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Yemen Foils Al Qaeda Plot?; New Fears of Violence in Egypt; GOP Feud Over Government Shutdown; Cashing In On Pastor's Tragedy; What North Korea Didn't Want Us To See; Russia Anti-Gay Law Controversy Heats Up; Bush Returns Home After Heart Procedure; Dog TV Targets Canine Viewers

Aired August 7, 2013 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, day four of an extraordinary shutdown in U.S. embassy, some critics say the Obama administration is now overreacting to the new terror threats. We'll have a serious debate on the subject.

Plus Mitt Romney takes sides on a widening split within his own party. His warning about drastic action to try to destroy Obamacare.

And the president's late-night confession about a tense relationship that blossomed into a bromance.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Up first this hour, new efforts to put the squeeze on al Qaeda, amid fears that an attack against the American targets may be in the works. The government of Yemen says it's foiled an al Qaeda plot to capture strategic ports in that country. The fight against terror is more urgent in Yemen right now, as al Qaeda affiliates there grow more powerful and more dangerous.

Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is following all the threats for us, including the U.S. response, and she is joining us now with that -- Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the administration has its hands full right now with this terror attack, monitoring intelligence on al Qaeda affiliates and trying to hit them before they strike.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): The response to the terror threat, drone strikes, five in Yemen in just the past 10 days, a source telling CNN the strikes took out regional al Qaeda members, but no leaders. Yemeni forces, meanwhile, foiled an al Qaeda plot to capture oil and gas facilities and seize two key southern ports.

RAJEH BADI, YEMENI PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER (through translator): There was a large operation discovered that appears to have been targeting liquid gas stations in the Shabwa district. DOUGHERTY: But U.S. officials do not believe that plot is linked to the overall threat the U.S. is dealing with, President Obama telling the troops at Camp Pendleton:

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Al Qaeda affiliates and like-minded extremists still threaten our homeland, still threaten our diplomatic facilities, still threaten our businesses abroad. And we have got to take these threats seriously and do all we can to confront them.

DOUGHERTY: Nineteen U.S. embassies and consulates in 16 countries are still closed through Saturday, including the embassy in Yemen.

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: We're keeping it closed to keep our people safe and because we believe that a threat remains.

DOUGHERTY: But a former ambassador to Iraq says the large number of closed embassies means there are additional threats from al Qaeda fueled by a wave of political unrest in the Arab world.

CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: When there are divisions within the Arab world, they try to focus on -- on what they consider the root of the problem, that is, the United States, and so I think al Qaeda is trying to show, if you will, leadership in attacking somehow U.S. targets.


DOUGHERTY: Now, the administration does continue to insist that it has decimated almost all of the leadership of al Qaeda. But they freely admit that that leaves younger members, less experienced members, and they may be -- they are running these al Qaeda affiliates. They may be less experienced, Wolf. But that long list of closed embassies is proof of how deadly they really can be.

BLITZER: They're very precise. When they say they have decimated the leadership of al Qaeda, they always add the phrase, the core leadership, the al Qaeda core, meaning the al Qaeda that was responsible for 9/11, not necessarily all these affiliate groups, these supporting groups that have emerged since then.

Jill Dougherty reporting for us, thank you.

Questions are also being raised about the Obama administration's response to this latest terror threat. Some applauded, insisting they're playing it safe. But others like the veteran journalist Ted Koppel suggest the U.S. may routinely overreact to terrorism.

Writing in "The Wall Street Journal," an opinion piece today, Ted Koppel wrote this: "We have created an economy of fear, an industry of fear, a national psychology of fear. Al Qaeda could never have achieved that on its own. We have inflicted it on ourselves."

Ted Koppel going on to say, "Nothing would give our terrorists enemies greater satisfaction than that we focus obsessively on that remote possibility and restrict our lives and restrict our lives and liberties accordingly."

Let's talk about all of this with the former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. He's chairman and co-founder of the Chertoff Group here in Washington. Also joining us, our CNN law enforcement analyst, the former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes.

