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New Allegations Against Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman; Theranos Whistleblower Speaks Out; Unrest in Lebanon; 16 Beirut Port Employees Detained; Mona Fawaz, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, American University of Beirut, is Interviewed About Lebanon. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired August 7, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
New allegations against Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, filed in a U.S. court. Dr. Saad Aljabri, former Saudi spy chief, claims he could be
the next victim after journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. Our exclusive with his son, Khalid Aljabri.
Then as the investigation continuous into the catastrophic Beirut explosion, we examine the impact of this latest crisis on the people there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYLER SHULTZ, HOST OF AUDIBLE ORIGINAL "THICKER THAN WATER": Everyone loves a good story. And unfortunate, I think people liked this story so
much that they didn't really question it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The whistleblower who brought down Faramus and its miracle blood test technology, on what that case says about the current goldrush for a
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
A suit filed in Washington, D.C. raises stunning allegations against the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Dr. Saad Aljabri, a former top
Saudi television official claims that bin Salman sent an assassination squad to kill him just two weeks after the brutal murder of journalist,
Aljabri is a longtime veteran of the Saudi government, an intelligence official with deep ties to the United States and other western nations. He
claims that bin Salman dispatch a hit squad to murder him at his new home in Canada in October 2018 and that the government kidnapped two of his
children in an attempt to lure him back to Saudi Arabia.
Now, regarding this allegation, a senior state department official says that the United States condemns the unlawful Saudi imprisonment of the
children, Sarah and Omar Aljabri, and is working to secure their release.
For their part, Saudi officers have not yet responded to the case. But according to "The Wall Street Journal," the kingdom accuses Aljabri of
corruption and mismanaging billions of government funds. Khalid Aljabri is the son of Dr. Saad and he is joining me now from Toronto for this
Khalid Aljabri, welcome to the program.
Now, this is an unprecedented situation, bringing such a public suit against the crown prince de factor leader of your country. Can I start by
asking you to lay out briefly your father's ties to the United States and his record as a senior government official in Saudi Arabia?
KHALID ALJABRI, SON OF DR. SAAD ALJABRI: First of all, thank you for having me on your show. I think I'm only going to repeat what multiple U.S.
officials have spoken out, you know, in print and public about the value that Dr. Assad, you know, my father, brought to the counterterrorism effort
both inside Saudi Arabia and outside with its western allies, saving, you know, hundreds, if not thousands, of lives on, you know, Saudi soil and
equally on American soil.
He is highly regarded. He served his country well. A lot of people say that the linchpin of the post-9/11 relationship between Saudi Arabia and the
United States was based on the security cooperation that was spearheaded by my father and the former crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef.
AMANPOUR: So, just to lay it out, everybody remembers that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. But in the early 2000s, Saudi Arabia decided
to go against Al-Qaeda because it was threatening them as well. Your father then became a very prominent antiterrorism officer in that regard.
He also was, at the time, righthand man to Muhammad bin Nayef. Now, for our viewers, he was, at the time and has been, the Saudi crown prince, he was
also minister of interior and as such, an intelligence link, the intelligence link with the United States. It's that relationship, isn't it,
that put your father on the outs with the current crown prince?
ALJABRI: I think that's one of the main reasons, absolutely, you're right. That's one reason behind the political targeting of my father and my
family, him being perceived as a threat because of his close loyalty, MBS, the main contender, former crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef.
AMANPOUR: So, we have heard from -- in various forums like a former CIA director, John Brennan, has said in an interview that he believes MBS, as
he is popularly known practically all over world, Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, went after your father because he "though Saad was someone he
couldn't control." Do you believe that the Saudi authorities somehow wanted to control your father, and if so, why?
ALJABRI: I think that's a question for them to answer. What I'm, you know, here to talk about is basically the unlawful transnational and global
terror campaign that my family has been suffering for more than three years right now. It's a campaign that is seeking the murder of my father, and
it's actively taking my siblings Sarah and Omar as hostages over.
Over the past three years, we've exhausted every possible avenue for quiet diplomacy and reconciliation to no avail. At the end, we were pushed into
pursuing accountability and justice in a U.S. federal court. We hope that this current lawsuit will help end the torment free Omar and Sarah and
reunite them with us, protect my dad and end this nightmare for my family.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's go through these issues. You just raised two major elements of your suit that you filed in Washington, D.C. Your youngest
siblings, Sarah and Omar, tell me what happened to them. You allege that dozens of Saudi officials essentially disappeared them, came and got them
from where they were in Riyadh, and they haven't been heard or seen since. What do you think happened?
ALJABRI: So, the story of Omar and Sarah starts actually way before that, it wasn't just in March of 2020. Omar and Sarah, you know, young, bright
kids. They were minors then in 2017, looking forward to their new life in Boston. Sarah was going to complete her high school and Omar was going to
go to his freshman year. We're ecstatic when they received their U.S. visas. They were in the airport heading to Boston on June 21st. That
happened to be the same day that MBS became crown prince. They were stopped at the airport and banned from travel with no logical explanation or legal
explanation, for that sake.
