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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Report: 12 Hostages Killed In Algeria; Is NRA Winning Gun Debate?; Ballet Director Victim Of Acid Attack
Aired January 18, 2013 - 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: Next, breaking news, CNN has learned an American has been killed during the hostage situation in Algeria. Plus the man who says he's behind the attack has the nickname "The Marlboro Man" and "The Jihad Prince." We're going to introduce you to Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
And the number of American households with guns is on the decline, but the NRA's power is growing. It is growing even after Newtown. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we have breaking news, CNN has learned that one American has been killed in the Algeria hostage situation. We're going to tell you what we know about that man and the other Americans we are aware of tonight.
Let's get straight to Jill Dougherty at the State Department. First, Jill, what can you tell us about the American who died?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Erin, you know, there are not a lot of details at all. We can confirm according to a senior U.S. official that one American is dead. Family has been notified that this person has died.
But other than that, where they died, how they died, and maybe when they died, is not clear. After all, this began three days ago and then the operation has been ongoing for two days. So not clear a lot of those details.
I can tell you that this afternoon, before this news broke, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did express condolences to the families of those people, people from several countries, who died in this terrorist act. And yet at this point, we don't know many details at all of how many died, how many survived. It's simply not known.
BURNETT: All right, Jill Dougherty, thank you very much. Of course, we do know that there are some Americans still unaccounted for tonight. We are also hearing the first words though from another American hostage who is safe.
And we want to get straight to our David Mattingly in Nederland, Texas, who has been following the other American hostages. David, what can you tell us about the American you've spoken to who is alive?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, first of all, we can tell you his name. That's significant because it's the first time that we've been able to confirm a name of one of the Americans who were at the plant at the time. His name is Mark Cobb. He's reportedly from Texas.
We weren't able to confirm that directly with him because we had a very brief exchange with him. CNN contacting him via text and he sent two text messages to us. The first one confirming, he said "I am safe, yes."
The next one he explained how he managed to escape. He said he escaped the first night of the siege along with some Algerian staff members who were there at the plant with him.
At this point, he wasn't willing to comment any further again suggesting how careful everyone is right now with the safety of so many people still at stake there at the facility.
BURNETT: Obviously, he in a very senior position there. I know as you mentioned we're not sure exactly where he is right now although he's safe. CNN obviously has been working to identify some of the other Americans involved. This is the second American that we have formally been able to identify. What more do you know about the others?
MATTINGLY: The other American that we talked to you about last night, he is from Texas, we're not going to tell you any more about him, we're not going to tell you his name right now. His family tells us he is among those being held hostage. They found out about that Wednesday morning, they tell us.
Since then they've been very reluctant to talk. I spoke to them very briefly, to a family member a short while ago, and I was told we don't know any more at this point than you do."
So Erin, again that shows just how long these hours have been, how little information has been coming through, and how tense everyone remains with that lack of information.
BURNETT: It certainly does. Of course, I know you're down there in Texas working and talking to those families. Thank you very much, David Mattingly. To recap here, CNN confirms one American hostage has been killed. We've learned the identities of two other American hostages and we have others who are unaccounted for tonight. As soon as we get more information about any of these people we are going to bring it to you.
Now again, today, details have been sparse and contradictory out of the hostage situation. Here is what we know right now overall. The Algerian state media report that 12 hostages have been killed since Algeria launched its ground operation yesterday.
There may be Americans among them. The 650 hostages have been freed by the Algerian military, again, according to the Algerian press service. Of the 132 foreign work there's were taken hostage, 100 of them have been confirmed as released. Now, CNN has learned that the United States is evacuating as many as 20 people caught up in the hostage-taking. They're going to be taken to U.S. facilities in Europe. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged the Algerian government to use the utmost care in the operation because, as she has made it very clear in this case, it was an act of terror.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Let's not forget, this is an act of terror. The perpetrators are the terrorists. They are the ones who have assaulted this facility, have taken hostage Algerians and others from around the world who were going about their daily business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a commissioned officer in the U.S. army, and also served as an FBI special agent. Good to talk to you, Chairman again.
Let me begin by asking you what you can tell us right now. As you know, the details are murky in some areas. We're starting to get more clarity. And unfortunately have confirmed that one American has been killed in this operation. Others still unaccounted for. What more can you tell us?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: Well, there is -- the rescue effort or at least trying to reoccupy the gas facility happened in two stages. So the Algerians went in yesterday late to try to at least push back and flush out the terrorists.
