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Muslim Brotherhood's White House Charm Offensive; Romney's "Wounds of Victory"; Caffeine, Tylenol, Arsenic in Chicken Feed?; Bounty for Injuries; Plane Crashes into Supermarket

Aired April 5, 2012 - 17:00   ET



Happening now, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood launches a massive charm offensive at the White House amid escalating concerns here in the United States that Egypt could be taking a very dangerous turn one year since the historic revolution.

Also, the NFL coach in the middle of a bounty scandal caught on tape telling his players to, quote, "kill -- kill an opponent's head" and to target another suffering from a concussion. You're going to hear the new audio.

And caffeine, Tylenol, even arsenic, all potentially in the chicken we eat?

Just ahead, the stunning details of new studies.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


Egypt's controversial Muslim Brotherhood is holding high level meetings at the White House and the State Department in an effort to ease growing U.S. concerns about the country's uncertain and potentially ominous political future.

Our White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar, has been investigating this story for us -- Brianna, what is the latest?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the White House is really threading the needle here as they deal with this controversial, but very important group that is now the predominant political faction in Egypt. The success of this new Egyptian government is key for the US. The treaty that Egypt observes with Israel is key to stability in the region. And right now, following this revolution, Egypt is in a very fragile state, dealing with some very serious economic problems.


KEILAR: (voice-over): The Muslim Brotherhood is on a goodwill tour in Washington. Abdel Mawgood Al Darderi

Abdel, an American educated member of Egypt's new parliament, is the senior member of the delegation.

ABDEL MAWGOOD AL DARDERI, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: The specific goal is to build the bridges of understanding between the two democracies, the Egyptian democracy and the American democracy.

KEILAR: The Muslim Brotherhood is a prominent Islamic organization in the Middle East. When Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt, the group was banned. They provide social services like schools, but it also supports fundamentalist Islamic teachings and has, at times, supported violence.

Here's how then FBI Director Robert Mueller described the Brotherhood last year, as Egypt was in the throes of a revolution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM FEB 2001) ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: And I've got to say, at the outset, that, quite obviously, elements of the Muslim Brotherhood here and overseas have supported terrorism.


MUELLER: To the extent that I can provide more information, I would be happy to do so in closed session.


KEILAR: Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood met this week with Bill Burns, a deputy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and White House officials, including Steve Simon, a high level national security adviser to President Obama.

Amid concerns by some the Brotherhood will turn Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamic state, the White House defended the outreach.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We believe it is in our interests to engage with Egypt, in part, in an effort to encourage Egypt to maintain its commitment to its international obligations and to maintain its -- to maintain a positive role in the region.

KEILAR: The Brotherhood controls the new Egyptian parliament and could win the presidency. And since Egypt is a linchpin for peace in the Middle East, the U.S. is keeping the lines of communication open.

Eric Trager, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is skeptical the Brotherhood will actually follow a moderate path. But he says the talks are a must.

ERIC TRAGER, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: And we sort of have no choice but to talk to them. We should have very little illusion, though, about the possibility that the Brotherhood might actually change.

(END VIDEO TAPE) KEILAR: Now, Wolf, these Muslim Brotherhood officials who are here and who met with officials at the State Department and the White House, they're not, by any stretch of the imagination the top decision makers in the Muslim Brotherhood. They're really seen as spokespeople. They're very fluent in English, very familiar with American customs. And the White House is really downplaying the level of the discussions, at least here at the White House, saying that these are mid-level advisers, but also trying to justify keeping these lines of communication open, saying that it's essential -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brianna, thanks very much.

Our Brianna Keilar over at the White House.

Let's dig a little bit deeper right now.

Joining us, the Middle East scholar, Fouad Ajami. He's a senior fellow at The Hoover Institution.

And our national security contributor and former Bush homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend -- Fran, first to you.

What do you make of the decision to invite these kinds of meetings at the White House and the State Department, with representatives of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it is true to say, Wolf, you know, we -- we don't get to pick who other -- other democracies elect. And so we have to deal with who rep -- who are the elected officials, representatives, of those other civilians' governments. And so in that respect, you don't have much choice.

But here's where the choice does come in that I have some concern about. I think it's awfully soon to have invited the Muslim Brotherhood into the State Department, into the White House. We -- we can quibble whether these are senior or -- or mid-level officials in the National Security Council. You'd be sure that the Muslim Brotherhood will play this politically in Egypt as having been very senior and important meetings.