During that time, it was shocking for every family member. I actually remember Sarah calling me and crying, not understanding why she can't board
a plane to see her family and start her school in the U.S. and then basically they've been hostage within the kingdom, they've been bargained
with, they've been used as pawns, they've been used as collateral. In direct communication between the current crown prince and my dad, he made
it clear that the kids will only be allowed to travel to study if my dad was, you know, returned to the kingdom.
And, you know, we've stayed quiet. We had to adapt. It was extremely painful. You know, you're a mother yourself, you can imagine a 17-year-old
girl being away from her mom. That's exactly when she needs to be in her mom's arms the most. Omar, a bright guy, he loved the Celtics. He was
looking forward to getting a season ticket and going to each game, in and out. And basically, you know, our lives were changed forever. At every
lunch, every dinner, every birthday, there is a couple chairs empty. There are a lot of voids in our hearts.
I mean, last week, my youngest brother who was six, when Omar and Sarah were kept as hostages in Saudi, you know, turned nine years old and he
started asking me, where is Sarah? I miss her, I want to talk to her. And honestly, I ran out of answers and I don't know what to tell him. We've
adapted. They went back to school. We were always concerned for things escalating because we know the reason, they were only kept as collateral
and as bargaining chips.
And by the way, the fact was raised very high up even with the U.S. government officials back in 2017. So, this is not a new encounter. Again,
during these three years, we basically explored every single avenue for quiet diplomacy to no avail. The Saudi government wasn't even interested.
They didn't give adequate explanations as to why Omar and Sarah were being held.
Now, in March 6, which was interesting, it was Sarah's birthday and it was also the same day that Crown Prince bin Nayef was arrested, Omar and Sarah
were summoned to State Security and they were explicitly told that, you need to convince your family to return to the kingdom. Sarah left crying.
She called, tormented. She told my cousin that she felt this was an ultimatum and that they will be arrested soon. And guess what, she was
A week later at 6:00 a.m., 50 officers showed up to our house in Riyadh and literally kidnapped them from the comfort of their beds. Since then, we
haven't heard from them. We don't even know if they're dead or alive, have they fallen ill to COVID, what's the reason? I've reached to every single
official that I had a good rapport with, including the head of (INAUDIBLE) security who (INAUDIBLE). And basically, he reads messages and he doesn't
respond. And then honestly, I don't know what the status of Sarah and Omar. Yes.
AMANPOUR: And I can read, obviously, the despair in your voice, and I understand that this is probably one of the biggest reasons you have
submitted this suit. We have to keep saying that we have reached out to the Saudi embassy in Washington. So far, we have received no word from them
either, no reaction to this suit, but we keep trying to get that official's answer.
ALJABRI: There is a tidbit that I want to share with you.
AMANPOUR: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. Hold on.
AMANPOUR: The Saudi officials have told "The Wall Street Journal," at least a Saudi official, that your siblings are in so-called a VIP
imprisonment or prison situation there. Do you know anything about that, and then what is it you want to add?
ALJABRI: I don't know what they really mean by a VIP prison. Is that supposed to give us comfort? And the same Wall Street reporters should go
back to their reporting in 2017 when they reported one person died of torture at the Ritz-Carlton, which is supposed to be a 7-star hotel. So,
that is -- I mean, it's absolutely ridiculous. There is no reason whatsoever to keep Omar and Sarah in the kingdom as hostages since 2017,
and now, unfortunately, disappeared for about five months.
And by the way, it's a good point that you bring, you know, the question to the Saudi embassy. Omar and Sarah were colleagues and classmates of the
ambassador's children. They know them. They used to go to the same British school in Riyadh. So, you know and I know, you know, Ambassador Reema might
not be able to answer, but she should answer the question as the mother of colleagues like Omar and Sarah.
AMANPOUR: Khalid, I just want to, at this point, read yet another reaction from the United States official. Michael Morell, as you all know, former
acting director of the CIA said this to us. I know Dr. Saad really well. What he's doing is for his safety and that of his children. While I don't
have firsthand knowledge of what he alleges, anyone knows that what MBS has been up to is not a surprise. Dr. Saad working with MBN, Muhammad bin
Nayef, the former crown prince, the former interior minister, has been very helpful in the past to the United States government and to help prevent
attacks to the homeland.
So, you and the suit bring up a very, very explosive allegation, and let me read it so that I get it absolutely correctly. Essentially, the allegation
is that a hit squad was dispatched to Canada where you are living in self- imposed exile to try to do whatever -- you tell me what -- and that happened some 13 days after we know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi in the
Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The suit does not contain evidence of that. Can you tell me what basis you allege that and why is it in your suit?
ALJABRI: We are confident of our allegations, and this will be litigated in court. But what I want to allude to as well, that I know that a lot of
people are fixated on a specific aspect of the suit regarding the hit squad coming into Canada, but the campaign to neutralize that and kill him has
started in 2017, keeping Omar and Sarah as hostages, renditioning some family members and subjecting them to torture, misuse of Interpol notices,
honestly, issuing direct threats in text exchanges and saying, you know, we will use legal means and other means that will be harmful to you.
So, sending spies in Boston where the FBI is totally aware of it, it's an ongoing more than three-year manhunt and it's not just specific to these
allegations about the hit squad coming in Toronto which we're more than confident we will litigate in court.
