Return to Transcripts main page


Conclave to Vote Tomorrow; Green on Blue Attack in Afghanistan; Outcry Over TSA's New Policy; Sandberg: Women, Lean In; Marine Debris Harms Ecosystems

Aired March 11, 2013 - 11:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. Nice to have you with me. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

They have met, they have talked, and they have prayed a lot. And tomorrow they are going to vote, or at least they are going to meet for the purpose of voting, which means tomorrow, theoretically, the 115-cardinal electors of the Roman Catholic Church could give the world a brand new pope.

Could it be Peter Turkson of Ghana? That would be the first African pope in more than 1,500 years. Or perhaps Luis Tagle of the Philippines, a rising star in the church, but seen by some people as perhaps too young to be pope at just 55-years-old.

Maybe Sean O'Malley of the United States, Boston, to be exact. He is one of two supposedly credible candidates for the first American pope ever. New York's Timothy Dolan is the other.

In fact, the United States has 11 voting cardinals of those 115, which makes us the second biggest block of voters behind Italy.

And speaking of Italy, the cardinals might look no farther than Milan and Angelo Scola. He has made outreach to Islam one of his specialties.

This much, we know. Every cardinal who casts a ballot is a candidate, and only they know who is or who is not on a short list, if, in fact, there is even a short list because that is still a big question.

My colleague Chris Cuomo is one of just, oh, I don't know, a small collection of 6,000 credentialed journalists who have gathered in the world's smallest country for this very, very big election.

And we're also happy to be joined by Father Edward Beck, a CNN contributor, author and television host.

Chris, let me begin with you. What did the cardinals do today to prepare for the big day tomorrow?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they had their final general congregation meeting today, and it's actually instructive because of what they covered today.

They talked about Vatican finance again. This is the second time they covered the issue, we're told. And that's relevant because it gives us a window into what the considerations are here.

Unlike American politics, Ashleigh, where we're so obsessed with the character and the beauty contest of it, this election is much more of what these cardinals want than even who, and that, going back to the Vatican bank and finance and the accountability, is the window into the urgency of this situation.

BANFIELD: And Chris, we have just a bit of breaking news. I'm not sure if it's made it to your live location yet, but I mentioned you are one of 6,000 credentialed journalists.

We know one person denied credentials. Pardon my pronunciation, but his name is Gianluigi Nuzzi. This is significant because of the scandals within the church.

What's the buzz around the Vatican?

CUOMO: Well, it's no secret and not news that the documents that were leaked in the Vatican leaks situation was very unfortunate, disappointing to the Vatican, and they struck out against it.

So, when the journalist in question wasn't credentialed because he wrote a book, in part using those documents, that was seen as their holding the line on the accountability of having seen that as being wrong.

And, obviously, the Vatican, as we talked earlier being its own sovereign, they can make that determination and they did so.

BANFIELD: And Father Beck, I want to turn to you. I mentioned a few people off the top of this program who seem to be getting a lot of buzz, seem to be getting a lot of mention.

I don't think we can call anybody frontrunners, and Chris is looking at you with the same look I have. How do we determine who the frontrunners are or at least who gets the buzz?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CATHOLIC PRIEST/AUTHOR/COMMENTATOR: Well, Ashleigh, you know that saying, when in Rome? Well, in Rome, they are talking about, believe it or not, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

He's on the front page of the papers. Romans that I've spoke to ask about Cardinal O'Malley.

Now, a really interesting choice. When he took over in Boston as cardinal in 2003, there were 17 seminarians. Today there are 70 seminarians.

This is a man who would be a reformer pope, which people say they're looking for. Can you imagine that balcony behind us with those red drapes if Sean O'Malley in a brown Franciscan habit were to step forth, what that would do?

Do you know that the reason the pope wears white isn't because it's always been that way. There was a Dominican in the 1500s who was named pope and they wore a white habit. And he said, I'm going to wear the habit of my community. He stepped out in the white habit and such it has been since then.

So, Sean O'Malley could very likely step out of there in a brown habit and it would change everything.

BANFIELD: And what -- can I ask you one ...

BECK: Why do you laugh?

BANFIELD: Yeah, why do you laugh? Why do you laugh, Chris?

CUOMO: Because it's a big deal to Father Beck because he's a priest, you know? And you say he's going to walk out in a brown habit, to me it just gives me one more thing to look for to know that we have a pope here.

But, you know, and also, it's like we're treating this in a lot of ways as journalists as an election. We want to know who are the frontrunners, what are the issues, who has the pluses and minuses.

