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Sinead O'Connor Speaks Out on Catholic Church Abuse Scandal; Sarah Palin Stumps for John McCain

Aired March 26, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.

Tonight, we are "Keeping Them Honest."

Sarah Palin, campaigning for John McCain, says the media is ginning up reports of violence and threats against Democrats. Are they really? Democrats say the hate-filled rhetoric is all too real. And, as you will see, both political parties are raising plenty of money on those threats.

Also tonight, this is how many people remember Sinead O'Connor, tearing up a picture of the pope on national television back in the '90s. Now, with the pope and the Vatican facing perhaps its biggest crisis in hundreds of years, she is speaking out, passionately, against the priest sex abuse scandals and the current pope, who she says has not given an open and honest accounting of his role in overseeing abuse investigations on pedophile priests.

She is our guest tonight for the "Big 360 Interview."

And, later, crime and punishment -- a former lingerie model accused of turning herself into a drug queen-pin and her fellow models and beauty queens into drug mules. She is now on the run from cops, but she's speaking to CNN tonight.

First up, "Keeping Them Honest": Sarah Palin and some big new developments in the ugly political climate over health care reform.

Out campaigning in Arizona for John McCain today, she hit the media hard for reporting on acts of violence and inflammatory rhetoric against Democrats.


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You know, hearing the news reports lately kind of this ginned-up controversy about us, commonsense conservatives, inciting violence because we happen to oppose some of the things in the Obama administration.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will do it with our vote!

PALIN: Amen, brother. That's what you do it with, with your vote. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN: You got it right. We know violence isn't the answer. When we take up our arms, we're talking about our vote.


COOPER: Well, interestingly, she has not taken down that map on her Facebook page. You know the one I mean.

I want to -- let's go over here to the wall. This is the map that a lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill were talking about yesterday, some even talking to security officials about, shows on -- from the Facebook page, Sarah Palin's Facebook page, shows crosshairs here in various congressional districts. She says her PAC is going to target those congressional districts.

She tweeted about not retreating, but reloading, and says about her political action committee -- and I quote -- "We're going to aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo" -- unquote.

Now, her supporters say, look, give us a break. She is just using commonly-used phrases. Some Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill have, however, expressed concern.

Now, the climate is still ugly out there. We will talk about that in a moment with Mark Halperin.

But, first, here is more of Sarah Palin from today's rally with Jessica Yellin.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Palin mania is back. In Arizona, the governor had this crowd under her spell, taking on President Obama...

PALIN: Nobody gave us a teleprompter this go-around. So...


PALIN: So, it is time to kick it old-school again, resort to the old poor man's version of the teleprompter, writing my notes on my hand again.


YELLIN: ... the Democratic agenda...

PALIN: When it came to Obamacare...




PALIN: By the way, I see today that Fidel Castro likes Obamacare, but we don't like Obamacare. Doesn't that kind of tell you something?

YELLIN: ... and the faceless critics.

PALIN: We're being accused of being the party of no because we oppose some of the things that the administration's doing.

The Louisiana governor says, well, no, we're not the party of no. We're the party of, hell no!


YELLIN: Did we mention the event was for this guy? Palin endorsing the man who plucked her out of obscurity.

PALIN: If you want real leadership, and not just rhetoric, not just talk, blah, blah, blah, if you want somebody to fight for what it is that this state and this country needs, then I'm asking you to vote for John McCain.

Let's send the maverick back to the Senate.


YELLIN: This time, he followed her lead.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: All I am telling you, so, my friends, as Sarah said, yes, we are the party of no -- on this -- on this bill, hell no.


YELLIN: Senator John McCain needs her help. His reelection is in jeopardy, as he fends off a challenge from a more conservative opponent in the state's Republican primary.

J.D. HAYWORTH (R), ARIZONA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: John comes home and campaigns as a conservative, but he goes to Washington and legislates like a liberal.

YELLIN: Lately, McCain has moved to the right on bailouts, taxes, even on his signature issue, immigration.

MCCAIN: We failed because the American people were not convinced that we were really going the secure our borders.

YELLIN: The hope here? That Palin's conservative credentials will rub off.

PALIN: You know, many, many years ago, I competed in a pageant, and...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) PALIN: Yes. You know what? Coming, then, from an expert, I can tell you he could win the talent and the debate portion of any pageant, but nobody is ever going to dub him miss congeniality.

YELLIN: She even declared McCain a candidate for Tea Party voters.

PALIN: Everybody here today supporting John McCain, we are all part of that Tea Party movement.

YELLIN: But is it enough?

(on camera): Does Sarah Palin's endorsement of him help change your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still -- I am torn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am undecided about John McCain. It seems that he says one thing here and then goes to Washington and does another.

