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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Clinton On 2016: "Thinking About All Of The Choices"; Senator Cruz Responds To Hillary Clinton; Violence In Iraq Gains Steam As Critical City Is Poised To Fall
Aired June 17, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, our exclusive interview with Republican Senator Ted Cruz. We're going to ask him about Hillary, Iraq and why members of his party are calling him a fraud.
Plus the suspected Benghazi mastermind arrested. An exclusive report on how CNN tracked him down before the FBI.
And TV star, Dr. Oz, grilled on Capitol Hill. Is he deceiving his viewers? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Hillary Clinton faces the public. The former secretary of state of taking questions right here on CNN. For the first time on television since the release of her new memoir "Hard Choices." Now the format was town hall, our moderator, Christiane Amanpour started with the question of the day, Benghazi.
There was news today of the first arrest, the capture of a key suspect in the 2012 attack that killed the American ambassador and three our Americans. The former secretary of state had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I took, as you know, ten years to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. It's taken more than two years to bring this perpetrator to justice. There are still some unanswered questions. It was, after all, the fog of war. But I'm absolutely convinced that the United States and all of our various agencies with all of our professionals, including the Congress, is, you know, piecing together the best information we can find.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And she was asked the question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are your competitive juices flowing for the chance to be the first female president of the United States of America?
CLINTON: You can see why she's an experienced journalist. I've been asked this a million different ways. That was very clever. I didn't really see that coming.
AMANPOUR: Radical candor.
CLINTON: Radical candor, yes. You know, I am thinking about all of the choices I face. And I'm trying not to get into the decision making mode where I'm doing pluses and minus and the rest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Joining me now is Christiane Amanpour. It was great to watch this, so many different topics. What do you think was the most newsworthy thing she said?
AMANPOUR: I thought she was very newsworthy on Syria. She drew a clear line between her and President Obama on wanting to arm and train the moderate opposition. I kept pushing her on that. I said if terrorism is the top national security threat and priority for the U.S. government, the Obama administration, then surely you should have pushed harder when you had that plan a couple of years ago.
And so we went back and forth on that a little bit. You know, given the reality in Iraq right now where you have across the border, the porous border of Iraq and Syria, this al Qaeda offshoot statement for the first time having gained so much control and is lightning speed attacks in Iraq.
So I was trying to push her on that. So she did have some division with the president on that. About Afghanistan, I said aren't you worried about a politically timed withdrawal from Afghanistan given what's happened in Iraq? And she said, well, there must be U.S. troops to stay there.
They hope that whoever is the new president there will sign the status of forces agreement and that there will be a contingent of U.S. troops potentially for the foreseeable future. And on guns, we asked her about guns, and she was very clear that that had to be reined in.
She talked about a small minority and she used terrorizing the majority in the U.S., she talked about the majority of people here who wanted to see some sensible legislation on guns. And also we're talking actually about things that are very important to women. Maternity leave, paid maternity leave, something that you and I have benefited from, but many people in the United States don't.
And how that does really affect women and their ability to stay in the workforce and to be mothers. And of course, the United States is one of only three countries in the world none of which are developed countries, by the way, which does not have mandatory paid maternity leave.
Then, of course, I asked her about -- I kept trying to ask her about the running for president thing knowing that she wasn't going to make a big announcement on this program, but I did ask her something that many women ask. Why did she not get more personal run as a woman so to speak in 2008? And she gave a very interesting answer about how she was so conscious about being in a man's world and not being able to really play what would have been a natural role for her and how she felt that that was a mistake potentially.
BURNETT: You know, it's interesting of all the things you said. You also talked to her about Iraq and what the administration is going to do and should do and that key question, which is incredible that we're even having this conversation in so many ways, Christiane, right, whether the United States and Iran should be working together to do something in Iraq, here's how the exchange played.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So the question is does Iraq fall or do you go in for a tactical reason in this case?
CLINTON: I am not prepared to say that we go in with Iran right now until we have a better idea what we're getting ourselves into.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Did you get the feeling, Christiane, she was dodging the question because she could because she wants to run for president and why would you put your stake in that ground right now?
AMANPOUR: Well, potentially, but frankly, the administration hasn't made up its mind and she's not going to get out in front of the administration or what such cooperation would be. There seems to be a very dynamic going on that the administration wants to see the political Maliki, the prime minister make some concessions before getting in militarily. Whereas on the ground it looks like you need a military effort to stop the advances of ISIS and try to get some political unification as well.
