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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Herman Cain's Accusers; Election Day

Aired November 8, 2011 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, HOST: Thanks, John. We're on the "Front Line" with SEAL Team Six, the most elite team in the world's most elite fighting force, they killed Osama bin Laden, an ex SEAL Team Six member comes OUTFRONT.

And then -- is this on -- well oh, yes. OK, we can't resist telling you about the conversation French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama didn't want to you hear.

And the "Bottom Line" on Herman Cain; he's fighting back big time against new accusations of sexual harassment. His campaign comes OUTFRONT. Let's go.

I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Herman Cain, the GOP frontrunner fighting back against allegations of sexual harassment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I absolutely reject, they simply didn't happen. They simply did not happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Four women have now accused the GOP candidate of inappropriate behavior and we now know the identity of two. Just hours ago, we learned more about another accuser. Her name is Karen Kraushaar (ph). She is the director of communications at the Treasury Department and according to a friend and former boss she called Cain a quote/unquote "monster". Now we want to note this is the woman whose lawyer told the nation on Friday that his client did not want to identify herself and did not want to divulge any details about the alleged encounter.

But obviously she is saying now that she would do so perhaps with other people do a press conference. Niger Innis is a friend of Herman Cain, unofficial adviser to his campaign, also the national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality. Niger, appreciate your taking the time to come out and talk about this tonight. I just want to ask you this --

NIGER INNIS, UNOFFICIAL CAIN CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: -- a point blank question, have you at the campaign had the conversation middle of the night, everyone's eyes are blood shot where you say, Herman, have you put everything on the table, have you told us everything absolutely everything kind of a come to Jesus moment?

INNIS: I have not had that conversation with Herman. I'm certain that others within the campaign have had that conversation with him, probably before the campaign even got kicked off.

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: But I think you know Erin -- go ahead -- I was just going to say that I think what a wonderful moment. I mean it's hard -- strange to say this on a day like today, but I'm very, very proud to be an American. Here you have an African-American man from the south, the grandson -- grew up in segregation, the grandson or great grandson of slaves. Being accused of not sexual harassment, he's accused of sexual molestation. He's accused of assault or at least it's right on the border of assault.

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: That's right and it's only a few decades ago that in many parts of the south a black man that is accused of something like that would be tried in the streets and be convicted on a tree. And nevertheless today he was defended quite articulately by Mr. Linn (ph) I believe his name is -- was a prominent southern white southern attorney. That imagery is -- was a powerful imagery and that imagery is the imagery of unification that Herman Cain brings this campaign. And I must tell that you that there are a lot of folk within the elite, conservatives and liberals, that are terrified of that image in this campaign.

BURNETT: Let me ask you this, though, because when you talk about the image of hanging of the tree, OK that's an incredibly upsetting image to a lot of people and do you really -- do you really want to go that far? Are you going so far as to say this truly is that racially motivated?

INNIS: Well I will say this, look. First of all, Erin, you probably know my history and my father's history and the Congress of Racial Equality. We don't play the race card. That's not our game. In fact we tend to take the race card off the table when it is unfairly used. But having said that, there's no question we have to be a fool to deny 200 years of history in our country.

And one of the most powerful stereotypes that unfortunately this whole situation conjures up is the stereotype of a black-skinned, black man being overly sexed and sexually going after or having some sexual hunger for a white woman. Now, what I think is interesting, though, is that Mr. Cain's character assassins and that's what I call them, including Ms. Bialek, the assassins underestimate the decency of the American people. They don't realize that what I saw on that stage today is a symbol of America turning the page largely on the question of race within our country.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: OK.

INNIS: Yes, go ahead.

BURNETT: I hear you on that point. And I think that's one of the reasons a lot of people applaud the Herman Cain campaign in terms of his becoming a candidate at all. But when you say that we can't get beyond the whole issue of a black male and a white woman, is it perhaps that these women coming forward in this modern time proof that we are beyond that, that this isn't about the hyper sexualized black male. It's about a woman telling her side of the story and a man telling his and that it isn't about race at all? Because it does sound like you're making it about race.

INNIS: Well, what I am saying is this. I'm saying the way that the media is treating this case, there is hypocrisy. There is a hypocrisy and a double standard for conservatives vis-a-vis Bill Clinton that had a variety of charges and not alleged charges of making people feel uncomfortable or alleged charges of something happening in a car, but things such as rape and John Edwards, the whole John Edwards issue had to be broken not by the establishment mainstream media, but by the "National Enquirer".

