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THE SITUATION ROOM

Interview with Rep. Mike Rogers; Interview with Ban Ki-moon; North Korea Continues Rhetoric; Federal Background Checks Examined; Anthony Bourdain Promotes New CNN Show; Former Pakistani President Reveals Info About Some Of CIA's Controversial Strikes

Aired April 13, 2013 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: New information about North Korea's ability to launch a nuclear attack, even if Kim Jong-un threatens to test a missile at any moment.

As Congress debates gun control, Chris Cuomo shows us what it is like to go through a federal background check. It is a process though. Tough it up.

And he is the newest member of the CNN family, world renowned chef by Anthony Bourdain, he joins us this hour with a preview of his brand new show.

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

I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in the SITUATION ROOM.

North Korea's warning that war could break out at any moment. And now, there may be new reason to fear that Kim Jong-un's threat of a nuclear attack are more serious than the world thought before.

Let's go right to our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence.

Chris, does the U.S. still think North Korea is going to test the missile?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they think it is a matter of time at this point, although obviously they would prefer he not conduct that test. They have seen North Korea move up two musadan missiles to the east coast, and they have seen him raise the launcher and then lower it. But they're not sure if that means #Kim may be backing off his threat or if they're just testing out before firing.

Key thing to look for, tomorrow night, Sunday night our time, it is already April 15th in Korea. That is the birthday of North Korea's founder. A lot of folks we talk to say they expect to see a test on or before that date.

BLITZER: What about the new intelligence assessment coming from the pentagon that North Korea may be further along now than we thought in terms of actually being able to put a nuclear war head on a missile? LAWRENCE: That's right. That was part of a bigger assessment that came from the defense intelligence agency. Part of their job is to look at the missile capability of other nations. Now, what we have seen since that came out are all kinds of U.S. officials basically throwing water on it, putting it into context, putting restrictions on it, saying know what they think is basically, they don't believe North Korea today, right now, has the capability to launch a nuclear missile. They don't think they mastered all of the steps along the way, miniaturizing the war head, marrying it to an actual missile, and then having the accuracy to hit what they are aiming for.

BLITZER: Is there deep concern, Chris, that the missile that they may test in coming days potentially could be nuclear.

LAWRENCE: They don't think so, Wolf. Officials I have spoken with would say that would be extremely provocative, something North Korea hasn't done up to this point. And you have to remember, they only have a certain amount of material. You don't want to waste that necessarily on the musadam which is untested missile.

BLITZER: Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon for us, thanks very much. We are watching it closely together with you.

Now to CNN's rare visit to the Korean border, demilitarized zone or DMZ as it is called, the historic buffer zone between the north and south. It was created at the end of the Korean war, and it could be a front line in a new war if it were to erupt.

CNN's Kyung Lah went there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is near absolute silence in the most militarized border on the planet. South Korean soldiers on the edge of a fight, staring down a sworn enemy that unblinkingly stares right back, sometimes from binoculars peeking out from windows.

The area here, they're divided in half. There's North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All cameras facing this way.

LAH: Rules are tight on this military guided press tour. Don't linger, don't point. This is cold war, up close.

We talk about tensions on the peninsula, this is about as tense as it gets. South Korean soldiers, they fax (ph) to us, facing off with North Korean soldiers right on the other side, just feet away.

The place we are going to enter is actually divided in half. Shut down. Just the wait to come in and capture some picture.

The soldiers are here so we don't get grabbed and pulled into North Korea. We are only given a few minutes in here.

This was technically South Korea on this side. To get to North Korea, just on the other side of these microphone.

The next stop is a lookout.

You see there in that tower, that's North Korea. You can see the North Korean flag flying there. And that village right underneath, that is what North Korean called the peace village. But South Korea refers to it as propaganda village.

Propaganda, because the U.S. doesn't believe anyone lives here, this is all for show. One of the world's most lethal borders is up- close, just a fence, barbwire, and a trench.

