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Talking to Bin Laden's Wives; Seized Bin Laden Videos Released; Tennessee Bracing for Floodwaters

Aired May 9, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with breaking news on several fronts.

A report from Bloomberg that the Pakistanis will allow the U.S. to question Osama bin Laden's wives who were in the compound when bin Laden was killed. It's a potentially major development because the Pakistanis were emphatically saying that denying access -- were emphatically denying access to the U.S. after accusations began flying about Pakistan knowing bin Laden was in their country.

We also now know the identities of the three wives who were inside the Pakistan compound. We already knew about this 29-year-old Yemeni woman who was found -- who was wounded during the raid. She was shot in the leg. That's her passport photo. Tonight, we're learning the other wives were actually Saudi nationals.

According to the Bloomberg report, the Obama administration will get access to them soon, a U.S. official told Bloomberg today on condition of anonymity. We will have more on that in a moment.

Another breaking development tonight -- "The New York Times" is reporting the U.S. Navy SEALs were prepared to fight their way out of Pakistan if they encountered hostile local police officers or military at the compound. "The Times" says two teams of specialists were on standby, one to bury bin Laden if he was killed and a second composed of lawyers, interrogators, and translators in case he was captured alive.

These new reports come after the Obama administration released parts of five new videos over the weekend of bin Laden that were seized during the raid on his compound. This video in particular shows Osama bin Laden as we have really never seen him before, huddled in front of a TV, wrapped in a blanket, watching video clips of himself and turning the channels.

The four other videos released show bin Laden projecting the image he wanted the world to see. His beard, we now know, was dyed black. In one of the videos, there's a technical problem, and bin Laden seems distracted. U.S. authorities say these videos prove bin Laden was still an active player, and they have clearly released these videos in particular, these ones in particular, to try to demystify bin Laden, show him in really the most pathetic light possible, especially the one watching TV.

Joining me now in Islamabad, Pakistan, is Reza Sayah.

Reza, as we mentioned, Bloomberg is reporting that Pakistan has decided to allow the U.S. to question bin Laden's three wives who are in custody. We haven't been able to match it. But if it's true, is this -- I mean, how surprised are you by this apparent change of heart by the Pakistanis?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I'm not that surprised considering the amount of pressure that's been mounting on the Pakistani government and Pakistan's security establishment ever since this raid, ever since U.S. forces found Osama bin Laden hiding in this compound in Abbottabad.

But we do know that the U.S. wanted access to these wives. And Pakistani officials had told us their plan initially was to repatriate these women and the eight or nine children that was -- that were found at this compound, send them back to their countries of origin.

One intelligence official told us earlier today that they would consider giving the U.S. access to these women once these wives' countries of origins were notified. And now, according to this report, the Pakistani government, the security establishment has decided to give the U.S. access.

So, again, certainly, we have seen some tremendous pressure; putting some of that pressure on is none other than U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this week. So, certainly, this could be a move by Pakistan to ease some of that pressure coming from Washington.

COOPER: And we know -- we know that one of the wives already told Pakistani authorities that she'd been living inside that compound for five years. There's obviously a lot more the U.S. would like to know. Do we know kind of what access, what information they may have or how much they knew about, you know, bin Laden's activities?

SAYAH: Well, we don't at this point. But they certainly could know a lot. These are women who, for all these years, spent a lot of time with Osama bin Laden. They know a lot about him, what he did over these years. They certainly could provide some information about how active he was operationally.

They could possibly provide some information about al Qaeda. And they could also provide information about Pakistan, Osama bin Laden's support network, if indeed he had one in this country. That's where things could get sticky for Pakistan's security establishment.

And that's perhaps why they may have been reluctant initially to give the U.S. access to these women.

But, again, ultimately according to this report, it looks like they're going to do it.

COOPER: Reza Sayah, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much from Pakistan.

Let's dig deeper now on Pakistan. I spoke a few moments ago with Fareed Zakaria, CNN's world affairs analyst and host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS." He's also editor at large at "TIME" magazine.


COOPER: Fareed, what do you make of this report that Bloomberg is reporting that Pakistan will indeed allow the United States to interview or interrogate the detained wives of Osama bin Laden? There had been a question about whether that would happen at all. Do you think this is an indication that perhaps the relationship -- or that the Pakistanis are trying to kind of mend the rift in the relationship?


Look, for all their public protestations, the Pakistanis understand that they have been caught in a very embarrassing situation. Either they're guilty of duplicity or they're guilty of incompetence. A lot of people think it's a little bit of both.

And I think that they will quietly try to get this relationship back on track, because they need the United States as much, if not more, as we need them.

COOPER: It's interesting, though. There was a report in "The Guardian" that, some 10 years ago, then President Bush and then President Musharraf actually made a deal that, if bin Laden was found on Pakistan's soil, that the U.S. would be able to act unilaterally and say that Pakistan had no role in or didn't know about it. Do you buy that report?

