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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Bin Laden Son-in-Law Arrested; Deadly Lion Attack; From Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion
Aired March 7, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news, Bin Laden's son-in- law captured. The al Qaeda operative behind bars in New York, blocks from the scene of the worst terror attack in this country's history. Is it adding insult to injury that he's here and not at Guantanamo.
Also, animal instincts --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always feared it, always feared it would happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Could anything had saved Diana Hanson and should she'd been in that cage with the wild animal in the first place?
Plus, the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg.
Tell me why you've gone from dog to lion?
SNOOP LION, MULTI-PLATINUM ARTIST: Well, it's a -- it's a transformation musically, spiritually and mentally.
MORGAN: His name has changed but Snoop is outspoken as ever. On fame --
SNOOP LION: The fame is definitely a lethal drug. You have to know how to contain it, to know how to not abuse it.
SNOOP LION: You don't hear nothing about people going out and doing crazy crimes under marijuana.
MORGAN: And guns.
SNOOP LION: I could go and get a gun right now, just like that. It shouldn't be that easy.
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. We'll begin with breaking news tonight. Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, the man they called al Qaeda's mouthpiece, is scheduled to be arraigned at 10:00 tomorrow morning in a federal courtroom right here in New York. Suleiman Abu Ghaith is charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals. His capture now is on the day the Senate approved John Brennan as the next director of the CIA. And amidst of raging arguments about the Obama administration's foreign policy.
Today's news is intensifying another fierce debate, this one about the treatment of enemy combatants. Listen to Senator Lindsey Graham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We're putting the administration on notice. We think that sneaking this guy into the country, clearly going around the intent of Congress when it comes to enemy combatants, will be challenged. If this man, the spokesman for 9/11, is not an enemy combatant, who would be?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joining me now is Fran Townsend, CNN contributor and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank, also CNN contributor and former CIA operative Robert Baer, former New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Riches, who recovered his own son's body after 9/11, and attorney Alan Dershowitz.
Welcome to you all. We've got a packed panel. Well, it's a very complex case.
Fran, let me start with you to tee up what's really happened here because this character was first arrested in Turkey. I mean, I'm not quite sure what he was doing there. But then after 33 days he was released because Turkish law meant he had to be. Then the CIA swooped him in Jordan.
What else do we know?
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, let's talk about the important fact that we don't know. This man had been in relative safety under house arrest in Iran for over a decade. So why would he have left Iran and the safety of Iran not knowing whether or not he would have been taken into captivity?
We don't know why he went to Turkey. It seems pretty clear that the Turks didn't want to have responsibility for his ultimate sort of how he was handled. And wanted him gone. There was an agreement, clearly, that he would be accepted into Jordan. There's a CIA tip, and obviously, the CIA is able to get custody of him through their Jordanian allies so that he can be transferred to the United States and to FBI custody.
MORGAN: Paul, also a major coup for the CIA to pull in this guy, he's a front man for al Qaeda. We've all seen him ranting and raving after 9/11 and other atrocities. In terms of bringing him to New York, this is a significant change, obviously what happened with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who was -- went straight to Guantanamo and so on.
How significant is this and what is the thinking, do you think, behind doing it this way?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, it's a significant coup for the Americans here. This was an al Qaeda insider, or at least 10 years ago, he was an al Qaeda insider, very, very close to Osama bin Laden. Part of the discussions within al Qaeda about whether they should attack the United States, a major operation against the United States.
He came down on the side of yes, we should attack the United States. So a major figure, but it's not clear over the last 10 years how operationally involved he has been within the terrorist network. And clearly now, he's going to be tried in New York. The family is here in New York will get to come to the court and to see justice be done then.
MORGAN: Bob Baer, you know more about the CIA's operations than many people. What do you make of this? It's pretty Bond-like, isn't it? The way they swooped on this guy and pulled him into New York. Clearly, caused a lot of eruptions over in Washington.
What do you think of the operation itself?
ROBERT BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, I think it was well done. I mean, picking him up in Turkey, getting the Turks to go along with this. There couldn't be exactly ecstatic about this, having a person like this crossing their country. Shifting him to the Jordanians who absolutely would go along and not send him on to Kuwait, as was the plan originally, to extradite him, and then get him to New York.
It was -- it was done well, and in addition, getting the FBI to actually take custody of the man is key to this operation because the chain of evidence is going to go right from them into the court. And we're going to have a clean trial here. And I would probably say that we're going to see some intelligence out of Abbottabad appearing in the court that will implicate this man in 9/11 or other crimes.
