Return to Transcripts main page


Pentagon Scandal Spreads; Arafat Death Mystery; China's Communist Party Meeting Over; China's Trade with Africa; Jay Carney to Hold Briefing over Petraeus Scandal; Brutal Civil War Depicted in Exhibition

Aired November 13, 2012 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Was nominated to become NATO's supreme commander as well. He has denied any wrongdoing. So, how are these people linked to the scandal? How are they all connected? Follow us. We're going to try to explain this.

General Petraeus resigned after admitting to having an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. The affair was uncovered because a friend of Petraeus, Jill Kelley, asked the FBI to investigate harassing e-mails she was receiving from Broadwell. Well know it's come to light that there are allegedly inappropriate e-mails between Jill Kelley and General Allen.

In addition, "The Wall Street Journal" now saying that the FBI agent who initiated, he initiated the investigation at Kelley's request, he is now under scrutiny. The agent has not been identified but he allegedly sent Kelley shirtless photos of himself. Are you following us here? It all started with a complaint about harassing e-mails.

Here's what we know about the woman who made that complaint, Jill Kelley. She is married to a cancer surgeon. She has three daughters. She lives in Tampa. Very well-known among Washington social circles. In a statement, Kelley and her husband, Scott, said they have been friends with General David Petraeus and his family for more than five years. Friends describe Kelley as feeling like an innocent victim, but a source says the e-mails accuse Kelley of flirting with generals at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Both General Allen and General Petraeus were previously stationed there.

So, how does this impact the -- a lot of careers of these two generals, but also implications as well. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has now asked that General John Allen's nomination to become NATO supreme commander be put on hold. As for General Petraeus, Panetta was asked whether there were any indications that his affair started when he was still in active duty. Listen.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: You know, we obviously are going to watch this closely to determine just exactly, you know, when that took place. But I think right now my view is, let's see what the investigation turns up and what the Congress and these committees are able to determine as to what exactly took place. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So a friend of General Petraeus says the affair starts about two months after he took over as CIA director and ended about four months ago. Four days after the Petraeus scandal broke, investigators, they're still trying to gather information. And last night what we saw, agents searching Paula Broadwell's home in Charlotte, North Carolina. She's the woman involved in the affair with Petraeus. An FBI spokeswoman would not say what they were actually looking for, but you can see they're taking stuff out. We're seeing the agents carrying boxes and other items out of her home last night.

It's clear the scandal, as it grows, could have far-reaching implications. I want to bring in Fran Townsend. She's our national security contributor. Also a member of the CIA external advisory board.

Fran, I want you -- I mean, it's pretty confusing and it's a complicated story here, but it is a web and it seems to be taking a lot of people along with it. The FBI turns up 30,000 pages of General John Allen's e-mails. What are they possibly looking for and why are they investigating -- why is the military investigating his e-mails?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: OK. So let's back up for a second, right? This starts with the Jill Kelley, woman in Tampa, complaint about harassing e-mails. And it causes this web, as you call it, Suzanne, to unravel because, as they look at the harassing e- mails, they trace it to Paula Broadwell. Paula Broadwell leads them to Petraeus. And as they look at these e-mails now, they clearly then go back and look at Jill Kelley's e-mail. And that leads them -- so the center of the web then becomes Jill Kelley and that leads them to General Allen.

And we don't know who else, right? Jill Kelley, she's been referred to as a social liaison. You mentioned that she's been seen in social circles in Washington. I met her twice, she and her husband, also her twin sister, here in New York, Suzanne, where she was attending an Intrepid, another military social event in 2010 and 2011. She dresses provocatively. She's sort of bubbly and vivacious. She's very flirtatious. And who knows who else that she was exchanging e-mails with.

But we should also recognize, one of the reasons that we're hearing that General Allen had interaction with her, 30,000 e-mails and 30,000 pages, by the way, is a massive amount of material. But she was involved in putting --had a program for care packages to soldiers in Afghanistan. And so you'd understand military leadership in Afghanistan, in Central Command, wanting to be supportive of that program.