That resulted we know in deaths. We're not very clear. The reason that's not clear, Erin, it's a long way from Algiers. They aren't really allows an international presence there. They want to handle this on their own.
We know that today they launched a succeed series of efforts on the facility. That did result in freeing of more hostages. It now has the hostage-takers kind of hunkered down. We're just not sure the numbers, the numbers have been all over the map. The Algerian news agency has released numbers. I have a feeling we'll find those aren't accurate either.
BURNETT: Right. They are saying, you know, 12 total hostages have been killed. As you said, we have no idea whether the numbers are accurate and they have been all over the map, it's a fair point, and I want to emphasize it.
We know at least one American is among the dead, whatever the dead count may be. I'm curious as to your perceptions whether the U.S. is taking too much of a back seat. Yes, it's a sovereign country. They said they were going to take the lead.
They went in without telling the United States, shocking the United States, according to many reports which described kind of how U.S. officials felt when the Algerians went in. But could the United States have just said, you know what, forget it. We're going in, we don't care what you tell us we can do.
ROGERS: Yes, could have done it, not likely. One of the things that you -- Algeria is a police state and so they have a very tough hold on Algiers, their city in the north and it gets a little less as you get south toward the border areas where the tribes are.
Some of these facilities, this one included, is in a very remote location in the desert. It's closer to the Libyan border. So it's not likely that we would have had great capability as quick as the Algerians did to actually get to the facility.
I think, Erin, they made the conclusion, listen, I'm either going to have to negotiate with London, Paris, Washington, D.C., Tokyo, or we're going to go handle this problem that is growing in perception that emboldens, they believe, al Qaeda folks from doing even more of this kind of thing.
I think they decided to take quick action for those reasons and didn't include the other nation states for that reason.
BURNETT: A spokesperson for Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who of course, has claimed responsibility for this. Originally they said end the war in Mali. That's what the terms that they wanted.
Now they're saying they'll release an undisclosed number of American hostages in exchange for two prisoners that they want. The State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was asked about this today, whether the United States would negotiate, here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTORIA NULAND, SPOKESWOMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: The United States does not negotiate with terrorists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you expect Algeria to --
NULAND: We do not negotiate with terrorists. We're obviously in consultations with the Algerians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Congressman Rogers, I'm curious what the U.S. should do. You know, Israel used to say, we'll never negotiate with terrorists, until they did, and they got freedom in exchange for 1,027 prisoners. Should the United States negotiate now? There are Americans in Algeria tonight whose lives may hang on that decision.
ROGERS: The first thing you learn when you're a new FBI agent is, don't negotiate with terrorists. There's a reason. It puts a price on the head of all the other individuals who are exposed across the region. I think it's good policy. It is a hard policy. It's tough. It's hard when you have family members there and I would be very, very reluctant to give them anything that they want for that very reason. You just make every other westerner across the Maghreb, Northern Africa, the price on their head just went up.
Part of the problem here is the reason these folks have been successful, Erin, is the way they make money is through ransoms. They do kidnappings and ransoms. As a matter of fact, at one time, they were the single largest contributor, al Qaeda and the Maghreb to the al Qaeda core through ransom payments.
And so because people paid them, it became a cottage industry. And I think that is a dangerous precedent because that whole region is becoming more destabilized. Lots of weapons that left Libya, why we weren't, the United States was not quite making a quick decision by the time.
They were done deciding if we should or shouldn't work on those weapons caches, the last weapon was out of the arms room on a truck heading toward places like Mali and so all of these problems are kind of colliding, which as you see this more brazen attempt. Hostages, I'd be reluctant to negotiate with them.
BURNETT: All right, obviously a tough decision to make, but certainly explaining your logic there. Thank you very much, sir.
Well, the man claiming responsibility for the hostage operation, Mokhtar Belmokhtar. He is a veteran jihadist. He has a history of kidnapping foreigners like Chairman Rogers just said. Mokhtar Belmokhtar is 40 years old. He is an Algerian who has eluded counterterrorism forces for years.
BURNETT (voice-over): We first heard about this man while traveling on the Mali border last summer. A tribesman we were with received a warning call telling him this man was in the area.
(on camera): What's his name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
BURNETT: Mokhtar Belmokhtar, born in Algeria. He's been a Jihadist since his late teens. He's feared but also revered in Northern Africa. He lost an eye fighting in Afghanistan and "One-eye" is one of his many names.