AMANPOUR: So, again, just to say what we've heard from the Canadian authorities, Bill Blair, who's Canada's minister for public safety says,
while we cannot comment on specific allegations currently before the courts, we are aware of incidents in which foreign actors have attempted to
monitor, intimidate people or threaten Canadians and those living in Canada. It is completely unacceptable and we will never tolerate foreign
actors threatening Canada's national security or the safety of our citizens and our residents.
Khalid, can I ask you before I get to what the Saudi government is alleging about your father. What are they -- you're also out here talking. You are,
you know, in Toronto as well. How have you been affected, I don't know, drawn into this, specifically?
ALJABRI: I am a father. I am a brother. I am a doctor who dedicated his career to saving lives. And now, all I care about is saving the lives of
Sarah and Omar and my family. So, I think anybody in my position will go to the extreme to secure the safety of his dad and to release his brother and
sister from this unjustified imprisonment and disappearance.
It's been really tough to adapt. We are dealing with active threats as recent as a couple weeks ago. And I have to say, I'm grateful for the
vigilance of the security agencies both in the U.S. and Canada who have been forthcoming and engaging with us in context of the duty to warn as
early as January 2018.
AMANPOUR: And you yourself, I believe, and I think it said so in the suit, you, in the United States, were threatened in terms of trying to -- I
think, something -- your studies were disrupted or something? You were trying -- they were trying to get you to persuade your father to go back,
trying to reach him through you.
ALJABRI: Yes. So, you know, I've been subjected to acts of spying espionage in Boston, that's adequately documented with the -- you know,
with the agencies in Boston. The government out of -- without any excuse suspended my scholarship, they refused to renew my passports. They've tried
to apply every single possible collateral constrain on the family, basically leaving them no way but to go back to the kingdom. Luckily, I was
able to stay in Boston, complete my studies and then emigrate to Canada.
AMANPOUR: So, as you know, the Saudi government has not said anything formal. There seems to be a story that "The Wall Street Journal" has
written in the recent past which quotes a lot of Saudi officials. They accused your father of massive corruption. Let me read a little bit,
specifically alleging that a group of men your father led while working for the interior ministry misspent some $11 billion in government money, paying
your family at least $1 billion. What is your reaction to that? And, I mean, presumably you have, I don't know, some -- this would probably come
out in court as well.
ALJABRI: Let me say something. You know, baseless allegations fall apart when viewed by an impartial due process or international government body.
And this is exactly what happened with Interpol more than two years ago. Whatever showed up in "The Wall Street Journal" is recycled allegations
that were put to bed by Interpol two years ago and deemed as politically motivated.
But let me set the record straight here. Sarah and Omar were banned from travel the same day MBS became crown prince, effectively his first order of
business. That was five months before his corruption campaign. They're using this corruption pretense exactly like they're using Omar and Sarah to
force my father's return.
We have repeatedly, you know, in private, asked for the government to send their lawyers. There is nothing to hide. And then we've asked for an
impartial due process in public. That doesn't include assassinations or extortion through child hostage taking. Yesterday, we took the initiative
by going to court. So, the Saudis are more than welcome to come and defend the allegations, but bring their own allegations and let's settle this
thing once and for good.
AMANPOUR: Just to say about Interpol, obviously, which was asked and called upon by the Saudi government to arrest your father and bring him
back. They dismissed that, having said that they deemed it to be politically motivated rather than strictly judicial.
So, finally, Khalid, you've spoken a little bit just now about what you hope, in other words, this will all come out in public, that you have
thrown down the first, sort of, gauntlet and that everybody will have to lawyer up, so to speak. What do you hope to achieve from the United States,
from the fact that you've taken this public, in, as I said, this unprecedented way?
ALJABRI: Our main objective here is family reunification and safety. That is our sole agenda. We love Saudi. We don't have an agenda against anybody
personally. We want to secure the safe reunification of family. And we want to solve all this issue once and for all. We are hopeful now that the other
party would come to the table. We are hopeful that they can come and defend these allegations and bring their own. You know, that's the way to settle
allegations in a civil way. There is no need to kidnap children or send death squads. Let's come and solve it. You know, let's deal with it as men.
AMANPOUR: And on that note, Khalid Aljabri, thank you so much for joining us.
Now, again, just to reiterate, we have reached out to the Saudi embassy in Washington. So far, we have not gotten any response.
Meanwhile, the "New York Times," investigative correspondent, Mark Mazzetti, is also running down these latest allegations against the Saudi
leadership as well as new reports that Saudi Arabia maybe moving towards developing some kind of nuclear weapon or device. And he's joining me now
Mark Mazzetti, you've been reporting on this as well and you've heard now our exclusive interview with Khalid Aljabri. What is your reaction to what
he's told us and how important is it that this has been filed in the United States, and as he said, let's come out into the public and resolve it like
MARK MAZZETTI, NEW YORK TIMES INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think stepping back a second and realizing the significance of the Jabri family
coming forward publicly with these allegations and also filing them in court, it's extraordinary that, as we said in our story today, it's really
the first time in the name of Saad Aljabri, you have a former top Saudi official publicly making these accusations against Crown Prince Mohammed
The fact it was filed in an American court seems to be -- the purpose seems to be because there are some statutes in the books in the United States,
the Torture Victim Protection Act, the Alien Tort Statute that do give some degree of standing for foreigners to bring similar -- bring such charges,
even though Dr. Aljabri is, of course, Saudi and he's living in Canada, they saw a reason to go to U.S. federal court for this.