BURNETT: All right, Christiane, thank you very much. Christiane with that interview with Hillary Clinton. And joining me now is Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Joining us exclusively. And great to have you with us, Senator. I know you heard some of that. But I wanted to play a bit more for you about what Hillary Clinton said about an issue you've talked a lot about, that, of course, is Benghazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: There have been, as you know, a number of investigations including the independent one that the State Department commissioned as well as many in Congress. There are answers, not all of them, not enough, frankly, I'm still looking for answers because it was a confusing and difficult time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It sounds like you and the secretary agree, that you are both still looking for answers.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, I was certainly encouraged when she said that. And I hope that that means Secretary Clinton will support the resolution that I filed in the U.S. Senate along with 24 other senators to have a joint select committee to investigate what happened in Benghazi. The House has created a select committee. I've asked the Senate to do so.
And indeed just a few weeks ago when I stood on the Senate floor and asked for unanimous consent for the Senate to do our job, to answer the questions that Secretary Clinton rightly noted are still there, Bob Menendez, the senator who is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee stood up and objected.
And you know, Erin, his response was striking. In the course of objecting he said, "I have no idea whether President Obama was awake or asleep the night that our Americans were under attack." And he went even further, "I have no idea whether there was anything President Obama could have done to save the lives of those four Americans. But we don't need to answer those questions."
Well, with respect, I think those questions are important to all the men and women serving in our nation, and we ought to get to the bottom of the truth.
BURNETT: Now, look, it is true, of course, on Benghazi, that there need to be answers. People need to be held accountable, regardless of the politics around it. But the politics have taken center stage. You've been a big part of that. And as you know, Hillary Clinton recently in an ABC interview said Republican criticism, a lot of it coming from you -- she didn't say that, but I'm noting for our viewers, you've been very critical -- of her handling of Benghazi has incentivized her to run for president. Do you think you're emboldening her by continuing with these investigations?
CRUZ: You know, Erin, the truth isn't partisan. They're basic questions that haven't been answered, and she views it as criticism. To ask what happened that night, why were we attacked by terrorists? Why didn't we prevent it? Why didn't we have assets in place to save those four Americans? And why did the administration tell the American people a story that was demonstrably false?
Now, what we do know is even though Secretary Clinton today is telling CNN there are a lot of answers that need to be answered, we know in the aftermath of Benghazi, her chief political aide, Cheryl Mills, told career foreign service officers don't talk to reporters. Don't talk to Congress. Don't talk about what happened.
And it is not partisan to simply say we should get to the truth. That should be a bipartisan objective. But unfortunately, Secretary Clinton from the beginning has stonewalled on this rather than acting as a partner getting to the bottom of the what happened.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, you have to understand they were saying, look, part of the reason they didn't want to talk to reporters is they wanted to understand more about what happened because they didn't want it to become politicized, they wanted to come out with an accurate part of the story. Maybe that was a poor way from public relations way of handling it. But it may have made sense. I mean, if she says now, look, I still need answers, isn't that enough for you?
CRUZ: We don't have the answers, though. I mean, she says --
BURNETT: But she's admitting I don't have them all. I'm not trying to say I'm blameless. I'm trying to get answers.
CRUZ: But she's not trying to get answers. She's trying to block the answers from ever being answered. Indeed, her most famous comment on this is, what difference does it make? She views this purely through the lens of partisan politics. And we owe our men and women serving this nation, we owe our diplomatic corps, we owe our ambassadors. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. We owe it to the men and women serving this country to get to the bottom, not to play politics with it.
BURNETT: How has she played politics with it?
CRUZ: By having her political aide instruct career foreign service officers do not talk about what happened. Do not answer questions from Congress or the media.
And indeed, the White House, Erin, lied to the media. You'll recall the White House told the media, we did not change the talking points at all about what happened in Benghazi.
