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Lance Armstrong Admits to Doping; Hostage Escapes from Algeria; U.S. Air Force Jet Lands in Algeria; Sundance Founder on Movie Violence

Aired January 18, 2013 - 09:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Lance Armstrong and the one big lie.

LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST: This is too late. That's my fault. I view this situation as one big lie. That I repeated a lot of the times.

COSTELLO: The fallout and the fury from the people around Armstrong.

BETSY ANDREU, WIFE OF ARMSTRONG'S FORMER TEAMMATE FRANKIE ANDREU: You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball, after what you've done to me, what you've done to my family, and you couldn't own up to it, and now we're supposed to believe you?

COSTELLO: This morning, what happens next? Is Lance Armstrong done for good?

Also ahead, hostage crisis. The fate of Americans deep in the Sahara Desert, unclear this morning.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: This incident will be resolved we hope with a minimum loss of life.

COSTELLO: Today, tales of terror from those who escape.

BRIAN MCFAUL, BROTHER OF ESCAPED IRISH HOSTAGE: He had duct tape over his mouth and his hands tied.

COSTELLO: We're live with the latest.

And one-on-one with Robert Redford and the Sundance Festival he created.

ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR: It was so big, it became almost like Frankenstein's monster in a good way.

COSTELLO: Our Nischelle Turner sits down with the film legend and talk Hollywood, guns, and Obama's road ahead.

NISCHELLE TURNER, HLN CORRESPONDENT: What would you like to see him do in this second four years?

COSTELLO: We're slope side in Park City, Utah.

NEWSROOM begins now.


COSTELLO: And good morning. Thank you so much for joining us, I'm Carol Costello.

Today Lance Armstrong makes up in a new world, long endured by millions of Americans who had no interest in bicycling before he rewrote the record books. Armstrong now faces a public that realizes he's a fraud, that he was lying to us all along.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "OPRAH WINFREY NEXT CHAPTER": Yes or no, did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Yes or no, was one of those banned substances EPO?


WINFREY: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortisone, or human growth hormone?


WINFREY: Yes or no, in all seven of your Tour de France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?


WINFREY: In your opinion, was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping? Seven times in a row?

ARMSTRONG: Not in my opinion.


COSTELLO: This morning we'll answer the big question, what's next for Armstrong now that his reputation is in shambles. Does this confession land him in new legal and financial jeopardy and can he ultimately redeem himself and rehab his reputation? And did Oprah do the job in her exclusive interview?

We begin our coverage this morning with CNN's George Howell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lance Armstrong spent years trying to outrun allegations that he used performance enhancing substances to fuel his successful cycling career. That race is now over.

WINFREY: Was it a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?

ARMSTRONG: At the time?

WINFREY: Mm-hmm.


WINFREY: It did not even feel wrong.


WINFREY: Did you feel bad about it?

ARMSTRONG: No. Even scarier.

WINFREY: Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?

ARMSTRONG: No. It's the scariest.

HOWELL: After decades of denials, the seven Tour de France winner came clean in part one of a wide ranging interview with Oprah Winfrey.

ARMSTRONG: I am flawed, deeply flawed. I think we all have our flaws, but -- and if the magnifying glass is normally this big, I made it this big because of my actions and because of my words and because of my attitude and my defiance.

HOWELL: Armstrong kept his emotions in check as he described years of cheating, lying, and attacking those who would dare doubt him. He denied forcing teammates to dope, but did admit that they may have felt pressured to follow his example.

ARMSTRONG: I was a bully in the sense that you just -- that I tried to control the narrative, and if I didn't like what somebody said -- and for whatever reasons in my own head, whether I viewed that as somebody being disloyal or as a friend turning on you or whatever, I tried to control that, that's -- you know -- that's a lie, they're liars.

HOWELL: Armstrong now admits that he was the one telling, in his own words, one big lie, that he repeated over and over again, including this 2005 deposition. The hero to so many says that he realizes his confession is probably too late for many people.

