Return to Transcripts main page
Petraeus, Remorseful; More on Petraeus Scandal; Hearings on recent Libya Attacks Underway; Bombing in Gaza this Morning; President Obama's Hurricane Tour; Warren Buffett Not Worried about Fiscal Cliff; From Fast Food to Health Food; B.P. Settlement Reaches $4.5 Billion; Justice Department News Conference on B.P. Planned; Israeli Defense Minister Talks About Strikes on Hamas
Aired November 15, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's 11:00 on the East Coast, 8:00 a.m. on the West Coast. And talk about bombshells.
This hour in Gaza and parts of Israel, the shells, the death and the fear is very real. In just moments, I'm going to speak with Israel's defense chief, Ehud Barak, about these scenes and the wider implications.
And Benghazi and beyond, political fallout from a deadly attack on Americans in Libya. Three hearings today on Capitol Hill, but the star witness comes tomorrow and that is one four-star general named David Petraeus.
And two-and-a-half weeks after Sandy, President Obama prepares to see the ongoing misery in parts of New York City. We are live in Staten Island this hour.
But we begin with General Petraeus, no longer the topmost of the echelons of national security, but not consigned to oblivion either, not by any stretch.
We've got two signature pieces of reporting this hour. "Time" magazine is reporting that Petraeus's biographer-turned-mistress once toyed with entering politics. Paul Broadwell reportedly told acquaintances backing in July that GOP, quote, "money men" had approached her about a Senate run from North Carolina.
She says she was, quote, "tempted," "Time" magazine reports, but Petraeus was strongly against it.
"Time" is also reporting on the internal FBI struggle over whether to tell the White House what and whom they were investigating. It turns out the White House wasn't informed till the night of the election, three days before General Petraeus resigned.
On a personal level, General Petraeus is telling aides and confidantes that he is devastated by the pain and suffering that he has caused. And that brings me to another piece of reporting that you need to hear for yourself. My HLN colleague, Kyra Phillips, who has reported extensively on General Petraeus over the years has spoken directly with him in the wake of this ruinous scandal and, while General Petraeus did not want to be recorded in his conversation with Kyra, Kyra did talk about their conversations this morning in an interview with HLN's Robin Meade.
Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KYRA PHILLIPS, HLN (voiceover): In our first conversation, he had told me he had engaged in something dishonorable and he sought to do the honorable thing in response and that was to come forward.
He was very clear that he screwed up terribly, that it was all his fault and even that it -- that he felt fortunate to have a wife who is far better than he deserves.
Obviously, he's taking it really hard. He knows he made a big mistake and he does want to move forward, making things work with his family. He doesn't want to throw 37 years out the window with his wife.
He has said this has nothing to do with Benghazi and he wants to testify. He will testify. He has maintained to me all along that this was a personal failing, Robin, which, as I've said, to me was quite stunning and to many other people.
He's not the type of person that I've ever known to fail at anything, knowing him as long as I have over the years. And, so, he has made it very clear that this was about an extramarital affair and not over classified information or Benghazi.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Well, General Petraeus also told Kyra in that exclusive interview that he has not spoken with Paula Broadwell since this scandal erupted.
He also told Kyra, insisting that he never passed Broadwell any classified information, something he has told his colleagues, as well.
And also new this morning, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is now asking whether the ethics training programs for military leaders are actually doing their job. And now he's ordering a review of the programs that are currently in place, just to find out if they're adequate.
In a memo to the joint chiefs chairman, Martin Dempsey, Secretary Panetta said this, and I quote, "I seek your views on how to better foster a culture of value-based decision-making and stewardship among senior general and flag officers."
CNN intelligence correspondent Suzanne Kelly joins us now with more on the story. So, this is a request that perhaps may not have come to many as a surprise, Suzanne. The microscope is blazing and my assumption is, and I don't know what your sources are saying, they just don't want to screw anything up in this investigation.
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, not only that, but you know, the broadening the culture, Ashleigh, as you mentioned with this memo, is really looking to see just how far something like this might spread.
