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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Iran's Red Line; Interview with Senator Robert Menendez; Tornado Aftermath; Rutgers Student Trial

Aired March 1, 2012 - 19:00   ET

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


ERIN BURNETT, HOST: The red line America says Iran cannot cross. Is Iran close? And what will America do about it?

And new developments tonight in the shooting at an Ohio high school and the football coach who chased the shooter out of the school talks for the first time.

And then the Rutgers student who filmed his roommate in a homosexual encounter, the roommate then committed suicide. Should Dharun Ravi be held responsible? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a shady red line. A red line the whole world is watching. The red line is the line that the Obama administration and members of Congress say Iran cannot cross. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Always keep all of our capabilities ready in the event that those red lines are crossed.

REP. PETER KING, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: That signaled an intention by Iran to cross what we call the red line.

DAVID COHEN, TREASURY UNDERSECRETARY FOR TERR. & FIN. INTEL.: The fact that they are active here is you know, has crossed a red line.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The problem is when someone tells you there's a red line you can't cross, or else two things matter -- where exactly is the line. And what exactly will happen to you if you cross it. Defense Secretary Panetta has stated the obvious -- getting a nuclear weapon crosses the line. And today an Obama administration official who would only discuss this sensitive issue anonymously got a little more specific, telling CNN's security blog that Iran moving "toward" 90 percent uranium enrichment, the level required for a weapon, is quote, "potentially" a red line that could trigger American action, but how far toward?

Right now Iran is enriching uranium to 20 percent. Now 20 percent is required to operate nuclear power plants, and Iran insists that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. Nuclear engineer Marco Caltifan (ph) tells OUTFRONT that getting to 90 percent weapons grade levels of uranium enrichment would be much quicker and easier from 20 than getting from zero to 20 in the first place. But Caltifan (ph) actually says that Iran could do it -- that is get from 20 where they are for peaceful purposes to 90 and a nuclear weapon within a few months from now and he notes that anything actually above 20 really isn't useful for anything but building towards a nuclear weapon.

So is "toward" 90 percent enriched uranium actually anything above what the Iranians currently have now? And how would the United States even know what Iran is doing since they haven't allowed weapons inspectors in to key facilities? The red line needs to be defined more clearly. Oil prices have surged on the uncertainty impacting all Americans. And Iranians continue to be slammed by crippling U.S. and European sanctions, which would end if the country's leaders prove they're not building a weapon or have any intent to do so.

This is why the eyes of the world will be on a high-stakes, high- pressure meeting on Monday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama in Washington. At this hour, Netanyahu is on a plane en route to North America ready to make demands. Two Israeli newspapers, "Herat" (ph) and "Hom" (ph) are reporting that Israel will ask the U.S. to define the red line clearly and deliver an explicit military threat to Iran if it crosses the line. The papers say Netanyahu wants those answers to be issued in a statement after he meets with President Obama.

Well, how will the United States respond to its important ally, Israel? I'll ask Senator Robert Menendez of the Foreign Relations Committee in just a moment. But first, CNN has gained rare access into Tehran just the day before its first national election since the disputed 2009 presidential election. Our Ivan Watson is there tonight and just before the show I spoke to him and I asked him whether the Iranian government's anti-U.S. rhetoric and message has been running -- rubbing off on the people he's been speaking to there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, everybody that I've talked to around Iran and every time I've been here is always incredibly friendly. Even people who really view the U.S. as a mortal threat to Iran tend to be very kind and friendly. Here's an example. Just Tuesday night I was detained here with our camera crew while filming some campaign posters and the guy who detained us, a Basage (ph) militia officer, accused me of hurting his government.

I bumped into this guy in the bazaar today, surprised him, and he's a shop keeper there. That's his day job. He sells buttons and zippers. And he kissed me on both cheeks and gave me his phone number and that shows some of the contradictions here. There are more restrictions, however, for American journalists and some suspicion here. We weren't allowed to bring satellite telephones in, which we've been able to do in the past to make our broadcasts.

And we have come under some pressure on that front for moving around. Another example -- tomorrow the Friday vote is going to be the first election I've ever covered anywhere in the world where I'm being bussed to the polling station along with other invited journalists. We're not being exactly allowed to move around freely on Election Day.

BURNETT: Wow, that's a very interesting anecdote. Last, but not least, Ivan, sanctions. The government obviously keen to say they're not hurting us. They're not affecting us, but what are you seeing on the ground?