So there certainly is a double standard and there is a scrutiny that I would argue that black conservatives like Justice Thomas, like Herman Cain, are under that others are not under. There's no question that the type of rallying that the black liberal establishment, the race mongers that tend to defense all types of individuals including criminals, that they did not rally to Herman Cain's defense. There's hypocrisy there. There is a willingness for certain liberals on another network to cast dispersions at Herman Cain at his intelligence. This idiot Bashir actually saying he doesn't know how to spell Iraq.

BURNETT: OK. Hold --

INNIS: These kinds of things, yes I say are hypocritical.

BURNETT: Well I -- and I don't know -- I don't know what you're referring to there at all. But I want -- I do want to say there was one thing you said --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: -- John Edwards point -- the John Edwards point I think is an interesting one and you do have a point there about how that happened. But let me ask you this. You've known Herman Cain for just a few years. How do you know that this didn't happen?

INNIS: Yes.

BURNETT: How can you come on so dramatically here and defend him when by at least the information I have, you didn't know him well at the time these allegations happened.

INNIS: That's fair. I've known of Herman Cain and met him over a 10-year period. But I've only personally gotten to know him for over the last few years. And you're right. There is no question you were not there, I was not there -- BURNETT: That's right.

INNIS: -- 99.999 percent of all Americans or people on the planet don't know exactly what occurred there, so we can only look at what is before us and make our judgment. And if you look at Ms. Bialek's press conference and you look at her weird and bizarre behavior of not only her, but of Gloria Allred and by the way, I know Gloria. I like Gloria personally --

BURNETT: You do?

INNIS: -- but she is the poster --

BURNETT: You like her? OK.

INNIS: I like her personally. I don't like what she does. I don't like her profession, the way she pursues her profession. I think she is the poster child for why we need dramatic radical tort reform and things like loser pays in these tort cases. But, no, I know her personally. But I also know her game. And I don't like her game, but doing an analysis of Ms. Bialek's statement and how she made her statement and Gloria Allred saying this is a stimulus package and Ms. Bialek --

BURNETT: OK, I agree with you. I thought that was distasteful.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I agree on the stimulus package --

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: And then Ms. Bialek going -- saying she went home to her boyfriend, but she he didn't tell him any details.

BURNETT: OK. Let me ask you --

INNIS: And I don't know how --

BURNETT: I want to follow up on that point.

INNIS: OK. Go ahead.

BURNETT: I also thought that was unusual that she would have shared with someone. But then I started thinking about experiences I've had or experiences women that I know have had and sexual harassment at work parties or people out at drinks. It's common. Women often do feel guilty or awkward. In a sense it's sort of like how the race issue is for you, which is it's there but it's not there. For a lot of women I think the sexism issue is there but it's not there. Is that something you can understand?

INNIS: I can definitely understand it and more than understand it, I empathize with it. And what I say, and I want to be consistent here, the way that I address those who put the race card on the issue unfairly and how it undermines legitimate cases and examples of racism, how it undermines and disrespects those ancestors of ours that truly had to overcome racism, I say that for sexual harassment, as well. When you have a fraudulent charge, and let me say for the record I believe these are fraudulent charges by Ms. Bialek.

BURNETT: Right. I understand that.

INNIS: If I was Herman, I'm going to talk to Herman later tonight. I'm going to suggest to Herman that he sue her for defamation of his character. And I believe she's a fake phony fraud. But having said that, and I think if she is a fake, then it does a terrible disservice to real victims of sexual harassment. It does a terrible disservice to women out there --

BURNETT: Yes.

INNIS: -- that really are victims and feel terrorized.

BURNETT: I would agree and if it ends up being true, I know that hopefully you will come on and amend some of your statements, right.

INNIS: You better believe it, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you Niger.

INNIS: You better believe it -- you better believe it. Thank you.

BURNETT: I appreciate it and thank you for having a frank interview with me. Appreciate it.

All right, coming up, we're going to bring in Penny Nance and Jamal Simmons to talk about what we just heard from Niger Innis. Penny Nance is the president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, Republican group, had a comment on Mr. Cain today and also Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a journalist who has followed this story comes OUTFRONT -- this is a big story for the world and you may not realize it, but it is Election Day today, some very big referendums on women's rights and unions. We're talking about abortions. And finally, what does French President Sarkozy really think of the other world leaders? Oh well, he told us, but he didn't know he told us. We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: All right, interesting interview there with Niger Innis, the adviser to Herman Cain. Let's bring in Penny Nance, president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America and Jamal Simmons, Democratic strategist. Penny, what did you think of what Niger had to say? Did he make a good case for Herman Cain there?