Let's be frank also, having a lawsuit in American federal court does come with it the sort of promotional benefit of having press to air out these
charges. There's more of an impact to be filed in an American court. As you can see, we and so many others wrote about the charges. So, as some legal
experts I spoke to said, you know, it may be doubtful that this case might actually proceed in court, but its intended, in fact, might also be just to
raise awareness, to get these issues, to air out these issues and these allegations.
AMANPOUR: So, before I get to the U.S. point, and we've obviously read out so many responses from U.S. officials testifying for, you know, Saad
Aljabri's character, his relationship with the United States. Before I get to that, how do you think Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi
Arabia, under a huge amount of international pressure, how do you think he is going to react? Where do you see this leading?
MAZZETTI: Well, it will be interesting to see how the Saudi government responds. You know, obviously, they were hoping to get past the Jamal
Khashoggi horror and the role of the Saudi government in it, and Crown Prince Mohammed clearly has trying to move past it and, you know, go past
this period of really being an international pariah because of that. Having this now come up does create this atmosphere again.
Now, we should say that the "Times" and others have reported that the Jamal Khashoggi episode was just one part of a broader campaign by Crown Prince
Mohammed to crack down on descent, sometimes in a ruthless and very violent way. You have the episodes at the Ritz in Riyadh, and we -- my colleague,
Ben Hubbard and I last year reported about extensive use of torture, extensive use of rendition that Jamal Khashoggi was just one part of.
And as we learn more about Dr. Saad Aljabri and his story, we see that perhaps this was all kind of going on at the same time. So, your question
about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it might be sometime before he and the Saudi government are able to move past this, especially, of course, if
there is a change of government in Washington early next year. If the Trump administration -- President Trump were to lose and Joe Biden were to be
president, you could be sure that the new administration would take a much tougher line on the Saudis than the Trump administration has.
AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you, you've seen already that, you know, they're a pretty -- they're putting a stake in the ground. But do you think
that President Trump, you know, would want to shield the Saudis from this type of lawsuit right now? I mean, I guess, you know, as you say, they
brought it into the United States because they think perhaps that's a big shield and a big protection. And it also looks like, from what we've heard
and from the bulk of the case, that the main objective -- I mean, if you read through the lines -- is to get these two children out and get the
Do you think there is an out-of-court deal to be done on that?
MAZZETTI: Well, so, there could be, certainly, and you read the State Department statement about -- that was quite strong, about the allegations.
So, there might, in fact, be quiet pressure going on by the Trump administration to make some kind of a deal. I mean, they don't have to make
a -- when I say they, the Saudi government doesn't have to respond to the court allegations any time soon, according to the legal experts I spoke to.
It's a fairly byzantine process where, in fact, before anyone has to proceed, Crown Prince Mohammed himself would have to be physically served
with these allegations. In other words, sort of like you get served a subpoena, you have to be done -- it has to be served in person. And, you
know, that would only happen, probably, if he comes to the United States. And even if he comes to the United States, then he can claim I'm part of an
official diplomatic party, and therefore, I cannot be served these allegations.
So, you know, it's unclear how immediately this case could proceed in court. But, as you point out, there is a broader PR problem for the crown
prince. And so, separate from what's going on in court, there may be some reason for him to quietly use backchannel diplomacy to resolve it and get
it out of the news.
AMANPOUR: Can we just move off this for a moment and talk about another story that you and your colleagues had in the newspaper just recently, and
that is about the United States government looking very closely to try to figure out what Saudi Arabia might be doing with China to process uranium,
to potentially move that into some kind of weapons-building capacity. How serious is it, what do you know about it that we should know?
MAZZETTI: What we reported this week is that the U.S. Intelligence Community is actually doing a very close examination now, in recent weeks
and months, about exactly the extent of China's work with Saudi Arabia on nuclear issues.
We don't -- nobody believes that, you know, Saudi Arabia is close to getting a nuclear weapon or even has made a decision that it wants to get
one one day. But there is a lot of early work going on with uranium between the Chinese and Saudis that can be done for a very aboveboard purpose. You
can do this kind of uranium work with the ultimate aim of having a civilian nuclear program. But it's also work you can do and necessary work if you
were to one day want to enrich it to the quality and to a higher grade in order to make a nuclear weapon.
What we know is that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said publicly if Iran will continue to do nuclear work, then Saudi Arabia will do the same
work, that it will keep pace, and if Iran is going to get a weapon, Saudi Arabia is going to get a weapon. He said this on "60 minutes" two years
ago. So, he is on record about his intentions vis-a-vis his main enemy, Iran.
So, there is a lot of scrutiny going on, and it does raise this issue potentially of a double standard for the Trump administration, which, as we
know, and as you know, has been so determined to sanction and beat back any effort by Iran because of its nuclear program. If it sort of looks the
other way on Saudi Arabia or doesn't hold their feet to the fire, then there is this question of, why are they allowing proliferation in the other
great power in the Middle East?