BURNETT: Well, there are still questions about where those talking points got altered. As you and I both know --
CRUZ: Erin, with respect, there are no questions. There are 11 edits that they've admitted now they did change. So, there's no dispute that they changed it, and there's no dispute that they lied --
BURNETT: -- Whether it was about tone or honesty. I want to get at this point, though --
CRUZ: But no, it wasn't tone or honesty. What they did specifically -- there's a broader point. The edits they made is they edited out every reference to al Qaeda and radical Islamic terrorism. And the problem with the Obama/Clinton foreign policy -- you know, throughout this town hall, Secretary Clinton said everything was a hard choice. This was a hard choice. That was a hard choice. There's a reason everything appears to be a hard choice because --
BURNETT: But al Qaeda -- yes, but let me just make this point. I know neither I or you want to have a whole interview about Benghazi. But al Qaeda itself is a complicated term, right? Maybe they took the words out because that would imply direction straight from al Qaeda headquarters on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border as opposed to a group who was inspired by. There were reasons to take those terms out that made complete sense.
CRUZ: Erin, with respect, no, they didn't. Because they didn't just take out al Qaeda, they took out any reference to radical Islamic terrorism. And the most consistent error of the Clinton/Obama foreign policy is a failure to understand the nature of the people we're dealing with, of our enemies.
It is striking that neither President Obama nor Hillary Clinton in this discussion tonight are willing to utter the words "radical Islamic terrorists." They do not understand the radical religious extremism of individuals committed to jihad who had pledged to murder Americans.
And that leads them to keep making the mistakes over and over and over again, whether it is releasing five senior Taliban terrorists without understanding that these individuals will likely return to active warfare against the United States. Whether it is in the case of Iraq, not understanding the threat posed by ISIS.
I'll tell you a great question we ought to be asking right now is whether the Obama administration has armed ISIS, these radical Islamic terrorists, whether they have armed them in Syria. Because we know they're arming some of the rebels. And we haven't had an answer as to which rebels they're arming and which they're not.
And you cannot win a battle against radical Islamic terrorism if you're unwilling to utter the words "radical Islamic terrorism" -
BURNETT: So let me ask you about -- if you believe this is an essential threat, as you do, you're putting that out here right now. Let's talk about ISIS in Iraq, because you mentioned it. If this is such an existential threat, as you believe, then that would mean -- I guess, intellectually consistently -- that you would then be willing to talk to Iran to work together because the U.S. and Iran are on the same side as seeing ISIS and this radical Islamic extremism that they represent as a crucial existential issue in Iraq.
CRUZ: Absolutely not. And that was the most surreal moment of Secretary Clinton's entire interview, when she suggested that the United States could partner with Iran --
BURNETT: I don't understand why you would rule it out. If you say - this is a central issue --
CRUZ: Let me explain.
BURNETT: -- we're on the same side, if you're not willing to work with them, then you must not see it as a central issue.
CRUZ: No, that's not true. ISIS are radical Islamic terrorists who have declared their intention to murder Americans, Israelis --
BURNETT: That's right.
CRUZ: -- to attack Jordan. They are enemies. But the regime in Iran is an enemy as well. They refer to Israel as "the little Satan" and American as "the great Satan." And this goes back -- what was astonishing is on a 20, 30 minute discussion of foreign policy, Secretary Clinton did not once mention the greatest national security threat in the world to the United States, which is the threat of the nation of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability. That's a stunning omission. So the idea --
BURNETT: That is a fair question, that the Iranian nuclear issue.
But I want to just understand. You're saying even though Iran and the U.S. may agree on ISIS, and ISIS is such a huge threat, that's still not enough for you to have a conversation with Iran. Like, for example, not just Hillary Clinton. Lindsey Graham said he would do.
CRUZ: Under no circumstances should we be partnering with Iran.
Listen, I agree with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu that the current deal that the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran is a very, very bad deal. It is a historic mistake.
And the reason they're making the mistake that the person leading the negotiations is a negotiator named Wendy Sherman. She's an old Clinton hand. She was the lead negotiator for the Clinton administration with North Korea, and we're making the same mistakes we made in the 1990s.
In the 1990s in the Clinton administration, they relaxed sanctions against North Korea. Billions of dollars flowed in, and North Korea used those billions of dollars to develop nuclear weapons.
We literally brought the same negotiator back who had failed in the prior deal to negotiate the same lousy deal. And now with what's happening in Iraq, the danger is, I think, even greater that we'll see an extension of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy to cut a deal with Iran that only accelerates their progress towards nuclear -- nuclear weapons capability.
