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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Pope Benedict XVI Announces Resignation; California Manhunt Continues
Aired February 11, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.
And a lot happening tonight: the worst tornado some have seen in years. A pope resigns, which hasn't happened in six centuries. The man who says he killed Osama bin Laden reveals how his family now lives in fear and without the government support you might expect.
We however, tonight begin with breaking news. Authorities in Chicago have charged two men with murder in the killing that shocked a city that has already shed too many tears, the shooting of this 15- year-old high school student, Hadiya Pendleton, gunned down just days after performing at President Obama's inauguration. Her funeral was Saturday.
Police gave a news conference earlier tonight.
Let's go to Ted Rowlands in Chicago.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Chicago police have made Pendleton two arrests in the death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.
Both are them are members of a gang here in Chicago, one, 18- year-old Michael Ward, the second arrest, 20-year-old Kenneth Williams. They were both picked up on Saturday night on suspicion and now have been charged with one count of murder each, and two counts of attempted murder each, plus some weapons violations.
Michael Ward, according to police, the 18-year-old, has confessed to killing Hadiya Pendleton by accident. He says he approached a group of people that he thought also had rival gang members in the group, and opened fire. He didn't realize that he was opening fire on a 15-year-old and her friends after they had just completed a final exam in high school.
Ward said that he got out of a car, shot the individuals under this overhang in a park and then was taken away in a getaway car by Williams. According to police, nobody stepped forward. The break in the case came from police work, getting leads, going out and actually finding witnesses that they will later bring in to trial. They do not have a murder weapon in this case.
They also say that Ward thought that he was retaliating against an earlier gang shooting involving his friend Williams, where police say they actually caught the suspect that had shot Williams the year before, but Williams had refused to press charges. Also, according to police, Michael Ward was arrested in January of last year for illegal possession of a firearm. He was let go on two months of probation.
They say if the stiffer gun laws that they want to be in place here in the state of Illinois were in place, Michael Ward would have been in jail and Hadiya Pendleton would be alive -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ted, I appreciate the update.
Joining us by phone is Shatira Wilks, who is the first cousin of the victim.
Shatira, I'm so sorry for your loss and your family's loss. I'm wondering the family's reaction tonight.
SHATIRA WILKS, COUSIN OF VICTIM: Well, first of all, let me say thank you for having me on your show.
And on behalf of my family, we are elated to know that there is one person or two now off the street that could very well cause harm to my neighbor, another relative or anyone in the world. We're excited to know that the police, the Chicago Police Department worked diligently.
However, there is no level of comfort, not long-term comfort. We are still miserable. Miserable would only be the term to really acknowledge the feelings of the parents and the family.
WILKS: I'm sorry?
COOPER: What do you want people to know about Hadiya.
WILKS: What I want people to know about Hadiya is that she was a 15-year-old girl that really is the face of every parents' dream child.
And I am so serious when I say that. Hadiya had so many different things awaiting her in life. She was a wonderful, wonderful kid. It's hard to believe that thugs that already obviously have histories of doing this, carrying guns, would even have the capabilities to even breathe in the same room that she walked and lived in.
And that is the truth, because this girl was really -- my little cousin really was an angel. And I'm just really excited that they have probably found the correct guys. Now, such a crazy, senseless act of violence, to hear that they thought this was a rival gang, I mean, how regarded is that?
It was a group of girls. It was a volleyball team and one boy. I am a firm believer that excuses only work for the person telling them. I'm assuming that that was a justifiable...
COOPER: The names of these two now who have been charged, Michael Ward and Kenneth Williams, are they familiar to you at all?
WILKS: No, they're not.
Never heard of them, never. No. But I do believe -- I honestly believe that somewhere along the lines, they were turned in. As I stated previously on most media outlets, that I believe that this reward of $40,000 really was a bounty. And it was just a matter of time that someone was going to compromise their guilt and turn them in.
However, I do believe also that these people are obviously so dangerous to where they were just snitched as where their location was. And no one will be, I don't know, accepting a reward to my knowledge.
But I just -- I don't think that this just happened haphazardly. I do believe that someone may have picked up the phone and said, guess what, I think these guys are in this vehicle and about to turn down the street.
I'm very thankful if that's what happened.
