tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 4, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on the broadcast tonight, photo negative. president obama will not release photos of the dead osama bin laden and says, quote, we don't trot this stuff out as trophies. tonight we'll have the reaction. inside the hideout. from our correspondent at the bin laden compound. what it's like there, and the man who told the world about the raid in progress before he knew what it was he was witnessing. mississippi rising. it's a big problem in the midwest flood zone, and they're bracing for another big surge downriver. and far from home. tonight, an american, an infantryman, a familyman on the
front lines in afghanistan. trying to keep law and order in one of the most dangerous places on earth. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. the president has made his decision. the united states will not release photos showing osama bin laden after death. the white house knows this will mean no proof of death, and that's already fueling doubts and rumors and conspiracy theories, but the president said he has his reasons. he made those clear today. at the same time, all of the americans in uniform who were on the successful high-stakes raid are now being debriefed as they tell their version of what happened in the compound behind those high walls, the story of bin laden's death continues to change a bit around the margins. we want to start off tonight at the white house with chief white house correspondent chuck todd. chuck, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. hoping to shut down what was becoming a divisive debate, the president cited national security concerns in deciding against releasing the dead bin laden photos. honoring wounded warriors at the white house, he praised u.s. forces for taking out osama bin laden. >> thanks to the courage and precision of our forces, the terrorists who started this war and who took so many innocent lives learned that america does not forget. america will insure that justice is done. >> reporter: but for those who want to see the evidence of that justice, they'll have to wait. press secretary jay carney quotes the president from an interview with cbs today. >> it is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. that's not who we are. we do not trot this stuff out as trophies. >> the photo issue has divided the national security team.
cia director leon panetta said this to brian williams yesterday. >> we got bin laden, and i think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him. >> reporter: there's also division on capitol hill. >> a picture is worth 1,000 words. >> my initial opinion is it's not necessary to do so. >> reporter: and no shortage of opinion online where news of the president's decision stirred the debate on the "nightly news" facebook page. overseas, the case goes to credibility. here in the middle east, the internet is buzzing with doubt, and so are the newspaper headlines. there are facebrook groups popping up as well with names like osama bin laden is not dead. all of this just in the last couple of days. and for some back home, an argument to release those photos. >> osama bin laden has been a phantom for a decade, and i think not releasing that photo allows him to remain a phantom. lurking out there. >> reporter: three senators who had said they had seen the bein
laden photos yesterday are now backing off that claim of a photo that was shown to them by an armed service committee staffer. administration sources tell me no senator has been shown a photo so far. >> chuck todd starting us off at the white house. chuck, thanks. we heard a bit of this, but the larger question, how is president obama's decision being received tonight in the wider muslim world? our chief foreign correspondent richard engle has been reporting on this question today. with us tonight once again from benghazi, in libya, richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. this is a very difficult decision. if the photographs were released very quickly, they would be used for propaganda purposes. they would become the wallpaper on cell phones and laptops of every would-be militant across the region, but the u.s. does have a tradition of trotting out these photos despite what the president said. when saddam hussein's sons were killed by the military, they released those graphic images and when abu musab al zarqawi
another al qaeda leader, was killed in a special forces raid, his photograph was blown up by the military, poster-size, and presented at a press conference. because that's not happening this time, there's quite a bit of doubt on the internet and on the streets. >> richard engle in benghazi, libya, tonight, thanks for that. let's go to the scene of the raid in pakistan where high level pakistani officials arrived today at bin laden's compound north of islamabad. tonight, there are more pictures from inside that hideout where the u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s conducted the daring high-stakes raid that killed osama bin laden. nbc's stephanie gosk is there for us tonight. >> reporter: a look inside the hideout. ransacked and definitely not luxurious. everyday belongings mixed in with the aftermath of a bloody struggle, including a yemeni passport apparently belonging to bin laden's fifth and youngest wife.
this video obtained by pakistani tv was shot not long after the precision assault sunday by u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s. what happened in this house that night and the years leading up to it has captivated the world and shocked the people who actually live here. today, a homeowner next door briefly gave access to his rooftop. dozens of neighbors climbed up, eager to see what they could. this is one of the best views we have had so far of the compound. you can tell that the house is large, but really in comparison to other houses in the neighborhood, it's not that big. there's a rumor flying around town today that security forces are eventually going to destroy it. residents of abbottabad are sharing what they remember of two brothers, tariq and asad, owners of the house. they used to come to these small shops buying milk and pepsi, often in bulk. we now know one of them was the infamous courier pursued for years by u.s. intelligence. this man remembers seeing the brothers in town but never the wives. >> reporter: did the women ever come out of the house?
