Return to Transcripts main page


Italy to Retry Amanda Knox; New Revelations About Death of Osama bin Laden

Aired March 26, 2013 - 18:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: How is that for some soccer diplomacy?

Happening now, a CNN exclusive: Who really killed Osama bin Laden? A Navy SEAL who claims to be the lone shooter is being accused of, in another SEAL's word, complete B.S.

JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Amanda Knox fights back. Will the American be forced to return to Italy now that she faces retrial on murder charges?

BOLDUAN: And a provocative new idea to make airline passengers pay based on what they weigh. Could it take off?

JOHNS: Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Joe Johns.

BOLDUAN: And I'm Kate Bolduan. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

First this hour, our CNN exclusive -- a new war within the secretive Navy SEALs over who killed Osama bin Laden and how the raid went down.

JOHNS: A recent article in "Esquire" magazine told a dramatic story of a single shooter and his heroic face-off with the world's most wanted terrorist.

BOLDUAN: Now another SEAL who is a member of the same team that executed the mission says that version is overblown and flat-out wrong.

CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen is standing by for more on this. He broke this story.

But first to our Brian Todd with more on these dueling accounts of the Osama bin Laden raid.

What are you picking up, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate and Joe, an extraordinary turn here.

You have got three SEALs all members of SEAL Team 6, which as Kate mentioned, they're the ones who executed that raid. They have now weighed in publicly on who shot Osama bin Laden. Two of the accounts are consistent with each other. The third is being called into serious question.


TODD (voice-over): They spent about 40 minutes on the ground, but it was what happened in a crucial few seconds that's now in dispute among the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden.

Recently, a former SEAL identifying himself only as the shooter, told "Esquire" magazine he was the man who fired the kill shots. This animation lays out his description to "Esquire." Three SEALs move up to the third floor of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

After the point man intercepts two women in the hallway, the shooter moves into a bedroom. By his account, there's a gun within bin Laden's reach. As he tells Phil Bronstein in "Esquire," the shooter fires three rounds at bin Laden.

PHIL BRONSTEIN, "ESQUIRE": He shot him once in the forehead, another time in the forehead as he was going down and then a third time in the forehead when he was at the foot of his bed, obviously probably already dead.

TODD: But another SEAL who is part of SEAL Team 6, which executed the raid, now tells CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen this.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: The account in the "Esquire" piece is inaccurate. It was not the shooter that is described in that article who killed bin Laden. It was in fact the point man who fired the first shot at bin Laden and hit him in the head.

TODD: This animation shows that version. The SEAL tells Bergen three men up the stairs. The point man fires from the area of the stairs as bin Laden's peering out the door of the bedroom. That's the first shot that hits him.

Bin Laden's gravely wounded. The point man bundles the two women aside.

BERGEN: And then two SEALs came in, one of them the shooter and finished bin Laden off on the floor.

TODD: That's consistent with the account of former SEAL Matt Bissonnette, who wrote the book "No Easy Day" under the pseudonym Mark Owen. Bissonnette was one of the three SEALs on that third floor with bin Laden. Here's what he told CBS' "60 Minute."

QUESTION: So, after bin Laden is wounded, he's still moving, you shot him twice?


QUESTION: A handful of times. And the SEAL in the stack behind you also shot Osama bin Laden, and at that point his body was still?


TODD (on camera): Why should we believe the SEAL who spoke to you and Bissonnette and not the guy who spoke to "Esquire" who was also right there?

BERGEN: I did a little bit of digging around with present and former SEAL Team 6 members, and they said that on balance, they found Bissonnette to be more a more credible person than the shooter in "Esquire."

TODD (voice-over): John McGuire, who served for 10 years as a SEAL, says this.

JOHN MCGUIRE, FORMER NAVY SEAL: It's possible that someone is not sure who got a target. I find it unlikely. I do think that the guy who did make the shot, you will never know, because he's going to take it to his grave.


TODD: Indeed, current and former members of SEAL Team 6 said the point man who might have fired that shot that fatally wounded bin Laden will likely never speak about it. A U.S. official familiar with the details of the raid tells CNN Peter Bergen's account of how bin Laden was killed is in line with what happened.

