this. They seem to have a don't ask don't tell policy towards al Qaeda in the heart of Pakistan.

A few years ago, I think it was about 5 years ago, I had a conversation with President Karzai. This was at a time when the Afghan government was claiming that all the al Qaeda leadership were in Pakistan, were in Quetta, the city in Pakistan. And Musharraf, General Musharraf, President of Pakistan at the time, was claiming that this was not the case at all.

Karzai said to me in an off the cuff, offhand remark, he said Fareed, mark my words the day Osama bin Laden is found he will be found in a city in Pakistan.

I couldn't help thinking about that over these last few days.

ANDERSON: In another post entitled al Qaeda is Over, you say and I quote, "history teaches us that the loss of the charismatic leader, or the symbol, is extraordinarily damaging for the organization," but you don't cite who in history you are drawing analogies with. Can you give me some examples?

ZAKARIA: Once you lose the figure, the figurehead who is a kind of charismatic leader, it becomes very difficult to sustain these organizations because they were really built as personality (inaudible). And Hitler is another example where the Nazis had to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler himself, to the furor himself and so, so much of Nazism was tied up with Hitler. It was inconceivable once he took his life that there could be any Nazi movement after it.

Remember bin Laden does a very similar thing. When you join al Qaeda, you swear an oath of fealty to bin Laden personally. So the loss of bin Laden in that context is a huge blow. Nobody is -- no suicide bomber is going out there to die for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or to die for Ayman Zawahiri, or Anwar Al-Awlaki they're dying for the man they see as their leader.

ANDERSON: Do you think this will have a lasting impact on the political atmosphere in the States and indeed on Obama's ratings. Less face it, let's be frank about this.

ZAKARIA: No and no. It will be temporary. I think it's real. I think people are genuinely relieved to see a kind of an American success, but the core statistic that will determine President Obama's fate is not the number of al Qaeda leaders killed or captured, it is the unemployment rate in the United States.

But Obama did make a decision to double and triple down on the counterterrorism part of the war on terror. That is to say he said I never believe this is Obama -- Obama says I never believed in the Iraq mission. I never believed that you win the war on terror by taking democracy to Iraq or trying to depose Saddam Hussein, I believe it's all on counterterrorism, it is in going after the bad guys. He doubled and tripled the amount of resources, the number of missions. He quadrupled the number of drone attacks. So this operation is, in a sense, a vindication of Obama's strategy.


STOUT: Fareed Zakaria speaking to us earlier.

And while the White House mulls over whether to release photos of Osama bin Laden's dead body, investigators are pouring over other evidence that they have gleamed from that compound in Abbottabad.

Now Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan described it as the mother load of al Qaeda materials. Now the haul, it includes about 10 hard drives. It also includes about five computers as well as more than 100 different types of storage devices -- you have disks, DVDs, thumb drives. And all these materials might provide some clues on the whereabouts of al Qaeda members, including bin Laden's deputy Ayman al Zawahiri and potential plots for future attacks.

Now the special forces team used several methods to make sure they found the right target, including photo comparisons. Now we don't know the exact facial recognition program used, but we got an overview of the general technology from Henry Schneiderman. His develops this kind of software.


HENRY SCHNEIDERMAN, CEO PITTSBURGH PATTERN RECOGNITION: Each person has unique characteristics called biometrics, like fingerprints, and their iris that are unique to that individual. And it turns out that a person's ear structure is also very unique.

So software looks at everything it can see about the face. It looks at the geometry of the face, the texture of the face, markings on the face, and each of those things it can be compared separately and it (inaudible) makes a similarity score. And these similarity scores are all combined together to give an overall similarity score.

And if that similarity score is above a certain level it's considered a match.


STOUT: Now Schneiderman has this demo set up on his company's web site. And the program can take into account challenging factors like weight gain or loss, different hair styles and various facial expressions. It can also match images taken years apart.