And I think what you want to do is not be seen as trying to curry favor with one political party or another prior to the Egyptian presidential election.

And so I understand the engagement, but that's what we have embassies for. And I think that's the channel to keep the dialogue open and to begin to have a level of understanding until after. I -- I would have waited to have White House meetings until after the presidential election.

BLITZER: Yes, Bill Burns, the deputy secretary of State, is not a junior or mid-level official. He's a very senior official, indeed, the number two official at the State Department, just under Hillary Clinton.

Fouad, explain to our viewers, because most of them really don't know what the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt wants right now.

Give us a -- a very brief explanation of what their goals are for Egypt.

FOUAD AJAMI, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, Wolf, it's remarkable, because, of course, the Muslim Brotherhood is good at takia (ph), you know, this Islamic term of concealment, of doublespeak. So to the Egyptian people and to the people who voted for the Brotherhood and gave them dominance in the parliament, the Brotherhood said they -- they want the Sharia. They want Islamic law. To American officials, they say that they want a civil state, that they're ready for a civil state.

I think the dialogue that matters isn't really being carried out in Washington. I mean this visit is interesting, but it's not really where the work is being done and the deal is being cut.

The deal has been cut on the ground. Ambassador Patterson in Cairo has been dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood. And a decision has been made in the Obama administration -- and avoid a, you know, you can't avoid that decision. The decision has been made, we were dealing with autocrats, now we have to deal with the theocrats. Hopefully, at some day in the near future, we may get to deal with the democrats. We're not there yet.

BLITZER: Because, as you know, Fouad, among the Palestinians, Hamas was really democratically elected. In Lebanon, Hezbollah democratically elected.


BLITZER: And -- and the question is, the Muslim Brotherhood, if they win the presidential election in Egypt, which they probably will, democratically elected. So as Fran says and others have said, you've got to be careful what you wish for. If you want a democracy, you're going to live with the consequences.

AJAMI: Well, the ballot doesn't give us everything we want. The ballot box is very peculiar, if you will. And, in fact, Egypt showed the weakness of the liberal democrats. And I think even as -- as we were looking now at May and June, when there is the presidential election, the odds are that this new candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat al-Shater, may emerge as the president.

And so there is this balance in Egypt. The parliament is controlled by the Brotherhood. They may win the presidency. And then you have the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. You have the officer corps balancing them. And then you have the liberals. And the liberals are lost. We don't hear much about Muhammad ElBaradei. We don't hear much about Amr Moussa. I don't think he really is that much of a liberal. But nevertheless, this is the landscape of Egyptian politics.

BLITZER: It's not exactly what a lot of people thought would happen a year ago, during the Tahrir Square revolution, as it's called -- Fran, when you said earlier that you would have waited until after the election, you're talking about the U.S. election or the Egyptian election?

TOWNSEND: The Egyptian presidential election, I'm sorry, Wolf. And, you know, you mentioned Ham -- the Hamas and Hezbollah being elected in both -- in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. I will tell you, during the Bush administration, just because they were elected, because they did not share our values, our diplomats were not dealing with Hamas directly. They were not dealing with Hezbollah, because of their history of supporting terrorist activities. And so I mean I -- I really do think the fact that -- to Fouad's point -- the fact that you're elected isn't the only test, isn't the only question we need to ask.

We have to be asking, are we comfortable dealing with your demonstrated history and the values that you represent?

BLITZER: But, Fran, Hamas and Hezbollah are both on the State Department's list of terror organizations. The Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt is not.

TOWNSEND: No, that's right, Wolf. And that -- that is a distinction. But my point earlier had been, look, if you're going to have to begin to create a dialogue and understand what they're all about, what the Muslim Brotherhood's governing agenda is going to be, there is a presidential election coming up in Egypt. They will be vying for control of the presidency, as well as the parliament. And you don't want to be seen as playing favorites.

And so my point is the time to make these decisions -- you'll have the open channels of communication at the embassy in Cairo. But the time to make decisions about whether or not to give someone access to senior American policymakers is after the Egyptian presidential election.

BLITZER: Fran Townsend, Fouad Ajami, guys, thanks very much for coming in.

AJAMI: Thank you.

BLITZER: Caffeine, Tylenol, even arsenic, all potential ingredients in the chicken we eat. Just ahead, stunning new details in a brand new research study.

Stand by.