This official says -- quote -- "Peter has it right in my view."

Phil Bronstein, who wrote the "Esquire" article on the shooter's version, received questions from Peter Bergen on this latest version and passed them to the shooter. Bronstein declined an interview with CNN -- Kate and Joe.

JOHNS: That's just a fascinating story. Thanks so much for that, Brian Todd.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Brian.

We're joined now by CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, as we mentioned earlier, as well as a former Navy SEAL, Mark Donald, the author also of the book "Battle Ready."

Great to see you both. Great reporting, Peter.

First I want to ask you, though, Mark, you're a former Navy SEAL. When you heard Brian Todd's piece and you have seen Peter's reporting, is it feasible in your mind that these two SEALs could have these two different accounts of the very same mission they were on?

MARK DONALD, FORMER NAVY SEAL: I think it's absolutely feasible.

I think no one's really going to know exactly what happened, except for the people there. And even then, the fog of war is going to have some effect on their recollection, and even in the sequencing of events. BOLDUAN: Do you think, though, kind of as this continues, as history kind of sees how this plays out that you will get one account from all of these men?

DONALD: That's hard to say.

I know for myself, I have been in instances in combat where people have been side by side from one another, and they see things differently. And that's not unusual. The mind is going to react to the most immediate threat. It's going to focus on that most immediate threat. And that's what the person's going to recall.

BOLDUAN: And so, Peter, to you, since you broke this story just earlier today on "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER," have you received any reaction from the sources or others in the military?

BERGEN: Well, as Brian pointed out, a U.S. official familiar with the details of the raid, basically says that what we're presenting is close to what they understand in the U.S. government.

And certainly, as Mark points out, there is the fog of war. But now we have two pretty good accounts that are in contradiction of the "Esquire" account. I was in that room where bin Laden was killed. Clearly -- before that house was demolished -- clearly, you know, this was a confusing situation.

But the preponderance of what we now know suggests that the "Esquire" article portrayal of the shooter as a heroic guy who shot bin Laden while he was standing up just as he was reaching perhaps for a gun isn't what happened that night.

BOLDUAN: Peter, in the end, why do you -- does this even matter? Osama bin Laden is dead. They have all been thanked for the amazing success of this amazing mission. Is this all about ego, do you think?

BERGEN: Somebody said to me, this -- you know, a number of people had a Neil Armstrong moment here and it's hard for people to process that. The fact is, when President Obama was briefed on the mission five days afterwards, the SEAL team commander said, it doesn't matter who pulled the trigger that killed bin Laden. All of us on the team did it and there were 24 people on that team that night.

BOLDUAN: And, Mark, finally to you that same question, why you think this matters, but more importantly, I think, to you, more specifically, does it surprise you that SEALs -- that this is such a secretive mission, this was so classified, that they're battling this out so publicly now after the fact?

DONALD: Well, first of all, it's a team effort.

And it goes back all the way to the people stateside. Everybody had a role in that. And I think all of those men would agree that they were all involved in that. The other thing is, is that we have to remember these are extremely, highly trained individuals, the best that there are in the world. So they move and react instantaneously. Oftentimes, people that have been in combat with them will say that they move at the speed of sound. So it's not unusual that they both can pull up and fire a shot and be dead-on accurate with that shot and have some difference on the recollection of this. I don't think there's an ego thing here.

I think it's just people trying to explain what they feel is the accurate truth on that. But, in reality, all America really wants to know is that these men do exist and they're able to take care of our country.

BOLDUAN: I think that's an excellent point. Mark Donald, great to speak with you. thank you so much. Peter Bergen, as always, thank you so much. Great reporting.

To remind our viewers, you can read Peter Bergen's article on the dispute over bin Laden's shooter. Just go to It's a great article.

JOHNS: Now to the Supreme Court and arguments today that could possibly change the definition of marriage in this country.