PENNY NANCE, PRES., CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Well I think he did a good job to expressing his opinion, but I wanted to say that Concerned Women for America was very clear in 1996 during the Bill Clinton scandal when he was having sex with a 21-year-old intern that character counts. And we've got to be consistent today again delivering that message. Character counts. We want to hear all the facts and this is an important conversation to have. Now we're at four women. If they're lying like your other earlier guest said, then I agree. I think that Herman Cain should sue them and then we'll see what comes out on discovery. I think that we need to get to the bottom of this. The country needs a strong leader that doesn't just have business acumen, but also has a good moral compass and good judgment.

BURNETT: Jamal, what do you think about this whole race issue? Do you think that it is an issue here, as Niger was bringing it on the table, or do you think that's unfair?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, I like Niger, but I think his statements were just ridiculous. To try to argue that this is a moment of some great racial progress is baffling to me. At the same time, the idea by the Herman Cain camp or any of the people affiliated with him that they want to inject race into this conversation, when Herman Cain himself said racism in this country today doesn't hold anybody back in a big way. That was Herman Cain's position just a few weeks ago.

So for him to now be in a tough spot and to claim that race is the issue that's holding him back now I think is hypocritical. And for those who are aligned with him, they should take Herman Cain's position on this. So it's just disturbing to me. I think we could argue maybe there are some issues about age and what's appropriate in the workplace. There are some issues about gender and gender politics at play here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

SIMMONS: There are all sorts of things. But race just does not seem to be one of them for me.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean it was interesting how he brought in the whole issue of what he said the quote/unquote "hyper sexualized black male", the issue in American history, which you know it is something interesting to think about. Penny, do you think there's anything at all to that?

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I mean it seems like it's sudden -- to all of a sudden bring it on to the table, right, as opposed to saying it all the way along because I think Jamal makes a good point, right? Herman Cain made a point of saying --

NANCE: I don't -- I don't know --

BURNETT: -- race isn't an issue.

NANCE: I don't know how African-Americans feel about this, but I do know and I do believe that socially conservative African-Americans and women conservatives have a harder time via the mainstream media than others. But it doesn't mean we get to make it easy for them. It doesn't mean that our character doesn't get questions just like everyone else.

BURNETT: Right.

NANCE: And when we make a mistake we've got to talk about it. The other point, Erin, I wanted for say, I'm not sure -- I don't believe it's fair to equate Justice Thomas' situation with Herman Cain's situation. Let's remember there was only one Anita Hill and Anita Hill had followed Justice Thomas for years from job to job to job and then decided you know years later maybe there's some similarity there to file a complaint. But that's where it ends. I just don't believe that these are two -- I don't believe these are the same situation and I think it's very disrespectful to Justice Thomas to equate the two.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much. We appreciate both of your taking the time, bearing with us, and weighing in on this. We'll see you both soon.

NANCE: Thank you.

SIMMONS: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: Well it may be getting lost in the Herman Cain saga, but it is Election Day and voters across the country are casting ballots on some really important issues. In Ohio, voters deciding whether or not to restrict the bargaining rights of public union workers and there's a fascinating ballot initiative in Mississippi that if passed would define life as beginning at conception.

John Avlon is joining us from Iowa City, Iowa; CNN's Tom Foreman in Washington. Tom, let me start with you. Mississippi voters deciding whether to amend the Constitution of the state to redefine when life begins; what's the bottom line here?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The bottom line is this is stirring up a lot of tough feelings between the pro-life and the pro- choice crowd. Here's the nail on the head. What they would define here is that a person begins the moment that an egg is fertilized. It doesn't matter if you're talking about rape, incest, whether the mother's life is in danger. At that point, all forms of abortion would become illegal.

In addition, this would complicate things like in vitro fertilization because under this law, if it were passed, there'd be questions about what do you do with the eggs that are not being used for actually continuing the pregnancy. So there are a lot of complications connected to this issue and it has really fired up a lot of debate down there, including among many conservative Christians, some of whom say this is exactly the kind of end run that is needed around Roe/Wade and others saying no, this goes too far. This is unreasonable. It's really a very contentious issue that has arisen out of the delta (ph).

BURNETT: It's fascinating. And John, it does directly, as Tom points out, challenge Roe v. Wade. What would it mean nationally? JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well first of all nationally it would send a signal that this end run around Roe v. Wade, an attempt to kick this to the Supreme Court ultimately was fully in effect. Overnight it would ban abortions or attempt to ban abortions in Mississippi with all these other implications, but as Tom said, first of all, this is controversial not just in the polling where you see division between men and women, Republicans and Democrats, blacks and whites, but even some right-to-life groups and the local Catholic bishop have said they're obviously opposed to abortion, but this is too extreme and it might backfire. And polls show this is too close and turnout is high, so this is a real cliffhanger.