AMANPOUR: And we'll certainly keep following this. Mark Mazzetti, thank you for your reporting. And just to say, the Saudi Energy Ministry says in
a statement that it "categorically denies having built a uranium ore facility in the area described by some of the western officials."
Thanks so much.
And now, turning elsewhere in the region to Lebanon where 16 employees of Beirut's Port have now been detained as part of an investigation into the
catastrophic explosion that took place on Tuesday. More than 300,000 people are displaced from their homes, at least 154 are dead, thousands more are
wounded. Of course, all these numbers, including the fatalities, are expected to grow.
Mona Fawaz is professor of urban studies at American University of Beirut and active critic of the government in Lebanon. She and her family were in
the city at the time of the blast and she's joining me now from the university there.
Mona Fawaz, thank you very much for joining us again.
Tell me briefly how it felt to you, where you were when this massive explosion took off.
MONA FAWAZ, PROFESSOR OF URBAN STUDIES AND PLANNING, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT: Yes. We -- I was home, working from home because of the pandemic,
and it felt like it was the civil war or another Israeli attack all over again. We weren't sure what it was, maybe an earthquake.
We ran. And then it was the sequence of events that we're used to because we live in an area that's subject to bombs, and very much the memory of the
civil war, you know, calling everyone you know, trying to get through with the lines, making sure the kids are OK, and then figuring out what
It's a, sadly, familiar sequence of moments.
AMANPOUR: It is really sad, because Beirut, Lebanon has been under so much pressure for so many decades. It's taken in so many refugees from the
It is on the brink of economic collapse. There's all sorts of governmental mismanagement, protests in the streets over the last year or so. And now
the people seem really angry, really fed up in a way that we haven't seen in a long, long time.
Is the government saying anything about what it plans to do in terms of investigations that the people could take any solace in?
FAWAZ: No, not at all.
Actually, there's been a few measures that are taken, things like what you just mentioned, people being arrested. But people are very, very angry,
because it's not just about a port employee who didn't do his job. It's not about a judge who didn't move fast enough.
It's six years of this callous behavior. And the real question is not a port employee. The real question is who appointed the port employee, the
judge, and the entire system and structure that has placed us where we are, that we can live for six years with this explosive material in our port,
and nothing happens.
This is who we want to be accountable. And it's not just me. That's everyone I talk to. That's people on the street. That's academics. That's
friends. That's family. That's articles in the newspapers across the political spectrum.
There's a recognition that the real problem is the political system that's in place and the political class is responsible, and this is who we want to
AMANPOUR: And, indeed, one of your lawmakers has said that senior customs officials and officials sought guidance from the Lebanese courts at least
six times over this period that this ammonium nitrate was there on how to dispose of it, and nothing came of it.
Do you trust -- I mean, you have spoken about how they don't trust really a government -- the government to deal with it.
Is there any chance -- the president has sort of already said no, but is there any chance there might be enough pressure to bring an international
investigation? Do you think that would help at least?
FAWAZ: Look, our experience with international investigations so far has been that they drag. They're marred with international -- with political
interventions. They take an event that's local, and they turn it into a regional problem.
So, I'm not so comfortable that the real solution is an international investigation. The point is to push towards an independence of our
judiciary. There is a legal proposition that's been dragging for years to move the political -- the judiciary system outside the control of the
That's our real hope. It's this internal movement, this mobilization that's been happening for so long that we felt at some point back in October that
it almost happened, that we would get an independent judiciary that represents truly the interest of the Lebanese people.
And, right now, it feels that it's not really close to happening. We've sort of taken several steps backwards with the financial crisis, with the
COVID crisis and everything else that's been happening, and this explosion to top it off.
AMANPOUR: Honestly, I mean, the way you speak and the way we have heard from others, it's like, how much worse can it get in this city, in this
country that has borne so much over so long?
Here's a woman who's speaking about whether she might even be able to rebuild. Let's just take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): What are we doing? We come to pack some things from our house and take what we could take. We can't go to
the upper floor because it might fall on us. Like everyone else, it is not just us.
Everything is out there in front of the whole world. Enough (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Enough lying, and enough. If you want to cut my words, I don't
want to curse a lot. They are liars. And we wouldn't find people who lie more than they do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, Mona, no holds barred now. They are just fed up with the government.
And, again, talk to us a little bit about the impact, I mean, everything from overflowing garbage to poisoned tap water, to electricity shortages.
And we have talked about the economic virtual collapse.
I mean, you're a professor there. Put it in context for us.
FAWAZ: All right.
So, for me, the real context of what's happening now is the order that was set in place at the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990, when people who
were wearing military fatigues and who were proven warlords were taken to the -- what was called the Taif Accord, which was a supposed peace
conference, where, instead of rendering them accountable for the crimes they did, they were instead -- they instead came back with business suits
and declared that they will rebuild the country.
Since then, many voices had -- have been saying that they need to be rendered accountable for the war crimes they did, and that someone who does
so many war crimes cannot rebuild the country.
I think that, over the last 30 years, we have had ample proof of what has happened. They have set in place a system that's not only criminal, but
they also have waged a war against us, the people of Lebanon. And they have reached the point where, with this explosion, they're basically killing
I don't -- and there's all sorts of talk about whether it's triggered or not. It's not really important. What's important is that Lebanese officials
at multiple levels were capable of leaving so many explosives and not caring.