YELLIN: He was her ticket to stardom. She did what she could to return the favor.

(on camera): And, tonight, Anderson, Sarah Palin is joining McCain for a fund-raiser that's on track to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, much more than the campaign expected. Team McCain campaign is so pleased with the Palin endorsement that one aide said to me, "The Mac is back."

We will see -- Anderson.


COOPER: Politics, and what a difference a year makes. Sarah Palin is now a political powerhouse, while former top dog John McCain suddenly finding himself in a fight for his political life.

Now, whatever drama there was on the presidential campaign trail, as you see, it was all smiles today on that stage.


PALIN: He's never one to go with the flow. I'm from Alaska. I'm a commercial fisherman. And we watch the way the fish run, and we see that only dead fish go with the flow.


PALIN: He's never been one to do that.


PALIN: No, he's never been part of that good old boys' club, and he's not afraid to buck the political machine, and even a president, if it's the right thing to do. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, let's talk with Mark Halperin, the co-author of "Game Change," a behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 presidential election. We spoke earlier.


COOPER: I was trying to imagine what John McCain is thinking, standing there next to Sarah Palin, watching her talk today. Do these two like each other?


MARK HALPERIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, "TIME": Every indication is that they do. Even as those around them during the campaign started to have real tensions, they got along.

They are married forever. And I think, whatever frustrations or tensions exist between them, like in any healthy marriage, which is, I think, what they have, they put those aside, and they focus on what they like about each other, which is a lot.

COOPER: And, yet, it's remarkable how, I mean, a year later, their political fortunes seem to be so completely different.

HALPERIN: Well, they are.

You know, one of the things that happened at this event was, Cindy McCain spoke briefly. And she said, "Now, I know you are all here primarily to see my husband." And everybody laughed, because, of course, you could tell from the chants of the crowd and the signs and books they were carrying that Sarah Palin was the draw here today.

In one way, that is similar to the way it was, of course, during the campaign, when Palin drew bigger crowds than the top of the ticket. But their fortunes now have diverged. She has become, in just over a year, the most powerful person in the Republican Party, what John McCain had been.

COOPER: And why is John McCain facing such a tough fight this time around?

HALPERIN: Well, to some extent, the bill has come due on all the times he has crossed the Republican Party.

In a primary, you have got to have to deal with the most conservative elements of the base on the Republican side. McCain has not been consistently for conservativism, as defined by the Republican Party. He's built up enemies over the year.

But, most of all -- and this is what worries McCain, I know, more than anything else, and why he needs Palin -- is, this is an unpredictable year if you are someone who has been in Washington for a long time. So, John McCain could do everything right, and, like a lot of incumbent in both parties, he might just be washed away by that fervor, that -- that thing that Palin represents more than anything else, which is just kind of unbridled anger at Washington.

COOPER: I -- we have a bite I want to play. She talked about -- she or referenced the -- the -- some of the violent rhetoric and criticism of that rhetoric from -- from the left.

Let's -- let's play that bite.


PALIN: But this B.S. coming from the lame-stream media lately about this -- about us inciting violence, don't let -- don't let the conversation be diverted. Don't let a distraction like that get you off track. Keep fighting hard for these candidates who are all about the commonsense conservative solutions that we need.


COOPER: Always popular, of course, to blame, the "lame-stream media," as she says, and basically saying that the media, the -- the left, is trying to distract people by -- by talking up the -- the -- the violence.

HALPERIN: Well, look, you can criticize Sarah Palin for a lot, but, as you know, Anderson, from having watched her in the campaign and since, she has a remarkable gift for knowing what bonds her with her base, with her supporters in a crowd on TV, and to play into that to the hilt.

COOPER: It is interesting. Let's talk about this -- this rhetoric that we have heard over the last couple of days, and the -- the criticisms of it by the Democrats, and their -- their belief that this is inciting violence in some cases.

I mean, this kind of goes back to what we saw during the campaign, some of the things that were yelled out in the final days at some of those McCain/Palin rallies.

HALPERIN: It does. And -- and McCain, at the time, let it go on longer than -- than I think he thought he should have.

But there is no question that Sarah Palin, by not backing down, being very tough today, her first and longest comments on this debate that's been brewing for the last several days, is part of what I think is a huge problem, which is to turn threats of violence on either side into a partisan issue, into an issue that is a rallying cry.

This is the kind of thing that -- that, frankly, I don't think she handles particularly well. She handles it the way she handles everything else. This issue calls for a different tone. She didn't strike today at all.

COOPER: And I just want to show our images the images of her Facebook page, which some Democrats have -- on Capitol Hill have -- have not only discussed with security, but also publicly criticized, basically different congressional districts that her PAC is now going to target. She -- you know, there's a little sniper's crosshairs on some of the congressional districts.