BURNETT: I will note I'm not saying you're defending George Bush at all, but for those out there, of course, George Bush also contributed to relaxing some of those sanctions against the North Korean regime. But I want to talk to you, if I could, before we go, briefly about domestic policy as well.
BURNETT: You're seen as the leader of the Tea Party. No question about that. There's a big division in the GOP right now. Peter King was on this show last week, and I asked him about you because he was talking about how you and Rand Paul were rising in power, how that frustrated him. And here's how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Well, first of all, by showing that Ted Cruz, for instance, is a fraud. Last year, he induced the Congress to shut down the government, and after they did it, he couldn't deliver at all. Basically he said if the House shut down the government, that he would be able to deliver in the Senate the ending of Obamacare. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's correct. You did not deliver that. What do you say when he calls you a fraud?
CRUZ: You know, Erin, I don't know Mr. King. I've never met him. To be honest, I don't think I'd ever heard of him until he started getting on television attacking me. He's welcome to express his opinions, and he is entitled to them.
You know, I think there are far too many politicians in Washington in both parties that spend their time attacking each other rather than focusing on the substance. I'll tell you what the substance is that matters to the 26 million Texans I represent and to Americans all across this country, is that we're trapped in a great stagnation.
We have the lowest labor force participation since 1978. Millions of Americans are hurting. And you know the people hurting the most under the Obama economy? They're young people, they're Hispanics, they're African-Americans, they're single moms. It was striking in the whole course of Secretary Clinton's interview, she didn't talk at all that I could see about the economy, about people who have lost their jobs --
BURNETT: To be fair, she wasn't really asked about that. So, I think that's important to say that. You're right. It didn't really come up, but she wasn't asked.
CRUZ: What I can tell you --
BURNETT: I want to ask you about you, though. You have spawned a whole group of people that people say this is the next Ted Cruz, this is the next Ted Cruz. Some of those people are being flattering of you, some of them are saying that in a very derogatory way.
But some are frustrated, including highly respected members of your own party. You know what I'm talking about. They say you're hurting the party, you are hurting the country.
Here's Lindsey Graham, who as you know, just won his primary against the Tea Party challenger talking about you during the shutdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think the tactical choice that he - that he --embraced hurt our party. We helped President Obama when he needed our help the most. After this debacle called the shutdown, our party's been hurt. Our brand name is at the lowest ever. Obamacare actually got a bump in polling. And we got in the way of a disastrous rollout.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He is not alone in blaming you for that. And those in your own party who say it's a tone of anger, a lack of wanting to compromise that you bring to Washington, that is exactly what this country does not need. CRUZ: Well, I would note, Erin, that you pulled up a clip that's
nearly a year old. And indeed the word angry -
BURNETT: Well, it was from last fall right after your big moment where you became the guy everybody wanted to be the next Ted Cruz, regarding the shutdown in Obamacare. It was an important moment.
CRUZ: Erin, I agree it was a very important moment. It was a moment when millions of Americans across this country stood up against the disaster that was Obamacare, the train wreck that is Obamacare. And I think as a result of so many Americans standing up, we elevated the national debate over the enormous harms.
Millions of Americans have lost their job, millions have lost health care, have lost their doctors because of Obamacare. Millions of Americans have been forced into part-time work.
And it's very interesting, if you want to talk about the impact on the national political discourse. Right now, Democrats are running scared because it is very likely the Republicans are going to retake the U.S. Senate. We're going to retire Harry Reid as majority leader. And the reason, plain and simple, is because of Obamacare. It's an albatross around the necks of Democrats. And I would suggest to you that millions of Americans standing up last fall highlighting the harms of Obamacare played a very direct cause in the electoral success we're seeing.
Look, there are too many politicians in Washington who worry about bickering back and forth. The biggest divide we've got in this country is not between Republicans and Democrats. It is between entrenched politicians in Washington in both parties and the American people. We have to bring back jobs and economic growth. Stop the bickering in Washington.
BURNETT: All right. Well, we'll see what happens with Obamacare. It is obviously inextricably tied to your own fate. Thank you very much, Senator for your time tonight.
CRUZ: Thank you for having me.
The entire town hall with secretary of state Hillary Clinton re-airs here tonight at 9:00 eastern right here on CNN.
And OUTFRONT next, the violence in Iraq gaining steam as another critical city could be about to fall.