While activists rallied outside, the justices heard the first of two landmark cases on same-sex marriage, this one challenging California's ban, known as Proposition 8. I was in the courtroom for the hearing.


JOHNS (voice-over): Same-sex marriage week at the Supreme Court day one. Culture war on the docket.

CHARLES COOPER, Attorney: The place for the decision to be made regarding redefining marriage is with the people, not with the courts.

JOHNS: Charles Cooper, the lawyer in favor of California's Proposition 8, argued that traditional marriage must be preserved for straight couples because it's all about procreation.

But Justice Elena Kagan picked apart the premise.

ELENA KAGAN, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court: Mr. Cooper, suppose a state said, because we think that the focus of marriage really should be on procreation, we're not going to give marriage licenses anymore to any couple where both people are over the age of 55? Would that be constitutional?

COOPER: No, Your Honor, it would not be constitutional.

ANTONIN SCALIA, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I suppose we could have a questionnaire at the marriage desk when people come in to get their license, are you fertile or are you not fertile?


KAGAN: I can just assure you if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are a not of lot of children coming out of that marriage.


JOHNS: Justin Antonin Scalia repeatedly tried to pin down attorney Ted Olson on when gays and lesbians first got the right to marry.

Olson's clients want marriage equality.

SCALIA: I'm curious, when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?

THEODORE OLSON, FORMER U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: May I answer this in the form of a rhetorical question? When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriages? When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit to assign children...


SCALIA: Easy question, I think, for that one. At the time that the Equal Protection Clause was adopted. That's absolutely true. But don't give me a question to my question.

JOHNS: The question even got raised as to whether same-sex marriage has been around long enough to understand its social impact. Justice Anthony Kennedy questioned whether the court should have taken up the case at all. But he also seemed worried about almost 40,000 children of same-sex marriages in California.

ANTHONY KENNEDY, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: They want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case.

JOHNS: After the arguments, the same-sex couples who brought the challenge talked about it.

SANDY STIER, PLAINTIFF: I believe in equality. I also believe in our judicial system. And I have great faith in it. But more than anything, I believe in love.


JOHNS: I will be back at the high court tomorrow when the justices hear a second case on same-sex marriage challenging the federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

BOLDUAN: An amazing day to be in court. And it's going to be even more important tomorrow to see how we can get any nuggets or any idea of what they're thinking.

JOHNS: Right.

I'm really interested to see how today's hearing plays into tomorrow's hearing. It's kind of a continuation.

BOLDUAN: It's great to have you in the courtroom.


BOLDUAN: Still ahead, Amanda Knox is promising to prove her innocence.

Up next, the new fight in Italy to bring her to justice.

And later, CNN investigates the drive to make America's trains run faster. Have billions of dollars of taxpayers' money been well spent on wasted?


JOHNS: A sensational murder case that just doesn't want to go away.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right.

Today, Italy's Supreme Court revived the murder case against American Amanda Knox, once dubbed, as you know, Foxy Knoxy, as well as her one-time boyfriend. They were convicted, then acquitted, of murdering Knox's roommate back in 2007. Today's order raises all sorts of difficult questions and issues.

Our senior international correspondent, Bed Wedeman, is in Rome.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No cameras were allowed inside but there was a gaggle waiting outside Italy's Supreme Court, which at exactly one minute after 10:00 Tuesday morning announced its ruling.

The October 2011 acquittal of Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, for the 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher, overturned.

Knox's lawyer was shocked, but not bowed.

CARLO DALLA VEDOVA, ATTORNEY FOR AMANDA KNOX: Is upset, surprised, because we thought the case was over. But at the same time, as she did in the last five years, she is ready to continue and we're ready to fight.

WEDEMAN: Through a spokesman, Knox issued a statement which read in part, "No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity."

Pleased was Kercher's family, whose lawyer says he has only just begun to fine.

"I spoke to Stephanie," her sister, says Francesco Maresca. "She was very happy. I have explained to her that we will start again from the appeal and we will get a new ruling."

But finality is elusive in Italy's legal labyrinth for crimes of passion or profit, says journalist John Follain, who wrote a book on the case.