WATSON: Well, there's no question that the country's going through a period of economic hardship. The value, rather, of the Iranian currency has plummeted over the last four months nearly 50 percent, according to some estimates, against the dollar. Inflation has grown. Iranians are saying that their money goes half as far when it comes to importing foreign goods or if they want to travel outside of the country. It's not clear whether that is a direct consequence of the tougher U.S. and European sanctions against Iran that I have not been able to fathom at this time.

But there is no question there is more economic hardship right now. What is remarkable, Erin, is to be able to walk around Tehran, a country that has seen its currency lose so much of its value in such a short period of time, and not to see chaos or problems in the streets, that is pretty much life as usual, though people are feeling economic pressure right now.

BURNETT: All right, Ivan Watson thank you very much, reporting from Tehran tonight. A very rare opportunity for a journalist and he was able to get in to Iran ahead of the elections. Thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And now joining me, Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, thanks very much for taking the time.

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Good to be with you, Erin.

BURNETT: So Prime Minister Netanyahu is on a plane on his way to the United States. He's attending a crucial conference. He's going to meet with President Barack Obama. There are reports that President Obama is considering in his speech at the big APEC summit to outline the quote, unquote, "red line" that Iran cannot cross. Do you think he will do so in a very specific bullet-pointed sort of way?

MENENDEZ: Well I don't think it will be bullet-pointed. I think what we share in common with our partner, the state of Israel, is that we seek to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, not simply to contain it. And I think that the only difference between us and the Israelis is the question of timing.

BURNETT: And so let me ask you this question because this is where I get confused. You know Leon Panetta said you develop a weapon, that's a red line.

MENENDEZ: Right.

BURNETT: But as we were just talking about today with government sources telling CNN we're going towards 90 percent enrichment, the level required for a weapon, that's crossing the red line, but anything above 20 is sort of going in that direction. So how do you define it? How would you define it?

MENENDEZ: Well, clearly going to -- beyond the 20 percent headed to 90 percent is the march towards nuclear weapons. But that uranium that needs to be enriched is under the International Atomic Energy Administration's supervision and so we would have a pretty good sense between our intelligence and the intelligence of our allies that the Iranians are headed in that direction. And that would evoke the opportunity for us to act. The difference is U.S. military capacity is far beyond those of some of our allies so our time frame is more open.

BURNETT: So you have -- we could wait longer.

MENENDEZ: We could wait longer.

BURNETT: The United States, to be sure. Which of course, anybody would want to do, especially given what happened with Iraq.

MENENDEZ: And we want these -- and we want these sanctions, the legislation that I passed that became law, Central Bank of Iran, to actually continue to bite. You know you saw the report of your colleague and clearly, there's no other reason for Iranian currency to be so devaluated except for these biting sanctions.

BURNETT: One thing I wanted to ask you because I know you get frequent intelligence briefings, obviously weapons inspectors from the IAEA were not given access to all the facilities they wanted when they left last week. And there is another one, four now they've focused in on. And I just pulled a couple of pictures from the Center for Strategic and International Studies that they had pulled. This is, as you can see, the building right now.

This is how it looks. OK (INAUDIBLE) and now just look at it a couple years ago and we'll show you how it looked. And what you see there is buildings (INAUDIBLE) been put in anything that was happening is now happening underground. I simply use these pictures to ask you the question of, are you confident that we have the intelligence to know what they're doing, when they're doing it, and when they cross the line, if they're going to cross the line?

MENENDEZ: Yes. Well, we've got the greatest intelligence that we have had on our own capabilities, as well as what we are sharing. The greatest cooperation that has existed between the state of Israel and the United States in both military and intelligence sharing is taking place right now.

(CROSSTALK)

MENENDEZ: So we have as good as intelligence as anyone is ever going to have -- BURNETT: Because obviously a lot of the leaks have come out recently refer to intelligence, highly classified intelligence reports that are at least a year old. But you're saying that between then and now we're getting the best intelligence we've ever had.

MENENDEZ: We're getting the best intelligence that we've ever had and the sharing of that intelligence with our ally, the state of Israel, is at the best that it's ever been.

BURNETT: OK. So I'm going to put all this together and tell me if I'm right. Best intelligence you've ever had -- which not everyone has said. I think that's important, first of all. But it is telling you that it is OK right now.

MENENDEZ: As we speak, Erin, right now we're OK.

BURNETT: Right.