MORGAN: Well, Alan Dershowitz, from a legal point of view, I mean, we've read here all the details of his charge sheet. On the face of it, not that strong, but as Bob says, are we likely to get more meat on the bone later, do you think?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, ATTORNEY: I sure hope so. This is a very, very thin indictment. It's a typical like Mafia-style indictment. It starts by describing al Qaeda and then says he was part of it, and then it skips to after 9/11 and says basically after 9/11 he spoke to Americans and said, we're going to do it again.
I would think there might be a RICO charge ultimately, racketeering influence corrupt organization, which goes back 10 years and doesn't require as much specificity, or we might see more elements of conspiracy that will come out of other intelligence. If the case goes to trial on this indictment, it is very far from a slam dunk that there'll be a conviction.
MORGAN: Jim, you lost your son on 9/11. How do you feel about the fact that this guy is going to be arraigned in a U.S. court in New York a few blocks from ground zero?
JIM RICHES, FORMER FDNY DEPUTY CHIEF: Well, the family is very happy that he's been caught, and 3,000 people were murdered that day and finally we were starting to catch some of the terrorists. We were promised by Obama in January of '09 -- back Guantanamo, at the trials down there, swift and certain justice. There has been no justice for the families. We're outraged. Everything has been crazy.
I'm offended by Lindsey Graham. These people played politics, the Republicans and Democrats, with the trials of these men. It's wrong. They should be brought to trial, 254 men have been tried in federal court, and it's gone well. Now they try to play politics with this, and we have been held up. We're in pretrial motions with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Let's get these trials going in New York City. All of the people who were affected that day can go see the trials and that's where it should be, in New York City.
MORGAN: I mean, Frank, I think a lot of people would echo that sentiment. Certainly the families involved here. They don't want any politics involved in this, but there is politics involved. Lindsey Graham very strong today. I'm sure other congressmen and senators will come out tomorrow saying similar stuff.
What will happen politically? I mean, could this decision get overturned?
TOWNSEND: I think that's unlikely. Look, the way that the executive branch sort of -- from the president on down from a policy perspective organized this operation, they organized it with the specific purpose of having this guy in federal court. It's a uniquely executive branch decision. And so it's unlikely there are going to be a lot of fuss about it.
I think in fairness, while I think it is quite right to say there's politics being played, there is a -- there is a reasonable legal debate to be had about whether or not you treat someone as a civil defendant and accord them constitutional rights, that they denied their own victims or you treat them as an enemy combatant. I think that's a fair legal debate. I agree. This is not a case to be played politics with.
DERSHOWITZ: They could be both. I mean, they can be both combatants and criminals. And therefore, you really have a choice whether to treat them as a combatant or a criminal.
TOWNSEND: That's right. And I think --
DERSHOWITZ: They're clearly criminals as well.
TOWNSEND: That's right. And I --
DERSHOWITZ: And they're making a choice. Yes.
TOWNSEND: My only point, Alan, is that I think it's a righteous debate to be had.
DERSHOWITZ: Right. You're right. But Congress can't interfere. Once the executive has made the decision to arrest --
TOWNSEND: Not with the decision that's going to be made. That's right.
DERSHOWITZ: Congress doesn't have the power to say, don't try them by the ordinary Bill of Rights --
TOWNSEND: Right. And that's my point.
MORGAN: But, Paul, let's talk briefly about this man. He's been in Iran, as we now know, for nearly a decade. If it turns out he's been involved in any plotting of al Qaeda atrocities from Iran, that is a big deal.
CRUICKSHANK: Well, that would be a big deal. In 2011, the Treasury Department asserted that Iran and al Qaeda were cooperating on certain issues, for example, moving fighters across that region. So that would absolutely be a big deal, but this guy was a spokesman for al Qaeda in the year after 9/11. He came out with a lot of statements at that time. And one of them was asserting the rights for al Qaeda to kill four million Americans, including with chemical weapons and biological weapons. Some of that will be used in court case.
MORGAN: Fran, I mean, the argument about Guantanamo, President Obama, of course, tried to argue before he got elected the first time, he wanted to shut it down, and then didn't. It was pointed out to him that if one of these people gets released and commits some appalling atrocity, he'll be held accountable and cost him the presidency. That's to believe -- as to why he backed down.