JOHN FOLLAIN, JOURNALIST: You rarely get a definitive ruling on who planted a mafia bomb or on who killed some top politician. And that's partly because there's a huge of system of guarantees built in to protect the defendants. That's a reaction to the kangaroo courts of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

WEDEMAN: Forgotten in all of this is 26-year-old Rudy Guede, a native of the Ivory Coast who was convicted to 16 years for Kercher's murder. He appealed his case to the Supreme Court before and lost.

(on camera): The Supreme Court judges now have 90 days to explain their ruling, then the defense and the prosecution 45 days to issue their response. An appeals court in Florence will hear the case, date unknown. Knox and Sollecito needed not be present until the verdict is issued. This case could go on without a definitive outcome for some time to come.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


JOHNS: The big question now is whether Amanda Knox can be forced to return to Italy.

Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is working that angle -- Jill.


And as with all things legal, you have to read the fine print.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Amanda Knox has been back in Seattle for a year-and-a-half trying to live a normal life. So does today's decision mean she has to return to Italy?

DAVID LAUFMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: The question of whether she would have to go back to Italy for a trial will come down to how the extradition treaty between the United States and Italy is construed.

DOUGHERTY: Former federal prosecutor David Laufman says, if Amanda Knox had been convicted and acquitted in the United States, she would be protected by double jeopardy, which prevents a defendant from being tried for the same crime twice. But it happened in Italy, which has a more flexible legal system. So Italy could, he says, ask the U.S. to extradite her.

LAUFMAN: Now, that doesn't mean the United States is necessarily going to extradite her. There will likely ensue a fevered dialogue between, you know, Justice Ministry officials if Italy and the Department of State lawyers, maybe Department of Justice lawyers, possibly even to head off a formal extradition request.

DOUGHERTY: In other words, a diplomatic and ultimately political solution. But Amanda Knox's attorney is hoping any new trial would end up with the same verdict, acquittal.

TED SIMON, ATTORNEY FOR AMANDA KNOX: There's no reason to believe that any further review will result any differently. Keep in mind, there was no physical evidence against her. And anything that was reviewed was considered unreliable, inaccurate, insubstantial.


DOUGHERTY: And, you know, Italian courts actually have convicted Americans in absentia. That is when they're not physically present in the courtroom or in Italy. And the most recent case was with some CIA officers who kidnapped a terror suspect. They are still free. But they do risk arrest if they go back to Europe -- Joe.

JOHNS: Jill Dougherty at the State Department, thanks for that, Jill.

BOLDUAN: And coming up, new arrests in the shooting death of a 13-month-old boy, including the mother of one of the accused killers.



BOLDUAN: Still ahead, he's only 17 years old, and he just earned $30 million. We will tell you how.

Also, new reaction to a CNN investigation on whether high-speed trains are a waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.


BOLDUAN: Happening now: making the trains run faster. CNN investigates a $12 billion investment and whether your money has been wasted.

JOHNS: And paying by the pound. Should fliers who weigh more be charged more?

BOLDUAN: And the $30 million man who's still just a kid. How a 17-year-old got rich and what he's planning to do next.

JOHNS: Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Joe Johns.

BOLDUAN: And I'm Kate Bolduan. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

U.S. officials are spending billions of your tax dollars to try to develop a high-speed rail system. JOHNS: But an investigation by CNN finds that the Obama administration is falling short of the president's goals, and Americans are not getting much out of their investment.

Here's Drew Griffin of CNN's special investigations unit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So now, for one of his last speeches in this position, the secretary of transportation, Ray LaHood.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a half-filled conference room, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tried to rally hope that his dream and the president's dream of high-speed rail would become a reality. But that dream, shared by those here who stand to make money from high-speed rail, is turning into a pipe dream.

RAY LAHOOD, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: This has been an extraordinary four years for high-speed rail.

GRIFFIN: What is extraordinary is just how much money federal taxpayers have dumped into high-speed rail while the trains are still slow.