ARMSTRONG: They have every right to feel betrayed, and it's my fault. And, you know, I have -- I will spend the rest of my life, you know, it's over -- some people are gone forever, but I'll spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people for the rest of my life.


COSTELLO: CNN's George Howell is in Austin where he's covered Armstrong for years.

George, I want you first to listen to Armstrong's answer when Oprah asked him after years of lying, why come clean now.


ARMSTRONG: That's the best question. It's the most logical question. I don't know that I have a great answer. I will start my answer by saying that this is too late. It's too late for probably most people. And that's my fault. I viewed this situation as one big lie.


COSTELLO: So, George, in Armstrong's hometown, is it too late?

HOWELL: Carol, on this -- where do you start, you know? The reaction here, disappointment, anger. There are cyclists who are livid about what they heard the other night and this goes right along with what many people in this community thought, you know, some 12, 13 years ago watching him win. He was electric in this city. People got excited. But over the years people started to become disappointed hearing about these allegations of doping.

They kept it in the back of their minds, but now those suspicions are confirmed, even after he viciously attacked people, calling them liars. We now know that it was Lance Armstrong who was misleading quite frankly the world -- Carol.

COSTELLO: George Howell, reporting live from Austin, Texas, this morning.

And along those lines, George, many people believed Armstrong, and not just because of his clean recording of drug testing, he also ferociously attacked his accusers, as you said. By lawsuits he destroyed careers. Last night on "ANDERSON COOPER" we heard from the wife of a former teammate who dared to accuse Armstrong.


ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S ANDERSON COOPER 360: Betsy, just, first of all your impressions on what you heard last night?

ANDREU: I'm really disappointed. He owed it to me.

You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball after what you've done to me, what you've done to my family, and you couldn't own up to it. And now we're supposed to believe you? You have one chance at the truth. This is it.

If he's not going to tell the truth, if he can't say, yes, the hospital room happened, then how are we to believe everything else he's saying? We're already questioning him.

COOPER: You were in a hospital room and you heard Lance Armstrong tell doctors about all the drugs that he took?

ANDREU: Yes, yes. It happened.

COOPER: And he denied it happened up and down, and this was a key part of a lawsuit that he ended up winning.

ANDREU: Yes, that he settled with.

COOPER: Right.

ANDREU: But if the hospital room didn't happen, just say it didn't happen, but he won't do it, because it did happen. And if this is his way of saying -- I just don't want to go there, OK, we'll give it to her, that's not good enough. That is not being transparent. That is not being completely honest. That's skirting the issue.

I want to believe that Lance wants to come clean, but this is giving me an indication that I can't.


COSTELLO: Also joining in the condemnation today the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, its CEO, Travis Tygart, says, quote, "Lance Armstrong finally admitted that his cycling career was built in a powerful combination of doping and deceit. His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction but if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities," end quote.

Stay with us as we drill down deeper on this story. At the bottom of the hour we'll talk to the editor in chief of "Bicycling" magazine.

What more can Armstrong say tonight in part two of that interview? We'll discuss.

Now let's move on to the crisis in North Africa. A U.S. Air Force jet is now in Algeria evacuating Americans who were held captive at that gas plant. Still, as far as we know, the bloody efforts are still under way to free hostages taken by Islamic terrorists and those hostages may include more Americans.

Algerian state media reporting some 650 people have now been freed by Special Forces so far, most of them Algerians. The Algerian military, without consulting the United States, launched a raid that left nearly 30 hostages unaccounted for. But many others managed to make their way to freedom anyway.

CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance talked to the family of one terrorized victim.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's one of the few Western hostages who managed to escape, and that's the brother of Steven McFaul has spoken of the terrifying ordeal. MCFAUL: We just found out recently that he'd been made to sleep with Semtex tied around his neck or strapped around his neck. He had duct tape over his mouth and his hands tied.