The zone, the DMZ uninhabitable, so untouched that endangered wildlife and plant species soar here. And in a bizarre contradiction of the world's edge, tourists are allowed to visit this lookout, the final stop of our press tour where we meet American brothers, Joseph and Vito Lannitti.

JOSEPH LANNITTI, AMERICAN CITIZEN: It is surreal knowing that a few hundred yards that way, there are people starving, and being tortured and so forth. You know, it is unreal.

VITO LANNITTI, AMERICAN CITIZEN: I have a lot of people ask me, family friends if I was afraid to come over here. And I too, knowing the history of (INAUDIBLE), it is going to be OK.

LAH: A peek into a reclusive nation, while the world guesses what move it will make next.

Kyung Lah, CNN. In the DMZ.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Back in Washington, lawmakers are piecing together the latest intelligence from North Korea. They are trying to figure out Kim Jong-un's next move.

And Mike Rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee is joining us now.

Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for coming in.

REP. MIKE ROGERS, (R), INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: Wolf, it is great to be here. Thanks for having me.

BLITZER: Do you have a good sense of what the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, what his end game is?

ROGERS: Well, I'm not sure anybody has a good sense what his end game is. You know, when the flowers come out in North Korea, normally every year, the savor rattling begins. But, it had a pattern with a beginning and end.

What we were seeing and that was his father, we are seeing in the son is a very unpredictable pattern when it comes to aggressive bellicose behavior. And so, everyone is on edge and concerned because he is ramped it up quicker and faster than his father ever did. And we are not sure he has a strategy to get out of it.

BLITZER: Is the U.S. and south Korean allies, the Japanese, are they still bracing for North Korea to launch a missile or series of missiles within the next few hours or days? What is the latest assessment?

ROGERS: Well, in any time somebody like this who has capabilities to launch a missile makes those threats, you have to take them seriously, so yes. I think U.S. forces are on posture to deal with that, same with the Japanese, same with the South Koreans.

And the unpredictable part of this is you see a little bit of different behavior with the Chinese. Now, they have this on again, off again relationship with the North Koreans over time, but they are in their biggest benefactor. And about 65 percent of all their foreign goods come through China.

They're taking a little bit of different turn here which is a positive thing against North Korea. So, you have the Japanese on edge, the U.S., the South Koreans, now you see the Chinese taking a little bit of a different posture. I look at that as a good sign to try to unwind this thing.

BLITZER: Is there -- are there any indications that Kim Jong-un and his top military leadership are seeking to tone things down or is it -- still seems to be ratcheting up tension?

ROGERS: Yes. I think he sees there's an internal to North Korea advantage for him to continue to do this, to try to solidify himself with his military base, and North Korea is one of those countries that's an army with a country, not a country with an army. And so, he needs to solidify that base so that he can continue to solidify his power across the country.

I think he is feeling pretty embolden by all of the activities. The fact that they sunk a ship in 2010, it did some artillery fire earlier than that. It killed South Koreans with no response I think makes him feel embolden to continue ratcheting this up until some common sense or at least external pressure kicks in to have him ratcheting down.

I think he's going to continue to do this. I even believe, Wolf, that he may even be looking for a minor skirmish as they have in the past in order to thump his chest, and show that he is this new military commander and defender of the people of North Korea.

BLITZER: Because if he were to do now what he did in 2010, a torpedo, South Korean war ship, killing 46 sailors or bomb a South Korean island. It killed four South Korean back in 2010. There was retaliation from south Korea or the United States. but, I suspect this new president of South Korea would retaliate this time, and maybe the U.S. would as well.

ROGERS: I can't speak to the U.S.'s intentions there. But, I will tell you that Park, the new leader in south Korea, has made it very clear she will not tolerate that. And they have to stand up to what is this very belligerent behavior. And he is 28-years-old. He is untested.

Again, we don't have the same predictable profile that we had for his father. So there's a lot of great reasons why you need to stand up and not let them get away with threatening nuclear exchange with the United States, threatening war with the South Koreans, ratcheting up almost on a daily basis what some new, you know, is telling South Koreans they should prepare for war, having the consulates evacuated in North Korea because they are preparing for war.

