Nightly News | February 10, 2011
WILLIAMS: people around the world obviously are more or less in this together tonight, meaning we're all trying to figure out what this means, this change during the day for Hosni Mubarak our own Richard Engel is reporting on. And of course, that includes inside the State Department , elsewhere in the corridors of government. Our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell with us from our Washington newsroom with more. Andrea , good evening.
ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: Good evening, Brian . Not only did US officials expect Mubarak to step down, as Chuck just reported, they said so publicly. In a case of terribly timing for the nation's top intelligence leaders, they were delivering their annual report to Congress just as most of the world thought that the revolution was reaching its peak in Cairo . And they had to answer questions about it. CIA
director Leon Panetta: I got the info -- same information you did, that there's a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening, which would be significant in terms of where the hopefully orderly transition in Egypt takes place.
Mr. LEON PANETTA: Later officials said that Panetta was responding to news reports. But when Mubarak finally spoke, Washington just froze. Even State Department and intelligence analysts were not sure just how to interpret his remarks. Exactly which powers was he delegating? They weren't sure. What did he mean when he said he was stabilizing the streets? One official told me this is entirely fluid, Mubarak is sending contradictory messages. Another described Mubarak 's speech as the beginning of a long swan song, but still could not explain all the conflicting reports that Washington had received in advance, calling this one of the most complex political chess games in history. Brian .
MITCHELL: Incredible day, Andrea . Of course, it goes on. Andrea Mitchell in our Washington newsroom.