(on camera): Four years and $12 billion after that pledge to bring high-speed rail across America, the slow trains are just moving a little faster.

(voice-over): And one of the greater examples of that is what happened in Washington state.


GRIFFIN: Paula Hammond was the state's transportation secretary until recently retiring. Washington state got $800 million from the federal government. That's your tax money, mainly for improving the track between Seattle and Portland.

And what did you get for it? Over a three hour and 40 minute ride, the trip has been reduced by ten minutes.

HAMMOND: Ten minutes doesn't sound like a lot of time, but when you think about the fact that you have more options for more round trips, that you know that the train will come and go reliably and on time, that to us is what our passengers tell us is the most important thing.


GRIFFIN: In fact, ten minutes isn't a lot of time. And Paula Hammond says, despite promises of high-speed rail from Washington, D.C., it was never Washington state's intention of bringing high-speed rail, like the bullet trains of Japan and Europe, to this section of the country. The top speed here is now 79 miles an hour. Average speed is in the low 50s. HAMMOND: I don't know whether we'll ever want high-speed rail. High, high-speed rail. What we want in our state and in our West Coast region between Oregon and Washington, we want the ability of our communities to be connected so that we can provide good travel, a daily business trip between Seattle and Portland, and the opportunity not to have to fight traffic.

GRIFFIN: That is a far cry from the vision of high-speed rail announced by the president, the vice president and the secretary of transportation back in 2009, when Americans were told Japanese- and European-style trains would connect our cities.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we're talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America.

GRIFFIN: Twelve billion dollars later, that vision has churned out 134 scattered projects across the country that have mostly made slow trains a little faster.

"Keeping Them Honest," we wanted to know why. And after his speech to the High-Speed Rail Association, we were given a brief interview with outgoing secretary of transportation, Ray LaHood.

(on camera): I'm wondering after four years and $12 billion spent, if you're disappointed at where high-speed rail is. Where is the high-speed rail?

LAHOOD: The high-speed rail in four years, we've invested $12 billion. That's just the federal money.

GRIFFIN: But so much of the money has been spent, really, making the old trains go a little bit faster. Seattle to Portland...

LAHOOD: I think 110 is pretty fast.

Reporter: But Seattle to Portland, you've spent $800 million, and the trip time has been reduced by ten minutes.

LAHOOD: Well, I think people like the investments we're making. There's so much enthusiasm in America for high-speed rail. We've been at it four years. We've invested $12 billion. We've seen these investments get trains to higher speeds. We've seen these investments improve service. We've seen these investments improve on-time service to the point where now Amtrak is at an all-time ridership high. Without these investments, I don't think that would have happened.

GRIFFIN: But you want true high-speed rail, right?

LAHOOD: In some parts of the country.

GRIFFIN: You don't want these trains going a little bit faster.

LAHOOD: In some parts of the country, we're going to have trains going 200 miles an hour.

GRIFFIN: When? LAHOOD: As soon as we can get the kind of work that needs to be done started.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): What that is exactly is unclear.

There is only one true high-speed rail line actually envisioned in the entire United States. It's the California plan to bring a 200- mile-an-hour train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It's been in the planning stages for nearly ten years, and not a single piece of rail has been laid.

Back in Seattle, one day they do hope to reach speeds of perhaps 110 miles an hour in some sections of the track, but at what price? What we do know, this year, federal taxpayers will send out another $1 billion for high-speed rail.


JOHNS: Drew Griffin joins us now.

Drew, any reaction from Secretary LaHood since your piece first aired last night on "ANDERSON COOPER 360"?

GRIFFIN: Joe, we haven't heard anything. Lots of noise on the blogs. The story's getting picked up on a lot of Internet news sites. But from the Department of Transportation and the transportation secretary, nothing at all.

And that may be understandable. You know, this guy has been going around the country warning about the sequestration budget cuts in his department and shutting down small airports' traffic controls. It might be a tough sell to, at the same time, try to defend billions going to these high-speed, what we could call higher speed rail projects, because they're really not high-speed rail.

JOHNS: That would really be a very tough sell. Thanks so much for that, Drew.