Guys, thanks very much for coming in.

Do you agree with Ted Koppel that we certainly have done the work of al Qaeda by creating this atmosphere of fear?


I respect Ted Koppel as a journalist. But he never had the responsibility of having American lives on his shoulders. And I think you have to understand that when you're a president or a senior leader in the government and you have that responsibility, there's a different lens that you use.

I think the reaction to Boston is a good example. It was swift. I don't think people became overly panicked, but they took it seriously. And I think we have gotten ourselves in a place where people do take the threat seriously, but are not getting hysterical.

BLITZER: You were a little skeptical about this overreaction, if you will, as some of the critics are calling it. What do you say? Does Ted Koppel has a good point?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think he has a good point. Even though he wasn't responsible for the lives of Americans, we have seen over the last week, where we have just closed embassies, warned Americans all over the world and basically said that al Qaeda is so powerful and so pervasive all over the world that they could do this to us anywhere, any time.


BLITZER: Sort of like a propaganda bonanza for them.

FUENTES: Well, I think so.

When you see TV images of tanks in front of U.S. embassies, because al Qaeda said we might do something to you, somewhere, some time, I know the concern of wanting to protect the facility, but on the other hand, those images being displayed worldwide do play into their hands.

BLITZER: Do you agree?

CHERTOFF: Well, I think you have got to separate two things. I think it was understandable that you have a general warning. Again, we haven't seen the full measure of the intelligence out there. But there are a lot of satellite groups, there are a lot of people in the network.

What I think may have been a mistake was actually closing answers as opposed to simply increasing security, and the reason for that is when you close them, you have to reopen them. It's the same problem we had back in the day of the color code. It's easier to go up to orange than it is to come down from orange. They may have boxed themselves in a little bit with respect to the actual closures.

BLITZER: On the other hand, the argument is you don't want to have a double standard. You don't want to alert the embassy personnel, the diplomats that there's a real serious threat out there, but -- and not necessarily tell the American public who may to go to that embassy that there is this kind of threat.

FUENTES: I think the problem is that we have had this threat for now going on decades. Long before 9/11, we were attacked in embassies, the two African embassies that were bombed in 1998, the Cole that was bombed in the harbor at Yemen in 2000, then 2001, our attack.

You could always -- you could go back to the World Trade Center one in 1993. So al Qaeda trying to do an attack whether it was under previous leadership now dead or under Zawahri, that's been a threat we have faced all this time and they can continue to issue these threats.

BLITZER: You have suggested that al Qaeda may be more dangerous, more threatening now than it was let's say 15 years ago. What do you mean by that?

CHERTOFF: Well, what's happened is we have got now a new generation, and many of them are battle-hardened. They have seen combat in Iraq, they have seen combat in Syria. They have learned to enhance their techniques in bomb-making. We have seen that coming out of Yemen and the tactics are changing.

So we have oriented ourselves to preventing another 9/11, which is important, but we also need to look at what the next tactic may be. And it may in fact be more widely dispersed than anything we have seen previously.

BLITZER: Is al Qaeda more of a threat to the United States today than it was on the eve of 9/11?

FUENTES: Well, it's a different threat than 9/11.

BLITZER: Could they cause that kind of damage, blow up a World Trade Center today?

FUENTES: No, I don't think they could. I don't think they have the ability to finance it, to do the training, the selection, the administrative command-and-control to execute that.

But their change in strategy is -- in a way they couldn't top what they did on 9/11 in 2001. Now they have gradually over time shifted to realizing that the American people will not tolerate even one or two people being killed, much less 3,000.

BLITZER: Could they do another 9/11 today?

CHERTOFF: I think it would be very hard for them. We have built up a really strong architecture to defend ourselves against that kind of an attack. But you still have to look at American interests overseas, you have to look at the possibility of numerous small attacks, like you saw in Mumbai several years ago or you saw in the Boston Marathon.

