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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Obama: Deal Shuts Down Iran's Path to a Bomb; Obama Claims "Good Deal" With Iran; Officials: Co-Pilot Researched Cockpit Doors Suicide. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired April 2, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:09] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news. Break-through. Are the U.S. and Iran really signing a historic nuclear deal? Will it actually shut down Iran's path to a bomb?
Plus the co-pilot who crashed Flight 9525. We now found out he was doing research about cockpit doors and suicide before the crash. One official telling us it was premeditated murder.
And two women allegedly inspired by ISIS arrested in New York, charged with attempting to build homemade bombs and launch attacks in America. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, the White House claiming victory on a nuclear deal with Iran. President Obama calling a last-minute press conference in the Rose Garden, obviously incredibly significant in terms of a statement, saying the deal will stop Iran's path to a bomb.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Today the United States together with our allies and partners has reached historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Earlier Iran's top negotiator was less upbeat, pointing out that any final deal has a long, long way to go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: It depends if he can finish it today. Then the real task of writing and drafting and then finalizing and at the end agreeing on an agreement will have to start.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The long tasks of writing it all down and agreeing on an agreement, that's pretty terrifying. Still Iranians were celebrating on the streets of Tehran. Literally, people were out on the streets in Tehran celebrating this. They hope this will be an end to crippling economic sanctions. Under the deal, Iran will cut its centrifuges from 19,000 to just about 6,000. And in terms of its enriched uranium, they're going to cut their stockpile enriching only 3.67 percent. In exchange, western sanctions against Iran will be lifted. Still, there are a lot of hurdles and a final deal might well be derailed by Congress.
Elise Labott was there through thick this week. You thought you might never get there. But this happened Elise in Switzerland. You just had a chance to speak with the Secretary of State John Kerry of course who's been the leader on the U.S. side. Despite the criticism, John Kerry is standing firm, isn't he?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. I mean, I think this deal is a lot more than anybody thought they would get, a lot stronger than they thought they would get. During this week we thought we were going to come out and see a very vague statement of generalities, political framework, principles that they agreed on but we really thought the heavy lifting was going to be left to those negotiations in June. And I asked Secretary Kerry now that he has these commitments from Iran, what happens if Iran -- if these long-term negotiations for a comprehensive deal in June tries to backtrack. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Then they don't get an agreement. I mean, look, we're very clear about where they are.
LABOTT: If they try to renegotiate, you'll end, you won't give them an agreement?
KERRY: We've agreed and we're not going to renegotiate things. We've been very clear about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: So now the long, hard work begins of filling in those -- the broad strokes of this what's going to be the backbone of this comprehensive agreement. And I think it's going to be very hard for the administration to get everything it wants from Iran. Iran certainly feels emboldened by that -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Elise.
And President Obama is insisting that this is a, quote, "Good Deal." But there is a lot of skepticism and the President's legacy is on the line.
Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT from the White House.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just when the Iran nuclear talks appeared to be going nowhere fast, top diplomats in Switzerland revealed a potential breakthrough. And moments later, out came the salesman in chief. OBAMA: The United States, together with our allies and partners,
has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
ACOSTA: President Obama sounded as if he was trying to convince the entire world that the deal now in place is the only practical way to block Iran from nuclear weapons.
OBAMA: Iran is not going to simply dismantle its program because we demand it to do so. That's not how the world works and that's not what history shows us.
ACOSTA: And the President insisted Iran will have no choice but to comply.
OBAMA: If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it. So this will be a long-term deal that addresses each path to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb.
[19:05:06] ACOSTA: But hold on. This is only the framework agreement that was due March 31st. The technical details of the deal still have to be worked out by June 30th. If Iran starts playing games, the White House says Tehran could face more sanctions with military options also on the table. Skeptics from both parties in Congress will be watching.
REP. ED ROYCE (R), HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHAIRMAN: We need the inspectors to have the ability to go in there and verify. And until that happens, it looks to me like we're being rolled.
ACOSTA: Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the Switzerland talks, said the agreement is proof diplomacy can work.
KERRY: Simply demanding that Iran capitulate makes a nice sound bite, but it's not a policy.