MENENDEZ: Now of course, Iranian action can ultimately accelerate that moment. But as of we speak right now and as the Iranians are suffering from the beginning -- and by the way, these are just the beginning of crippling sanctions. Yesterday was the first day in that actually we had sanctionable items for non-oil transactions. At the end of this month the president is going to have to certify that in fact there is enough oil in the marketplace for us to go through with the rest of the sanctions.

BURNETT: Right.

MENENDEZ: That takes place at the end of June. So in the next several months this is just going to constantly ratchet up to a point that the Iranian regime has to think do I want to put our entire people through this, and potentially lose control here.

BURNETT: Rudy Giuliani said last week on this show that the president needed to talk explicitly about the threat of bombing Iran, using the word bomb, and if he did so then he would never actually have to do it. Mike Rogers over on the House Intelligence Committee said this to John King just a couple days ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE ROGERS, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT CMTE. ON INTEL.: I think this would be better done with rolled up sanctions, really tighten them up fast, don't wait until July, crank everything down, continue to put pressure on them and have a real option of military consequence for Iran. They don't believe it -- Iran, I mean -- and neither does Israel. We've got to change that equation if we're going to be I think have an impact on Iran backing down from their nuclear weapon program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That's a crucial question. Once you know where the red line is you got to -- what are the consequences? Has the United States and the Obama administration been clear enough about the consequences, does Iran believe them that military action will happen?

MENENDEZ: Erin, the positioning of military assets in the Gulf, assets that did not exist to the extent they exist today which gives the president all options to pursue is enough of a message to the Iranians that we are serious about stopping their march to nuclear weapons.

BURNETT: All right, well Senator, thank you very much. We appreciate it, obviously going to be a crucial meeting this weekend.

MENENDEZ: Absolutely.

BURNETT: All right, ahead on OUTFRONT a city devastated by the tornado as you saw last night. We're going to go to Harrisburg, Illinois and talk to a grandmother who literally was picked up and thrown from her home during the storm where winds exceeded 175 miles an hour.

And then how much should someone be held responsible when someone commits suicide as a result of something they did or said? This is at the center of the trial going on right now involving the death of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi.

And two more students -- soldiers killed in Afghanistan in response to the burning of those Korans at Bagram Air Force base. What will stop the violence?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Just about 36 hours after violent tornadoes ripped through the Midwest, residents of the storm-tossed region are left with the task of cleaning up. The death toll remains at 13 with Harrisburg, Illinois suffering the worst hit -- six died there. We spent the day today with Janis Choisser, who miraculously survived a tornado that demolished her home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANIS CHOISSER, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Thirty seconds after I closed the door that it just basically blew the door off and sucked me out. I guess. I remember twirling around and being thrown down on that pile of stuff. And like I said, thank goodness I wasn't buried. And I had -- I had a tray like you put Christmas cookies on and stuff that was laying beside me. I was trying to put that over my head. And then I looked down and there's a big fifth of vodka right by my leg and I thought, oh, my gosh, of all things.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, this is what remains of the house Janis' parents built back in the 1980's. Amazingly, she actually told us this is the third time she has cheated death. She survived a cerebral aneurysm and a bout of pneumonia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHOISSER: It's so frightening because when you really think about it everything here can be replaced but you know not my life or anyone else's lives and you have to put that in perspective I guess.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now Janis was found on a pile of rubble caked in mud with cuts and bruises by her son-in-law, Brad Allen (ph) and the two OUTFRONT tonight as they try to pick up the pieces. Thanks very much to both of you and Janis, I'm so glad to see you there with your dog because I know the dog was missing for a while, right?

CHOISSER: Oh, yes. Yes, she was. They searched for her for probably eight or nine hours and finally found her in the house. A chair had tipped over and she was under the chair. And she, of course -- I don't know if she has a broken leg or if it's sprained or whatever but she has her little cast on and she's getting along really well. I was so worried because she's 11 years old.

BURNETT: What a miracle that she was protected by the chair. I mean your story is a miracle, too. I mean and I know, Janis, obviously you're still -- you're still in shock. I mean you have to be in a lot of pain. Do you remember how it happened?

CHOISSER: Well, all I remember -- it was so quick, but I heard the tornado sirens and then I heard the -- I heard -- it sounded like a train or like you're in a wind tunnel. I ran to the pantry, slammed the door, and I mean I could not hold the door closed. It just took the door away from me. I think that's what hit my face and my hand and all that.

And then I just started flying through the air. It was really, really frightening and landed on top of the pile of the house basically. And I couldn't get up. I mean I wasn't really hurt, but I was kind of in a little hole and it was pouring rain and it was awful. And then all of a sudden my cell phone rang, because it had flown out there with me in my pocket. And it was a friend of mine and she said, are you all right?