BOLDUAN: It's a great piece, Drew.

North Korea levels a serious new threat, putting an entire island of Koreans smack dab in the middle. Our Matthew Chance takes us there for a story you'll only see on CNN.


JOHNS: North Korea's getting even more aggressive and threatening the United States with war.

BOLDUAN: Kim Jong-un's regime says it's mobilizing its forces to target American military bases in Hawaii, Guam, and even the U.S. mainland, along with targets in South Korea. That includes putting strategic missile units on the highest state of alert.

It's not entirely clear what the secretive nation is capable of, but many experts doubt it has the ability yet to directly attack the U.S.

But the Pentagon says it's ready to respond to any provocation, if it comes to that.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: North Korea's bellicose rhetoric and the threats that they engage in follow a pattern designed to raise tensions and intimidate others.

PATRICK VENTRELL, STATE DEPARTMENT ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESMAN: We're fully capable of defending ourselves, and we're fully capable of defending our allies in South Korea and Japan.


BOLDUAN: Now, we want to take you to another target of North Korea's fiery threats and a story you'll only see here on CNN. It's an island off South Korea very close to the border with the North. It's been attacked before.

CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is there.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across the Yellow Sea, the island flashpoints of this Korean standoff. We traveled by high-speed boat within sight of North Korean waters where tensions are making waves once more.

(on camera): We're on this ferry heading off the South Korean coast towards the island of Yeonpyeong, about two hours' boat ride away. It's very close, indeed, to the tense maritime border with the north.

In the past few weeks North Korea has been threatening to attack the island, urging its inhabitants to evacuate. The kind of threats that for many South Koreans may just be dismissed as bluster. But for the people of Yeonpyeong, they take it very seriously.

(voice-over): And this is why. Back in 2010, Yeonpyeong was attacked by North Korean artillery. There was no warning. Shells just rained down on the small island, causing widespread panic and destruction. At least four South Koreans were killed. Memories of the attack are still fresh.

(on camera): We finally arrived on dry land and come straight to the spot where the attacks took place. You can see a few of the destroyed houses have been preserved as a reminder. There are scorched walls here, some of them pock marked with shrapnel and broken glass. Family rooms have been burned out and left empty. It's all quite a poignant monument to the people who were killed here. And of course, to the danger to this island that North Korea continues to pose.

(voice-over): Islanders say renewed North Korean threats are bringing anxieties flooding back.

KANG IN-GU, ISLAND RESIDENT (through translator): It's been almost three years, and I remember how my heart sank when I witnessed the attacks. Now we are hearing more threats, and I'm having this feeling in my chest all over again.

CHANCE: Made worse by recent images like these, of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, being feted by the same artillery units that carried out the strike. Their attack is portrayed as a military victory that could be repeated, adding to pressure on South Korea to respond with tough action next time.

IN-GU (through translator): If the North were to carry out another provocation like in 2010, I personally hope that my government will respond very strongly. By doing this, the North will not see South Korea as an easy target, but as a strong country instead.

CHANCE: But a strong response over these tiny islands risks plunging the Korean Peninsula into all-out war. These Yellow Sea tensions could prove dangerous indeed.

(on camera): While an attempt to deter a future attack like took place in 2010, the United States has bolstered its military ties with South Korea, effectively lowering the threshold that it would join with its ally in a conflict with Pyongyang. It's not clear yet whether that deterrent will have a positive effect.

Kate and Joe, back to you.


JOHNS: Matthew Chance reporting. Attention, airline passengers: if you think taking off your shoes is annoying, now you might have to get a lot more personal at the airport.


BOLDUAN: We just received a response from "Esquire" magazine to our report today earlier on the conflicting accounts of who killed Osama bin Laden.

A Navy SEAL who spoke with CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen is disputing an account earlier in this magazine, in "Esquire" magazine by a man who claims to be the sole shooter.

In the statement the magazine says the following. It says, "The 'Esquire' article, "The Shooter: The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden' in the March 2013 issue is based on information from numerous sources, including members of SEAL Team 6 and the shooter himself, as well as detailed descriptions of mission debrief. We stand by our story."