So let's try it out. Now here is a current picture of me. And here is one from my high school days. Let's just say it was a few years ago.

Now we popped them into the program. And this is the result. Now the white square means that the two pictures are not a match.

Again, we do not know what software the Navy SEALS used, but this does illustrate why they ran more than one test. Some experts say other technologies like fingerprinting are more reliable than facial recognition.

Now coming up next on NEWS STREAM, Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah sign a new unity pact. We'll be live in Cairo where the deal was signed a short time ago.


STOUT: Welcome back to News stream.

Now it is about that time of year for tropical cyclones. And one seems to be forming near the Philippines. Let's get an update on this with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.


Yeah, it's been pretty quiet so far. And you know in the western Pacific, tropical cyclones can form really any time of the year, even during the winter months. But of course it's as we head into the summer and late summer when we see the highest amounts of activity. Right now, we're still officially in spring, right? And we're starting to see a couple of areas that are kind of catching our eye.

You can see it right over here just to the east of the Philippines, this cluster of storms here could maybe in the next few days become our first significant tropical cyclone of the season. Even if it doesn't, though, I don't want you guys to be too worried about this just yet. But I do want you to be aware that regardless of whether or not this actually develops into anything more significant, we could end up with some very heavy rain across the southern Philippines in particular it's a very slow moving tropical wave that continues to kind of trail along here.

And what's happening is the moisture -- most of it is staying out at sea, but you can see a little bit more starting to pull in here as we head into areas of the central and southern Philippines. In some cases five to eight centimeters not out of the question as we head into the next two days. And as it gets closer, those rainfall totals will continue to increase. The threat for flooding, for mud slides still remains.

And this beautiful image is from Talisay in the Philippines in the Batangas province. The (inaudible) here causing some problems. It's on a level two alert. It has been that way since the beginning of April. And authorities are saying that this is a bit of a concern and they're asking tourists to stay away. And of course that takes a toll on the economy for the people living in that area.

But they said the water in the crater is increasing in temperature. And that's one of the things that they're monitoring for the possibility of a possible at least a steam eruption and that's why they're asking people to stay away.

And look at this, way too much water. This is that intentional flooding that happened in Missouri after they took that levee out. Kristie we've been talking quite a bit about this flooding and of course the people, it's a story about people, we can't forget that. Those 130,000 acres that were flooded intentionally to save the town of Cairo well flooded this farm land. This family looking out into what used to be their livelihood, right? And it's of course very controversial but they say they're doing it, of course, to save that bigger landmass.

We are monitoring this situation here very carefully. And of course, there's still the potential for more significant flooding.

Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.

Kristie, I'm going to take you now to Chile, in the Atacama Desert one of the driest and most isolated places in the world about 600 kilometers north of the capital Santiago there. There is an observatory. It's one of the first and most advanced observatories in the southern hemisphere. It's called Las Silla Observatory. And it was one of the first in South America. That is where they've been able to take these magnificent images.

This was taken -- actually let me go with their biggest telescope, the very large telescope -- this was taken with a 2.2 meter telescope, the MPGE, the wide field imager. And what's amazing about this is that this was taken from the ground.

Now these images, astronomers say, they're not of course as detailed as what you would get, let's say from the Hubble telescope way out into space, but they are particularly amazing. And they say that this particular galaxy is called the Meat Hook Galaxy seen very clearly here. And these images are more of a let's say an addendum, an addition for astronomers to be able to study space even more.

And it's amazing that they can take this from a telescope right here on Earth. Back to you.

STOUT: It is amazing, sort of shimmering celestial body. Do they have to call it Meat Hook, though? An icky name there.

Mari Ramos, thank you very much for the share. Take care. We'll talk later. Mari Ramos there.

Now rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas they have signed a new unity pact in the Egyptian capital. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal sealed the reconciliation deal at a ceremony in Cairo a short time ago. Now they have agreed to set up a new caretaker government and hold fresh elections next year.

