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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Obama Secretly Reaches Out to Iran; Key Terror Bomb-Maker Believed Killed by U.S.; Navy SEAL Claims He Killed Bin Laden; Spaceship Pilot Survives Disaster from 50,000 Feet; Adviser: Obama Will Act on Immigration By Year's End
Aired November 6, 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 ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, the United States now working with Iran. CNN has learned that President Obama sent a letter to the ayatollah about ISIS. The details on this major development next.
Plus the Navy SEAL who claims he took out Osama bin Laden, speaking out for the first time. We new details on what happened that night.
And the man arrested for kidnapping a woman on a Philadelphia street, how a used car salesman and GPS brought him down.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. CNN just learning President Obama sent a secret letter to the ayatollah, Iran's supreme leader. The White House kept the letter which the president sent in October a secret until tonight. The letter says the United States and Iran have a, quote, "shared interest" in beating ISIS.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest today wouldn't even acknowledge existence of the letter saying only that ISIS came up in conversation during nuclear negotiations with Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have also discussed on the side lines of those talks on just a couple of occasions the ongoing campaign that is being conducted against ISIL by the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: CNN national -- chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT tonight.
Jim, I mean, this is -- this is a huge, huge thing to have happened. They're still not talking about the letter directly, the secret letter, but you are now learning that it is not just a letter.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. I'm told that the U.S. has opened communication channels with Iran, this is via the Iraqis regarding military action against ISIS. This I'm told by a senior U.S. military official and a senior Western diplomat. These channels do not include to be clear coordinating military action against ISIS targets, these sources said, but are seen as necessary to what the military calls de-conflict U.S. and Iran in military operations.
These channels are informal, I'm told, and conducted on a case-by-case basis via the Iraqi military. That are sign of increased communication with Iran, including that letter.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): The communications have become necessary, says a U.S. military official, because the U.S. and Iran are now operating in the same spaces against a common enemy, ISIS. As a result, quote, "Accommodations must be made indirectly," this official said. This includes airspace management so that U.S. and Iranian aircraft do not conflict while carrying out military operations in the same airspace.
The U.S. is also reaching out to Iran via the White House. President Obama addressing a letter to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei last month saying that the U.S. and Iran have shared interests in fighting ISIS, but that prospects for cooperation hinged on resolving the nuclear issue.
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: Obviously we understand that they have concerns about the threat of ISIL, which they have expressed as well, but I would not look at it as a path to a different type of coordination.
SCIUTTO: On working with Iran, Republican leaders are skeptical.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't trust the Iranians. I don't think we need to bring them into this. And I would hope that the negotiations that are under way are serious negotiations. But I have my doubts.
SCIUTTO: The new outreach to Iran comes as the U.S. takes military action not just against ISIS is but the al Qaeda-tied Khorasan Group. Bomb-maker David Drugeon was central to the Khorasan Group's plans to attack the U.S. His skill concealing explosives inside small personal electronics such as cell phones, with the intention of smuggling them on to U.S. commercial aircraft, helped spark U.S. airstrikes against the group's hideouts in Syria, including a series of strikes Thursday which appeared to have killed him.
U.S. intelligence officials still consider the threat imminent and in its final stages.
SCIUTTO: The U.S. and the West have been cracking down hard on foreign fighters attempting to make their way to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS. Interpol now telling the A.P. that to get around those increased controls, those fighters may be taking cruise ships to Turkey and then crossing the border into Iraq.
This, Erin, is another sign of how these groups adapt to the many measures taken to try to stop them from fuelling ISIS with more foreign fighters. The latest estimate something in the order of a thousand per month making their way to that conflict.
BURNETT: A thousand per month. And as we were talking recently with Bob Baer, nothing like this has ever been seen before in modern history.
Joining me now is our military analyst Col. Peter Mansoor and Bob Baer, former CIA operative.
All right. Great to have both of you with us. I want to talk about Iran because this is -- huge would be an understatement for this development, but I want to start first with the bomb-maker that we just -- that Jim was just reporting on.
Obviously we have heard, Bob, a lot about this bomb maker, how this individual was incredibly adept at creating bombs that could go on passenger aircraft and evade detection in airports.
Who did they kill? Do you know?
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, he was just one of the bomb makers. He wasn't the key one. Asiri, who lives -- he's a Saudi who lives in Yemen, has mastered this technology, but there are others, some of them are Palestinians working with al Qaeda, and truly this technology is scary.