I mean, we certainly never expected to hear General Allen's name pulled into anything and, you know, he put out -- in his defense, he put out a statement yesterday that sounded very confident, that sounded like once he feels like people review, the Pentagon inspector- general ends up reviewing the e-mails, that they're going to find that there's absolutely nothing egregious there.
And that may end up being the case, but I think, you know, you're seeing the Defense Secretary now really sort of cast a wide net and send a very clear message that if this kind of thing is going on among other flag officers, senior officers, that it needs to be fixed immediately.
BANFIELD: So, I think, Suzanne, one of the things that so many people have been astounded at when the they hear about two four-star generals involved is the access that these women, Jill Kelley and Paula Broadwell, seemed to have to them.
Have they had their wings clipped?
KELLY: Well, this is such a fascinating discussion, Ashleigh, and so many different directions you can take on it. But I do want to say and it was great reporting from Kyra Phillips that you had just played a few minutes ago. But there are still some really tough questions even for General Petraeus.
You know, he didn't come public about this. He didn't come clean. He didn't start apologizing until after he was caught. So, I think we do have to offer a little bit of push-back. And he hasn't made himself available for interviews nor has Paula Broadwell. Still a lot of unanswered questions with her.
In terms of has she had her wings clipped in this, I will tell you that my colleague Barbara Starr was able to confirm yesterday from U.S. officials that her security clearances have been suspended pending the outcome of the FBI investigation.
But we're also hearing from Fran Townsend who, of course, is our national security contributor that the information that they were hauling out -- you remember the pictures from Paula's home on Monday night. The FBI was there for about five hours.
The information they were hauling out, according to Fran, is nothing really egregious. It may not even lead to formal charges against her, but of course, the decision on whether or not they will charge her anything will come from the Department of Justice. BANFIELD: OK, and then what about Suzanne Kelly? My understanding is that she also had some ...
KELLY: You mean Jill Kelley. Not me.
BANFIELD: Excuse me. Oh, Lord. That's how many players we're trying to juggle in this crazy (INAUDIBLE). Jill Kelley, Suzanne Kelly.
Jill Kelley's incredible VIP access to MacDill Air Force Base has also been curtailed. All the while, there is this FBI agent in the Tampa field office named Fred Humphries who has come to light, as well.
What do we know about him and how he's moving forward in all of this?
KELLY: It goes in the "you-can't-make-it-up" category, Ashleigh. We are getting some interesting little tidbits. And one of the things we know about him now from a couple sources, that he was sort of identified as agent number one.
He's the first agent in the FBI who had a conversation with Jill Kelley when she felt like she was receiving these threatening e-mails, didn't know where to go, what to do. He was the one who took that initial complaint, if you will, turned it over to the cyber-unit at the FBI.
We do know from a couple of sources that he's still on duty. He was not, apparently, happy with the way the investigation was going, but then you'll remember the sexy little nugget that came out earlier this week, Ashleigh, that he had actually sent shirtless photographs of himself to Jill Kelley.
Well, it will turns out after a couple of meetings yesterday, some representatives for the Kelley family had described that picture in a little more detail, so now we can kind of imagine what it looked like.
He was on a shooting range, apparently. There were dummies there, you know, they had and torsos where they take aim at. He thought it might be funny to take his shirt of and stand among a lineup of dummies.
So, I don't know. It's not my idea of sexy. I don't know. Maybe someone else thinks that it is, but as we're finding out more details about this story and getting into the facts of it, it still is interesting, but maybe not quite as bad as everyone first thought.
BANFIELD: Well, and one of my sources close to that particular agent said he's a standup guy and never would have sent a sexy shirtless picture, so that does make a lot of sense.
Suzanne Kelly, thank you, Suzanne Kelly. Not to be confused with Jill Kelley ...
KELLY: With Jill Kelley, no.
BANFIELD: ... in the least. Thank you, my friend. Great reporting. Thank you, Suzanne.
And, also, just because there is so much confusion and so many players and so many odd tidbits in this incredible saga, the socialites in Tampa courting four-star generals seems to be a big mystery to a lot of people.