ZAKARIA: I think things change when governments change. And Musharraf's government might have made that pledge. The Zardari government is quite different and has in fact been very opposed to a lot of the deals that Musharraf made with the United States.

But I think that, in general, it clearly serves Pakistan's interests and the Pakistani military and the civilian government's interests to be able to say they had no knowledge of this.

COOPER: It's interesting. Today, the Pakistani prime minister said -- quote -- "Allegations of complicity and incompetence are absurd," complicity with bin Laden. Your reaction?

ZAKARIA: I think that to summarily dismiss all this is the wrong approach. The Pakistanis need to go into a period of deep reflection.

That phrase actually comes from Husain Haqqani, the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., and I think it's exactly right. They have got to ask themselves, why is this man in their country? Why has the world's most wanted terrorist found -- find a safe haven in Pakistan? What kind of network of supply allowed him to exist there? What is the potential for people within the military and within the government, that is not to say the heads of the military or government, provided assistance?

And then to ask themselves fundamentally, how do they change this? How do they change a structure, an institutional structure where the state has been so often either caught napping or willfully ignorant or actively assisting some of the most extreme terrorists in the world?

COOPER: Is it a sign that the government is not stable enough in order to actually do that?

ZAKARIA: The truth is that the civilian government is very weak. So, when Prime Minister Gilani says all these things, you don't know whether he means them, whether the military has put him up to them.

But, you know, Prime Minister Gilani's protestations that they have never used militants, that this is all the United States' fault, this is just not true, historically. I mean, your show is very good at holding people to account. The Pakistani government has used militants for 40 years. They have used them in Kashmir.

COOPER: Why do they repeatedly lie, though?

ZAKARIA: They have used them in Afghanistan.

COOPER: Why do they repeatedly lie about stuff which is just demonstrably not true? Even President Musharraf on this program has said, you know, there's no way the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, is inside Pakistan. You know, he denied that bin Laden was inside Pakistan for years.

ZAKARIA: You know, I remember, Anderson, around the time that you're describing, Musharraf and Karzai got into a big fight, the president of Afghanistan. And Karzai said to me in those years -- this is 2005, 2006.

He said, mark my words. When Osama bin Laden is found, he will be found in a Pakistani city.

COOPER: It's fascinating.

Fareed Zakaria -- Fareed, thank you.

ZAKARIA: Pleasure.


COOPER: Well, we're on Facebook. Let us know what you think. Or you can follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.

Up next: more on the videos released by the Obama administration over the weekend, really fascinating videos showing Osama bin Laden outtakes, essentially. This image in particular, I find fascinating, wrapped in a blanket, wearing a cap, channel-surfing, watching video clips of himself, and even President Obama, though he seems to change the channel when President Obama comes on at one point.

"The New Yorker" magazine writer Lawrence Wright, who wrote an amazingly good book about Al Qaeda, it's called "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" -- you really should read it -- he joins us tonight to give his take on this video and the others and his take on when he thinks al Qaeda will try to avenge his death.

Also tonight, she first made world headlines when she stormed into a Tripoli hotel where journalists were staying, saying she was raped, gang-raped by pro-Gadhafi forces. Tonight -- we have been following her case for a long time -- tonight, you will hear again from Eman al-Obeidy. She's escaped Libya. How she got out -- in her own words.

And Isha Sesay is following the other big news for us tonight -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the mighty Mississippi River is rising. Memphis, Tennessee, and other cities are on alert. We will have the latest developments on the flooding in a live report coming up.


COOPER: We're learning new details about those five videos of Osama bin Laden released by the Obama administration over the weekend. The videos were seized during the raid of bin Laden's compound. They're really outtakes almost of videos.

For years, to his followers, obviously, bin Laden has loomed large. He's controlled his image. He was seen obviously as a powerful figure. These videos clearly are designed to show a different side. That's why they have been released. In this undated video, with no audio, the al Qaeda leader, looking pretty frail and old, wrapped in an old blanket, wearing a wool cap, rocking back and forth, stroking his beard at times, and huddled in a room watching himself on his satellite TV, as he channel-surfs, it appears he motions at one point to the photographer to zoom in on the video of President Obama at a White House news conference.

We actually found the actual video of that press conference. It's from January 21, 2010. President Obama and his economic team were talking with reporters about financial reform.

Now here's more of the video released Saturday. They show bin Laden in more formal attire. Clearly, these were videos that he was making. These are sort of outtakes of them. An intelligence official says the audio was removed from all the videos so bin Laden's message wouldn't be spread. And, frankly, if we did hear audio and he was spreading his message, we wouldn't -- I wouldn't be airing these videos right now.

Other than the missing audio, the official says the video was not altered in any other way.