They also call him the prince and Mr. Marlboro, a nickname he earned as a successful smuggler of cigarettes, weapons and drugs. Mokhtar Belmokhtar is also famous for kidnapping.
The Tuareg tribesman we were with feared Belmokhtar would kidnap or kill us if we went to the town where he was. We were forced to turn back and returned safely. But former Canadian diplomat Mark Fowler wasn't so lucky. He was taken by Belmokhtar's brigade in 2008 while he was a special envoy for the United Nations in Niger.
MARK FOWLER, FORMER AL QAEDA HOSTAGE: I was terrified that the whole thing would end with a knife at my throat like your colleague Daniel Pearl.
BURNETT: Fowler who was held for 130 days and eventually released, said he called him "one-eyed jack" and describes him as a survivor.
FOWLER: He's a very tough guy. He's been through it all. And he's very careful. But he's not in any way a romantic. It's all about getting the job done with very fierce focus.
BURNETT: Fierce focus that Belmokhtar has used to form alliances throughout the region. Africa's security analyst Rudy Atallah says the veteran Jihadist has worked in Libya, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, where he has integrated himself by marrying the daughter of an Arab leader from Timbuktu. He even named his son Osama.
RUDOLPH ATALLAH, FORMER AFRICA COUNTERTERRORISM DIRECTOR, DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: He's operated in that space very comfortably and he knows how to make himself disappear.
BURNETT: Atallah says Belmokhtar's involvement with the Algerian hostage situation is another reason counterterrorism units around the world need to take notice.
ATALLAH: He's got the potential to go to the next level, which is, you know, not only just taking hostages, but if cornered, he is probably prepared to fight.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, the president has made gun control a priority in his second term. Fewer than half of Americans actually approve of what he's doing. Is the NRA point blank winning the debate?
Plus, the artistic director of the most famous ballet in the world has been attacked with acid.
And the day after Lance Armstrong face the music, he's now facing an angry group demanding big money.
BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, is the NRA unbeatable? The powerful gun lobbying group has seen its membership grow by more than 250,000 in the past month. They added 30,000 new members on the day of the president's press conference. Just in one day.
Now President Obama's made gun control a top priority in his second term, but he is still struggling to get the American public on his side. The latest CNN poll shows 49 percent of Americans disapprove of how the president has handled gun control. And that's even after this ad, which was credit sided by Democrats and Republicans alike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are the president's kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools? When his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is the NRA winning the gun debate even in spite of an ad like that? OUTFRONT tonight, Aaron Blake, a political reporter for the "Washington Post," who wrote about this topic today and CNN contributors, Reihan Salam and Roland Martin.
Aaron, let me start with you. You gave two examples today as to why the NRA is going to win. One, they're in the midst of a membership boom and those numbers we gave were stunning.
To make sure everyone stand understands, they did have a promotion where you could sign up family and friends at a discount so that also helped them. Your second point though, was whatever passes through Congress will be small, not big and broad. Why is the NRA so strong, Aaron?
AARON BLAKE, POLITICAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think that this is really such a regional issue in Congress right now. The coasts are very much pro-gun control. But the middle of the country, even a lot of the Democrats in the middle of the country and in the south especially are very pro-gun rights.
So we see in the last few days here, even senators, Democratic senators like Baucus from Montana, even Al Franken from Minnesota hesitated at first to endorse the assault weapons ban. So I think this is just a very tough issue for these politicians to deal with, particularly in the middle of the country. When that happens their reflex is often to vote no.
BURNETT: All right, Roland, one thing that amazed me, not just the membership, was the favorability rating. Because it seemed to me, and being there in Newtown, that something had changed in this country, that something had changed in every single one of us, to see what happened there happen. Yet after Newtown, 41 percent of Americans view the organization favorably. That is unchanged from two years ago. That is unchanged. How is the NRA not taking a hit?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Here's the deal because people are against the gun violence in this country, not necessarily the NRA. And I think we somehow can't act as if you are against gun violence, therefore, you're going to hate the NRA.
Look, the NRA is a lobbying group, that's what they are. I've got to disagree on this notion that, it's the coasts and the middle of the country. Guess what, there are a lot of people in the middle of the country, in Kansas City, in St. Louis, in Chicago, in other cities, who are not happy with what's happening with gun violence. What you don't have, though, is you don't have as powerful of a lobbying group who has the ability to raise money to give to candidates and to say, we're going to run the ads. You aren't seeing the groups out there who are really advocating for more gun control releasing ads on the internet.