But to this community of Catholics and, specifically, the cardinals, it goes so much deeper. It goes to the order of religious. It goes to the priorities of belief.

And while that might be harder for us to understand as, you know, a lot of secular journalists, certainly, in-house here and the people making this decision are looking at things like what Father Beck is looking at.

That would be meaningful change to them. You know, Americans want to hear about celibacy, women priests, but having someone from a religious order come out in their own dress would be a big deal.

BECK: Well, and someone who has been seen with the sex abuse scandal to have been a reformer.

CUOMO: Hard line.

BECK: He moved in after Cardinal Law in Boston, bad history, and he cleaned it up.

CUOMO: And financial accountability, too.

BECK: And financial accountability.

BANFIELD: I always wonder how much of this conversation is going on, clearly not within the conclave. It's supposed to be silent, but the two of you have a long day ahead of you, so I will let you get back to the work that you're doing.

And thank you both. Chris Cuomo, Father Beck, it's good to see you both. Thank you.

To the war in Afghanistan now. It has happened again. Two American troops killed today by a person wearing Afghan national security forces uniform. An unspecified number of NATO and Afghan troops were also killed in this attack. This also happened as our brand new defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, was just leaving the country after a three-day visit.

Barbara Starr joins us live now from the Pentagon. Do you have anything more that's developing on this story, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: We do, indeed, Ashleigh, a very grim reminder of the war's toll, two U.S. troops killed in Wardak province and, now, we are learning the initial reports are indicating perhaps as many as 10 Americans wounded in this attack.

The perpetrator said to be a man wearing a uniform of Afghan security forces, and, like in so many of these attacks, what we don't know is was he a legitimate member of the Afghan forces or just wearing, perhaps, a stolen uniform? All of that under investigation.

But the fact that the toll is so large, officials say they believe this person has an automatic weapon with him. This happened in Wardak province, Ashleigh. That's just west of Kabul, and that's the area of contention right now between Hamid Karzai and the U.S. military.

He's ordered all U.S. special forces out of Wardak province. The U.S. is trying to negotiate that with him.

They consider Wardak, the U.S. does, a very crucial area. It's on the road basically to Kabul. It's the way they try and keep the insurgents out of the capitol.


BANFIELD: Barbara Starr working this breaking story for us, thank you, Barbara.

The TSA says grab your knives, grab your golf clubs, get onboard. Some lawmakers are not on board with that.

It's a brand new policy. Will it fly? Pardon the pun. It is serious business. Pros and cons coming next.


BANFIELD: In South Africa, Oscar Pistorius is seeking permission to travel overseas. That is currently one of his bail restrictions.

A spokesman for the track star also says that Pistorius, who is charged with murdering his girlfriend, has been trying to sell his home and other assets to pay his mounting legal bills.

Outrage is building over a brand-new decision by the TSA that allows passengers to carry small pocket knives onto airplanes, this following an outcry from flight attendants and pilots and some members of Congress, too, who are calling on the Transportation Security Administration to leave those pocket knives on the banned list.

Here's Rene Marsh with all the details.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a few weeks, knives like these may be allowed through airport security if a new TSA policy goes into effect, but some lawmakers are vowing to fight it.

SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: And today, I am asking the TSA to rescind that ruling and say small knives, any knives, are not allowed on planes.

MARSH: New York Senator Chuck Schumer joins unions representing pilots, flight attendants and federal air marshals in publicly opposing the plan.

Delta Airlines CEO also expressed his objection in a letter sent to the agency, saying the change will, quote, "add little value to the customer security process flow in relation to the additional risk for our cabin staff and customers."

Under the TSA's new policy, knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches and less than a half an inch wide will be allowed, provided the blade does not lock in place. Larger knives, razor blades, and box cutters are still banned.

TSA Administrator John Pistole says the change will allow screeners to focus on things that could bring down an aircraft, like bombs.

JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: And the key factor for me is that that may detract us -- may detract us -- from that item that could be catastrophic failure to an aircraft.

MARSH: The chairman of the House homeland security says the TSA's highest priorities must be securing commercial aviation from the type of threats and weapons that could bring down an aircraft.

But Schumer says a knife does pose that risk and, given everything already banned, keeping them off planes only makes sense.

SCHUMER: Does anyone think this, which you're not allowed to bring on a plane, a bottle of shampoo, is more dangerous than this, a sharp and deadly knife?