All of this happening at the center sport, MacDill Air Force Base. We're going to take a look at that and find out just what is that all about, a little later on in this hour.
But right now I want to zoom over to Capitol Hill where some very delicate and long-awaited hearings into the attack that killed our U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans are finally getting under way today.
CNN's Dana Bash has been watching this closely, or I should say, Dana, as closely as you and your fellow colleagues in the media can watch because these are behind closed doors.
But we do know one thing, and that is that these lawmakers are getting some information and some video that perhaps they haven't seen before of this attack. Can you explain?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is the first really comprehensive hearing that members of , at this point, the House intelligence committee -- we'll see the same thing on the Senate side, later today.
But this morning as we speak, the House intelligence committee, they're getting from top intelligence officials, Pentagon officials and so forth. And what we're told actually -- our Suzanne Kelly reported this earlier today -- is that lawmakers will see for the first time, a video, a closed-circuit video that intelligence officials hope explains why there was so much confusion over whether it was a spontaneous protest, whether it was planned. You know, kind of exactly what went on so that they see with their own eyes what intelligence officials saw at the time.
So, that's going on as we speak. Whether or not this is going to clear anything up, who knows? But because, you know, Congress has been on a break, this is the first real time that they're going to get information.
BANFIELD: And, Dana, of course, the star witness in all of this is General David Petraeus himself. And we know that his testimony will be behind closed doors, as well, tomorrow.
But what do we know about the tenor and the plan for him and how close reporters are going to be able to get to him before or after he gets his so-called grilling?
BASH: Well, we're certainly going to try to get close to him. Whether or not we're going to succeed is a different question.
The headline is that we do know now that he, David Petraeus, will be here on Capitol Hill tomorrow and he will appear before both the House and the Senate intelligence committees early tomorrow morning to give his account of what he knows from when he was CIA director of what happened in that deadly attack on the consulate in Benghazi.
This was something that there was sort of "to-ing" and "fro-ing" all week about whether it was appropriate for him to come. The White House earlier this week, you remember, Ashleigh, said it was not necessarily because the acting director, Michael Morrell, knows enough.
But that was not enough for even the White House's fellow Democrats like Dianne Feinstein who leads the Senate intelligence committee, so they invited him. Petraeus agreed to come voluntary, so that is going to come tomorrow morning.
Of course, as you mentioned, it will be closed. We will not be able to have cameras there.
BANFIELD: And I should tag that with this information from Kyra Phillips, our colleague at HLN, who had this exclusive conversation with David Petraeus in the wake of this scandal.
He told Kyra that this has nothing to do with Benghazi, his stepping down. He fully admitted to Kyra that had he completely messed up, that he had acted terribly, but that it had nothing to do with Benghazi.
Whether they do connect these will be fascinating. We won't be there for it, unfortunately.
And we're also getting wind that the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will be there, as well.
So, Dana, you have your work cut out for you, a lot of people to chase. Thank you very much.
Dana Bash reporting for us live from Capitol Hill. And we're going to watch these developments from Capitol Hill all throughout the day, as well.
Back in a moment.
BANFIELD: Raining rockets and fears of a broader Middle East war, bombs flying over Gaza early this morning. Just take a look at these images.
Israel is saying that it's gone after 160 so-called "terror sites." This, just one day after Israel killed the leader of Hamas's military wing in Gaza.
Today, at least 13 other people in Gaza were also killed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the attack is in response for some 200 rockets that have been landing in Israel over the past 24 hours alone -- 200 -- and at least three Israelis who died as a result. The Palestinians who've been seen here trying to put out fires, inspect their damage and rush people to get medical attention, well, they say now the fears of retaliation -- they fear the retaliation now because Hamas says Israel has opened the "gates of hell."
Egypt to the south has pulled its ambassador now from Israel and, in just moments, I'm going to speak live with Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, so don't move.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't get light on and I think of my kids. I can't get power, heat, garbage pickup, nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Desperate pleas from a Superstorm Sandy victim in New York just as the president of the United States is set to land Air Force One nearby and go on a tour throughout the damaged areas of New York with his homeland security chief and the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City.