She is not backing away from -- from that at all.

HALPERIN: No. And John McCain has said this week, defended Palin in saying this kind of rhetoric and symbolism has always been used in politics.

Again, I think, right now, we are in a different place on both sides. If public officials fear for their lives or the lives of their families, I think everybody should reassess. She is not.

Again, the Sarah Palin who showed up here today, very supportive of John McCain with part of her speech, but also extraordinarily defiant about the media, about the question of backing down, and -- and -- and using accusations of extreme rhetoric to try to silence people on her side. She will have no -- none of that.

COOPER: Mark Halperin, appreciate it. Thanks, Mark.

HALPERIN: Thanks, man.


COOPER: Well, political conviction or simple loyalty, find out why Sarah Palin is supporting John McCain. It is all in her own words in her op-ed. You will find it, a link, at

Let us know what you think. The live chat is up and running, also at

Up next, exclusive: Sinead O'Connor speaking out on the sexual scandal in the Catholic Church, even questioning whether the pope believes in God.


SINEAD O'CONNOR, MUSICIAN: We are being lied to by people who are supposed to represent Jesus Christ. And, more importantly, the victims are being lied to.


COOPER: Later, the beauty accused of being a drug lord, of all things, and the other beauties she allegedly recruited as drug mules. She's on the run and talking to CNN -- in "Crime and Punishment" ahead.


COOPER: Tonight, the Vatican is facing what "The National Catholic Reporter" newspaper today called the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history. Questions are growing about how the church handled child abuse scandals in America, in Germany, in Ireland, and other places, and what role the man who is now pope played in investigating those scandals or trying to cover them up.

Now, in a moment, we will talk exclusively with singer Sinead O'Connor. You will remember, nearly 18 years ago, she caused a global uproar, not over what she was protesting, but how she chose to do it live on television. Take a look.


O'CONNOR (singing): ... of good over evil.

Fight the real enemy.


COOPER: That was Sinead O'Connor tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II on "Saturday Night Live" in 1992. She is in Dublin tonight and says she is a Catholic, and has plenty to say about Pope Benedict and the sex scandal rocking Ireland.

First, though, let's just go over to the wall. I just want to give you a sense of the -- of kind of a quick timeline of the recent scandal. Let's start here in April of 2005. Cardinal Ratzinger was installed as pope. Now, he was formally the archbishop of Munich.

And, for years, he was the Vatican's top enforcer of doctrine and law and prosecution of alleged pedophile priests. Now, slide forward, eight months later, December 2005. Because of his elevation to pope, a federal judge rules he cannot be named in a Texas lawsuit that alleged he had a role in his prior position as Pope John Paul's chief law enforce in covering up the molestation of three boys by a seminarian.

Now, during his first visit to the United States in April of 2008, he says he was deeply ashamed of the sex scandal and pledges -- and I quote -- "not to allow pedophiles to become priests."

Then, November of last year, a report in Ireland accuses former archbishops, four of them, of turning a blind eye to abuse.

Now we flash forward to this month, March 12. Pope Benedict is linked to the clergy scandal in Germany. The allegation is that, while he was archbishop of Munich, he approved the transfer of a molesting priest so he could get therapy, but the priest went on to molest more kids.

Now, a subordinate later took responsibility for returning that priest to duty. The Vatican spokesman claims, well, that essentially absolves the pope. But the pope has not addressed what he knew and what he did or did not do.

Now we go to March 20. The pope writes a pastoral letter apologizing to Irish victims of pedophile priests. And, just two days ago, March 24, the pope is accused of failing to defrock Father Lawrence Murphy, who allegedly molested as many as 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin during the 1960s and '70s.

A religious trial which Benedict would have had the ultimate jurisdiction over back in 1996 was halted -- get this -- after Father Murphy wrote him a letter saying that he was in poor health and had already repented.

So, again, "The National Catholic Reporter" newspaper saying -- and I quote -- "Nothing less than a full, personal, and public accounting will begin to address the crisis that is now engulfing the worldwide church."

We're going to talk with John Allen from "The National Catholic Reporter" in a moment, but, first, the "Big 360 Interview," my exclusive interview with Sinead O'Connor.


COOPER: Sinead, in "The Washington Post," you talk about this letter of apology that Pope Benedict wrote to the people of Ireland, and you say the letter is an insult to the people of Ireland. Why?

O'CONNOR: Well, principally to the victims.

The one thing that the victims really require for healing, and so do the rest of us, as Catholic people, is a full admission by the Vatican that there was an active cover-up in operation for decades, since 1922. And we feel that it was an insult to our intelligence to suggest that the Irish hierarchy were somehow acting independently of the Vatican, when there are documents which show that there were very specific instructions in place which were issued by the Vatican to every bishop in the world and remained the rules until 2001.

