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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Moammar Gadhafi is Dead; President Obama Delivers Remarks on Death of Gadhafi; Larry King: What Moammar Gadhafi Was Really Like; White House Spokesman Jay Carney Address Media; NATO to Call for Special Session
Aired October 20, 2011 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN and this breaking news.
I'm Brooke Baldwin.
The apparent death of Moammar Gadhafi. Wolf Blitzer, standing by, going to join me here, alongside in Washington.
And Wolf, as you very well know, we are standing by for President Obama. He is scheduled to speak any moment now from the White House Rose Garden. We're going to carry that live, as soon as we see him there in the Rose Garden.
Keep in mind, the United States government has not yet confirmed what much of the world seems to accept at this point, that Gadhafi was mortally wounded today in or near his hometown of Sirte. And as we await -- and again, live pictures from the White House -- as we await the president, I want to show you this video.
We took it in just about 90 minutes ago. It appears to show -- look carefully. It appears to show Gadhafi in custody.
He appear in this image there, right there, still alive. I know it is jumpy, it's hard to follow. But we do see a man, purportedly Moammar Gadhafi, in a semi-upright position up against that truck, clearly under duress, quite possibly mortally wounded.
Now, the most detailed account we have heard thus far -- and I need to reiterate to you where we say "detailed," but again, unconfirmed -- is that Gadhafi was wounded and captured in Sirte, his hometown, and that his captors, determined to drive him from Sirte to Misrata. There are hospitals. In that car, in that vehicle Gadhafi died.
Now, I need to warn you, this next piece of video is even more unsettling than this. This video here purports to show a bloodied Gadhafi here on the ground in Sirte. And you can clearly -- if you look closely, the likeness there to Moammar Gadhafi -- and that is our sole reason for airing this particular video here on CNN.
Now, Libyans seem to accept the notion that Gadhafi is dead. They have heard it from the country's new leaders, including the Libyan ambassador to London.
Here he is speaking just this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, Thursday, the 20th of October, we are told that Gadhafi is dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And again, that purports to show the body of -- also more video -- one of Gadhafi's sons, Mutassim, also apparently killed in the fighting in Sirte.
Wolf Blitzer, I know, as we mentioned, we are awaiting the president. And certainly, this is the first time we will have heard from him thus far today.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it's true. Nobody from the Obama administration, at least publicly yet, has officially confirmed that Gadhafi is dead, although numerous members of the House and the Senate have said Gadhafi is dead. And presumably, they're getting their information from the executive branch of the U.S. government.
It will be very interesting to hear how the president of the United States, once he walks into the Rose Garden from the Oval Office, and carefully reads his statement to the American people and to the world, I should say, how he phrases the language that Gadhafi is in fact dead, how far does he in this confirming this?
In fact, Brianna Keilar is Our White House correspondent. She's standing by.
Do you have any advance indications, Brianna, on the phrasing that the president might use when he walks to where you are right now, into the Rose Garden?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We do, Wolf. And it is going to be very, very careful, as we understand it from a White House official, not an outright acknowledgement of an independent confirmation on the part of U.S. officials.
But from a White House official, we're told that the president will cite the fact that Libyan officials have announced Gadhafi's death. And also -- and this may be even more significant -- that the U.S. has received similar reports through diplomatic channels, and that they're pretty confident in those reports.
We haven't heard publicly from White House officials yet, except earlier today. Vice President Biden did acknowledge Gadhafi and the situation. And we're just getting a two-minute warning, I should tell you, Wolf. So we're a couple of minutes out from the president speaking here in the Rose Garden.
Vice President Biden, as we listen carefully, had said, "One way or another, he's gone. Dead or alive, he's gone." So he didn't acknowledge the belief that Gadhafi is dead, but he was hailing this -- the U.S. involvement in Libya as really a good method for helping, I guess, move democracy, and also just assuring that there weren't any U.S. casualties.
He said, "We invested $2 billion, and we didn't lose a single life." He said that was a prescription in how we ought to deal going forward.
So, certainly from the vice president's sort of hailing the strategy that the administration used in Libya, even though, Wolf, as you know, the president got a lot of flak from some war-weary Democrats, and certainly from some fiscally conservative Republicans who are concerned over the money that was being invested.
BLITZER: Yes, he got flak not only from them, but from the other side. He got flak for waiting too long and going forward with the NATO-imposed no-fly zone over Libya. Some of his critics early on suggesting that some Libyans, innocent Libyans, were killed because the U.S. and the NATO allies were dawdling, if you will.
