tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN April 30, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
the survivors now going back to that farm. and a crisis in america's relationship with rising superpower china. president obama puts osama bin laden outfront. and a year later, al qaeda has new plans for terror. a special report. but first, tonight's enron. the person "outfront" tonight is billionaire aubrey mcclendon. he's the outspoken, charzmatic scion of one of america's founders and a founder of chesapeake. chesapeake could be the next enron, or worldcom. chesapeake energy is second only to exxonmobil in drilling for natural gas in this country. more than 13,000 americans work for mcclendon, enjoying perks, which according to reuters includes on-site botox treatments. chesapeake also boasts a campus with three restaurants and a 72,000 square foot fitness facility, with a rock climbing
wall. while these goodies may have won the employees over on the short term, it may have been among the first signs that something doesn't add up. mcclendon has often made grandiose promises that aren't backed by reality. >> at a minimum, i think they can create a million jobs over the next few years. >> the "they" he's referring to is a fund chesapeake was launching. now, mcclendon is not a household name, but what he's fighting for is. even as natural gas prices have plunged by 50% over the past year, he's been a believer in gas as the fuel of america's future. and some people love him for it. others, not so much. "rolling stone" calls him the world's biggest fraccer. as a matter of fact, every head line they do is world's biggest fracker. but when pushed on the question of whether fracking chemicals pollute drinking water, in this case by "60 minutes," mcclendon didn't mince words. >> you don't drink draino for a reason, but you have draino in your house. if you want to define it as nasty, go ahead.
>> his obsession may have gone too far. he's front-page material now for papers like the "wall street journal." thanks to his perks, which include more than $1 billion in loans, loans used to give mcclendon a personal financial stake in every well chesapeake drills. and the company drills a heck of a lot of wells, 2000 every year. mcclendon says this interest keeps his arrangement aligned with shareholders. because after all, he's got a personal interest in picking good wells, right? the s.e.c. may think otherwise. that's the tip of the iceberg. mcclendon did at least ten deals worth almost $6 billion, where chesapeake got cash up front for natural gas it hadn't even produced or found yet. a wall street executive took one look at these deals, which are complex and difficult for investors to even find out exist, and told me today of mcclendon, he's done. research now says that bankruptcy is a real possibility for chesapeake and that the company could soon be $7 billion in the hole. even supporters of audrey
mcclendon say he did not wrong, gooit accuses the the board. and this board is pretty stunning, it's stacked with politically connected friends, including a former senator and oklahoma governor who said, yes, yes, yes, to everything. including pay of about $200 million over the past five years. take a look at this. we have stumbled upon this today. a document entitled chesapeake leadership in action, this chart compares mcclendon's 2011 compensation to other natural gas executives, and they say, hey, look, it's down 15%. sure, compared to the year he made $112 million. 2008, it was the sixth biggest pay package in america. this is 2012, right, post-lehman, post-bear stearns, post-enron. how can one of the biggest companies in america still be run like a personal fiefdom. and considering these deals have been going on for years, how can boards and regulators seemingly still be asleep at the switch.
andy sarwar joins us now, and also, john avlon. it's a pretty amazing story. not a lot of people know who this man is, but when they hear that, they say, how can this happen? >> it's amazing. aubrey is super smart, he's charming, he has this business, you know, well in hand, he really knows what he's talking about, but he definitely has the board of directors in his pocket. they're the board of enablers. the price of natural gas has really gone down, and that has really hurt his country, and he's relentless. he's borrowing money, constantly trying to get more stuff, more houses, more land, he wants to be king of the world, one of these people. and yet he just gets rubber stamped by the board again and again and again, for maybe the past decade. and now it's coming home to roost. >> have you been hearing? it all comes down to people trusting whether they want to do deals with you. >> people in the oil places i've talked to in oklahoma say, we're starting to back off. not to want to do deal with chesapeake, not to want to compete against him because they've got very sharp elbows,
someone told me a little sleazy. also, people on wall street starting to really pull back, not want be to invest with them as well. >> and he's a big donor, john, and also republicans. >> there are two republicans on his board. there's nothing wrong with that. but the real point is just the red flags that have been clustering around him for a long time. here in 2008, the year he had this huge pay package, he did a half a billion dollar margin call that sickened his shareholder price 40%. that is doing violence to your shareholders in the near term. and got away with it scot-free. according to reuters, he made over $1 billion in personal loans, he's received in the last three years. now, if that's not a sign of imbalance in a ceo, i don't know what is. how many times we've got to learn this lesson over and over. it's privatizing losses and socializing losses within the context of a privately owned company. >> and yes, he's the founder, as you say.