And amongst those rules were the instructions that the priests taking complaints, as well as victims making complaints, were to swear an oath of secrecy, under the threat of excommunication.

So, I'm going to quote you a part: "These matters must be pursued in the most secretive way. And after they have been defined or given over to execution, they are to be restrained by perpetual silence. And everyone pertaining to the tribunal is to observe the strictest secret, under penalty of excommunication."


COOPER: It is such a haunting term, "perpetual silence."

O'CONNOR: Yes. And "restrained," I think, is a very powerful word. It tells you to go against your instincts, you know, not to follow your natural instincts.

And the hierarchy -- it seems to us in Ireland that the Irish hierarchy are quite -- much more frightened of the Vatican than they are actually of God. And we have begun to ask ourselves here, why are they allowing themselves to be sold down the river by the Vatican, the Vatican acting like they -- the Irish hierarchy were acting independently of them?

And, so, we are beginning to ask ourselves here now, could it be that, in fact, the hierarchy are living themselves under abusive and bullying circumstances?

COOPER: Do you think this pope should resign?

O'CONNOR: Well, I think there needs to be a telling of the truth.

What people are, you know -- well, what people, rather, are upset about is, they are being lied to. And that means we are being treated like idiots. We have the documents. We have the proof.

Sorry. I can't see you. We have the documents and we have the proof that tell us that we are being lied to, and we are being lied to by people who are supposed to represent Jesus Christ.

And, more importantly, the victims are being lied to. Anyone who has dealt with abuse, survivors or victims, knows that one of the most important ingredients in survival and healing is actually to have it acknowledged that what happened happened.


COOPER: Well, coming up next, part two of our interview with Sinead O'Connor. She responds to that infamous moment on "Saturday Night Live" when she tore up the picture of Pope John Paul II. And she continues to make her case against the current pope.


O'CONNOR: If they can't confess and be honest, how can we trust them? How can they claim to represent Jesus? How can they expect us to continue in a relationship with them?

We will continue with them or without them, but, as they are behaving now, we will not continue with them.


COOPER: Also, tonight, high fashion, high crimes. A former top model now accused of being a drug lord and on the run -- details ahead.


COOPER: Talking tonight about the global pedophile priest scandal and whether the Catholic Church is, has been, and still is more concerned with protecting priests and the church than protecting kids.

Here is part two of the "Big 360 Interview" with Sinead O'Connor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: The criticism that you and others get is that, well, you are just anti-Catholic, that you are actually targeting the church or targeting this pope.

How do you respond to that?

O'CONNOR: Well, you know, the fact is that this is why I am telling you all about these documents.

These documents exist that show everybody that the truth is the truth. And, personally, I would say I am a Catholic woman. I am proud to be a Catholic woman. I separate sometimes the difference between God and religion. I'm passionately in love with what I would call the Holy Spirit.

I don't believe it matters if you call it God, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Fred or Daisy. It is the Holy Spirit. It does not matter.

But what I would like to see, as a Catholic, is actually Christian honest people running the shop. It seems to me that the Vatican are not -- don't actually believe in God at all. They are certainly not acting like they believe in a God that watches.

A Christian is supposed to say, in any given situation, "What would Jesus do"? and try to do it. Would Jesus have covered up for decades all of this abuse?

COOPER: It is interesting. So, you actually -- you don't believe that this pope or that the people who are running the Vatican right now, you are saying they don't really believe in God, because, if they did, they -- they would know that God is watching over everything?

O'CONNOR: Well, they wouldn't be lying if they believed in God. If they believed in God, why would they lie before God?

The pope's letter, itself, is full of lies and dishonesty. It places him almost as a victim. He says -- he makes out almost like he only just got this information a while ago. The fact is that, from 1981 until the time he was made pope, he was the head of an organization called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

They were in charge of dealing with the issue of child sexual abuse. All complaints and any complaints went to him.

COOPER: His supporters, though, say that he actually did a lot more than Pope John Paul II did, his predecessor, and that he, you know, in terms of certainly cases moving forward, has called for transparency, opening up of statute of limitations, and -- and referring things to -- to legal authorities.

O'CONNOR: OK. But, Anderson, I will tell you one very important thing that has not happened, even with the pope's letter last Saturday, that he has never said: Go to the police. Stop covering things up. All over the world, not one person involved in this cover-up has even before spoken to by the police for two minutes. The actual abusers are in jail, but those involved in the criminal cover-up, including the Vatican, including the pope, including the hierarchies of all the countries that this stuff happened in.