We played around with it in the '80s. We in fact reproduced these bombs at a CIA base and you can get them through any airport security including today. You can hide the explosives in plastic and with plastic detonators and on and on and on, if you know how to use them, planes are vulnerable. So taking out one of these bomb makers is very important but there are other ones out there.
BURNETT: Right. And Colonel, I guess that's the big question, what he said, there's other ones out there. Does the United States know even how many or who?
COL. PETER MANSOOR (RET.), FORMER EXECUTIVE OFFICER TO GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: Well, this is obviously a national priority for the Central Intelligence Agency to figure out who are these bomb makers because they are the most direct threat to the United States. They try to implant these bombs on airplanes, they try to mail them to us.
MANSOOR: And so taking out that capability is a high payoff operation for us.
BURNETT: And Bob, to the colonel's point, that attempt to mail one of those bombs did -- was tried and failed. But you talk about this, how sophisticated this is, how terrifying it is, how come they haven't done it yet? BAER: That's a good question, and I keep on asking intelligence
officers why haven't they hit? You know, they have a motivation. And the Middle East is getting worse, why isn't somebody take revenge? Why don't they send somebody with a French passport that doesn't need a visa and even attack somebody with a car here. And they cannot explain it. And I've asked the question over, and they said -- all they say it's inevitable, but we can't tell you when.
BURNETT: Which is terrifying because again we're talking here about passenger planes.
Colonel Mansoor, I want to ask you about the huge development tonight. The president of the United States, on the night when we're hearing these sorts of things about these -- the bombs on planes, is doing -- trying to make a deal with Iran, right. OK. It was just about a year ago, September 27th, 2013, that call happened. Remember Hassan Rouhani was on his plane going back, the president called him, we all saw it. Everyone smiling.
They hadn't spoken directly, the president of Iran and the United States since 1979. It's been now over a year. So after that call, the U.S. pulled back sanctions that were working. I was in Tehran, they were hurting. They pulled a lot of them back. They said let's do a nuclear deal.
It's is a year later. There is no deal. There has not been access granted to a lot of key sites, but the sanctions have been pulled back. That sounds crazy to some people.
MANSOOR: I think we there is something to be said that we have relaxed the pressure right when the sanctions were having the impact we wanted to -- them to have and that we probably shouldn't have relaxed them until they came to an agreement on the deal. Now there is a deadline, November 24th. And I think this letter that the president sent to the supreme leader was directed at getting a deal done by that date. It really didn't have anything to do with ISIS, it was more about getting a deal.
BURNETT: And Bob Baer, is there going to be a deal here? I mean, what would be -- the problem is, if the stick kind of was taken away, how do you get the deal now?
BAER: Well, the Iranians, I think, are going to be reluctant to make a deal we want at this point because we need them so badly in Syria and Iraq. I mean, we cannot defeat ISIS without the coordination, even implicit or indirect to the Iraqi government without the Iranians. The Iranians have enormous influence there both in the military and we're trying to moderate the Shia militias and we're doing that indirectly through Iran.
So, I mean, if this -- if this diplomacy all fails on the 24th, I think it's going to be unfortunate because the fact is whether we like it or not, we have to -- we have to work with Iran and Iraq.
BURNETT: And Colonel, here's the other thing, though. The president is saying that United States and Iran and the secret letter shared the interest when it comes to ISIS but it kind of ends there. I mean, there's the Bashar al-Assad, we want him gone, they don't.
MANSOOR: Well, there's Bashar al-Assad who they are arming. And that's a big sticking point with the group's that are trying to fight ISIS in Syria.
MANSOOR: And more importantly we need the Iraqi government to reach out to the Sunni community in Iraq and Iran could easily veto any outreach by the prime minister of Iraq to his Sunni constituents. And so this is, again, an area where we really need Iran to play ball. But they have no incentive to do so right now.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you. Troubling conversation.
OUTFRONT next, we now know the identity of the Navy SEAL who said he was the one that filed the kill shot on Osama bin Laden. He is breaking rank, he is breaking his silence. A man he spoke to OUTFRONT.
Plus the co-pilot from the Virgin Atlantic crash. Here's the stats. He fell from 50,000 feet. The temperature was 70 degrees below zero. He survived. And we're going to show you how.
And new details on how police found the woman seen here just before she disappeared in a car with her abductor. We now know tonight, you'll hear from the police chief, how they found him.
BURNETT: Breaking news, the Navy SEAL who says he fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden has revealed his identity to the "Washington Post." Who is this man and did he actually take down bin Laden.