That is some heavy duty personnel that's about to descend upon a place where over 2,000 people still don't have power, 17 days out. And, in some cases, still don't even have help.
This visit is coinciding with two local power companies here being slapped with subpoenas for their role in this sluggish recovery of power.
Our Victor Blackwell is at a distribution center on Staten Island where they are now resigned to just patching up the damaged homes instead of actually repairing them or moving people out because they just simply don't have anywhere else to send these people for housing.
Victor, it's astounding to hear that. What does the president and this team hope to accomplish with this visit today?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, Ashleigh, they want to act as -- the president wants to act as the "comforter-in- chief" and offer some support to the people here who have lost friends, neighbors, family members in some cases, but also their homes and livelihoods.
Look at this. This is a business here on Midland Avenue that was just destroyed by the storm, by the flood and fire.
But I want to take you across the street to this distribution center where neighbors are coming together. Volunteers are coming in to offer food and clothes and support. The president's going to see a lot of this, as well, as he speaks with local officials.
He's also going to walk through the New Dorp-area of Staten Island and walk along Cedar Grove Avenue and he's likely going to meet a 66-year- old man. His name is Dominic Traina.
He moved into that neighborhood when he was 13-years old and, now, both his childhood home and the home in which he raised his four children, both gone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINIC TRAINA, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: This house here, we moved here in 1959 and, about four or five years later, I got married and we bought the house up the street.
And then my mother passed away in '92, and I wound up with the property. And then I rented the store. I rented the house. That was our social security, you know, a little bit there and a little bit that I was getting for my retirement and that was enough.
But now? Now, we've got a problem. You know, we've got to go back to work.
BLACKWELL: How do you start over?
TRAINA: At 66-years old, I don't know. I really don't. We're just going to stick together with the kids and try to make the best of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: He's lived in this neighborhood for decades and now he says he's going to move somewhere where it's a little slower, so he's going to be leaving the neighborhood he spent the last 50 years in.
BANFIELD: So, Victor, I'm just looking behind you and I know you said this is a business behind you. But if that's any indication of some of the structural damage of a lot of those homes on Staten Island and I think we have a pretty good idea that that is what those homes look like, how on earth is it that FEMA can just come up with a plan to patch up some of these homes to try to make them livable for these people over the winter supposed as opposed to something that's far more viable like get them somewhere else to live?
BLACKWELL: Well, when there's damage this severe, it cannot be patched up. But when there are homes that simply have what's called "restricted use" -- you'll see the yellow sticker instead of the red -- FEMA says that there's not enough spaces to put FEMA trailers.
You have to think that Sandy hit a huge population area, so there's not a lot of land to put these trailers. So, if they can use plywood and use some elbow grease and get these homes inhabitable for the winter, they're going to do that.
And for people who have damage that severe, of course, they're going to assist them in getting something that's a little more reliable.
But that's the problem when you have so many people in one area and not enough space to put all the FEMA trailers, Ashleigh. BANFIELD: I get it. I mean, it is tightly packed in Staten Island and elsewhere and the boroughs of New York, but, my goodness, I hope the patch jobs are going to be adequate for these people who have already suffered enough.
Victor Blackwell on Staten Island, thank you. Keep your eyes out for the president and bring us any reporting as soon as it happens.
And we also want to stay with some of those stories about the victims of Superstorm Sandy. Yesterday, if you were watching this program, you probably saw an interview with a New York state senator-elect named James Sanders, Jr.
Now, he was telling us about the power situation in Far Rockaway and Queens, about the people who are sitting in the cold and dark, himself included. He's one of the residents there who doesn't have power.
And then he made a very serious allegation on the air about why the power company, LIPA, still hadn't restored power in his area. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES SANDERS, JR., NEW YORK STATE SENATOR-ELECT: I would argue that it's a question of race and class. I would argue that it's a question of the antiquated ability of LIPA to deal with its residents.
