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Robert O'Neill Gives Details of Killing of Osama bin Laden; Rescued Window Washers' Press Conference in New York; Interview with Nadav Kurtz; Big Cat on the Loose in Vicinity of Paris; Anthony Bourdain Explores Jamaica

Aired November 14, 2014 - 20:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening, I'm John Berman in for Anderson.

Tonight, the two window washers rescued above New York City speak out. And we give you look at just how risky their job is. They are some of the bravest workers on the planet.

Plus, a feline fugitive that advantage to alluded huge search outside Paris. Now, the suspect has been downsized from a tiger, but an estimated 175 pounds, that's what they are saying. It is definitely a big cat. But whose cat?

We begin, though, with the man who is taking credit for killing Osama bin Laden. And in doing so, has enraged many of his former Navy SEAL brothers, not to mention top military brass. Many are calling Robert O'Neill a traitor for breaking the code of silence that SEALs hold so sacred.

What is more, his version of how the raid went down is disputed by some of his comrades in SEAL Team Six. Tonight, Robert O'Neill has a response the intense backlash that his claim has triggered. The 2011 raid on Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad Pakistan was more than a sensitive mission. It was really the Mount Everest of commando operations. A team of 25 SEALs breached outer walls of the compound and fought their way inside the three-story building. Bin Laden and his family lived on the top two floors. That is where team six was headed.

Today. Robert O'Neill sat down with CNN's Jake Tapper and told him his version of what happened.


ROBERT O'NEILL, FORMER NAVY SEAL; We started them on the first floor. They cleared that. There was, at the end of the long hall when the first wall was a barricaded door. It was a sign that someone important was inside. The guys ahead of me. They used their methods of entry. Couple of different attempts and they opened it. And then we started going up the stairs from the first floor to the second floor.

On the way up, the (INAUDIBLE) had told us we were going to Karim (ph) bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's son. And she said if we see him, he is the last line of defense. He was armed. And so, he limited the threat there. Continued up to the second floor. And when we got -- I was about eight guys, the eighth guy back maybe.

Once we got to the second floor, the guy in front of me, all except for the one man started to clear the threat on the second floor. We are going to that floor until we move up. So I moved by way up to the second, position behind the first man. And he was pointing upstairs to the third floor. And there was a curtain on the top of the floor and there was some movement behind it with unknown silhouettes. He was getting concerned that they would have explosives or vest or they are rigging something. And he was letting me know -- not me know, but the guy behind him know that -- it just turned out to be me, that there was a threat at the top of the stairs we needed to go now. And I wanted more people, but he was spot on. So I gave him a squeeze on his shoulder.

He went up. I went up behind him. We went to through the curtain. The threats, the unknowns turned out to be some females. He sort of grabbed on to them and he pushed them little bit down the hallway, falling on them to absorb the blast he knew was going to happen. So he gave his life so the guy behind him to get a shot.

From there, when he pushed the women, I turned to the right into a doorway. And the doorway led to a bedroom. And in the bedroom was Osama bin Laden, a matter of feet in front of me. And he had his hands on his wife's shoulders. He was not surrendering. He was sort of moving. And just based on the level of threat of him not surrendering, and wife getting -- having a vest, I engaged him. I shot him twice in the head. He fell on the floor. I shot him one more time and I killed him.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: In the brief moment you had with him, did you get a sense of him at all? Was it like this is the world's most evil man or was it, this is a coward, this is just another guy? What did it feel like?

O'NEILL: The sense was recognition. First of all, an ID of him, and then he's a threat. And then I had to shoot him. And it wasn't the first time I had done that on a target. This wasn't the first target I have been on. And at this point, it was a target. I recognized the threat. I recognized the individual we were after, which was Osama bin Laden and I engaged.

TAPPER: A sniper friend of mine wants to ask you, what did it feel like?

O'NEILL: At that minute, it was just, it felt like that was the initial threat I had to take care of. And then there were more threats. Threats are just potential unknowns. There were two more -- there was a woman and a child. I wanted to put them in a place they weren't in danger. So they went under the bed. And then there were other spots that need to be cleared.