ACOSTA: For the President, the nuclear deal could achieve a goal he announced at the statute of his presidency, to reach out to countries like Iran.
OBAMA: To those who claim to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
ACOSTA: Either way, Mr. Obama's legacy could well be on the line.
AARON DAVID MILLER, WILSON CENTER: You've got quite a significant accomplishment. Is it perfect? No. He bet a lot on this. And he's wrapped the last remaining 20 months of his presidency in what could be the most significant accomplishment on foreign policy, if in fact all of this holds.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: And the President has been working the phones today.
He's already spoken with Saudi Arabia's king and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He's also scheduled to talk to Congressional leaders and hold a summit with gulf state leaders at Camp David later on this spring. Nearly all of them have their doubts, but Erin, nobody has doubts more than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His spokesman has been tweeting today. As a matter of fact, just in the last several minutes about this phone call between the Prime Minister and the President, saying that right now the way this deal is shaping up at the moment, that it would threaten Israel's survival. So some very tough talk coming out of the Israeli government tonight -- Erin.
BURNETT: They are not backing down. Thank you very much, Jim Acosta.
And OUTFRONT now, Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He's testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iran negotiations. Peter Beinart is a senior fellow at the New American Foundation. Mark, you just heard the president of the United States say if Iran cheats that world, we will know it, if we see something suspicious, we will inspect it. He says he's got a great deal. And at the least, you have to admit this, four pages of bullet points is a whole lot more than anybody thought we were going to get.
MARK DUBOWITZ, EXEC. DIRECTOR, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: That's true, Erin. But just because it's detailed doesn't mean it's a good deal. And the fundamental problem is that Iran is going to retain the essential elements of its military, nuclear program. It's not good enough that the world knows it. It's not good enough that the world inspects it. The real question is given the fact that Iran retains this program, what do we do when we discover that the Iranians are engaging in cheating and they have a 20-year track record of nuclear mendacity. How are we going to actually enforce this deal and we'll going to have to use military strikes every time the Iranians engaged in incremental cheating? Well, of course not, we're going to need economic leverage. And my biggest fear is that we are trading permanent sanctions relief for temporary limits on Iran's nuclear program. We will not have the economic leverage to enforce this deal and we will find that the Iranians at some point in a decade or so are going to have threshold nuclear capacity to move towards a nuclear weapon.
BURNETT: So Peter, let me ask you about a point that Mark just made there, which is about not being able to verify. Because one thing in this deal that was impressive is inspectors can go anywhere. Right? In the past, Peter, we know they weren't able to go everywhere. That is significant. But in terms of going at any time, that's not in here. Right now there's nothing in this deal that says inspectors can come at any time they want, show up unannounced and surprise the Iranians. If they can't do that, how can you really verify they're not cheating?
PETER BEINART, SENIOR FELLOW, NEW AMERICAN FOUNDATION: Look, I think the key question on this deal is what are you comparing it to? Do you compare it to complete Iranian capitulation, which is I think basically the stance of Obama's critics in Congress and Israel? No. It's not complete Iranian capitulation. We don't have the capacity to force complete Iranian capitulation and we wouldn't even if we walked away from this deal. Because you know what would happen, the sanctions regime would crumble because China and Russia are not going to keep sanctions on Iran forever if there's no prospect of a deal. The best way to look at this deal is to compare it to the alternative. It's a heck of a lot better than the alternative. The alternative is no eyes and ears on the ground in Iran whatsoever. It's 20,000 centrifuges as opposed to 5,000 or 6,000 centrifuges. It's Iran not closing down the ability to make enriched uranium at these key facilities. So compared to the alternative, this is much better.
BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to both of you. I want to go straight now to the spokesman for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev. Mark, thank you for joining us. Obviously very late in Jerusalem --
MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: My pleasure.
BURNETT: -- tonight, you are live there. You just heard Peter Beinart say complete Iranian capitulation was not possible. Certainly getting these four pages of detailed bullet points is more than anybody thought possible. Is there something in this deal as Israel that you would say, all right, this is progress?