a lot of people give him a lot of slack for that. you're the founder, you're the one who came up with this whole idea. but no one ever checked him and shareholders, a lot of people -- this is the second biggest natural gas company in america. a lot of people own this in their 401(k), a lot of other people's money getting slammed. >> they say, if you don't like it, share your stock. but i challenge the directors to explain the full implications of these loans to the bottom line, to the net profits of these companies, and i will bet you that they cannot do it. there's unintended consequences, and as your guy said, your source, very complicated stuff. and it gets more complicated and more complicated all the time. but, basically, it has everything to do with the price of natural gas being $2 per thousand cubic feet now, which is way down. they're not making any money. that's the real price. the prices are going up, aubrey's okay, prices going down, aubrey's not okay. >> instead, he just doubles down, doubles down. how can this happen, after all of those examples i gave, people say, seriously, this still happens? crony boards, huge pay package? it doesn't matter how smart you are and whether you founded the company, how does this still happen? >> clearly the incentive structures are out of whack.
once again. we've seen this over and over. here's the case of a board that doesn't seem to be doing its job and just policing the executive in question. what's been done is absolutely indefensible. and part of the problem is, as americans, we pay a lot of attention when they're sex scandals, but when they're financial scandals, we get a little bit confused by all the numbers, no matter how many people get hurt in their bottom line. >> here's the other thing, erin. when the highest point of your moral compass is that you are challenging the letter of the law, right? in other words, you're going to push the envelope of the letter of the law as far as it'll go, that's your moral compass, excuse me, you're going to get in trouble. that's bad stuff. never mind the spirit of the law. there's no spirit of the law here at all. >> we'll leave it as that as the bottom line. thanks very much to both of you. we'll keep following this. tomorrow we'll get earnings from chesapeake. all right, "outfront" 2 is next. still "outfront," pushing forward. >> i believe america is on the way up.
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in the cyanide murder. first, "outfront" 2 tonight, a cnn exclusive. chilling new information coming to light about al qaeda's future plans. now, there was a break coming when german intelligence got its hands on a microchip after arresting an al qaeda operative late last year. so when intelligence agents looked at it, it had a pornographic movie on the chip, maybe they would say, okay, more hypocrisy. they dug deeper and uncovered a treasure trove of information hidden beyond that, including what the group's next attack might be. nic robertson has that exclusive story and he's "outfront" tonight. what did you find when you had a chance to go through all of this information? >> perhaps one of the most staggering documents in there is a document written by a man called rasheed ralph, perhaps one of al qaeda's best plotters and planners. he was responsible for the attacks in london, the 777-21. the liquid airline plot that
would have blown up nine passenger jets as they were flying from britain to the united states. that was in 2006. and has gone on to plot other attacks, including new york. his accounts of his behind-the-scenes control and efforts to put those attacks through. and one of the most staggering things in that was the fact that one of those plots that failed in london only failed because of one tiny missed telephone call. but it shows al qaeda's skill and its dedication and it also shows that it's beginning to lose some of its core players, erin. >> and you talk about rasheed ralph, obviously, he was killed in a drone attack. how much did that set al qaeda back? and do you get a sense from this of whether key players have been eliminated by some of the successful attacks in pakistan and in afghanistan and in yemen? >> absolutely. rasheed ralph according to u.s. counterterrorism officials was at the top of his game, and that he's been missed by al qaeda already.