So it's not the same catastrophic threat. But it is a threat that may be multiplying globally.

BLITZER: I know a lot of U.S. officials are deeply concerned, including Mike Morell, the outgoing deputy director of the CIA. In the interview he gave "The Wall Street Journal" today, he's deeply concerned that al Qaeda could get their hands on some of Syria's chemical or biological weapons and who knows what they might do then.

CHERTOFF: And with Libya, took, we saw some of those surface-to-air missiles get out and that can be quite dangerous against even civilian aircraft.

BLITZER: Michael Chertoff, Tom Fuentes, thanks very much.

Up next, Senators McCain and Graham tried to help ease the crisis in Egypt. But now they fear a new round of bloodshed.

And one of America's best-known pastors is a target now for online scammers trying to cash in on his personal tragedy.


BLITZER: Right now, Egypt's military-backed leaders may be preparing for a dangerous new crackdown on supporters of the ousted President Mohammed Morsy.

The country's interim government has ended talks on resolving this crisis with the Muslim Brotherhood, saying visiting diplomats failed to broker a deal.

CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is joining us now live from Cairo. She's just above Tahrir Square.

Arwa, how bad is the situation right now?


The pro-Morsy demonstrators are readying themselves for this crackdown. We were down at one of the camps earlier. They fortified the barricades, and they had piles of rocks ready. They also had large barrels of water.

And they were saying that they believe that they were going to have to make this final stance. It's clear at this point any sort of international mediation effort has completely failed, as the government was putting it itself.

Speaking about Senator McCain and Graham's visit here, well, it really only managed to further aggravate the situation and really anger just about every single Egyptian when it comes to the United States and their perspective on America. It all centers on use of the word coup. Many of those who support the military-backed interim government do not view this as being a coup.

And it really irritates them when the Americans refer to it as that. When it comes to the pro-Morsy supporters, they feel as if the U.S. hasn't gone far enough when it comes to standing behind them, Wolf.

BLITZER: The notion of a real compromise being worked out by the new military-backed government and, on the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood, those supporting Mohammed Morsy, the notion of a compromise seems fairly remote right now, I take it.

DAMON: No. And it most certainly is. And, look, one must say that this is novel terrain for all parties who are involved.

When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood, it would be very difficult for them to accept, especially given everything that's happened over the last month, any sort of compromise, given that their grassroots supporters, those people that are partaking in the sit-ins, continue to really hold onto the demand that deposed President Mohammed Morsy somehow return to power.

And it would be very difficult for them to appease their grassroots and really retain the support base that they have if they're viewed as giving in too much. When it comes to this interim government and the military, well, the military historically in dealing with situations like this would really want to go in guns blazing. It clearly cannot do that, so it's trying to navigate this tightrope between military tactics that it's been used to for decades and politics.

And because of how novel this terrain is, it does also seem to a certain extent that neither side is really sure exactly how to play it moving forward, which only contributes to the tensions that exist here, Wolf.

BLITZER: Arwa Damon watching the situation unfold in Cairo, we will check with you, Arwa, tomorrow. Thanks very much.

President Obama, as you know, personally asked Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham to travel to Egypt, another sign of his cozier relationship with his former rival, Senator McCain. The president was asked about his new so-called bromance with McCain during his appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" last night.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's how a classic romantic comedy goes, right?



OBAMA: You know, initially, you're not getting along, and then you keep on bumping into each other.

LENO: Yes, but what -- what changed? Who saw the light?

OBAMA: You know, John McCain and I have you know, a number of philosophical differences, but he is a person of integrity.

He is willing to say things regardless of the politics, the fact that he worked hard with a group of Democratic and Republican senators on immigration reform. They passed a bill in the Senate that will make sure that folks who are here illegally have to pay back taxes, have to make -- and pay a penalty and get to the back of the line, but, over time, have a pathway to citizenship, and make sure that we're strengthening our borders.

He went ahead and passed that, even though that there are some questions in his own party.