COOPER: So, the bottom line of what -- of what you want to hear from the Vatican, what you want to hear from -- from this pope is not just about what happens moving forward. It is -- it's -- it's not enough to just look forward. You want a recounting for what has happened in the past, and you want transparency and honesty and -- and openness?


Well, we feel as, look, we would like to be able to move forward. We can't do that with these people, unless they are prepared to tell the truth and confess. If they can't confess and be honest, how can we trust them? How can they claim to represent Jesus? How can they expect us to continue in a relationship with them?

We will continue with them or without them, but, as they are behaving now, we will not continue with them. I think what is slowly happening is fantastic for Ireland, that the American newspapers are now on the case here, because what's going to happen, what is brilliant is, Americans just don't take any nonsense. They don't take any rubbish.

You are not going to let these people get away with lying. You have much more power in your country to actually make these people face the lies they are telling. We want to move forward. We love our church. We love Catholicism. We don't think these people are actually representing what is the beautiful essence of Catholicism, or indeed Christianity.

The only way we're going to be able to move forward with these people is if they actually confess. And it seems to us, and probably you all there that as well, that it is like trying to get blood from a stone. It's like they are terrified, I suppose, because they haven't been taught Christianity, and they don't realize we would forgive them.

COOPER: I got to ask you about probably someone you have been asked a million times and are probably sick of being asked about it, but a lot of Americans clearly remember, back in 1992, you tore up a picture of then Pope John Paul II when you were on "Saturday Night Live."

You said it was a protest and that a lot of people didn't understand it. What do you want people to know why you did that? And does that in any way reflect on your thoughts now?

O'CONNOR: Well, you know, why I did that was that we in Ireland, sadly, knew in 1987 that clerical child sexual abuse was an issue.

And, again, another little-known fact is that, in 1997 -- again, it's in these documents -- the Irish church took out an insurance policy against future claims they foresaw would be made by victims of abuse. So, we, in Ireland, knew in 1987 that this was an issue. It didn't become an issue in America until 10 years later.

So, I could totally understand why people were horrified by what I did. And it was an abhorrent idea to suggest that priests could possibly be abusing children or that the Vatican could be covering it up, because it is abhorrent. It's absolutely abhorrent.

Unfortunately, it is true. And those of us who came from Ireland, you know, we actually endured a particular brand of Catholicism, which was extremely violent towards children, psychologically, sexually, physically, all kinds of ways. And I am a survivor of child abuse myself, not by clergy, but you know, I've always been someone who all of my records, all my career was really standing for child abuse survivors.

But I don't -- what's the word -- I completely understood why people find that offensive. I agree with them; it's abhorrent to think that a priest could be involved with children that way.

COOPER: Sinead O'Connor, I appreciate your talking to us. It's a fascinating discussion, and we'd love to have you on again.

Well, the church, meantime, is responding to the latest coverage of the scandals. Specifically, the "New York Times" report that as a cardinal in Germany, the future pope had approved of a decision to transfer the alleged pedophile priest Father Hullermann.

A statement from the Holy See press office reading, and I quote, "The article in 'The New York Times' contains no new information beyond that which the archdiocese has already communicated, concerning that then-archbishop's knowledge of the situation of Father H. It rejects any other version of events as mere speculation."

Let's dig deeper now with senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, who's written too books on Pope Benedict. He's also senior correspondent of the "National Catholic Reporter."

The "National Catholic Reporter" editorial, saying, "This is the largest institutional crisis in the church in the -- in centuries, possibly in the entire church history." They go on to say that the Holy Father needs to directly answer questions about his role in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis, and that nothing less than a full, personal and public accounting will begin to address the crisis.

What questions would you want answered now about what role Cardinal Ratzinger and the pope played in mismanagement?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, you know, before he became pope, Cardinal Ratzinger was the archbishop in Munich for five years. He has been a senior Vatican official for 25 years. I think what we need to know is what cases like the one we now know about in Germany, what other cases, you know, were on his desk during that period of time? What did he do... COOPER: Because now they're now saying that there was a memo about this guy, Father H, who was a pedophile priest who was transferred, that -- that was sent to Ratzinger.

ALLEN: Yes. And of course, what they're saying is that, you know, he was copied on the memo. It doesn't mean all that information was in his head. But in a way, that's kind of irrelevant, because the point is it happened on his watch.

COOPER: If he was head of a corporation in which this had happened...

ALLEN: And the buck stopped on his desk. There was no arguing over what he knew and when he knew it is, in some ways, a red herring. And the point is he should have known. And I think what people are waiting for is an acknowledgment from the pope to say, "Look, this is horribly mismanaged, and I deeply regret it. I want to learn the lessons of that episode. If there are other such cases on my own record that I don't know about, I want to know about them."

