tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN September 15, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EDT
that this was a very complex attack involving more tars, rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire and that these militants did breach the outer perimeter of the base. now, this is down in helmand provnt. the largest marine base in afghanistan. we're confirming now that two u.s. marines have been killed, several more service members have been injured in this attack. also, we can tell you that prince harry, the royals prince harry, when he redeployed to afghanistan last week, he is now based at this base.
again, the british control one side. the american control the other. we're told prince harry is not in any danger. he is there to fly british attack helicopters, the apaches. >> there were also effigies of president obama burned in afghanistan today and we've seen things like that in other places like egypt. were the attacks at the base and helmand province related? >> we asked the headquarters there in afghanistan and they said right now, it's just too early to tell on this particular attack. he did say there were no organized protests outside the base proceeding the attack and i've been to that base several times. it's in the middle of nowhere. there are no large communities next to the base, but again, there have been demonstrations in afghanistan, still a little early to tell whether the video may have been a cause to spur
this attack. >> thank you very much. reporting on that news from the pentagon and also, breaking news in sudan. a team of marines is now en route to the cal tall, khartoum. they are going to defend the embassy. the scene spread beyond the u.s. embassy, mobs attacked the british and german embassies and sudan was one of my countries as violence spread around the world today. the uprisings from spread from morocco to india. we saw protests, i mean, this is incredible to see tunisia, iraq, iran, israel and protests also spread to a country not on the map indonesia. some of the protests were peaceful like in vorden, where they burned the american flag, but did not resort to violence, but people were killed elsewhere.
this is the live scene in cairo tonight. they've tried to get them to go away from the u.s. embassy. as you can see right here, this is a group of people near the u.s. embassy. still there tonight as they continue to be there day in and day out as the rage continues to spread. in libya, the remains of four americans kill during the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi returned to the andrews air force base this afternoon. president obama was there and he vowed to bring justice to the men who killed them. >> even as voices of suspicious and mistrust that seek to devid countries and cultures, the united states of america will never retreat from the world. >> four people have been arrested in libya what were on the scene of the attack, but the government says they are not linked to the murders. that investigation continues and
we have a live report on that now. arwa damon is with me from benghazi tonight and i know you had a chance to go to the consulate there. what did you see? >> reporter: it was really quite chilling, horrifying to be walking through some of the buildings there just imagining what had transpired, taken place. they were all burnt. there was black soot covering the walls. ashes over some of the furniture, the chandeliers. there was debris all over the floor. looters also had moved in after the attack took place pillaging this compound that even after the assault was not really secured but one would have anticipated it to be so given how much evidence was on sight. in fact kitchen, there were bits of made to eat meals, various other cakes sort of strewn
about. pieces of paper, one reading across it, libya is so important. while we were there, we also saw libya's president, who was saying that at this point in time, they believe the attack was carried out by a group of extremists. they are not identifying them as of yet, but they were also saying they believe this was a preplanned attack that was intended to inflict maximum damage to drive an irreparable wedge between the u.s. and libyans. what is disturbing is that the libyan government is actually saying that they cannot prevent such attacks from repeating themselves and they do not have the capability right now to reign in these various and numerous armed extremist elements. >> which is a frightening and damning statement. we've been looking a t the pictures you saw, the scene,
with the pieces of paper and the debris and ash all over the top of the furniture that you took pictures of. i know you also had a chance to speak with one of the libyan security guards who was at the consulate during the attack. what did he tell you? >> reporter: one needs to note, too, that the first line of defense for the embassy according to this security guard and others who were on site as well are unarmed libyans. they have radios. that's how they man the main gates into this compound. there's also a very small unit of libyans from the february 17th brigade, but really just a handful of them. so it's not a heavily guarded location as one would anticipate. this guard was saying they first heard chanting that grew louder, then all of a sudden, an intense barrage of heavy machine gunfire, grenades. one of the rocket propelled
