Peter Bergen and Bob Baer discuss how the brothers accused of the Boston marathon bombing could have learned about the explosives they allegedly used to kill and maim innocent people.
Editor's note: Peter Bergen and Bob Baer discuss reaction to interrogation scenes in a film that portrays the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
"Zero Dark Thirty" is a likely shoo-in, deservedly, for Oscar nominations for best director (Kathryn Bigelow) and best screenplay (Mark Boal) and perhaps a slew of other categories.
Jessica Chastain, who plays Maya, a CIA analyst who in the film is the key player in finding Osama bin Laden, is reminiscent of Cate Blanchett in both looks and talent. The movie is beautifully filmed, and the propulsive score moves the action forward effectively.
Leaving aside its obvious merits as a film, how well does Zero Dark Thirty tell the complex tale of the decade-long hunt for bin Laden after 9/11? It's a valid question to ask since, after all, Bigelow told The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins, "What we were attempting is almost a journalistic approach to film," and Boal told the Los Angeles Times, "I wanted to approach the story as a screenwriter but do the homework as a reporter."
Peter Bergen was the only journalist allowed in the al Qaeda leader's compound. He describes what he saw and learned.
It's almost one year to the day al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was attacked and killed by a group of U.S. Navy SEALS at his secret compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan. In his new book "MANHUNT: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden–from 9/11 to Abbottabad," author Peter Bergen reveals astonishing details about tracking the terrorist. Tonight, Anderson speaks with him about inside story, and what Bergen saw in bin Laden's compound before the Pakistani government destroyed it. Read an excerpt from his book and don't miss the interview on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
ANATOMY OF A LEAD
IT WAS NOT UNTIL 2010 that the CIA had a series of significant breakthroughs regarding the Kuwaiti, the elusive courier. Earlier, with the help of a “third country” that officials won’t identify, the Agency had been able to tie him to his real name, Ibrahim Saeed Ahmed. Still, his whereabouts remained unknown.
Then, in June 2010, the Kuwaiti and his brother both made changes in the way they communicated on cell phones that suddenly opened up the possibility of the “geolocation” of their phones. Knowing this, the Agency painstakingly reviewed reams of “captured” phone conversations of the Kuwaiti’s family and circle of associates. FULL POST
CNN National Security Analyst
(CNN) - The best-selling author of "Three Cups of Tea" and another book that cast light on the need to educate girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan may face a legal battle and a review from the book's publisher amid allegations that key stories in the books are false.
Greg Mortenson shot to worldwide fame with the book "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations ... One School at a Time," which describes his getting lost in an effort to climb K2, the world's second-highest peak, being rescued by Pakistanis in the village of Korphe and vowing to return there to build a school for local girls.
In the book, Mortenson says he was captured by the Taliban and held for several days before being released. In the sequel, "Stones into Schools," he even provides a photo of his kidnappers, 13 fierce-looking tribesmen, many of whom are clutching guns.
Among them is Mansur Khan Mahsud, who directs a Pakistani think tank that specializes in research in Pakistan's remote tribal regions. (Mahsud has done research for the New America Foundation, where Peter Bergen is a director.)
Mahsud told CNN that Mortenson was not kidnapped. He said Mortenson's account of his trip to the tribal region of Waziristan, along the Afghan border, "is a pack of lies and not a single word of it is true."
He also said he plans to take legal action against the high-profile author.
"Mortensen has defamed me, my family and my tribe," Mahsud said. He said he plans to sue Mortenson, a man he once considered "a friend."
According to Mahsud, Mortenson came to South Waziristan in 1996 with one of Mahsud's relatives and stayed in the family village, Kot Langer Khel, for more than a week, where he was treated as a guest.
Rather than being kidnapped, Mahsud says, Mortenson was treated by his family as "an honored guest."
"We were his protector in South Waziristan," he said.
"If you see the two other pictures in which Greg is holding an AK-47 rifle, and from his face expression you can clearly judge that this man has not been kidnapped," Mahsud said.
Mahsud claims Mortenson made up lies to "sell his book."
In response to the questions raised about the book - in particular, a CBS "60 Minutes" investigative report that aired Sunday - Viking, the publisher of "Three Cups of Tea," said Monday that it plans to "carefully review the materials with the author."
Jon Krakauer, best selling-author of "Into Thin Air," was featured on the CBS report, saying Mortenson's account is "a beautiful story, and it's a lie."
Krakauer is a climber and former donor to Mortenson's charity. CBS said he was one of Mortenson's earliest backers, donating $75,000 to his cause, but withdrew his support over concerns the charity was being mismanaged.
He told CBS News investigator Steve Kroft in the Sunday broadcast that a "close friend" of Mortenson's who hiked back with him from K2 says Mortenson never heard of Korphe, the village he says he stumbled into, until a year after the failed climbing attempt.
In a transcript of Mortenson's written responses to questions posed to him by CBS - a transcript posted on the website of Mortenson's charitable organization, the Central Asia Institute - the author denies the claim is false.
He says he did visit Korphe in 1993, after his failed attempt to climb K2, but the local people "have a completely different notion about time" than those in the West, implying they would not have been able to recount the exact year he visited.
"60 Minutes" also raised questions about the veracity of other episodes in the book, including his supposed 1996 kidnapping in Waziristan.
Peter Bergen | BIO
CNN National Security Analyst
Editor's note: Peter Bergen, CNN's national security analyst, is a fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank that promotes innovative thought from across the ideological spectrum, and at New York University's Center on Law and Security. He's the author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader."
Washington (CNN) - On May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, President George W. Bush announced "major combat operations" in Iraq had ended. The defeat of Saddam Hussein, he told the American people, was "a crucial advance in the campaign against terror."
For the umpteenth time, Bush bracketed Saddam and the 9/11 attack. "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11th, 2001, and still goes on."
The president went to describe the 9/11 attacks - "the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble" - as if this had any bearing on the Iraq War.
The president also made the definitive statement that Saddam was "an ally of al Qaeda," something that his own intelligence agencies had determined was not the case before the war.
Now seven long years later, another president will again announce that the U.S. combat mission is over in Iraq, which is a good moment to ask: Was the Iraq War somehow post facto worth the blood and treasure consumed?