COOPER: Yes. Well, Shatira, again, my condolences to your family and I appreciate talking to you tonight. Thank you very much.
WILKS: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
COOPER: Now let's take a look at the manhunt that Southern California authorities -- and has citizens there on edge, the search for rogue ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner. That edge cuts any number of ways, the fear that the three killings he's already accused of may become many more, also the gnawing apprehension that Dorner's central grievance, his charges of racism in the LAPD, may spark the kind of wildfire that Los Angeles has seen all too often.
The latest now from Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Day five of the manhunt, and still no sign of Christopher Dorner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of scary because you don't know where he is, and you have friends -- we have friends who live all over the mountain. You know, there's concern about them.
KAYE (voice-over): On Big Bear Mountain, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, 30 officers are back at it, this time expanding their hunt to more remote areas. While continuing their door to door searches of vacation homes.
Authorities are hoping a $1 million reward offered for information leading to Dorner's capture and conviction will help. Though since it was announced, it has only led to more false sightings. This Lowe's store in Northridge was evacuated Sunday night after someone thought they spotted Dorner. (on camera): We're also learning more about Dorner's truck, which was recovered from Big Bear Mountain last week. Investigators say the axle on the truck was broken, which may be one reason why Dorner lit it on fire. He may have had to quickly come up with a plan B. Investigators also now say that two AR-15 rifles were found inside that burned-out truck and some camping equipment nearby.
CHARLIE BECK, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, POLICE CHIEF: Every day that Dorner is loose, the likelihood of an attack on either a uniformed police officer or a family of a police officer is likely.
KAYE: Dorner's revenge killings are in response to his termination. His threats also appear rooted in racism. The LAPD now plans to look into Dorner's firing and his allegations. In his rambling online manifesto, Dorner mentions the brutal police beating of Rodney King back in 1991.
A group of officers was caught on video kicking and beating King. Their acquittals in the case led to a week of deadly race riots in L.A. Dorner writes online that one officer caught on the video kicking King is now a captain with the LAPD. Dorner asks, "Do you trust him to enforce department policy and investigate use of force investigations on arrestees by his officers?"
BECK: Dorner's allegations are about a police department that doesn't treat African-Americans fairly. And I don't think that's true. And I want to make sure that we don't lose that precious ground that we have gained because of these allegations. And that's the totality of the reason that I will look at this investigation again.
KAYE: In his manifesto, Dorner also writes about hearing white officers use the N-word to describe black officers. When he told them to stop, he says, they refused.
And he makes this threat. "Those Caucasian officers who join South Bureau divisions with the sole intent to victim minorities who are uneducated and unaware of criminal law, civil law, and civil rights, you are a high-value target," adding, "I am here to change and make policy. I am here to help and correct and calibrate your moral compasses to true north."
Erwin Chemerinsky is a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. He has written a report on abuses at the Los Angeles Police Department.
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE: There's been tremendous improvements in recent years. Of course, it would be naive and mistaken to say that racism is a thing of the past in any police department or for that matter in any institution.
KAYE: Charges of racism within the LAPD certainly aren't new. Back in 1991, four months after the beating of Rodney King, an independent commission found that minority officers are often targets of racial slurs, and the LAPD tolerates racism among officers.
The commission even called for the replacement of then-Chief Daryl Gates. Former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton told "The New York Times" regarding Dorner, "It would be a shame if he was able to rally to cause people who remember the bad old days of the LAPD."
COOPER: Randi Kaye joins me now.
Randi is live at the police headquarters for the LAPD.
How much of a threat do authorities still think he is? We heard from the chief saying that every day he's not there, the threat increases. Is that generally the feeling?
KAYE: I think so, Anderson. Certainly, a great threat is what they believe, so much so that the daily schedule for the chief of police here at the LAPD, Charlie Beck, that daily schedule is no longer being made public. It used to be given out to the media. We were able to know his whereabouts. Now his whereabouts are unknown.
This is also very telling. There are reports tonight that the LAPD police captain, who oversaw the hearing that ended in Dorner's termination back in 2008, hasn't left his house, Anderson, since this manhunt began. He has a wife and six children. Hasn't left his home. Now, that's important to note because one of Dorner's alleged victims was the daughter of the police officer who represented Dorner at that same hearing.