This is where we are today. And in their infighting, bringing in the international community to push in this direction or the other, they have
weakened the Lebanese society, to the point that people today are increasingly thinking about their food, their survival, how they will get
money to repair the glass.
And I think it's really important to realize that it's not just an internal issue. Lebanon is marred with regional forces, but also with international
We have been under increasing firewalls put up to isolate sectors of our political scene from support. Irrespective of what happens to them, the
real collateral damage is us. It's my university that's struggling to survive, one of the oldest universities in the region that's always
produced some of the best minds in the region and beyond that today is wondering whether it will be able to go on.
It's families that were mobilizing to build businesses, to build their livelihood that today are wondering, will I have enough food to feed my
And it's really important to send this message out that we need the international community to change course. We need to empower the Lebanese
society to be -- which is full of creative energy, vibrant, budding minds, and so much desire to see things differently.
Had you been with me for the last three days on the streets, you would have seen how many young students, young women and men were just, like, taking
their brooms, helping people tape their windows, finding any way to make a difference to rebuild their cities, and a sense of ownership that they
really want to do it.
We need to support these people.
AMANPOUR: Well, and just very briefly, we have got about, I guess, 30 seconds left.
You talk about the solidarity. Do these people feel that they might have to come out onto the streets again and try to protest to get the kind of
government reaction and accountability that you're talking about and that needs to happen? I mean, it's beyond just the independent judiciary.
There is a protest that's planned for tomorrow afternoon. And I'm hearing that many, many people who were until now really scared of the COVID crisis
being on the rise and deciding not to participate in protests saying that they were going to die anyway, they were going to be killed anyway.
FAWAZ: So they might as well put a mask on and come out to the street tomorrow afternoon.
AMANPOUR: It's so interesting, because you have got it there. We have got it against racial injustice in the United States.
AMANPOUR: All these movements happening under the pandemic as well.
We will keep watching.
Mona Fawaz of the American University of Beirut, thank you so much indeed.
Now, remember the name Theranos, touted as a revolutionary blood testing start-up, until it came crashing down, and its co-founder -- or, rather,
its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, was charged with fraud in 2018.
Tyler Shultz worked at that company, before becoming a whistleblower about the technology which didn't actually work.
In his new podcast, "Thicker Than Water," he tells his side of the story.
Here's our Hari Sreenivasan talking to Tyler about that and lessons learned when it comes to the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks so much.
Tyler, thanks for joining us.
Now, for our overseas audience who might not have kept up with the story of what Theranos is, I mean, a very thumbnail summary right off the top here.
You wanted to build 200 different tests that you would run off of an incredibly very tiny sample of blood. What went wrong at the company?
TYLER SHULTZ, THERANOS WHISTLEBLOWER: Oh, well, where to start?
SHULTZ: What went wrong is that I think we -- I think the ambitions were a little bit too big and the technology wasn't quite there to back it up.
But, really, it was just -- it's a story of vision outpacing reality. And the idea of doing anything that a central laboratory you can do from a
single drop of blood in a Walgreens or in an operating room or in a medevac helicopter or in a battlefield is an amazing vision. And Elizabeth was
great at selling that vision, but not so great at actually executing on it.
And, really, the technology did not exist to enable it.
SREENIVASAN: You're talking about Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO.
And your story, as you tell it in this podcast, is also about how so many of us, the press included, society at large, investors, wanted to believe
that something so grand was possible, was here today, but we really didn't look under the hood until well after patients were already affected.
SHULTZ: Yes, I mean, it was a great story. And everyone loves a good story.
And, unfortunately, I think people liked this story so much that they didn't really question it. There were a lot of systems that had to fail in
order for Theranos to become what it was. The investors failed. They didn't do their due diligence.
It's actually pretty astounding, Elizabeth was able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, and not a single investor ever saw an audited
financial statement, which is pretty mind-boggling.
They had a partnership with Walgreens, and they actually hired an expert in laboratory science to go to Theranos and do due diligence on their
technology. And they kind of -- they wouldn't show him what it was. So he went back to Walgreens and said, don't do business with these people. And
they ignored him and did business with them anyway.
So, there were red flags there, but people were just blinded by this good story.
SREENIVASAN: And, well, what did you do at the company?
SHULTZ: Mostly, at the company, I was doing what was called assay validation where my job was to make sure that the tests were safe and
working correctly before we tested actual patients.
SREENIVASAN: And when did you figure out something was off?
SHULTZ: I learned that something was off about four days after I started working there full-time.
The biggest red flag at that point was actually seeing the technology. And I was expecting some fancy microfluidic technology and some signal
transduction method that I had never dreamed of.
But what it was just a pipette inside of a box on a robotic arm. So, it was very rudimentary technology. There was nothing in there that I hadn't seen
before. So, that was the first moment where I kind of went, uh-oh.
SREENIVASAN: What are the consequences of something like Theranos not working when it comes to actual patients' lives who are basically looking
for information from this test? If the test is wrong, what's the consequence?
SHULTZ: I mean, yes, the consequences can be pretty wide-ranging.
When I started really raising my concerns, it was over a syphilis test which I was convinced did not actually work. And we were starting to run
that test on real patients. We had made the decision, we're going to push this to production, we're going to start running patient samples.