Plus the alleged mastermind of the Benghazi attacks who is in American custody tonight. You may remember in our documentary, well, CNN tracked that guy down before the Obama administration.
A secret Picasso painting hidden away for more than 100 years. We are going to show you what it look like, tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight Iraqi forces are trying to prevent another major city from falling into terrorists' hands. It's the city of Baquba, 37 miles from the capital. We're told parts of the city are under Isis control. That's the brutal group known as the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.
Tonight, for the first time, we're seeing the aftermath of these extremist surges. New video from Iraq's second largest city of Mosul. These are cars and trucks, as you can see, burned, trashed abandoned. And new disturbing video showing what appears to be a young child armed in the midst of the militants.
Nic Robertson begins our coverage out front live in Baghdad tonight.
And Nic, ISIS militants just 37 miles away from where you're standing. How concerned are people about whether ISIS is going to try to take Baghdad?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the security forces here have been put on high alert. This is their sort of -- they've got rings of defense around the city. The reality is ISIS are not going to be able to take Baghdad. We've seen them move down from the north pretty quickly. Why are they able to do that? They're Sunni fighters. They are moving through Sunni areas. It's not just ISIS. It is Sunni tribesmen in Iraq that have risen up against the government. It is other rebel Sunni groups in the country fighting with ISIS.
Now, where are they at the moment? Baquba, around this province just north of Baghdad called Diala province. In that province, you've got a lot of towns that are Sunni and Shi'a. That's where they're running into deeper problems. And that's why the fight is slowing down. Doesn't mean they can't win, but the security around Baghdad is tight.
But what ISIS wants to do is to circle the city, cut the roads, take the airport, put pressure on the city and even start shelling into the city. Look, it's not clear that they can even achieve that at this time. Taking the city, that's unlikely. Putting pressure on it, that's their goal. And they're still pushing towards achieving it.
BURNETT: And is there -- how much fear is there, NIC, where you're standing? I mean, are people -- we are going to show some of them in just a moment. Some of these horrific videos, these executions. Are people afraid?
ROBERTSON: Yes and no. Look, late last week when ISIS was on this really rapid roll towards Baghdad, there was real concern here. We talk about checkpoints, we talk about security in the city, the faces of some of these checkpoints are changing. What that means is the more dependable, reliable security forces, the guys that won't put down their weapons and take their uniforms off are being put in place. People see that. They know that's happening. That said in the last couple of days there's a little bit more traffic out on the streets. People realizing they're not about to be overrun at the moment.
We talk about bad stuff that's happened. We talk about these execution videos that ISIS is putting out there. But you know, we heard today the government here saying that ISIS had killed 44 prisoners. You know what, by the end of the day we found out it was the Iraqi police that killed those prisoners in the jail because they were Sunni prisoners and ISIS wanted to free them. There's some barbaric stuff going on both sides here right now -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Nic reporting live from Baghdad tonight.
As the terrorist group ISIS continues its march through Iraq we've seen some chilling videos of executions by the group. Now, we have not independently confirmed these videos, but what you're looking at are horrific. These thirsty, tired people, then you do actually see physical executions. In this case it's that policeman that ends up being executed. And we will show you another one of the child. This was reportedly filmed in Mosul, armed with what appears to be an automatic rifle.
OUTFRONT tonight to breakdown the security crisis in Iraq, here is the retired colonel Peter Mansoor, executive officer of general David Petraeus during the surge in Iraq.
Good to have you with us again, sir.
So the video, I mean, the best way to describe this video is it's propaganda video from ISIS to shows militants training, detonating explosives, it shows executions, we're not able, obviously to, as I said to independently confirm it, but what do you make of this? Is this really how they operate? Or is this just their one little pr blitz?
COLONEL PETER MANSOOR (RET.), EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS DURING IRAQ SURGE: Well, it's not just little pr blitz. This is information operations. And they're very savvy to their audience. What they're trying to show the world and to the Sunni people of Iraq is that they're predominant, that they're capable and that they're on the rise, and that their cause is spiraling upward. So I would suspect you're going to see more of this in the future.
BURNETT: So I want to just, in terms of where we are right now, a very brief clip of a discussion I had last night with the former envoy to Iraq, Ambassador Paul Bremer. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL BREMER, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: We basically had defeated Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Sunni extremists, by the end of 2009. In fact really by the end of 2008. And our departure in 2011, at the end of 2011, was a signal to the Iraqis that we were leaving.