So if, if he is going after people and is going after people related to that hearing, then it's pretty smart for that police captain to stay inside. I also should point out, there are 50 families under protection right now, Anderson, related to this case around the L.A. area.
COOPER: Yes. Randi, appreciate the update.
Joining me is John Miller, who worked in counterterrorism and criminal intelligence for the LAPD. He's currently a senior correspondent over at "CBS This Morning."
What do you make of the fact nobody has heard from this guy in days now?
JOHN MILLER, CBS NEWS: Well, it could mean either one of two things. He may have gone up into that snowy mountain -- and that's where San Bernardino Sheriff's is in charge of the search. And that search has continued through bad weather and improved weather.
Did he go up there, freeze to death and die? Did he find his way to some shelter and is hiding out? We won't really know that until that search is completed, and they seem to be pressing forward with it. The flip side of that is that he find a way out, either a compatriot or a vehicle and that he has gotten down the hill and probably did so immediately if that's is the case, and is back out stalking, as the chief indicated he's worried about.
COOPER: It's not clear how much he was able to preposition -- he was able to preposition things at all.
We know he was able to kind of plan enough that he sent out this manifesto and sent out things to news groups and also was able to stalk the relative or allegedly stalk the relative of the police officers he was involved with and kill her, according to authorities. But we don't know whether he was able to preposition any vehicle or anything like that.
MILLER: No, I mean, as you pointed out, we saw a lot of pre- operational planning. We don't have much of a window into his long- range planning, except some indicators of what was found in the truck, which was night-vision goggles, cold weather gear, a cot, heaters.
There are some indications that when he was going up to Big Bear in his truck before that axle broke, that he had some kind of plan. He's military-trained, he's a military officer, and he's LAPD-trained. I know from that training, you go into these things saying I have a plan, I have a plan B, but I also have contingency plans for both, assuming that something will go wrong. That's what we don't have a window into, what was his contingency plan.
COOPER: Are you surprised that the chief of police has now talked about reopening the original -- investigation into the original incidents that he's written about and that ultimately got him kicked off the force?
MILLER: I'm not on a number of levels.
Number one, let's take what Charlie Beck, the chief says, at face value, which is the department is very much about transparency, which has been a sea change for the LAPD. But then let's one peek behind that curtain, which is if you read the manifesto by Chris Dorner, he said when I get justice, the killing will stop.
What this is, is the police department is saying, all right, if this is about honor, if this is about your word as a man, then let us test that. Let's say we will reopen this investigation and look at your allegations. Does the killing stop? And are you going to come in and talk about this if in fact this is your main issue?
COOPER: It does seem, like in the original incident, which is what sparked finally him getting kicked off, he claims a person, an alleged suspect was kicked by his partner or the person he was with that day.
MILLER: Yes. His claim is a suspect who was already handcuffed, that he handcuffed, that Officer Dorner handcuffed, was kicked twice by his training officer, three times, twice in the chest and once in the face, leaving a visible injury. That was his charge.
COOPER: And then what was determined was that this person was schizophrenic, therefore not a reliable witness. The father of this person who apparently heard from his son that he had been kicked was deemed as heresy because he wasn't actually there, he didn't actually see it.
What new can be learned?
MILLER: I think we have learned from cold cases involving everything from murder to an abuse case or a use of force case that when you reopen them and take a second look, you never know what you're going to find.
In this case, they interviewed the hotel clerk who looked out on it, they interviewed the other hotel employee who was outside and watched it while having a smoke. They interviewed the harbor -- the port police sergeant who arrived on backup, and they weren't able to find anybody among those who witnessed the accident who actually saw what Chris Dorner claimed.
Now, Chris Dorner would make the argument that they also didn't prove it didn't happen, and he would argue, how can you accuse me of false statements?
COOPER: And it could just end up being a he said/she said with no actual resolution at all.
Are you surprised that he's been getting sympathy? Dorner, despite the allegations against him, he has been getting -- there is -- I mean, I hear it on Twitter. I hear from people a lot, and there's folks in California calling into radio stations saying I get the anger behind what he's doing, not necessarily methods he's using.
MILLER: I think today especially when you're talking about Twitter, talk radio, and the Internet, everybody will pick from any argument the sliver that they're interested, and promote their opinion.
I think when you look at that against the backdrop of three murders and whether that makes this justified, you're in a whole different conversation.