All of that is a ratchet up. I think you would find park would be very aggressive about responding to any military action or any skirmish that might happen. It would be in proportion, I believe, but there would be a reaction.

BLITZER: And I think she would respond in proportion, as you point out. How good is U.S. intelligence on what's going on in North Korea?

ROGERS: Never as good as you want it to be when you are chairman of the intelligence committee, I can tell you that. We have a little room to go. We have some good indications, but we're a long way from having that comfort level about fully understanding across the board about not only with military intentions but with leadership intentions are.

But again, you know, our intelligence folks are doing great work, under tough circumstances, and we continue to try to improve that posture.

BLITZER: Does it make sense to send a high level emissary to Pyongyang?

ROGERS: You know, I am not sure. You don't want to reward bad behavior, especially saber rattling at the level he is doing now. So I'd be cautious about that. What I would like to see is China shut down the northern -- their southern north border with North Korea and shut off luxury goods and the black market for fuel. That would he have a huge and immediate impact on the regime in North Korea. If we could get them to do that, I think we could then start negotiations on how they unravel it because that pressure would be so immediate and so real and it would be felt, as I said, just almost immediately.

BLITZER: Chairman of the house intelligence committee, Mike Rogers.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

ROGERS: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: When we come back, 25 minutes, that's all it took for Chris Cuomo to undergo a background check and purchase a gun. We are going to take you inside the process. That's just ahead.

Also coming up, my interview with Ban Ki-moon, U.S. secretary- general delivers a direct, and powerful message from here in the SITUATION ROOM to North Korea's Kim Jong-un and he speaks in Korean. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There was a bipartisan break through deal in the Senate this week on expanded background checks for gun purchases. Whether it becomes law, though, is another story.

Didn't you ever wonder, though, what it is like to go through the existing federal background check when purchasing a gun?

CNN's Chris Cuomo got firsthand experience doing just that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Chris.

MIKE MARINELLO, GUN STORE OWNER: Mike. What can I do for you?

CUOMO: Looking for home protection shotgun.

MARINELLO: OK. I'm going to bring you down through the shotgun section.

CUOMO (voice-over): Seems simple. But there's more to it than you might think. Every purchase from a licensed dealer requires a federal background check.

(on-camera): Are you under indictment, no, convicted of a felony, no.

(voice-over): Twenty seven personal questions including criminal and mental health history, all requiring government confirmation. Add potential state and city laws, thousands across the country. And it could feel like an obstacle course.

MARINELLO: There is a background check for the rifle. And if you live in a city, there is the rifle shotgun card. And if you have a pistol, there is also a pistol license.

CUOMO (voice-over): But, this pale in comparison to the pain the nation felt on December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, the most vulnerable victimized by dangerous weapons in the wrong sick hands.

CNN's latest poll shows people want it to stop. Calls to do something resulting in demands for expanded background checks. Despite the fact that it wouldn't have stopped the Newtown shooter.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know the background checks can work, but the problem is loopholes in the current law let so many people avoid background checks all together.

CUOMO: Gun control advocates want all gun sales, not just those by dealers, subject to background checks.

COLIN GODDARD, BRADY CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: This background check law we're talking about is enforcing the law. CUOMO: Colin Goddard works for the Brady center to prevent gun violence. He is a gun violence victim, shot four times at Virginia tech six years ago.

GODDARD: How are you supposed to know if someone has a felony record or restraining order, dangerous mental illness without doing a background check. It supposed to well, look at them really hard?

CUOMO: Gun rights advocates fear checking all sales could lead to a national gun registry and maybe confiscation. The larger concern, making it hard to buy a gun lawfully may not stop massacres and handgun violence. Before owning this Long Island gun store, owner Mike Marinello was a police officer for 11 years.

In your experience as a cop, did that hold true.

MARINELLO: In 11 years, I never had a legal pistol licensee use a firearm in a crime.