grenades took the power out. remember, this happening at night, so with that power gone, complete darkness. buildings set on fire. you can just imagine how chaotic and terrifying the scenes would have been. he said after these masked men, bearded men stormed the compound, they threw him to the ground and at gunpoint, threatened to kill him. other details we're learning is that this was not the only attack that took place. the february 17th brigade is the only unit from the lab yan forces that responded and tried to help those in the compound out. they managed to evacuate the u.s. embassy personnel into what was supposed to be a safe house, but then later on, that safe house was attacks as well, so, a loft questions for the libyan government, but also a lot of questions being posed to the u.s. side of this. did america at the end of the
day underestimate the threat level that exists here? >> all right, well, thank you very much. a crucial question about how america didn't know this was happening. we're going to be joined in a few moments by senator robert mendez to put those questions to him. a man who is a key part of the reason why america was involved in libya to begin with. now, i want to show you the live picture in cairo where dozens have been arrested and police have been facing off security forces against crowds who have been near the u.s. embassy throughout the day. let's get to ben wedeman, who is in cairo. what are you seeing tonight? >> well, it is 1:15 in the morning, but that doesn't seem to have stopped the young protesters who are down in the street right below me, who have been clashing all day long and in fact all last night as well,
with the egyptian security forces. who have put up a concrete barrier just about 50 yards from the main wall of the american embassy to stop those protesters from getting any closer. now, the situation, erin, could have been much worse today, but the muslim brotherhood had announced they would be holding demonstrations across egypt at mosques away from this particular part of town, so condemn that anti-islamic youtube video. at the last moment, they canceled, so the number of people actually out in the streets protesting either around the embassy or in tahrir square or alexandria, in the north of the country, was much smaller than was expected. it's hard to say at this point when these demonstrations around the embassy are going to end, but as i said, it could have been much worse today. >> i know we just heard the shots. you just saw that police car drive up and a security official
at the top then looks like he had a gun and was sort of threatening to shoot people. the crowds, just a moment ago, everyone filling the front of this picture. all ran away and there were a lot of shots. tell us about what the clashes have been like. what are they shooting at them? >> reporter: what they're shooting, these are tear gas canisters, which are fired from a rifle. by and large compared to previous outbreaks of violence here in cairo, this one has been relatively peaceful. i mean, that may sound a little silly given the sort of images you see now, but in previous incidents, dozens of people consider killed, so this time, the police are only using tear gas, limited amounts of rubber bullets and as of yet, no live ammunition so even though as many as 300 people have been wounded, largely from inhalation of tear gas, fairly rough tear
gas, no one has actually been killed. >> ben wedeman, thank you very much. an important point there although there were people killed in other countries, including tunisia and sudan. tonight, president obama attends a ceremony for the key u.s. personnel killed in libya. meanwhile, paul ryan makes comments about his handling of foreign affairs. it seems anything and everything is political. plus -- by american forces around the world. and cop tick christians. what does the religion of the controversial filmmaker have to do with the violence in the middle east? all multivitamins give me the basics. they claim to be complete. only centrum goes beyond.
providing more than just the essential nutrients, so i'm at my best. centrum. always your most complete. so i'm at my best. my name is adam frucci and i'm the i love new technology,om. so when i heard that american express and twitter were teaming up, i was pretty interested. turns out you just sync your american express card securely to your twitter account, tweet specific hashtags, and you'll get offers on things you love. this totally changes the way i think about membership. saving money on the things you want. to me, that's the membership effect. nice boots!