BURNETT: The decision that you talk about as a crucial one which I think everyone could agree on which is when you U.S. forces would leave Iraq; that was a decision made, of course, by George W. Bush and the status of forces agreement he signed in 2008. He said all U.S. forces would be out by December 2011.
BREMER: All right, combat forces.
BURNETT: That was the decision made by George W. Bush.
BREMER: Combat forces. Combat forces. That is an important distinction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Colonel, of course, I just want to point out, Ambassador Bremer was technically incorrect on that one issue, the status of forces agreement signed by President Bush did include withdrawal of all U.S. forces by 2011.
But there's plenty of blame to go around. I mean, when you look at this, given it was part of the surge, does the fault lie to you more with the Bush or more with the Obama administration?
COL. PETER MANSOOR (RET), OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Well, first, I have to commend you on the interview yesterday which I watched in full. I don't know what kind of alternate universe Bremer is living in that he had no responsibility for the disaster that befell Iraq when it was his decisions to de-Baathify Iraq society and to disband that created the military basis for the insurgency is just a fantasy world.
You know, most of the blame goes to the Bush administration for getting us into Iraq in first place. It was a war of choice that didn't have to be waged. But having said that, once we were there, I think it was incumbent upon us to get out in a responsible manner.
You know, the status of forces agreement that the Bush administration inked with Maliki, it was the best agreement that they could get in 2008, but they fully suspected that there would be negotiations over a follow-on agreement.
And the problem with the Obama administration is they waited until six months before the withdrawal deadline to begin negotiations for a follow-on status of forces agreement. It's not enough time. It took the Bush administration 18 months to negotiate the first SOFA. I've been in on those negotiations. They are tortuous.
And to wait until six months before the withdrawal deadline and then to not offer the Iraqis that much, fewer than 5,000 American soldier, they really didn't provide the Iraqis incentives to overcome their nationalist biases and put their political futures on the line to keep American troops in Iraq.
BURNETT: All right. Colonel, thank you very much. It's good to talk to you again.
MANSOOR: Well, thank you.
BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT, the alleged mastermind behind the Benghazi attack in custody tonight, American custody. So, why was CNN able to find him before the Obama administration? Our special exclusive report.
And Dr. Oz fighting back against claims he's pushing phony cures. We have his response tonight.
BURNETT: Breaking news tonight, the United States interrogating the alleged mastermind of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a man interviewed for this program last year, was captured over the weekend. Officials say this included luring him to the location to avoid others getting injured. He came out of the city, getting him near a checkpoint.
Apparently, no shots were fired during the operation, even though he did have security with him. Abu Khattala will head to the United States within days. And President Obama says he will face the full weight of the U.S. justice system for an attack in which four Americans lost their lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice. I want to make sure that everybody around the world hears that message very clearly, because my first and most solemn duty as president and commander-in-chief is to keep the American people safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: We first told you about Abu Khattala in our OUTFRONT documentary the truth about Benghazi. It was his only recorded interview with any television network in the world.
Our Arwa Damon spoke to him in Benghazi in May of 2013 and she's OUTFRONT tonight with this exclusive.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The suspected ringleader of the U.S. attack in Benghazi captured by U.S. forces working with the FBI. U.S. officials had often suggested that they would be interested in speaking to a man named Ahmed Abu Khattala about the events the night of the attack.
He really wasn't that difficult to find.
(on camera): We met with Ahmed Abu Khattala in public at the coffee shop of a well-known hotel here in Benghazi for around two hours. He seemed to be confident. His demeanor most certainly not that of a man who believed that he was going to be detained or targeted any time soon. And he agreed to let us film audio but not video of our conversation.
(voice-over): He doesn't deny that he was there the night of the attack.
Can you describe in detail that night for us? What time did you get the news? When did you arrive and what did you see? AHMED ABU KHATTALA (through translator): Is this a journalistic interview or an investigation?
DAMON: It's a journalistic interview.
KHATTALA: The way that you are asking is like an interrogation.
DAMON: What time did you arrive?
KHATTALA: I can't tell you exactly.
DAMON: He claims he didn't even know the Americans had a consulate in Benghazi. Never mind having any information about a specific location.
KHATTALA: I didn't know where the place was. When I heard, we went to examine the situation.