BLITZER: The president added that he wished more Republicans would be like Senator McCain, stand for something. But then he joked, it's probably not necessarily such a great idea for him to say such nice things about Senator McCain on national television.

Up next, a grim twist to the manhunt for two children and the man suspected of killing their mother. We have details of what investigators found in this house.

Plus, we're inside North Korea, capturing images the country doesn't want you to see. This is a CNN exclusive.


BLITZER: A desperate plea from the father of a missing California girl believed to have been kidnapped by the man who kill her mother, and now officials suspect her 8-year-old brother is kidnapped as well, maybe dead.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is in San Diego and he's watching what's going on.

First of all, what's the latest? What are you hearing about the 8- year-old brother?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, law enforcement officials have told us that the remains found inside -- the charred remains found inside the home are consistent with those of an 8-year-old boy.

Also last night at this vigil, Wolf, some relatives were talking in the past tense about that little boy, Ethan, and, as you pointed out, Wolf, the father make an emotional plea for his friend of more than 20 years to give himself up. Let's listen.


BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER OF MISSING CHILDREN: My name is Brett Anderson, the father to Hannah and Ethan, husband to Tina.

This gentleman that was a friend of ours for a long time has taken everything.

Hannah will come back.

And, Ethan and Tina, I love you both. We all love you.


VERCAMMEN: And the father also saying last night to his daughter, if she could hear him, Hannah, if you get a chance, run.

Now, not only has DiMaggio been AWOL for three days now, but back in 1995, he did plead guilty to a misdemeanor of fleeing a police officer, so he would be considered a great flight risk. Today, a judge issuing an arrest warrant for DiMaggio and along with it, should he be arrested, a $1 million bond, Wolf.

BLITZER: There's a nationwide manhunt, as you know, under way. What else are police saying -- what else are they saying about the suspect? Are they receiving any tips or leads, this Amber Alert that went out on virtually everybody's cell phone in California?

VERCAMMEN: They have expanded this search well beyond the borders of California, Wolf. They have enlisted U.S. Marshals, the FBI. They have also contacted Mexican authorities for obvious reasons. We are so close to the Mexican border. They want all hands on deck and they are hoping just someone will spot that picture of DiMaggio or the 16- year-old girl, and make a call to authorities and end this search.

BLITZER: Let's hope that happens.

Paul Vercammen on that scene for us, thank you.

Up next, Mitt Romney jumps into a heated debate that is dividing the Republican Party, could affect the next election. Stand by for that.

And President Obama speaks out about Russia's new anti-gay laws, another thorn in his relationship with Moscow.


BLITZER: Happening now: Mitt Romney jumps into a Republican spat, taking sides against some would-be presidential contenders. Is he helping to make a split within the party even wider?

Plus, the pastor Rick Warren falls victim to online scammers trying to cash in on a tragedy in his family.

And real life in the North Korean countryside. CNN is there to pull back the curtain and show you some images the government of North Korea does not want you to see.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Mitt Romney has a new warning for Republicans in a rare return to the political stage. The 2012 presidential nominee is cautioning against the idea of forcing a government shutdown to stop funding for Obamacare. Romney is taking sides in a widening split over the shutdown strategy. Some of the GOP's biggest names are involved, including some 2016 presidential prospects.

Here's our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, before health care reform became law, you will recall Tea Party Republicans clashing with Democrats at rowdy town hall meetings. These days, it's Republican lawmakers who are starting to get an earful from conservative activists who are calling for a government shutdown to stop Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you make a stand? Sir, get back on board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut down the government.


REP. ROBERT PITTENGER (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Do you think Harry Reid is going to pass that in the Senate?

ACOSTA (voice-over): It's the Tea Party battle cry of 2013, defund Obamacare, even if it means shutting down the government. At this town hall meeting, freshman Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger was pressed on whether he would join the conservative movement's latest cause.



PITTENGER: Do you want a thoughtful answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want yes or no.


ACOSTA: A response he defended to CNN.