It wasn't until the room was cleared and more SEALs were in the room and it kind of hit me that this felt like -- I had a moment of pause. And I talked to a friend of mine who was in the room and he came up to me, and he put his hand on my shoulder. And I said hey, what do we do now? And he kind of smiled and he goes now we go find the computers. And I said OK, I'm back. That was quite a thing that just happened.


BERMAN: Fascinating.

Jake Tapper joins me now along with former Navy SEAL Jonathan Gilliam, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen who was, by the way, one of the few journalists who have ever interviewed Osama bin Laden. He also went into that compound after bin Laden was killed.

Jake, I want to start with you. This was a terrific interview. I was struck by the fact that O'Neill says he thought he was going to die on his way there and really through much of the mission. And I was also struck by, when you asked him what it felt like to actually kill him. And he really just said it was part of the job.


BERMAN: I'm wondering what struck you?

TAPPER: Well, it is so interesting. As you point out, that he thought they had a 90 percent chance of not coming back. And that was his thought as he was on the Blackhawk headed to Abbottabad in Pakistan. Ninety percent chance the Pakistani military was going to shoot them down, 90 percent chance that the compound would be hard wired. And that the idea that before he went into that room, he was stealing himself for bin Laden to be there and covered with explosives. And he went in thinking this is how I'm going to die, but it's OK, because bin Laden is going to die, too. And that is when he went in. And then it turned out bin Laden did not have explosives on and he shot him. That, I thought that was very telling. And said a lot about the willingness of our troops, of our service members to do things that they know may very likely result in their death or mutilation.

BERMAN: Peter, there have been a lot of questions raised about O'Neill's account. If it's true, if it really went down the way he said went down, you are one of the very few people who have been in that room where bin Laden was killed. Does his version of events square with what you saw?

PETER BERGEN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: It's not consistent with what I saw. You know, I was there in daylight. I wasn't there with a big fire fight going on with. You know, there was no electricity that night, there is no moon. People with night vision goggles. You know, and I'm not a forensic investigator.

From what I saw is very consistent with what he said. That said, there's another very distinct account, which is not his account, which is account of other people on the team, either that I have spoken to or spoken to others.

And at the end of the day, I don't think anybody is lying. I think that these are -- it was a very confusing situation. And even when there's a car accident, often people have very different accounts of what happened.

This is the world's most wanted man. There have been three fire fights, I mean, a helicopter down. And the whole event that we are talking about probably took about ten seconds from first seeing bin Laden to him being killed.

So, you know, at the end of the day, we are never going to settle who actually killed bin Laden. We have Robert O'Neill's account. He's very clear. I spoke to him yesterday in detail about it. That it was his shot that killed bin Laden. But there -- others on the team who say something different.

BERMAN: Jonathan, you have been on missions. Does this sound like any of the missions you have been on? Was this ordinary in the sense of how it was performed or extraordinary?

JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Well, I mean, just from the nature of this mission and the amount these guys practiced this mission, there was nothing overwhelmingly big about this particular mission, maybe the fact it was going into Pakistan. Definitely the fact of the high value of the target. And the way and secrecy it was practiced over and over again. But the actual mission itself, I'm sure Robert O'Neill is probably done hundreds of those missions, you know. That's the type of missions SEALs do.

BERMAN: We are going to talk about whether it's right or wrong for him to come forward because of the code, those that exists among the SEALs. But I want to ask you specifically about the idea that he's talking about the mission in some detail. Not necessarily to Jake, but he has been out there talking, giving some details about how he did his job. Does that concern you?

GILLIAM: Well, it concerns me in a couple of ways. One, from just a legal standpoint. You know, when you look at national security, anything that is classified, whether be classified secret to top secret and on to the other classifications. These are things that will injure the nation if these secrets are given. They can injure the nation.

And so, it is alarming that some of these things are out there because it can put troops in harm's way. When you tell how long it takes to get from, you know, one base on target, they know how long they have to actually carry something out or maybe there's a base, for instance, in a certain location they flew from and they flew to that certain people didn't know about before.

Some people may. But when you say it's 90 minutes in the air in this direction, they now know that or the fact they are looking at certain things when on target. He said multiple times that, you know, they were arranged in this way, so they knew there was a high value target there. There may be some enemies that -- parts of enemy that don't know that.

BERMAN: Jonathan, Jake, Peter, stick around for a moment. We are going to play more of Jake's interview ahead.