I think that's the kind of disclosure and commitment to reform people are expecting.

COOPER: To Sinead O'Connor's point that there has not been, that pedophile priests have been, you know, sent into the legal system, but that if there has been a cover-up, that higher ups have not been held accountable.

ALLEN: Well, sure. I think most people would say that is the unfinished business of this crisis. Because you know, you and I have talked about this before. From the beginning this has really been two-pronged: the priests who abused and the bishops who covered it up.

Now, I think most people would say the church has actually cleaned up its act on that first score. I mean, today, it is crystal clear that, if a priest abuses, he will be pulled out of the priesthood and he will be reported to the cops.

But the piece of the puzzle that has not been put into place is what about accountability for senior management? That is, the bishops?

COOPER: Because for generations, for decades, I mean, silence was the rule.

ALLEN: Oh, sure. And look, I mean, that's what makes these revelations about the pope so explosive, because what it gets to is this question: can the pope credibly discipline other bishops if his own record on this issue isn't any better, and that's the question he's going to have to answer if he's going to be able to lead.

COOPER: And also to Sinead O'Connor's point, she is saying that essentially a lot of people in Ireland feel like -- that the Vatican is pretending that this was just an Irish problem and that there was no impact from the Vatican on this at all. And that's kind of, over the years, how they have dealt with all the crises, that first, it was just an American Catholic Church problem. Then it was a problem in Brazil and other places. But now, it is -- and I guess that's why the "National Catholic Reporter" is saying that this is the biggest institutional crisis. This now reaches directly into the Vatican, directly into the pope's office.

ALLEN: Yes. You know, I mean, I have to say, Sinead O'Connor does not have much of a track record as a Vaticanologist, or at least I've never seen her at the meetings. But I do think she's put her finger on the core of what the criticism of the pope's letter was. Which is, you know, he's rapping the knuckles of abuser priests and even Irish bishops who failed to stop it. But he's not assuming any corporate responsibility for the Vatican; nor is he alluding to his own track record on this issue.

Well, I don't know that this is yet fatal for the pope, but I think what's going to happen and have to happen quickly is that there's going to have to be complete disclosure about the Vatican's role, the pope's role and what, in Catholic theology, we would talk about as a firm purpose of amendment. This is a clear resolution.

COOPER: Why doesn't the pope just have a press conference? And would he ever just, you know, put himself open like that to actually take questions from people?

ALLEN: Well, you know, I mean, if this was a secular government, we would be impaneling a bipartisan commission. And they would have subpoena powers and comb through the records and find out what happened. That typically is how the Vatican works. But I think if we've learned one thing from these crisis, it is that business as usual is not going to cut it. And so I think this may actually jar loose a new modus operandi.

COOPER: John Allen, appreciate it. Thanks. Good to have you here.

You can see more from John Allen at, as well as additional and compelling moments from our interview with Sinead O'Connor.

Up next, President Obama resetting U.S. relations with Russia, scoring one of his top ten national security aims. We have details on that ahead.

Plus, a -- just a fascinating story of the beauty queen accused of becoming the queen of cocaine. At least that's what she wanted to become. She's on the run tonight. She's talking to CNN. "Crime & Punishment" ahead.


COOPER: Coming up, Iceland's spectacular volcano, why the lava flow that sent hundreds fleeing has local cash registers ringing. First Christine Romans has a "360 News & Business Bulletin." CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama today announced a new arms treaty with Russia, calling it, quote, "the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades." The president says it will reduce nuclear weapons deployment by the U.S. and Russia by about a third.

At least 11 people were killed in Kentucky today when a tractor- trailer crossed a median, crashing head on into a van. The van passengers were all Mennonites traveling to a wedding in Iowa. Ten of them died, along the tractor-trailer driver.

The White House today announced a two-pronged plan to help struggling homeowners. It lowers payments on government-backed mortgages and reduces them for homeowners who are unemployed. Officials say that the plan will be paid for by money already set aside for the bank bailout of the troubled asset relief program.

And in Texas, unbelievable dashboard video as an apparent drunk driver leads police on a 100-mile-an-hour chase. Anderson, it was only after stopping the truck with a spiked strip that officers learned that this driver wasn't drunk at all. This driver was a 12- year-old boy.

COOPER: Yikes.

ROMANS: Fortunately, no one was hurt. Meantime, the boy, he remains in custody while police investigate.

COOPER: Yes, I know you're going to have this in another news break later, but I cannot believe that the Salahis have been given a TV show. I know we'll talk about it more, but I am just --- this, for me, is just stunning news.


COOPER: I'm never going to watch it again. I made that vow months ago. I've got to stick with it.