MARSH: All right. Well, you know that knife that you just saw there Senator Schumer holding up, Ashleigh, the TSA says that style of knife actually would not be allowed on board a plane.

Meantime, Schumer is saying if the TSA does not repeal this new policy, he would be forced to consider introducing legislation that could overturn it.

One last point, the union representing flight attendants, they have petitioned the White House to keep these, these small pocket knives, off of planes. We checked that petition just a few minutes ago. Already, they have more than 19,000 signatures.


BANFIELD: And, yeah, important, Rene, that you showed that knife because it has no locking mechanism, so the itty-bitty blade, if it locks in place, like Charles Schumer was showing, is not legal.

Rene Marsh, thank you for that background and all of that information.

Joining me now with his take is Mike Brooks, who's a law enforcement analyst on our sister network HLN. He's also a former D.C. police detective. He knows a thing or two about weapons and bad guys.

So, here's the thing, Mike. You heard in that report there are the pros and there are the cons. Can a little itty-bitty knife bring down a big giant plane in this day and age?

MIKE BROOKS, "IN SESSION" LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, Ashleigh, I never say never because, you know, there's other things besides these knives that are going to be allowed on planes now.

Why do you need to take a baseball bat, a golf club, a hockey stick, a ski pole? These are going to be allowed into the cabins of these aircraft now. There's no reason.

BANFIELD: OK, I'm going to play the devil's advocate with you. Yeah, there is a reason ...


BANFIED: ... and here's what the TSA says. They say, we are mired in so much crap at the security checkpoints that we can't look for the really dangerous things like underwear bombs that will bring an aircraft down.

But with today's vigilant passengers, post-9/11, there is no one in the cabin who is going to let someone with a golf club or a teeny tiny knife take down a plane and the cabin doors are locked to the pilots.

BROOKS: Well, OK, fine. So you're going to use the flight attendants as collateral damage? And what about the federal air marshals who are on the planes, too? Because let me tell you something, Ashleigh, if something happens in the back of the plane, the FAMs, their job is to protect the cockpit at all costs.

BANFIELD: God forbid. OK, Listen --

BROOKS: Exactly, but let me finish. Let me tell you, if something goes on in the back, they are not going to be able to take care of that. Look, after I was in law enforcement, I was hired by Delta Airlines to start up an abusive passenger program before 9/11. And my job back then, I was trying to get the knives off the planes before 9/11. And after 9/11 happened, I thought it was good that they did not allow. Why bring it back on, there's no need.

BANFIELD: Notwithstanding that knives can hurt someone, I think we all agree with that. I walk New York City streets every day and I take that risk, but can a little knife -- even to the throat of a passenger or flight attendant, which is horrible -- can it kill the rest of the passengers? And that's what the TSA is saying, that their job is not to protect each and every one of us, like out on the streets of New York, it's to save the aircraft and the rest of us from going down.

BROOKS: Well, let me give you a hypothetical, god forbid it ever happen. What if someone with one of these little knives, up to an almost three-inch blade by a half inc, what if they cut the throat of a federal air marshal and get his or her gun? Could they then take down that plane? Absolutely. So, why allow them in?

And also at the checkpoints, TSA, OK, they see something, they're going to have to pull you aside. How big is this knife? They're going to have to measure it so that's going to take their eye off the ball of looking for other things. It's just -- why? There's no need for them on the plane. And you know what other organization that's against this, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association -- 26,000 officers and agents from 65 different agencies, including the federal air marshals.

BANFIELD: I still think it would be tough for them to find that air marshal, slit the throat of that air marshal, and get that air marshal's gun.

BROOKS: Never say never.

BANFIELD: I will never say never, just like you. And I love debating with you, Mike Brooks. Will you come back?

BROOKS: Thank you, Ashleigh. Absolutely.

BANFIELD: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

Coming up, Valerie Harper says she is not going to give up without a fight. The actress talks about her cancer diagnosis and why she thinks there's still a chance when we come back.


BANFIELD: Actress Ashley Judd appears ready to toss her hat into the Kentucky Senate race. The "Huffington Post" says that she's planning to launch a Democratic challenge to Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in early May.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has some advice for women out there: "Lean in." It's the title of her new book and it's also her new strategy. She says it's a kind of manifesto for working women today. But some people say the ideas, like the ones she talked about on "60 Minutes" last night, aren't necessarily realistic.


SHERYL SANDBERG, FACEBOOK COO: They start leaning back. Oh, I'm busy. I want to have a child one day. I couldn't possibly take on anymore. Or I'm still learning on my current job. I've never had a man say that stuff to me. I want to say it unequivocally and unapologetically, that the data is clear, that when it comes to ambition to lead, to be the leader of whatever you're doing, men, boys, outnumber girls and women.