TOWNSEND: So there was some legitimate reason she would have these interactions. But clearly it tipped over some line.

MALVEAUX: It's interesting because you say you've met her twice. You know, General Allen, he is someone who is highly respected and I met him in Afghanistan last year, the tenth anniversary of the 9/ 11 attacks. Sat down for 30 minutes, had a conversation with him. A lot of people really respect what he does. And he had a huge job. I mean he's talking about moving the U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. The timetable. Negotiating with the president. Do you find it difficult, Fran? I mean how is it that you exchange that volume of e-mails and still able to manage to do your job, what he has been tasked to do?

TOWNSEND: Look, I -- Suzanne, I had the same reaction that you have, how could you possibly exchange that much over the course, by the way, not just 30,000, but we're told between 2010 and 2012, over the course of two, two and a half years. Pretty extraordinary. He is respected.

But I'll tell you, you know, I think we need to step back, right, from sort of all the salacious details of this. We need to ask ourselves, what are our priorities as a nation for our military leaders? Are we looking for perfect people or are we looking for competent people? You know, preferably, you'd like both. But what's really important is what you say, he's a -- General Allen, like General Petraeus, a competent, respected, admired leader of troops and very effective in their command positions.

And so, look, in some ways I'd like the government not to be in people's bedrooms, churches, doctor's offices, you know? I think we want to -- what is the role of the FBI here and why is it that suddenly they seem to have become the keepers of the UCMJ, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, where an extra marital affair is, in fact, a violation.

MALVEAUX: What do you make of the fact that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has asked the president to hold off on nominating General Allen as NATO supreme allied commander? Do you think that's a signal, an indication to the White House that he can forget about this promotion?

TOWNSEND: In fairness, look, we've seen other generals who have been investigated and it has scuttled their promotion possibilities. Cartwright was an example, who wanted to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs and didn't get that, even though the investigation went away. I think what you're seeing now, this sort of scandal has -- is like a stain that keeps spreading. And I think the White House would like to understand exactly the parameters of it before they make a decision whether of whether not to go forward.

And I think the secretary of defense rightly says, let's get to the bottom of it. Let's understand. It's could -- it's possible that it could go away, but these are the sorts of things, when you can find many qualified military leaders without these problems, these things, even if they resolve themselves not to have sort of a long-term consequence, like a prosecution under the Code of Military Justice, tend to scuttle promotions.

MALVEAUX: All right. Fran Townsend, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

We're going to get more information on this. A White House briefing coming up in about 20 minutes or so. Obviously Press Secretary Jay Carney going to be taking to the podium to answer questions. There will be a lot of questions, I'm sure, regarding just what this scandal means for the White House and what it means for the cabinet, the shakeup that's happening in the cabinet, the nominations that will be coming forward and, of course, the very important business of doing business in the second term and just how much this could be a distraction in the next weeks and months to come.

Many have speculated that he was murdered. Well, now, eight years later, some of the questions surrounding the death of Yasser Arafat may soon be answered.

A canvas inspired by conflict. Syrian artists turn their pain into paintings.

And this --


MALVEAUX: More than just a popular song by one republic (ph). It's an anthem helping to save lives of children around the globe.


MALVEAUX: Days of deadly clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, they are not over. Despite talks of a cease-fire, Israeli warplanes attacked more targets in the Gaza Strip this morning, including a weapons facility and two rocket launch sites. Militants have fired another rocket into southern Israel. Six Palestinians have been killed and 30 wounded. Four Israelis have also been hurt.

Over in the West Bank city of Ramallah today, they are starting the process to exhume the body of Yasser Arafat, you know, the former Palestinian president. Well, they are looking for evidence that he might have been murdered. Arafat died in Paris back in 2004 of what was thought to be a blood disease. But rumors have circulated for years that he was poisoned. And earlier this year, a murder investigation was actually opened in France.

Want to bring in Michael Holmes here.