Is there an argument to say that if this man was taken to Guantanamo, they would get more out of him?
TOWNSEND: I don't think -- look, I think we've got to be honest. Because he's been -- the best we can see right now, he's been out of the game for over a decade. The notion that there's any sort of real- time actionable intelligence, the odds of that are very small. And so I don't think that there's an -- I don't think that's the argument to be made about whether or not you take him to Guantanamo or the criminal court.
MORGAN: Bob, would you agree with that? If you were in the CIA, involved in this operation, would you want him at Guantanamo or in the way that it's being handled?
BAER: The way it's being handled. Look, there's nothing -- no decent intelligence has come out of Guantanamo that we have ever seen. The Senate has come out and looked at these interrogations, the hostile ones and otherwise, and it just -- has not proven worth it. So I think that -- actually at trial, a lot of information will come out. I think a lot of testimony.
And we need openness on what happened on 9/11. We're still not clear. We're not clear about the Iranian role. And I want to hear how he ended up there. I want to hear how four of the hijackers transited Iran, going to Afghanistan, then coming back and doing 9/11. There's a lot of good stuff is going to come out of this.
MORGAN: Jim, the TSA has announced that knives will now be allowed on planes again. I was a bit surprised about that. I mean, you can't take a bottle of water on a plane, but you can now take pen knives and so on. Are you alarmed by this?
RICHES: Totally offended. They -- you know, how -- they cut one of the -- one of the stewardess' throat with the knives. I mean, who's down there? Who's in charged? What are they thinking? We're going to have another 9/11. More people are going to die. Three thousand innocent Americans were slaughtered that day. I picked up the body parts down at ground zero. I saw everyone (INAUDIBLE) and they requested that.
I think Obama or somebody ought to take charge right now and say whoever made this decision, rescind it. Nobody wants to see -- we all want to fly safely and get it done. And it's wrong. Somebody should step in right away. It seems like a nonsensical crazy idea that someone had and --
MORGAN: It just seemed totally perverse, because I can't think why anybody would need a knife on a plane. Why do you need one? They may take it away, they were the last thing that I was concerned about. The water or something to eat, I get. But a knife, why would anybody need a knife during a flight?
RICHES: You're headed for another tragedy again.
RICHES: It's going to be -- those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. That's all has to be said. Take the guy out who made the decision. Change the law.
MORGAN: Alan, let's talk briefly about drones. Extraordinary performance of Senator Rand Paul yesterday. He talked and he talked and he talked. But actually, it got more and more impressive the longer he went on and he did get some action. He got a response from Eric Holder.
What did you make of it?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think it's good to have this debate. I think you have to put it in a constitutional context. Look, the police have the right to kill a fleeing felon if he's committed a dangerous offense or he's about to kill somebody, but drone is obviously a much more powerful weapon and a hellcat missile than a pistol or a rifle, but the principle that you don't have to have a trial before you kill somebody who's imminently likely to commit a dangerous act is well established under our Constitution.
And Rand Paul should have spent more time on that. Whether or not we want to extent that principle to a military act against Americans on American soil, Holder was right that hypothetically one can imagine a situation where somebody was aiming rockets at the Pentagon or at a school and the only way to get around is to hit him with a drone, but he used bad hypothetical examples, and he opened himself up to a lot of criticism.
It's worth having a debate, but neither Holder nor Rand Paul, I think, made the debate nuance and subtle the way it must be.
MORGAN: And, Fran, what did the international community make of this debate? Because there must be people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and others where drones are being used repeatedly saying, well, why shouldn't a drone be allowed to be used in America for the reasons that Alan cites if they're happily using them in the rest of the world?
TOWNSEND: Well, and there's the added difficulty, right, if it's OK for Americans to use drones around the world, why isn't it OK for foreign countries, Iran, for example, to use a drone over the U.S. or in the U.S.? I mean, the problem is, the laws have not kept up with technology. And so -- including international law, and so I quite agree. I think it's worth having this debate. But I do think it -- it's been too politicized and not quite nuanced enough.
MORGAN: I agree.
Well, listen, thank you, all-star panel. It's not often we get such a panel, such illustrious names all sitting here at once. I thank you very much all for coming in.
And Bob, there, as always, thank you for your contribution.