We have been so mistreated by LIPA. I myself have no lights, no power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: OK. So the senator-elect clearly said he thinks this is an issue of race and class. And we reached out right away to LIPA and the Long Island Power Authority gave us this statement.
They said, "In response to Senator-Elect Sanders' comments, there is clearly no bias on LIPA's restoration process. We will have personally reached out to Senator-Elect James Sanders, Jr., and look forward to continuing to brief him on our ongoing restoration efforts in the Rockaway peninsula."
BANFIELD: Got some breaking news. The Justice Department has reached a huge settlement with oil giant BP and it's bigger than a lot of people thought, too.
BP is going to be paying out a record $4 billion over five years to resolve criminal and SEC claims over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident.
You'll remember that the explosion of the drilling rig killed 11 workers and resulted in one of the worst oil spills in history.
In a moment, I'm going to speak to Ed Lavandera who not only worked and covered that oil spill for days, but also who is covering this aftermath and this remarkable settlement in this story. That's coming up in just a moment.
In the meantime, you have been hearing a lot about the fiscal cliff. We've been doing this countdown. We're at 47 days still the fiscal cliff shows up. Most of what we hear about the fiscal cliff is panic and alarm and tax hikes and spending cuts and all of this is set to kick off at the beginning of the year, face the dire consequences or else, get your parachute. Guess what, there's somebody who knows a thing or two about money who doesn't seem to be anywhere near as worried as those other people who are telling us we're about to plummet. It's billionaire Warren Buffett. He says as long as President Obama holds firm on the wealthiest Americans paying more taxes, we can just go on right over that fiscal cliff and we will not dive back into recession.
How do I know this? Because Poppy Harlow knows this. She sat down for the exclusive interview.
You have the greatest access to Warren. Every time there's news, you seem to get it. I was looking at your interview earlier. He's very candid with you about this. This doesn't look like it's for political gain in any way. We're past the election. It's incredible what he said.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really surprised me. I can't think of another big-named CEO out there who feels this way about the fiscal cliff. They're all saying do not go over it, we'll plunge into recession. That's what the Congressional budget office says.
BANFIELD: Been sounding the alarm for months.
HARLOW: But Buffett does want an agreement in Washington. He's not saying we can go over the cliff, we'll be fine. But he's saying if we have to, we will. The president needs to take a hard line on these negotiations with Republicans. He says, we need to pick country over party so that we can avoid these massive spending cuts and tax hikes. Here's how he explained it to me in our interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: What is the likelihood of the United States falling into a recession if we go over the cliff?
WARREN BUFFET, CHAIRMAN, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: I don't think that's going to happen. I think if we go past January 1st is, I don't know whether it will be January 10th or February 1st, but we're not going to permanently cripple ourselves because 535 people can't get along.
HARLOW: Even if we go over for two months, does that dip this economy back into recession?
BUFFETT: I don't think so. You can't take the position that I won't go past December 31st or the other side will just take total advantage of that. You have to be willing to 2013 and you have to make every attempt not to do it, but that doesn't mean you roll over and give away the store.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Don't roll over and giveaway the store. We know he's a big Obama supporter. He is saying the president should ask for tax increases, not just closing the loopholes but tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.
BANFIELD: Which include him?
BANFIELD: Here's my question. I've always wondered what this guy makes and if he's in such support of increasing taxes and closing loopholes, I'll mention those twos that affect the wealthy, carried interest, capital gains, if he's a proponent of that, what would that cost him?
HARLOW: We don't have his current numbers. We know the 2010 numbers. In 2010, Warren Buffett made $62.8 million. He paid $6.9 million of that on federal income tax, about a 17.4 percent rate. That's because most of the money he makes is off of investments. So that's taxed at a capital gains rate that can't be more than 15 percent. He said that's not fair. And that's been his argument. That is not progressive. He wants to see a progressive tax rate. Those are the latest numbers that we have.
BANFIELD: If he were to double that will 15 percent of what he paid.
