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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
New Details In Benghazi Attack; Washington Battles Over Fiscal Cliff; Relying On Neighbors, Not The Government
Aired November 15, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, for the first time video of the attack on the consulate in Libya shown to lawmakers. A congressman who saw the classified video OUTFRONT.
And new developments in the Petraeus sex scandal. Attorney General Eric Holder explains why he didn't tell the president about the affair. Does it add up?
And a Democratic leader offers a solution to the fiscal cliff. So far, even the president may not be going for it. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, developing story. Petraeus corrects the record. There are new details coming in about the former CIA director's highly anticipated testimony tomorrow on Capitol Hill.
CNN has learned David Petraeus will acknowledge he knew almost immediately after the attack that it was the work of Al Sharia, a militia group linked to al Qaeda. This is a significant development.
You may remember, it was five days after the Benghazi incident when Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, went on the Sunday talk shows and said the attack grew out of a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Muslim video.
Let's get right to the breaking report right now. Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon. Barbara, you've been breaking this. Tell us what you're learning tonight about David Petraeus' testimony on Benghazi.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Erin. I've spoken to a source close to Petraeus, directly familiar with Petraeus' thinking on this matter. Petraeus, we are told, wants to go to the Hill, set the record straight and tell everything he knows.
He will start by saying indeed that he knew almost immediately after that it was Ansar Al-Sharia, but there was also confusion. He had about 20 intelligence reports linking the attacks to that video, that anti-Islamic video.
Those reports were disproven, but not until after he had briefed Capitol Hill. All of this took some time to sort out. That's what he wants to lay out tomorrow. BURNETT: And Barbara, if he knew, and I know you're saying there were conflicting reports, which of course, we have heard before, but if he knew and he's going to say he knew almost immediately it was the work of an al Qaeda-linked militia Ansar Al-Sharia.
Can he explain why Susan Rice went on five talk shows and said -- and called it spontaneous, you know, it was very clear or it being something different?
STARR: Well, the way it's going to lay out we are told is Petraeus will talk about the fact he had CIA intelligence community approved talking points about what they believed, laying out some of the confusion, laying the different facts, but what they believed.
As far as he knows we are told, Susan Rice may have gotten some information from some other part of the administration, some other talking points that were developed. He's going stick to what he knew and what his talking points were. That's what we're being told.
BURNETT: Barbara Starr, thank you very much, pretty incredible and explosive reporting there from Barbara Starr tonight.
This comes on the same day that members of Congress behind closed doors watched classified videos of the attack on the U.S. Consulate. CNN has learned one of those videos showed Ambassador Chris Stevens being dragged out of the building.
The briefing today was the most comprehensive account yet of the September 11th attack, according to senior intelligence official and it also included a detailed timeline of how the attack unfolded and the administration's response.
Now, there was also and this is obviously very important, that closed circuit video from the consulate. According to one senator who watched that video, it's clear it was not a demonstration that spontaneously turned into an attack, which of course as we have said.
And you know, that's what the administration officials said in the days following the incident and as Barbara Starr just reported, former CIA Director David Petraeus will testify tomorrow, raising more questions about how the administration handling the situation.
Senator Dan Coats of Indiana is on the intelligence committee. He was briefed today. He saw the video. He'll be at the hearing tomorrow in the center of everything. He's OUTFRONT.
Senator Coats, really appreciate you're talk taking the time. What did you learn from the video today?
SENATOR DAN COATS (R), INDIANA: Well, we learned a lot. We saw things in realtime. It was a composite video. I did not see evidence previous to the attack that took place. That was revealing. A lot of hard questions were asked.
A lot of questions were answered. There are more questions that needed to be asked. We're going to be meeting with General Petraeus tomorrow morning and that will give us another insight directly from someone who is in charge of the situation.
BURNETT: Let me ask you. I don't know if you just heard what Barbara Starr was reporting, but in addition to saying that David Petraeus was aware in the immediate aftermath that this could have been linked to Ansar Al-Sharia, the al Qaeda-linked group.
He also is perhaps it seems unclear on what talking points Susan Rice had and as she described it that -- someone else in the administration, someone must have given her some of those talking points. They didn't seem to match those from the CIA. Does that worry you?
COATS: Well, we spent an extensive amount of time on those talking points and how the procedure and how they were put together. I've asked a lot of questions, as did others in that regard. We're anxious to fill in and get answers.
There are still unanswered questions that have to be given to the committee to look at. In the end, we want to provide a factual and realtime report of exactly what happened and obviously, people need to take responsibility on what we come to.