Michael, you knew Yasser Arafat very well. I had a chance to see him at the White House once during the Clinton administration. But you sat down at least on six different occasions. You got to know -- you got to know this guy.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I did. Yes, over the years, yes. No, I interviewed him. I covered the second intefadeh (ph) and around that time in the sort of early 2000, late 1990s and interviewed him a number of times, including one memorable time when he was surrounded -- it was April of '02, I think, surrounded by Israeli forces. And we followed a bunch of protesters who defied that and went in to see him. And warning shots were fired in front of our group and behind our group and we got in and saw him and got the exclusive interview. That was a memorable occasion, that's for sure. I was at his funeral as well. MALVEAUX: Well, why is there such suspicious surrounding his death?

HOLMES: Well, with a man like Yasser Arafat, I think there was always going to be, I don't know, almost predictable that there would be suspicion about how he died. I mean he was that kind of figure. And, indeed, even before he was dead, when he was sick, there was conspiracy theories swirling around.

As you say, when he did die, a lot of the doctors didn't know what he died of. And there was only one real medical report that came out that they said that he died of a, you know, a stroke caused by a blood disorder, perhaps a bowel infection. But the rumors kept going that he'd been killed.

And what's happened recently was a few months ago a news documentary team had some of his possessions that they got from the family, they took it to Swiss researchers who examined it, experts in the field --


HOLMES: And found this polonium 210, this radioactive material, on his possessions. And it was on his kafir (ph) and the little hat he used to wear and other things as well. So, bang, all of a sudden the conspiracy theorists go nuts. And so now we're in the situation where then his wife, Suha, the Palestinian Authority, they agreed to allow the experts to exhume the body to test tissue.

MALVEAUX: What do they hope to learn? I mean do they think they could actually prove that if he was in fact murdered that they would have evidence?

HOLMES: Well, they -- you know, that's an interesting question because this polonium 210 has a half life 138 days. He's been dead eight years now. So if there's any there, it won't be much left now. But there might be. And if it does show up, well, yes, people are going to say he was murdered. Then the question is, by whom? Of course the Palestinians are going to say it was the Israelis. The Israelis are going to say it's nothing to do with us. So the mystery would continue because finding it doesn't show you who did it.

MALVEAUX: And, Michael, talk a little bit about this because you were at his funeral. What do you think his legacy is going to be? Because people like -- they love him, they hate him.


MALVEAUX: What do you make of it?

HOLMES: Well, you know, and knowing him as I did, and covering both sides of that divide, covered the Israelis side as well for many years and suicide bombings at the height of it all, yes, it's hard to find a more polarizing figure in recent history in the Middle East. You know, the hero of resistance to Israel to millions of Arabs and particularly Palestinians and utter and absolute ruthless terrorists in the eyes of others, such as the Israelis, who went through that suicide bombing theory. Father of the Palestinian cause. He was the 35 years led the Palestinian cause. He was the first Palestinian Authority president back in '96. So, a very polarizing figure. I mean there's no real middle ground when it comes to Yasser Arafat.

MALVEAUX: All right, and you had a chance to get to know him.

HOLMES: Yeah. Yeah, a little bit.

MALVEAUX: Incredible.


MALVEAUX: All right, Michael, thank you.

HOLMES: Good to see you.

MALVEAUX: Appreciate it.

It's become an extremely attractive place for investment, so it's not a surprise that China making inroads into Africa's economy, but is the U.S. missing out on an opportunity? We're getting a live report from South Africa.


MALVEAUX: China's giant, week-long gathering of its Communist Party ends tonight. Tomorrow, it selects a new leader.

Now, China's congress brings together more than 2,000 delegates from around the country to Beijing. They meet just every five years and every 10 years it selects a new leadership.

President Hue Jintao has been in power now for a decade. He is expected to hand over the party's top job to his vice president, Xi Jinping.

China is the second largest economy in the world, quickly catching up with the United States which is still number one.

And, as CNN's Robyn Curnow reports, it's beating the U.S. when it comes to trade with sub-Saharan Africa which has vast supplies of pressure metals, fuel and other natural resources.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, well, here's a little bit of China in Eastern Zimbabwe.