What I'm going to be especially interested, Brianna -- I don't know if you have any advance word on what the president will say on the lessons learned from Libya. Does the U.S. do this kind of thing with the NATO allies down the road in other countries? For example, Syria. Where does the U.S. go from here?
I assume he's going to look ahead as well. Is that what you're hearing?
KEILAR: You know, I haven't heard that, Wolf, but I think if you're judging by what we heard from Vice President Joe Biden, he was hailing this as a prescription. So obviously, that's something that would be applied in other circumstances and not just in Libya.
We've long heard from the White House, from President Obama, that each of these nations where we've seen activity during the Arab uprisings, that each one should really be treated differently. Certainly Syria falls into that category.
But I think we would expect for him to look forward. We certainly heard that from Vice President Biden already today -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, I assume he will as well. But you know what? Here he comes.
The president has just walked out of the Oval Office. He's going to walk down into the Rose Garden and address the American people and the world.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon, everybody.
Today, the government of Libya announced the death of Moammar Gadhafi. This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya, who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya.
For four decades, the Gadhafi regime ruled the Libyan people with an iron fist. Basic human rights were denied, innocent civilians were detained, beaten and killed, and Libya's wealth was squandered. The enormous potential of the Libyan people was held back, and terror was used as a political weapon.
Today, we can definitively say that the Gadhafi regime has come to an end. The last major regime strongholds have fallen. The new government is consolidating the control over the country. And one of the world's longest-serving dictators is no more.
One year ago, the notion of a free Libya seemed impossible, but then the Libyan people rose up and demanded their rights. And when Gadhafi and his forces started going city to city, town by town, to brutalize men, women and children, the world refused to stand idly by.
Faced with the potential of mass atrocities and a call for help from the Libyan people, the United States and our friends and allies stopped Gadhafi's forces in their tracks. A coalition that included the United States, NATO and Arab nations persevered through the summer to protect Libyan civilians. And meanwhile, the courageous Libyan people fought for their own future and broke the back of the regime.
So this is a momentous day in the history of Libya. The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted, and with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Gadhafi's dictatorship.
We look forward to the announcement of the country's liberation, the quick formation of an interim government, and a stable transition to Libya's first free and fair elections. And we call on our Libyan friends to continue to work with the international community to secure dangerous materials and to respect the human rights of all Libyans, including those who have been detained.
We're under no illusions. Libya will travel a long and winding road to full democracy. There will be difficult days ahead. But the United States, together with the international community, is committed to the Libyan people.
You have won your revolution. And now we will be a partner as you forge a future that provides dignity, freedom and opportunity.
For the region, today's events prove once more that the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end. Across the Arab world, citizens have stood up to claim their rights. Youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship. And those leaders who try to deny their dignity will not succeed.
For us here in the United States, we are reminded today of all those Americans that we lost at the hands of Gadhafi's terror. Their families and friends are in our thoughts and in our prayers. We recall their bright smiles, their extraordinary lives, and their tragic deaths. We know that nothing can close the wound of their loss, but we stand together as one nation by their side.
For nearly eight months, many Americans have provided extraordinary service and support of our efforts to protect the Libyan people and to provide them with a chance to determine their own destiny. Our skilled diplomats have helped to lead an unprecedented global response. Our brave pilots have flown in Libya's skies. Our sailors have provided support off Libya's shores. And our leadership at NATO has helped guide our coalition.
Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives, and our NATO mission will soon come to an end.
This comes at a time when we see the strength of American leadership across the world. We've taken out al Qaeda leaders and we've put them on the path to defeat. We're winding down the war in Iraq and have begun a transition in Afghanistan. And now, working in Libya with friends and allies, we've demonstrated what collective action can achieve in the 21st century.
Of course, above all, today belongs to the people of Libya. This is a moment for them to remember all those who suffered and were lost under Gadhafi and look forward to the promise of a new day. And I know the American people wish the people of Libya the very best in what will be a challenging but hopeful days, weeks, months, and years ahead.
Thank you very much.
BLITZER: All right. So the president not responding to questions that were shouted from some of the reporters in the Rose Garden.
He spoke for about five minutes, just a little bit more than five minutes. And he told the world and he told the people of Libya, "You have won your revolution." The president of the United States, in effect, going ahead and confirming that Gadhafi is dead, saying that he has been so informed by the new government in Libya.
A strong statement from the president. Not really elaborating too much on where the U.S. might go from here, but clearly saying that this is a momentous -- in his words, a momentous day.
Brooke, as we watch what happens next, it's going to be fascinating to see where the NATO mission, if the NATO mission even continues in Libya, and if the NATO mission were to expand to some of the other countries that are seeing dramatic developments unfolding in that part of the world. Lots of unanswered questions, and the president certainly didn't answer any of the questions, Brooke, as far as how Gadhafi was killed.