And I said, no. You know and anyway, she called 911 and called my daughter and my daughter called my son-in-law and I guess he flew over there -- or went as fast as he could and he got there -- you may have gotten there before -- I don't know -- probably about the same time the firefighters got there.

BURNETT: Brett, what happened when you got that call?

(CROSSTALK)

CHOISSER: And they came up on top of the pile.

BURNETT: How did you find -- how did you find her?

BRETT ALLEN, JANIS CHOISSER'S SON-IN-LAW: Well, when I got there, there were already four firemen that were -- CHOISSER: Oh they were --

ALLEN: -- that were in the process of dragging her out at the time. I couldn't tell where they were dragging her out of. It was just such a mess, a big -- wasn't really a hole. It was just rubble. Josh Allen (ph) and John Gunning (ph) were there and Brent Davis (ph) was the police officer, was there, there was two guys I didn't know --

CHOISSER: I thought Pat Means (ph) was there, yes.

ALLEN: I didn't know the other two.

CHOISSER: Yes.

ALLEN: And Josh pretty much carried her out and they helped her to the ground over there. I was -- I had just pulled up and they were already getting her out.

CHOISSER: Well then they put me in the back of his pick-up truck.

(CROSSTALK)

ALLEN: Yes. They carried her to the back of the truck and let her sit there a while and they couldn't get an ambulance over there so I took her to the hospital with the back of the truck.

BURNETT: And Janis, are you feeling all right? I mean, obviously I can see on your face. I mean you're injured. You're talking about your hand and your arm, but physically and mentally, I mean are you -- are you in shock?

CHOISSER: Well, I think I was definitely in shock then and I think now -- I don't know that it has sunken in, you know, quite -- I don't know how I'll feel in a few days. But, yes, it just basically injured me on the whole right side of my body for some reason. I've got scratches and scrapes and my foot, you know, just -- but everything on the right side. So I don't know. It was awfully -- it was really, really frightening, I mean. And you don't realize the force of the wind that you hear and people talk about, the suction and I mean, I'm telling you, it just takes you. There's -- it was awful.

BURNETT: Unbelievable story and you recount it in a way that sort of makes it come alive. And Brett, you obviously have the best mother-in-law, most amazing mother-in-law in the country it sounds like from that story.

CHOISSER: Well a good son-in-law!

BURNETT: Yes, yes, he does --

CHOISSER: I have a good son-in-law. He was right there.

BURNETT: Thanks to both of you. We appreciate it.

Well, 20-year-old Dharun Ravi is facing 10 years in prison after his former Rutgers University roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide in 2010. Five days into his trial prosecutors say they have methodically laid out a case which shows Ravi intentionally placed a webcam in their room so that he and others could watch Clementi having a romantic encounter with another man.

Well days after Tyler Clementi learned he was being watched he killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in New York. The case gained national attention and raised widespread awareness about bullying and hate crimes, but there is a crucial question here about how responsible Dharun Ravi is when it comes to Tyler Clementi taking his own life. Paul Callan is a former New York City prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney and he is OUTFRONT tonight. There is the law and then there is what you, you know, think as a person might be the right thing to do. Legally can he be held responsible?

PAUL CALLAN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY PROSECUTOR: Well he's technically not charged with homicide here. This is not a reckless homicide or manslaughter. Believe me, if New Jersey prosecutors could have charged him with that in the death of Tyler Clementi, he jumped -- Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge, they would have. He's charged with bias intimidation and he's charged with invasion of privacy. Now, would he have been charged with those things if there had been no suicide? I don't think he would have. I think Tyler Clementi's suicide led prosecutors to bring these charges.

BURNETT: Yes.

CALLAN: But, technically the jury's not going to consider the suicide.

BURNETT: Dharun Ravi obviously could get a prison term here of up to 10 years, I believe. Is that reasonable?

CALLAN: Well, there's a disagreement that people have about this. New Jersey has the strictest law in the country on invasion of privacy and what the law says basically is, if you film somebody engaging in an act of intimacy and you stream it publicly, you let somebody else see it, you're guilty of a felony, a very serious crime.

BURNETT: They have a law about that specific thing.

CALLAN: That specific thing in New Jersey, it is the strictest law in the country. And then they take it to another level. They say if you filmed that because of bias intimidation, because somebody is gay and you want to humiliate them, we're doubling the sentence to 10 years. So as a result of that, Ravi faces 10 years in prison if this jury finds him guilty, as opposed to looking at this as some stupid adolescent college prank which is how it would have been treated in prior years.