It's believed one of the videos was recorded about six months ago, entitled "A Message to the American people." It never was released by al Qaeda. The three others are considered kind of practice sessions for video he planned on releasing to the world.

In each of the videos, bin Laden has dyed his beard. In the other video, where he's watching TV, his beard is gray. Obviously, all of it is in stark contrast to this video al Qaeda released of the terrorist mastermind back in 2004, where he had a gray beard.

Both images, the one of him watching himself on TV and the other dyed beard, clearly intended by the Pentagon to show kind of a vain man preoccupied with his appearance, a pathetic man, a man obsessing about himself while living in a million-dollar compound, a man not living in a cave, a man not sacrificing his own comfort for his followers, probably an effective picture painted by the Pentagon and one that helped them change the narrative of their story to their liking, at least for a few days.

Remember, they released them on a Saturday, the day before the administration's national security adviser went on the Sunday talk shows. The pictures became the story, instead of the changing narrative of what really happened inside the compound.

You might remember, last week, top officials at the White House and Pentagon said bin Laden used women as human shields. They later backtracked on that. There was also talk that bin Laden was engaged in a firefight with the U.S. Navy SEALs. Later, they said he was not armed.

Joining me now is Lawrence Wright, author of the best-selling book "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," which, as I have said multiple times, is probably one of my favorite -- probably my favorite book on al Qaeda. He's also a writer for "The New Yorker" magazine. You can read his latest article on bin Laden in the current issue.

Were you surprised by these videos?

LAWRENCE WRIGHT, AUTHOR, "THE LOOMING TOWER: AL QAEDA AND THE ROAD TO 9/11": Not really. First of all, the austerity of his environment is typical of bin Laden. Even when he was living in Jeddah, it was very squalid. His attention to housekeeping...


COOPER: Right. When you hear a million-dollar compound, you think, OK...


WRIGHT: It's a fort.

COOPER: Right.

WRIGHT: But once you're inside it, the walls are covered with mold. And I guess -- I suppose it might have been hard to get workmen in there, too.

COOPER: Right.

WRIGHT: But the -- it wasn't much better than living in a cave.

And what really did surprise me is how wasted he had become, not just in the one where he's got the blanket around his shoulders. But in those formal -- when he is actually trying to control his image, once more, he looks so diminished.

COOPER: Did it surprise you that he dyes his beard?

WRIGHT: No. He's done that before.

COOPER: Yes. I didn't know that.

WRIGHT: When -- when his son was married and stuff like that. It was -- it's not an uncommon thing.


COOPER: It does seem that the administration is trying to demystify him...


COOPER: ... by releasing these videos. I mean, it's clear they picked these videos for a reason, do you think, or...

WRIGHT: Yes. I think that it's perfectly legitimate.

I mean, we're seeing a side of bin Laden that he hasn't allowed us to see. And it's very rare in our entire career with Osama bin Laden to see anything human. It's simply the legend that he's putting forward and the figure that he has created for us to understand him. And, suddenly, we got this other view. It's very brief.

It's not that significant in many ways, except it's human. And that is such a counterbalance to all those images we have seen in the past, with the gun at his side and this really confident manner about how he's going to destroy America.

COOPER: You have written so well in "Looming Tower" about the relationship -- I mean, the history of al Qaeda and the relationship between Zawahri and bin Laden. What role does -- do you think -- do you think Zawahri now takes over al Qaeda?

WRIGHT: I wouldn't be surprised if he's been running it for some time.

I can't believe that that was really an operating center for al Qaeda, given how difficult the entry and egress was. You know, he must have been very, very isolated. And so somebody's been running al Qaeda very badly for the last several years. And that would -- very likely to be Ayman al-Zawahri, who ran his own terror group in Egypt into the ground.

COOPER: Into the ground, right.


COOPER: Why did he run it into the ground? I mean, why is he not a good, effective leader?

WRIGHT: Well, he's a very polarizing figure. He's anti- charismatic. People don't flock to him. They go in the other direction.


COOPER: He's anti-charismatic?

WRIGHT: Oh, yes. He's got, you know, personality dandruff. I mean, he drives his supporters crazy. He -- you know, he's constantly making severe mistakes. You know, oftentimes, they would have operatives with the entire list of everybody in his organization. Egyptian intelligence would find it, and he'd be wiped out and have to start all over again.

His career is just dotted with one big mistake after another. And we should be so lucky that he will take over al Qaeda.

COOPER: Do you think al Qaeda will try to launch an attack to show that they're still relevant?

WRIGHT: I sure do.

COOPER: Really?

WRIGHT: I think they will try. Whether they can pull it off, I don't know. I mean, they haven't been able to do anything significant. But they certainly have tried.

And they will want to memorialize their leader's death. So I say between now and May 2 of next year, if we see no significant action on the part of al Qaeda, then I think the die is cast for that organization.

COOPER: In Pakistan, there are other groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba. I may be pronouncing it wrong.