[19:10:24] REGEV: No. We see this deal as very dangerous. We say this deal is a move in the wrong direction. If this framework actually becomes the basis, the foundation for a final deal with Iran, we see this like the deal with North Korea. I mean, you'll recall in the 1990s North Korea signed a deal, they committed themselves to nonproliferation, they kept their nuclear program intact and when they were ready they proliferated, they exploded a nuclear device. And today they threaten East Asia. Iran is much, much more dangerous than North Korea.
BURNETT: There is, though, this point that now the United States, at least so far in this deal, has the ability to inspect anywhere, right. Right? Historically key sites in Iran like Parchin were not open to inspectors. This deal changes that. They would be able to go anywhere they want. The number of centrifuges cut from up to 20,000 all the way down to 6,000 which weapons inspectors say is consistent with the peaceful program. When you see all these specifics in here, it sounds like there is progress.
REGEV: Let's be clear. When you're dealing with an totalitarian regime, their ability to play games with inspectors is proven. We've seen that in Iran, we saw that in Iraq, we saw that in Libya. In other words, when you're dealing with this sort of regime, inspections alone cannot solve your problem. And let's look at what's in this deal. This deal, the framework that's on the table that's being talked about now, gives the Iran an extensive, expansive nuclear infrastructure remains in place. Thousands of centrifuges. It allows them to continue research and development, R&D on better centrifuges. It's very dangerous. And of course not in the deal is the Iranian missile program. The Iranians are building today intercontinental ballistic missiles. The deal doesn't talk about that at all.
Now, they're not building those missiles to target Israel. They already have missiles that can hit my country. They're building those missiles to hit targets well beyond the horizon like the United States of America. That's not part of the deal. You know what else is not part of the deal? The Iranian behavior. The Iranians are exporting their version of the Islamic revolution to Syria, to Iraq, to Lebanon. As we know in Yemen. CNN has reported that widely. This is a regime that is dedicated to a very extreme fanatical Islamist radicalism. What about a change in the behavior of the regime. Stop exporting terrorism, stop your aggression in the region, stop calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, as they did just yesterday.
BURNETT: And, Mark, and they have called for the destruction of the state of Israel, certainly the supreme leader in tweets in the past few months has done that as we've reported. It's a fair point. But is this deal better than getting no deal at all? Because with no deal at all, you didn't have access to all of the sites, you had more centrifuges, you didn't have any verification at all. I mean, there's several things in here that you now have that you didn't have. They're agreeing to limit that they're only going to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent. With no deal you wouldn't have any of that. You'd have a theoretical military option which unfortunately the whole world knows is not a real option. The United States has no intent of going to war with Iran.
REGEV: The alternative to this bad deal is a good deal. A good deal is one that actually restricts and dismantles the Iranian nuclear military infrastructure, a deal that demands real changes in Iranian behavior. I want everyone to think for a moment about what I spoke about a moment ago, the example of North Korea. Everyone praised and celebrated that agreement, and that agreement came back to haunt us all. I think the same mistakes could be repeated again now. This regime is only building a nuclear infrastructure for a nuclear weapon. That's what they want. And unfortunately -- I mean look at the cameras coming out of Tehran. People there celebrating? Why are they celebrating? Because they think they get the sanctions lifted and they get to keep their nuclear program too. It's very, very dangerous.
BURNETT: All right. Mark Regev thank you very much, joining us live from Jerusalem tonight.
And OUTFRONT next, a computer belonging to Flight 9525's co-pilot reveals he researched suicide and cockpit doors. So was this premeditated murder?
[19:14:52] Plus, terror arrests in New York. Two women charged with plotting to build weapons of mass destruction. And massacre at a university. One hundred forty seven students massacred. Hundreds still held hostage. We don't know if they're alive or dead. Were the terrorists targeting Christians?
[19:18:25] BURNETT: Major developments today in the investigation into crash 9525. Investigators say that the co-pilot was researching cockpit doors and security before the crash. The 27- year-old pilot also sought information on ways to commit suicide. And as a result of this horrible revelation, one official tonight is calling the crash in which 149 people were murdered, premeditated murder.