BURNETT: Right. Now what he did was awful. It was inhumane. It was thoughtless. It was homophobic. It was all of those things. I don't think anyone would say that it wasn't. But --

CALLAN: Well, the defense says it wasn't. BURNETT: They say that it wasn't.

CALLAN: Oh yes.

BURNETT: They say it was just a total harmless prank.

CALLAN: Well, you know the thing that's been amazing about this case as I've watched it go in -- because you know this was a shocking case when it first came down with the suicide, everybody said clearly homophobic. Ravi now has said you know why he activated the webcam? There was going to be an older man in the room and he was afraid somebody was going to steal his stuff, steal his computer. I mean people put nanny cams in their own houses, don't they?

BURNETT: So he's saying the camera happened to be there, it caught this, and then yes he did something inappropriate --

CALLAN: He said it was there. I activated it because I didn't know who this strange guy was who was coming into the room. It had nothing to do with Ravi being gay. I knew he was gay when I moved in with him. I'm not homophobic. That's what the defense is in the case and this is a hard fought battle.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: So what do you think the verdict will be? I know I'm asking you to totally speculate --

CALLAN: I think it is going to be a not guilty verdict because this is a very, very difficult case, very hard issues for the jury to grapple with. Was it homophobia? Was it adolescent stupidity?

BURNETT: Right.

CALLAN: Do you want to send a kid to prison for 10 years for this? I think the jury is going to have a lot of problems with the case.

BURNETT: Well it seems like he has learned something no one would ever want to have to learn, too.

CALLAN: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Paul Callan.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Well OUTFRONT next can outrage and targeted attacks against soldiers be stopped in Afghanistan still related to the burning of those Korans. And a major development in the story of a ship adrift at sea with more than 1,000 people on-board.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

And first tonight, the so-called red line about Iran, that's the line that Obama administration officials and members of Congress say that Iran cannot cross. But, just what defines the red line will be a major topic of discussion when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama meet on Monday. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told me something very interesting about the quality of American intelligence about Iran right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: We've got the greatest intelligence that we have had on our own capabilities, as well as what we are sharing, the greatest cooperation that existed between the state of Israel and the United States in both military and intelligence sharing is taking place right now.

So we have as good of intelligence as ever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Number two, Red Cross support could start arriving in Homs, Syria, in just a few hours. Government has agreed to allow humanitarian workers into the hard-hit Baba Amr neighborhood with medical and food supplies. An activist there told CNN today there are bodies in the streets in that neighborhood and there hasn't been any food or water. At least 22 people were killed in Homs today according to activists.

Number three, crude oil prices spiked this afternoon. This was actually pretty amazing -- just an immediate pop on something that came out of Saudi Arabia, an unconfirmed report about a pipeline explosion there.

An economic expert on the region tells OUTFRONT it's unlikely there actually was an explosion, but just to tell you how important it would be, crude climbed above $110 a barrel in after-hours trading on that report. A disruption in the oil supply from Saudi Arabia is really the center of everything right now because when you look at Iran, if there is an effect or some kind of cut-off of Iranian supply because of tensions, the supplier that's going to be able to pick up the difference -- the only one, frankly, that really can, is Saudi Arabia. So disruption there crucial for oil prices.

Number four, initial jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 351,000 last week. That's important. Claims had been drifting lower over the past few weeks. And OUTFRON economists say the positive trend is likely to continue, the exception of job losses which continue at the government level.

Speaking of government, it's been 210 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Not enough?

New data shows personal income and consumer spending rose in January but not as quickly as economists were hoping.

Well, two NATO soldiers in southern Afghanistan were shot dead today by two gunmen, one in an Afghan national army uniform. This is the third shooting at a base or government building since news emerged that American troops mistakenly burned Korans an other religious materials last week. The incident has sparked outrage and protests across the country leaving at least 41 dead, hundreds more injured.

President Barack Obama has apologized, but does the United States need to do anything else?

Journalist and author Sebastian Junger is no stranger to Afghanistan. His latest book "War" is about the time he spent with U.S. troops there and he comes OUTFRONT tonight.

Sebastian, good to see you.

President Obama's apologized, so has the Commander General Allen in Afghanistan, and he told ABC News that that apology so far is working. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reason that it was important is the same reason that the commander on the ground, General Allen, apologized, and that is to save lives and to make sure our troops who are there right now are not placed in further danger.