>> no, no women. you don't see here the women. >> reporter: many people here don't believe bin laden was killed. they don't even believe he was here. does anyone here believe that osama bin laden was in that house? nobody? overhead today, helicopters flew by. not a rare sight in a military town, but when this computer programmer heard the sound of choppers late sunday night, it didn't seem right. he started tweeting, having no idea what was really happening. helicopter hovering above abbottabad at 1:00 a.m. is a rare event. go away, helicopter. a huge window-shaking bang in abbottabad. i hope it's not the start of something nasty. he was the only person reporting the capture of bin laden as it happened. how many followers did you have on twitter on that moment? >> almost 800, 900. >> reporter: now how many do you have? >> more than 100,000. >> reporter: an instant internet celebrity who moved his family
here from lahore last year to escape the terrorists. >> i came here to escape all the bombings and now i find myself living in the same town as him. >> reporter: a small town once far removed from the fight against terrorism. now the site of one of its most important battles. nbc news pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski reports that u.s. officials are providing a clearer picture of the kind of fire fight that took place here. it wasn't an intense back and forth but really more one-sided. mostly it was the navy s.e.a.l.s doing the shooting. it's what they call a precision-clearing operation. >> stephanie gosk, thank you. we wanted to let you know as well, ann curry has now tonight arrived in pakistan. her reporting will begin airing tomorrow morning on "today." back here at home tonight, flooding in the midwest is at such crisis levels, it's led to some extreme measures. as we told you last night, government engineers are
actually blowing up levees to direct water away from inundated areas and some areas of population, but that's causing more problems downstream, and there are big fears for places like memphis in the days ahead. nbc's ron mott is there for us tonight. good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. officials in arkansas today discovered the body of a man in floodwaters there. in memphis, the mississippi is expected to crest next wednesday. about 14 feet above flood stage, and while that may not set a record, it will be the highest water level here in nearly 75 years. the mississippi is earning her mighty nickname this spring. prompting the army corps of engineers to blow up levees to minimize flooding. >> i never dreamed it would actually help us. >> reporter: still, neighborhoods in kentucky and elsewhere are filling up with water, stranding people and pets, forcing evacuations, catching some motorists like this 93-year-old driver off guard. >> public safety is the number one issue when we make our
decisions. >> reporter: more than 130,000 acres of missouri farmland were intentionally flooded. farmers are furious. >> i guess they got the last few nerves i had left. >> reporter: and fear financial losses. >> the old mississippi river gets on a rampage every now and then. >> reporter: one expert said the corps made the right call. >> it's the worst one we have ever had. our job now is to get the water to the gulf of mexico with the least amount of damage to anybody and get it down as fast as we can. >> reporter: the flood zone is anticipated to overtop banks in spots along much of the river's length, from minnesota to the mouth of mexico, with 11 locations in 6 states recording new record crests. today in memphis, workers finished sandbagging outside a school in the harbor town section downtown, a full week ahead of a projected 48-foot water crest, roughly 14 feet above flood stage. >> we're going to be okay. it's the people in the greenville area, helena, all the way down the chain, it's going to be serious.
>> reporter: genie has watched water steadily creep toward her cottage on the wolf river. now just feet away from entry. do you have flood insurance? >> no, we do not. >> reporter: turning thursday into moving day. >> this will all be under water in a couple days. >> reporter: she expects to return to an expensive mess. >> we like living near to the water but not this close to the water. >> reporter: engineers are expected to detonate the third and final opening on the levee, and the weather channel said major and in some cases record-setting flording will continue through the weekend as river levels rise over the next 7 to 10 days. >> we'll watch it in the days ahead. ron mott in memphis for us tonight. ron, thanks. remember, it was a week ago tonight that that massive storm system brought record tornado outbreaks to the south. ton trong is in tuscaloosa for us tonight. good evening. >> reporter: brian, the death toll across seven states now stands at 328. 236 in alabama alone.
search and recovery teams are just getting into the remote, hard-hit areas today. they're digging through huge debris piles looking for the missing. the governor estimates the damages could get as high as $5 billion. more than 800 people are living in shelters. thousands are living with family and friends, but despite all that, they're trying to get back to normal. most schools have reopened, and we visited one today. a lot of the kids there say they're happy to be back, and they're even happier to see their friends are safe and alive. >> in tuscaloosa, alabama, thanks for that update. when we come back, tonight, our cameras go back to japan. it's been eight weeks since the quake, and what might surprise you tonight about the pace of recovery there. and later, our series on americans serving their country far from home. tonight, what the job is like these days in afghanistan.
overshadowed by the sheer volume of news over the past few weeks. it's now been almost two months since northeast japan was hit by that massive 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami that followed, leaving more than 25,000 dead or missing. tonight, nbc's ian williams has returned to the disaster zone where survivors are becoming increasingly frustrated. >> reporter: spring has come to northeast japan, and the search for bodies goes on under the cherry blossoms. nearly 11,000 people are still missing. this woman's sister is among them. she still scours the rubble here. we try to act strong, she told me, but i can't sleep at night. more than 120,000 people still live in refugee centers. the resilience of survivors giving way to growing frustration. this woman still lives in her car. people are stressed and tired, she told me, waiting for
promised temporary homes and for the debris to be searched. officials are searching for higher ground to rebuild and being sensitive in clearing the rubble. >> they need to take care so it takes much time to do that. >> reporter: collecting photographs, a quarter million memories recovered in oksuchi alone. >> for them, this is everything. this is only what they've got now. >> reporter: there are 25 million tons of debris with little clear plan for getting rid of it. not every ship was marooned quite as dramatically as this one, but the tsunami decimated the region's fishing fleet. 90% of it wiped out. it's not all despair. among the survivors, this 85-year-old is an inspiration. she's her town's last geisha and has lived through four tsunamis. she's determined to perform again. i'm not going to let something like this bring me down, she told me. another boost, the bullet train is running again.