All right. Anyway, coming up next from 360, from the catwalk to a drug mule? This person should get their own reality show. A fashion model now at the center of an international manhunt, accused of trafficking drugs.

And later, a 360 special, gangs in Hollenbeck, a community under siege by violence and a code of silence that keeps many of the murders unsolved.


COOPER: Tonight's "Crime & Punishment," beauty on the run. She was once a top model. Now she's among the most wanted people in the world. There she is. While this alleged drug-running "queen pin" may be hiding, she wants you to know she is innocent. Here's Karl Penhaul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once crowned Colombia's Queen of Coffee. Now, she's called the queen of cocaine.

Angie Sanclemente is on the run. An international arrest warrant is out for her. When people hear from her, it's usually indirectly, like this ex-boyfriend. "Right now, she's shocked and scared she will get arrested," he says. "She's afraid for her life, because this is a big drug problem, and the bad guys could harm her."

The bad guys are South America's heavy hitters in drug trafficking. Argentine legal officials say they suspect Sanclemente is heavily involved in narcotrafficking. They suspect she's been running an operation that smuggles millions of dollars of cocaine by Buenos Aires Airport to Mexico, using fashion models as drug couriers or so-called mules.

But where's Sanclemente now? Authorities say she disappeared in December but believe she's somewhere in Argentina.

For clues on how someone with so much promise ended up an international fugitive, we headed for her hometown. Sanclemente grew up poor in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, the only child of a single mother.

Friends say she was determined to escape these dirt streets and early on recognized her looks could take her places. A friend, who didn't want to talk on camera for fear of reprisals, said Sanclemente spent university tuition fees on silicon breast implants.

"She always wanted to be a beauty queen and have lots of money," her old boyfriend says.

(on camera) I've come to the house where Sanclemente's mother lives.

(speaking foreign language) I didn't really expect to find her, because the neighbors say that she's been gone for at least two weeks. That was shortly after Interpol issued that international arrest warrant.

(voice-over) Sanclemente's mother scraped by selling clothes, but saved enough to enroll her daughter in one of Barranquilla's top modeling schools. Instructor Nouri (ph) Rodriguez remembers Sanclemente well. Aside from the exotic looks, she says, there was something else.

"She always wanted to win and draw attention to herself, one way or another," she says.

Her determination and looks won her the prestigious title of Coffee Queen in 2000, but she was dethroned soon after when judges found out she'd broken the rules of the pageant and had once been married.

At the time, she said, "I'm very capricious and maybe many things have happened to me, because I didn't listen to my mother. Mom would say to me, 'Hey, Angie, think hard about something before you do it'."

Despite that setback, she was becoming a star, landing cover shoots and catching the attention of TV producers in Colombia and later Mexico. Fashion business insiders say that beauty pageants and the modeling industry in Colombia are a virtual meat market where traffickers use their ill-gotten gains to buy some of the most beautiful women.

Former friends say Sanclemente was soon one of them. It's then when she began to meet narcotraffickers.

(on camera) To find out a bit more about the kind of operation that Sanclemente was allegedly running, I'm going to meet a Colombian trafficker who's been in the business for years.

(voice-over) We've agreed to protect his identity.

"In the history of the drug trade, there's been some women with bigger balls than the men, but usually, I would say a girl like that would just be running the network of mules; not the whole cartel," he says.

But others disagree and say she was in charge, and the authorities have vowed to catch her.

Ever the fashionista, they say she's on the lam with a lap dog she calls Baby. Despite the international manhunt, she's found the time to update her Facebook, proclaiming her innocence.

Whatever the truth, the beauty queen who was once an object of desire has now become one of South America's most wanted.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Barranquilla, Colombia.


COOPER: She's updating her Facebook page? What's her status: on the run? Scared with Baby? Excuse me.

CNN has reached this lady's lawyer, and he has confirmed that she is in Argentina. He also said, quote, "Angela is afraid to go to prison in Argentina. She's a beautiful woman, and she's afraid that she will be raped in prison. She could suffer serious physical and psychological damage."

In her Facebook messages to Karl Penhaul, Angela said, quote, "What I will tell you is that I have nothing to do with this embarrassing incident. It's really painful." Later, she wrote to Karl, "I don't want to go to jail. I don't deserve it. I am innocent."

Coming up, a lot more news in a moment, the 360 special "Gangs of Hollenbeck." A community plagued by turf warfare for years and the struggles of the citizens there and the cops to end the bloodshed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER (voice-over): For 15 square miles east of downtown Los Angeles, there is Hollenbeck, just about every block here claimed by a gang.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all about money and territory.

COOPER: Claiming it, defending it and taking more, often through bloodshed. It's a common story in Hollenbeck, a violent story told year after year, generation to generation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can think of the other people that have died here, so many. And they were all young. My son was 20 years old.

