Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Rejects CIA Findings & Eschews Briefings; Anders Kompass: The Accidental Whistleblower; Finding Unity in the Beautiful Game. Aired 2- 2:30p ET

Aired December 12, 2016 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, blow back, as Donald Trump rejects the CIA assessment that Russia did hack into the U.S.

Democratic system to help him.

And Trump also says he won't need a daily intelligence briefing, because he is a smart person. A veteran senior CIA analyst tells me, America's rivals

must be rejoicing.


MARK M. LOWENTHAL, FORMER SENIOR CIA ANALYST: For adversaries to realize these fellows don't have access anymore, this is wonderful, because they

won't be able to tell him things or they will tell him things but he won't believe it. We have just gained a tremendous advantage.


AMANPOUR: Plus, the accidental U.N. whistleblower, despite blow back against him, some progress in the fight for justice and accountability

against sexual predators.


ANDERS KOMPASS, UNITED NATIONS OFFICIAL: It was like opening the Pandora box. People started to inform about allegations, both within the U.N. and

outside the U.N. and particularly, victims.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Now what can America's adversaries or allies be thinking right now? Donald Trump isn't even president yet, officially. But he is picking huge fights

with important centers of power at home and abroad. First, with China. By doubling down and questioning the U.S. commitment to the One China policy.

The foreign ministry in Beijing says it is seriously concerned.

And coincidence, we learn today that China has just flown nuclear capable bombers over the disputed South China Sea for the first time ever.

At home, Trump is also taking aim at the U.S. Congress and the CIA by terming ridiculous the agency's determination that Russia did in fact hack

into the Democratic National Committee with the specific aim of hurting Clinton and helping Trump.

Now even Trump's fellow Republicans are outwardly disagreeing with him. Republican State Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, announced today that he

supports an investigation into the matter.


MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Let me say that I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community and especially the Central

Intelligence Agency. The Russians are not our friends.


AMANPOUR: And one former deputy CIA director says a foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an extensional threat to our

way of life. And I've been talking to a former senior CIA analyst Mark Lowenthal about all of this. He says the last thing the CIA wants is to,

quote, "Be meat in someone's partisan sandwich."


AMANPOUR: Mark Lowenthal, welcome to the program.

LOWENTHAL: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Former CIA senior analyst, what is your first gut reaction to this brouhaha between Donald Trump and the CIA?

LOWENTHAL: I think it is not just Trump and the CIA. It is the president- elect and the entire intelligence community. I think it's unfortunate that they're getting off to such an awkward start in the relationship because

they need each other. And his beginning -- the way this is beginning, it just, it isn't good. It isn't good for a long term, successful

relationship for either entity or for the United States.

AMANPOUR: Can I quote to you what a former CIA director Mike Hayden has said?


AMANPOUR: "To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together

because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions -- wow."

What is the actual danger, or if you like personalizing or politicizing, you know, intelligence.

LOWENTHAL: Unfortunately or fortunately, policymakers can reject intelligence out of hand if they disagree with it. We are not speaking ex

cathedra, that's why I hate the phrase we speak truth to power. We don't necessarily have the truth. But I think the way in which he has rejected

it is really the difficult part. Just dismissing it out of hand, not saying, you know, there may be something here.

I mean, we've had intelligence rejected in the past. It's always a difficult moment for the intelligence community when this happens. But

there is an edge to this that I think is really the problem here.

AMANPOUR: Do you recall a particular intelligence that was rejected with consequences?

LOWENTHAL: Well, during the Cuban missile crisis, a lot of the intelligence analyst said that he was not a gambler. He would never put

missiles in Cuba. He wouldn't do it. And John McCone, who was the director said you guys got to go back and look at this again. I think

you're wrong. And it turns out McCone was right.

[14:05:10] During the 2004 election, President Bush, he sort of fallen out of love with us, and "The Wall Street Journal" was attacking us and the

vice-president was attacking us and some issue came up and the president said probably, look, they're just guessing. They don't know what they're

doing. They're just guessing. So in moments like that happen, you realize the one thing we really want is access. Not because we feel it's cool, but

because we want to be there to help them make their decisions.

And once you're dismissed and once you've lost access, that's just very difficult at that point. And it is not good for the policymakers, either.

Because they live in a continuous stream of information, and they need to stay abreast of this so when the crisis comes, they have a certain facility

to deal with it easily. And in his rejecting the daily brief, that becomes a problem.

AMANPOUR: Let me play you this segment of an interview about the daily briefings and get your reaction to it.