But I don't want to get ahead of the game here. A lot of this information is classified also, but I think we will learn more as we go forward with Petraeus tomorrow and then with hearings also following that.
BURNETT: Before the hearing today, I just want to quote you back to yourself, but here it goes. You said this administration has been far too candid about successful operations like the raid on Osama Bin Laden, but has been far too quiet on the tragic attack on Benghazi. Why do you think that was so?
COATS: Well, you know, it took eight weeks for us to start to really get the information that we started to get and that was only by subpoena, but bringing the actors into the intelligence committee for classified briefings.
There's a lot of delay. I think there was a lot of speculation that this had something to do with the election. We really want to get to the truth of all of this. I don't think it's good for the country or the intelligence community or anybody, other agency to have this speculation running around.
So let's get the real answers, get the truth. We're going to have a public hearing and we're going to issue a report so that the American people get what they deserve to hear.
BURNETT: And I want to ask you something about John McCain. I don't know if you're aware of this, but he along with several other Republicans did not attend the hearing today on Benghazi, but obviously as you know, he's been very, very, vocal on this issue.
He's used the words cover up to describe it. A CNN producer asked him, and by the way I should say, instead of attending that hearing, he was holding a press conference calling for a separate investigation into Benghazi.
So a CNN producer asked him why he didn't go to the hearing and here's what he said --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED BARRETT, CNN PRODUCER: I understand that you did miss this briefing yesterday.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have no comment about my schedule and I'm not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is John McCain being too political?
COATS: Well, look, first of all, that was yesterday. And yesterday was a closed session of the intelligence committee. Today was the hearing and today was where the director of national intelligence, the head of the counterintelligence agency, the CIA, FBI, State Department, they were there and John McCain was at that hearing and I walked in with him.
BURNETT: So you feel any criticism of him is unfair. I just want to make it, you know, clear. People have been picking on him for this, so it sounds like you're defending him.
COATS: Well, John said he had a scheduling conflict and I'll take him at his word.
BURNETT: All right, one other question I want to ask you about. You were a former ambassador yourself. Rand Paul was on the show last night and he was very clear. He felt that the person in charge of embassy security at the State Department must be fired in regards to what happened in Benghazi. Do you agree? I mean, you've been an ambassador. You've been in an embassy. You've dealt with this on the ground.
COATS: Well, I have and I think that clearly we have to look at what the State Department's response has been in terms of this request for more security. We're looking into that.
I think drawing a conclusion right now is getting ahead of the curve. We have got more to learn, but we're going to ask all the tough questions. We're going to get the real answers and then make the recommendations as to how to go forward because we don't want this to happen again.
BURNETT: All right, well, we are rooting for you to get those answers. Thanks so much, Senator. Good to talk to you.
And still OUTFRONT, Attorney General Eric Holder explains why he knew about the Petraeus sex scandal and decided not to tell President Obama. And an escalating conflict in the Middle East. Could there be war? Israel launching dozens of air strikes. Benjamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff OUTFRONT.
And the president so far has drawn a very hard line on fiscal cliff talks, but tonight, another Democratic leader has a plan that might be more palatable to more people. OUTFRONT, next.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, war in Washington. Both sides blaming the other for a lack of action on that fiscal cliff when taxes go up and spending gets slashed.
Today, the rhetoric was ratcheted up yet another notch as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed the president's plan to raise $1.6 trillion through an increased in tax rates over the next 10 years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Let's be clear. An opening bid of $1.6 trillion in new taxes just isn't serious. It's more than Simpson-Bowles or any other bipartisan commission has called for.
It's been unanimously rejected in the House and Senate. It's twice as much as the white house seemed ready to agree to during last summer's debt ceiling talks. It's a joke, a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A joke. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate Majority Whip joins me now. Senator, good to see you. Appreciate it. It's a joke. What do you think?
SENATOR DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I think Senator McConnell needs to take another look at the Bowles-Simpson Commission report. I served on that commission. Forty percent of the debts, a reduction of $4 trillion came from revenue. It was in the range of $1.6 trillion, exactly what the president said.
BURNETT: All right, so let's talk about that because you talk about $1.6 trillion. There's ways to get there that raise taxes that don't necessarily raise tax rates, right?
I mean, the third way, did an analysis saying, you could cap deductions at $35,000 and have the estate tax go back to where it was, a couple of other things and you get $1.3 million.