COOPER: Yes. That's certainly true.
John, appreciate it. Thanks very much for being with us.
Let us know what you think. You can follow me on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting this hour.
Plenty to tweet about, including Pope Benedict's stunning decision to step down. Two longtime Vatican watchers join us with inside details, at least as inside as you can get when you're covering the pope.
And later, as terrifying a view as you would ever want to see. Take a look at this video. This isn't even the half of it. We will take you where a string of tornadoes hit, show you the damage they did, incredible pictures there.
We will be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: A lot has happened since the year 1415, but one thing has not, not once. In those 598 years, nearly six centuries, 59 leaders of the Roman Catholic Church have reigned and not one has ever resigned. Since the year 1450, not one single pope has left the Vatican without also leaving this world, that is until today.
According to "The New York Times," this morning at the Vatican, speaking in Latin to a small gathering of Cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI said he's simply too old and frail to continue leading the church. The Vatican spokesman saying the 85-year-old pontiff would step down effective the end of this month.
When something happens that hasn't happened since 100 years before Henry VIII was around, calling it a surprise doesn't cut it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARCHBISHOP TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK: I was very startled. I don't know what to say. I myself am waiting for information, for instruction as to what we would do now as the College of Cardinals. Boy, as soon as I find out, I will let you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, one of many potential successors, one of whom is expected to be chosen by Easter.
We have details tonight from "Newsweek" Italy correspondent Barbie Latza Nadeau and Vatican analyst John Allen, who is also a senior Vatican respondent for "The National Catholic Reporter."
So, Barbie, this is an unprecedented move certainly in modern history. Did anyone see this coming?
BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, "NEWSWEEK": No, I don't think anyone saw this coming.
This really is a shocking Monday morning news here in Rome. The pope had an opportunity obviously yesterday when he addressed his public out in St. Peter's Square, but he chosen Monday morning to make this announcement. It's an exciting moment in Rome when you have a transition to a new pope without the sorrow of the funeral and the death.
The mood is quite spectacular here today.
COOPER: John, what do you think is the real reason he's stepping down?
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Anderson, I think it's probably one of those cases where what you see is basically what you get.
Benedict has said he's not suffering from any specific illness or health crisis, but he simply feels given his mounting age, we're talking about a man who will be 86 in April, that he simply no longer has the force to meet the challenges facing the church. At least in this regard, I think probably we ought to take him at his regard.
COOPER: John, you certainly have covered the Vatican for a long time. In terms of who may replace him, obviously, there is no way to know for sure, but what are your thoughts?
ALLEN: My thoughts, Anderson, are the trash heaps of history are littered with the carcasses of so-called experts who have tried to predict the next pope. That's a hazardous business.
What I can tell you is a couple of the names that sort of come up at Roman dinner table conversation. Some people talk about cardinal of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, a kind of intellectual protege of Benedict with a strong popular touch, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who runs the Vatican's all-important congregation for bishops, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri from Argentina who was the chief of staff under John Paul II, a very good manager.
But truth is, this is all sound and fury signifying nothing until those 117 cardinals who are under 80 and have the right to vote for the next pope get here to Rome, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.
COOPER: And, Barbie, is that done the same way that we have seen in the past after a pope has died, the white smoke, black smoke, all of that?
NADEAU: That's right.
In fact, it will be very shortly from now that they will start the process in getting the Sistine Chapel ready. They will have to put in kind of fake floor like they did last time in order to put jamming devices that will prohibit anyone from eavesdropping electronically what is going on in the Sistine Chapel.
Also, they will install the stove in which they will burn the ballots and they will prepare the chemical cartridges that will turn that black smoke into white smoke when they have elected the pope.
COOPER: John, what does this pope do next? Is he referred to as like a former pope? Where will he live? What does he do?
ALLEN: Well, for one thing, Anderson, let's not forget he's got another month on the job, so we're presuming he's going to carry out his regular calendar.
This week, of course, features Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent for Catholics. There's a ceremony to mark that. We presume he will do his regular Sunday address from the papal window and so on.
Once February 28, 8:00 Rome time rolls around, he is going to relocate to the summer papal residence in Castel Gandolfo briefly, and he's eventually going to move into a monastery on Vatican grounds. All signals are he intends to keep an extraordinary low profile. He's not going to be involved in the process of selecting the next pope.
