Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Shutdown Stand Off Day 7; Interview with Representative Raul Labrador; Interview with Representative Elijah Cummings; Two Terror Raids, Two Outcomes; Blockbuster "Captain Phillips" Set To Open; Interview With Elizabeth Smart; Two Bikers Charged With Assaulting SUV Driver; Franchitti, Spectators Injured In Indy Car Crash; No Airline Ticket, No Parents, No Problem
Aired October 7, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Also my interview with the remarkable Elizabeth Smart telling for the first time the whole story of her kidnapping and captivity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH SMART: And I really didn't know what the definition of fear was until that moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That and a lot more tonight, including a moment-by-moment account of the Special Forces raids that landed one top terror leader in custody but narrowly missed another.
We begin, though, tonight with the government shutdown, which is now several days old, and a possible default on the debt ceiling which is getting closer by the hour. Today, touring FEMA headquarters, President Obama repeated his refusal to negotiate on either. Calling on House Speaker Boehner to allow a vote to fund the government with no strings attached. Speaker Boehner, for his part, not backing down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president's refusal to negotiate is hurting our economy and putting our country at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The refusal to negotiate line. That's is the GOP line, a talking point this weekend on all the Washington political shows, not so different from any talking point from any side over the years except for this. We actually had a look behind the scenes when that talking point sort of came into the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think if we keep saying we wanted to defund it, we fought for that, but now we're willing to compromise on this, I think they can't, we're going to -- we, I think, well, I know we don't want to be here, but we're going to win this, I think. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, just keep saying we're willing to compromise. Senator Paul -- that's what Senator Paul said right there. That was on Wednesday. Over the following days and through this weekend, his colleagues certainly seem to have taken his advice. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: House Republicans repeatedly have been compromising.
PAUL: Compromise after compromise.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), MINORITY WHIP: Negotiation.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The president hasn't been willing to negotiate, we want to.
REP. JACK KINGSTON (R), GEORGIA: In this town, you have to negotiate.
REP. CHARLES SOUSTANY, JR. (R), LOUISIANA: Negotiate.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Negotiate.
REP. HAL ROGERS (R), KENTUCKY: We wait for the Senate to come to the negotiating table.
REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: We still remain ready to negotiate.
REP. JOHN FLEMING (R), LOUISIANA: We should be sitting down talking.
BOEHNER: I'm willing to sit down and have a conversation with the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the GOP line, and here perhaps is the most viral version of the Democratic response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE DOYLE (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Mr. Speaker, we've heard from our Republican colleagues that the Democrats don't want to compromise. That the president doesn't want to negotiate. You know, I read something on the Internet this morning that sort of describes the type of negotiation the Republicans want to have with us. Goes something like that.
Can I burn down your house? No. How about just the second floor? No. How about the garage? No. Well, let's talk about what I can burn down. No. You're not compromising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the bottom line in all of this back and forth, people are hurting from the shutdown and financial markets are starting to get jumpy about a default on the debt.
Chief national correspondent John King joins us now with the latest.
What is the latest? Is there any movement whatsoever tonight on this whole mess?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not anything meaningful movement, Anderson, a lot of conversations from people who have proposals and ideas but no one in the leadership have been getting it to the finish line. A lot of great rhetoric, but we just heard there from both sides but not a lot of progress, not a lot of talk toward it.
As you mentioned at the top the president did say, Speaker Boehner, bring to the floor a clean CR, that's a clean bill to keep the government up and running, to reopen the government, if you will. And we've been doing some counting at CNN, there are about 200 Democrats we know would be for that. We have 14 Republicans now who have committed to being for that. That would leave them three shy by that count. That doesn't mean those three votes aren't there, they're just not promptly committed yet.
But, Anderson, that would be an experiment to democracy the country might want to see. But the speaker controls the calendar, the speaker controls the floor, and he's not ready to bring anything, especially anything clean to the floor right now. They're still insisting on the House side if it's about opening the government that they get something for the health care bill, if it's about the debt ceiling, that they get spending reforms, and the like.
COOPER: We're also hearing a bill passed by the House to pay furloughed federal workers back pay when the shutdown ends. Might have hit a snag in the Senate. What do we know?
KING: It has hit a snag in the Senate, that's the kind of a bill that you would expect to pass 100 to nothing in the Senate, maybe 98 to 2, or 96 to 4, if somebody has some objections. But here's the problem and again, it's the evidence of the lack of trust and goodwill.
Democrats would bring that to the floor to guarantee those federal workers -- this would happen after any shutdown anyway as it has in the past. But they want to get out ahead of it and say look, when you come back to work you will be paid. They want to do that to encourage a lot of people to come back to work during this furlough period even though they're not going to get officially just yet.
However, Republicans say if you bring that to the floor we want amendments, so that we can bring up proposals on others we think the Democrat majority has prevented us from voting on. The Democrats only want to bring it to the floor, Anderson, if it has an up or down, no changes vote, so it has -- snag is a polite word.