BURNETT: Wow, this is where you get your base with these kinds of resolutions or amendments. Tom, let me ask you about what's going on in Ohio. This is a big deal for unions and their benefits. What's the bottom line on that?

FOREMAN: We're going to find out about that a little bit sooner. The Mississippi vote is going to be about 8:00. In Ohio, the votes should start coming in around -- the polls will close at 7:30 and we'll know more. In the Ohio ballot, issue number two, they're talking about collective bargaining. Earlier this year, the Republican governor there signed a new law which basically takes away a lot of collective bargaining rights from 350,000 workers in the state, police, firemen, teachers, all sorts of people who work for the government there.

Basically says here are the rules of what you're going to be compensated with, how your retirement will work, how your health care will work. Even whether or not you get promoted based on seniority -- this is against it. The governor says this is what you need to be competitive. The unions have pushed in really hard saying this can't be the case. A lot of money, millions and millions of dollars --

BURNETT: Yes.

FOREMAN: -- from out of state on both sides pushing this issue trying to decide it and as you know Erin, obviously it's a big issue not just for Ohio --

BURNETT: That's right.

FOREMAN: -- but for the power of unions in the country as we head into the presidential election.

BURNETT: Which we are seeing fought state by state, John.

AVLON: That's exactly right. And this ballot initiative really is seen as a bellwether for 2012, because Ohio always a critical swing state. This election is a test of whether unions can get their troops out, whether the ground game is in place where unions can connect their cause with moderates in the middle class. The polls show that this measure is unpopular. What John Kasich did modeled largely on what Scott Walker tried in Wisconsin. Supporters say it's a necessary reform to rein in budgets. Opponents say it ends up over reaching and undercutting unions. But this is really important because no Republican -- you have a hard time winning the presidency for a Republican without winning Ohio. It is going to be one of the most --

BURNETT: That's right.

AVLON: -- intensively watched contested states. And this is the test of the ground game on either side.

BURNETT: All right, thanks so much to both of you. We appreciate it. We're watching it.

OUTFRONT ahead, SEAL Team Six, the force that took out bin Laden, a former member of the team comes OUTFRONT, students rallying at Joe Paterno's home, supporting him amid growing calls for him to resign. And French President Sarkozy said something well he didn't mean to. We can't resist.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And now a story we can't resist. A private conversation at the G-20 summit between President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was overheard by a group of journalists when the two leaders didn't realize their mikes were still on. According to the journalist who heard it, the conversation went like this.

"Sarkozy: I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar. Obama: You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you." OK. The part we can't resist is that they actually thought this conversation would be private. If you are the president of a country, any country, the microphone is always on just because people hope they can, well, hear you saying things like that. Don't believe us, well here's a look back at some of our favorite political open mike moments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Lungman (ph), so stick it up your --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) irony is that what they need to do is get serious (INAUDIBLE) and stop doing this (INAUDIBLE) and it's over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would he do that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a jackass.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. It's perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Barack been talking down to black people on this faith-based -- I want to cut his (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's Adam Clymer, major-league (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (INAUDIBLE) for "The New York Times".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, a lot of us saw Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning and said what everyone says, God, what is that hair? So yesterday, you didn't --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Yes, we heard you, Carly. We just couldn't resist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT the "OutFront 5".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a case about football.

BURNETT: Penn State's sex scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a case about children who have had their innocence stolen from them.

BURNETT: The devil and the details.

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

BURNETT: Spy on spy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Having grown up and being shot at by a sniper in Lebanon, this was very personal to me.

BURNETT: All this OUTFRONT in our second half.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, we focus on our own reporting, do the work and find the OUTFRONT 5.

Number one on a Tuesday: Herman Cain fighting back against allegations of sexual harassment. A friend and unofficial adviser came to the candidate came OUTFRONT. He made some very fiery comments about race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIGER INNIS, UNOFFICIAL CAIN CAMPAIGN ADVISER: He's accused of sexual molestation. He's accused of assault -- or at least it's right on the border of assault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With Ms. Bialek. INNIS: That's right. And it's only a few decades ago that in many parts of the South, a black man that is accused of something like that would be tried in the streets and be convicted on a tree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He said the fact that Cain was able to defend himself today shows progress. He also said he'll talk to Cain tonight and suggest that he sue his accuser for defamation.