Now former U.S. president Jimmy Carter says the pact is a step in the right direction.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There have been atrocities committed by Hamas and also by Fatah. And of course on the case in a lot of (inaudible) Palestinians are killed who are not combatants. So things happen in a case of serious disagreement. But this new agreement in my opinion is a major step forward that could bring ultimately what I've wanted for the past more than 30 years and that is peace in Israel.


STOUT: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanayahu is calling on the Palestinian Authority to pull out of the unity deal with Hamas saying it will jeopardize the Middle East peace process.

Now for more let's go live to Nima Elbagir in Cairo. Nima, walk us through this deal and exactly what it calls for.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the deal is basically a reunification of the two largest Palestinian parties. Baring in the mind the violence that has been striving in the Palestinian territories, and as Jimmy Carter pointed out, the atrocities committed by both sides as the rivalry heated up. This is a huge step in terms of the internal coherence of the Palestinian factions.

And it's interesting the Prime Minister Netanayahu should say that this is jeopardizing the peace process, the peace process really hasn't been going anywhere anytime soon in the last few years. So in fact what is worrying the Israelis is dealing with an internally coherent Palestinian front that is able to say that it speaks to the entirety of the Palestinian territories and the reality that they will have to deal with Hamas across the table.

It was interesting yesterday, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said in response to the Israelis questioning how they could sit with someone who doesn't even accept or acknowledge that the state of Israel exists and he said that that's a step too far on the part of the state of Israel. He asks whether Israel is prepared to acknowledge the existence of Hamas, which is -- you know it's huge, Kristie, for Abbas to be defending Hamas, which until recently, you know they were sworn enemies. And to call upon the Israelis to say, well, why are you asking Hamas for something that you, yourself are not prepared to give. That all that they should ask of Hamas is that it renounce violence and seek to find a way through the impasse of the Palestinian peace process, the Middle East peace process, has become.

But it's also not just huge for the Palestinian parties, this is also a historical in terms of the new Egyptian administration. Egypt has always been a power broker in the Middle East process, but the fact that they are doing something in the face of so much Israeli criticism and so much Israeli unrest really says a lot about the Israeli-Egyptian position from here on in.

Nabil al-Araby is the new Egyptian foreign minister is a very controversial figure in Israel. He was a young diplomat when Camp David was signed and always felt that the Egypt-Israeli peace deal was not as it stand in Egypt's national interests, Kristie.

STOUT: Nima, can you comment on the timing of this reconciliation deal and why it comes about this week? Did the recent upheavals ongoing in the Middle East play a role in that?

ELBAGIR: This is very much a post-uprising reality. This is a new reality in the Middle East. And one that we -- you know, that we now -- and we have seen, has the Israelis very, very nervous, Kristie.

STOUT: Nima Elbagir joining us live from Cairo. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now up next here on NEWS STREAM, can a small German club spring a giant upset in the Champion's League? Manchester United hold a commanding lead at the semi-finals. Alex Thomas will have a preview of tonight's big match in just a minute.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Barcelona are through to the Champion's League final. They defeated their arch rivals Real Madrid 3-1 on aggregate after holding them to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night. Barcelona effectively sealed with when Pedro gave them the lead. Now Marcelo's equalizer gave Madrid a respectable outcome on the night, but Jose Mourinho's men were well beaten.

Now there was even time for this man to get a run out. Barcelona defender Eric Abidal returned to action just three months after being diagnosed with a tumor in his liver. Now Abidal's appearance was greeted by a huge ovation from the home crowd.

So, who will Barcelona face in the final? Manchester United lead Schalke ahead of the second leg of their semi-final. And our Alex Thomas is in Manchester with the preview -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, Manchester United are in such a strong position, there would be a huge shock if they failed to get through to the UEFA Champion's League final from here.

True, they only FC Schalke 2-nil after last week's first leg in Germany, but never before has a club come back from such a deficit to win the tie overall after the second leg away from home.

