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Interview With Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering; IRS Under Fire; Castro Brothers Recall Their Arrests

Aired May 13, 2013 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: the Justice Department accused of secretly obtaining phone records from the Associated Press.

Bipartisan outrage at revelations the IRS targeted conservative party groups.

And an exclusive and extraordinary interview with the brothers of Ariel Castro speaking out about being swept up in the Cleveland kidnappings, describing what they call a living nightmare.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The Associated Press calls it a massive and unprecedented intrusion into news gathering. The media giant says the Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records of some of its reporters, including their work and their personal phone numbers. And now the U.S. attorney's office is responding to these very, very serious allegations.

CNN's Brian Todd is coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.

Brian, what is going on here?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is an extraordinary seizure of telephone records.

The Associated Press says the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for the AP. Records listed incoming and outgoing calls, the duration of each call, and for the work and personal phone numbers of AP employees, according to the news agency.

AP says the seizure covered numbers for its employees in its New York, Washington, and Hartford, Connecticut, offices and the main number for AP number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery. AP says the Justice Department notified them of the seizure on Friday. There is nothing to suggest the actual phone conversations were monitored, but the CEO of AP is furious.

Gary Pruitt in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today says -- quote -- "There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of the Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the news gathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP's news gathering operations and disclose information about AP's activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know. We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP's constitutional rights to gather and report the news."

Now, Pruitt wants Justice to return all of those records and destroy the copies. This afternoon, we got this response from the U.S. attorney's office -- quote -- "Regulations require us to make every responsible effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media. We must notify the media organization in advance unless doing so would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation."

Now, the U.S. attorney's office is not specifically saying why it sought to obtain these phone records, Wolf, and isn't saying that notifying them in advance would have posed a specific threat or isn't saying what that threat was. But basically, this is what they are saying at this point. They're giving very few details.

BLITZER: But AP has an idea what they were seeking?

TODD: That's right. AP says the government officials have said in public testimony that they are conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information obtained by AP or in an AP Story from about a year ago this month. This was about a foiled terror plot.

The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al Qaeda plot to bomb an airplane and the AP says that that is the reason they believe -- I think they are at least hinting that they believe that's the reason why the Justice Department went after these records and got them.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much.

Let's dig a little bit deeper with our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, how unusual is this?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's unusual, but it is consistent with how the Obama administration has treated leaking.

The Obama administration, more than the Bush administration, Clinton, the first Bush administration, has been extremely tough investigating and prosecuting alleged leakers of classified information. And now they are going after the news organizations to try to find out who the leakers were, apparently, in this Yemen story.

BLITZER: There is the First Amendment to the Constitution, though. Where does that fit in?

TOOBIN: You know what? It doesn't fit in. I think a lot of people, certainly a lot of reporters, don't realize there is no federal privilege that reporters have. Reporters are just like anyone else. You know, it was very interesting to read Greg Pruitt, the Associated Press's leader, his letter. He said, this is outrageous, this is terrible, but he didn't say it was unlawful, because under current law, there is no privilege that journalists have to protect their sources. And they can be -- they can be subpoenaed.

Their phone records can be subpoenaed, so it's just a matter of the Justice Department exercising discretion, which it usually does, but here they are being much tougher than they have been in the past.

BLITZER: They certainly are. All right, Jeffrey, thank you.

Revelations about another government agency are sparking outrage as well. The Internal Revenue Service under fire for targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups.

Here's CNN's chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Tea Party rally on April 15, Tax Day 2010.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government doesn't have any money. That's our money and I'm taxed enough already.

BASH: Even as they protested high taxes and big government, the tax-collecting IRS was secretly targeting them. In March of 2010, IRS agents in Cincinnati, Ohio, handling applications for tax-exempt status began singling out groups with names like Tea Party and patriots as criteria for special scrutiny.

Groups engaged primarily in political activity are not allowed tax-exempt status. According to an IRS inspector general timeline obtained by CNN, by August of 2010, IRS agents made Tea Party targeting more formal, issuing an internal be on the look out or BOLO listing for local organizations in the Tea Party movement.