Was he captured alive? Was he wounded? Was he subsequently executed?
And certainly he didn't get into any of the details of his two sons, one of whom has officially been confirmed dead. The other one, Al Arabiya saying is dead, Saif al-Islam.
So there's a lot of unanswered questions. And I know you're going to be watching all of this closely.
BALDWIN: We will. But Wolf Blitzer, before I let you go, I was really listening in closely as well to the phraseology of sort of the end of the Gadhafi regime. And he said, "Today, we can definitively say that the Gadhafi regime has come to an end." But he never uttered the words, "Gadhafi is dead."
And to your point, obviously his phrasing, the nuances, are so, so key. But if you can just put it in a bigger context, why? Why did he not say that?
BLITZER: Well, he said the U.S. government has been informed by the Libyan government that he is dead. He didn't say the U.S. has independent confirmation or anything like that.
BLITZER: He was just taking the word of the Libyan government.
It's such a sensitive issue, because over these many months, the several months of the Libyan revolution, the transitional government there, they issued all sorts of statements, and a lot of them were simply not true, earlier statements that one or another of the Gadhafi's sons, for example, was dead. And you know what? We later found out that son, whether it was Saif al-Islam, or Mutassim, or any of the other sons, were not dead.
And then the Libyan transitional authority would say, well, we deliberately lied for psychological propaganda purposes to try to put pressure on the government, the Gadhafi supporters, and we wanted to get them nervous. Well, that's not the way you behave. You certainly don't establish credibility by deliberately putting out a false statement.
So, in this particular case, about 12 hours or so ago, Brooke, when we first heard about what was going on in Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown, and there were initial reports that Gadhafi was wounded, captured, and then reports that he was dead, a lot of us certainly remembered some of the false statements that have come out from the Libyan transitional government. And that's why there was such strong hesitation.
And I must say, it wasn't just journalists who were skeptical --
BLITZER: -- of these initial statements. It was world leaders, including, as you saw, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. She was about to do a series of interviews with reporters traveling with her right now in Afghanistan. And she said, "Wow!" when she got that initial report.
BALDWIN: In the BlackBerry, exactly.
BLITZER: Yes, she saw on it a BlackBerry. And then she said, it's unconfirmed, we don't have it for sure. She calmed down very, very quickly. We have that on videotape. I'm sure you'll show it to our viewers.
BALDWIN: Yes, we'll be talking to Jill Dougherty, also perhaps answering some of the questions as to the how and the when with regard to Gadhafi and the ending of his life some 12 hours ago. We'll talk to Dan Rivers, who has been in Sirte, covering the battle of Sirte. And we'll talk to him, as he is in Tripoli today.
Wolf Blitzer, I know you have "THE SITUATION ROOM" to get ready for. We will see you here in less than two hours. Thank you so much for your extensive coverage today.
Folks, stay right with me. All kinds of celebrating in Libya today. The end of an era, a 42-year dictator, dead, Moammar Gadhafi.
Be right back.
BALDWIN: All right. Welcome back to CNN.
Breaking news here on the death of Moammar Gadhafi today. And let's just step back and get some perspective, because we know Gadhafi, he came to power all the way back when Richard Nixon lived in the White House.
Gadhafi was in power for 42 years, and for many of those years was in direct conflict with the United States. Keeping in mind Libya, before Gadhafi, was a pretty obscure country. Not so under Gadhafi, a man Ronald Reagan once described as the "Madman of the Middle East."
I want to go to CNN International anchor Jim Clancy, here with us.
And Jim, I know you've interviewed Gadhafi, what, three times? I'm going to ask you about your interviews here in just a moment.
But if I may, just getting to the news first there, you're right next to the international desk. To the best of your knowledge, what happened today in Sirte and also the events leading up to and including the death of Moammar Gadhafi?
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, what we know is that the rebels had announced hours earlier that they had firmly taken control of Sirte and were in the process of mopping up in the area. Then it appears that they located a dwelling, a house where they knew there were some loyalists inside.
They assaulted that. And then, according to their version of events, Moammar Gadhafi tried to flee.
They confronted him. Shots were fired, and he resisted up until the end.
They had videotape that they showed of that, that has been seen of that period when they bring him back to the back of a four-wheel-drive vehicle. And they're trying to push him up against it. Later, we see somebody brandishing a gold pistol that was apparently taken off of him.
But, you know, Brooke, he had long said he was going to stand up and fight until the end, and that's exactly what he did.
BALDWIN: Jim, I've heard different reports, different final words he uttered. Do you know yet what he said as he died?