The NFL coach in the middle of a bounty scandal caught on tape telling his players to, quote, "kill -- kill an opponent's head." You're going to hear the disturbing new audio just coming in.

And shocking new images captured inside a grocery store only moments after a plane plunges through.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with the Cafferty File -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the 2012 presidential race is still seven months away. But perhaps not surprisingly, a lot are already eyeing 2016 and Hillary Clinton. The secretary of State, former New York senator, former first lady, generating a lot of buzz, even though she insists it's not happening.

Nancy Pelosi became the latest to weigh in on Hillary's future, saying it would be, quote, "So exciting to see Mrs. Clinton run in 2016."

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Donald Trump, even her husband, Bill Clinton, have been talking about it, as well, along with the chattering class of pundits.

The coauthor of "Game Change" recently said there's a 99.4 percent chance chance Hillary will run for president in four years. Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Maureen Dowd, suggested that maybe President Obama isn't a strong enough advocate for women and that Hillary Clinton might benefit from renewed focus on issues like abortion and birth control.

Ever the politician, the former president is leaving the door open for his wife to take a run. Bill Clinton says, quote, "I believe she's being absolutely honest when she says she doesn't think she'll go back into politics." But then he adds that if Hillary changes her mind and decides to run for president he would, quote, "be happy."

For her part, Hillary Clinton has said she doesn't want to serve a second term in the Obama administration.


CAFFERTY: Pardon me.

She says she wants to finish up as secretary of State and then take time to reconnect with family and friends, hit the writing and speaking circuit, etc. Hillary Clinton says all the talk about running for president is flattering, but that she's not at all planning to do that. She says she has no desire or intention to run.

So here's the question, why is there so much interest in a 2016 Hillary Clinton run for the White House?

Go to and post a comment or go to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM'S Facebook page.

I think maybe you never say never -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Never say never. And you know what, even if you say never, you can always change your mind. It's a free country.

We can do that, right -- Jack?

CAFFERTY: You got it.

BLITZER: OK. Thanks, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Right. BLITZER: Mitt Romney is way ahead of his Republican rivals in the delegate count. President Obama is publicly going after him and him alone.

But has the political damage to Romney already been done?

Joining us now is columnist Joe Klein.

He write in the newest issue of "Time Magazine," our sister publication. He says Romney's candidacy has suffered, quote, "long- term damage."

Joe, thanks very much for coming in.

I'll read a line from your column, which is excellent, as usual.


BLITZER: "There is a deeper problem for Romney," you write. "He seems a figure from the Great Depression, a combination of Daddy Warbucks and Old Man Potter. He celebrates creative destruction at a time when the destruction has been a bit too creative. He talks a lot about firing people. He just can't help himself."

But explain the basic premise of what you're writing.

KLEIN: Well, I think that that's -- that's a Romney-related part of what -- part of it. But there's a broader problem here, which is that the Republican base really dragged these candidates well, well to the right of the American people. And Romney has suffered some real damage with Latinos, with women, with people in the Midwestern states, like Ohio and Michigan, because of the stance that he had to take during the course of the campaign. And -- and his problem is reinforced by the fact that he often seems clueless talking about, you know, the creative destruction and -- and about the joys of firing people.

In his -- you know, you were covering it the other night when he gave his victory speech in Wisconsin. And all of a sudden he's talking about the closing down of steel mills in Chicago in the '70s and '80s and how Barack Obama saw free enterprise as the -- as the enemy and government as the solution.

Well, you know, to celebrate free enterprise because steel mills closed down is an argument that isn't going to win you all that many points with most American people, including steelworkers.

BLITZER: I spoke with Nikki Haley, the governor of -- of South Carolina, in the last hour. I pointed out, according to all the polls, Romney has a major problem with women voters out there. And you write about this yourself.

What can he do to -- to improve his image among these women voters, because in these swing states, according to that Gallup Poll, he is way behind the president. KLEIN: Well, you know, he can't do anything too obvious. And that's the problem. I mean, you know, Etch-A-Sketching is possible, but it has to be done gradually and with a certain amount tact and also good grace and also humor. And -- and these are qualities we haven't seen him display all that often on the campaign trail.

I mean, you know, what's going to loosen the guy up?

I don't know if anything can loosen him up. But I think that, you know, the -- he was at his strongest as a candidate when he was emphasizing his strengths, which are, you know, his ability to manage things. And if he can reinforce that by, you know, selecting a vice president who shares those strengths and says, look, the federal government's a mess, we're going to bring it under control, he has some credibility with that. And then you start with the thing that you're good at and maybe you can build off of that.