The Tax Policy Center said you cap deductions at $25,000 and you've got $1.3 trillion. I'm simply making the point there's a lot ways to get there that don't involve raising tax rates. Is that a compromise you'd ever consider?
DURBIN: Erin, you're exactly right, but I think what the president's trying to say is let's protect working families, those making less than $250,000 a year. No tax increase for them.
Those making over that amount should pay more in taxes and I think if they've been blessed with success in this great nation, it's not too high a price to ask. We believe that this needs to be part of it.
It isn't the only part, but an important part is that we have revenue from those who can afford to pay. We can do it either through the rates or through deductions in the code and you've given a good illustration.
BURNETT: You know, the president has been pretty clear recently saying, no, the tax rates have to go up for the wealthy in addition to anything else we do. But seems like you're saying look, I'd be open to something that didn't necessarily include that. I would talk about it, right?
DURBIN: Here's what I'm saying. I want to make sure this revenue is part of deficit reduction. The taxes revenue should come from the people who can afford to pay a little more in the higher income categories.
There are various ways you can approach it. Through the rates, through the deductions, but as long as you're not taxes middle income working families, I think it should be part of the solution.
BURNETT: All right, well, it sounds like you made your point very clear and frankly, one that I don't know. It seems is very practical. A lot of people could work with that, sir.
But let me ask you this because there do seems to be -- when we talk about people being practical, some rather impractical things being said on both sides. You know, we just heard Mr. McConnell there.
Paul Krugman though wrote an op-ed in "The New York Times," don't do a deal, Mr. President saying, that go off the fiscal cliff. That will hurt the Republicans more. We can wait.
Erskine Bowles of Simpson-Bowles told me that Paul Krugman's point of view on this show, his word was crazy. Do you think people are going to do this? That this is a strategy? Go off the cliff and just see what happens and I'll get more than that I thought I get before?
DURBIN: I respect Mr. Krugman, but I'd say there are two things about his point of view that we should say. If we want to head off the cliff, taxes will go up not just on the rich. They'll go up on every American paying federal income tax including working families.
That's not a good result. And secondly, if we go off the cliff, they tell us that it will push us back to a recession. I don't want that to occur. Let's find a way to avoid those two terrible outcomes. I think we can with a bipartisan agreement.
BURNETT: And we talked about the revenue side, which is important, but it's really only now I know this is a dicey way of saying it, I'm going to say half the equation. I know it might be 40 percent, 30 percent, 60 percent, but you get what I'm saying.
Cuts have to be made to entitlement programs. That's part of Simpson-Bowles as well. Are we going to be able to get that done in time?
DURBIN: I think we can. Now, we've already cut $1.1 trillion in spending. We've done that already in the last two years and that should be part of our total. We've got to go beyond that.
I think that we can make some entitlement reforms, which will not threaten the integrity of Medicare, for example, but can have some real savings in terms of the money that we're spending for health care.
We're just spending much more than we should. We've got to demand quality, but we can't be overcharged in the process.
BURNETT: You know, I spoke with the COO of Honeywell yesterday, David Cote because he had his business leaders meeting and I know you well because you were on Simpson-Bowles.
He -- I asked him if he agreed with what Erskine Bowles told me on Tuesday that this is a magic moment. Erskine Bowles really felt this is a magic moment and we can get a deal. Here's what David Cote had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID COTE, CEO, HONEYWELL: There's a real recognition now of the magnitude of our debt problem. Two years ago, people weren't really talking about it and the Simpson-Bowles commission really brought that to the floor and that combined with this fiscal cliff is generating a very different conversation than it did say two years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you think the conversation is different now than two years ago?
DURBIN: Definitely. David sat next to me in the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Erin, you know from your time around Washington that most of these commissions generate reports nobody ever sees.
That particular commission was different. And David and I voted for the final work product bipartisan vote on it and I think it really called attention the fact that we can successfully deal with our deficit.
As long as we do it in a balanced way with everything on the table and we're sensitive to the fact that we are in economic recovery right now. We don't want to stall that recovery. Let's do it thoughtfully.
We can get it done and I agree with David and Erskine Bowles. This is the moment to do it.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, sir. Appreciate your time.
DURBIN: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: This is moment to do it. We hope that this happens so much. Durbin's comment that he would discuss raising revenue on the wealthy without raising tax rates is significant because the president has demanded the Bush tax cuts expire for the top 2 percent. There are many ways to cut this cookie.
OUTFRONT still to come, two weeks after Sandy devastated the northeast, President Obama visits Staten Island, a borough will residents say the federal government has not done enough.