And once there is a new pope, he's going to want to make it clear to the world that there's a new man in charge and he's going to try as best he can to step off the stage.
COOPER: John, what do you think -- I will ask this of both of you -- what do you think his legacy is going to be?
ALLEN: Well, look, I think he's probably going to be remembered over the course of time as a magnificent teaching pope. His ambition was to sort of lead a global graduate seminar about the relationship between faith and reason and the role of religion in a postmodern secular world.
Even many of his fiercest critics would express admiration for his intellectual depth. But as a CEO, as a business manager, I think the verdict is much more mixed. Many critics would say he never got his hands successfully around the sexual abuse scandals. There was of course a spectacular Vatican leak scandal that featured the arrest of his own butler and created images of disarray and palace intrigue.
There was a kind of chronic inability to get the trains to run on time.
COOPER: Barbie, what do you think?
NADEAU: Obviously, John is a much better expert to speak about his ideology than I am, but I think he also will be remembered very much by the scandals that have really marked this papacy, even going to the American nuns and the clampdown on them.
There are a lot of people that may not be unhappy to see a change in the Vatican, the Vatican butler scandal, the sex scandals, protesters in St. Peter's Square. Things like that have really marked the last several years, I think, are going to be remembered by a lot of people when they come to St. Peter's Square to look to the smoke to see who has been elected replaced him. Those will be marks and scars almost on this papacy.
COOPER: Barbie, appreciate you being with us. John as well, thank you.
There's obviously a lot more happening tonight. While the Northeast was digging out from the blizzard, here's what the Southeast was dealing with this weekend. Take a look at these images. More than a dozen tornadoes tore across Mississippi and Alabama. Seven counties took the brunt of it. We will show you how bad it is just ahead.
And, later, inside the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Navy SEAL who claims he made the fatal shots is speaking out for the first time in an exclusive interview with "Esquire." He says he's been essentially kind of hung out to dry by the military. Phil Bronstein, who landed the interview, joins me ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. The Southeast is reeling from brutal weekend storms. Take a look at this picture we've been showing you. Imagine seeing that on the road as you're driving down it. It was one of at least one of 15 tornados that swept through southern Mississippi and Alabama yesterday. This one was touching down in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, an EF-4 tornado, according to the National Weather Service; winds up to 170 miles an hour.
Here's some of what it left in its wake. Several counties, widespread damage. Close to 200 mobile homes were damaged or completely destroyed. More than a dozen people were injured. Tonight, thousands are still without power. David Mattingly has the latest.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you all right?
JOAN STEVENS, TORNADO SURVIVOR: They're just trees. You've got to be careful.
MATTINGLY: OK. There you go.
(voice-over): Joan Stevens and her husband, Ray, survived the tornado that blackened the skies over Hattiesburg, caught on amateur video. The funnel was one of several tornadoes to batter this part of Mississippi. The Stevens' house is in pieces, but they made it out without a scratch.
(on camera): The two of you were just...
J. STEVENS: Right here. And Aggie was right here, our dog.
RAY STEVENS, TORNADO SURVIVOR: And I just got her under me, and so I was laying on her.
J. STEVENS: And we were just literally all right here on the floor and just covered up on each other.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): It could have been so much worse for so many. Two hundred houses and 100 apartments were damaged or destroyed. But in the immediate aftermath there were no deaths. Only two were seriously injured. The Stevens credit warning sirens the city installed just two years ago.
J. STEVENS: We had been watching television since we got home from church.
MATTINGLY (on camera): So you were ready for this?
J. STEVENS: We were ready as ready could be.
MATTINGLY: The Stevens say they had just a matter of minutes from the time they first heard the alarm to when the storm actually hit. Afterward, when they came out and saw all of this damage, they realized that that warning was just enough for people to take cover, because when they started checking on their neighbors, no one on this street, in spite of all this damage, was hurt.
(voice-over): The National Weather Service says parts of Hattiesburg had up to 30 minutes' warning before the tornado touched down. City officials also say the timing of the storm was fortunate.
On a Sunday afternoon the local high school was almost empty when it hit, and the University of Southern Mississippi, one historic building badly damaged, had fewer than usual students on campus because of a Mardi Gras holiday.
