May 11th, 2011
11:59 PM ET

Video: Getting bin Laden was costly, says Ron Paul

Editor's note: GOP Rep. Ron Paul weighs in on the death of Osama bin Laden and the costs of the long, intensive hunt for the terrorist.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Raw Politics
May 11th, 2011
09:47 PM ET

Secrets in bin Laden's Journal Revealed: Join the Live Chat

It turns out those U.S. Navy SEALs who raided Osama bin Laden's compound and killed him got a hold of his handwritten journal.  That's according to a U.S. official who calls it the al Qaeda playbook. The journal gives chilling guidance on how to attack the United States.  We'll have the breaking developments. Plus, the latest on the mighty Mississippi River spilling over its banks and causing a lot of damage. And, tonight's other headlines.

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
May 11th, 2011
09:28 PM ET

AC360 Preview: Diplomat defends Pakistan's commitment to fighting terrorism

Editor's note: Tonight on AC360°, Anderson Cooper speaks with Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S.

(CNN) - With each passing day, new revelations about Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan for years before his recent death are placing strains on the vital relationship between Pakistan and the United States.

The Pakistanis are fending off accusations that they were essentially sleeping on the job or, worse, may have been complicit in hiding the world’s most wanted terrorist. At the same time, they have accused the U.S. of violating their national sovereignty with a secret military operation in the country that hunted down bin Laden.

It hasn’t helped that Pakistani officials have been sending mixed messages on several critical issues: whether there will be a full inquiry into who knew what about bin Laden’s half decade in Pakistan, whether the U.S. can question bin Laden’s wives who are now in Pakistani custody, and whether the Pakistanis will allow China to examine the wreckage of a previously undisclosed American stealth helicopter used in the mission that killed bin Laden.

Many Americans now have their doubts about whether Pakistan can be a trusted partner in the war on terror. Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S., insists that his government has been holding up its end of the bargain.

Watch Haqqani’s interview with Anderson Cooper tonight on AC360° beginning at 10 pm ET and judge for yourself whether you believe him.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
May 11th, 2011
07:02 PM ET

Bulging Mississippi River rolls South

Tunica, Mississippi (CNN) - The swollen Mississippi River rolled southward Wednesday, swamping emptied-out towns and threatening untold damage to areas still recovering from a series of natural disasters.

In Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, authorities and residents braced for the days ahead.

"I went through (Hurricane) Katrina," said Lynn Magnuson, a New Orleans resident. "I would not wish flooding on anyone, and this city is the last place on Earth that needs any more high water."

The river crested Tuesday at Memphis, Tennessee, just short of a record set in 1937.

Residents and officials are especially concerned about the Morganza Spillway above Baton Rouge, which was last opened in 1973. Opening it could help spare Baton Rouge and New Orleans from some damage, but it would flood populated and rural areas in the swampy Atchafalaya Basin. The basin is home to the Atchafalaya River and myriad tributaries.

The 4,800-foot spillway includes 125 gate bays, said operations manager Russell Beauvais. In 1973, 42 of them were opened.

After gates are opened, Beauvais said, it would take about three days for the water to fully reach Morgan City, a town of about 12,000 near the coast.

At a news conference in Louisiana on Wednesday, Gov. Bobby Jindal said the decision on whether to open the Morganza Spillway is still under way.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Weather
May 11th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Bin Laden was communicating with other terrorists, U.S. official says

(CNN) - Data and documents taken from the compound show that messages from Osama bin Laden did make it out of the compound to other members of al Qaeda, a U.S. official says.

"There are strong indications there is back and forth with other terrorists," the official said.

U.S. officials have said they view the raided compound as the al Qaeda leader's "command and control center" but had not explained before why they believed that to be the case.

"These are not just the writings of an elderly jihadi," the official said.

The source said there is evidence of two-way written communications demonstrating that not only was bin Laden sending messages, he was getting responses as well.