As a result, Tea Party activists reported feeling harassed when applying for tax-exempt status. Cincinnati Tea Party founder Justin Binik-Thomas told CNN's Carol Costello lengthy questionnaires from the IRS like this one got personal, even mentioning his name.

JUSTIN BINIK-THOMAS, CINCINNATI TEA PARTY: Why? What is it being collected for? Where is it being stored? Who is it being shared with?

BASH: It wasn't until this past Friday, more than three years later, Lois Lerner, director of the IRS' tax-exempt division, admitted her agents were inappropriately screening Tea Party groups. She apologized during an American Bar Association meeting. CNN obtained this audio.

LOIS LERNER, IRS OFFICIAL: They used names like Tea Party or patriots and they selected cases simply because the application had those names in the title. That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect. It was insensitive and it was inappropriate.

BASH: That admission prompted bipartisan condemnation.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Would be a terrible breach of the public's trust.

BASH: But what's making the IRS's problems worse, it appears IRS officials, even Lerner herself, were not up front with Congress.

According to this IRS timeline, Lerner was informed back in June of 2011 that her agents were targeting Tea Party groups, as well as others dealing with government spending, government debt, or taxes. But CNN has that Lerner failed to disclose what she knew to two separate house committees, both in letters and even face-to-face meetings with congressional investigators.

And in March of 2012, nine months after Lerner was informed IRS agents were singling out Tea Party groups, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was asked about it in a hearing.

REP. CHARLES BOUSTANY JR. (R), LOUISIANA: Can you give us assurances that the IRS is not targeting particular groups based on political leanings?

BASH: Shulman denied it.

DOUGLAS SHULMAN, FORMER U.S. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE: There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens when people apply for 501(c)(4) status.

BASH: It is still unclear when Shulman was told.


BASH: But, Wolf, I was just told by an aide to Senator Orrin Hatch, who is the top Republican in the Senate Finance Committee, that they were briefed just today, told that Shulman and his successor as the IRS commissioner both knew about this targeting in the spring of 2012.

And, again, this is raising anger over in the House, because the House Ways and Means Committee, according to this timeline that I obtained, says that the predecessor, Miller, he told Congress in June of 2012 that he didn't know anything about it. So, this, again, proves at least to House Republicans that they are not -- that they hadn't been getting the straight story from the IRS.

But I should note that it's not just Republicans who are angry about this. It's bipartisan. Democrats who run the Senate say they're going to investigate as well. And just sort of big picture, Tea Party groups who were of course found -- founded their groups on the idea that you can't trust government, they are saying that this absolutely, all of this, proves their point.

BLITZER: Dana, what a story. All right, thanks very much.

Up next, the IRS scandal certainly comes on top of a congressional probe into the Benghazi terror attack, bringing the second term blues to the White House. And we will talk about the Benghazi attack with the co-chair of the independent board that issued a scathing review, but now itself is under scathing criticism.


BLITZER: Difficult days in the White House, facing pressure over the IRS scandal and the Benghazi probe.

Our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, reports.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If it's the second-term blues, it's starting awfully early. Just four months after inauguration, President Obama fending off questions about alleged wrongdoing in his administration on two fronts, first, charges that IRS staff targeted conservative groups before the last election. If true?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Then that is outrageous, it is contrary to our traditions, and people have to be held accountable, and it's got to be fixed.

YELLIN: That isn't enough to satisfy Republican critics. On Twitter, the RNC chairman slammed the president for failing to apologize or offer a plan to hold anyone accountable. The IRS is set to release its own internal audit later this week, and it's classic Obama to wait for that report before acting.

OBAMA: We will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.

YELLIN: In the meantime, outrage grows, as does a second controversy, newly public revelations that the administration changed talking points about the attack that led to the death of four Americans in Benghazi.

OBAMA: The whole issue of this -- of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow.

YELLIN: The president sounding frustrated, even defiant over what he seems to view as a manufactured controversy.

OBAMA: Suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there's something new to the story. There's no there there.

YELLIN: House Republicans don't agree. The next hearing on Benghazi is already in the works. If there's any doubt the president's agenda is being thrown off course, just look.

OBAMA: I still do not understand cricket.