Still, all across the tornado's path there were countless close calls. Hattiesburg's mayor was one of them.
(on camera): This was all going on in a matter of seconds.
JOHNNY DUPREE, MAYOR: Oh, this is seconds.
MATTINGLY: You were running for your life.
DUPREE: Literally for my life.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Mayor Johnny Dupree managed to get inside his house just in time. The 100-year-old home and the neighborhood took a beating.
(on camera): Looking at all the damage, is there one thing that really, really hurts today?
MATTINGLY: Here, in your house.
DUPREE: No. Because we're going to replace all this. I mean, nothing hurts. I mean, not here.
I'm relishing the fact that nobody in Hattiesburg was killed. No fatalities. The rest of this can be replaced.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): David Mattingly, CNN, Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
COOPER: Amazing. There's a lot more happening tonight. Isha is here with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, a new blizzard is hitting the U.S. Up to 15 inches of snow fell across parts of seven upper Midwest states. Minnesota and the Dakotas are taking the biggest punch.
Meanwhile, residents in the northeast continue to dig out from this weekend's massive blizzard. Up to 40 inches of snow fell in Hamden, Connecticut, while about two feet of snow is on the ground in Boston and parts of Long Island, New York.
About 20 survivors of gun violence, including former congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, are expected to be in the audience for tomorrow night's State of the Union address by President Obama. Each survivor will be a guest of a member of Congress. Giffords survived a shooting in Tucson two years ago. President Obama is expected to talk about his push for gun legislation, as well as jobs, the economy and more tomorrow night.
Former staff sergeant Clint Romesha will also be at the State of the Union address as guest of the first lady. Today, President Obama awarded Romesha the Medal of Honor for courageous actions during a nearly 13-hour firefight in Afghanistan that left eight Americans dead.
Romesha's son Colin stole the show, Anderson, at the ceremony, playing peekaboo at the presidential podium, as you see there. The president said Colin also raced around the Oval Office earlier in the day, fondling a number of apples before he found the one that was just right.
COOPER: Great to hear that.
SESAY: Making himself at home.
COOPER: Yes. Isha, thanks very much.
Up next, the incredible story of the killing of Osama bin Laden from the Navy SEAL who reportedly pulled the trigger. He's speaking out for the first time. What's almost as incredible as the story he tells about what happened inside the compound is what he says is now happening to him and his family. Phil Bronstein writes about it in "Esquire" magazine in an article called "The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... is Screwed." I'll talk to him next about why.
Also ahead, a touching tribute to another American hero, Chris Kyle.
COOPER: For the first time, the Navy SEAL who says he killed Osama bin Laden is going public in an exclusive interview with "Esquire" magazine. It's the March cover story with the blunt headline, "The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... is Screwed."
The article makes the case that the Navy SEAL who served for 16 years is leaving the Navy without any security, job prospects or insurance for his family.
"Esquire" contributor Phil Bronstein spent more than a year getting to know him. His name remains a secret for his own safety, obviously, and his family's. He was a member of the exclusive SEAL Team 6, and after the bin Laden mission, he retired to no pension, no health benefits beyond the first five years, and none at all for his family and no security, despite killing the world's most wanted terrorist.
Phil Bronstein joins me tonight with more.
Your article is fascinating, not only for the details it has about the raid that killed bin Laden, but also what this SEAL is -- what this Navy SEAL is facing once he leaves. I didn't realize that he wasn't eligible for V.A. benefits for the rest of his life.
PHIL BRONSTEIN, CONTRIBUTOR, "ESQUIRE" MAGAZINE: Well, he's not; he's eligible for one thing. And that is the V.A. has five years of free medical care for the vet. Not for the family. It's care; it's not insurance. And the fact is, is that a huge number of people, including the shooter, don't know it exists, because the DoD does a very poor job of letting them know.
COOPER: So this -- but this Navy SEAL, who's had this incredible career, leaves with no pension, no health insurance.
BRONSTEIN: No health insurance, certainly, for himself and his family. And no protection, which is really one of the big issues, because it's entirely possible his name could come out. Matt Bissonette wrote a book. Within days his picture was on a jihadi Web site.