BLITZER: Joe Klein writes for "Time" magazine.

Joe, thanks, as usual, for coming in.

KLEIN: My pleasure.

BLITZER: Thank you.

You may have read his best-selling book, but the author of "Three Cups for Tea" is not all he's cracked up to be.

Why he's now paying back $1 million to his own charity.

And the White House has a message for Augusta National -- what it's now saying about the club's controversial all male policy. We'll have details right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Mary Snow is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now, including the United Nations ramping up the pressure on Syria to end the violence.

What's the latest -- Mary?


Well, the world body says nothing has changed since Syrian agreed to a peace deal. The Syrian government says it's taken steps to stop the violence, including withdrawing troops and expanding access to the Red Cross. But the U.N. says more needs to be done, with the cease- fire being top priority. The opposition says 61 people were killed across the country today.

U.K. news channel, Sky News, says it authorized its journalists to illegally hack into e-mail accounts on two occasions. The head of the company says suspected criminal activity made the hacking, quote, "editorially justified and in the public interest." Now, this comes two days after James Murdoch stepped down as chairman of the company that owns Sky News.

"Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson is agreeing to pay back over $1 million to the charity he co-founded after an investigation by the Montana Department of Justice finds he mismanaged funds and spent money on personal items, such as charter flights for family vacations, that was intended for schools overseas. Mortenson has also come under fire for allegedly fabricating details in his best-selling book.

And President Obama and Mitt Romney can agree on one thing -- Augusta National should allow women. The exclusive club, which hosts the Masters golf tournament each year, has had an all male membership policy since opening in 1932. The White House and Romney were each asked about it today. And both say they want women to be admitted -- and, Wolf, Newt Gingrich is now also weighing in, Tweeting, he says: "I think Callista would be a great member. Maybe she would let me come play."

BLITZER: Yes. She -- she likes to play golf. We know that. And she's pretty good.

Thanks very much for that, Mary.

Caffeine, Tylenol, even arsenic might be part of the feed given to chicken. Just ahead, stunning new details in a pair of studies. Plus, we'll talk to former Agriculture secretary, Dan Glickman.

Also ahead, the NFL coach in the middle of a bounty scandal caught on tape telling his players to, quote, "kill" an opponent's head. You're going to hear the disturbing new audio just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: A pair of new studies are raising questions about the safety of the chicken on our tables. The studies are getting a lot of attention because of a column in the "New York Times" today by Nicholas Kristof, who writes, among other things, "I grew up on a farm and that I knew what to expect in my food, but Benadryl, arsenic? These studies don't mean that you should dump the contents of your refrigerator, but they do raise serious questions about the food we eat and how we should shop."

We asked our own Mary Snow to take a closer look into this story. It affects almost all of us, everybody who eats chicken.

What are you finding out -- Mary?

SNOW: Well, Wolf, researchers say they expecting to find antibiotics. But they didn't expect to find traces of ones that were banned. And the poultry industry is responding.


SNOW (voice-over): Two recent studies raise questions about what may be in chicken. The findings surprised the Johns Hopkins assistant professor who worked on both studies -- studies that were brought to light by "New York Times" columnist, Nicholas Kristof.

The goal was to look for antibiotics in poultry, which are used for growth. But they tested for other chemicals, too.

KEEVE NACHMAN, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR LIVABLE FUTURE: It was pure surprise. We -- we -- they were included as part of the -- the chemical panel that we used to test for antibiotics, which we did expect to find. And it was -- it was quite shocking to us.

SNOW: Keeve Nachman says in addition to finding four antibiotics banned more than five years ago, he also found the active ingredients of Tylenol and Benadryl, caffeine and even arsenic. He says he's heard from farmers' anecdotes that some over-the-counter medications are given to animals so they won't have tense muscles which can lead to tougher meat, but he says there's no evidence of an immediate danger to people eating chicken because he didn't study chicken meat. He studied feather meal. Feather meal (ph) is a byproduct used as a supplement to feed animals.

NACHMAN: We didn't look directly at chicken meat so we can only make inferences as to what we think might be in the meat based on what we found in the feathers and what it says to me is we really need to do a more thorough investigation of what drug residues are left behind in chicken meat as a result of what we choose to feed animals.