YELLIN: This visit with British Prime Minister David Cameron was meant to focus on foreign affairs.

OBAMA: The long suffering Syrian people.

YELLIN: But clearly it was overtaken by other matters.


YELLIN: Right now, President Obama is in New York attending fund-raisers, and there he told an audience of supporters that he takes a long view of his second term. He views that hyper- partisanship is working as a roadblock right now, but he's persistent, he told his audience. Wolf, so are his critics.

BLITZER: They certainly are.

All right, thanks very much.

Jessica is over at the White House.

In a minute, by the way, I will ask one of the men who headed the official State Department review about what went wrong in Benghazi and whether the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Clinton, got off too easy.

And then a CNN exclusive -- the brothers of the man accused in the Cleveland kidnapping speak to CNN.


BLITZER: Congressional investigators now want to speak with the men who oversaw the State Department's investigation of what went wrong before, during, and after the terrorist attack on the U.S. post in Benghazi, Libya.

At congressional hearings, State Department officials testified they think the report is -- quote -- "incomplete" and it lets senior officials off the hook.


BLITZER: Ambassador Thomas Pickering is joining us right now. He was the co-chair of the Benghazi accountability review board.

You reviewed the whole situation. Knowing, Mr. Ambassador, what you know now, what should you have done differently, what would you have done differently, what questions you might have raised that you didn't raise?

THOMAS PICKERING, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Wolf, it's a very interesting question. I hadn't thought about it from that perspective.

What I have been hearing is the promises of new startling developments. What I have been seeing is some of the questions we have reviewed. I'm very open to the idea that nobody can do in two months the absolutely perfect job, that nothing new will arise. So far, I have, with all honesty, not seen any development related to the report and the mandated scope, which is in the law of that report, essentially, the security focus of the report, that would cause me to change my view on the conclusions we reached or the recommendations we made.

BLITZER: Some of the biggest criticism you're getting from Darrell Issa and others is that you didn't grill Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state. Why didn't you?

PICKERING: Very simply, we did not because at the time we met with her to discuss the report, we felt we had fully developed the answer to the question of where the decisions were made, where the failures and performance had taken place, where those decisions were reviewed. And they did not touch on her.

BLITZER: But Gregory Hicks, in his testimony the other day before Congress, he said he was on the phone with her during that critical night. I will play a little clip. This is what he said about his conversation with the secretary of state.


GREGORY HICKS, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION, LIBYA: I think about 2:00 p.m., the secretary -- 2:00 a.m., sorry -- the secretary called -- Secretary of State Clinton called me, and along with her senior staff were all on the phone.

And she asked me what was going on, and I briefed her on developments. Most of the conversation was about the search for Ambassador Stevens. It was also about what we were going to do with our personnel in Benghazi. And I told her that we would need to evacuate, and that was -- she said that was the right thing to do.


BLITZER: Now, with hindsight, don't you think it would have been important to ask her about that conversation and other decisions she made that night? Because she was intimately involved.

PICKERING: We did. We did. We interviewed the senior staff members..

BLITZER: But why not her?

PICKERING: ... that Greg referred to, Wolf, and felt that everything that we saw was fully and competently taken care of.

We didn't have a reason in any way at all to suggest there was anything that she might have known that was not already relayed to us. It was straightforward. We thought they did an excellent job the night of. There were many different pieces of testimony we put together with respect to that.

BLITZER: Because the criticism is, you were trying to protect her. PICKERING: Well, the criticism may be the criticism. We will have to live with that, but the truth is that we didn't feel there was a need to do that on the basis of all the evidence we had accumulated to date.

BLITZER: And knowing what you know now, was that the right decision?

PICKERING: Yes, of course it was the right decision.

BLITZER: To avoid any serious questioning with the secretary of state?

PICKERING: Well, if we had started down that line, where would it have ended?

BLITZER: Well, she says she takes the responsibility. The buck stops with her.

PICKERING: Of course she did. And that was very clear, and she made it very clear.

But the act was passed precisely to avoid that conundrum. The act was passed and the debate on the acts said we don't want any more reports that said that the secretary of X, Y, and Z has taken full responsibility. It's all taken care of. We want reports to know where the decisions were made and who carried them out.