CLANCY: No, and we have to be very careful, because I'm sure some people are going to want to invent the words as they heard them.
There was one version of the account, and it was perhaps accurate, saying, "What's happening? Who are you? What's happening?"
BALDWIN: Do we know why these fighters were taking him to Misrata?
CLANCY: Well, I would assume that they were from Misrata. And this is just -- this is really symptomatic of the problems that lie ahead for this country, and that is, the faction in Misrata is not exactly under the control of this National Transitional Council.
There are rivalries at work here, tribal rivalries, economic rivalries. There are difficult days ahead for Libya.
This is symptomatic of that problem. They are united in the fight against Gadhafi, yes. Once he is gone, what are we going to see? This is the danger of the days ahead.
BALDWIN: Right. Certainly not a rosy outlook yet when it comes to -- I think the president described it as a long and winding road ahead, as the NTC transitions into a democratic government.
Jim Clancy, I will see you next hour. As I mentioned, you interviewed Moammar Gadhafi three times. You're going to provide me with a little bit of color, I have a feeling, from those interviews.
Meantime though, Larry King interviewed Gadhafi just a couple of years ago, and he's going to join me live to tell me about what the former dictator was really like when the cameras stopped rolling. Don't miss that.
Be right back.
BALDWIN: Live pictures in Tripoli. We are coming up on 8:30 in the evening in Libya. And as night has fallen, that has certainly not quelled any of the celebrations there.
Libyans across multiple cities celebrating the death of the 42-year tyrannical dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. Fireworks, I'm told, as well. Fireworks celebrating this day, this historic day in Libya's history.
So, CNN's Larry King interviewed Moammar Gadhafi two years ago when the Libyan leader visited New York. And just some perspective here, this was after the U.S. had normalized relations with Libya. Gadhafi had agreed to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction.
So, before I talk to you, Larry, let's just listen to one of your questions and the colonel's answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": What's your proudest achievement?
MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (through translator): Establishment on the measures of the people's authority and laying down the cornerstone for a new era. It's the era of the masses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Larry King, live in Los Angeles.
Larry, was he lucid?
KING: Yes, he -- there was something weird about that day.
First, we had taped Ahmadinejad, then Chavez. Then he kept us waiting for two hours.
He came in. We had the set all set up. He changed the whole set. He didn't like the colors.
Then he went back in. And then some men came out and they introduce him, even though we're just sitting around, the technicians, and they say, "And now, brother leader."
BALDWIN: Brother leader.
KING: And he walked in. And then the weird part, Brooke, is we talked for 10 minutes in English.
And then, suddenly, this other guy sits down. And I said, "Who is that?" He said, "My interpreter." I said, "But you speak English." He says, "Yes, but I feel safer with an interpreter."
BALDWIN: Safer. What is that supposed to mean? He was fearful of speaking in English to you?
KING: Sometimes he did speak English. You know, he would cut into the interpreter and speak English. It was just -- the whole setting was very weird. The techs, the people sitting around were very weird.
BALDWIN: How many people did he travel with? What was his entourage like?
KING: I would say 10, but there were four principal bodyguards who introduced him. Two came out, and then two in front of them. And they actually do say, "Ladies and Gentlemen," even though we're just cameramen and director sitting around eating Fritos. "Ladies and Gentlemen, brother leader."
BALDWIN: Wow. That's quite the entrance.
KING: And he walked in with a little cape and everything. The stark difference is the younger Gadhafi, you see, he was a dynamic, attractive -- you could see vibrant leader. I sensed none of that in the Gadhafi in late 2009 at all. No vibrancy.
He had that weird suggestion. His cure for the Middle East was "Israelestine," that they would be -- the Israelis and the Palestinians would combine in one country called "Israelestine." And he said he would be happy to help them do that.
BALDWIN: Larry, let me play a little bit more of that interview, because we remember sort of the infamous tent-pitching moment, right, in New York? And I want to play this part of the interview. This is when you talked to him about who would succeed him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you have thoughts on who might succeed you?
GADHAFI (through translator): I gave up power -- or authority -- since 1977. Once this (INAUDIBLE) was established and the state of Damascus was established, the people's authority was also established. Ever since that date, I am not in power anymore.
KING: So you are not the leader of your country?
GADHAFI (through translator): I am the leader of the revolution. Not the leader of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: What did he mean by that?
KING: I have no idea.
BALDWIN: OK. Just double-checking you didn't know either.
KING: He sure acted like a leader. They're acting like they overthrew a leader, but he was saying it's still an ongoing revolution, I guess.