COOPER: Yes. And obviously looming next week is the debt ceiling deadline. We've got the debt clock up there already. The White House showing today they might be open to a short-term solution, right? KING: The White House is saying that. Gene Sperling, one of the president's top economic advisers, saying hey, look, if Congress wanted to, say, pass a two-week or three-week extension of the debt ceiling to allow us room to negotiate that would be good because it would take that pressure off the financial markets. It would take the threat of default off the table at least for now.
Now the White House says that's no big deal. Some Democrats are grumbling about that, Anderson, because they don't want to vote more than once on this. But, again, you get to the key point, you would have to get the Republicans to agree to that. Number one, most Republicans don't want to vote twice to raise the debt ceiling because it's against their litmus test, if you will.
And number two, to vote yes the first time on a two-week extension, you would have to trust that you're then going to get the negotiations on those questions whether it's the health care bill, whether it's deficit reduction, whether it's entitlement reforms. And that trust simply does not exist in Washington. So it was put out there as a trial balloon, there are other trial balloons floating around, but as we have this conversation tonight, seven days into the shutdown, that debt clock ticking down, there is no noticeable, no progress to sink your teeth into.
COOPER: Wow. A lot of balloons just popping and deflating all around.
John King, thank you.
Now one of the House Republicans who is holding firm, Congressman Raul Labrador of Idaho, appreciate you joining us, Congressman.
You and many house Republicans have been saying that the Democrats have refused to negotiate. But the Democrats did back and the Senate passed a clean continuing resolution with the levels of funding for government agencies that Republicans wanted, not the Democrats wanted. $988 billion. Harry Reid said that Boehner -- Speaker Boehner promised he wouldn't attach demands to the Senate funding bill. It was brought in at the Republican level. Wasn't that a concession? In fact, wasn't that a negotiation?
REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: That's not a negotiation. If you think about it, the 988 number is not the actual Republican number. The 988 number is the 2013 sequester levels. We're talking now about the 2014, the year 2014.
COOPER: But -- so Harry Reid is lying?
LABRADOR: So we actually -- we actually made a concession when we started out at the 988 number, which now it looks like it was a mistake for Republicans to make that concession, because now Harry Reid continues to say that he made the concession when we were the ones who agreed to the 2013 levels of funding, not the 2014 levels of funding.
COOPER: So is Harry Reid just misinformed or are you saying he's lying when he says that Speaker Boehner told him that 988 was the figure?
LABRADOR: That's -- what they talked about. I don't know what they talked about. I wasn't there in the negotiations. That's between Harry Reid and the speaker of the House. What I can tell you is --
COOPER: So there were negotiations, you're saying?
LABRADOR: No, I don't know if there were. That's between them. I wasn't present at -- at those alleged negotiations. The reality is that the Republicans have been holding firm on what we want to do for funding the government.
You know, Anderson, it's kind of like you telling CNN that you want to go ahead and you want to extend your contract for a year. And CNN tells you that you have to sign the dotted line right now and you can negotiate on the terms of your contract later. That's what the president wants us to do. And that's what Harry Reid wants us to do, and I don't think that is acceptable.
COOPER: But it's not really that way because Congress hasn't passed my contract and the Supreme Court hasn't accepted my contract as valid. I mean, this president ran on --
LABRADOR: Yes, but --
COOPER: On the Affordable Care Act, he won twice. The Republican candidate lost both times, talking about being against the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court has backed it up. Why not allow this to come up to a vote?
LABRADOR: Well, number one, your premise is incorrect. If you think about one of the reasons that Mitt Romney was not that popular in some circles is because he actually was known as the godfather of Obamacare. He was not going to be the strongest candidate against Obamacare and I don't think he --
COOPER: OK. But --
COOPER: He was your candidate and he ran against it and he lost.
LABRADOR: Yes, but he -- but he didn't, he didn't make the basis of his campaign Obamacare. You guys in the media keep saying that but that's absolutely false. He didn't spend a lot of time talking about Obamacare.
COOPER: And John McCain, what about him?
LABRADOR: John McCain was also -- they didn't talk about Obamacare at the time. It wasn't even the law of the land at the time. So this argument --
COOPER: President Obama certainly talked about the Affordable Care Act, talked about universal health care coverage against John McCain.
LABRADOR: He did against John McCain, but John McCain lost for a lot of other reasons, and it wasn't because of Obamacare.
COOPER: But John McCain himself --
COOPER: No, I'm not. But John McCain has said elections have consequences.
LABRADOR: They do --
COOPER: You guys, why not -- why not just bring this up for a clean vote?
LABRADOR: So according to you the only election that mattered was the election of Obama. It doesn't matter that the House of Representatives in 2010 and 2012 actually won both times with majorities because we were fighting against Obamacare.
COOPER: Right. This has been passed by Congress. This law has been passed by Congress.
LABRADOR: That is not --
COOPER: I understand you don't like. You didn't run on it. But you ran on repealing it.