our second story "outfront," fighting words. mitt romney's top foreign policy adviser telling "the washington post" that under a president romney, we wouldn't have seen deadly attacks on american interests in the middle east. is that true? "outfront" tonight, jon huntsman, former republican presidential candidate, he's also a former ambassador to china, which is a crucial thing when talking about whether our embassies are under threat around the world. i started by asking him if he agreed with that assertion. >> erin, we're in a political season and these kinds of statements are to be expected every now and again. that's all part of where we are,
but there's a huge opportunity for governor romney to articulate a clear virgs forward with respect to our interests in africa and the middle east. the winds of change are blowing and they're going to continue to blow. so it's a huge opportunity. it's an opening to speak out and mindful of what reagan said during 1980 when we had the hostage crisis and he was running against jimmy carter against some of those periods of upheaval when he said this is not a time for words, it's a time for prayers. >> it's interesting you say that because i'm not thinking about what your comment was when this awful event happened in libya earlier this week. in part, you said this is above all a reminder that politics should end at the water's edge. the republican candidate for president said i'm outraged. it's disgraceful that the obama
administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks. that's not a message of unity. >> no, but we are where we are and you always have a second chance in politic and it's time for clarity for the american people about what our interests are in the middle east during this time of change. this is a once per century change we're seeing sweeping north africa and the middle east cht it's not unlike the end of the ottoman empire in 1991 and 120 and how the region emerges and their attitudes towards the united states and towards some of our key allies in the region like israel are really going to depend on how we position ourselves today. the words we speak and how we kind of outline our strategy to the region. >> we call you governor, but let me call you ambassador now because you were the ambassador to china and when you heard this about chris stevens, were you
surprised that that could happen at at american consulate or embassy no matter what country it's been in, that americans could die? did you get the feeling we were caught a bit flat footed? >> some of or consulates, not embassies. they're in good shape. fortified, solid. they're impenetrable in a sense, but our consulates, particularly those that are relatively new, some are a little vulnerable and as we continue to shift our relationships throughout the world and provide new outreach to different areas, this is going to have to be a real focus on the part of the state department. >> i'm curious as to your point of view on something that happened this week. the president was asked in an interview about egypt and said it wasn't an ally. now, i know this is a technical term about what's an ally and who isn't. you were an ambassador to china, the united states hopes is a
friend, somebody they can work with, commiserate with, whatever it might be. is egypt an ally of the united states? >> well, they certainly have been and given the amount of money and the military and military training and the special economic relationship we share with egypt, it certainly would suggest that they are an ally. we've got some agreements with respect to the overall relationship with israel. where egypt playing a significant role and if they're not willing to continue that, that would suggest we're entering a new era, and one in which the united states really needs to reconsider the amount of money we're pumping into that country. >> so, you think if it becomes more transactional, this discussion, aid is about $3 billion a year to egypt, that should be on the table. >> of course it should on the table. any of the aid money, whether it's military or non military, needs to be based upon certain
milestones and accomplishments we're able to make within the bilateral relationship. >> hogan diddley served for rick santorum's presidential campaign. doug wilson was the former assistant secretary of defense in the obama administration and john avalon is with "newsweek" and "the daily beast." doug, just asking you this key question. who's getting it right here? is the obama administration getting it right in terms of their communications, 100%, or have they made some mistakes? >> erin. thank you. i first want to say that i would like to join millions of americans in expressing our profound sadness and sympathy to the family of chris stevens and sean smith and the two brave navy s.e.a.l.s who lost their lives, president obama and secretary clinton received their bodies today. this is the time for an american message. not a partisan message.
it's a time for america to understand we need to come together and send two very simple and direct messages. we will not tolerate violence against our citizens or representivities in countries overseas and the kinds of films that have provoked this do not represent the united states government at all and are reprehensible. >> hogan, let me ask you for your reaction to that. there has been a lot of politics here. obviously, mitt romney did lob the first barb and jay carney accusing the mitt romney campaign of trying to score points. top foreign policy adviser to the romney campaign said there's a compelling story that under a president romney, this wouldn't have happened. for the first time since jimmy carter, we've had an american ambassador assassinated. he's blaming the president for this happening. isn't this going too far?
>> well, we are in a political season. i just don't think you can make a claim that under any one president that the middle east would somehow be calmed down under their administration. i think that governor romney was well in bounds to critique the obama embassy for coming out and basically apologiing for americans being american to try and prevent an uprising and from a broader sense, he could then attack the president on the terms of some type of appeasement. he wouldn't appease those folks. he would draw a line in the sand, say our allies are our ally, our friends are our friends and we will protect them, but attack anyone who tries to attack us or those interests. from that standpoint, a broader standpoint, a bigger message, that would have been more effective than harping on just one instance. if he would have taken a chance to make a broader foreign policy statement, that would have helped him greater. >> john avalon, what about the issue though that egypt may not be an ally.