HARLOW: He'd be paying about $7 million more in taxes.
BANFIELD: What he just said 2000 cost him $7 million.
HARLOW: But he's willing to do that. I think I should note there are a lot of other CEOs out there also believe their personal income tax should be more, as well.
BANFIELD: And many who don't.
HARLOW: They just think across the board, it will stifle growth.
BANFIELD: I want to ask you something else that he said that I thought was fascinating. He has a lot to say about women in power and one in particular.
HARLOW: I thought this was so interesting because we were talking about women in power. He said this country for so long has under-of utilized women and we've come so far. Now that we are utilizing women more in terms of their professional capacity, closer to 100 percent, he's optimistic where this country goes. So I threw out this question to him. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: What about a female president in 2016?
BUFFETT: I hope so. I hope it's Hillary Clinton.
HARLOW: You hope it's Hillary Clinton.
HARLOW: I know you supported both her and President Obama in the 2008 race. What is it about Hillary Clinton that you like so much?
BUFFETT: I like what she believes in. I think she's extraordinarily able and energetic for that matter in pushing those beliefs. I don't see how you could have anybody better qualified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That's a ringing endorsement. Anybody better qualified than Hillary Clinton.
BANFIELD: So first thing I thought, well, would he be her Sheldon Adelson? Will he bankroll her?
HARLOW: This is interesting. SuperPAC. Could he give a lot of money to PACs? Will he? He told me, on the issue of superPACs, I just think it's wrong. And that's a quote. He vehemently opposes them. Didn't give any to superPACs in this election. And won't give any in the next.
BANFIELD: Good news for Hillary Clinton and then --
HARLOW: If she wants the job.
BANFIELD: I don't expect the bank rolling to come from there.
Poppy, great. Excellent reporting.
HARLOW: Thank you.
BANFIELD: I always love your interviews especially with the top leaders. I love it when you go to Davos, too.
By the way, as the fiscal cliff deadline nears, we've got a new poll showing Americans are feeling maybe a little bit more urgency than Warren Buffett. According to a "USA Today"/Gallop poll, 2 percent of adults say it's either extremely or very important for Congress and the president to come to some kind of deal. But just 17 percent are on the Buffett train, saying it's somewhat or not important.
NESTA DISTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Working in a 24-hour newsroom makes you want to eat at unconventional times. That's why I love coming here to the R. Thomas Deluxe Grill in Atlanta. It's a 24-hour restaurant that serves healthy organic meals anytime of day or night.
(voice-over): Customers come for a unique dining experience. There's a mood-lit canopy and a wide range of organic, vegan and vegetarian dishes. Free range meat options are also on the menu and breakfast is served anytime.
At the heart of it is its owner, Richard Thomas. He switched from managing it fast food restaurants 25 years ago. Now his motto is, let your food be your medicine.
Outside the restaurant is a mash-up of Thomas's passions. Heating and cooling inside is powered by a water sprinkler on the roof. There is a garden and a collection of artwork. These bricks debris from the tornadoes in Alabama be as a memorial to the victims.
Thomas has been collecting birds for over 60 years and gets a kick out of showing them off. The kitchen and wait staff aren't allowed to play with the birds.
The smoothies, a hit on the menu. The chef cooks with ingredients bought locally.
(o)": Here we have one of the healthy dishes served here at R. Thomas Grill. This is it the Thai bowl, served with tempei and vegetables as and quinoa.
Time to begin.
BANFIELD: I'm used to bringing you legal stories, especially when settlements are reached between parties that have had colossal arguments and disputes, and this one is the mother of them all. It amounts to $4 billion. That's a record. And it is what B.P., the oil giant, is going to having to pay now to settle criminal claims and SEC claims to resolve all of this after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill incident. This was the worst in our history.
Ed Lavandera not only covered that spill, and day after day had to deal with the ramifications, but he's also covering this remarkable, remarkable settlement.
