Return to Transcripts main page


Times Square Terror Plot; Interview With Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra

Aired May 4, 2010 - 20:00   ET


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. We have got lots of breaking news tonight on the Times Square bomb plot, many new details learned today about the accused terrorist, Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year- old American citizen born in Pakistan.

We have got video just in of authorities searching his former home in Connecticut tonight. And sources tell CNN he is talking, talking so much that authorities have delayed his appearance in federal court here in Manhattan, so that he will keep talking.

So, listen to what we have already learned. This is from the 10- page criminal complaint filed this afternoon. It says Shahzad admitted he tried to blow up his Nissan Pathfinder in Times Square Saturday night. He admitted it. He told authorities that he went to Waziristan for training in bomb-making.

The complaint also says the car he left at JFK Airport had a gun in it, a .9-millimeter rifle, along with ammunition, and it says he used a prepaid cell phone to call a fireworks store. And, incredibly, one of the things left in the smoldering Pathfinder was allegedly the key to the suspect's former Connecticut home.

We are covering all angles of this story tonight, and there is a lot to get to. So, right now we want to start you out with our cheat sheet of all of today's top stories, the "Mash-Up."

And we, of course, begin with the international aspect of this story, Faisal Shahzad's Pakistan connection, the story still developing, but CNN has learned his father is a retired senior officer in the Pakistani air force, and an intelligence force in Pakistan says two or three people there were seized earlier today in a raid prompted by all of this. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prosecutor says Shahzad admitted during questioning that he received bomb-making training during a recent five-month stay in Pakistan in an area where the Taliban is dominant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An intelligent source telling CNN that two individuals have been arrested in the Nazimabad district of Karachi, the arrest taking place during the raid of a house that, according to intelligence agents, Faisal Shahzad used during his last stay in Pakistan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of them, Tausif Ahmed, is believed to have traveled to the U.S. two months ago to meet with Faisal Shahzad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shahzad's family is believed to come from a village called Pabbi near the Afghan border. Terrorism experts say this village was once home to a famous al Qaeda training camp.


BROWN: According to the complaint against him, Shahzad returned to the United States via a one-way ticket from Pakistan on February 3.

And the other top domestic story we are covering tonight is, of course, the cleanup after those record-breaking flash floods across the Southeast. And none of us have been able to look away from the incredible pictures of the heart of historic Nashville underwater.

You can see some there. The rain may be over, but the crisis just now beginning for folks there. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This morning, the Cumberland River crested at a 70-year high, 12 feet above flood stage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rescuers fear more dead bodies could be discovered in the flood-ravaged state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not the magnitude of Katrina, but it is to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overhead, the flood's destructive and deadly reach is still obvious, airplanes grounded underwater, so, too, the Grand Ole Opry and Opryland Hotel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one has been able to get in to see if the priceless music memorabilia, recordings of stars like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton are still intact. It may be months before anyone sings in this hall again.


BROWN: Today, President Obama signed a disaster declaration which will send federal aid to the state of Tennessee.

And the top political story tonight is Laura Bush's big interview with Oprah. The former first lady opened up to Oprah and dispelled some of the myths out there, I guess, saying that she never gave her husband the oft-quoted ultimatum, "It's either Jim Beam or me." Instead, she says President Bush just stopped drinking cold turkey.


LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: I knew that George was drinking too much. And I knew that he didn't want to do that. And that's not really his personality.

We went for our 40th birthday to Colorado Springs to the Broadmoor with a group of our closest friends who most of them were also turning 40 that year. A couple of them were a little bit older. And we had the wild drunken weekend. And it was no different from any other.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": Where you say you heard the same toast...


WINFREY: ... times.

BUSH: Same toast over and over and at dinner.


BUSH: And then George just woke up and -- and knew he wanted to quit. And he stopped.


BROWN: Mrs. Bush said Bible study and a meeting with evangelist Billy Graham also helped the president quit drinking.

And a little something we want to share with you tonight about the show "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire." You probably know that contestants are allowed to ask an expert for help with questions. Well, guess who their expert was this week? Take a look.


MEREDITH VIEIRA, HOST: In 2009, what restaurant chain's founder paid $250,000 to buy back the 1971 Camaro he sold before launching the company?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I don't know. So, I have a feeling that I -- let's ask Campbell.

VIEIRA: Let's bring in Campbell Brown.

Hey, Campbell.

BROWN: Hey, Meredith.