Will Ripley is outfront in Dusseldorf.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A stunning new revelation in the Germanwings investigation. Prosecutors say a tablet seized from Andreas Lubitz' apartment reveals a series of chilling internet searches in the week leading up to Flight 9525 including the day before the crash.
CHRISTOPH KUMPA, SPOKESMAN, DUSSELDORF PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: According to the search terms, the user search medical treatment and sought information on methods to commit suicide. On at least one day the user additionally searched for several minutes with search terms relating to cockpit doors and their security measures.
RIPLEY: A European government official with detailed knowledge of the investigation tells CNN all evidence points to the premeditated murder of 149 innocent people. As mourners remember the lives cut short, disturbing new details emerge about Lubitz's rapidly deteriorating physiological health. A law enforcement source close to the investigation says Lubitz suffered severe depression and stress late last year. He was doctor shopping, seeing as many as six for ongoing sleep and vision problems. Lubitz was even prescribed heavy depression medication. The source believes he was not taking the day of the crash.
And now French prosecutors say they have the second black box. These new photos show the flight data recorder burned and buried eight inches under the surface of a ravine in the French Alps. Investigators say it will help answer key questions, including if Lubitz manually flew the plane into the mountain range at more than 400 miles an hour after a terrifying eight-minute descent.
BRICE RUBIN, MARSEILLE PROSECUTOR (through a translator): On several occasions the pilot acted twice to prevent the alarm. In the last few minutes of this flight, it was a voluntary action which guided the plane towards the mountain.
RIPLEY: More than a week and a half into the investigation, officials are moving closer to answering key questions, but the biggest question of all remains unanswered. Why?
RIPLEY: Tonight that really is the key question. They know that Lubitz had serious psychological problems, problems that he had been fighting for years. They know that he was having relationship problems with his girlfriend. They know that he was very afraid perhaps of losing his pilot's license. But in all of the evidence that they have seized, Erin, they have not found any note, no clue, no smoking gun to indicate why this 27-year-old would get in a plane and fly it with all those people into a mountain. And that's what's so frustrating and disturbing for not only the investigators, but the families here in Germany and many other countries tonight -- Erin.
BURNETT: Will Ripley, thank you. And now our safety analyst, David Soucie who investigates plane crashes. Anthony Roman a commercial pilot and the neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen.
Good to have all of you with us. David Soucie, let me start with you. We now find out that this man had searched prior suicide and also searched about cockpit door security. One official telling us that this is now premeditated murder. When you heard that, that he had searched for cockpit security and suicide, what did you think?
DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR: Well, it was a little curious to me because of the fact that as a pilot he would have access to all the training materials that he needed on that cockpit door and know how to use it. So, it appeared to me that he was disassociating, he was trying to look for something in there or he may have been trying to hide the fact that he was researching it. In the training records it may have shown up that he was researching it so there's ways around it. But the fact is, he did research something that had to do with exactly what has gone on here. A lot of pilots don't know exactly how to turn that lock off so it may have been just that, it was looking up to make sure he understood how to keep that pilot out.
BURNETT: Which Anthony, in many levels it's frightening that a lot of pilots don't exactly know how to operate that door, how to keep someone out, that he actually had to do this research. What's your reaction?
ANTHONY ROMAN, LICENSED COMMERCIAL PILOT: Which I don't believe that that's the case. I think that they receive adequate training, I received adequate training relative to the operation of that door and we know how to operate that door. What else can it be? Strictly from an investigative perspective, he has now entered a state in which he is planning his suicide and murder. He knows he's going to kill 150 people, so that's all we can call it. So what's the purpose of researching the security of the door? He must be planning to lock the captain out. He knows that the captain and crew are going to try and batter that door down and he's researching how much can the door take, because that really isn't a tremendous part of the training, how much can it handle? Can it handle the service cart being used as a battering ram against it? I believe that that's where his mind was at the time.
[19:23:40] BURNETT: Dr. Amen, what's your reaction?
DR. DANIEL AMEN, NEUROPSYCHIATRIST: Well, we do imaging and we've actually published studies on both suicide and murder. And what we often see is that people who do both have really low activity in the front part of their brain. The doctor shopping doesn't surprise me because obviously he was in pain and he wasn't getting the help that he needed. BURNETT: You're referring to the fact that he went to six
different doctors, he went to a lot of different doctors?