LABRADOR: No. Not a single Republican voted for it. Not a single Republican voted for it.
COOPER: It passed Congress, didn't it?
LABRADOR: The election of 2010 -- remember how it passed. It was through some procedural tricks. If you remember the Senate passed a bill -- one of the reasons Obamacare has so many problems right now is because they passed a bill in the Senate. That Senate bill was incomplete.
COOPER: And so basically your argument is you're nullifying two presidential elections and you're nullifying the vote of Congress because you don't like it. And I get that and you're -- you know, in your district this plays well.
LABRADOR: But you're argument is that the election of the House of Representatives doesn't matter. The American people --
COOPER: No, the vote -- my argument is that the vote of the House of Representatives and the vote of the Senate does matter and this is the law and the Supreme Court has backed up this law. So at a certain point, why not just bring this to a vote? Why not just bring this to a vote in the House right now? LABRADOR: You know, we could bring it to a vote and it would lose, and you -- and the Democrats keep talking -- you know, this is a beautiful talking point the Democrats have because it's something that they have no evidence that there is anybody willing to vote for this.
COOPER: Well, why not see? Why not bring it up and see?
LABRADOR: But why should we? Why should we --
COOPER: Because that is how things work.
LABRADOR: That is not how things work.
COOPER: You just got to vote --
LABRADOR: So when Nancy Pelosi was the speaker of the House, you asked her to actually vote for things that the Republican Party wanted. You never asked -- nobody in the media ever asked Nancy Pelosi to pass a prerogative of the Republican Party. Not once did that happen during the four years that she was speaker of the House, but all of a sudden, just because you don't like the fact that the Republicans are in control of the House of Representatives that you want to make sure that the Republicans --
COOPER: I don't have --
LABRADOR: -- actually pass a Democratic --
COOPER: I don't have a stake in this. I don't have a -- I'm not voting on --
LABRADOR: Well, you seem to.
LABRADOR: You seem to --
COOPER: No. This is the way it works in journalism. When you're not on FOX News, you get contentious interviews. When you're not on MSNBC and a liberal, you get contentious interviews.
LABRADOR: Actually --
COOPER: My job -- my job is to ask you questions that are different than you think just as my next guest, who's a Democrat, I'm going to ask the same kind of question that push back on their position. That's what a journalist does. So I'm not taking the side of the Democrats here, and in a minute you'll see I'm not taking the side of the Republicans. LABRADOR: No, but I'm just showing you Anderson, that we did have an election, in the election of the United States we chose a Republican House and a Democratic Senate.
LABRADOR: So we're not going to sit here and just only do what the Democrats want to do. We're not only going to negotiate under Democratic control. We have a Republican House and we have a prerogative that our constituents sent us to Washington, D.C. --
LABRADOR: -- win this. And to actually fight on this.
COOPER: But why not -- why not -- I guess what I just don't understand is if you're convinced it wouldn't pass, why not bring it up to a vote to take away that Democratic talking point?
LABRADOR: But why do it when you have a discharge petition right now the Democrats have been trying to put forth? Not a single Republican has signed that discharge petition. That's actual proof that there's not a single Republican that wants to do what the Democrats wanted.
COOPER: But wouldn't it make your -- but wouldn't it make your position stronger? Your argument about they're not willing to negotiate if you brought this up, let it not pass, and then --
LABRADOR: It's not necessary.
COOPER: And then that takes away their talking point.
LABRADOR: It's not necessary. When you have a discharge petition which, under the rules of the House, would force a vote on the house, not a single Republican has -- has signed that discharge petition. So their talking points are null and void.
Congressman Labrador, appreciate your time. Thank you very much. Really do.
LABRADOR: Thank you.
COOPER: A bit more background on the debt ceiling. Plenty Republican lawmakers have begun saying that breaching it would not lead to economic disaster. Congressman Steve King of Iowa calls that kind of talk demagoguery. However, conservative columnist Mark Zandi, a former adviser to John McCain, recently warned that the U.S., quote, "would quickly fall into another severe recession if the debt ceiling is not limited." With that -- lifted, I should say.
With that inter-party dispute, I want to bring in Democratic voice, Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland.
Congressman, you know, the Republicans say look, President is not negotiating. He's basically said my way or the highway. A lot of people, even Democrats, have been critical of this president's some are saying that he will not negotiate, even demo Democrats are critical of his unwillingness to reach out to folks on Capitol Hill. Why not negotiate now?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Negotiate over what? See, that's the question. They -- at one time --
COOPER: Well, they say delay for a year --
CUMMINGS: Let me --
COOPER: -- the individual mandate or the Affordable Care Act.
CUMMINGS: Let me answer your question. The Affordable Care Act, that was one thing. They realize that they could not -- they tried to defeat it when we got it through the House and the Senate. And then had it signed by the president and affirmed by the Supreme Court. So they couldn't get their way that way through the regular democratic process. So then they said OK, let's shut down the government.