VIEIRA: Oh, Gabe is really counting on you for this one. Do your best here.

BROWN: Thanks.

VIEIRA: It's for $50,000.

BROWN: Gabriel?


BROWN: I know this.

VIEIRA: Awesome. Oh, my God. Thank you so much.

BROWN: Gabriel, I know it's A.

VIEIRA: Oh, my God. And that's my -- the one inclination I had. It was, maybe it's Papa John's, so -- but that's awesome. Thank you so, so much.

VIEIRA: You have 34 seconds starting now.

BROWN: I'm going to say Papa John's. Final answer.

VIEIRA: It is Papa John's.



BROWN: OK. So, at least I got one right. We're not going to give it away. But you can see for yourself what happened all this week on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

And that brings us to tonight's "Punchline."

Of course, BP is rolling out the big guns when it comes to cleaning up that massive Gulf oil spill. How big? Let's let Stephen Colbert tell you.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": BP is committed to cleaning up this problem by lowering a dome over the leak to suck up the oil as it comes out.

In fact, BP's engineers have provided us with a digital rendering of the proposed undersea dome.



COLBERT: Apparently, to soak up the oil, there is a sponge inside. According to a spokesman, absorbent and yellow and porous is he.



BROWN: Stephen Colbert, everybody. And that is the "Mash-Up." Those are all the stories people are talking about tonight.

When we come back, the prime suspect in the Times Square terror plot behind bars, and he is talking. We are learning brand-new information about him. He is a newly naturalized American citizen accused of plotting a massacre in New York City. We have got all the bases covered for you. We will have the newest developments when we come back.


BROWN: As U.S. investigators continue to retrace the steps of terror suspect Faisal Shahzad, today, at a press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said Shahzad admitted his role in the attempted attack.

And, in the suspect's homeland, Pakistan, arrests were also made today.

We're going to start with CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve, who has the very latest on the investigation.

And, Jeanne, the feds have been questioning him today. He has been talking. What is he telling them?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, before we get to that, a little bit of new information from CNN's Susan Candiotti, who is hearing from two law enforcement sources that within the last two months, the suspect bought a rifle near his home in Shelton, Connecticut. It's described as a .9-millimeter, a semiautomatic.

It was a legal purchase. It's not required to be registered under existing laws. But, as to what he is telling investigators, you hit some of the high points. He is telling them that, yes, indeed, he is the one who put that bomb in place in Times Square. He is saying that he got bomb-making training in Waziristan and in Pakistan.

And he is continuing to talk to those investigators, and they're trying to verify some of what he is telling them.

BROWN: So, give us a sense, I guess, of what we still don't know, and what they are -- they are focusing on in terms of the questions unanswered at this stage.

MESERVE: The really big question, Campbell, is, who else is involved here? Did he have co-conspirators here in the United States? Were there people who assisted him in making that bomb, getting the materials for that bomb, in devising this plot? If they aren't here, are they overseas?

They're looking at some telephone calls that were made abroad and made to him from abroad. We know about that. We know that there were some people arrested overseas today, a very active investigation in that regard.

Also, we do know that he only became a U.S. citizen one year ago. And that raises the question of whether he did that in order to blend in, in order to be what they call a clean skin, somebody without any criminal record who might be able to conduct an operation without being detected.

The officials were asked about that at a press conference today, and didn't want to comment. That's one sign it might be something they're truly looking at -- Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Jeanne, thanks very much.

We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to talk to Tom Foreman, who is going to kind of walk us through the timeline of events and how they have unfolded, and also a closer look at actually who is Faisal Shahzad? All that coming up after the break.


BROWN: The Times Square terror plot has played out like an action movie, complete with last night's dramatic arrest at Kennedy Airport. Authorities are saying the bad guy almost got away.

And for New York City police, the FBI, and the man they stopped at the last possible moment from leaving the U.S., the past 72 hours have moved at a whirlwind pace.

Tom Foreman is here now with the extraordinary timeline of a foiled terror plot.

Tom, walk us through it.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, you're right. Extraordinary is the right word.

Let's take it back to 6:28 Saturday evening, Times Square, New York. This are where all of these dramatic events of the past few days really began. Police say, at that precise time, a Nissan Pathfinder rigged with a homemade bomb of gasoline and propane drove right into the middle of this.

It was left by an unidentified man at the curb, right in the middle of a typical large weekend crowd of tourists. This is happening while down in D.C., President Obama and the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, are attending the White House correspondents dinner, all at the same time.