Here's what we are learning tonight about him and his account.
BURNETT (voice-over): The former Navy SEAL's name, Robert O'Neill. O'Neill was a career SEAL and at 38 years old is now a motivational speaker.
ROBERT O'NEILL, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: I was a Navy SEAL for almost 17 years.
BURNETT: Here's O'Neill's version of what happened in the early hours of May 2nd, 2011. With no moon, under the cover of darkness, Navy SEALs entered bin Laden's house, relying on night vision goggles and instinct.
Let me show you an animation of what O'Neill, speaking for the first time with his real name about that night, says happened. O'Neill told the "Washington Post" he fired the kill shot, saying bin Laden had his hand on a woman's shoulders, pushing her ahead of him. O'Neill says his bullet hit bin Laden in the forehead, splitting his skull. But other SEALs, without revealing their names, tell a different story
about what happened in the compound in Abbottabad. Let's show you their version. They tell our Peter Bergen that another SEAL fired the shot to bin Laden's head, which you see in this animation coming from the area of the stairs that led to the floor where bin Laden was looking out the door of his bedroom.
These SEAL Team Six members tell Bergen that the SEAL who took that first shot at bin Laden won't ever speak publicly. And they say two other SEALs shot him before he finally died.
BURNETT: Two very different versions about a moment in world history that will never be forgotten.
Joining me now is former Navy SEAL John McGuire and Joby Warrick, the reporter from the "Washington Post" who broke the story about O'Neill and interviewed him.
So, Joby, let me start with you. You spoke to him. What did he say about this hugely contentious issue? Because a lot of SEALs are really angry, and I know John is going to talk about that. They're angry about why he came out and said here's my name and here's my version.
Why did he do it?
JOBY WARRICK, WASHINGTON POST: It was a very complicated decision for him for a number of reasons. First of all there is the safety issue, he is worried about not only himself but his family and people that they care about. And there's also just this thing within that group of soldiers and SEALs, they don't talk about what they do.
I think for him it was important to control a story that he felt was coming out any way. There is a number of people that knew the story, including many in the military community, members of Congress, a number of people in the media. And so he just felt that if this is going to come out anyway, I want to control how it comes out. I've got a story that I'm proud of. I'm proud of what I did and I just want to tell it my own way.
BURNETT: So John is a SEAL. O'Neill's wanting to go public obviously is controversial and as you could see the other SEALs that are saying, well, first of all, he didn't fire the kill shot, that's not how it happened. They're not sharing their names but they're now sharing their version.
What is the oath that you took as a SEAL about secrecy?
JOHN MCGUIRE, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Well, you know, it's whether a ranger or a SEAL or Special Forces or any of the men and women who do these special missions, we don't talk about the missions. And then to take nothing away from these men, I cannot be more -- I cannot respect them any more than I do. We can't talk about what we do. The first problem that starts with
the White House in that we should not know that Navy SEALs are the ones that took him out. And that is the first problem. And then the next problem is, they should not know how we do it. They just know that we took care of Osama bin Laden and the Americans are safer.
BURNETT: And I guess in a sense it sort of dangled in front of them the possibility of fame and fortune, which, you know, you can't totally discount that, Joby, because, you know, you look at defense secretaries writing books and making a lot of money, suddenly coming out with their versions and these guys are just supposed to sit there and be heroes and not say anything.
How concerned is Robert O'Neill about his safety? When you think about it, we know his name, we know what he looks like, we know his age, we know where he lives, and he is the man who says he killed Osama bin Laden.
WARRICK: Yes, I think that was a big downside as he was thinking about this because, yes, he is a public figure anyway because he speaks as a motivational speaker around the country, and he has, you know, frequent appearances and people know about these in advance. So it is a difficult thing.
He's thought about this. I think he feels that he's safe. He feels that his country's security and his personal sense of, you know, self- awareness and looking after himself will take care of him. But I do feel like that he wants to set the record straight and feels like there is a piece of history that he was a part of it and just wants to describe it.
And just one other thing from -- you know, the narrative that's emerged, it's a little complicated, and none of us were there so we don't know. But that -- you know, he lays out a pretty compelling story that I have confirmed with other SEALs who were there who say that it was a confusing night but it was Robert O'Neill who rolled into room first and made that shot that took -- Osama bin Laden down.