CHANCE: According to his brother the 36-year-old electrician from Belfast, with Semtex plastic explosives still strapped to him, was being moved by with other hostages in a convoy of jeeps when the Algerian military attacked.

MCFAUL: There were five jeeps and the Algerian army had bombed the jeeps and out of the five jeeps a bomb and four of them were hit, wiped out. And obviously they lost their lives. Luckily enough for my brother, he was in the jeep that crashed and he was able to make a break for freedom with the Semtex all the way around his neck.

DYLAN MCFAUL, SON OF ESCAPED IRISH HOSTAGE: I feel (INAUDIBLE). I'm just really excited. I just can't wait for him to get home.

CHANCE: This is how Steven McFaul's 13-year-old's son reacted after learning the father he thought he'd lost was safe.

D. MCFAUL: I just can't wait.


D. MCFAUL: I will never let him go back there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what's the first thing you'll do when you see him?

D. MCFAUL: Give him a big hug and I won't let go.

CHANCE: But with the full details of this hostage crisis still to emerge, there are many families waiting to hear of their loved ones' fate.


CHANCE: Scenes there as that family learned that the father was coming home safely and escaped from being in the hostage situation.

The Algerian News Agency now says that half of the 132 hostages that it had said were there have now been freed, although the agency also says that 60 foreign nationals remain unaccounted for -- carol.

COSTELLO: Matthew Chance reporting live for us this morning.

And while we don't know for sure how many Americans are still being held hostage, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is issuing a stern warning to their kidnappers.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We are working around the clock to ensure the safe return of our citizens. Terrorists should be on notice that they will find no sanctuary, no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere. Those who would wantonly attack our country and our people will have no place to hide.


COSTELLO: CNN national security contributor and former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, Fran Townsend, joins us now.

Welcome, Fran.


COSTELLO: We understand the United States has a plane in Algeria and it's transporting Americans and other Westerners out of the country, some of those people are injured. Do you know anything about this operation?

TOWNSEND: No, Carol. But, you know, what we're hearing is that the Algerians didn't coordinate with any of the foreign governments that had hostages on the ground. It's not all that surprising. It's not the way you want it to go if you're the -- American president or the British prime minister, but they acted very quickly, very swiftly, and they -- and very strongly with the lots of force.

You know, you worry that's the first question that comes to mind of those unaccounted for. There will be those who were killed in this operation, you know, not just bad guys, but inevitably when you launch this kind of a military assault with this many people involved, you worry about sort of civilian casualties including hostages and so obviously all of the foreign governments right now are scrambling to try and understand who's been safety released and is being transported. Who's injured and what are the extent of those injuries so they can prepare for their arrival back in their home countries. And then who has not been accounted for or -- has been found injured or dead.

COSTELLO: Yes, there are as many as 650 hostages as far as we know right now. The other question I have, you heard Leon Panetta say, we're going to go after these terrorists. Well, Algeria is right next door to Libya. We haven't been able to apprehend anyone responsible for the attack on the American consulate in Libya. So what makes him so sure that anyone is going to pay for what happened in that gas plant?

TOWNSEND: Well, look, I think what Secretary Panetta was saying was, we won't let this go unanswered. He was obviously intentionally vague about what that meant.

Look, Bob Mueller, the director of the FBI was just in Libya. He did not go to Benghazi, but he certainly did get updated while he was on the ground in Libya on the Benghazi investigation.

And as far as Algeria goes, they have been a strong counterterrorism ally for the United States. And I think what you can expect is, the U.S. will provide sort of military support, but not in lead role in places like Mali, in Algeria, to the extent they need training or equipment, we'll provide that. I don't expect you're at all likely to see boots in the ground either in Mali or Algeria. But we'll support their efforts on the ground in an effort to protect our own national interest.

COSTELLO: Fran Townsend, joining us this morning, thanks so much.