PITTENGER: The implication, the reality is that if we go and we want -- we say we're willing to take a government shutdown unless we repeal Obamacare, the reality is, we will lose that vote and Obamacare will survive it. Why would we go about a strategy that is doomed to failure? I think it would be politically disastrous.

ACOSTA: Tell that to Tea Party favorite and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: A lot of Republicans are nervous about this fight. They're nervous about being blamed for a government shutdown.

ACOSTA: Cruz told the conservative Heritage Foundation that the price paid by Republicans in the 1995 government shutdown has been exaggerated.

CRUZ: It is received wisdom in Washington that the 1995 government shutdown was a terrible loss for Republicans and we should never go there again. I don't believe the evidence supports that conclusion. And the world didn't end.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But at a closed fundraiser, former GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, urged conservatives to hold on. We need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government, Romney said. What would come next, when soldiers aren't paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off-duty. A sentiment echoed by a growing number of top Republicans.

GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: But in terms of a shutdown, I just think that's one more thing that would provide uncertainty to the employers of our country and specifically here in the state.

ACOSTA: Democrats recall how the 1995 shutdown damaged then House Speaker Newt Gingrich and helped Bill Clinton win re-election. But that doesn't mean they want history to repeat itself.

HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It might be conventional wisdom that we ought to be cheering on the crazies, but I'm not sure in this instance, particularly since it's around this really important health care achievement. I'm not sure in this instance that conventional wisdom holds.


ACOSTA: With roughly a dozen senators signing on to a letter from Utah Republican Mike Lee backing the shutdown approach. Cruz is showing no signs of giving up the fight. In response to Romney's comments, a Cruz spokesman released a statement saying, "The senator believes if Republicans stand up for principle, they can win this debate" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Let's dig a little bit deeper into this Republican Party divide. We're joined now by CNN political analyst, the Republican strategist, Ana Navarro and Dan Holler, he is the communications director of Heritage Action for America.

Ana, let me start with you. You think the strategy that a Mike Lee or a Senator Cruz putting forward is suicidal for the GOP. Explain why.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I'm not sure that it's suicidal and I don't like those kinds of dramatic words being used. I think it's one of things we have to do as a party. Be more collegial to each other and ratchet down these very dramatic and personal attacks that are being waged amongst and between Republicans.

We're putting on a spectacle that's frankly not benefiting Republicans. It's benefiting Democrats. We have got to learn to disagree without wanting to take each other out because we disagree as Republicans. It's something, diversity of thought in the Republican Party, is a good thing and it's something that we have to learn to live with.

I think this is good for Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and Rand Paul because it gives them a higher profile, it gives them a cause. They are rebels with a cause. It allows them to build up their fundraising list and it ends up being all about raising their profile. Yet, we have to think about what's best for the nation and this is not it.

BLITZER: You agree with those, Dan, you agree with the Ted Cruzs, the Rand Pauls, you're willing to see a government shutdown in order to try to defund Obamacare.

DAN HOLLER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: I think what Mike Lee and Ted Cruz and Heritage Action and others are saying is we are happy to fund the government. We'll pass a funding bill and we would urge House Republicans to do it as soon as we get back in September. But we don't want to fund Obamacare. I think it's a really powerful case that we can make to the American people that the law is not being implemented as Barack Obama said it would.

People are having their hours cut. People are losing their jobs. They might lose their doctors, insurance premiums are going up. We can stop that if we defund the law. I think we go out and make that case and we make it over August and into September, we can achieve some real victories.

BLITZER: You would see the government shut down if you fail, if the president were to veto any such legislation. Probably would not even get to his desk because it certainly wouldn't pass the Senate where the Democrats have the majority.

HOLLER: You know, I'm reminding what Speaker Boehner said after the fiscal cliff showdown. He said, you know what, I made a huge mistake after the election coming out and saying we need a plan B. I made a mistake. I should have said we passed our tax extenders for everybody in August, I should have said, OK, Harry Reid, OK, President Obama what's your plan. They've been down the road once before and they realized that verging away from their principles resulted in really bad policy. So pass something that --

BLITZER: You don't have the votes in the Senate, right?