WRIGHT: Yes. That's correct.

COOPER: They were involved in the Mumbai attack, which was really -- when you think about it, it seems like we're seeing an increasing number of these kind of handful of people launching an operation with pretty limited weapons.

And in the case of the Mumbai attack, they were able to paralyze a major city. We also saw there was an attack, I think, on an Indian embassy in Kabul.

WRIGHT: Right.

COOPER: There was an attack in Pakistan as well. Does that seem to be the new model for attacks?

WRIGHT: Well, the model that you're talking about is the handiwork of Pakistani intelligence.

COOPER: The ISI or a branch of it.

WRIGHT: The ISI, yes, the -- for instance, we have indictments in Chicago having to do with the Mumbai attack, charging ISI with coordinating and directing those attacks.

COOPER: They were actually -- had hands-on on that?

WRIGHT: Yes. They helped them pick the sites. Moreover, I talked to Ali Soufan, who was the case agent on the USS Cole and was the most significant interrogator of many of the al Qaeda subjects...


COOPER: USS Cole, which was bombed in Yemen.

WRIGHT: Right.

And he interviewed many of the al Qaeda suspects that were picked up in Pakistan after they came out of Tora Bora. And he said, in every single case, he said they were met by Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who took them to safe houses. And Lashkar is widely seen as being an apparatus of the ISI, supported and nurtured by it, as is the Taliban.

COOPER: How could it be, though, that this country to which we have been given billions of dollars to...

WRIGHT: Millions, billions.

COOPER: ... and continue to, is playing this kind of double, triple game?

WRIGHT: Well, they have gotten away with it because we're so paralyzed with fear about their nuclear weapons and what might happen with those.

But, Anderson, we're going to have to find a way to call the bluff on this nuclear game, because this is a posture we're in with North Korea. Now we're in this arrangement with Pakistan where we feel they're too dangerous to withdraw from.

What other country would not want to be in that relationship, where you can do whatever you want, and, every year, the U.S. gives you more money? We're giving them more money than we have practically given anybody in history. And, yet, what have they done with that money? They have used it to develop their nuclear program. They have used it to arm themselves against India, misappropriating these counterterrorism funds to arm themselves against an ally.

COOPER: Right.

WRIGHT: And they are running these radical groups, all of this with American taxpayers footing the bill.

COOPER: What -- al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is now run by this American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, how significant are they? I mean, it seems like, in a lot of the recent attacks in the United States, even, there has been inspiration, if nothing -- if not even direct connection, between al-Awlaki and the perpetrators.

WRIGHT: I think the center of gravity has moved in that direction. And it's been happening for some time.

Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen. He speaks English. He's also an imam. He has religious authority that bin Laden never had. He was not in the jihad, but he has been a feature of this for a long time. When the first wave of al Qaeda came to America in January of 2000, they went to San Diego, where Anwar al-Awlaki was the imam. And then he moved to Falls Church, Virginia. They moved with him. He became the chaplain at George Washington University.

COOPER: Was he as radical then? Because, I mean, I have read that it was later he became radicalized in a prison in Yemen.

WRIGHT: We don't really know the true story.

All we know is that al Qaeda was on his tail all across America. And the FBI interviewed him and let him go. But, you know, this guy has been responsible for most of the major attempts in the United States in the last couple of years.

He's been a very inspirational figure. He clearly has the ability to summon up followers, which was the great strength that Osama bin Laden has and that no one else in al Qaeda has right now.

COOPER: And that Zawahri doesn't have.

WRIGHT: Clearly does not have.

COOPER: Right.

WRIGHT: He's a -- he's just not capable of that kind of inspirational leadership.

COOPER: Lawrence Wright, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

WRIGHT: It's been a pleasure.

COOPER: Yes, really interesting stuff.

Still ahead tonight -- and, again, the book is "The Looming Tower." Really, I urge you to read it. It's a great book.

An important update on the story of Eman al-Obeidy, the Libyan woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel saying she'd been beaten and raped by Moammar Gadhafi's men. We have been following her story a lot, talked to her a lot over the last month or so. The news on her situation is good news tonight. And we will give you an update on how she got out of Libya.

Up next: the swollen -- also, the swollen Mississippi River threatening Memphis, Tennessee tonight, flooding in low-lying areas, but we will see if the levees protecting the city are holding up. Meteorologist Chad Myers is going to show us what's in store downriver for people in Louisiana as well.

We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, tonight the mighty Mississippi River is bearing down on Memphis, Tennessee. The river is at near-record levels, bloated by heavy spring rains, winter's melted snow. Low-lying parts of the city have already been flooded. Look at those images. Hundreds of people have been forced out of their homes, driving difficult at flooded intersections like that.