Robert O'Neill talks about the controversy surrounding the fact that he came forward. He credits the discussion with 9/11 families.

Plus, the window washers rescued from that broken scaffold dangling above lower Manhattan. Now sharing their story how they kept their cool, 68 stories up in the air.


BERMAN: In just a moment, you are going to hear more of Jake Tapper's interview with the Navy SEAL who claims he fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden.

Robert O'Neill is the second member of SEAL team Six to go public with his story. Matthew Bissonnette was the first. He wrote about it in the raid "in no easy day" under the open name, Mark Owen. He, too, has been vilified by some for breaking the SEAL code of silence.

Former defense secretary Leon Panetta, for one, has not minced words saying SEALs are bound by their promise to not reveal details about sensitive operations without being cleared by the Pentagon. Breaking that compromises , he says, compromises the military's ability to go after enemies.

Jake asked Robert O'Neill about secretary Panetta's reaction. That's where we pick up with the interview.


O'NEILL: My response to that is, this mission, in particular, there was never going to be a right now, I'm going to do this. And I never met any of the families of 9/11. I went to donate a shirt anonymously at the 9/11 museum and memorial. And while I was there, it was going to be a simple donation. I thought we would be in there, get a quick tour and then be out. But I walked into a room and there were about 20 9/11 families waiting there for me. I gave an impromptu speech and talked about it pretty much for the first time. And to see the response of these people, women with their heads in their hands, and everyone in the room including men bigger than me were, you know, crying, and just saying it was closure for them. This helped the healing process, but it wasn't closure. And I realized that this is a pretty unique situation. And I think it would be irresponsible of me, if I can help this many, I can help more.

And I thought if I figured out a way to tell the story with respect for the tactics, for the safety of our troops and for the department of defense, if I told just my portion of a story that is already out there, if it can help people, they can look someone in the eye that knows the guy responsible for 9/11 is dead, I think it's worth it. And I think I have taken those steps.

TAPPER: As you know, there are members in the military who don't think you should be talking. I want to share with you some criticism from a soldier friend of mine, again, from him, not me.


TAPPER: But I solicited questions from troop friends. And he says, why can't he shut the hell up and be a quiet professional like SEALs are supposed to be. What is your response?

O'NEILL: My response to that is again, there are some things I'm not talking about. This one I think is so important for the families. It is so important historically. It is so important that -- I mean, more versions -- not, you know, more different parts of the story that were seen that I didn't see. I think it's important the story to get it out there. You know, this mission is very important.

TAPPER: Mark Owen, his suede name he wrote the book "no easy day." His is now facing a criminal investigation for the book her wrote. You have not written a book, but the Pentagon is, I'm sure, watching every word that you are making publicly. Are you concerned at all about a prosecution, about them taking issue with you for violating, in their view, the non-disclosure agreement.

O'NEILL: That does concern me. And if it comes up, I will address it. Right now, like I said, I think I did this in a way that doesn't violate any tactics or any rules. And you know, with mark Owen being criminally investigated, it actually kind of bothers me that he's being treated like a criminal, I think he's a hero.

TAPPER: Do you think you are a hero?

O'NEILL: I think I was part of a team full of heroes.

TAPPER: Some of your defenders, some of the defenders of Mark Owen's say hey, look, President Obama, the White House, the administration, they talk a lot about the operation. They took political credit for the operation. They cooperated with the makers of "Zero Dark Thirty" about the film. Secretary Panetta wrote a book. What do you think about that view?

O'NEILL: See, I don't want to use someone else's behavior to justify my behavior. I think the way that I -- the plan that I came up with, I think it was the right way to with respect for everything else. And with the administration admitting stuff that happened and the team did it, I don't have a problem with, either. Because sometimes an administration does needs to let the world know and our enemies know that yes, we can do this. And we will come get you anywhere we have to and we have the capabilities to do so and the soldiers to do it.

TAPPER: How do you want history to remember Rob O'Neill?

O'NEILL: That I was fortunate to be part of the greatest team ever assembled. And fortunate enough that the team was picked by the president to take on the nation's most daring mission. You know, that trust. We were the end of a long, long time of grieving. We were able -- you know, when President Bush even said freedom itself that we defended, we were finally -- were everybody on that mission, you know. The port authority police department, the NYPD, the FDNY who were with the American people, the 9/11 families and we were able to go there. And just -- that I was able to be part of that is the greatest honor that's ever been asked of me.