Number two: Iran has mastered nuclear weapon capabilities according to a U.N. agency report released today. Now, the report does not say how close Iran is to having a nuclear bomb.

As we reported last week, Israel has threatened to attack Iran based on the findings in this report.

OUTFRONT spoke with David Sanger, an expert who writes about nuclear arms with "The New York Times." Sanger told us an Israeli attack might only drive Iran's number development further underground, not stop.

Number three: an investigation found gross mismanagement in the handling of the nation's war dead at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary. That's according to our Barbara Starr.

The investigation found the remains of some U.S. troops were lost, in other cases, remains were shipped in cardboard boxes. The majority of those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq returns through the Air Force base.

Number four: one of the most highly anticipated video games of the year, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," went on sale today. Our friends in Pakistan, Mohammed Paki (ph), he's going to love that.

Video game analysts told OUTFRONT they expected as many as 20 million copies to be sold by the end of the year. That means the game has the potential of breaking an entertainment industry record. "Modern Warfare 3" is going up against another first person war game, "Battlefield 3." I'm familiar with none of them.

OK. It's been 95 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. We need to do more to get it back.

All right. In the days after 9/11, President George W. Bush made Osama bin Laden one of the most wanted men in the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I want justice. And there's an old poster out West as I recall that said "wanted dead or alive."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Nearly 10 years later, his capture and death was the culmination of one of the most intense manhunts in American history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can report to the American people and the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, the men who carried out the mission were American Navy SEALs known as SEAL Team 6. It is the world's most elite fighting force.

Chuck Pfarrer is a former SEAL Team 6 member and says he spoke to the men who took out Osama bin Laden that night. He's OUTFRONT tonight with their story in a new book out today called "SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden."

All right. Wonderful to see you and I appreciate you're taking the time.

CHUCK PFARRER, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Hi, Erin.

BURNETT: So, I want to start first with the controversy. You came out with this book, you've talked to the SEALs. That's what you say, they're not supposed to talk. Today, Colonel Tim Nye, public affairs officer at U.S. Special Operations Command, said, "This book is a fabrication." You being he, describes events that are factually incorrect.

The Obama administration is taking on you on this.

PFARRER: Good to them.

BURNETT: Incorrect. Did you make anything up?

PFARRER: You know, my sources are boots on the ground and people who weren't on the ground but know what happened. And if it's a compare story situation, well, which administration story am I supposed to believe? The 45-minute firefight, the crashed helicopter? I mean, my sources were the guys who were there and doing it.

BURNETT: And some of the differences are, the 45-minute firefight was the official story the American people were told the day after. You're saying it was 90 seconds which is amazing.

PFARRER: Yes.

BURNETT: And there are other differences. And you say the men came in from the roof rather than the ground.

PFARRER: Absolutely.

BURNETT: But the differences as I see them are not enough to show some massive conspiracy to cover up. I'm wondering why they're coming after you harshly.

PFARRER: I don't think it's a cover up. I think what happened is after the operation, the president made his statement and it should have ended there. Whether or not it was appropriate for national security reasons to come out and admit the operation, that's another thing.

He made a statement, that was great, and it should have ended there.

But the information started to leak from politicians of every stripe who were happy to put forward everything they knew which was fragmentary and in incomplete and incorrect.

BURNETT: So who did you talk of the SEAL Team 6? How many did you talk that were there? Tell us about the source.

PFARRER: They were -- digging into this, I had to deconflict stories of guys on the ground, I had to deconflict stories that were being fed to me that just weren't making any sense. For example, the assertion helicopter crashes on insertion.

Look, we plan for something like that.

BURNETT: That's right.

PFARRER: You ground fire, that could happen. What would happen in that case, though, why wouldn't the second helicopter land on the principal piece of real estate at the top of the building, why would it divert outside a 20-foot wall and put the guys out? That was one of the first alarm bells that went off in my head. Totally wrong.

So, I think what happened is the administration lost control of this story, and then clamped down on it, leaving he's half facts out there, and they metastasized into this story of a ground up assault where a man was shot in his bedroom after 45-minute operation.

That's not what happened.

BURNETT: So, and as you say, in your -- from what you know from the SEALs, it took 90 seconds. You talk about two SEALs going into Osama bin Laden's bed room, he reached for his weapon, they shot him immediately.

How did they feel when they did that, what did they tell you?