Coming up, new questions about the horrific lion attack that killed a young intern. Why was she in the cage alone with the wild animal?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDY DEBBAS, PRESIDENT OF PROJECT SURVIVAL'S CAT HAVEN: She was doing what she loved, and she did it with joy every day that she worked here. And she's going to be missed. I'm so sorry this has happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A tearful apology from the president of Project Survival's Cat Haven where a 24-year-old intern was killed by a lion. The coroner says the 350-pound lion named Cous Cous opened the gate between two cages and broke the neck of Dianna Hanson. The coroner says the victim did not suffer.
There are a lot of new questions tonight. Jenny Michaels is with the Jungle Jenny Foundation, worked with that very lion, and joins me along with Patty Finch, the executive director of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, who says there's no safe way to be inside a lion's cage.
Welcome to you both.
Patty Finch, let me start with you. The more we learn about this, the more it looks like just an appalling accident in the sense that the lion appears to have got out of its own cage and into a second cage where this young intern was working. If that is the case, where would blame lie here?
PATTY FINCH, GLOBAL FEDERATION OF ANIMAL SANCTUARIES: Well, I hate to even talk about blame at this time, as I know the family's hurting, the sanctuary is hurting. It's just a very tragic situation all around. But the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries has specific standards and there is redundancy built into the safety protocols, and also in -- for instance, Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, an intern would never be allowed to be servicing the cage of a big cat. It's simply not allowed. There's only four senior staff that can do that with the cat locked out.
MORGAN: Right, I mean, Jenny, we discussed this briefly yesterday. You have been down there. You met this very lion. We saw video footage of you with Cous Cous. I mean, do you agree with what Patty is saying? I mean, it does seem extraordinary that somebody so young and inexperienced could find herself in any kind of position where a lion could attack her.
JENNY MICHAELS, THE JUNGLE JENNY FOUNDATION: Piers, I think that's a good question. You know, I don't feel comfortable answering that. I don't know what her experience was. You know, I can only say that while I was at Project Survival's Cat Haven, they were very professional. We went through a series of safety precautions during every one of those interviews, each one of those cats that we discussed, and that particular video that you're talking about, so, you know, all I can say is that while I was there, you know, we -- we took a lot of safety precautions.
MORGAN: I mean, Patty, we're looking at pictures there of Jenny with Cous Cous. He was a 350-pound lion. He was I think nearing 5 years old. Reaching his male sexual maturity. And would therefore be potentially at his most dangerous, I'm led to believe. Is that right?
FINCH: Well, I think -- I think any adult felid is at their most dangerous and our standards at from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries call for no human contact with these felids unprotected, period. So no one ever enters a cage knowingly where a felid is loose. It's simply not done. It's not allowed and I don't think it should be allowed.
MORGAN: What is extraordinary is that apparently there are no federal regulations safeguarding animal workers. They exist just for the public. I was pretty shocked to hear that. I mean, there have been a number -- I think since 1995, we worked out, there have been 22 people killed by captive big cats. More than 248 have been mauled according to Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary in Florida.
So you would have thought there could be by now be some kind of federal regulation relating to people who work at these places.
FINCH: Yes, but there really is none. The laws protect the public but not the workers, not the interns, not the volunteers. And that's why we think our standards are so important. Some sanctuaries don't even realize or whatever the facility is called, don't even realize when they're taking chances with these cats. They don't realize the power. They don't realize that even if you have reared one of these since it was a baby, something can trigger them and probably will trigger them.
It might be the musk in the perfume that you have on. It might be a car backfiring. Anything can set them off. They're wired to be set off.
MORGAN: I mean, Jenny, we're still watching footage there of you with -- I think with Cous Cous, amongst other animals and big cats. When you were in close proximity to Cous Cous, describe the kind of power that you feel because I had a full-sized cheetah here when Jack Hanna came in, and I was pretty startled, actually, just how powerful it felt to be in the presence of a big cat that close.
MICHAELS: You know, I felt safe when I was in close proximity with Cous Cous along with Dale Anderson. If you are watching that video, you'll notice that I am in -- that Dale is in between myself and Cous Cous. And you know, I really felt the love there at this -- at the Educational Center.
I didn't feel the fear and, you know, the -- I felt that we went over a lot of safety precautions before I ever went in, and so, you know, I didn't have that feeling of the fearlessness.
MORGAN: Right. So Dianna Hanson's father gave a very moving interview earlier to CNN. He said this. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL HANSON, DIANNA HANSON'S FATHER: I always had a bad premonition that some day that -- those animals could turn on her, but she was absolutely fearless. She was no more afraid of those lions and tigers than she was of a house cat. Just totally fearless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Patty, it's an appalling tragedy that a young woman has lost her life. How do you feel about the fact that Cous Cous has also been shot and killed as a result of this?