And all the SEAL told this shooter was "We have a witness protection program that we could institute. It's not there yet, but if you want to drive a beer truck in Milwaukee, we can arrange that. You have to cut all your ties with the rest of your family and basically disappear yourself."
COOPER: What -- in terms of what he told you about the raid, what surprised you the most?
BRONSTEIN: I think that he -- I think that the fact that it happened so fast but that he had certain images in his mind. You know, particularly the shooting of bin Laden. I mean, he -- there was one moment when he said, you know, "I had to raise my gun because I really didn't expect him to be -- he was really tall."
COOPER: He was surprised at how tall he was?
BRONSTEIN: Surprised at how tall it was. And I think that was sort of -- that was sort of my most enlightening moment for me, in the sense that it was really a human moment.
He also recognized in that instance, you know, I would try and talk to this guy and realize that, OK, this guy was one foot away from this icon.
BRONSTEIN: This cultural icon that we've learned, whose face we've known since 9/11. And suddenly, here is this really regular guy. I mean, he's a SEAL, and they're extraordinary, but he's a human being.
So what struck me about his narrative of the mission was not so much all of the detail, some of which -- much of which we've heard before, but his human reaction.
COOPER: And his reaction upon shooting bin Laden and sort of registering what he had done, he -- sort of the phrase that he said to himself. BRONSTEIN: Well, he said, you know, "I just shot Osama bin Laden. I don't know whether that's -- I've just done the best thing in my life," meaning he paid tribute to the people of New York and the people of the United States, done his job, "or the worst thing in my life," which was to put a target on his back.
COOPER: And he is concerned about that. He has now taught his family how to protect themselves in the event somebody comes for him.
BRONSTEIN: Well, he and his wife described this in an astonishing way because he's taught her, put the kids in the tub, because there's a retaining wall there. Then sit next door in the bedroom, sit on the bed, brace your arm with a gun against the wall so it doesn't kick, and then shoot through the door. They can't -- they didn't have their military I.D.s anymore. So if she feels there's a problem or they feel there's a problem, they can't even take their family to the command and get -- and get right in the gate.
COOPER: The guy you've been talking to, who you profiled, it must have been difficult for him to even talk to you.
BRONSTEIN: I would say at first it was impossible. As it is impossible, as you've discovered in many cases. What happened is we got to know each other over time. This is a year and a quarter. In- person meetings, phone calls, a lot of communication. I know his wife, his family, members of his family, his friends. And so trust builds slowly.
And the point of this, you know, he had the go/no go button in his hand until the very end. He could have said, "I don't want to do this."
I think he came to believe that, if he could tell the story, that people would understand that these guys aren't Jason Bourne. They're not supernatural. They're fabulous, but they're -- but they're human, and if they're human, like any human being, they need some support, and they need some help at various times in their lives.
COOPER: When he actually shot bin Laden, I mean, they were within ten inches, he says, of each other.
BRONSTEIN: The shooter rolled into the room. As he entered the doorway, he describes, there's bin Laden pushing with -- standing with his hands on his youngest wife's shoulders, pushing her forward, or she's leading him forward. Of course, it's pitch black for anybody in the house, but these guys have goggles.
And they're sort of moving this way, toward -- not exactly at the door and at him but kind of across a little bit, and he's literally, he says, about ten inches. His gun is ten inches from bin Laden's head. He makes his observation in that instant and then shoots one shot in the forehead, directly in the forehead, second shot as bin Laden's going down. As he's crumpled at the bottom of the bed, third shot in the forehead.
COOPER: There's also an interesting detail in the article that, after the raid was done and they're back, I guess, in Jalalabad, I guess it was, and the CIA analyst, the woman who is the one who's been spearheading this whole effort and had made this her life's work, he actually -- the shooter gave the magazine from his weapon to her.
BRONSTEIN: The shooter had had contact with her, as had other members of the assault team. And she was there. They pull the body, and they unzip it from the bag, take it out, so Admiral McRaven of Special Forces can see it. And then he sees her, and then he asks her to come over and he said, "Is this your guy?"
And then he takes out -- this had actually been proposed to him by the point men they should give her something. And he took his magazine out, which had 27 bullets, minus the three he'd shot bin Laden with, and he said, "I hope you have room for this in your backpack." That was the last time he saw her.
COOPER: It's -- it's a fascinating article. Thanks for talking about it.