BURNETT: So you have spoken -- because we were kind of -- we were showing the animations of the two versions that there are other SEALs there that night who say he didn't fire the kill shot, there were two other SEALs that actually were the ones that did so. But you're saying, you've spoken to others, even others on the team who do corroborate what he said, that it was Robert O'Neill.
WARRICK: Yes. Yes. The confusing part is there was a shot fired first by the guy who's the point man in this mission. Somebody who's one step ahead of O'Neill. That shot, as far as O'Neill could see, did not hit bin Laden. They went into the room, bin Laden is still standing. He's got this woman in front of him. He literally rolls to the floor and takes aim and shoots bin Laden in the head and sees the whole to his sight.
It's a pretty compelling story that he tells. Too dramatically different from the other accounts you've heard but I think it's a little more precise and it holds a pretty good weight as you look at it.
BURNETT: John, what do you make of the point that Joby was making when he talked to Robert O'Neill about the fact that, you know, why did the -- why did the White House say these were SEALs? Why did they put that out there and sort of make them famous, but then say, oh, you can't share your story when, as I pointed out, you know, other public figures who were involved in defense and security and national intelligence get to write books and make money?
MCGUIRE: You know, it's one thing to write a book about what you do, as long as it's not endangering lives or what we do. And it's one thing to think you know what Navy SEALs do and it's another thing for a Navy SEAL to go on TV or a newspaper and confirm it.
We have something in the military called operational security and sometimes we say you don't know because you don't need to know. You know, of course all Americans want to hear the adventure and the excitement of this thing to take care of an enemy who killed a lot of Americans. But as much as we want to know what Navy SEALs do, the enemy wants to know even more and that just puts us at risk.
So I think it's a big question, and maybe it's the politics, maybe it was the time of the election, but I think that as Americans just heard that we took care of Osama bin Laden, would have ever been enough.
BURNETT: John, why do you think he did it? Why do you think he came out and said here's my name? I mean, we know he was saying it was revealed on a blog, but why do you think he did it?
MCGUIRE: Well, you know what, we don't do what we do for the money. The men and women who sacrifice every day is amazing. In fact, this young generation of men and women do more in a year than I did as a Navy SEAL for 10 years. We don't do it for the money. We do it because of we love our country and we love the American people and we realize that evil does exist and the only thing for evil to prevail is for good men to sit around and do nothing.
So I'm not sure. Some of the things that he said about the story don't add up. It doesn't sound like the things that a Navy SEAL would say. The only thing I can imagine is, you know, maybe you come back from war and you look healthy, but it doesn't necessarily mean you are healthy.
And we all talk about post-traumatic stress disorder and perhaps that is causing him to think differently. But some of the things he is saying or doing does not sound like what a special operator in the Army, Navy, Air Force or even the Marines would say.
BURNETT: And Joby, to that point, when the SEALs that you've spoken to also on SEAL Team Six, even the ones who corroborate Robert O'Neill's version that he was the one who fired the kill shot, are they angry at him?
WARRICK: They are not angry because, you know, I think John raises a really interesting point because this is a brotherhood and these are people who've gone through some really difficult traumatic experiences that we can't really imagine. And it's not just sort of the psychological wounds that we carry after something like this. It's also physical wounds.
These guys are really banged up and they come home, they are in this world, you know, where nobody really knows what they did. They have struggles sometimes to find jobs or to get the benefits they think they are entitled to. It's a tough environment for these guys and now they're on this position where media pressure was -- you know, before O'Neill came out with the story there's a Bisonette book that came out. And so there is -- there is pressure to try to tell your story and to try to reclaim your life and it's just not easy for these people.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you.
And now less than a week after Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo disintegrated above California's Mojave Desert, technicians are back at work. They're building another SpaceShipTwo. They're already doing it. They want to get back to test flight and they want to do it fast.
It's a really amazing thing considering there are so many unknowns, including exactly what caused the perfect crash as well as the mystery of how one of the two pilots managed to survive a disaster that unraveled at the speed of sound 50,000 feet in the air.
Our Dan Simon found out how he lived.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may not be clear yet what exactly brought down SpaceShipTwo. What is clear is the surviving pilot miraculously defied the odds. The spacecraft came apart just seconds after it detached from its mothership and fired its engines, traveling faster than the speed of sound at 50,000 feet with the temperature about 70 degrees below zero. Somehow, pilot Peter Siebold managed to escape with just a shoulder injury.
Dr. Robert Schoene is an expert in high altitude medicine.