in fact, one of the reasons that najibullah zazi was picked up in new york for an attack he planned there, just days before he was going to pull that attack off, was because rasheed ralph had been killed. and the techniques he used to avoid detection weren't being employed by the people who were replacing him. zazi was one of his planned attacks. but they would like to attack cruise ships, execute passengers, upload the videos to the internet. it would like a twin track strategy. they want cheap, low-budget, easy to pull off attacks as well as the bigger attacks. it would like to get its recruits back into europe and the united states faster than it is at the moment, so it can confuse counterterrorism officials by having a lot of active players, if you will, in the field, and al qaeda also wants to continue to try and pull off a mumbai style attack, as we saw in india, 164 people
killed by a handful of gunman. that's the sort of thing that they're trying to do, and we've seen through these documents and through al qaeda's actions that they continue to pursue this. this is a massive insight into what al qaeda's doing and why it's doing it, erin? >> nic robertson, thank you very much. all right, president obama unveiled a new campaign video today. it actually has something to do with al qaeda. and the seven-minute video chronicles some of his accomplishments. osama bin laden is on that list. carville and fromme, "outfront" next. [ male announcer ] this is corporate caterers, miami, florida. in here, great food demands a great presentation. so at&t showed corporate caterers how to better collaborate by using a mobile solution, in a whole new way. using real-time photo sharing abilities,
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coming up at the half hour, the new legal tactic being used by george zimmerman's lawyer tonight, and a new development on the exotic animals taken and shot at an ohio farm. "outfront" 3, one year since the death of osama bin laden. the obama administration taking heat for turning his death into a campaign talking point, adding fuel to the fire. an ad that came out today, with a new slogan, forward. it touts obama's achievements in job creation, health care, and bin laden. >> tonight, i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that
killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda, and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. >> cnn political contributor james carville is here, david fromme here with me in new york. james, obviously not just that ad. you saw bill clinton, former president clinton, making the same point about osama bin laden. the white house giving nbc access to the situation room, of course, to, you know, tout this, tout this great achievement. >> right. >> army going to put osama bin laden's personal writings on display. is the president going over the line? >> no. there was a legitimate difference. romney was critical of the effort to go after bin laden. the secretary of defense, bob gates, who's not even a democrat, said it's the guttiest call he's ever seen any president make. and actually, i think the white house is delighted by all of this controversy sounding this. i'm not sure that there's a lot
of votes in this, but everybody looks sort of like, what's going on? remember rudy giuliani and 9/11, the mission accomplished. people are sort of taken credit for accomplishments for a long time. it's nothing new in politics, but all this attention is drawn to it. the president jumps right back into the fray. i think they were very happy to the response to this. >> it's interesting, the president did comment on the whole controversy. i love this sound bite, because he uses the word "people," the way people only use it when they're referring to a person they don't want to name by name. here he is. >> i just recommend that everybody take a look at people's previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into pakistan and take out bin laden. i assume that people meant what they said when they said it. >> "people," it happens to be person, not they, singular, he, mitt romney. and here is what mitt romney said that the president was
referring to. >> governor, you would have gone after bin laden? >> of course. >> you would have given the order, governor? >> well, of course. >> is it criticism of the obama administration -- >> even jimmy carter would have given that order. >> and, his other comment was, david fromme, it's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person. so perhaps a little bit different than what jimmy carter would have made, but still doesn't look good. >> let's give the president total credit for obama -- president obama, total credit for killing bin laden, conceded. now let's talk about the major foreign policy commitment this president made that is not mentioned in that video, which is afghanistan. what mitt romney was talking about back in 2007, which is that president obama, then candidate obama, used the pursuit of bin ladin to justify a massive escalation of the war in afghanistan. it is now all these years later, what has he got to show for it?