SNOW: The National Chicken Council is shooting down the studies saying "as the study's authors point out this study only looked at feathers, not meat." The group adds "Chickens in the U.S. produced for meat are not given arsenic as an additive in chicken feed or any of the other compounds mentioned in this study." A product that contained organic arsenic was removed from the market last year. A veterinarian who works closely with the poultry industry also says inorganic arsenic is a common heavy metal found in soil and plants.

CHARLIES HOFACRE, DEPT. OF AVIAN MEDICINE, UNIV. OF GEORGIA: Most of the poultry seed is either corn, 75 percent corn with a 10 or 15 percent soybean meal, there is a possibility there could be some low levels of inorganic arsenic in the corn and soybean they eat.

SNOW: Keeve Nachman says while there may not be an immediate danger, more research is needed.

NACHMAN: It only tells us that it would be worth looking in meat because some of the residues may also be there, but we can't say with certainty that they are.


SNOW: Now a spokeswoman for the FDA tells us that the agency hasn't had enough time to review the studies in depth and that the use of the antibiotics mentioned in the study have been prohibited in poultry since 2004. And Wolf, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association also just came out with a statement saying the some of the antibiotics cited in this study were not used in the poultry industry. BLITZER: Mary Snow thanks very much. Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with the former agriculture secretary during the Clinton administration, Dan Glickman, he's now a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center here in Washington. Is chicken safe to eat? Can I go home and have chicken tonight?

DAN GLICKMAN, FORMER AGRICULTURE SECRETARY: Yes and I'm sure we're going to have chicken tonight, as well. Bit I think that the studies -- I think the story was a very good study. I think the studies are a bit alarming. I think we need more research into the whole issue of ingredients and the government needs to have the resources to do adequate testing and adequate reports so both the industry and the public know what's in their food. So while I don't think there's anything cataclysmic on the short term, I do think that it is worrisome that they found the residues of these things in the feed.

BLITZER: If you were still secretary of agriculture, what would you do?

GLICKMAN: Well most of the authority is in the hands of the FDA because they regulate food safety. They do need to have the resources. They need to have the people who are doing testing. They need the people who are doing reports and we do need to give the public the kind of information -- there's one thing that's changed dramatically over the last 30 or 40 years. People want to know what's in their food and they want to know what's safe and they want to take action and so they demand that their government provides them the data for them to do that.

BLITZER: Organic chickens for example is it wise to forget about the regular chickens and just go with organic?

GLICKMAN: No, you heard that there was some organic product that actually had some of these residues in it as well. I mean there's no -- nothing inherently safe or unsafe about organic or non organic. People like to buy organic because they choose to not want to have antibiotics in their food or other kinds of things and that's a matter of choice, but we need to make sure that the overwhelming bulk of the product, 98, 99 percent which is not organic is safe and if people want to eat organic as I do on occasion that's fine.

BLITZER: I guess the shocking thing to me was why do they add all of these things into the chickens presumably? Why do they give them all of these drugs?

GLICKMAN: Well we don't know if all of these things are given, but let's remember that the way we produce animals is a lot different than we did 50 years ago. We have hundreds of thousands of animals in a very close, confined facility. Why is it? Because it's the nature of how we eat today. It's the nature of people working, both families working. We eat a lot of fast food so these animals move in and out of the cycle very fast, so the idea is to fatten them faster and make sure they're healthy. But when you have got 100,000 in a little confined area they're prone to get sick. That's why you give them medicines. BLITZER: I always want well-done meat, whether chicken or beef or whatever because I'm nervous about this kind of stuff, is that smart?

GLICKMAN: Well some food is better cooked well -- cooked more fully like for example salmonella it is cooked out.

BLITZER: That's a good reason to order well done.

GLICKMAN: Well it's a good reason to cook it thoroughly. You don't have to necessarily have it without any color to it, but some of these things like the antibiotics they cannot be cooked out so it depends on the thing you're talking about.

BLITZER: Dan Glickman thanks very much for coming in.

GLICKMAN: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: OK. New images coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now about a plane that crashed through the roof of a busy grocery store and guess what? Everyone miraculously survived. We're going to show you the pictures.

But first there's new audio also coming in of an NFL coach telling players to knock out -- knock out, hurt opponents and to get paid for it. You're going to hear the new audio. That's coming up.