Well, they shut down the government. Now they say we're going to threaten the credit worthiness of the United States and possibly the world economy. To do something that we're supposed to do.
COOPER: But I don't understand --
CUMMINGS: We're -- wait a minute, we're supposed to keep the government open and we're supposed to pay our debts.
COOPER: What harm could be done if the president just brings Speaker Boehner into the White House and tries to forge some sort of a path forward, just make a deal. Compromise, both sides, and the Republicans are saying look, we're willing to compromise now.
CUMMINGS: Yes, well, keep in mind it was six months that we've been trying to get -- the Senate has been trying to get the House to come together over a budget in a conference committee. They refused over and over again. The fact is that the president is clear. And I agree with him. You've got to -- let's keep our government open, number one, and let's pay our debts. And then let's sit down and see what we can work out.
But you -- I mean, the -- Republicans seem to act like if the president -- you know, it reminds me sort of when somebody has to pay child support. And then the Republicans are saying oh, you got to give me something to pay my child support. No, you're supposed to pay your child support. And so --
COOPER: But they say that they were elected to these -- these representatives in the House were elected to defund Obamacare. And that it is wildly unpopular, they say. Certainly in their districts, it is. And if they have the mechanisms to try to force some sort of a compromise, why shouldn't they?
CUMMINGS: Well, you made a very good point. It may be unpopular in their districts, but let me tell you something, Anderson. It's very popular in a lot of other districts including like mine, when people cannot -- let me finish. Where people could not -- cannot get the health care that they need. Where women -- I just marched about a week ago with a thousand women with lupus. And they could not get insurance before now because they had pre-existing conditions.
One of the things that seems to be lacking in all of our conversations is that Congress acted to give something to the American people. And what they did was give them access to insurance that they could not get. And now you have the Republicans coming -- trying to come through the back door, trying to take away something.
What about them?
COOPER: So when --
CUMMINGS: What about those people?
COOPER: We just had a Republican congressman on saying that well, Congress passed this but it was done through sort of sleight of hand and parlor tricks essentially.
CUMMINGS: You can call it -- look, no matter what, it passed. If they had such a problem with it they probably -- they could have challenged it, I guess, in the Supreme Court on that basis. Well, the fact is, is that it passed. And I know that they were sitting around just praying that Justice Roberts, Chief Justice Roberts would say no, no, no, this is not constitutional. But what did he do? He said it is constitutional.
You said it a minute ago. Anderson, this is the law.
COOPER: So --
CUMMINGS: This is the law. And every two years -- let me tell you something. Every two years I come to the Congress, just like my good friend, Mr. Labrador, we put up our hands to swear to uphold the Constitution and the laws of this country. It is the law.
COOPER: So where --
CUMMINGS: And so we should be trying to make it work.
COOPER: How does this get resolved? How does this not lead to the debt ceiling -- how does it -- what happens?
CUMMINGS: Well, you asked the question a little bit earlier. What we -- I guarantee you. I bet everything I've got, except my wife and kids, that if you put this order forward with a clean, a clean CR it would pass.
COOPER: You have no doubt about that.
CUMMINGS: No. I have absolutely, unequivocally no doubt about it. Mr. Labrador makes this argument about the document that -- we've got 195 people who have signed on saying to force the bill out. Well, guess what? That is not a vote. I'm talking about if this was put on the floor it would pass tonight.
But, Anderson, let me tell you something. I worry. We -- our country is better than this. We really are. I did not come to the Congress to throw Mr. Labrador's constituents under the bus, and I'm not throwing mine under the bus.
COOPER: Congressman --
CUMMINGS: And I think at the rate we're going that's where we're going to end up. Again, I think they should do -- should -- if you want to err on the side of what is right, this is what you do. You err on the side of opening up government. So you go, we hold the vote. If they -- if there are not the votes there, then we stay where we are. With a shutdown government. But if the votes are there, then we open up the government so that the citizens of this great United States can have the benefit of the services that they have already paid taxes for.
COOPER: Congressman --
CUMMINGS: That's what it's all about.
COOPER: I appreciate you being on, as well. Thank you very much.
CUMMINGS: Thank you.
COOPER: Let us know what you think, following me on Twitter, at Andersoncooper.
Coming up next, chasing the terror leader responsible for that bloody attack on a mall in Kenya and capturing another terror leader. Our first look inside two American raids that happened over the weekend.
Later, Elizabeth Smart's full account of her abduction and captivity, schemes to escape and life since her terrible ordeal. It's a remarkable account.
COOPER: New details tonight on the pair of Special Forces operations that landed a top al Qaeda commander in American custody, but leaves another notorious terrorist at large.
Delta Force nabbing this guy, Abu Anas al-Libi. He'll be heading to New York where he faces trial for his alleged role in the 1998 embassy bombings that took more than 200 lives in Kenya and Tanzania. The Navy's SEAL Team 6 on the other hand aborting a raid in Somalia that captured a leader of the terror group al-Shabaab.
Chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto takes us behind the scenes.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Westgate mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya left dozens dead, a luxury mall destroyed, and a country terrorized. It is attacks like this -- bold, sophisticated and beyond Somalia's borders -- that helped lead the U.S. to target al-Shabaab on its home territory.
It was a daring operation. Late Friday night, SEAL Team 6, the same team that killed Osama bin Laden, launched from a commercial ship, aiming to capture the al-Shabaab leader known as Ikrima. But as the assault team approached the shore side villa, they're met by a hail of gunfire, heavier resistance than they expected. With the element of surprise lost and seeing children in the compound, the SEAL team withdrew without their man.
GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: There was a firefight. Absolutely. And they took every step to avoid civilian casualties in this case. And that's what our military personnel do.
SCIUTTO: Military sources say the SEALs were never pinned down and had rescue teams nearby by at all times.
Just hours later and 3,000 miles away, in Libya, another daring operation. This one in broad daylight in downtown Tripoli. The target? Abu Anas al-Libi picked up by members of the elite U.S. Army Delta Force. His family said he just returned from morning prayers when U.S. forces, many in masks, surrounded his car, smashed the driver's side window, and rushed al-Libi away, as his wife watched in terror from their home. She spoke exclusively with CNN's Jomana Karadsheh.
UMM ABDUL RAHMAN, WIFE OF ABU ANAS AL-LIBI (Through Translator): Everything happened rapidly. They grabbed him and shoved him in the car. I saw them doing this and saying get in, but wasn't sure if that was my husband. The car sped off like a rocket.
SCIUTTO: Al-Libi, a senior al Qaeda operative wanted for the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, is now on a U.S. Navy ship in the Mediterranean. Ikrima, the target of the Somalia raid, remains at large.
COOPER: And, Jim, joins me now.
You've been talking to U.S. officials. What more are you learning about the raid in Somalia, Jim?
SCIUTTO: Well, the biggest details to come out today are exactly why that SEAL assault team turned away. And they got to this beachfront village where they believed Ikrima was inside and when -- first of all they got more gun fire than they expected, but they also saw too civilians around, particularly children, and they made the judgment that the risk of civilian casualties was too high.
Now I asked a U.S. official whether he considers this operative a failure, his answer was an emphatic no. He said that part of the message here was -- part of the goal here was to send the message to a group like al-Shabaab that the U.S. could, quote, "knock on their door anywhere in the world." But then I ask these officials why take such a risk now with life and limb, sending a team in there on the ground, a very dangerous place? Was there a specific threat? They said no. Was it tied to the Westgate mall attack, they said no, as well. But they did say that their concern about al Shabaab, is it has a greater ambition and a greater ability to stage attacks abroad, including threatening U.S. interests in that region.
And when they saw an attack like the Westgate mall they saw that they were capable of this kind of thing and they felt that they have to go in there and be more aggressive in going after their leaders.
COOPER: Right. Interesting. Jim Sciutto, appreciate the reporting.
Let's dig deeper now with former FBI negotiator, Ali Soufan, and former Navy SEAL, Chad Williams.
Ali Soufan writes about al-Libi in "The Black Banner: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War against Al Qaeda." It's a fascinating book. He's now CEO of the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm. Chad Williams has also written his experiences and his book is titled "Seal of God."
Ali, let me start out with you. A lot of people don't realize this al Qaeda operative who was taken in Tripoli, he was actually apprehended by the British back in 1999 and they let him go. You were called in to take part in that investigation. You had to watch him essentially walk out the door. Explain what happened.
ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Well, basically, we were looking for him for his involvement in the 1998 bombing of the East Africa embassy in Nairobi.
SOUFAN: And at this point, we realized that he had applied for political asylum in 1995. At that time, in the world before 9/11, we didn't have enough to start a legal case against him. So we were hoping with that operation that we did with our British counterparts to get some evidence, and unfortunately we couldn't find any smoking gun. So according to the law, according to our laws and their laws, they had to let him go.
A few months later we were able to build a case against him. He was indicted and by then he escaped the United Kingdom and he went to Afghanistan.
COOPER: Is this -- somebody who you believe would still have operational useful information?
SOUFAN: I mean he is one of the early members of al Qaeda. He was with bin Laden before bin Laden went to Sudan. Then he went with bin Laden to Sudan. He continued to be with al Qaeda, operating especially in the East African region. The whole entire time that bin Laden was in Sudan, he did the casing of the embassy in Nairobi. In 1993 and 1994 he did the casing of different French, Israeli and U.S. targets in East Africa.
And then he continued to talk about targeting American interests, even outside Africa.
COOPER: So this is more about bringing somebody to justice as opposed to -- ongoing operations, things like that.
SOUFAN: Well, you know, he has been in Libya for a while. He has been involved with militant groups in Libya. As we know, his son, Abd al-Rahman, was killed, you know, fighting (INAUDIBLE) troops. So I'm sure that law enforcement and the intelligence community has been monitoring him for a while and they have a lot of questions that probably they would like him to answer.