A short time ago, the river actually crested near Memphis at 14 feet above flood stage. That's the highest it's been near the city in more than 70 years. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says levees protecting the city are holding up so far, and Memphis officials say, while they have done all they can, Mississippi's a powerful river. No one knows what it's ultimately going do.

Even so, plenty of homeowners now face damaged and waterlogged property. Today, President Obama signed a disaster declaration for Tennessee. That will direct federal aid to the state, which was -- which has been obviously plagued by severe weather, including tornadoes, since early April.

David Mattingly joins us now from Memphis tonight.

David, the river has peaked. How bad is it getting there?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we're talking about a phenomenal amount of water. Even though we didn't reach a high water mark historically here, we were very close to it.

The river here typically is about a half-mile wide. Tonight, it is three miles wide. That's how much water we're dealing with here in Memphis. And this water is so high, that the tributaries that normally pour water into it around the Memphis area are completely backing up.

And that's where we're seeing some of the worst flooding. Some of those pictures you saw of homes underwater and homes in the water, that have been in areas sometimes miles away from the Mississippi, where this water's just backed up and the water went up in these low- lying areas and caught neighborhoods and caught houses and forced people into shelters.

We have got several hundred people in shelters tonight, and they're likely to be there for a while because all of the water that's here is going to stay here for a while. It's going to take weeks for all of this water to retreat back to where it belongs. There are some estimates that say the Mississippi will not be back in its banks here, Anderson, until some time in June.

COOPER: Wow. How -- how prepared was Memphis for the flooding?

MATTINGLY: Well, fortunately, this was a very slow-moving disaster. So, everyone here had plenty of time to watch it.

They had a lot of computer models telling them what the river was going to do, how high it was going to be, where it was going to affect low-lying areas. And it performed exactly the way they thought it would. So, they were going -- able to be out in front, going and warning homeowners in specific areas that you that need to get out of here; don't wait until the water's in the street like this before you decide to move out.

So, no one was really caught by surprise by this flood. But it's just so immense. The last time I saw flooding that could compare to this was at Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

But by just the scale of this, this flood is just absolutely phenomenal. And all of this water that has been threatening Memphis, even though, it's crested here, it is going be moving South and getting bigger and setting even greater high water marks -- historic high water marks -- all the way down the Mississippi.

COOPER: Unbelievable. David Mattingly, appreciate it. Thanks for the reporting.

That bulge of water passing Memphis is moving southward, as David was saying. It eventually will reach the Gulf of Mexico. It's still got a long way to go before it gets there and has the potential to do a lot more damage along the way.

Chad Myers is in the weather center in Atlanta.

Chad, where is it going and how much worse is it going to get?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It still has to move all the way, Anderson, all the way from Memphis down through Vicksburg and Natchez, and all the way through Baton Rouge, and eventually, to New Orleans.

And it won't peak. It won't crest at New Orleans for another two weeks. That's how slow this water goes.

So, yes, today and tomorrow will be the peak at Memphis, and it will begin to go down a little. But I just want to show you this. Not a very interesting graphic color-wise, but this is the water level for Memphis for the next 10 days. It only goes down six inches in the next four days proper. So, for 96 hours, it's going to stay where it is.

And that's the risk and that's the threat for the rest of the country from Memphis southward, that this water is just going to stay up for a long time. These levees that we depend on are going to get saturated. Some may fail.

Now, if nothing goes wrong, big cities are all protected. That said, it may not work out all that perfectly.

This is an area here, and it's hard to tell, but this is Kentucky right through here. Here's Arkansas. Everywhere that's pink is 15 inches of rain or more for April. Some purple at 20 inches or more.

And some white spots here, we don't even know how high they go, they're off the chart. They're 20 inches and more in 30 days' worth of rain. So, that's why they have today opened up what's called the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

This is what it looked like when they opened the spillway in 2008. The river comes down and it should just go by New Orleans. But if they don't open it or if they didn't, the level of the river would have only been six inches below the top of that dirt berm.

Now, you know -- Anderson, you and I have been down there, Jackson Square, New Orleans. That dirt berm is huge. You have to climb all the way up and to get to the top to look over to the other side. Could you imagine the water only being six inches from the top?

So, they dump water into Lake Pontchartrain. The problem is it's full of pesticides, of fertilizer, of oil, of sewage plants that overflowed. So, all this stuff is now pouring into Pontchartrain.

Last year oil, tar balls. This year, probably, an algae bloom because of all the fertilizer. And all of the fish now saying wait a minute, what is this you're pouring into my lake? They're all either headed out hopefully or they're going to perish.

Just another hit right here for New Orleans at Lake Pontchartrain.

COOPER: We're going to continue to follow it. Chad, appreciate it. Thanks for the explanation.

We're following a couple other stories tonight. Isha Sesay has a 360 bulletin -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a shootout between Mexico's Navy and suspected drug traffickers left 12 gang members and one member of the Navy dead. It happened on Falcon Lake, along the Texas border with Mexico.