that still makes him the youngest best actor nominee in history. at the time, he was making $50 a week. he was perry white in "superman." he won emmys for his work in "m.a.s.h." and the "white shadow" on tv. as a producer, he was credited in hollywood folklore with the series "bewitched" and reportedly cast sally field as "gidget." hollywood veteran jackie cooper was 88 years old. a rare sight in washington. the prince of wales and the president of the united states. prince charles is in the midst of a u.s. visit. he's attending a conference on the environment in d.c., his passion. the president invited him to the white house for a visit today. and a great detail has emerged from the royal wedding last friday though you have to look closely at the royal picture to see it. she's 3 years old, she's eliza lopez. she's camilla's granddaughter, cute as a bug. the story is about what she's holding, a toy wiggly worm given to her by prince harry.
he had anticipated some of the little ones in the bridal party might be a little overwhelmed by the day. she was until he pulled the small present out of his coat. if you have kids, you know it's all the gifts that cost about $1 or less that sometimes become the instant favorites. she refused to part with it all day long, so the wiggly worm is now recorded and preserved in the official photographic record of that day. officials at the alaska zoo are looking for a home for a 4-month-old 17-pound polar bear cub rescued from the north slope oil field last month. the cub was either orphaned or separated from her mother. underweight, stressed out when they first found her. she's in good shape right now, on a diet of puppy milk formula and heavy whipped cream. don't try that at home. the problem is the anchorage zoo already has two polar bears. they just don't have room to
dispatch from our man on the ground in afghanistan, jim maceda, who volunteered to spend an extraordinary amount of time with some of the americans who volunteered to serve in uniform in an unforgiving place, far from home and family. one of the questions, of course, front and center right now, after the death of bin laden, is how long these men and women will need to stay on the job here. tonight, jim introduces us to a man who's a cop on the beat in one of the most dangerous cities anywhere. >> reporter: walking the beat in downtown kandahar city, there are few potholes or gutters here that military police captain andy sergeant and his men haven't checked for ieds and few afghan police checkpoints he doesn't know. >> have you seen any insurgents or taliban coming through here today? >> reporter: the sergeant's main job is to keep law and order in afghanistan's most dangerous city. >> if you're searching somebody and he has a pistol -- >> reporter: by making sure that
the afghan police do their job. >> so we'll hit here, we'll hit here. >> reporter: that they stay awake and alert around the clock. >> could be taliban walking up, so it's important he challenges us before we get too close to his position. tonight's going to be a long night. >> reporter: which means this 33-year-old from delaware, ohio, is always on the go. >> very busy. >> reporter: grabbing cat naps when he can, living on army coffee and power bars, with no time to work out. that's a recipe for disaster. how do you deal with that? >> there's -- i guess the standard answer is, you just have to. >> he's a normal, everyday, average american who wants to do the right thing. >> from pee-wee league baseball, to graduating from ohio state on the gi bill, even in kandahar, down to his candy, he's a die-hard buckeyes fan. >> it's a way of life for us. >> reporter: but the second deployment in afghanistan has meant another year away from his
wife erica and their three daughters in ft. lewis, washington. >> i'll miss all four birthdays, all three of my daughters' birthdays and my wife's birthday. >> reporter: he did try to time this late-night call to catch his middle daughter sierra to wish her a happy 12th birthday. >> hey, does sierra happen to be around? >> reporter: but he just missed her. >> those just mean a lot, they mean a lot. my daughter sierra is only going to turn 12 once. >> reporter: but the sacrifice, he says, does pay off. >> they're going to bring chalkboards, pencils, pens, paper, crayons. >> reporter: just providing for the simple needs of this afghan school in his sector -- >> you're going to be the next president of afghanistan. >> reporter: -- is enough to inspire the sergeant to do more. >> they want a better life. and if it's a couple hours of sleep i miss for each night for the next year, it's a small price to pay. another day in paradise. take it. >> thank you.
>> share with him. >> reporter: even if that means being far from those he loves most. jim maceda, nbc news, kandahar. please keep all of them in your thoughts today and always. that's our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you for being here with us tonight. i'm brian williams, and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. ra right now at 6:00, a tangled web of alleged police corruption coming out of the east bay tonight. and it's expanding. another officer arrested. new details just coming into the newsroom. and nine months after a deadly shooting near san francisco's union square, police arrest seven suspects. i'm jean elle live in san francisco. a live report is coming up. on the hunt for osama bin laden. the california bounty hunters who are back home with quite a story to tell. the news at 6:00 starts right