BALDWIN: And then also, Larry, U.S. leaders, they compared him to a jack in the box, this sort of annoyance who would pop up from time to time, and then you would shove him back in.
How do you think he managed to survive for so long?
KING: That part is amazing. He did shift a lot.
Remember the time when he gave up those weapons, he was hailed by the American administration, and a new era of peace. And that he had taken a bold step, and that other nations that are harboring thoughts -- like Iran -- of nuclear weaponry ought to look to what Gadhafi and what Libya had done.
So there was an erraticism to him. Maybe he was losing it, as they say.
That statement itself, "I am not the leader -- I am the leader of the revolution, I am not the leader of my country," so there is no one to follow me because I'm not -- I'm not a person to be followed, it was all strange. There's so much to know about him that maybe we'll never learn. He is a character in history.
BALDWIN: Is there anyone -- I mean, you have talked to so many people. Is he just -- can you compare him to anyone, or he is just in a league of his own?
KING: Well put, a league of his own. There are certain people that come along historically that there is just no one like them. There is no Fidel Castro. There is no Moammar Gadhafi.
BALDWIN: Wow. Larry King, before I let you go, was there any other moment when the cameras weren't rolling that you want to share other than the grand entrance and his entourage?
KING: That the whole thing was ethereal. It was -- we were looking around. Fareed Zakaria was there. I think he got 10 minutes after we were done. And he kept looking at me like this is weird. I mean --
BALDWIN: I talked to Fareed about it. Fareed said he did not appear, you know, lucid. He said he just totally appeared on drugs. That's why I asked you that out of the gate.
KING: Maybe it was drugs -- I'm not an expert. Maybe it was drugs. But he did speak to me in English before it and he sounded more lucid in English. Maybe the drugs sent him spiraling into his own language.
BALDWIN: Fascinating. Larry King, good to have you back on the show. And thanks for sharing your perspective. Thank you so much.
KING: Thank you.
BALDWIN: And now that the news has broken that Moammar Gadhafi is dead, what does that mean for the NATO operation in Libya? We're going to talk about that coming up next here on CNN.
BALDWIN: For more on the breaking news here, I want to turn to the Pentagon, to our correspondent here, Chris Lawrence.
And, Chris, now that we know that Moammar Gadhafi is dead, certainly the end of a chapter in Libya. But my question is this -- does this officially bring an end to the war? Does this mean NATO bombing campaign, done?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Technically, no, Brooke. But we expect that to happen tomorrow or the next day. A senior official was telling us that NATO's top military commander is just a day or two away from calling a special session of NATO to address ending the military role in Libya.
We're told that he is looking at key pieces of intelligence to make that decision. One, does that NTC now control the city of Sirte? NATO believes the answer to that is yes. Another is: do Gadhafi loyalists have the capability to launch a significant counter attack? NATO believes the answer to that is no.
So, yes, we do expect that to happen in the next day or two, Brooke.
BALDWIN: What about the International Criminal Court indictment? Certainly, the case against Moammar Gadhafi is now dropped. What about his family members also under indictment?
LAWRENCE: Well, you know, we have not been able to confirm this but there are reports out there that several of Gadhafi's sons are now dead as well. We know that there was an indictment as well against Abdullah Senussi, his intelligence chief. So that's one person who could still be out there.
You know, but there's been a lot of pushback among African nations against the International Criminal Court. All of the ICC's current investigations and prosecutions are against African leaders. And there's a sort of a sense among a lot of African leaders that this is directed against Africa, sort of a neo colonial attack. And so, it remains to be seen how much they would press forward with some of these prosecutions.
BALDWIN: OK. So, it sounds like back to the original question -- 28 to 48 hours is when we should have some idea with regard to the NATO mission.
Chris Lawrence, thank you so much, from the Pentagon.
And, you know, obviously, everyone hearing this news today, including U.S. secretary of state, she was actually in Tripoli, Libya, just a couple days ago. She's been in Afghanistan, headed to Pakistan.
We have this behind the scenes video of the secretary of state the moment she was hand that had BlackBerry. The moment she found out that Gadhafi reports at the time that he was dead. We're going to show that to you, next.
BALDWIN: We heard from the president at the tip top of the hour saying essentially that today we can definitively say the Gadhafi regime has come to an end. I want to eavesdrop just for a moment. This is Jay Carney addressing the media in the White House daily briefing.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That is the approach he took here. And it is the approach he applies as commander-in-chief.
REPORTER: The president mentioned the inevitable end of the rule of the iron fist. Does the president believe that Gadhafi's downfall sends a message to Syria's Assad?