so little, he doesn't mention it in his campaign advertising. that, if the killing of bin laden was the great successful foreign policy call of this administration, the decision to massively invest in afghanistan, something the bush administration tried to stay away from, and was massively criticized for, that is looking like the biggest mistake and failure. what have we got to show for it, for all of this amount of money later. and worst of all, because it was a commitment that the president, or the then candidate made in 2007 and '08 for political reasons, to get to the right of the administration, to have something that made it seem like he was getting to the right of an administration he was otherwise criticizing. >> james carville, though, the president does have the headline. he got osama bin laden. so whether you agree or do not agree, it goes into that category of nuance, which is not a good place to be, right? >> i hope they don't get david as an adviser, because he's right. they shouldn't say, oh, jimmy carter would have done, they would just let it go. i'll go back to the point, i'm not sure there's a lot of votes here.
everybody knows about this. sometimes i think the white house or the president's people put this out just to egg a fight on and they got that. the romney people and the right should have never engaged in this thing. there's no new information here for the voter. the voter knows they got bin laden. the voter gives the president deserved credit for it and the romney people would be smarter to talk about somebody else, than look like sour grapes to me. i think the white house is happy with the whole thing. >> what the romney people can talk about is president obama said he would put his eye on the ball in afghanistan. that's where his eye has been. and what have we got for it? and not only that, but here's one other, i think, very disturbing consequence of the bin laden raid. it now is obvious that pakistan was sheltering bin laden. the pakistani military was sheltering him. that's apparent to everybody. >> yes, isi. >> we can't talk about that, because we are so depend end on pakistan as long as we have this
massive new increased commitment to began stan. and the president's decision to commit to afghanistan made the united states dependent on pakistan, such that even when we catch them red-handed, doing the worst thing that anybody who has ever claimed to be an ally of the united states has ever done to the united states, this president cannot talk about it, cannot act on it. >> quickly, before we go, an op-ed in "the washington post" getting a lot of buzz. thomas mann in writing, "we've been setting washington politics in congress for more than 40 years. we've never seen it this disthe functional. we've criticized both parties in the past. today, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the republican party." that's a really damning thing. >> look, these are two great experts on congress. congress is dysfunctional and it's been getting worse, but it's worse every cycle. it's worse today than it was four years ago. we are on a downhill spiral. i don't know that it's helpful to point to one party. i think one of the reasons it's so bad now is because of the miserable economic conditions. but, you know, they're right -- last summer's debt ceiling crisis was driven by the republicans and that was a
near-death experience. >> before we go, james carville, can i ask you a question? what's that cat? >> that's an lsu blue devil -- >> that's a dog with a real identity crisis. >> right. and this is -- louisiana is 200 years old today. it was admitted to the union april 30th, 1812, and commemorating that, this is my friend who designed this. and happy birthday to louisiana. >> all right. i love it. i love it! although i got to say -- >> maybe a snarl -- >> -- that dog looks like a cat! that's all i can say. thanks to all of you. "outfront" 4 is next. still "outfront," the great escape. >> obviously i'm aware of the press reports. >> the reality is even harsher than the stories that have been circulating. widow and the beasts. >> can we ask you a quick question? all of this "outfront" when we come back. great shot.