The mayor is quickly called away after a street vendor notices smoke inside that parked vehicle and alerts police. They close off a large section of midtown Manhattan. The president's staff has been monitoring this while he is speaking. He is notified of a potential problem after his speech is done and gets a series of updates.

By 3:00 a.m. Sunday, a bomb-removal robot is on the scene here. It smashes through the rear window of this vehicle, and it removes a metal box. They also find keys inside of this car, one of which will later be found to fit the suspect's home, according to authorities.

So, all of this goes on. Then, around 6:00 a.m., the vehicle is removed to a bomb disposal facility where an officer finds the vehicle identification number on the bottom of the engine block. This is the first big mistake for this guy, Campbell.

BROWN: And -- well, I was going to say, let me stop you right there, Tom, because that was believed to be kind of a critical break here, correct?

FOREMAN: That is absolutely right, Campbell.

The investigation rapidly accelerates because that number leads them to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the vehicle's previous owner tells them he sold it to a man three weeks ago, paying with 13 $100 bills. That's what the man paid with. And the seller's daughter has a bonus in all of this. She has cell phone information about the buyer.

Monday morning, the seller is shown photographs and the seller and/or a friend of the seller -- it's not entirely sure -- identifies Shahzad as the guy who bought the vehicle. Down in D.C., President Obama gets what will be the first of six briefings that day from his counterterrorism team. They will go on all day about this case.

And, all day, investigators keep pushing. The name of Faisal Shahzad is added to a security watch list, and customs agents learn that he intends to leave the country.

BROWN: So, any idea how we know that or when they had the sense that that was going to happen?

FOREMAN: We don't really know the details at this point, Campbell.

We also have heard that they may have lost track of him for a short period of time. What we do know is this. At 10:00 last evening, just as sources are telling CNN that a Pakistani-American is now a potential suspect in the case, authorities say Shahzad is driving a white Isuzu Trooper up to JFK Airport, where we're told he arrives without a reservation and pays in cash for a ticket to Dubai and on to Pakistan.

He goes through security, down the concourse, boards the plane. Just before 11:30 p.m., as we understand it, the door is closed, and the plane prepares to push back, when FBI agents step in. And at 11 -- shortly after 11:30. Then, at 11:45, they arrest him and take him into custody.

By midnight, 53 hours after all of this began, the president is told that the FBI now has closed in on the man suspected in all of this, and they have their suspect -- Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Tom Foreman for us tonight.

And I want to go now to Drew Griffin, because we are learning much more about Faisal Shahzad, who is, of course, the suspect here.

Prosecutors say that the SUV used in the plot was bought by him just one week before Saturday's frightening bomb scare. They say that he had been receiving a series of phone calls from Pakistan in the days leading up to the failed attack.

Drew Griffin, from our Special Investigations Unit, is looking into his life both here and in Pakistan, and has that part of the story for us -- Drew.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, he is 30 years old, born in Northwestern Pakistan.

"The New York Times" is reporting he first comes to the U.S. in 1999 on a student visa. And he is a student. A year later, he graduates from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. He's got a degree in computer applications information systems. He gets a master's degree five years later.

And since 2004, he has lived in Shelton, Connecticut, with a wife, two kids, and two sisters-in-law. He is working as a financial analyst for a marketing firm, really a success story here in the U.S. And, barely a year ago, he becomes a U.S. citizen, naturalized.

Then, just after that, in June, Shahzad quits his job, travels to Dubai and then to Pakistan. He stays there for five months. While he is away, his house is foreclosed on. When he comes back, he tells immigration agents he was simply visiting his parents, and his wife had to remain in Pakistan.

But now, Campbell, according to court documents filed today, Shahzad is telling law enforcement officials he actually went to Waziristan region to learn, he says, how to make bombs -- Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Drew.

Drew Griffin with that part of the story.

We want to bring in right now Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan. He is, of course, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, appreciate your time tonight.

I know you have been briefed on the very latest. Share with us what you can about this guy and about what we know of the plot itself.

REP. PETE HOEKSTRA (R), MICHIGAN: Well, I think you have got presented already the facts very, very well.

We know that a Pakistani naturalized, that -- and I think the key factors here is that he was back in Pakistan, and that most likely he had connections into Waziristan. I mean, that's exactly what he is telling us.