This is Anjen (ph), which is a joint venture between the Chinese and Zimbabweans, mining diamonds in the controversial Marange fields from where critics claim some of the diamond revenue is illicitly funneled to President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, claims the Zimbabwean government and Chinese mining officials deny.

When CNN got exclusive access earlier this year to Marange, the Chinese welcomed us with lunch and speeches, as well as a tour of their mining operations, seemingly eager to show off what they say is cooperation and development with their African partners.

Many, like the U.S. government, are highly critical of this Chinese venture and others across Africa.

Critics argue the Chinese have exploited Africa's commodities to fuel their growth, that the relationship is uneven, unfair, near colonial.

What's the difference between a Chinese investor and a European investor or an American investor from your point of view?

PRESIDENT ALI BONGO, PRESIDENT OF GABON: The aim is still to make money.

CURNOW: But what's the difference? Why would you say the Chinese have been so successful on the continent?

BONGO: Well, I think that it has to do probably with the policy of the Chinese government, you know, coming into a country, investing, and not really wanting to get involved.

CURNOW: Not asking questions?

BONGO: Not asking questions. Not wanting to be involved in, you know, in all ...

CURNOW: Not putting all those human rights issues.

BONGO: Yeah in the politics. Yeah, yeah.

CURNOW: Beijing just doesn't like lecturing other leaders says the top Chinese diplomat in Africa.

AMBASSADOR ZHONG JIANHUA, CHINESE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE ON AFRICA: We do have questions, but we probably ask these question privately. We ask these questions quietly.

CURNOW: For many, the Chinese emergence in Africa has hardly seemed quiet. Last year, China-Africa trade reached more than $166 billion, much more than U.S.- Africa trade which is around $80 billion.

The Chinese are not only building roads, like this one here in Zambia where copper-mining is one of the main industries. They've even constructed cities in places like Angola, the second largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mostly investing in commodities and energy, China gets roughly a third of its oil from Africa.

Many African countries have become dependent on the economic might of China and, analysts say, will feel the pain of any slowing in Chinese growth.

But still, China's influence continues deep into the African bush felt.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX: Robyn joins us from Johannesburg, South Africa. Robyn, an excellent piece there and it really is fascinating, when you look at this, because China overtook the U.S. as Africa's largest trading partner three years ago.

The president, President Obama, has received some criticism from some Africans and, particularly, Kenyans, who had a lot of hope at least because of Obama's father being born in Kenya, that there would be opportunities, greater opportunities for trade. Why do you think we haven't really seen that?

CURNOW: Just to put it into perspective, President Obama spent less than 24 hours in Africa during his entire first term, so Africans do indeed feel slightly shortchanged.

But this massive Chinese presence in Africa, to be fair, started way before President Obama took office. Ten, 15 years ago, the Chinese started moving into Africa and, of course, their focus was Africa's raw materials, its commodities which helped to fuel Chinese growth.

So, in a sense, did -- is America now having to play catch-up because many governments, you know, 10, 15 years ago perhaps looked at Africa as a basket case, a place that needed aid. It was a place of conflict.

The Chinese came in here and looked at opportunity. There is perhaps the sense that the Americans and many other Western countries are starting to realize, hey, we need to sort of change our game plan.

But, as one U.S. official told me, this is not a competition. There's room for everyone.

And, also, I get the sense from officials here, U.S. officials, telling me here that, I think, for Obama's second term there is going to be an upping of engagement in Africa, both geopolitically, I think, and economically.

Obama is expected perhaps to come and visit Africa after the Kenyan elections, if all goes well, and perhaps come to South Africa. So, I think things might change.

MALVEAUX: All right, Robyn, thank you. Appreciate it.

It has been another day of stunning revelations of the scandal in the U.S. military and the Obama administration is expected to address it.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is scheduled to begin the briefing at the White House there in just moments. As soon as it starts, we're going to bring it to you, live.