FINCH: Well, whenever people are allowing direct contact with these animals, they're not only putting themselves at risk, any other people at risk, they're putting the animal at risk, as we see -- we see clearly here. They're putting law enforcement at risk. I just don't think they should have the right to do that. And for what gain? An sego gain? Or, if you want to show affection to a big cat, you can do that with a nice, long cat back scratcher. You can chuff (ph) that tiger. There's a lot of ways to have a bond with an animal without direct contact. And why expose everyone to that danger, including the animal.
MORGAN: Yes. A very, very sad story. Patty Finch and Jenny Michaels, thank you both for joining me.
MICHAELS: Thank you.
FINCH: Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, a change of pace. The artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg joins us to talk about music, drugs, guns, and his spiritual awakening. It's a pretty remarkable encounter you'll discover after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SNOOP LION: Sitting the room, that's where I went.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Back in the day, that's gin and juice, the hip-hop classic from Snoop Dogg. That was then, now the superstar goes by a new name, Snoop Lion. Part of his remarkable transformation. From movies to music to even coaching football, Snoop does it all.
Mr. Lion, welcome to you.
SNOOP LION: Thank you for having me.
MORGAN: How are you?
SNOOP LION: Hey, the pleasure is all mine.
MORGAN: I've waited a long time for this. Huge fan of yours. Now tell me why you've gone from Dogg to Lion?
SNOOP LION: Well, it's a transformation musically, spiritually, and mentally. I went to Jamaica on a journey to make some music and it -- eventually became, you know, engulfed with the spirit of Rastafari and the spirit of reggae music. And the transformation was necessary. It became what it is.
MORGAN: Jamaica is a very special place, isn't it? I have good friends from there, interviewed Usain Bolt, the sprinter. He's from there. And I know some cricketers who are from Jamaica. It has a special soul to it.
SNOOP LION: It does. it's a special place. Once you engulf Jamaica, it takes over you. No matter what kind of person you are, it's just that spirit of love and caring and giving that becomes a part of you. Once I became a part of Jamaica and the music and the culture, it took me in as a brother.
MORGAN: Bob Marley is up there somewhere smiling down on you, Snoop Lion. He loves this stuff. SNOOP LION: That's what it's about. To me, the whole title of the record "Reincarnated" is because I always felt like I was Bob Marley reincarnated. And I felt like I was making music that wasn't representing the spirit that I wanted. I wanted to make music that could possibly get me on the essence of wars, or get me in the White House or get me in a big position where I could say something.
I felt like my music never did that, even though it done a lot for a lot of people. But it never spoke from the true place that I wanted to speak from, a place of love.
MORGAN: You -- this is your direct quote, "it ain't about money. It's about respect." Explain to me what you mean by that.
SNOOP LION: You know, a lot of people have money but don't have respect. And a lot of people with respect don't have money. So when you do get money, you shouldn't let money be the tool or the vehicle. You should always focus on giving respect and getting respect at the same time, because the money could be taken away at any given point.
MORGAN: Have you had times in your life when you have been -- maybe had plenty of money but been very disrespectful? Have you been that other person?
SNOOP LION: Oh yes, definitely, because that's what comes with the territory, especially when you don't know how to handle money, and you don't know what to do with the money, and you let money become, you know, the direction of your life. But until you understand what life is all about, then you put money back in its proper perspective.
MORGAN: When you see the problems in places like Chicago with predominantly young black men in their late teens, often involved in this gang violence, you have been in that position. What are the real causes, do you think? And what are the best possible ways of resolving it?
SNOOP LION: It's miscommunication somewhere. It's a miscommunication with the people in the community and the youth. Because the youth are in revolt. They're doing what they want to do because no one is there to give them directions on what they need to do.
When I came up, we had certain criteria of gangsters that we looked up to who were called O.G.s. And these O.G.s would teach us and show us the appropriate way to do it.
Nowadays, there aren't too many O.G.s that take the time to give these guys the guidance and direction. So they're misguided and they're out there walking around taking their own direction.
MORGAN: You're a very loving husband and father. How much of that is a problem with these young kids and these gangs, where they don't have perhaps a father figure? They have a very dysfunctional family background? And what's the best way of tackling that?