AMEN: Right. And a lot of people do that because they're not getting relief from the chronic pain that they feel. Now, obviously very damaged brain or deranged brain because he wasn't thinking about, you know, how would this hurt all the families associated with it. And ultimately the millions of people who fly, who now have anxiety issues because of it. It's just devastating.
BURNETT: It is. And David, you know the prosecutor, we just heard him say Lubitz prevented an alarm from going off in the cockpit. He said that he acted twice to prevent an alarm in the last few minutes of the flight. And actually reduced the speed of the plane to prevent that alarm. What alarm could that be? How significant could that be? That's new information tonight.
SOUCIE: Well, yes, if the aircraft was over sped and it very well could have been if it was going down, what I speculate happened is he took action to reduce power and to slow the aircraft down as to not trip the alarm. If the alarm goes off, then the ACARS system is going to activate an abnormal situation, it's going to notify the carrier. They're going to know what's going on. I think this shows that there was an attempt on his part to make it gradual enough where the alarms don't go off. I think he wanted to go down as a hero, appearing to be some kind of pilot who saved this aircraft or attempted to. I don't think he was thinking he would get caught at this.
BURNETT: And that's a whole new angle to this, Anthony, that he planned it, a premeditated murder. But he wanted to look like the hero, he wanted people to think that there was hypoxia and no air on the plane and he tried to save them.
ROMNA: Yes, I agree with David on this. There's no other reason. He was an excellent pilot. He wanted to remain proficient all the way down and appear to be trying to save the plane. No other explanation.
BURNETT: Right. Thanks to all of you.
Next, three terror suspects under arrest tonight in New York City. Two women allegedly inspired by ISIS who were trying to make history with a series of attacks and building bombs.
And gunmen killing about 150 students in a university today. It was a deadly siege raging for more than 14 hours. Hundreds still unaccounted for. We have a live report.
[19:30:19] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: a federal warning tonight, be on alert for suspicious activity because three key terror suspects appeared in a New York court today. They included a top al Qaeda terrorist who was on the Pentagon's kill list and two women apparently inspired by ISIS. According to the federal complaint, the former roommates were plotting to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill countless Americans, one of their top targets was police officers.
Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT live in New York, outside that courthouse.
And, Jason, these women trying to build bombs. They had done extensive planning. How far along were they?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, extensive planning and planning for an extended period of time, for more than a year, according to the complaint, in terms of how long investigators have been looking at these two suspects.
They are identified as Noelle Velentzas, 28 years old. She's married, she's the mother of a young girl. And her roommate, Asia Siddiqui, 31 years old, both of them roommates from Queens, New York.
They made their first court appearance, Erin, a little earlier today. When they stood in front of the court the judge asked them if they understood the charges they were facing. Both of them said yes.
According to the federal complaint, both of them had planned to use an improvised explosive device. Both of them apparently in possession of things such as propane gas tanks, other bomb-making materials, including pressure cookers.
Apparently, Erin, they were inspired by the Boston bombing where pressure cookers were used there. Their goal in terms of their plot was to learn how to blow up a bomb from afar rather than making it a suicide mission.
Another goal was to make history, also to target members of law enforcement rather than civilians. Now, a little earlier this afternoon, Siddiqui's attorney came out and spoke to the press very briefly, defended his client but said he was not going to try this case in front of the press. He's going to do it in the courtroom.
THOMAS DUNN, ATTORNEY FOR ASIA SIDDIQUI: My client will enter a plea of not guilty, even when there's an indictment. And she and I will address everything in the courtroom where it belongs, and even though you're very interested, that's about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Also, Siddiqui, according to the complaint, Erin, had contact with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At one point wrote a poem for a jihadi magazine. That again also, according to the complaint.
We also went out to the neighborhood, our cameras were out there in Queens, speaking to some of the neighbors, Erin, who knew both of these women. All of the neighbors basically saying there was no indication that they were radicalized, no indication that they had jihadist leanings. Both expected to make their next court appearance May 4th -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jason, thank you very much.