BERMAN: Jake Tapper joins me again long with former Navy SEAL Jonathan Gilliam and CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen.

So Jonathan, what do you make of the argument that essentially it's OK for him to tell the story, to break this ethos the silence amongst SEALs? Because -- and he says he owes it to history. History needs to have this story out there. What do you make of that?

GILLIAM: Well, when you join the SEALs team or any team for that matter, if you are an executive and you joined the team, you have to subscribe to the ethos of that team. You have to believe what they believe, otherwise, if you go outside of that, you are going to cause animosity and that breaks down a team.

So you know, for him to come out, when there's still teammates and I would say the majority of teammates, besides him and Bissonnette, that do not want this out there and really the whole Navy that says, hey, when it's time to release this, we'll release it legally and properly. You know, that just kind of goes against what he knows is the correct way to be as a team.

BERMAN: What about the fact that there are guys like Leon Panetta, not to mention the administration itself and others who are telling the story and writing the books?

GILLIAM: Well, I think it's important to realize the ethos goes all the way to the top. Whether the president or vice president, Leon Panetta, realize it, they are a part of a big team.

And for Panetta to criticize him, which he did today in the interview and then turn around and actually do what I consider worse than what he's doing here. I mean, they all need to realize that national security can enter -- and just because you think it's OK to release it, it is not OK. And your job is not just to be an operator or to be secretary of defense. Your job is to protect the information that you have been given because they think you are capable of having.

BERMAN: Peter, you had a chance to talk to a number of people who are part of this team. At this point, what is their opinion of O'Neill?

BERGEN: I think their opinion is there were 21 other guys that night, but none of them have come forward. But I'm going to slightly respectfully disagree with Jonathan. At the end of the day, we spent billions of dollars on our special operations as American taxpayers. And when we have a big event, which is (INAUDIBLE), there's nothing wrong with the public finding out some details about it.

And so, for instance, when Leon Panetta wrote his book, where he had it cleared by the agency, he wasn't the agency scrubbed it for anything that was classified or might affect national security.

The issue I think with Bissonnette and also with Robert O'Neill is that they are going outside the normal channels. They haven't cleared their what their comments with the department of defense. And that's an issue which I think is important.

But the idea that we should just shut up about anything to do with the operation. We live in a free society. We pay a lot of money for this and we also live in an information age, by the way. There were people live tweeting the opt about raid. The idea we are not going to say anything about it is implausible.

GILLIAM: Can I say one thing about? You know, I don't disagree with you there. But I will this. In national security, secrets are there to protect the public. And we live in a free society. People need to know a lot of things we do. but they need to realize well that not everything needs to get out because they want to know what it is.

And Leon Panetta, you know, when he's an executive, he should be setting the example, not just, you know. And I wasn't particularly talking about his book, I was talking more about the movie.

BERMAN: So Jake, how does history receive this? You asked Robert O'Neill how he wants history to remember him. But you, you know, look, you have written some history yourself here. How do you think he will be remembered and how do you think the military down the line will teach about him?

TAPPER: Well, I do think that him coming out and Mark Owen coming out, that they are causing real problems, especially Owen because of his book. O'Neill, giving interviews is a different matter because he's not specifically profiting at all and says he's being careful about what he's disclosing.

I think that there's two different kinds of history going on here. One is, first of all journalists are horrible judges and whether or not somebody should be talking because we want everybody to talk and tell us everything.

That said, I think a history will look at O'Neill and Owen as people supplying information. On the other hand, within the military, within the military, I think, that Owen and O'Neill, there's a lot of discussion going on right now about how to prevent that from ever happening again and what can be done about it. And I think that's one of the reasons there is a criminal investigation of Owen or Bissonnette right now to make sure the precedent isn't set and that's for military minds to decide, not me.

BERMAN: Fascinating discussion. It was a great interview, Jake. Thanks so much.

Jake, Peter Bergen and Jonathan Gilliam, great to have you here.

A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you would like.

Up next, the window washers who were rescued in New York this week after dangling from scaffolding more than 800 feet in the air. They talk about their harrowing experience and how they got through it.