SNOOP LION: I think that's 95 percent of the problem. Because if you don't have nobody to, you know, match what your mother is teaching you -- if your mother is teaching you to do what is right and you don't have that father figure there, you tend to do what is wrong. And the best way to try to help that problem is to try to stay a community, stay organized and stay with each other. It takes a village of people to raise one kid.
You know, one thing about my community when I came up, it wasn't just about my mother raising me. It was about everybody in the community. If I did something wrong, somebody down the street could check me and get me back in the pocket. Nowadays, it's like there's no law, no rule, no understanding to when the kid is wrong and when he's right.
MORGAN: You were born Calvin Broaddus from Long Beach, in California. Does anybody actually call you Calvin anymore?
SNOOP LION: No, I mean, you know, because I have become Snoop.
MORGAN: Must be somebody?
SNOOP LION: Probably the people I went to school with, some of the officials, and some of the law enforcement that have seen my life drastically change in the appropriate way.
MORGAN: There's my friend Calvin.
SNOOP LION: Yes, sir.
MORGAN: Where you grew up, 20 percent of the people that lived there lived under the poverty line. So you came from a pretty tough background. When you see the economic strife so many Americans are having now, what is your message to them? Obviously, you made an incredible success of your life. When you look back on how you did that and how you broke free from the gangs and everything else, and from poverty, what do you think were the key determinators in enabling you to do that?
SNOOP LION: One of the keys was separating myself, closing the gap. I had to close a gap between me and my friends. A lot of my friends weren't going to go where I wanted to go and didn't have the vision to go where I wanted to go. So I had to close the gap and learn how to, you know, association with them or without, and still be their friends and still love them, but do my journey without them, because it was not going to work with them not having the same vision as me and not having the same work ethic and the same beliefs, as far as I had to relinquish all of my drug selling duties. I didn't sell drugs, I didn't gang bang.
I had to leave it all alone when I became Snoop Dogg, the rapper, when I said this is what I want to do. And I didn't make no money. I didn't get no attention. I wasn't a star. So there were sacrifices that I had to make that my friends weren't willing to make.
So I say to you, whatever you're willing to do in life, you have to be willing to make that sacrifice first and foremost, and stand on your own two feet and be a leader, not a follower.
MORGAN: That takes supreme self discipline and dedication, doesn't it?
SNOOP LION: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. It takes a lot of that. But at the same time, you get it with the tough of the hard knocks of the streets. I was hard headed. My mother taught me the right ways and the things to do to avoid going to jail and being incarcerated. But I was hard headed. I didn't listen to her. So I chose to go out there and rumble with the homies because I didn't have a father figure at home.
But that didn't mean that she didn't do her best. So I understand what the mothers are going through as far as having a child without a father to be there to help them raise them.
MORGAN: Let's take a look at the documentary "Reincarnated." It comes out on March 15th. Let's watch a bit of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SNOOP LION: My life is in stages, you know what I mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Calvin Broaddus, not guilty of the crime of murder in the first degree.
SNOOP LION: Whether it's me performing live on the stage --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me hear you say Snoop Dogg.
CROWD: Snoop Dogg.
SNOOP LION: -- going through stages in life. That's what my life has always been based on. And that's what forced me to find a new path.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: It's very powerful in parts. It's been called funny, disarming, poignant. I doubt you have been called poignant too many times in your early life. Do you feel lucky to be alive when you look back over everything you came through?
SNOOP LION: I feel very lucky and blessed at the same time, because I have seen a lot of people not make it. And I was in positions where I could have been right along with them. And you know, I feel like, you know, when you're here, you're here for a reason and you need to do the right thing and do more of what's necessary, as opposed to what's unnecessary.
MORGAN: You have written a very powerful song about guns, which I want to come back and talk to you after the break. It's called "No Guns Allowed." And it has a very eloquent and evocative message I want to discuss with you in a moment.
MORGAN: Latest music video, "Here Comes the King" from the new album "Reincarnated," out in April. I'm back now with Snoop Lion. You were a gangster rapper, we have discussed this. You have now written a song called "No Guns Allowed." What was the inspiration for this? Because it obviously for you represents a pretty big U-turn in your life.
SNOOP LION: What it was, it was a -- certain scenarios in my life where I had guns in my life, and I ran into a situation with the law where they came through my house and took all of the guns out of my house and put my family through a whole lot of unnecessary abuse and what not. And I just felt like I had got to the point in my career and my life where I didn't need guns in my life, because I didn't project that energy. I felt like I was positive and peaceful.