You live in that lifestyle, it's not if, but when. Unless you get out of that life, there's two ways you're going to end up: one is in the ground and the other is in prison.

COOPER: Police say that it the Hollenbeck division has the highest concentration of gangs in all of Los Angeles. No one is immune from the violence.

Closure would just be like carrying my son back. That's the only thing to help me, and that's not going to happen.


COOPER: Well, we'll take you from the violence of the streets to the heroes determined to end it. Our special report tonight at 11 in about ten minutes.

Coming up next, though, some incredible pictures of a volcano erupting in Iceland. We'll tell you how serious it is and the unexpected side effect of the explosions.

And they are back. This time the infamous wedding crashers are not going away. They're getting their own TV show. I mean, what does that say about us? Details ahead.


COOPER: All right, let's get a quick update on other important stories. Christine Romans has a "360 Bulletin" -- Christine.

ROMANS: Anderson, President Obama now has to search for another leader for the Transportation Security Administration. Tonight, Robert Harding, his latest nominee, the second one, withdrew his name from consideration. The retired Army major general says the distraction that's caused by his work as a defense contractor would not be good for the administration or the Department of Homeland Security.

NBA player Gilbert Arenas has avoided jail time for illegally bringing guns into his team's locker room last December. Instead, a judge sentenced the Washington Wizards player to 30 days in a halfway house, two years of probation, and 400 hours of community service. A 360 follow, a mix of fire and ice has become a big tourist attraction in Iceland. With a volcano erupting, people are taking advantage of bus tours and hiking trails to get a better view of the lava. The volcano blast last weekend initially forced hundreds from their homes, but residents were allowed to return when officials said the danger was over.

All right, Anderson, the White House party crashers have scored a reality TV show.

COOPER: No, no.

ROMANS: Tis true, Michaele and Tariq Salahi will be part of a Bravo TV upcoming new series...

COOPER: I'm never going to watch Bravo again.

ROMANS: ... "Real Housewives of D.C." The couple, they've denied, Anderson, crashing the state dinner last fall, but they've never shown us this, you know, written invitation, and it doesn't look like they'll be prosecuted.

And this one: holy Hogwarts. Harry Potter's famous invisibility cloak mentioned in the movies and books is one step closer to reality. Using a structure that bends light, scientists in Germany have successfully hidden a tiny bump in a layer of gold. Unfortunately, developing the cloak takes a very long time, Anderson.

COOPER: What is that?

ROMANS: Come on, the invisibility cloak, you know.

COOPER: They id a what? Layer of gold?

ROMANS: It was a layer of gold, right. But keeping it safe from Muggles everywhere, because it's going to take a very long time to actually make it happen. What do you think about that?

COOPER: Well, I -- I don't know. I don't believe it.

ROMANS: Watch me disappear.

COOPER: Oh. Ooh, look at that. Wow, that's one of those fancy holograms, isn't it? Look, you're back.

ROMANS: Holy hog warts.

COOPER: All right. So tonight's "Shot," high-voltage fun. This week we brought you video of a Japanese reporter voluntarily being tasered.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All done. That's it. It's all done. It's all over. Relax.


COOPER: OK. So that's a reporter, rattled, but OK. Watching this, of course, reminded us of the best taser moment of TV of all time.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I'm about to receive 50,000 volts of electricity. Do it.

Oh, oh! It hurts! It is painful.


COOPER: Wait for it.


SANCHEZ: But no one's dead.


COOPER: All right. So, watching Rick and the Japanese reporter getting tasered, well, that is...


COOPER: That's the new graphic? "Got us Thinking." It did get us thinking. I actually went on the YouTube on the Internets [SIC] and -- and later that night, because I was so wanting to see other people getting tasered, dug up two clips of celebrities getting tasered from the -- some show called "Armed and Famous" which I didn't know about. It ran on CBS, apparently. La Toya Jackson and Eric Estrada both getting tasered. Take a look.




LA TOYA, SINGER: Yes, go for it. (SCREAMING)


COOPER: That's my favorite moment. That's my favorite moment. Janet Jackson is not -- La Toya Jackson, not her screaming. It's after it's done. Then she, like, withers and goes, "Ahhh." We should build a thing where we can see all of those people tasered at once.

ROMANS: Yes, yes. Frame by frame.

COOPER: Ah. Yes. She sort of wails and "Ahhh." Sort of wilts.

ROMANS: I love it that you went home the other night...

COOPER: Oh, yes.

ROMANS: ... and were -- and you were Googling for tasers. I love that.

COOPER: All right. Coming up in the next hour, a 360 special investigation into the gangs of Hollenbeck.