We have now got to go back. We have got to verify those things, because what we need to do is, we need to better understand how he became radicalized, how he communicated with maybe the masterminds there who gave him the ideas of attacking Times Square, so that we can enhance our intelligence capabilities to catch people like this.

Being lucky can't be our national security strategy. We were lucky on Christmas Day. We were lucky last week. We knew -- we know these types of things are going to happen. It was only on February 2 that the director of national security -- or director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, said, hey, within the three -- within next three to six months, I expect we will have an attack on the homeland.

Amazingly, he missed it by only one day.

BROWN: But, to that point, I guess -- and I want to get your thoughts on a few other details -- I mean, it was a foiled plot. And, again, we're learning more what happened along the way. But does that give you any comfort that at least some of the systems are in place, or no?

HOEKSTRA: Well, it wasn't foiled by our law enforcement or by our intelligence community. It was foiled because it appears that whatever training he got in Waziristan wasn't very good. Again, we were lucky.

If he had gotten the right kind of training and had assembled this bomb the way that maybe his teachers would have wanted him to construct it, we would now be talking about a very devastating event that happened 60, 70 hours ago in New York's Times Square, and we would be saying, where did the intelligence community, where did the systems break down?

It wasn't foiled. It was -- it failed because of his incompetence, not because of our efforts at identifying and stopping him. That's the key difference.

BROWN: So, let me go back, because, again...


BROWN: ... presumably you have more information about all this than we do. You had mentioned before, and sources have told us that he had multiple visits back and forth to the Middle East over the last five to 10 years.

But he also had a clean record. So, is there any reason to think that he was a threat before this?

HOEKSTRA: Well, I mean, this is where we have to go take a look. I mean, who was he in contact with when he went to the Middle East?

In our surveillance efforts overseas, was he ever in contact with individuals that we might have identified as being suspicious individuals overseas? If so, why didn't we pick him up?

That's the kind of information. That's our job on the Intelligence Committee. That's our job in Congress to do that kind of oversight, not to point blame, but to help make sure that we give the intelligence community the types of tools that they need. These are very -- these are very difficult plots to stop.

We had Major Hasan at Fort Hood. That was one type of attack. We had the Christmas Day bomber. That was a different set of facts. And now we have Times Square. We need to just make sure that our law enforcement and our intelligence community have the tools to hopefully identify these things, so they don't occur.

This is not about law enforcement. This is about keeping America safe.

BROWN: All right, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, appreciate your time tonight, sir.

HOEKSTRA: Hey, thank you.

BROWN: Thanks for joining us.


BROWN: We now have CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend. And security consultant R.P. Eddy is a former White House National Security Council director joining me as well tonight.

And let me just get your reaction to what we just heard from Congressman Hoekstra. I guess, from what you have heard, is there any reason to think that this guy should have been on someone's radar?

R.P. EDDY, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL DIRECTOR OF COUNTERTERRORISM: Well, everything I understand is he wasn't on anyone's radar. And that's noteworthy.

But, remember, this type of terrorist, this clean-skin, homegrown threat, someone who comes from inside, by definition, is not going to be found by this type of intelligence community, by United States intelligence. We don't operate like that. We don't look internally at our own people.

We look externally. So, this is a great weakness in our own system. And as the congressman was saying -- and I wish he made the point a little more strongly -- this is why law enforcement is so critical, because that's the solution to finding the internal threat.

BROWN: You mean law enforcement here at home.

EDDY: In this country, yes, U.S. law enforcement.

BROWN: So, Fran, let me ask you about what we also learned today. Attorney General Holder said that Shahzad had known -- been known to them since Sunday night. But what happened between then and Monday night, when he was able to get to the airport to buy a ticket and get on a plane? You have some information about this, I know.


Well, for one thing, obviously, once he is identified, the FBI puts a surveillance team on him. This is a complicated -- this is more art than science, actually. They have got to stay far enough back so they don't reveal themselves to the suspect. They want to watch where he is going, who he is contacting.

And, at one point, we're told by a senior counterterrorism official that the surveillance team lost the -- lost the -- Shahzad. And so there must have been a tense moment. This is Monday, when he is going to the airport. Obviously, as the FBI said when I asked them about this: Look, we have redundancies in place. There are multiple teams out. And, so, they obviously -- he's stopped from getting on the airplane by a whole series of things. Not -- not only surveillance is on him.