REPORTER: It's hard to tell. Do you think -- do you think it has improved it with that apology?

OBAMA: It calmed things down. We're not out of the woods yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Sebastian, do you think it calmed things down?

SEBASTIAN JUNGER, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Well, every child is taught that if you offend someone who you care you, you apologize. I think that's intuitively clear to everyone.

You know, there's a lot of resentment in Afghanistan about the U.S. presence there. It wasn't that way 10 years ago. I was there, the Afghans were so grateful. But a lot of mistakes have happened and the people who really want to attack troops there? No, it's not going to do anything.

Karzai needs to do more to make it clear to his people that this is not the way forward for his country. I'm not sure he's done that yet.

BURNETT: A lot of this has been Afghans that are either posing in official uniform or Afghans that wear uniforms. How troubling of a trend is that given that so much of what would make any transition here effective from the United States back to Afghanistan would be people in uniform working together? JUNGER: Well, it's incredibly troubling. It is hard to guard against and the Taliban are in a perfect position now. They don't have to infiltrate the national police or the army in order to attack U.S. forces because there are individuals in those forces who are just upset and willing to attack on their own unilaterally.

So, it's a terrible position for us to be in at the moment.

BURNETT: President Karzai is a big question mark in all this. I mean, you say he needs to do more. He's actually called for NATO to put the troops who did this on trial. I don't believe we have a formal answer yet from the United States.

What do you think about that? They say that this was completely accidental and we've talked about how the books are in Arabic, they would not maybe even have known. But what would the impact of such a thing be, putting them on trial?

JUNGER: Well, you know, Karzai's playing this double game. He needs NATO there or he's dead. He's political dead, he's physically dead. He needs NATO.

BURNETT: Physically dead. Seriously.

JUNGER: He won't survive that transition. But on the other hand to have political credibility in Afghanistan, he has to denounce NATO at every turn. That's what he's doing right now. I don't think -- my guess is he doesn't really believe a trial will lead anywhere but he wants to be seen as saying that.

So, you know, it depends on the military laws. I don't know how they would apply to that situation, if the soldiers didn't know what they were burning. They probably didn't. Then they're innocent. So, you know, it's is a show trial.

BURNETT: You spent an incredible amount of time in Afghanistan, over various years. So, all the way through this process.

Is Hamid Karzai part of the problem? Is he the wrong guy for the U.S. to be backing? I mean, even taking aside the incredible corruption, which he clearly seems to be a part of.

JUNGER: He is part of the problem. He started out as a very inspiring person. I met him in 2000 before 9/11. He was really inspiring.

But he has allowed a really criminal cartel to take over the government, and we are also part of the problem in that we have not used our tremendous leverage to force him to towards good behavior.

We could do it. The Bush administration didn't do it. Obama's not doing it. That's the way out of Afghanistan and we're just not doing it.

BURNETT: All right. Sebastian, thank you very much.

Sebastian Junger, of course, spent incredible amount of time there. He knows more than anyone.

Still to come OUTFRONT, a break for more than 1,000 passengers that had been stuck on-board a crippled cruise ship.

And new developments inside the Ohio school shooting. And for the first time, we're going to hear for the first time from the football coach who has been called a hero for his actions in chasing T.J. Lane out of the school.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

We begin in the Seychelles, where a disabled Italian cruise ship was towed safely to shore today. Passengers spent several agonizing days at sea, they had no power and running water for days on a cruise ship. This was because a fire broke out in the ship's engine room.

CNN's Dan Rivers is there and Dan met passengers as they got off the ship. He told me a little bit ago how they're doing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the people I spoke to seemed exhausted. They seemed sunburned. But above all, they were relieved. They had spent three days adrift on the high seas after that engine fire saw black smoke billowing through the ship, terrifying many of the passengers who were all too aware that it's only a month and a half since the other disaster involving a Costa ship in Italy, the Costa Concordia.

Now, finally, though, the Costa Allegra is alongside, the passengers are all now installed in hotels, some are flying home. And many said to me that they would not want to be getting back on a ship any time soon. They survived on salami sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One woman said to me she never wants to see another salami sandwich as much as long as she lives -- Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: A sentiment I think everyone could understand. Obviously the cruise ship industry under investigation by Congress as well.

Let's talk with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360."

Hello, Anderson.