PFARRER: Well, I don't think feeling really had much to do with it. These guys go in -- when they go in, they are just on in the moment, in the second. They have to be because that's what it takes to survive in these situations. You know, the 90 seconds that I've computed this operation took and from what my information is, that's more in keep to go what a SEAL Team 6 operation is. You hit them hard, you hit them fast and it's over before they can react.

BURNETT: The Stealth Hawk was the helicopter used. Its systems went down a million to one chance. PFARRER: Absolutely.

BURNETT: How you described the one that crashed. They tried to destroy most of it.

PFARRER: Yes.

BURNETT: But you report in here, and I wanted to ask you about this because this is really important, that the Pakistanis were so mad that they auctioned off the remains to the Chinese so that they could see technology and then let the Iranians and the North Koreans see it.

PFARRER: Absolutely. Just a little victory lap.

You know, they were so incensed by this operation. The tail rudder was left. That in itself is a one in a million chance that didn't get vaporized. It's very important part.

They showed it off. They allowed material samples to be taken, measurements. They did everything they could to promulgate the technology.

BURNETT: Well, that is a terrible thing. Thank you very much. Appreciate your coming in.

PFARRER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: Chuck Pfarrer's book, a fascinating book. Reads like a thriller novel that it is. I guess we all wish in another life we were a SEAL.

PFARRER: And not a novel.

BURNETT: That's right. Thanks again.

PFARRER: Hey, my pleasure. Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. Well, after a crucial vote, an embattled Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said today he's going to step down after Italy's next budget is approved after that. OK, we'll see.

But Berlusconi's resignation is making headlines around the world. You're going to see them in the morning in Europe. And we've taken a few shots at Berlusconi here as you know, we he have fun with him.

But in the face of a serious issue, the crushing debt of Italy that could bring down Europe, a growing number of Italian officials have called for the billionaire to resign. They may get their wish.

And one person who saw it all coming is Italian journalist Rula Jerbreal. She states her case in this week's "TIME" magazine online. I spoke with her with just before the show began and I asked her just how bad it is in Italy right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RULA JERBREAL, ITALIAN JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: They are worse than what you ever think because this guy was elected three times when he was last elected, 2006, the deficit and the debt was 106 percent of the GDP. Today, after four years and a half of his government, it's 120 percent of the GDP.

And the worst in this is that the economy is not going to get better. And he's not doing anything. He lost any kind of credibility, he's not doing anything.

BURNETT: Does it matter who runs the country and do you take this offer to resign seriously?

JERBREAL: He promised to resign. He didn't say he will resign. What he will try to do in the next 20 days to approve this package of austerity measures --

BURNETT: Yes.

JERBREAL: -- and then try to orchestration who will govern after him. What he's trying to do is negotiate and put one of his friends to govern on his behalf. So he would be manipulating him from behind.

BURNETT: So a change of name, but not a change of policy.

JERBREAL: This is what he wants, but is that what the parliament wants? Is that what the president of the republic wants? I don't think so. I think Berlusconi's era is over.

BURNETT: All right. So Italian sentiment -- he said I'll step aside if that means saving the euro. This whole issue of whether saving the euro was worth it or not, what matters to the world is -- a matter of debate, I know.

But what do the Italians think -- do they want to stay in the euro? Do they want to stay in the E.U. or not?

JERBREAL: The Italians want to stay in the euro because if they step out, it will be -- the country will collapse. They know that. They know inside of the euro, somebody will bail them out. As soon as Berlusconi announced three days ago that he might go away, actually the stock market in Milan went up. And then he said, no, I'm not sure. It went down.

That means that we're too sensitive to Berlusconi. And not only that, that he lost any kind of credibility, even the markets are wishing for him to go away.

Usually, the markets react negatively to any government change. Not in this case. Everybody's fed up and they don't trust him, they don't love him, but they want him gone.

BURNETT: All right. Rula, thank you so much. Appreciate your taking the time to come in.

JERBREAL: Thank you for having me. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: So now let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's up on "A.C. 360."

Hey, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Hey, Erin.

We're keeping them honest tonight.

Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to end the bloody crackdown in this country to pull troops from the streets. That was a less than a week ago. This is what happened on Monday in the town of Homs.

The killing continues. The U.N. says more than 3,500 people have now died across Syria since protests started. How many more is hard to tell. Journalists are not allowed in.

We're going to speak with one brave journalist who did gain access. She sneaks in, you'll see her undercover reporting.

Also, "Crime and Punishment" tonight, an alleged child sex scandal rippling through one of the nation's top football programs. Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator at Penn State accused of raping young boys. Longtime head coach Joe Paterno canceled his weekly news conference, and two top university officials have already resigned. We're going to untangle who knew what and when and how this could have been uncovered and stopped much seen sooner. A live report ahead.