TRUMP: If something should change from this point, immediately call me, I'm available on one minute's notice. I don't have to be told, you know,

I'm like a smart person. I don't have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years.


LOWENTHAL: With all due respect to Mr. Trump, it is not the same thing everyday. These are stories -- it's like journalism. The stories develop

over time. And the sooner you can immerse yourself in the story, the sooner you're -- the better you're able to deal with it when the crisis

comes. And to think that you could just dip back into the information at the moment of crisis and be up to speed, I don't think he understands the

nature of the problems with which he is dealing.

And when you're in there in the situation room and discussing this, all eyes turn to the end of the table. They turn to the president for his

decision. They don't turn to the vice-president. And yes, sometimes it is the same story over several days, but it is not exactly the same story,

because these stories develop and they have nuance and what we would like to see is the policymaker, and we see this usually. That after they've

been doing this for X number of years, they become much more fusillade.

At certain point, there is good on some subjects as the briefers are, which is wonderful. And if you're just going to dip in and out of the moment of

crisis, you're not going to have that wealth of knowledge and that facility of dealing with the issue.

AMANPOUR: Everybody overseas has some kind of conspiracy theory about the CIA. Is this going to give comfort to adversaries and allies?

LOWENTHAL: Look, we have a very effective, very good intelligence community. We are very good at what we do. We're not perfect, but we're

very good. And for adversaries to realize, oh, these fellows don't have access any more, this is wonderful, because they won't be able to tell him

things or they'll tell him things and he won't believe it. We have just gain a tremendous advantage.

And I think it gives discomfort to our allies who realize that it may be harder for them to press points with the United States, because the

intelligence doesn't have its usual seat at the table.

AMANPOUR: Well, let us ask specifically then about Russia. Obviously, this is all about Russia hacking into the U.S. democratic process, and now

the CIA saying that it was doing so for the benefit of one candidate, Donald Trump, and against the benefit of the other candidate, Hillary


There is a lot of concern in Europe with upcoming elections, whether in France or in Germany, not to mention in places like the Balkans and the

Baltic state. People are very concern about the influence of the Russians in this regard.

What can you tell us through your observation of the current scene?

LOWENTHAL: Well, I would say that even if Russia hadn't done it at this point, they've gain a tremendous advantage just by the fact that people say

they have done it. So in terms of Putin's goals, he's already won just by people thinking he has done it.

Putin clearly, you know, he wants influence. He wants to be reaccepted as a great power, and now he's able to show, look, I can do this. People

think I can do this. So as I said even if he hadn't done it, and I assume that there was some level of Russian cyber activity about our election, he

has already gained a lot. And so now we have the German election coming up, we have the French election coming up. Those are important elections.

And it's going to create doubts in these democracies about the electoral process and that's another gain for Putin.

AMANPOUR: Let me just read you in conclusion something that everybody is going to wonder why I haven't asked yet and that is that Donald Trump said

about the CIA, these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.


AMANPOUR: So how do you live that down?

LOWENTHAL: First of all, I was involved in that estimate, so I understand this. Sometimes we get it wrong. Nobody ever said we get it right all the

time. But the fact that we got that one wrong against all the other ones that we get correct, it's a balance sheet.

And on balance, obviously, I'm biased, Christiane, but on balance, we do very, very well. That one we got wrong. But the interesting thing about

that one, and we don't have time to discuss this, the estimate didn't effect anyone's decision. Nobody made a decision to go to war based on

that estimate. The estimate was wrong.

[14:10:00] Now question, but the funny thing was, it had no influence in anyone's outcome. So, I mean, you have to accept the fact that sometimes

we get it wrong. We don't want to, but that's just the reality of what we do, because what we do is very difficult. We are trying to guess -- we're

trying to judge the intentions of other -- of foreign actors. That is very difficult to do.

And I think, you know, even though we got the Iraq thing wrong. Time to move on. New cases, new issues, new sources, new depth of experience. Our

experience dealing with Russia is much better than dealing with Saddam Hussein. I would say it's time to put that one aside.

AMANPOUR: Mark Lowenthal, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.

LOWENTHAL: Thank you, Christiane.


AMANPOUR: Now if Donald Trump does take his intelligence briefing today, he will know that the battle for Eastern Aleppo is reaching its end game.

The Syrian military says the assault on the rebel stronghold is now in its final stages.

Last week, we brought you Fred Pleitgen's daily reports from inside the besiege city. He's now back in Beirut and joins me with the latest.