Just a reminder, viewers, you can read Peter Bergen's account, his story on

JOHNS: As if flying didn't already cost an arm and a leg. People keep digging up new ways the airlines can make you pay extra. Among the ideas: basing your fare on how much you weigh, which would mean CNN's Lisa Sylvester here would fly a lot less than I would.

But my question is, if you pay more, do you get more frequent flier points?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You get a bigger seat if you're paying more, maybe more legroom.

JOHNS: Right. Yes. Maybe first class. Yes.


JOHNS: They already did that.

SYLVESTER: Should passengers have to step on a scale in order to step on a plane? There's actually one airline that's already doing this.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): The price of an airline ticket varies, depending on how far in advance you buy your ticket; the time of day you want to fly; and the day itself. But what if airlines also factored in something else, how much you weigh? A study by a Norwegian professor suggests airlines set prices based on a passenger's weight.

BHARAT BHATTA, ECONOMIST: Some would say, that is discriminatory. But because I am talking about economics, it's not discriminatory at all.

SYLVESTER: Professor Bharat Bhatta, in a paper in the "Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management," argues reducing the weight on a plane by a little more than two pounds is a fuel savings of $3,000 a year. He proposes passengers self-declare their weight when they book a ticket.

On a flight between D.C. and Chicago, at $2 per pound, Sally, who weighs 120 pounds, her ticket would be $240. Paul on the same flight is 180 pounds. His ticket price is $360. And Steve, who weighs 270 pounds, would pay $540.

(on camera): So you might think that this is a strange idea, but believe it or not, there is actually an airline already doing this. Samoa Air, operating out of the Pacific, charges passengers by the pound.

(voice-over): Southwest Airlines sometimes requires oversized passengers to book two seats. And when commercial air travel first began, that's the way it was done. See that man standing on the scale?

One group that's calling this idea ridiculous? The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.

PEGGY HOWELL, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION TO ADVANCE FAT ACCEPTANCE: Treating people like freight is not -- is not a good alternative. It's a PR nightmare for the airlines to even consider such a thing.

SYLVESTER: At the airport, parents thought it was a good idea to charge by the pound.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I guess for kids it might be a good idea because then you don't have to pay full fare for children.

SYLVESTER: But on the whole...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Men are larger than women. So are they going to have to pay more to fly? That part doesn't quite make sense to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see how they could do that. That, I would think, would be discriminatory.

SYLVESTER: It's an idea that didn't seem to fly.


SYLVESTER: The economist also suggested charging by the combined weight of the passenger and their luggage.

Now, the group representing the airline industry says it is up to individual airlines to price and sell their products as they choose according to the market, but that said, the Air Transport Association isn't aware of any other airline other than Samoa Air that wants to weigh you before you can get on the plane.

BOLDUAN: I'm fine if they want me to self-declare. I'd be like, "I weigh 100 pounds."

JOHNS: You would be good to go.

SYLVESTER: Oh, it raises all kinds of questions.

JOHNS: How much does the economist weigh?

SYLVESTER: What about a pregnant woman?

JOHNS: Right.

SYLVESTER: Are you going to charge a pregnant woman more when she shows up because she's pregnant?

BOLDUAN: This is never going to fly.

SYLVESTER: It's a good talker, though.

BOLDUAN: Putting the scales right at TSA. No.

JOHNS: Sumo wrestling would stay in Japan.

BOLDUAN: It was a great piece, though. Thanks, Lisa.

Now to an excuse plenty of people use, but can you really become addicted to shopping? CNN's Erin Burnett is going "OUTFRONT" on that story.

Erin, I know you and I have probably both joked about this, that we're addicted to shopping.


BOLDUAN: But it's a real question.

BURNETT: Absolutely. People say, "Oh, you can't be addicted to shopping; you can't be addicted to sex." You get the same eye roll when you present either one of those particular ailments.