BLITZER: All right. This just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM, one of the most shock sports stories in years, NFL players getting paid, paid to hurt other players deliberately. We're just getting new audio in from one of the coaches at the center of all this in which you will hear him telling his players to injure specific players on another team. Mary Snow has been going through the audiotapes. This is very, very troubling, Mary. What are you learning?

SNOW: Well, Wolf, let's go to some quick background before we play this clip. Multiple members of the New Orleans Saints were suspended for their involvement of the so-called bounty system. They were providing cash incentives to their players to injure members of an opposing team. Now four Saints were suspended. The head coach and assistant coach and the general manager and the coach at the center of the scandal, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Every Saint is appealing their suspension except Williams and he received the toughest punishment of all an indefinite suspension from the NFL. Now this new audio we're getting could explain perhaps why he's not appealing. Take a listen. This audio has been edited. This is what he told players before last year's playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. Take a listen.


GREGG WILLIAMS, FORMER NEW ORLEANS SAINTS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: "We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways. We need to find out in the first two series of the game the little wide receiver, number 10, about his concussion. We need to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) put a lick on him right now."

"We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a fake (EXPLETIVE DELETED) prima donna or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find that out. He becomes human when we (EXPLETIVE DELETED) take out that outside ACL."


SNOW: Frank Gore is the star running back for the 49ers and the number 10 he is referring to is wide receiver Kyle Williams (ph). Michael Crabtree is also wide receiver. Now the full clip which ESPN reports was released by a documentary filmmaker is over four minutes long. Obviously, that audio was edited. So you can imagine a lot of language that we can't play for you here on CNN.

We don't know for sure if the NFL saw this video and if played -- if it played a part in Gregg Williams's indefinite suspension. It seems likely this audio had something to do with the severe punishment. Wolf, I also want to point out that CNN has reached out to the producer of that documentary and to the New Orleans Saints. So far we have not gotten a response -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, pretty shocking stuff, horrible stuff especially for all of us who love the NFL and love football to hear a coach say you've got to take out his ACL. I mean it's pretty shocking stuff. We'll see where this investigation continues. Mary thanks very, very much.

The U.S. government is offering $10 million of your money to arrest a terror suspect, but the man is not even hiding. Has a news conference (INAUDIBLE) the offer of the bounty. What's going on here? And al Qaeda's communications network shut down. Who is behind this possible secret cyber attack? Stand by -- new information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: A seemingly bizarre bounty from the State Department is offering $10 million for a man who isn't even hiding. Our foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty is following the story for us. Jill, why would the United States government offer a reward for someone who is out there and not even hiding?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly the question. It does sound kind of strange, Wolf. But you know, both countries, as if things weren't bad enough already. Both countries are at odds now about this wanted man.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): With a $10 million U.S. reward on his head, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, India, holds a news conference in Pakistan and thumbs his nose at the U.S. HAFIZ MOHAMMAD SAEED, LEADER OF LASHKAR E-TAYYIBA (through translator): Why do you want to pay the bounty to someone else? Give it to me. I can let you know my daily schedule. I am available over the phone and address rallies of thousands daily.

DOUGHERTY: Saeed is the founder of the terrorist organization Lashkar e-Tayyiba. The state department says he helped plan the four- day long assault on Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans, but at Saeed's news conference Pakistani authorities took no steps to arrest him. He has not been indicted in the U.S. and Pakistan's foreign ministry says show us the proof. A former head of Pakistan's security service, the ISI, scoffs.

HAMID GUL, FORMER ISI HEAD: I think it is laughable. It is ridiculous. The timing is wrong. The intent is wrong. The method is wrong.

DOUGHERTY: Why is the State Department offering the reward for someone who is in plain view? The reward, officials say, is not aimed at finding out at where Saeed is, but at getting enough information to have him arrested or convicted.

MARK TONER, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: He is clearly trying to bask in the media attention. We just hope that -- and reiterate that our offer is very real.

DOUGHERTY: CNN's terrorist analyst Peter Bergen believes the State Department has bungled the case of the $10 million man.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: He's going around the country you know appearing live with the chat shows and having huge rallies and it seems to have kind of backfired because the idea was for the Pakistani government to arrest him and that's not going to happen.


DOUGHERTY: And this reward has complicated relations as well between Pakistan and India. Meanwhile, Saeed says that he's going to be holding a public rally this Friday in Lahore and his brother who happens to have a $2 million reward on his head says that he is going to be holding a demonstration and rally in Islamabad -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What I don't understand, Jill is why the U.S. is paying a reward for this guy, why isn't India? The terror attack in Mumbai was in India. It didn't happen on U.S. soil.