CUOMO: Gun control advocates say the nearly two million who have been denied guns is proof of effectiveness.

DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Most of those people, it turns out, were not on prohibited lists, most of them were false positive, their name looked like somebody else, there were records in there that were incomplete. The first thing you have to do is take the system you have and get it fixed and make it work.

CUOMO: Mike says the big issue isn't the law but enforcement.

MARINELLO: Somebody comes in, hell bent on buying a gun, we let them fill out the form, and they fail. And then in a perfect world, alcohol, tobacco, firearms will go arrest that person.

CUOMO: That's the catch, right?

MARINELLO: Current laws would make this safe the safest in the union if they were enforced.

CUOMO: In my case.

This transaction is a proceed.

The system worked. After 25 minutes of completing forms and waiting for approval, I had my shotgun.

Thank you very much.

Chris Cuomo, CNN. New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: A former North Korean spy finds a new life right here in the United States. Coming up, she tells us why she's convinced the war with North Korea is coming.

Plus, after years of denial, a stunning admission about deadly drone strikes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Guns and immigration stealing the spotlight on Capitol Hill this week. Despite threats of a Republican filibuster, the Senate voted to start debate on gun control measures.

And bipartisan group of senators made some progress on comprehensive immigration reform. They will announce their plan next week.

Let's talk about all of this with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Gloria, success, is it guaranteed on the issue of guns and immigration?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Nothing is guaranteed in Washington, Wolf, and of course, it depends how you define success here. It seems to me that the Senate at least is moving toward some kind of compromise on guns, a smaller measure than of course the president wanted, but lots of people believe that anything you get on gun control is major movement because there hasn't been any movement on that issue on that in the last decade or so.

And then on immigration, I would have to say that I am pretty optimistic that they can get something because it is in everyone's self interest to get something done on immigration reform. Republicans know it, you have senator Marco Rubio of Florida out there promoting a compromise version of immigration reform, Republicans understand. They lost to Hispanic voters 3-1 in the last election, and Democrats want to get this done, too. So, well, funny thing how things happen in Washington, when it seems interest to get it done, you get it done.

BLITZER: Yes. One thing they already done in the Senate, the House may be a lot more difficult, especially when it comes to background checks as far as gun purchases are concerned.

BORGER: Right. And also on immigration, there are lots of Republicans, particularly in the House, who are saying you know what, we have to make sure the borders are secure before we do anything on immigration reform. And there are going to take a lot of convincing that in fact you are going to be able to secure the borders before you even establish a path to citizenship, no matter how long that task actually is.

BLITZER: Now, this week, the president released his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. You wrote a column on CNN.com. Among other things, you said this of this new strategy, you said this is not a strategy hatched by a bunch of Pollyannas at the White House. It is borne of necessity, and bred with understanding of a public that has just about had it with Washington.

What is the president's strategy here? BORGER: Well, what the president is trying to do is look like the grownup in the room, which is why he put a budget on the table that does something he said he was going to do when he was trying to cut that deal with house speaker, which is touch entitlement, touch Social Security, touch Medicare.

It angered some of his base and Republicans said it wasn't enough because his budget also contains revenue increases, but at least now the president who is after all meeting with Republicans, ding with Republicans. This is a new president we are seeing, he can also say you know what, I put entitlements on the table, even though a small amount, some would say. He cans say, look, I am trying. I have done it. So, that if it fails, he actually inoculates himself politically.

BLITZER: It is one thing though as I keep saying, to have dinner with the bunch of Republican senators. Once he starts meeting with the bunch of Republican members of the House of representatives, I think that will be -- so far, he hasn't invited them over to the White House for dinner. Let's see if he does.

BORGER: So, what his strategy is to try to get majorities in the Senate so that her can peel off enough Republicans in the house to work with Democrats to actually try and get something done. I think he is starting with the Senate. I think the house is a lot more difficult. But, he is hoping one chamber will affect the other. I mean, who knows.