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

We got two exclusives keeping them honest reports tonight on the program. He's been the voice, the face, and in many ways the conscience of the opposition in Syria. His YouTube dispatches telling the stories of ordinary people, children dying at the hands of the Assad regime. Tonight, my exclusive sit-down with Danny, a young activist, who told me he's fed up with the international community.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANNY, SYRIAN ACTIVIST: They're talking. Is there any actions? They've been talking for eight months now. We did not see one good thing come out of it. No I did not -- what really went on the ground is nothing. Everyone's just talking, and diplomatic talking, and no one's doing anything on the ground and we're just dying there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A second keeping them honest report tonight, remember all those terrifying reports of Toyotas accelerating on their own? Tonight, you're going to see the information the company didn't share with the government. Only CNN has the internal memo. Toyota says what we found isn't relevant. The experts we talked to say otherwise. We'll slow you the evidence ourselves.

Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" at the top of the hour, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Anderson, we'll see in just a few moments.

And there are charges today for the 17-year-old accused of killing three students and injuring two others in a crowded high school cafeteria in Chardon, Ohio. T.J. Lane is facing three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, and one count of felonious assault.

Now, this comes as hundreds of students, their parents and staff returned to Chardon High School today for grief counseling. Classes officially start again tomorrow.

The assistant football coach who is being hailed as a hero for literally chasing Lane out of the school spoke earlier for the first time and in hero fashion, he was humble.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANK HALL, CHARDON H.S. ASST. FOOTBALL COACH: I don't know why this happened. I only wish I could have done more. I'm not a hero, just a football coach and study hall teacher. The law enforcement first responders that came to our aid that day, they are the heroes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Ted Rowlands is outside of Chardon High School tonight.

And, Ted, the charges against Lane were filed in juvenile court. Obviously, a big center of the debate this week has been whether at 17 he should be tried as a juvenile or tried as an adult given the heinous nature of the crimes he committed. Could it change or is he going to be tried as a minor?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, he will be tried as an adult, Erin. It would be shocking if he's not tried as an adult. The process is ongoing. The prosecutors said they will ask this judge.

Given his age and the seriousness of the crimes, I would be shocked if he would be tried as a juvenile. I think it's a foregone conclusion he'll be in adult court in just a matter of time.

BURNETT: All right. So, just a matter of time, but that changes, because it was sort of shocking to see that. What was the process like today? I know you were at the school. You saw people coming -- students, parents, teachers for the grief counseling. What did you see and what did people say when you spoke to them?

ROWLANDS: Well, it was emotional just to watch parents holding hands with their children, teenagers, walking into the school. They went in to the cafeteria. They had a group there. There were psychologists there, grief counselors there to help with both -- for both parents and students.

We talked to some people afterwards and they said it was really overwhelming to be back in that school in that cafeteria where this horror took place on Monday. They'll all be back at school without their parents tomorrow morning.

BURNETT: We just heard some moving comments from earlier today from the assistant football coach, Frank Hall, saying "I wasn't a hero." Obviously, so many have credited him with chasing T.J. out of the school.

Parents are saying there's a second hero. Tell me about that person.

ROWLANDS: Yes. Nick Walczak is one student who's still hospitalized. He still cannot feel his legs. It is going to be a long process for him.

But his mother today spoke out and said that there was a teacher by the name of Joe Richie. He was a teacher that while the gunfire was going on, he came out and he pulled Nick into his classroom and started to give him medical attention, right away, and she believes that that saved her son's life.

So she made a point of thanking him publicly today. He's the second hero in all of this, if you will.

BURNETT: All right. Ted, thanks very much.

Students, of course, go back to school tomorrow at Chardon High School.

Up next, what happens when a bank decides to start trying to charge for things that were once free? A bank that tried failed to do this a few months ago. That means OUTRONT is on your tail.

And journalist Anthony Shadid lost his life while doing what he loved. He's covering a conflict in the Middle East. His wife, Nada Bakri, joins us tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: So what happens when the second biggest bank in the country tries to apply higher fees to basic checking account holders? Well, if last year was an indicator, a large number of those customers will tell you to -- I don't know -- I don't know, take a hike?

In Arizona, Georgia, and Massachusetts, Bank of America now is going to experiment with the idea of monthly fees of up to $25 for checking account customers if they don't maintain a minimum balance, use a Bank of America credit card or take out a mortgage with the company.

Now, this may make sense to some people, but others may say this is insanity and B&A tried something in the fall that was like this, charging customers for using debit cards. That failed because customers rose up and that brings us to tonight's number, 1,300,000. That's the number of clients that credit unions gained last year when customers of the big banks became fed up with fees like that and defected.

The total of credit union members increased to a record high 91.8 million Americans, almost one third of the population of this country new use credit unions.