TOWNSEND: Thanks, Carol.

COSTELLO: Sundance is one of the world's largest indie film festivals. But has its popularity hurt it?

Listen to founder Robert Redford.


ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: In a sense, it's not as much fun as it used to be.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: You're not going to step away from it. This is still going to be your baby, yes?


COSTELLO: You'll hear his answer in just a minute.


COSTELLO: Back to our top story.

Last night, Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong, the one where he admitted to doping, with all the drug testing and cycling, many people wonder how Lance was able to cheat for so long.

Here's what he said.


WINFREY: Were you afraid of getting caught?

ARMSTRONG: No. Drug testing has changed, it's evolved.


ARMSTRONG: In the old days, they tested at the races. They didn't come to your house. They didn't come to your training camps. They tested you at the races.

That's shifted a lot. So, now, the emphasis is the testing, which is right --


ARMSTRONG: -- is in out of competition testing.

WINFREY: In 1999, there wasn't even a test for EPO.

ARMSTRONG: None. And there was no testing out of competition, theoretically they may have been, but they never came.

And for most of my career, there wasn't that much of what? So, two things changed this --

WINFREY: That much of what?

ARMSTRONG: There wasn't that much out of competition testing.


ARMSTRONG: So you're not going to get caught, you know? Because you're clean at the races.


COSTELLO: Coming up, you'll hear more from Lance Armstrong, including how doping impacted his role as head of the Tour de France team.

Eighteen minutes past the hour. It's time to check our other top stories this Friday.

Police in Philadelphia arrest a man they say attacked a woman on a subway station and threw her onto the track. She managed to climb back on to the platform and she's OK this morning. Authorities say it was the suspect's unusual jacket caught on surveillance tape that helped them catch him.

Happening now in Chicago, authorities are exhuming the body of a man poisoned last summer after winning the lottery. Urooj Khan was killed shortly after he won a million bucks and an autopsy determined he died of natural causes, but later tests found cyanide in his body. Khan's wife and father in law had been questioned. No charges have been filed. In Alabama, snow plus freezing temperatures have made travel quite difficult. In Birmingham, many schools this morning are delayed. Others are closed. Snow was falling in Mississippi, and drivers had to deal with the unfamiliar feel of sloppy roads.

That same storm forced many schools in North Carolina to cancel or delay classes. It even caused thunder snow.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see that?



COSTELLO: Isn't that weird? It's a rare occurrence but Lisa McClintock caught it on cell phone video outside of Greensboro and shared it with all of us.

Ah, Sundance, the Sundance Film Festival is in full force, and thousands of people are in attendance. It's one of the world's largest independent film festivals. But its founder Robert Redford said it's getting too big.

Nischelle Turner is in Park City, Utah. Good morning.

TURNER: Good morning, Carol.

You know, it's definitely one of those "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" situations with Robert Redford. Now, he told he when he started the Sundance Film Festival back in 1981, it was in one theater in Park City and he literally had to stand out on the street and beg people to come in and watch a movie.

Now, you have some premieres that the lines are around the block. So, he says the success has been fantastic, but it's also been frustrating. Take a look.


TURNER: You've been doing this festival for almost three decades now.


TURNER: Do you ever -- and it's gotten so large -- do you ever sit back, though, and just take a moment and think, gosh, look at what this has become?

REDFORD: I do. How can I not?

After this thing grew and grew and grew, I thought -- well, this is great. And then it wasn't quite so great. It was so big. It became almost like Frankenstein's monster in a sense, in a good way.

TURNER: I was going to say almost too big?

REDFORD: You work, you build something, you build this thing, is it going to work? People say you can't create a human being out of mechanical parts. Well, suddenly, you do and you go, my God, great and then it starts to tear the house down. In a sense it's not as much fun as it used to be.

TURNER: You're not going to step away from it, this is still going to be your baby, yes?