There is the CBP, who understands that he is on a no-fly list. The Emirates realize he has paid for cash and a one-way ticket. That information gets into the national -- the targeting center. And so all these things come together.

But there had to be a tense moment when they realized the surveillance team didn't have him.

BROWN: There certainly had to have been.

Well, how do you characterize this,as an intelligence failure or as a law enforcement success?

EDDY: Well...

BROWN: I mean, there is sort of a tension here, given what Fran just laid out.

EDDY: Yes. It's a civilian success. The people who point out the weapon, and then law enforcement for keeping people away from the bomb. So, that's a bit of success.

Finding him later, that's a success also. But the real issue is about the design of our intelligence, the failure there. So, we are not designed to find people like this. And the intelligence as designed in this country isn't going to find an insider like this, even if he has only been here one year.

And the only way we will is if we decide we're going to monitor phone calls back and forth to Pakistan with American citizens, which we're not going to do. So, we have to have a better solution internally. And that's the failure, and that's the story.

BROWN: Fran, let me go back, though. I want to get your take on the FBI saying that he has confessed to training at this camp in Waziristan.

I guess, why don't we have better intelligence on that when somebody travels to Pakistan and goes to one of those camps? I mean, how do we -- to R.P.'s point, how do we have any way of knowing this, or are relationships just not strong enough with the intelligence communities abroad?

TOWNSEND: You know, R.P. is exactly right there. There is -- there is a law enforcement challenge here, and it's very, very difficult for us to identify these sorts of threats.

That said, one of the things you can add into the mix is better understanding of travel patterns. Here he is, married with two children. He has a job, and he goes to Pakistan for five months. The house goes into foreclosure at that time. He has abandoned his family you.

You wonder if those sorts of things shouldn't have triggered a harder look from the intelligence and law enforcement communities. That said, we do rely on our partners. We have a good ally and a good partner in Pakistan, but it's not always been the case. That's been an imperfect relationship.

It's gone through, you know, better times and worse times. They happen to be doing very well right now. They have been very aggressive. General Kayani was here, the head of the army chief of staff and formerly the head of the ISI. He was here for bilateral talks. That relationship is much better.

But what we need it to be is better and best over time. We need it to be consistent to identify these sorts of threats.

BROWN: All right, Fran Townsend, R.P. Eddy, appreciate your time. Thanks very much, guys.

EDDY: Thank you.

TOWNSEND: Thank you.

BROWN: Still ahead, we're going to talk about disaster striking in Louisiana, hitting the barrier islands, the Gulf Coast oil slick washing up on a national wildlife refuge, as the National Guard rushes now to protect coastal states from even greater damage. We're going to have the very latest coming up.


BROWN: The massive gulf coast oil slick makes landfall. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said today that the 60-mile-wide spill had reached Louisiana's Barrier Islands. This is a key fishing habitat and home to a national wildlife refuge.

In the meantime, the Pentagon today mobilized more than 17,000 National Guard troops to help gulf states with cleanup. And BP continued frantic efforts to try to cap the sea floor gush, where they're spewing up to 200,000 gallons of oil into the gulf every day.

Joining me right now from New Orleans is, of course, his hometown also, CNN contributor James Carville. And then from Austin, Texas, we have presidential historian and author of "The Wilderness Warrior," Doug Brinkley, who was a long-time resident of New Orleans, we should point as well, and has written very extensively on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.

Appreciate you guys being here. And, Doug, let me start with you on this. It's hard to believe it's been two weeks. Oil still leaking at a rate of 21,000 gallons a day. And I know you think that there has to be a much faster way to address this. And you hold BP responsible. Explain why.

DOUG BRINKLEY, PROF. OF HISTORY, RICE UNIVERSITY: I have been holding BP responsible. They've been slow to respond. They've been slow to educate people. This is a surreal crisis going on. Every moment while we're talking, oil is gushing out of there.

You saw British Petroleum get hammered today on Capitol Hill. Not by Democrats, but by Democrats and Republicans. A consensus is starting to grow that British Petroleum has been clueless on both the safety of their rigs and how to deal with a spill of this magnitude. They're now trying this miracle containment cap, which we're going to be waiting for another week or close to it to put on it. Sort of like a Stephen King "the dome" or something they're trying to build.

Meanwhile, we need about four contingency plans. There's a way to do permanent cementing on the hole right now. To do a relief well could take up to a month. And so we have a true disaster going, and it's not going away tomorrow or the next day, Campbell. We're going to be going back and back at this because BP does not have it under control.

