March 12th, 2012
05:59 PM ET

Gen. John Allen: I want to offer my sincere condolences and regrets to the victims...

Gen. John Allen talks to CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the U.S. soldier who allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians. General Allen is the commander of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. A highlight and a full transcript from the interview are below. This interview aired during CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

Please credit all usage of the interview to CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Highlight from Interview

GEN. JOHN ALLEN, COMMANDER, ISAF:  Well, it would appear, Wolf, that we had a single soldier depart one of our combat outposts in the Panjwai District of the province of Kandahar.  And while I won't go into the specifics of his actions, it would appear that he acted as an individual and did, in fact, shoot a number of Afghan civilians, causing fatalities, as many as 16.  A number of others were wounded.  We're providing medical care to them, as well.

Let me emphasize first, Wolf, that I want to offer my sincere condolences and regrets to the victims of this shooting, to the Afghan families and certainly to the noble Afghani people as a group.  This is tremendously regrettable.  We are investigating it aggressively and we will hold the individual accountable should the evidence point to his culpability here.


BLITZER:  What was his job, this sergeant, on a day to day basis in Afghanistan?

I've heard conflicting accounts.

ALLEN:  Well, he was supporting a village stability platform operation, which supports the Afghan local police.  And he was providing support to one of those platforms in the Pajwai - Panjwai District of Kandahar.

BLITZER:  Would it be normal for a - a U.S. soldier to be able to walk off the base by himself and not be detected by others?

ALLEN:  He was detected.  In fact, an Afghan soldier detected his departure and reported it.  And so he was detected and it...

BLITZER:  And did any...

ALLEN:  - and it is...

BLITZER:  - did anyone try to stop him?

ALLEN:  There - a search party was being put together immediately.  There was a head count done amongst the American soldiers, recognized that he was missing, unaccounted for.  We put together a search party right away and it was as that search party was forming that we began to have indications of the outcome of his departure.


CNN Security Clearance Blog: Shooting suspect was trained sniper
March 12th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

CNN Coverage of Alabama, Mississippi Primaries

Anchors Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, Candy Crowley and John King will headline CNN’s live America’s Choice 2012: The Alabama and Mississippi Primaries coverage from the CNN Election Center. The network will kick off the special coverage with Erin Burnett, OutFront at 7 p.m. A live edition of Piers Morgan Tonight will broadcast at midnight.

Chief political analyst Gloria Borger and senior political analyst David Gergen, along with political contributors Paul Begala, Erick Erickson, Ari Fleischer, Mary Matalin and Hilary Rosen, will join the network’s primary coverage to offer insight and analysis.

National political correspondent Jim Acosta will report from Santorum headquarters and senior correspondent Joe Johns will be on location from Gingrich headquarters. Senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash and political reporter Shannon Travis will report from voting locations in Alabama and Mississippi, respectively. In addition, political editor Paul Steinhauser will speak with voters at a voting location in Alabama.

Programming schedule for Tuesday, March 13 – The Alabama and Mississippi Primaries (All Times Eastern):

6:00PM – 7:00PM John King, USA (Live)

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM Erin Burnett, OutFront (Live)

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM America's Choice 2012: The Alabama and Mississippi Primaries (Live)

10:00 PM – 11:00 PM Anderson Cooper 360˚ (Live)

11:00 PM – Midnight Erin Burnett, OutFront (Live)

Midnight – 1:00 AM Piers Morgan Tonight  (Live)


March 12th, 2012
10:53 AM ET

Kissinger on Putin: "I don't think he's anti-Western"

Former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger (Nixon Administration) has met one-on-one with Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin on approximately 20 occasions – more than any former or current senior American diplomat or official.  Dr. Kissinger appeared on CNN this weekend and told Fareed Zakaria that he believes that Putin is "above all, a Russian patriot."

Dr. Kissinger also weighed in on the 2012 GOP presidential candidates here in the United States.  For the full transcript of this program, please visit here.

FAREED ZAKARIA GPS airs Sundays at 10:00am and 1:00pm Eastern on CNN/U.S..


March 12th, 2012
10:34 AM ET

Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL): need policy for 5 million American children of undocumented parents

This morning on Starting Point, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) spoke with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien about his support for Gabino Sanchez, who faces a deportation hearing in North Carolina and President Obama’s record on deportation.

Gutierrez says, “The Obama administration says we want to make a change. We want to shift. We want to shift our focus to violent criminals, to gang bangers, to drug dealers, rapists, murderers, and not people like this man….”

O’Brien responds, “When they stopped [Sanchez], it turned out he didn't have a driver's license. Plenty of people would say - and he's not in the country with documents, all those things, he should be gone.”

Gutierrez answers, “Well, [Sanchez] didn't run a red light. He was given a ticket for one thing, and that was driving without a driver's license. And he was pulled over as he was pulling into the home that he owns, Soledad. Here's somebody undocumented, coming to this country, has two American citizen children. As we try to prioritize our limited resources to go after bad people in our society that do harm, we should do. And that's what Barack Obama's administration said it was going to do. It was going to prioritize that.”

He continues, “There are five million American citizen children whose parents are undocumented in this country. We need to have a policy that allows American citizen children to have parents to raise them. “

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs week mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.

Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Soledad O'Brien • Starting Point
March 12th, 2012
09:18 AM ET

Former U.S. Army Captain on Afghanistan murders: 'This doesn't reflect on the American military'

Former U.S. Army Captain and Congressional candidate Thomas Cotton joins Early Start to discuss the American soldier who allegedly murdered 16 civilians in Afghanistan.

Thomas says, “I wanted to extend my condolences to the families. Obviously, the loss of family and loved ones anywhere is a terrible tragedy. And also, express regret, but also ensure that the American people and people around the world know this doesn't reflect on the American military. This is an extremely rare circumstance and the American military is the most disciplined and professional and humane military in the world… From what I have seen, it seems to be the work of… one lone soldier.”

When asked by CNN Host Zoraida Sambolin if he feels that PTSD brought on by multiple tours of duty contributed to the killings, Cotton responds, “Well, any tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan obviously is very stressful not just for the soldier but for families at home. There have been hundreds of thousands of soldiers over the last 10 years that have made multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan without committing any kind of crimes like this. So, I think it's possible but it's not something that necessarily directly attributable…The military… takes post-traumatic stress syndrome very seriously. They're monitoring soldier health and well being on a constant day to day basis. Right now, we need to let the investigation carry its course and the American troopers on the ground there will keep doing what they do every day, which is work with Afghan civilians hand in hand to try to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

Early Start with Ashleigh Banfield & Zoraida Sambolin airs week mornings from 5-7am ET on CNN.

Topics: Afghanistan • CNN • Early Start • Zoraida Sambolin