DR. ROBERT SCHOENE, HIGH ALTITUDE MEDICINE EXPERT: Why didn't he pass out? And if he did for a minute or two, did he then regain his facilities and be able to save himself -- ejecting him into his chutes?
SIMON: Questions that will likely be posed by the NTSB which is investigating the crash. 39-year-old co-pilot Mike Alsbury did not survive. His body found in the wreckage which spanned more than 30 miles. It's still unclear how Siebold escaped, but according to the "Washington Post," Siebold's co-workers describe his escape like something out of a movie script saying Siebold found himself flying through the air while still attached to his ejection seat.
When he spotted the chase plane, he managed to give the pilot inside a thumbs up and then unbuckled himself at about 17,000 feet, deploying his parachute. ART THOMPSON, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, RED BULL STRATOS: For you to be
exposed at 50,000 feet for any duration of time, it is a very severe condition because it's a really hostile environment.
SIMON: Art Thompson was the technical project director for Red Bull Stratos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I can see.
SIMON: The amazing feat of engineering that allowed skydiver Felix Baumgartner to jump from the edge of space. Thompson knows the dangers as well as anyone and finds it surprising that Virgin Galactic pilots don't wear pressurized suits.
THOMPSON: At least for the flight test portions of the flights because you run the risk of something like this happening.
SIMON (on camera): What do you think enabled him to survive?
THOMPSON: He came down to a lower altitude very quickly, is really what probably saved his life.
SIMON: Of course, Siebold was up even higher than that and at a minimum experts would expect most people to lose consciousness. We don't know if he had a blackout or not, but doctors say he was also at risk for developing a brain hemorrhage making his survival all the more remarkable. In fact, he's already been released from the hospital -- Erin.
BURNETT: It is remarkable.
Dan, thank you so much. I think so many people said how was that possible. Mystifies what you think humanity is capable of doing.
Well, OUTFRONT next, breaking news, the White House official tells CNN the clock is ticking on Congress, act by New Year's Day, or hey, guys, executive actions, bring them on.
Plus the man charged with abducting a woman on a Philadelphia street. Tonight police say he may have kidnapped and almost killed a Virginia teen, dousing her in fuel and bleach just days earlier. We have the head of police to give us the very latest tonight. That breaking news is next.
BURNETT: We have new details tonight on how police were able to capture the man accused of kidnapping a woman off of a Philadelphia street. A woman we can tell you tonight that didn't know him. They had never met before. The whole abduction was caught on videotape and it was that tape that led to Carlesha Freeland-Gaither's rescue last night.
Police were actually able to track down the suspect, Delvin Barnes, and his car to a town in Jessup, Maryland. That's over 100 miles away. Barnes was taken into custody. Freeland Gaither is now resting after a terrifying ordeal.
Jean Casarez has the new details on exactly what happened in those horrific days and how police were finally able to capture Delvin Barnes.
CHARLES RAMSEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: He is a vicious predator. He is off the streets and hopefully he'll be in jail for the rest of his life.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty-seven-year-old Delvin Barnes now behind bars after the alleged kidnapping of Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, a young nursing assistant who police believe he had never met before. But Barnes is already a wanted man where he used to live, in Virginia, for the kidnapping of another woman just last month.
Prosecutors say in early October he abducted a 16-year-old local girl he also didn't know and tried to kill her.
CAPT. JAYSON CRAWLEY, CHARLES CITY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: He allegedly hit her in the head with a shovel. I was attempting to dig a hole but somehow, he got distracted from her, and she noticed an avenue and escape when he was distracted from her and she proceeds fleeing into the woods.
CASAREZ: But not before he is accused of doused here with bleach and gasoline.
(on camera): This young girl was missing for two days but finally showed up at this business two miles away from the home of her alleged abductor. She ran into the business parking lot and she was nude, very distraught, and her body was covered in burns. Police arrived at the scene within 2 minutes and the smell of bleach on her body was very apparent.
(voice-over): She was flown to a hospital burn unit where a sexual assault examination was done and perpetrator DNA was found. They matched that DNA to a national data base. Their chief suspect, a 37- year-old Virginia resident named Delvin Barnes.
Police say he fled Virginia at the end of last week, but it is this Virginia kidnapping that helped find Carlesha alive. The Charles City county sheriff's office studied surveillance of Carlesha's kidnapping. They saw ATM and convenience store photos. That's when Captain Jayson Crawley made a very important call.
CRAWLEY: That's when we confirmed that that was him.
CASAREZ: Watching the kidnapping video, one of his officers noticed a decal on the car from a local car agency.