BLITZER: Eric Cantor over for dinner, that would be significant.

All right, Gloria, thanks so much.

Still ahead, setting the record straight about U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. Get this, a former Pakistani leader is taking back years of denial and now admitting he did in fact allowed some of those controversial strikes.

Up next, the CNN exclusive, the United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon delivers a direct appeal to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Now a CNN exclusive. The U.S. secretary-general making a direct appeal to North Korea's Kim Jong-un in his native language. It happened during my interview in the SITUATION ROOM with Ban Ki- moon. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: They're watching you in Pyongyang right now on CNN international. If you have a chance to speak directly right now to Kim Jong-un, you can make a statement, make some a request from him, what would you say to him?

BAN KI-MOON, U.S. SECRETARY-GENERAL TO UNITED NATIONS: I would strongly ask him to first of all refrain from taking any such provocative measures, which is clearly in violation against the security council resolution and against the community. I would strongly urge him to enhance the living standard of his own people when they're suffering from economic difficulty.

BLITZER: One final question, secretary general. Look at that camera, right over there. Speak to Kim Jong-un in Korean.

KI-MOON (through text): I would like to convey a sentence a sincere message to Kim Jong-un. In order to restore peace and unification to our Korean Peninsula so we can resolve all pending issues through dialogue as Secretary-General of the U.N. and as a citizen of Korea. I sincerely as that end the recent provocative actions and return to dialogue. Thank you.

BLITZER: Secretary general, thank you so much for coming in. Let's hope this crisis with North Korea eases.

KI-MOON: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Once she worked for the North Korean regime, now this former North Korea's spy who defected, is living in the United States and she is speaking out to our Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As sabers rattle on the Korean peninsula, one woman has a sense of foreboding from a half world away. But, Ma Young Ae has a perspective that few in the west can even comprehend. She is not only a North Korean defector, she once worked in the country's feared intelligence service, a spy whose mission was to catch drug dealers. She knows what the regime is capable of and said this about the current crisis.

MA YOUNG AE, FORMER NORTH KOREAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICER (through translator): I believe that the war will break and I believe that by 99 percent because when you think about this, the psychology of the people, they are not thinking I need to survive, you all die, it is not that. You are going to die and I'm going to die as well. That's what they're thinking.

TODD: Another North Korean agent says she thinks Kim Jong-un is using provocations to compensate for his youth and inexperience.

KIM HYUN-HEE, FORMER NORTH KOREAN AGENT (through translator): He is struggling to gain complete control over the military and win their loyalty.

TODD: Kim Hyun-Hee was convicted of blowing up a South Korean airliner in 1997. She was captured alive when she didn't bite her cyanide pill in time. She was sentenced to death in South Korea, but then pardoned.

HYUN-HEE (through translator): North Korea is using its nuclear program to keep people in line and to push south Korea and the United States for concessions. TODD: Speaking to former North Korean spies who defected is almost surreal. Ma Young Ae who defected in 2000, occupies her days in ways you wouldn't expect.

(on-camera): These days, Ma Young Ae makes a living this way, playing concerts on the(INAUDIBLE), a string instrument played with bamboo sticks. She is politically active and says that comes with a price.

(voice-over): Residing in northern Virginia, she is engaged in protest in the U.S. against the North Korean regime. In New York in 2010, while she was protesting the sinking of a south Korean war ship, she says two North Korean agents threatened to kill her. When I asked if she fears for her life.

AE (through translator): I do feel it is unsafe. I feel it is not safe. However, actually I don't regret what I do because I feel that it is what I have to do, because what they are doing is definitely wrong. And although I have to look around and fear for my life, everybody has to die.

TODD: Despite intimidation, Ma Young Ae vows to continue protesting, always with a keen sense of what happened before. Her first husband who was a North Korean army officer was executed she says after her defection.

Brian Todd, CNN. Annandale, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: When I was in North Korea, I saw firsthand how poor the country actually is. And yet, Kim Jong-un has the cash to test sophisticated weapons and threaten the world. So, where is the money coming from.