Also ahead, no one knows if this is a tiger or lynx or some other kind of 175 pound giant cat. But, it's on the loose near Paris.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: The window washers who were stranded dangling for more than on the tallest building in New York have quite a story to tell. Their ordeal Wednesday ended with firefighters cut through a window and pulled them to safety.

Back on the ground, the two men spoke today about what they were thinking about it as this all unfolded and whether they will go up again.

Miguel Marquez reports.


JUAN LIZAMA, RESCUED WINDOW WASHER: I'm very happy I'm here in the United States. God bless America. God bless --

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Juan Lizama, 41-year- old father of three expressing a lot of love today. Happy to be alive after surviving a harrowing experience.

Dangling nearly vertically from his window washing scaffold for 90 heart-stopping minutes. Sixty-eight stories above the ground, off the side of the northern hemisphere's tallest building, one world trade center.

Did either of you have a cell phone up there? And if you did, did you call someone? Who did you call and what did you say?

LIZAMA: Yes, when the scaffold stopped, I got my phone, I called my wife. I said something happened. It's out of my hands, OK? And see you soon. I speak to you, I'm OK.

MARQUEZ: New York City, not easily impressed, held its collective breath for him and his window washing partner, 33-year-old, Juan Lopez, father of one.

JUAN LOPEZ, RESCUED WINDOW WASHER: In the beginning, it was panic and pretty much survival, trying to instincts for a few minutes.

MARQUEZ: The pair had been cleaning the south side of the building since early morning. Just afternoon, they were ascending, cleaning as they went, suddenly the left side began to sink. They knew something was wrong and hits the emergency stop.

LOPEZ: First instinct, emergency stop. That didn't worked (INAUDIBLE). But I just grab on, hold on, and hope we wouldn't fall over.

MARQUEZ: Fire officials say they believe it may have been a powerful clamp at the top of the building that failed to keep the cable on the left side from going slack.

WILLIAM RYAN, FDNY: I don't know for sure. But usually, there's a friction device that will like grab. It's a cable. Yeah, and I think that gave way. I think that's what happened. I don't know for sure. That's what commonly happens with these. MARQUEZ: Lizama says when they saw the firefighters on the other side

of the thick glass, they knew they would be safe, they just didn't know when. Their training kicked in.

JUAN LIZAMA, RESCUED WINDOW WASHER: I know this job, safety number one. When we stay - No story here.

MARQUEZ: As for returning to the window washing heights of Manhattan.

JUAN LOPEZ, RESCUED WINDOW WASHER: So, I was working back in the - like besides the ground, there's interior jobs as well. And you can work from the inside. And I'm sure they will need us for that. And I'll definitely be there.

MARQUEZ: Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: So, obviously the window washer's job is not an easy one. Weather conditions constantly have to be taken into account. The risk from injury, high winds, the low temperatures, high altitudes. "The New York Times" documentary, "Paraiso", which is paradise in Spanish, shows the danger and the beauty as three immigrant window cleaners' work on Chicago skyscrapers. We'll speak with a filmmaker in a moment. First, take a look at a clip from the documentary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking Spanish]


BERMAN: The filmmaker Nadav Kurtz joins me now. Nadav, on Wednesday, when we saw those men dangling up in the air, 68 stories up, it was scary, terrifying.

Well, it's a pretty terrifying job, at least from the outside looking in, to begin with, even when something doesn't go wrong. I was surprised to learn that one of the hardest parts of the job isn't dealing with the danger, it's literally learning how to clean the windows.

NADAV KURTZ, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Sure. Yeah. I mean one of the surprising things was that, they spend a lot of time training just to learn to squeegee and get it very perfect, you know, perfect squeegee of the window. They take a lot of pride in doing their job well. And the process of being up on the building and coming - repelling down is actually something they learn later.

BERMAN: Wednesday was a nice day when they were caught up there, it was a nice day. I mean I suppose it's never a nice day to be dangling, you know, 68 stories in the air. But they don't always do this in good weather.

KURTZ: Correct. Yeah. I mean the men I filmed, they often do it in really cold weather. They often put alcohol in the water just so it doesn't freeze so they can be working in the middle of the winter. The biggest danger, I think, is when they are - the wind, you know. Especially in places like Chicago and other cities where, you know, they are repelling down. There's a, you know, there's a big chance that the gust of wind can knock you into the building.