BLITZER: Because some of the recommendations you made resulted in career-ending decisions for four senior officials.

PICKERING: Certainly, our decision and our recommendation was that they should leave, two of them leave the jobs in which they were engaged. Those were tough decisions, Wolf. It took us a long time to go through the evidence to find that decision.


BLITZER: Ambassador Thomas Pickering speaking with me earlier, not backing away from his conclusions and defending his decision not to question the secretary of state about the Benghazi attack.

Up next: an exclusive interview with the brothers of Ariel Castro accused of holding three women captive in his home for a decade. We're going to hear some of the methods he allegedly used to keep his family from discovering his horrifying secret.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Could you hear anything in the home?

PEDRO CASTRO, BROTHER OF ARIEL CASTRO: No, the radio was playing all the time. SAVIDGE: He would play music all the time?

P. CASTRO: Yes. If not the radio, the TV. Something had to be on at all times in the kitchen.



BLITZER: All right, this just into THE SITUATION ROOM.

Dr. Joyce Brothers has died. She died today at the age of 85. In her own way, she certainly was a television pioneer. She was a frequent guest on TV talk shows starting back in the 1950s. She was a psychologist who had a keen knack of explaining things very, very clearly. She also wrote a syndicated column for many years, Dr. Joyce Brothers dead at the age of 85.

An extraordinary interview with two men whose lives have been turned upside-down, Onil and Pedro Castro, whose brother, Ariel Castro, is accused of holding three women captive for a decade.

They spoke exclusively to CNN's Martin Savidge.


SAVIDGE: You all went to your mom's for dinner.

ONIL CASTRO, BROTHER OF ARIEL CASTRO: Yes, we went -- we went to mom's for dinner.

SAVIDGE: The first sign of trouble for you, when you were riding back in the car with Ariel, the first indication of a problem was what?

O. CASTRO: When he -- when he pulled in McDonald's.

Around the -- not very far from momma's house. He pulled in McDonald's and I'm wondering, why are you pulling in -- in my mind I'm wondering -- I'm wondering why are you pulling here, we just -- we just ate. You have to go to the bathroom or anything? No, he says they pulled me over, they're behind me. I didn't know because it was bright and sunny. I didn't see no flashing lights. I didn't hear a siren --

SAVIDGE: The police were behind you.

O. CASTRO: Yes, sir.

And he says the cops are back there, he pulled us over. I said, what did you do, run a stop sign or a red light or something? He says, no, no, I don't know. And by that time, the officer was on his side asking for his I.D. And they took his I.D. And there was an officer next to me there and he hadn't asked me for my I.D. yet, but I figure he's there, so I go like this and I go, you want my I.D., too? And he went for his weapon. And I held it and I gave him my I.D. And I said, what's going on? I haven't done anything, sir. What's going on here? He says, all I can tell you is that you're in some -- for some serious allegations.

SAVIDGE: What was the first sign of trouble for you that day?

P. CASTRO: I was -- I was sleeping, and I don't -- I don't remember the police in my room.

And I was thinking because I had open container warrant. So I didn't know what -- I thought that they was taking me because of that.

SAVIDGE: Let me walk you through a bit of this, so that everyone clearly understands. When you were arrested on Monday and brought in, were you told why you were under arrest?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.


SAVIDGE: You had no idea?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not for 48, maybe 36 to 48 hours later.

SAVIDGE: Pedro, when did you become aware?

P. CASTRO: Well, there was an inmate that didn't speak English, so I translated for her. So, then I asked her, "Now that I help you, can you help me?"

SAVIDGE: This is to the officer?

P. CASTRO: Yes. And she said, "Sure. What you want to know?"

"I want to know what -- what am I being charged for."

So she said, "OK, I'll go see." So, she comes back, and she -- she's got a piece of paper written down whatever I was in for.

And because I didn't have my reading glasses, I looked and I said, "Oh, open container."

She said, "No, read it again."

And I said, "Kidnapping? What's this, kidnapping?"

SAVIDGE: Could you talk? Were the two of you able to talk to one another while in jail?


SAVIDGE: Couldn't communicate?