They need to be more aggressive, more proactive, and not say, let's see what happens. Let's see what happens with President Obama and Congress. They've got to get in the game too.
BURNETT: Now there are some Republicans who have taken on the NRA. One of them is a republican that a lot of Republicans think is going to be their messiah, Chris Christie. That man believes in gun control for a long time. Here's what -- here's him attacking the NRA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE, NEW JERSEY: To talk about the president's children or any public officer's children who have, not by their own choice, but by requirement, to have protection, to use that somehow to try to make a political point, I think is reprehensible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Doesn't that sort of signal what a lot of Americans feel. OK, the view of the NRA hasn't changed, but most Americans do favor some changes to gun control.
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There are two things going on here. On the one hand, you see from Governor Christie that the NRA is not seen as bullet proof. If Governor Christie wants to win with a national Republican constituency, he evidently doesn't think that it's too, too scary to actually take on the NRA.
That's a very significant development. On the other hand, to Aaron's point, the thing that matters most in these political debates is intensity. You could have a big diffuse group of people with a certain view. If you have an intense minority that votes on a particular issue, that can outweigh a bigger group of people who feel differently.
The problem with the gun control debate from the perspective of folks who want gun control laws is they need to say, we don't want to target lawful gun owners, 47 percent of adults in this country say they have a gun in the home.
You want to say, we want to separate out the people who are gun trafficking and doing other things that promote the climate of gun violence from that cause of lawful gun owners. I think that the NRA, they win by losing.
The more you have a debate around these issues the more it seems we're going to get more gun laws, the NRA builds intensity that way.
MARTIN: Erin, that's the mistake that I've been saying from day one. This should not be a gun control conversation. It should be a gun violence conversation. And if you are talking gun control, you're playing on the NRA's field. If you say gun violence and you broaden it, that's a different debate. That's been the problem from day one.
BURNETT: All right, thanks to all of you. You always want to have the home field advantage. If they have it, they have it.
Still to come, doctors are racing to save the vision of a man who was attacked with acid. Police are trying to figure out if his work with the ballet is the reason for the attack.
The flu epidemic is raging back. A health expert tells us from here it is going to get worse.
BURNETT: Our third story, OUTFRONT, the dark side of the ballet. The artistic director of Russia's famed Bolshoi ballet is the victim of an acid attack. It could leave him blind. The director was approached by a masked assailant and some suspect a fierce rivalry could have been behind the attack. Phil Black is OUTFRONT with the story.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The attack on Sergei Filin has shocked Russians because of its cruelty. Concentrated acid thrown on his face outside his home, but also because of who he is, the artistic director of the country's most prestigious ballet company, the man who leads the world-famous dancers of the Bolshoi Theatre.
ANASTASIA MESKOVA, BOLSHOI BALLET SOLOIST (through translator): We know something absolutely beyond understanding has happened, something horrible. It's hard to believe such a thing could happen in the art world.
BLACK: Filin joined the Bolshoi Ballet in 1988 and danced with the company for nearly 20 years. He became artistic director in 2011. To lead the Bolshoi is an opportunity coveted by many in the ballet world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We at the minister of culture consider this to be an attack on not only a bright cultural figure, but also on the whole Bolshoi and Russian culture.
BLACK: This theatre is not only a towering icon of Russian culture. It is also known as a house of intrigue, of bitter feuds and passionate rivalries. But even those who know the theatre intimately, its egos and powerful emotions that shake its walls are shocked to consider the possibility that a professional jealousy has come to this.
But Sergei's colleagues believe his work must be the focus of investigations to find out who was responsible. The theatre says before the attack, he experienced months of harassment. His car tires slashed. His e-mail hacked. He received violent threats. YEKATERINA NOVIKOVA, BOLSHOI SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): We do hope all the possible authorities will investigate the case and the case will be solved. It's a question of the global reputation of our country and the image of Russia.
BLACK: Filin has undergone surgery. It's possible he will lose sight in one or both of his eyes. Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.
BURNETT: Now OUTFRONT next, 12 dead in Algeria tonight. A lot of unanswered questions, but one thing for sure, there is a Libya connection perhaps one of the United States' making.
And the TSA makes a major change in how you go through airport security.
BURNETT: We have breaking news.