Our pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence, has been looking at North Korea's illegal profits.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to selling technology, the launch pad is Kim Jong-un's showroom. In the missile test, doubles as a marketing tool.

JOSEPH DETRANI, FORMER U.S. INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL: It is telling other countries, look what you could have also for a price.

LAWRENCE: Libya and Iran have been willing clients. But former U.S. intelligence official, Joseph Detrani, says sanctions have cut into sales.

LAWRENCE: Kim is profiting off illegal weapons, but brings in 20 to $100 million less than his father.

DETRANI: How important is money to Kim Jong-un?

Money is key. He has to keep the elite happy.

LAWRENCE: North Korea has its own version of the one percent. Kim needs that money stream to keep them on his side. Fortunately for Kim, North Korea has legal goods and a willing trade partner right next door.

Who is Kim's link to China?

DETRANI: It has to be Jang Song-thaek.

LAWRENCE: And Jang is part of the family. Kim elevated his uncle to number two. Jang Song-thaek oversees some of the state run trading companies which mine reserves like coal and iron ore. Jang uses his connections to sell those minerals to China, and profits come back to Kim.

DETRANI: This is a man who cut the deal with China, has a lot of credibility with the Chinese.

LAWRENCE: Thanks in part to Kim's uncle, trade with China is booming, from one billion a few years ago to five billion now.

Accounted for the weapons and minerals. How else is he getting money?

DETRANI: He is getting money through illicit transactions.

LAWRENCE: U.S. Officials say North Korea is exporting illegal drugs like meth, producing knockoffs of popular cigarettes and pharmaceutical drugs, even counterfeiting good old Ben Franklin.

A U.S. official tells us the illicit stuff is still pretty small scale, but the north gets more from tourism and foreign investment from south Korea and China. But, in a country where residents don't pay taxes, and the country is not connected to the international trading market, the official says basically it is minerals and weapons that are the cash cow, keeping Kim in power.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And we will of course stay completely on top of this story, this crisis with North Korea here in the SITUATION ROOM and on CNN.

Still ahead this hour, parts unknown, the world renowned chef Anthony Bourdain. He is here with a preview of his brand new show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A stunning revelation about U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan's rugged border area. After years of denial, Pakistan's former president now admitting he did, in fact, allow some of the controversial CIA strikes.

CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has the story from Islamabad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The aftermath of a deadly drone strike in Pakistan. Images like these soured U.S.-Pakistan relations almost a decade. No Pakistani official has ever acknowledged sanctioning U.S. drone strikes, until now.

What you're saying here, on occasion there were agreements?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF. FORMER PAKISTANI LEADER: No, only on very few occasions where it was absolutely isolated and had no chance of collateral damage.

ROBERTSON: Pervez Musharraf was Pakistan's military ruler when drone strikes began in 2004 and was bitterly and publicly critical of them. Now, he admits there was a secret deal.

MUSHARRAF: When discussed at the intelligence level to strike and if at all, there was no time for our own military to do it, then and that was very, very -- maybe two or three times only.

ROBERTSON: Back then, Al-Qaeda and Taliban fleeing U.S. forces in Afghanistan set up camp over the border in Pakistan's tribal region. America and Pakistan had a common enemy, and a common strategy, kill militants when they could.

MUSHARRAF: The answer used to be fitting target, and we could delay the action, I mean, these ups and downs kept going. It is a very fluid situation, a vicious enemy, and fluid situation, mountains, inaccessible areas.

ROBERTSON: By the time he was forced from office in 2008, Musharraf says he sanctioned only a couple of strikes. The vast majority came under the civilian government that followed him.

Since 2003, there have been more than 350 drone strikes in Pakistan, mostly in the semi autonomous border region close to Afghanistan. There are no precise figures how many people have been killed, but estimates range upwards of 1900, and of those, more than several hundred are believed to have been civilians.

Most Pakistanis detest the drone program for the loss of life and because it violates Pakistan sovereignty. Ministers here routinely condemn them.