SAVIDGE: You were in separate cells?

P. CASTRO: They told us not to, so I didn't.

SAVIDGE: Where was Ariel?

O. CASTRO: Ariel was in the front, more towards the front on suicide watch.

P. CASTRO: He was in a cell what they call the bull pen. How do I know this? Because I seen it. I seen them when they took me to get my medication.

SAVIDGE: Did he ever go past you? Did you ever see him?

P. CASTRO: I did. Because where he was at, there's no toilet, so across from my cell there was one open, so he came there, used it. That's when I seen him. And when he came out, he said "peace" to me.

O. CASTRO: So evidently, that happened with him over there. And when he walked past me, he goes, "Onil, you're never going to see me again. I love you, bro," and that was it.

SAVIDGE: When did you become aware of what he did?

O. CASTRO: Well, shortly after that when the detective took me into the room and started asking me questions and showing me pictures of the girls. And when he showed me pictures of the girls, asked me, "Do you know these girls," he showed me first -- I can't even tell you -- I can't even tell you which one he showed me first, but he said, "Have you ever seen this girl?"

And I said, "No, I've never seen that girl."

And then he showed me the other one: "Have you ever seen this girl?"

And I said, "No, I've never seen that girl."

And then he says, "That's Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry." And my heart fell. I just dropped. Not physically, but I -- I just hit the ground. And after he said, "That's Amanda Berry, and they were in your brother's house."

SAVIDGE: You knew who these girls were?

O. CASTRO: From the picture I couldn't recognize them. "Oh," I told him, "they don't look like the girls that have been pinned up and posted up."

He said, "Yes, that's how malnourished they are."

SAVIDGE: So you're in this interrogation room, and suddenly, the police officer is showing you these photos and said that they are in your brother's home and you were expressing how you felt. It was just a physical feeling?

O. CASTRO: It was just heart dropping. It was just terrible when they -- when they said that, when he said that: "It's Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and they were in your brother's house." I just couldn't believe it, because, you know, there was no signs of anything like that. I seen no signs.

SAVIDGE: You had been to the house. You would go to the house.


SAVIDGE: I mean, how often?

P. CASTRO: No, no. Not how often. I didn't go to his house very much, but when I did, he would let me no past the kitchen. I would sit down, and the reason why we go in the kitchen, because he had alcohol. He would take me in the kitchen, give me a shot.

SAVIDGE: He was -- when you'd go in the house, he would be specific, then, to stay in the kitchen, or it just seemed that you stayed in the kitchen?

P. CASTRO: Yes, I wasn't -- I wasn't allowed past the kitchen.

SAVIDGE: Could you see anything beyond the kitchen?

P. CASTRO: No. Because there's curtains.

SAVIDGE: He had the house blocked off with curtains? Did he say why?

P. CASTRO: He told me that -- I think it was wintertime, and he said he wanted to keep the heat in the kitchen, because the gas bill.

SAVIDGE: What about could you hear anything in the home?

P. CASTRO: No, the radio was playing all the time.

SAVIDGE: He would play music all the time?

P. CASTRO: Yes. If not the radio, the TV. Something had to be on at all times in the kitchen. So I couldn't hear nothing else but the radio or the TV.

SAVIDGE: Didn't any of that strike you as unusual or strange?

P. CASTRO: No, because Ariel was, to me, he was a strange dude. I mean, it didn't faze me nothing.

And another thing: I seen Ariel with a little girl at McDonald's. And I asked him, "Who's that?"

And he said, "This is a girlfriend's of mine."

SAVIDGE: The daughter belonged to a girlfriend of his?

P. CASTRO: Yes. And then I said, "Well, where's she at?"

"She's at Mitchell's. She's taking care of something at Mitchell."

OK, so I left it at that. And I left. Because he's with this little girl, and they're going to have breakfast.

Then about three weeks later, I seen them -- I seen his truck at Burger King, and then again he's with this little girl. And then I question him, "Where's the mother?"

"Oh, she had to do something."

So I just let it go.

SAVIDGE: You believed him?

P. CASTRO: I believed it. But I had no idea that that little girl was his or Amanda's.


BLITZER: CNN exclusive continues in just a moment. Up next, the friendship between Ariel Castro and the father of one of the victims.