>> that is obviously what's happening. what role does the muslim brotherhood have sm can they be trusted the way mubarak was for a long period of time? what obama was doing was recognizing reality. i think the key question here, we have politics cht it's 50 days out. you've got to put patriotism ahead of politics. >> thanks so much. our third story now, the bodies of the four americans kills in tuesday's attack in benghazi, libya. they did arrive home today. president obama and secretary of state hillary clinton spoke at joint base andrews in maryland hailing the victims as heroes and patriots. u.s. ambassador to libya chris stevens, by all accounts, a model diplomat, a man who loved his job, but we are now learning more about the others. perhaps not as famous, but so
important to those around them. two were former navy s.e.a.l.s, a third a veteran of the american air force. barbara starr reports on the somber homecoming. >> four americans, four patriots. they loved this country. and they chose to serve it and served it well. they had a mission and they believed in it. they knew the danger and they accepted. >> former navy s.e.a.l., glen doherty, a combat veteran, had already cheated death. >> glen deployed to some of the most dangerous places on earth including iraq and afghanistan, always putting his life on the line to safeguard other americans. >> doherty was in libya working as a private security contractor, helping track down missing weapons.
he was a trained sniper and medical core man. another former s.e.a.l., tyrone woods, also working as a security officer. he leaves behind a wife and three sons. >> if you ever wanted anybody to protect you and feel safe, that's your man. i have the highest respect for his skills and his love of what he did. >> and sean smith, a former air force veteran, who worked at the state department for the last ten years as a technology expert and avid fan of online games. at the time of the attack, he was online under his handle, vile rat. he posted this message. remembered now by online friends around the world. and even as he remembered the fallen, president obama made clear the attackers will be brought to justice. barbara starr, cnn, the pentagon. >> "outfront" next, breaking news from libya just coming in.
we have new details about the consulate that was attacked and most important. something all of you have been wondering. what warnings did the u.s. have? were they warnings that weren't heeded? and he was one of the leading voices calling for the intervention in libya. senator robert mendez, next. i'm an expert on softball. and tea parties. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way. who matters most to you says the most about you. massmutual is owned by our policyholders so they matter most to us. massmutual. we'll help you get there.
welcome back to the second half of "outfront" and we have some more breaking news out of benghazi, libya, the site of the attack. new details now about warnings to the united states. arwa damman is there, she was in that consulate today and we've been hearing a lot about how in cairo, there may have been warnings in advance of the attack, but what are you hearing about that in libya? >> reporter: well, what libyan officials are telling us is that they had been trying to highlight, raise the red flag, about the growing threat from these extremists militias, some of whom are believed to have ties to organizations like al-qaeda. this attack that happened was not an isolated incident. that very same location had an attack foiled gens it, but an
attack none the less earlier in the spring. in the last few months, there have been a growing number of attacks against western interests. the convoy of the british ambassador attacked in benghazi and the compound of the icrc. a complex assault launched there, obliging them to shut down and move to tripoli. all of these were warning signs and libyan officials were telling us they were highlights this growing threat from extremists to american >> we just heard from jon huntsman, former ambassador to china. i asked him about what it was like to serve as an ambassador, are embassies around the world really safe. his answer was not always and that we have some serious questions we need to address. i know you had a chance to look
at the safe house that chris stevens fled to when the consulate came under attack in benghazi. what was it like? was it fortified? was it safe? >> reporter: well, let me try to lay it out for you. when you walk into the compound, there are three gates that you can go through and they're only manned by libyan guards who have radios. this is the first line of defense. unarmed libyan guards. the main residence and this is where ambassador chris stevens died, is a house. in this house, there is a suite that is a bedroom where we're told he was staying. a small bathroom, another room that could have been a living room. there's only one way into this suite and that is through a doorway that had a metal door placed in it with bars. that was closed when we arrived. every single window had bars on
it as well. this is what was being called the quote unquote safe room, but it's really not a safe room. it's not a fortified bunker. fortified bunkers would prevent something like smoke inhalation from taking place. they would have thick walls that would be bulletproof, potentially being able to provide against an assault. there would be basic provisions and most importantly, some sort of emergency communication, so this compound did not have a safe room or a safe house on it. >> arwa damon, thank you very much, reporting from benghazi and you may have heard arwa early in our program say that the libyans have said they are not able to secure or provide security for american interests in libya right now and tonight, we can report that the united nations is pulling its staff out from benghazi to tripoli. our fourth story is more pressure tonight on the producer who has been in hiding since