CARNEY: The president believes that Syria's leader has lost his legitimacy to rule. The violence he has perpetrated against his own people is unacceptable. I think it is fair to say the events of this entire year in that region of the world have spoken more dramatically than any individual could about where the future lies in that region. And it's a future that lies with the youth of the region and those who are demanding greater democracy, greater accountability from their governments, greater freedom. That's as true in Syria as it is in Libya.
REPORTER: Will the president now deepen U.S. support for the Libyans for the transition?
CARNEY: We remain committed as the president said to Libya and to the Libyan people. We will work with our international partners to further assist Libya as they make this transition. As the president said, Libya's future is obviously undetermined. There is a long and winding road ahead for Libya.
What we have witnessed today and what we have witnessed over the past several months is the Libyan people taking control of their country and putting themselves in a position to create a better future for the young people in Libya and future generations of Libyans. There are no guarantees as to what that future will look like. But they are in a far better place now because of what they achieved with our assistance and with NATO's assistance, and that makes this a very good day.
REPORTER: Just to follow up, what will the U.S. be doing to then Libyans through this process? I know there are a lot of State Department personnel on the ground there. Very few military personnel just guarding the U.S. embassy. What exactly can the U.S. do and will the U.S. do?
CARNEY: Well, I think it is a little premature to get into specific forms of assistance. I would refer you to the State Department for the kinds of assistance we've already provided.
CARNEY: Well, no question. I don't have a lot of information about what kind of assistance we'll be providing Libya in the future beyond what we've already announced in terms of, as you mentioned, personnel on the ground, our embassy, and our efforts to, related to security.
But going forward, we will, as the president said, be committed to helping Libya together with our international partners, helping the Libyan people make this important transition.
REPORTER: I understand NATO at noon tomorrow will talk about what next or whether to end the mission now that Gadhafi is apparently gone.
Can you tell us anymore about that?
CARNEY: Well, I think it's clear that the NATO mission is coming to an end. I'll leave it to NATO to formally declare that. And -- but the mission that was outlined in the United Nations Security Council resolution was very clear, which was to protect the Libyan people from violence perpetrated by forces associated with the Gadhafi regime. Not just because of the announcement of Gadhafi's death but because of the successful taking of Sirte and other areas, most of Libya is now under control of rebel forces, under control of the TNC. And that obviously bears on the NATO mission. It bears on the security of the Libyan people.
But I will leave it to NATO to make announcements about that.
Let me move it back a little bit. Yes, sir?
REPORTER: The president mentioned that (INAUDIBLE) dangerous materials. Can you elaborate on that? And what kind of dangerous materials the president was referring to? Thank you.
CARNEY: Well, as you know, and we have talked about before, the United States is committed, rather, to helping Libya secure its conventional weapons stockpiles, including the recovery, control and disposal of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. In the wrong hands, these systems also known as man portable air defense systems or MANPADS can pose a substantial threat to civil aviation.
We welcome the leadership of the TNC on this issue. The TNC has made a formal request for U.S. support and we are fully committed to expanding our assistance efforts.
And as you know, and this is previously announced, since April, U.S. activities include $3 million in aid to MAG International and the Swiss Foundation for Demining, international NGOs that have been on the ground working with the TNC to survey and secure bunker, clear unexploded ordnance and destroy unsecured conventional weapons, including MANPADS. $2.75 million to fund our quick reaction force, civilian technical specialists who have been on the ground in Libya since early September, and ongoing consultations with regional governments and our internationals partners to build a coordinated approach to this shared security challenge.
In cooperation with the TNC, our teams on the ground have already disabled or destroyed hundreds of MANPADS in Libya. In addition, we believe that thousands of MANPADS were destroyed during NATO operations. Weapons bunkers were a major target. Many of these weapons are also under the control of TNC forces.
BALDWIN: All right. So, White House spokesperson Jay Carney answering a couple of questions there from White House correspondents in the briefing room, making a couple of comments, essentially reiterating what we heard from the president at the top of the hour.
The one thing he said that jumped out at me was when he was asked specifically about Syria. You know, as we look big picture, we'll talk to our correspondents on the ground in the Middle East to address this specifically now that essentially Gadhafi is officially done. What's next as far as the president of Syria, Bashar al Assad? We've been covering that story for a couple of months and the uprisings against the government there.
And to quote Jay Carney, the president has said that Syria's leader has lost his legitimacy to rule.
What will this mean for Syria, this news today in Libya? We're going to address that a little later in the hour.
But as promised, I want to show you this piece of video because this is something you really don't see very often. We have some video showing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this morning, the moment she heard the news about Moammar Gadhafi, she was shown a message. She was handed a colleague's BlackBerry during her stop in Kabul, Afghanistan.