Ed, we all thought this might come in a little over $1.3 billion. But I don't know how many people thought it would be as high as $4 billion.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what we're trying to get a sense of. B.P. and all the companies involved have been tangled up in legal disputes ever since this disaster and this tragedy happened. So we are just now starting to get the specifics as to what these fines will entail. We're still trying to make sense of it, quite frankly. Bear with us as we work through this number.
B.P. says at this point that the total aggregate of everything they will be fined, including all those claims is about $4.5 billion. That also includes money that will be given to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, as well as to the National Academy of Sciences. Still trying to get the specifics of the breakdown as to exactly how much money is going or get a better understanding, I'm not quite ready to report on all those details of exactly how much of this is going to criminal fines and criminal cases as well as to the sec, as well. There's a lot in play here.
You know, B.P. has been having to spend a lot of money to resolve all of these claims, and we are expecting to hear a lot more not only from B.P. throughout the day but also from the federal government and Justice Department officials that will expand on just what all of this means throughout the day.
BANFIELD: I'm glad you said that because I'm just getting word now that the Justice Department and Eric Holder will be holding a news conference later on this afternoon, which CNN will be covering live.
Ed, I don't want to throw too much at you. We're just beginning to find out the details of this. I do want to ask you about the fact that there is one felony count of obstruction of Congress that gets factored into this settlement. What about any criminal charges against people, especially since we had 11 people who died? Will there be anything that comes out with regard to people facing charges supposed to this one felony count of obstruction?
LAVANDERA: It's interesting, you know, there is one B.P. employee who is going through criminal charges, a man by the name of Kirk Mix, who was charged with obstructing justice, I believe, was the official charge for deleting messages that were sent. That is the only person we know of involved in criminal proceedings. What is interesting in the release that B.P. just put out a short while ago saying that this settlement resolves al of the criminal charges against them. I'm not sure if that means just specifically against the company or if still individual criminal charges could be brought or if this absolves everyone in the company. I'm still not clear about that. We'll try to get those questions answered, as well. But this deal also apparently includes criminal charges as well, B.P. pleads guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ship's officers as well as the one felony count of obstruction of Congress and then two misdemeanor counts I'm reading here, one under the clean water act and one of the migratory bird treatment act. Obviously there's a great deal of environmentalists will be poring through this to try to make sense of this. I've heard from a couple of contacts in the gulf coast region who say they still don't think this is enough. We'll probably hear a lot more of that in the coming hours.
BANFIELD: Wow, all those counts and still not enough. I know you're just collecting this also. Get back to your -- I think it's all coming over your Blackberry as we speak. We'll continue to follow it, as well. I know we're going to find out more hopefully in Eric Holder's news conference later this afternoon.
Excellent work. Ed Lavandera, coming to us live from the Florida gulf coast.
We are back in a moment.
BANFIELD: Just before the break we were giving you this news from the Department of Justice, and the SEC About a $4 billion settlement involving Deepwater Horizon and that spill that so damaged our gulf coastline back in 2010, and if you were wondering why the SEC, the securities and exchange commission, was involved in this, it was not a typo, an accident. They are, indeed, involved in this.
And Christine Romans has some clarity on why in the world the SEC would be involved.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, because B.P. is a publicly traded company, and when something material happens to its finances or the way it's doing business, it has to file with the securities and exchange commission, and there were three reports, three oil flow estimates that they gave in securities feelings to the SEC that turned out to be not right. They were off. Because of those three reports, the SEC had sued B.P. and now they will settle it for $5 that 25 million paid in three different installments over the next few years, but $525 million, because this is a publicly traded company. Its stock was trading. Investors had exposure to what was happening, and the information, the news. When news happens about a company -- when news happens about a company, it's a publicly traded stock, it's a 401K, it's in pension funds, the government -- they have to put all of this kind of stuff in writing to the government.
BANFIELD: I knew you would have the answer, and that makes complete sense. It affected all of us, even if you don't live on the gulf coast.
ROMANS: The stock is up 62 percent since the worst days when Tony Heyward resigned. Stock is up 62 percent. Investors got hammered by this.