BERMAN: And when you did this documentary, you were not allowed to go with them on the side of the building, but you went to the top looking down.

KURTZ: Yeah. I was - one of the - the most drilling parts of it, actually, was being able to see Chicago from that vantage point.

I mean these guys - they get to see the city from a place that most of us don't.

BERMAN: So, this is - it's an industry right now, I guess, dominated largely by immigrants ...


BERMAN: And it's also in a way a family business.

KURTZ: They talk about this family secret. You know, they talk about how, you know, when they learn how to window wash, they are often trained by cousins or their uncles. And a lot of them come over from, you know, different parts of the world. But they often join their family members here and that's how they learn. They learn on the job with their family members. They also, a big part of why they do this job is for family, to support their families either here in the U.S. or overseas. Wherever they happened to live.

BERMAN: In a workplace safety is an issue in many professions. In this profession, workplace safety means you could die if something goes wrong here. And I guess I'm a little taken by the fact that's a subject that they do discuss. I mean how do they talk about that?

KURTZ: They are definitely aware of the dangers. I mean, I saw them cross themselves every time they go over the side, they cross themselves. So, they are definitely aware of the danger they are undertaking. But they also have a sense of it being for a reason.

BERMAN: We have a clip from your documentary. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking Spanish)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking Spanish)


BERMAN: They really say if they die, they hope it happens on the job?

KURTZ: Yeah. Yeah. And, yeah, and yeah, I was really struck by just how connected they are to their families. BERMAN: Really, it's amazing. In the press conference we finally

heard from the two men who were hanging up there at 68 stories above the ground. They said, you know, they may go back to the job. But one of them mentioned that he may do some windows closer to the ground for a while.

KURTZ: Right.

BERMAN: What do you make of that?

KURTZ: Sounds like a smart call.

All right, Nadav Kurtz, thanks so much for being with us.

KURTZ: Thank you.

BERMAN: As always you can find that and a whole lot more about this story and so many others at

Up next, the story of a remarkable young woman who, with the support of her family and friends made a very brave decision. She was severely injured in the Boston marathon bombing. And after 17 surgeries she decided it was time to break up with her severely damaged left leg. Anderson spoke with her after the amputation, and her spirit just amazing.

Also ahead, they thought it was a tiger on the loose near Paris. Now, they are not really sure what it is. It's a French feline mystery, coming up.


BERMAN: In tonight's American journey, we want to introduce you to an extraordinary young women, named Rebekah DiMartino, a 27-year-old whose courage and positivity you will not soon forget. She was injured in the Boston marathon bombing. And after enduring 17 surgeries, 17, trying to repair her severely damaged left leg, she finally made the decision to have it amputated.

This week, she posted a break up letter on Facebook wishing her leg the best, but saying she would be cutting it out of her life for good. Yes, Rebekah's sense of humor is very much intact. As Anderson found out when he spoke with her from Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital, in Texas, where she is being treated.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So, Rebekah, first of all, how are you doing? How are you feeling? You look great.

REBEKAH DIMARTINO: Thank you. You know everybody would expect me to say I'm not feeling very well after I've just got my leg chopped off. But honestly, I feel amazing right now. I probably feel better than I have felt in the last 18 months.

COOPER: Is chopped off the technical term, Rebekah? Is that what they - do they use that term in the hospital?



COOPER: OK, good.

DIMARTINO: They use amputation in the hospital.

COOPER: OK. All right. I just wanted to check. I wasn't up on my medical knowledge, but I was pretty sure that's not what they call it.


COOPER: So, the decision to amputate your leg, can you just take us through how you got there? I mean I know the last few years have been extraordinarily difficult for you, 17 different operations.

DIMARTINO: Yeah, I mean, when the marathon bombing first happened and I was in the hospital and the possibility of amputation came up, I kind of told the doctors, hey, look, you know, my leg is just a leg, it's not my life. And to me, I'm blessed to be here. So, if you need to amputate it, you can. So, 17 surgeries and two external fixators and, you know, an ankle fusion and metal plates and rods and all of the stuff later, it doesn't work any better than it did. So, the decision was always there, I just finally decided, you know, hey, this is time. Like we have to amputate now.