And American workers across the country could be on the brink of losing two of their vacation days, is that you, the vacation day fiscal cliff, coming up.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, still suffering from Sandy. Today, President Obama saw firsthand the ongoing misery in part of New York City that included a stop on Staten Island.
Where two and a half weeks after sandy, some residents say they are still having to rely on the goodness of strangers because there hasn't been enough help from government. Our Deb Feyerick is OUTFRONT on the story.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Visiting the storm ravaged Staten Island, President Obama named White House point person, Sean Donovan to coordinate massive rebuilding efforts.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He's going to be working with the mayor, the governor, the borough presidents, the county officials to make sure we come up with a strong, effective plan.
FEYERICK: Left out at the mix were the core of volunteers, among the first to arrive in hard hit areas, to many here that is a stinging oversight.
SHAWN MCKEON, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: Without them, I mean, no money, no government agency has shown up here to do anything to help us. So these people from the goodness of their heart have come here to help me.
FEYERICK: After flood waters destroyed nearly everything he owned, Shawn McKeon said these strangers from Oklahoma gave him strength to take the first step.
MCKEON: They take out the damaged stuff. They allow me, if I'm going to, to restore. But without them, I mean, I'm by myself.
FEYERICK: That federal, state and local government response has been unprecedented given the scope and magnitude of the storm.
MICHAEL BYRNE, FEMA: We pumped out over $390 million into the street, into the bank accounts of people that were impacted so they could use that either for rental assistance or to repair their homes.
FEYERICK: Still, there is a disconnect. And many we've met people in New York's hardest hit areas say they have yet to see any of the help they need.
PASTOR TIM MCINTYRE, OASIS CHRISTIAN CENTER: In the beginning, people didn't know what to do. They didn't know how to do you contact FEMA, the Red Cross? What can we expect from them and because of that, right away, it was just neighbor helping neighbor.
FEYERICK: Pastor Tim McIntyre with the Oasis Christian Center in Staten Island and like many places of worship, the church became a weigh station for goods, information and volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves.
CHRIS GABRIEL, VOLUNTEER FROM OKLAHOMA: We've all got family, kids and paid our own way down here to come be a part.
FEYERICK: And folks here feel volunteers were able to better organize than any official help. Serving hot food before the flood waters had receded.
(on camera): If you ask people who's helping, who is it? Is it the official people?
TOM SULLIVAN, RETIRED NYPD SERGEANT: No, it's the everyday people that are coming out, but it's not the government. Let me tell you.
FEYERICK (voice-over): There are six FEMA disaster recovery centers on Staten Island, yet driving around, people say it's volunteers and community groups who are having the biggest impact.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So when it's all said and done, everyone picks up their tents and moves on. We're going to continue to care for this community.
BURNETT: So, Deb, you talked about -- we saw, too, it's local, local, local and not the government, but yet when the government is stepping in now to step it up. They seem to be cutting out local groups.
FEYERICK: That is the huge challenge. The government is helping on this level. Right now, people need help on this level, so they're happy they're seeing some checks that are coming in.
But you know, when you talk about rebuilding, talk about information, when you talk about resources, it's the community groups that really, really know where the great need is.
That's why the volunteers flock there. That's where the information should be going and yet in this whole emergency response that we see, they're not even part of the equation.
So it's almost like it's great to have somebody focus on the rebuilding, but there needs to be somebody in charge of coordinating the volunteers or maybe not. Because the volunteers are showing their own initiative, really taking action and you saw that.
BURNETT: Well, if you were to take them away, there wouldn't with be the basic needs met.
FEYERICK: People would be crushed. People would be more crushed than they are right now so, yes.
BURNETT: All right, well, Deb Feyerick, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT next, new developments in the FBI's investigation of the Petraeus sex scandal. Attorney General Eric Holder's explanation of why he didn't tell the president next.
And a woman refused an abortion. It cost her, her life.
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start the second half with stories we care about where we focus on our reporting from the front lines.
BP will be paying the largest criminal fine in American history, stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010. The penalties total $4.5 billion. The oil giant will also plead guilty to 14 criminal charges. Two employees have been charged with manslaughter.
So here it is in total. BP tells us it has spent $36 billion in clean-up costs and settlements and even after today's settlement, they're not in the clear. Civil claims are not settled and analysts tell us BP's penalty for violating the Clean Water Act could be bigger than the one the company agreed to pay today.