P. CASTRO: And you got his daughter? And you go -- you go around like it's nothing? You even went to the vigils; you had posters? You give his mom a hug? And you got his daughter captive?



BLITZER: More now of Martin Savidge's exclusive interview of the brothers of the man charged with holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for a decade. Onil and Pedro Castro were arrested along with Ariel Castro, but cleared and released within days. But now they're haunted by the stigma of this notorious crime.


SAVIDGE: Did you in any way know, help, assist your brother in the horrible things he's accused of doing?

O. CASTRO: Absolutely not. No idea that this horrific crime was going on.



SAVIDGE: You know there are people who will say you had to know. How's it possible for so long in that home, your brother, you couldn't know?

P. CASTRO: For those people out there, I'm going to tell you something. I had nothing to do with this, and I don't know how -- how my brother got away with it for so many years, because that would never cross my mind.

SAVIDGE: He fooled you.

P. CASTRO: He fooled me, because I used to go there more than he did to work on cars, clean the yard, you know, help him out and stuff, but never go beyond the kitchen.

SAVIDGE: Onil, there was nothing?

O. CASTRO: Absolutely nothing that I could see that was unusual in that backyard. I can't say in the house, because I haven't been in the house in years.

SAVIDGE: Do you worry now that people will always suspect that you actually did have a role?

O. CASTRO: Absolutely.


O. CASTRO: And the people out there that know me, they know that Onil Castro is not that person. Has nothing to do with that.

P. CASTRO: Same. I couldn't never think of doing anything like that. If I knew that my brother was doing this, I would not be -- I would not -- in a minute, I would call the cops. Because that ain't right.

But yes, it's going to haunt me down, because people going to think, yes, Pedro got something to do with this. Pedro don't have nothing to do with this. If I knew, I would have reported it, brother or no brother.

SAVIDGE: What is your brother to you now?

O. CASTRO: Monster, a hateful, I hope he rots in that jail. I don't even want them to take his life like that. I want him to suffer in that jail. To the last extent. I don't care if they even feed him, what he has done to my life and my family's.

P. CASTRO: I feel the same way.

SAVIDGE: To the both of you now, he no longer exists?

P. CASTRO: Right.


SAVIDGE: He's gone?

P. CASTRO: He's goner. SAVIDGE: Almost as if he were dead?

O. CASTRO: Monster's a goner. I'm glad that he left the door unlocked or whatever he did, whether he did it on purpose. Maybe he wanted to get caught. Maybe time was up. Maybe he was inside too much, he wanted to get caught. But if he did it that way, he shouldn't have went to mom's house and put me in the car if he knew that was going to happen.

SAVIDGE: If you could talk to Gina, if you could talk to Michelle, if you could talk to Amanda, and in a way you are, I guess, what would you say?

P. CASTRO: I would tell her -- I would tell her that I'm sorry that you had to go through this, that I always thinking about these girls being missing, and I'm just grateful that they're home and, you know, out of that horrible house.

And I'd just -- I'd just tell them that I'm sorry for what -- for what Ariel done. Because see, I -- not much -- it's -- Felix, I know him for a long time, and when I find out that -- that Ariel had Gina, I just -- I just broke. I just broke down. Because it's shocking. Ariel, we know this guy for a long time, Felix, and you got his...

SAVIDGE: This is Gina's father?

P. CASTRO: Yes, Felix, Felix DeJesus. And you've got his daughter. And you go -- you go around like it's nothing. You even went to the vigils; you had posters. You give his mom a hug, and you got his daughter captive and do what you was -- people are saying? The police or whatever.

SAVIDGE: Who does that?

P. CASTRO: Yes, who does that?

O. CASTRO: Monsters.

P. CASTRO: People that have no -- no heart. They feel with no heart. No feelings. Dead.

SAVIDGE: Onil, the same thing?

O. CASTRO: For me the same thing. I just want also the families, get -- to want justice to the fullest extent. And I don't want ever, ever to see anything like that happen to anybody in the world. I know and it's happening, and we have no control over it. But if I can do something about it, I will and just start something like that. I would never let anything like that happen, go on to my worst enemy.