MALVEAUX: The scandal that brought down former CIA director, General David Petraeus has now also cut up another high-ranking military officer. General John Allen, he is the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan and the man in line to lead NATO forces in Europe. Well, he is under military investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate e-mails to this woman, Jill Kelley.

She's the woman whose complaints led to the investigation that exposed the Petraeus affair.

Nick Paton Walsh is in Beirut, joining us here, and General Allen has said -- he's told the Pentagon that he hasn't done anything to wrong and, you know, he's obviously up for this promotion.

You know him very well. I met him in Afghanistan last year. He's incredibly respected among his peers. What do we make of these e- mails, first of all?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know what they actually contain. We know that some of these 20,000, 30,000 documents -- I should say, behind me, there's a protest in Central Beirut.

These 20,000 to 30,000 documents may be examined in case they contain inappropriate conduct by the general. Nothing proven at this particular point.

Obviously serious enough that it's being referred to the Department of Defense's inspector-general to examine it at this point, but, at this current stage, we don't know quite what this holds for his future right now.

Now, certainly, as you say, himself very respected by the men around him; a man with an incredibly difficult task winding down this decade- long war; a man whose main decisions were actually made for him, preordained by Washington, by the Obama administration; and a man, of course, who also inspired great loyalty in those who served around him.

I recall one particular aide who'd served through Iraq many times, didn't really want to go back to the battlefield, but said he would if General John Allen asked. That, he did and, in Kabul, he described to me once how they were together at a dining facility in Iraq and a round landed nearby.

One of the younger soldiers leapt under the table for cover, but John Allen stayed in his seat and calmly leaned down and said, Son, you're not going to win the war from down there.

I think the kind of conduct, really, which to many around him is considered inspiring, I'm sure today they're wondering quite where this all came from.


MALVEAUX: One of the things that he stressed in our conversation together was really the importance of bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan and training the Afghans to take control of their own security.

Do we have any sense of whether or not that could be compromised or impacted in any way because he's now under investigation?

WALSH: To be honest, on the ground what is happening won't be altered by scandals in Washington at all, frankly. I mean, the course they're on, the withdrawal patterns, the training of the ANA, the Afghan Air Police, as well, that's something which was been ordained months ago, years ago by White House policy and won't be changed on the ground by this.

The whiff of scandal, though, of course, is damaging, certainly, particularly when the U.S. wants to have the moral high ground in their negotiations with the Afghans.

Bear in mind here, we're now on the third ISAF commander who at some point in their career has had the whiff of scandal about them -- Stanley McChrystal, fired for inappropriate comments to a journalist; General David Petraeus promoted to the CIA, but then resigning from that post because of an extra-marital affair; and now General John Allen, nothing proven against, but certainly that gives detractors of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan ammunition.


MALVEAUX: All right, Nick Paton Walsh. Thank you, Nick.

He's gone into hiding and he says he fears for his life. The eccentric founder of the McAfee anti-virus software is wanted for questioning in a murder investigation.


MALVEAUX: Military veterans go through so much while they're serving our country overseas. So, when they get back home, you think things would be easier for them.

But not really. Finding a job could be pretty tough.

We actually caught up with one female veteran in San Diego. She's taking her experience as a helicopter mechanic in Afghanistan, training to become a wildland firefighter. Check it out.


SERGEANT FRANKIE VERNER (RETIRED), U.S. MARINE CORPS: I am currently in the firefighting training with the California Conservation Corps.

Just when you're holding this and just pull.

Close it. There you go.

They offer a lot of training, so it's really good they're doing this for -- especially for veterans because it can be hard sometimes to find good jobs.

We play with the chainsaw, just kind of get associated or a little more familiar with it.

And then we practice laying hose from an engine, which we hadn't done yet with actual water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what influences the wildland fires, right?

VERNER: Well, since it's mostly veterans, it's just -- it's really easy for us, a lot of us, to just click and just work together. So, the teamwork thing fell into place really well.

I was an aviation hydraulics and airframes mechanic for the Hueys and Cobras. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton and we deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.