REHMAN MALIK, FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER: What I can say today, the world power, world super power is having its way without any consequence from Pakistan.

ROBERTSON: Thus, a diplomatic cable obtained by Wiki leaks tells another story. Recounting a meeting between the U.S. ambassador, Malik, and the then prime minister Gilani. She wrote, Malik suggest we hold off alleged predator attacks until after the Bajur (military) operations. The PM brushed aside Rehman's remarks and said I don't care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We will protest in national assembly, and then ignore it.

Musharraf too, covered up U.S. drone attacks when its suited him. The militant Nick Muhammad was killed in 2004, the Pakistani army said it killed him in a rocket attack, except it didn't.

When Nick Muhammad, killed by a drone or by Pakistan military U.S. drone?

MUSHARRAF: I think he was killed by U.S. drone, yes. But there was no agreement that stuff and every time we did object.

ROBERTSON: Objections that were frequent, loud, and public, but not always sincere.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Islamabad, Pakistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Close revelations about the secret drone war may double the risk that Pervez Musharraf took when he returned to Pakistan last month after years of self imposed exile.

Also shedding light on U.S. drone strikes, new book by Pulitzer- prize winning reporter Mark Mazzetti of "The New York Times." "In the way of the knife, he looks at the shadow was being fought by the CIA and special operations forces."

Mark Mazzetti is here in the SITUATION ROOM right now. Excellent book. And thanks very much for coming in.

How much of a risk do you think Pervez Musharraf takes by now acknowledging that he was in at least on some of those CIA drone strikes in Pakistan?

MARK MAZZETTI, AUTHOR, THE WAY OF THE KNIFE: Yes, it's amazing, not only a physical risk but a political risk because he wants to be president and as Nic said, they are -- drone strikes are still wildly unpopular. And so, for him to say that there were these secret arrangements was quite surprising to me. There's been so many denials over the years from the Pakistani government about the role they have played.

Now, to their -- in their defense, the CIA in 2008, the last months of the Bush administration basically took this war unilateral, and they said we're no longer going to consult you in advance of each drone strike.

BLITZER: Do you -- and I know you have some estimates. I mean, how many alleged terrorists, suspected terrorists, militants were killed by the United States in these drone strikes?

MAZZETTI: The estimates are varied. There is estimates of around 3,000 total people killed in Pakistan in the tribal areas. How many were militants, how many civilian, it is hard to differentiate at this point. It is certainly true that they have had an effect in killing off senior Al-Qaeda leaders in the tribal areas. But what we have also seen, and there has been further reporting this week about the bar has been lowered. And they are not just striking Al-Qaeda, they're striking Pakistani, Taliban, (INAUDIBLE) network. It is sort of the war in Afghanistan being waged from the other side of the border.

BLITZER: And these targeted killings by the CIA, they have intensified in the Obama administration as opposed to Bush administration, right?

MAZZETTI: That's right. They started to ramp up in the last few months of the Bush administration. But then in 2009 and especially in 2010, the Obama administration dramatically escalated them, not only in Pakistan, but you started seeing strikes in Yemen as well. So, they sort of reopened this war, and this other front in Yemen. You see them in parts of Africa. So, this is one of the really defining legacies of the Obama administration so far.

BLITZER: And the theory supposedly is kill these people, don't arrest them, don't bring them to trial, that's too complicated. Just go out there and kill them.

MAZZETTI: It is riskier. It is complicated. There's a lot of reasons why the administration seems to have pursued much more of a kill versus capture strategy. But, if you look at the last four years, you could probably count on one hand the senior people who have been captured and then brought to trial.

BLITZER: Because if you capture them, you can interrogate them. If you kill them, you can't interrogate them. But that's the balance.

MAZZETTI: That's the balance. And some, in the Bush administration have come out and said, well, you know we were, we took a lot of heat for interrogation. But, you at least get intelligence.