DAMON: His narrative is unclear and at times seems to be contradictory. He says when he arrived at the perimeter of the compound, he saw men carrying rocket-propelled grenades and medium guns and the gunfire prevented him from entering.
By the time he managed to get inside the compound, everyone, he says, had withdrawn. Khattala claims Ambassador Stevens suffocated because he was trying to burn important documents.
Did anyone from the American or Libyan government side try to get in touch with you?
KHATTALA: Never, never.
DAMON: No American official or Libyan official ever tried to contact you?
KHATTALA: Even the investigative team did not try and contact me.
DAMON: Are you talking about the FBI?
DAMON: And if they tried, are you ready to meet with them?
KHATTALA: Yes, no problem, but not as an interrogation. As a conversation like the one we are having with you now.
DAMON: But in a long rambling interview, he also accuses the Americans of using al Qaeda as a boogeyman whenever it suits them and adds --
KHATTALA: Al Qaeda is nothing to be ashamed of. Al Qaeda is people who are devout, protecting their religion and people. America is the terrorist.
(END VDIEOTAPE) DAMON: And, Erin, a lot of questions as to why it took U.S. authority so along to actually get their hands on him. Well, part of that is because the political atmosphere that existed in Libya a year ago, when we were there, not necessarily conducive to this kind of an operation. Right now, we're seeing a growing sense amongst the Libyan security forces themselves movement against those types of extremist groups that carried out the attack that may have allowed U.S. forces to move in, grab him without causing the massive political fallout that was of great concern, Erin.
BURNETT: Arwa, thank you very much.
And you can catch the special OUTFRONT investigation, the truth about Benghazi, any time. It is on our blog, CNN.com/Outfront.
Well, earlier, I spoke with Pentagon press secretary, Admiral John Kirby. I mentioned Arwa Damon's meeting with Abu Khattala at a coffee shop last May, and I asked him why it took the United States 21 months after she had that conversation to capture him.
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Look, these operations, they're pretty complicated, Erin, and they can take a long time to develop.
I can tell you that we have been focused on this individual for quite some time. And there were months and months of planning that went into this. And in order to do this safely, effectively, efficiently, nobody got hurt, by the way, that takes time to plan. That takes a lot of information gathering.
It takes the gathering of resources and it takes stealth. And we did this in a very stealthy way. And again, now he's not sipping drinks at a cafe. He's in a secure location and he's going to face trial.
BURNETT: And he's the only person now who has been arrested. We talked about this a lot. But no one has been held accountable. Obviously a lot of people were involved.
How important is he? I mean, was he the mastermind, the main person you hold accountable? Are there going to be others that will be taken into custody?
KIRBY: A couple of thoughts here. I mean, I don't know that I characterize him as a mastermind, but this allegedly a key figure in the Benghazi attacks. And the Justice Department certainly has enough on him to go ahead and make these charges public, which they did today.
And on your second point, we never lost focus on the Benghazi incident and on the perpetrators of it. It is something that we're constantly working on. So, without prejudicing the potential for future operations, I can tell you that we've not lost focus on that incident, those perpetrators and on counterterrorism worldwide. BURNETT: All right, now let's use the word "perpetrator." So, I
understand what you're saying. There will be others. But what about where he'll be tried? You say he's going to be tried. A lot of people have said, look, he should go to Guantanamo Bay.
Is that a possibility?
KIRBY: Right now, he's going to -- he's going to stand trial in a criminal court. And that's the approach that we're taking here in this case. And we had precedent on doing this before. And it is an effective way to deal with this particular kind of threat.
BURNETT: So you don't think you need to go that military route?
KIRBY: That's not the route that we're taking.
BURNETT: So, before we go, I want to ask you about the growing crisis in Iraq. Of course, today, Joe Biden said urgent assistance is clearly required. I know you're going through all of the options and you're presenting the president with possibilities, when are you going to be making an announcement?
KIRBY: Well, that's up to the commander-in-chief to do, Erin. I can tell you that the interagency, the national security team, continues to meet and discuss these options. Not all the options are military, by the way. Those are the ones that get a lot of attention.
But I think it's really important that the president has the time and space to make that decision. And frankly, these decisions are done in a deliberate, measured way, that it's the right decisions not rushed decisions.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Admiral Kirby, for your time tonight.