I want you to watch her reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Wow!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unconfirmed.
CLINTON: Unconfirmed, yes. Unconfirmed reports about Gadhafi being captured. Unconfirmed. Yes.
We've had a bunch of those before. We've had, you know, have had him captured a couple of times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Well, I can add to that now. A little bit later on Secretary of State Clinton also told reporters, quote, "If the reports are true, I think it offers a new opportunity for Libya to move forward to the future," end quote.
More now, of course, on the breaking story today -- the death of 42- year tyrannical leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Joining me live from New York, Mike Baker, former CIA covert ops officer.
Mike, good to have you back on. We've talked to Libya a tremendous amount here together. Now with the news of Gadhafi's death in or near his own home town, just have to ask -- what's your reaction to the news?
MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA COVERT OPERATIONS OFFICER: Well, it's obviously a day for celebration. But I think, you know, starting tomorrow morning, they've got to get focused on actually the more difficult part of this. I mean, carrying out a revolution when you've got one target that everybody can rally around is one thing. But then going into this next phase of actually trying to quickly ensure that there's stability, that there's order, that they don't descend into some type of revenge and retribution situation against Gadhafi supporters and the tribes that were aligned with Gadhafi and then creating a government.
We have to remember that, you know, for the 42 years that Gadhafi was in power, he maintained complete control by not having, you know, effective government institutions. So they have got a tremendous amount of work to do aside from, again, just trying to ensure that the over 140 tribes and clans that make up Libya can work together, or at least not work at odds.
BALDWIN: Sure. I mean, you have the NTC, the sort of interim government. You have the Libyan people. And then you have presumably a number of still Gadhafi loyalists.
And I just remember off the top of my head speaking live to someone, anonymously in Libya some months ago, and she told me she doesn't even know what democracy means. I mean, how do you instill democracy in a nation that has not seen it?
BAKER: Right. And we've seen that in Iraq and Afghanistan. You're trying to sell something that they don't understand. And I think what we need to do is be very mindful of the lessons that we learned -- hopefully learned in Iraq.
BALDWIN: Such as?
BAKER: Including -- well, shortly after Saddam Hussein was captured. Again, this tendency, once the coalescing moment is over, once that individual is captured, then you have this massive jump into the pool. And you've got a lot of sharks looking to take up a lot of territory and turf. There's going to be some power struggles.
We don't want to be under the misguided perception that somehow the NTC, the National Transitional Council, is either strong enough or charismatic enough, or commands enough weight in Libya amongst all the various tribal factions, that somehow they're all just going to coalesce around the NTC.
So, I think that there's some real concerns.
They've got some real thing going for them that separate them from Iraq to some degree. They've got vast oil reserves. They've got a relatively small population. And importantly, it's not a religiously diverse population. They're overwhelmingly Sunni.
You do have some other issues, though and primarily, again, it's a tribal problem that could surface. They really don't have any charismatic or overwhelmingly strong potential leaders at this stage.
BALDWIN: Right. That we know of. Yes.
BAKER: That we know of. Yes.
BALDWIN: I have to ask you about -- this is what you and I have talked so much about, the weapons. Jay Carney was just talking about that in the briefing. You know, reports of weapons being pilfered from warehouses. I remember these empty warehouses from Ben Wedeman in different parts of Libya, right, the armories. You were talking about how they could, you know, obviously fall into the wrong hands, terrorists, insurgents.
What's being done to prevent that?
BAKER: Well, I think Jay Carney was trying to put a positive spin on this.
BALDWIN: Yes, he was.
BAKER: You know, we've been worried about this. And there have been people in Libya at the behest of the NTC for several months trying to get a grip on the inventory -- tracking down, cataloguing and securing some of the more concerning weapons, particularly the shoulder-fired -- the SAM systems that are out there.
But it would be incredibly naive point at this point to believe that somehow pretty significant quantities have not fallen already into the wrong hands.
BALDWIN: Mike Baker, thank you so much for coming on. We're going to follow that story here on CNN. Thank you.
Next to Mark Kimmitt, retired Army general. He joins me from McLean, Virginia.
And, General, I know when you were at the State Department, your primary focus was security and the sales of arms around the world. With Gadhafi wrong, this seems to be one of the major questions, and I'm going to guess we don't really know the answers yet. But what happens with this NATO mission, next? General, can you hear me?
GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I can. I'm sorry. You said what happens with NATO next?
BALDWIN: Yes. I'm saying with regard to this mission -- with regard to Libya, NTC, the transition. How do we pull out? What's our role going forward?