I know it was a bloody summer while we were there. We lost a couple of pilots. I saw a lot of bodies coming back.

PETTY OFFICER JAZMYNE SIMS (RETIRED), U.S. NAVY: I was in the navy, the U.S. Navy, for four years and my job title was quartermaster.

We helped out with amphibious operations. We had a lot of marines on the boats.

I was so focused on Navy at one point in time I never imagined myself being a firefighter. I never imagined myself going through training and it's been challenging for me, but the challenge is more than welcomed.

VERNER: I'm hoping that I get picked up with either some kind of fire department or I'm also trying to get into some kind of police work, just experience and hopefully a job.

SIMS: Being a veteran, it's a big thing to me. It means a lot because I have a lot of veterans in my family.

When we have veterans, they -- it's not more or less saying I did my time in service. It's saying I paved the way for people that are going to come behind me to do their time in service.

To come home and sort of celebrate a Veterans Day or, you know, to have people acknowledge the fact that, you know, I did something like this, it touches my heart. It really does.


MALVEAUX: He is suspected of raising money for terrorist groups and believed to have inspired one of the 9/11 hijackers. Well, now, radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada is back at his home in London.

He was released on bail today after winning his fight against extradition to Jordan where he faces terror charges. The British government has been trying to send him back to Jordan for years.

In the tiny Central American country of Belize, there's a manhunt that is going on right now for American software billionaire, John McAfee. Police there say they want to talk to him about the murder of his neighbor over the weekend who is also a U.S. citizen.

The neighbor's body discovered by his maid and a laptop and cell phone are reported missing from the home.

McAfee tells "Wired" magazine that he's innocent and hiding.

The sex scandal surrounding former CIA director, General David Petraeus, continuing to get bigger. We're going to explore the tangled web of relationships that has led to the embarrassment of two very powerful generals.


MALVEAUX: Washington, no stranger to scandals, when they involve extra-marital affairs of the former CIA director and the highest levels of the military scandals can become mega-stories.

That's why Howard Kurtz is joining us, host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and the Washington bureau chief of "Newsweek" and The Daily Beast.

Howard, this is your time to talk about it because this is big. It's a big story. We all thought we'd be talking about the fiscal cliff. Not even. We're now talking about the scandal. What kind of legs does it have?

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "CNN RELIABLE SOURCES": I would say this has an incredible future as a story because there are so many players involved now.

It seems like every two hours, Suzanne, we learn about new e-mails involving another woman, another general.

So, this is a tangled and somewhat tawdry tale that has now gone far beyond just the initial resignation at the CIA of David Petraeus.

MALVEAUX: I imagine it has some appeal for many different people. You don't have to be in the government. You don't have to be powerful to understand that, you know, people are flawed. These are human relationships. It's about fidelity. It's about power. I mean, there's so many different things that we learn.

KURTZ: It's a crossover hit, so to speak. It's not only aimed at political junkies and it does have its soap opera aspect and I'm not going to lie to you. Obviously, journalists find this to be a pretty juicy story as opposed to writing about -- oh, let's say -- White House budget negotiations with John Boehner, particularly in the last 12 hours as we have learned about an FBI agent who was investigating the case initially who sent a shirtless photo of himself to one of the women involved and now these 30,000 e-mails, suspect e-mails between general -- excuse me -- between the general who had been commanding the war effort in Afghanistan, General Allen, and Jill Kelley, who is one of the women involved in this, which make me ask the question, when does he have time to run the war?

MALVEAUX: Right, right. I want to ask you, too. We're watching pictures of the White House in the briefing room and Jay Carney's going to step up to the podium. He's going to get a lot of questions and you can bet a lot of it's going to be on this scandal and the implications of this.

And this certainly has to be quite a distraction, to say the very least, at the White House. How do they get on top of this? How do they get ahead of this story in some way?

Because, clearly, they're not going to want the president to have deal with all these questions tomorrow at the press conference.

KURTZ: Well, it's inevitable, you can put money on it that President Obama will be asked at least a couple of questions about the David Petraeus situation at tomorrow's news conference.