COOPER: Chad, I want to turn the operation in Somalia. What kind of challenges did SEAL Team 6 faced with this operation that they maybe didn't with the bin Laden raid? I mean, a lot of people know about -- how the bin Laden raid took place. How would an operation like this take place?
CHAD WILLIAMS, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Sure, this operation was particularly difficult because they were not going to be able to come in from the ground. They're doing an over-the-beach strike. And so with that you just can't bring the same type of resources that you'd be able to bring if you had, say, vehicles or if you're dropping in from helicopter. But once these guys have made it over the beach they want to try to make their way to this house as quiet as possible. They can't bring nearly as large of a team as they did for the bin Laden raid just because they have to be just really under the radar.
And then by the time they made contact, they're just in a really tricky situation. They've got to make that decision whether or not they're going to fight through this thing and continue to try and pursue and find this guy. But eventually they made the call to go back to the water. And that was always the original intent. They never intended to retain the ground that they had conquered.
COOPER: It's up to who on the ground to decide whether or not we're moving forward this operation, or we're going to pull back?
WILLIAMS: That would be the assault lead. So that would be one of the ranking SEALs. He's making calls, you know, whether or not he wants guys to go to the left, go to the right, start clearing out the house. And it's just that guy that's the on-ground expert and, you know, he's got a real good lay of the ground. He could make that decision whether or not he thinks it is a good idea to continue to pursue or just pull back.
COOPER: And in an operation like this, the point of wanting to get the person alive is for operational information the person may have. Is that correct?
WILLIAMS: Absolutely, yes. If they wanted to just wipe that target out, they could have easily done so with a drone, without every putting any boots on the ground. But they want the information this guy has. COOPER: Ali, what do -- this kind of operations, do they -- do they point to any kind of shift in the Obama administration's way of conducting these operations? Or is this kind of business as usual?
SOUFAN: I think there is some kind of a shift in our counterterrorism strategy. Now you see an operation happening where we were able to go in two different locations at the same time, getting two individuals. Both of them were involved in a Nairobi attack. One attack in 1998 and one attack in 2013 and that was on the backdrop of the anniversary of Blackhawk down.
COOPER: Do you think it was just all coincidence that these two operations were occurring pretty much at the same time?
SOUFAN: I think it is nice from a message perspective that the United States is able to go and get these individuals, even after so many years. But I think at the same time there is a move to -- move to use more than one tool in the box. You know, for many years we used the drones. But now, it seems that we decided to useless law enforcement and intelligence.
COOPER: Interesting, great to have you on the program. Chad Williams, good to have you on, thank you so much.
For more on the story you can go to cnn.com. Up next, the Navy SEALs rescued Richard Philips, the captain of the cargo vessel taken hostage by Somali pirates. His story is now a blockbuster movie starring Tom Hanks. I really want to see it personally, but some crew members actually say the portrayal of Captain Philips as a hero in the film was really wrong, claiming his actions were reckless. We'll explore those charges ahead.
Also ahead, Elizabeth Smart, an amazing courageous young woman, for the first time talking in detail about her brutal kidnapping and imprisonment at the age of 14.
COOPER: Welcome back. A blockbuster movie opens on Friday in theatres, called "Captain Philips," regarding the captain who was overrun by pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2009. He was played by two-time Oscar winner, Tom Hanks. I really want to see the movie. It portrays Philips as a hero who saves his ship and his crew. But some crew members on that ship now reclaiming that the real life Captain Philips," but he was anything but a hero. Drew Griffin looks into it.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As their captain was being lauded as a hero, the crew there watched and bit their tongues, no more.
MIKE PERRY, CHIEF ENGINEER, MAERSK ALABAMA: We vowed we were going to take it to our grave, we were not going to see anything. We heard this PR stuff coming out about him giving himself up and he is still a hostage. And the whole crew is like what? Because everybody is in shock.
GRIFFIN: According to the crew members, Captain Philips on a voyage from Oman to Mumbasic, Kenya, set a course to save money, that route would shorten the trip and according to Third Engineer John Cronan put the crew directly in harm's way.
JOHN CRONAN, ENGINEER, MAERSK ALABAMA: He was advised to change course by competent deck officers and he overruled them. Stay on course, make RETA, stay on the same course.
GRIFFIN: In 2010 interview, Captain Richard Philips told us he was not used to criticism. When CNN confronted with these e-mails and his crews' concerns, he said it was the first time his judgement had been questioned.
(on camera): The complaint is that there were specific e-mails sent to your ship stressing the need to go further out to sea.
RICHARD PHILLIPS, CAPTAIN, MAERSK ALABAMA: Yes, so -- something like that, we'll deal with that in the arena that they wish and that is the court. That is what this is based on.
GRIFFIN: Is it true?
PHILLIPS: There are warnings put out. I don't know what authorities he is talking about. He doesn't say.