KIMMITT: Right. Well, first of all, NATO is probably going to have a change of mission quite soon. There's obviously no longer a need for a no-fly zone. But as your previous guest indicated, there are reasons for NATO to continue to stay involved in some capacity, either as NATO or as part of the U.N. effort.
But as your previous guest said, there are still many problems that need to be dealt with. Not the least is the MANPADS, the shoulder- fired weapons that he was referring; as well as just the proliferation of weapons throughout the country. If this country will move from being a war zone to a secular democracy, there's a lot of work that needs to be done on the security side and NATO can help in various ways.
BALDWIN: How? Can you be more specific in terms of ways NATO can help moving forward?
KIMMITT: Sure. If the Libyan government, the transitional government requested, they could help, as part of the disarmament process. Obviously, there's no need for all these groups to continue to carry weapons since the Gadhafi loyalists are no longer a threat. That has to be a very methodical process of disarming the population, making sure those weapons are in the right hands, not in everybody's hands. There's going to be a security requirement in Libya in the future. What is that military going to look like? It needs to be a military now that is responsive to the legitimately elected government. Not to a dictator.
That takes training. That takes a culture change within the military. NATO can be part of that as well.
BALDWIN: Looking ahead though, and this is something I also just addressed with my previous guest. But, you know, obvious obstacles or challenges as sort of potential rifts between Gadhafi loyalists and those, I guess, we shouldn't say rebels -- members of the government now, potential for revenge killings. We saw in Iraq, sectarian violence. Here, this would be tribal.
Is that a valid concern?
KIMMITT: It's absolutely a valid concern.
One of the ways that Gadhafi stayed in power was by using groups against each other on many different levels. If you take a look inside of Libya right now, there are geographic separations between those in the east, those in the west.
There are ideological differences between Islamists and the secularists. There are the loyalists to Gadhafi. There are those that fought in the revolution. There are former terrorist groups such as the Libyan Islamic fighting group. All these different organizations need to be brought under some umbrella and a recognition that there's only one government inside of Libya, and that's the transitional government, eventually the elected government.
But if the international community doesn't help the Transitional National Council bringing the country together, there is a significant chance that all the efforts that have brought us through today can fall apart in the weeks and months to come.
BALDWIN: They have to have international help, I think, is what I'm hearing you say.
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, thank you so much.
And I just want to remind what you it was like during the volatile last months of the Libyan revolt. Dozens of journalists, many of them our own, including Matthew Chance. Remember this story? Trapped in the Tripoli's Rixos Hotel by Gadhafi loyalists. They were holed up in this hotel. Many of them feared that they might be used somehow as pawns.
In the end game of the crumbling regime, gunmen wouldn't let them leave the hotel. Remember this moment. We just wanted to replay this. Matthew described this whole situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of the government downstairs, the Gadhafi loyalists, have been very sensitive about us filming them. So, I'm reluctant to sort of go downstairs in case I inadvertently at this pressurized moment broadcast the face of one of them which they might take exception to. So, I'm being quite careful. I'm staying up here in the corridor as much as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: All right. A little "Rapid Fire" for you today.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been killed. I want to warn you, this next video you'll see is graphic. Fair warning. This was obtained by the news agency al Jazeera. It shows Gadhafi's body on a stretcher.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in celebration in Tripoli Square. Martyr Square as it's been renamed once news of Gadhafi's death was revealed.
Meanwhile, NATO tells CNN, it will call a meeting to discuss ending its operations in Libya sometime very shortly.
In other news, all but one of the animal released from that private farm on Tuesday in Ohio have been accounted for. Forty-nine were killed. Six have been rescued, taken to the Columbus zoo.
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz says while a monkey may still be on the loose, it's possible that one of the big cats on the farm might have eaten it. An autopsy has confirmed, I should say, the owner shot and killed himself after releasing those animals.
A man taking part in the protest in Greece has died. Hospital officials tell CNN he died of cardiac arrest. This comes during the second day of thousands protesting planned austerity measures to combat the country's massive debt will include job loss.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades in an effort to break up some of those crowds.
And prosecutors in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, they are expected to wrap up their case today. On Wednesday, an anesthesiologist testified that Jackson most likely died because his tongue blocked the back of his throat. He also said Murray could have saved Jackson if he had done a quote, simple chin lift when he saw the pop star had stopped breathing.
And a 4.6 magnitude earthquake has struck about 50 mile southeast of San Antonio, Texas. This is a town of Campbellton. The U.S. Geological Survey says it is the largest quake to hit the area since '93. The earthquake was just over two miles deep and caused the brief evacuation of the federal building in downtown San Antonio.