The official also provided new details on bin Laden's personal journal, which was seized during the Navy SEAL raid, the official said. The handwritten journal, which was referred to last week by other officials as the al Qaeda playbook, is being reviewed by intelligence officials. Other handwritten materials are being reviewed, too.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden
Beat 360° 5/11/11
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich gestures to photographers May 11, 2011 after addressing the Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Gingrich announced via Twitter and Facebook on May 11, 2011 that he is a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, becoming the first major Republican figure to throw his hat into the ring. (Photo credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
May 11th, 2011
05:51 PM ET

Beat 360° 5/11/11

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Update: Beat 360° Winners:

Ben Finley
"Hey I never said a word about that birth certificate…AND I have better hair!"


Leo Kansas City, MO
"My Third Lady will be your First Lady!"

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
May 11th, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Libyan government, rebels both claim control of Misrata airport

Benghazi, Libya (CNN) - Spokesmen for the Libyan rebels sparred Wednesday with a spokesman for the Libyan government over who was in control of the airport in the besieged city of Misrata.

During the day, Shamsiddin Abdulmolah of the Transitional National Council said the airport, located in the southern part of the war-torn city, had fallen to "revolutionaries" after opposition fighters in nearby Zlaitin were able to join their counterparts in Misrata.

During the night, government spokesman Musa Ibrahim said government forces were in control of the airport and the seaport in Misrata. He said rebel forces had been there "for (a) short time, and left."

But a rebel spokesman in Misrata, who has asked to be identified solely as Mohamed, said late Wednesday night that the rebels had retained control of the airport and were also in control of a civil defense base beyond the airport.

The capture of the airport would be key for rebels fighting the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi since it would provide an important entry point for humanitarian aid.

Two months of fighting and the ongoing shelling of the Misrata port have prevented most aid ships from docking there, leaving the city "at the forefront" of U.N. humanitarian concerns, a top U.N. official told the Security Council this week.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
May 11th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Bin Laden relatives want probe and proof of death

(CNN) - Relatives of Osama bin Laden want proof that the terrorist leader is dead and are calling for an investigation into how he was killed, according to Jean Sasson, an author who helped one of bin Laden's sons write a memoir.

"They just really want some answers, and they would just really like to know what exactly happened, why they weren't called," said Sasson, who worked with Omar bin Laden to pen a memoir titled "Growing Up bin Laden."

The United States says U.S. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden during a May 2 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was hiding out.

The forces collected a trove of intelligence from the compound and later buried bin Laden's body at sea. While the Obama administration has decided not to release photos of the slain bin Laden, some U.S. lawmakers will be allowed to view them.

Bin Laden's relatives "would like to have been able to have witnessed seeing the body, at least identified the body, because, you know how it is in the Middle East so many times: They really need proof or people start believing - this has been discussed by a lot more people than me - that many people will not believe that he's dead," Sasson told CNN Wednesday.

Her comments come a day after a statement from Omar bin Laden and his brothers was provided to The New York Times.

Asked about the statement, Sasson said Omar bin Laden - who has publicly denounced his father's violence - contacted her and told her he has some things to say. She said she prepared a letter for him and he approved it.

Another family member had gotten an attorney to write a letter about what relatives were thinking and feeling and Sasson said it was decided to go with the attorney's letter.

The statement published in The New York Times is from bin Laden's sons - "the lawful children and heirs" of the notorious al Qaeda leader.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden
May 11th, 2011
02:00 PM ET
May 11th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Gingrich jumps into presidential race

Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made it official Wednesday: He's running for president.

The Georgia Republican announced via Twitter that he is formally seeking the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

Gingrich is widely viewed as the most serious official Republican candidate so far.

"I'm announcing my candidacy for president of the United States because I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity," the former speaker said in a campaign video posted online.

"We Americans are going to have to talk together, to work together, find solutions together, and insist on imposing those solutions on those forces that don't want to change."

The candidate called for more jobs, a balanced budget and decentralized government.

"There are some people who don't mind if America becomes a wreck so long as they dominate the wreckage," Gingrich said. "But you and I know better."

"Let's get together, look reality in the face, tell the truth, make the tough choices, and get the job done," he declared. "There's a much better American future ahead."

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
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