CRAWLEY: They put GPS on the vehicle to make sure that if the person defaults on payment, they can locate the vehicle and repossess the vehicle and that was very vital.
CASAREZ: That GPS locator broke the case when authorities called ATF and told them where the car was in Maryland. But they didn't know if Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was dead or alive.
But then the news --
ED HANKO, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Carlesha Freeland has been rescued.
CRAWLEY: I was ecstatic that she was found alive.
And criminal charges have not been filed against Delvin Barnes, the abduction and kidnapping of Carlesha Gaither. At the same time, he's waiving his extradition to come back here to Virginia where he lived to face attempted capital murder charges. And it is this local case that you just saw that may have broken and saved the live of Carlesha -- Erin.
BURNETT: That's incredible when you think about that, an incredible that someone noticed the decal on that car.
Jean, thank you.
Joining me now is the Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Commissioner, thank you very much for being with us tonight.
Let me just start by asking you, so many people have watched this video and have now seen Carlesha's face and try to understand what could have happened. How is she doing right now?
CHARLES RAMSEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, she's doing about as well as you can expect. Obviously she's traumatized by the entire event over the past few days, so it is going to take a little time for that to heal. But she is doing well. She's back with her family and she's very, very happy about that.
BURNETT: And do you know any more at this time about what she went through in those days that she was held captive, what happened to her?
RAMSEY: Well, we're starting to kind of piece it together. But right now, federal charges are going to be filed tomorrow on this case, if they haven't been already. And we're told not to talk too much in detail about some of the things that talk place. But we are talking to the suspect who is in custody, as well as her, to try to piece together the entire timeline.
BURNETT: And is she -- I mean, emotionally and psychologically, this must be terrifying for her. Is she physically okay?
RAMSEY: Well, she did have some injuries. We sent the family -- we actually brought the family down to Howard County hospital last night where they were reunited and she was released so we brought them all back up to Philadelphia.
So, she had injuries, but nothing life-threatening fortunately. So, she's at home recuperating and just trying to get herself back together.
BURNETT: And as people try to understand what happened here, I want to give a little bit of the context that we are now learning. We're now learning there was an arrest warrant for Barnes in Virginia. Police say that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl there, showed her pictures that he claimed he done the same thing, too, he striped her naked, he poured bleach and gasoline on her, asked her how she wanted to die, she was hit over the head with a shovel to knock her out, she was burned. She's still recovering.
Could there be more victims out there? Was this the sort of thing that happened to Carlesha? I mean, this is -- this is stunning it was happening to people he did not know. He just randomly picked these women.
RAMSEY: Yes, one thing we did learn is he did not know her and she did not know him. So she was a random victim. We don't know whether or not there are other victims. Obviously, we have to check that out. It would be difficult without him cooperating and talking to us, but I'm sure that the authorities in Virginia, Maryland and certainly here in the Philadelphia area will take a strong look at any outstanding missing person cases or what-have-you to see whether or not we have anything that fits his M.O.
BURNETT: Have you had a chance to interrogate Delvin Barnes?
RAMSEY: I have not. I know the FBI agents have been speaking with him. So they have spoken with him. My understanding is he's been extradited to Virginia. I'm not at liberty to talk about anything he may have said. But certainly that is part of the process taking place now.
BURNETT: Have you learned anything about him, what sort of a person he was, whether this was something people around him thought was possible or anything about what could have motivated someone to do this?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, he is not a very good person obviously. He's got a very long rap sheet, several pages long, as a matter of fact. You just talked about the case in Virginia. Obviously, the case here in Philadelphia. And he has a very, very extensive record. He did some time here in Philadelphia in '05 for an alleged rape and assault. The rape charge was dropped but he did do time for the assault.
So, he's known to police and I don't know if there is any other motive other than the fact that this is what he does. He abducts women and sexually assaults them.
BURNETT: It is horrific and horrific to imagine that it happened before, that he was able to get out and do this again and again.
Commissioner Ramsey, thank you for your time tonight. RAMSEY: OK, thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, the White House has upped the war in words. If they don't act immediately on immigration, the president is going to go it alone.
Plus, Taylor Swift 1989, by far the biggest album for 2014. How a 24- year-old songwriter is completely rewriting the music business.
BURNETT: The breaking news, senior White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer telling our Wolf Blitzer just moments if Congress doesn't do anything on immigration by the end of the year, the president is going to do it himself, unilaterally, executive action. This is a potentially huge deal. It comes just two days after the Democrats were handed a real shellacking in the Senate.