HOLLER: I don't think anybody knows what's possible in the Senate until you try. That's one of the things that the Republicans in Congress haven't tried.

BLITZER: Let me bring Ana back. Is this a dream that Dan and some others have that they can pass legislation that would defund Obamacare? The president obviously would veto any such legislation, but go ahead and respond to it.

NAVARRO: If it's a dream, it's an irresponsible one. I think it's far more closer to demagoguery than it is to a dream. It also is showing very much lack of understanding of the political consequences and consequences on the nation of a shutdown. There is going to be no defunding of Obamacare. Let's face it. They are the majority in the Senate. They have the presidency. We all agree and we should keep our eye on that.

Practically, every Republican agrees that Obamacare is a disaster and we all want to see it fixed or repealed. Some of us think the best way to get around is to be to elect more senators, to be able to elect more Republicans and to have the votes to be able to do it. But today, we don't. And forcing and talking and threatening about a government shutdown and threatening other Republicans, is not the way to go about winning more seats.

HOLLER: The only people talking about a government shutdown are President Obama and a handful of Republican senators who don't want a fight on Obamacare. If you look at the Republican senators talking about this, folks like Tom Coburn, Bob Corker, they're the ones who are negotiating with the White House on a fiscal bargain, a grand deal, right? This is what they want. They don't want to be distracted by fighting on Obamacare. They want to try to make nice with the White House and find a big deal they can rally behind.

BLITZER: They also don't want to suffer the political consequences that Newt Gingrich and the Republicans suffered in 1995 when the government was shut down. I was the white house correspondent for CNN. That was the beginning of the re-election of Bill Clinton as president of the United States because most Americans blamed the Republicans, Newt Gingrich and the Republicans for that government shutdown. They hated it.

HOLLER: But nobody looks at the policies that came out of it, right? You could not have had welfare reform.

BLITZER: We're talking about politics right now. The political fallout for the GOP was a disaster.

HOLLER: Look, back in March of 2011, Paul Ryan was talking about the government shutdown. He said we need to stop talking about the politics and start thinking about what's good for the country. What are the policies that we can achieve? I think that's what the Republicans --

BLITZER: The notion that this is just -- you're living in a dream world, we just heard from Ana. What say you?

HOLLER: Look, I think all of these Republicans go out there and say we'll do whatever it takes to defund and stop Obamacare. It's kind of like the old meatloaf song, "I'll do anything, but I won't do that." They're not willing to do what it takes to try to stop Obamacare and we're running out of time.

BLITZER: Ana, you have the last word. Go ahead.

NAVARRO: I don't know what to say about that. I go back to telling you, it is bordering on demagoguery. They know they don't have the votes. This is just doing you know, a cause to be able to give them themselves a higher profile including organizations like Heritage, which is fine. I get it. I get the joke, but it's a cost to the entire party and the nation.

HOLLER: We're happy to see an alternative plan to stop Obamacare, but there's not one out there yet. BLITZER: Obamacare is the law of the land, passed the House and the Senate, signed by the president into law. The Supreme Court said it was totally constitutional as you remember and then the president was re-elected so it is the law of the land.

HOLLER: It is. But House Republicans were elected in 2010 and maintain their majority in 2012 with the express purpose of stopping the implementation and they have to decide whether they're going to go along and get along or stand up and fight to try to stop the law.

BLITZER: I suspect most of the Republicans will want to get along as opposed to wanting to see the government shutdown, but we'll see.

NAVARRO: And I think most of the nation wants to see us get along.

BLITZER: All right, we'll see what happens. Ana Navarro, Dan Holler, a good debate, thanks very much to both of you for coming in.

Up next, scammers trying to cash in on Rick Warren's personal tragedy and he's not alone.