this film ignited protests across the muslim world. he goes by many names and among them, convicted felon. now, authorities in california are investigating whether he violated probation. >> the spotlight on the mysterious filmmaker growing stronger. officials say the court is reviewing nakoula basseley's case. he faced 26 conditions for five years of supervised probation after his 2010 conviction for credit card fraud and identity theft. most -- was barred from using any devices that could access the internet, except those approved by his probation officer. he was also ordered to pay nearly $800,000. what kind of man do you think nakoula is? >> nakoula is very smart man and will he will do anything for money or for fame. >> the man i'm speaking to says
he was a victim of nakoula's froud. he would only talk to us on the phone. like many coptic christians, he now lives in fear. how afraid is the coptic community now? >> the coptic xhupt is very afraid because of what muslims do when -- >> nakoula made his film with well-known islamic individuals. the president of media for christ who also runs a satellite tv station in l.a. obtaineded the permit for the film and allowed part of it to be shot in his studio. >> he killed my people. >> he also has tieded to steve klein, the anti-islamic consultant on the film. he speaks at events organized by robert spencer and pamela geller. >> this man conquered my country -- >> now, miguel, do you have any idea where nakoula is?
>> a very good idea. he's in that house behind me here in california. just a short time ago, a couple of individuals who said they were lawyers contacted by nakoula came to the house, went in. that's all they said. they're in there now. perhaps consulting with him, seeing what their next move is. it is also possible he may have to meet with his probation officer either here or at the probation officer's office in the next couple of days or weeks in order to explain some of his activities over the last months. >> thank you very much, miguel, who's been doing amazing reporting on who this person is. our fifth story, senator bob menendez, great to see you. appreciate you taking the time. first, i just wanted to ask you about what arwa damon is reporting. she's saying that libyan government now says it cannot, it's not able to provide security for u.s. interests and in fact, that the government there saying they had warned the
united states about the situation in benghazi and that it was deteriorating. were those warnings unheeded? >> well, i'm not sure how verifiable that view is. i think they would have been heeded had they actually been given. and it is not acceptable to have any country say they cannot protect the embassies of any given country including the united states. >> doesn't this make you think twice if they're saying that? you're someone who wanted us to support a no fly zone. do you look back and say -- >> we had the slaughter of individuals every day in libya. the course of events was going to lead to change there as it led in egypt. the question is are you see ago standing on the side of those whose aspirations is you know, going to create an opportunity
for movement towards democracy. so you think it was -- >> look, there's no clean and clear pref is here. these are countries that have been under dictatorships. it's going to take them time to get to what we call a democracy. it's not going to happen overnight. but i appreciate that the president in addition to the troops that have been in that region since we've been looking at iran, will have the -- make sure american interests are protected. >> jon huntsman said our embassies are fortified, but we have issues with other consulates. arwa damon went in the so-called safe room in the benghazi safe room, she was reporting a lot of things you would have there, communications equipment, food, none was there. it seems when you just look at the facts here, that somebody on the u.s. side, not just the libyan side, wasn't doing something right.
>> well, look, if in fact any place where u.s. diplomat is going to be working out of is not secure, then that needs to be addressed. unquestionably. but i'm not sure that the information libyans are saying benghazi was in fact a security risk was given and in fact, our own intelligence would have indicated that and i think ambassador stevens is someone who is a career person, who have would have followed -- >> so they be -- >> in hindsight or retrospect, they want to be in a position that's better, but that's not acceptable. it's not acceptable for any country to take the position they can't defend u.s. embassies. >> thank you very much, sir. it took you a lot of time to get here tonight. as we talk so much about what's happening in the middle east, i wanted to share something. it's a part of o the world that i love dearly and love spending time in and i received this
e-mail, actually from a friend of mine who is arab. he wrote me this. in cairo, there are 20 million people. those around the embassy are 2 to 3,000. they don't represent how we all feel about the usa. most iranian and arabs, too, but respect its great units and so much more, but today, politic is dirty. i feel for the families who lost their loved ones. just a sentiment i want to share given there are so many and the majority of people have such love and admiration, not just for this country, but for the people they surround themselves with. still "outfront", the teachers strike in chicago appears to be over. with gop senators making jokes and no one really celebrating what has happened here and the sequestration is terrible. so why is the president and congress complaining about it?