And also today, one of al Qaeda's top operatives in New York, an American, he's from Texas, accused of plotting to fight against the United States forces and of planning attacks in the United States.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT live in New York.
And, Evan, who is this alleged al Qaeda member? A man from Texas. What do you know about him, how long have they been looking for him?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Erin, his name is Mohammed al- Farekh, he's 29 years old. He's from Texas, as you said. He grew up, however, in Jordan and came on the radar in 2007 when he and a couple of other students at the University of Manitoba disappeared and decided to go to Pakistan to try to join al Qaeda.
Now, he's been the subject of some debate inside the U.S. government. Some U.S. intelligence agencies believe that he had risen pretty high up in al Qaeda and perhaps was helping them with recruitment and perhaps even with logistics of some of their attacks.
There are others inside the government who believe since he was an American citizen, they needed more proof, because there were people who were pushing to put him on the U.S. kill list, Erin.
The Pakistanis arrested him just a couple of months ago. When they realized that they had an American, they contacted the FBI. The FBI has now interviewed him. They brought him here to court today.
He didn't really -- he didn't say much. There was no plea entered. But you can bet that the FBI is very interested to figure out what else he knows about al Qaeda and about any other Americans who might be over there.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Evan Perez.
No doubt, and now, OUTFRONT, Seth Jones the director of international security and defense policy at RAND.
Seth, I want to start with these two women. You know, they were not unsophisticated. They had prepaid phones.
[19:35:00] When they weren't using them, batteries came out, the SIM card came out. They were trying to evade being watched. They avoided videos and Web sites that were commonly used for jihad.
What does that sophistication say to you?
SETH JONES, DIRECTOR, RAND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENSE POLICY CENTER: Well, Erin, what it says to me is they were very careful about trying to learn lessons from past plots and past arrests in the United States. As you noted, they were careful in trying to take out batteries and SIM cards. When they pulled out information from the Internet, they were very careful in not pulling out information like "Inspire" magazine that would cause the concern from U.S. intelligence agencies, the FBI.
What it says is they were serious about plotting, serious enough that they realized that doing it in such a way as to highlight concerns and at awareness of U.S. intelligence agencies would foil their ability to actually implement a plot.
BURNETT: And they also were planning to target police officers. They talked about how they wanted to attack that funeral here in New York. Of course, when those police officers were so tragically and horrifically murdered, they wanted to attack that funeral. They decided that wouldn't be possible at this time but that's what they wanted to do.
They criticized Boston bombers because they said, quote, "It would be better to attack the head, the neck, the shoulders of the snake," talking about trying to attack law enforcement and authority. What do you say to that?
JONES: Well, a number of the attacks that have been plotted in the U.S. over the past several years, like Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, or Najibullah Zazi, the suicide bomber in the New York City subway, were interested in killing a lot of civilians. There have been a few cases we've seen like this where they have wanted to target soldiers, like we saw at Ft. Hood or even Ft. Dix.
This was a focus really on limiting civilian casualties and focusing really on law enforcement or soldiers -- really the ones that are guilty of oppressing Muslims in their view.
BURNETT: All right. Seth Jones, thank you.
And OUTFRONT next, terrorists attack a university at dawn, killing almost 150 people, 79 wounded, hundreds hostage. We don't know what that final death toll will be, but it seems the gunmen targeted Christians. A live report next.
And this pilot had a terrifying midflight breakdown until passengers wrestled him down. Now, he is suing the airline. Why? And could he win?
[19:41:30] BURNETT: Breaking news: at least 147 people killed by al Qaeda linked terrorists. Gunman storming a university today in Kenya, slaughtering dozens of students, taking hundreds more hostage. The attack lasted for hours. Witnesses say terrorists targeted Christians and let the Muslims flee. This is the same terror group that carried out a four-day massacre at a mall in Nairobi and called for similar attacks in the United States.
Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a
blood bath at a college in Kenya, 147 people killed and dozens injured when heavily armed gunmen from al Shabaab, an Islamist militant group, stormed Garissa University in southern Kenya. An eyewitness reported the attackers burst into early morning Christian prayers and then began separating Muslim and Christian students, killing the Christians.
Not a surprise that terrorists went after a large student population, nearly impossible to fully protect.