DOUGHERTY: That is true, but there were Americans who were killed and also, you know, you have to look at what the Pakistanis think about this. Why isn't he being picked up and they say there is simply not enough proof. You give us that proof and maybe we'll do something, but it does not look as if they're going do anything at this point.

BLITZER: Is the U.S. going to give him some proof? Is the U.S. going to share intelligence information with the Pakistanis? DOUGHERTY: Well that's always complicated, isn't it? But in this case, I would presume you would have to think that they would want to show and make their case.

BLITZER: Jill Dougherty at the State Department, thank you.

Another mystery we're following, a mystery that has terror experts dumbfounded. Several popular al Qaeda websites used by the group's leaders to spread their message around the world have suddenly gone dark. We reported this earlier in the week but new information coming in. Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr reports.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The war against al Qaeda has taken a mysterious turn. Crucial al Qaeda Internet sites have been taken down in what experts say may be a secret cyber attack by an intelligence agency. Aaron Zelin, a Brandeis University researcher, maintains a Jihadi online research site. He says it's the largest cyber attack on al Qaeda.

AARON ZELIN, BRANDEIS UNIV.: It's significant because it's essentially al Qaeda's lifeline to the outside world since it has to do with their communications systems.

STARR: It appears to have begun on March 23rd when the site, (INAUDIBLE), a forum for al Qaeda messages, suddenly went dark. Other sites soon followed. Some briefly came back online only to disappear again. Al Qaeda has been a savvy master of cyberspace for years. For example, messages may come from Ayman al Zawahiri (ph) in Pakistan, al Qaeda's core leader. It then perhaps is packaged into a slick video, then distributors like (INAUDIBLE) media send it out to trusted al Qaeda forums where jihadists can log on. Will McCants, a former State Department counterterrorism official, says the attack breaks key al Qaeda links.

WILL MCCANTS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV.: Because this is the primary point of distribution for al Qaeda propaganda, when the website is taken down the al Qaeda supporters don't know where to go to find new propaganda, to find guidance from Zawahiri so it puts the global movement into a bit of disarray.

STARR: It means when the sites come back online operatives don't know if they're really communicating with their leaders or a false front that puts them at risk.

MCCANTS: There are suspicions that it's been taken over by a hostile entity. Usually the suspicion falls on the CIA and the worry is that past incidents of this happening have led to subsequent arrests.

STARR (on camera): But at least one of those websites is back up and running and al Qaeda is back to posting its messages online.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


BLITZER: Connecticut is moving toward abolishing the death penalty. Mary Snow is moderating that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM. Mary, what do you have?

SNOW: Well Wolf, the State Senate voted today to end capital punishment. The bill is expected to pass the State House and Governor Dan Malloy (ph) has vowed to sign it. New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois have all repealed their death penalties in the last five years. California voters will decide the issue in November.

U.S. Coast Guard is planning to sink a Japanese fishing trawler swept away in last year's tsunami. It is now drifting off the coast of Alaska. The ghost ship is part of a massive debris field from the disaster and is considered to be a hazard to other boats in the area.

And imagine wearing a Smart phone on your face. That's the concept behind Google's project "glass", virtual reality glasses that display everything from text messages to maps to reminders. Check this out -- a preview video shows a person wearing the glasses, video chatting, getting directions, taking photos, recording notes all through voice commands. Now Google says it is testing prototypes right now. There is no timeline for a finished product. That will be pretty cool, Wolf, when it does come out.

BLITZER: I'm just afraid people are going to be distracted walking around and they are looking at all that stuff when they should be looking at some other stuff. All right, we will see what happens. Thanks very much, Mary for that.

The buzz here in Washington, a lot of it at least involves Hillary Clinton, whether she will run for president in 2016, your e- mail and Jack Cafferty coming up.

And new images from a bizarre crash, you're going to see what happened when an airplane crashed into a grocery store.


BLITZER: Let's get right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is why is there so much interest in a 2016 Hillary Clinton run for the White House?

Claudia in Houston writes, "The interest in Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 is simple, save the country from the possibility of someone like Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann, who are both waiting in the wings to seize the spotlight."