But the thing is, there's a lot we still don't know about when the White House was notified, why the FBI didn't notify the White House earlier, what exactly happened in this case.

And, for example, now that it's gone beyond Petraeus and we have General Allen getting ensnared in this, there are questions about why did the White House nominate him to take over the top post at NATO -- top military post, I should say -- without knowing that he, too, had come under scrutiny?

So, until the timeline gets straightened out, until some of the questions are answered, you know, there's one thing that's like red meat for a pack of junkyard dogs in the media. It's unanswered questions and there are still a lot of them at this hour.

MALVEAUX: Wow, junkyard dogs. Come on. We're not that bad, Howard.

KURTZ: Well, we are with the sex scandal. Let's face it.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, well, you know, hopefully this is not going to last as long as the whole Clinton/Lewinsky affair that we all covered for quite some time.

KURTZ: Yeah and I can feel for ...

MALVEAUX: Go ahead.

KURTZ: the people involved, the women involved. It just seems like nobody looks good in this scandal and people are having their private lives dragged into the public square.

I mean, it's not like infidelity is unknown in our society or certainly not unknown here Washington, but it's playing out in a particularly public and painful way.

MALVEAUX: All right. And we will continue to cover it. Howard, thank you. Appreciate it.

KURTZ: Suzanne. MALVEAUX: They say one word, a picture worth a thousand words. Well, paintings now by Syrian artists are telling a story of their country, a country that is now racked by civil war.


MALVEAUX: Despite the opposition's new coalition, Syria's bloody civil war rages on. You can hear it there. According to reports, as many as 48 people were killed today. Forty-one in Damascus area alone. Now, the Syrian government is also slamming the rebels' attempt to unite, threatening any effort to topple President Bashar al Assad will be futile.

Syrian artists, not journalists or photographers, they are giving outsiders a never before seen look into their country. They are expressing their pain and their hope through paintings in the midst of a civil war that has taken lives of 35,000 people in just 20 months. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom reports on the art of war.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't let the bright colors fool you. Pain inspired these paintings.

"Here's a person who wants to kill another person," says artist Anas Homsi. "And here's a person who wants to defend this person from being killed."

Conflict infuses these canvases. Namely the brutal civil war raging in Homsi's homeland of Syria.

"The violence pushes me to work more," says Homsi, "to draw and paint."

It's apparent in the faces, the abnormalities. Abstract images made all the more poignant when Homsi describes the horror learning how close relatives of his had recently been executed.

"I never imagined this would happen to anyone in my family, or that I would hear this news about anybody in my life at this time or even in the past," says a visibly upset Homsi. "It really shocked me."

Homsi is one of three Syrian artists whose works are being exhibited at this Beirut gallery. The men aren't just close friends. They're also former classmates.

JAMJOOM (on camera): Before the start of Syria's civil war, the art scene in Damascus had been growing more vibrant. But as the situation deteriorated, many artists fled the fighting and started showcasing their works in neighboring countries.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): Wissam Shaabi left for Lebanon when it got too dangerous. His images, a dream of Syria.

WISSAM SHAABI, SYRIAN ARTIST: You know, art is all about the message. To send a message for the people. JAMJOOM: Here, Shaabi conveys an idealized vision of peaceful coexistence. You'll see a crescent and a cross.

SHAABI: We will remain looking for the future, for a bright future.

JAMJOOM: Just around the corner, the works of Fadi al-Hamwi highlight a very different feeling -- dread.

FADI AL-HAMWI, SYRIAN ARTIST: You feel like some -- some -- any time something can happen.

JAMJOOM: As the last member of this group still living in Damascus, that's his everyday reality.

AL-HAMWI: Inside Syria, I can see the people. I can connect through them till now. This is --we feel tired (ph). It will show in your -- in your -- in your colors.

JAMJOOM: Colors as vivid as life on an artistic journey constantly reminding of death.


MALVEAUX: That is so powerful. Mohammed Jamjoom, he joins us live from Beirut.