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welcome back to the second half of "outfront." we start with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines. and first, chesapeake energy's ceo aubrey mcclendon under fire tonight because of perks he's enjoying as head of the second largest natural gas company in america. perks like more than $1 billion in loans. those loans gave mcclendon a personal financial stake in every well that chesapeake drills, and they drill a lot,
2,000 a year. mcclendon says this arrangement keeps his interests aligned with shareholders, because he wants, well, good wells picked. the s.e.c. might think otherwise, though. they have launched an internal investigation into the loans. analysts like paul weiss of argas research say that chesapeake could end up becoming the next enron. number two, a former wife of an aide to john edwards testified today about depositing money for the former presidential candidate's mistress. cheri young told the court she was disgusted with having to deposit checks into her account from donors for hunter's expenses. however, she testified that edwards told her it was legal. our joe johns reports that the trial ended early because young said she had a migraine. young will likely take the stand tomorrow for cross-examination. number three, the obama administration, for the first time, publicly justifying its use of drone attacks against suspected terrorists. john brennan, the president's
chief counterterrorism adviser, said today the attacks are legal and only target al qaeda terrorists who pose a threat to the united states. but the drone program has been criticized for how targets are selected as well as civilian deaths, which happen as collateral damage. as we reported last week, the u.s. has expanded its use of drones against suspected terrorists in yemen. our sources say the frequency of strikes there has increased in recent weeks. and number four, the little blue pill has some competition. the fda has approved a new erectile dysfunction drug called stendra. it's the first new e.d. drug to come out in about a decade. for some men, it will work fast irthan the other three drugs. there you go. you finally have that bar trick you want to pull on a guy you really didn't like. analysts say this is a good sign for stendra's maker, but they're more worried about whether they'll approve the company's
weight loss drug. it has been 270 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. what are we doing to get it back? data from the census bureau show that home ownership has fallen to the lowest level in two years. 65.4% of americans own their homes, well off the high in 2004. some people say that could be a good thing. our fourth story "outfront" tonight, tension between the u.s. and china could be at a 20-year high after a blind human rights activist escaped from house arrest and went and found refuge at the u.s. embassy in beijing. tonight secretary of state hillary clinton is going to get on a plane and head over to china for high-level meetings. the timing is not fortuitous. the u.s. is furiously trying to smooth things over. the activist's name is chen guangcheng. the united states hasn't even confirmed that he's in our custody. >> obviously i'm aware of the press reports on the situation
in china. but i'm not going to make a statement on the issue. what i would like to emphasize is that every time we meet with china, the issue of human rights comes up. >> this is not the only chinese crisis, that is, of course, right now affecting the united states. the other one's been simmering now for over a month. we've been covering it a lot on this show. it started when british businessman neil haywood was found dead in a hotel room in china back in november. the police have now ruled it murder. the government tossing a powerful communist leader out his office for corruption. bo hasn't been seen since, his wife is now arrested and accused of poisoning haywood when a business deal went bad. speculation is growing, she could be about to put out a written confession. chris johnson is a former china analyst for the cia. he says the two controversies have created the most tension between the u.s. and china since the tiananmen square crackdown in 1989. it's a significant statement, chris johnson is out front tonight.
chris, i have to imagine hillary clinton and tim geithner are not happy at all about having to go to china this week. >> no, absolutely not. as your piece pointed out, this really is probably the most delicate moment the u.s. has faced in its relationship with china over the last 20 years. it's a very complex situation. we have the tensions emanating from the bush ely case. the chinese leadership is very distracted by that. and now this. it is not helpful to the situation at all. >> and i'm just curious, because the u.s. seems to be ratcheting it up. you know, i remember when the u.s. sold arms to taiwan and china wouldn't even let the defense secretary at the time, robert gates, come into china, they were so angry about it. and now it looks like the u.s. is considering another arms deal to taiwan, considering moving troops from japan to islands in the pacific that china seems to want to claim as its own. so, what's the u.s. doing here? >> well, i think it certainly is a sort of steaming caldron of
these various issues. my sense is that they're all sort of uniquely timed, but not meant to, you know, send a deliberate message to beijing. but within china, that's how it will be interrupted by a lot of folks within the leadership. there's a large number of people there who take this sort of conspiratorial mind-set. >> people in china wrote that this was absurd speculation by the foreign media. i think the article said that the internet was causing so much competition for foreign media that they need to report on this story in china and make it up, essentially. that's how pathetic it was. so certainly, they're feeling -- they're feeling like this isn't fair. >> yes, absolutely. in fact, all of those sort of stories that appear in people's daily, you know, the way to observe those is, of course, whatever they're saying, the opposite is true. in that particular piece, they noted that there is no struggle going on in beijing and that shows that there is one going on in beijing. the interesting part of that is that the term political struggle is appearing in the front pages of the communist party mouthpiece. again, that really hasn't happened in many, many years and