Now, you may recall, that's the same lake where an American, David Hartley (ph), was reportedly shot and killed in September. He and his wife, Tiffany, were jet-skiing when she says they were attacked. Hartley's body was never found.

Police in Long Island, New York, say that four sets of remains found in March and April near a deserted beach are the work of another killer and are not linked to a suspected serial killing case. In that case, the bodies of four women, all said to be sex workers, were discovered along that same desolate stretch of beach last November -- last December, I should say.

When actress Lindsay Lohan appears in court on Wednesday, sources say she will plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of stealing a necklace. She's expected to receive no more than a two-week sentence. But Lohan is already serving 120 days in jail for violating her probation.

And, Anderson, Justin Bieber is being called a brat. Actress Marg Helgenberger says when Bieber did a guest stint on "CSI," "Crime Scene Investigation" --

COOPER: Why is that picture up there?

SESAY: I don't know.

He was in her words kind of a brat on the set, doing things like locking one producer in a closet, putting his fist through a cake --

COOPER: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. We just put a picture of me when I was like 9 years old on "To Tell the Truth." You're talking about Justin Bieber being a brat. Are you saying I was a brat?

SESAY: I would never say you're a brat, kind of weird as a kid.

COOPER: How did -- where did this picture suddenly materialize from?

SESAY: Control room, would you like to share?

COOPER: I'm being told in the control room it was a technical glitch. I don't believe that for a second.

SESAY: You do look kind of odd, though. I mean, let's face it.

COOPER: I was pretending to be Wally Naughtin, the world's youngest bear trainer, on "To Tell the Truth."

SESAY: Of course, you were.

COOPER: I got two votes. Nipsey Russell and Kitty Carlisle Hart. That's right.

SESAY: Yes. As I say, not too far away from Justin Bieber.

Now, Bieber fired back in a tweet, saying -- you should hear this. "It's kind of lame when someone you met briefly and never worked with --

COOPER: I'm not hearing any of this. I'm just thinking about people I'm going to fire.


COOPER: No, sorry.

SESAY: Well, in that case, I think you look kind of cute if you're firing people.



COOPER: Wow. Yes.


COOPER: Yes. SESAY: Yes. You're welcome.

COOPER: All right. I don't -- yes. All right. Isha, thank you.

We'll get back with you in a little bit. We'll try to get this technical thing worked out. And by worked out, I mean we'll replace several people.

Up next: the tale of Eman al-Obeidy. The good news about Eman -- she was able to get out of Libya. We'll tell you what we know about how she did that and where she's going next.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: The killing of bin Laden knocked other important stories out of the headlines last week, like what's happening in Libya. So, we want to bring you up to speed on developments there.

We got word a short time ago that several big blasts rocked the capital city of Tripoli tonight after jets roared overhead. A government spokesman tells CNN that airstrikes hit the central part of Tripoli, including government buildings and a hospital. We cannot confirm that independently.

Also, rebels there are trying to oust Moammar Gadhafi. The opposition forces there say they have launched an attack on his forces only 14 miles from Tripoli, killing 12.

This comes as people in Misrata, which is still besieged, say that Gadhafi's forces are pounding the city without mercy, inflicting heavy casualties. Many severely wounded. People got out aboard an aid ship and are being treated in Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in eastern Libya.

Meanwhile, the head of NATO said today that Gadhafi's regime has no future and that NATO forces are making progress against him. But he doesn't know how long Gadhafi will hold on.

And now, the case of Eman al-Obeidy. She's the Libyan woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel back in March, telling international journalists staying there that she'd been beaten and gang-raped by Gadhafi's men. She was then taken away.

Later, she told CNN that she'd lived in fear for speaking out, was constantly being harassed, and she wasn't being able to get out of Libya, to leave Tripoli.

Well, the good news is she got out of Libya late last week, crossing into Tunisia. She's now made her way to Doha, which is in Qatar. And that's where Nic Robertson joins us tonight.

Nic, what do we know? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's an amazing journey. Her escape from Libya took her through the mountains, along roads that are peppered with army checkpoints.

And the viewers will remember when she's already tried to escape the country once, she got literally as far as the border, as far as handing over a passport, but border control recognized her name. It took her all the way back to Tripoli. She wasn't allowed out of the city at all.

So, her escape this time is an incredible journey through the mountains of Libya to the border of -- to the border of Tunisia, and then getting across that border.

When she met with CNN's Khalil Abdullah, she began by telling him how she hid her face so she could get out.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hiding her face, Eman al-Obeidy shows how she fled to freedom. For the first time in almost two months, she is calm and happy.


ROBERTSON: It is eight weeks since she burst into a Tripoli hotel full of journalists alleging brutal rape by Gadhafi's forces. At the same time, capturing the world's attention was Gadhafi's heavy- handed thugs tried to silence her. Hotel staff put a bag on her head. Another pulled a knife. Journalists trying to protect her were beaten as she was led away. She has barely been seen since then.