CNN has confirmed the identity of the American killed in the hostage situation in Algeria. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland tells CNN, "We can confirm the death of U.S. citizen Frederick Buttaccio in the hostage situation in Algeria. We express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Out of the respect for the family's privacy, we have no further comment."
As we reported earlier, we are aware of two other Americans, one who is alive, one who is unaccounted for, and there are others still unaccounted for tonight.
And now, the latest on the flu. According to the latest CDC update, all but two states have widespread flu activity. The CDC says we're about halfway through the flu season but they're not sure when it's going to peak. We spoke to Dr. Sandro Sinti of University of Michigan. He said the flu season started earlier this year and they're expecting the number of cases at his hospital to go up.
Talks between Iran and the U.N. over its nuclear program have ended with no deal. Iran denied IAEA inspectors' requests, including access to the Parchin military site which was suspected to be one of the places the country could be developing nuclear weapons. We spoke to David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security who tells us the time for negotiations is running out. Ultimately, these talks, he says, are not about Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not trying to find a long-term deal on the nuclear program.
The TSA is removing the body scanners that produced a naked image of passengers bodies. Remember those? They are being removed because the company that manufacturers them couldn't meet a deadline to install the privacy software. They're going to be replaced with other body scanners that produced a generic outline of a passenger's body.
Security expert Bruce Schneier who has been a critic tells us this is a good move towards privacy but wishes they would have gotten rid of the scanners for the right reasons, not because of a missed deadline.
It has been 533 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, House Republicans say they are going to announce a vote on a three-month extension of the debt limit. Let me just put it to you this way. That is not going to help, guys. I'd just summarize it that way.
And now, let's get to our next top story OUTFRONT, our top story, the terror connection.
Again, the State Department has confirmed the death of U.S. citizen Frederick Buttaccio in a hostage situation in Algeria. He is from Texas. One other American, Mark Cobb, also from Texas, has managed to escape and has told CNN he is safe in an undisclosed location.
Now, there are still many unanswered questions about what happened at the gas field in Algeria. But one thing is clear, there is a Libya connection.
Chris Lawrence is at the Pentagon with an OUTFRONT investigation.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The land NATO liberated from Moammar Gadhafi is now home to multiple training camps for potential terrorists.
PAUL CRUIKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Islamist militants sympathetic to al Qaeda have established quasi-safe havens in several parts of Libya.
LAWRENCE: Benghazi, where Americans were targeted and four killed is just one of the strongholds. But the camps are spread throughout the country, Libyan officials tell CNN terrorist analyst Paul Cruikshank.
CRUIKSHANK: Amongst their numbers are people with direct connections to al Qaeda central.
LAWRENCE: Libyan officials acknowledged at least three training camps south of Sabha, in a desert near the Algerian border. That's only 30 miles from the gas complex that's still under siege.
A U.S. official tells CNN the militants who seized American hostages likely crossed that border to carry out their attack.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Libya is a lesson in what the international community can achieve.
LAWRENCE: President Obama called the limited operation in Libya a recipe for the future.
OBAMA: Not a single U.S. troop was on the ground.
LAWRENCE: But that light footprint left room for others to step in.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's leader in 2011, dispatched a top lieutenant to Libya, ordering him to build up al Qaeda's network there. The ring leader of the Algeria attack, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, traveled to Libya little more than a year ago.
CRUIKSHANK: And he met with the commandant of one of these camps in southern Libya during this time.
LAWRENCE: But Algeria may only be the latest link in a chain that leads back to Libya. In nearby Mali, the U.S. is now aiding France's fight to smash al Qaeda. But militants are armed to the teeth and fighting back against French troops.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: Mali is the first victim of Libya because of the weapon caches that were raided and just about the inability for anyone to stop weapons flying all over.
LAWRENCE: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued a warning to those running training camps.
LEON PANETTA, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Terrorists should be on notice that they will find no sanctuary, no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere.
LAWRENCE (on camera): So far, this al Qaeda group has been focused in Africa. But counterterrorism officials are concerned that if these training camps continue to flourish, their ambitions may expand.
Libya is right on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, and officials are concerned that militants could try for an attack in Europe, or European militants could come to Libya, get training, and then try to carry out an attack back home -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to Chris Lawrence.
Fran Townsend is a former homeland counterterrorism security advisor to President George Bush, and our national security contributor.
Stuart Holliday is a former United States ambassador for special political affairs at the United Nations.
Good to see both of you.
Stuart, let me start with you.