The Food and Drug Administration is investigating 13 deaths that may be linked to the drink supplement 5-Hour Energy. In addition to the deaths, the FDA says it has received 92 patient reports. Keep in mind, though, these are being reported as adverse events, which means anyone can report. They are required by law to be investigated by the FDA though.
The distributor tells CNN consumers shouldn't drink more than two bottles of 5-Hour Energy a day and even then, spaced hours apart. Maybe just avoid all those things all together. That's just me.
The 21-year-old foreign exchange student accused of trying to blow up New York's Federal Reserve Bank was indicted today on two charges, using a weapon of mass destruction and trying to provide material support to al Qaeda. Quazi Nafis was arrested in October when authorities say he tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000- pound bomb using a cell phone as a trigger. But it was all part of a sting operations set up by government agents.
And the feds say the Bangladeshi national was inspired by al Qaeda. They say he came to the United States with the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Well, French President Francois Hollande is urging Mali's interim president to step up talks with rebel leaders. They are Islamists who took over the northern part of Mali earlier this year and now say they want to talk. There's progress elsewhere in the negotiations. There's a report that a regional mediator will be meeting with Ansar al-Dine Islamist, that's a group, a militia, Tuareg rebels together for the first time tomorrow. The hope is they can negotiate an end to the crisis in Mali without military intervention.
It's been 469 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
We still need more recovery in the housing market. Today, Freddie Mac said rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a new record low of 3.34 percent. As we said, low rates are not the problem.
And now, our fourth story OUTFRONT: New developments in the Petraeus scandal investigation. We have just learned that Republican Chuck Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and to FBI Director Robert Mueller, pressing for details about the role of their departments in the investigation.
Among his questions, why wasn't the president informed of the investigation, which began in the summer, before last week?
Today, Attorney General Eric Holder defended his action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We felt very secure in the knowledge that a national security threat did not exist that warranted the sharing of that information with the White House or with the Hill. But when we got to a point in the investigation, it was very late in the investigation, after a very critical interview occurred on the Friday before, we made that disclosure when we got to that point to share the information, we did so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But did they do so soon enough?
Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez joins us now, on the Intelligence Committee. And Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz, he is on the Oversight Committee.
OK. Great to see both of you. We appreciate it.
Let me just start with you, Representative Gutierrez.
Are you satisfied with Attorney General Holder's explanation as to why he did not tell the president earlier about the Petraeus affair?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Look, they have a responsibility if they find a national security threat to inform two members of the Senate and two members of the House on the intelligence committees. They did so when they finished their investigation.
This is the FBI -- and let me just be clear -- this is really not a partisan issue, given the FBI Director Mueller is been very well established to have worked with Republican administrations in the past, number one. Number two, we're talking about professionalism of the FBI. Career men and women who put their lives at risk each and every day to go out there and to keep us safe.
And according to the attorney general, and I have no information that would contradict this, they gave the information at the appropriate moment in the investigation.
Look, the FBI is not supposed to disclose information unless they believe there's a national security threat. I have no reason to believe they didn't do it until the appropriate moment.
BURNETT: Representative Chaffetz, do you agree with that? Especially given that it only this week that the FBI actually went to Ms. Broadwell's home and removed, as you can see here on our screen, boxes of information, some of which we've been told is classified?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: No, I would totally disagree. Look, General Petraeus was the head of the CIA. He wasn't running the Fish and Wildlife Department. There is a duty under the law, as Luis Gutierrez said, to inform the ranking and chairman of House and Senate Intelligence. That is to deal with every investigation, not the conclusion of the investigation, but at the beginning of the investigation.
And with national security be compromised? Perhaps it would. I think that should go to the level of the president. It should have definitely gone to those four people who were charged with that, as the chairman and the ranking member of the House and Intelligence Committees. That should have done at the beginning.
And the other thing that will be interesting is as a CIA officer, you are supposed to report anything that has to do with quote, "bonds of affection". And if there were some sort of bonds of affection that was not reported, that is again something we would know very quickly and very early in the information.
But I want the president of the United States to make these decisions. Not the attorney general, that's not who elected. President Obama should have had that information. And to withhold it from him is wrong.
BURNETT: Well, Representative Gutierrez, just to follow up on this point about the FBI searching Paula Broadwell's home this week, how could the FBI have known? How could Eric Holder have known there was no problem, no national security threat when they hadn't looked through that information?
GUTIERREZ: Right. Well, as he said, the FBI and the Justice Department informed the appropriate officials.