GRIFFIN: Well, I have the e-mails?
GRIFFIN: You have seen the e-mails.
PHILLIPS: I haven't seen the e-mails since I have been on the ship.
GRIFFIN: But you were warned to go further out to sea.
PHILLIPS: Warned to stay clear of an area, yes.
GRIFFIN: And you didn't?
PHILLIPS: We were in -- we came from Jaboodi, which is on the north side of Somalia, which is right next to Somalia. We're going to Amasa, which is on the south side. We were in the area, almost 300 miles out during our incident.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The captain is now a witness in a contentious lawsuit between some of the crew and the shipping company. In a deposition just last year, Captain Philips admitted he did indeed receive the e-mail warn warnings. He also admits he kept the warnings to himself. Asked by the plaintiff's attorney, did you ever tell Mate Quinn or any of the other deck officers that you were receiving these warnings to remain 600 miles off the coast of Somalia?
Phillips answers, I don't believe I specifically did. Asked why he didn't move further offshore, Phillips testifies, I don't believe 600 miles would make you safe. I didn't believe 1200 miles would make you safe. As I told the crew it would be a matter of when, not if. So we were always in this area. So it didn't, to me, lessen any potential.
Chief Engineer Mike Perry, who has since been paid by the movie a company first told us three years ago Captain Richard Phillips is dangerous.
(on camera): He doesn't heed the e-mail warnings telling him to go further out to sea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
GRIFFIN: After the second attempt on the boat he doesn't stay the course, which is to go further out to sea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
GRIFFIN: He doesn't lock the bridge when the pirates are attacking and then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they're known to have been on board. They were on board and even at that point he didn't lock them.
GRIFFIN: And what you're telling me, your hunch is that he wanted to be captured and wanted the boat to be taken by pirates?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is what many of our officers were saying to ourselves.
GRIFFIN: Did you want to stay with the pirates for some reason?
PHILLIPS: No. I think they're forget ting they had weapons.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Phillips told us much of the criticism is driven by human nature and by lawsuits filed by members of his crew. He also says the story itself was fuelled by a press that wanted a hero, a captain who saved his crew, a good story and now, a movie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four pirates on board, four pirates.
GRIFFIN: In 2010, he himself admitted if he acted as a hero, it was accidental, and would never claim a hero's title for himself.
PHILLIPS: The media got everything wrong. I don't know how I could control this when I'm in a life boat and the media is saying I gave myself up for it. In the book, if you read it -- have you read the book?
GRIFFIN: I did.
PHILLIPS: So you know I didn't give myself up, I was already a hostage by then.
GRIFFIN: She said the real heroes are the ones he dedicated his book to, the Navy, the Navy SEALs, and yes, the merchant mariners he sailed with. Drew Griffin, CNN, Burlington, Vermont. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Our Christiane Amanpour has interviewed Tom Hanks about the upcoming film and will be here at 10:00 on "AC360," if you haven't seen it, I hope you join us.
Up next, Elizabeth Smart telling us about her harrowing story about abduction and captivity.
COOPER: Welcome back, in tonight's big "AC360" interview, Elizabeth Smart, for the first time describing in detail her unimaginable ordeal, held captive for nine months, raped, starved on a daily basis. But Elizabeth Smart's story of survival is one of hope. She writes now about what she suffered and how her faith and family kept her going. I spoke with Elizabeth earlier today.
COOPER: To understand your reasons that you and your family have obviously been very private about, exactly what happened over the last 10 years, why did you decide to now write about it?
ELIZABETH SMART, ABDUCTED FROM HER HOME AT AGE 14: There are a lot of reasons why, but I think the biggest is because I do a lot of public speaking. And every time I speak, someone comes up to me and says I was raped and I have never told anyone that or I was kidnapped or my dad tried to sell me to pay the mortgage on the house. I mean, I've had so many disclosures come to me.
And so when I tried to consider writing a book that is really one of the main reasons that drove me because I want to reach out to the survivors and those victims. I wanted them to know that these things do happen. But it doesn't mean that you have to be defined by it for the rest of your life. You can move forward and you can be happy.
COOPER: Was it scary to contemplate about writing about it because you write in great detail about the physical assaults and rape and all of it?
SMART: I thought a lot about what I wanted to put into the book and I decided that if I was going to write a book, I wanted it to be 100 percent. I didn't just want to go 10 percent and sugar coat the rest. I wanted it to be really what happened and what it was like every day I was there because I don't think I'm doing anybody any favors by sugar-coating it.
COOPER: You write in the book about the moment you woke up, you're 14 years old, you wake up and there is a man with a knife at your throat.
SMART: Well, to me, my bedroom is the ultimate place in safety. I felt like that was the safest place in the world for me so waking up in the middle of the night in my own bedroom having this strange man standing over me, someone I didn't recognize, not only that. But having a knife being held to my throat, I was terrified. I had had grown up in a very happy home. And I really didn't know what the definition of fear was until that moment. That brought a whole new meaning.