Those stories, all the latest on the story you've also been following, Herman Cain and his accusers. Keeping them honest.

Also at the top of the hour, we'll have "Ridiculist" -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Anderson.

And still OUTFRONT: we go to the "Outer Circle." Thailand, the floods there, the worst in 50 years, it's not getting better.

And the former friend and co-author of Jerry Sandusky's life story is OUTFRONT tonight. He knew him well. We're talking about the man's character.

And former CIA agent Nada Prouty comes OUTFRONT. She helped catch one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world for the United States. But then America stripped her citizenship.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We do the same thing every time, every night at this time, our "Outer Circle." We reach out to our sources around the world.

And tonight, we begin in Thailand where the flooding is absolutely horrendous, worst in 50 years, still devastating the country. Five hundred people have died. There is no relief in sight in the capital Bangkok.

Just today, CNN's Liz Neisloss traveled with Thailand's prime minister to some of the hardest hit areas.

And, Liz, what did you see?

LIZ NEISLOSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, what we saw is that the flood disaster still continues for Thailand. We traveled to the northern industrial zone where the damage has been very heavy on business -- damage that has rippled throughout the global economy because many multinational companies are dependent on parts that come from Thailand.

As Thailand tries to drain the floodwaters from these areas, they must course south and they're headed toward the country's capital -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you very much.

And now to Atlanta where CNN's Jacqui Jeras is watching the approach of Vesta.

OK. You know what Vesta is. You might want to. Look up, it's a giant asteroid the size of an aircraft career that is hurdling towards earth.

Jacqui, should we be worried?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, Erin, it's not really something we need to worry about. It's sort of like getting an inside pitch in baseball where it's a little too close for comfort, but you know it's not going to hit you directly.

It's not going to hit the earth and it's not going to hit the moon, either. But it's going to get within about 200,000 miles away and that's going to give scientists a really good chance to observe it with their radar telescopes.

Now, can you observe it? Unfortunately, you probably not. At least not with the naked eye.

You have to have a really good telescope. Best chance is in the northern atmosphere as this is going to be heading on up to our north, over the top of the earth and the moon -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you. Glad we're safe. No one wants an aircraft to hit in the face.

Three days after a sex scandal rocks campus of Penn State University, Happy Valley continues to be very unpleasant. Rumors are swirling that head football coach Joe Paterno may be forced to step down after 46 years as the university canceled his weekly press conference this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE PATERNO: I know you guys got a lot of good questions and I'd like to answer them, but I can't do it now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Former assistant Jerry Sandusky was arrested Saturday and charged with seven counts of rape.

The grad student told Paterno about an incident he witnessed in 2002. Coach Paterno reported it to his boss. Nothing happened. And pressure now continues to mount on everyone involved.

Kip Richeal co-authored the book "Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story" in 2001 and he's OUTFRONT with us tonight.

We really appreciate your taking the time to come out. You met him in 1978. You've known him obviously a long time. And you helped write his life story. How would you describe the man you knew?

KIP RICHEAL, AUTHOR, "TOUCHED: THE JERRY SANDUSKY STORY": I've known Jerry for a long time as you said. And Jerry was a very friendly person toward all of us involved in football. He was the kind of person that the players that he coached and the managers that were with him were all -- they just loved him.

He was a very good person to us. He knew football -- and he knows football inside and out. But he knows how to -- at the time, you know, he knew how to build good character and everything for us, and taught us a lot.

And I just always looked up to he was a very good person to us.

BURNETT: Did you -- there's obviously allegations that he abused boy that he met through his charity, which was called Second Mile. There's now been several -- more than several -- boys that have come forward, as young as 8.

Did you ever see him interacting with young boys at all? I mean, whether you saw it in a sinister way or normal way?

RICHEAL: I have seen him with kids from Second Mile over the years, back in the '80s and early '90s just seeing them in general, but nothing in the terms that you're asking about. I always saw him as being a guy that wanted to give these kids a chance to have a prosperous life and a chance at having a prosperous life because many, many of these kids came from families that with single parent or parents that didn't care in the world about them. And, you know, he took them on, and that's what the Second Mile was about. But nothing that I see in the allegations and such.

BURNETT: Fits with that. So, when he called you in March, that's when the allegation first surfaced. What did he say to you then?

RICHEAL: Oh, he said really was he wanted to apologize to me for things that I might read and hear. And I did already hear things or, you know, the news and read the things. I just told him that he's my friend and I support him, and I didn't know much else to say at the time because it was such a shocker. And then the things that are going on now are even more of a shocker.