Dana Bash is OUTFRONT.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): House Speaker John Boehner minced no words, warning the president not to use his executive power to change the broken immigrant system without Congress.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself and he's going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.
BASH: Surprisingly confrontational, quite different from the post- election talk of compromise and getting things done. And what was supposed to be a "let's work together" op-ed from Boehner and incoming Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, included, quote, "renewing our commitment to repeal Obamacare."
Republicans know that's not going to happen while President Obama is in office.
(on camera): How do you expect the president to trust that you really want to work together when out of the gate, you say that you want to repeal his signature law that you know has no chance of getting a veto-proof majority? How do you expect him to trust you?
BOEHNER: Listen, my job is to listen to the American people. The American people have made it clear, they're not for Obamacare. And I ask all of those Democrats who lost their elections Tuesday night, a lot of them voted for Obamacare.
BASH (voice-over): But he's not right about what Americans think about Obamacare according to CNN/ORC polling, 57 percent of Americans actually either support Obamacare or say it doesn't go far enough.
Still, Republicans are infuriated by the president's plan to issue an executive order allowing some illegal immigrants to stay legally, when he delayed until after the election to help Democrats on the ballot who lost anyway.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel obliged to do everything I can lawfully with my executive order to make sure that we don't keep on making the system worse.
BASH: Boehner personally wants immigration reform. But it's always been up against deep pocketed conservative groups and rank-and-file Republicans who don't. That, plus what Republicans view as the president's defiance at his own post-election news conference a day earlier fueled Boehner's combative tone.
BOEHNER: That if he acts unilaterally on his own outside of his authority, he will poison the well and there will be no chance of immigration reform moving in this Congress. It's as simple as that.
BASH: Now, Boehner added that he doesn't see his job as just get ago long with the president, though he said they do get along fine. Now, this may just be bravado, Erin, from both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue. But when we are talking about poison wells and waving red flags in front of bulls, just two days after the election, it's not a good sign when everyone said the message was Washington needs to work.
BURNETT: Right, well, obviously they don't care what everyone thinks.
All right. Dana Bash, thank you very much.
BASH: Thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT: 25 years old, pop music star and aggressive, shrewd businesswoman. How Taylor Shift is shaking it up.
Plus, Jeanne Moos with the man who literally going to go inside of the belly of a snake.
BURNETT: And now let's check in with Anderson for a look at what is coming up on "AC360".
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin.
Yes, we have a CNN exclusive ahead on the program: American journalist Jason Rezaian has been held in Iran for 100 days and his health is failing, say his family, and they are incredibly worried, they are pleading from his release. So, we'll hear from his brother on the program tonight.
I'm also joined by Anthony Bourdain who spent time with Jason in Iran while filming an episode of parts unknown.
Those stories plus a look inside this abandoned airport hangar, the final hiding place Eric Frein. Jason Carroll reports on the more than 100 items found by police amidst the clutter, including a laptop, a Bible, food, clothing and weapons. Also, tonight's Ridiculist and a lot more at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes, a Bible. All right, Anderson, we'll see in just a few minutes.
All right. Taylor Swift is telling the online music service Spotify to shake it off.
(MUSIC VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The pop star pulling every one of her song from the largest music streaming service. She is mad at the company's small royalty payments.
Swift, though, is one of the few stars who can actually afford to take a stand against the world's number one music company. Her new album called "1989" sold nearly 1.3 million copies in the first week, the biggest one week album tally in more than 12 years.
TV and pop culture columnist for Mediaite, Joe Concha, is OUTFRONT.
I'm going to forgive you for saying I did the lame dance.
JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE: Very stiff. Overbite, the whole thing, very impressive. Don't over do it again.
BURNETT: OK. On average artists make -- people want to understand when she's complaining about the royalty payments, we're talking about way less than a cent, 0.006 of a cent at a bottom of the range, to 0.0084. I mean, we're talking very little money.
Does it matter to Taylor Swift, she can afford to stand up to the company. But will she single-handedly change anything?
CONCHA: She will not singlehandedly change anything by doing this, but she can spur a lawsuit to do this, all right?
So, you remember Pearl Jam back in the '90s? They told Ticketmaster, we don't want to charge $20 for any tickets for our fans. And Ticketmaster said, we're not going to do that. The Justice Department ended up investigating Ticketmaster as a result.
BURNETT: Right, right.