But the guy who wrote "Friday Night Lights," Buzz Bissinger, has written a cover story for "GQ," and it is "My Gucci Addiction." It's a pretty in-depth, and frankly, painful thing to read. But there is something pretty incredible about it. We have that coming up at the top of the hour.

Plus, you're talking about paying extra to fly while we're going to be talking about something that could be dramatically changing in the skies, and that is, instead of someone giving an evil eye when you're, you know, texting furtively under your coat when you're -- as we all are about to go up, trying to get that last message out, anyway, the way we are, our in-air experience could soon be completely online. So we have that kind of top of the hour, too.

BOLDUAN: You, I mean, honestly, you do not have a poker face. You know that's exactly you the one that's doing that.

BURNETT: I know. I can't lie. I can't lie.

BOLDUAN: Good stuff.

BURNETT: You always think, "Am I sitting next to someone who is really worried about, you know, the plane?" And I'm sensitive to that. And I don't want to scare them, but I'm...

BOLDUAN: Turn your device off, Erin. OK?

Talk to you soon. Thanks, Erin. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT," top of the hour.

JOHNS: I'm very skeptical about those warnings anyway.

He's 17 years old, and he's just made millions. We'll tell you how he got rich and what he's planning to do with it, next.


JOHNS: He's 17 years old, and like a lot of teenagers, he has a job on the side.

BOLDUAN: Yes. That's right. Only this one apparently earned him $30 million. Here's CNN's Dan Simon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate and Joe, consider this. The teenage entrepreneur wasn't born when Yahoo! was founded in 1994. Yahoo!, which is trying to redefine itself in the smartphone era, thinks the London high school student and his company can help.

NICK D'ALOISIO, TECH ENTREPRENEUR: The summaries appear on a single screen with gorgeous photography.

SIMON: Nick D'Aloisio started to building his app, called Summly, when he was just 15.

D'ALOISIO: Tell it your interests, and it shows you summarized content. But instead of just a headline, Summly gives you 400 characters. That's more than a tweet but less than a (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

SIMON: Now, at age 17, Nick is selling it to Yahoo! for a reported $30 million. Yahoo!, under new CEO Marissa Mayer, is trying to become a bigger player in mobile and plans to integrate the technology in its own apps.

D'ALOISIO: And so for a technology like ours or indeed any others, it's such a big platform to leverage.

SIMON: Such acquisitions are common in Silicon Valley, but as Charlie Rose pointed out on "CBS This Morning"...

CHARLIE ROSE, CBS: It's like he was 17, but he sounded like he was 40.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wise beyond his years. Go, Nick.

SIMON: Nick joins a list of notable technology founders who started on the road to success at a very young age. Bill Gates, 20 years old when he started Microsoft. Steve Jobs, 21 when he started Apple. Mark Zuckerberg, 19 when he launched Facebook. He was the focus of the popular movie, "The Social Network."

JESSE EISENBERG, ACTOR: I need the algorithm.


EISENBERG: I need the algorithm.

SIMON: Then there's Larry Page and Sergey Brin, 24 and 23 respectively when they founded Google. Old guys.

Nick, on the other hand, still has a year and a half left of high school. He started coding when he was 12.

D'ALOISIO: So I taught myself to program using books and some video tutorials. And in the long term I would love to, you know, start another company one day if I'm fortunate enough to.

But for the foreseeable future, I'm really excited about working with Yahoo! to integrate our technology and also look at other opportunities in the mobile ecosystem.

SIMON: The young man doesn't have specific plans for his newfound wealth. The cash will be going into a trust fund that will be co-managed by his parents.

(on camera): Nick plans to finish high school but will soon become a Yahoo! employee based in their London offices.

And here's how fast these things can happen. The app went online in November, and by December he was already in discussions with Yahoo! -- Kate and Joe.


BOLDUAN: Proof a good idea can make you a lot of money.

JOHNS: I need an app on how to build an app.

BOLDUAN: I need an app on trying to understand how he would even -- anyway. Oh man.

JOHNS: It's sad.

BOLDUAN: Yes. That's why we'll stick in TV.

That's all for us. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.