And, Mohammed, talk a little bit about, you know, the country's been at war for 20 months now. How do they even manage to paint, to express themselves, to carry on as they do?

JAMJOOM: Well, Suzanne, it's very difficult for them. It's interesting, having spoken to them all separately, they all expressed that they struggled with the fact that they don't know if what they're doing is enough to actually help their society, to help the people of Syria.

You saw Anas Homsi in there. He's the person for whom it's most raw. He had family members who were executed. But he says he's driven even more to paint, to express the chaos that he sees going on back home. All of them said that no matter even at times they think about putting down their paint bush, they're driven to continue because they feel that as artists they have to document what they're seeing and hearing and feeling back in Syria.


MALVEAUX: All right, Mohammed, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Basic health care, like over-the-counter drug, vaccines, probably something you can't even think twice about. But in developing countries, a simple fever can be deadly. We're going to show you how health care workers and musicians combining efforts to save the lives of children across the globe.


MALVEAUX: You might remember the band OneRepublic from this hit song.


MALVEAUX: Well, now the Grammy nominated group is using its music to save lives. The band is partnering with Save the Children to help kids in remote areas of the world get life-saving care. Each year, millions of kids, they die from preventable diseases. Well, OneRepublic used record heartbeats of children in need. That is right. Created a song to raise money for them. My producer, Jessica Dunn (ph), she talked to the band's lead singer, Ryan Tedder, about the inspiration behind this song.


RYAN TEDDER, SINGER, ONEREPUBLIC: The moment where we first hear the heartbeats of these kids was kind of staggering. We got approached by Save the Children. They were desperately looking for a campaign song. We had been looking for three or four years for an organization to partner with. It's like, how can you not get behind preventing kids from dying?

They went into jungles of Guatemala and into village of Malawi and recorded the heartbeats of I think about two dozen kids, maybe more, using this, believe it or not, an iPhone app. It was an incredible moment to hear those heartbeats.

We were looking for the perfect heartbeat and we found one kid whose -- who we pulled up the song and then pulled up his heartbeat and they were just going like boom, boom, boom, like this da, da, da, da, da, da and then the song starts.

We read about the campaign, listened to the heart beats, started flipping through songs, came to this one little piece of song that we had and all of us at the same time are like, this is the song.

The chorus very much is the Save the Children campaign in feeling better ever since you've known me. So it's like the second you interacted with me or cared enough to do something, I've been feeling better.

It is a call to action. The line saying with you I feel again, and then the music, the music alone is almost a call to action, even beyond the lyrics. Like, it's so triumphant.

If you buy the song, you know, at or on iTunes, the money literal goes to these kids. And, in actuality, it saves lives. I thought about my own kid, about him having a fever or him, you know, being dehydrated, thinking he'd like -- what if my kid dies tonight? For us it is a wake-up song. The whole idea that like you actually can make a difference.

These kids have a chance of living because of you.


MALVEAUX: That is absolutely beautiful. The band, it sold more than 220,000 copies of the song "Feel Again" so far. To find out more about this or if you want to donate to Save the Children's Every Beat Matters program visit

You're looking at the biggest fireworks show ever put on by any country. Kuwait broke the Guinness World Record Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of its national constitution. Wow, look at that. More than 77,000 firework projectiles sent into the air. Cool.

Many millions of Hindus around the world, they are celebrating Diwali. It's the festival of lights. Just take a look. Stunning images from one of their most important events in India. Students light candles near a rangoli, a floor design made with colored sand. The artwork honors the god of wealth. Vendors sell colored powder at a market in Katlangone (ph), Nepal. That powder is used for decorating homes. Also placed on dogs and cows to honor Hindu gods associated with them. And in Trinidad & Tobago, Hindus make up 22 percent of the population. One of our i-Reporters, Roger Seepersad, sent us this image of actors dressed up to tell the story of good and how it conquered evil. A key story celebrated during the five-day festival.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux. You can see there on your screen, we are awaiting the White House briefing.