And syphilis is a great example of a test where, if you're told you don't have it, when you actually do, there are really serious health
consequences. One, you can spread it to other people. And then, two, untreated syphilis is no joke.
It's one of those diseases where, if you catch it early and get treatment, it's really not that big of a deal. But if you're told you don't have it,
and you go on and live your life and let it grow, it's -- it can be really bad.
SREENIVASAN: And there were actual patients in Arizona that were going to Walgreens and giving their blood.
SHULTZ: Yes, there were actual patients who were using this. And we were running tests for HIV, for hepatitis C. I think we had a fertility panel.
So, yes, maybe women were told they maybe lost their baby when they hadn't, or maybe they were pregnant when they weren't. So, there are all kinds of
potential bad outcomes.
I know, particularly, that our potassium test did not work very well. And I remember one instance when I was at Theranos where a patient got tested for
potassium, and the result was so far out of range, that that person should have been dead.
So, the technician actually called the patient and said, you have to go to the emergency room immediately. And upon retesting, there was nothing wrong
SREENIVASAN: Listening to your podcast, I wondered -- you're really describing red flags almost from day one. Obviously, you have the benefit
of hindsight now.
SREENIVASAN: But there were so many moments in the story where I hear you saying, well, that didn't sound right. That doesn't sound right.
I wondered, what kept you going back? What is it that made you want to go back to work, knowing that you were leaving a lab and you were working with
equipment that was not performing anywhere close to how it was being sold?
SHULTZ: Yes, so there were a couple of things.
One, I was a huge believer in Elizabeth, and it was really hard for me to reconcile the differences between what I was seeing and what Elizabeth was
telling me. And it is really strange, looking back, to see kind of like the power she had or the influence she had over the way people thought,
including on myself.
You know, in this Audible, I describe Halloween at Theranos, where, at that point, I had been there about two months, and I had seen tons of red flags,
but I still dressed as a nanotainer for Halloween, because I was still drinking the Kool-Aid that badly. I wanted it to work. I wanted to be part
of the vision. I wanted to be part of this company.
And it's like, when I when I listen back to that part of the audio book -- or the Audible, I just kind of like shake my head, like, man, what was I
doing? I was still kind of like sucking up to Elizabeth.
SREENIVASAN: There were instances about the culture and the climate that you're working under that were a little scary at times. What kind of
surveillance, for example, were you under while you were working there?
What did the employees know about who was watching or how they were being watched?
SHULTZ: Yes, so, most people actually had kind of Post-it notes that they would stick over their -- the camera on their computer, because they
thought that Sunny, the president of the company, was watching people through the Webcams and seeing when people were working or weren't working.
Every door was -- you know, had video monitors, but that's not all that unusual.
SHULTZ: But when I did -- so there's one part where I smuggle out a stack of e-mails. And I didn't want the security cameras to see me walking out
with a stack of papers.
So I just put them straight under my shirt, put my head down and walked out the door, so the cameras wouldn't see me taking papers out of the building.
SREENIVASAN: When did you decide it was time to speak up? And how did you do that?
SHULTZ: So, I started speaking up after I started seeing many, many more red flags. And that was probably five to six months later that I actually
started raising my concerns.
SREENIVASAN: And then you really -- you went to the press. I mean, you were not an open source for quite some time. But was that a more effective
route to get the government's attention?
SHULTZ: Yes, it was absolutely the most effective route.
I confronted the CEO, the president, a board member. I reached out to the government. None of that did anything. The only thing that worked was
talking to a "Wall Street Journal" reporter.
And I think it just -- it comes down to, the government has just way too much to look at. And they may not really be aware of what's happening until
it appears in "The Wall Street Journal."
And I also think that our government responds to the collective consciousness of the people, as they should. So, when people are outraged,
the government should act.
SREENIVASAN: So, now you're talking secretly to "The Wall Street Journal." The Theranos lawyers are after you because they think you're giving up
trade secrets, your lawyers, their lawyers going back and forth.
You're concerned about being taken to court and sued. You can't talk to your friends or your family about this, because then that implicates them.
During all this, in your story, you say that your mental health suffered, to such a point that you were contemplating taking your own life.
SHULTZ: Just -- it was -- it was just so tough.
I -- every morning, I woke up and just felt like it was the worst day of my life. And I was right. Every morning I woke up and it was again the worst
day of my life, just the worst day of your life on Groundhog Day.
And it was just unrelenting. I would have a court date, and I would be fighting to stay out of court. They would finally say, we will give you
more time to negotiate. Then they would just set a new court date. So there was constantly just this kicking the can just a little bit further down the
road about when I'm going to have to go to court.
And I knew that, when I did go to court, I would be spending a fortune. I mean, we're talking a good case scenario would be to spend $2 million,
possibly spend much more than that.
And my dad's a high school biology teacher. My mom's a nurse. So they were going to sell their house to pay for my legal fees.
SREENIVASAN: You feeling guilty about that?
SHULTZ: Yes. Oh, yes, feeling totally guilty about that, because they were begging me not to let that happen. They just said, give Theranos whatever
it is they want.