BROWN: Do you think the federal government ought to step in and take over?

BRINKLEY: We're getting to a point where the federal government I think has to reach out to every oil company that operates. I've talked today to engineers out of Houston who think there are other ways to do it besides the way BP is trying to put this dome on. This might work. But what they're trying -- the ocean floor is -- it's not like a table. It's elastic. And this has never been done what they're trying in deep water before. It's only been done in shallow water. So we're looking at an experimental way of stopping the gusher while the Gulf of Mexico is slowly dying. And the whole marine systems are going to be going by the wayside. You're just starting to get the pictures tonight of these national wildlife refuges, some of them which Theodore Roosevelt created 100 years ago for the United States.

BROWN: James, Doug mentioned BP executives being on the hill today getting grilled by lawmakers. Our own CNN's Brianna Keilar was able to ask the vice president of BP a couple of questions after the break. And let me play that.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Will the containment dome be in place soon?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're in the process of shipping that out. And we should have it starting to get on location over the weekend.

KEILAR: And will BP pick up the full cost of the cleanup?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said that we will pay all legitimate claims. Thank you very much.

KEILAR: What does legitimate mean?


BROWN: So, James, two questions for you. First, give me your take on how you think BP is handling this. And then second, off of Brianna's question, do you think taxpayers are going to end up footing the bill for all this?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, as I appreciate it, the law is vague (ph). BP is required to pay all cleanup cost under the 1990 statute, but the damages will limit it to $75 million with this thing. And what that means is, is like, if you have a hotel, it is likely to happen somewhere in the Mississippi gulf coast, Alabama, Florida, you're going to lose a lot of businesses. But if you're a fisherman, you're losing all of your fish. So they're limited to $75 million. And he says legitimate, that's exactly what he's talking about, the CEO said that.

Now, supposedly Congress is going to try to go back and do something about that. I was a (INAUDIBLE) lawyer a long time ago and I don't know if this counts as an ex-post facto law, not if you can do something like that. But there's a lot of questions that BP -- what I suggest is every executive of that company just rub their shoulder real good because they're going to be throwing a right hand in there a lot. There is going to be a lot of testifying going on. I promise.

BROWN: Well, James, I know they're hiring local people, some of the shrimp boat guys and the people who are going to be so devastated over the long-term by -- I mean, is that really going to help, or is that just sort of a short-term kind of salvo here?

CARVILLE: The government people try contractors. The local people know what to do. They have to give money. These guys are out of money. They need to get the shrimpers some money. They need to get this boom down here. They ought to be sending supply planes down. There are people here ordering a boom from Norway and stuff. And somebody has got to get serious. BP, they need a coordinator here. The local people are really heroic in this thing, but they need more help.

BROWN: All right, gentlemen, we'll be talking to you again I'm sure as we track this every day and see how this whole thing progresses. Doug Brinkley for us tonight, James Carville, thank you so much.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

CARVILLE: Thank you.

BROWN: Coming up, some welcome news in Tennessee. The massive floodwaters finally starting to recede around Nashville. But now, there's fear of what they may find when the water pulls back. That after the break.


BROWN: Coming up, Christian leader Franklin Graham takes a shot at President Obama. He says the White House is shunning Christians and giving Islam a pass. Reverend Graham is going to be here shortly. But first, more stories in the news with Tom Foreman.

Hey, Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Campbell. The man who investigators say admitted trying to blow up part of Times Square with a car bomb allegedly traveled to Pakistan to be trained in bomb making. That's according to authorities. Faisal Shahzad is also alleged to have received a series of calls from Pakistan in the days leading up to the failed attack. Attorney General Eric Holder said today that Shahzad confessed to his role in the plot.

The Cumberland River is slowly retreating around Nashville, Tennessee. The scene of a terrible story. Floods caused the deaths of at least 29 people in three states. In Nashville, some of the city's most important and historic buildings, including the Grand Ole Opry have been submerged. The storm over the weekend dumped more than a foot of rain in just two days.

The former CBS news producer who tried to extort $2 million from David Letterman sent to prison for six months today. Robert Halderman threatened to expose sexual relationships a talk show host had with women on his staff. The married Letterman went public about the shakedown attempt and admitted to the affairs on the air.