In a Tunisian safe house not far from the border with Libya, she met with CNN's Khalil Abdullah to tell him how she got away.

EMAN AL-OBEIDY, ALLEGED RAPE VICTIM (through translator): We left very normally, of course. I was wearing -- bring me that. It's a traditional tribal headwear, amaziriyah (ph), which was given to me by my friend's mother. I was wearing it, and, indeed, you can't see anything apart from my one eye.

ROBERTSON: Across the room, two defecting Libyan army officers who made her dangerous escape across the border possible.

She explains they took mountain roads. At each of the many government checkpoints, the officers, using their military identity documents to evade capture.

AL-OBEIDY: Even on the mountain roads, when the brigades were stopping us, he was giving his military permit.


AL-OBEIDY: No. It was during the day.

ABDULLAH: Was it a hard road to drive on?

AL-OBEIDY: It was a little hard. There were checkpoints and the brigades. There were checkpoints.

ROBERTSON: Her freedom is already weighing heavily on her, worried about Libyan agents. She is still not sure of her next steps, whether it's safe for her to go back to Libya to see her parents in the rebel-held east.

AL-OBEIDY: I still don't know what I'm going to do. Of course, I'd like to see my family. I have called some relatives of mine in Egypt, but still did not hear back from them.

ROBERTSON: Her smile belies her confusion. Freedom has never tasted so good. Outside the safe house, diplomats are helping secure her safety. A French embassy vehicle sent to take her on the eight- hour drive to Tunisia's capital.

(on camera): Since she arrived here at the French embassy in Tunis around midnight Saturday night, Eman al-Obeidy has dropped out of sight. A source tells us that a diplomatic protection team is helping her and that President Nicolas Sarkozy is taking an intimate interest in her every movement.

The lady who came to symbolize the Libyan struggle is now for the first time getting the help she so long craved.


COOPER: Nic, why do we think she's now in Doha in Qatar? Do we know?

ROBERTSON: It's not quite clear why she's here. What we do know, Anderson, is that this is where the Transitional National Council of Libya, the rebel leadership, if you will, they certainly have a lot of representatives here. They're certainly getting a lot of support in Qatar. And this would certainly be a place where she could expect to get their help, find some quiet moments, and also feel safe.

Even when she was in Tunisia there, she was very afraid that she was being followed by Libyan agents. So, here in Qatar, she'll be able to rest, really relax, just not feel the pressure of being so close to Libya, and try and figure out what she wants to do next.

And, of course, for the opposition movement, she's become such a figure of everything that they're struggling to overcome in Libya. She's a hugely important figure for the opposition as well now, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Nic Robertson, appreciate your report from Qatar tonight.

Coming up, a photo that's become iconic the moment it was released. President Obama and high-level members of his staff being updated on the mission to kill bin Laden. One of the most striking parts is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's expression. So, why did a newspaper in New York actually erase her from the picture when they printed it and erase another woman who's in the picture? Details on that.

And later, the "Ridiculist." The cast of "Jersey Shore," they are not on the list. No, no, no, no. They were all packed up, ready to go to Italy.

Someone stopped them. And then that someone -- that someone ends up on tonight's "Ridiculist" -- coming up.


COOPER: A lot going on. Isha Sesay joins us again with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, human rights groups say security forces in Syria have raided homes arbitrarily, arresting hundreds of people, and they're using soccer stadiums as makeshift prisons in at least two cities. CNN cannot independently confirm those reports because our visa requests have been repeatedly denied.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is taking the state's controversial immigration law to the Supreme Court. The law would, among other things, require local law enforcement to help deport illegal immigrants. And an appeals court has blocked it.

The Obama administration is rolling out $2 billion in funding for high-speed rail development in 15 states. Nearly $3 million of that goes to reducing train delays in and out of Manhattan.

And, Anderson, the iconic photo of the president and his national security team getting updated on the bin Laden mission is making a different kind of headline tonight. A Hasidic newspaper based in Brooklyn doctored the photo to take out the two women in the room, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counterterrorism director, Audrey Thomason.

Bloggers who write about the ultra-orthodox Jewish community say female faces and bodies are often censored because any photos of women can be considered sexually suggestive. The White House isn't commenting.

It's just flabbergasting.

COOPER: Flabbergasting indeed. Almost as flabbergasting as the videotape of me on "To Tell the Truth" at 9.

SESAY: Can we say that again?

COOPER: Do we actually have the audio on that? Do we?

SESAY: Would you like to explain the outfit, though? Because I think it's lost on our viewers.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you taught at home or do you really go to I school?

COOPER: I'm taught at the circus.


COOPER: Yes, I was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you still afraid of some bears?