BRONSTEIN: Thanks for having me on.
COOPER: We asked the Navy for a response to the "Esquire" article. In a statement, they told us, and I quote, "We take seriously the safety and security of our people, as well as our responsibility to assist sailors making the transition to civilian life. Without more information about this particular case, it would be difficult to determine the degree to which our transition programs succeeded."
In Arlington, Texas, thousands gathered today at Cowboys Stadium to remember former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling memoir "American Sniper." He was shot to death on February 2. Another veteran is charged in the double murder.
Kyle is considered one of the deadliest snipers in U.S. military history. In his book, he says he killed at least 160 enemy combatants. After retiring, he became an advocate for veterans struggling with PTSD.
Today his wife remembered her husband as a warrior through and through. She also said this.
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TAYA KYLE, WIFE OF CHRIS KYLE: There isn't enough time to tell you everything you mean to me and everything you taught me. I know you had no idea you were teaching me, but there is something only God and I have known for a long time. God worked through you to make me into the woman I am supposed to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Chris Kyle was just 38 years old. He leaves also behind two children. His funeral will be tomorrow.
Just ahead, more than 4,200 people are stranded aboard a Carnival cruise ship tonight off the Yucatan Peninsula. We've got new details on the plans to rescue them.
Also ahead, someone decided it was a good idea to bring a giant bird of prey to a hockey game and then, well, the fun began. We'll tell you how it all worked out for the condor and the hockey players.
SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay with a "360 Bulletin."
Breaking news tonight: the United States is working to confirm that North Korea has carried out another nuclear test. That's according to a senior administration official. The U.S. Geological Survey has reported a seismic disturbance in an area of North Korea close to where two previous nuclear tests were conducted. North Korea said last month that it was planning a new test as part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States.
Two women are dead after a gun man opened fire in a Delaware courthouse. The gunman was also killed. Police say it's unclear if he shot himself or was killed by officers who responded. Two of those officers were wounded.
A Carnival cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico will be towed to Mobile, Alabama, and is expected to arrive sometime Thursday. An engine fire left the ship dead in the water off the coast of Yucatan with more than 4,200 people aboard. Passengers say there are few working toilets, food lines are long, and electricity is scarce.
As many as 42 million Americans have errors on their credit reports, according to a new study by the Federal Trade Commission. They say they examined around 3,000 credit reports. Some of the errors found were serious enough to lower credit scores and affect interest rates that consumers qualify for.
And a condor found itself on ice listening to the national anthem and made a run for it. And can you blame him? The bird is a mascot for the Bakersfield Condors, a minor-league hockey team in California. He got as far as the tunnel to the locker room before he was caught -- Anderson.
COOPER: Isha, thanks very much.
Coming up, the wait is finally over: the crowning of a new bacon queen. "The RidicuList" is next.
COOPER: Welcome back. Time now for "The RidicuList." And no matter how you spent your weekend, unless you were in Des Moines, Iowa, for the sixth annual Bacon Festival, I personally think you really missed out.
This event is no laughing matter. The 8,000 tickets sold out in just three minutes. The event has doubled in size every year. It features everything you might expect from a bacon festival and some things you might not, such as the pardoning of a pig by the governor.
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TERRY BRANSTAD, GOVERNOR, IOWA: Congratulations, Bonnie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is a very sweet little pig.
How did the Bacon Festival get started, you might ask? Well, that is a magical tale full of whimsy.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all happened by complete accident, like anything wonderful: electricity, penicillin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes. There's just one difference, you never saw Alexander Fleming standing in front of a dress made of penicillin. Did you happen to notice that in the background, the dress made entirely of bacon there?
It was designed by a dress maker in East Des Moines, which we all know if the seat of pork-based fashion in the Greater Des Moines area. And the CBO of Bacon Fest -- that would be the chief bacon officer -- he's blown away by its majesty.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It widely surpassed anything I thought was achievable. I mean, look at it. It sparkles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sparkles? Come on, bacon guy. It's a dress made of bacon. It doesn't sparkle. It sizzles.
There's one other element of Bacon Fest that we simply have to talk about, courtesy of our affiliate, KCCI.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And of course, there was the annual coronation of this year's Bacon Queen. After a Q&A from the Bacon Fest organizers and an intense talent competition, the winner was announced.