And finally the, there is this guy. An overzealous Phillies fan thought it would be fun to storm the field last night at the eighth inning. But look out. The 17-year-old didn't get much brotherly love from Philly police who tased him. One of the cops put a quick end to the chase, taking aim and stopping the kid dead in his tracks. Here it is again. The Philadelphia police say that's an appropriate amount of force -- Campbell.

BROWN: Really? That seems a little harsh.

FOREMAN: That's what they say. That's what they say. Really went outside the foul line I guess. I don't know.

BROWN: OK, Tom. Funny.

Still ahead, Reverend Franklin Graham lashing out at President Obama. He says the White House is hostile towards Christians and preaching the gospel will soon be tarred as hate speech. My one-on- one with the controversial reverend, coming up next.


BROWN: Evangelical leader Reverend Franklin Graham is slamming President Obama in a new interview, accusing the president of, quote, "giving Islam a pass." Graham tells the White House was clearly behind the Pentagon's decision to cut him from Thursday's National Day of Prayer event, a snub he calls a slap at all evangelical Christians.

An Army spokesman insists it was Graham's controversial views that got him tossed, particularly his statement that Islam is, quote, "a very evil and wicked religion." But Reverend Graham says his religious rights are being denied today. I asked him to explain how.


REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRES. & CEO, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: Well, first, I think, Campbell, I was invited by the National Day of Prayer to be their honorary chairman this year. And of course the statements that I made about Islam nine years ago, I didn't bring them up, it was a group there at the Pentagon, a couple of Muslims, and one fellow in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who hates everything that we Christians stand for. And they objected to us having a prayer service at the Pentagon.

And Campbell, I've spoken at the Pentagon before 9/11 and since 9/11. I've spoken for chaplains all across this country. And then for two Muslims and another fellow from Albuquerque to object and for the Pentagon to rescind this invitation I think is a slap towards evangelicals and Christians as a whole, because 80 percent of American people believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God. And Campbell, there are hundreds of thousands of men and women in the military that believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Muslims can have their Ramadan service at the Pentagon. You can have -- the Muslims have a prayer service up on Capitol Hill and I don't object.

BROWN: What the concerns have been is that you have declared Islam to be an evil religion. And I guess the question would be --

GRAHAM: I said that nine years ago, yes.

BROWN: But you said something very similar to that. I wish I had the quote in front of me right now. But on my program you said something also very similar to that.

GRAHAM: Well, if you take, Campbell, just the way they treat women, I have a real problem with Islam, I do. The way they treat women, it is horrid. And it is not a peaceful religion that President Bush and President Obama tried to tell the American people it is. It is not that at all.

BROWN: OK. So to that --

GRAHAM: And just take if you treat women only, just women only is the argument.

BROWN: To that point then, I guess if you feel that Islam is an evil religion, would it be appropriate -- I'm trying to look at this from the Pentagon's perspective. Would it be appropriate for the Army to then invite a speaker who has called Judaism evil or said that Christians are enslaved by their religion? Can you see where the similarities might be here?

GRAHAM: Campbell, Islam is what it is. And I'm not here to try to take on Islam or preach against Islam. But I don't think the military needs to have their head in the sand either and pretend that everything is OK if we cave in to the demands of a couple of people. And that somehow we're going to have peace in the world. We're not going to have peace in the world. It's just that simple.

BROWN: I read that you said that if George W. Bush were president, you believe he would have overruled the Pentagon, and that you would be speaking on Thursday.

GRAHAM: I don't think --

BROWN: Why do you think that President Obama hasn't done that?

GRAHAM: I don't think this would have happened under Bill Clinton, and I don't this would have happened under George Bush. I really don't.

BROWN: But you do think it would have happened, clearly it has happened, but you don't -- explain your concerns with President Obama and why you think there is a difference.

GRAHAM: No, I don't think President Obama had anything to do with this. Campbell, he -- he's a very nice man.

BROWN: But what you're saying is that the other presidents would have stepped in and overruled the Pentagon and you don't believe that he will. Why not?

GRAHAM: No, I didn't say overrule. I just don't think this would have happened under George Bush and I don't think this would even have happened under Bill Clinton, especially Jimmy Carter. But there are people in the president's administration, I think somewhere down the line in the White House they made this decision.

BROWN: Who? Who? Name names.

GRAHAM: But it wasn't the president.

BROWN: I mean, be specific --

GRAHAM: I don't know.

BROWN: -- if you're making those sort of charges against people in the White House, say who you're talking about.