So, Fred, you've seen it with your own eyes. You kept moving with those frontlines. What lies in store, do you think, for the last holdouts of

Eastern Aleppo?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christiane. Well, it seems to me and it seems to people that I'm speaking to on the ground today, that

those holdouts are probably going to fall very, very soon. There's a lot of estimates about how much terrain the rebels actually still control there

in Aleppo. It goes from anywhere up to 5 percent to about 2 percent, but in every estimation, it really isn't very much. And at the same time, you

have this gigantic wave of people, who were trying to escape from Aleppo.

I was actually on the southern frontline of Aleppo this weekend. And we saw tens of thousands of people actually walking across the frontline, even

though there was heavy fighting going on. There was shelling going on. There were jets in the air, and yet with this threat to their lives, they

went with their children, right through one of the most dangerous war zones, simply to try and get out of harms way.

And the people that we saw looked awful. A lot of them seemed extremely malnourished. All of them were in fear. There were children who were so

tired that they couldn't keep their eyes open, but they still had to continue walking. So it's a -- really a devastating situation there in

Aleppo and it really looks as though at this point in time that the rebels are not going to be able to holdout much longer. Certainly that's what

government sources are telling us. But that's also what the majority of the opposition sources are saying as well.

And one of the things I think, Christiane, that we have to stress, is that even by the standards that we've gotten used to from the Syrian civil war,

where things have continuously gotten worst, the amount of fire power that was unleashed on Aleppo over the past couple of days which we saw was a lot

more than we've ever seen before. It was a sustained campaign. It went on 24/7 over the past couple of days and it involved some very, very heavy

weaponry as well.


AMANPOUR: Fred, thank you. And as everybody has said, this is the most decisive turn in five and a half years of that war. And, of course, many

people are saying that because of that heavy gunfire that you're talking, the heavy assault, Fred, the idea is for Russia and Syria to do as much as

they can before the next U.S. president comes in to office.

Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much.

And when we come back, the U.N.'s accidental whistleblower. I speak to Anders Kompass about the high cost of speaking out against sexual abuse

committed by U.N. peacekeepers in Africa.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

You could call him the accidental whistleblower. In 2014, Anders Kompass was number three in the United Nations human rights office. That summer,

he was told about U.N. peacekeepers sexual abusing homeless boys in the Central African Republic.

[14:15:07] As his seniors were on holiday, he immediately contacted the French government, because French and African peacekeepers were allegedly

to blame. They put a stop to the abuse, but it all blew up in Kompass' face. While the French leapt into action, the U.N. failed to follow-up for

nearly a year.

Kompass himself was suspended, only to be later exonerated by the U.N., but he says superiors then froze him out and so he eventually resigned. Now in

his first international interview, tonight, we speak to him about what his case means for transparency, accountability and speaking out against abuse

within the United Nations.


AMANPOUR: Anders Kompass, welcome to the program.

KOMPASS: Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: Let's just recap before we go into the nitty-gritty. You witnessed something that you absolutely felt had to be made public, and the

first allegation against you, or the criticism against you was that you went to the French, in other words, a member government instead of up the

chain of command at the United Nations.

What was your specific reason for doing that?

KOMPASS: The outgoing high commissioner Navanetham Pillay was on vacation. Number two, the deputy high commissioner was also on vacation. And I was

responsible for the field operations. So I took the decision to alert the French government, mainly because these allegations were ongoing at that

moment when I received the report. It was very clear that these violations happened at that moment.

So it was very important to stop the allegations as quickly as possible. And the French were, the ones who could at least stop the violations that

were done by the soldiers, and I immediately informed my superiors about this, and my immediate supervisor thought that this was the right thing to


AMANPOUR: So in that case, Mr. Kompass, do you feel like you're a whistleblower or you were following the proper protocol, given that your

immediate superiors were on vacation?

KOMPASS: Yes, and I informed my supervisor when she came back. We talked about it. And she agreed that this was probably the best way to handle it.

Particularly, since the response from the French government was immediate and very good. And then the New York office of the secretary general and

the vice secretary general were informed about what had happened.

And so I never thought and I still don't believe that I was whistleblower. I did my job. And that was also recognized by the external panel that the

secretary general had to appoint in June 2015, almost a year after, and what presented a report almost a year ago in December 2015, where I was

exonerated and recognized for having done my job contrary to what many other people in the U.N. had done.

AMANPOUR: I just want to read you what you've recently written about U.N. staff.

"Staff are afraid. This fear is based on widespread experience. Many staff members have been the victims of retaliation or have witnessed

retaliation against those who have taken unpopular ethical stances."

And you go on to say that they are convinced the system does not protect them. What happened to you that deters other people? Describe the, you

know, the sanctions against you yourself.