This has torn my heart apart. This has killed me. I'm a walking corpse right now. And there's God up there that knows. God's up there that knows that me and Pedro are innocent on this. We didn't have the slightest idea what's going on.


BLITZER: Up next, the brothers reveal why they granted this exclusive interview to CNN.


BLITZER: Ariel Castro's brothers compare it to a nightmare from which they can't wake up. Here's part three of their exclusive interview with CNN's Martin Savidge.


SAVIDGE: Why are you talking to me?

P. CASTRO: I want -- I want the world to know that I did nothing such. I am innocent. Like I said, if I'd known anything, I would not keep my mouth shut. I would have done something. Because I can't believe that Ariel was committing such a hateful crime for this long amount of time, acting like nothing happened in this, you know, no worries.

I want the world to know that Onil and Pedro -- me, Pedro -- had nothing to do with this. It was a shock to me to learn that my brother, Ariel, was doing this.

SAVIDGE: I can see that this is sort of stressing you. I can see that this is something that you're physically enduring.

O. CASTRO: Yes. It hurts. It hurts a lot. Like I said earlier, I woke up out of a nightmare last night. I want to wake up out of this one and I just can't.


O. CASTRO: I didn't want to see today.

SAVIDGE: I want to thank you both for talking to us, for sharing with us and opening up to us. Thank you.

O. CASTRO: Thank you.

P. CASTRO: Thank you. And I hope the world listen to us and...

O. CASTRO: We want our lives back. We want -- we want back to normal. I want -- I don't want -- I want this erased out of my mind like it never happened. And I don't want to know this. I don't want this to be true. Like I said earlier, I want to wake up out of this nightmare.

P. CASTRO: I want to -- I want to say that I don't want to be hunted down like a dog for a crime that I did not commit. I don't want to be locked up in my house because somebody out there is going to do harm to me. I want to be free like I was. Now I feel trapped for what somebody else did. And it's a family member. That shouldn't -- they should not take it out on the family. Threats of burning up the houses, killing Pedro, that's not right. You already got your -- your monster. Please give us our freedom. I want the world to know this.

SAVIDGE: Thank you. Thank you both.


BLITZER: And up next, Martin joins us live. We'll talk about his exclusive interview with these two Castro brothers.


BLITZER: And CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us now from Cleveland.

Excellent interview, Martin. There -- there were some reports, though, that -- of some supposedly suicidal writings from Ariel Castro years ago. Did they discuss -- did you discuss this with the two brothers at all? Did they know anything about these notes?

SAVIDGE: We did talk about that. There was an issue that they wanted to address off camera. And we talked about the note. And this is something that's been alluded to by authorities, that in it there was some writing which, it appears that Ariel Castro says that he was abused. I discussed this with a number of family members, not just the two brothers.

They all said they don't know what he's talking about. They really could not think of any time or anyone for which he makes this reference. They deny or say that they don't know any way that this could have happened or did happen in his life.

BLITZER: They've seen, these two brothers, pretty credible. You spent some quality time with them. What was your bottom-line assessment?

SAVIDGE: I do believe them. I mean, I believe them because, one, as you listen to that and the way they speak -- and perhaps it's not always, you know, the most grammatically eloquent, but -- it's sincere. I think that you see in them there is a fear, for one thing. They're anxious.

But most of all, they did want to say that they're very sorry, and they're glad that these women are free. And they wanted to explain that they had nothing to do with their detainment.

But I think it's genuine the way it comes across. And in that room, I mean, I know you don't sense it so much on television. But in that room, the air was filled with this kind of anxious emotion. These are not people accustomed to talking to television and certainly not to speaking to the world. And yet, they found the words. They found the courage. They stared the camera down. They took all of my questions. And they answered every one as best they could. So I think that they are telling the truth.

BLITZER: Good work. Excellent work. Martin Savidge in Cleveland for us. Thank you. Later tonight, by the way, 8 p.m. Eastern on "AC 360," an exclusive look inside Castro's backyard, dozens of photographs obtained by CNN show what he was allegedly trying to hide from the outside world.

That's it for me. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.