In Chris' reporting there, there was a sound bite from President Obama from a very different time. But that sound bite, he said Libya is a success, it's a lesson in success of how to do these things.
Was that premature, given what Chris Lawrence just reported? STUART HOLLIDAY, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF MERIDIAN INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Well, I think we've all seen that it's much easier to focus on a tactical operation in a short-term and topple a leader, but it's a lot harder to kind of create the stability and the kind of security needed to have -- prevent safe havens from developing for these terrorists.
So I think, obviously, it's a bit premature to say that it's been a success. There's a lot more work to do to root out these terrorist camps in Libya and Algeria.
BURNETT: I mean, Fran, that proves to be part of the problem, right? You get rid of Gadhafi, it was sort of like, look, hi-ho, the witch is dead. And then, all of a sudden, the weapons went into jihadist hands and training camps are alive and well, the United States ambassador is killed, and, you know, we keep hearing that nobody may ever go to jail for it.
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, we should be clear, Mokhtar Belmokhtar had this safe haven along the Mali-Mauritania border, and was trained there and ready for just this opportunity. Libya falls, weapons are available, more jihadists are available. There are people he can add to his sort of coterie.
And he's been a problem for many years, almost a decade now. And this is his moment. He takes advantage of what essentially, as you describe it, Erin, is a power vacuum.
BURNETT: It as power vacuum and getting broader and broader. Fran, I want to ask you about something Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said. Part of this, you just heard. But I have another part that I want you and our viewers to hear.
Here's Leon Panetta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PANETTA: Terrorists should be on notice. That they will find no sanctuary, no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere.
We've got to go after al Qaeda wherever the hell they're at. And make sure they find no place to hide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I know he means it. But the problem is that was in December. This is now -- they've been saying that. After they were saying al Qaeda was on the run, now they're saying we're going to go after them.
But, yet, are we going after them? Are the terrorists at this point feeling, the United States says this but what are they doing?
TOWNSEND: Well, I'm sure they do because, as you say, the passage of time. But let's be clear, sometimes it's very hard to strike back right away.
TOWNSEND: FBI Director Bob Mueller was in Libya talking to the investigators this week.
TOWNSEND: I expect that the investigation is going on. But remember, you know, after the East Africa embassy bombings, President Clinton had missiles launched, both at training camps in Afghanistan that turned out to be empty, and in Sudan. And there's no real point to that.
So the current administration can only really act and retaliate for Benghazi if they've got good targets and they've got good information, both law enforcement and intelligence. They're gathering that, it's been frustratingly slow. But terrorists shouldn't presume that just because we haven't acted yet, that we won't.
BURNETT: Right. And certainly, Leon Panetta made it clear the United States will.
Stuart, final question to you, are you surprised by the administration's immediate labeling of this as a terrorist attack which was organized and planned, which obviously at least rhetorically is in contrast to how they described the attack on Benghazi at first?
HOLLIDAY: Not at all. In this case, you had a terrorist leader in a group that claim and was out front on claiming the attack as their own. I think they regret not doing that sooner in the last case. But I was not surprised and they're going to make sure to be definitive about that I'm sure in the future.
BURNETT: And they certainly were definitive.
All right. Thanks you very much, Stuart and Fran. Appreciate you taking the time.
There's been more fallout from the Lance Armstrong confession. It could cost him everything.
Flooding devastates Indonesia. The images that we have for you tonight are overwhelming.
BURNETT: We are back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to our sources around the world.
And tonight, we go to Jakarta, where residents are facing the worst flooding in six years, 19,000 people have been displaced from their homes and the at least 12 are dead. More flooding from here is expected.
Kathy Quiano and I asked her how this is affecting Indonesia's capital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHY QUIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Water gushing in from a broken dike inundated and shut down most of central Jakarta's business district on Thursday. Thousands of people were left stranded on the streets. Offices, schools, even foreign embassies were forced to close down.
And we're seeing crews of civilians and military personnel using heavy equipment, trying to protect this city from being inundated again. They're using sandbags to shore up the dike.
This may not be enough. But the national disaster mitigation agency said earlier on Friday that they should be prepared for more flooding to come later on today. Water levels at a dam just outside of Jakarta in west Java are critically high.
So, the people should brace themselves for more floods.
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BURNETT: And now, our fifth story OUTFRONT: the price of coming clean.
Tonight, Lance Armstrong talks with Oprah about the financial fallout from using performance-enhancing drugs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST: Nike called. They're out. That was a $75 million day, gone.
OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: Gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That was one of the most memorable parts of last night's interview, at least to us.
Lance Armstrong is a man with an estimated net worth of $125 million. So $75 million day is obviously -- means a lot to him. Most of that comes from sponsors like Nike.
But the fortune could be wiped completely clean now that he's likely to be hit with a string of lawsuits. Anything he says tonight, the question is could it make any kind of difference in the court of public opinion which is very relevant here.
David Epstein is a senior writer for "Sports Illustrated."
Dana Jacobson has interviewed Armstrong for CBS Sports.
Good to see both of you.
Let me just start by asking each of you, you know, anyone who wasn't watching you last night, you were -- you watched the first part of the interview. And you were both -- you were not satisfied. I'm putting it nicely.
You were -- you didn't think he did a good job and you were upset.
DANA JACOBSON, CBS SPORTS: Well, I mean, he wasn't contrite. He wasn't contrite at all. He said, he didn't -- he may have been trying to say I'm sorry. He didn't even come close to it in the way he acted and the way he acted towards people that he hurt. I don't know how he makes up for it tonight. I don't know how that's possible --
BURNETT: You don't think tonight he could say something -- he's talking about his wife, or his children or --
JACOBSON: I think he could have cried last night and nobody would have -- I shouldn't say nobody -- most people would not have believed him. And I think I said at the end of last night, what's so difficult, it was probably too soon. I don't know if he could say anything where he could get the majority of people on his side at this point because he lied for so long about this and he went after people. He didn't just lie and said he didn't do it, he went after anybody who said he did do it.
BURNETT: Speaking of lawsuits which is perhaps -- there was one moment David last night, which we all were talking about. We said, oh, I don't even remember if I sued or I sued so many people, right? When of course he would have had to remember that.
Is there anything he could do that is going to make you as a reporter who has cover him change your mind?
DAVID EPSTEIN, SENIOR WRITER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: I think he can look a little more human. But, frankly, as a reporter who covers him, I think he did a lot of damage by denying certain evidence last night, that he was involved in doping during his comeback, particularly that he was sort of a leader and had influence over athletes who doped.
And I didn't realize this last night, but talking with a source familiar with these cases, they think this could damage his ability to be considered a credible witness who can turn over other people in attempt to reduce his ban. So, I actually think he did more damage, after talking to some sources today.
BURNETT: And you were also talking about how there was a very clear line last night when he was saying, yes, yes, yes, yes, I doped to this date. And then from that date I never doped again. That date happens to be the date of statute of limitations.
BURNETT: You were skeptical and said, I think I'm going to looking into whether he doped afterwards.
EPSTEIN: I mean, he has a series of blood tests that would beg to differ with his opinion that he didn't dope after his comeback. So, I really think he's really fighting an uphill battle there. And again, I think that hurts, I didn't realize how much it might, until I talked to sources today, how it might hurt his credibility and his ability to even give up new information that would reduce his ban.
BURNETT: Dana, one thing I'm curious about, when we talk about the money, he talked about that $75 million day.
BURNETT: And tonight, he's going to go into detail on the money. You know, we talked to a lawyer last night, Jeffrey Tillotson, and you were here for that. He basically his company had $12.5 million in bonuses of Tour de France win that they had to pay to Lance Armstrong. They want that back. That's another $12.5 million.
I mean, you can start to see how the amount of money exceeds his net worth.
JACOBSON: Prize money from the races he won, that's all money that somebody is doing to go after to give back. And I -- you know, even if his worth is $125 million, at some point, it's going to exceed the amount he's going to have to give back may exceed that, or what does he have left of the $125 million that he can actually give at this point?
BURNETT: Right, and that's a big question. I mean, what kind of lifestyle has he led?
EPSTEIN: He's led -- well, he doesn't have the private jet anymore, so he has already come down a rung. I think he's going to come down a lot more. Personally, I don't think he's going to go completely broke.
There's a lot left to see in the whistleblower lawsuit. We don't even know what the Department of Justice is going to do yet.
EPSTEIN: And that's really important, because we're going to see if there are higher people held to account, kind of this case, which is an important thing. But it's hard to see him being the only one on the hook in the whistleblower lawsuit. So, I think his lifestyle is going to change, but he's going to have money left.
BURNETT: One thing that I'm wondering if he can say anything tonight that would change this, and I'd be shocked if he did because he was so clear when he repeatedly said I didn't force -- make anyone else to do anything.