At the same time, You know, there were different calculations about whether, you know, the risk of an operation, whether someone is in area, for instance, the tribal area of Pakistan, where Pakistani cops could go in, for Pakistani troops could go in and arrest someone. So, these are things that the administration is wrestling with.

BLITZER: The president's personal role authorizing these targeted killings, what is it?

MAZZETTI: The president, when he came in, wanted to at least have the authority to sign off on strikes outside of Pakistan. The drone where has head were already been given the CIA of the covered action authorities. So, those were signed off by the CIA director. But if you are talking about in Yemen, you are talking about in Somalia, this was discussed at the White House brought through the president by John Brennan who was the counter terrorism adviser for President Obama, now as we know, he is the CIA director.

BLITZER: And he wants the Pentagon to take over the responsibility, move it out of the CIA?

MAZZETTI: He's hinted he wants to move some of the paramilitary functions out of the CIA to the Pentagon. There's been reports that there are proposals floated to do that. I personally believe the CIA will not give it up entirely, that they will take key aspects of the drone war, and that this is something that probably takes months or even years as opposed to a short period of time.

TODD: The book entitled "the way of the knife." The author, Mark Mezzetti, the subtitle, the CIA, a secret army and a war at the ends of the earth.

Mark, thanks for coming in.

MAZZETTI: Thank you for having me.

BLITZER: Stay right here and meet the newest member of the CNN family, the world renowned chef, Anthony Bourdain is here in the SITUATION ROOM. He will preview his brand new show which debuts Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: He's a world renowned chef, a be bestselling author and now the newest member of the CNN family.

Good news here in the Situation Room. Anthony Bourdain is joining us now. His brand new show "Part Unknown" premiers Sunday night right here on CNN.

Hey Tony, thanks so much for doing this. Thanks so much for coming into the SITUATION ROOM. It's a risky business but you're willing to do it, aren't you?

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PARTS UNKNOWN: I'm very, very excited about coming over to CNN and taking silly chances is part of the excitement.

BLITZER: For those of us who have been watching you for years or other channels, tell us what you new show on CNN is going to be like. What is going to be different about it?

BOURDAIN: Well I will continue to travel the world on my stomach meaning that's the way I get in, the way I look at the world from the perspective of somebody who spent a lot of time cooking and eating. But now, the world has become a much bigger place, I can go to Myanmar. I can go to the Congo, Libya, in areas that would have been impossible with another network. We can tight our focus to tell stories from one person's point of view or expand that to take a look at a bigger picture. I mean, I will continue to be sort of I hope enjoyably schizophrenic from week to week. But, I think the variety and scope of the stories we tell you're going the see some big changes.

BLITZER: So Congo, Libya, Myanmar, where else are you headed?

BOURDAIN: Well, we shot a show in Grenada, in Spain which was not a -- I won't be getting hazard pay for that one, for sure. So, we will be doing the food centric shows in, you know, in France. We did a show in L.A. I'm very proud of, maybe the most over photographed location in earth. But, we are looking at it from the point of view of Korean-Americans and treating L.A. as if no one exists in L.A. but Korean Americans. So, that should make pretty interesting perspective.

BLITZER: Hey, we are looking forward to the new show. It premieres Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

Anthony Bourdain, a huge, huge talent and we are thrilled you're joining our CNN family. Thanks so much.

BOURDAIN: Thank you.

BLITZER: From China to Crow Asia to New Orleans, some fascinating pictures there coming in to the SITUATION ROOM.

Stay right here for a fascinating look at our world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here's a look at this week's hot shots.

In China, check it out. A traveler captures a view over the high land?

In Crow Asia a flag flies in a town square.

In New Orleans a musician puts his trombone to works.

And in India, look at this. A fisherman cast as nets in the early morning hour.

Hot shots pictures coming in from around the world. Remember, you can always follow what's going on in the SITUATION ROOM on twitter. Just tweet me @wolfblitzer. You can tweet the show @CNNsitroom. You can like us on facebook.

That's it for me this hour. Thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in the SITUATION ROOM.

The news continues next on CNN.