BLITZER: One of America's best-known pastors is among of the latest victims of online scammers and they're trying to cash in on his personal tragedy. We're talking about Rick Warren. CNN's Mary Snow is working the story for us. Mary, so what's happening?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, what Rick Warren has been grieving his son's death. He's been sharing his story on social media as well as helping those suffering from mental illness the way his son did. It's such a painful time. He is also having to ward off online scammers targeting his supporters.


SNOW (voice-over): Pastor Rick Warren was warmly embraced when he recently returned to the pulpit for the first time since his 27-year- old son, Matthew, committed suicide in April. Warren, author of the best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life," is now making it his mission to fight against the stigma of mental illness.

As part of the effort, the Saddleback Church, which he founded set up a fund and Warren credits his family, particularly his daughter, for providing strength.

PASTOR RICK WARREN, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: I am in a family of spiritual redwoods. I mean, they are giants of faith. It is a rock-solid family and actually when Matthew died, Amy said, you know, Daddy, she said Satan picked the wrong family to pick on. He's going to lose big-time on this one.

SNOW: But as he grieves along with his family, Warren is also finding himself dealing with a different kind of fight, one against scammers. He wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday, 179 of over 200 fake Rick Warren Facebook pages created by scammers to make money on my son's death have now been shut down. We're still working on the rest. Thanks to you, friends, for reporting them.

Pastor Warren has declined interview requests since his son's death. But others like Joel Osteen have been targeted by phony Facebook pages in the past and the head of an Evangelical research organization says he's seeing more and more of these scams.

ED STETZER, PRESIDENT, LIFEWAY RESEARCH: People are going around soliciting funds. People see the name and they click friend or like and then the people, the criminals, you know, begin to sort of reach out to people who are trusting that they're hearing from a trusted Christian leader. I think it's important that people always recognize that there are a lot of evil people in the world, and those evil people try to do evil things.

SNOW: Ed Stetzer says he was even targeted. While Facebook will shut down pages once alerted, Stetzer says scammers copy photos and profiles so the pages look real. It was the postings that raised red flags.

STETZER: Number one, the posts were really not like I would post and secondarily, they began to contact people and those people said that doesn't sound like you at all.


SNOW: We reached out to Facebook and a spokesperson told us that the company can take action on fraudulent pages like these. When they're reported by users, the advice they offer people is that if they discover a page that is suspicious, report it to Facebook -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Mary, thank you. Up next, CNN gives you an exclusive look at life inside North Korea, life that the government official there don't want you to see.


BLITZER: It's been about two and a half years since my visit to North Korea, still rare for foreigners to get into the country, very few travels outside the capital city of Pyongyang. CNN's Paula Hancocks was able do that and brings us an exclusive look at everyday life her military minders didn't want her to see.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Driving out of Pyongyang I'm very aware this is a journey very few foreigners ever make. The high rises give way to lush green farmland. Every single field as far as the eye can see has been cultivated. Growing maize, wheat and rice, unexpected in a country where a quarter of its children have severe malnutrition, according to the United Nations.

Some crops were damaged by heavy rains, which my military minders seemed upset to see. Driving three hours north, I see men and women working in the fields, but not a single piece of farming machinery. Vehicles were rare. A car is a luxury the average North Korean cannot afford. We're stopped at a number of military checkpoints set up because of the heavy rain.

(on camera): So basically we're stopped here and one of the main roads out of Pyongyang, this is a pretty major road in North Korea. It was flooded yesterday because there's been so much heavy rain. And on the other side, half of the road has completely crumbled away. It's dropped maybe 20 foot.

(voice-over): We drive over this buckled bridge very slowly. It collapses the very next day. Heavy rain hits the town in an area the regime is for the hotels electricity supply. The next day while filming the swollen river I noticed a small boy fishing with a net. He takes whatever he has caught to a man sitting on the side of the water. Nearby a family washes their clothes in the river suggesting running water is a luxury in the region. Even the hotel water was not constant.