But at that time I told him I support him as a friend and that I don't know -- I can't be a judge to him. I can only support him in that fashion. And that was basically it.

BURNETT: Right. What would happen if at this point it turns out that all of this is true, that it is proven to be so? This is a man you've known for a long time, you're speaking highly of him.

What do you do as a human be? Do you say this guy is still a friend or are you just utterly disgusted?

RICHEAL: Well, I certainly don't condone actions like that. I feel for kids like that. I coach youth baseball. So, I certainly feel for kids in that and I wouldn't want to see this happen to anybody, but it's a very fine line because I don't know how I would take it.

I would try to support him as a friend and wish him -- he could get help if that was the case. But --

BURNETT: All right. Well, Kip, thank you very much.

RICHEAL: But I would let it play out in the courts is all I can say at the moment. It just has to play out in the courts.

BURNETT: Well, thank you very much for coming on and sharing your thoughts with us. We appreciate it, Kip.

RICHEAL: OK, Erin, thank you very much.

BURNETT: All right. Well, still OUTFRONT: a former CIA agent Nada Prouty comes OUTFRONT to talk about her story about redemption, about getting her citizenship taken away from her and being a CIA agent.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: It's like a movie. A girl moves to America from Lebanon, dreams the American Dream, becomes an undercover CIA agent with the highest security clearances, then is accused of selling out her country to terrorists. She's busted for marrying for a green card, but finally redeemed.

But it's Nada Prouty's true story. Her book "Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of An Arab-American Patriot and the CIA" was released today. And she joins us now.

Nada, it's so great to see you.

NADA PROUTY, AUTHOR, "UNCOMPROMISED": Thank you for having me. BURNETT: And it does read like a movie. But let's start from the beginning. You came to the United States from Lebanon with your family when you were a teenager.

PROUTY: Correct.

BURNETT: How did you feel then about coming to the U.S.? Were you happy, looking forward to it?

PROUTY: Well, the U.S. was a strange land for me. I was excited to come here because I heard all about the freedom, I've heard about the democracy.

BURNETT: So you come and you get this dream. It's not like you just came and said, OK, I'm going to buy a house and have a car. You came and said, I want to go into the CIA.

How in the world did you have that goal and get there?

PROUTY: Well, initially when I first came here, I wanted to get my education with the idea of going back to Lebanon, perhaps living with that education and having a better life than the life that I had. And after staying in the States, I fell in love with the country.

And it was very easy to fall in love with this country, the greatest nation on the planet. And after that, I wanted to give back to the country that took me in, my adopted country, and I wanted to serve. So, I initially applied for the FBI and I worked with them for a while and worked a lot with the CIA overseas and then transferred to the CIA.

BURNETT: And you worked in a lot of cases there. I want to ask you that, the USS Cole in Yemen, a lot of very important cases.

But let me ask you about a couple of the key things, where things went really wrong for you. One thing that you did do, right, was pay an American man to get married because you wanted citizenship?

PROUTY: Well, what I did is I wanted to pay an American man to help me reduce my tuition. And that was my problem at the time. And I wasn't aware of my other option, the political asylum given the war in Lebanon. I was eligible to apply for political asylum, but I wasn't aware of that option.

BURNETT: OK. And that was one thing that came as part of this whole situation when you were accused of using an FBI computer illegally. You had a brother-in-law who prosecutors say was a sympathizer of what the U.S. believes was a terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon. He was being investigated.

They said, oh, you went in the computer and got information about the investigation and you told him about it. Now, and then they also called you out for the marriage.

So, tell me what happened. Did you ever do that? PROUTY: I absolutely did not. And, obviously, Erin, now that you see that the director of the CIA, the attorney general, and also the secretary for homeland security have signed a memo to grant me back my U.S. person status.

BURNETT: When you look at all the things you were involved with, which one do you look back and say, wow, I'm most proud of that.

PROUTY: One case that stands out was someone who dubbed himself the "sniper of Baghdad" and described sniping and killing our American troops that would be going around the streets in Baghdad. And having grown up and being shot at by a sniper in Lebanon, this was very personal to me.

So, gathering intelligence that located and took that person off the street and helped save lives of our military men and women was just one of my proudest moments with the agency.

BURNETT: Well, it's an amazing story and an emotional story. And good luck to you. Thanks for coming in and telling us that.

PROUTY: Thank you very much for having me.

BURNETT: All right.

I love her story.

All right. Anderson Cooper starts now.