BANFIELD: CNN's taking a much closer look at women and the workplace, "What Women Want." It is a two-day series of special reports and they get under way today. So, stay tuned.

Actress Valerie Harper says she doesn't know how long she has to live. It could be one week, could be up to five years. The 73-year-old TV star is putting on a very brave face after learning that she has terminal cancer affecting her brain, but she hasn't given up hope of a last-minute cure, as she tells the NBC "Today" show.


VALERIE HARPER, ACTRESS: First I saw, oh, my God, three months to live. It's not the whole truth. Yes, that may be, but it could be six. It could be five years. You know, you just don't know. The thing I have is very rare, and it's serious, and it's incurable so far. I'm holding on to the so far, but I'm also quite ready to say bye-bye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ever scared?

HARPER: Sure. Yes. And I'm scared for my family. I think of, you know, not going to Christina's wedding, but maybe I will.


BANFIELD: Oh, god. I love her. CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, you know, I look at her and think of all those years I watched "Rhoda" growing up. She's just so lovely.

This is an inoperable disease. It's not a brain tumor, but what is it, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPODENT: Right. It's not a solid tumor, Ashleigh. What it is, is sort of these cancer cells that hang out in the cerebral spinal fluid. So you can imagine cells sort of floating in fluid. It affects the meninges, as you can see, those three layers that sort of form a bag around the brain. So as far as we know, it's not actually in her brain, it's in the layer around her brain. But still, as we just heard her say, a very, very tough diagnosis. And you just have to so admire her strength.

BANFIELD: Oh, I know. She's just wonderful when she says maybe five years. And she's undergoing chemotherapy anyway. We do wish her the best. Thank you, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Absolutely. Thanks.

BANFIELD: Be sure to tune in tomorrow night, because Piers Morgan, my colleague here at CNN, is going to have Valerie Harper as his guest. It gets underway live at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

So, there are a lot of things washing up on the beach these days over in our hemisphere and it's come from another hemisphere. It's the by- product of the 2-year-old Japanese tsunami. You will not believe what's been washing up on the beach. Back after this.


BANFIELD: North Korea has now carried through with a threat to scrap the armistice that ended the 1953 Korean War. North Korean media also says the north shut down a Red Cross hotline that the two Koreas had used for normal communications. The move is in response to new U.N. sanctions and joint U.S./South Korean military drills.

Heart disease apparently predates the pyramids. C.T. scans on more than 100 mummies from around the world reveal more than a third of them had hardened arteries. The study's published in "The Lancet" and suggests heart disease is a natural product of aging and not just a product of a bad diet and a lot of fat.

Today in Japan, a moment of silence. They are remembering the more than 15,000 people who died in the tsunami two years ago today. The area around the Fukushima nuclear plant remains largely deserted, but far away in Hawaii there is a constant reminder of what happened in Japan two years ago.

Our Kyung Lah shows you why.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Slamming the shores of one of Hawaii's most remote beaches, debris, big and small covering every inch of the beach coastline. The foreign markings tell where some of it comes from.

(on camera): These are definitely from Japan. This is some type of pickle. That's definitely Japanese.

(voice-over): Hawaii Wildlife Fund's Megan Lamson has seen debris from Japan hit at a growing rate since fall like a refrigerator with Japanese on the temperature dial, large buoys, even an intact fishing boat from Japan.

Sucked into the Pacific on that horrifying day two years ago, traveling through the pacific, volunteers like HWF have been fighting the already big problem of marine debris only made worse with the 1.5 million tons of floating tsunami debris.

MEGAN LAMSON, HAWAII WILDLIFE FUND: It's disheartening to come out here and see all this marine debris in an area that's otherwise so remote. Debris that's washing up from other countries.

LAH: This is not just a litter problem. Look at what's inside this albatross, a sea bird found dead, plastics fill its body. David Hyrenback and his team are researching the alarming rate of debris and the birds. PROF. DAVID HYRENBACH, HAWAII PACIFIC UNIVERSITY: Here you see.

LAH (on camera): It is filled with plastic.

(voice-over): This is a stomach of a two-month old albatross.

(on camera): Is that part of a drain?

HYRENBACH: Maybe, it's a brush, look at that, you see?

LAH (voice-over): About 80 percent of this baby bird's stomach is indigestible plastic, fed this by its parents who confused it for food.