And they didn't really know the specifics of what was happening. They just said, whatever it is they want, give it to them. Don't make us sell our
house so you can keep fighting this fight. It's not your fight. This is not your responsibility.
And I totally understood where they were coming from. But I made the decision. And, actually look -- again, listening back and looking back,
it's tough, because I made the decision that I was willing to bankrupt my parents to continue fighting this fight, which is -- if things had turned
out differently, it would look really stupid. It would be very selfish.
And, in a lot of ways, I just got lucky that things turned out as well as they did. And now people look back and say, hey, what a hero.
But it easily could have gone the other way.
SREENIVASAN: Your grandfather, George Shultz, he played what role in this?
SHULTZ: My grandfather was on the board of directors. I first met Elizabeth in my grandfather's living room when I was a junior at Stanford.
SREENIVASAN: Your grandfather happens to be somebody who served three different Cabinet positions. He's kind of esteemed in the circles of
And you keep talking about how George Shultz seemed to be picking the version of reality that Elizabeth Holmes was presenting to him vs. you, his
grandson, who's saying, hey, there's something wrong here.
SHULTZ: Yes, that's true.
I mean, over and over and over, there were instances where he could have taken my side over Elizabeth. And every single time, he chose to defend
Elizabeth over me.
And, eventually, I got to a point where I just thought, I just -- I have to not worry about him and just worry about myself. I can't -- stop making
decisions with him in mind at all. I just got to worry about me.
If he's chosen to stick with Elizabeth, he can live with it. I'm going to move on.
SREENIVASAN: What is it about Elizabeth that people seem to believe or want to believe, especially people like your grandfather?
SHULTZ: Yes, it's a tough question to really answer.
It's kind of funny. When the HBO documentary aired, or premiered at Sundance, right afterwards, I went and watched a documentary about Harvey
Weinstein. And you hear people describe Harvey as this very charismatic person who you were just drawn to, and you wanted to be around.
And you look at him now, and you think, how could anyone ever think this person was charming and charismatic? And that's kind of the same feeling
that I have towards Elizabeth. It's really hard to describe exactly what it was.
But, in part, it was her big blue eyes kind of locked you in. She had a very deep voice that almost lulled you into some kind of hypnosis. And at
the time, I think both of those attributes were pretty charismatic.
But now, when people look back on it, they say, how could you ever think she was charismatic? She had that really weird voice and psychopath eyes.
So, it's weird how interpretations of character traits or of traits change once you know the truth about somebody.
SREENIVASAN: Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani are still facing criminal charges. Their court date could be next year because of the
coronavirus delaying things.
What do you hope for at the end of that process?
SHULTZ: I just hope that it happens. I hope that it happens, sooner rather than later. I'm ready for this to be over.
As for, like, my hopes of the outcomes, I -- you know, I honestly don't really think all that much about it. And -- but, unfortunately, I'm afraid
that Elizabeth is going to walk away from this still being a multimillionaire.
And that's just kind of like -- I don't know. That's just kind of a sad realization to me. Like, I feel like Elizabeth deserves to have a
conversation with her parents where her parents have to sell their house to pay for her legal fees. That's not going to happen.
I feel like this is going to end, and she will probably walk away a multimillionaire one way or another.
SREENIVASAN: So, what's the cautionary tale here? What should we be able to learn from what happened to Theranos and apply towards how we are
looking at either the diagnostic equipment that's coming around for COVID or for the tests or even for the vaccine?
SHULTZ: I think the key thing is to do due diligence. We have to verify that these things actually work before we pour hundreds of millions of
dollars into them.
And that's really what it comes down to. And Elizabeth was really good at making sure people didn't look too closely.
SREENIVASAN: Where is government oversight when it comes to the amounts of money that we are investing in lots of different companies to try to help
provide a vaccine for the coronavirus and to make sure that that vaccine gets to everyone?
SHULTZ: I do think that a lot of the conditions that allowed Theranos to thrive are pretty prevalent today in this pandemic.
There's a lot of stimulus money out there, a lot of just money from investors or from the government being poured into diagnostics and into
vaccines and into therapies.
And there's really only so much regulators can do. So, I do think that it is a great time to commit fraud, if it's something you're looking to do.
And my expertise is really in diagnostics, not into vaccines. So, just on the diagnostics side, there were a lot of stumbling blocks early on with
the diagnostics. The FDA tried to decrease regulations to allow good products to come into the market, but then they realized that there were a
lot of bad products out in the market.
So the FDA has really cracked down on the companies that weren't offering quality products. And so I actually do have to give a lot of credit to the
FDA for being as flexible as they have been. They started out probably too lenient, and now I think we're in a much better place.
SREENIVASAN: All right, Tyler Shultz.
The Audible is called "Thicker Than Water."
Thanks so much for joining us.
SHULTZ: Yes, thank you.
AMANPOUR: It really is an incredible story. And what a valuable whistleblower that was.
And, finally, it is one of the hottest days on record here in London, but in the icy Antarctic, British scientists have made an exciting discovery.
They found this week that 11 new colonies of emperor penguins have been spotted from space after researchers captured bird droppings on these
satellite images, which means there are nearly 20 percent more emperor colonies on the continent than previously thought.
It is great news, but conservationists warn, dangerous levels of climate change continue to affect the region.
And that's it for now. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.