COOPER: Did he say he was -- what did he say in that moment?
SMART: He said I have a knife at your neck, don't make a sound, get up and come with me and then I remember getting up and going with him. And then on the way through my house, he bent over to my again and said if you make any sound, if you do anything that causes any attention or causes someone to come, I not only will kill you, but I will kill anyone who tries to stop me.
COOPER: And what is going through your mind? I mean, you're 14 years old.
SMART: I was praying so hard for an escape, I kept looking, kept waiting for some way to get away. And I kept looking and when it didn't happen, I saw, my goodness, I am going to be raped and then kidnapped. I remember stopping him and asking him, well, if you're just going to rape and kill me could you please do it here, because in my mind, I wanted my parents to know what had happened to me. I wanted them to know I had not run away, that this was not my choosing, I was not upset with them, I wanted them to know it happened.
COOPER: So you just said if you're going to do this, do it now?
SMART: He said, I'm not going to rape and kill you yet, and then we kept going, and I remember we got a little further and I stopped him again. And I said don't you realize what you're doing. If you get caught you will spend the rest of your life in prison? And he looked at me again and he said I know exactly what I'm doing and I know what the consequences are, the only difference is, I'm not going to get caught.
COOPER: Did you meet the woman he was with right away?
SMART: I didn't meet her until we had arrived at the hidden camp way up in the mountains.
COOPER: What did you think when you saw this woman there because she was in league with him, aiding and abetting?
SMART: Well, I was terrified when I got to the camp. But the scariest thing about this camp was this woman.
SMART: Yes, I remember she came out and had on robes and a head dress, and she came up to me and hugged me, but this hug was not comforting. I mean, if hugs could speak this hug would have said, you're mine, you will do exactly what I tell you to do.
COOPER: And did the assaults begin right away?
SMART: The next nine months. My days consisted of being hungry, of being bored to death because he talked nonstop, always about himself. I mean, talk about self-absorbed and then my days consisted of being raped. I mean, not just once, multiple times a day.
COOPER: And -- you write in the book just when you think it couldn't get worse, it got worse?
SMART: Every time I thought, OK, it was rock bottom, my pajamas are being taken away from me. I'm forced to wear this nasty robe or they would say you are going naked now. I would be forced to drink alcohol, which I had never done before. I would pass out, and I would find out that my face and hair was crusted to the ground in vomit. Just every time I thought it couldn't get worse something always happened.
COOPER: And did -- you know, I have talked to so many kids who have been taken and often there are those questions, well, did you ever think about running away, about getting away or why didn't you run away? And I think it is hard for people who have not been through it, who didn't remember. We're talking about children. You were 14 years old. Psychologically, what change started to go through -- because early on you were talking about looking for an escape, when did that stop?
SMART: Well, I was so glad you brought that point up because it is so true. You can never judge a child or a victim of any crime on what they should have done because you were not there and you don't know. And you have no right just to sit in your arm chair at home and say well, why didn't you escape or do this? I mean, they just don't know. That is wrong.
And I was 14. I was a little girl. And I had seen this man successfully kidnap me. He successfully chained me up and successfully raped me and did all of these things. What was to say that he wouldn't kill me when he made those threats to me? What was to say that he wouldn't kill my family?
I eventually came to a point where I was like OK, one day, somehow, I'm going to survive this. I'm going to get back to my family. So in early march of 2003, we had ended up in California and they were talking of new places to go like New York and Boston and all I could think of was, my goodness, we can't go to those places because if nobody found me here, why on earth would anybody found me there?
COOPER: She is a remarkable young woman. We'll have part two of my interview with Elizabeth Smart, tomorrow night on the program. She tells me about what she thought during the incredible moment she was actually rescued.
Up next, surprising new information about who was actually in that swarm of bikers that attacked that SUV. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Let's get you caught up on some of the other headlines we're following, Isha is here with the 360 News and Business Bulletin -- Isha. ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, New York City police arrested a motorcyclist today and charged him with gang assault in connection with attack on an SUV. They say he attacked the driver and the man using his helmet to bash in the driver's side window faces the same charge. Police are also questioning two off-duty undercover officers who were with the bikers that day.
Indy driver, Dario Franchitti is hospitalized with spinal and ankle injuries after serious crash at the Grand Prix of Houston. Thirteen spectators were also injured after his car went airborne and destroyed part of the catch fence scattering debris into the grandstand.
And Anderson, authorities are trying to figure out how a 9-year-old runaway boy without a ticket got through airport security in Minneapolis and on to a Delta flight to Las Vegas. About mid-flight, crew members got suspicious because the boy was not on their list of unattended minors. Something tells me he is grounded for a very long time.
COOPER: I don't understand how he got through that far. Isha, thank you very much. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And that does it for us tonight, we'll see you again one hour from now at 10 p.m. Eastern for "AC360 LATER," our new panel discussion show. I hope you join us. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.