So, Bank of America, we'll see if you lose more customers.

We're going to take a break. But when we come back, just two weeks ago, Anthony Shadid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in the Middle East, died trying to get out of Syria. He left behind a wife and a baby boy.

And his wife comes out to talk about her husband, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: The fractured world of post-Saddam Iraq, the civil war in Libya, Egypt in the wake of revolution, the remarkably brave Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony Shadid of the "New York Times" risked his life to find human stories amidst all that war and devastation.

Two weeks ago today, Shadid died of an asthma attack in Syria, unable to get medical care. He was covering the violent conflict that's killed more than 7,500 people in the country.

Shadid was only 43 years old. He left behind a wife and a baby. His wife said he just finished his masterpiece, a memoir about rebuilding his ancestral home in Lebanon. He was supposed to be on a book tour, but she is taking his place.

Nada Bakri spoke to me earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NADA BAKRI, HUSBAND WAS "NEW YORK TIMES" JOURNALIST ANTHONY SHADID: I thought, you know, I'm trying to get my head around it. It's just so unreal, so unbelievable. It's -- you know, it's an unfinished life and he left too soon.

And just part of me feels like when someone had so much more to give and to do and had so many more plans, at least for the near future, they should not go. I just never understand.

BURNETT: He writes about being in Libya and he was in Libya during the civil war, and I remember reading "The New York Times" covering his coverage of Libya. He talks about lying with his pace pressed in the ground and a soldier saying shoot him and then he didn't get shot.

He writes about being jailed and says, "I was blindfolded and bound with plastic handcuffs and hit by the butt of a gun to the head and panicked as restraints dug into my wrists and numbed my swollen hands."

It has to be hard for you to hear, to see him write that. But when he came home, at that moment, what did you think?

BAKRI: It was heartbreaking. My son and I picked him up at the airport and we just drove straight there because I knew that, you know, if he was going to feel any better and like tried to move on and forget about what happened -- as hard as it is to forget -- it was going to be being in Marjayoun and the house that he wrote about.

But it was extremely painful, you know? And you almost didn't want to touch them or like talk to a person who has been through something like this and just, you know, give them all the time they need and -- so, it was very, very painful. But I think it helped him a lot being in Marjayoun right after it happened and just kind of come to terms with it and accept what happened.

BURNETT: He write about going there with you and your son and saying there was nowhere else in the world that I could go at that moment other than Marjayoun, his home, his ancestral home. And before he died he spoke about the home and building the home.

And I wanted to play a little clip of something he put together recently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY SHADID, NEW YORK TIMES: I think the biggest fear I have now finished is there is a certain loneliness and the minute you walk in after being gone for a while, and it does feel lonely. There is a sense of it being empty again, and it is repaired and it's renovated and restored. But how do you fight that loneliness that has been the house's identity for so long?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Are you going to stay there?

BAKRI: Yes, it's my home, too. And Anthony so many times asked me when we were sitting in the garden or in the house that if he dies, he wants to be -- or when he dies, he wants his body to be cremated and he wants me to spread the ashes in the garden. So, I did this, and I put him the two olive trees that he loved so much and he talked about in the book.

And so, he is there, and there is no other place for me to be other than with him there. It's our home.

BURNETT: What -- you're a journalist, too, in your own right, and I was telling you I had read some of your work. And you had that passion for the Middle East like he did. You wrote about Assad and Syria.

Are you going to keep doing that?

BAKRI: It is a hard question. I just -- I don't know. I haven't thought about it enough yet, and I'm just still trying to understand what happened and it's going to take a lot of time.

But I don't know. I feel like I am a little mad at journalism. It might be hard.

BURNETT: Because of the places that it made him go even though he loved it?

BAKRI: Even though he loved it, yes. It will always be hard, you know, to do this thing that we did together and we loved doing together so much and it will be hard to do it alone.

BURNETT: And so you have your son, though.

BAKRI: Yes.

BURNETT: Which is a beautiful thing.

BAKRI: It is.

BURNETT: You have that, and it is the one thing when I saw it was to think -- and obviously, it always followed his work and admirer of his as a journalist, and then I found out about you, and I was just thinking how lucky at least that you have that one thing.

BAKRI: It's true. I think probably my son is the -- you know, the biggest loser in all of this because he is the only one who will not get to meet his father and know how get a father he was. And, yes, but such is life. Such is his life.

(END VIDEOTAPE0

BURNETT: That was Nada Bakri.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.