Another man brought soap to the river to wash his hair and clothes. Then a security official appears from nowhere and tells me to stop filming. Back on the official tourist route, we visit the gardens.

(on camera): It is a Buddhist temple in North Korea, which is not something you would expect considering the official line in North Korea is that they are nonreligious. You can see it is being beautifully preserved. We spoke to the monk. He said there are about 25 monks here and they service about 2,000 people in the local community.

(voice-over): Tells me people come mainly on Buddhist holidays to take part in ceremonies and pray. The only people we saw was a group of school children, they too, were on the official tour. North Korea claims it is tolerant of different religions as shown by the temple. I see two different countries, the tourist view and the poorer view I see through the bus window some of which I am forbidden to film. Paula Hancocks, CNN, North Korea.


BLITZER: Mary Snow is watching another story out of North Korea right now and a quick look at some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM -- Mary.

SNOW: Wolf, North and South Korea both say they are willing to resume talks aimed at reopening an important joint industrial zone near the border. North Korea closed it when tension between the countries flared in April. The 53,000 North Koreans work for more than 120 South Korean companies at the 9-year-old complex.

The International Olympic Committee is being pressured to condemn Russia's anti-gay law ahead of next year's Winter Games in Sochi. Activists delivered a petition with 320,000 signatures to Olympic headquarters in Switzerland today. The law prohibits what deems gay propaganda that could apply to any positive expression about homosexuality. President Obama spoke about the law on the "Tonight Show."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure the Olympics work. And I think that they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics we wouldn't tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They are athletes. They are there to compete. If Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit then every judgment should be made on the track or in the swimming pool or on the balance beam. Sexual orientation shouldn't have anything to do with it.


SNOW: Russian officials have given conflicting messages about whether the law applies to Olympic athletes.

And George W. Bush is back home after his health scare. The 67-year- old former president had a stent place in yesterday after a blockage was discovered during a routine exam -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary, thank you. A new TV channel targets an unreached demographic. We're talking about dogs. Jeanne Moos is next.


BLITZER: Good news for dogs right now. There is a channel just out for them. Here is CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who would sit and watch 3 minutes of a dog running through a cornfield? It looks just like you. Look. Just like you. No wonder it is just like her, it's DOGTV. The first television network for dogs has just gone national on DirectTV. What's the target demo?

RON LEVI, FOUNDER AND CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, DOGTV: Wherever there is a dog home alone we feel this is the perfect baby sitter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Been there, done that. Don't let your dog get lonely. DOGTV.

MOOS: The creators said they did three years of research on dog behavior watching video from surveillance cameras set up in 38 apartments to see what dogs do when they are alone and how they react to TV.

LEVI: We learned a lot of dogs were not happy with the barking noises.

MOOS: Romeo, for instance gets so excited his owners can't watch shows on Animal Planet so DOGTV features almost no barking and just the occasional squeaky toy. They have enhanced certain colors to make them more visible to dogs. There are three types of doggy programming, stimulation, relaxation and exposure to get dogs used to things like car rides and babies and thunderstorms. DOGTV costs $5 a month and at least your dog won't have to sit through erectile dysfunction ads. (on camera): Are there commercials?

LEVI: It's commercial free. It's ad free. It's 24/7.

MOOS (voice-over): Forget channel surfing. Some trainers think DOGTV is silly that it makes dogs hyper trying to make sense of stuff coming out of the box. The humane society recommends leaving a TV on. DOGTV is being tested in veterinarian clinics and shelters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Immediately the dog sat down and watched it.

MOOS: Some dogs are mesmerized while others can't be both bothered. Try to stay awake for this. Want the remote?

LEVI: We don't expect dogs to sit all day and become canine couch potatoes.

MOOS: Ginger became a couch potato without showing the interest in DOGTV unless she is dreaming about leaping through the cornfield. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: By the way, the creators haven't forgotten cats. They are thinking right now about what they call CATTV but decided they were going to start with dogs.

Remember you can always follow us on twitter. Tweet the show. Love to hear from you. That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.