KOMPASS: In March, eight months after what I had done, I was then ask to resigned by the new high commission for human rights. When I didn't

understand why I should resign, I was then put on what is called administrative leave, which means that I was expelled from my job. I had

to appeal and won.

The administrative leave was according to the U.N. judge, unlawful. And it was not until the U.N. was forced to appoint an external panel, because the

internal justice system showed that we're not independent, we're not impartial. Had basically said that I was guilty from the beginning.

AMANPOUR: Let me play you this sound bite of the U.N. special representative for the CAR. I did this in April of this year, an interview

with him about this whole case. And this is what he said, and I would like you to listen and to respond to it afterwards.


[14:20:00] PARFAIT ONANGA-ANYANGA, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: I'm pleased to know that this courageous colleague is

back in our midst. I have made it clear that whistleblowers will be protected. I have called on my own staff that whenever they see something,

they should report it. And we have made the same outreach to the population, to the civilian population.


AMANPOUR: So do you believe that? I mean, I know you don't call yourself a whistleblower, but there are others who might be. Do you think that the

U.N. and certainly what Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga said just now is a result of what happened to you? That they are going to take it and they do

take it seriously now?

KOMPASS: I must say I was very pleased when I heard his response to your question. And but at the same time, he is the only one at the U.N.

leadership level who have made this recognition. And also saying the things he said about the consequences, that now it should be open and

people should be encouraged to come up and then come out and say things when things are not working well. Precisely for the organization to be

able to improve and to learn from errors and mistakes.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's really shocking to hear that from you. I want to also put up a graphic for our viewers. And that is something that happened

this year in the wake of your situation. And it shows countries where U.N. personnel is being involved in allegations in the year 2016, more than 20

countries this year alone.

Is that a good step in your opinion? I mean, this had not happened before your story.

KOMPASS: No, it's true. Also in the Central Africa Republic, after this became public last year, and it was like opening the Pandora box. People

started to inform about allegations, both within the U.N. and outside the U.N., and in particular victims. So in that sense, I feel encouraged. At

least people can now feel particularly victims, families, women, that there is -- that they have a right. What happened to them is wrong. And I think

that is still a terrible thing, because the powerful relationship, between people working for the U.N. and people who are suffering these allegations

of violations in countries like Central Africa Republic or in Haiti, and South Sudan are enormous.

And people don't dare to -- they don't even think that this is wrong for them. So now they know that this is wrong. And this is not according to

U.N. policy.

AMANPOUR: Do you believe, because you also wrote that the U.N. accountability system is broken. But you wrote, you wrote, and this is

really important, that you know, people don't come forward, because the cost of the individual to behaving ethically is perceived as too great.

Put it another way, the benefit to the individual of not behaving ethically is perceived as greater than the cost of taking an ethical stance.

I mean, that is a really terrible indictment for an organization that has been set up in order to do human rights and humanitarian work.

KOMPASS: It is true. If I wouldn't have done anything, I could also, the panel members in this independent panel said I could have passed it down to

someone else, and then leaving the responsibility and that's what actually happened many times with this kind of reports in central, in books to

another, from one table to another. And no one takes responsibility. And that is now the key question for United Nations. There has to be

accountability, which means also, there has to be consequences when people are behaving wrongly. But also, there has to be some kind of incentives

for people to behave well, do the right thing.

AMANPOUR: Anders Kompass, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

KOMPASS: Thank you so much for having me.


AMANPOUR: Now as you saw, we have covered this story from the U.N. perspective when it first broke. We've just had an e-mail from the U.N.

spokesperson about this report tonight and you'll find that on my Facebook page after this show.

After a break, we imagine a world where disaster breaks down old rivalries. That's when we come back.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, in Turkey this weekend, a celebration of sport turned into another blood-soaked torrent of grief for the nation. As

yet another terror attack rocked the country. Outside the football stadium of the team Besiktas, twin blasts, a car bomb and a suicide attack killing

at least 44 people. Seven of them were civilians and 37 were police officers. Another 155 people were injured.

Now imagine a world with such violence mends a rift between two opposing teams. And not just any two teams, but sworn bitter rivals. Last night,

Turkish football club Galatasaray paid tribute to the riot police killed at the rival stadium.

In a league match right after the attacks, players began by giving carnations to police as they enter the stadium with some running off the

field even after they score the goal to hug the police who were present. It was a rare moment of unity.

The police protection of fans and players alike is the one common thread between the two teams vicious rivalry. Galatasaray would win the emotional

match in the end. And, today, Besiktas supporters paid their respects at the spot of the explosions.

And that's it for our program tonight. And, remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on

Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.