it shows the depth of the charged political atmosphere in beijing right now. >> chris, i'm also curious. a lot of people have been very frustrated in the united states about the secretary of state hillary clinton going over to china in the past and not talking about human rights. that the u.s. has gone ahead and done deals and moved ahead in its relationship in china and not talked about human rights. how is she going to avoid it this time when the united states seems to have a leading chinese human rights activists in its embassy in beijing. >> yes, i think you're absolutely right. there's no way that they'll be able to avoid discussing the issue this time, and i don't think that's their intent. as president obama pointed out, the u.s. does discuss this issue quietly behind the scenes with china, because they understand that that's usually the best way to make progress with the chinese. in this case, however, of course, the u.s. is facing its own political election season coming up. governor romney has already spoken publicly on the issue and i'm very sure the obama
administration is very much feeling the pressure to do right by chen and his family. >> but there's got to be a public resolution to this. if he's really in the embassy, he's going to come out. china won't be willing to lose face like this. how does this get resolved? >> that's the real pressure point at this point. obviously, assistant secretary kurt campbell is in china right now trying to resolve the situation. everyone is hoping that that will be resolved by secretaries clinton and geithner arrive on the scene. if they do not, it threatens to steal the thunder from these strategic and important dialogue talks where important issues will be addressed. and this, of course, could upset all that. if he doesn't come out before then, i think it will be some time before he leaves. >> thanks very much to you, chris. something to keep in mind for all of our viewers. china not on board with a lot of these iran sanctions, a lot of things u.s. wants. getting this resolved by the time that hillary clinton and tim geithner arrive would be very difficult. after all, she's on a plane now. and now to the case of george zimmerman.
it's been less than two weeks since his arrest for the shooting of trayvon martin. his defense is up and running and they've got a new website, they have a twitter account and they have a facebook page. so why does a second-degree murder defendant have such an incredibly broad presence on the internet? now his attorney, mark o'mara, was on this show, saying it's all an effort to provide the public with details about the case. it's modern times, he's got to be a modern guy, and he's got to raise payment for what he says could be a $1 million case. what's the real motivation behind this move to defend zimmerman? what is the motivation? he shut down all of his client's social media presence and did it all in a very formal, specific way. >> it's a grand old media strategy of trying to influence the judge and the jury by moving public opinion. there was a case, i think the masters of this the were the people involved in the amanda knox case. you remember the american college student who was charged with murder in italy? they put up a website called injustice in perusia. and it had sub categories on
every piece of evidence in the case. you would click on it and it would take you to source materials in the case and then it would take you to a persuasive article about why, the amanda knox people, were right. you watch, they'll do the same thing on this website, and it's a spin effort to spin the press and to spin public opinion toward george zimmerman. and this can be a very effective strategy if the websites are done properly. >> now, are they doing it properly, so far? it looks like they've only got about 800 followers. this is a new site, so it's unclear how quickly that will grow, whether it will grow. the defense is following only the media. >> well, so far they're following only the media, but who they follow is not relevant as much as who follows them. is the media following them? now, i took a quick look at it. it's sort of a professional kind of serious, non-tabloidy presentation. but what you're hoping for is that a reporter who's writing a story and is looking for source material, one of the 911 tapes, they're going to click on that, because they can listen to the 911 tape there, and then there'll be a link to an article that says, you can't identify who's voice this is, given current technology, maybe that
affects an article that gets written later on. that's how these things are done. now, it remains to be seen how they structured theirs. they've just set it up now. >> is this unprecedented? i mean, i know you talk about the amanda knox trial, but -- >> it's brand-new. amanda knox did it, casey anthony did it. it's getting to be the thing in high-profile cases now. so, you know, they're just trying to stay ahead of the curve. >> is this admission that a jury will always be biased, whether the members of the jury think they are or want to be, i'm not saying that. but people have -- there's no one in this country who doesn't know about this case. >> well, and we know statistically that people get their information from the internet. the jury pool will be selected from people who read the internet. but here's the real question. will the judge try to shut it down? you know, it's unethical for an attorney to the try to directly influence a jury outside of the courtroom. this is being run by an attorney. very different than even in the amanda knox case, there were independent third parties running the website. this is unusual. o'mara's running it himself. and i think he might get in
trouble with the judge. so we'll have to see how the judge responds to this. >> well, that is going to be the key question. and we'll get an answer to that, i imagine if he's going to do it, he's going to do it soon. now five exotic animals seized from an ohio farm, you may remember some of those animals were shot, it was a horrible story. but now the ones who survived are being sent back to that farm. we have that story, next. man: 1939 -- my parents ran across an ad for a hot dog cart. my mother said, "well, maybe we ought to buy this hot dog cart and set it up someplace." so my parents went to bank of america.