GRAHAM: No, I just said -- Campbell, I'm just telling you, I feel that I've been told that the decision was made somewhere at staff level. I don't know who the people are. You can ask them. But I certainly support the president. We pray for him. We're thankful for him. And he is our commander in chief.

BROWN: You clearly think that there are people around the president who are hostile to evangelicals. Do you think the president himself is hostile to evangelicals?

GRAHAM: I don't think so, Campbell. I met with the president with my father. He came to his home in Montreal, which we are very thankful. That was a very gracious thing for him to do to come and visit my father at his home. And we had a wonderful time together. He talked about his faith and his belief in Jesus Christ. And I believe what he says. So, you know, I don't think there's any hostility. But I certainly think there are probably some people under him that would be hostile towards evangelicals. It's interesting, Campbell, that the evangelical community has been disenfranchised in this administration. I think they need to understand that there are millions of evangelicals that voted for President Obama this last election. But there has not been a movement towards this administration, toward the evangelical community at all. And when myself and Tony Perkins and others get disinvited, I think it is, it's a slap in the face of many Christians who don't understand it.


BROWN: Again, that was the Reverend Franklin Graham.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starting in just a few minutes. Larry, what do you have for us tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Campbell, the information just keeps coming in on that suspect now in custody and charged in the Times Square terror case. He's got connections to Pakistan, may have trained there. We'll get into those arrests in that country today. And we'll try to answer the question everyone is asking, how did he get on a plane last night, almost escaped from this country? It's all next on "LARRY KING LIVE" -- Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Larry. We'll see you in a few minutes. And we're going to take a quick break. We'll be back in a moment.


BROWN: Floodwaters are starting to recede now in Tennessee, but severe storms have drenched much of the state. Nashville, in particular, as Martin Savidge reports for us now, at least 28 deaths across the southeast over the past few days are blamed on the severe weather. Take a look.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nashville residents say there was almost no time to prepare for the deadly deluge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been down here 40 years, never saw it like this.

SAVIDGE: Since the weekend, a small Navy of emergency responders and volunteers have ferried stunned survivors to safety.

FRANKLIN, WILLIAMSON COUNTY: Almost kind of gives you reminiscent of Katrina or something like that. And you think, well, it can't happen here. Well, it has.

SAVIDGE: It happened because a record 13 inches of rain fell on the city in just two days. The Cumberland River and other waterways rose faster than most people could imagine, trapping even a local pastor Sunday morning. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were getting ready for church to go to church, and by the time we got out, the water had risen to our porch. The neighbors actually had to form a chain because the current was coming through each house.

SAVIDGE: If the images on the ground were frightening, from the air they were staggering. Murky brown water rose to rooftops and lapped around high rises. It even threatened LP Field, home to the NFL Tennessee Titans. The Cumberland River has risen above 50 feet. The last time that happened was in the 1960s. Nashville's mayor and Tennessee's governor flew over the flooding and seemed taken aback.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here in Nashville, it's an astonishing -- it's an astonishing sight for someone who has lived here a long time.

SAVIDGE: The water has submerged one of the city's two water treatment plants, cut power to more than 14,000 residents, even shut down the city's bus service. And then there are those with no place to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still have about 30 shelters open across the state with a little over a thousand, about 1,100 people in the shelters. Five other shelters are on standby.

SAVIDGE: All eyes were on Nashville's music icons. There is water in the country music hall of fame. And the Grand Ole Opry. Fifteen hundred guests at the famed Opryland Hotel were forced to evacuate and spend the night at a nearby high school, while two of the hotel's atriums can now boast an unwanted feature -- indoor lakes.


BROWN: That was Martin Savidge reporting for us. We're going to be back with a look at the everyday heroes of Times Square, right after this.


BROWN: As investigators continue to track the steps of the -- yes, the steps of the Times Square terror suspect, we didn't want to say goodbye tonight without also giving a little attention to the everyday heroes who helped to avert the catastrophe to begin with. And these are the people who saw something and said something. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At about 6:30, an alert t-shirt vendor who is a Vietnam veteran noticed an unoccupied suspicious vehicle on 45th Street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the flash hit, it was a little scary moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel good that you pointed this out? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks to alert New Yorkers and professional police officers, we avoided what could have been a very deadly event.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your message, Lance, to the people of New York.

LANCE ORTON, NY VENDOR: You see something you say something.


BROWN: And that's it for us. Have a good night, everybody.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.