COOPER: You wrote this break up letter to your leg. Which - it's just gotten a lot of attention and I think it's a kind of an amazing idea. You posted it on Facebook. And I want to read some of what you said. You said, "I feel like you are holding me back from really reaching my full potential." You are talking to your leg. "Now I get this, it's probably pretty tough to hear me say, but I've never lied to you and I don't plan to start now. What I need is something you can't give me anymore. And the empathy that you require, I can no longer handle." Explain the idea of writing that letter.

DIMARTINO: It's really funny. Because I didn't realize this letter was going to be such a huge deal to everybody. I wrote it in about three minutes. And it was kind of my way of saying, you know, hey, this really is a break up. Like here is a part of my body, a piece of my life that I have had for the last 27 years, but it's not doing me any good. So, when I think about it, it's kind of like a bad boyfriend. Like here's all these reasons you have got to get rid of him. So, I wrote the letter. And everybody thought it was funny. So, I'm glad that everybody could get a kick out of it.

COOPER: I saw a photo - you posted on Facebook, in which you wrote, of course, the most cliche breakup line of all, you wrote on your leg, you wrote, it's not you, it's me.



COOPER: Which, I think I have used that line multiple times. It was great.

DIMARTINO: Right. See? I mean everybody has used it before. So, it was just, I mean I used humor in everything. And I try to be really positive. So, even with this, I wanted to make it something that wasn't a sad thing that really, you know, was a celebration for a new beginning. So, yeah, I wrote that on my leg. And ...

COOPER: And you even gave your leg one last pedicure.

DIMARTINO: I did. I felt like it was appropriate. You know, I always get pedicures. And my mom and even my doctor has made fun of me. Because he said, every time that I go into the doctor, my feet are perfectly pedicured. And it's something that is important to me. So, even in the hospital in Boston, when I was laying there and I couldn't move, my mom still had to do my toes for me. So, you know, I just - I had to be nice to it and give it one last pedicure.


COOPER: And I know you have made a list of all these things now you want to do. I read some of what - you decided to run the Boston marathon next year.

DIMARTINO: I will at least run the 5k and I will definitely run across the finish line just as a new start for this and a new beginning for me. And definitely the next year, I will run the whole thing. You better believe it.

COOPER: Have you always faced challenges like this? I mean have you always been so determined?

DIMARTINO: I have had a lot of challenges, I would say, in my life. All these things kind of prepared me for getting blown up. And I think that had I not faced different challenges in my life, that maybe I wouldn't have been as positive. But I'm definitely glad that I am. And I can't be anything other than blessed. Because I have seen the hearts and souls of America through this. I have a wonderful support system behind me. And you learn from every challenge and you grow as a person. And I have definitely done both of those things through the last 18 months.

COOPER: Rebekah, it is just - it's great to talk to you. It's really made my week. Thank you very much for being on the program.

DIMARTINO: Thank you. You as well.

COOPER: And I wish you nothing but the best.

DIMARTINO: Thank you so much.


BERMAN: What a remarkable young woman.

Coming up, it is not a lion or a tiger, it's definitely not a bear. So, what is it? It's a very big cat, on the loose. We take you inside the search, next.



BERMAN: There's a huge search underway outside Paris tonight. Hundreds of people are trying to track down a possible predator dressed in fur. Police and soldiers and more are tracking a trail of paw prints. That is right. There is a cat on the land. A big cat. Authorities have urged residents to stay inside until the suspect is caught, for real. Randi Kaye has the latest on the search.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One fuzzy photograph is all it took to set off a feline frenzy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (speaking French)

KAYE: "We've spotted it in the woodland just behind me, he says, thanks to all the forces that have been mobilized. It all started Thursday, when a woman saw the big cat on this mound of grass east of Paris, near Disneyland. One of Europe's most popular tourist attractions. Her husband spoke to French TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (speaking French)

KAYE: It's true, that we are not used to running into a tiger when coming to work in the morning, he said. The animal was in the middle of the mound so we can suppose that it was at five or six meters from her when she got out of her vehicle. Immediately, residents in nearby towns were advised to remain indoors out of fear the big cat may attack if threatened or hungry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's more afraid than dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I saw the tiger in the street, I would run away.