Jack in Lancaster, Ohio, "Mr. Cafferty, actually until you mentioned it here, I was not interested at all because I feel there ought to be an amendment to the Constitution that states, one president per family, please. Government has become all too much a family business, albeit a good one, a very good one." Ben in Boston writes, "Hillary is a completely confident government executive with extensive federal experience. She was the best choice in 2008. She is the best choice now and she is the best choice on the horizon for 2016. My interest is for the good of the country. And that means the sooner Hillary is president, the better."

Becky in Oregon writes, "With over half the U.S. population being female and feeling completely left out of the political debate, women need a proven intellectual politician to stand up and speak on their behalf."

Hugh in New Jersey, "Remember the polls in 2000, allowed a third term Bill Clinton would easily have beaten George W. Bush or any other opponent. The past 12 years have made many of us wish that could have been. To me, Hillary as president would represent hope for the country's return to those peaceful, affluent Clinton years."

Bobbi on Facebook writes, "Hillary Clinton vs. Sarah Palin historic for sure." And Paul in Reno, Nevada, "One word, do over. That's what 2008 voters who were spellbound by a charismatic Barack Obama's way with words are desperate for. We would like a little more steak with our sizzle." If you want to read more about this it's on my blog, or you can go to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page. I will see you on Monday.

BLITZER: Have a great, great weekend, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you. See you Monday.

It is like a scene from a disaster movie, new images just in of what happened after a plane crashed into a grocery store. CNN's Lisa Sylvester has the latest.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a look at this aerial video. That hole you see is where the plane plunged squarely into the middle of the roof of a Publix Grocery Store in DeLand, Florida. You can hear the initial panic in these 911-calls.

WITNESS: Oh, my God.

WITNESS: Publix, (INAUDIBLE) just went into Publix here.

WITNESS: Oh my God.

OPERATOR: What's going on at the Publix?

WITNESS: Publix, Publix, (INAUDIBLE) up in the 8th West Plaza. Oh my God, an airplane just went into the Publix.

OPERATOR: OK and you're in DeLand?

WITNESS: DeLand, right up here in DeLand. I hear the sirens already. Oh my God.

OPERATOR: OK, just relax.

WITNESS: Oh, my God.

OPERATOR: Just relax. They are on the way.

OPERATOR: 911, where is your emergency?

WITNESS: Publix, 911! Someone is on fire in Publix and oh God I'm so --

OPERATOR: It's OK. What's on fire?

WITNESS: A person.

OPERATOR: A person?

WITNESS: The whole -- the building is on fire too.

OPERATOR: OK, get everybody out.

WITNESS: OK, we've got to go.

SYLVESTER: Lisa Cordova was in the meat aisle when she said she heard and felt an explosion.

LISA CORDOVA, INJURED SHOPPER: You know fell down and hit my shoulder and head (INAUDIBLE) and just kind of like jumped back up and then this other guy came flying out and his leg was all on fire and like skin melting off and stuff. And he was just screaming for people to help him. And I was trying to help him, but I had no idea like what to do to help him.

SYLVESTER: It was an experimental, amateur plane that had just taken off from the DeLand Airport. Witnesses on the ground say they could tell the plane was in trouble.

LUKE SCHIADA, SR. AIR SAFETY INVESTIGATOR, NTSB: It took off really good and got up maybe 1,000 feet or something like that and then I heard the engine sputter. The pilot tried to make a turn. I guess he felt maybe there was a problem and when he tried to turn the plane, the engine just quit and the plane just fell into the Publix.

SYLVESTER: Two men were on board, identified as Thomas Rhoades (ph) and Kim Presbrey (ph), an Aurora (ph), Illinois lawyer, both are in critical condition with burns. Three people in the store, including Lisa Cordova, were injured. One of whom remains hospitalized. The National Transportation Safety Board has been called in to investigate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The majority of the airplane was consumed by that fire.

SYLVESTER: The plane crashed head on into the store Monday night at around 7:30, typically a busy time. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is truly a miracle that nobody was killed.

SYLVESTER (on camera): The store had a surveillance camera. Investigators tried to play the recording, but it looks like the tape was either damaged either in the fire or by water from the sprinkler system. So they are still trying to piece together what brought down that plane.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN.


BLITZER: I'll be back at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for a special "ANDERSON COOPER 360". I'm filling in for Anderson, but he's got a major study that we have been releasing all week, "Kids on Race". This is information you will be interested in seeing 8:00 p.m. Eastern, a special "ANDERSON COOPER 360". I'll see you then.

In the meantime, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.