JONES: Kenya is such an important target for al Shabaab because Kenya has been the primary driving force behind operations against al Shabaab in the region. They're the biggest, biggest enemy for al Shabaab.
STARR: Kenyan troops have taken the lead in attempting to push al Shabaab out of its traditional stronghold in Somalia. Kenya's president, trying to reassure his country, calling up more police recruits.
UHURU KENYATTA, KENYAN PRESIDENT: I also take this opportunity to urge Kenyans to stay calm, as we resolve this matter.
STARR: The siege ongoing for hours, as Kenyan security forces fired back and rescue forces tried to move in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been hearing the gunfire. Military tanks have also moved into the university compound. The military are using the tanks as cover.
STARR: The U.S. has targeted several top al Shabaab leaders, finally killing Ahmed Godane, the group's leader, after several failed attempts. He was allegedly behind 2013's deadly four-day siege of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed at least 67 people -- something U.S. officials fear could happen here.
In February, an al Shabaab video threatened to attack the Mall of America and other U.S. targets.
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they have got to be particularly careful.
STARR (on camera): Thankfully, there were no attacks against U.S. malls, but that has not lessened U.S. concern that al Shabaab may be able to recruit young Somali Americans and inspire them to conduct lone wolf attacks -- Erin.
BURNETT: Horrific attack today. Thank you, Barbara.
And next, cell phone video captured this pilot's frightening midair meltdown. So, he melted down, passengers had to subdue him to try to save that plane. Guess what, now he is suing the airline. We have that story.
And Vatican weight watchers are after Pope Francis. They say cut back on the pasta. Jeanne Moos on the pleasantly plump pontiff.
[19:48:16] BURNETT: Tonight, a former JetBlue pilot who terrified passengers and forced an emergency landing is suing the airline. He says JetBlue shouldn't have let him fly.
Clayton Osbon is suing the airline for nearly $15 million.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say it now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need your assistance, please help.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 135 passengers on the flight from New York to Las Vegas, it was horrifying. The plane's captain raving in the aisles about terrorism, religion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so distraught. Oh, my God. We got Israel, we got Iraq,.
FOREMAN: Crew members and passengers wrestled Captain Clayton Osbon to the floor, and after an emergency landing, the FBI took him into custody.
PAUL BABAKITIS, JETBLUE PASSENGER: When we took him down, he was screaming about, say your prayers, say your prayers. I mean, he just clearly demonstrated the level that he was just not coherent and realizing what he's doing or saying.
FOREMAN: But the new lawsuit contends JetBlue and the flight crew should have realized he had a problem and kept him from flying. The suit says Osbon suffered an undiagnosed brain injury in his childhood, an injury that caused a seizure that day which in turn gave clear warning signs and caused him severe paranoia and hallucinations.
According to the suit, Osbon uncharacteristically missed a preflight meeting, was slow and inefficient going over a checklist and missed radio calls from air traffic control.
Nonetheless, the suit says the plane flew on for approximately three hours after Osbon told his co-pilot he was unfit to fly. Even as Osbon began to rant and rave in the cockpit, and only when he stormed through the cabin did the plane make an emergency landing.
[19:50:06] Osbon's neighbors were shocked by the whole affair.
ROB MACKO, JETBLUE PILOT'S NEIGHBOR: Something snapped and I've never heard him talk politics or war or anything like that. FOREMAN: JetBlue said a written response to the lawsuit, "While
we can't discuss the specifics of what happened that day due to ongoing litigation, we stand by the heroic actions of the crew who followed well-established safety and security procedures both before and during the flight."
(on camera): Osbon was taken into custody and charged. Then, the federal judge said he did interfere with the flight crew, but she found him not guilty by reason of insanity. His lawyer now says JetBlue kept him from getting medical help at a critical moment. So, Osbon would like just shy of $15 million to cover the damages and to pay for the loss of his career as a commercial pilot -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
Danny Cevallos is OUTFRONT now, a criminal defense attorney and legal analyst. So, Danny, you know, when you hear that, a few things stand out to you -- this guy suing for $6 million. He runs out of the cockpit, he says the plane is going down, he has to be subdued, and the airline is at fault for letting him fly because he had undiagnosed brain injury as a child.