JACOBSON: It's interesting. He said that he was a bully, but he didn't coerce anybody.
JACOBSON: What I thought it was interesting when he said, I looked up cheating in the dictionary, and it was having an unfair advantage. Well, I looked up cheating too, and things I found was breaking rules and whatnot.
Did he not look up a bully? Because a bully coerces. And everybody who came out against him has talked about how he led the way and how he coerced them. Reporters are on the record as saying that he coerced them, too.
So, he's not going to admit to it today, so that's always going to be sitting out there.
EPSTEIN: That's actually a really big issue for him, because it's his attempt to say I wasn't kind of the team leader, which is a big deal in the whistleblower case, whether or not he was the team leader, whether he'd be held account in that case. So I think that's part of his attempt to portray himself as being just another guy in the system as opposed to a leader.
JACOBSON: It seems incredible that he would even try to present that. And especially I go back to this, I know I said it last night, he kept saying to Oprah, my problem has always been that I'm always, I have to be in control. I have to control every situation. And that was part of my downfall.
So, now, you're not going to try to control every situation? It doesn't make any sense.
BURNETT: Right, right. I want to play that sound bite you were talking about, about bullying. Here's Lance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: You are suing people and you know that they're telling the truth. What is that?
ARMSTRONG: It's a -- it's a major flaw. And it's a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: When you were talking about him controlling it. It is a major flaw.
EPSTEIN: It's a major flaw, I guess, for the people who are being dragged into court, probably. Maybe even less diplomatic language they would have used.
BURNETT: I guess what we're all dying to hear is did you ever have in your head, gosh, I'm doing something horrible, or I'm a bad person, right? Yet you didn't get that feeling at all. And maybe tonight, we will see if that exist.
JACOBSON: He hasn't said -- you know, he didn't feel badly about it. I can't remember the question, but did you feel badly, did you feel at any point that you were cheating? No, I didn't. I didn't feel badly.
Not once? That's amazing. That's when you look at his personality and think he doesn't have it in him to feel that.
BURNETT: People can justify incredible things.
All right. Thanks to both of you.
And, of course, we'll be watching the other installment of that interview tonight.
And now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360."
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin.
Yes. We're closely following the hostage crisis in Algeria, as you have been reporting. One American killed, along with several others who we don't know about. It isn't over yet. Many hostages are now free, but more are still being held by terrorists. We'll bring you all the latest.
Also, my primetime exclusive interview with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Why he thinks now is the critical time to push for new gun laws in this country.
And we'll also follow up on Lance Armstrong, as well, the day after his confession to using performance enhancing drugs. His admissions, many of those who actually know him and have been following him for years and used to be friends with him, they'd say his admissions are completely incomplete. We're going to hear from those who knew him well at the top of the hour -- Erin.
BURNETT: Right. Completely incomplete. Thanks, Anderson.
And still to come, if all dogs go to heaven, then the one you are about to meet is headed for sainthood.
BURNETT: And we have more details on the breaking news in Algeria. Six Americans have been freed or escaped from the Algerian gas field. A U.S. official tells CNN.
Now, the official provided no other information about their status or whereabouts. Other Americans are still unaccounted for.
Earlier today, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said there were still American hostages and we have confirmed one American, Frederick Buttaccio, has been killed. Officials said the circumstances of Buttaccio's death are still not known to the United States.
And now tonight's essay. All of us have experienced the loss of a pet, but there are those teams when a pet loses an owner. And that's what happened to Tommy.
According to "The Daily Mail," Tommy is a 7-year-old German shepherd living in San Donaci. Italy. He was adopted as a stray by a woman named Maria. The two were very close and Tommy would accompany her on errands and when she went to church.
Maria died two months ago, and Tommy showed up without anyone bringing her to the funeral. And it wasn't the end of it. Tommy is so fiercely loyal to Maria that every day when the church bells chime, Tommy goes to mass.
According to the parish's priest, for the past two months, Tommy has been to mass every single day. He is quiet and sits peacefully in the front of the church. None of the other parishioners have complained and they have given Tommy food and water and shelter. They have all adopted him.
It's a bittersweet story and it made us think of some other incredible stories about dogs refusing to leave the side of their owns and friends, even if it means putting themselves in harm's way. They are remarkable and inspiring animals.
So, tonight, take a moment to hug the dog you love and remember all of the dogs that loved you, and yes, do something nice for your cat, too.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.