May 12th, 2011
10:16 PM ET

Sources: U.S. grills 'hostile' bin Laden wives, via Pakistan officials

(CNN) - Three of Osama bin Laden's wives have been interrogated by U.S. intelligence officers under the supervision of Pakistani's intelligence service, according to sources in both governments.

The women - who were all interviewed together - were "hostile" toward the Americans, according to a senior Pakistani government official with direct knowledge of the post-bin Laden investigation and two senior U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter. The eldest of the three wives spoke for the group.

Members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence were in the room along with the U.S. intelligence officers, the officials said. The Americans had wanted to question the wives separately to figure out inconsistencies in their stories.

All three officials said that the interrogation didn't yield much new information, while adding that it was early in the process.

Both the senior Pakistani and senior U.S. officials said that - despite some well-publicized strains - there is an ongoing exchange of intelligence between the two countries.

The story was first reported Thursday night on CNN's "Anderson Cooper: 360."


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
May 12th, 2011
09:59 PM ET

Blair: Ideology bin Laden represented still problem for the West

New York (CNN) – After a stealth U.S. military operation, notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden may be dead but the notion of a fundamental conflict between Islam and the West which he advocated remains a problem, according to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper whether the front line in the global war on terrorism has now shifted to Pakistan, the country where bin Laden was found and killed by the United States, or to Yemen, a growing center of influence for al Qaeda and those inspired by al Qaeda, Blair said the issue wasn’t that simple.

“Sometimes people say, ‘Well, what should we be worried about most? Would it be Afghanistan? Would it be Iraq? Would it be Pakistan? Would it be Yemen? Would it be Somalia?’ The answer to that question is all of those, I’m afraid,” Blair said in an interview set to air Friday on AC360°. “For me this is one struggle," continued Blair, “It’s got many different aspects to it. One is the security aspect. But the other is the narrative, the ideology that people like bin Laden represent. Because my fear is that the narrative has a far broader support than those engaged in extremism would suggest.”

Blair explained that he believes the number of individuals who turn to violence because of radical Islamic beliefs is “a relatively small number.” But, “those that buy into the narrative that there is this fundamental conflict, that the West is oppressing Islam, I think that stretches far deeper.”

Since leaving office in the U.K. Blair has worked as an envoy in the Middle East peace process.

Tune in to AC360° beginning at 10pm ET Friday to watch more of the Blair interview.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Islam • Osama bin Laden
AC360° Exclusive on bin Laden Investigation: Join the Live Chat
Amal al-Sadah's passport, which a relative said was obtained for the purpose of marrying bin Laden in Afghanistan in 2000.
May 12th, 2011
09:45 PM ET

AC360° Exclusive on bin Laden Investigation: Join the Live Chat

We have breaking news and a 360° exclusive on the United States' request to interview Osama bin Laden's wives, who are in Pakistani custody. Join us for that and much more.

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 12th, 2011
08:00 PM ET

More lawmakers want photos of bin Laden's body released

Washington (CNN) - Two U.S. lawmakers joined the call Thursday for the release of photos of Osama bin Laden's body, after seeing the images themselves.

"These are very graphic, gruesome pictures," said Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado. But seeing them "gave me a sense of finality and closure."

Members of Senate and House committees that deal with intelligence and military matters have been invited to see the photos. Some of his colleagues had declined the offer, Lamborn said. He did not name those lawmakers.

He, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California saw the photos on Thursday at the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

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Filed under: 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden
May 12th, 2011
07:30 PM ET

Millions of acres of farmland flooded; Louisiana braces for onslaught

(CNN) - Across the South and lower Midwest, floodwaters have covered about 3 million acres of farmland, eroding for many farmers what could have been a profitable year for corn, wheat, rice and cotton, officials said Thursday.

In Arkansas, the Farm Bureau estimated that damage to the state's agriculture could top more than $500 million as more than 1 million acres of cropland are under water.

"It's in about 10 feet of water," Dyersburg, Tennessee, farmer Jimmy Moody said of his 440 acres of winter wheat, which was to be harvested in the coming month.

Other farmers in Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas rushed to salvage what wheat they could ahead of the rising water. As for corn, farmers who were able to get into the fields during a soggy planting season in late March and April are seeing their crops in some cases under several feet of water.

Farms near and on the Mississippi River are no strangers to flooding, but the 2011 flood is definitely one for the record books.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Weather
Beat 360° 5/12/11
Queen Elizabeth II, right, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, left, attend the Windsor Horse Show on May 12, 2011 in Windsor, England. (Photo credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
May 12th, 2011
07:15 PM ET

Beat 360° 5/12/11

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!