KIRBY: My pleasure, thanks for having me.
BURNETT: And still OUTFRONT, a lost Picasso painting discovered sitting right in front of us the entire time. Isn't that like all the important things in life? Staring you in the face and you don't see them.
And Dr. Oz grilled by Congress. He responds to accusations like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you say that something is a miracle in a bottle?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Dr. Oz is pushing back against claims he's peddling phony cures. The celebrity doctor was called before a Senate committee this afternoon. He took a lot of heat for protesting so-called miracle weight loss products.
Dr. Oz stood his ground even as the senators piled on.
Elizabeth Cohen's OUTFRONT.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is standard fare on the Dr. Oz show.
DR. MEHMET OZ: Now I've got the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat.
COHEN: And today, senators asked, really?
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: Three weeks ago I quote you, "FBX literally flushes fat from your system." In January you called Forskolin, quote, "lightning in a bottle."
I don't know why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true. So why when you have this amazing mega phone and this amazing ability to communicate, why would you cheapen your show by saying things like that?
OZ: I actually do personally believe in the items that I talk about on the show. I passionately study them. I would give my audience the advice I give my family all the time. And I have given my family these products.
COHEN: Seventy percent of American adults are overweight or obese and last year consumers spent $2.4 billion on weight loss products and services.
Senator Claire McCaskill asked about all the online ads that use Dr. Mehmet Oz's name and image.
OZ: This little bean has scientists saying they found a magic weight loss cure for every body type.
COHEN: He says he's gone to court to stop them. But the senator still wouldn't let the doctor off the hook.
MCCASKILL: When you feature a product on your show it creates what has become known as the Oz effect, dramatically boosting sales and driving scam artists to pop up overnight.
COHEN: Oz acknowledged that these advertisers may have been inspired by his flowery language.
OZ: I used language that was very passionate but ended up not being helpful but incendiary and it provided fodder for unscrupulous advertisers. I'm second guessing every word I use on the show right now.
COHEN: Oz conceded that oftentimes the claims he made about some products wouldn't withstand the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration. But they don't have to. Supplements don't have to have their claims approved by the FDA. McCaskill's prescription, Dr. Oz needs to get passionate about what really works to lose weight.
MCCASKILL: I'm going to say all that passion, the floweriness about the beauty of a walk at sunset.
OZ: OK. Touche.
MCCASKILL: How you feel when you get off the bike in the morning.
BURNETT: Elizabeth, you know what is amazing to me, you know, when you were showing pictures with these supplements, they use Dr. Oz's words, they talk about these miracle cures. People are taking these things like medicines. The FDA knows it. It is crazy they don't have to run those claims by the FDA.
COHEN: Erin, a lot of people feel that way, but the supplement lobby has been very successful and very powerful and they lobbed for it to be this way. The government can go after them once its on the market, once it's on the shelves, they say these are bogus claims but the reality is, is that they don't have enough time or money to go after most of those folks so most products stay on the shelves.
BURNETT: And they can't say you can't sell them without the approval?
COHEN: Well, no, they don't have to get approval. They are allowed to put them on the market and say the studies for and then later, the government can go after them but they don't have the resources to go after most of them.
BURNETT: Well, thank you very much, Elizabeth Cohen.
And still to come, an early Picasso uncovered. A first glance how this new classic came about. That's not it, everybody. That is hiding it.
We'll be back.
BURNETT: A new Picasso painting has been discovered us and it was right in front of us the entire time. Scientists using infrared imaging to detect another work hidden beneath Picasso's early masterpiece, "The Blue Room". So, that's what it looked like. But I guess he was poor back then. He had to use it multiple times.
And as you can see under the layers of paint, the image of a man resting his face on his hands. Artists regularly reuse canvases and scholars are now trying to figure out who this mystery man might be. Experts say we'll probably never know. Which brings me tonight's number: 25. That is how many years it's
been since the last time a man was discovered under one of Picasso's paintings. In 1989, researchers used infrared cameras on Picasso's "Woman Ironing" to reveal this early portrait of a man. And 25 years later, we still have no idea who he is.
We'll be right back.
BURNETT: And tomorrow, it's one of America's biggest allies in the Middle East, and what is the new haven for terror funding? It's a crucial question and we have an answer. An OUTFRONT special investigation tomorrow.
"AC360" starts right now.