I would just like to say the following. Look, one of the things that we do have on the Intelligence Committee on which I'm a member is that we have a great working relationship between Democrat and Republicans. And so, I'm going to with hold any further opinion and comment on this as to whether or not they were informed appropriately and in a timely manner until Mr. Rogers, Congressman Rogers, and the ranking Republican -- ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee tell me otherwise.
But I've got to tell you, I've never heard my leader on the Intelligence Committee or Mr. Rogers as of yet make those kinds of opinions. And I'm not saying they won't, but I'm going withhold judgment because you know what? They're the people that have been have been informed.
BURNETT: What do you have to say to that? Is it to early to pass judgment, to be critical?
CHAFFETZ: I think this is one of the big questions. I think what I m prepared to say now and I think is very comfortable is, I want to president of the United States to know the moment somebody of such national security importance, the CIA director, that there's something worth investigating. I want the president to know that.
To withhold that information -- the president can't keep a secret? Of course he can. He needs to know that. He's the commander-in-chief. He's the one that makes those kinds of decisions.
To, quote (ph), to protect the president or do anything like that would just be fundamentally wrong. So it just bothers me that the president didn't know.
GUTIERREZ: And I understand my friend's concern, but look, Congressman Ruppersberger and the committee, Chairman Rogers, I think you should have them on your program and ask them whether or not they were informed in a appropriate and timely fashion because -- guess what? -- neither Congressman Chaffetz nor I were in order, in the line of order to be informed about this issue.
So I'm going withhold judgment until the investigation is completed. But let's be clear: these are career FBI agents, men and women, with stellar careers up to this point, that are doing their duty and carrying it out. And so it's really not about Eric Holder.
And remember, they have to be informed, one, when there is a specific instance that a national security threat exists. They can't be calling up the president and everybody else every time there's a complaint or some issue to follow up with on Secretary Petraeus or whoever is running the CIA. CHAFFETZ: But my understanding of that is they're supposed to be informed when there's an investigation. And I think certainly if you look at the public comments, Senator Feinstein, who is in a position, is in that role, she has publicly complained about this.
CHAFFETZ: So that's why I think it's more than justifiable to say why aren't they informed, oh, it's just a coincidence that happened, you know, a couple of days after the election. There are some of us that believe that that may more than coincidence.
GUTIERREZ: Ad you know what? Maybe I just put a little more stock and credibility in the men and women at the FBI and those in law enforcement that I believe are here to uphold the law and that are career professionals. They're not Republicans or Democrats. They're Americans.
And they felt that they were fulfilling their responsibility and did inform at the appropriate moment when they felt they needed to.
BURNETT: Well, you're talking about the FBI? Eric Holder, of course, is different.
CHAFFETZ: It's the attorney general.
BURNETT: The attorney general is different.
CHAFFETZ: The attorney general has the duty. It's the attorney general's responsibility.
GUTIERREZ: I understand that he has a duty, but let's be clear. Congressman Chaffetz, my friend, let's be clear. We have nobody in the FBI complaining except somebody who went to a Republican leader to say I'm unhappy with the state.
CHAFFETZ: No, you have Senator Feinstein -- you have Senator Feinstein publicly saying that this was a concern. That's why I think it's legitimate. It does bother me.
CHAFFETZ: Doesn't it bother you that the president didn't know? Why would they not tell the president?
GUTIERREZ: Can I tell you something? I can not obviously comment on an ongoing investigation. Maybe you can, I can't. I'm a member of the Intelligence Committee, so I can't share information.
But from all of the information that I've gathered that is unclassified and that I've been able to look at, I've got to tell you -- I don't have a problem with the sequence of events and when people were informed.
BURNETT: Well, we will see because there are a lot of --
CHAFFETZ: I got a problem with it.
BURNETT: All right. And there are a lot of questions still to be answered to determine what really happened and whether it should have in the way that it did.
Thanks to both of you. We appreciate your time.
And still to come, Israel's retaliation against terrorists could cause a war, some are asking. Benjamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff, OUTFRONT.
And a hospital refuses an abortion. The woman died.
BURNETT: We are back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to our sources around the world.
And we go to Ireland tonight where a pregnant 31-year-old woman walked into a hospital complaining about severe back pain, and never walked out. It turns out she was having a miscarriage. Her husband tells "The Irish Times" she was refused an abortion and was told by doctors than an abortion, which probably would have saved her life, is illegal in that Catholic country.
Nic Robertson has the story.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Happier days, dentist Savita Halappanavar dancing with a friend. Her family now mourning her loss.