It sort of sounds ridiculous when you look at those few headlines.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is directly from the plaintiff's complaint himself. He claims just like you said, he suffered from an undiagnosed, completely unknown asymptomatic brain injury. And in the very next paragraph of the complaint, he alleges JetBlue failed to diagnosis his condition. He's completely unknown asymptomatic condition.
BURNETT: Right, he didn't know he had. None of his doctors knew he had. But the airline should have known he had. That's his argument.
CEVALLOS: That's his argument, and really what this comes down to -- I mean, the allegations and the complaint, these are the plaintiff's own words, that I had this condition. I was unfit to fly and now I had no idea I was unfit to fly until it was clear that I was unfit to fly.
So, really, you can boil this complaint down to we know that JetBlue acted. We know they put him out of the cockpit. His complaint is that they should have done so earlier.
But the thing is this: it is true that the FAA requires the pilots get certified by a doctor and beyond that, most common carriers will take an extra step and impose a duty on the rest of their colleagues like the co-pilot to be on the lookout for that.
CEVALLOS: But what do you have? A complex brain procedure. What he's alleging is something that even doctors misdiagnose or failed to diagnose. It may not even show up on an EEG. The question becomes what to what degree do we hold his colleagues?
BURNETT: This is different than 9525 where you had a guy who sought help from doctors, diagnosed concerns, searched suicide and cockpit door security. This is a very different situation. In that case, that airline was aware there were issues.
CEVALLOS: Absolutely, yes. But in this case by the plaintiff's own words, not a soul including the plaintiff had any idea he had any problem up until he had a problem. So, the question of notice has to be almost a non-issue. There's no way JetBlue could have known if nobody else in the universe knew about it.
BURNETT: So, $15 million, no chance.
CEVALLOS: Hey, we could hope and dream. I mean, it's a plaintiff that shoots for the moon and hope they get something.
BURETT: Get something. All right. OK. Thank you very much, Danny Cevallos.
And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with the pope's pasta problem. It was a rather weighty matter for the Vatican or at least for the wheels of the pope mobile.
[19:57:30] BURNETT: Just when he's ready to indulge in an amazing Easter dinner, doctors warn the pope of his paunch, they were telling him to go easy on the pasta and apparently his favorite pizza in Italy. That is a sin. They say cutting back on carbs helps the pope's back problems.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nobody likes being told to put down their fork, so imagine how the pope felt when he was allegedly told --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lay off the pasta.
MOOS: Lay off the pasta? Who wants to be the one to tell the pope that?
The Italian press agency reported that doctors told Pope Francis to eat less pasta and get more exercise. Vatican observers say that since he became, Francis has grown not just in stature but in size. It's hard to tell given what a pontiff wears or maybe it's the Vatican Swiss guard's vertical stripes that make the pope look bigger.
He got some non-medical advice from the spaghetti-eating Cardinal Dolan on the today show. CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: Listen, Holy
Father. You said you always listen to your cardinals, listen to me. Get a new doctor.
MOOS: The Italian press agency reports doctors want the pope to eat pasta just two days per week. But is it OK for him to eat pizza delivered directly to his pope mobile? This after Francis said he missed stepping out unrecognized to get pizza.
This is a pope who's been immortalized in cake, immortalized in chocolate. Who knew chocolate could look so slimming?
The pope is known to suffer from lower back pain and sciatica, condition worsened by weight.
Officially, the Vatican had no comment. Unofficially, we hear the pope's doctor denied talking to the press.
Still, size doesn't stop the pontiff from being a non-magnet. "They are going to eat him alive," commented the cardinal.
A weight loss clinic director once held a five pound model of fat to make a point about pasta.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you like it or not to wear?
MOOS: This pope could wear anything and people would still go crazy.
At least there's plenty of him for a kid to hold on to.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: I mean, come on, he's got to give up so many things. Don't you think at least the pope is allowed to be plump and enjoy his pasta and wine? He does live in Italy.
All right. hank you so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch the show anytime.
"AC360" with Wolf Blitzer begins right now.