At the same time, I kept hearing about all these school shootings and these people getting guns in their hands and not knowing what to do with them, and just going on a rampage. So it really touched me and affected me to where I wanted to say something and I wanted to make some music to try to help the next person that was thinking about loading to a gun, going to a school and shooting, maybe helping him put that gun down and think about what he was doing or what she was doing before they did that.
MORGAN: I mean, the gun is to many people in America a symbol of power. It may be involving membership of a gang or it may be a crazed young mass shooter who wants to make a name for himself. Whatever it may be, at the center of it is a sense of it empowers you. You have felt that. And then you have renounced that power.
Why do so many people, do you think, associate the gun with some form of self-esteem?
SNOOP LION: Well, first of all, we are guilty as Americans of promoting the gun as one of the most highly touted things you could have in your life. Whether it's good or bad, we have always did that, from the time I was a kid. I would always see pictures and movies with my favorite guys with guns, and you know, them toting them around and doing whatever they did with them.
And then when it got to the point where the gun became a part of your everyday life, to where people were getting killed and people were dying, then you had to really take into account, is this gun really necessary? Is it necessary for me to have this gin? Or is it better for me not to have a gun? They say it's better to be caught with than without. But once you get older, it's better not to have one.
MORGAN: When you look at the gun debate in America right now, it clearly polarizes people. It's extremely emotive. I have had many angry exchanges now with people who say that anyone who wants gun control is damaging their Second Amendment rights and so on. What do you think of the debate?
SNOOP LION: I don't think we should get rid of guns. We just need to get them out of the wrong hands. And there should be more provisions to -- in order to get a gun. And there should be more put on that, because you see the results when they're in the wrong hands, tragedies, kids losing their lives, people unexpectedly being shot upon.
I mean, this is horrific, man. So we have to try to figure out how to control it. If we don't, who will? So it is a time for change. Some of these laws that were written in the 1800s need to be tweaked for the 2000s. That's just what it is.
I can go get a gun right now, just like that. It shouldn't be that easy.
MORGAN: How much responsibility should the music industry take in terms of allowing other rappers to write songs which glorify the use of guns? Hollywood with movies that do the same? You say yourself you were affected by the Hollywood movies you saw. Violent video games?
SNOOP LION: Me personally, I love entertainment for what it is, but when the entertainment comes off the screen and becomes a part of your everyday life, then it becomes frightening, and then you have to figure out what is the best move to prevent something like that from happening again? Because we still haven't thought of a way to prevent these tragedies from happening.
They could happen at any given moment.
MORGAN: One of the things you have done very successfully is try to give people an option perhaps to running with gangs and so on. A lot of it has to do with the Snoop Youth Football League. Tell me about that.
SNOOP LION: Snoop Youth Football League was created eight years ago for the urban communities, for me to give back to help the single parents and the kids who were affected by gang violence and not having fathers in their life. It's a program where football costs 100 dollars for a kid to play. They get to play football all season. They have to maintain a 2.0 GPA. And through the life of the program, we have put guys through Division I, such as D'Anthony Thomas. We've got guys in the NFL like Ronny Hillman who plays for the Denver Broncos.
So we have sent a lot of guys to Division I programs and high school. So we're so proud of our program for being able to step into these guys' lives and give them something. Then at the same time, we bring a lot of gang-related communities together who would have never worked together, but because of the kids, they're all intertwined in the Snoop Youth Football League. Now you have all of these different gang neighborhoods working together for one cause, to keep these kids playing football, in the Snoop Youth Football League.
MORGAN: It's excellent what you do. And I salute you for that. There should be a lot, lot more of it. Let's take another break. I want to come back and talk to you about what Willie Nelson told me about you and some rather long nights in Amsterdam, Mr. Lion.
SNOOP LION: Yeah, man.
MORGAN: That's "Daddy's Girl," the music video featuring Snoop Lion and his daughter, Cory B. Back now with Mr. Lion. I like calling you Mr. Lion.
SNOOP LION: Ya, man. I like the way you say it.
MORGAN: You're a very talented family. You've got two sons and a daughter. Your son Cordell is a high school football star, offered a scholarship to UCLA. You must be personally thrilled with that.
SNOOP LION: Man, I'm so ecstatic, because I used to have to pay to make him play football back in the days. Now he loves football. He's giving me all he can give me. So I'm loving that.