The 31-year-old died in an Irish hospital, refused an abortion that could have saved her life.
As reported by the "Irish Times," Savita was admitted to Ireland's Galway University Hospital Sunday, 21st October, suffering back pain. She was 17-weeks pregnant, was miscarrying and told she would likely lose her baby. Seven days later, she was dead.
She had pleaded her doctor for a termination, but for two and a half days while her fetus had a heart beat, they refused.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PRAVEEN HALAPPANAVAR, SAVITA'S HUSBAND: They knew they can't help the baby, why did they not look at the bigger life?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
DEMONSTRATORS: Our body, our life!
ROBERTSON: This demo outside the Irish embassy in London, gathering not just to remember Savita, but stop a repeat of her tragic death. (on camera): Savita's husband, Praveen, is back with her family in India, all coming to terms with their loss of a wife, of a daughter, of a first grandchild -- a death everyone here hopes won't be in vain, that it will lead to a change in the Irish abortion law.
Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
BURNETT: That gives you goose bumps, so horrible. The hospital will not comment on the details of the case, but they did send us a written statement saying they followed the usual procedures in cases of sudden maternal death.
Our fifth story OUTFRONT: Israel at a tipping point. There are new and dramatic pictures coming out of Gaza tonight. We'll show them to you.
This is what's happening. Israel is continuing its assault, targeting 300 Hamas targets since the military operation began yesterday. It all started with an airstrike that killed Hamas military mastermind Ahmed Al-Ja'abari.
Israel says the barrage of rockets is in retaliation to the 750 rockets fired from Gaza into the Jewish state this year alone.
And there is collateral damage of another kind. I'm talking about stability in the entire Middle East. Egypt's new Islamist-led government is denouncing Israel's actions and it's causing renewed tension between the two countries, which, of course, that treaty on which so much rests upon in the region.
OUTFRONT tonight, Naftali Bennett, the former chief of staff to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and, Ed Husain, senior fellow of Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Naftali, let me start with you and obviously, where you're standing tonight -- how do you deal with that? Egypt and Jordan both condemning Israel, your two allies in the region. They're saying your Prime Minister Netanyahu has overplayed his hand and probably is undermining his security. What do you say to that?
NAFTALI BENNETT, FORMER NETANYAHU CHIEF OF STAFF: There's a wrong side and a right side. The wrong side is the side that shoots thousands of missiles on civilians. What Israel is doing now is the right thing. We're defending ourselves. That's the right thing to do.
BURNETT: Ed, is Naftali right? There's a wrong side and a right side?
ED HUSAIN, SR. FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: It's not as simple as that. It's not as black and white as that, unfortunately.
On the other side, there are also people who are dying. Twenty people have died today. Dozens more injured. And I suspect overnight, we will see more deaths.
So the carnage on both sides doesn't necessarily help anybody.
BURNETT: Naftali, with what we've seen that is so disturbing in our television screen, what is next? Does Israel send in ground troops? Does this become an all-out war? Is there -- the peace talks somehow out of this, hard to imagine, start again?
BENNETT: You know, when someone is determined to eliminate you, when they're own charter says they have to pipe out the Jewish state, when they shoot thousands of missiles from an area that was vacated, no more Jews living in Gaza. It was supposed to become the Singapore of the Middle East. But instead, they turned it into a launch pad of thousands of missiles.
There's nothing to talk about. We have to defend ourselves. And we owe it to ourselves and to the Western world. With terror, you don't talk. There's no dialogue with Osama bin Laden.
HUSAIN: I'm sorry, and you don't owe it to the Western world. You're putting the Western world at greater risk.
BENNETT: You know, if New Jersey was being bombarded by missiles coming from a foreign state, the United States of America would retaliate, would stop that right away.
We've taken missiles for the past eight years coming out of the Gaza Strip. We vacated the Gaza Strip. There's not one Jew living there, yet instead of turning it into a haven of peace, they've turned it into a launch pad of terror.
HUSAIN: Going to battle, going to war every five to six years does not help Israel's cause, nor does it help the West. You are fueling anti-Americanism in the region and you are bringing security risks to your own citizens and to your own state.
For how much longer will you continue to repeat the failed methods since 1948? This has been the repeated stance of the Israelis to go to war and to fight. The only way out of this is to realize that the Palestinians were once in complete rejection and denial of the existence of the state of Israel, to where they are now, prepared to accept '67 borders in exchange only for 22 percent of the land that was taken from them.