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to our sources around the world, and we begin in london, where new evidence did little to shed light in the investigation into the bizarre death of a british intelligence officer. gareth williams was found dead in his apartment locked into a sports bag eight days after he was last seen alive. today a pathologist said the time it took for him to be discovered makes it difficult to know exactly what happened. but there are some very strange theorys. dan rivers is covering the story in london and i asked him what progress they're making. >> erin, it is a mystery worthy of a spy film. how on earth did gareth williams wind up dead inside that bag inside his apartment when there was no sign of a break-in, no visible injuries on his body whatsoever. no real sign of how he died. experts have suggests perhaps he was either poisoned or suffocated. they've tried to work out how me managed to get inside the bag when the key for the lock of that bag was inside. some suggested it was related to his personal life. $32,000 of women's clothes were
found in his apartment, but his family insisted he didn't have a secret sex life, that he wasn't gay. at the moment, it remains an enigma. erin? >> thanks very much to dan. now to the central african republic, where 100 special u.s. forces are helping their african partners to hunt down joseph kony and other leaders of his militant group, the lord's resistance army. lima visited one of the bases where the special forces are and i asked her whether they think they're getting closer. >> reporter: it definitely sees like there's reason to be optimistic, erin. those 100 u.s. special forces that were deployed back in october are now finally up and running after having to contend with some of the most impenetrable forests in the world. the reality is that lar attacks are continuing and one of the words we've been hearing for those involved with this operation is patience. special forces believe that kony
is in survival mode and cornered, but the reality is that he does remain a threat, erin? >> all right. thank you to nema. now let's check in with anderson for a look at what's now to our top story. six months after taking thompson's exotic animals away, the ohio department of agriculture says she can have them back. you may recall that her husband released 56 exotic animals on his farm before he committed suicide. it had a horrible ending for so many animals. the authorities had to kill 48 animals. the remaining are going back to thompson's care. tom staub is the chief operating officer of the columbus zoo and
is outfront tonight. tom win appreciate your taking the time, coming on the show. obviously you've had these animals at your zoo for the past few months. are you opposed to having them returned? >> well, i was also there during the tragedy at the thompson farm on october 19th, and what i witnessed as their holding facility inside the house, as well as outside, was horrific. so i am opposed to having these animals leave the columbus zoo and aquarium and go to such conditions. >> and i'm a little bit confused, because i know at the time, there was -- people were shocked around the country that this could have happened. that these animals could be not just kept in what you describe and others described as bad conditions, but just that you would have animals like this at someone's home. and my understanding was, the law had changed. obviously not? >> well, they're in the process -- unfortunately, ohio is one of only a few states that did not have restrictions for
dangerous wild animals. currently the bill has passed the senate and now on to the house. it is something that is really needed, especially when we talk about how many animals that could be in the state that are considered restricted species. we want to ensure public safety and animal welfare, and the good news is, this bill is going to cover that. >> but not in the case of these animals, when are they going back? >> well, the state veterinarian did release the warrquarantine r today. so now we will be in negotiations with marianne thompson's veterinarian as well as our veterinarian to ensure that the animals are leaving the columbus zoo correctly. i know that the state of ohio has still been pushing to ensure that the public is safe in
zanesville. we are very concerned that the cages that the animals were in, they must be repaired. the cages that i witnessed, the primates were in birdcages, small birdcages in the basement. and the brown bear was in what i would consider a macau -- a parrott cage. >> i don't understand how the state, even if they haven't changed the law, that would be acceptable. if what you're describing is true, that's just inhumane. they have to be taken care of to a certain standard, don't they? >> absolutely. and as the columbus zoo at the beginning was a resource for marry an thompson, for the state of ohio to educate the folks that are moving forward and to pass the bill, we still stand as a resource to ensure that the public is safe and these animals are cared for.