REDFORD: In terms of shepherding, yes, it will. But not as much as it was.

TURNER: There's been so much talk these days because of the mass shootings that we've seen about gun violence and how Hollywood plays a role in that, what we see on the screen, does it translate into our daily lives. What do you think about that?

REDFORD: I don't know. I don't know.

I think that -- first of all, violence has been in films since they were invented. It's been there all along. So, obviously that's part of our culture and the films reflect that culture, that's what they do. So often we see guns in ads. Does that mean that guns bring business to the box office? If they become part of marketing, does that mean that it's been proven, it's been documented to the powers that be that guns in an ad will create more business? I don't know.

I mean, to me, it's not a -- it's not a statement. It's a question. But I think it's a question that Hollywood could ask itself.

TURNER: The president will be sworn in for his second term on Sunday. One of the criticisms for the first term were people saying he didn't pay enough attention to environmental politics.

What would you like to see him do in this second four years?

REDFORD: I would like to see him pay more attention to environmental issues. I think it's too dire. I think -- I think the situation is too dire, the law of entropy is so extreme right now.

The planet is shrinking. It's being divvied up, carved up, dug up.

And what are we thinking about future generations? Are we going to leave them anything?


COSTELLO: Nischelle, I just wanted to ask you another question about your gun question to Robert Redford.


COSTELLO: He appeared very thoughtful. At least there's a conversation that seems to be going on, if not any sort of resolution.

TURNER: Yes. Yes, you know, and one of the things he said and it actually kind of surprised me was that he does believe government and Hollywood should play a role together in this conversation. He does believe that the government should come in and really kind of look at what's going on in Hollywood.

Now, he definitely defends a filmmaker's right to make whatever film there is, but he believes that the conversation is about time that it's had.

COSTELLO: Interesting. We'll get more from you in the next hour of NEWSROOM.

TURNER: Yes, sure.

COSTELLO: Nischelle Turner reporting live from Utah this morning.

Lance Armstrong was hoping to win over the public -- well, he may have way missed the mark. What did you take away from the Armstrong interview? It's our "Talk Back" question today., or tweet me @carolCNN.


COSTELLO: Now's your chance to "Talk Back" on the biggest stories of the day. The question for you this morning: what did you take away from the Armstrong interview?

We are so over you, Lance. So over. After the interview the backlash was quick and fierce. Yahoo! called it a sociopathic spectacle, adding, "If you never met this jerk, well, count your blessings."

Armstrong told Oprah he couldn't even remember how many people he sued in effect for telling the truth. It says a lot about a man when on his own apology tour he's not sure who to apologize to.

The wife of three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond said, quote, "I can't describe to you the level of fear he brings to a family, other than to liken it to a drunken, alcoholic, abusive spouse who gets out of jail with a bouquet of roses for his bloodied spouse saying, 'Here, I'm sorry I did that'."

Example, Betsy Andreu, the wife of former teammate Frankie Andreu, who testified she heard Armstrong admit to doping. For years, Armstrong buried her in insults, calling her crazy and derailing her husband's career. They talked since, but Armstrong said he couldn't talk about much of that conversation.


ARMSTRONG: I think she'd be OK with me saying this, but I'm going to take the liberty of saying and say, listen, I called you crazy. I called you a bitch. I called you all these things, but I never talked you fat.


COSTELLO: Talk about digging the hole deeper.

Well, Lance, Betsy Andreu is definitely not OK with that.


ANDREU: This is a guy who used to be my friend who decimated me. He could have come clean. He owed it to me. He owes it to the sport that he destroyed.


COSTELLO: But it's not just about the sport Armstrong may have destroyed, it's about the lives he destroyed through years of bullying and legal retaliation, the victims, often friends and teammates, left with careers and reputations ruined. And bank accounts depleted.

"Talk Back" question for you today: what did you take away from the Armstrong interview?, Or tweet me @carolCNN.

I'll be right back.