ROMANS: Watch it today after this $4 billion news. This is a huge settlement. This surpasses Pfizer's settlement by billions.
BANFIELD: You are a very important guest.
And so is the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak. He's standing by, which is why I have to cut this short.
And after the break, we're going to find out just exactly what the story is between Israelis and the Palestinians and the bombing and the shelling that's going on there and just how bad this could get. It's coming up next.
BANFIELD: There have been a great deal of fighting going on between Israelis and Palestinians over the last 24 hours, and if you blinked, you may have missed it, but let me tell you this. There are people dying. There are bombs falling. This is something that no one wants, least of which Hamas and the Palestinians. And, yet, there is no sign at this point that the frustrations between these two and the violence that's escalating seem to be abating.
I am so pleased at this point to be joined by the Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak.
Can you hear me? Mr. Defense Minister Barak, can you hear me?
EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (voice-over): No, no, that's not the quality. With this quality of sound, I can't hear and understand your English.
BANFIELD: OK. I will speak very slowly. I apologize.
BARAK: The way you are speaking now is OK, but when you spoke half a minute ago, I couldn't understand.
BANFIELD: OK. Let me ask you this. At this point, is there any -- any reason to believe that this violence is going to end any time soon, the bombing and the targeting of what you call terror sites in Gaza?
BARAK: It can end when it becomes clear that Hamas understood the message that they are going to repeat itself, mainly that we will destroy the launching rockets against our citizens and we keep on them until the deterrents will be resumed and that it can be become clear they will continue to be brought without a violation every two weeks in a way that puts 1.3 million Israelis --
BANFIELD: I'm not sure if we just lost our connection.
BANFIELD: Mr. Defense minister, let me ask you this. I understand that you have just gotten off the telephone with our American defense secretary, Leon Panetta. Did he express any concern about the surgical targeting that your government says it's executing, or is there a grave concern for collateral damage of innocent civilians who may live in and around the area that you say are terror sites?
BARAK: We don't need anyone to recommend to us to limit to the extent we can the damage to --
BARAK: -- but most -- not all, but most of the heavy long-range rockets, and we are now working to destroy the launching capability, pardon me, not 100 percent, but to the extent we can. And we are doing it in an extremely surgical manner because we try to limit the damage. But having said that, I would like to remind you that, at the same time, our major cities in the south are (AUDIO PROBLEM) we would do whatever it takes, and do whatever it takes to put an end to it, period.
BANFIELD: Mr. Defense minister, our connection is so tenuous with us. And I apologize. But we're hearing that there are currently air raids going on in Tel Aviv. Can you give me more information about that? Are you, in fact, coming to us from Tel Aviv at this time, and what is the situation right now?
BARAK: Yes, I am in the middle of Tel Aviv and several minutes ago, we could sound the sirens (INAUDIBLE) rocket that didn't land in a populated area. But clearly Tel Aviv became a long time to the aid of the people, at least part of the rockets (INAUDIBLE) not going to be launching long-range rocket and to watch the (INAUDIBLE).
BANFIELD: Can I also ask you, what kind of concern is it that the Egyptians have now pulled their ambassador from Israel? Are you concerned about your other neighbors who themselves are suffering through some extraordinarily tough times right now -- Syria, Lebanon, Jordan?
BARAK: We, unfortunately, we don't have a feel (ph) (INAUDIBLE) ambassador here. And, of course, I appreciate the presence of an Egyptian (INAUDIBLE), as well as a Jordanian one. But we cannot (INAUDIBLE) argue if he (INAUDIBLE) wants to call (INAUDIBLE). We cannot create a relationship between the need to (INAUDIBLE) contract of the government with (INAUDIBLE) to (INAUDIBLE) them against English (ph) (INAUDIBLE) rocket (ph). And these unfortunately doing a Egyptian ambassador. Well some they (INAUDIBLE) Egypt. So we did so. We see probably (INAUDIBLE) come, but that cannot be a reason to stop any kind of a -- the operational (ph) necessities that we have to face.
BANFIELD: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak joining us live from Tel Aviv.