COOPER: No. Not really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are all bears safe --


COOPER: This was me on "To Tell the Truth" when I was like, I think, like, 9 years old. I was pretending to be Wally Naughtin, the world's youngest bear trainer. And there was another impostor as well. And I got more votes than the real guy. I got two votes.

SESAY: You got two.


SESAY: That's nothing to write home about.

COOPER: Nothing to write home about. The real guy got one vote and then they got a sympathy vote for the other kid because he could barely say his name.

SESAY: What's with the purple thing on your head?

COOPER: It's a Russian bear trainer costume. I didn't design it.

SESAY: Of course.

COOPER: That's what the bear trainers wear at -- it was at the Vargas Circus, or the Circus Vargas.

SESAY: Oh, it all makes so much sense.

COOPER: It is. There's Joe Garagiola, the host. The bear didn't like Joe Garagiola as I recall.

SESAY: You're frightening me now. So, stop.

COOPER: All right.

(LAUGHTER) COOPER: All right. Time for the "Ridiculist."

And, tonight, a new chapter in "Ridiculist" history. It's not a mere name we're adding, it's an entire country. And yes, Italy, I'm looking at you.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Italy. I love the food. I love the wine.

I love the culture. I love the history. I love the people. I love Venice, Rome, Sicily, and so many other places in Italy.

But I've got to take a stand here because things have just gotten -- well, they've spiraled out of control, frankly. I'm not talking about Berlusconi and his bunga-bunga parties with young models and prostitutes, allegedly. Italy has really crossed the line this time. They are depriving me of my Snooki.

Now, you may have heard -- you may have heard the fourth season of "Jersey Shore" was supposed to be videoed -- filmed in Italy, right? The cast was all packed up, ready to go over the weekend, until Italy revoked the filming permits and they had to turn around and come back home. They didn't even get out of Newark airport.

Now, when I think of my Snooki, passport in hand, luggage full of slippers and hairspray, all poofed up with nowhere to go, it hurts my heart.

MTV is playing the whole thing down, saying that it's just a temporary delay because Italy's president will be in Florence this week and they're waiting for his visit to be over and that it's all cooperation and amore.

I'm not buying it. Something does not sound right. There are some reports that the mayor of Florence doesn't want "Jersey Shore" to film at the city's landmarks and he doesn't want there to be any drinking, which is outrageous on both counts.

First of all, I guarantee you, Snooki and Vinny and JWoww and Sammi Sweetheart and all the rest aren't interested in going to the landmarks of Florence. Unless, of course, you're talking about a totally banging nightclub called the Landmarks of Florence. Although now that I think of it, I guess it's possible the gang might want to check out the abs on Michelangelo's David because when you think of it, he really is the original juicehead. But other than that, I really don't think there's anything to worry about.

Now, Italy, your landmarks are going to be fine. As for drinking, how can you not want drinking on "Jersey Shore"? That's like "Star Trek" without the Enterprise. That's like "Twin Peaks" without Laura Palmer.

You know what? The analogies aren't even enough. "Jersey Shore" without drinking is exactly like this -- and first of all, a warning: this may be disturbingly boring to some viewers.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Hold it down over here for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if I'm best friends in the world with them, I want a room where I can bring girls back to (EXPLETIVE DELETED), you know? And that's -- I can't do that in front of Sammi.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. What's going on?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo. Nice sleeping.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a bed for you, dog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one's mine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The room situation's all screwed up. Like Ronnie and Sam are upstairs, and there's an extra bed with them, kind of awkward. It's like I don't want to get that room, boring room. But there's a bed right next to Vinny's, which is I'm cool with that. I'll just bunk with Vinny.


COOPER: Shut up! "Jersey snore." They have to drink. They have to party. They have to throw up and have sex again and start drinking again and then throwing up again and having sex again. That's what they do. They have to start filming whether the president is in town or not in Italy.

It will be fine because, honestly, I think if we've learned anything from seasons one, two, and three, is that the cast knows how to behave like gentlemen and like ladies.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whatever your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) name is. Shut up.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ooh, here it comes.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want to piss off (INAUDIBLE) like that because even though we're tiny bitches, I don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I will attack you like a squirrel monkey.


COOPER: Just like a squirrel monkey. This show has to start filming in Italy and soon. Where else will I get my "Jersey Shore" style entertainment? I mean, sure, I caught a drunk guy peeing on the door of my apartment building here in New York a few weeks ago. Actually, it happened. True story. Swear to God.

But I don't know. It just didn't have the same, you know, je ne sais quoi Snooki. So, Italy, please, cough up the filming permits. Let Snooki and company grace your shores. Do that and we'll gladly refrain from attacking you -- well, like a squirrel monkey. And we'll take you out of "Ridiculist," I promise.

We'll check in back with the breaking news, the real news, at the top of the hour. What we know now about Osama bin Laden's wives. We'll be right back.