That's a huge advance. Bank that, work on it, build trust, take the West with you rather than constantly holding the West hostage to your domestic political calculations.
BENNETT: That's simply false. That's nonsense. We vacated land. Every time we vacated a piece of land, handed it over to the Palestinians, what we got in return was a mass wave of terror.
We have to learn the lesson. Just as the United States or President Obama would not imagine to negotiate with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
HUSAIN: That's a false comparison. That's a false comparison.
BENNETT: That's exactly the situation. You know, where you're sitting right now, the land of Israel is not occupied. The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish state.
HUSAIN: Say that to the Palestinians. That's not the point.
BENNETT: The Palestinians have their own land and instead of using it for a peaceful entity of their own, they're using it to shoot my kids.
HUSAIN: That's not fair.
BENNETT: We want peace. Believe me, I want peace more than anyone. I have no desire to go out and fight and risk myself and have my kids become orphans. That's not something we want to do.
But faced with a very determined radical Islamic enemy that wants to wipe us out, I'll be very clear -- we're going to stand strong. We're not going to give in to any radical Islamists that want to kill us. We're going to fight as much as necessary to protect the Jewish state.
HUSAIN: But that kind of grandstanding, pompous statement, black and white claptrap doesn't necessarily ensure the long term safety of the state of Israel which is something we're all interested in. The only way you achieve that is by waging a battle of hearts and minds on the people of Gaza and bring on board the majority of the people --
BENNETT: Is that what the United States --
HUSAIN: Fighting the Hamas charter, you don't get anywhere. We did not bring peace in Northern Ireland by citing the charter of the Sinn Fein. The way you do that is by building trust, by building initiatives on the ground and by reaching out by third parties.
You have an ideal opportunity now to rescue the two-state solutions on the death bed. Unless it's done at this juncture, with this Obama administration now, I'm afraid Israelis will be returning constantly to the psychological torture that they imposed first on Tel Aviv and now, Gaza and southern Israel and elsewhere.
The failed policies of the last 60 years of constant warfare every five and 10 years cannot be the way forward. You must revise your strategy going forward and end this bombarding of people inside Gaza tonight and beyond.
BURNETT: Naftali, final word.
BENNETT: I was in New York on September 11th. I don't recall that on September 12th, the United States engaged in dialogue with al Qaeda. With terrorists who are determined to wipe out the Jewish state, you have to stand strong.
HUSAIN: This has been going on since 1948.
BENNETT: It's exactly the same. It's exactly the same.
HUSAIN: No, it's not.
BENNETT: Israel is at the forefront of a huge wave of radical Islam that's sweeping the entire Middle East. I can tell you that I have four kids, I have no desire for them to go to war. I want to protect them.
I hope that one day, the Palestinians will get some sense and will stop shooting missiles at my own children. But until that time comes, we are going to be here to protect ourselves.
BURNETT: Let us know what you think about that conversation on our blog.
Next, a new study released today shows Americans are working harder than they have to. We've got extra vacation days, OUTFRONT next.
BURNETT: You could be about to lose a couple of your vacation days. So according to a new study by Expedia, while the average American gets 12 vacation days a year, usually most of you only end up taking 10 of them. So every year, for two days, you're working for free.
Now, of course, it could be worse. According to the same study workers in Asian countries use even less of their allotted days. I mean, people, think about this. In South Korea, people don't use three of their days but in Japan, workers only take five of their 13. OK? Five. Are you -- oh, my gosh.
Maybe Asians and Americans, though, should take a page out of Europe's book because as this study shows, at least for now, Europeans really know how to holiday. British, Swedish and Norwegian workers all get and take 25 days. Even the industrious Germans take 28 of 30. Of course, there's -- well, France and Spain. Ah, France and Spain. You know, you French, you take 30 out of 30 but you know what, that 30 is a lie. It doesn't even count 11 public holidays. The French get 41 days off a year, 41 days. Stop for a second -- 41 days.
Italy, though, is the exception in Europe. Like the Japanese, they waste eight vacation days a year. So what's wrong with all of us? For all the complaining about how hard we work, why are we throwing our days away?
Which brings me to tonight's number: 14. That's the number of days OUTFRONT producer Bob Hand is set to lose this day. Nobody works harder and takes fewer vacation days than him.
But, Hand, what are you doing? You are heading towards a vacation day fiscal cliff. Talk to Melody. Book some time off. Stay at home and drink some wine like maybe people in some of those other countries do on their vacation days.
Thanks, everyone, as always for watching.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.