Mori Rothman
"It’s Ma’am. As in Ham."


Barbara Hair
"She can talk all she wants.....I'll just nod and smile."

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
May 12th, 2011
07:07 PM ET

AC360 Preview: Syrian still speaks out about protests even after husband's arrest

New York (CNN) - The Assad regime continues to unleash waves of bloody reprisals on pro-democracy protestors in Syria, but the scale and gravity of the violence has been difficult to gauge because the country has been closed off to Western journalists. So we’ve had to rely on grainy videos uploaded on YouTube, and testimony from Syrians themselves, who at great risk to their safety, have given chilling first-hand reports.

One such person is Razan Zaytouni, a human rights activist and lawyer inside Syria. Last month, she appeared on our show, insisting that we use her real name. Asked if she were worried about her own safety, she said: “Sure, nobody is safe these days. Many of our friends are in prison now.”

Today, those fears were realized. CNN has learned that Zaytouni’s husband, Wael Hamada, also a prominent human rights activist, was arrested by Syrian authorities. The two of them had spent the last few days in hiding. Zaytouni remains on the run, but today, it seems, Hamada’s luck ran out.

Anderson Cooper just spoke with Zaytouni again. Hear the interview tonight, and watch as this courageous Syrian bear witness to the violence around her and rippling through her country.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
Officials: Bin Laden 'complacent' in Pakistan, no sign of escape plan
People gather outside the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.
May 12th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Officials: Bin Laden 'complacent' in Pakistan, no sign of escape plan

Washington (CNN) - U.S. officials say several key indicators bolster their initial impression that Osama bin Laden had a support network in Pakistan that resulted in his staying in one location for the past several years, feeling comfortable he would not get caught.

The officials, familiar with the latest assessment of the raid that resulted in the al Qaeda leader's death, point out there is no apparent sign that bin Laden had a ready escape plan. He did not appear to have the means or make an attempt to destroy the reams and gigabytes of documents before Navy SEALs assaulted his compound, according to the sources. The sources requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

"It looks like he became complacent," one of the officials said. "There is a lot more material than we expected to find here."

Bin Laden, one of the officials noted, had only three men with him in his Abbottabad compound at the time of the assault. U.S. officials have said that aside from bin Laden, the three men who lived in the compound and who were killed in the raid were bin Laden's son and two trusted couriers.

"What does all that mean?" the official said. "How could he be so comfortable living in that location for that period of time with so little security?"

May 12th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Students 'armed' with pencils beaten in Syria, activist says

(CNN) - Syria weathered more anti-government ferment over the past day as the embattled regime girded for another round of nationwide protests Friday.

Security forces rounded up a leading voice for human rights Thursday, hours after a rally erupted at Aleppo University, in the heart of Syria's second-largest city.

The government has been cracking down on protests over the past two months in Daraa, Homs, Banias and other cities.

Protesters plan another round of demonstrations Friday, with rallies expected across the country after Muslim prayers.

"Despite overwhelming international condemnation, the Syrian government continues to exact brutal reprisals against its own citizens, including, tragically, the deaths of hundreds of Syrians since March," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Greenland's capital of Nuuk on Thursday.

She accused the Syrian government of engaging in unlawful detention and torture and denying medical care to the wounded. "Now, there may be some who think that this is a sign of strength, but treating one's own people in this way is, in fact, a sign of remarkable weakness," she said.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
May 12th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #843 'Waiting for the O'

Reporter's Note: President Obama’s re-election campaign is already underway and headed, ultimately, for North Carolina which is where I am writing today’s letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

So I spent most of the day touring around and talking to people in Charlotte, where your Democrats will soon hold their next big national political convention and where, presumably, you will officially receive their official blessing for your re-election bid. My guess is that you’re going to be kind of busy at the time, and that’s a shame. Because if you just had an afternoon to roam around, you would be so very impressed with how this town has transformed itself.

Some years back when I came here for work, to be honest, I just didn’t find it interesting at all. The business area was dull as dirt after 5 p.m. and not much better in the earlier hours. The restaurants were uninspired. Even the traffic seemed pedestrian. (Ha!)

Today, however, Charlotte is brimming with life and energy. Downtown is beautiful with lovely fountains splashing all over the place, tall elegant buildings, clean streets, and plenty of good places to eat. So many nice, inviting neighborhoods seem close by, and the people just can’t be beat.

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