KAYE: French authorities are clearly ready for anything. Some 140 soldiers now reportedly on the hunt. More than twice as many as the day before. The clever cat has been spotted in the brush and animal experts have identified paw prints. They found this print in the mud. This in the grass. Meanwhile, helicopters are buzzing overhead.

Media reports say the beast, yes they are calling the cat a beast, is likely contained in an area about the size of four or five soccer fields. It's believed to have crossed a major highway, then pussy- footed past the gas station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (speaking French)

KAYE: I have just been briefed by the security forces, the mayor says. Apparently the tiger was seen close to Ferrier-Ambre (ph), next to the total station on the outbound side of the A-4 motorway. It was also spotted by truck drivers. Search teams are armed with both rifles and tranquilizers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (speaking French)

KAYE: This French lieutenant says there are two options, either we neutralize it or we kill it. If we think that there is a threat to public security, then we shoot it.

But, what is it? First, it was a tiger. Then, perhaps a lynx. And now, officials say maybe just a big cat based on the paw prints.

What kind of cat? The National Board of Wildlife and Hunting says whatever it is, it doesn't pose a threat. The cat reportedly weighs about 175 pounds and was most likely someone's private pet. But unless someone comes forward to claim the feline, Paris will remain on edge, hoping this story has a purrfect ending. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: Yeah, she just did that.

Up next, Anthony Bourdain on his visit to Jamaica. A divided island with two very different ways of life. A preview of this weekend's "Parts Unknown: coming up.


BERMAN: This weekend here on CNN do not miss the season finale of Anthony Bourdain "Parts Unknown." He will take us to Jamaica for a taste of the island life. There are really two Jamaicas, the real one that most Jamaicans live in and the tourist paradise. Anthony Bourdain explores both and raises some questions along the way. He recently talked about it all with Anderson over some plates of food at New York's Sakaguro (ph) restaurant.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: We sort of wanted to acknowledge -- look at the question of who Jamaican? Who gets to enjoy paradise? Who gets to - who gets access to the beach? Who gets to own the beach? It's an incredibly beautiful country. From over a century ago, there were pockets of sort of jet - really era, first sugar plantations, old British families, then movie stars - Errol Flynn had an enclave there.

COOPER: Ian Fleming. BOURDAIN: Ian Fleming, which is where we stayed, at that golden eye. Ian Fleming, who wrote all of his books. I stayed in his room.


BOURDAIN: And yeah, I felt pretty good about myself. I mean there's a grotto there.

COOPER: Is there? BOURDAIN: I mean it's every young boy, it's their dream is to have a

grotto. And I - you know, to stay in James Bond's suite, and then walk down the cliffs to the edge of the water and find that grotto with a little bar. So, interesting. I fell in love with Jamaica, deeply. The property was bought by Chris Blackwell.

COOPER: Is it the owner?

BOURDAIN: Of Island Records, and ...

COOPER: Is it a hotel now?

BOURDAIN: It is a hotel now. You know, this is a very poor, very divided country. It relies on tourism. We just sort of, you know, we like raising the uncomfortable questions. Who should own paradise? Who should have access to paradise?

Who, you know, whose is it?


BERMAN: Joining Anthony Bourdain on Sunday night for a tour through Jamaica on the season finale of "Parts Unknown" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific here on CNN. A lot more happening tonight. Randi Kaye is back with a "360" bulletin. Randi

KAYE: John, Pennsylvania say, police say, the nearly seven week manhunt for suspected cop killer Eric Frein cost then more than $11 million. Frein faces murder and terrorism related charges. Authorities say he admitted to shooting two troopers in an effort to quote, wake people up.

The former mayor of a Mexican town was charged today with aggravated homicide and attempted murder in the disappearance of 43 college students. Authorities say, he is the probable mastermind of the crime. And more than 300 million miles from Earth, a spacecraft that landed on a comet this week has drilled into the rocky surface. But Philae is now nothing. It's batteries are out of juice with no sunlight available. Though the European Space Agency said that they transmit data back to mission control before shutting down. John.

BERMAN: Sleep well, fair Philae, sleep well while you ride that comet.

All right, Randi thanks so much. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. "This is Live with Lisa Ling" starts right now.