Martin Bashir | October 20, 2011
>>> we have breaking news about the role the u.s. military may have played in the demise of colonel gadhafi . nbc news confirmed that a u.s. drone fired upon a convoy carrying the former dictator as he attempted to flee his hometown of sirte . what happened next is an evolving story. chief pentagon correspondent has been working his sources over the day. what are you learn being the are drone strike?
>> u.s. military officials are telling us a predator drone fired a missile at moammar gadhafi 's 15-vehicle convoy. in addition, one nato war plane fired a rocket at that missile at that very convoy. according to the officials, several of the vehicles were either struck or disabled. the rest had been scattered. it appears that moammar gadhafi was in or near one of the vehicles struck. he made his way to a nearby drainage pipe alongside the highway where his rebel captors eventually found him. took him into custody and that video where we see him alive and in custody of those rebel forces before he apparently died somehow in an ambulance on his way from sirte to misrata. what's interesting is as you know, the predator drones are not just there to fire missiles, but the primary mission is surveillance. it's very likely given the kind of intense fighting over sirte and u.s. intelligence that said moammar gadhafi is in sirte , that that predator drone was hovering over sirte when moammar gadhafi made his way into the convoy and out of sirte . it is more likely than not that the u.s. military already knew that moammar gadhafi was that n that convoy when they fired upon it. which of course raises the question about u.s. claims that they were not out to actually kill moammar gadhafi . it appears they weren't.
>> indeed, jim. you rub shoulders with more military sources than i have cups of tea. what's the atmosphere here today. is this a job well done?
>> particularly because the u.s. military although it was very involved and one of the driving military forces when military operations and strikes were first launched against moammar gadhafi 's regime in libya. the military while it remained active did take somewhat of a back seat. even though there were initial complaints about the fact that nato , most of the nato countries that the british and the french and italians were not up to carrying out this mission militarily in the end, the united states was able to at least visibly take a back seat although quite frankly the u.s. military remained actively involved in terms of surveillance and launching occasional air strikes against other libyan military targets just as recently as a couple of days ago. i think everyone is quite pleased at the way it eventually turned out although again, the u.s. military had to carry the load in the beginning.
>> indeed. we have to salute their intelligence and when you think about being hit by a drone, osama bin laden was discovered in a house and they have noted and fol gadhafi and located his convoy. this is pretty impressive intelligence, isn't it?
>> it is. in this case it was fairly obvious since intelligence indicated gadhafi was in sirte . the rebels launched very intensive attacks aimed at gadhafi loyalists. it was clear that eventually to paraphrase a little bit that the cockroaches would scatter. that's what happened here apparently. the drone, the u.s. military drone was right on top of it when he did.
>> as always, thank you so much.