>> and so are you considering direct conversations with her. do you think there's any chance this won't end the way that it appears to be, which is the animals going back to those kinds of cages or no? well, we've reached out to marianne thompson, and we continue to be a resource and to help educate not only her, but anyone else that would have a restricted species, to make sure that they have the proper husband dri standards and care, and that the proper habitat for them to ensure that they have an enriching life. not only that they are giving them proper care, but there's a purpose for them. because the bottom line is, these animals, these restricted species do not make good pets. and we have been spreading that message. we'll continue to spread that message, that you do not want to own a tiger or a lion. now, i want to make sure that you understand that there are
private facilities that are outstanding. we're talking about what we were witnessing at the thompson farm. places where there were holes in the cages, no perimeter fence, not proper care, feces and mud and no shelter for the animals, way too small. that has to stop. >> tom, thank you very much. appreciate you taking the time. the e block is next. the most spectacular experiences are happening here. imax now showing on the big board. what happens when classroom teachers get the training... ...and support they need? schools flourish and students blossom. that's why programs like... ...the mickelson exxonmobil teachers academy... ...and astronaut sally ride's science academy are helping our educators improve student success in math and science. let's shoot for the stars. let's invest in our teachers and inspire our students.
david fromme is back. frequent guest on this show. his new book is called "patriots." the inner workings of washington, d.c.. it will be released on paperback may 7th. joining us now, david frum. corrupt political eleelt? >> the parties in this book have fictitious names and it's set in a slightly altered reality. i want to take you out of the headlines to say, why is it the government has so badly failed so many americans in this time of crisis? and to tell a story from the point of view from someone who's pretty der licht himself. >> why fiction? because you were -- is this one of those ones you put a big disclaimer at the front? any links to people -- >> if you think you're seeing something, don't sue me. exactly. i also, i want to make it funny,
because i think you can get your blood so boiling about these scandals that you -- you need some humor to help you along, i hope this is funny. i think you also need to be able to give people a story. otherwise for so many people, it's blah blah blah on tv, they feel betrayed, no one is looking out for them, and they don't understand what went wrong. >> and so this protagonist sort of makes me think of "thank you for not smoking." do you end up connecting? does this person get redeemed? >> he does. he's heir to the world's largest mustard fortune. he thinks he -- he's inherited a lot of money, he's a member of this idol derelict class of wealthy people. he thinks he has an excuse. what he realizes over the course of the book, he has no excuse. and it's the neglect of people like him that allows so many bad
things to happen. >> it is by far, in terms of the influence of wealth, is not something that is in one party. it's very much in both parties, howellthy people are in congress. >> one of the wealthiest people in the book is a lobbyist who started as a crusader and lives on a vast spread on the eastern shore called mandela house, because he has not forgotten the anti-apartheid movement. >> eastern shores do all right? it fares though in the story. >> it's a nice place. >> i'm from there, so i have to make sure. check out the new book, obviously you see david frum talk about real people in real tonight a battle of bin laden, the year after the mission to take him out. >> he took the harder and the more honorable path.