pages. today, the white house finally issued its report to congress detailing how it plans to cut if they plan to stop the spending cuts before the end of the year. the report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions. that was the point. of the sequester. so, what's in the 394 pages? "outfront" tonight is part of our in depth look at the issues that affect the 2012 election. john avalon. you read it. so far, congress yelling, hey, president obama, you haven't told us where the cuts are coming from. he was supposed to do it, so he did it. >> that's right. so now, we start to get specifics and it really details the pain. let's look at some of the cuts. medicare, $11 billion in cuts projected. food stamps, half a billion dollars. fbi salaries, a quarter billion dollars of cuts. national parks, 218 million and the one that really stands out.
embassy security projected to be cut by $129 million when the whole world has seen how much we need to beef up security. >> this is clear where the left hand is not talking to the right hand. as jon huntsman just said, we need more on that. >> of course on both sides, whether the white house and congress are saying look how damaging these meat cleaver cuts are. this is not the way anyone wants to go about this, but this is what they've been handed. >> what has been the gop reaction? >> it's been fascinating. the gop is trying to pass the buck. john boehner put out a statement today, said this report confirms that the president's sequester, the president's sequester, is a serious threat to our national security and must be replaced. so you see what's going on there. congress, speaker, want to have nothing to do with it, trying to get president obama to own the sequester when this was always going to be congress' responsibility. this was the deal to pass the
debt ceiling. there's a lot of blame to go around, but blaming it on the president doesn't make sense. >> thank you very much. oh, they were all to blame. >> they are. >> all right. and missing chinese vice president. when will we see him again? we'll find out, next. why not make lunch more than just lunch? with two times the points on dining in restaurants, you may find yourself asking why not, a lot. chase sapphire preferred. there's more to enjoy.
it penetrates deep to block pain signals for hours of relief. capzasin-hp. take the pain out of arthritis. now to some of the other crucial stories we care about today we're we're focusing our reporting on the front lines. tonight focusing on chicago. students likely will be back in school on monday. union president karen lewis cautions the strike isn't over, they're going to be meeting on sunday to draft an agreement and vote on whether to suspend the strike. this comes as the district's more than 350,000 students have been out of school for five days. republican senator jim demint speaking a the a values voter summit today did not back down from a joke about those on strike. >> i was reading another story about a distant place where thugs had put 400,000 children out in the streets. then i realized that was a story about the chicago teachers strike.
>> he released a statement saying he was referring to the mob bosses when he referred to thugs. >> and china's vice president has been missing for almost two weeks. reuters reports he may appear tomorrow. he's china's next likely leader. he's been out of the public eye, missing meetings, including one with hillary clinton earlier this month. incredible and bizarre. earlier when i was speaking to john huntsman, i asked when china's leader may reappear. >> my sense is that we're going to hear from him probably in the next couple of days if not some time next week and we'll hear more about the transition. >> it has been 407 days as soon as the u.s. lost its top credit
what do president obama, rick perry and ted nugent have in common? tonight an idea that has brought some unlikely characters together and is making the people who thought of it millions. tim is no stranger to big ideas. he launched pandora radio in the year 2000. pandora is now used by 150 million people worldwide but for most of its 12 years, pandora has been on the verge of debt, battling record labels over royalties, fighting washington over legislation. >> it's been jekyll and hyde. the other side is the business part of it is a much tougher slog. >> until he and his team had an idea that is finally putting profits back into pandora. >> we're doing everything from a
local state assembly race in california to to a senatorial race in connecticut. >> pandora is getting into candidates. and with the latest polls showing the president and mitt romney within a few points of each other in key states, every vote counts. >> we know who we're delivering it to literally. >> how do they do it? >> when you register for pandora, you give your age, gender and your zip code. we know those three things as well as the music you're listening to. in theory that same targeting you add and who you're listening to in country. >> they're seeing which campaigns are competing for you affections. >> i think the political system has understood it's almost as if it was made for them. >> because ads are streaming constantly as you're listening