MORGAN: And working with your daughter, that must be a buzz.
SNOOP LION: Yeah, my baby girl, Cory B, she's singing and doing her thing and having fun. She just did her cover of the Taylor Swift song "Trouble" with her friend Gabby. It's a beautiful song out on Youtube right now.
MORGAN: Do you have any concerns about them entering the tawdry world of show business?
SNOOP LION: No, not really, because I feel like they've been spooned and groomed by being around me and me giving them the uncut version, as opposed to just hiding it and keeping it away from them. I've showed them from day one.
MORGAN: Is fame a lethal drug, in many ways? How have you learned to deal with what fame is about?
SNOOP LION: Definitely, fame is definitely a lethal drug. You have to know how to contain it and know how to not abuse it, because it can get the best of you. You can expect too much out of it. Because fame is meant to last for 15 minutes, but some of us know how to make it last a little longer. But at the same time, you can't let it get the best of you.
MORGAN: Now, let's go to another very famous man, Willie Nelson, who I had on the show recently, who I absolutely loved. And this is what he had to say about you, Mr. Lion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Do you take a lot of it?
WILLIE NELSON, SINGER: I think some people have more tolerance for smoking pot than others. I know people who can take one hit and just go to sleep completely. Other guys can smoke a lot. Me and Snoop smoke a lot, in every country, we've been in, I guess. I was in Amsterdam one time, and Snoop called me, wanted me to sing on his record. I said, OK. He said, where are you? I said, I'm in Amsterdam.
So he caught the next plane to come over. And we recorded a song together.
MORGAN: You and Snoop go to Amsterdam, the Mecca of dope, really, and you both have a load of it and then write some music together.
NELSON: Now we can go to Colorado.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So he's landed you right in it there.
SNOOP LION: Wow. That's special, man. I love Willie Nelson. I'm going to give you the story real quick, not to take up too much of your time. But on that trip in Amsterdam, we had so much fun. You know, our minds were going, so we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken. So we ordered some food. They brought the food in through the drive through. So they had this box of chicken.
So me and Willie sat side by side. We put our hands in at the same time, and we grabbed the same piece of chicken. I said, you know what, that's yours, Willie.
MORGAN: He is a fantastic guy. I really want to come on one of your road trips. They sound such fun.
SNOOP LION: You'd have a blast.
MORGAN: We can eat Kentucky. We can do whatever else you guys are up to.
SNOOP LION: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
MORGAN: Should marijuana now be legalized? Is it beyond that point now?
SNOOP LION: Yes, it's more medical than anything. It does more to creatively help you as opposed to hurt you. You know, you don't hear nothing about people going out, you know, doing crazy crimes under marijuana, getting into driving accidents, none of that. You just see people calm, relaxed, and dealing with their medical problems. Either staying to themselves and being on their own little ride.
MORGAN: Finally, Barack Obama, first African-American president, how did that make you feel? How do you think he's done?
SNOOP LION: Man, that made me feel, you know, like anything can happen in this world, if you put your mind to it and you work hard. And color has nothing to do with it. It's all about the ability to be the best at what you are.
And I feel like he's going a great job because, you know, he did take over a White House that was kind of half clean. Bills wasn't paid. Doors was unlocked. Cars wasn't running. He had to get things back in order before he could actually put his plan together. So I'm just so blessed that they gave him a second opportunity and a second run to continue to do great things to keep this country floating in the right direction.
MORGAN: Finally, how hard do I have to work and how much money do I have to earn to be able to afford a necklace like your lion necklace?
SNOOP LION: You my partner. I got one coming to you on the house.
MORGAN: You are my man. I think that's the right phrase, right?
SNOOP LION: Yes, sir.
MORGAN: Snoop Lion, it's been a great pleasure. It really has.
SNOOP LION: Thank you, brother.
MORGAN: Waited a long time and you delivered. Snoop's documentary,"Reincarnated," comes out March 15th. The album drops on April 23rd. Love the sound of that album.
SNOOP LION: Thank you.
MORGAN: Jamaica meets Snoop Dog.
SNOOP LION: Jah, Rastafari.
MORGAN: Great to see you.
SNOOP LION: Thank you.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night, music mogul and icon Clive Davis. A revealing and surprising interview about his personal life with women and with men. He also talks about Whitney Houston, his public feud with Kelly Clarkson and much, much more. That's tomorrow. That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts now.