Schalke's slim hope is that United will be distracted by an even greater prize they're chasing here in England.


THOMAS: Less than 48 hours after the defeat at Arsenal that revitalized the Barklay's Premier League title race, Manchester United's players jokes and smiled their way through training. Maybe it was a show for the cameras, or maybe the squad's spirit has already recovered ahead of two more big matches this week: against FC Schalke in the Champion's League, then domestic rivals Chelsea four days later.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON, MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER: Well there is certain statistics that tell you that they do take value of the European games which is why Sunday's game against Chelsea is a massive game and I have to pick the right team tomorrow in order to have the same kind of freshness I need for Sunday's match.

MICHAEL CARRICK, MANCHESTER UNITED MIDFIELDER: It's dangerous to go into a game relying on them to goals to get you through. I think the approach here is as always when we play at home is to try and win the game.

THOMAS: United trained without Wayne Rooney on Tuesday. He and Xavier Hernandez will be rested for the Schalke match. Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen coming in to the attack. Although United are unlikely to tinker with their defense.

United with go through to the final if they stop Schalke's scoring. And in this season's Champion's League, the English club has conceded just three goals, fewer than any other team.

Schalke's manager won't say if his team with throw caution to the wind as they chase the goals needed to overturn a 2-nil deficit here at Old Trafford where Manchester United haven't lost all season.

RALF RANGNICK, SCHALKE MANAGER (through translator): It doesn't matter what people on this island think. I'm sure the betting odds are as poor as they were against Inter Milan. But we want to show we can play better. And we've learned our lessons from last weekend. And then we'll see what happens.

FERGUSON: Schalke have nothing to lose. I think that's the message he will impart to his team, I'm sure of that. And I think they'll have a goal. I think they'll play to win the match. I think there's nothing else they can do.

THOMAS: There's no doubt Schalke know how to score. The Bundisliga club his 7 past defensing champions Inter Milan in the quarterfinals. And four of their striker Raul, Edu, Farfan, and Huntelaar have as many Champion's League goals this season as they entire Manchester United squad.

If Schalke perform as badly here as they did in Gelsenkirchen last week, they have no chance. The fans of the Bundisliga club will hope there's still a twist left in this particular Champion's League tale.


THOMAS: Now that's how the teams looked and sounded on the eve of this match yesterday as we chased them around from Manchester United's training grounds here at Old Trafford where they held the news conferences and Schalke trained. The German club, remember Kristie, have never been here before. They are starting after a terrific run in this Champion's League to look slightly out of their depth with the greatest respect to the Germans, I think everyone would like to see Manchester United go through to face Barcelona in what will be a terrific final and a re-run of the 2009 title match, only this year's will take place on home soil for United at Wembley Stadium.

STOUT: All right. Alex Thomas joining us live from Manchester. Thank you.

And now is the time we would usually take you over and out there, but instead we're going to mix it up a bit and take you in here. The White House situation room. It is rare for the public to catch a glimpse inside this highly secretive meeting place. As you can see, it takes some pretty serious credentials to get in.

At the bottom right hand corner you can see the U.S. Defense secretary there, Robert Gates, with his arms crossed. Next to him, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her hand pressed to her mouth. You can see visible concern on her face. And then moving across the table, you can see Vice President Joe Biden, slouching a bit there. U.S. President Barack Obama, he's leaning forward as other national security advisers stand in the back.

Now all of them are transfixed to a monitor that is just out of camera shot as they receive real-time updates on the mission to take down Osama bin Laden.

Well, all of them are transfixed except for Brigadier General Brad Webb at the head of the table, you can see right here, and let's face it, the man picked a poor time to check his e-mail.

Now this image has been viewed more than 1.6 million times since it was posted to Flickr on Monday. That means it is on track to be Flickr's most viewed photo ever. It just needs about 1.3 million more glances to catch up with an image of a waterfall in India posted five years ago.

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