CONCHA: So, Taylor Swift to your point. She's worth $200 million, all right. Katy Perry is worth $130 million. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, $4 million.
So, yes, she has enough yachts to water ski behind. She can afford to do this and take a stand, but only a legal process will do it.
BURNETT: So, Taylor Swift, people who know her, people know her songs, because they're kids, whatever, but people are fascinated by her, right? That was the whole dating a Kennedy thing, and they love her, or they hate her, they say they hate her, but kind of seem to actually love her. Here is an "SNL" skit that we thought sort of capture the whole Taylor Swift thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, man, this beat is banging. Who is this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taylor Swift.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taylor Swift.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I freaking love Taylor Swift.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you realize you love Taylor Swift.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Damn it. She got me!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, does the fact she's polarizing actually help her make a lot more money?
CONCHA: Well, in 2014, it is abnormal to be normal. And that's what makes her polarizing. That's the amazing thing about her. All right?
Yes, of course, it help her make more money. She's a martyr, remember, from the Kanye West going up on the MTV Music Awards and saying Beyonce should win this. And ever since then, she's the nice girl that got picked on by the mean boy.
The bottom line with Taylor Swift, she's incredibly talented, obviously. She's selling all these records. But she's like the Peyton Manning of the music industry. In other words, you never hear about, oh, boy, there she is with the DWI arrest, there she is on Instagram with a bong on her hand, she didn't get --
BURNETT: No, she's always there with like socks that go up to her mid-thigh and a little miniskirt looking like she's 12.
CONCHA: Right, because she's so good. People like to pick on people who are so good.
But, look, the only criticism you can find of her is that she was in a lot of relationships that didn't work out. She's 24 years old. Remember, five years ago, eight years ago, when we were her age and single and --
BURNETT: Yes, five years ago when I was her age.
CONCHA: I'm doing the math here, 29, 24.
But anyway, you broke with everybody, everybody broke up with you, that's the process you go to. Women can relate to her. Young girls can relate to her, and even adults, they can't relate to her, but they respect her, because she writes her own songs. She manages her own business. She seemed to write an op-ed for "The Wall Street Journal", right? And she doesn't have a college education.
So, she's Peyton Manning. We love her on the field. We love her off the field as well.
BURNETT: All right. Joe Concha, thank you.
And next, talk about a big gulp, a man eaten alive by a giant snake. Guess what? It is on tape.
BURNETT: Remember when reality TV featured people eating live bugs and critters? Guess what, now the critters are turning the dinner tables. Here's Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not since the movie "Anaconda" have we had to imagine what it's like to be swallowed alive by the massive snake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anaconda.
MOOS: But will this guy actually get an inside view?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm about to be first person that will be eaten alive by an anaconda?
MOOS: Promos for the Discovery Channel special --
ANNOUNCER: Eaten alive.
MOOS: -- show wildlife expert Paul Rosolie wearing a surprisingly snake proof suit, complete with a helmet and what seems to be an oxygen supply.
He said he smeared pig blood on himself to smell appetizing and the tether implies if he were swallowed, he would be pulled back out.
But tell this to a snake expert.
TERRY PHILIP, REPTILE CURATOR, REPTILE GARDENS: Just the plausibility of this actually taking place.
MOOS (on camera): You can't even keep a straight face.
PHILIP: I really can't. I really can't.
MOOS (voice-over): Terry Philips says an anaconda simply wouldn't identify a man as a food item.
(on camera): I don't know about this story. Sounds like a stretch to me. And if you've watched your Nat Geo, you know --
ANNOUNCER: They literally squeeze prey to death.
MOOS: -- they only consume a food item after it's dead. The special has already been shot and its hero is still very much alive.
PHILIP: I will absolutely stake my reputation that this guy is not going to be swallowed by an anaconda.
MOOS: Though hypothetically, Philip says you could pull something back out if it were tethered. The experts say anacondas can die from stress and animal activists started a petition to boycott the Discovery Channel.
PETA called the swallow alive guy, this fool.
He retweeted, "If you know me, I would never hurt a living thing," so it seems the snake survived too.
The story had Al Roker slithering.
AL ROKER: My anaconda don't, my anaconda don't --
MOOS: Wrong anaconda, Al. When it comes to --
ANNOUNCER: Eaten alive.
MOOS: -- it's being eaten alive by critics.
(on camera): The first thing this morning when you saw this, what did you do?
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
ROKER: My anaconda don't --
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: Unless you got buns, hon, Al.
There was a lot to digest.
"AC360" starts now.